Jason looked around the campfire. Sean was half asleep where he sat and Megan was asleep, propped on Sean. He half smiled. He wished he was in their position. He had a million and one thoughts swirling around his mind. He strode round the fire to Sean and Megan. He tapped Sean on his shoulder and told him to go to bed.
“You sure bro?” came the slurred response.
“Yeah man. I’m wide awake. I’ll take first watch mate.” Sean nodded sleepily, and let Jason pick Megan up before he moved. He lay her down softly on the sleeping bag he got from the pack Aimele had given to them. The moon shone so bright through the branches in the trees, illuminating her face in a cold, pale light. Jason smiled; once again he was in the moment outside the cinema, before the world had been turned on its head. He looked at the brash of freckles over her nose, he lips, set permanently in a friendly smile, the dimples on the edge of her lips. Softly with one finger he brushed a lock of hair from her face behind her ear.
“Sleep well Megs.” He whispered softly
He sat by the campfire, trying to use the meagre flames to ward off the cold, clear summer night. His eyes became absorbed in the embers, losing himself in the calm brilliance of the fire. His mind wandered back to the events of the day. The phone call, how Aimele cried with happiness down the phone at the sound of Megan’s voice. How, Megan’s eyes filled with tears at the news of the death of Stanley, how every one of their families had been swarmed by the police, trying to find clues, how beautiful Megan had looked, as she sat on the side of the hill, his hoodie draped over her shoulders, staring into the sunset, her hair fluttering in the breeze. And immediately he was in the moment again.
“Hey,” he said softly, slowly sitting down on the grass next to her. Megan looked up at him with wide bloodshot eyes, managing a weak smile. Her skin pale and clear in the dying sunlight, casting colours of warm fire all over.
“Hey.” She replied, moving a lock of hair out of her eyes the cuff of the hoodie reaching up to halfway over her hand, covering her thumb. He looked at her, lost in her sadness and stillness momentarily, then he managed to pull himself back in the moment.
“You ok? I know you’d know Stan for a while... he was a good lad.” He finished awkwardly, not sure of how to glorify Stan, they’d never been close.
“Yeah.. Known him since I was two Jase. Used to come round with his mum didn’t he... played in my blow up paddling pool.” She paused, looking up from the ground into Jason’s kind eyes. “Who’s next Jason?” she said, her voice heavy, full of sadness, her eyes brimming with tears, “You? Sean? Aimele? Or maybe it’ll be Alice. Or me. Why are you still hear Jason. Why! I can’t lose you!” She started to sob again, fear ripping through her depression.
“Shh, Come on megs, you’re stronger than this.” He pulled her close, his arm around her shoulder, her head resting on his shoulder. “Remember, when we were 10, we both fell of our bikes, I’d sprained my ankle or something and you had a massive gash up your leg, you didn’t cry a single tear, just dragged me up to my house, got us in my Mums eyesight and told her what happened. Come on megs. Cheer up yeah. The only way we can beat these bastards is by sticking together. “ A note of determination entered his voice “I’m not going anywhere. You, Sean, Aimele and Alice, You guys are my everything. I’m not leaving you. Not when you’re in this much pain, and this much danger. I’m gonna fight tooth and fucking nail to make sure you guys are safe, and I promise you no-one else is gonna die. I promise.” There was the sound of crunching gravel, Jason and Megan were awoken to the real world again, at the bottom of the hill was a car, Alice at the wheel, Aimele in the seat next to her.
Jason pulled her up, dusted her off, looked her straight in the eye.
“Smile yeah? You light up the world when you do.”, pulled her hood up and led her down the hill, not leaving enough time for a sarcastic comment. They trudged down the hill in relative silence, when they reached the bottom there wasn’t time for any words before Megan was enveloped in a two way hug by Alice and Aimele,
“Oh my god! Thank god your ok! God! Argh!” all other words said by both girls were either muffled or too quick for Jason to understand. Sean ghosted in next to him, he’d been there for a while. After awhile she managed to wrestle her way out of the hug.
“It’s not me you should be worried about,” She gestured to Jason, “He got shot.” Jason Blanched. Killers with guns he could handle. Two worried girls... that’s a different story. Seconds later he was in a hug much like the one Megan had been in seconds earlier. Over Alice’s head he glared at Megan.
