JF 25

After several search parties over the next few days, Bowie’s body was found then sent home and laid to rest. But whatever happened to Holly is still a mystery and soon enough she became one of Selvadorada’s very own urban legends. The locals call her “The Jilted Lover” or “The Lady of the Falls.” I don’t have any proof but deep down, I still think she’s out there…somewhere. And as for me, I stuck around in Selvadorada for a while.

55

“Shane.” Hawk greeted me warmly when we ran into each other in the market one evening. “I thought you would be long gone by now.” I gazed up at him and felt the butterflies in my stomach going all aflutter. I just couldn’t believe the effect this man had on me. “Oh, me too. I was ready to hop on the first boat out of here but I had a change of heart.” I shrugged and smiled. “That is very welcome news indeed.” He reached out and trailed his finger down my cheek. I instantly felt weak to my knees. “I know you’ve been through so much recently but when you’re feeling up to it, we should talk.” I nodded in agreement. “Maybe we’ll have a chance to rekindle the flame between us.” He murmured as he moved closer to me.

56

“Maybe.” I teased as he slid his arms around my waist. “But wait.” I put my hand on his chest and pushed him away. “What about that woman in the bar? Aren’t you with her?” I frowned. “What?” He looked bewildered. “No. I’m still doing tours during the day but I’ve also begun moonlighting as a dance instructor.” He grinned at me. “Oh.” I blushed. “You were jealous?” He appeared amused. “Of course I was! And what about all of the dirty looks I received in the bar a while back ago?” His grin grew wider. “Ah. It was because you broke the heart of the town’s favorite tour guide. But now you’ll have a chance to redeem yourself.” He winked at me. “Well what are we waiting for? Kiss me already.” I giggled. “As you wish, mi cielo.” He did not disappoint as he soon swept me off my feet. After I caught my breath, I finally asked him what his pet name for me meant. “My heaven.” He replied.

57

I don’t what the future holds for us or what happens now but I have high hopes. Maybe it’s a mistake to stay in Selvadorada…or maybe it’s exactly what was meant to happen. What’s life without a little risk?

The End.

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JF 24

Unfortunately, Holly caught up with me within minutes. “Stop running!” She screeched as she grabbed a handful of my hair and pulled it as hard as she could. “Holly! Get off of me, you maniac!” I tried to slap her hands away. “I can’t believe you killed Bowie!” I screamed when I managed to escape her grasp. “What are you going to do now? Kill me too?”

52

She took a step back and looked at me as if I’d hit her. “I didn’t mean to! You know how much I loved him.” She wailed. “Then what were you thinking?” I gave her an incredulous look. “It was just a joke…with extremely bad timing.” She stared down at her feet. “Will you please just relax, Shane? I’m not going to do anything to you. I promise.” I snorted in derision. “Tell that to my sore scalp, you heathen. Who pulls hair in a fistfight? Ugh!” I crossed my arms and went to a ledge that overlooked the canyon below…it was such a long fall. I shuddered at the thought. Holly walked over to me and stood next to me in silence. “I can’t believe this happened. Poor Bowie.” I whispered through pursed lips.

53

“In a way…I wanted to hurt you both.” Holly finally admitted. “But not like this! What can I do to make you believe me?” She gave me a wounded gaze. “Come back to the market with me and turn yourself in.” I told her without hesitation. “You know I can’t do that.” She muttered softly. “Wait…” She narrowed her eyes and peered further over the ledge. “Is that Hawk down there?” I gasped and jerked my head in the direction she pointed. ‘Where?” I heard the scuffle of her boots on the rocks and I turned back just in time to see her vanish into the waterfall. I opened my mouth in shock…I couldn’t believe that she jumped.

54

It was morning by the time I found my way out of the jungle. But at least I was greeted by the sight of a very concerned Hawk. “Shane! I’ve been looking for you all night!” He ran to me and grabbed my hands. “What happened to you?” I collapsed against him. “It’s a long story. How did you know where I was?” He rubbed some dirt from my cheek. “I heard you were asking about me in town. I had feeling I’d find you out here…and no offense but you look rough. Let’s get you a hot shower and something to eat.” He put his arm around me and kissed me on the forehead. “You don’t know how glad I am that you’re okay. But where are your friends?” I managed to croak out one word before I was overcome with tears. “Gone.”

JF 23

Holly had a hike into the jungle planned for us early the next morning. I was a bit hungover but I was hoping the fresh air would clear my head. “At least we have a map this time.” I told them when we stopped for a break that afternoon. “Not that we need it.” Holly chirped up from behind me. “Yeah, right. Remember what happened last time we were here? Bowie snorted. “I never thought I’d see home again but somehow we made it.” He gave Holly a charming smile then and I could almost feel her icy demeanor towards him melting away. Maybe they’d work whatever they had between them out…even if they were both nuts.

47

Eventually we came to the rope bridge where I met Hawk for the first time. “I remember this place.” I sighed and let my mind mull through the bittersweet memories. “There’s this huge waterfall on the other side and it’s gorgeous. We should go get some pictures of it.” Holly nodded her head. “Great idea, Shane. Lead the way!” Bowie hesitated though. “It’s really narrow. Maybe we should cross it one at time?” He asked. “Come on, scaredy cat. We’ll be fine.” Holly rolled her eyes and began to stroll across the wooden planks.

