The Writers Voice
An Interesting Idea - Chapter Six
Justin sat in
his jail cell wondering if he would ever see the
light of day again. Or his friends or his family.
‘My parents want to get me out of jail so bad,’
Justin thought with a sigh. ‘But what if they
can’t?’ he thought worriedly. What if he really did
‘But what if I
get tried as an adult?’ Justin thought
apprehensively. ‘Then I’ll probably end up back in
jail.’ He knew that’s not what he wanted. Why did
Justin keep getting this nagging feeling that if
that happened his life would end? Of course that
was just a mere exaggeration, but what if... what
if it wasn’t? Justin knew he was lucky enough
to be in Iowa where they didn’t have capital
punishment, but he lived in New York. ‘What if I
end up getting tried in New York too?’ Justin
thought fearfully. He was pretty sure they had the
death penalty over there. What if they
this into too big of a deal,” Justin told himself
crossly, “It won’t be that bad.” But there was
still that nagging question. What if he wasn’t
“I, I can’t,” Will replied nervously. “I promised! I don’t break my promises...” his voice trailed off; Will knew he had just gotten himself into another one of Jake’s traps, yet again.
“What did you promise Justin?” Jake asked, his dark eyes starting to flash in anger.
“How do you know it was Justin I promised something to?” Will asked defensively. “It could’ve been someone else.”
“Because, it’s written all over your face,” Jake said with a growl. “What, did you promise Justin, Will?”
“I told him I wouldn’t tell you this,” Will replied nervously, trying to look Jake in the eye. “But I might’ve been able to prevent all of this.”
“Prevent what?” Jake asked suspiciously, walking slowly towards Will.
“Prevent him from attempting suicide,” Will replied quietly, his face twisting into a worried expression; Jake was starting to get really mad. ‘Please don’t let him lose his temper,’ Will pleaded silently. ‘Please!’
“How?!” Jake demanded angrily.
“Calm down, I’m getting to that,” Will said, looking Jake nervously in the eye. “It’s a good reason, honest.”
“It had better be,” Jake growled.
“Justin called the barn a week after Joey died, he said he wanted to talk to me,” Will said, trying to make sure he chose the right words. “When I called him, Justin seemed nervous, edgy, almost paranoid about something.”
“What?” Jake asked curiously, his anger disappearing for a moment.
“He said he was depressed, and asked if we could talk about it,” Will replied quietly as he focused his attention on the floor.
“What did you say?” Jake asked in an accusatory tone.
“Hey, I'm not on trial here am I?” Will asked half-jokingly.
“No,” Jake replied seriously. “But what did you say?”
“I told Justin that sure, we could talk,” Will said slowly. “Then he started to get really, I don’t know, weird.”
“What do you mean, weird?” Jake asked with a laugh.
“He didn’t say anything for a long time,” Will replied, glaring at Jake. “It wasn’t a funny kind of weird either, it was strange.”
“Strange how?” Jake asked, trying to hide a smile.
“He... he said he wanted to die,” Will replied in a whisper. “At first I thought he was joking.”
“What made you think that?” Jake asked calmly.
after he said it,” Will said thoughtfully. “It was
a nervous laugh, but
“Why would he joke about something like that?” Jake asked, half curious yet half worried at the same time.
“I don’t know,” Will replied distantly. “Then he got all serious and said, no, I mean it.”
“Meant...” Jake’s voice trailed off as he remembered the words Will had just said.
“He said he really wanted to die,” Will said slowly; his eyes seemed to be glued to floor now. “I was scared when he said that, it wasn’t like Justin.”
“Yeah, I would’ve been too,” Jake said thoughtfully. “Will, why didn’t you tell me this happened?”
“I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me,” Will replied fearfully. “Sometimes you think I just make stuff up, just to get your attention.”
“You did, once,” Jake said quietly. “But that was a long time ago.”
“Anyway, Justin and I talked, I think I managed to talk him out of it that time,” Will said fiercely. “When he tried to do it again that night...”
“You thought you’d failed him or something?” Jake asked gently.
“Yeah, I guess,” Will said slowly. “I know I should’ve told you, I tried but..”
“What?” Jake asked. His anger had now quickly turned to concern for Will.
“But I couldn’t,” Will said quietly. “I know it was wrong to keep what Justin said a secret.”
“Yes - did you tell anybody?” Jake asked quickly. “Besides me and Jenn?”
“You mean his parents or someone like that?” Will asked with a weak laugh.
“No, just anybody at all,” Jake said calmly. “That would’ve helped you.”
“Well, actually, I did end up telling you, but it was like a couple weeks after he’d told me,” Will replied hesitantly.
“Oh, would I remember that night?” Jake asked Will, yet at the same time asking himself the same question.
“Maybe,” Will said with a shrug. “I doubt you would though,” he said as he finally tore his eyes off the floor and looked at Jake.
