Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to "Red Eye"
Chapter 13: Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes
Lisa quickly flipped on the light and threw her wine-stained shirt back on. She tiptoed slowly and pressed her right ear to the bathroom door.
"You think she's alright?" Her step-dad asked.
"Oh she's just embarrassed I think. Lisa never wants to look unhinged." Her mother replied.
Lisa rolled her eyes.
"Jason, maybe you should go check on her again."
Lisa bit her lip she could hear his footsteps on the wooden floor approach the door.
"Lisa, babe can I come in?" Jason asked sweetly.
Lisa took a glance in the mirror. The guilt was practically written on her face. She thought she was past this. She thought she'd moved on. Jason is a great guy. She thought. Clearly he's more stable than Jackson. I'm sure I wouldn't ever fear for my life by association to Jason.
But something Jackson said weighed on her…he was good at that.
"Just don't trust him…until I know more about him."
Lisa shook the idea from her mind. Jason was practically a friend of the family. There's no way he could be dangerous. Jackson on the other hand, was a walking disaster. Like a surgeon general's label on cigarrettes, no matter how big the label, addicts still ignore it. Is that what I've become? An addict to a drug…a drug I just can't seem to quit? Lisa clenched her eyes shut tightly. One thing at a time. She thought. First, she had to deal with Jason. There was no way she could handle a proposal tonight.
"Sure you can…just…just hold on." She muttered as she wiped the tears off her face. There was no way he couldn't tell she was crying. She'd have to work with it. Lisa took a deep breath as she opened the door.
"Oh babe, what's wrong?" Jason gently stroked her cheek. It was all Lisa could do not to flinch.
"I uh, the…dinner just didn't agree with me. I guess it was mainly stress though..it's been a really long week." She spoke with such sadness. She almost believed her story herself.
" Aw you're sick? I'm sorry babe. I know having your mom and step-dad here wasn't the ideal Valentine dinner either…wasn't exactly romantic." He concluded as he made her a warm washcloth for her face.
"How bout I get rid of the dinner guests and get you to bed?"
Lisa smiled and nodded. "I'm sorry I'm not a very good date."
"You kidding me? It's not like you got sick on purpose…I'm sure we'll have plenty more romantic dinners in the future." He smiled and winked.
Lisa felt a pang of guilt as the irony of his compassion struck her.
"You…You're right…and yeah, I think it's best if I just go to bed."
The next two weeks were thankfully uneventful. Jason had been busy at work and Lisa made sure she was in the same situation. She'd gave Cynthia three nights off in a row for "personal time." She found herself making up excuses not to meet up with him. She felt as if she was a teenager again. Awkward, and not wanting to acutally deal with the situation at hand. But in truth, she cared for Jason and didn't want to break his heart. Yet, as each day passed, it became more and more an inevitability. She wasn't the girl he thought she was…she wasn't the girl she thought she was…Lisa began to lament herself more and more. Then that feeling she had long ago began rising up again. Now, more than ever she wished she could just run away from it all.
And one day at work it really hit her.
"Lise…" A raspy voice spoke to her she slowly looked up and saw beautiful blue eyes staring back at her.
"Excuse me…is your name Lise?" A delivery man asked.
The mirage of Jackson quickly faded. The man did have blue eyes. But no danger in them, no deep mysterious and soulful glance. Just a dutiful gaze.
"It's Lisa." She cleared her throat.
"This is for you.." the man handed her a bouquet of flowers.
"Thanks." Lisa slightly smiled as she signed for them.
She took a deep breath and read the card attached.
It's been entirely too long since I've seen that sexy grin.
Why don't we meet down at Pier 12 tonight for some dinner and drinks?
You can have White Wine this time.
Lisa found herself staring blankly at the note. She knew what this meant. Pier 12 was where they went on their first date. Tonight, Jason planned his second proposal attempt. She'd already felt compelled to run away but now, she was more than ready to bolt. And she was just about to when it hit her.
All her problems had risen from her running. First her leaving town to get away…that was just running from her feelings, her scars both visible and invisible. Next she and Jackson were running from the people that wanted to kill them. It all stopped when she came back…back and faced the police, her family, all the questions from both. Then it suddenly became clear. She wouldn't run. That was the old Lisa, the scattered Lisa. She was done running away from anything she didn't understand. And from anything that made her feel unusual or out of control.
Lisa quickly picked up the phone and dialed Jason's number.
"Hey, it's me."
"Hey Red, seems like forever good to hear your voice! You get my note?"
"And the flowers. Thank you."
