He heard the man's voice at the same time the weapon rammed into his ribs. The hot pain shot through Jeremy's body, every muscle bunching into tight, throbbing knots. Falling to his hands and knees, the device was withdrawn, leaving his muscles to continue with uncontrollable spasms.
Jeremy fought against the effects of the electric current rushing through his body. As hard as he tried, he couldn't lift his head to look up, only down at the floor where he could see their feet- her pointy-toed heels and his black suede loafers.
"Be advised that any action you may take in an attempt to rectify this situation will be considered a direct violation of Pack Law and punishable to the fullest extent of the DPLA's capabilities."
Jason tossed a card on the floor next to him; it landed face down, the shiny white material contrasting sharply against the dark hardwood. "Our contact information," he spat, "if you should discover you need it for any reason."
Their shoes left his line of vision and he heard the footsteps crossing the foyer and the finality of the latch on the front door.
In both physical pain and mental anguish, he remained on his hands and knees, staring down at the interweaving pattern of the dark and light shades of wood grain in the floor planks. He couldn't understand what was happening, or why Shane would do this to him.
I'm not sure when I realized it.
It might've been a cold day in January as I gazed out the window across the snow covered field, sipping a cup of hot coffee and thankful to be inside where it was warm. It could've been on a sultry day in July while I mowed grass, sweat trickling down the middle of my back as Breaking Benjamin crooned 'Dear Agony' through my earphones.
I can't be certain when the realization hit me, or why it did at whatever moment it decided to.
It was the sudden rush of awareness that life is much easier and less complicated when you give up on trying to understand people, change people, or make other people's problems your own. I will never understand what goes on in someone's mind, or why they do the things they do, and truthfully, I'm thankful for the revelation.
I once spent quite a bit of time delving into the intriguing dark places in others, trying to figure out what made someone tick and what might be done to 'fix' them. But all along, I could never 'fix' any of them. I discovered it wasn't my place, and I found people don't want to be fixed.
Who am I to decide who needs fixed anyway?
Maybe it's me who needs 'fixing'.
I discovered a huge weight lifted when I decided I would no longer question or ponder the actions of others unless their activities directly affected me in some way.
I would also be willing to bet money that many people often wonder what kind of craziness goes on in my head as well, but no one seems to be asking.
Scared of what they might find, I'm guessing.
I found I expected way too much without stopping to realize not everyone is the same as me. Someone else may take an entirely different route than what I could imagine taking in the same situation.
People are only people...no more, no less. Don't expect too much.
And just the same as me, you'll find by letting everyone else's issues go, you'll have less complications in your life, and a sense of relief - as well as peace.
Learn to take people at face value; sometimes it's the only value they're supposed to have in your life.
Oh Jeremy...what a life you've been dealt.
I sometimes feel terrible for the things you are forced to face, overcome, or accept.
It's almost as if I'm not aware of your violent history.
But I AM aware, and it is what makes you unique.
Experienced to the highest of extremes, your emotions make you a killer, but your aren't beyond feeling love. You discovered something extraordinary in Elisa, and then she was tragically stolen from you. You will never be the same again, and would have given up if not for the child.
You exist now only for her... she is your world.
Already enraged by earlier events, he grasped the soft flesh of her upper arms with both hands, yanking her roughly against him. She swallowed with difficulty, the movement of her throat producing a nervously loud gulping noise.
He whispered through clenched teeth against her ear.
"I'll make you sorry you came here," he muttered.
Jeremy smelled fear. He felt it radiating and seeping into his own skin where their skin meshed together. The scent stimulating every sense, it quickened his pulse and teased him. As the roar of blood coursed through his veins, his fingers bit deeper into her arms, her skin blanching white from the pressure.
He could hear the escalated beat of her heart and rapid intake of breath, but she remained motionless. Even though the tension of her body testified to the fact she wanted nothing more than to bolt, she didn't flinch. He was beyond furious and his body screamed for any outlet to release his anger. Had she struggled, he may not have been able to control the impulse to snap her neck.
"Please," she pleaded softly.
His face softened slightly at the high-pitched tone of her voice. Jeremy wouldn't hurt her, even as much as he wanted to hurt someone...anyone, she wasn't the source of his rage. As he pulled away, his mouth brushed her cheek unintentionally, the surprising heat tingled across his lips. Startled by the distantly familiar stirring it caused, he took a step backward. His face no longer portrayed anger, but instead a shadow of anguish that moved through his gray eyes and quickly disappeared; an expression so slight she would never realize anything happened at all.
But he knew.
"But," he grinned, "All is as it should be." He touched my face tenderly with the tips of his fingers.
Even then, I knew he didn't really mean it. Deep inside, I realized he would give up everything to have her back. I was young, but not oblivious. Just today, although he laughed as we played together, I saw his eyes travel towards the grassy slope and linger on the solitary tree where the monument stood camouflaged in its shade. For a few moments, he would lose himself to random memories, and a dark shadow would pass over his face. I never interrupted his silence. I knew he needed those few precious seconds to be with her.
There are no free rides.
This world demands you to work for what you want.
It will beat you down until you feel defeated, drained, hopeless, and frustrated. It will try to mold you into things you are not, and attempt to force you to conform to the standards of others until you're just about ready to give up, or give in.
Your strength is being tested.
Some people seem to coast through life and appear to be handed whatever they want and never have to work for anything.
Don't be fooled.
You see only their successes, not their struggles, not their heartaches, and not the pain of their journey.
They've suffered, but with unwavering determination they have prevailed.
Varying degrees of determination is the only difference between a person who succeeds and one who gives up - Notice I didn't say 'one who fails'.
If you try, and continue to try even after being knocked down and dragged through the mud, and then still keep on trying, you've surpassed 'failing'.
These little bumps in the road are designed to make you stronger, leaner, and more fiercely determined. They're designed to see if you have what it takes.
I believe that we are born with a spark, a passion, a need that smolders inside of each one of us. It glows only dimly in some while in others; it's a full-fledged blazing fire. It all depends on how much you feed it and allow it to breathe within you.
You will know when you find yours.
It will become a requirement in order to live, as necessary as breathing, and as urgent feeding your hunger.
Chances are, you already know what it is...you can feel it deep down in your gut. Don't let the tiny flickering flame go out.
Failure is nothing but a new beginning; a chance to regroup and figure out a new strategy to get what you want.
It's only the end of your story if you allow yourself to give up.