As the train pulled into the station a crowd of people got off, but very few got on. Abigail and Jay sat opposite each other in a booth, she had her headphones in listening to music, he just sat back and watched the scenery as they passed it. Jay kept noticing Abigail in her own little world nodding along to the songs and very quietly singing them to herself while doodling in a sketchbook she carried in her bag. He smiled to himself and watched her a little, the sun was beautiful on her face as it crept through the branches of the trees. He admired the simple beauty of the moment. Abigail looked up at him from the trance she had been engrossed in while drawing and dancing to herself. She caught him staring at her smiling to himself and it made her blush, she covered her smile with her hand and tried to continue her drawing. Jay turned his concentration back onto the admiration of the scenery out of the window.
Soon Jay noticed their stop and made Abigail put her sketchbook away and come back to reality now they were at the station.
“Where are we? I was half expecting you to be taking me to a big city or something.” Abigail asked.
“Ah, you see, one thing you will learn about me is that I’m not one for the norm. I wanted to show you a little place that holds a piece of my heart.” Jay smiled as he lead her out of the station.
They walked through a little town and towards the bus stops. After a 13 minute bus journey Jay and Abigail were in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere.
“I really don’t know what we’re doing.” Abigail was getting a little cautious.
“Okay, so you know how everyone has that one childhood spot?” Jay asked.
“Kind of. Like their favourite childhood memory?” Abigail tried to find clarity.
“Sort of yeah. Well my Grandad lived around here when I was younger, I always dreamed of building a treehouse as a child. As I got older I spent more and more time at his house and we liked to keep ourselves busy. In my mid teens Grandad had it sink in that he wouldn’t be able to do all that much for a great deal longer, so he and I built a cabin house in his garden. It became a club house for him when I wasn’t around, he and his friends from the village liked to use it for their weekly gatherings.” Jay explained.
“So we’re visiting your grandparents?” Abigail was confused.
“No. They both passed a few years back, but they owned the house and they left it to me in their will. If I ever want to escape the world I come here.” Jay explained.
Jay and Abigail walked down the little country roads watching the wildlife, admiring the horses in the fields, watching the sheep running about. The locals would occasionally notice Jay and wave, he would always greet them with the same salute his Grandad would give. Soon they came to a long driveway with lots of trees.
“You ready to see the other side of my life?” Jay asked.
“I think so...” She nervously replied.
They followed the long driveway and as they came to the end Abigail admired the old cottage with the patched roof.
“Oh wow.” Abigail said to herself.
“Pretty cool, huh?” Jay smiled as he looked at the cottage. “Come on. Let me show you around.”
As they stepped into the cottage it wasn’t like a normal house on the ground floor. Abigail was amazed at the insides. It had been turned into a recording studio on the ground floor, without causing any damage to the original structure of the cottage. Upstairs were two bedrooms and a bathroom. There were all kinds of family photos on the hallway walls commemorating Jay’s grandparents.
“This is incredible.” Abigail complimented.
“Thank you, but this isn’t what I wanted to bring you here for.” Jay took her out into the garden.
There it was, the little cabin in the garden that Jay had spoken about. It was every child’s dream treehouse but bigger. It was like a whole other house built around a tree. As she entered the cabin she was stunned. There was a plaque on the tree that was gold plated with a “in loving memory of Albert White”. She admired it and smiled to herself. She saw a picture on the wall of Jay and Albert in front of the cabin the day it was finished being built. There was a bar in the corner with draught levers. A pool table at the back and two sofas facing each other with a small coffee table in between them. 4 speakers hung in the corners of the cabin.
“This is where you come to escape? Yet you could be here all the time?” Abigail questioned.
“I could yes, but I’d have to deal with my sister all the time. She had a rough divorce a couple of years ago so I let her have one of the rooms in the house. She pretty much uses this as a living room as the house is my bands studio. She spends a lot of time at work though.” Jay explained.
The garden gate creaked open and a dog came flying into the garden followed by a young woman. The dog shot to the house then came to a sudden stop, it sniffed the floor a little and then shot towards the cabin and began barking at the door wagging it’s tail like crazy.
“Speak of the devil.” Jay laughed and opened the door to the cabin.
The big golden retriever jumped up at him immediately and took him to the ground, licking his face like crazy. He was so excited to see him.
“Hello King!” Jay greeted while rubbing the dogs fur playfully.
“He’s beautiful.” Abigail observed.
“Yeah he’s my baby. Aren’t ya boy?” Jay laughed. “Go get my sister then buddy.”
King ran off into the garden and danced around excitedly.
“What’s up King?” A voice asked from outside.
Jay composed himself and waited in the doorway of the cabin.
“Well I’ll be damned.” Clara quietly said to herself as she saw her little brother.
Clara rushed over and threw her arms around him. She gripped him tightly.
“I heard about Elizabeth.” She mentioned quietly, her voice crackling. “I am so sorry.”
“Thank you.” Jay quietly replied.
“It’s so good to see you.” Clara stated as she let go and composed herself.
“And you. Clara, this is Abigail. Abigail, Clara.” Jay introduced.
“Pleasure!” Clara said as she reached out and shook Abigail’s hand. “Tell me you’re both staying for dinner?”
“Erm...” Abigail hesitated and looked to Jay for assistance.
