Authors: Allie Juliette Mousseau
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #War, #Contemporary, #Military, #New Adult & College, #Romance
Livie and Jake
Allie Juliette Mousseau
Copyright © 2014 by Allie Juliette Mousseau All Rights Reserved
Published by Allie Juliette Mousseau
All characters and events in this publication other than those clearly in the public domain are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Edited by Nicole Hewitt
Cover design by Koda Mousseau - Tattoo Custom Cover Designs Final Production Manager Mike Mousso
There is a place where an orange sun both casts light and creates shadows over a dry, dirty land, where some of the people we love the most risk everything – life, limb, heart and soul.
The reassuring internal voice that tells each of us it’s all going to be alright can't exist there, because in this land, nothing is ever alright.
While they are there, they attempt to survive a hell we cannot even imagine.
Some don’t return home alive, others don’t return whole, and still others come home but never fully return.
I dedicate this book to
military service person and to
those who love them.
Seether (Featuring Amy Lee)
Just breathe, Liv. It’s really easy—in and out, in and out.
I thought seriously about turning the car around at the loop and not turning back until I was safely back in my dorm room, under my blanket, with my earbuds buried in my ears and Crossfade turned up so loud everything else was shut the hell out.
What am I thinking?
This was the stupidest thing I’d done …
was texting, why wouldn’t she be? What else were best friends for but making your life more insane???
She knew that I’d have to pull over to check the text. She also knew that I was already here in town, and that someone would probably see me pulled over. If someone saw me and then I didn’t show up at this party, I’d
live it down! Normally the safest place for me would be home, but not this time. This time safety was five hours back the way I’d come.
Usually coming home was great. I grew up in this small town where everybody knows everybody else and we were all friends except for a few bitchy girls who couldn’t get over themselves and some top shelf d-bags who liked to start shit. Williston High School was pretty awesome, with a student body of just over one thousand. I had just graduated last spring and had been accepted to the University of North Dakota. I’d only had a couple weeks to chill there before Labor Day hit …
Or should I say D-Day?
More like … Jake Day!
Holy hell, fine!
I took the dreaded right onto Main Street and was barely able to set the car to the curb before I started hyperventilating.
I picked up my phone.
Liv, warning - town is yellow
Yeah, caught that
I sent back.
A little too late.
Of course I was expecting it. Jake was the town hero. He was also a North. I gripped the steering wheel until my knuckles turned white. I tried to calm my breathing, but my heartbeat was hitting supernova and I thought I might
WELCOME HOME JAKE NORTH!
A gargantuan banner that King Kong could read from a mile away was strung from one side of Main Street to the other.
Yellow ribbons and decorations were everywhere, as if a tornado of yellow party supplies had somehow wound up hitting only Williston, North Dakota. Every street lamp, every building in downtown, every window—all adorned with yellow ribbons, welcoming the hero home—Williston’s Golden Boy.
I slipped my fingers down the front of my sweatshirt and pulled out the Celtic knot that hung there from a black cord. I set it against my lips, remembering when I got it.
Four Years Ago …
I ran up into my room and threw myself onto my bed, sobbing. I hated today! January 21, the day Jake North would leave for the Army.
I was fifteen years old and was way too young to be in love with my older brother’s best friend—he was three-and-a-half years older than me after all—but I’d been crushing on him ever since I was five years old. Through every Disney princess movie, Jake was my prince. By the time fifth grade rolled around for me, Jake had started high school. I’d usually spent my nights reading, doing homework, listening to music and bleeding out over the fact the Jake was a freshman and was now dating
girls! With three wild older brothers whose reputations he had to live up to, I was almost surprised he’d waited so long.
The North brothers were hell-on-wheels, adrenaline-junkie bad boys. You’d think they had a death wish—every one of them—but they didn’t really, they just got off on the thrill of pushing every limit that gravity or any other force told them they couldn’t conquer.
But I had secrets … secrets I didn’t even let Jules, my best friend and Jake’s little sister, know. Like how, for the past few years, Jake would sometimes come over to crash with Nathaniel—my big, overprotective brother—then sneak into my room after Nate fell asleep. We’d spend hours talking about what we wanted to do when we got older, our families, our dreams. My favorite times were when he’d lay on my bed and we’d watch the stars through the skylight; it would get so late—or early I guess—and we’d watch the colors of the sunrise stretch across the sky. He never kissed me though. Even though I always wished he would.
