"Don't you just love the sticky snow? It's perfect for snowballs and-Jack? Jack. Jack!" she shouted, waving her arm in front of his face.
"Huh?" He shook his head. "Oh yeah, Razz, that sounds great," he murmured.
She groaned and rolled her eyes. "Glad I could count on you to give me an honest opinion."
Jack pulled her into his arms. "Don't you ever get sick of winter Lauren?"
"Sure. What normal person doesn't?"
He smiled. "I've been thinking about the band a lot lately and I think we're going to try and record an album."
"That's awesome Jackie! I'm so happy for you!" she exclaimed, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Laur, we want to go to LA to do it," he stated. "Will you come with me?"
"Why?" she asked, too stunned to respond intelligently.
"Because we've been living together for a year and a half, you're my girlfriend and I'd like your support, oh and because I love you silly," he replied, kissing her nose.
"But LA is on the other side of the country Jack. Won't you miss your family?" she inquired.
"Razz, it's only Jerry and ma. Ma would want me to go and Jerry has his family to keep him busy. Come on it's a no brainer! Let's move to LA and soak up the sun," he urged, pulling her pelvis against his and kissing her neck.
She pushed him off. "Jack, stop. I can't leave Detroit. I have school."
"So transfer! Honestly Lauren, there's nothing you'll be missing. You said so yourself all those years ago. Nothing happens in this town except the shit my brothers and I do. Since they're all gone...nothing will happen," Jack stated.
Lauren bit her bottom lip. "There's no snow in LA," she whispered.
All the features on his flawless face softened. "We'll come back every December. I know how much it means to you. It's special to me too Razz."
"You'd do that? You'd spend December here, just so I'd come to LA with you?" She began to chew on the corner of her lip.
Jack pulled his glove off and placed his thumb on her lower lip. "Don't. You're lips are too beautiful for eating."
"I love you Jack. I don't want to lose you," she said, her voice cracking under the pressure of her fear.
He smiled. "So come with me. We're only twenty Razz. We've got plenty of time to grow up."
"Jack...give me some time to think about it. I'd have to leave school," she explained.
"Transfer Razz, transfer. They have art courses and theatre courses in LA. You wouldn't miss a thing," he said.
"Just give me a couple of days, alright?"
"Alright, but I already know you'll think about it for ten minutes and say yes," he taunted, kissing her lips.
She laughed and resumed their walk. "Oh you think you know me so well Jack."
"Only because I do, Razzie."
"I thought we discussed you calling me Razzie?"
"What're ya gonna do? Cut me off?" he asked. "Yeah good luck because you can't resist me."
"You've got it backwards Mercer. YOU can't resist ME," she stated, wiggling her hips.
"Careful. If you do that again, I may be tempted to lay you in the snow," he threatened.
"You don't scare me Jack Mercer," she said, crouching down to tie her shoe and grab a handful of snow.
"Well I should; I'm a Mercer. Didn't you hear? We're not a force to be messed with."
"I'm wary of which side of you I should be afraid of. The side that climbs on chairs when spiders crawl across the kitchen floor? What about the side that cries at the end of Titanic? Oh maybe it's the side that covers his eyes and screams when we watch horror movies," she laughed, throwing her snowball and hitting him square in the face.
"You're dead girl," he said, running after her. "And lots of guys are scared of spiders! It's a well shared phobia!"
"But I bet they don't cry like ten year old girls when Jack dies in the end of Titanic!" she shouted, rounding the corner.
"I only cry because that part is SAD! We can't all be robots who don't feel feelings!" he teased, closing the gap between them.
He tackled her as she crossed into their backyard. Her books flew from her arms into the fresh snow. They began to laugh, oblivious to the world around them. Fat flakes of sticky snow continued to fall, covering their forgotten possessions in a thin layer of fluff. They threw snowballs, made snow angels and gave each other snowbaths. LA and school were forgotten, because in that moment, being kids again was more important to them.
Lauren sat on top of Jack as he made a snow angel. "I love you," she whispered.
He propped himself up on his elbows. "I love you too Razz."
"If I didn't have you in my life, I don't know what I'd do," she said, leaning down and kissing him.
