AN: Due to spme sort of strange formatting error on fictionpress it will be difficult to differentiate between the different time periods. I cannot find a way to make breaks in the story. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Seeing how his eyes lit up and how a smile curled on his face it wasn't difficult to tell the bow felt good in his hands. Pulling back every pound of tension became exhausting. Still, he could not stop until he was near dead. Having blown the first college level tournament he ever competed in, the six foot six freshman from Ohio stared down the range, even the target respected him. The countless holes down the middle could attest to that. It wasn't that he had never lost before, because he had, but to more skilled opponents.
Here he had messed up his first two shots. The first shot barely caught the outer edge. The second had sailed over the target. Those points cost him dearly. His coach and teammates had said nothing. They heard what had happened. Only two weeks ago, his life had changed.
The telephone in his dorm began to ring. This was an uncommon event. Most people used his cell phone to communicate. Whoever this was obviously had just used the first contact number they could find of him. By the time the phone had let out it's third high pitch ring, he had uncovered it from the clutter on his desk. He brought the receiver to his ear and answered kind of confused. "Hello?" he said with all the delight he could muster while working on a physics lab paper. A teary woman's voice was on the other end.
"Annabel… d… car b… embassy called… sorry."
He could tell between the chokes who it was. The woman was Mrs. Drechsler, the mother of his longtime girlfriend, Annabel. Despite the lack of clarity in the words, he could make out what happened.
"Me too," he barely replied above a whisper. There was a click from the other end and he hung up. Closing his eyes he couldn't believe it. There was an awful sickly feeling in his stomach, tears in his grey eyes, a heavy breathing sound coming from his mouth. All of a sudden he vomited. Having had nothing to eat because brunch didn't start for another ten minutes, the substance ejected from his mouth was a combination of water and stomach bile.
There was a groan on the other side of the room and another male student stirred in his bed. "Dude, what the fuck?" he mumbled. "What the hell kind of a noise you making Jack?"
Jack didn't respond. His eyes remained transfixed on the ground where he had thrown up. He was perspiring more than he ever did in the weight room or for any final exam he had taken the semester before. He made a slightly high-pitched choke. He began to shake his head as he cupped both his hand on his forehead.
Jack's roommate rubbed his eyes and finally saw two things he had never seen when it came to Jack. Jack had thrown up, and he was crying. He got up and stumbled quickly over, avoiding the matter ejected from Jack's mouth. All he could hear was a low mumble coming from Jack. "Ananb… An…bel…bel…"
"Oh shit," the roommate whispered.
Not a soul bothered Jack. People offered their support. The news of the car bombing of the synagogue somewhere on the western side of Israel aired on the news that same day. Annabel was a devout Jewish woman. When the journalist major got a chance to study abroad in a country filled with people like her, and a boat-load of stories that could be covered, she jumped at the chance. Jack was concerned, but at the same time knew that this is something Annabel had wanted. He didn't want to stop her.
He worried. Everyday. She knew he worried. She emailed him. Everyday. Just to tell him she was alive and well. She had missed him, and he had missed her. They knew they would spend the summer together after, that was comforting. Or they thought they knew. Now, they would not spend another second together. Their last goodbye was at Logan Airport in Boston. He remembered that last hug, that last kiss, the last words. "I love you too."
Jack finally put the bow down. He had had enough for the day. He took the dirt path back on to the main campus towards his dorm. The sun was beginning to set behind the rolling hills of the campus. His strides were slow but long. He stopped briefly to take in a deep breath and let it out. The pain was still there.
Behind Jack another student dressed rather scantily approached. She had long brown hair that waved as flawlessly as the ocean. Her red tank top revealed too much cleavage, and her torn jean shorts covered just barely more than a swimsuit would her lower section. Her misty blue eyes stalked Jack like a vulture. She had been watching Jack, for over an hour now. He was totally hot, strong, hurt and fatigued. Therefore, he was a total turn on.
