"Are you naturally that scruffy or does it come with practice?"
Sawyer's eye twitched as he followed the smug scientist back to Juliet's house. "You're really asking for it, aren't you?"
"Asking for what my southern friend?"
"My foot up your ass," Sawyer growled. "We don't have any time and you're here fooling around! She's already been hurt. The longer we take the more opportunities that son of a bitch has to hurt her!"
"You don't think I'm aware of that?" Roy stopped and turned to face him, his eyes filled with anger. "This is my only way of coping. The more I think of her pain, the more I won't be able to think straight. You're not the only one that loves her, you know."
"Keep moving," Sawyer said as he placed his hands on Roy's back and pushed him forward. "And you've got the wrong idea. I don't love her."
"You do," said Roy, leaving no room for argument. "You might not be ready to tell her yet, but I know you feel something for her. You look at her the same way I look at her."
"I sure as hell hope not," said Sawyer, shuttering. "You look pathetic when you look at her. "
"I'd rather be pathetic than a coward who's too afraid of my own feelings," Roy quipped as he climbed up the stairs to Juliet's home. He glanced down at the fallen door and back at James, shaking his head. "You did this, didn't you? With you around, she doesn't need psychopathic kidnappers to freak her out."
Sawyer pushed Roy again, nearly making him lose his balance. "You're lucky that you're helping me out or I would have wrung your neck by now."
"If you tried, I would break all your fingers," Roy said, smiling.
Somehow, Sawyer didn't doubt him for a second. There was something a little odd about the man in front of him. Nothing seemed to faze him.
He decided to change the subject. "Why do you like her, anyway? She doesn't seem to be your type."
"I would say the same about you," he retorted as he walked toward the living room, past the table with the copy of Alice and Wonderland on its surface. "I see the same things in her that you see, Jim. She's beautiful, kind, and strong. She doesn't judge a book by its cover and sees what lies beneath the surface."
Sawyer didn't answer. Roy was right, of course. Juliet was all of those things and more, but he wasn't about to admit it to a stranger when he had a hard time admitting to himself that he was beginning to see her that way.
Roy stopped abruptly right in front of the coat closet next to the kitchen. He stared at it, looking almost frightened.
"Is this it?"
Roy nodded but made no move to open the door.
"You sure you want to do this?" he asked, turning to Sawyer. "Whoever did this to her is probably not in her right mind."
Sawyer kicked the door down with his boot and quirked an eyebrow at him.
"Does that answer your question?"
Roy grinned at him. "And they say I have a flair for the theatrics."
He knelt down and pressed his palms to the back of the closet. He slid the wall to the side, revealing a stone staircase.
If Sawyer was surprised at this development, he didn't show it.
"Let's go get her," he said to Roy, holding his gun in front of him.
Roy nodded and followed Sawyer down the looming staircase He felt his heart jump out of his chest, cautioning him to turn back, to let Lafleur handle this on his own. But he knew he couldn't. He loved her and, even if she didn't love him back, he would never abandon her.
"You know, you look kind of familiar."
Juliet looked up. Her captor was staring at her eyes with an odd expression on her face.
"Like someone I used to know," she continued, pressing her finger to her chin. "Someone…someone I used to love."
"Did you tie her up too?" Juliet asked, rubbing her wrists up and down the splintered wood on the back of her chair. "Did you beat her up or am I just getting special treatment."
The woman turned to look at her and, in the moment, her red hair shone in the light, as if it were made of fire. It hurt Juliet's eyes to look at her, but her eyes were drawn to the woman's beauty. There was, indeed, something familiar about her.
"Why aren't you scared?"
"This isn't the first time I've been kidnapped," Juliet said, smirking. "And you're much less horrifying than my previous captor. He kept me for three years and you've only kept me for a few hours. He was evil; you're just insane."
"How dare you…" the woman seethed.
As she approached her, Juliet saw something in the corner of her eye. She quickly glanced to her left, and saw Roy and James inching down the steps behind the woman.
"Yeah," she said, taunting her, "You're crazy and vulnerable and weak. You were never going to kill either of us were you?"
