“So, how have things been going this past week?” Jake asked me as we were getting ready for bed the night Ryan and Sarah left.
“They are going...good, I guess,” I replied. “I mean, it was really nice getting to know Sarah and Ryan better, but I can’t help but feel I let them down by not returning home with them.” I crawled into bed.
Jake nodded in understanding and he crawled in beside me. “I know it’s hard Stace, but this isn’t a decision anyone should have to make. You need to be comfortable in making a decision that you can live with. Believe me, I will be devastated if you choose to leave, but I know we’ll make it if we are meant to be together.” He pulled me to his side and put his arms around me.
“I know Jake, but I can’t...I can’t stay away from you, but I do want to get to know them and try to rebuild our family again. Part of me wants to go with them and ask you to come with me, while another part doesn’t want to give this up.” I looked up at him, “I know you can’t go as you have so much to do here and I won’t let you put your life on hold for me any more than you already have.”
“Baby, I haven’t put anything on hold for you. My life before you was nothing but work and I didn’t look at or enjoy anything around me. When I met you, you opened my eyes to the world and taught me that work isn’t everything and to enjoy each day to its fullest. I love that about you and have been so grateful to experience everything we have together.” He kissed the top of my head.
This decision is getting harder and harder to make.
Jake went to work Monday morning, which left my mother and I alone for the day. I was up making some breakfast when I heard her come into the kitchen.
“Good morning Stacy,” she said to me with a smile. “How are you doing sweetie?”
I shrugged my shoulders and answered, “OK I guess.” I pulled the scrambled eggs off the stove and put them into a bowl and brought them to the island. I already had some bacon and toast waiting with a couple of plates and forks. Sam sat down on one of the stools while I stood across from her. We filled our plates and began eating.
“This is really good,” she said.
“Thanks,” I answered. “Why is this so awkward this morning? It is because we are alone? Is it because of what Jake and I talked about last night?” I thought to myself.
“Stacy, I know you must have so many questions right now and many decisions to make, but please, take your time honey. I’m here for you and I want you to do this on your own. I wanted to stay longer because I need to connect with you and apologize for everything…”
“Sam, please...don’t. I have forgiven you a long time ago and know that none of what happened was your fault or mine. Stop blaming yourself, please.” I begged of her. We couldn’t live in the past anymore, we could only look to the future.
She nodded, but looked defeated. “Can I ask you a few personal questions Stacy? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, but I want to know more about you. Not the Stacy I knew twelve years ago, but the Stacy that is right here in front of me.” I immediately thought of my conversation with Connie when she asked me to talk to Jake about my feelings.
“What do you like to do when Jake is at work and you are home alone?” She asked.
“Well, I have been learning how to use a computer over the summer and spent a lot of time learning to cook and listening to music. I love to read, since that was all I really could do when… but Jake has gotten me several books and I can read them online as well. Sometimes I like to go for a walk around the neighborhood to get fresh air and I’ve learned to do a little gardening up on the terrace.” I answered her.
“Wonderful, I’m glad you keep busy. It must be hard every day while he works.”
“Not really and I actually enjoy this time to myself. I sometimes join Jake at work and help him out in the office or get to help out some of his team members with their tasks. In fact, we have actually talked about me getting a part-time job there, but so much has happened recently, that it hasn’t quite panned out.”
“Do you have any other interests or things you would like to try someday?”
“Well...when I was given the opportunity to meet all the girls that were rescued, I really felt like I made a difference in helping them through this situation since I had already been there and knew what it was like to be scared of the unknown. Over the last month I have been doing research online about human trafficking and am amazed at how common this has become. I’ve talked to Jake a little about it, but I would love to be able to help other girls that have come out of a situation like this, but I want to make sure that I can understand myself more before giving myself to others. Does that make any sense?”
“Yes sweetie, it does. I can see your passion for this and I hope one day, you will be able to do what you want to do.” She took my hand from across the island and gave it a squeeze. “How are you and Jake? What I mean is, how have you gotten along?” She asked.
My face lit up even more at this question. “Jake and I are wonderful. Things haven’t always been easy since I’ve lived with him, but he has helped me get through so many obstacles and we have grown together as a couple. In the beginning, Jake was...well let’s just say he was an arrogant ass to most people. He is the boss and he let everyone know it, and I mean everyone. Little by little he opened up to me as we shared new experiences together.
