“Sam.” Jason shuffles back and forth unsure of himself. He wasn’t expecting to see Sam tonight at the cabin, but he is pleased and also nervously happy to see her.
“What are you doing here?” Wondering if she followed him, wondering if she brought the other him to the cabin, Jason goes weak. Shoving his hands in his pocket, Jason tries to hide the signs of him breaking down.
“I – I needed to getaway. Carly stopped by.” Smirking, remembering all the times Carly has busted into their lives fighting for her time with Jason. “Its funny Carly is now fighting for my time with you.” Sam looks Jason up and down; studying his strong, tense physique. She can see everything he’s trying to hide. She knew her Jason. She knew he was suffering in silence, so she didn’t have to. Sam painstakingly moves towards Jason. She reaches out to grab him, but hesitate; allowing her hand to linger close enough to feel his heat. A heat that ignites her soul.
“Jason.” Sam crashes to the ground behind Jason. Being close enough to him to smell his essence and feel his heat, overcharged her sense and knocks her out.
Sam’s body becomes one with the earth before Jason can turn around. She hits the ground, with a loud thud that echoes through the woods, like a whistle in the air on a windy day.
“Sam” Scooping her into his arms, Jason’s whole body becomes electrified by her. He feels the sense of peace he has been yearning for since waking up in that clinic.
Sam’s lifeless body settles into Jason, as a wave of love pulsates through him. Holding an unconscious Sam close, Jason slowly breathes her in. Wiggling her, Jason tries to arouse her sense. “Sam,” Jason whispers, placing his forehead against Sam’s.
Under a million stars, Jason cradles his fractured heart in his arms.
Letting out a little moan followed by a groan, Sam rests her head on Jason’s shoulders; nestling herself into Jason’s security, allowing her subconscious to carry her away. Sam basses in the rest and peace she didn’t know she was missing or she desperately needed.
Entering the cabin with Sam in his arms, Jason takes in the changes five years has done to his special place. Taking his time placing her on the bed, Jason doesn’t want to let her go, he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to touch her again; he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to cradle her this close again. Gently placing her on the bed, Jason grabs a pillow to place under her head and a cover to shield her shivering body, before taking his place next to Sam.
He watches her chest lightly rise and fall, her eye move under her closed lids, and wonders what she dreams about. He wonders what the turmoil of 5 years of him away has brought her. Moving closer to Sam, Jason turns his body, placing his mouth directly adjacent to Sam’s ear.
“Sam” Jason voices, her name flowing through Sam. Tensing up, Some part of Sam hears Jason. Her subconscious hears his cries. Taking notices Jason faintly grabs Sam’s hand, placing it into his, instantly feeling Sam’s body relax. “It’s okay. I’m here!” Placing his head on Sam’s, Jason closes his eyes and pulls her into him. He eases into a peaceful state of mind, listening to Sam breathe in and out, wanting her to wake up. He wanted to talk, to listen, to love her.
Becoming restless, Jason sits up, taking in his familiar and unfamiliar surroundings, he walks around the cabin, taking in the changes; noticing the difference 5 years has done to his life and to his cabin. Jason can tell Sam has been to the cabin in recent years, he notices she has spent quite a bit of time here.
Noticing Danny’s toys in the corner, his little man boots at the door, Jason realizes the cabin is no longer his. He sees Sam’s leather coat hanging off the chair, picking it up and placing it to his nose, Jason breathes Sam in, lingering long enough for her essence to have a dance party within his sense.
Shifting through the cabin gathering the pieces of a missed life, ending him in the middle of the cabin, Jason stares at a distinctive symbol of his life and marriage.
Paralyzed frozen in time, Jason’s heart stops.
“The Phoenix and The Dragon.” Jason escapes. Looking from the figurines to a resting Sam, Jason focuses on the last time he saw the symbols that drove his marriage. He closes his eyes and lets the memory consume him. His soul remembers Sam’s request. “Can you take this, it likes being with you wherever you go.” His last moments with his family flashes into Jason’s minds.
Tears escape Jason’s eyes, falling forward bracing himself on a chair, biting his lip until he tastes blood, Jason shakes the painful memories away. Taking a moment to composes himself, he assiduously moves towards the figurines, stopping himself, Jason wonders how Sam got his Phoenix back.
Did someone find it and mail it back to her? Did it fall out of his pocket on the pier? Did some cop have to hand her the only remaining item of Jason they could find? Did Sam dive into the water that night looking for Jason and only finding the Phoenix? These questions run through his head like a hamster on a wheel.
Reaching out, trying to grab The Phoenix, Jason can’t bring himself to touch it. Allowing his mind to transport him back in time, Jason closes his eyes, pulls his hand back and ease into the memories of a happier time.
