Chapter 12 (The Anniversary Chapter,) Part 1-"...Waking Up With the Answers to a Puzzle..."

Night had descended on Kronos, and with it came a gentle, steady, rain that danced on the rooftops and windows of the villa. Jax had left the master suite balcony shortly after sundown, retreating to the two story library/study that was by far, his favorite room in the villa. Three of the four walls were floor-to-ceiling bookcases which held a collection of books that rivaled most university libraries; the fourth wall, of windows, gave a magnificent panoramic view of the Adriatic, the black sand beach, and the small harbor.

Jax, however, had spent the past few hours tucked away in the sage green armchair, in a corner of the second level atrium. Only when he heard the clock chime twelve did he take notice of the rain. He sat back in the chair and ran his fingers through his blond curls, recalling what he had found upon entering the library.

He had gone to the second floor chair, nestled in between the window, and the section of the library with all of the first edition books, only to find a scene that still made him shiver. The chenille blanket thrown on the ottoman, the empty hot chocolate mug with a lavender lipstick ring, and the open copy of The Secret of the Hidden Staircase-Brenda.

Then, and only then, did Jax let himself give in to all of the emotions that had been weighing him down. He loved Brenda, there was no denying it, but how much would they be forced to weather? He needed her: his friend, his confidant, his lover, his soulmate-*his* Brenda. She was back, she was alive, and his heart was full, but was it enough? As full as his heart was, it was also empty, and longing, for what could have been, what should have been: their wedding, two years ago, and their wedding, tomorrow.

I will remember you

Will you remember me?

Don't let your life pass you by

Weep not for the memories

Brenda had left the stereo on, and the music drifted up to him, interrupting his thoughts. He couldn't help but weep for the memories, which had been such a comfort to him before, and which were now an insurmountable wall, separating he and Brenda.

Remember the good times that we had?

I let them slip away from us when things got bad

How clearly I first saw you smilin' in the sun

Wanna feel your warmth upon me, I wanna be the one

Memories flooded his mind, and Jax's heart ached for the Brenda that was lost and trying so hard to break through. Brenda had been lost for so long: lost inside of herself. It seemed so unfair that when she had finally spread her wings, when she had finally taken flight, when she had....

The images flashed through Jax's head over and over again, until he finally gave into the urge to be as close to Brenda as he could. And so he picked up the Nancy Drew book, and began reading, as the song repeated, hour after hour, around him.

I will remember you

Will you remember me?

Don't let your life pass you by

Weep not for the memories

It wasn't until midnight descended on him, until one day gave way to the next, that Jax not only gave into the memories, but into his dreams, as well. Unbeknownst to him, however, Brenda was also awake, and just below him, on the library sofa.

I'm so tired, but I can't sleep

Standin' on the edge of something much too deep

It's funny how we feel so much, but cannot say a word

We are screaming inside, but we can't be heard

In her dreams, memories had been just out of her reach, and it wasn't until the clock struck 12 that she lost the battle to remember with her subconscious, and awakened.

I will remember you

Will you remember me?

Don't let your life pass you by

Weep not for the memories

The rain beckoned that secret and mysterious person within her, and Brenda opened the French doors, and walked out into the rain. The cool water restored her senses, and the misty smell of rain lit a spark within her....

So afraid to love you, more afraid to lose

Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose

Once there was a darkness, a deep and endless night

You gave me everything-you had it all, you gave me light

She heard the thunder before she felt the rain-before she felt it on her face, and in her hair. Droplets hung from her eyelashes, and Jax's strong hand brushed them away. Soft music lingered in her ears, and Brenda saw the candlelight reflected in Jax's eyes. The night was alive with the sounds and smells of nature: the rain only made the scent of flowers cling more desperately in the air. Flowers....

I will remember you

Will you remember me?

Don't let your life pass you by

Weep not for the memories

The tiny bouquet shook in her hand as Brenda knocked feverishly on the strong, white door. It opened, and there he was. She saw their lips moving, but couldn't make out the words. Only the phrase "I love you, Jax" filtered from the memory into Brenda's ears, where her own admission rang clear and true. It hung in the air, for a moment, before she felt the rain on her face again. Another dress, another bouquet, another pair of French doors, another warm rain.... But as "I love you, Jax" echoed in her ears, she was alone.

I will remember you

Will you remember me?

Don't let your life pass you by

Weep not for the memories

Tears and raindrops streamed down Brenda's face as she was overcome by the memories: her wedding, her admission of love, her Jax-gone, and she was alone, in the rain. She was always alone in the rain, betrayed and broken-hearted, and without Jax. Even on their wedding day, even after telling him that she loved him, she was alone: without Jax, standing in the rain, just like always....

No. No it couldn't be. He wouldn't leave her. He couldn't. He didn't. He always picked her up out of the rain.