I wanted to explore the city and my surroundings and Jake would take me, sometimes reluctantly. I discovered that he has never really taken the time to enjoy his surroundings, so not only was I having a great time, he was too. The night we shared our first kiss,” I stopped and blushed remembering it, “I knew there was something about him and connected with him emotionally and physically. Unfortunately I ruined the evening by having a flashback, but instead of running away, Jake held me close and helped me through everything.
When my memories returned, I pushed him away. I felt horrible, disgusting and completely dirty and I asked myself over and over why didn’t I just die. I didn’t think I deserved to be happy, yet alone be loved. I was greatly depressed. He gave me my space, but I knew he was nearby and would sneak in my room to sit with me, even if I didn’t acknowledge his presence. It wasn’t until his mother talked some sense into me that I tried to make an effort to rebuild things with him.
It has taken some time, but I think we are in a good place and I love him so much. I know he loves me too and tells me every chance he can.” I looked up at Sam and smiled.
“I’m so happy for you Stacy. I can tell that you two have a great connection and I love watching how sweet he is with you. I just wanted to make sure that he wasn’t too protective of you and not allow you to be yourself.”
“Sam, I will admit there are times where he can get that way, especially when we met the man that recognized me and started a new investigation, but Jake has always let me make my own decisions and pretty much do what I want. Yes, I have had guards to watch out for my safety, but it’s kind of nice to be chauffeured around since I can’t drive.” I chuckled.
She smiled back at me and chuckled as well. “Stacy?” I looked up. “You know that your father and I have missed you so much and it’s still hard to believe that you are standing in front of me right now. I would love more than anything to bring you home and grow our relationship, but only you can make that decision. I know it will not be easy, listening to you talk about Jake, but can you do me a favor?” I nodded my head. “Can you at least think about coming home with me? Even if it’s only temporary?”
I thought about it for several minutes before I spoke up. “I will think about it Sam, but I cannot promise anything right now.”
The next week flew by and my mother and I spent a lot of time together. She showed me some new recipes and we did a lot of cooking together, while I showed her more of the city. She continued to tell me stories of my early childhood and about Sarah as she grew up. She told me more about her parents and siblings and how they all prayed with her to find me. She shared with me more of her interests including gardening, sewing and clothes making, reading and crafting and we tried some of those things together. I showed her the garden boxes on the terrace and she helped me plant some fall flowers since autumn was right around the corner.
It really did feel good to connect with her and reestablish a mother-daughter bond. I even started calling her ‘Mom’, which was a huge breakthrough for me. Jake noticed our connection grow and really encouraged me to spend time with her. The more time we spent together, made the decision to stay or go much more difficult.
Jake and I still did things together in the evenings, sometimes alone and sometimes Mom came along with us. Our nights together were very passionate and it’s like he was holding on to me to not let me go, or he was making every night count in case I did leave. Either way, I loved it and gave him every ounce of love I had.
I know that Mom needed to get back home, so I know my decision needed to be made soon. I was still so torn as to what to do...I really did love Jake and wanted to stay here, but I still felt the pull to go home and fully reunite with my family.
I spent the next week contemplating what to do over and over. I thought of every scenario, but nothing really worked out completely the way I wanted it to. It was another Friday evening and as we were finishing dinner I spoke up.
“Jake...Mom?” They both looked up at me. “I think I’ve come to my decision about what to do. Mom, I know you are leaving tomorrow and it’s not fair for me to ask you to stay since Ryan is at home and has been alone for a couple of weeks now. I have thought about this so much over the last week that I am truly exhausted.
Jake, I want to stay here with you so bad that it breaks my heart to tell you that I am going to go with Mom tomorrow to Wisconsin to ‘meet’ my grandparents and then go home to North Dakota.” I noticed him look away, but I continued. “I’m not saying I’m leaving for good, just for a little while so I can reconnect with my family in their home...our home.
I am forever grateful for all you have done for me and I love you so much. You told me last weekend that whatever I decided we would make it through if we were meant to be together...well I believe we are. Why else would you have had Dylan take you on a different route home that morning in May? I think you were meant to find me and we will be together again in a few weeks? A few months? I don’t really know right now.
You took in a broken girl who knew nothing of this world and turned her into a beautiful woman Jake. I know I don’t always agree with that, but I’ve come to accept it, because of you. You helped me put the pieces of my life back together and I can’t ever repay you for that.” I felt the tears running down my face and noticed that my mother was crying as well. Jake got up from the table and I thought he was going to walk away.
Instead, he came over and knelt down next to me and turned me so I was facing him. He took my hands and kissed each one. He then reached up and wiped the tears from my face. “Baby, I love you and I only want what is best for you,” he began. “I completely understand why you have made this decision and I want you to know I support it completely.