The woman snarled, and knelt down to face Juliet.
"You bitch! You really want me to kill you, don't you?"
She raised her hand to slap her and Juliet didn't flinch. She only waited for her hand to connect violently with her cheek.
Her hand never reached Juliet's face. Instead she turned around to face Sawyer and Roy.
Sawyer glared at him. "You know this woman? I trusted you, you son of a—"
Roy held up a hand to silence her. "Do you know who she is?"
"I don't give a damn who she is," Maria seethed. She pulled Juliet's hair causing her to bit her lip. "She's not the one I'm after. "
"Then let her go!" said Sawyer, cocking his gun. "Or so help me, I'll make you wish you were dead."
"I'm already dead," she said, pulling a gun out of her pocket and pressing the cold metal against Juliet's temple. "You've destroyed everything I ever loved. Now I'm going to kill the one you love."
"I don't love her," Sawyer said, shaking his head. "She means nothing to me. Go ahead and kill her if you want."
"What are you—" Roy began to say.
"I don't believe you," Maria said with narrowed eyes. "I've been watching and listening to the two of you for months. I hide in the closet of her bedroom sometimes. Somedays, she wakes up screaming and you'll kiss her forehead."
She moved the gun to the center of Juliet's forehead as she spoke, gripping her shoulder with one hand.
"You care about her," she mocked him, smiling cruelly. "She makes you happy, doesn't she? You're not alone anymore, not miserable anymore."
"Look," said Sawyer, feeling quite disturbed. "I don't know who the hell you are. I don't know how you know me, but whoever you think I am, I'm not him."
"SHUT UP!" she screamed, now pointing the gun at him. "I know who you are. You killed my husband. You are a murderer."
There was a short silence in which the two of them just stared at each other. Then, Sawyer shook his head, smiling.
"I did no such thing."
"You're a filthy liar," Maria said, pressing the gun to Juliet's temple once again, much harder than the first time. "I saw you. I followed my husband to the clearing. I was supposed to keep watch while he captured that woman. You and this bitch appeared out of nowhere and you …you shot my husband."
My people need some kind of justice. What are you going to do about that?
It seemed like such a long time ago that he'd sat with Richard on that bench explaining the deaths of his people. Self-defense, he'd called it. He never even thought that those people they'd killed had a family back home. To him, they were just the same others that had captured and murdered them.
"Have you ever been in love, James?" Maria whispered. "Have you ever loved someone so much that you'd do anything for them? I feel that way about my husband. I love him and I'm going to avenge him."
"Maria," said Roy, inching closer to her. "I know you're hurt and I can't possibly understand how you feel, but this woman you're trying to kill. She's—"
"I don't care who the fuck she is!" she exclaimed. Her blue eyes looked wild as she looked at him. "Can't you see? I've lost everything. I've been planning this for months. Do you think I would have seduced that brute of a security guard if I was just going to change my mind! You… you took my sister away from me! What makes you think I'm going to listen to you?"
"She's Erica's daughter!" he shouted, placing his gun on the ground. "Do you really want to kill one of your own?"
Juliet's eyes widened and she looked up at Roy then back to Maria. She wondered what on earth her mother had to do with all of this. She was years in the future, away from all of this. How did both of these people know her?
"You expect me to believe that this woman is Erica's daughter?" Maria laughed aridly. "I wasn't born yesterday. The child was but a baby when she left. She can't already be a full-grown woman. It's impossible."
"Look into her eyes," said Roy. "They're your eyes. They're her eyes."
Maria looked into Juliet's eyes, making the latter feel a little uncomfortable. She wondered what was going on in Roy's mind and how he knew her mother. She would ask him if they got out of this situation alive.
"Erica," she whispered. She held Juliet's face, the cold metal of her gun caressing her cheek. "You're Erica's child… you're my niece."
Juliet wanted to scream, wanted to tell her to get her hands off of her. She couldn't be related to this woman. She was deranged. Roy was bluffing and was surprisingly good at it.
