Chapter 15

Jax pulled the blue Saab convertible past large iron gates, through slightly dense jungle foliage, before turning a corner into the circular driveway of the enormous beach house. It was quite modern in design, but true to its atmosphere with lots of windows overlooking the beach, lush gardens, and a Spanish tiled roof. Jax tossed the keys to Gerardo, who kept the house up serving as both butler and driver, but missed, too intent on watching Brenda taking in the surroundings. Through her sunglasses, Jax saw her deep brown eyes widen, as she turned in a complete circle to take in the entire view, not that Jax minded. He was getting quite a view himself.

She heard Jax speak to Gerardo alternately in both Spanish and English, as she made her way into the house. The entryway faded into a large sunken living room with a spectacular view of the Bay of Banderas. Stepping out onto the patio, Brenda slipped out of her sandals, dangled her feet into the infinity swimming pool, and sighed. Leaning back on her elbows, she closed her eyes, relishing the gentle sounds of the ocean, the birds, and soft music drifting out of outdoor speakers. So content and relaxed was she, that she didn't hear the patio door slide open as Jax joined her by the pool. "Paradise suits you."

Brenda smiled, and as her eyes fluttered open, she turned to face Jax. "I've been around the world, and not just in the last few weeks, but I've never been anywhere where I've felt more…" She searched for the words to finish her thought.

"At home?" Jax volunteered.

She could see through his sunglasses the hope in his eyes, and could hear in his voice exactly what he was asking. Brenda sat-up, tucking one leg under the other, and turned to him, running her hands through her hair. "…myself." She met his gaze for a moment, but turned away, fearing that she had already said too much, put too many ideas into his head. "It's just so beautiful here. So relaxing, so…" she stopped for a moment, finally noticing that they were alone at the house, "quiet. Where is everybody?"

"At Bernardo's. It's a little restaurant just down the beach; a Jacks family tourist attraction. We can join them if you like. It's just a short walk, 5, 10 minutes at most." Brenda yawned in spite of herself. "Or maybe not. Why don't you head upstairs, change, and take a little nap on one of the chairs out here, in the shade, of course."

"That actually doesn't sound bad, although I think you just want to get me in my bathing suit."

As Jax lead the way upstairs, with that mischievous smile, that Brenda had grown to both love and fear, on his face, she could have sworn she heard him whisper, "I'd rather get you out of it."

A half hour later, Brenda had finally changed into a red tankini, and had settled onto a lounge chair at the far end of the patio, in the shade of the large trees surrounding the deep end of the pool. As Jax stood silently on the other end of the patio, watching Brenda put on her walkman, and adjust to the warmth of the sun on her skin, he heard a tumult of noise coming from within the house. He heard Jerry shout "Go!" and before he could utter a word of protest, Jerry, Scott, and Lucas came charging out of the house, cannonballing into the deep end of the pool. Perfectly synchronized, the three created a splash that soaked Brenda, rousing her from her newly found slumber. "What the-"


As Brenda found her soaking wet self suddenly surrounded by Lois, Ned, Alexis, Scotty, Serena, Bobbie, Jerry, and Lucas, Jax was delighted to see, as she pushed her sunglasses up onto the top of her head, her tired brown eyes frantically searching him out, desperate for escape. He joined the group, patting Jerry on the back, kissing Bobbie on the cheek, and swinging Lucas around in the air; the rest of the group was much less happy to see him, but Brenda smiled anyway, and then yawned, never breaking eye contact with Jax. The look didn't go unnoticed, by Jax, or by anyone else: Alexis nudged Lois, who elbowed Ned, who rolled his eyes at Scotty, who laughed to Bobbie, who nodded to Jerry, who finally cleared his throat, interrupting the awkward moment. "So when did you two finally get here?" Turning his attention to Brenda, he continued, "Sorry about the splash. We didn't see you there."

As much as she wanted to dislike Jerry as much as she wanted to dislike Jax, as much as she had initially, she smiled to both of the Jacks brothers, and took Jerry by the arm, leading him away from the group, and around the pool. "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry… it's no problem. You might even say," Brenda said, with a dramatic and flirtatious bat of her eyelashes, "it's water under the bridge." And with that, she used every last bit of her strength to shove the elder Jacks brother straight into the pool.

