Jacobs legacy

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A story about love and regrets

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Jacobs legacy

  1. 1. Prelude to Jacobs‟s legacy Who am I?She sat on the mountaintop her blue eyes stared out over the thorn-bushed shrubthat stretched for miles in all directions.A sudden sadness crept into her eyes as her thoughts went back to a day ten yearsago……Jessica was a feisty ten year old with a very outgoing personality. She grew up on afarm in the Northern Province of Limpopo in South Africa. Her parents weresuccessful game farmers. Jessica was the eldest of five children. There were hertwin brothers Daniel and Kevin, 2 lively six year olds, and twin sisters Heather andMaxi three years of age. The children of the Jones household were privilegedyoungsters growing up in a rich and successful family. Jessica had a private tutorwho schooled her at home and the younger children had nannies to see to all theirneeds. Jack and Teresa Jones were always very busy on their game farm. Hunters fromoverseas visited often, there was the culling of animals and dealing with poachers.Jack and Teresa despite having very busy schedules tried to spend as much timewith their children in between their heavy workload. Quality time that was spentplaying, reading to the children before bedtime and telling them stories about theanimals on the farm. Jessica especially, enjoyed the times the family spent together.She did not have friends, living so far out in the bush, and not attending a regularschool. 1
  2. 2. Jessica spent many hours playing with her imaginary friend Bobby. She would gooutside and play- act under the shade of a large tree, in the front garden and servehim tea in her porcelain tea set she had received for her sixth birthday. She hadlong conversations with him, telling him that when they were grown up, she wasgoing marry him, and then they would move to the big city, where there would bemany friends to entertain. It was on such a day ten years ago, that an earth -shattering explosion changed the course of her life forever. Jumping up she turned as if in slow motion toward the sound. She stared wide eyedat the scene playing off in front of her, and it was so frightening that to this day it isetched in her mind, the smells, the smoke and the searing heat. The large familyhome was burning, flames pouring from every windo w and door of the house. Shecould hear the petrified screams of her family inside the house. She stood as ifnailed to the ground, staring at the flames licking the walls and roof of the house.Within a matter of minutes, the fire had spread and the whole house was engulfed inan angry and fierce blanket of flames and heat. She sunk to the ground and buriedher face in her hands trying to shut out the a wful scene. She kept her eyes tightlyshut listening to the crackling of the flames. Suddenly the screams inside the housestopped, and everything was eerily quiet. She lay there on the ground. She was topetrified to move or open her eyes.“Jessica...Jessica, wake up!‟ She slowly opened her eyes and sa w her tutor Cindybending over her wide eyed and worried. At first, she thought it was all a bad dream,and slowly turned her head to ward the house, but all she saw was the blackenedruins where her home used to be.“Where are my mommy and daddy?” she hadasked in a small-frightened little voice, with tears running down her cheeks. Cindyhad taken Jessica in her arms and pacified the little girl. “Your family has all gone toheaven my dear child, and now I have to take you somewhere safe.” She had seenthe confusion in Jessica‟s eyes. “Don‟t worry my little one, I will look after you.” Afterdriving for hours, they had arrived at the police station, where Cindy informed theauthorities of the tragedy. Jessica was placed in Cindy‟s care until the authoritiescould find her family members. After the long drive back, Jessica was put to bed inthe cottage on the farm where Cindy and the two nannies resided. Cindy sat next toher until she fell asleep. She stared do wn at the tearstained face of the little girl.“Poor little baby what is going to happen to you.”She gently tucked the sleeping childin, switched of the light and retired.She was brought back to reality suddenly, when she saw movement in the shrubbeneath her. She got up and slowly made her way do wn the mountain to investigate,thinking that it may be a small animal caught in a snare. Suddenly a shot rang out,and startled by the gunshot she panicked and lost her footing, she felt herself falling,and screamed. On her fall down the mountain, she hit her head on a rock and sankinto a dark abyss of nothingness. Jacob jumped up from his crouching position when he heard the screaming. “Whatthe hell was that?” he thought out loudly. His eyes scouted the mountainside but hesaw nothing. He moved up the mountain to have a closer look. After climbing a wayup he stopped, and leaned his rifle against a rock. He took out his binoculars andonce again scanned the mountainside. Suddenly his eye caught something in the 2
  3. 3. distance and he decided to investigate. He started climbing making sure to stayunder cover, there were poachers every where and he did not want to be caughtunawares. Making his way carefully through the brush, he suddenly stumbled upon ayoung women lying amongst the rocks. He rushed to her side, and knelt down beside her. Her head was bleeding, and shewas unconscious. He quickly felt for a pulse and satisfied that she was alive, he tookoff his shirt folded it up and gently put it under her head. Jacob took out hishandkerchief and softly wiped the blood from her forehead. He got up and lookedaround, to see if there was a handbag or something that could identify the girl. Hedid not find anything and puzzled stared do wn at her pale face wondering where shecame from and what she was doing here so far a way from civilization. Realizing thathe should get her off the mountain as soon as possible he bent do wn, picked her up,and started his descent. After what seems like hours, he reached the foot of themountain. Jacob gently lay the young woman down in the shade of a tree and satdown to rest.He picked her up and walked along a narro w trail through the bushes to ward a bigfarmhouse. Jacob carried her into the house and up the stairs where he lay her do wnon the bed in one of the bedrooms. After taking of her shoes and covering her with ablanket, he went downstairs to fetch water and a clean to wel. He returned andcarefully bathed her face and put a clean dressing on her wound. The beauty of thegirl mesmerized him. He reached out and gently pushed a lock of hair from her face.Jacob felt her pulse and satisfied that it is steady left her to rest. He went to the bathroom to freshen up, and then he returned to the room, and drewa chair close to the bed sitting do wn. Once again, he stared at the girl taking in herbeauty, her dark long curls fell softly framing her delicately featured face, lasheslying thick and long on her pale cheeks. Suddenly tiredness overcame him and hedrifted off. She drifted in and out of consciousness through the night. Jacob awokewhen he heard a groaning sound, and sa w the woman staring at him in a daze. Hewas enthralled by the soulfulness of her beautiful blue eyes.. “Hello welcome back.” She was confused and just stared at him. Seeing herconfusion he told her, “You fell down the mountain and hit your head pretty hard, canyou remember?” She shook her head and she felt as if her head was going to explode. A groanescaped from her lips and she closed her eyes. Jacob gently shook her shoulder,“You must wake up.” She heard his voice as if from afar and opened her eyes. “My head hurts.”“I will get you something.” She thankfully accepted the water and painkillers, andlaid back. “Thank you.”“Pleasure,” he smiled at her reassuringly. Jessica closed her eyes and once againdrifted off. Jacob realizing that she may have concussion decided to let her rest. Hewent outside and stared up at the star filled sky, listening to the night sounds of thebush. A frown appeared on his bro w, he still wondered about how this girl endedhere on his game farm. He went inside to check on her and found her fast asleep, hethen retired for the night wondering what tomorro w would bring. 3
  4. 4. She woke up and heard a steady knocking on the window. Slowly she turned herhead toward the sound. She noticed a bird sitting on the windowsill pecking at hisreflection in the window. Trying to focus she looked around the room but everythingwas unfamiliar. She felt the panic threatening to engulf her. She was startled whenthere was a soft knock on the door. The door slowly opened and she gasped when asix-foot strikingly handsome man entered. “Can I come in?” Jacob noticed theconfused and bewildered look on the girls face. “Sorry I did not mean to frightenyou.”He slowly moved toward the bed “How do you feel?” She stared at him andswallowing asked in a husky voice “How did I get here, who are you? He smiled down at her. “My name is Jacob. You had an accident. And I brought youto my farm.” He noticed total confusion in her eyes.”Don‟t you remember?” She justshook her head not taking her eyes of his face. “May I?” He pointed at the chair beside her bed. Jacob sat down and reassuringlytook her hand. “I found you on the mountain. You must have fallen and knockedyourself unconscious.” She felt sudden panic, as she realized she could notremember anything, not even her name. Jacob sa w the panic in her eyes. “Take iteasy, don‟t worry you are safe just give yourself time.”She looked at him and the tears spilled from her eyes. “I can‟t remember my name Idon‟t kno w who I am.” Jacob realized with a shock that it was more serious than hehad thought. He tried to sound calm and reassuring. “I am sure it is just temporarily, you will remember, you just need to rest”. Shestared at him and almost got lost in his green piercing eyes, her heart startedpounding in her ears, and she felt the blood rush to her face when she realized thatshe was staring, and that he was still holding on to her hand. Feeling suddenly veryembarrassed she pulled her hand from his. Jacob cleared his throat, and shifteduncomfortably in the chair. “Sorry…I…um…sorry.” She turned her head and stared out of the windo w trying to calm her heart, whichwas by no w beating uncontrollably. Jacob quietly got up and left the room closing thedoor softly behind him. He lent against the door closing his eyes, trying tocomprehend what just happened. Getting his feelings under control, he took ashower and went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. She stared out the window fora long time trying to gather her thoughts. “Who am I, where do I come from?” Shefelt the panic once again welling up inside her and decided to get up. Feeling a bitunsteady on her feet, she gingerly made her way to a door that she presumed mustbe the bathroom. She took a sho wer and with a to wel wrapped around her body, sheopened a cupboard door to see if she could find something clean to wear. She founda shirt, thre w it on and looked at herself in the mirror, she was shocked when she didnot recognize the person staring back at her. She picked up a brush and brushed her long dark curls. As if in a daze, she left theroom. She walked down the stairs slowly and followed the smell of frying bacon. Shepaused at the door to the kitchen. Jacob was at the stove his back turned to her. Shestared at him in awe, taking in the broad shoulders, his muscular arms and narrow 4
