Hey everyone. I had planned to have this up yesterday along with another chapter of WR but all morning i was in town going to businesses and filling out applications. I have a specific one i am hoping on that i get and the reason i traveled teh distance to town so i could be there when they first opened up to fill out the application and turn in my resume. Some family let me know they are hiring and they have a deadline of the 9th so though i didn't hear anything today i am trying to keep hope that in the next few days i may hear something and my Friday i could have an interview. So nerve wracking i tell you that and i just hope someone would take a chance on me because i would not disappoint them.

Then i came home to a home with no power. The weather where i am now yesterday was in the single digits to the negatives so i went to a family members so that i did not freeze. It was late when i final could come home to power and have no clue why we lost it because where i am at did not even get much barely anything of the storm. Oh well here it is anyways and the next chapter is on the go already.

Anyways i hope you enjoy the chapter. As most may remember the last was Aster on the kiss and now it is Jack's turn. Hope you enjoy and no i do not own ROTG or Jack or Aster.

Chapter 14 What should be done?

Jack stares out into the water as he looks out over the pond located behind his home deep within the woods. The pond is far enough from the town that Jack knows he won't be bothered and not many of the patrons even know it lies there with how far you have to walk to get there. Really the only people who come out are his family, the North's, and Bennett's as well as himself and the kids he brings out on the hottest summer days for a swim. He sits atop a rock at the edge of the pond that sits around 10 feet above the water that the kids and Jack use to jump off into the water below as long as Jack says it is OK and the pond is not too dried up.

It is a place that Jack knows he can get piece from everyday life of jobs, Tabitha, and Aster. Working so many jobs to help out his family was stressful and he kept a front for most. It was for his family so he would do it forever if he had to. Tabitha was just an annoyance, like the bugs in the summer that killed the Bennett's crops if they didn't take care to spray. He could easily get away from her most times

It was the last reason that found Jack sitting on top of the rock with his legs pulled to his chest and arms wrapped around like a protection. He had his chin on his knees staring out into the water but his eyes are glazed over in thought, not seeing. The only thought on his brain was the tall foreigner with the devils lips.

Absentmindedly Jack runs one of his thumps over his bottom lip. Though time had passed since the incident in the vacated home and it had been a while since Jack had talked to Aster since he arrived to town, Jack could still seem to feel the weight of Aster's lips on his. It did not help that every night since he had dreamed of another kiss in many positions his own mind could think of.

Luckily when Jack had run after the mind blowing kiss Aster came to him. Even though Jack asked for time, and that killed him to ask Aster to step back, Aster has honored the fact Jack needed time. Aster has been nice enough to smile at him and wave but has kept his distance. Unknown that every time he smiles r waves Jack's heart jumps into his throat or stops and all he wants to do is run to him.

Did Jack care for Aster? The answer he knew within hours after the kiss. Jack cared very much. Cared enough that even with the scare he got from kissing another man and enjoying it he still helped Aster. He could have done what many others probably would have and blabbed that the man kissed him from force and run him out of town. Jack did not want that at all. He still upt in word to Diana about Aster wanting the house. He would not be able to be himself if Aster left the town.

Did Jack enjoy the kiss? Very much so that he had wanted it. He wanted it to happen again and wanted to be with Aster so they could repeat it over and over. Jack buries his head into his knees, so why did he get so scared? The answer is his family and friends. Even though he grew up in this small town many do not like his antics and those he has he keeps close. The Bennett's, North's, and Sandy where all like family to him along with his mother, sister and father, and right before Jack had bolted from the room was, they are all going to hate me.

That is why he wanted to get away and needed time. Then the thoughts started that Aster and Jack were become good friends though they flirted. Jack knew what he was doing and that he did not mind. He thought that maybe it would go further but in the long future. It surprised him when it happened but Jack had never taken time to think of his family.

In the time apart Jack had to start wondering how can Aster be so calm about all this? Jack saw the hurt in Aster emerald eyes when he said, "Not right now, please." Jack also though saw understanding. It made Jack think he does not know a lot about Aster's past. He wanted to get to know Aster.

