3:00 a.m. | Bayville Pier
J.D. makes his way to the pier after materializing on the Bayville beach; Maddie had told him she’d often go there to think when she wasn’t watching over her sister. Aislyn and her family were on their way to the city, and since he couldn’t really tag along for the ride, he figured being with Maddie would be time well spent.
He knew being with someone who had a time limit on their existence was a bad move on his part, but he’d done it anyway and now J.D. was faced with the ugly truth that he was afraid would arise as a result of his actions – he’d grown feelings for Maddie, and it would be hell having to say goodbye. After walking along the empty platform, letting his thoughts spiral, he eventually sees her come into view staring out at the still waters.
“Hey there, stranger.” He says when he approaches. Maddie’s face lights up when she sees him, and despite his somber mood, he can’t help but smile. “J, what are you doing here?”
“I can’t really hitch a ride with Aislyn’s family while they come here incase she slips up and talks to me, so I figured I’d see if I could find you.”
“So kind of you to grace me with your presence.” Though her words were intended to be sarcastic, Maddie held a sad smile. “What’s wrong?” J.D. asks when he joins her on the bench.
“Well, it’s only a matter of time before Aislyn delivers on her promise to help me by helping my sister… That means I’ll be leaving soon.”
“I know.” J.D. says. He wraps an arm around Maddie’s shoulder and gives it a gentle squeeze as a means of comfort. One of the pleasantries of being around another ghost after solely being beside Aislyn for so long was physical touch. Maddie leans onto his shoulder and J.D. rests his head on hers.
“It’s been nice, hanging out together for these past few weeks.” She says in a low voice. “I feel–”
“Don’t.” J.D. says, cutting her off.
“You’re going to say you feel bad leaving me, right?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“I don’t need your, or anyone else’s, pity.”
“I don’t pity you, J.D.”
“Really? Because ever since I told you the truth about me I feel like you’ve been acting different.” He pulls his arms from her shoulder and rests them on his thighs with a sigh.
J.D. had told Maddie about his inability to recall his past shortly after coming to see her after Aislyn’s ordeal during Christmas, and ever since then, the amount of time Maddie had mentioned her former life and family had decreased. As if she’d be offending him somehow by sharing, and it had irked him, but because he didn’t want to spend the little time they had fighting, he hadn’t voiced his annoyance aloud.
“Interesting.” Maddie says. “What?” “I’d pegged you as the type to raise your voice when you got angry, but you are a very calm quiet. That’s infinitely more frightening.” “I’m not angry.” J.D. protests. Maddie raises an eyebrow. “Look J, I’ve been dead for much longer than you have. I have seen hundreds of ghosts and it’s not like we go around making friends here… I never meshed as well with someone the way I have, you, and it pains me that you don’t have a family you can watch over, something to work towards, or even someone to talk to. So forgive me for feeling bad because I care.” Maddie says, her voice rising with emotion.
“I have Aislyn.” J.D. says. “That’s true… the unexpected link between us.” Maddie says. “She’s a pretty remarkable girl.” She adds, calming down from her brief tirade. J.D. relaxes, his frustration ebbing away the way it normally did when he talked to Maddie. Hearing her say she cared about him would’ve made his heart skip a beat if he were alive.
“I was comfortable like this.” She says as she reaches for his arm and re-drapes it over her shoulder. “Were you now?” J.D. says with a smirk. “Yes; I was.” Maddie rests her head on his shoulder once more and locks her arms around his waist.
“I’m sorry.” She says after a moment of silence. “What for?” “I shouldn’t be doing this, but I can’t help myself.” She continues. J.D. turns to look at her in slight confusion. “Doing what?” “I’m not going to be around much longer, it’s not fair of me to tease you with something that has an expiration date.” “I could’ve walked away from this any time, Maddie. I chose to be here with you… and since you keep reminding me that we don’t have much time left, why don’t we spend our time doing something less depressing than all this talking.” J.D. says, doing his best to put on a front like Maddie’s words didn’t strike the core of his worries.
“Did you have something particular in mind?” She asks with a seductive smile.
“As a matter of fact, I did–” Before J.D. can finish, Maddie presses her lips onto his, and he can’t resist letting out a small chuckle beneath her mouth before pulling her closer, doing his best to push away all thoughts of her limited time…
5:43 a.m. | Sterling St.
As her father veers left on the road leading to the house, Aislyn’s head bumps against the glass window she’d fallen asleep on and she starts awake. She rubs her eyes and is greeted by familiar buildings around her; they were in Bayville.
