Two chapters mushed together because I was half asleep. :) A surprise and a cliffhanger for the end. :) COMING SOON: "HURRICANE," THE SEQUEL TO "FINDING JARED"!!
Earlier that afternoon, Jared grabbed his phone and began a text message to Skyla: “We can't get an annulme-”
He pressed the 'END' button on his BlackBerry and flopped face-first into one of his down pillows. He looked at the time displayed on his bedside clock and thought that Shannon must be in Chattanooga by now. He picked up his phone and dialed Shannon's number.
“Hello?” Shannon asked when he answered.
“Hey. You there yet?” Jared asked him as he twirled a pencil in his fingers.
“Yeah. We decided to go out to get something to eat. Are you going to be calling me all night?” Shannon asked him.
Jared looked at his clock again and noticed that while it was three in the afternoon there in L.A., it was six in the evening in Chattanooga. “No. Just remind Skyla to call me, okay?”
“Yeah, sure thing,” Shannon told him.
Back in Chattanooga, Shannon sighed and put his phone back in his pocket. He leaned over his and Skyla's salad bowls and reminded Skyla to call Jared.
“He won't tell me what it's about,” he told her in a low voice. “But I think it has something to do with what you've been waiting on for the past week or so.”
Skyla looked at him. “I'll call him later. We still have to eat our main course.”
Shannon gave her a tight-lipped smile. “Sure thing.”
About five minutes later, they were both eating their grilled chicken salads when Skyla's phone rang. She looked at the caller ID and made a face in Shannon's direction.
“Will you answer it? It's Jared,” she told him.
“No. Talk to him,” he told her.
Skyla sighed angrily and answered the phone. “Hello?”
“Hey, I gotta tell you something,” Jared said. “We can't get an annulment. We weren't married long enough.”
“What?” Skyla was dumbfounded. She looked across at Shannon and noticed he had taken a sudden interest in her conversation; she quickly left the table and went outside to the smoker's bar. There were a lot of people here, but she was standing far enough away from everyone that no one could hear her.
“Yeah. So, be careful with who you see, because we're still married,” Jared told her.
Skyla rubbed the bridge of her nose and sighed. All of the smoke from the cigarettes were making her allergies act up. “Can I call you back? I'm in a loud area and I can barely hear you.”
On the other end, Jared sighed angrily. “Yeah, sure. Just don't forget, alright? I'll call Shannon if you don't answer your phone and have him hand you his phone.”
Skyla waited a few seconds before replying. “So I have to call you back? And Shannon will make sure of it, even if I don't want to call you back?”
“Sorry, but yeah. I have to make sure you aren't getting remarried to anyone else anytime soon,” he told her. Skyla laughed harshly before hanging up.
She walked around the restaurant's smoker's bar; she noticed a lot of men were staring at her as she paced. She gave them a look and sat down at an empty table for a few minutes just to think. While she was thinking, a waiter came over to take her order.
“I'm with someone inside; I just came outside to take a phone call,” she told him quickly. The waiter walked off and came back with a glass of water.
“On the house,” he said quickly. He left as quickly as he appeared.
Skyla let the water stay on the table until she decided to head back into the main restaurant. As she walked toward her and Shannon's table, she noticed that Shannon was texting someone on his phone. She had a sinking feeling she knew who as she sat down at their table.
“So who were you talking to?” Skyla asked Shannon casually as he put his phone aside.
“Jared. He wants me to remind you to call him when we leave,” Shannon admitted.
Skyla gritted her teeth. Jared wasn't going to let up. “I'll call him when I get home, that way I can have some privacy.”
Shannon looked at her over his water glass. He didn't think Skyla was really going to call Jared, and felt he should say something to his brother about it.
When they left thirty minutes later, Skyla had her phone in her hand and was anxiously twirling it. She waited for Shannon to remind her again to call Jared. She got a surprising answer from him instead.
“I've known. I've known you couldn't get the annulment since before Jared called. He wanted me to be out here with you so I could be with you when he told you, and I could bring you back with me to L.A.,” Shannon admitted to her.
Skyla's mouth had dropped open from shock. “God, you guys are horrible!” She ran outside and called a taxi. Shannon grabbed her arm and she dropped her phone.
“I'm sorry. You can't call a taxi,” Shannon told her.
“Why the hell not?” Skyla was scared and outraged. “I live here, in this city. Why can't I call myself a taxi?”
“I'm supposed to bring you back with me to L.A., tonight,” he told her. He grabbed her by the arm and led her out, somehow making it seem as if they were just arm-in-arm.
“I'm not going!” Skyla told him stubbornly. She dug the heels of her sneakers in the grass, to no avail — she stumbled to the ground and bumped her lip. “Ow!” she said loudly.
“You'll be okay. Now, let's go.” Shannon grabbed her wrist and led her to the taxi he had already called. He let her get in first, and after he got in he shut the door.
“So you never really liked me? I was just a pawn and-?” Skyla asked him grumpily.
“You were never a pawn, and I really and truly liked you, but I don't really like you now because of Jared's relationship with you,” Shannon said, interrupting her.