Jack knew what he wanted to do now and what he was going to do soon. He was going to talk to Aster in private about everything and see how things progressed from there. He was ready to approach Aster but he was just waiting because Aster was in transition. Jack knew today by talking to his mother, who had been on his tail lately, that Aster would have all his stuff in his new home by the end of the day.

Jack knew Aster had gone back to the city a couple times for a few days and when he first learned he was upset thinking he left. His sister let him know though North had taken him to get his stuff out of storage in the city. Jack's sister had teased him when Jack had tensed and then been relieved. Jack had been so scared in that little moment he had given himself away to his sister. He had waited for her to run to their mother but she had just said that his twin was fine on his own for a few days.

Now it was more permanent to Jack that Aster would not be going anywhere soon because now all his stuff was in one place of Burgess. Jack could relax some knowing he was not going to wake up and Aster have not been any part of his life. Jack had a plan though of what he wanted to say to Aster and what questions to ask. He also had a plan of when but Jack had to collect the courage to go through with it. So if he went through with it-well that was stull in question.

A snap is heard behind Jack whom whips his head around to see who had come and interrupted his solitude. Jack had to hold back a groan at the sight in front of him. There standing with a snug grin was none other than Tabitha. The fact that she walked all the way to the pond was a surprise since she had never been there and doing that much work, or walking per say, is not her personality. She likes the easy road and the walk was not one considering the state of her look. She had twigs in her usually perfect hair, scratches on her bare arms, and rips in her what was probably an attractive dress-Well attractive on anyone but her.

"There you are Jack," Tabitha says in a falsely sweet voice. Jack cannot help but think she needs to learn how to act as she never dropped her unattractive smirk. "Everyone has been so worried about you that you disappeared. Are you OK?"

Jack stands to his bare feet dusting off the back of his pants. "I am fine Tabitha. So everyone was worried about me then?" Jack says with skepticism.

Tabitha finally morphs her face to a caring one. "Of course," she coos as she gets close to Jack standing in front of him. "No one could say where you were including you sister and mother. We were all starting to think you were attacked or hurt without help." She reaches up to touch his face.

Jack grabs there wrist before her tainted hands can touch him. He gives her a smirk of his own that makes her frown at his attitude. "If everyone was worried about me then my family or friends would have checked up on me."

Tabitha screeches an interruption, "But I am your friend."

At this Jack snorts in amusement before pushing her hand away and stepping back towards the ledge of the rock. "Trust me someone knew where I was so no one was worried about it. I can assure you of that because I told both my sister and mother before I left. All the town also knows I spend many hours out here by MY lake when I can. You came out here to bother me, again"

Tabitha scowls but shrugs her shoulder. "Just a small white lie though I was looking for you."

"What do you want Tabitha, as I would like to get back to my piece and quite instead of the nails on a chalk board your voice provides." Jack laughs inside as she blubbers out about her voice sounding worse.

"I really came to check on you. You have been differnet with something on your mind and I wanted to know." Tabitha crosses her arms but Jack knows something is off. She is not out to check on him or worried. She knows something she wants to brag about to come out this far that would benefit her. Tabitha does nothing unless it benefits her.

Jack looks over his shoulder to the water before looking her in the eye. "You are trying to be evasive of my privacy then. Why not come out with what you really want to say and get lost preferable in the woods and out of my life."

Tabitha just scowls again in anger but decides a different tactic. She smirks while saying, "Well I did want to talk to you about something, a proposition of sorts. Something you will be very interested to hear about unless you want your secret revealed."

Jack is now completely confused with that statement. What secret? "Jack scowls at Tabitha with repressed fury hissing out. "Would you just spit it out? I am tired of going in circles with you."

Tabitha puts her hands behind her fingers laced as she walks around in front of Jack slowly. "I saw something a few weeks ago that was not very Christian like, something that would get you disowned by your own family, the church, friends, and the whole town. You have sinned Jackson and you will have to pay for your sins."

Jack cannot help but be scared of what she knows. He will not give himself away though because Tabitha is known for bluffs. "I am really tired of you games Tabitha. I do not know what you think you know but get on with it."

"What I know has to do with a certain foreigner of our town and a empty house." She smirks as Jack's face drains of any color he might have. "So you do know what I am talking about, a sin of a kiss against our God's teachings. So since you understand what I am speaking of let's move on."