Jake was the only distraction that had really been able to pull me out of my misery when my mom left us. She’d been having an affair with some guy who’d come to town to work on the oil rigs. When the guy left for work in California she went with him. I was eight. Nate and I hadn’t heard from her since.
My dad, who’d never been around very much to begin with—and was really an asshole when he was—threw himself into his job and spent after-hours at bars and shacking up with all kinds of women we never met. Nate and I were usually on our own.
Three-and-a-half lousy, stupid, cursed-birth-timing years apart! I always resented Nathaniel for being born first.
night happened and I’d never be the same again.
He was leaving, and the Norths were throwing a huge going away party for him. A million drooling, clingy girls were everywhere in their hot miniskirts and belly shirts. I was fifteen and if I
like that Nate would ground me for eternity. There was also no chance of changing once I got to the party either because of course Nathaniel would be there. Honestly, I never really wanted to dress like that much anyway. My style was a mix between a hippie and a grunge rocker: jeans (usually shredded at the knees), tank tops, tshirts and hoodies or long prairie skirts and poet shirts. Whatever—it was just me, and it depended on my mood on any given day.
That night I had opted for a pair of ripped jeans, black Chucks and my Seether concert t-shirt. I listened to Seether all the time. One of my favorite songs that made me think of Jake was “Broken.” The song was all about how these two people felt broken when they were apart—and thinking of it now, when Jake was just about to leave, made me want to break down right then and there. I liked to think I was Amy and Jake was Shaun. Yeah, okay it was all in
mind, but I’d made sure this song played on my docking station
time Jake made a midnight visit. I was hoping as he said goodbye to everybody he would see the shirt and remember, and then somehow remember me when he was gone.
I was sleeping over that night with Jules so Nate wouldn’t have to drive us home. Everyone—except me and Jules—was drinking. Okay, not completely true. (I smiled at the memory.) At one point, Jake walked by and pushed a red plastic cup into my hand. He leaned into my hair and said, “Don’t tell your brother.” Then he winked at me!
I melted in my shoes! I just stood there, lost in the tingling sensation he’d left in my hair, the scent of him mixed with his body spray and the smell of the alcohol he’d been drinking, which lingered in the air around me. He was so adorable in his blue jeans, tight fitting dark blue t-shirt and close-cropped dark brown hair. He was strong, and his body was lined with muscles. I don’t know how long I stood there before Jules nudged me with her elbow.
What’s wrong with you?” When I was speechless, she looked over in Jake’s direction. “Oh, him.”
She sniffed at the cup in my hand, and a huge grin spread across her pretty pink cheeks. “Where did you get that?”
Great cover, Liv!
Olivia Morrisey! Did Jake give it to you?” She just about jumped out of her skin with excitement.
Shut up, please!
Oh my God, I’m turning a thousand shades of red!” I squealed.
Come on, let’s go outside with it,” she chirped, grabbing my arm and almost spilling our illegal liquid treasure. And off to the back yard we went.
Once we were hidden in the shadows she said, “He gave it to you. You should have first sip.”
I started to put my mouth to the edge of the cup when it struck me that maybe
had the first sip and
lips had been in that very place. Then I wondered, if I put my lips in the same place his lips had been, would we have technically kissed???
What are you waiting for?” Jules said impatiently.
Nothing.” I couldn’t even examine the cup for any clues because it was too dark out.
I put that sweet, red plastic cup to my mouth and imagined, with every cell in my brain, his lips closing in on mine. And when I took that first gulp of Coke and rum I tasted
—the smell of him that had surrounded me only moments ago.
Are you gonna make love to that drink all night or what?” Jules barked.
I passed her the cup and touched my lips, glad she couldn’t see me.
I’m so glad my parents went to Edmonton. They’re really cool for letting him have this bash, but now they won’t catch
,” Jules laughed.
Let’s finish it and get back inside,” I suggested.
What’s your hurry?”
The baby police are still in there. Our brothers aren’t going to let us stay up all night,” I reminded her.