"What do I do Seth?" Jack asked his roommate in a barely audible mumble as he returned to the dorm after washing up and taking care of some oral hygiene. He was completely pale, except where tear stains still were visible. The smell of vomit was now mixed with some Lysol Seth had borrowed from less than happily awoken females in the room next to them.
"How the fuck would I know?" Seth replied more forcefully than intended. He had woken up to the sound of his roommate vomiting, was in the process of cleaning it up, and knew he had to play the role of care-taker for the day. He looked up and his brown eyes softened and he blushed. "I'm sorry I didn't mean for it to…" Seth frowned.
"No I know," Jack replied going over to the television. He immediately turned on the news. An anchor appeared on the screen in the middle of some kind of joke from the previously covered story. She laughed about something to do with squirrels. Jack groaned.
"Now for a tragic new spin on today's breaking story in Israel. Last night around two o'clock Eastern Standard Time, a car bomb went off outside a synagogue. Thirty Eight people were killed in total with fifty-seven other wounded, a dozen of them still uncertain if they will live past their injuries. Israeli officials are reporting that one of the dead is a U.S. citizen studying abroad from Northeastern University…" the screen went black.
Jack turned around to see Seth with the remote. "Watching it won't help you bro."
Jack nodded and walked over to his bed and picked up a stuffed personified heart with the word "LOVE" stitched in white letters across its back. The heart was Annabel's gift to Jack their first Valentine's Day together. To this day he had kept it. He put it down. "She can't be gone," he mumbled.
"Life sucks," Seth replied. "I don't know what else to say."
"Thanks dude," Jack mumbled.
"For what?" Seth asked glancing at Jack.
"For trying," Jack replied.
"What are you doing out so late Jack?" the girl finally asked.
Jack turned around. He hadn't looked in somebody's eyes in a long time, but really there was no other place to look at this girl. Stare into anything else you were staring directly into temptation. Flesh is tempting even to the most disciplined of people. "Umm… hey, Terry. Uh just…"
"Don't be ashamed Jack," Terry replied. "You can admit to having pain. I don't mind. It's not easy losing someone so close." She took slow short strides forward towards Jack. Too quick would be perilous. She had to seem more sympathetic, and as a theater major, she could play the part. "I just want to tell you I'm sorry for your loss."
"Thanks," Jack breathed. He crossed his arms and stared beyond Terry briefly to steal a glance at the archery range once again.
Terry slowly placed her hand on Jack's shoulder. She had to reach up, almost uncomfortably. Jack was incredibly tall. Sure there were taller, but a select few. He was definitely an unusual statistical specimen as far as height went. Luckily for her, so was she, but she was still dwarfed by him. "Sometimes it's just good to talk about it, even if it brings up emotions. It's a release."
"I hardly know you," Jack replied.
"Strangers are sometimes the easiest people to talk to," Terry answered.
Jack looked to the ground. In the way of the ground were Terry's bare legs. Tan, smooth, tempting. Jack looked back up and cleared the picture out of his mind. He wanted to throw her hand off of his shoulder. It felt repulsing, but at the same time it felt comforting and arousing. Starved so long from another person's touch, Jack couldn't help but feel a little tension being raised. He pushed the touch from his mind. "I guess we can talk over a bottle of water in my room," Jack agreed with a sigh.
Christopher saw Jack's head appear in the glass door. Immediately he looked back down at his music history notes. He didn't want to give Jack any attention. Jack most certainly had had about enough of attention. People were just suckers for tragedy. For some reason tragedies drew people together yet nobody could give a shit for somebody if everything was normal with their life. People always wanted to hear the latest on somebody's life, deaths, relationships, exploits. They were all of many people's interests in privacy. Nobody could just leave well enough alone.
