I finally managed another chapter. I felt I was making things too complicated and got demotivated for a while. But the outline for chapter 19 is pretty much ready, so hopefully that will follow soon. A few more chapters and this story will be finished! Thanks to everyone who is still reading.
How on earth were they going to make this decision? And really… this wasn't a joint decision they had to reach. This was one for each of them to decide on their own. No one dared to question Richard's warning and no one dared to joke about the dangers of the island. But somehow this whole thing felt like they'd entered a game of Russian roulette. Pull the trigger and you might die. Pull the trigger and you might live.
To Jin and Sun, it was either risking death or never seeing their daughter again. What kind of choice was that? Kate (and Claire, she thought) shared the same dilemma. And this was only if Jacob proved willing. What if he needed one of them? What if he wouldn't let anyone go until one of them volunteered? And volunteered for what exactly? There were so many questions without answers.
Juliet had gone awfully quiet after their second meeting with Richard. And because of that Sawyer decided to not visit the guy in the very near future again. It hadn't done them any good twice now. He left her alone whenever she had her quiet 'thinking' moods. They might be a couple, but no way in hell would he want to interfere with her decision. Or… that's what he told himself. It seemed like the good thing to do. But if he was completely honest with himself, he could probably live with never getting off the island. He might not have a murder charge waiting for him back home, but he did have a criminal record and there would probably still be a handful of people who would be really keen to bother him if he'd ever make it back. No, if he had to choose he would probably play it safe, stay here and live out his days together with Juliet.
But for her… for her this was about so much more. This was about purposely deciding to never see Rachel again. And if she were to go that way, it had to be her decision and hers alone. One evening he dared to ask her about it. She had simply told him that she hadn't made up her mind yet. And for some reason it made him feel like shit. He started thinking of ways to manipulate the whole thing. He could go back to the plane and try the phone again. Just to find out if anyone was actually trying to find them. If it turned out that Hurley's dad had been successful, maybe the risk would actually be worth taking. But then again, what if the phone didn't work? It had only worked for a minute or so before it had died again. Basically, the whole thing sucked.
Sawyer was breaking branches for their evening fire (keeping busy was the best thing to do right now) when Miles walked up to him. "Need a hand?"
He looked at his buddy and answered "Sure, thanks", pointing at a stack of firewood for Miles to work on.
Miles selected a couple of bigger branches and balanced them on two tree trunks, breaking them with his right foot one by one. He glanced at James a couple of times.
"What's on your mind Enos?"
"Same as what's on yours probably." Miles replied while throwing the smaller pieces of firewood onto the growing pile in front of them. "And I'm wondering what you're gonna do."
James paused and stretched his back. "Whatever Jules decides."
"Yeah. Really. What about yourself?"
"I thought you guys would be deciding together." Miles commented, ignoring Sawyer's question.
"There's more on the line for her." Sawyer grumbled. "Now back to my question."
Miles placed his hands at the back of his neck, noticing Sawyer's grumpy tone of voice. "I don't know man. I guess leaving is the only way to go. I don't see myself living here you know. It was all good and entertaining with Dharma. Chicks, beer. A home…" He lowered his hands to grab another branch. "… a life you know? I had a life. But this?" he pointed at his tent, the ocean, the kitchen. "This is not a life. This is a poor imitation of Robinson Crusoe, and I'm not up for it. I'm really not."
Three days after returning to their camp James found Juliet at her usual hiding spot, at the far left end of the beach. They had spoken so little over the past few days. Giving her time to decide had seemed like the proper thing to do. But this was taking too long and he wasn't so sure if he would be fine with just following her lead. Being flexible and giving her space was one thing. But now he felt completely on the outside and it made him restless and insecure. They were together and, Rachel or no Rachel, this was at least something they could talk about.
He lowered himself down next to her. "Babe?"
She looked at him with tired eyes. "I think I like 'Blondie' better."
"Fine. Blondie it is." He folded his hands together, scratching the space between his eyebrows with his thumb. "I kinda wanna know where you're headin' with this."
She turned her head away and pressed her lips together into a thin line.
He continued. "Cause I know you're thinking' about your sister and all. And that's cool. I get that. But I just wanna know where we are in this."