“If you insist, then we’d love to.” Jay answered.
Clara smiled and headed inside.
Abigail and Jay set up the pool table and began playing against each other. Abigail began to get rather competitive despite the fact she couldn’t play to save her life. She was so poor at it that after every shot they were both laughing at it and Jay had to swap hands to make it a fair game.
After a few long awful games of pool they decided to play against each other on the Wii. They started with the Wii Sports tennis. Every single game Abigail completely destroyed Jay. He jokingly blamed the controller and would try to put her off.
While they were playing around, Clara began bringing the things for dinner in. She smiled as she watched them tease each other.
As they all sat around the coffee table by the sofas Clara brought out a bottle of red wine to go with their Spaghetti Bolognese.
“My god, Clara this smells and looks amazing.” Abigail complemented.
“Thank you, just wait until you try it. It’s our Albie’s old recipe.” Clara informed.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a meal like this.” Jay stated after his first mouthful.
“It’s still not got anything on the way he and Grams would do it.” Clara replied. “So how long have you two been ya know?”
Jay and Abigail looked at each other a little confused.
“What do you mean?” asked Abigail.
“Well how long have you been together?” Clara clarified.
“Oh...” Abigail responded.
“We’re not together Clara.” Jay informed.
“Really? It looks otherwise. You’re clearly into each other.” Clara meddled.
“Okay, so when we were younger every time I brought a female acquaintance home Clara would try to find a way to get us to get together, I apologise, I thought she had grown out of it by now.” Jay explained to Abigail.
“No, I did grow out of it. But you two genuinely clearly care about each other.” Clara argued.
Jay cleared his throat before getting up and leaving the cabin. Abigail watched him worried.
“Don’t worry about him, he isn’t one for talking about how he feels. It weirds him out, but he likes you. He doesn’t bring just anyone out here. In fact, other than his band there’s only been one other person he’s brought out here.” Clara explained.
“Do you really think so? Is he going to be okay?” Abigail asked.
“The way he looks at you is different to the way he looks at everyone else. He usually can’t stand being around people. He clearly feels very comfortable around you.” Clara smiled. “But he’ll be fine. He’s probably just a little awkward because I called him out on it.”
“I’m gonna check on him. Please, excuse me.” Abigail politely left the table.
Jay was sat on the porch of the cabin, Abigail opened the door and slowly sat beside him.
“You okay?” She asked softly.
“Yeah.” He replied quietly. “She just likes to make things awkward.”
Abigail watched Jay’s eyes as he looked from the ground to looking at her. His eyes seemed to brighten. She felt her heart rate begin to speed up. She bit her bottom lip slightly in contemplation.
“Come on. Let’s go finish dinner.” Jay suggested as he stood up and held his hand out for her to take.
As he helped her up she stood staring him in the face closely. She smiled to herself and leant on his chest as she chickened out.
As the night came to an end Jay called for a taxi to take him and Abigail home. The journey was fairly long but as they sat in the back of the taxi Jay watched the street lights pass from the window. He felt Abigail place her hand on top of his and grip it gently. He smiled to himself.
As they arrived at Jay’s he leant on his door and turned to Abigail.
“So are you wanting to stay again or do you think you’ll be alright tonight?” Jay asked.
“I should probably go home.” She said to almost to herself.
“Okay m’love.” He stepped closer and gave her a hug. “If you need me just call. You know I’ve always got time for you.”
“Thank you.” She whispered as she held him tightly. “And thank you for last night and the lovely day today.”
“Any time. Let me know when you get home?” Jay requested.
“I will do. Goodnight Jay.” Abigail smiled and waved as she walked to the parking lot behind Jay’s apartment.
Jay unlocked his door and walked into his home. He just dropped onto the first couple of steps and sat there for a moment. He felt strange. He wasn’t sure if he was feeling better or worse.
Abigail jolted awake from her sleep in a cold sweat. Her heart was pounding against her rib cage feeling as though it might break her chest. She exhaled slowly and laid back on her pillow. She felt sick. Her eyes watered as she rolled over onto her side. The tears that rolled down her face were uninterrupted by her as she softly cried herself back to sleep. In that moment she found herself resisting her urge to call Jay. Part of her felt guilty for caring about him, the other part of her felt guilty for laying all of her emotions on him.
She woke up from her light sleep to her phone vibrating on her bedside table. She reached for it and saw that it was Jay.
“Hey, is everything okay?” She answered.
“I uh... I don’t...” Jay was flustered and unable to form a sentence.
“Jay? What’s going on?” Abigail began to worry.
Jay couldn’t form a sentence properly, he didn’t know what had come over him. He hung up the call and dropped his phone. His chest felt heavy as he struggled for breath. He looked around his room while trying to relax himself.
Abigail jumped out of bed, it was 3am. She threw her clothes on, tied her hair up messily and ran down to her car. She drove manically to Jay’s home. She knocked on the door, there was no answer. She heard crashing coming from upstairs. She tried the handle, the door was unlocked, she ran into the apartment and into his room where he had clearly been in a fit of blind rage.
She cautiously approached him as he stood with his hands rested on his desk, his entire body was tense. He breathed heavily. Abigail reached out to him slowly and began to wrap her arms around him from behind, as she held him tightly she felt him start to relax slightly.