"So, we on for tonight?"
"Actually, could you make it sooner? How about we meet for lunch?"
"Lunch? Yeah I think I could squeeze you in. Still want to go to Pier 12?…"
"Actually, you think we could go to Don's? I'm really craving a burger."
He hesitated a moment …but complied. "Sure, see ya there in fifteen?"
"Love you…" He remarked.
Lisa quickly hung up. She couldn't bare to say it back. Even though she felt she should.
Jason was already waiting when Lisa arrived. He was sitting at a private table facing the beach. He smiled and greeted her as she approached. Lisa took a deep breath.
"Was wondering if you were going to show up…" He teased as he tried to kiss her. Lisa slightly turned so he only managed to kiss her cheek. Jason wore a perplexed look on his face but seemed to brush it off.
"I ordered you a jalapeño burger, your favorite." He smiled.
"Thank you." She looked down at the cheeseburger. She wasn't anywhere near hungry. All she could think about was how she was going to tell him. How she was going to break it to him….
"So I was driving by Coastal Park the other day…" Jason started. " And there was this man in his front lawn with his kids. One boy and a little girl. He was hanging up a goal for his kids and I thought, man I've got to take a photo of this. Of course I wouldn't get any sort of profit but it was just one of those moments….So I went up to the man, introduced myself so he'd see I wasn't some kind of creepy guy that just wants to take pictures of people…he complied to take it…but said he couldn't because his wife wasn't home and it just wouldn't be a complete picture without his wife…." Jason swiftly grabbed Lisa's hand.
"Lisa, I want you to be that…."
"I can't." She quickly blurted out.
"You can't? You can't what?"
Lisa sighed heavily. "I can't marry you."
"What? How did you even know…how…Lisa.."
"I'm sorry." She began to cry. " I just, I thought I had moved on, I thought that I'd be able to start a new life I'm just ….It's just…"
"Lisa, we don't have to get married now…we can…"
"No." She shook her head. "No, I can't marry you. Not now not…not ever."
His grip on her hand quickly loosened.
"Lisa what are you saying? I thought, we were…"
"I'm so sorry." Her tears were falling more rapidly now.
"If there was one person I didn't want to hurt it would be you. You have been …you've went above and beyond. You've been patient and kind."
"Because I understand you've been through a lot. I mean, you told me about what happened a few years back…and then that horrific incident on that plane…and that killer."
Lisa almost laughed at the fact. It had been a hell of a long time since she'd referred to Jackson as a killer. But Jason was right. It was the truth. She was in love, in love with a killer. And here she was dumping a perfectly good guy, and for what? The prospect that someday, hopefully in the near future, Jackson's agency would stop trying to keep tabs on them and let them be. That they could finally be together. For real and for good. Even in her heightened state of emotional upheaval it still sounded absurd.
But one thing was for certain, she did love Jackson. And there was no way she could stay happy with Jason without longing for what could have been with Jackson.
"Lisa …I just don't understand what this is about. I mean, This is what people do, they get married. Nothing will change we'll still be our own…."
"Jason…I just can't. I'm too messed up right now. I'm in no state of mind to be in a serious relationship, let alone get married. I've done some reevaluating and I just can't be with you…I really like you but…"
"But you don't love me." Jason finished.
Tears swelled up in Lisa's eyes. She reached and grabbed his hand.
"I'm so sorry."
Jason was almost tearing up too. But he held it back.
"Hey, I guess I always kind of knew Red. It's just something about those eyes. Though I've always thought their glare a mystery, I guess I kind of always knew." He concluded.
"Whatever guy gets ya better be one hell of a catch." He remarked as he rose from the table. " I wish you happiness and I truly hope you find what you're looking for Lisa." Jason smiled and started to head off.
Lisa choked a little as she cried. She rose quickly and gave him a swift hug.
Jason said nothing. He simply nodded and walked away.
Lisa watched him as he walked to his car. Though she felt a gust of relief, she felt more a swell of shame. Jason was a good man..and she broke his heart for someone she wasn't even sure of his moral standing. Was Jackson a good man? A good man like Jason? Then she realized…it didn't really matter. Her respect for Jason could never amount to the love she had for Jackson. She couldn't help who she loved no more than she could help the outcome of the weather. She assumed that this was one of those life lessons everyone learns. You can't help who you love, but you can help how you chose to live your life. And Lisa was done going through the motions. One way or another, she'd figure out a way to see if Jackson truly felt the same.
Today, Lisa wouldn't be returning to work, she had another trip to go on. But this time, she was running towards, not away.