Chapter Eight-"Another Turning Point"

Another turning point;
a fork stuck in the road.

Time grabs you by the wrist;
directs you where to go.

Jax's gazed turned from the still sleeping Brenda, to the clouds and heavens outside the window. For two months, this is where he had imagined her to be: in some ethereal palace, as an angel, who haunted his dreams. And now, as he, too, floated over the clouds, here she was, in his arms, asleep; in his arms, where she belonged.

So make the best of this test
and don't ask why.

It's not a question
but a lesson learned in time.

They had been in the air for nearly an hour, and Jax had spent the entire time marveling at the wonder in his embrace. He had to touch her, to make sure she was real; her words echoed in his mind. "If this is a dream, I don't ever want to wake up."

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

He couldn't help but remember all of the times he had held Brenda in his arms; as much as he had missed her, the enormity of her absence hadn't hit him until she had returned. But now, watching her, asleep on his chest, he finally realized how much he had missed her.

So take the photographs
and still frames in your mind.

Images from the previous night played over and over in Jax's mind; not a word had been exchanged between them. Brenda had just known, she had always known, but now.... Did she even know who he was? Why he had kissed her? Why she had kissed back?

Hang it on a shelf
of good health and good time.

He had seen the love in her eyes, and Brenda's eyes, her heart, never lied. Did she remember their love? Did she even feel what was so evident in her eyes?

Tattoos of memories
and dead skin on trial.

Jax was brought out of his reverie, when Brenda shifted in his arms; she let out a small sigh, stretched, and her eyes fluttered open. The scene was so familiar to Jax, that for a moment, he forgot that Brenda might not understand. But she did.

For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while.

Sitting up, Brenda ran her fingers through her hair, before looking deep into his eyes, and smiling. Seeing the tears well-up in Jax's blue-gray eyes, she instinctively raised her hand to brush them away. "Don't cry," her brown eyes pleaded with him. "Don't cry, Jax. I'm here. It's okay."

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

The words tumbled out of her mouth, and Jax pulled her into his strong arms, sobbing into her neck. Brenda ran her fingers through his golden hair, and held him as close as she could. After a few moments, he sat up and with the tears still flowing from his eyes, Jax finally addressed her. "It is okay. You are here, Brenda. You are. Tell me you are. Tell me I'm not dreaming you up again."

Brenda blushed at his unintentional compliment, and at the way he looked at her, like she was the only person in the world, like she was some rare jewel, or a shooting star. "You dreamed of me?" He smiled at her, and for a moment, Brenda couldn't breathe. "Are you kidding me? Not a moment went by that I didn't think of you, that I didn't miss you, that I didn't love you."

Jax heart nearly burst at the look of surprise and utter happiness on Brenda's face at his revelation. "You love me, Jax? Tell me that you do. I want to know." His heart raced, and Jax took Brenda's face in his hands; how he had longed to say these words. "I love you, Brenda." Her face lit up like a Christmas tree, and her joy escaped in a fit of laughter. "Tell me again." "I love you. I love you. I love you."

With each repetition, Jax's smile grew, until it was more than Brenda could bear. The tears spilled down her cheeks, and pulling away from Jax, she turned away. "*Don't* Jax. Don't say that. It's not fair." Jax didn't believe what he was hearing; he didn't believe what she was asking him to do. "What's not fair? Is it fair that for the last 2 months I haven't been able to see you or hear you or tell you how much I love you, except in my dreams? Is *that* fair, Brenda?" "Don't call me that!" Sobs shook her body. "Don't call me her name! Don't tell me you love her, or that you love me! Because I can't!"

Jax reached for her, and she recoiled. Tears ran down his face, too, and he didn't know how to help her. "You can't what?" Brenda took a deep breath, as the tears ran down her face. "I can't tell you that I love you, Jax...because I don't."

