He turned at the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs and was relieved to see that it was Jared. He looked like he had just woken up, wrapped up in his oversized gray sweater and his hair hanging in his face. He looked as weak as he had been the day before, lost it seemed to whatever he had seen when he had found the locket.
"You're up." Shannon said with a smile, a tired one at that.
Jared nodded. "Audrey wanted something to drink." He opened the refrigerator and checked around inside.
"Audrey?" Shannon's brows knitted together as he leaned on the counter and watched as Jared poured some iced tea into a glass.
A smile cracked onto Jared's pallid face. "Yeah...She's upstairs."
"She spend the night?" Something about Jared's smile told him that she had. It crept up inside of him knowing that Audrey had been in the house after what Emma had said. He thought of that bruise on her neck. Could Audrey really have done that?
"Guess you could say that." There was a glint in his eyes that was so familiar. Almost identical to the one that had grown in his eyes over the Summer.
"Jared look...something happened with Emma."
"What is it?" Jared gave him his full attention, somehow seeming more alert than he had in a long time. Something had changed him, that much was obvious.
Shannon contemplated telling him what Emma had said, what had happened the night before, the scream that rang through the house. But how could he? How could he ruin this one moment when Jared actually looked alright?
He shook his head. "Nevermind. It's nothing."
"You sure?" Jared put the tea back into the refrigerator and took up the glass in his hands.
"Of course." Shannon gave a half smile of assurance.
"Alright. See you later...."
Jared nodded and walked on past Shannon towards the stairs. Shannon listened for the door to click from upstairs before returning to the living room.
He knew that Emma would be upset if she heard that he hadn't mentioned it. She would be angry that Audrey had spent the night in the house. He understood her reasons. Audrey as identical but hat could they really do? Treat Jared like a child and force people out of his life? He obviously wanted her here so who was anyone to say otherwise?
His thoughts were again interrupted by his phone ringing inside his jacket. He reached inside and looked at the screen. An unknown number. He knew what that meant. Hesitantly he answered, lifting it to his ear.
"Yeah?" His voice was slightly trembling. He hated being faced with what he had done.
"Do you have what we talked about?" The voice on the other end was raspy, muffled a little like it had somewhat been changed.
"It's been destroyed."
"Has it? That's funny I've heard otherwise."
"From who?" Shannon demanded, his voice heavy with disbelief. Who else could have known?
"We have our ways....do you have it?"
"I don't have anything and I don't know what it is you want."
"But I thought it had been destroyed?" The man laughed knowing that he had caught him in a lie.
"Who are you?"
"You better have it to me by next week or he'll know." And with that the line went dead.
Shannon pulled the phone from his ear and cursed under his breath. He didn't know what to do. His hands were tied and he was backed up against a wall.He wanted to bring the problem to Emma, figure out a solution together but she didn't seem able to deal with anything right now, not in the state she was in. He was scared that he didn't have the ability to deal with this himself. He didn't know how much longer he was meant to continue on like this.
Jared opened the bedroom door, closing it quietly behind him and went further into the room. She was laying on her stomach, the lace of her black bra standing out against the paleness of her skin. Her hair was all around her, the gold seeming to brighten in the sunlight. He smiled. It felt so foreign to him and even now in this moment it didn't seem right. He hadn't felt this sure of something in so long but then he also hadn't felt so damned terrified either. It was like there was a part of himself trapped, the part that he had so quickly lost when Audrey had first kissed him. She had somehow taken it all away. At least from the surface.
He set the water on the nightstand and leaned over her, his fingers delicately touching to the skin of her back. He pressed a kiss to her shoulder and she stirred with a smile.
"I got your drink." He whispered, placing another kiss there before sitting up.
She sighed and turned over, pulling herself up to sit against the head board. She reached for the drink and brought the cold tea to her lips. She smiled after tasting it before setting it down again.
He returned her smile before sitting on the edge of the bed and reaching for his boots.
"Where are you going?" She questioned.
"Have to take that demo of yours to the label, get it over with." The thought of going down to the label terrified him but the burn left by her kiss seemed to compel him to do it.
"Nonsense. Let it be." She said as she went up on her knees and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.
"I can't." He replied, reaching up and holding onto her clasped hands.
"You can do what you want." She said into his ear, her kisses trailing along the side of his neck.
"I just want to get it out of the way."
"Well be back quick..."
He laughed a little and nodded with agreement. "I will." He said as he pulled his other boot on.
"Did you talk to Shannon downstairs?" She asked, her hand absentmindedly stroking over his chest.
"Yeah. How'd you know?" He asked, turning to glance up at her.
She shrugged lightly. "Lucky guess."
"He seems worried about Emma."
The tone in her voice sharpened at the sound of Emma's name. Jared noticed it immediately. His brows knitted together with a bit of confusion.
"Don't like her already? Usually it's me people have a hard time with." He laughed a little, trying to brighten the atmosphere of the room.
She shook her head and placed a kiss to his cheek. "They just don't want you to remember." She whispered, his fingers caressing lightly over the skin of his neck.
He rested back against her letting his eyes slide shut as he thought of all the things Shannon and Emma were keeping from him. He thought of all their private looks and private talks. He felt a stab go through him when he did. What had he become the outsider?
"They don't want me a part of anything." He couldn't take away the hurt from his voice, it only made him sound weaker.
"I know and it all started in the Summer...remember?"
Nothing came to mind. Nothing familiar matched up with the Summer. Hell he had no memories of that time this year.
"Well you've better get going." She said, ushering him out.
He listened, throwing on one of his jackets and leaving the house. Her words stuck with him the whole drive there, the thought of them was confusing, nearly maddening.
What the hell had happened in the Summer?