Jacob Luke Long. Known in short as just 'Jake', the boy had most definitely seen greater times in his life. In fact, it felt like only yesterday when those greater times were actually reality rather than fantasy. Just a few short weeks ago, he was sitting upon the couch of the living room to his New York City house with his beloved beside him. His black hair with it's green flame-like highlights in its usual fashion, his red and yellow jacket nicely cleaned, jean shorts and sneakers still oh so going along well with it. His asian-american skin shined wonderfully in the lights of the room, though so did the skin of the girl who he was sitting right alongside - Danika Hunnicut; a girl who was of nicely tanned skin and long dark hair, with clothes varying based on the occasion. Captain of the swimming team, back during the day which Jake was remembering she was Jake's girlfriend as well ever since the last few days of his previous school year.
Their relationship was for the most part, a very much casual one, as evident by the fact that they were sitting together on the couch at all. Both of them enjoyed each other's company, Jake having gone through an entire conflict with a siren over the issue that was his relationship with Danika - in fact that was the origin of their relationship itself. Danika, though, did not know this.
What was not like that of a casual relationship, however, was the secret that Jake was hiding from Danika. One which on that past and fateful night, was about to be forced out of him nonetheless. As stated before, it all occurred during a night in which the two were seated together on the couch of Jake's living room:
"So", Jake spoke in a confident and calm tone of voice to his girlfriend, "Enjoying the night over here?"
"Oh Jake", Danika lightly giggled, "You're so sweet, of course I am. But, I still want to know what happened while you and your family were off in Hong Kong."
"What?", Jake suddenly acquired a nervous look to his face, "I already told you, it was just standard stuff, nothing important. Trust me. Nothing important."
"Alright", Danika played along for this moment, "I believe you now."
"Great", and then Jake rested a hand over her shoulder as his other hand held the remote to turn on a movie, "In the meantime, why don't we watch a movie together?"
"Sounds wonderful. What are you going to put on?"
"You know what? About anything you want? Well, as long as it's on On Demand, anyway."
"Hahaha, true. I should see what they got first though."
Danika went to check on the movie and tried to pick a right one, while Jake smiled and waited for her to make her choice. Jake smiled and waited for her to make her choice, then...
"I'll get it." Jake stood up and went to check the door. Once he saw from the peephole who was on the other side, however, he had a look of most fear on his face.
"Uh.....yeah? Who is it?"
"Jake, is that you?"
".......yeah....but...things are a little crazy right now...major....infestation."
"Jake...is everything alright?" Danika called, curious as she was overhearing the conversation from the short distance she was from the action.
"Uh, yeah, everything's fine!"
"Who's that?" Rose's voice asked, having overheard the voice of Danika from the other side of the door.
"Who's that, Jake?" Danika asked, an eyebrow raising at hearing Rose's voice as well as seeing Jake's reaction to this situation. Jake was at a loss for words, he had no idea what to say to either of these two, it seemed like he had no escape at all. "Who's at the door?"
Jake bit his lips as he tried hard to come up with some type of easy explanation other than the truth:
"Um...is a delivery girl I know from school?"
"What?" The voice on the door asked, shocked and offended, as well as confused, at such an answer.
"I'm checking who she is." Danika said going to the door, much to Jake's chagrin as he was hoping that things would not come down to this, even if in truth at this point it was inevitable.
"Wa-wait!", Jake tried to stop her, but it was to no avail: Danika opened the door and she and Rose looked at each other for the first time.
"Um, who are you?" Danika asked, pure confusion in her voice. Rose glanced between her and Jack, who was looking very much like a guilty cat.
"I'm Rose, Jake's girlfriend, and who are you?" she asked, crossing her arms. Danika took a step back, looking at Rose like she just hit her.
"Danika Hunnicut...and I'm Jake's girlfriend," she said, before turning to Jake, glaring at him. "Or at least I thought I was."
Jake bit his lip before sighing, rubbing his arm. "I -I can explain."
"Fine, but it better be good!" Rose nearly yelled, Danika nodded.
"I got together with Danika after Rose moved and then my family took the trip to Hong Kong and I met Rose there and...now this," Jake said, hating himself with every word. The girls could hear the emotion in his voice, both eased up on their glaring.
"I couldn't break up with either of you, I didn't want anyone getting hurt...so I just kept quiet and...lied to both of you...I'm sorry," Jake appoilzged.
Rose and Danika shared a look; anger, sadness, pity and somehow, understanding. They both liked Jake, both knew neither one would want to have a broken heart but...that's just what happened, to all three.
"Jake,' Rose said, her arms still crossed but more in a hugging manner. "I'm...glad you came clean but you know this doesn't fix anything."
"Yeah, you basically, no, you /did/ cheat on us both," Danika said, crossing her arms. Jake nodded, only glancing up for a moment before looking back down.