  5. 5. hips. She felt herself blush as her eyes moved upward to the thick blonde hair curlingin the nape of his broad neck. Oblivious to her presence Jacob started humming atune while he continued cooking. Feeling ashamed, that she was so blatantly staringat him, she cleared her throat. He s wung around with a broad smile on hissuntanned face. “Breakfast is served.” She suddenly felt famished and approached the table, very a ware that she wasprobably wearing one of his shirts and once again felt herself blushing. “That shirtsuits you. You look...” He abruptly stopped when he sa w her embarrassment. “Ummlet‟s eat”. For a while, an uncomfortable silence ensued between them. She kept hereyes averted. Jacob openly stared at her. He marveled at her beauty, the platebefore him forgotten. Suddenly she felt his eyes on her and looked up.“You‟re staring.” “Sorry I didn‟t mean to but....” his words trailed off when he saw her discomfort.They both continued their meal in silence, very aware of one another‟s presence.Jacob pushed back his plate, “I have to go and work, will you be alright on your o wn?“Yes I think so.” Her voice reflected the uncertainty she felt. “Upstairs in the bedroom next to yours you will find some lady‟s clothing that shouldfit you. Help yourself to any of them.” He turned and abruptly walked out the doorbut not before, she noticed the sadness in his eyes. She went upstairs and carefullyopened the door; she stared in amazement at the room. It had a feminine touch, theinterior was tastefully decorated and she felt as if she had entered a room that told astory of heartache and love.She was almost too frightened to touch anything for fear that she may disturb theambiance. She noticed a baby crib in the corner of the room, and felt a suddensadness she could not explain. Cautiously moving toward the large built-incupboard, she opened the door, and was shocked to see woman‟s clothing, bothsophisticated and slightly tomboyish filling every space available. She felt like anintruder as she choose one of the outfits and put it on. She looked at herself in themirror, and satisfied that the outfit she had chosen fitted her, carefully closed thecupboard door. She looked around the room and her eyes fell on a photograph onone of the dressers. She picked it up and stared at the image, she recognized Jacobembracing a beautiful woman, and noticed that she was pregnant. She put do wn thephotograph and moved toward the crib draped in blue satin and lace, with the wordsDavid embroidered on the hood. She stroked the side of the crib deep in thought.Feeling a sudden cold shiver run down her spine she left the room and closed thedoor behind her.She went do wnstairs and entered the library. She randomly took a book from thebookshelf, but felt the walls closing in on her and decided to go outside in the gardento read. She noticed a bench under a large tree and sat down. For a while, the booklay forgotten in her lap as she surveyed her surroundings. She took in the beautifullush lawns and garden that surrounded the house. She looked up at the branches ofthe tree she was sitting under, and suddenly had the feeling of being there before. Itwas almost as if she knew this spot under the tree. Shaking off the feeling, she triedto concentrate on the book in her lap. She read a few lines but then her mind onceagain started drifting. 5
  6. 6. “How did I get here, who am I.” She also started wondering about the woman in thephotograph with Jacob. Is she his wife? If so, where is she, and where is the baby?The hours passed and it started getting late, she felt uneasy wondering where Jacobwas, why was he was so late getting back? She was startled out of her deepthoughts when the rolling of thunder and lightning suddenly filled the sky. Ominousdark clouds started forming and the wind howled through the trees. She ran towardthe house and was soaked by a sudden heavy downpour of rain. She leant againstthe door for a moment, catching her breath. Outside the storm raged and withinminutes rivulets were forming and swirling around the house. She was suddenly veryfrightened for Jacob who was somewhere out there in the raging storm. What ifsomething had happened to him, why was he not home yet? She tried very hard tosuppress the panic that threatened to overwhelm her. She closed her eyes andlistened to the wind ho wling around the corners of the house, her eyes felt heavy andshe dozed off.Jacob sat in the jeep staring at the river, that a fe w hours ago was a mere stream,the bridge that he had crossed totally submerged under the raging torrent of water.He decided to reverse the jeep to higher ground to wait out the storm. He reversed away up the embankment and turned off the ignition and lights. It was going to be along night. He had been in the bush all day, and feeling fatigue set in closed hiseyes. However, sleep evaded him.. He thought about the young woman waiting forhim. He worried that she would be feeling very frightened all on her own. Histhoughts had been with her all day, why did he feel so attracted to her. Could he be falling for this girl, a girl that had just appeared from nowhere? In hismind‟s eye, he sees the long dark hair framing her delicate features, the big soulfulblue eyes and her beautiful porcelain like skin. He thought back to this morning whenshe appeared in the kitchen with one of his shirts hanging loosely on her smallframe. He felt his heart lurching at the thought of her, remembering the sad hauntinglook in her eyes how he felt himself drowning in them, and the urge he felt at thatmoment to take her in his arms and kiss her. He opened his eyes thinking that it wasimpossible, how could he be having these feelings, it had only been a year since…Jacobs‟s thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the eerie quietness; he looked out ofthe jeeps window and sa w that the storm had calmed down. Relieved he waited forthe river to subside. He could no longer keep his eyes open and fell into a fitful sleep.A few hours later, he woke up and upon investigating saw that the river had subsidedsufficiently for him to cross. He slowly crossed the bridge and made his way homeover the muddy and treacherous roads.Feeling the warmth of the sun on her face, she opened her eyes and lay quietlytrying to gather her thoughts. She suddenly came up with a start and looked around.“Jacob?” She listened for his voice but there is no answer. She ran up the stairs tohis room, her heart beating uncontrollably. She burst through the door and came toan abrupt standstill when she realized that Jacobs‟s bed was empty with no sign ofhim having slept in it. “Oh no...No Jacob where are you!She ran downstairs to the front door, ripped it open, and in her panic ran into Jacob.Startled she stepped back her heart pounding. They stared at one another, andJacob had a sudden urge to take her in his arms and moved to ward her. She juststared at him, mouth slightly open her breathing jagged and uneven her heart was 6
  7. 7. beating so rapidly, it felt as if it was going jump out of her chest, she closed her eyesas she felt his strong arms embrace her. Jacob felt the warmth of her body againsthis, and an overwhelming desire pumped through him. He put his hand under herchin and lifted her face his eyes riveted on her mouth. He bent do wn and softlykissed her, feeling her mouth open as she responded to his kiss, he could feel heartbeating against his chest. Suddenly he pushed her a way. “Sorry I can‟t...sorry,” he said in a hoarse whisper. She stepped back, and wasshocked when she sa w the raw pain in his eyes. He moved forward and took herhand. When he spoke, his voice echoed emotion. “Come with me I want to sho w you something.” She let him lead her outside wherethey took a path leading up a hill behind the house. They walked in silence both busywith their own thoughts. Reaching the top of the hill, she saw a white cross on amound of stones. Jacob dropped her hand and walked to the grave where hecrouched down on his haunches and touched the stones gently. She stepped closerand he looked up at her, the wetness on his lashes caused her heart to skip a beat. “This is where my wife and son are buried.” She heard the ra w pain and emotion inhis voice, her thoughts went to the pretty woman on the photo, and the blue crib withthe name David embroidered on the hood.“Your wife ...ho w...? She broke of mid-sentence when he suddenly got up and facedher. “She died a year ago in childbirth and my son a few days later.” His voice broke, andshe took his hands in hers.“I am so sorry; I didn‟t realize it must have been very hard for you.” He stared do wnat the grave.“Yes...yes it was.” His voice was hoarse and filled with heartache. She moved closerand put her arms around his waist. ” I am so sorry.” He bent down to kiss her. Suddenly she noticed the six gravesnestled between the trees.“Who are they? He turned to see what she was referring to.“Oh... that is a family that first o wned this farm.” She stepped from his embrace andwalked to the graves. She noticed that one of the crosses had something engravedon it and bent do wn reading the engraved words.“Here rests Jack and Theresa Jones and four of their children.”Sadness overwhelmed her and she burst into tears. Jacob took her in his arms andheld her until the sobs subsided. Taking her hand, he led her toward a big thorn treeand pulled her down beside him. They sat quietly staring at the seven gravesthinking of the eight people who are forever resting side by side. Jacob closed hiseyes and heard a voice as if from far a way.“Jacob I love you and want you to be happy, please open your heart and let thehappiness and love in.” Startled he opened his eyes, but it was only him, the youngwoman, and eight graves. With the words still echoing in his ears Jacob pulled her 7
  8. 8. up. He looked into her eyes, and bent down kissing her passionately, she respondedto his kiss with zealous. Without a word, Jacob took her hand and led her down thehill, toward the house. She glanced back at the graves once again feeling a terriblesadness and loss. Nearing the house she looked to ward the big tree in the gardenand a feeling of nostalgia overcame her. Somehow, that tree made her feel as if shebelonged here. After supper the two of them relaxed in front of the fireplace, she laywith her head against his chest listening to the soothing sound of his heartbeat. Shelooked up at him and he felt sudden desire to make passionate love to her. Jacobpicked her up, and carried her upstairs. He lay her do wn on the bed. Exhausted theyfell asleep in one another‟s arms. She smelt the smoke, felt the searing heat on her face and heard the screamscoming from the burning house. She woke up screaming her cheeks wet with tears.Jacob startled by the piercing screams jumped up and turned-on the light. He staredat her his heart beating in his ears.She looked up at him. “My name is Jessica Jones, and that is my family buried upon the hill.” Jacobs‟s legacy CHAPTER 1Jessica heard the sound of a chopper approaching the house. She got up from herchair and went to the window. Looking up she sa w it and the smiling pilot who waswaving at somebody to the left of her and she turned to look. A smile tugged at thecorners of her mouth when she sa w the two little boys waving and jumping up anddown with excitement. The chopper dipped and disappeared from sight. The boysturned around and returned to the shade under the large tree in the garden toresume playing under the watchful eye of their nanny Cindy.Jessica‟s mind wandered and she thought back over the last four years. After thetragic accident in which her whole family had perished, Jessica was sent to live withher maternal grandparents. She did not know them very well, and found it difficult toadapt to her new surroundings. Jessica cried herself to sleep every night, missingher family so much, that her schoolwork suffered as a result. Her grandparents finallydecided to send her to a very elite girl‟s boarding school in the city. It took some timefor Jessica to adapt, but she was a strong willed and determined little girl and soonsettled in to her new life. She finished her schooling at the age of eighteen and wentto university to study law. She was doing well but something was missing in her life,and she had the strong desire to return to the farm she had grown up on to find thegraves of her family. She had just turned 20years of age when she decided to returnto her birthplace. She was aware of the fact, that the farm had ne w o wners.However, she was not at all troubled about that and took the long drive to the airportwhere she left her car and hired a light aircraft, which dropped her off at the airstripnear the farm. 8