Skyla felt her stomach drop. Shannon was the only person she ever truly loved. Now he didn't even love her back because of something she did out of pure haste? She looked out the window so he couldn't see her crying. As the mountainous landscape passed by in a blur, Skyla wiped her eyes and leaned her head against the window. Her mind began racing with thoughts.
“We're here,” Shannon said. His voice brought her back to reality. Skyla leaned up and looked over at him.
“So we're back at my house?” she asked him apprehensively.
“For now,” he told her. “Just to get my bags and let you get yours.”
Skyla sighed and went upstairs to her bedroom. She grabbed her duffel bag and threw some shorts, jeans, and a pair of Converse sneakers and a few pairs of flip-flops in it along with a bunch of t-shirts, a sweatshirt or two, and plenty of underwear. She grabbed her laptop and her iPod and stuffed them in between her clothes, hoping nothing would happen to them; she then went to her bathroom and grabbed her toiletries and put them in a baggy and zipped up the duffel bag. She then grabbed the bag and her purse and headed downstairs.
“Look's like you're bringing less stuff than you did last time,” Shannon told her. He had his bags by his side.
“Yeah. I hope I'm only gone a few weeks,” Skyla said angrily.
Shannon ignored her. He led her outside to the waiting taxi. “Text your mom and tell her that Jared needs your help writing a song and you won't be back for awhile,” he told her harshly.
“I will on the drive to the airport. Wasn't I supposed to call Jared when I got home?” she asked Shannon.
“I texted him and told him we were leaving,” Shannon hissed in her ear. “So let's go.”
Once again, Shannon allowed her to get into the taxi first. Before he got in, he put their bags in the back of the taxi and slid in beside her and shut the door. “Chattanooga Airport, please,” Shannon told the driver.
Skyla looked down at her phone and resolved to tell her mom the lie Shannon had said: “Jared needs my help on writing a song, so I'm going with him back to L.A.” She pressed 'SEND' and leaned her head against the window and cried softly. When they arrived at the airport, they got out of the taxi and grabbed their bags. Shannon led her toward the gate where she'd have to board a plane to fly to Los Angeles.
“We're supposed to be on the midnight flight to Los Angeles,” Shannon said.
“Okay. It's boarding now, so hurry to-” the woman was saying. Shannon had already grabbed Skyla and their bags and began hurrying toward the terminal where their plane was waiting.
“Ow! Can you stop pulling on my arm?” Skyla asked him.
Shannon let go of her wrist; Skyla noticed a bruise beginning to form around it.
“I can't believe you!” she hissed.
“We have to catch that nine pm flight to L.A. Jared is waiting to see you,” Shannon said softly.
Skyla sighed. "You mean midnight, right?" She felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. She looked at the message; it was from her mom: “Be careful and have fun, sweetie!” her mom had messaged. Skyla did her best to not cry.
A few hours later they landed in Los Angeles and Shannon helped her off the plane. She went and claimed her duffel bag; Shannon claimed his bags and they walked through the main area of the airport.
“He should be here somewhere...” Shannon said, mostly to himself. “Oh, there he is.” He was pointing towards a bench outside the airport, where Jared was sitting. Shannon sent him a text message and suddenly Jared stood up and walked inside.
“Come on, let's go,” Jared said. Both Jared and Shannon had her by the arms, escorting her towards a taxi waiting outside.
“What? At least tell me where I'm going!” she exclaimed.
“We'll tell you later,” Jared told her.
When they reached the taxi, Jared slid in behind the driver while Shannon put his and Skyla's bags in the back. He then let Skyla sit in the middle and then he sat on the passenger's side.
“When you get to our house, just take your bags to the guest room,” Jared told her.
Skyla sneaked a peek at his left ring finger and noticed he was still wearing his ring. She turned and looked out the window.
“Here we are. I'll carry your bags to the guest bedroom,” Jared said. He grabbed Skyla's bag and carried it through the front door of his and Shannon's house while Shannon paid the taxi driver.
“Nice place,” Skyla thought aloud as she followed him.
“Thanks. Here's the guest bedroom, just make yourself comfortable, put your rings on and I'll see you in the morning,” he told her.
“Damn,” Skyla said softly. “He noticed!”
She looked around the room and noticed it was a white color with a baby blue border along the middle and a black color on the bottom. The bed had white and black sheets on it with baby blue pillowcases. The floor was a dark mahogany hardwood, and there were three chairs, all made of a soft black velvet. The bedside tables and dresser were made of the same type of wood as the floor.
“Wow,” she mouthed. She set her bags down and sat down in one of the chairs.
“Like them? I got them for you,” Jared said from behind her. She jumped up.
“I'm sorry, I just...” she stuttered.
Jared sat down in one of the comfy chairs. “Sit back down. I had these put in here because I loved them. But I took one because they all can't be in here.” He gave her a wink.
Skyla gave him a tight-lipped smile and sat down across from him. She had put her wedding rings back on, and Jared had reached across to try and hold her hand. “Those rings look nice on your finger,” he told her.
“Yeah, but nothing has changed between the day you put them on my finger and now,” she said sarcastically.
“I think you need to get some rest,” Jared told her. “I'll see you in the morning, right?”
Skyla just shrugged. “Okay, whatever.”
As she watched Jared walk away, she wondered what they would have in store for her.