"We'll forgive someday, but right now," Rose sighed, Danika pat her back, finishing her sentence.
"We need time away from you, away from relationships, boys and everything that comes with it," she said, Rose nodded, offering him a sad smile.
"And maybe, when that day comes, we can all be friends again...but, until then...I hope you think about what you did and make some other girl feel better than this...if you ever do find another girlfriend," she said, some bitterness in her voice. She turned and left, Danika watched her leave before turning back to Jake, who kept his eyes on the floor.
"I know you're hurting, but we're hurting, too, Jake," she said, going to gather he belongings. "But, as they say, Time heals all wounds. So in the meantime; just...think about your mess..." and she left.
Jake stood there for an hour longer before he finally fell to his knees, bowing his head, before finally letting his tears fall to floor.
He had lost both of them, and there was nothing he could do. Even Rose, the love of his life.
Still, the Hands of Fate weren't just going to leave Jake. Fate had plans, there was someone else, another to tame and heal the Dragon's heart. By morning, the plan could be in motion. Thanks to worries of two loving parents.
Though of course, either way the first few weeks following the break ups were still the most depressed Jake had been in a long while, not to mention the first few days of 9th Grade.
His longest friends, Trixie and Spud, were still his friends but even they wanted time away from him. Jake never thought his own closest friends would think he "deserved" some isolation. And with having no friends to talk to, or for any support, Jake was left wide up for being picked on, made fun of and somehow that resulted in the old rumors about him coming back to life; he didn't bathe, he was 'infected' with something deadly, he was insane, and there somehow was a rumor that he got someone pregnant...how that one came about he never would now.
Life sucked, to say the least. Jake could only put his head down, feeling like there was nothing worth living for. How long until his so-called friends would see he had learned his lesson? How long until Rose and Danika forgave him? And how much longer did he have to be the butt of everyone's jokes? Jake was just tired of it.
Jake sat in his classroom, the finally class of the day, staring down at his empty notebook, despite the teacher saying there would be a test over the notes.
Jake just couldn't help it, he didn't care about anything anymore. Spud had a girlfriend in Stacey, Trixie had her Kyle Wilkins, he now however, had nobody. Sure Trixie did 'tell him so', but it still didn't make the end of his love life any less painful.
Jake sighed as the bell rang, ending the school, his teacher wasn't about the students leave without homework, so he assigned the first four chapters of some novel that Jake just didn't care about. He wrote down the assignment in his notes and walked out with the rest of the students, ignoring some of the stares.
He walked to his locker, noticing everyone somehow now was with their boyfriend or girlfriend...Jake sighed, why did Life hate him so much? Wasn't that day enough? Now this?
"Jeez, give me a break," was all he could say before his familiars, best friends Trixie and Spud walked over to him.
Jake gave them a glance over; Trixie still wore her hair in her signature twin-buns but it seemed this year she was sporting a new beige hoodie with tight fitting jeans, he could tell she was going for a Jennifer Lopez look from the early 2000s.
Spud however, still wearing loose fitting clothes that only a skater could wear and get away with, baggy shirt that read 'Today is Someday' and pants that Jake was sure being held up by a belt. He at least still wore sneakers from last year...and the year before that. Trixie stopped in front of his locker, hands on hips with Spud right next to her.
"Hey.....guys",was all Jake could weakly force himself to mutter out.
"Look, Jakie, I'm not gonna say anything about what happen and I think this day is punishment enough," she said, keeping one hand on her hip while gesturing with the other, Spud nodded, his relax face for once, serious.
"Hey, dude, it's been really weird without you around, like a tooth without a fairy to come for it," Spud said, in one of his moments trying to be mystic but failing, Trixie humed in agreement before sighing.
"I guess what we're both tiring to say is; we're still your friends and we still care about you. But, we totally handled this the wrong way; yes, we were a little mad but we shouldn't have just...judged you like that, ya know?" she said, frowning but offered a small smile. Spud stepped in.
"You're the nicest dude we know, we knew you didn't mean for anyone to get hurt...but, it just looks like you got hurt more than anyone," he said, before opening his arms out to Jake and Trixie, who offered a small smile.
"So, can we hug and make up, now? Because I can't take another day without all of us being a trio. It sucks!"
"I guess so", Jake spoke with a sigh, finding it hard to say no to his two long time best friends even after this, "It's just........after everything we all went through, to have even Rose leave me like that........."
Spud hugged Jake, giving him a tight squeeze before pulling away, Trixie then hugged Jake, but not as tightly.
"Well, maybe she just needs a day or two to come around again? I mean...we needed a moment, too but, I admit, that was really dumb of us," she said, Spud nodded.
"And I know dumb!"