"Oh…oops!" Brenda turned around triumphantly, and headed back toward her chair. "Did I get you all wet? I'm so sorry about that." She yawned dramatically for effect, and turned her attention back to the others. "Oh, I missed you guys so much, but I am so tired. If you'll excuse me-"

"Hey, no prob, girlfriend. We were just headed down to the beach. We'll catch ya later, 'kay?" Ned kissed her on the cheek, and Alexis pulled her slightly aside before they departed.

"Fill us in later, okay. I have a hunch that you've got quite a lot of gossip to fill us in on. Tonight, okay? While we're out on the town." Brenda nodded an watched the group depart toward the surf and sand, shielding her eyes from the bright Mexican sun.

"As I was saying, if you'll excuse me, I'm going…well, actually, I don't know where I'm going. I mean, I hardly know where I am."

Jax took her by the arm. "You are going right back over there, to your chaise, and taking a nap. I'll be back in a little while. We have quite a trip to get underway: the fashion show, Miguel's concert…the dates-"

"Our night on the town tonight, with everybody. Actually, I've been thinking about those…"

"Dates," Jax supplied.

"Yes. And I'm not really sure we're going to have time. I mean, today is nearly over, tonight is occupied. And then there's the show and the concert…"

"But those aren't for a few days. So we have all day tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that….Wow, there really isn't a lot of time. But I did have an idea. We'll split the day up: one of us will take the day, the other will take-"

"The night." She smirked at Jax. Brenda had to admit: he was clever, but not quite as clever as I am. He wanted me to chicken out, agree to plan the day date, and then he'll wine and dine me all night: ply me with margaritas, with tequila, with his kisses…No, no, no! Two could play at this game, that is, unless he wanted her to take the night date. Or perhaps he wanted her to think that he wanted her to take the night date, or to think that he wanted her to take the day date. Or maybe….

Jax had to laugh as she sat down on the lounge chair, chewing her lip and fidgeting, thoroughly confused by his suggestion. Everything is going according to plan.

"Okay. What time should I wake up-"

"You can start your date whenever you want, so long as there's time for mine."

"…Oh, don’t worry. You'll have plenty of time. You're going first."


As soon as Jax had headed into the house, Brenda had followed suit. Setting up shop in the large kitchen, she plugged in her laptop and began her research. She'd show Jax. She'd plan the best date ever. Brenda was so consumed with planning the date that she was online for nearly ten minutes before she realized she hadn't checked her e-mail. What has gotten into me, she wondered. To her disappointment, there was no mail from FlyGuy, so Brenda took a break from her research to write to him.

Subj: First the snow, and now…

Date: 99-03-07



"You know what I really love about the ocean? It looks so smooth and calm on the surface but we know that there's this whole other world going on underneath. I guess it's probably not that different from our world, filled with turmoil and change and lots of little fish getting eaten by bigger fish."

I don't really know what I'm thinking. I just know I'm thinking about you, and my life…and all the pieces its in right now. I'm trying to figure out where everything, and everyone, fit. Everything's changed, and I can't explain it, and I don't know why. I'm not even sure if I want it to change back. All I know is that things can't stay the way they are. It needs to shift again: either forward or backwards.

This isn't really about you. I guess I just feel that if I toss my thoughts out of my head, sending them flying out into the void to you, maybe when, if, they come back, they'll make a little more sense. I know that all of this is up to me, and maybe that's good. I've never really had control over my life, over my destiny, before, and I guess I'm just afraid that I might blow it. I don't want to make the wrong decision and lose the one thing that I've always wanted and never had before.

So for now, I guess I'll just keep treading water, until I find somewhere to swim towards, or until my muscles give out…whichever comes first. No, that's not true. I will find some place to swim to, I just have no clue where it will be. If I get lost, promise to send our cottage-boat out for me, okay?


Jax finally re-emerged, and though he pretended not to notice, he saw Brenda scamper from the kitchen out onto the patio. She barely had the chance to dive onto the lawn chair before he made his way out of the house. She pretended to be engrossed in a book about Mexican tourism, but the smart-alleck comment he was about to make got stuck in his throat as she turned toward him. Though she'd barely been out in the sun, Brenda's skin had already taken on a slight shade of bronze. But it wasn't until she faced him, with her hair piled on top of her head, and her large black sunglasses consuming her delicate face, did Jax finally see the image that had been haunting him, in the flesh.

Brenda was noticing quite a bit of flesh herself, as Jax, approached her in his short swimtrunks. He broke off a tropical flower and walked over to her, seating himself on the end of her chair. "I feel as though I've walked into an Audrey Hepburn movie."