Shortly after Cailean had dropped her off, Aislyn had packed in a daze, exhaustion hitting her like a heavy rain the second she’d returned to their suite. She was fairly certain she’d managed to fall asleep before they’d even set out of the parking garage.
“Morning, kiddo! Sorry again about the timing, but Nicole and I are really needed back at work. You sure you’re going to be okay at home alone today?” Her father asks, catching sight of her moving in the rear view mirror.
“Don’t worry about it, dad. I think I can manage.”
6:22 a.m. | Persefoni Home
Not wanting to ruin her sleep schedule by napping, Aislyn takes a cold shower to wake herself up. It was Tuesday, and everyone would be heading to school and work; she didn’t want to waste the day sleeping at home when there were already plenty of things she planned on accomplishing. She glances at her phone on the bathroom counter and checks the time, she had a feeling Cailean would be up getting ready for his workday, but didn’t want to risk waking him by sending a message in case he wasn’t.
The fact that they were now an item hadn’t really set in yet, and probably wouldn’t until some time has passed since they’d be spending the majority of their time apart. Aislyn didn’t feel the urge to tell anyone just yet, and had planned on keeping it a secret for as long as she could, but when Cailean had dropped her off at the hotel, while her father was speaking to the receptionist in the lobby, Nicole had been waiting for her by the entrance and had seen them saying their goodbyes.
Nicole hadn’t said anything aloud but the smirk on her face when Aislyn entered said enough. A heat of embarrassment rises to her cheeks and Aislyn shakes her head in an attempt to forcefully dispel her thoughts from her mind.
She walks over to one of her suitcases, too lazy to unpack any of them, and pulls out an outfit for the day. As she gets dressed, she feels an odd emptiness she attributes to the lack of her personal belongings from her Oldmerrow bedroom.
Not in the mood to deal with the bangs she was still getting re-accustomed to, Aislyn grabs a bobby pin she finds in the bathroom drawer and clips them back. Her phone buzzes in her pocket as she does so, and she pulls it out in time to see 3 new messages from Cailean pop up in her notifications.
Before she texts back, Aislyn makes a slight adjustment to Cailean’s contact info.
A warmth spreading over her that had nothing to do with Cailean’s messages lets Aislyn know that J.D. has arrived. With a smile still on her face, she sends a message to Cailean wishing him a nice day, and drops her phone back into her pocket before re-entering the guest room that she’d be calling her own for the time being.
“Well, well, well. Don’t you look particularly cheerful? You know this place wasn’t that easy to find.” J.D. says when he lays eyes on her. “I take it you were talking to pretty-boy.” He adds.
“I didn’t get the chance to fill you in on what exactly happened yesterday.” Aislyn says, intentionally depriving him of the satisfaction of confirming his speculations. “What’s there to say? I’m assuming you took my advice and everything worked out perfectly.” J.D. says as he crosses his arms with a smug expression.
“Pretty much, yeah.” “Atta girl.” J.D. says with a wink. “Well, as much as I’d love to hear all of the details, it’ll have to wait. Maddie’s here and she wants to talk to you.” Aislyn notes the falter in the smile on J.D’s face when he speaks, and has a hunch as to why. “She didn’t feel comfortable waiting in here, so she’s in the living room.” He adds.
“Oh, alright.” Aislyn says. She’d promised Maddie she would help her complete her unfinished business by helping her sister Mackenzie, and figured her old friend was here to make sure she did good on her promise.
Aislyn follows J.D. out and sees Maddie standing a few feet away taking in the house. “Long time no see; I almost didn’t recognize you. You’ve changed quite a bit since we’ve last seen one another.” Maddie says when their eyes meet.
“Well, the scar is temporary, but the hair is here to stay for now.” Aislyn says.
“Thanks again for doing this.”
“It’s no trouble at all. So what’s the plan?”
“My sister will be at school until 3:00, but before she’s out I wanted to explain what I need you to do a bit more thoroughly, before having you go and pick up a few things you’ll need; it shouldn’t take too long to retrieve the items, so you don’t have to head out until an hour or so before school’s out.” Maddie says. “We can actually head out as soon as you’re done telling me whatever it is you need to, because I actually have something else I want to do before the day is done.” Aislyn says. “Splendid! Then I’ll make this quick…”
12:04 p.m. | Crispy Café
Aislyn twiddles her fingers on her thigh as she waits for her guest to arrive. She was feeling oddly nervous, she wasn’t used to asking for help or favors and she was about to do both. She looks out at the dark sky threatening to spill rain any second, and found herself missing the fluffy white snow of Oldmerrow’s winter.
