Jacob and JemmaĖ The Meeting

Karen Mossman


"I hate it!" Jemma yelled.

"Well I donít!" her mother didnít yell back. "I think it would be good for us to live here."

"Good for you, you mean."

"Good for us both, Jemma." Katie said as her daughter stood in the door way with

tears glistening in her eyes.

To Jemma it was full of loud, brash, people whose confidence in them selves frightened her.

"Dad didnít like New York," she said sullenly.

"Dad isnít here anymore," Katie said in a quiet voice as she fought back her own tears.

"No! And that suits you doesnít it, so you can live here with Aunt Linda. I hate it! Dad would have hated it. You always think of yourself!!!!"

Jemma charged out of the apartment and kept on running. She found herself in Central Park wandering down a grassy embankment.

Mum had told her not to come here alone, especially at night, but it was the only place that reminded her of home, something she had seemed to have forgotten. She was seventeen now, practically grown up, she should be able to make up her own mind on things.

She was so wrapped up in her thoughts she did not see the dark shadows in front of her. It took a moment to register and her heart began to race. She realized then that her mum was right as usual and she had been to pig-headed to listen.

"Go away!" she shouted and heard a low laughter and murmur of voices. Then someone pushed her from behind and she began to run. They caught her up and began to push her from one to the other. She screamed in terror.

Jacob had been told he shouldnít enter through the park drainage at night, but was in a hurry. It wasnít a place to linger so he ran all the way. Having lived here all his life he knew each the curve and rise and his acute senses meant he could see quite well in the dark which made him sure footed as he went.

He stopped suddenly and listened. Someone was screaming. He ran toward the sound and was able to pick out shadows aggressively moving at someone on the floor.

"Hey!" he roared at them. One of them looked up then they all looked up and ran, they knew him. Heíd dealt with them before.

Kneeling down he touched the girlís shoulders and said, "Hey!" She jumped to her feet and went for him. It took all his strength to calm her and convince her he was not the enemy. Eventually she stopped and her eyes were drawn to his hands which he withdrew quickly.

"What are you?" she gasped breathlessly. His fair hair was thick long obscuring his face slightly.

"Iím Jacob, someone who wants to help." He flashed a smile and had hooded blue/green eyes.

"If you touch me, Iíll kill you," she said because she still wasnít sure. He seemed to be of similar age to her with, but he had a five oĎclock shadow, it was hard to see.

"I think you would too." He quickly took in her fiery red hair, a face smeared with tears and terror.

"They attacked me!"

"Are you hurt?"

She shook her head, then nodded then shook her head again and clasped her arms around her body as if trying to protect herself.

Jacob noticed that her clothes were still intact and there was a nasty bruise on her forehead. Apart from that she looked all right, pretty all right in fact. It was at that moment he heard something and looked out into the blackness. Her eyes widened fearfully and he knew they were coming back.

"Come on," he took her arm and for a fraction she hesitated. "Itís okay," he said reassuringly.

They began running, but she was limping. He stopped, "Jump on my back, quick." She didnít need telling twice as he fled into the drainage tunnel.

Jemma began to whimper as the darkness enfolded her. "No, no!" She gasped struggling to get off him but he held her tightly and only let her down once they had reached the locked gates at the end.

"Whatís your name?" he asked.

"Jemma," her voice quivered.

"Trust me, then Jemma," and he glanced back into the darkness and knew they were still coming. She glanced backwards too and was terrified.

Jacob reached and in and pulled the hidden handle so the gate opened. only when it was shut he knew they were safe. He reached up for the torch and lit it with the lighter he had in his pocket. Normally he did not need the light, but knew the darkness would frighten her more and the light wasnít working.

It smelt damp and moss clung to the stones. He looked at Jemma who was slumped back against the wall. Her tear stained face and frightened eyes pulled at his heartstrings.

"W-what are you going to do with m-me?" she asked in barely a whisper.

"Nothing." he said, bending his long legs slightly so that he was eye level with her and she could see how truthful he was being. "Iím not going to do anything to you. This is a safe place. They canít get in. I can be trusted, do you believe me?"

She nodded and looked around. "What is this place and who are you?"

He could see she was looking at his hands again. He usually wore gloves when he went out, but had taken them off. Pale golden fur covered them and he had long ago stopped being self conscious or embarrassed by them. Jacob also knew he was going to be in big trouble. It was an unwritten rule never to bring strangers in here. "Iím going to take you out another way, make sure youíre safe."

She put her hands to her head in a dramatic fashion and said his words out loud, "Oh, Jacob, I am going to be in big trouble."

"Why?"