  9. 9. She smiled when she remembered how fate had brought her and Jacob together.After the night that her memory had returned, Jacob did not want her to leave andasked her to stay for a fe w more days. It was an easy decision, as she herself wasnot quite ready to return home, so she stayed. She had lost her heart to Jacob theminute she saw him. A few more days eventually stretched to a fe w weeks. Twomonths went by and Jessica woke up one morning feeling ill and miserable. Jacobfeeling worried that she may have tick fever, as ticks were relevant in the areadecided to take her into the hospital.After a fe w hours‟ drive, they arrived at the hospital where Jessica was taken in andimmediately examined. They sat in the reception area waiting anxiously for theresults of the numerous tests that had been done. The hours seemed to drag andJacob was worried, by that time Jessica was very pale and running to the bathroomoften. After what seemed like forever, the doctor arrived with news of the tests. Hesat down and cleared his throat. “Jessica you have no serious illness, but I am happy to inform you that you are sixweeks pregnant”. Jacob and Jessica sat in stunned silence trying to take in what thedoctor had told them. Once the ne ws sunk in, Jacob got up pulling Jessica up withhim. Without saying a word he stared at her face, with such love and passion, thatJessica who was still reeling from the shock felt relief that he felt the same way abouther as she felt about him. The next morning they were married in court and returnedto the farm. They were extremely happy and Jessica‟s pregnancy relatively smoothgoing. A fe w months later Jessica went into labour. In addition, Jacob not wanting totake any chances after the tragedy of his first wife and child flew Jessica to thehospital in the chopper. A few hours later, she delivered twin boys Dylan andTimothy. Elated they returned to the farm with their precious cargo.Jessica‟s train of thought was interrupted when she heard a little voice calling out.“Mommy, mommy daddy is home.” Turning her head, she saw Jacob approachingthe house. The two boys exited to see Jacob, ran towards him, he went down on hishaunches, with a broad smile, arms wide open to receive them. Jacob hugged theboys to his chest and taking one by each hand started walking toward the front door.Jessica‟s heart started beating faster as she watched Jacob. He looked so tall andhandsome, blond sun bleached hair blowing in the wind, his teeth glistening white ashe smiled down at his sons. Her eyes moved toward the boys. Dylan had the sameblond hair and green eyes as Jacob and was slightly taller than his twin. Timothy hadinherited her dark hair and big blue eyes and had a fairer skin. To this day Jessicacould not believe that they are twins as they were so different in many ways. Dylanwas the more outgoing and lively of the two and definitely the leader, where- asTimothy was the quieter more reserved follower. Jessica moved toward the door towelcome Jacob as she had been doing for the last four years.She still felt the same excitement and desires as she felt when they met for the firsttime. In one fell swoop, he folded his arms around her. He lifted her chin and restedhis lips on hers soft and gentle, and then hard and passionate. Breathlessly shesoftly pushed him away.“Jacob the children are watching,” He grinned in a boyish way and winked at the twoboys who were staring at them wide eyed. The twins started giggling putting theirhand over their eyes. Jacob smiled down at them. 9
  10. 10. “Come on you two, time for your bath.” Jacob took them upstairs and Jessica staredafter them lovingly, she then went to kitchen to prepare dinner. An hour later, they allsat down for supper. Jessica looked across the table at Jacob.”How was your day? He looked up at her.“Busy…we...” ”Daddy we sa w you in the chopper.” Dylan ‟ interrupted his eyes were wide withexcitement.“Yes, yes in the copters.” Timothy stared at Jacob a serious look on his face.“Not copters...chopper you silly.” Dylan interrupted with a puckered bro w. “That‟s what I said.” Timothy looked slightly embarrassed, and turned to Jacobnodding.“Mmm you can‟t say chopper.” Dylan retorted and wrinkled his nose at his brother. Jacob looked at Jessica grinning and winked playfully. She felt the blood rush to herface. He still managed to make her blush. Jacob noticed and gave her another wink.Feeling very flustered, Jessica jumped up and started clearing the table trying not tolook at Jacob. The two boys were now quiet and half-asleep in their chairs. Jacoblooked at the two sleepy boys and a look of tenderness and love appeared on hisface. In Timothy, he saw a mirror image of Jessica; the same dark locks the thicklong lashes lying on his cheeks. He looked over at Dylan and grinned as he lookedat a mini version of himself. Jacob picked up both children and carried them upstairs. He tucked them in and kissed each child on their foreheads. At the door, he glancedback at the boys who were by no w fast asleep and whispered, “God bless, and sleeptight” he closed the door behind him. Jacob retreated to the master bedroom, whereJessica was already propped up against her pillows reading a book. From thedoorway he stared at her intently, to him, she was even more beautiful than the firstday he met her. Jessica felt his eyes on her, and tried very hard to get her breathingunder control. Jacob slo wly moved toward the bed not taking his eyes of her. Shesuddenly murmured under her breath, “You are staring. “He grinned, “Sorry.” She put her book do wn and gazed up at him.”You‟re not sorry.” He smiled and moved closer.” You‟re too beautiful for me to be sorry.” Jacob got on the bed and reached for her,no longer able to contain his desire to be with her. After making passionate loveJacob laid back on the pillows, spent, with his eyes closed. Jessica came up on herelbow, and looked at him taking in every detail from his thick blond hair to his toes.”You‟re staring,” his voice was dro wsy.“Sorry”.“You‟re not sorry.”“Of course I‟m not.” She softly kissed him, and turned off the light, they fell asleep inone another‟s arms. 10
  11. 11. Jessica walked up the hill towards the graves. It had become a ritual to visit herparent‟s last resting place at least once a week. She first stopped at the grave ofJacobs‟s first wife and son and arranged some flowers, placing them gently on themound of stones. She then spent time with her family doing the same, after whichshe sat down under the shade of the large thorn tree reflecting on the past. It was atthese times that she realized that she was still lonely in many ways, as she had beenwhen she was a little girl... The only difference being, that she no longer had herimaginary friend Bobby to talk to or entertain. That part of her life had disappearedwith the fire that had taken her family from her. She had her o wn family now, butJacob was a way from home often, and the boys were still too young to share herdeepest feelings with.Jacob‟s work was dangerous and Jessica had this nagging fear of somethinghappening to him out there in the bush. Her absolute highlight of the day was whenJacob arrived home safely and they could spend time together when the little oneswere asleep. It made the feeling of loneliness bearable. Jessica suddenly felt a chilldown her spine when she realized she was not alone. Almost too frightened to lookup she forced herself, and saw a man standing in the shadows watching her. Sheswallowed her throat dry with fright, at first unable to move. The man saw theterrified look on her face and stepped out from the shadows with his handoutstretched.” Sorry I did not mean to frighten you...sorry.”He came closer. Jessica managed to croak out the words through dry lips.”Don‟t come any closer who...” She swallowed, “Who are you?” Still staring at her, he stopped dead in his tracks. “Take it easy lady I am not goingto hurt you.” He stepped closer. “No, stay where you are, what do you want”. Her eyes were wide and she felt thepanic threatening to overtake her. He stopped and looked at her without sayinganother word. She stepped back as if seeking protection from her loved ones buriedhere. There was a long silence as they stared at one another; he hunkered do wn onhis haunches all the while keeping his eyes on her face. Jessica suddenly realizedthat there was something familiar about this man.“Are the little boys at the house yours?”The blood drained from her face. ”Why...what...? The question hung in the air. “Relax they are safe with their nanny.” He suddenly got up and took a step in herdirection. She stepped back the icy grip of panic once again taking hold of her.”Lookwe seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot. I am Jason mc Bride, Jacobs‟sbrother, and I am truly sorry if I frightened you.” A look of surprise crossed Jessica‟sface.“But...But”, she stuttered. Now she knew why he looked so familiar.“But he never told you he had a brother,” he grinned as he finished the sentence forher. 11
  12. 12. “No...No he didn‟t ever mention that he had a brother.”Bemused he shook his head. “Well I am not really surprised, we don‟t get along. Wenever have.”“Why?”He shrugged his shoulders, “I don‟t really know we just don‟t.”She stared at him and noticed how much alike they are. The same blond hair andpiercing green eyes, the boyish grin and sparkling white teeth. She noticed that hewas slightly shorter but also very well built.“You‟re staring.”Her heart jumped to her throat at the familiar words, she blushed. ”Sorry I didn‟tmean too.” She averted her eyes.He stepped closer. “No worries… May I?” he gestured to the place under the treewhere she had been sitting. She shook her head in acknowledgement. He sat downwith a sigh, and looked around. She also sat down keeping her distance.“It is very peaceful up here.” He remarked.“Yes, yes it is.”Jason looked toward the graves. “Who are they?” She told him the story of thepeople buried on the hill. Jason listened in silence until she finished. He shook hishead. “That is very sad.” He stared out in front of him with a pained expression onhis face. “So you are Jacobs‟s wife, and the children, the two little boys, are theyyour first? “Yes.” A long uncomfortable silence followed while both were busy with their ownthoughts. Jessica got up, still feeling slightly unnerved by the sudden appearance ofJacob‟s brother. “I must be going it‟s getting late. “”Of course can I walk with you?”“Yes sure.”He followed her down the hill his eyes taking in her slender body, the long softflowing dark hair and her beauty. He almost felt envious at the life his brother hadcarved out for himself. They reached the bottom of the hill and the twins ran towardthem. “Hello my angels let me introduce you.” She turned to Jason. “This is youruncle Jason.” The twins looked up at Jason with puzzled expressions on their littlefaces. “Jason, meet my sons Dylan and Timothy.” Jason grinned down at the boys,amused at the expressions on their faces. “Hello boys.”Dylan stared at Jason. “He looks like daddy,” frowning he turned to Jessica. “Whydoes he look like daddy?” Timothy was suddenly very shy and hid behind Jessica‟sleg peeking with one eye at Jason not saying a word. Jessica looked at Dylan andruffled his hair playfully. 12
