AN: The "Lost" Writing Team is back and we own nothing but the idea please leave us a review ifyou liked it.
Julie looked at the blank screen on her laptop. The cursor blinked, mocking her inability to string words together. Surrounding her at the old oak table were piles of transcribed interviews and meticulous notes. She'd put in her research time, done her homework. She even had an extensive outline. Her first journalism teacher used to say that after you'd done all that work, the story would practically write itself.
Her mission, which she had already accepted the book advance for, was to write a book about gutterpunks, the modern-day hobo subculture who spent their time panhandling, hopping freight trains, and just plain experiencing life. The idea had come to her when she was covering a trade summit in Seattle and had noticed the gutterpunks on nearly every corner.
She'd gotten friendly with a few who were camped out down the street from her hotel. No mean feat, since she was regarded with distrust, even though she was only a few years older them. But Julie had never met a potential source who couldn't be worn down with coffee, cookies, and honest questions. She found their stories exhilarating and amazing, and she couldn't stop thinking about them after she returned to Texas.
Julie wrote up the book proposal in a week and sent it off to a few agents. She hadn't breathed a word of her idea to anyone, not even Tim. When her phone buzzed with the call from a New York area code, it had felt like fate. Within weeks, she had a signed, sealed, and delivered contract along with a surprisingly hefty advance.
Tim had been... resigned but supportive was probably the best description. His eyes had widened when she showed him the check, but his mouth had set in a stubborn line when she explained her idea for "embedding" with the gutterpunks. In the end, he had done little more than shrug and tell her he'd be there for her, no matter what crazy idea she had. When she'd told him that he wouldn't be coming, it would ruin the authenticity of the experience, he'd just stared at her and then mumbled something that sounded like "Whatever you want."
Julie wasn't sure what had happened to the Tim who had chased her to Paris and talked her into returning to Texas. Sure, that had been three years ago, and maybe familiarity had bred some contempt. Or at least some complacency. Julie thought this separation would be the real test of their relationship. Either it would make them realize that they truly belonged together or it would make them realize that they could go their separate ways.
The original plan had been for Julie to spend a full six months with the gutterpunks, and then return to Texas to write the book. But she'd only managed four months. She consoled herself that she'd accumulated plenty of material to write the book, but the sad truth of the matter was that she preferred her creature comforts: hot showers, soft beds, and morning coffee.
So she'd decided to get an early start on the book and had fallen in love with a little town near the California-Oregon border. She'd rented a cabin near the beach and settled in to write. Although she texted Tim daily so that he'd know she was safe, she had sort of let him believe that she was still on the road with the gutterpunks. She wanted to avoid having him pressure her to return to Texas. She knew in her heart that she wasn't quite ready to go back.
Besides, she'd told herself that she'd be able to write the book in two or three months, when it would probably take three times that long with all the distractions of home. Of course, the last few days were putting lie to that. Maybe she needed distraction to make her focus, because the wide-open schedule and the solitude had only helped her write about four paragraphs, and she hated every last word.
Julie sighed and pushed her chair away from the table. She stood, stretched, and headed into the bedroom, where she changed into her running clothes. Then she set off for a long run, hoping the ocean air and blue skies would help clear her head. She ran for about an hour, then headed into the small town to pick up a coffee and some lunch.
In the coffee house, the TV was on, tuned to the noon-time news broadcast. Julie barely noticed, the announcer's voice a buzz in her ears while she studied the menu board, until a name from the past caught her attention.
"Jackson Teller, the President of the notorious Sons of Anarchy motorcycle gang, was earlier today released from the San Joaquin County Jail without charge in the killing of his wife Dr. Tara Knowles and Deputy Sheriff Eli Roosevelt."
Julie looked up and saw Jax, a few years older, with shorter hair and sadder eyes, trailing behind a slick-suited young lawyer, who paused on the steps to make a few points.
"The traffic camera footage, witness statements, and the very time of death all indicate that my client had absolutely no involvement in these tragic killings. It's unfortunate that the district attorney decided to drag her feet and grandstand for the last week instead of properly investigating and then releasing my client, whose young children should not lose both parents in this tragedy."
"But what about the plea deal on the gun charge?" shouted an enterprising reporter.
"Off the table. My client only took that deal to protect his wife, which is something the district attorney and the county utterly failed to do when they sent her home with the deputy sheriff. My client is innocent of all charges. If the district attorney thinks she can make a case on the gun charges, then she's going to have to build that case with evidence, not with a coerced confession."
The reporters surged forward, asking if Mr. Teller had any comment. The lawyer looked back at Jax, who nodded once, resigned. "I just want to get home, take care of my boys, and bury my wife. Now, please excuse me."
Jax pushed through the crowd of reporters, who at first surged forward, but then thought better of it. The look in his eye was enough to stop even the most shameless among them.
"Miss, it's your turn. What can I get you?" asked the barista. From his annoyed tone, Julie guessed that it wasn't the first time he'd asked.
"Um," Julie found that she couldn't take her eyes off Jax. She stood like an idiot, staring at the final footage of him being hustled into his lawyer's car. Then she shook her head, hard, like she could clear the fog. "I'm...I think I've changed my mind."
Julie walked back to her cabin in a daze. Tara...dead. Jax...accused, then cleared, and now alone with his boys. She hadn't even realized that he'd had another child. She remembered back to their time together, and she found her heart aching that Jax was in the situation.
Back at the cabin, Julie went on the Internet and read everything she could about Jax, Tara, and the motorcycle club. The list of murders and crimes that they were somehow suspected of was staggering. Three years ago, Julie could just about believe that the club was a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts who supplemented their incomes in ways that were sometimes dubious, immoral, or of questionable legality. But it seems like things had taken a hard turn for the worse in the last few years.
Julie rubbed her eyes and closed her laptop. She was going to have a nap and try to resist the pull of Charming. Jax had his club, his family, and his sons. What could she possibly offer him?