"Look, Jakie, I bet in no time, Rose will come around and talk it out and we can all start over. I know girls, Jakie, we're as crazy as we are insane about the guys we like; she'll come around." Trixie said, before putting her arm around his shoulder.
"Besides, we've all been through a lot together...just this one day without you around...it didn't feel natural at all, left like there was hole in us where you needed to be, ya know?" she said, Spud came up behind both of them and brought them into a bear-hug.
"Hugs for everybody!"
"heheh, thanks guys..."
Trixie straighten herself out.
"Okay, now how about we had over to the nearest soothie joint and get our chill on?"
"Sounds good, but I don't know if it'll help.........you know Trix, I should've listened to you, but, I didn't know which one I loved more, I'm sorry....."
The girl sighed, looking sad but also, in way, guilty.
"Jackie, we both know you care a lot about the people that you make important; Rose and Danika were both special to you. And, yes, I was, technically, right. But, I should've at least pushed you to just one of them and not just let things happen the way they did...so, in way, it's also my fault for not being a better friend."
Spud nodding, though, he also lost Trixie somewhere in her speech.
"And who says a frozen dessert doesn't make someone feel better!? Let's get our chill on and then tell me how ya feel!" she said, grabbing the two boys arms and heading out.
Jake's response was pretty much just letting Trixie - and by extension Spud - whisk him away for this attempt in cheering him up. He didn't have a choice at this point, but really, he did kind of want to see how they intended on finally undoing his depression.
Going to the local Frozen Treat spot in the city, Trixie pulled up the menu for them to see. Spud, had other plans.
"We should do the Frozen Bit Challenge, that'll make ya laugh," he said, pointing to the picture, the cost was $30 however if they won, it was free, plus they got a gift card of $10 plus their name on the wall.
"Uh, Spud, we're trying to make Jake feel better not have a brain freeze," she said annoyed.
"I dunno, I make a pretty go brain-freeze face," Spud said, seemingly proud of that fact. Trixie rolled her eyes.
"Thanks, guys, I think I'll be alright....eventually....maybe......"
Trixie gave Jake a gentle smile. "You sure, Jakie? I know this whole things been a mess...the last thing we need right now is more heartbreaking news."
"We can think of marriage in the family, right?" Spud said, making Trixie become a annoyed.
"How is THAT any better?!"
"Um...wedding is the best cake out there, duh."
"Guys, look, all I really need right now is something to take my mind off of both Rose and Danika, okay?"
Trixie thought for a moment before reaching into her pocket and pulling out her Ipod.
"I might have some beats that'll make ya feel like dancing, ya know? Get your swag on," she said as she turned the ipod on to initiate some smooth hip hop music from it, doing a small movement with her body to simulate dancing in place. Spud nodded his head, almost as if he was listening to a song in his head.
"Aight", Jake remarked as he grew a smile on his face too as he did similar movements to Spud, "I guess this'll help. Thanks Trix." and Jake was starting to get his groove on, more and more. It didn’t take too long for his body to move on his own, and with a lot of skill and experience too. After dancing for a while, he gives back the Ipod.
“Phew, I needed that.” Jake said contently, “Thanks guys.”
“No prob, bro…” Spud replied
“You know you can count on us..” Trixie added, making Jake smile.
“You’re right on that! I ain’t gonna let this beat me!”
“That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!”
Jake kept hanging out with his friends way into the night, until he was time for him to come back home; where his father: Jonathan Long received him.
“Good timing, Jakers; Mom and I have a surprise for you!”
“Oh yeah? What is it?”
“Come in and we will tell you!”
“I’m coming!” Jake enters the house and enters the living room, where his mother and younger sister Haley were waiting for him; but he was most shocked at one of the people present in the living room with the family: Rose’s father. He swallowed nervously, remembering the last encounter he had with Rose’s parents nearly resulted in him being arrested in Hong Kong. He also as such, nervously smiled and said: “H-Hi...heheh.”
“Is that your son, Jonathan?” he asked, to which Jake’s father promptly nodded.
“Heheh, hey sir.” Jake greeted nervously, waving and trying to be polite.
“......nice to meet you…..Jake, right?”
“Yes sir, that’s my name….heheh! Um...dad, what is this about?”
“Well” Jonathan explained, as both father and son sat down: “There’s something he wants to let you know.”
“What is it?” Jake asked, though he was concerned as to what those things were. Before Rose’s father could speak though, the sound of a door opening was heard and down from the stairs of the home yet another man arrived in the room - this one though was an asian man, just a few years younger than Susan, Jake’s mother, and in fact he resembled Jake to an extent though was older and his hair seemed to have red highlights instead of red. He also had a lean, slender build and was wearing very casual clothes.
“Sorry I took so long!” the man said, “I really shouldn’t have gone to Taco Bell.”
“Um...who is this man?” Jake asked “And why does he look so handsome?”