  13. 13. “He looks like daddy because he is daddy‟s brother, come let‟s get you home.” Jessica took the boys upstairs and Jason retreated to the family room. He lookedaround at the expensive furnishings and overall luxury of the room and sat do wn onone of the recliners reveling in the luxury. Jessica, after seeing to the children‟sneeds joined him in the family room sitting sat down on the opposite side of him. Helooked at her enquiringly. “Are you happy?”Wondering why he would ask such a question she answered slightly annoyed at thearrogance of the man. “Yes I am why do you ask?”He looked at her shaking his head a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Noparticular reason.” Jessica glanced up at the clock on the wall it was getting late andshe wondered where Jacob is. “You worried about Jacob?” Jason asked making more of a statement than askinga question when he noticed the worried look on her face. Not bothering to answer,she got up and walked to the windo w staring out into the dark. Jason looked at herquietly taking in her beauty. She felt his eyes on her and started feeling uneasywishing that Jacob would arrive. Suddenly she saw the lights of the jeep approachingand sighed a sigh of relief. She walked to the front door to wait for him. Jacob walkedup the stairs and took her in his arms.She whispered against his chest. “I was worried.” He bent do wn and kissed herfeeling the tension in her body. He apologized, saying that they were trackingpoachers and it took longer than he thought. She looked up at his face and sa w thefatigue in his eyes. Jason sat quietly watching and Jessica suddenly felt Jacobs bodystiffen as he looked over her shoulder and saw Jason. He pushed her aside andglared at his brother.“What are you doing here?”Jason shifted in his chair uncomfortably. “Hello Jacob.” Jessica stared from one brother to the other feeling the tension and animositybetween them. Jason got up from his chair and approached Jacob with anoutstretched hand. Jacob deciding to ignore the gesture repeated through clenchedteeth, “What are you doing here.”” I wanted...” Jason swallowed his throat suddenly very dry.” I wanted to come andsee how you are.” He answered for lack of anything else to say. Jacob felt the angerwelling up inside him, and walked to the whisky cabinet. He took out a glass andpoured himself a drink; bringing the glass to his lips, he s wallowed it in one gulp. “Get out I don‟t want you here.” His tone was cold and he kept his back to Jason.Jessica was taken aback at the tone of his voice.“Jacob… that‟s rude.” Jacob turned to her, the anger he felt reflected on his face. “You keep out of this.”She opened her mouth to say something but decided against it, and turned leavingthe room. Jacob filled his glass again and turned around walking toward one of thechairs. 13
  14. 14. Jason cleared his throat. “Jacob I have something to tell you.”Jacob sat down, leaning his head back he closed his eyes, suddenly feeling verytired. Jason sat down opposite Jacob. ”Dad died.” He waited for a reaction fromJacob, but nothing, just silence. ” I said… dad died.” He repeated himself feelingunnerved by his brothers silence. Jacob kept his eyes closed and felt nothing butemptiness.“I heard you the first time.”Once again, a long silence followed. Jason got up and poured himself a drink; he satdown and lifted the glass to his lips staring over the rim at his brother. He noticed atear slip from under Jacobs‟s lid onto his cheek and took a sip from his glasswondering what Jacob was thinking. He thought back over the years, Jacob andtheir father never had a good relationship. Their mother died when they were veryyoung, and their father was left to raise them on his own. He was a strictdisciplinarian, more so with Jacob being the elder of the two boys. Jacob learnedfrom an early age to stand on his own two feet and not to expect much from hisfather emotionally. Jason, on the other hand, was shown favoritism . He got a waywith most anything easily. Whenever things went wrong no matter how small, Jacobwould feel the brunt of his father‟s wrath. As the years went by Jacobs‟s animositytoward his father and brother gre w to the point of hatred. Jacob fell in love with a girl named Suzy in his last year at school. At that time, hethought he had met his soul mate and that they would marry someday. However,Jason had other plans. He was in love with the same girl, and soon after, Jacobdiscovered they were having an affair behind his back. He was livid and confrontedhis brother. Jason who was used to getting his own way shrugged it off as if it wasno big deal and Jacob, not being able to contain his anger attacked his brother in afit of rage. Had their father not intervened Jacob would probably have ended upkilling his brother. Tom, their father, separated the two boys and shoving Jason toone side, lashed out hitting Jacob with the fist. Tom had stepped over Jacob lyingsprawled on the floor in a daze, lifted him up by his shirt collar, and shouting in hisface, told him to pack his things and get out of his house. Jacob left his father‟shouse without looking back.Jacob got up from his chair and without looking at Jason walked toward the door.“You can sleep in the spare room.” He left the room and went upstairs. He stared down at Jessica who by no w hadfallen asleep. He got undressed and slipped under the covers pulling her toward him,holding her close. She snuggled up to him feeling his warm breath on her face.”I love you,” she whispered softly.“I love you more.” he replied with a smile on his face. She came up on her elbowand kissed him.“Goodnight.”“Goodnight my love.” 14
  15. 15. The sun was just rising on the hori zon, and Jacob carefully got up making sure not towake Jessica. He took a shower and got dressed in his ranger‟s uniform. He wentupstairs to the boy‟s room. He looked down on his sleeping sons and bent kissingthem on their foreheads softly so as not to wake them. He returned to Jessica, andsat down on the side of the bed, looking at her sleeping face. He reached out andstroked the side of her face gently. She slowly opened her eyes.”Morning… sleepyhead.” He smiled down at her and lent toward her kissing hersoftly.“What time is it?” She stretched out and ya wned. He gently took her hand.“It is still early. I have to leave now to track the poachers and it may be a few daysbefore I am back.” He sa w the stricken look on her face. ”Shhh don‟t worry I will bealright and I will try to be back as soon as possible,” he took her face in his hands,and knew exactly what she was going to ask.“Can‟t you send someone else?” He saw that she was close to tears, and pullingher up he held her close.“I can‟t I have to be there ... You kno w that.”“I kno w but...” He interrupted, before she could finish her sentence. “No buts. I will see you in a few days.” Jacob walked to ward the door. Suddenly heturned looking at her. His voice was cold and abrupt. “Jason can stay until I getback.”“Jacob... Please be careful.” He blew her a kiss and winked.” Always…I promise.” She laid quietly listening to the sound of the jeep fading away in the distance. Herbedroom door suddenly flew open and the boys charged in clambering on the bed.They snuggled up on either side of her, both chatting a way about their dreams thatthey had. She loved these moments spent with her boys, and let them chatter onwithout interrupting, then she got up off the bed and pulled the blankets off themplayfully. “Come on time to get up. “ Dylan sat up and looked around with a frownbetween his eyes.. “Where is daddy?” She looked at him smiling fondly. “Daddy is going to be away for awhile.” Shenoticed the sadness on their little faces. “He will be back soon, now quickly go andget dressed while I make your breakfast.” Jessica prepared breakfast and set thetable wondering where Jason is.“Good morning beautiful.”She swung round to find Jason standing in the door way, staring at her. Blushing sheaverted her eyes.“Morning.” Her voice was hardly audible; he frowned and walked to ward the table.The boys come rushing in and they all sat down to eat. Soon after, Cindy arrived and 15
  16. 16. took the boys outside to play. Jason offered to clear the table and Jessica started onthe dishes, she felt flustered in his presence and turning to pick up a dishcloth shebumped into Jason. He stepped aside to let her pass and noticed the blush on hercheeks. He grinned and shook his head at her discomfort. Jessica felt trapped anddecided to go out outside for some fresh air. She sat on the porch and looked outtoward the mountains surrounding the farm. She thought about Jacob out theresomewhere in the bush risking his life to save the animals. She closed her eyes andsilently prayed for his safe return. She felt Jason‟s presence as he sat do wn besideher. “Are you worried about Jacob?” He reached for her hand. She felt the shock ripplethrough her arm at his touch. She pulled her hand away annoyed at herself for lettinghim get to her.“Yes I am worried for him its dangerous work.” Her voice was aloof and distant.“He‟ll be fine... he always is.”. A long silence followed between them.Jessica suddenly turned to him. “What happened…Between you two...whathappened.”His eyes narrowed as he looked out over the bush. “It‟s a long story I‟ll tell you aboutit someday.”“That bad?”His words were slow and measured. “Yes…but I prefer to forget about it so…” Shefelt her heart beating faster as he leaned to ward her. She kne w that she should getup and leave but it was as if her body is in a deadlock. She closed her eyes and felthim moving closer. She could feel his breath on her face and before she could willherself to move, his lips touched hers. He gently caressed her lips with his, she feltherself sinking into a pit of helplessness and before she could stop, she kissed himback. Time stood still as the kiss became more amorous. She suddenly came to hersenses and jumped up, and in her haste nearly fell over the railing. Jason looked ather his green eyes filled with desire. Feeling ashamed that she could be so weak,she slapped him hard across his face and ran off, tears streaming down her face.Jason remained seated feeling his cheek burn where she struck him. The rest of the day Jessica kept herself busy, making sure to avoid Jason. She feltterrible that she had allowed him to kiss her. She loved Jacob, and wasoverwhelmed by the fact, that in a moment of weakness she had allowed Jason togo so far. Jason went into the tool shed to see if there was anything for him to do. Helooked around, and found some equipment needing repairs. He went to work sortingout the shed, laying out everything neatly and methodically. He worked for hourspushing himself to the limits in an effort to forget what had happened between himand Jessica. His thoughts went back to the time he had betrayed his brother, and hefelt the guilt engulfing him. He sat down on a drum that was standing in the shed,and dropped his head on his hands, feeling overwhelmed by the feelings coursingthrough his body.“Jason? His head jerked up and he saw Jessica standing in the door way with a trayin her hand. “I…I... brought you something to drink.” He slowly got off the drum, 16
