Bright lights shine along with the crowd as the bass shakes the club’s floors. Everyone is here to escape—some more often than others. My body jumps to the beat that helps you out the everyday emotions and thoughts. In between each song, the thoughts try to creep in but are quickly chased off again.
Young men look at my half-dressed body licking their lips. A small zebra in a den full of hungry lions. Each night one of the regulars buys me a laced drink, and with a simple smile, I accept them. Thankfully most men, once the sun rises, hand me a hundred to help pay my rent in hopes I will return to their beds again.
Tonight an extremely tall man walks up and offers me a dance. His bright green eyes stare into my soul with such love and compassion. For a second, my heart melts that someone is capable of looking at me that way. The man’s dry, oil-covered, rough hands wait for mine, but his smile never waivers. As my hand gently slips into his, he pulls me in close. He holds me tight in his arms and rests his head on top of mine.
“My name is Jack, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He lifts my hand, gently kissing it as we dance.
“Isabelle” The lie slips from my lips like a single breath.
The sparks between the two of us can not be any stronger. After a few dances, we decide to get an Uber and leave the club to go somewhere a little more special. On the way to a mystery destination, Jack asks me to tell him my story. Lip quivering, I know the moment people tell the truth, they run away.
As the car came to a stop, so does my dark, cruel story. There is a thick, icy, tense silence as he gets out of the car and offers his hand to help me out. My heart beats hard as the car leaves, and both his hands gently embrace my face. He kisses my forehead, and Jack looks at me with the most compassionate look. Taking a deep breath, I do my best to fight the tears so eagerly fighting to come out.
“It seems to me in the darkest nights, you are the star shining so bright to lead the way. For this, you are absolutely beautiful. Let me give to you what you have given others.” He smiles as he leads me to one of the most beautiful restaurants in town.
The two of us dine like royalty, and the chemistry is undeniable. Everything seems so surreal, but I never want this night to come to an end. He tells me about the trauma he’s been through in his life. We are broken in such similar ways, but when you look at him, you’d never know it. He opens up about how getting into farming had been his second chance in life.
As we head back to the hotel, the two of us have had too much to drink. Laughing and giggling, we barely make it to the room. We kiss each other passionately, and it feels like two souls melting into one another. It is an experience I have never felt before, but it is intoxicating. This man is my soulmate, and I refuse to ever let that go.
Throughout the night, I notice that Jack keeps getting up and down. There are a few times that I sit by his side and try to talk and be supportive. He forces a bit of a smile, and within seconds we were back to drowning ourselves into intimacy. Two strangers, two broken souls, yet as our pieces come together, it makes a beautiful mosaic.
In the morning, I go to wrap my arm around Jack to find an empty bed instead. My eyes shoot open as fast as my heart. Where did he go? Tears overwhelm my eyes as it becomes clear what exactly this is. He is no better than the ones at the club. If anything, he is worse! I bring my knees up to my forehead and wish there was a way to erase the memories of perfection.
Throwing my clothes from the night before, I head out of the hotel in shame. I return to the little apartment that is a reminder of all my struggles. I open the fridge full of beers, and part of me so desperately wants to drown my sorrows. Gripping onto each bottle, I throw them at the wall, watching them explode. Screaming at the top of my lungs, the pain is unbearable. Why did he play me? Why not take me home from the club? Why make me believe in a fairytale that never had a chance of coming true?
As weeks go by, I have left the trauma of Jack leaving me and the club life behind. There has to be more to this life than being used and simply abandoned. My life deserves so much more than what life has offered it so far.
I get out of the hot steamy shower and grab a towel to cover up. I catch my reflection in the mirror, and for the first time in a long time, I don’t look like a suffering soul. Jack’s second chance was the farm that landed in his life, and that man was mine. A small bit of guilt lingers, wishing I can thank him for everything he has given me.
Walking into the kitchen, I walk by my TV, and plastered on it is a picture of Jack’s face. My cell phone drops from my hands, seeing the same lively green eyes, the bright smile, and the same humongous hands that wrapped themselves around me. Justin Moreson was the man who revolutionized the farming industries and the second most successful man in our country. He lied to me about his name too!