Jake eyed his son worriedly. ‘How could I not have known he was doing this to himself?’ Jake thought anxiously, ‘He’s my son, and I didn’t even know Justin trusted him to keep that a secret.’ He looked at Will carefully. He started to study his son’s expression. He looked like if Jake couldn’t remember anything he might break down crying.
“Will, is there anything that might help me to remember what happened that night?” Jake asked gently.
“No,” Will replied shakily. “I don’t think so.”
“Are you sure?” Jake asked, trying not to sound too worried. He could tell anything might set Will off, but he had no idea what.
“Yes,” Will replied very slowly. “I can’t really remember that night myself.”
“You can’t remember, or you don’t want to remember?” Jake asked quietly.
“A little of both maybe,” Will said, his voice quivering. “Why do you care? I shouldn’t have kept it from you in the first place.”
“Well, no,” Jake replied hesitantly. “But give yourself a break; you were stuck in a pretty compromising position.”
“I was?” Will asked curiously; his eyes were starting to water. Will wiped away the tears quickly with his hand, hoping Jake hadn’t seen him start to cry.
“Yes, you were,” Jake said haltingly. “It’s okay to tell someone you trust, you know.”
“I know,” Will replied quietly. “But I was afraid if I told you, you would tell his parents, and if they found out then they would’ve told Justin and...”
“Hold on, slow down Will,” Jake said with a slight laugh. “Take a deep breath and start over.”
Will inhaled sharply, inhaling some dust as well, which made him start coughing.
“Uh, not that deep,” Jake said with a laugh as he watched Will trying to breathe.
“I know,” Will said, trying to catch his breath. “I knew what you meant,” he said with a slight smile.
“That’s good. You okay?” Jake asked, trying to hide his smile.
“Yeah,” Will said with a slight cough. “I’m fine; what were we talking about anyway?”
“Um, I don’t quite remember,” Jake said with a smile. “Refresh my memory.”
“Did you do that on purpose?!” Will exclaimed in surprise.
“Do what?” Jake asked innocently.
“You know what I mean,” Will said with exasperation.
“Oh, that,” Jake replied with a smile. “Yes, but I didn’t expect to get that result from it.”
“Sure you didn’t,” Will replied sarcastically.
“I'm not kidding, I didn’t think you’d inhale the dust!” Jake exclaimed with a laugh.
“Now, where were we?” Jake asked, frowning. “Because this time I really don’t remember.”
“Oh, we were talking about the conversation we had about the talk I’d had with Justin on the phone,” Will said confidently. “I think...”
“Sounds complicated,” Jake said with a laugh.
“Yeah, it does,” Will replied thoughtfully. “But to be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a whole lot of that night.”
“Don’t tell me - you probably blocked it out somehow, right?”
“Probably, but let’s see...” Will’s voice trailed off as he tried to remember what had happened.
“I know I’d left you at my house, while I went to get something,” Jake said quickly. “But I don’t know what you were doing.”
“Not much,” Will said with a nervous laugh. “I do remember when you came home though.”
“Oh, what happened?” Jake asked curiously.
“I was sitting on the stairs,” Will said slowly, “You asked me if something was wrong.”
“I did?” Jake asked in surprise. “Oh wait, now I remember.”
“Remember what?” Will asked anxiously.
“I remember asking you what was wrong, and you said nothing,” Jake said thoughtfully. “I said you were lying.”
“I remember that,” Will replied nervously. “I told you that you wouldn’t understand.”
“I asked you why,” Jake said quietly. “And you said I just wouldn’t understand.”
“I pushed you away,” Will whispered. “I shouldn’t have.”
“But you did tell me, sort of,” Jake said reassuringly.
“I remember, you said you were going to go to bed,” Will said slowly. “I told you to wait.”
“You said you wanted to talk to me about something,” Jake said with a slight smile. “You said it was important.”
“I tried to tell you what Justin had said, but it didn’t quite come out right.”
“I got confused, and asked you what was wrong,” Jake said gently. “Then you started to cry.”
“Yeah, I’m not terribly proud of that,” Will said, blushing slightly.
“But you needed to show your emotions somehow,” Jake said quickly. “What if you hadn’t told me what happened?”
“I don’t know, I guess I might’ve ended up like... like Justin maybe,” Will said quietly.
“Will, next time someone says something like that to you, don’t keep it to yourself, okay?” Jake asked, looking at Will worriedly. “Promise me, if Justin says anything like that to you again, you’ll tell me, okay?”
“Okay,” Will replied calmly. “I promise.”
“Good! Come on, let’s go do something less depressing,” Jake said with a smile. “Sound good to you?”
good,” Will said with a wide grin. “Sounds great!”
“What if he gets convicted?” Jenna asked worriedly.
“Jenna, we’ve been through this already,” Derek replied, trying not to yell. “You have to try to be optimistic.”