“Right. I’m ok, back off guys. Gerroff!” Alice and Aimele took a step away grinning,
“He’s still grumpy. Things must be fine.” Aimele smiled. Jason harrumphed, staring at her. Sean gave a low chuckle and stepped in.
“Guys, brilliant reunion there, but we don’t have much time, and the longer you spend with us the more likely it is you’ll be seen with us. And that really would be gay. So, to cut things short, what you got for us?” Aimele and Alice reached into the car and pulled out three large camping rucksacks, placing them on the ground.
“Pay attention.” Alice said, staring pointedly at Sean, who managed to put on a innocent grin.
“The one on the left,” pointed Alice, “Is full to the brim with food, we reckon that should last you guys a week, if things haven’t calmed down by then we’ll bring you some more, but hey, things’ll be fine wont they Jase?” Jason smiled and nodded, taking comfort in the relief all over Alice’s and Aimele’s faces, “Ok, then, in the middle bag there is three sleeping blankets, a camp fire with an extra gas canister, some fire lighters, waterproof matches and a large pan.” Jason nodded,
“And the last one?” He asked
“I was getting there!” Alice said mock-annoyed, and Aimele took a playful swat at his shoulder. Jason winced.
“Bad. Bloody. Shoulder.” He grimaced. Aimele looked sheepish,
“My bad. Sorry Jase.” She hugged him again.
“S’fine,” he waved the apology away, “Really think I’m gonna get hurt by your weak ass hits?” he smiled. She pushed his ribs, careful to avoid his shoulder. Alice tsked.
“Right, In the final bag there’s medical stuff, bandages, antiseptic wipes, dressings, slings, you name it you got it guys. On the subject of that, open it up Jason, I’ll bandage your arm up. “ He opened up the bag, ignoring his shoulder protesting. For the next 5 minutes while Aimele talked to Megan and Sean, Alice instructed Jason on how exactly he should clean his wound, how often he should change the bandage, how to wrap it. At the end he shrugged his shoulder, moving it around,
“Good as new Lic, that placement at the hospital was useful eh?” Alice blushed.
“It’s nothing, but Jase,” She put her hand on his good shoulder. “You’re the boss now, they believe in you. I believe in you. They’ll listen to you, just, think yeah? I trust you but don’t let your heart get involved with decisions that need to be made by your head.” She put a finger on his forehead, looking deep into his eyes. “Good Luck.” She kissed him on the cheek, then pottered over to join in with the conversation. Jason stood, stock still, shell-shocked.
Jason was brought back to the moment by a light tap on his shoulder. It was Megan.
“Need some company?” She sat down next to him, His hoodie still draped around her shoulders. “What were you thinking about Jase?” She looked at him with her hazel eyes full of compassion.
“Everything, today, tomorrow, whether we need to move or not? Meh. It’s no biggie, I got it covered Megs.” She huddled closer to him, her head resting on his shoulder again the fire flickering in front of them, casting shadows on their faces, which flitted and danced across their faces, Jason stood up, pulling Megan with him.
“Come on, I gotta see something.” They walked through the easy wood, climbing over the fence leading to the hills. They were greeted with the clearest night Jason had ever seen. The mood hung majestically in the centre of the sky, every little star twinkling a different story dotted around the inky black sky.
“Wow...” Jason breathed. Megan was speechless. She just sat, Jason collapsed next to her, she huddled close to him, his arm around her shoulders. She looked at him, his face absorbed with child-like wonder
“My Dad once told me, this is gonna sound stupid, I was only young at the time, but I still believe it, he told me that every mans story is up there, we just gotta look close enough to find them.” She looked at him closely, and smiled. She looked up to the endless skies, and the stars smiling on them, the moon dousing everything in a silver light. She looked at him again, he looked at her, their eyes were absorbed, and under the watchful gaze of the stars and the move Jason told her he loved her. All he knew after that was the fact that no longer was Megan a separate being to him, but they were the same, their heart beating in unison, hands in each others, lips softly pressed against each other. He broke the kiss.
“No matter what happens. You will always be the shooting star of my heart Megan, I love you with every inch of my being.”