Chapter 45

Rain woke up before Jet the next morning. Since James' bed was the only one in the house, they had slept on the floor, wrapped in a nest of blankets. Rain's body was stiff from lying on the hard wood, so she carefully sat up, snaking her way out of Jet's arms as she did, so that she wouldn't wake him.

As she stood up, she noticed that James had already left. That wasn't surprising. He had probably just left early to go fishing. Rain was already fully dressed, so all she had to do was slip on her shoes before walking out into the dim morning.

Outside, the sun had just barely begun to come up over the horizon, not yet clearing the trees that surrounded the village. Normally, Rain would never be up and around this early, but the small village seemed to draw her attention. Already, there were people all around her. Some were carrying fishing poles like James'; others were washing clothes or chopping wood. The smell of baking bread came wafting from somewhere near the center of town, causing Rain's mouth to water. She wanted to explore this village and see all that it had to offer, but she restrained herself. She wanted Jet to be there to share these sights with her.

So instead, Rain decided to head over to the small stream where she knew James would be fishing. It was just a small trek through the forest, not far at all. It was worth it to find someone familiar to talk to. After all, she didn't know how long it would be before Jet awakened.

There was already a makeshift path curving through the forest, made by the fishermen who had used it to find their way to and from the stream. Therefore, Rain found her way there with no trouble at all. Even though she had seen many villagers walking around with fishing poles, James was still the only one here. She figured this must be his self-designated work zone or something.

"Hey," she called as soon as she could see him.

James jumped a little at her voice, not expecting anyone else to come. "Oh, hello," he said once he realized who it was. "Where's your husband?" He drew out the word, still hesitant to believe that they were actually married.

"He's still asleep," she answered. "That's why I came here."

James nodded. "Well, I can't promise you that it will be any more interesting here than in the village."

"That's okay," she shrugged. "I was waiting to explore the village with Jet anyway."

After this, neither of them said anything. It almost felt wrong to corrupt the natural peace of this stream with things as unnecessary as words. So now they both just sat there, Rain enjoying the scenery and James waiting for a fish.

Jet woke up as the morning light shone on him through the dusty window of James' room. He groaned as he felt the stiffness that came along with lying on the hard floor for too long. Keeping his eyes shut, he turned over to wrap his arm around Rain.

But he only grasped air. Rain was gone.

Now Jet became immediately alert. He'd already thrust on his shoes and made his way to the door, when something caught his attention. He'd noticed it earlier, but the pieces just hadn't fallen into place until now: James was gone too.

Jet thought back to every encounter he'd ever seen Rain have with James. Every time they met, he would always flirt with her, and she would always flirt back. A tiny voice in the back of his head always told him that she was doing it on purpose, and that she only did it to get a response from him. Now, though, it was different. Now they were married. She must have known that purposely orchestrating something like this would be going too far.

Jet caught himself.

Something wasn't right.

His pulse was higher than it had been for a long time. He could feel the heat radiating from his face as he grew angrier. But why should he be so upset? This may just be a coincidence. Why was he getting upset about something as trivial as this? Jet shook his head and ran his hands through his hair a few times to calm himself. In a matter of seconds, he was back to normal. He didn't know what had caused his overreaction, but he just hoped it wouldn't happen again.

Jet walked outside, immediately enthralled by the beauty of the simple town. There were so many things going on at once that his eyes were constantly being pulled from one to another. He shook his head again. Focus. Where would Rain be in a place like this? Well, if she was with James, maybe it would be better to wonder where he was.

That wasn't hard. James was a fisherman. He could always be found by the small stream that carved its way through the forest. So that's where Jet decided to look first. As he approached the trees, he noticed what looked like a path, the grass and plants all crushed underneath a trail of footprints. This must have been the way that James had gone.

Jet set off down the path. Just as he had guessed, it led to the stream where James always fished. And sure enough, there he was, and there she was. Next to him. Neither of them was saying anything, but both seemed to be wearing contented smiles as they listened to the sound of the crackling stream. Something about this scene sent Jet's pulse shooting again. It wasn't the silence or the scenery. It was the fact that she was here with James. Jet had awoken to find his wife missing, when she had been here with him the whole time.

It was happening again. Jet's pulse skyrocketed. His face was hot, and his hands balled into fists. Once again, the tiny voice in the back of his head assured him that he was overreacting, but this time it didn't help. He knew he was overreacting. But right now he didn't care. The anger overshadowed that. His eyes fogged over, and his body moved forward mechanically, as if the heat coursing through his veins was enough to grant movement without thought.

Jet walked over to where James sat next to Rain. As he approached, his steady pace hastened to a speed walk. His steps were no longer slow and secretive, but loud and clumsy. James heard him coming and immediately stood to greet him. However, he saw the clouded look in Jet's eyes, but once he did it was too late. Jet had already wound back his arm. As soon as he was close enough, it flew forward, propelled by all the anger that seemed to have taken over his body. By the time his vision cleared and his mind regained control of his impulsive body, all he saw was James' body splayed across the ground, unconscious.

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