Jack & Joelle

Jack & Joelle – Chapter 8

Rays of sunlight danced and sprinted across the crests of Elliot Bay’s waves, as light poured in through the apartment’s massive, master-bedroom skylight. To the east, Seattle concaved around the Bay which rounded to the tip of Alki neighborhood. The long-awaited summer season had made the bed too hot to sleep in, regardless of how many windows they would spread open before climbing under the covers together. Now, Igor was digging himself a nest and building a fort out of the blankets that were kicked off of the mattress during the night. An intoxicating aroma of sea-salt from the ocean and fresh gardenia deriving from the rooftop garden flooded into their senses, lulling her mind back to rest.

He awoke an hour later in the same bed with no head to hold or hand to kiss. His head was still fuzzed-over after slumbering in a now-sold apartment in San Francisco, California, the familiarity of waking alone remaining. Sizzling eggs scrambling and the scent of bacon confused Jack for a second as he had been living alone for a while now, yet he was still in bed. His return to Seattle the previous night prompted a 14-hour nap in Joelle’s bed, and had finally awoken to a decadent breakfast with his one, true love. They had the rest of the day, the weekend, their lives to do whatever they felt like doing.

Joelle cleared the used dishes into the small kitchen after they were done eating. The small, decorative table she had found at the local, Sunday market on the deck had fitted snugly into the corner, allotting the ideal amount of space for two people to sit at the same time while a cat sleeps atop the railing. Jack freshened himself up and went into their bedroom to grab a small box from his nightstand drawer. A few minutes later, they were off and out the door.

Volleyball players were grunting and playing their game while Jack and Joelle were laying out their towels atop the endlessly-deep sands of Alki Beach. The definition of the waves blurred into a blue mass when Jack pretended to drop his eye contacts. They flipped their towels, dug through the sand, and peered into shells until she finally found what he was hiding. A small, silver, sparkly piece of metal shimmered in the light and fell into her hands. When she turned around to face Jack, he was down on one knee, asking her to marry him. He had planted the ring on the beach while Joelle wasn’t looking. She couldn’t possibly have been happier. The decades of love that she could foreseer with Jack were never-ending and took up her future time with ideas on how they would spend each and every day together until they were gone for eternity.

 

 

Jack & Joelle – Chapter 7

Their months apart passed as slowly as the fog rolled in over San Francisco bay, as slowly as the night crawled in over the Seattle, summer sky. Quarters ended after every 2 1/2 months with a two-week gap in which they would alternate visits to each other’s cities. Summers would be spent in his California and winters on her occasionally snowy Alki beach.

Both of them changed during their time apart from one another. Neither of them cheated, heck, they couldn’t even begin to fathom that either one of them would find somebody else to love as well as they loved each other. Their winter visits in Seattle were magical: snow as light as powdered sugar fell over the bay, slowly but surely replacing the sandy shore with flakes of the solidified rain. Joelle found great pleasure in her trips down to San Francisco; her hours alone listening to Lana del Rey albums in her car was a personalized getaway to a nirvana of relaxation which could only come when alone in one’s presence. Hearing another person’s voice when she was by herself made her feel less alone, as though she was with someone comforting without worrying about being judged for being herself.

As the years went on, Jack eventually graduated from FIDM with a degree in men’s fashion. A few months earlier, Joelle had graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor in journalism. He had made the car journey to the Seattle campus to see her graduate and grasp her diploma in her impeccably manicured hands, wearing his favorite dress. Passing through Oregon state on I-5, she felt different this time although she had made this same trip several times over the past several years. She didn’t want to listen to music. She didn’t want to be alone but she also didn’t want to with somebody else. A tingle crept over her spine and up into her neck as she clasped the steering wheel with her dominant hand and sped off into the distance.