"You don't know why Jax would set up this decoy, Jerry?" Jerry spoke to the air traffic controller for a moment, before answering Gail's question. "No. I just wish that I knew what, besides the location was a decoy." "What do you mean?" "Well, Gail, he mentioned Brenda. He said he thought he saw her, on the beach, and-" "He hallucinated?" "That's what he said, but that's not like Jax. I mean, sure, he's a bit unstable now, but I just don't understand why he would use Brenda." Gail took a notepad from her purse, and began scribbling a few notes. "What do you mean *use* Brenda?" "If this is a decoy, why mention Brenda?" Gail sighed. "Unless he really did see her. Has Jax ever hallucinated before?" Jerry shook his head "Any other irregular behavior: bouts with depression, suicide attempts?" Jerry took a deep breath. "When Jax thought Miranda had died, we were rock climbing, in the Grand Tetons, and he slipped, and was just hanging there for a moment or two. I pulled him up, and he started sobbing and cursing at me. He wanted to be with her. He wanted to let go."


Brenda emerged from the bathroom, and sat in one of the armchairs along the side of the plane; she couldn't bear to sit next to Jax. Not after what she said, what she did: not after breaking his heart. She turned towards him, and saw that he was lost in another world. His face was mingled with pain and with joy, and she knew it was a world where he loved her, and where she loved him.

"Jax?" He turned to her, and saw how genuinely frightened and worried Brenda was. She knew how much she had hurt him. "Jax, I'm sorry." Brenda hesitated, "I'm sorry for saying what I did. For saying that I didn't, that I don' you. 'Cuz maybe I do, you know? I probably do, but I just don't know. But if you think that I do, if you tell me that I do, then I do." She smiled hopefully at him, but was disappointed at Jax's somber expression. "Don't apologize to me, Brenda. You never have to feel sorry around me, especially for what you don't remember. I don't blame you, and you can't blame yourself. It's not your fault. But I never want you to do something, or feel something because I tell you to. That's not how it works between us."

Brenda's smile broadened at his use of the word "us." "How does it work," Jax opened his arms to her. "Come here, and I'll tell you." Brenda shook her head defiantly. "No, I like it here. I like to look at the clouds when I'm flying. They're even prettier than I remember." Jax's eyes sparkled at her memory. "You remember flying, Brenda? When? When were you on an airplane?" She laughed nervously. "How do you think I got to California, Jax? I'm sorry I don't remember flying with anyplace with you, but I only remember when we came to California." Questions raced through his head, but Jax let her continue. "The plane wasn't as nice, but we were by ourselves, like this. It took a long time, but we were over water the whole time. Not like this, where I can see mountains and stuff. But I did get to watch a movie!"

Jax smiled at Brenda's ability to remember what were probably the most inconsequential and irrelevant details. "What movie?" Brenda wrinkled her nose, and made her way back to the sofa. "The Godfather. Three of them! They were okay, but not what I wanted. He didn't let me pick." He put his arm around her, and she smiled up at him. "Who didn't let you pick?" "The man, Michael."

Fear shot through Jax. "Michael?" A man named "Michael" and The Godfather. It couldn't be, but it only made sense.... Brenda felt Jax shiver, and put her arm around him. "Yeah, his name was Michael. He was okay, I guess. Not like you, though, and not much fun to travel with. I'd pick you over him any day." Jax smiled, and she knew that her words had touched him more deeply than he would let on. "Well after a compliment like that, I'm gonna have to let you pick the movie."

Jax got up, and watched Brenda do her little dance as he led her to the video cabinet. "Any one you like, Brenda. Except The Godfather. I never liked that movie either." Quite unexpectedly, Brenda turned to him, planting a tiny kiss on his cheek. "Thank you, Jax." He put his arm around her, as she perused video after video, before finally removing the pink box from the shelf. She saw the look of shock on Jax's face, and smiled, proud of herself for remembering. "I like this one, don't I? I don't know how I know, but I do, just like I know that I love you, and I know that I do. 'I am as sure as the sun.'"


(Song Credits: "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by, Green Day)