Christopher heard steps going up the stairs. That was Jack. Something seemed odd though, he heard two pairs of feet. Nobody was coming down. Immediately Christopher looked back up. Jack was already out of sight. Christopher was supposed to know who was in the building at all times when he was on dorm check-in duty. He turned his attention to the sign in sheet. Jack had signed his name and there was another below it; Terry Gardner. It couldn't be true. Sure she was permitted in the dorm, but Terry had a reputation, and if she was walking in with Jack then this wouldn't be good. She was a master of manipulation. Christopher bolted up the stairs just in time to see Jack and Terry enter the elevator.
"Fuck," Christopher cursed louder than he wished.
A girl sitting in a chair facing the window on the opposite side of the room turned around. She was an attractive girl of average height with straight red hair down to her shoulders. Christopher looked at her grimly. The girl was the same girl he tutored in British Literature. She was bright, but she struggled a little in this particular class. Or at least she was struggling until he started tutoring her. She held a solid B plus now that was still climbing. "Tell me what literary device I just unintentionally used Cassandra," Christopher asked as if he were in a classroom.
"Irony," Cassandra replied.
"So you saw it too."
It didn't take long for Jack and Terry to reach Jack's room on the third floor. After pulling open the heavy doors to get in he began realzing just how much he overworked his arms. How they held up so long was beyond him. Now he couldn't help but rub them as he unlocked the door to his room. They seemed so heavy.
"You alright Jack?" Terry asked frowning.
"Yeah I'm fine," Jack replied gritting his teeth. "Just spent too much time shooting."
Terry nodded and gave a sympathetic look as she followed him into a typical college kid's dorm room. It was clear to see Jack was the neater one judging by the bed he went to that was relatively clean, but unmade. Seth's side had trash scattered all over. Terry just shrugged. She had seen much worse.
Jack lied down on his bed. "Feel free to treat yourself to a water or a Gatorade or whatever the hell you want that's in there."
"Thanks," Terry said faking a genuinely awkward smile. "You want anything?"
"I could use a friggin' heating pad for my arms," Jack replied monotonously staring up at the ceiling. "And a time machine."
"I'm sure the Ivy League schools are working on that. You are in the wrong place." She slowly lifted the chair from Jack's desk and brought it over next to his bed.
"Damn straight I am," Jack replied distantly. "I should be bringing my ass on over to the Middle East kicking the ass of all these fucking morons who have nothing better to do than blow the shit out of each other."
Terry placed her hand softly on Jack's arm. "Easy there tiger," she interjected with concerns. "Just relax. Save the energy for something you can… make headway on."
Jack's gaze never left the ceiling. He continued looking as if he could see through the ceiling. Terry's touch destroyed his concentration. He began to tremble as if he were abandoned in a dark ally. The heaviness of his arms weren't disappearing. They grew tense and each of his breathes quivered as if he was freezing, yet he was sweating. At this Terry slowly stood up and climbed on to the bed, straddling over Jack. Slowly she bent down and kissed his lips once softly. Speechless, Jack didn't moved. There was weight on him now. He couldn't move even if he wanted to. He wished it was only a dream. He had heard of such dreams that people had. Many claim they encountered evil spirits or stared into the face of death. If only it really was death. No, it was the face of temptation, a gift to Jack from Lucifer.
With each kiss, Terry grew more violent. Jack's eyes never closed. And with a thrust of Terry's hand the red heart Jack had received from Annabel all those years ago fell to the floor face first. The back, where love had been stitched, was visible from above. Neither of the two noticed however.
Jack woke up unable to sort if the events of the night before actually happened. An unfamiliar odor reached his nostrils saying yes. Indeed they had happen. He had not been dreaming. "No," he mumbled. "Not possible." When he rolled over to get off the bed to greet the morning he saw love on the floor. "No!" he shouted.
But yes. Last night, in paralysis he made love, but love was never actually present. Jack wailed but tried to muffle it. There was no stopping the tears as he reached for the stuffed heart. "I'm sorry, so sorry." Despite the length of his arms, the height of the bed was too great for him to reach. His arms retracted in pain. Jack screamed out in pain, tearing at his chest.