Jenna turned quickly to see her father jogging up to her. He grinned broadly as he caught up to her and patted her on the shoulder. "Oh, hey, Daddy." Jenna said, giving him a small smile as they began the walk back to her father's car.
"How was school?" He asked, ushering her across the street, "Everything okay with you now?"
Jenna mumbled something that was almost inaudible and her father glanced at her questioningly, until she noticed and said, "Oh, yeah. Everything's great. But, daddy.." She caught hold of his sleeve, "What's up with Mom? You gotta tell me."
Barry Close had watched his daughter grow up, and until a few months ago she had never shown any signs of being unhappy. He had guessed it was the divorce, had put it down to Jenna feeling torn at the thought of her parents splitting up. And then he realised that she was now thirteen, and that she wasn't his little girl anymore. She'd picked up on things, things that would surely hurt her if she knew about them.
Sadie hadn't been able to find a job since she'd been fired from the store. Barry hadn't known that she was having real financial problems until about two weeks ago. He'd offered to give her money but she'd refused, claiming that she look after her own daughter. They'd argued after that, Barry had refused to leave until Sadie told him what was going on. And then she told him. Prostitution. She was making a living through prostitution. Well, Barry had gotten angry and told her she couldn't bring up a child while doing that. Sadie had thrown him out of the house.
And now, as he looked down at his daughter, He couldn't bring himself to tell her and ruin her life. He couldn't bear to think of the impact it would have on her, or the embarressment it would cause her at school if it ever got public. So, he simply looked at her, smiled that cheesy grin he saved especially for her, and said: "Nothing's wrong, honey. She's just been stressed out, you know, what with the divorce.."
Jenna stared up at her father and knew from her intution that there was something he wasn't telling her. Still, she shrugged it off and tried to act like she was completely clueless of what was going on. She knew her mother was in some sort of trouble. She was tired of being lied to. She needed to know what was going on.
I looked up to see a young blonde woman standing over me, hands on her hips. I recognised her as Annabelle, the woman who had stitched up the wound on my forehead earlier. "Yes?" I answered sharply, turning away from her and glancing back at the fire. To my surprise, she sat down beside me.
"You're not in any danger, if that's what you think." She said quietly, glancing around warily as she said it, "If you were, you'd have been dealt with a while ago."
"Thanks for reassuring me," I said sarcastically, turning to face her, "Please, just give it to me straight. Who are you people? And what have I done to deserve this?" Before she could answer I continued, "Why the hell are you being so nice to me anyway? You know what? I'm through with being patient and nice, And that fucking guy Ben-"
"Keep your goddamn voice down, and don't ever talk about Ben like that," Annabelle warned me.
To my surprise, I laughed.
"Come on, kid," Ethan barked, startling the both us, "You'll be camping out here with me tonight. So I can keep an eye on you."
"Yet everyone else gets to sleep indoors," I said incredulously, glancing at Annabelle, who was still eyeing me suspiciously after I'd chuckled at her last remark. I don't know, I suppose I just found it so amusing that so many people could be led by one small person. And yes, he was small, and I guessed in every single way, too.
"Yeah, there a problem?" Ethan responded arrogantly.
I slowly shook my head.
Annabelle snorted. "Well, you guys had better get moving, then. It's definitely way past your bedtime now, kid." She scoffed, raising her eyebrows at me and getting to her feet. "Night Ethan," She said, turning to Ethan and smiling sweetly to him. Then she turned back to me, a fleeting look of satisfaction on her face. With that she turned on her heel and walked away from us.
I turned back to Ethan who was grinning broadly.
"I suppose she's your girlfriend?" I enquired.
"You know, for a girl of your age you've got some pretty smart ass remarks coming out of you."
"Oh, I do apologise."
We stood there in silence for a long while. I could already tell he was onto me. They all were, after all I was the new kid in town. I was still trying to grasp the fact that I might be here for a while yet. It was a frightening thought. I just wanted to rest, maybe even sleep if I could manage it, and try to forget everything for a few hours. I'd work out my situation in the morning. There was nothing for me to do in the meantime.
"Come on, let's move." Ethan said, breaking the silence.
"Where are we going?" I asked, slowly getting to my feet.
His face split in a malevolent grin. "Into the -" He began, but at that moment we were interrupted by a young woman who had seemingly appeared from nowhere. She walked up to us, a smile on her face. "Juliet, what are you - ?"
"Don't start, Ethan," Juliet said calmly, raising a hand dismissively at him, "Hi. We haven't met, I'm Juliet." She said in that same calm, yet slightly eerie tone of voice. She then extended her hand out towards me and I shook it, glancing uncertainly at her.
"We were just going into -" Ethan tried again, but Juliet interrupted him.
"It's kinda' cold tonight, don't you think? Maybe.."
She stopped suddenly, and I realised this was my cue.
"I'm.. Jenna." I said quietly.
"Really nice to meet you, Jenna," Juliet responded, still smiling, "Anyway, I think maybe Jenna should come back with me tonight. You know, it's her first night here and she's probably feeling, you know.." She broke off at a wary look from Ethan.
"Juliet, you just moved in there. There's still boxes piled up to the ceiling, how are you gonna fit her in?" He asked, gritting his teeth to show that he wasn't too pleased.