Brenda trembled slightly as he ran the soft petals of the flower along her jawline and across her lips. Her breath moved the bright red petals as she spoke. "And who would that make you: Gregory Peck? Humphrey Bogart? William Holden? George Peppard? Rex Harrison?"

"That depends on you, and who you are: Princess Anne? Sabrina Fair? Holly Golightly? Eliza Doolittle? So…who are you?" Jax's eyes darkened, and he seemed to focus right in on Brenda's eyes, even past them she noticed, searching, looking, and finally discovering something: the sadness and the fear that always creeped into her eyes and then seeped its way into the rest of her body, just as Jax was sure that the Corinthos fellow had wormed his way into her heart those years ago.

She cleared her throat, looking down, before daring to meet Jax's gaze. "That's a complicated question. What about you?"

"I'll be whomever you'd like me to be."

Brenda shook her head, taking Jax's face in her hands. "No. Please don't do that. Don't ever change. Not for me or anyone else."

"But Brenda, we all change. Whether we like it or not, change is a fact of life."

"I like you just the way you are; just Jax," she smiled, patting him on the cheek.

Jax smiled into her hand, kissing it, and his lips from her hand, closer to her own lips. "Just Jax?"

With Jax's lips just barely brushing hers, Brenda managed to whisper, "Just Jax," before…


Jax and Brenda darted apart, the moment gone, and turned to find Jerry surfacing from the pool with a far to smug and superior grin on his face. "Well if it isn't my little brother, Rico Suave."


With Serena and Lucas in the care of Gerardo, the "grown-ups" headed into downtown Puerto Vallarta for a little fun and nightlife. After shopping, watching the sunset into the Bay of Banderas, and enjoying an authentic Mexican dinner, the group snagged a slightly incognito table, per Lois, Bobbie and Scotty's request, at the very tourist-y Senor Frogs. With the heavy bass of dance pop booming around them, everyone toasted the trip with enormous "yards" of their favorite mixed drinks. Surrounded by college spring breakers and waiters, Jax noticed, who were far too friendly to Brenda, both Jax and Brenda found themselves the center of unwanted attention, which only served to infuriate the other. While everyone else was having a good time, Jax and Brenda, were only made miserable by the attention befalling the other. Every drunken teenage boy in the place, Jax noted, had come over to their table, usually on a dare, at least once, begging Brenda for a dance, a hug, or a kiss. And much to Brenda's chagrin and Jerry, Scotty, and Ned's delight, more than one college co-ed had flashed their table, in an attempt to get Jax's attention. And after their near kiss only hours earlier, both of them were eager to put everything, including each other, aside for the evening; when a waiter with a spout of Tequila passed the table, both Jax and Brenda simultaneously flagged him down. Before they knew what they were doing, Brenda and Jax found themselves trying to drink the other under the table.


She's into superstitions

Black cats and voodoo dolls

I feel a premonition

That girl's gonna make me fall

Forty-five minutes later, Lois sat at the table with her mouth hanging open in shock; Alexis was shaking her head, and everyone else was looking on in astonishment. "Whaddya know…dancin' on the table. I never thought I'd live to see the day."

She's into new sensations

New kicks and candlelight

She's got a new addiction

For every day and night

Completely oblivious to the table's reactions, due to a heavy intake of tequila, Jax continued dancing to the radio edit remix of Miguel's song, and though his hip swiveling wasn't quite up to par, Brenda couldn't resist joining him.

She'll make you take your clothes off and go dancing in the rain

She'll make you live her crazy life

But she'll take away your pain

Like a bullet to your brain

"Well," remarked Scotty, "they're certainly not feeling any pain."

Jerry flagged down a waiter and paid the bill. "Let's get the showgirls home."

Upside Inside Out

She's livin' la vida loca

Jerry tossed Brenda over his shoulder, while Ned and Scotty helped Jax out of the bar, much to the dismay of the rest of the patrons.

She'll push and pull you down

Livin' la vida loca

Her lips are devil red

And her skin's the color of mocha

Jerry, Ned, and Scotty dumped Jax in Brenda in the room they were to share, and shut the door, but not before holding Brenda's head over the toilet. After they left, she returned to the bathroom, and upon crawling back into the room, curling up on top of a passed out Jax.

She will wear you out

Livin' la vida loca

She's livin' la vida loca….

(Song Credit: Livin' La Vida Loca, by Ricky Martin. Written by R. Rosa and D. Child.--note: the version mentioned in the chapter is from the CD Single of the song featuring the remixes, specifically, the Pablo Flores English Radio Edit)