**We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming of the quads for an update on Jade. But everything is linked and you will see why.
I love my life in France!
Things are going good. Better than good actually. I’m finally beginning to feel like my old self, but a grown up version of the me before. I’m wiser, more cautious, with new ideals and goals for my life. In short, my outlook seems brighter and I’m happy, truly happy. Yet more importantly, I feel safe again and that means more to me than anything else.
This isn’t me all starry eyed mind you. I knew what I was feeling was true because I wasn’t the only person who noticed the change. For even my teachers commented my art seemed to be more open, more polished and definitely more lighthearted. Which at first I wasn’t sure was a good thing, however they assured me, it was.
With that said, pay no attention to the miserable look on my face. Even though I look angry, I’m truly not. Travis likes to tease me by calling it my “intense” face. I in turn tell him, that if he paid as much as I had to for materials, he would be intense as well. Every chip I make into the medium, could be the difference between a pile of scrap or a masterpiece. I mean, wouldn’t that make you nervous?
Travis has been doing fine as well. Completely settled into France, taking some classes and working for a local gentleman who has spent his live traveling. Jin’s employer has made himself quite rich collecting rare objects around the world, but his age has caught up with him and his health has declined. Travis is loving working for him, but Mr. Lambert keeps him busy, so I can’t see him as much as I would like to.
We’ve become close friends Travis and I. Don’t worry. We’re taking things slow upon my request till I learn to trust myself again. It’s not at all about trusting Travis, for he never causes me fear. Somewhere deep down, a switch has been turned on and I need to wait until I feel comfortable enough with the world and those around me.
With that said, I will tell you that Travis and I shared our first adult kiss recently. I feel pathetic telling you this specifically since it’s been a year since he has been here.We were having a picnic down by the pond one day, enjoying the beautiful summer weather that France boasts. Until it began to rain mind you, and we quick ducked under the nearest tree for shelter.
He held my hands, then stated , “Jade, I would like to kiss you.” The he looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes and waited for me to respond.
I think I may have nodded but I can’t honestly remember. My heart was beating loudly in my ears and I felt faint. I remember looking away for one moment,
unsure if I was really ready for this. However, deep down I knew I wanted him to kiss me. At the last second I turned back to receive the kiss.
It was awkward, I’m telling you. Nothing like the first kiss we had shared so long ago. I was embarrassed and angry with myself. With a deep calming breath I stepped forward and placed my hands on his shoulders.
“Could we maybe, try that again?”
He reached up gently and smiled that charming smile of his, before leaning in to kiss me with those sexy full lips of his…..
I think about this moment often and use it as a guiding example every time I feel like running away or I am facing a challenging social situation. If I can allow someone this close to me, then I can handle other things too, and it’s time to start trying.
Travis came to visit me one day full of excitement to tell me all about his new “mission” from his employer.
“He’s sending me to Egypt!”
“NO WAY!” I replied. “Why? I mean what is there he wants?”
“Mr Lambert has one important mission he wishes to see complete before he dies. His life long goal is to be able to enter Tuatha’s Garden, or to non adventurers it’s known as, The Little Island in France. But to get into that underground “garden”, I need to retrieve some items from Egypt and after that, I have to go to China. China, Jade! I could take you back to your family’s land.”
“Take me back…………what are you saying Travis?”
“I want you to come with me! Mr. Lambert agreed to your going and you’re all done school now, so it’s the perfect time for you to go.”
Excitement burst out of my chest, but was immediately squelched when Jin’s picture came to mind.
“I don’t think Jin would let me go, Travis.”
“Jade! You’re not a teen anymore! You can go wherever you want and Jin has no say,” he exclaimed with such large expectant eyes.
“Travis, I don’t have the kind of money to cover a trip like that! Teen I may no longer be, but Jin still controls all the money in this family.”
“No worries, My Lambert is giving me way more money than we will need to cover our expenses. He wants to make sure I get the job done in one trip. What do you say? Please say yes!”
Who could say no to that? And before I knew it I was standing at base camp looking over the horizon through binoculars.
The pyramids were just massive, growing in size the closer you made your way to one. Especially this one:
I had to stand way back on a dune to get this pic!
I will say, exploring tombs…..not my cup of tea. They are dank, dusty, full of sand to get in your shoes and you spend a lot of time ducking out of the way of what I hope to be dust webs. For if spiders spun those things and I see one, Jin will hear me screaming all the way back on the island. Which is a bad thing, considering I didn’t tell him I’m here. Not yet, anyway.
At least I could say I wasn’t the only one wary in this situation I thought to myself after seeing this look on Travis’s face. Which made me feel better till Travis piped up and said “Watch out for the mummies.” Uhhhh, what? After that, spiders were the furthest from my mind!
Once we proceeded further into the depths of the tomb, Travis stopped and handed me an axe. Then turned away, before pulling another axe out of the bag.
“Ummm Travis? What is this for?”
“For clearing rubble. I got one for you figuring we could get this job done faster if you helped.”
Uhhh-huh. “Excuse me. Do I look like someone who has ever swung an ax before? I mean delicate hands here made for creating art, not breaking up rocks!”
But I decided to do it anyway knowing it would help. I took another look around peering into the dark corners and shivering in my boots, before thinking hey, carrying around a large ax might give those mummies the idea to stay away. We began the arduous job of clearing mountains upon mountains of solid rock.
I will tell you one unspoken fact about hitting rocks with an ax; it causes a strong vibration from the whack that runs down your arms and settles in your buttocks, making them super itchy. More than once I had to secretly reach back to scratch my behind, hoping to SimGod that Travis never caught me doing it.