"What have I done to you?" she whispered, wiping some of the blood off of Juliet's cheek. "I knew you looked familiar. You look just like her. Just as strong, just as beautiful… just as foolish."
She stood up and pointed her gun at Sawyer once more. "I will not harm her. She is family. I'll take her back to the camp… right after I kill you."
"You've lost your bargaining chip, Bonnie," he said, "Now that I know she's safe, there's nothing holding me back. Should have played your cards bet—"
She quickly pulled a gun out of her pocket and shot him in the hand. He dropped his gun and fell to the floor, gripping his hand in pain.
"Don't worry," Maria said, reassuringly to her. "It's not a real bullet I've only paralyzed his hands. He's not worthy of you; he's a murderer and murderer's deserve to be punished."
She aimed her real gun at his forehead. "So long. I hope you burn in hell, you miserable son of a—uuugh!"
Juliet, who had finally managed to break out of her ropes, landed a swift kick to Maria's head. Her captor fell to the ground, the gun clattering across the floor.
"James," she said, stepping over Maria's body and kneeling down to wrap her arms around his shoulders. "James… I really thought I'd never see you again. I should have known you'd be stupid enough to try and rescue me."
"I'm sure you say that to all your saviors," he retorted, his voice gruff. He wrapped his arms around her middle and pulled her closer so his head was buried in her shoulder. "I thought you were already dead. I shoulda known you're too stubborn to die, and too strong to need savin'."
Juliet released Sawyer, feeling a little embarrassed at her sudden display of emotion. Sawyer didn't seem to care. He still held her loosely in his arms, as if she would disappear if he let her stray.
"Thank you, Roy," Juliet said, smiling at him. "That was some mighty quick thinking there. How did you come up with such a story? How did you know my mother's name?"
"It wasn't a story, Juliet," he said, his smile falling suddenly. "That woman… she's your aunt. Lafleur shot your uncle."
"Did you really have to mention that?" said Sawyer, who sounded annoyed. "If you think that's going to win you some points—"
"Juliet, you were born on this Island," Roy said, cutting him off. "The hostiles are your people. This is your home and time has brought you here."
Juliet shook her head, "That doesn't make any sense. I was born in Miami. I've lived there all my life. I don't remember this place at all."
"You were a baby," he said, smiling softly as he reminisced. "I helped your mother hide from the others. I helped take care of you and her sister. You lived in this very basement. You loved it when I sang "Downtown". I always felt silly, but it alwys made you stop crying and fall asleep so it didn't matter anymore."
"This is so bizarre," Juliet said, holding her head in her hands. "I need time to comprehend this—"
"Lafleur! LOOK OUT!"
Roy jumped in front of the two of them. The sound of a gunshot pierced the air. Then silence.
Juliet looked down at the blood that stained her nightgown. Her hands began to shake as her eyes traveled downward to the body that had handed in her lap.
"Roy," she pleaded, her voice shaky. "Roy, are you alright? That's my blood, isn't it? Please tell me it's mine."
He stared up at her, his green eyes a bit glassy. His hand covered his chest, where he'd been shot.
"It ain't your blood, Juliet," Sawyer said, placing a hand on her shoulder in reassurance.
She shrugged it off.
"Roy…" she was pleading, but there were no tears falling down her cheeks. She was in shock. "You're okay. You're fine."
"Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city," he started. "Sing with me."
"Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty," she sang, her voice cracking. "How can you lose?"
"The lights are much brighter there. " He lifted a hand to touch her cheek. "You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares."
"And go Downtown, things will be great when you're down town, no finer place for sure, downtown," his hand fell to the ground, lifeless. She continued, in a whisper, "Everyone's waiting for you."
She sat there for a while, holding his body in her hands in complete disbelief. Maria stood over them, her face looking equally shocked.
"Take me in," she said to Sawyer, suddenly. She looked at Juliet sadly. "I…I think I've caused enough suffering."
"I've got to take care of her first," he said, shaking his head. "I don't care what you do, you can turn yourself in. I know I killed your husband, and I'm sorry for causing you pain. But for what you've done to Juliet, I'll never forgive you. If I ever see you come near her again, I'll kill you."