Tabitha turns fully to Jack again standing tall she decides to keep talking as Jack is not over his shock it would seem. "You are going to court me Jackson and I will not let your secret out. I will even over look your sin you have committed. Then after time we will announce our engagement to be married by next summer. Do we have an agreement?"

Jack's insides twist at her words. This is not what he wants but he cannot let this hurt Aster. Him he would not care but Aster he could see be hurt. Tabitha watches as the emotions flash in Jack's eyes of fear as he contemplates. She believes she has finally won what she wants.

What happens next though surprises her. "You think you can blackmail me into being with you. I despise you and with this little stunt made me do so even more. I do not know what you think you saw but that is far from it. It is disappointing that you would think up such a lie against me. One that no one would believe you of anyways, coming from the mouth unwed un-pure girl."

Tabitha scowls as she argues back, "I know what I saw Jackson. It was mid-day and the windows had no curtains. Up until recently you spent a lot of time with the new resident who no one knows anything about. Also I am pure and always have been until my wedding night."

The two stare at each other, neither giving the other slack on the touchy subject. After minutes of the heated glares Tabitha relaxes her shoulder and raises her hands in surrendour. "Here is what I will do then just for you Jackson. You need time to think about my deal because if you do not agree I will let everyone know what I saw. They will believe me too as I am the mayor's daughter."

Tabitha smirks before she turns around in a flourish that is ruined when she trips over a root of a tree and lands on her face.

Jack snorts from where he is still standing as she picks herself up quickly and runs off in embarrassment yelling after her, "You are only the mayor's daughter until my uncle gets back from serving his country. Then he will take back in position in the town as the respected man he is compared to your root rat of a family." Jack laughs after her furious exit and using the insult that Aster had said about them at one time, though at that time Jack did have to have Aster explain what it meant. They really did look like a bunch of groundhogs. Annoying like the small rodents as well.

Jack turned back to the water below him as he heard another scream that sounded like she was falling and some curse words that should not be leaving a lady's mouth, If only she knew there was another less hazardous way and shorter if you knew the woods like I did. It made Jack chuckle weakly but now he had another problem at hand with Tabitha that Jack had to deal with. Like his life was not already complicated as it was.

No doubt she would tell the town if he did not do as she asked but then it would be his word against hers. All the other men his age already knew she spread her legs for many including some of the older gentlemen who were married and some lonely widowers looking for a warm body. Her husband, which Jack was determined would not be him, would have such a surprise if he did not already know come their wedding night. All because she wanted to be popular and have blackmail on some to get her way. So would the town believe her?

Jack gazed at the water below him before he took a breath and jumped. As he hit the water in a splash letting it surround him like a protective barrier as he sunk he let his mind wonder as his eyes closed and his clothes and hair floated around him. What do I do now? Tell those close to me she was going to spread an untrue rumor before it happened? Tell those close the truth? What about Aster?

At the last thought of Aster, Jack eyes snapped open and he pushed himself back to the top as his lungs burned. He broke the surface with a gasp of air and started swimming to the edge. As he got closer to the edge of the lake he waded through the last distance to get to land.

Without stopped Jack scooped up his shoes and socks from the ground still dripping wet and took off at a run. He had figured out what he was going to do before Tabitha showed up and that would not change. Before Jack could talk to Aster about that he had to find him and tell him of Tabitha's plan. Jack had to find Aster immediately, so when Jack hit the edge of the woods by his home he by passed his sister with a yell of, "I have to take care of something," and kept running in the direction of Aster home. Anything between them, Jack knew, would have to wait now until Tabitha was dealt with, but Aster had to know and maybe he could help since it would impact both of them.

Jack could only hope, as Aster's home on the edge out town, came into view as dusk started to settle over the small town of Burgess that everything would be alright.

Alright there you go. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think. Thanks to all silent readers followers and favorites of this story. Also to my reviewers of the last chapter of KCR(So dedicated and i enjoy that so much), guest, and lovelypurple1999 (yep Aster has to tread carefully). Even if just a few reviews i still very much enjoy reading them. Will work hard to try and get the next chapter out faster than this one now that all the holidays are over as i look for a job and hope someone takes their chance on me.

Always your Writer,

Angel Fox