He finally had it. He could see it. He had it in his hands. Seconds ago, the dean of FIDM had handed Jack his diploma, a piece of paper he had been busting himself over for the past six years. He never wore suits; if was going to class, which he never missed, he would be wearing jeans and a t-shirt; if he was at home, he was in a pair of sweatpants and old t-shirt. In the back of her car she had secretly packed all of Igor’s things and Igor himself in his crate in order to surprise Jack with the greatest animal ever. Slight meows every now and again from the sleeping feline in the back of the car gave Joelle the company that she wanted for the long, lonely, journey to northern California.

They awoke in his bed, in an apartment which overlooked the fog-covered bay region. An hour ago, Joelle had snuck out to her car to grab Igor, bring him back to his condo, and pretend to fall asleep into Jack’s arms again. Something scratched his legs and he couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised to feel the soft cuddles of his little, baby cheetah.

Jack & Joelle – Chapter 5

Endless hours of sunlight and millions of stars by night filled their summer. Every morning they would wake up in Jack’s bed and pile their way out over the hard-wood flooring to catch a glimpse of the beach at sunrise. His entire self was accommodating, most evidently in the extensive time he would spend with Joelle on a daily basis, taking care of her when she felt stupid and speaking in whispers to each other when the days would come to a close. It was the most memorable summer of their lives because neither of them had ever felt so close to another person before.

In July, Jack had been accepted to the school of Fashion Design and Marketing in San Francisco. He had done everything from spending his Saturday nights studying for his AP classes to writing endless college application essays to get into school. He didn’t have money, he depended on his GPA to get himself into the best of the best. In the meanwhile, Joelle was accepted to the University of Washington to progress her studies in journalism. Her dream was to eventually have her own magazine. There was this fear in the back of Joelle’s mind that her relationship, a perfect relationship, would crumble away and disintegrate without reason while Jack was away for the four years it would take him to get his degree. Jack was afraid that Joelle would find someone else while he was away, because she was the most special girl anyone could think of.

On an afternoon in the last few weeks of August, Joelle returned to her penthouse apartment to gather her things in uncountable boxes to be moved into Jack’s vacant loft. After all, Jack couldn’t take Igor with him and somebody had to be there to feed, bath, and study on the floor with. Although she knew that she would see Jack in 2 1/2 months, one day without him felt like a year. Jack had already left for California a few days earlier, of course only after giving Joelle cuddles for hours and kisses for days. While he was settling into his new dorm, Jack felt empty even though he knew that this was a step in the right direction. He was following his dreams but at the same time he wanted Joelle. He needed her as much as she needed him.

Jack & Joelle – Chapter 4

Golden sunlight crashed in through the white linen sheers as daylight arose over the city. “Where am I?”, was her first conscious thought, blonde waves strewn across the pillow. All that she could see was white. Out of the abyss of covers she felt something wriggle her way up through her legs and onto her abdomen. Gently peeking up the blanket she saw a speckled, Serval kitten napping beneath her bust-line. “His name’s ‘Igor'”, Jack’s voice enchanting Joelle as she laid in bed relaxed yet awake. It was the day of their senior graduation, but right now all that Joelle wanted to do was play ‘hide-and-seek’ with Igor throughout the loft.

Several hours later, Joelle was slipping her small frame into an emerald-green silk dress to later be paired with her white, Chandler Academy, graduation cap & gown. Meanwhile, Jack was doing up his torso into a mint-green button up and slacks for his lower half. He loved her more than the rainy days of Seattle, more than the amount of droplets of water in the Pacific ocean. She breathed him, as though she couldn’t live without him if her survival depended on it. He saved her life the instant she came into his.

Immediately after the fire grew into the parking lot, the oxygen line beneath the street exploded. Jack was leading her away to the safety of his loft when the fireball burst and Joelle was only multiple feet away from the flaming inferno. The next thing she could remember were masked faces asking her to wiggle her toes and look into a bright light. Her dress had been cut off of her and a gown placed on while she was unconscious. Out of the haze of gloved hands and syringes she saw Jack’s face: scared, apologetic, and overwhelmed. He had never meant to hurt her, in fact he was trying to save her from the scare of the fire by leading her away to the safety of his home. They wanted to be in each other’s company and nothing less.