Juliet merely tilted her head at him. "Yeah, but there's still plenty of room. And I'm sure Jenna would much rather bunk with me than with a large, sweaty man like yourself." She replied, smiling sweetly. My jaw dropped. Ethan looked astounded.
Deciding that I had new found respect for this Juliet, I backed away from Ethan, "She's got a point." I added, biting my lip and trying hard not to laugh. Ethan's look of utter shock was replaced by one of boiling rage.
"Juliet, I've got orders from Ben. Jenna's got to come with me." He said sharply.
"I'm sure he won't mind too much," Juliet responded, then she turned to me. "Come on, it's not too far from here.."
I obliged and followed her, not forgetting to look back over my shoulder at Ethan and yell, "Night!"
Juliet chuckled. "I take it you're not exactly enjoying this experience?"
"No, not really.." I murmered, surveying her as she walked infront of me. My eyes suddenly fell upon her lower back, where I noticed the gun sticking out of her pants. I looked around to check if anyone else was nearby and then my eyes fell back to the gun. This woman, Juliet, looked around thirty years old, give or take a few years. However, the difference between her and the others was that she wasn't wearing the same dark uniform. She looked normal, and stuck out from the rest of them. However, I wondered if this was just a cover up to disguise the fact that she was really 'the top boss' or something. While I was debating this theory in my head, she turned swiftly, making me stop abruptly.
"Don't mind Ethan," She said softly, "I don't like him, either."
"Oh, okay.." I muttered, "Where are we going?"
"Back to my place," She said coolly, turning away from me, "You can stay there for tonight. It just didn't seem right leaving you out there with Ethan. He gives me the creeps, really. There's just something funny about him.."
Though I didn't trust her for a second, I had to agree. From the first moment I'd set eyes on him, Ethan had seemed like a strange and quirky character. And as I had looked back to say goodnight, he had smirked at me and made a rude hand gesture.
"He seems like a complete idiot," I answered, baffled at how anyone on the island could even put up with him.
"Yeah," Juliet said quietly, walking ahead. My eyes fell upon the gun again, and I began to get nervous. She didn't seem genuine, there was something strange and eerie about her that didn't sit well with me. Not knowing what else to do, I caught right up to her, grabbed the gun and threw my arm around her neck, pointing the gun at her head.
"What the f-" She cried, before I clamped my free hand over her mouth.
"I washed up on shore this morning, and you know what? I found myself in a similar situation to the one you're in right now." I whispered, not feeling an ounce of regret for what I was doing as I watched the tears streaming down her cheeks. "And for the most part you people have been treating me like shit. Now, I know there's a boat somewhere. I want you to let me leave." I said, tears welling up in my own eyes, "Please." I added quickly, taking my hand away from her mouth.
For a moment she stood there, motionless, breathing hard. I thought she might be having some sort of attack, but after a few seconds she stopped and closed her eyes. "If you want me to talk, I'll talk. Just let go of me." She said, her voice cracking.
I removed my arm from around her neck, though I was still pointing the gun at her. She made no effort whatsoever to grab it out of my hands. Instead, her legs began to buckle and she walked shakily over to a nearby tree, leaning up against it. I could see that she was still in tears, could hear her sobbing quietly. I suddenly felt guilty, and I had never felt an ounce of guilt in me entire life.
I lowered the gun and began walking towards her when she suddenly began to cry out, "Stop! Don't come near me!" I stood back, bewildered. I held up my hand and dropped the gun. Juliet looked at me, then at the gun laying at my feet. "Why did you do that?"
"I.. Didn't know what else to do," I confessed, "Look, I wasn't going to hurt you. I just want to get out of here. I can't even remember how I got here! And - and now it's like I'm a prisoner. I just want to go home.." I spluttered, tears rolling down my cheeks. I wiped them away hastily and looked up at her.
"Jenna, you're telling the wrong person," Juliet sighed, "I just arrive here three days ago. On the submarine that you mentioned. I'm as much in the dark as you are." She managed to regain control, stood up straight and walked over to me, bending down to retrieve her gun. "You never know when one of these might come in handy." She said, and I couldn't help but smile.
"I don't get it, why did you come here? Or better yet, why would you come here?"
She looked taken aback at my question. "It's a long story, a very long story. I'm a Doctor, and they came to me with a proposition. They wanted me to join Mittelos Bioscience, supposedly situated in Portland, Oregon. I ended up taking the job and.. and then I ended up here.." She looked back, as if expecting someone to be standing right behind us. "He, Ethan I mean, brought me here. On the sub. But it's fine so far.. and there were too many bad memories.."
She stopped and smiled weakly at me. I stared at the gun, "But if you've been here three days, then how come they're letting you use a gun?" I asked, my eyes widening.
"Ben trusts me," She said quickly, "He's a good man, Jenna. And he's giving me a chance." She said in serious tones. Then she lightened up, "And also, to protect myself. Everyone needs to have a gun on them, you don't know what's out there in the jungle, do you?" She said, heaving a deep sigh. "But I wouldn't know how to use one of these things, anyway.."
"I would," I said, "I could teach you, if you want."
Juliet looked surprised, "You know how to shoot a gun? You can't be older than seventeen."
"Eighteen," I corrected her, "And believe me, I've got pretty good aim."
She chuckled, "Listen, we'd better get back. And don't worry, you're going to get out of here. They're just a little wary of you, I think."
"Thanks," I said, smiling at her.
We stood there in silence for a while before heading back.