“I know,” Jenna replied quietly. “I’m sorry. I’m just so worried, that’s all.”
“I know, so am I,” Derek said with a sigh. “I only wish we had been able to help Justin before.”
“Me too, but we have to focus on the present, not the past,” Jenna replied firmly. “You know that as well as I do.”
“Okay, but where the heck do we find a lawyer?” Derek asked irritably. “We sure as heck don’t know any.”
“No, maybe the judge will appoint one,” Jenna replied thoughtfully. “You know what I mean?”
“Uh, not exactly,” Derek said, his face twisted into a puzzled expression.
“One of the great things about living in the U.S. is the fact that if we don’t have enough money to pay for our own lawyer,” Jenna said pausing for a moment, “the judge will hire one for us.” She looked questioningly at Derek to see if he had understood what she just said.
“Oh, I think I get it now,” Derek said slowly. “But is it really that bad?” he asked, starting to frown.
“You think so?” Jenna asked quizzically. “Okay, let me ask you this, did you get what I said?”
“Yes, I’m just not thinking terribly clearly,” Derek replied with a slight smile.
“Oh, is that a yes or no?” Jenna asked trying to stifle a laugh.
“It’s a yes,” Derek replied, laughing at Jenna's expression.
“What?” Jenna asked, not quite sure what Derek was laughing about.
“Nothing, it’s just...” Derek tried to stop laughing. “You, you’re so serious sometimes.”
“How’s that funny?” Jenna asked defensively.
“Um, I don’t know,” Derek replied hesitantly. “I didn’t mean to offend you or anything.”
“No, that’s okay,” Jenna said quickly. “I just didn’t know what was so funny.”
“You could learn to lighten up a bit, you know,” Derek said half-jokingly.
“I know, that’s what everybody tells me,” Jenna replied with a smile. “But I don’t always listen.”
“Somehow, I guessed that,” Derek replied thoughtfully.
“I would hope so,” Jenna replied sarcastically. “You have been married to me for awhile now.”
“I know, I didn’t mean it like that,” Derek replied hurriedly.
“I know,” Jenna said with a smile. “I was just messing with your head.”
“Don’t, okay?” Derek said with angry glare.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” Jenna said softly.
“I know, that’s okay,” Derek said. His eyes softened slightly, then he sighed heavily. “I just don’t want Justin to miss out on life.”
“Where did that come from?” Jenna asked curiously.
“Don’t know,” Derek said shaking his head. “Just a random thought I guess.”
“Oh, hey let’s go do something,” Jenna said, her eyes starting to sparkle.
“What do you mean?” Derek asked suspiciously. He had noticed her expression change suddenly. “It’s not anything illegal is it?”
“No, of course not,” Jenna said with a laugh. “You didn’t think I’d want to get you into trouble, do you?”
“No, I guess not,” Derek replied with a laugh. “What did you want to do anyway?”
“I don’t know... let’s go see the horses!”
“Jenna, look around you,” Derek said, puzzled. “We’re surrounded by horses, why would we need to go and see them?”
“Not these guys, the ones outside,” Jenna said, pointing outside. “The ones in the paddock.”
“Oh, you mean go bring them in?” Derek asked slowly. “I’m confused.”
“I figured you might be,” Jenna said with a laugh. “No, just to go and say hi.”
“Oh... What’s the fun in that?” Derek asked, somewhat irritably.
“Come on,” Jenna urged, putting the wheelbarrow away. “I’ll show you.”
said, throwing up his hands. “It’s not like I have
any choice,” he said quietly as he put away his
wheelbarrow and the rake he’d been using, and
followed Jenna outside towards the paddocks. Derek
watched warily as Jenna walked into one of the
paddocks and started to pet one of the horses. She
seemed so happy, despite what was going on. ‘Maybe
that’s why she wanted me to come with her,’ Derek
thought to himself, ‘She wants to get my mind off
of Justin.’ After a moment Derek found himself
talking to the horses and petting them, and for a
as she looked at Derek, ‘I’m glad he’s finally
starting to relax,’ she thought with relief. ‘I
thought he’d never stop worrying about Justin.’
“Why are so worried about Justin?” Jenna asked quietly.
“I don’t know,
I know he didn’t mean to do it, but..”
“Why?” Derek asked in surprise.
“Because, what if he did something terrible over there?” Jenna asked worriedly. “He could die for it.”
“Oh, I see your point,” Derek said quietly. “Well, don’t worry, I think Justin learned his lesson this time.”
“I sure hope so,” Jenna said worriedly. “Well, at least I managed to get your mind off of this for a little while.”
“Yeah, I guess your little trick did work,” Derek said with a smile.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll figure something out,” Jenna said reassuringly.
“I sure hope
you’re right,” Derek said with a sigh.
But it was too
late now, what was done was done, and now his
friend had to face the consequences. ‘I just hope
he still wants to be my friend after what
happened,’ Will thought worriedly.
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