In the afternoon they ate lunch at the Space Needle’s restaurant and subsequently went on to Chandler Academy to graduate on to college. Jack’s only supporter was Joelle while Joelle had her father, mother, and brother clapping for her in the stands. Her memory was still a bit fuzzy but a growing feeling crawled over her with discern. She thought: “Will Jack and I go separate ways?”. She knew in her heart that there was something gripping her to Jack’s wrist but there was no way to know for sure.

Jack & Joelle – Chapter 3

And she danced. Her feet guided the framework of their bodies into endless circles atop the sand. His arm secured her torso of  beaded, midnight-blue chiffon while slithering his fingers down towards her waist. The last several months of dress-fittings and calorie-tracking allowed her size four figure to stun under the moonlight of Alki Beach. He held her  close as the water lapped upon the shore as though she may float out into the sea at any second if he were to let go of her for an instant.

Joelle wasn’t a dancer, she was the star of her high school cross-country team. Jack ran from his past. When he was with her he didn’t want to think about anything else. Her eyes were capable of  captivating an entire audience for hours without ever uttering a single, spoken word. Senior prom never crossed Jack’s mind – he had to be more concerned with sending away college applications than attempting to impress Jo with a new tuxedo. Everyone at Chandler Academy knew that Jack and Joelle were the ‘It’ couple – no girl wasn’t jealous of Joelle’s looks and Jack’s friends could only dream of calling a girl like Jo, theirs.

She never looked sub-par; her clothes was steam-pressed right off of the latest runways and her just-below-the-shoulder cut of heavenly, strawberry blonde waves bounced around her head with minimal effort. Nobody in their right mind could deny that her greatest accessory regardless of her extensive, designer shoe collection and heart-shaped Tiffany earrings, were her eyes: twinkling pools of aquamarine blue that couldn’t have been missed by the International Space Station. Jack’s hair was never not scuffed, revealing a pink, one-inch long scar running along the crest of his left eyebrow. His brown eyes and spindly yet muscular frame meshed into the  waves of adolescent men flooding the corridors of Chandler when classes were released on the hour. Their appearances combined with their backstories made their relationship a joke to the perfect stranger, but they were happy. They were in love.

With arms dangling loosely around his neck and hands grasped around her waist, their final dance came to a close as cars began to file out of the parking lot and girls removed their heels before returning to their respective limo drivers. Final kisses were delivered from couple to couple before embarking on their separate ways, although they were all destined to find one another at Chandler come next Monday morning. Nothing about the night hadn’t been ideal, perfect perhaps. The sea glistened under the light of the millions of stars, the jewels on Jo’s bodice reflecting every particle infinitely back into the night air.

Collective feminine screams deriving from the coastal avenue drew the attention of every student away from the magical nature of the evening to the armada of ambulances, police cruisers, and fire trucks swelling up just 200 meters from Jack’s feet. Flames shot into the air, the inevitable inferno multiplying its base until it occupied nearly 25 square feet. “Come with me”, Jack said to Joelle as he reached for her trembling hand, ultimately leading her away to the small sanctuary of his loft located four blocks into the distance from the tapped-in fire hydrants.

 

Jack & Joelle – Chapter 2

Jack travelled 28 weeks of the calendar year. Joelle couldn’t keep a job. Joelle didn’t need a job, she didn’t need the income. “To waste her time away”, as Jack would say, Joelle, or ‘Jo’ for short, spent her hours without Jack working as an unpaid student-teacher at the local high school. Jack made eight figures a year selling his watches world-wide after 12 years of focused education and hardened skill. He covered her every cost, whether it be the grocery bill, the newest collection of Chanel lipsticks, or a getaway to the palm-fronds of Dubai.