“The Phoenix goddess of all winged creatures. Harvest luck, success, and prosperity. She can turn bad luck into good.”
Opening his eyes to a watery view, Jason looks back at Sam still passed out on the bed, instinctively moves towards her, checking her status. He brushes the hair from her eyes, examines her olive skin, observes the freckles that lightly dress her face, and he listens to the slow, shallow movements of her chest rising and falling.
Lastly, marveling at her small frame, and her ability to possess a passion twice her size. “Who do you think you are, Mighty Mouse” Jason recalled fondly to himself, before placing his attention back onto the Phoenix figurine.
“My Phoenix.” Jason shuffles over to the fireplace, trying to steady his shaking hand over the precious symbol without touching it. Trying to grab the Phoenix but still can’t, Jason grabs The Dragon instead. Running his fingers over the symbol that represents him, causes tightness in Jason’s chest. Staring at it, willing it to give him the answer he so desperately seeks, Jason, shakes.
“The dragon is the symbol of strength… Protects the innocent and can bless those around him with safety.” Haunts Jason. Feeling like a failure under the weight of this memory, Jason crashes to the ground. He discerns he doesn’t deserve to be The Dragon to Sam’s Phoenix, he lost the right to be her Dragon.
Anger swells in Jason, causing him to squeeze tight around The Dragon figurine, pressing it to the point the figurine disintegrates in his palm. Feeling The Dragon becoming one with his hand, releasing the figurine from his grip to find a sweaty, slightly cracked Dragon. Lifting himself off the ground, Jason returns the Dragon to its home, next to the Phoenix.
Jason wanders around, studying the knowledge of Sam and Danny’s life the cabin possesses. He finds bottles in the kitchen, pictures drawn by Danny on the refrigerator. He plays with Danny’s cars on the table and curses himself when he finds Danny’s little biker boots. He imagines what they did when he finds the playpen in the closet. The clues of his missed life follow him around, haunting his existence.
Jason wanted this life, he was excited about this life. Flooded with devastating grief, Jason makes his way towards the door. He had to get away, this cabin, these memories were suffocating him. The more he finds, the more difficult reality becomes for him.
Making it to the door, Jason sees his escape; he sees the bike. Hovering in the threshold, between his old life and the escape of a new one, Jason slowly closes the cabin door. Placing his attention upon a sleeping Sam, the only life Jason wants is with Sam, old or new.
Jason stands stiff as a board. He wants to know more, he wants to explore this life, but the crumbles only create more questions, more angst. Shuffling back and forth, Jason decides Sam has rested long enough, he can’t take it anymore; he needs her, he needs answers.
Quietly moving toward the bed, Jason’s attention shifts from Sam to a shoebox on the nightstand, labeled “The Morgan’s.” Abandoning his original mission, Jason b lines for the shoebox, settling himself on the far end of the bed. Jason is scared. Touching the box sends a surge that pulsates through Jason, jolting him up, he can feel the love this box contains.
Examining the box felt like examining a bomb. Jason tips it onto its side, upside, and shakes it to hear the contains. Anticipation dips off him like sweat on a humid day. He knows this box holds life-altering information, he knows it contains aspects of Sam and Danny’s life he knows nothing about. Something deep inside Jason shakes while opening the box.
Opening the box to reveals his old life and Sam’s new life, pictures line the bottom, a little box sits within the big box, symbols of their love invade Jason’s sense.
Unsure of where to start, Jason hovers his hand over the box, carefully picking up the little box in an attempt to not disturb Sam’s new life. He’s scared of what he might find. Slowly opening the box to a wave of Sam smacking him in the face, Jason stutters. The whole shoebox smelled of Sam, but the little box trapped Sam’s essence inside of it, releasing it on whoever dared to open it.
Drawing in a deep breath, filling himself with her spirit, Jason grabs a silver chain from the box.
Slipping the lug nut on his index finger shakes Jason to his core. He hadn’t thought about this engagement ring in years. The emotions from that night come rushing back, skipping his heart a beat and drying his mouth. Jason closes his hands around the chain, taking it all in. Quivering under the enormous pressure filling his chest, Jason presses the lug nut against his lip, trying to remember the night he slipped it on Sam’s finger.
“Will you put it on my finger?”
“It’s just until we get the ring and you can pick out whatever you want.”
“I have everything that I want.”
“I can’t believe we’re getting married.”
“Believe it!” Jason whispers, revealing a smile that lights up the room. Astonished by her sheer strength, Jason just stares at her, in absolute awe; absentmindedly rubbing her side, Jason wonders how he survived 5 years without her.