Of course scratching the area, just enhanced the vibration so between the whacks and the scratches, my behind was almost able to walk itself out of the tomb! I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to sit down again! But moving on with the story and away from this embarrassing topic……..
Travis worked from sun up to sun down, taking on extra jobs in the area to make a few extra simoleons. Those jobs luckily had us out from the creepy, stinky tombs with no worries of being attacked by mummies. I must say I’m thinking Travis just made up the story to scare me, but I vowed to ask around and find out once and for all if it was true.
These adventures had us starting in hidden rooms in the buildings around town, which led to other hidden rooms,
and the occasional dive well, which was where I drew the line.
Those he did all on his own, but each and every time we made it to the destined treasure.
We spent the next few days talking to the locals, trying to find the information Travis needed to complete the job in China. Residents were very guarded and cryptic with their answers which frustrated him to no end.
As the sun was setting on the tenth day, large balls of hail began to fall as we were finishing supper.With nothing left to do, we decided to retire early to our own tents as usual and get an early start in the morning.
Around two in the morning I heard Travis yell “Ahhhh! What the heck? Get off me!”
I was just reaching for my tent zipper when I heard a woman’s voice. “Hey baby. Come lay back down so I can make you happy.”
With my heart pounding and limbs frozen in place, I listened intently to the commotion in Travis’s tent. Every instinct screamed at me to go marching over there, yet I remained still with every fiber of my muscles vibrating with uncertainty. We had no real understanding, so who was I to tell him what he could and couldn’t do?
“No! Get out,” Travis replied forcefully to the woman.
“C’mon gorgeous. You’re alone and I’m alone. What harm is there in keeping each other company?” Then the woman giggled.
“I’m not alone! I’m with Jade-“
“Pfft, your sister? Nice try. Mind you if you really want her to join us-“
“Stop! Jade is not my sister, she is my girlfriend. Now I have had enough of this. You want the tent, then have it.”
Next thing I knew, my tent zipper flung open and Travis poked in his head almost knocking me over.
“You heard that?” Travis asked with annoyance. Still buzzing with adrenalin all I could do was nod with wide eyes. Travis gently moved me aside and threw his sleeping bag into the tent next to mine, closed the zipper and laid down to go back to sleep. After a few moments, I climbed in to my bag with my back to his.
‘I’m a girlfriend’ I thought excitedly. Silly I know because it was obvious wasn’t it? Yet having him say it out loud was better than a dream. I inched my way towards him till my back was ever so slightly leaning against his, and drifted off to sleep.
By the time we left Egypt, Travis had spoken to enough of the townsfolk to feel pretty confident he had all the information he needed for Mr. Lambert’s mission in China. We arrived back in France exhausted but happy to be home.
While Travis returned to work, I had no more school to focus my time. To pass the days I worked on all my passions; painting and piano. Since traveling, I found I was feeling more comfortable being out in public for short spells. One afternoon, we were in the square enjoying the warm sun and a treat from the cafe, when we met this couple who were doing the same. Gustave and Jolene were so seriously outgoing you couldn’t help but like them right away. I was definitely shy that first meeting but before we left, plans had been made for an evening out together.
“Did you see Travis?” I asked while shaking his arm in excitement. “They never even flinched when you said my name! Do you think they really don’t know who I am?”
Travis shrugged, “Or perhaps don’t care. You know Jade, your brother has your whole family believing they are as famous as royalty. Not everyone cares about art or books you know.”
“I guess,” I said looking to the ground.
“I’m sorry. I know that sounded harsh and I didn’t mean it that way. But look, you have been here in France for two years without much incident and now Egypt. It just bugs me to see you hiding the way you do.”
“But in Egypt we never used my last name and it’s not a place where paps hang out, so not really a point for your case.”
“We never used your last name because you were too scared.”
“Travis, Jin has had a lot more experience dealing with the press than I so I am more inclined to pay heed to what he says, rather than listen to your frustrations about our social life.”
“Are we having our first fight? Over your brother of all things?”
“I thought you liked and respected Jin!” I retorted.
“I do, very much.”
“Then why are we fighting?” I bounced back to him annoyed, then sighed in frustration.
“Because I want you to have a more normal life than the one you have had so far,” Travis responded with a louder voice than before.
“Well then,” I shouted. “You either haven’t been paying attention all this time, or you are with the wrong girl! Have you forgotten all the times the press has screwed up my life with their lies and prying eyes into my business?” I turned to look over my shoulder behind me, so Travis wouldn’t see the tears threatening to fall.
“Jade,” Travis whispered. “I’m sorry. Let’s not fight, okay?”
I turned back to him. “I’m sorry too. I’m on edge since the court case against the magazine has finally had the date set. Seems so long ago you know. But just the other day before we left, I was in the cafe ordering a bagel, when this woman standing in line behind me, asked if we knew each other. She was sure we knew each other and then, I could see it click in her mind before she said, you’re that girl in the pictures. It’s mortifying thinking about it and all it does is remind me of HIM. I feel like I will never truly be safe.”
“You are safe. I would never let anything happen to you,” Travis replied softly while reaching up to wipe away my tears.
“I know that Travis. But there is safe, and then there is safe in here,” I replied pointing to myself.
Travis nodded. “Okay I understand,” he replied before pulling away his hand.
“No!” I said leaning forward and reaching out for his arm. “This I like.”
Travis smiled. “Then I think it’s time for one of those make up kisses, I’ve heard so much about.”
I must say, kiss number 4…amazing! Thinking maybe we should fight more often………………