26: Dark Horse

Jack and Rosalie were sitting outside, away from the cave, away from everything else. The moon was high and bright, full. The forest was silent. “So quiet” Rosalie said.
“Still of the night” Jack answered, leaning her closer on his body. She turned her gaze to the sky. Jack followed it, seeing the sky littered with thousands, millions of stars, and the moon like a giant eye that watched all down on earth.
“What really happened with David and John?” she asked Jack. His reaction was about what she had expected: his body turned stiff, his eyes found something above her head fascinating and his grip on her tightened slightly. “Jack?”
“Remember when we were on the carriage and Tristan told you that John changed two of us?”
She nodded carefully. “Yes. So?”
“Well, when David was brought to the family, John was gone at the time. The only person that could have changed him without killing him was John’s mate Lisa.” He stopped again, Rosalie sensed he was getting to the bad part and she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to hear the rest. “For the first twenty, thirty years, everything was fine. Then, when John was gone with Tristan, something happened between them.”
“What?”
He hesitated and in-between the time it took it hit her like a ton of bricks. “Oh. Oh.” He nodded.
“They kept it a secret for as long as they could, rumors didn’t start circulating until recently. When they came back to John, he demanded the truth. He must have told Lisa off when we were gone because no one has seen her since.”
Rosalie shook her head. “He still had no right to hurt David that way.”
“Maybe not but it happened and now all we can do is go forward in life.” She sighed.
“What a mess.”
“Yes.” They remained silent for several minutes, both thinking about the recent events. She sat up suddenly, reaching inside her back pocket. Jack didn’t have to ask what it was-his ring that he had slid on her finger so long ago. She handed it to him. He looked at it, remembering how hard he had worked to make it perfect. She looked at him, not sure what he was thinking, watching his face which showed nothing. He smiled and slid it in his pocket. “When we’re human, I promise.”
“That’s all I ask.” He grinned and kissed her once. “Well, for now.” He laughed and pulled her into his chest, just like old times. They lay out there the rest of the night and most of the following day.
“I have to ask you something-just something to consider.”
“What?”
“I know you’re hell-bent on getting married and having a family, but times have changed since we were young and I want you to consider every possibility.”
“Like school?”
He nodded. “Yes. I just don’t want you to commit yourself to one way of life before you consider everything.”
“Ok. I will.”
He smiled and she stood, stretching. Jack stood and looked at his wrist. 4:58. “Not much time left.”
“Are you trying to tell me you’ll miss it?”
“You won’t?”
“Nope.” He laughed and she playfully smacked his face. Hand in hand, they walked back to the cave. The entire front room was abuzz with excitement, word had spread fast. They shared a look before they walked up the stairs, across the platform, down the opposite set of stairs.
The team from yesterday stood ready, Dr. Payne was finishing hooking up a large plastic see through jug to each side of the beds. He looked up as they entered, smiling. “Perfect timing. We’re almost ready.” The life support systems stood close by, silent and waiting. He walked to a large metal cabinet, pulling out four of the tubes that Rosalie had seen yesterday.
She suddenly felt a panic rising in her. She hadn’t actually thought that they would get to the final act-and yet here it was. While he laid them down on a table, Tristan entered. “Tristan” said Jack nodding his way. He walked to him, his face smooth and calm. “Hold on to this for me” he said, handing him the ring.
“Will do.” He slid it in his breast pocket and smiled at them. “I assure you both everything is going to be fine.”
Jack beamed. “I never thought to the contrary.” Dr. Payne looked over some paperwork before he turned to face the three of them.
“Are you ready?” Jack looked at Rosalie.
<Promise something.>
<Anything.>
<Don’t you dare leave me.>
<Couldn’t even if I wanted to.>
She looked at Dr. Payne. “I’m ready.” Jack nodded and they walked to the tables, Jack laying on one, Rosalie on the other.
“I’m not going to lie, this is going to hurt. But it’s quick and the rest is simple.” Rosalie bit her lip, closing her eyes. She felt Dr. Payne gently put the restraints on her arms, tightening them firmly. She gritted her teeth and waited for it. Dr. Payne hadn’t been lying-it did hurt. She gasped, bit back a scream, feeling the metal tear through her arm, wanting so badly to tear them out of her. “Almost done…There.” The pain was slight now, the strongest feeling was the tingling sensation as the venom was being pulled from her body.
<Jack?>
<Are you ok?>
<Yes, are you?>
<Fine love. Don’t worry about me.>
<Can’t help it.>
<I know.>
<I love you.>
<I love you too.>
<Can’t wait to be Mrs. Jack William Dawson.>
<Can’t wait to make you Mrs. Jack William Dawson.>
She smiled and that was her motivation as she tuned out everything else: that when this was over, she and Jack would be together. She let her imagination run wild again: she saw their wedding, perfect spring day, she in a white dress, gorgeous of course, her arm linked in David’s, Jack standing at the alter, his eyes were back to the beautiful jade she loved so much, when she reached the alter and David gave her hand to his, she looked into his eyes and saw nothing but love and forever in them. Next she saw a simple but very nice one-story, a lawn of bright green and assorted flowers, surrounding it was a white picket fence, the door a red, much like the one in the James’ home, the inside a comfy blue, much like Jack’s room had been in the carriage, a grand piano in the front room, Jack’s classics and poetry books scattered about the home, his smiling face beckoning her into a room...It was hard to tell how much time had passed, but she suspected it hadn’t been much, must have been winter for she sat in front of a roaring fireplace, looked up when Jack came in, kissed her cheek, whispered something that made her laugh, she stopped abruptly and took his hand, gently pressing it against her stomach, which was round and moving slightly, they marveled at the movements. Last she saw several years later, had to be, for they were both aged, but beautifully, a spring day, maybe early summer, the grass was perfect green, the flowers were in full bloom. They sat in the grass, a blanket and picnic basket surrounding them, she couldn’t count the number of small heads that raced about them, though she saw a combination of jet-black and platinum blonde hair.
From up above, Tristan watched, mostly alone. He sensed Luke somewhere behind him but he didn’t dare turn his eyes away from the floor. Although he would never admit it, Jack was like the son Tristan could never have and he always felt somewhat responsible for Jack-partly because if he hadn’t found him that freezing April night he would have died and partly because over the years, even when Jack was on his own he had sensed him, the way animals can sense a storm long before it strikes.
He was still watching them, his eyes darting from Jack to Rosalie. He had heard so much about her, seen her so many times in Jack’s mind, that when they found her just a few days ago he felt like he had known her forever. He heard a pair of feet hit the platform, without looking up he said “John is going to kill you.”
David shrugged. “That is my sister. I’m not leaving until I see that she’s ok.”
Tristan sighed. “Stay out of sight as much as you can. John is hunting now but he’ll be back soon.”
“I know.” David showed him the map he had taken from his room. “I’ll give it back I just need it for now.”
Tristan nodded and they both looked down in silence. Both Jack and Rosalie were still, their eyes closed, the venom slowly being pulled from their systems. How long they stood there for, hours, minutes, seconds, time seemed to stand still.
Just after the nineteenth hour since they had inserted the tubes, an alarm went off, announcing that Rosalie’s poison had been extracted. Fast as lightning, the medical team, grabbed the life support system and hooked it up to her. Tristan faintly saw Jack’s face twist in pain and he sighed. The team worked for several minutes until a steady rise and fall in her chest indicated all was well.
Or so they hoped…
TO BE CONTINUED