At Summer's End
For Every Season #1
Jaden knew Lola hadn't wanted him to see the paper, but he found it and he read it. Every detail of the evil man's demonical plan. He knew everyone thought that Zoe was dead, but he would never believe it. Zoe would always be alive to him, and someday he would find her and bring her home.
The airplane shuddered beneath Jaden's capable hands, but he didn't worry. Simple turbulence didn't disturb him. Years of experience caused no fear to even enter his mind. He had been flying for the last nine years. On his fourteenth birthday he had received flying lessons. After that he was hooked.
"Jaden, when are we going to land?" his fifteen-year-old niece, Selena, called from her seat behind him.
"Yeah, we're gonna miss the party," her twin, Brody, chimed in.
Jaden smiled, but didn't glance back. "We're not gonna miss the party. Samantha wouldn't start it without you. Besides you'll be spending the entire summer with Arika and Lucas. What's the rush?"
"Jaden, you were a teen once," Selena drawled as if that would explain everything.
The smile that had appeared just moments before faded. He wasn't sure he had ever been a teen, or a child for that matter. From his highly traumatic toddler years to the painful years after his young niece's kidnapping, his childhood hadn't been very childlike.
"Jaden, you didn't answer Selena's question," Brody reminded gleefully.
"We'll be landing in about fifteen minutes," Jaden replied soberly. He sighed and glanced at the weathered pictures taped to the armrest of the seat. The little girl that smiled back was one he'd never forget. Although in reality he and Zoe were uncle and niece, they were more like brother and sister. At twenty-three he was only six years Zoe's senior. They had even been raised as brother and sister, until that fateful night. Instantly he pulled himself from the brink of remembering. Someday he would allow the memories to enter freely, but not now. Lola had ordered him to forget his researching for this trip. Not that he would give it up completely. Ever since Zoe's kidnapping he had stored away every bit of information he could find about the child he had adored. He didn't care if everyone gave up hope. Everyone said that after fourteen years that the case would never be solved; that the little girl must've been killed by her kidnappers. But he would never give up hope. Deep inside him he knew that Zoe was alive, and no matter what anyone said to discourage him, he would still search.
A lilting voice came across the radio and he began to process the information needed to land. Two hours later he had left Selena and Brody in the capable hands of Lucas and Arika, a couple that he had known forever, and he had returned to his hotel. His suitcase leaned against the wall and the green backpack he took everywhere with him sat on the bed. The zipper stuck in one spot, but otherwise it was simple for him to open the bag. Inside were a shoe box, a scrapbook, a thick notebook, and an odd assortment of pens and pencils. Reverently he pulled out the scrapbook and opened it to the first page. The first set of pages was dedicated to Zoe's first four years. The rest documented the kidnapping, the investigation, and all the information he could find on the case.
Missing flyers, newspaper articles, and photos occupied most of the space in the book. Silently he read them, until tears began to slip down his cheeks.
Zoe would always be alive to him, and someday he would find her and bring her home.
So, hopefully you enjoyed my little prologue. When I realized that Hawke's Mystery was the only 'in-progress' I had, I decided to go ahead and start this story. For those of you who read the Secrets Intertwined series, many of these characters will be familiar. You'll all remember Jaden as the sweet little boy that Lola searched for and the serious child he grew into. For those who didn't read that series, a brief summary to bring you up-to-date:
Danger on the Horizon ended with Lucas and Arika planning to marry, Zoe's kidnapping still unresolved, and Lola & Bruce thinking that Zoe must have been killed.
Now that is definitely the briefest of summaries, and can in no way make up for Author Unknown, Illusions, and Danger On The Horizon all together. You definitely don't have to read the Secrets Intertwined series, but it might make it a lot more meaningful if you did. Please Review!