  17. 17. staring at her. She averted her eyes and walking toward the workbench put the traydown, feeling his eyes burning in her back. “Thanks…Jess…” he tried to apologize but without turning to look at him, she leftthe shed.Cindy brought the boys in to bath, and went to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Jasonran upstairs to freshen up and they all sat down to eat. The silence was audible anduncomfortable.” Mommy when is daddy coming home?Jessica looked at the boys and smiled her face softening. “He‟ll be back soonsweetie, no w eat up it is almost time for bed.” Cindy looked up, feeling the tension around the table, she noticed Jason staring atJessica, her head turned to Jessica, but Jessica kept her eyes on the plate in front ofher. Cindy saw the blush on her cheeks, and kne w that something had happenedbetween them. She shook her head and continued eating, but felt troubled at thelook she saw in Jason‟s eyes.A few days later Jacob returned from the bush and Jason who was still busy workingon the equipment in the shed heard the jeep arriving, he stepped outside to greet hisbrother walking toward Jacob his hand outstretched. Jacob ignored the gesture, andstrolled toward the house blatantly choosing to ignore him. Jason stared after him,slowly dropping his hand to his side, feeling annoyed at his brothers abruptrudeness. Jessica watched Jacob as he approached her, she also noticed thefatigue and worry on his face. Without a word, he took her in his arms, and kissedher. Jessica lay against his chest.” I missed you.”He lifted her chin and stared into her eyes. “I missed you too.”Jason eyes narrowed, and he felt a tinge of jealousy as he watched the scenebetween his brother and Jessica. Jacob and Jessica went into the house, and Jasonfilled with mixed emotions kicked the side of the jeep, and returned to the shed. Hesat down on the floor and leaned against the wall closing his eyes. His mind was inturmoil, as he thought back on how he had felt when he kissed Jessica. He hadkissed many women before, but this was different, he had felt passion and desirethat he had never experienced with any other woman. Jessica lay in Jacob‟s arms her head was resting on his chest and she listened tothe steady rhythm of his heart. “When are you going back?” her voice was filled withtrepidation.“In about two… three days.” She came up on her elbow staring at him.“So soon…”“I‟m afraid so,” He sa w the anxiety in her eyes and pulled her closer feeling herbreath on his face. His heart pounded in his ears as the desires and complete lovehe felt for her overwhelmed him. She laid back, he stared at her, caressing her facegently and tracing the outline of her lips with his finger. “Jessica I love you so much,” 17
  18. 18. His voice, reflected the passion he felt. She pulled him closer and they made lovedeep into the night.The months passed with Jacob a way most of the time, training the rangers andgetting the operation underway for the day that they will have the poachers put awayfor good. He thought of Jason and was glad he had asked him to stay. He hadproven to be handy, and was a hard worker. Jacob also felt more at ease kno wingthat there is a man around to look out for Jessica and the boys when he was out inthe bush. His relationship with his brother had developed into an cordial and slightlyindifferent sort of relationship.Jason, found it difficult to keep his feelings under control and thre w himself into thework that needed to be done, repairing and fixing up the house getting everythingdone that Jacob being away such a lot did not get around to. The time had arrived and Jacob returned to the bush. Jessica sat outside on thebench feeling saddened by the fact that he was a way again. It was difficult for hereven though she knew it was inevitable, but her heart felt heavy every time he left.She saw Jason coming out of the shed, and watched him as he walked toward her.In the months that had passed since he had kissed her, she tried to avoid him andmade sure she was never alone with him. Out of fear for what he may do to Jason,she never indulged the secret she guiltily carried with her. “May I?” Jason gestured to the bench she was sitting on. She nodded withoutlooking in his direction, and moved up to make space for him. An uncomfortablesilence ensued between them, both of them aware of the fact that they were sittingvery close to one another. Suddenly Jason broke the silence.“Jess you have never told Jacob what happened, have you? Shocked by the suddenquestion, she turned to him, her eyes distant and cold. “No, there is nothing to tell, it meant nothing to me…..”Her voice faltered when shesaw the hurt in his eyes. She turned her face a way. Her words twisted like a knife inhis heart and another long silence followed.“Jason I am so sorry… that came out wrong.”He got up and walked to the edge of the veranda and turning leaned against therailing facing her. He stared at her, his eyes filled with emotion, and the love he feltfor her. He opened his mouth to say something but stopped unable to speak. She felther heart beating in her throat when she sa w the look of hurt and rejection on hisface. She got up and walked toward him taking his hands in hers. “I really am sorry; I should not have given you hope or lead you into believing thatthere could ever be something between you and I”. Jason felt measured hope turn to despair at her words. He took her by hershoulders, forcing her to look at him. She felt trapped and unable to move as shelooked up at him, her eyes filled with anguish and despair.“Jason…please!” He shook her by her shoulders. 18
  19. 19. “Jessica, look at me.” His words were forced through clenched teeth. She slowlylifted her eyes and he cleared his throat feeling strangled with the pent up emotionsof the last months consuming him. “Jess, tell me you don‟t feel something for me,and I promise I will leave you alone.” She s wallowed her throat felt constricted andher voice was thick with emotion.“Jason I…Don‟t kno w, I don‟t …”He bent down and kissed her. She forced herself out of his embrace and ranupstairs. Jessica slammed the bathroom door shut and looked at herself in themirror. She could still feel his lips on hers, she splashed her face, her breathing wasjagged and she sank to the floor crying. Jason had come to the realization that hehad fallen head over heels in love with his brother‟s wife and sat do wn on the benchwith a sigh of despair escaping from his lips. He Looked up he saw Cindy staring athim from under the tree where she was watching the boys. She shook her headlooking the other way and he dropped his head in shame.”Oh good Lord what have I done,” he groaned and put his hands over his face.Jacobs face flashed before him and the guilt engulfing him was almost too much tobear. He got up and walked into the bush hoping to clear his mind. Cindy had seenwhat transpired between the two young people and took the boys upstairs so thatshe could bath, feed and put them to bed. She knew that Jessica was going to beupset and would not be able to cope with the little ones. Jason paced up and down trying to control the anger he felt to ward himself. ”Ho wcould I be so stupid, she‟s my brother‟s wife for heaven sake,” he thought out loudly.He sat down on a rock and banged his fist against his forehead. “You stupid… stupidass,” he again reprimanded himself loudly. He heard a twig break and s wung aroundhis heart beating in his throat from fright.. His eyes widened when he sa w Jacobstaring at him, his eyes cold, and his face revealing contempt and disappointment.He knew by the look on Jacob‟s face that he had witnessed the scene between himand Jessica.Jacob felt the anger boiling like a festering sore within him. He slowly walked towardJason keeping his eyes on his brother‟s face, not saying a word. He stopped a stepshort of Jason, his fists clenched in rage, his eyes revealed such anger that Jasonfelt the cold shiver of fear do wn his spine.“Jacob…I…it‟s not…” he felt something explode in his head when Jacobs‟s fist hithim before he could finish his sentence, the world turned and he dropped to theground. “Get up, you cheating lying scumbag! Jacob hissed through his teeth. Jason startedgetting up his head still spinning but was scarcely up when he once again tasted thefury of his brother‟s fist. He fell and the blood spurted from his mouth and nose.Jacob looked down at his brother, feeling nothing but extreme dislike. Jason slowlyopened his eyes and stared up at Jacob, he cringed when he saw the loathing in hiseyes. He felt his heart restricting, and lifted his hand to ward his brother.“Jacob I…I‟m sorry…” then he sa w nothing but blackness when Jacob hit him again.Cindy softly knocked on the bathroom door. “Jess… are you alright?” She waited foran answer but instead the door opened and a tearful Jessica fell into her arms. Cindy 19
  20. 20. had known Jessica all her life and could see that she was very upset andbewildered. She held Jessica closely, soothing her as she had done when she was alittle girl. Jessica whispered through her tears “Cindy I have done somethingterrible.”” I know I sa w what happened.”Jessica felt ashamed and her voice was desperate. „What am I going to do?” Cindystroked Jessica hair in an attempt to calm her down. “Now...now child calm down,you love Jacob don‟t you?”“Yes I love him very much,” Jessica replied through her tears. “Well then, what happened between you and Jason was just a terrible mistake andyou were feeling vulnerable and lonely because Jacob is away.” Jessica looked atCindy desperately seeking answers.”But why do I feel so attracted to Jason when he is around me?”“My dear child, you are only human and Jason is a very attractive chap. So stopbeating yourself up, and just make sure it does not happen again.” Jessica looked atCindy pleading with her eyes.” Please stay with me tonight.” „Of course baby, of course.” Cindy led Jessica to her bedroom and tucked her in.”Thank -you Cindy.” Jessica whispered in a small voice.„It is a pleasure my angel, you just call if you need me, no w try to get some sleep.”Cindy sat with Jessica until she fell asleep, and then retired to her room next door.Jacob turned and walked toward the house leaving his brother unconscious in thedust. He went upstairs to the room and slowly walked to the bed. He sat down on theside of the bed staring at Jessica. He reached out touching the side of her facegently. She stirred and suddenly her eyes flew open staring directly at him. “Jacob…what…when… did you get back?“A few hours ago.” She heard the strained sound in his voice. She was confused andworried.“But you said you were going to be a way for a day or two.”He stared at her, and then in a voice that sent shivers down her spine replied, “Wellmaybe it is a good thing I returned earlier isn‟t it?“Jacob…what‟s wrong, what happened? He got up taking off his shirt. When hespoke, his voice was cynical and cold.”Oh, I don‟t know, maybe you can tell me.” He got into bed turning his back on her.She was taken aback by his attitude and touched his shoulder.“Jacob? He shook her hand off. 20
  21. 21. “I am tired… so please…” she pulled her hand back and frowning turned off thelight. She laid awake most of the night worrying about Jacobs‟s sudden coldaloofness.Jessica, Cindy and Jacob were up early having coffee in the kitchen when Jasonwalked in wearing only his pants. Jessica‟s breathe caught in her throat, when shesaw the bruises on his face and body. Feeling Jacobs‟s eyes on her she immediatelylooked at him raising her eyebrows. Without giving any explanation, he got up andleft the kitchen. Jason poured himself a cup of coffee and lent against the counterstaring at the floor. It took all of his self-control not to look up at Jessica for fear thathe may see resentment in her eyes. Jessica, no longer able to be in the same room,excused herself and left, without looking in his direction. His eyes followed her asshe walked out. Cindy noticed a look in his eyes. It was a look of adoration, love,tenderness and sadness. She cleared her throat to attract his attention. His headslowly turned in her direction, he was not quite sure what to expect. He wassurprised to see a look of empathy and understanding on her face. “She is beautifulisn‟t she, and you love her.”“Yes … I …yes.” Jason realized that Cindy saw right through him and that it wouldnot have helped lying to her or himself any longer. “Jason, Jessica is your brother‟s wife you had no right to take advantage of hervulnerability, or to betray your brother.” Her voice was stern…”What were youthinking? Jason looked up at her with pain-filled eyes. He walked to the table,pulled out a chair, and sat down folding his arms and resting his head on them. ”I know it was wrong but it just happened,” his voice wavered. She reached out, andput her hand on his arm.“I understand Jason... I understand, and the bruises what happened? He lifted hishead smiling, and his swollen lips contorted with the effort.“Oh, my brother and I had a bit of a chat”“Jason no… does...” her eyes widened in shock.“Yes…yes he knows.” Cindy felt her heart sink to her shoes, and kne w that nothinggood was going to come from this.Jessica found Jacob in the garden staring out over the bush. She went to where hewas standing. “Jacob what happened to Jason? He turned to her his eyes searchinghers. He touched her face and his voice was strained. “We had a man to man talk nothing serious, don‟t worry yourself about it.” Jessicarealized with a shock that Jacob must have seen her and Jason on the porch. Shetook his face in her hands staring into his eyes. “Jacob nothing happened andnothing will happen I love you…only you.”He put his arms around her pulling her close, and resting his face on her head hewhispered, “I know sweetheart...I kno w, I love you too, more than life itself.”“Let‟s go find the boys,” Jessica took his hand, and together they walked off to findthe children. For the next few months, Jason avoided Jacob, but he could not help 21