Bzzzzzzz bzzzzzzz…. The phone begins ringing, and I quickly pick it up. There is a long silence as my mind tries to process the fact that I had an intimate night with someone so powerful.
“Erm, hello, is this Ms. Iris Johnson?” The man says as awkward as I feel shocked.
“Yes. May I help you?”
“My name is Adam Burke, and I am a private detective for Justin Moreson. If you are not busy now, we are hoping you can come into the office on the corner of Jones and Elizabeth?” The room begins to spin, unable to process what is going on.
I hang up the phone, grab my coat, and run out the door. Emotions are spiraling as quickly as my feet are moving. There it is… It stands so tall that being on the top floor, you will find yourself one with the clouds. The Moreson and Burke Law firm. Straightening out my clothes, I take a deep breath and try to reassure myself that I have got this.
Making my way up in the elevator, all I can think about is Jack’s lips on mine. A chuckle escapes my lips, remembering his actual name is Justin. The two of us had so much in common from the second our eyes met.
I can still hear his laughter and feel the gentle tickle he left when he chuckled right next to my ear. Leaning my back, I wonder if this is all part of the man’s plan all along. There is no way he knew he was going to die. He had so many plans in store for his life. I run my hand through my hair with tears trying so desperately hard to comprehend why he left me that day.
The doors open, revealing a man in a suit with the most solemn expression. He bows his head in respect and remorse.
“Hello. You are Iris, correct? My name is Andrew Moreson. I am Justin’s Attorney. I must say Adam had a hard time trying to find you. I am thankful you came on such short notice. If it’s alright with you, there is something I would like to show you.” I nod in agreement, too intimidated to speak. We make our way to his private office, and there is a television screen with Justin at the hotel we were staying at. There I am, in the background cuddled in a blanket, snoring. Andrew sits down and presses the play button.
“Tonight, I have finally found my little slice of what I have been looking for. A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with terminal heart failure, and since then, I have been trying to find that person who relights that passionate flame for the life I had years ago. This is Iris, and she is the most beautiful creature that walks this earth.” He hops onto the bed and brushes the hair from my face. “She has been so strong and selfless for so long. Life has done everything to snuff out her flame, but like me, she uses this pain to help others. So tonight, I have decided it’s time for her to have a second chance at life.”
In the video, he pulls out his cell phone, and he calls his attorney, talking about the steps to take to sign everything over. Justin kept pushing for Andrew to meet him that night to sign the paperwork needed to sign everything over to me. Tears begin pouring down my face. He left that night to better my life, and I simply ran away. Justin kisses my forehead before walking out of the hotel room. The video continues as he leans his head back on the door, releasing a heavy sigh.
“I know this may be the last time that I ever see you, Iris. I made this video for you because I want to tell you two things. The first is even though we have just met, you’re the most beautiful woman, and I love you so very much. I know this is a lot to ask, but I hope you’ll take this ring and marry my brother Andrew. He will always protect, love, and respect you. The second thing is if you are watching this, it means that I have passed away. My last dying wish is that you take this gift with no regrets. This is your second chance at life, do it right.” He smiles before blowing me a big kiss.
Andrew rises from his chair as he goes and turns the tv off. He walks up to me, setting a bunch of papers in front of me. There is so much information to process, and he gets down onto one knee. He pulls out one of the most beautiful rings I have ever seen. With bloodshot eyes, he looks up at me and smiles just like his brother.
“Will you marry me?” He chokes out the best he can.
I get down on my knees, resting my hands gently on Andrews’s face. I gently kiss his forehead and give him the tightest hug I can. He wraps his large arms around me, holding me close. Two hearts in mourning coming together, and there is no telling where this path will lead. Thank you, Jack…
“I do,” I whisper gently, kissing his lips.
Two simple words destroyed the girl who was broken beyond repair. Two words birthed a woman who spent the rest of her life fixing the world.