She walked over to her and pulled Roy's body out of her hands.
"I'm going to go bury him," she said, looking at Sawyer. "I'm turning myself in, but I can't promise I won't come see her again. She needs to know her family and I will be the one to show her when she's ready.
"The hell you won't!" Sawyer shouted at her. "Just get the hell out of here. I don't want to ever see your face again."
"Likewise," Maria agreed. She turned to face Juliet, who was still looking at her hands as though she were holding a body. "You will come see me when you're ready. You will see me of your own free will and I will be waiting for you."
"I will never forgive you for this," Juliet said, glaring at her. "I never want to see you again."
"But you will," she said cryptically, before ascending the stairs, disappearing from view.
"Juliet…" He walked towards her, holding out a hand.
She didn't take it. Instead, she walked right past him and up the stairs without saying a word.
"How did I manage to miss all that action," Miles said, after listening to Sawyer's story. "That Maria sounds hot."
"Did you hear what I said?" Sawyer felt himself getting angry at his friend for being so insensitive. "Roy is dead. He saved my life. Maria killed him."
"Yeah, and?" Miles shrugged. "I hear dead people all the time. I'm a little desensitized. I can't help it. He's been shouting nonsense to me about Juliet and her family for hours."
The anger was gone as quickly as it had come. Sometimes Sawyer forgot that Miles could hear the dead because he was so nonchalant about it.
"Don't tell Juliet," Sawyer told him urgently. "She'll go traipsing into the jungle and do something reckless."
"She's been doing that for years and you've been doing that for months," Miles quipped. "I'm not going to tell her, but she's not a child, Jim. The truth has an awful way of coming out."
Sawyer rolled his eyes. He did not need advice from his sarcastic equivalent.
"Where is Juliet, have you seen her?"
Sawyer sighed. "I haven't. I've been lookin' all day. I hope she hasn't gone and done something stupid."
"Give her some credit," Miles said, shaking his head. "Aside from being pretty attractive, she's smart. She's not you."
"Thanks for the moral support," he said sardonically. "What would I ever do without you?"
Miles got up and patted Sawyer's shoulder. "You would be really bored."
"See you tomorrow, Miles," said Sawyer, chuckling.
"You too, Jim."
He closed the door behind him. In the silence of Juliet's living room, he let his walls break down. His fingers started drumming against the table nervously as he looked at the silver clock on the side table. It read 11:00.
This was ridiculous. He wasn't her father. She had the right to do whatever the hell she wanted. She was a grown woman.
However, he still worried for her, wondered if she okay, if she'd been attacked or if she had done something reckless. If anything, they were friends. He had a right to worry about his friends. Especially the ones he had sort-of-feelings-for.
The door swung open and Juliet stumbled in, holding the walls around her for support.
"Juliet," Sawyer said, standing up and walking toward her. "Where the hell have you been?"
"Drinking," she replied honestly. "And drinking, and drinking…"
She fell into him, leaning on his body for support.
"I got to get you to bed," he said, hoisting her arm over his shoulder and leading her to her room.
"Mmmm," was all she said.
He knelt down and began removing each of her shoes and her socks, placing them at the foot of her bed. He knew she was particular about that.
He sat down next to her and pulled back the covered, prepared to out her under them, but Juliet wasn't having it.
"Have I-have-I…" a hiccup, "ever told you just how handsome you are?"
"No," said Sawyer smirking. "I thought you would never tell me that. I can't believe those words are coming out your mouth, Julie—"
She pulled his head down to hers and his lips crashed against her own. Her tongue slipped through his lips expertly, as she buried her hands in his hair.
If someone had told him Juliet Burke could kiss like this, hell, he would have kissed her a long time ago. She disarmed him with her innocence sometimes and with her coldness other times. The warmth of her lips, her body, her fingers—it was overwhelming, surprising, sexy.
His hands removed her shirt on their own. He had done this so many times, he didn't even think about it anymore. It was different somehow, it was more exciting because he had liked her, wanted her for a while and had not had the immediate gratification he was used to.