  22. 22. but wonder why Jacob had not told him to leave. He also made sure to keep hisdistance from Jessica, by leaving the house early before anyone wakes, and onlyreturning when everyone was asleep. A fe w mornings later Jason was in the kitchenhaving coffee, when Jacob walked in. He lifted the coffee canister looking at Jacob.“Coffee?” His voice was polite and constrained.“Thanks,” accepted Jacob walking toward the cupboard where the uniforms for therangers were kept. He returned to the table thro wing one of the uniforms on thetable, picked up his mug, and bringing it to his lips, looked over the rim at Jason.“Put it on you are coming with me.”Jason looks up in surprise his eyebrows raised. “What did you say?”“You heard me, be ready in ten.” Jacob turned and ran upstairs. He entered thechildren‟s room and looked down at the sleeping boys. He bent kissing each childwhispering softly, “See you later, be good and look after your mom.” He left theroom to find Jessica. He found her standing by the windo w, looking out. He put hishands on her hips and kissed her neck. “I am going to the bush do some work, and Iam taking Jason with me.” She stiffened at his words and turned to look at him.“Don‟t worry it is only routine, and we will be back by this evening,” he smiled downat her. “Now you keep the bed warm and I will be back before you know it, Ok?Jason followed Jacob through the bush and was amazed at ho w fit his brother was.They had been going for hours at a relentless pace and he felt himself tiring. Jacobgave Jason a quick course on finding traps and the signs to look out for when thereare poachers about. As the day wore on Jason gained respect for the work that hisbrother was doing. Jacob grinned to himself when he heard Jason‟s laboredbreathing as he tired but he pushed on relentlessly not stopping until Jason suddenlystopped and wheezed bending over in an effort to catch his breath. “Jeez bro, I can‟t go any further,” he lay do wn under a tree breathing heavily. Jacoblooked down at his brother, his face was complacent and he took pleasure in the factthat Jason was finding it so difficult to keep up. “Ok we will rest for awhile,” he took out his water bottle drinking from it, after whichhe handed to Jason. Taking the bottle, he looked up at Jacob shaking his head.Jacob raised his eyebrows. “What?“I don‟t kno w ho w you do it,” Jason wiped the sweat from his brow. “It‟s my job, one gets used to it.” Jacob picked up his rifle and slung it over hisshoulder. “You wait here, I am going to check out something, keep your rifle at theready and be vigilant, there are dangerous animals about.” Before Jason could sayanything, he disappeared into the bush.Jason got up and stood with his back against a large tree. He pointed his rifle to wardthe bushes, feeling nervous and suddenly very alone. His mind wandered and hethought of Jessica, and the love he felt for her. He felt frustrated by the fact that hecould not be with her. He did not want to be the cause of breaking up a family unitthat was so strongly bound by love, compassion and dedication. 22
  23. 23. Jacob climbed up onto a hill where he had a good vantage point. He scouted thearea looking through his binoculars, for tell tale signs of poachers. Suddenly Jasonappeared in his path of vision. He watched him, and thought of the day he had seenJason and Jessica on the veranda. He dropped the binoculars letting it rest on hischest, and picked up his rifle. He lifted it to his shoulder and looked through thetelescope, moving the rifle in the direction where he had left Jason. He could see himclearly and took aim, his finger resting on the trigger. He slowly and deliberatelystarted squeezing the trigger and at the last minute turned his rifle slightly to the rightfiring.Jason heard the shot and seconds later felt the heat of the bullet as it passed withinan inch from his head and slammed into the tree behind him. He dropped to theground covering his head with his arms, his heart pounding in his ears. Jacob sawJason drop from sight and started down the hill, the blood draining from his face. Heran into the clearing where he had left his brother, and saw Jason getting up slowly.He stopped dead in his tracks staring at Jason, feeling relieved that he had not killedhim. Jason slowly looked up at Jacob and with a voice trembling from shock snarled,“What the hell were you thinking, you could have killed me!“You‟re right I could have.” Jacob retorted nonchalantly resting his rifle in the crook ofhis arm. Jason bent to pick up the water bottle. Without taking his eyes off Jacob‟sface, he took a drink, his throat suddenly very dry. Jacob felt the water bottle hit himon the side of his head and before he could react, Jason attacked. Jason‟s fist hithim on the side of his jaw, and he dropped to the ground, he tried to focus then sa wJason approaching, his face snarling in fury. He waited until Jason was close enoughand suddenly kicked out with both legs, sending him flying through the air.Jason‟s breath escaped his body when landed hard on his back. In a flash Jacobwas standing over him jabbing at his face with his fists, he heard the bone in hisnose crack, and the taste of blood filled his mouth. Jacob bent and picked Jason upby his shirt collar, he brought his fist up and with all the force he was able to muster,he hit Jason on the edge of his jaw. He went limp and Jacob dropped him to theground, coming up slowly trying to get his breathing under control. He stood overJason staring down at him, and wiping the blood dripping from the corner of hismouth, he stepped over his brother and stumbled toward a tree, he sat with his backagainst the trunk facing Jason. A fe w minutes later Jason groaned, he came upslowly, holding his head in his hands. He spat the blood from his mouth, trying tofocus on his surroundings but everything was swimming before his eyes, and he laidback down, another groan escaping from his mouth. Jacob got up and walked to Jason, he thre w the water bottle do wn beside him, andwith a voice that sent a shiver of apprehension down Jason‟s spine, told him to washhis face. Jason slowly turned around and supporting himself on his arms came up onone knee, his head throbbed. For a second he closed his eyes, and then lifted up thewater bottle throwing water over his face. He got up and his legs felt like lead. Heforced himself to take a fe w steps to ward the shade and sat against a tree nextJacob.Jason closed his eyes trying to get rid of the nausea welling up. He felt himselfdrifting away and forced his eyes open, but by no w his eyes were almost swollen 23
  24. 24. shut, so he kept them closed and mumbled through swollen lips. „Jeez… Jacob didyou have to hit me so hard?“No, but I wanted to,” Jacob grinned to himself, it took all of his self-control not burstout laughing as he looked at Jason‟s face that by now was s wollen out of proportionand looked very comical. Jacob waited patiently for Jason who had fallen asleep towake. He started feeling slight remorse for what he had done to his brother, butimmediately thought of Jessica, and decided that it was justified, and that Jasonwould have to learn that actions had consequences. An hour later Jason woke upand tried to sit up but the earth started turning and he leaned back against the tree.He lay quietly with his eyes closed to afraid to move, and felt Jacobs‟s eyes on him.“You still here?”“Yes I am still here…Jason I am going to ask you something, and I want an honestanswer.”“Sure… anything.” Jason felt dread knowing what his brother was going to ask.“Jason, have you fallen in love with my wife? His heart skipped a beat and he shifteduncomfortably. Jacob got up and stood in front of Jason staring do wn at him withnarrowed eyes. He kicked at Jason‟s leg. “I asked you a question!“Jacob…I…I…yes damn it yes, I love Jessica! He shouted back at Jacob. Jacob feltthe anger rising as he bent down and grabbed Jason once more by the shirtfrontlifting him so that his face was level with his. “Right, now you listen closely, because I am only going to say this once. If you evertouch my wife again… so help me …I will kill you!” he said through clenched teeth,shoving Jason back against the tree.Jessica was worried it was getting late and the men were not back yet. She turned toCindy, “I hope they are alright…you don‟t think…? Her question hung in the airwhen Cindy interrupted. “No Jessica I am sure they‟re fine, don‟t go jumping ahead of yourself alwaysfearing the worst.” Suddenly Jessica saw the lights of the jeep approaching andsighed, a sigh of relief. She waited outside as the jeep came slowly up the driveway.Jacob helped Jason from the jeep putting his arm over his shoulder to support him.Jessica gasped when she saw Jason‟s s wollen face and the blood on both men.“What…what happened?” her voice was fearful. Jacob pushed past her and droppedJason unceremoniously on one of the chairs in the family room. “See to him.” He walked toward the whisky cabinet, and saw Jessica move inJason‟s direction. He s wung around. “Not you Jessica...not you.” He looked at Cindylifting his brows, “Cindy?“Yes yes of course.” Jacob turned and poured himself a stiff drink. He felt Jessica‟seyes burn into his back, and turned around facing her. He stared at her not saying aword.“Jacob…? 24