Jack was from the southern end of the island where trailer parks out-ruled mansions; Joelle grew up in a high-rise apartment a stride away from the hustle & bustle of Pike Place Market. His family grew up on welfare and food stamps, parents divorcing when he was four. Jack knew how to fight for what he needed, to fend for himself. Fashion was overlooked in his family as something that was prissy and unnecessary. Joelle’s father’s pharmaceutical company made its first million after discovering an experimental drug to cure cancer. Any of her needs were fulfilled within an instant by her father’s money without question.

By the time Jack turned 15, he had secretly saved enough money to move out from the park and into South Seattle. There was nothing more important to him than his education because no one in his family had ever graduated from high school. He wanted to do something for himself. He wanted to make something of himself. After seven years of working the local farm, there were enough funds in his BOA account to support a year of studying at the Chandler Academy in the city.

There was a girl like Joelle at nearly every high school imaginable; always smiling, untouchable beauty, as though there were a family of birds singing around her person at all times. It was impossible to not be awed when you were within her presence. The boys and girls all had eyes for her, yet the only person she had eyes for were her boyfriend, Leon. It is unknown what happened to Leon, all we know is that he is no longer relevant to their story.

Jack had one school-embossed uniform for the entire year, Joelle had five sets. As with every other male in her class, she was the only girl that was worthy of having a crush on. He didn’t believe that he would even have a chance to touch Jo’s hand. Little did he know, things had turned between Joelle and Leon. She didn’t feel loved, lonely.  Leon couldn’t keep up with the jealously of his friends. Jack caught Joelle’s eye across the corridor and he couldn’t have been more ready to endlessly, helplessly, fall into her gentle graces.

Jack & Joelle – Chapter One

It was once in a blue moon that Joelle could get herself ready for the day under her husband, Jack Hunter’s, watch. It was once in a blue moon that Jack would yell and shame her and instead give a relentless, passive-aggressive stare quickly followed by a generic, “I love you”, as she burnt the tip of her finger with a curling iron. This morning, a chilly, prompt, February morning, Joelle was giving Jack a ride to the airport as he was flying to Prague to sell his company’s spring collection of men’s fashion watches. Giving the Papillion, Juke, a pat on the head on their way out, the door scuffled close, Joelle fishing through her bag for her keys. “Hurry up! We don’t have all day, do we?”, Jack hollered from the perimeter of the steel Lexus, hand clenched on the passenger-door’s handle.

The drive to the regional airport was one that was long, silent, and uneasing.  Words were sparse, short, intentions hanging onto the last syllable of each phrase. Brown-speckled snow was still common along the edges of the crowned road. Up ahead, a seven-mile long pileup derived from a severe vehicular incident, awaiting Joelle’s car to enter within the mix. In the past, Joelle had uncontrollably enjoyed the hour-long drive through the country and into Seattle, WA, en route to SeaTac International. Jack made her uncomfortable. Jack made her feel unsure of her every move as though she were a toddler taking its first steps without their parent’s help. There was no man in the world that Joelle could imagine fearing more than she did Jack.

There were no bruises, no scars, no physical markings to prove that something was wrong. There was no pain or ligament torn that not even the finest doctor could detect. The only person who knew of Joelle’s mental turmoil was her husband Jack Hunter, her high-school sweetheart whom enjoyed taunting her with the pleasure of fear and the uncertainty of marriage. Since the day that they met in her sophomore Algebra class, she saw something in him; she saw a troubled soul in which she believed she could better him with her presence. She was 16, Jack 17 and held back a year after failing to pass his junior math course. When their eyes caught he saw youth within the exterior of the bright and shining young girl, the kind of look that you couldn’t possibly forget about no matter if you died the next day or lived for 100 years. She was smart, young, and beautiful with a heart of gold. Neither of them could have predicted their years together in the future nor who they would become and the troubles they would be to succumb under.