Those Who Have Built and Broken Us Part One (JakexMC)
Author’s Note: This is part one of my entry for #ChoicesCreates Week 18. Thank you to the super talented @kittenmusicals for hosting this week and the wonderful @hollyashton for everything she does here!
Characters: Jake, Marissa (MC)
Word Count: 1360
Book: Endless Summer
Prompt: “We are made of all those who have built and broken us”
Summary: This is set 5 years after the gang is rescued from LaHuerta. Quinn has passed and everyone wants to meet with Jake and Marissa (MC) in Costa Rica. Jake struggles over his feelings for everyone.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” Jake mumbles to himself, rubbing his smooth face with his open palm as he views himself in the bathroom mirror.
He’s forgotten how strong his jawline is when it’s not disguised under three months worth of facial growth. He knows she prefers her favorite pilot to be clean shaven, hence the mound of dark brown chin hairs amassed at the bottom of the white porcelain sink. Gently he turns the ornate handle to the left, instant hot water quickly rinsing the basin free of the residue left from his shave. He amusingly watches the water slowly circle, creating a mini whirlpool before quickly disappearing down the drain.
It’s amazing how little things like a draining sink bring back instant memories of LaHuerta for Jake. This happens a lot since they were all rescued from their endless summer five years ago. Sometimes when he smells summer BBQs or tailgate cookouts the delicious aromas bring him back there, sitting poolside, watching Raj create mouth watering smells from his hibachi. Raj’s infectious smile and constant upbeat attitude makes that island mercifully more tolerable, more real. He is the one true person, the one genuine human being who never plays games about his feelings or intentions. You always know where Raj stands and Jake admires him mightily for that.
A mention of Hartfeld University in a passing newspaper’s headline or a blurb he skims on Yahoo brings back snapshots in his often liquored mind of Sean and Craig: Captain America and his faithful sidekick. His petty arguments and pissing contests with Sean are often pointless and counterproductive, but they amuse him immensely. He misses the macho, testosterone laden banter and camaraderie he always enjoyed when he was in the military. He misses friendship and male bonding. He misses the feelings of being a part of something. He’ll never admit that to Sean. Or Craig. Craig is just a horse for the group anyways. If something needs to be tackled, smashed, then cursed at, Craig is the man. That always brings a smile to Jake’s face. He’ll do anything for Craig though. .
When he’s forced to watch one of those annoying makeup beauty ads or computer spots before opening an app, the commercials often bring thoughts of Michelle and Zahra. Maybelline always reminds him of a made up movie star. She creates a mask out of her stunning beauty, hiding behind a role, disguising an insecure, lonely girl who longs to be accepted and loved. She masters the art of deflection and defense mechanisms. She doesn’t fool Jake, though. He sees the real Michelle and he wishes he could tell her she’s good enough. That’s not him, however. He will never tell her that.
Zahra always amazes the flyboy with her quick wit and technical mind. Watching her hack systems and bypass circuits and software is like admiring a maestro gracefully stroke the ivory keys of a grand piano, producing a masterpiece that’s pleasing to the senses. He always enjoys his late night drunken conversations with her, each bitching about life and love, sin and good intentions. They never tell anyone about these moments; not even Marissa. This is their secret. He always finds her feisty attitude and warped views attractive. In another time he might entertain the thought of pursuing her more. But he’s already fallen in love with Marissa, and she’s all he wants. Zahra has Craig, and that’s all she wants. Yet Jake occasionally wonders what if, a faint smile usually on his face as he files thoughts like these away for the next deja vu moment.
Jake can’t help but think of Grace every time he reads a story about Roarke Industries, mainly because of her relationship with Aleister. He didn’t get to know Grace that well during their time on LaHuerta, but he always remembers her smile and the glow in her deep, intense eyes. Especially when Aleister is around her. He respects the fact she tolerates, somehow manages feelings of love, for his spoiled rich ass. To him Grace and Aleister are one in the same. He still misses her all the same.
Jake looks back up, catching his reflection in the mirror. His deep ocean blue eyes have dulled some with age. The small wrinkles gradually forming around the corner of his mouth are small reminders of father time as well. He still considers himself attractive, a catch to the ladies. “This is as good as it gets,” he whispers to his reflection. “But Marissa still adores me,” he adds, a loving beam in his eyes
He adjusts his dogtags around his neck, the metal clanking against his bare chest. The biggest reminder of the strangest and altering time of his life shares this small bungalow with him. They both live discreetly but quietly and comfortably in a nondescript village in southern Costa Rica. Five years later he’s still shocked that she followed him here. He tries to talk her out of this decision. He tries to remind her she has college, a future ahead of her, a job and kids and a house with a white picket fence. She has all the goals and dreams of a smart, beautiful, brave young woman, goals and dreams that every other person wants to achieve. A life that Jake can never provide, not as a wanted man. “I’m not like other people,” is her response, but Jake already knows this.
Marissa is the first woman to steal his breath, making it difficult to concentrate when he kisses her neck, the smell of strawberries from her silky soft hair overloading his senses, or when she mischievously bites his bottom lip before releasing a kiss. She’s the first woman to send his stomach in frenzied flip flops when he watches her sleep, barely keeping the urge to caress her dark olive skin or stroke her long chestnut brown hair to himself. She’s the first woman he truly respects and admires. Her loyalty and ferocious, almost obsessive need to help those she loves is so enduring to him.
Somehow she continues to keep in contact with everyone from the island. He’s probably better off not knowing how. Jake really appreciates Marissa communicating with the gang for him. None of them have any idea how much they mean to him. They have no clue how much they helped heal him, how much all of them helped him love and trust again. Especially Marissa. He admires and feels bad for her about Diego. For some reason he stopped all contact with everyone after their rescue. She never complains or speaks poorly of her best friend, even though Jake can tell the absence of her childhood confidant is tearing her up inside, but she never speaks poorly of him. She never gives up in Diego. She never gives up on anyone.
After one last look in the mirror, Jake washes his rough and calloused hands and drives then quickly on the green and yellow hand towel dangling off the metal bar next to the sink. He runs his hands through his shoulder length brown hair, his mind heavy with thought and emotions. When Marissa tells him of Quinn’s passing a massive lump immediately forms in his throat. His eyes begin to sting as he tries desperately to keep tears from rolling down his cheeks. The smell of chocolate chip cookies usually reminded him of Quinn. She loves to bake and Jake believes it was therapeutic for her. She always saves the first cookie for him, as if that particular cookie is the best of the batch. He doesn’t know why she does this, but it always makes him feel warm, wanted, and thought of. He misses her fiery red hair and childish, innocent smile.
Marissa is the first woman to make Jake cry. The news of someone’s death, especially someone he cares about like Quinn, is hard for him to process. When Marissa shares with him that everyone he risked his life for on an unknown enchanted island, wants to return the favor and cone see him here for a memorial and a reunion, the pilot breaks down in his girlfriend’s arms.