"Marry me Lauren," he murmured, so quietly she almost didn't hear him.
"There's no one else I'd rather spend forever with," she replied.
"So come with me," he whispered, placing a cold hand on the side of her face and brushing snow from her chestnut hair with the other.
His gentle, loving touch sent shivers racing down her spine. "OK Jack. I'll go to LA with you."
He grinned. "Told ya you'd think about it for ten minutes and say yes."
"Don't be so smug buddy. Would you rather I say no and start dating Bobby?" she asked.
"You don't have the stomach to date my brother. Empty threats my lover. Empty threats," he replied, laying back in the snow.
She stood up. "I'll have you know that I had a giant crush on him when we were kids. In fact, I even liked him more than you."
"Please don't bring it up," he groaned.
"I think we should pick up our crap before it's totally trashed by the snow," she said, marching across the yard to her fallen school books and tote bag.
Jack jumped up and ran over to his guitar. "I hope it's OK. It's my only one," he muttered.
"When you're rich and famous, you can buy sixteen guitars!" she exclaimed, scooping her books from the snow.
Her flashed her a wide smile and picked the instrument up. "Dare to dream baby."
(there should be asterixes here to symbolize a change in time)
Lauren poked her eggs with a fork and wrinkled her nose. The warm winter sun filtered through the sheer curtains, tickling the back of her neck and licking up the darkness of the floor. She was unaware ofthe audience watching her disregard her breakfast. The gaze took in her newly gaunt figure, silently begging her to eat. But Lauren couldn't will herself to bring the fork to her mouth. Food had no appeal to her and hadn't for the last two weeks. Her loss of appetite coincided with Jack's abrupt departure for LA.
"Lauren, please eat something," Jerry urged, looking up from his newspaper.
She put her fork down and stared into the plate of eggs. "Why didn't he wait for me? He always waited for me. I was going to go with him. I was going-I was going to fucking give up snow for him!"
Jerry set the paper down. "Jackie is an asshole sometimes Lauren. When he has problems, he runs from them."
"When did I become a problem to him?" she asked, tears spilling from her eyes and into the forgotten eggs.
The phone rang, and Jerry stood up to answer it. "Hello?"
Lauren buried her face in her hands and sobbed. "I miss him so much."
"Hold on man. I doubt she'll want-alright!" Jerry sighed. "Lauren...it's Jack."
"Give me that phone," she whispered, holding out her hand.
Jerry placed the phone in her open palm. "I'll go read this in the living room."
"What the fuck do you want Jack Mercer?" she growled.
"Lauren, I want to say-"
"If you're going to try and apologize to me, I'll hang up on you, you bastard. I packed my bags, I transferred my semester and I even gave up snow. And you fucking left me behind" she snarled.
"I had to leave! The guys were ready to go and you had to finish up your tests. I still want you here with me. I miss you Razz," he explained.
"You didn't say a single damn word, Jack! You left, which led me to believe you didn't want me. If I'm so important to you, why didn't you tell me that before you left? You know what? Take Los Angeles and shove it Jack. I'm not leaving Detroit for you," she spat.
"Please don't say that Lauren," he pleaded. "I need you here."
"The only reason I'm going to LA is because I can't lose a semester," she said, almost cracking at the sadness in his voice.
"So you'll come?" he asked, not bothering to mask the hope behind his words.
"You left me Jack."
"I would never do that. I called everyday for you, but you were never there. Lauren Jansmen I love you and I will marry you," he explained.
The corners of her mouth twitched upwards in a smile. "I'll come to LA if you come to Detroit and get me," she said flatly, doing a much better job at hiding her feelings from him.
"Laur, you know I can't just leave the guys to go and fetch you from Detroit," he sighed.
"Then enjoy LA. Enjoy the women pumped full of silicone and botox," she snapped, hanging up the phone.
Jerry re-entered the kitchen. "What are you going to do about school?"
"I'm going to LA. But I'm not going to be with him. He blew it," she sighed, stabbing her eggs. "The first time he calls in two weeks and-"
"He called everyday, hoping to catch you. But I think the time difference screwed up his schedule, because you were always in class," he confessed.