We had an amazing four months together or so, but you lost twelve years of your life with your family and you need to be with them. I will let you go, but I don’t want to stop hearing from you, OK?” I nodded my head. “I want to be able to hear your voice or see your beautiful face as often as I can, so please call me any time, night or day. I will stay away as long as I can, but I can’t promise it will be too long,” he smiled. “I love you,” he whispered and I leaned down and kissed him.
“I love you, too,” I said again.
“Stacy...Jake? I’m going to turn in for the night and call Ryan and let him know your decision as well as my parents. It’s about a 2 hour drive to my parents place and I was going to rent a car, so I was thinking about leaving by noon.” I nodded to her and told her goodnight.
Jake and I quickly cleaned up the dining room and kitchen and also decided to head to our room for the night. There was still so much I wanted to say to him and I really wanted him to fully support this decision.
Jake sat with his back up against the headboard while I laid sideways with my head on his lap and knees bent. He ran his fingers through my hair and we just looked into each other’s eyes. “Jake...are you sure you are OK with my decision?”
“Of course baby. I told you before it would hurt, but I need to support you and I will. Besides, we will still talk and it’s not like I’m that far away that I couldn’t fly to you in less than a few hours if you really needed me.” I smiled at that. “But I also want to respect your need to connect with your family, so I don’t want to take your focus from that either.”
I closed my eyes for a minute. “Jake?” He looked down at me. “Make love to me,” I looked up at him. He bent down and kissed me and moved me so that I was straddling his lap while he attacked me with kisses.
I let him pull my shirt off and unhook my bra. I pulled his shirt off and we resumed kissing each other until we covered every inch of our faces, necks, shoulders and chests. He laid me onto my back and removed my pants and panties and kissed up my legs to my sensitive area. He proceeded to kiss me and lick my nub while sliding his fingers over my folds causing me to moan wanting more. He first put in one finger and then a second while he continued to flick me with his tongue. I came undone and I felt Jake smile and he licked up all my juices.
He got up and took off the rest of his clothes and proceeded to climb on top of me. I rubbed my feet and legs over the backs of his and brought them around his body as he entered me fully. “Oh God...Jake” I cried out as the sensation rose in me again. He kissed my breasts and my neck and my jaw and then passionately on the lips. While he thrusted in and out of me, his tongue wrestled with mine and the feelings grew and grew. I could hear his breathing quicken as we both were nearing our release. After a couple hard thrusts, Jake filled me up while I rode out my orgasm.
We came down from our high and Jake rolled onto his back. I will never get enough of him and will truly miss this while we are apart. I rolled onto my side and grabbed the blankets to cover us. “I love you Jake and I will miss you so much.” He kissed the top of my head and pulled me even closer.
“I love you too and will miss you more,” he whispered.
The next morning I packed a couple of suitcases with several outfits and a couple of pairs of shoes that Jake had bought me over the summer. I didn’t know how long I was going to be gone, but I had a feeling it would be at least a few months or so. I left most of my stuff in the closet or in my dressers. I took a small bag and gathered up some of my personal items, so I had something to start with.
I was gathering my phone and charger, and a couple other things to put in my purse. Jake came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. While he was kissing my neck, he grabbed my purse and shoved an envelope full of money along with one of his credit cards into it. I tried to stop him, but he shut me up with a deep kiss.
“I want you to be comfortable and I don’t want you to worry about needing anything. There is plenty of cash to last a while, and please use my card. I’ve already talked to the bank that you will be using it while out of state. I don’t want to hear any arguments.”
“Thank you Jake. Please don’t worry about me too much, I will be OK. I’ll call you when I get to my grandparents and again when we get to my parents house.”
“I’ll always worry about you, and I’ll look forward to all of your calls.” He leaned in and kissed me again.
He grabbed my bags and had Dylan come up and grab my mother’s as we headed down to the car. Dylan drove us to a car rental shop, where Jake paid for a car for my mother and I to take to West Bend, WI and then to the airport before we fly to New Salem, ND. They moved all our bags to the other car and my mother got into the driver’s seat after saying goodbye to Jake and Dylan got back into his car.
“Be safe baby. I love you so much and will think about you every day,” Jake said as he held my head in his hands.
“I love you too. I will think of you as well and call whenever I can.” I leaned up and gave him one more kiss before he opened my door and helped me inside. He leaned in for another kiss and closed the door. I waved at him through the window as a tear ran down my cheek.
Goodbye Chicago...for now.