Her fingers unbuttoned his shirt too, her lips never leaving his, her hands never wavering. She was no novice either.
His hands caressed the curve of her sides and his fingers hooked behind the back of her bra, preparing to unhook it in one swift movement.
He felt salt on his lips for the second time that day and he pulled away, lifting her chin with his finger.
"Aw, shit, Juliet," he said, astonished. "You're crying."
She kissed him again, this time more desperately, less confidant. He pulled away again and placed his hands firmly on her shoulders.
"You're crying," he said again, this time his voice was firm. "Did you think I wouldn't notice?"
She wiped away her tears furiously with her arm. For the first time since he'd met her, she looked small, almost frightened, as if some one had stolen all of her confidence. He found it refreshing to know that her shell was capable of breaking, yet he knew he never wanted to see her like this again.
He sighed and pressed his back against the headboard. "Come here."
She crawled over, sitting next to him. He shook his head and pulled her over so she was laying against him, her head pressed against his chest.
"My father used to do this," she said, listening to his heart beating in his chest.
"Well, I ain't your daddy," he said chuckling.
"James," she said after a pregnant pause, "Remember that Billy Joel song about dying young?"
"You know that song is about having sex, not dying, right?"
"Don't ruin that song for me," she said. "You already ruined "Little Red Corvette"."
"That one was obvious," he said chuckling. "I knew what that meant when I was eight."
"You were a perverse child," she said, simply. "Back to Billy Joel. Why do good, innocent people die at a young age?"
"That ain't true Blondie," he said, running his hand down her hair. "If it were true, you'd be gone a long time ago, and you and I would never have met."
"But I'm not good," she said, her voice taking a sleepy lilt. "I'm a bad person."
"I don't believe it," he said, pressing his chin against the crown of her head. "Roy didn't believe it either. He…he loved you, Juliet. Even if you don't think you have any good left in you. He saw the good in you, I see the good in you. It makes me sick to see you this way and he's probably rolling in his grave as you're talkin' like this."
"When did you get so good at this?" she asked, looking up at him. "I always thought you'd be crap at giving pep talks."
He raised an eyebrow. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Simon."
"I knew you watched that show!"
"Don't act like you didn't."
"I'm not the one who vehemently denies it when asked."
"I never make fun of you for being a dork, and watching Star Trek."
She smiled. "That's because you watched it too. I was more of a Star Wars fan myself. Dressed up like Leia for Halloween."
"I was eight." She giggled. "It wasn't the outfit you're thinking of. I could never pull that off."
"You can now," he said, eyeing her half-naked body suggestively.
"That movie doesn't come out until 1983."
"Damn. I'll think of something before Halloween rolls around. Maybe you can be a nudist."
Juliet closed her eyes, listening to the steady beat of his heart again, the rhythm lolling her to sleep.
"You really scared me today." He began to stroke her hair again. "I thought you were dead. I thought I was scared because I didn't want to be alone. It wasn't that. I was afraid I'd never get to do this again. Talk to you about… Star Wars and kinky Halloween outfits. I'd never get the chance… to give this thing a shot. "
He sighed again. "I ain't got the courage to ask you out. Not yet. But I know I want to even though the thought scares the hell out of me. That I might hurt you, that I'm not good enough for you. I ain't got the best track record, but I think… I think I'll do right by you, Juliet. I just need time."
"We've got time," she said before drifting off to sleep.
As he held her tighter, he hoped to God that she was right.
Sorry this took AGES. School is really hard and I've got a lot happening. I'll try to update when I can, but I'm not going to force it. I'll write when I can. I'm actually thinking of making this 60 or 75 chapters instead of 100 because it's going to take me ages to finish. I want this to be long but not THAT long. I had that limit when my chapters were 1,000 words on average. Now they are about 4,000-6,000 words, so that limit is unreasonable.
The inspiration for this chapter comes from Elton John's song "Sacrifice." I love that song !!!!
Anyways, let me know what you think, and sorry again for the long wait!