She didn't respond and maybe he still shouldn't press this but…. Oh hell. They'd been together for three years. That counted for something right? And hadn't she once told him she would choose him over Rachel?
"So?" he asked.
"Don't push me James." She pressed her palms against her eyes.
"I ain't pushing ya. I left you alone for three whole days. And I wanted this to be your decision but somehow that doesn't feel right to me anymore."
Her eyes were still covered by her hands and he could see her shoulders tense. After a minute of silence she lowered her hands. "Whichever way I choose, I lose."
That felt like a proper blow to the head. Even though he knew it was probably true for her. Yeah, never seeing someone you love again sucked. And maybe it was easier if that person was simply just dead. Memories of his mother entered his mind and he closed his eyes to block them out. "I want us to stay here."
Her head snapped in his direction. Tears formed in her eyes. She opened her mouth to speak but no words came out.
"I got what I want. And I don't wanna risk either one of us getting hurt." He continued.
A tear fell down her cheek and she quickly wiped hit off. When she looked at him again her face seemed wiped clean of all emotions. "That's just great James. Thanks for sharing and making it impossible for me to decide otherwise."
James had gone to bed early, using an upcoming headache as an excuse to be alone. Juliet had walked off after diner again. She'd spent more hours at this side of the beach today than at camp. It was long after sunset, but the moon was almost full and a bluish light covered the beach and their tents. It had been a quiet evening. Miles and Hurley had played one of their games in silence, Kate and Jack had spent most of the evening sitting by the ocean together. And the rest of them had remained by the fire, staring at the flames like they would somehow tell them what to do next.
Jin got up and walked towards the ocean, checking if Juliet was still there. He could make out a black little figure sitting in the sand, not moving. He walked back towards the kitchen and lowered himself to the ground, leaning back against one of the poles. He could still see her from here. He glanced up at the stars, thinking of his daughter. He'd made his decision. If there was any chance to leave this place and be with Ji Yeon, he was going to take it. He and Sun both were.
Juliet couldn't tell how long she had been sitting there. She felt so disconnected from the world around her it was almost scary. A huge knot had formed in her stomach. Memories of her childhood, her mum, dad, and Rachel were playing and replaying in her mind. She had been crying for a long time after her talk with James earlier that day. Now there was only a feeling of emptiness. Giving up Rachel was like giving up hope. And she could feel that, despite James, this hope had been one of her key pillars over the past six years. If everything were to fall apart she could always still hold out the hope of seeing her sister again. Now that pillar was showing cracks and it felt like the mere foundation she had built her life on wavered. And it was terrifying.
She didn't hear Jin coming. She didn't even register his presence until he was already sitting next to her.
"It's getting late Juliet" Jin spoke with a gentle voice.
She looked up at the moon, suddenly aware of how little time conscious she was these days. Then she looked at Jin and felt like crying again. What a journey they'd had together! And it could all soon be over.
"What are you and Sun going to do?" she dared ask.
"We want to leave. We have a daughter to go back to." He lay down flat on his back and tugged his hands behind his head. Juliet looked down at him. He was staring at the moon. "You know I always looked at the moon when Sun and I were separated." Yes, she remembered him doing that. Almost every night if the skies were clear and the moon was up. "I'm still doing it. But now I find myself talking to Yi Jeon." A smile was showing on Jin's face and he looked at Juliet. "I know it's probably stupid, but it helps me." Jin removed his left hand from under his head and reached for Juliet's right hand. "You should try it." He squeezed her hand a bit.
She positioned herself next to Jin, their heads close together, left hand still holding right hand.
"If you could talk to your sister, what would you say?"
Tears came and she tried a smile to get rid of them. "That's a tough question Jin."
"I know it is."
He was still awake when she entered their tent, his back turned towards her side of the 'bed'. She quietly undressed herself, put her clothes away and then sat and watched him for a while, her arms around her knees, her heart beating heavily. When he shifted slightly she moved, placing a hand on his side before letting it slide down to his stomach. She placed her body behind him and buried her nose in his hair. His hand moved on top of hers and she pushed herself closer towards him, her breasts against his back, her hand pressing firmly on his abdomen.
"I'm staying with you." She finally whispered. Her decision was made. "I'm staying here with you James."