"Look at me? Iíve been in the park where I was told not to go. I had a row with my Mum; sheíll go mad when she sees me."

"What did you row about?" He thought of his own Mum, they rarely rowed because she was always working.

She was just about to tell him when a shadow fell over them, "I thought I heard voicesÖ" someone said and a figure loomed over them and just as quickly stepped back into the shadows. Vincent had not expected to see a stranger. The tunnels were sacred and outsiders were not to be brought in. It was hard to believe his son had broken the trust.

Jemma had caught sight of Vincent before he stepped back and had gasped. Jacob held up his hand for her to wait and stepped round the corner to speak to his father. There was something about Jacobís eyes that made her trust him and somehow she knew he would not harm her. She heard slightly raised voices and new he was getting into trouble for bringing her here.

Her father had taught her to face her demons, because the fear of them was always much greater. Taking a deep breath she stepped forward. "Please donít blame Jacob. I shouldnít have been in the Park. They just came from nowhere and Jacob saved me. Please donít be angry with him."

"This is a place of safety and it is only so because no one knows about it," said the hooded man whose face she thought she had imagined. His voice was deep and soft at the same time.

"Iím very sorry, please donít be angry."

"Iím not angry," the voice said and she believed him because his tone had a calming affect on her.

"Jacob will take you to another entrance away from the Park and make sure you get back safely."

"Thank you, I really appreciate it and I promise not to tell anyone about this."

"Jacob, Iíll see you when you get back."

"Okay, Dad."

Vincent disappeared into the shadows and Jacob looked at her "I guess weíre both in trouble today."

He carried the torch, which illuminated the walls and dark recesses. "Gosh how do you know about this place?" Jemma asked in awe.

"Iíve been here many times." He noticed she was limping. "Are you okay to walk?"

"Yeah. Why was your Dad down here?"

"He lives near here."

"In a tunnel?"

"No," he said laughing, and she began to laugh too. She like the way he smiled, if fact there was something about him which was different and it wasnít just that he was good looking. There was an aura about him that made him stand out.

"Where do you live?" he asked her.

"Iím staying at the Abbyshore Apartments, on Ö."

"I know it. I can take you to the basement of the building."

"Oh great. Thanks."

"If youíre staying there, where do you normally live? I can tell youíre not American."

"No, Iím English. Dad was English and Mum American from Boston. When Dad died a couple of years ago, Mum wanted to come home to Marblehead to be with her Mum, my Granny."

"Oh, Iím sorry."

"Itís okay. I didnít really want to come but," she sighed. "Ah, you donít want to hear my troubles."

"Yes I do, they say a trouble shared is a problem or something that," he said screwing up his face knowing heíd got it wrong again.

Jemma laughed, "A problem shared is a trouble halved, you mean."

"My Mom always points out my muddled phrases; I donít know why I use them," he said with a grin.

"Because I would imagine they make people smile and that canít be a bad thing."

He gave a little laugh, "Dad says something like that too. Anyway, I have a good listening ear."

"What? Only the one?" They both laughed again.

"You have a lovely laugh, you know?" he said

"A cackle, you mean. My Dad always said I cackled not laughed."

"You miss him donít you?"

"Yes, a lot. How do you know?"

"I just know."

She shook her head sadly. "Some days I still canít accept it and I know Mum canít"

"My Dad says people never really die, they live on inside you."

"Yes, sometimes I feel him speaking to me, does that sound daft?"

"No, its not daft." They turned down another maze of tunnels until eventually Jacob stopped at a metal ladder that was attached to the wall. "Can you climb it?"

"'Course I can! I was always good at climbing trees!"

"Even with a sprained ankle?" he pointed out.

"Ah, well, if it means facing my mother, no." And then she laughed again.

He grinned, "Iíll help you, you go first and Iíll be right behind you so you donít fall."

"Well, thereís an offer I canít refuse."

At the top he said, "Well, this is it, the basement of Abbyshore."

"Okay." She looked at him solemnly. "This is it then, I shall go and face the wrath of the dragon."

He laughed again, "Iím sure sheís not that bad."

"No, not really. She just finds it hard without my Dad and a sulky teenager doesnít help."

"Thatís because youíre hurting too."

"I know, but Iíve not had him as long as she has."

Jacob frowned, "Thatís not an excuse, Jemma. He was your Dad. You need to go and talk to her and tell her how youíre feeling."

"If sheíll listen."

"Iím sure she will, sheís your Mom and Iím sure she loves you too."

Jemma nodded, there was not much more to say. "Thank you." She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

He gave her a shy smile. "Before you go out, make sure no one sees you come from here, okay?"

She looked towards the door, "Okay." And when she turned back he had gone.