Lauren frowned. "That still doesn't change what he did. You can't just leave your girlfriend of four years without saying a single word."
"I know that, but you're the only real girlfriend Jackie's had. I don't think he quite has the rules figured out."
"Well he has a week to figure them out. After that, I'm gone back to school," she sighed. "I have to go pack some more. Thanks for breakfast Jerry."
"You didn't touch the damn eggs!" he called to her retreating form.
"It's the thought that counts!" she called back, pulling on her coat and boots.
Six days passed without a single word from Jack. Lauren still refused to eat, immersing herself in packing and school books instead. Evelyn grew more worried each day that passed, but said nothing. She had been secretly hoping Jack would come to his senses and fly back to get her; to save her from the sorrow the city surrounded her with. But he had never showed up. Lauren sat in the Mercer kitchen now on her last day, watching Evelyn wrap up a care package for her.
"I really wish you'd eat something Lauren. You'll be skin and bones before you even make it through a month of school," she sighed, wiping her hands on the dish towel.
Lauren chuckled. "Well I'll fit right in with the girls in my class then."
Evelyn glanced up at her. "I really thought he'd come for you."
"So did I Miss Evelyn." She slapped the surface of the table and stood. "I should go. I have a few last minute errands to run before Jerry picks me up."
"Don't forget to call when you land. No matter what time it is. Leave a message if I don't answer, just so I know you're safe," she commanded in a soothing tone.
Lauren took the care package and kissed her cheek. "Of course. Thank you for everything Miss Evelyn. I'll be back in December."
Lauren trudged through the snow towards the house she had shared with Jack not more than a month ago. A fresh wave of unshed tears washed into her dull green eyes, but she blinked them away. She pushed the front door open. The loneliness slapped her in the face when she saw her duffel bags in the front hall. 'Jack should be here, carrying my bags out to the car. We should be making this trip together,' she thought, wiping tears from her eyes. A sad sigh passed through her lips as she set the care package next to the bags. She kicked her boots off and marched upstairs to take a hot shower. She had barely stepped out from under the scalding water when the doorbell rang fifteen minutes later. Grabbing the towel and wrapping it around her wet body, she bounded down the stairs. She flung open the door, unaware of who would be on the other side.
"You're a bit early Jer. My plane doesn't leave for another four hours," she panted. But it wasn't Jerry who stood in the doorway.
"Lauren I-why are you in a towel?"
Lauren couldn't make her mouth form the right words, so all she said to him was: "You're late."
He smiled and ran his fingers through his shaggy hair. "It's a long drive from LA to Detroit. But I'm here."
She threw herself onto him, wrapping her arms and legs around his svelte frame. "Don't you ever leave me without saying goodbye again. Do you hear me Jack Mercer? Don't you ever do that again."
He held her tight to his body as he tried to fight his tears. "Never. Never again Razz. I'm so sorry I took that trip without you."
She pulled back and looked at him. "I thought you wouldn't come," she whispered.
Jack wiped her tears away with the pad of his thumb. "I thought you wouldn't be here. I called ma last night and she said you were leaving. I was so worried I'd miss you."
"Oh Jack Mercer you are so stupid for leaving me," she breathed, burying her faced in his neck and breathing in his familiar scent.
"If you think that I could be forgiven, I wish you would," he sang, inhaling the fresh scent of her shampoo.
"My favourite song," she whispered.
He continued to sing to her "If you think you might come to California...I think you should"
She joined in. "Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m. and talked a little while about the year"
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower, makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her," the sang together.
Lauren started to laugh. "We are such a lame couple"
He shrugged. "It doesn't bother me at all. But maybe you should let me into the house, because you're only wearing a towel and your plane doesn't leave for four hours," he stated, wiggling his eyebrows.
"Carry me upstairs then Jack and you can have your way with me," she teased.
"Fuck that," he said, stepping into the house and kicking the door shut. "The kitchen is closer"
"The kitchen! Jack I just cleaned the kitchen!" she protested.
"Well you're gonna have to clean it again," he said, kissing her mouth to silence her protests.
"I am going to marry you," she whispered in between kisses.
"I can't wait," he breathed, laying her gently on the kitchen table.