Once more, this is Jack's POV. You really will not know everything or find out for sure what happens outside his own perspective. By now, this final part, I am sure you have accepted it. :) Thank you for your kindness.
When was the boy ever going to tire?
Jack meandered through the throng of people as crowding about the ferry station, jampacked as the docks were on that week of celebration. It had not taken long for the Bass lawyers to wrangle them out of jail, although it was slow work comparatively given how many people they needed to sign off had already gone on holiday. The effort had been so exhausting that when he heard his nephew propose to the lawyer to help him delay Jack's release, Jack had not been worried of the outcome. Anyone would push back on additional work on a Chinese New Year.
While finagling the release of two disruptive foreigners had been relatively easy, tracking down a lone foreign woman amidst the city was more difficult. But money talked. Jack understood the way of the world. Chuck had appeared repulsed at the thought of allowing Jack to help him out and did his own search by himself.
"Go back to Australia, Jack," his nephew told him, his voice soft, more threatening than if the words had been shouted at him. "Rot in hell."
And his eyes slitted. "I'll see you there," he answered easily.
"She's not yours." Not like every last good thing Jack ever wanted. This time was different. This time he was the one who won.
Chuck set his jaw. "I'll let her tell me that."
And even then they ended up walking the same streets, scouring the same markets, checking the same flights.
She was running because of Chuck. She was trying to get away from the boy.
And the spoiled little brat just could not take a hint. Jack kept a close eye on Chuck, standing several yards away, watching as he pored through flight schedules from a little leaflet and called the airport. Jack watched as Chuck's face grew red with impatience as he struggled to chop his English into distinct syllables, turn his sentences into barely there phrases. Causeway Bay was empty despite the hundreds of thousands who littered the streets.
She never booked a flight out of Hong Kong. Jack followed close as Chuck swung into the sky train and raced behind the boy towards the Tsim Sha Tsui ferry station. The boy had found her. It was apparent in the purposeful stride that carried Chuck to the dock. Jack broke into a run, stood on the elevated walkway in full view of the river.
He had been there before. The exact same dock, only now it was no longer unfamiliar. But the water was the same, restless and violent as the wind chopped the top and created crests of foam and white. He sucked in his breath, because this was the water that ate her all up and swallowed her.
"S'alright, man. River's just like that in January. Nothin' to be concerned about, mate."
Jack turned and glared at the suntanned backpacker who had reassured him. He despised it when lone travelers like him, easygoing folks who wore shorts and bore knapsacks twenty hours a day, thought it was fine to speak casually to him just because they seemed both out of place in the foreign land. He scowled, and the backpacker shrugged and strolled away.
Jack glared back at the murky water. They would ebb into the South China Sea. He had never seen anything so ugly as the perfect scenery in front of him.
It was just like the dream.
She wasn't going to let him save her. She was going to twist and fight and suck in the water until she drowned. And he was going to be left still looking up at her floating corpse.
Jack gripped the rail in front of him. The view was spectacular on the day he would watch her die.
There was a yell below him, and it unfolded like a low budget film. One man pointed towards the ferry that was right at the center, and Jack was in the best location to see the smoke curling like black snake against the vibrant cumulous sky. The flurry of activity onboard seemed harried and frenetic. He needed binoculars. It would be the first time he would watch firsthand how people were when they were fighting for survival.
His gaze snapped back to Chuck down below. The boy was every typical human being in the planet. For all his money, he never evolved. Chuck was one with the crowd who elbowed his way towards port authority, tried to fight his way into the crush that would not budge, cursing and spitting as he squeezed his way from one direction to the other.
Jack had such a higher regard for the boy, given the advantages he had had. But when it truly mattered, when he needed to shine, Chuck was a blubbering idiot who went with the flow.
Jack turned back to the fantastic scene that would be burned in his head forever, right alongside the image of Blair naked and letting herself get screwed by the clueless boy below. Yellow inflatable life rafts had been thrown overboard, and the ferry, clearly over capacity titled to the right at the opposite side of the licking flames.
It started on New Year's, and how appropriate that it would end on New Year's.
The boats were full; and even then he saw with crystal clarity how half of the passengers still remained in the rapidly sinking ferry. Even more, Jack saw splash after splash as toy people dove into the January river, into the violent undercurrents and freezing temperature.
His dream ended with him sinking into the bottomless river, but he was so far from the plank it would be impossible to dive in.
And the seconds rolled into minutes, the minutes into a quarter of an hour, and with every bright sunshine-colored lifeboat that they pulled in, with every boy and girl and woman they lifted up from the water, Jack felt a little of himself release, felt the coil unravel. He shook his head at the sight of his nephew struggling towards where the passengers sat trembling and cold and scared, trying to catch a glimpse then turn away.
The elated cries of the waiting people burst with every boat that arrived, and the sight and the sounds grew almost tiresome that Jack tuned them out.
Until one voice pierced through his brain.
His eyes snapped towards the very end of the pier, where she was huddled in a thick oversized blanket that she dropped onto the ground. Chuck stopped and turned towards the sound. And burst into a classless run.
She stood rooted to her spot. When the boy stopped in front of her, she threw her arms around him, grasping frantically at his back, almost clawing at the jacket the boy wore. "I thought I was gonna die," she gasped. She squeezed her eyes shut and laid her cheek on his shoulder, and Jack could see, in such close focus right below him, the look on her face.
It was not a face he would remember. It was a look he would forget as soon as he saw it.
Please. He needed to forget it.
Chuck picked up the discarded blanket and threw it over her shoulders, then wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her along with him.
"Wait," she said softly.
Jack straightened, then leaned over the rail.
And he just knew she would want to know. She would need to figure out how to get to him.
"In hell," Chuck growled.
She reached up a hand, cupped his cheek. For the briefest of moments, Jack could see the way her thumb moved in a gentle rolling circle on his cheekbone. And then she drew her hand away. Chuck followed for a brief moment until the contact was lost. "I'm sorry. I can't be with you, not after what I did."
That was right. She had to be with him, not a pathetic high school child who was half the man he was.
"I'm so ashamed," she finished.
The lying little whore, pretending she didn't enjoy it the way she obviously did.
The boy grabbed the hand that she had retracted, raised her palm to his lips so he could press a kiss on her skin. "He doesn't exist anymore. Blair, I lo—"
The wind and the river and the people below him, their noises were thunder. They drowned out the words the boy shared. Chuck said more, but Jack heard nothing. It was virtual monologue, and she listened with rapt attention, but Jack couldn't even see her face. The sun was too bright, and the water reflect too much of it he was blinded.
If it wasn't for the world around him, he told himself, he would have paid closer attention.
But it was the wind and the river and all the insensitive people bawling and screaming and the siren all around them. And it was the sun and the water and he was just completely deaf and blind.
Jack pressed his knuckles against his tightly closed eyes. She had fucking drowned, her sightless eyes the very focal point of his memory's eye. Jack sucked in a large breath, and another, and another. But like his dream he was sinking into the very bottom, and there was no air down there, nothing to see, nothing to hear but the pulsing blood in his ears.
He couldn't breathe without choking.
There was nothing for them, nothing but lies and misery. Chuck never deserved her. She would never turn the boy into a man.
Whatever this was going to be, he wished they crashed and burned.