One by one Jason pulls necklaces out of the box. The little box within the big box contains every necklace Jason has ever placed on her neck. Taking his time, remembering each necklace and what they mean to Sam; he pulls the star necklace out, then the birthstone, followed by the compass necklace and lastly revealing the fertility necklace. Jason’s old life hits him without warning, realizing Sam’s whole heart is in the shoebox, their whole life is neatly packed away in this tiny box. The trip down memory lane is a reminder to Jason, that these necklaces mean just as much to him, as they do to Sam.
As each necklace dangles from his hand, Jason silently releases tears his been fighting since closing the cabin door. Overcome with grief, he slides down the edge of the bed, allowing the love that each necklace contains to soothe him. He holds them close to his heart, happy Sam had them during his time away, happy Sam had physical life to guide her memories. Jason places each necklace back the way he found it, before drawing his attention to the other contains the box holds.
The bottom of the shoebox is lined with pictures; pictures that tell a story of Jason and Sam’s old life and ones that narrate the short tale of Danny’s. Unsure if he is ready to dive into Danny’s life, Jason goes to grab a picture of Sam and him, as Sam’s confirming words of Danny’s paternity surge through Jason, causing chills, making him shake.
Shaking reveals a picture of Danny and Sam at the park; drawing in all the air his lungs can handle, Jason steadies his soul and lifts the photo from the box. Gazing upon their smiles frozen in time, Jason’s soul relaxes.
Danny is a toddler in the picture, he’s sitting on Sam’s lap at the top of the slide waving out to the cameraman. He looks sunburned and ecstatic to be taking the trip down, Sam seems breathless and lighthearted holding Danny tight, she possesses a massive smile on her face and in her eyes.
Wrecked by their happiness without him, Jason shoves the picture back into the box, closing the lid, Jason places it back on the nightstand.
Consumed with confusing thoughts, Jason rocks on the floor. He’s happy their lives went on, he’s happy Sam had something to help her keep going in his absence, but he is also angry. He’s angry he missed it all, angry he didn’t see Danny’s first steps or hear him call Sam mommy for the first time. He’s angry he never got to witness the smiles those pictures possess.
Angry at his lack of control of the situation, Jason rocks on the floor, for what seems like forever, trying to avoid making eye contact with The Phoenix staring him down from the fireplace. After many failed attempts, Jason musters the courage to touch the Phoenix.
Standing before the Phoenix, he feels a power radiate from it and settles within him. Drawing the power in through a hearty intake of air, Jason finally grabs the Phoenix, opening a floodgate he didn’t know was closed. Closing his eyes, he lets the emotions take over. Jason feels the love he had the night Sam gave him the Phoenix.
Uncontrollable tears smear Jason’s face, but he doesn’t notice; he doesn’t want to control his emotions, he wants to feel everything. He wants to remember every word that was exchanged, every look that was given, every touch that was felt, he wants to live in the feelings again.
Jason holds The Phoenix, as a power radiates through him, as Sam radiates through him.
Placing The Phoenix to his head, Jason feels the closest he has felt to Sam since his return. All the confusion he was pledged with moments before, dissipate the more Sam’s love caress his soul. Cradling The Phoenix in his hand, Jason feels Sam’s love wrap around him, cradling him into submission.
Trapped in the feelings, in the memories, Jason stares off into nothingness, tears hitting the floor before him.
“Jason!” Sam’s voice knocks Jason out of his moment.
Placing the Phoenix back on the fireplace, Jason swiftly moves towards a disorientated Sam.
“Hey, there! How are you?” Jason helps Sam to a seated position, noticing her pale skin and blotchy eyes. Propping her against the headboard, he heads for the kitchen.
Easing into the bed, taking in the cabin, she notices Jason has been busy while she was sleep. He started a fire, and she can smell something heavenly coming from the kitchen. Shifting herself, allowing her legs to dangle free, Jason emerges moments later with a glass of water and a wet washcloth.
“Are you sick?” Jason worries, he has never seen a reaction like this from Sam before. He fears something might be wrong, something she doesn’t want him to burden himself with.
Sam and Jason are alike in this way, they don’t like to burden the other.
“I don’t think so. What happened?” Sam rubs her head trying to recall the last moments of her life. She remembers reaching out to Jason, and everything going black. She remembers the overwhelming rush of emotions she felt being close to Jason.
“What do you remember?” Shoving the water glass to her mouth, Jason begins searching her body for bumps and bruises. It never dawned on him, that the fall could have seriously injured her, the cabin and everything it holds distracted him.