  25. 25. “No questions Jess,” he gulped down his drink and put down the glass. He walkedtoward Jessica the cold glint in his eyes softening as he approached her. He put hisarms around her, holding her close. At first she stood quietly in his arms, and thenpulled slightly back looking at his face. She saw the bruise on his chin and gingerlytouched it.“Jacob…please tell me what…” she stopped abruptly when she saw the coldnessreturn to his eyes. He bent do wn and picked her up carrying her to the bedroom. Forthe next few weeks everything was relative peaceful, with everyone going about theirbusiness. No mention had been made of the incident between Jason and Jacob.Jessica could not help wondering what had happened between the two brothers.She had noticed however, that Jason was keeping to himself most of the time, andthat the brothers were coldly polite toward one another, only speaking when it wasnecessary. Jessica was also battling her o wn demons, trying to figure out why shefelt so attracted to Jason, when she kne w that she loved Jacob. Whenever she wasin Jason‟s presence, her heart beat uncontrollably and she felt excitement, as if theywere the only two people on the planet. Yet when she was alone with Jacob, she feltsafe and secure and knew that he was her life, her soul mate.Her thoughts were interrupted by the laughter of children, and she walked to thewindow. She looked into the garden and watched Jacob playing with the boys. Shesmiled at their antics. Jacob almost turned into a little boy himself, whenever he waswith the children. These past few weeks had been wonderful, with Jacob home mostof the time, being able to spend more quality time with his family, but she wonderedfor how long, before he was called for duty once again. The poachers had been quitefor a while, but she knew that it is just a matter of time. Jessica went to the kitchenand poured drinks for everyone taking it out and putting it do wn on the table underthe shade of the big tree. “Come boys get something to drink.” She sat down beside Cindy sipping her drink.Jacob sat down opposite her catching his breath. “Thanks sweetheart just what the doctor ordered”. He looked at Jessica over the rimof his glass and winked. She felt her cheeks turn red and looked toward the children.Jacob grinned at Cindy looking like a naughty schoolboy. She shook her head andwith a smile continued knitting. Jessica picked up the tray and took it into the kitchen,she stopped dead when she saw Jason leaning against the cupboard. She droppedher eyes and moved toward the cupboard to put the tray do wn. He did not move, andstared at her his green eyes screaming out the love he felt for her. She stood withthe tray in her hands waiting for him to move.Jason‟s heart was beating rapidly and he felt an uncontrollable urge to kiss her. Hepushed himself from the counter and took the tray from her hands putting it down.Jessica felt as if she was drowning, her throat constricting and her heart pounding inher ears, she looked up at Jason and he took a step to ward her not taking his eyesof her face. She tried to step back, but it was too late. He had his arms around herpulling her toward him. His lips found hers and he kissed her with so much passionthat she felt herself reeling. Her resolve dissipated at his touch. As from a far, shesuddenly heard Jacobs‟s laughter fill the air, and came to her senses, pushing Jasonso violently that he staggered backward against the cupboard and hit his head hardagainst one of the open doors. He closed his eyes as a sharp pain shot through his 25
  26. 26. head almost bringing tears to his eyes. He brought his hand up gingerly touching theback of his head, and felt a lump forming. He shook his head and opened his eyesbut Jessica has already fled from the kitchen. “Well I probably deserved that,” hemumbled under his breath, turning to get some aspirin and a glass of water. A few mornings later Jacob took Jessica‟s face in his hands. “Jess I‟ll be back soon,I love you.” He stooped down to kiss her. The call that Jessica had been dreadinghad come through and it was time for him to return to the bush.“Jacob please be safe.”He kissed her again and turned to Jason, who had been standing quietly watching.“Watch out for my family.”“Are you sure you don‟t want me to come with you? “No I need someone to be here, in case…” he paused, “I just need someone to lookafter my family, could you do that? This time there is an undertone of warning to hisvoice. “Sure, of course Jacob,” Jason tried to look serious. Jacob stared at his brother. Thestare that was cold and calculating made Jason so uncomfortable that he droppedhis eyes. “Jacob I will make sure they are safe…scouts honor.”Jacob shook his head and once again turned to Jessica taking her in his arms. Heheld her tightly against his chest, and whispered with his mouth against her ear, “Ilove you Jess more than life itself, remember that always.” He got into the jeep andwithout looking back drove off into the bush.Jacob took of his hat and wiped the s weat from his bro w, running his fingers throughhis clammy hair and put his hat back on. He knew that they were getting closer tothe poachers and was feeling nervous. They had been in the bush for two full daysand he was exhausted. It was very hot and humid, and he could feel the perspirationrunning down his back and chest. Jacob noticed one of the rangers giving him a signand he looked through his binoculars. Far off in the distance he saw somethingmoving through the bush. He gave his rangers the go-ahead sign, and picking up hisrifle, they moved on, senses refined and alert to the danger they were approaching.His thoughts were with Jessica and the boys and he wished that this were all over sothat he could be with them again. He missed them so much it hurt. He tried toconcentrate on the job at hand, but his mind kept drifting back to his family.Cindy got the boys ready; she was taking them to the city to do some shopping.Jessica walked them to the car and helped Cindy strap the exited children into theircar seats. She waved until the car disappeared out of sight and went inside thehouse to find Jason waiting for her.”Jessica....” she tried to push past him. He grabbed her by the arm, “Jessica wait,I…” he s wallowed trying to think of the right thing to say.” I am truly sorry, please tryto understand.” She looked up at him and saw his eyes pleading with her. She staredat him her mouth opening to say something but the words did not come. He reachedout and touched her face. “I Love you Jessica.” 26
  27. 27. She was so taken aback she just stared at him. He stepped closer.” Jessica?” Helooked at her pleadingly. She stood rooted to the spot unable to move, her heartpounding uncontrollably. “Jason I...” he put his finger on her lips and with his other arm dre w her closer. Herbody relaxed against him; she could no longer fight him. His lips found hers and as ifsynchronized their hearts beat in unison. She felt his hand move down her backcaressing her softly. He pulled her down onto the carpet all the while kissing andcaressing her. She started responding to his advances and moved her hands overthe rippling muscles on his back. No longer able to contain their feelings they madepassionate love. They fell back exhausted savoring the moment. Jason turned on hisside lifting himself up on his elbow, he stared at her his eyes taking in every inch ofher face and body. Jessica could feel his eyes on her and murmured under herbreath.“You‟re staring.” He grinned and kissed her on her mouth, nose, eyes, and neck. Her skin tingled andshe pulled him toward her. She kissed him, and they made love again. Spent theyfell asleep. Jessica awoke to the sound of an approaching car. ”Jason wake upCindy and the boys are back...Jason!” She shook him. He opened his eyes andrealizing what she just said gathered his clothes from the floor and ran upstairs withJessica following short on his heels.Cindy went to the kitchen to rustle up supper and called everyone to the table.Jessica and Jason sat down on opposite sides to each other carefully trying to hidewhat happened between them, from Cindy and the boys. ”Did you enjoy your dayout?” Jessica asked the little ones. They shook their heads already half-asleep. “I‟ll put them to bed.” Jason scooped up both boys and carried them upstairs.Jessica‟s eyes followed them as they left the room. She looked back at Cindy whowas watching her with raised eyebro ws. She immediately dropped her eyes fearingthat Cindy would see the guilt in them. “What?” “I don‟t know you tell me.” Jessica detected a tinge of sarcasm in Cindy‟s voice.“There is nothing to tell,” she ans wered blushing.” Oh…really?” Cindy asked mockingly.“Yes really,” Jessica was immediately on the defensive, and slightly annoyed atCindy for being so observant.“Well then…” Cindy got up “I will leave you to it, see you in the morning.”“Thank you Cindy, see you tomorrow.” Jason appeared in the door.“Is she gone?”“Yes she‟s gone.” He walked toward her and taking her in his arms, he gave her along lingering kiss. Halfheartedly she pushed him away.“Enough already I am going to bed.”He looked at her longingly. “Can I come to?” 27
  28. 28. “Oh no you don‟t I am going to bed alone I‟m exhausted.” She disappeared up the stairs, feeling his eyes on her back. ”Wow what a woman,”he thought out loudly and retired to his room respecting her wishes. Sleep did notcome for Jessica. She lay in the dark her mind was racing. She was thinking ofJacob out there in the bush and the tears spilled from her eyes. She had betrayedJacobs trust and felt the guilt engulf her. The tears flowed freely, and she poundedher pillow, “why did I let it happen why, why? I should have stopped it going so far.”She put her pillow over face trying to block out everything, and eventually criedherself to sleep.Sleep also evaded Jason as he lay in the dark mulling over repeatedly in his headwhat had happened between him and Jessica. He felt guilty but had no regrets, heloved her more than ever and that he could not take back, however, he kne w that ifJacob ever found out he would kill him for sure. He fell into a restless fitful sleep.Jacob rested against a tree trunk catching his breath, they were now so close hecould smell them. He listened to the muffled voices carrying toward him in the still ofthe night. He took out his water bottle and getting up brought it to his lips. First, he felt the pressure in his chest and then a searing hot pain. He collapsedagainst the tree and slid to the ground as if in slow motion, bringing his hand to hischest tugging at the unbearable pain. He took his hand away and stared at the blooddripping from his fingers. The last thing he heard was someone calling out his nameasking if he was all right. He felt himself sinking into a tunnel of darkness with nolight at the end.Jessica woke up with a start trying to figure out where the sound was coming fromthat woke her. Her eyes fell on the transmitter‟s red flashing light. She was petrified,knowing that the radio was only for emergencies. With legs feeling like lead shepicked it up and listened to the voice on the other side. The blood slowly drainedfrom her face, and clutching the radio to her chest she slid to the floor the wordsechoing in her ears.”Mrs. Mc Bride we are sorry to inform you that your husband hasbeen shot.” Jacobs’s legacy Chapter 2Jessica walked up the hill toward the graves. When she reached the clearingbetween the trees, she paused; it felt as if her heart was breaking into a million littlepieces. The tears burned behind her eyelids and her legs were like lead. She closedher eyes and the tears rolled down her cheeks like a river in flood. She silentlyprayed for strength, willing herself to move forward, and be strong. She walkedtowards the graves of her family, changing her ritual of visiting the other grave first,as she had done so many times before, when she first came to look for the graves ofher family.She carefully arranged flowers on the graves of her parents and siblings, staring fora while at the six graves, the white crosses showing off starkly against the greeneryof the shrubs behind them. She turned around and slowly walked to where Jacobs‟sfirst wife and son lay buried. She went through the ritual of arranging flowers andplacing them carefully on the mound of stones all the while feeling so choked up that 28
