The next morning I sit on the edge of my bed, flipping the folder over and over in my hands. I want to rip it open, so what if it’s a bad thing, or maybe it’s a good thing. I hope there are pictures of my parents in there, I don’t even remember what they look like.
“Hey what time did you get back…” her voice is groggy as I hear her shifting in the bed. “Jack?”
I turn to look at her, putting on my usual asshole face “I got back late, I passed by a bar and…you know the rest.” the rest is that I sat in the car for a couple of hours, while the alcohol, which I had promised myself I would stay away from, circulated through my veins. I feel like such a bitch for sitting there for those hours, just staring at the file on the passenger seat and not having the balls to open it.
She let’s out a sigh and walks toward the bathroom “You know, keep doing that and your definitely going to catch something…” she huffs and slams the bathroom door.
I snicker, she’s so jealous and I’m fucking gloating. I wont catch shit, cause junior was here in my pants last night, but we wont correct her. Let her think that, it’s for the best. I throw the file on my bed and remove my shirt, throwing on a white wife beater and buckling up my pants.
I rush her out of the motel, I can’t wait to get to the house and find that bastard. I throw her the keys and ask her to drive, she looks at me a little surprised “Are you alright?” she asks with concern in her eyes.
I nod “Yeah I’m good, I just have something I need to read. It’s pretty important.”
“Uh…ok…” she smiles and hops in the driver seat revving up her bug, I sink into my seat with the file in my hand and we begin our journey back to Greenville. For the first hour into our drive, its quiet, just Crystal singing along to random songs on the radio, while I contemplate opening the file. I wish I could tell the kid, she can't sing for shit and to shut the hell up, but I'm not in the mood.
She clears her throat gazing over at me, I can see her from the corner of my eye, but I can’t bring myself to say anything. “Are you alright Jack? You’ve been kinda weird since this morning? Did something happen?”
Yeah something happened, I let a target go. Which I hope he actually left, because I already feel like I’m being watched, and once Don finds out a target got away. All hell will break loose. “I’m ok…I guess…” I want to ask her to pull over and look through the file before I do, I trust her…I think. I’ve never really trusted anyone before, I mean Don took me in and he took care of me, but I never fully trusted him or anyone else.
“You can tell me, you know Jack. If something is wrong?”
I clear my throat and look up at her “It’s fucking complicated and you would probably pull over and tell me to get lost.” I can’t help, but chuckle a little, imagining her kicking me out of the car.
“What? Are you a serial killer or something?” she lets out a laugh. If only she knew that I’m pretty close to it, I just don’t kill for fun. I kill cause I get paid real good money for it. “That was a joke Jack?” she stops laughing and turns to inspect my face. “Why don’t you just open it…you’ve been staring at that thing since this morning. Is it something bad?”
I let out a sigh, truthfully all her damn questioning me is driving me up the fucking wall. They are only making me more uneasy by the minute, but I can‘t help the damn impulse to tell her. “Like I said it’s complicated…remember I told you about the accident?” I clear my throat as I watch her nod her head “Well…I didn’t know or remember anything. Don says he didn’t get the chance to find out anything about me…now I find out this file contains…info of my life…” I can’t go on, somehow a fucking lump has grown in my throat.
“Oh my gosh, Jack…uh…well what are you waiting for, open it. Find out about yourself then. What are you afraid of?”
“I’m not AFRAID!” I protest, hearing my voice squeak a little, that’s never happened before. Ok, I am fucking scared shitless right about now, but it’s only because I don’t know what the hell this envelope contains.
The warmth of her hand on my knee, brings me back from my daze and gives me goose bumps. “It’s ok to be afraid Jack! There is nothing wrong with that you know, just like it’s ok to be nervous, friendly, kind, worried…and loved.” she almost whispers the last word.
Ignoring her, I slip a finger under the seal opening it slowly. I take a deep breath, as I pull out the papers from the envelope. The first page comes into plain view and the first words I see are ‘Alias: Jack D’ pulling the papers out a little more I see ‘Codename: Skullz’. I swallow the lump, that has nestled in my throat again, as I look over at the kid, before I finish pulling the file out just a little more. ’Birth Name’ what the fuck…I shut my eyes tightly, as I gulp down a swallow of air, my hands begin to shake. "Jack?" I hear her voice as my eyes snap open, I stare blankly at the long name 'Alexander James Mclean' “Earth to Jack” she utters.
“Alexander…“ I mumble to myself, unaware that it’s loud enough for her to hear me. For a moment I stop and take a deep breath, I can’t believe that I have a name, a real fucking name. “James…Mclean…” I look up at her, but she’s looking straight ahead. I’m not sure if she heard me or, she’s just trying to give me some space.
The car remains silent, as I return my gaze to the name. without really wanting to, I keep repeating the whole name, over and over in my head. I break from my trance, by her soft voice “Alexander James…hum…I like it. Actually I’ve always liked the name Alexander. You know…I think it suits you nicely. Alex works too you know.”
There she goes rambling, I just don’t like that name “Don’t call me that fucking name…ever…my name is Jack. You got it” I demand a little rougher and louder then I intended.
She flinches at the gruffness of my voice, “I’m sorry…I just…ok Jack.” My heart is racing and my palms are sweaty as she continues. “You know if you got this file from someone that Don knows, then why didn’t he ever tell you?”
My body stiffens and my eyes widen in fucking horror as I realize what she just said. That motherfucker knew all along what my name was and he didn’t even bother to tell me. But why? Just as I go to answer her, I’m jerked forward, and thrown back against the seat.
I turn to look at her, she fights against the steering wheel to keep the car on the road and luckily wins the battle. She lets out a loud, shaky sigh“Jack someone just hit us…” I turn to look, back expecting to see some idiot, in a streak of panic and instead I see a black Lincoln with all tinted windows. It hits me, fuck, we are in some deep shit.
"Ok..." I watch the meter as it slowly climbs up to number seventy and the damn bug, starts to shake, like it's going to fall to pieces on us, just when we need the piece of shit to work. "Jack, I've never driven this thing past forty. I don't think it can..." she lets out a yelp, as I feel the car spin out of control and off the road.
The car comes to a rough stop as I look around, for the Lincoln “Fuck…“ I grumble, looking over at her “Crystal?” she’s frozen in place, just staring straight ahead, her hands so tight around the wheel, her knuckles are turning white. “Are you alright?” I ask, reaching my hand out towards her. She jumps as my hand makes contact with her shoulder “We have to get the fuck out of here, they are bound to be back.” I hurriedly, pop my seatbelt off, and help the kid as she starts to frantically struggle with her own.
“I can’t get this shit off! Who are they? What do they want? Do you know Jack?” Just as her seatbelt pops loose, my eyes dart past her and I see the Lincoln coming at us full force. Then all I hear is the BANG of the Lincoln colliding into the side of the bug. Holy shit, it's her side.
I yell out her name, as I feel the car, turning, once, twice and again. I can't hear a sound from her, but I can hear the crunching of the gravel and the clinking of the car's metal bending with each turn. Once I feel the car come to a stop, I don't have time to look around for her. Since everything turns fuzzy, as I lose consciousness.