Retrieving the items Maddie had needed her to took even less time than she’d expected. Since it would be a while before Mackenzie would be out of school, J.D. and Maddie had told her she could take care of whatever she needed to in the meantime. Aislyn suspected part of their dismissal of her was so that they could spend more time together alone.
After a few more minutes of waiting in silence, in which her stomach twisted in anxiousness, the bells of the coffee shop door ring, letting her know the person she was waiting for has arrived. She raises her gaze and sees Daisy walking in with an extra bounce in her step.
“Aislyn, hey!” She says excitedly as she enters. “Hi, Daisy.” Aislyn smiles, she couldn’t help but find Daisy’s eternal excitement endearing. “Thanks for meeting me on such short notice.”
“I was thrilled to hear you were in town! My office isn’t too far from here, and I have an hour long lunch break I’d much rather spend with you. What’s up?”
“Well, why don’t you let me treat you to something to eat first.” Aislyn suggests. “Sounds good to me.”
“The last time we spoke you mentioned you were a writer for the Bayville Sentinel.” Aislyn begins after they order some food and drinks. “Yup!” Daisy says, setting down her mug of steaming hot coffee that she interestingly drank black. Aislyn clears her throat, “Well, I’ve decided to move back here for the time being.” “That’s wonderful!” Daisy interjects. Aislyn finds herself smiling yet again at her enthusiasm.
“I’ve been giving some thought as to what I want to be doing work-wise; juggling various jobs wasn’t terrible, but I want to do something more meaningful now.” Daisy nods but doesn’t interrupt and Aislyn continues after pausing to take a sip of her own cappuccino. “The Sentinel is more than just the paper you print, it’s a mass media corporation and long story short, I’m thinking of stepping into the world of investigative journalism.”
“Ooh that’s exciting!” Daisy says. “What drew you to that? When we were in high school I was sure you would’ve gone the athletic route like– Oh, never mind me, I’m getting side-tracked, go on.” “Yeah… well, I just have a feeling it’ll be something I’d be good at.” Aislyn says, not wanting to share the particular ability she possessed that she felt would be put to good use in the field. “How do I come into play?” Daisy asks.
“Well since you’re on the inside, I figured you’d know who would be the best person to get into contact with if I wanted to apply for that position.”
“Funnily enough there has been an opening spot in one of our department’s investigative teams for a while now, but the managing director is… a difficult man to say the least.” If Daisy is saying that, he must be more than difficult. Aislyn thinks. “I can get you his contact info and maybe help you set something up, but I cant make any promises because, well… I’m sure you’ll be able to see for yourself what I mean if you meet him.”
“Thanks, Daisy.” Aislyn says. “It’s the least I can do for you, Aislyn.” “What makes you say that? I haven’t done much except buy you that drink and pastry.” “Oh, well… it’s nothing.” Daisy says. Bringing back the infectious smile she had lost whilst talking about the apparently unpleasant director. Aislyn had a feeling there was something else Daisy was hinting at, but didn’t want to pry.
When her thoughts had last drifted to the forged confession she’d written on behalf of the Perelli brothers, Aislyn was hit by a strike of inspiration as for what it was she could see herself doing going forward. Yes, in that scenario she had been bending the rules a bit to put the criminals behind bars, but what if she was in a position where she wasn’t? What if it was her job to go out and get the story that often times was hard to solve? The ability she tried to hide or use in secret would now be an asset. And her English degree would no doubt come in handy when it came to writing pieces. If she were able to land a job in this field, it’d be the perfect scenario… For the first time in a while, Aislyn had a real drive to do something, and the feeling that came with this new sense of purpose was indescribable.
Surprise! I’m alive! This ending note is going to be little longer than usual since I just dropped off of the planet for the past month. Can you believe this was in my drafts since August 4th? Goodness. I didn’t bother posting multiple updates since I’d be pretty much reiterating the same thing, but time has gone by crazy fast and I have been swamped with things to work on. I decided not to stress myself out and rush to post a chapter I’d be unhappy with in hindsight – which happens more often than not, so while I feel guilty for leaving you hanging for a bit, I’m also pleased with myself for focusing on what I needed to get done for once without distractions.
Despite having taken longer hiatuses before, Getting back into the groove of writing was weird because I was doing so many non-sim related things for so long. I can’t promise I’ll be posting consistently, but for the time being I have some time on my hands, so I’ll try to work on the next chapter while also starting some stories I’ve been meaning to, and continuing others I’ve left mid-binge. That character guide is still a work in progress, and for the sake of keeping this ending note a reasonable length I wont get into any of that for now, and will just post about it when the time is right. Thanks for reading this and thanks for being patient ❤ I hope you all have a pleasant weekend!