  29. 29. she could hardly breathe. Then she slowly turned to the right of the grave, and nownot being able to focus because of the tears, looked at the eighth white crossswimming before her eyes. She collapsed onto her knees by the grave as the painand grief engulfed her, covering her face with her hands, she almost cannot bear tolook at this cross standing white and very real before her. She eventually forced hereyes upwards and the inscription engraved on the cross-screamed back at her. Sheread the words that she had read many times in the past year.“My beloved husband Jacob taken from me to early because of thegreed of mankind, may you rest in peace. I will never forget youfor as long as I live. You have left a whole in my heart andemptiness in my soul. Please forgive me. I will always love you.Jessica.”The words faded as her eyes again filled with tears. She lay down putting her headon the grave and her tears stained the stones beneath her. She stayed like that for along time before sitting up; not moving away from the place her husband lay buriedforever. She took a letter from her pocket and carefully opened it, reading the wordsthat she kne w of by hart as if seeking comfort in them.“My darling Jessica,If you are reading this letter I am no longer with you, but I wantyou to know that I will always be with you in spirit. My darling Ido not want you to put your life on hold, you must go on. Youdeserve to be happy and loved, so please if you find love be free tolive life as it should be lived…”She paused and the tears spilled from her eyes, falling onto the letter in her hand.She wiped the tears from her face and trying to compose herself continued reading. “Tell the boys I love them, and that I will be watching out forthem. When you look up at the night sky and see a bright star thatwill be me winking at you. Just remember I love you, and thankyou for giving me the best years of my life... Jacob.Ps. Tell Jason I forgive him and that he must take over my workuntil my sons are old enough to take over.”She slowly put down the letter the grief she was feeling etched on her face.Jason looked down at the two infants lying side by side in their crib. Three-month-oldtwins Chloe and Elijah slept peacefully, oblivious of the turmoil that had invaded thehouse. Jason thought back on the day he and Jessica had spent together, and hehad declared his love for her. He looked down at the babies again and could not helpwondering if they were his children or Jacobs. A sudden tenderness and loveappeared on his face as he stooped down and touched the little ones heads, strokingtheir chubby cheeks and feeling the soft silky skin beneath his fingers. Either way,whether they were his brothers or his children he had loved them from the day they 29
  30. 30. were born. His eyes got a far of look in them as he thought back on that terrible nightthey had lost Jacob.The night that Jessica had received the devastating ne ws of Jacobs‟s death, Jasonfound her lying on the floor crying so heartbreakingly that he felt as if his heart wasbeing ripped from his chest. He immediately tried to console her, but she had lookedup at him with such devastation and hurt in her eyes that he stopped dead in histracks, and not kno wing how he should approach her just stared do wn at her. Hisheart was breaking for her, and not being able to see her in so much pain hestepped closer and tried to take her in his arms. Without looking at him she had saidin a voice raw with pain and grief. “Jason please don‟t, don‟t come near me… don‟t touch me… don‟t say anything...just leave.” He was shocked and hurt at her harsh words but he had left the roomwithout another word. He gave her space to grief, but a year had gone by and theirrelationship had never been the same. She hardly looked at him, and avoided himwhenever possible, only speaking to him when it was necessary. To make mattersworse, she never looked at her babies or went near them, to her they did not exist.He had to get in extra nannies to take care of the babies, and he himself tried tospend as much time as he could with them.After Jacobs‟s death, she withdrew her only concern being Dylan and Timothy‟swelfare. She spent most of her time with them. The boys had come to terms with thefact that their father was never coming home and only talked and asked questionsabout him when they were with Jessica. Jason and the boys had a good relationship,and he tried to do things with them that fathers and sons would do, and he believedthat it had helped them get over their father‟s death a lot easier. If only he could getthrough to Jessica. He loved her so much and found it hard that he was not able totouch or be intimate with her.Leaving the little ones to sleep Jason went to his room. He sat on the side of the bedand reached out for a book lying on the side table. He opened it and took out anenvelope. For a long time he stared at his name, written in his brother‟s handwriting.The letter had been given to him a year ago by one of Jacobs‟s rangers. He hadpicked this letter up many times since then, but was never able to read it. He put itdown, and rested his head in his hands closing his eyes. He contemplated whetherhe should read it or not, fearing what was written in it, taking in account the type ofrelationship he had with his brother. He turned his head and stared at the letter lyingon the bed. He reached out and sighed picking it up. Jason took the letter out andslowly folded it open. He stared out in front of him, the letter lying open on his lapthen he looked down and picking it up started reading...“Jason you know by now why you are reading this letter. First off, Iwant to apologize for the way I treated you when you first arrivedat my home. I am truly sorry. Secondly, I forgive you for thewrongdoings of the past, and the present…”Shaking his head, he continued reading.“You and I were both young, and I cannot hold what our fathercaused against you. I cannot and never will forgive him, but I 30
  31. 31. am sorry that I did not have enough time to get to know youbetter. One more thing, look after my wife and sons. Also I askthat you take over the duties on the farm until my sons are oldenough to do so. Jacob.”Jason put down the letter thinking that it was so typical of Jacob to get straight to thepoint. He suddenly felt very guilty thinking back on the day with Jessica, whilst hisbrother was out risking his life for the good of humankind. Jason felt the tears, as hemourned the untimely and early demise of his brother for the first time in a year.Jessica slowly got up and walked to the head of Jacobs‟s grave. She touched thewhite cross. “I love you Jacob… and I miss you.” She turned and walked down thehill without looking back. As she reached the foot of the hill, Dylan and Timothy rantoward her. She waited for them with a smile on her face. Her eyes turned to Dylan,she saw the blond hair blowing in the wind, teeth white against his tanned face andher heart lurched, he was the spitting image of Jacob. The tears once more spilledfrom her eyes but she quickly wiped them away as the boys reached her side.They took hold of her hands and walking on either side of her started leading hertoward the house. Cindy got up from where she was sitting under the shade of thelarge tree and met them halfway. She looked at Jessica and could see that she hadbeen crying. “Are you alright angel?” she asked in a concerned voice. Jessica shookher head unable to speak for fear that she may start crying again.Reaching the front door Cindy turned to Jessica. “I will see to the boys and preparetheir lunch; you go and have a nice hot bath.” Jessica thankfully accepted the offer ofkindness and went upstairs. After her bath, Jessica walked down the passage andpassed the door to the baby‟s nursery on her way to her bedroom. She suddenlystopped turning around and slowly walked up to the closed door, staring at it. Sheclosed her eyes briefly and reaching out opened the door. She walked toward thecrib and gazed do wn at the twins. Since their birth, she had not been able to bondwith them. Jason had immediately taken over, hiring nannies, choosing their namesand having them baptized. As Jessica stared at them, she could not help but wonderwhether these children were the fruits of her deception or her love. She closed hereyes and her mind drifted to the last night she had spent with Jacob before he died.She smiled when she thought ho w deeply she loved him, and how he loved andgave his all to her and the boys. She felt terrible regret thinking back on the day shehad given into Jason in a moment of weakness and desire.A look of sadness appeared on her face. She had deceived the man she loved themost in the world, and had not been able to forgive herself for that moment ofweakness that changed the course of her life forever. The tears ran freely as shetried to come to terms with the fact that she would never be able to ask Jacob for hisforgiveness. A sudden whimpering from one of the babies brought her abruptly backto reality. She looked down and saw that Chloe was busy waking up. She smiledwhen she looked down at the crumpled little face with the bottom lip pushing out asshe tried to cry, and her face turned red with the effort. As she looked down at herlittle daughter, something changed when she felt the motherly instinct rush to thefore from the deep recesses of her heart, where she had locked it a way. 31
  32. 32. Jessica bent and picked Chloe up, hugging her to her breast, too frightened to puther down for fear that the sudden love surging up in her would disappear. Shecradled the baby in her arm looking down at her face, searching for something thatwould remind her of Jacob. Chloe suddenly opened her eyes and looked straight atJessica. She noticed that the baby had her eyes. The little one kept her eyes rivetedon Jessica‟s face, and suddenly a big toothless smile appeared and Jessica felt herheart melting.“Hello baby.” The little girls smile broadened as she heard her mother‟s voice, and inreturn, she gurgled. Jessica smiled and with her finger, she tapped lightly on the tipof the baby‟s nose, “You are beautiful, yes you are.” Her head turned to Elijah, whowas still fast asleep. She decided to spend some time with Chloe and get to kno wher, while the little boy was still asleep. Jessica put Chloe on the bed to change herinto something cooler. As she turned the child, over on to her tummy she frozestaring at the little ones left shoulder. Her heart started beating faster as shestooped down and traced with her finger along the unusually shaped birthmark onChloe‟s shoulder. She was shocked realizing that these twins were not Jacobs‟schildren, but Jason‟s. Her mind reverted back to the day her and Jason had madelove, and how she had seen the mark on his shoulder, thinking how unusuallyshaped it was. She stood quietly staring at the child‟s back, mixed feelings ofemotion, fear, guilt and uncertainty coursing through her body. She did not kno wwhether she should feel relieved or disappointed, that Jacob was not the father afterall. Jessica was so deep in thought that she did not hear Elijah crying for attention.Greta one of the nannies picked the crying child up and laid him down on the bed.Jessica suddenly realized that the nannies had arrived. “It‟s alright Greta I will see tothe babies today you can take the day off.”“Thank you madam I will see you tomorrow then?”“Yes…yes of course.” Jessica picked up her little son. She changed and fed thebabies, her mind in turmoil not knowing how she was going to break the news toJason. Jessica spent the rest of the day in the nursery, wanting to make up foreverything she had missed over the last three months.Jason arrived home after a day in the bush and entered the kitchen where Dylanand Timothy were having their dinner. He smiled down at them. “Hello boys.”“Hello Uncle Jason.” He sat down at the table with the boys. Cindy fetched hisdinner from the oven and set it down before him.“Where is Jessica?” “I think she is in the nursery with the babies.” She watched his face waiting eagerlyfor a reaction. His head jerked up, eyebrows raised in surprise.“She is?“Yes since this morning,” replied Cindy with a smile.Jason continued eating hoping that Jessica had seen the light, and that she couldnow move for ward, he was cautiously optimistic and happy at the same time. Cindyput the boys to bed and retired. Jason went upstairs and paused at the door to thenursery. He listened but heard no sound coming from the room, so he slowly opened 32

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