“I’m okay.” Sam jerks away. “I remember you pointing your gun at me, then you asking me why I was here, then nothing.” Sam looks around the cabin again, resting her eyes on an exhausted-looking Jason. “You carried me in here?” Placing the water glass on the table, she cradles Jason’s face in her hands. She can see he’s been battling something.
“How long have I been out?” Sam inquiries as Jason pulls away from her. “Hey!” Falling forward from the lack of stability Jason’s body brought, Sam lingers in a slumped position before resting her eyes on Jason.
“You’ve been out long enough for me to find your life.” Jason walks over to the fireplace, picks up the Phoenix and shows Sam. “I had this the night I left. How did you get it back?”
Beginning to cry as the question enters the atmosphere, Sam is drawn back to that night on the pier. Danny’s first night home, a night that was supposed to be happy but turned tragic in less than an hour’s time.
Pulling at her chest, Sam recalls the night she went in search of Jason, only to find The Phoenix. “They said you weren’t down there, but I couldn’t hear that. They said they were calling off the search because it was too cold, the current was too strong.” Sam pauses clutching her chest a little tighter, everything from that night, hitting her at once, and it’s uncomfortable for her. She never thought she would be explaining her grief to this Jason.
Gathering the strength from Jason’s eyes, Sam continues with the tale of her worst night of life.
“The coast guard gave up, Dante refused to let me dive, but I didn’t care, no one was going to stop me from finding you.” Fighting tears away, Sam turns from Jason; she can’t take his breakdown. “Sonny distracted Dante long enough for me to find a wetsuit. I searched everywhere, Jason, I searched and searched until I found that.” Drawing her attention to The Phoenix in Jason’s hand, Sam brushes her fingers against Jason’s, pulling back her whole body tingles.
Tighten his fist around the Phoenix, Jason tries to talk but can’t find the words. He wants to comfort Sam but doesn’t know-how. “I’m home now, and I’m sorry you had to go through that.” Jason moves towards her but stops dead in his tracks when she turns from him.
“Don’t apologize.” The intense feeling from that night makes Sam feel dizzy, she stands up shaking the feeling out her hands. “Can we talk about something else? Sam doesn’t want to dwell on something so painful.
“What happened at the PentHouse? You don’t believe I’m Jason now?” Jason knows she believes him, but he wants to hear her repeat it. He wants confirmation now that he knows they are alone.
“Do you trust me?” Sam was expecting questions about the changes to the cabin, not this. She doesn’t know how to answer. She doesn’t know what she should do. Knowing Jason would go after Drew, Sam fears if he did, he would never come back again. “Do you?” Sam looks at Jason.
“With my heart, soul, and life. You are my trust!” Jason roars from the depths of his soul. He wants Sam to know she can trust him with anything. He wants her to know he would do anything to make her and her children feel secure.
“Then trust that I’m doing what is right for our family.” Praying a silent pray, Sam turns away again, she doesn’t want Jason to see the doubt that foreshadows in her eyes.
Jason isn’t Unsatisfied with her response, he can tell when she doesn’t want to be pushed.
“Did you ever bring him here?” Jason quivers placing The Phoenix on the fireplace. He doesn’t want to think about that guy here, but he has to know. He has to know if this place has been tainted like everything else in his life. “I know I have no right to ask you this because you thought he was me, but I need to know. Did you show anyone else this place.” Jason shakes.
Fighting every instinct telling her to keep her distance, Sam runs to Jason, hitting him out of nowhere, wrapping her arms around him, cradling his head in her hands. “No, I never brought him here.”
Jason wraps around Sam in a sigh of relief, lifting her off the ground.
“I was going to, but something always stopped me, something in me knew he didn’t belong here.” Readjust herself to be eye to eye with Jason, she wanted him to feel what she was about to tell him.
“This was my place with Danny, we would come here in the early years, to feel close to you; to be alone with you.” Jason kisses her, pulling her in deeper. “Here is where I felt the strongest connection to you.” Kissing her again, this time Jason doesn’t stop.
Sam wraps her legs around Jason, as he moves towards the bed.
Sam’s revelation told Jason everything he wanted to know, somewhere deep inside Sam; she knew something wasn’t right. She knew enough not to taint his home. And that turned Jason on. He couldn’t stand it anymore, he has to have Sam. He needs to be one with her. Looking into Sam’s eyes and sees the same desire, passion, and lust as him, Jason throws her on the bed, ripping his shirt off. He lowers himself on top of her, nibbling at her neck.
POW POW POW POW POW
Gunfire riddles the cabin walls.
“Burn it down.”Placing Scout in her crib, Drew hangs the phone up.
“Where is mommy, baby girl?”