“Oh, Jake” Jonathan said, “This is your uncle Jason. Your mother’s long lost little brother!” with that, Susan arrives to give Jason a welcoming hug.
“Well, now I know where my good looks come from, but what does this have to do with Rose’s dad?”
“Oh!” Jason then said, “I’ll explain that! You see, while I was away from you guys for so long I was actually this really skilled master thief, but I only ever stole from other criminals because it’s not right or fun to steal from innocent people. I was also always chased around by a lovely interpol inspector hellbent on bringing me in. To spare all the details though, me and her ended up becoming a thing in the end, but it turns out, she’s actually his sister!”
“....I don’t get this at all.”
“I know, it’s a lot to sink in, but it took a very long time for me to track my real family down and meet you guys, I know it’s a little shocking for me to drop that I’m your uncle, or brother and that I’m getting married so soon, but hey, at least I did it!”
“Wait…hold up…..you’re getting married? To his sister, right?”
“That’s right.” Jason replied, “In fact she has a niece around your age that I think you’re gonna get along with fine!”
“.............is her name…..um…...Rose?”
“.........................How did you know her name?”
The others in the room then began to realize how awkward things were getting, and the reason why. Everyone pretty much fell silent at that point….even Hayley.
“Uh….heh….um…...I went to school with her? And um….this marriage…..is it gonna mean, me and her, are gonna be, like, cousins or something?”
“I suppose so. Is that a problem?”
Jake for once, was lost for words - all of the sudden, he even fainted not long after hearing those words - the last thing he heard being everyone shocked by him doing so. Once Jake recovered consciousness a good bit of time later, he woke up to see Rose waking him up.
“Jake? Are you up?”
“R-Rose….tell me…..tell me all of this was a dream………you’re talking to me again….so….was it?”
“If this was a dream, you’d have your pants off by accident...but you’re wearing them so…..sorry, Jake.”
“Oh………..are you…..are you still mad at me?”
“Oh…..I’m sorry, alright? I...I didn’t want to break either one of you two’s hearts…...I didn’t want either of you being sad or anything…...I….it’s like, I met Danika after the whole Homecoming thing…..and it was just, it was confusing and complicated, alright? I know I should’ve told you but, well, you didn’t remember who you were and you were in Hong Kong…...and the heat of the moment with the whole battle and everything…...and then I guess I just felt bad for Danika after that…...and now this.”
“I know...but...I guess we just have to accept it.”
“I guess…...this is just so dang ridiculous though! He shows up out of nowhere and suddenly says he’s marrying your aunt?!”
“How do you think I felt when my aunt suddenly said that to me? I mean, I knew she existed at least, but still…..she suddenly just now drops that her fiance is also your uncle.”
“Yeah, pretty contrived if you ask me.”
“But still...I think we’ll have enough time to get used to this.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean….if I can’t be your man…….can I at least be your friend still? I mean, we’re gonna be family now…..apparently...unless you wanna break them up or something.”
“Well…….that can work, being friends and stuff…though is gonna be REALLY awkward from here on out.”
“Yeah...tell me about it.”
“Well, both of us will have a lot of time to work about it when you know where we're going.” Jason added to the conversation
“Yeah…..wait, what’s that mean?”
“Jason was kind enough to earn enough money so that we and Rose’s family can go to a cruise to the Mediterranean after the wedding, isn’t that great?!” Susan revealed, having been in the room as well, or just having walked in.
“Yeah, mom” Jake tried to fake enthusiasm, “Just….fantastic.” Jake topped it off with fake grin as he looked back and forth to Rose and his mom, as he thought: “Awww man!”
He was not looking forward to any of this. But he wasn’t the only one who wasn’t looking forward for the trip, and that other person was someone who was miles away. Someone whom he never met before in his life.
This person lived in Perth; Australia- the primary city of the western province, someone walked into this young boy’s room, closed the door with lock; and once they had done that, this male figure covered himself with the pillow from his bed and grumbled underneath it.
“Coby...open the door; please.” the voice of a woman knocks the door, begging the boy to open. In response she only got a muffled whine.
“Coby, no matter how much you whine, you’re going with the cruise with us.”
“Why?!” the young boy cried out from his room. “We can go on a plane like we always do! Or we could at least fly towards that place!”
“What is so wrong about going on a cruise?”
“.......I don’t know.”
“Then come with us!”
“Coby….be happy for once, please?”
And Coby, revealing himself to be a boy of fair skin, a slender, lean and small body with his head draped with short but thick/down black hair with blonde streak highlights and striking green eyes; looked at the ceiling and sighed to himself.
“I hate my life.” he said while muttering to himself. “I don’t think I’ll ever find anything fun on that cruise.”
But little did Coby know, that he’d something fun on that cruise. Something that he wouldn’t have thought he’d have in a million years.