On my first day of school, I stood in front of the massive front doors of the science building and stared in eager anticipation. I couldn’t believe I was finally here and life was going to begin for me. I hadn’t been able to sleep all night, as worry and excitement mingled in a cocktail of “keep me awake” drugs that prevented my body from relaxing. Added to those feelings, I was already missing Jade and we had only been apart for two days. Having to wait three months till I could see her again, was going to be a real test of my strength…and hormones. Lying there with my eyes closed, I could feel the warmth of her body pressed up against mine and her lips, soft beautiful lips from the kiss we had shared a year ago……..
Jade had been out when I called the Bells to let them know I was safely at school. “Walking the island,” Sun had said. I called every day for the next week and each time I was told Jade was not available to talk. So I threw myself into my school work but she was never far from my mind.
After a month of not being able to speak to Jade, I finally had enough.
“Jin, I don’t want to hear the usual platitudes. What is going on? Why won’t Jade talk to me?”
Jin sighed, “Travis, listen. Jade’s not here.She left yesterday and asked us not to tell you where she is, or how to contact her. I’m really sorry Travis.”
“I don’t understand. Why doesn’t she want to talk to me?” In my head I was thinking, what had I done wrong?
“I don’t know what to tell you Travis. I think she just needs time and I believe it’s important that you give it to her. I will let you know when I have any more news.”
I began working out everyday to help ease the frustration.
I found a quiet little corner to study, in the comic store of all places. It was quiet and I was happy, until I realized I was staring at the sketches from the local artists tacked to the board, more than retaining any knowledge. It was obvious I had chosen the corner, because it reminded me of Jade.
Five months into my term at school with no word from Jin or Jade and I was beginning to go out of my mind. Was this really about Jade getting better, or had I been dumped? I spent a lot of time thinking back to our last moments on the beach that day, kicking myself for leaving.
A week before I finished my first year of school, I called to the island again. This time I was able to speak to Sun and though I heard her wavering when I once again asked for Jade’s date of return, she was very clear in her response. “I have no idea when or even if Jade is going to return. I would very much like to tell you where she is Travis, but she was clear with her instructions and I can not violate her trust in this matter.”
That was the moment I knew, knew for sure I had been decisively and promptly dumped. I felt completely lost and I didn’t want to be alone.
I wallowed in glass after glass of juice feeling quite sorry for myself. Five months of missing out on the typical college dating experience. Five months of getting all kinds of attention and turning down lots of offers. Being faithful to Jade when she had no intention of every continuing a relationship with me.
“I’m a good looking guy you know! And,” I held up one finger to make a point, or was that two fingers… I squinted my eyes to see better….”I’m pretty great too. So why’d she dump me?” Another glass of juice went down my throat. “I’m a really good dancer too. Let’s dance.” I stood up and waved my arm in a come motion.
Everything was a blur. I was just having a good time, not even thinking about “her”, till a bucket of cold water figuratively was dumped on my head. My date leaned in and kissed me, but she realized it was wrong the moment she stepped back and saw my face.
“I’m sorry,” I said kindly. “But I can’t do this.”
I stumbled home alone. It took me two days to recover from my first drinking experience and another two days to work up the courage to call back to the island and demand they tell me where Jade was. I was going to hound them till I got my way. Turns out, luck was on my side……
(Toddlers can’t use phones in game and there are no phone accessories either for poses, so I invite you to use your imagination Bonnie is holding a phone)
“Hey peanut. This is Travis. Do you remember me?”
“Travis! Why are you not home with us?”
“I’ve been at school. Is that Bonnie?”
“Travis you know me. Bonnie, silly! I’m three now!”
“Yes, I am silly. Wow, you are getting to be such a big girl! Where is your mom and dad?”
“Mommy is in the plant house. Daddy is taking a shower. Are you coming home?”
“Soon Bonnie. But I want to wait for Jade. Is Jade coming home?”
“I dunno. I miss you Travis.”
“I miss you too peanut. Hey Bonnie, do you know where Jade is?”
“Jade’s in FRANCE!”
“Shhhhh, Bonnie!” Travis laughed. “This is a secret conversation. We need to be quiet.”
“Otay Travis,” Bonnie whispered back. “Jade’s making art.”
“She’s making art! That sounds like fun. Do you know where she is in France?”
“Nooo,” she replied sadly. “But they ride horses there and everyone has a lock. They are really big locks.”
“Wow! Sounds like a really neat place. Do you remember the name Bonnie?”
“Travis, I told you. Jade’s in France.”
“Oh that is right, you did. Well Bonnie, I have to go now but I will see you soon, okay?”
“Bonnie remember. This is a secret so no telling mommy or daddy okay. I’m bringing Jade home and it’s a big surprise! So can you keep my secret for me Bonnie?”‘
“Yes Travis. Secret. I miss Jade a whole big bunch.”
“Me too peanut. Meeee too.”
I ended the call and immediately started dialing again.
It rang two times before I heard, “Hey sport.”
“Hiya dad. Wanted to let you know, I’m booking a flight to France.”
Silence followed my statement, but then “Tell me all the details first.”
It had been two months since I arrived in France and I still could not find Jade. After another long day of traveling from town to town, I was once again sitting on my bed in some small cramped hotel room, staring at a map. How hard could it be to locate one sim?
I rubbed my eyes to clear away residual blur of frustration and attempted to make a plan for the following day. I had already been through the North of France where most of the art programs and galleries could be found. All that was left was a bunch of small towns in the south. Where could she be?
Jin wouldn’t have allowed Jade to go just anywhere. Which meant the big cities like Paris were definitely out. However, I did check anyway, only to be sure. Think Travis, think. Jade likes art, Jade is making art Bonnie had said. I paced the floor trying to remember what else Bonnie had said. Horses, something to do with horses and really big locks. “Everyone has really big locks.” Now why would anyone want a big lock. Did she mean a safe?
Back to staring at the map again and I looked to the red dot I had noticed a few times before. I dug out my magnifying glass I used for inspecting rocks from my backpack and took a closer look.
“Well I’ll be darned,” I amazed. “Loches. Not lock.” I laughed my head off and jumped off the bed. A quick look at my computer and I knew exactly where I was going.
“Montreysor!” I stated out loud as if giving myself a mental high five.
A little over a week later, it was late at night and I was heading back to my room at the town inn run by a little old lady who was quite the motherly type. I had spent another long day talking to the locals and popping in and out of the local businesses in search of anyone who may know anything about Jade. Every single person said the exact same thing.
“No idea who that is and never seen her before.” It was like a well rehearsed line of a play practiced by every member of the town.
I will not lie when I say at this point I was seriously considering giving up and heading back home. I was just stepping out of the llama transport when I heard,
“Jade, look out! Don’t rip my dress!”
Followed by the sweet sound of laughter, her laughter!
I ran to the sidewalk to see which way the cab had turned and watched it head down the street. I’ve got you now, I thought.
“Excuse me,” I asked, stopping beside the red haired girl taking pictures of long grass blades. “Could you tell me if Jade Bell is here?”
She sighed then attempted to tell me she didn’t speak English, only in a battered version of French.
“Please listen to me,” I implored.
“Je ne parle pas…. Oh! Go away.”
I knew she wasn’t French, for that was the worst French pronunciation I had ever heard.
“Wait! Please wait! I’m looking for Jade Bell.”
Suddenly she turned on me. “If you’re some kind of paparazzi or reporter, there is no one here for you to be interested in, just go away.”
Then she turned to walk away again. In desperation I yelled,
She slowly turned back to me with a smile that quickly vanished. “Show me some identification.” Which I did.
“Satisfied?” I asked.
She looked me up and down with this approving look on her face. “So you’re Travis.”
“You’ve heard of me then?” I asked. “Is she here?”
“Oh I could never tell you that.”
“Oh c’mon! What is it with the people of this town? I’ve been here two weeks, which is a long time in a town of only six hundred people and not one person would admit to seeing or knowing Jade.”
“Hmmm, yes. Well the people of this town, don’t like outsiders you see, for you never know who they are or what they want.”
“All I want,” I said with some frustration, “is to see Jade. Talk to Jade. Where is she?”
“Well, you see I could never confirm or deny that there is anyone here by the name of Jade Bell. No I couldn’t do that.” She turned as if she was going to walk away and I threw up my arms in total frustration.
“But I could tell you, if you were to say, pop into the local bakery on Wednesday around one in the afternoon, you could have a cup of coffee and a chat with the locals. Goodbye Travis, have a good day.” She giggled then, before heading up the bridge.
I walked into the cafe at ten after one in the afternoon on Wednesday and there she was. Looking more beautiful then I remembered.
I went to sit in the seat across from her when she began to speak.
“Not interested. Please move along,” she stated in French without looking up from her page.
I looked at her for a moment before responding, “Jade.”
She stopped reading and slowly looked up. “Travis? Uh…. What, what are you doing here?”
“Looking for you. Now what the heck is going on?”
Thank you to Sweetpoyzin for the lovely bakery/cafe seen in this chapter. I love this little bakery and use it alot!
Cocoa Lush HERE
**Jade’s reading pose from my new set, Meeting At The Cafe found at posesbybee.com