49

We made it a little ways before Holly suddenly shrieked. “There’s a spider! Look at the size of that thing!” She pointed to Bowie’s shoulder. “What?” He let out a shrill scream. “Where?” He began to whirl around and around while swatting at his body. “Get it off of me! Get it off!” The bridge was shaking and creaking loudly. “I don’t see anything! Just calm down before this thing snaps!” I yelled at him. “Boo!” Holly shouted in Bowie’s face causing him to stumble backwards. Time seemed to freeze then…one second Bowie was standing right in front of us and within the next, he was toppling over and falling into the canyon below.

50

Holly turned and looked at me with an odd smile spread across her face. “Wow. Did that really just happen? I’m dreaming, right?” She giggled and gazed off into the distance. “Oh, Holly.” I cried. “How could you?” My accusation seemed to snap her back to reality. “It was supposed to be a joke. I didn’t think he’d actually fall.” I stared at her with my heart racing. “It was an accident, I swear!” She insisted as I backed away. “Don’t come any closer!” I choked out. “Wait, Shane!” She called out to me. “Don’t you dare run from me!

JF 22

After spending the day being dragged all over the place by Holly, I finally managed to talk her into stopping by the bar where I had my first date with Hawk. It was the local hotspot and I had a very strong feeling that he would be there.

46

I spent a few minutes asking around about Hawk but no one seemed to know where he was. Then I noticed a few women giving me dirty looks. Did they know me somehow? It’d been nearly eight months since the last time I was here…how could anyone remember me? “I can’t find him.” I sighed. “Maybe he just doesn’t want to see you.” Holly piped up all of the sudden. “Gee, thanks.” I muttered. “I didn’t mean anything by it.” She shrugged and took a sip of her drink. “Wait…isn’t that him?” She pointed to a secluded corner.

47

“Yes!” I shouted and quickly began to make my way over to him. But then I came to a full stop when I noticed he was dancing with someone…the way he’d once danced with me. They looked completely lost in the moment. I clenched my hands next to my sides and shook my head. What was I thinking? Of course he would move on! And they looked so good together too. I hated her immediately but I at least hoped they were happy.

48

Without saying a word to him, I dragged a chair over to where Bowie and Holly where seated and plopped down into it. “Ugh.” I groaned. “I ruined everything.” Holly put her hand over mine. “I knew it’d be a bad idea to come here. Sorry that your heart is broken. I know all too well how that feels.” She stared at me intently. “Yeah…” I mumbled awkwardly and gently pulled my hand away. “It blows.” Bowie went to the bar and ordered another round of drinks. “It’s gonna be okay. It’s his loss, Shane.” He told me with a warm smile. I knocked back my drink and his then slammed my glass down on the table. “I appreciate that…really. But just keep those drinks coming.”

JF 21

Little did Holly know but I’d invited Bowie on our vacation as well. Actually…I begged him to come with us. I wasn’t sure how Holly was going to react to it but the thought of spending time alone with her made me feel kind of odd. And sure enough, when Bowie met on us on the docks that lead to Selvadorada’s market, Holly looked anything but happy.

43

“What is HE doing here?” She frowned and put her hands on her hips. Bowie lifted his hands up and backed away. “The boat hasn’t left yet…I can always get back on it.” He might’ve been smiling but he definitely wasn’t joking. “Oh hush, Bowie.” I fussed at him. “And I invited him along. I hope that’s okay.” Even if it wasn’t, it was too late now. “Oh.” Holly mumbled quietly. “I was kind of hoping it’d just be you and me, Shane. So we could bond or whatever. But I guess this is fine, too.” She shrugged and tried to smile but I could tell that her feelings were hurt. “I’m really sorry, Holly. We’ll all have a good time though. You’ll see.” I smiled and pat her on the back.

44

“Anyways.” Holly straightened up and turned to Bowie. “Since you’re here and it’d be utter nonsense to try to get rid of you…you can carry all off our stuff to the lodge.” She said to him in a bossy tone. “Oh. Yay.” He replied sarcastically. “And Shane.” She turned back to me. “I made a long list of places for us to go and sights to see. So when we get to our lodgings, don’t get too comfortable. We’ve got a lot to do!” She told me in a singsong voice then she headed towards the market.

45

“Does it seem like she’s acting weird to you?” Bowie asked when he caught up to me. “Not really. She’s always been a bit strange to me. Plus you know her A LOT better than I do, Bowie.” I stuck my tongue out at him. “Right. Something feels off though.” He furrowed his brows and thought for a moment. “Maybe she brought us here to kill us.” He whispered ominously. We both stopped in our tracks and stared at each other. Then we began laughing so hard that tears rolled down our cheeks. I punched him in the shoulder. “Good one, Bowie.”

JF 20

Bowie and I did our best to make a friendship between us work. So far, it was going pretty well. We no longer had movie nights though. Instead we went jogging together a couple times a week…and today I had a special surprise in store for him.

40

“Hey guys!” Holly waved at us excitedly from the park. “Oh, great.” Bowie muttered under his breath. “I hope it’s okay that I invited Holly.” I told Bowie sweetly as we came into earshot. “Sure thing. It’s good to see you, Hol.” He smiled her. “You too, Bowie. I’m glad you’re here.” She whispered in a husky tone. “Uh huh. We’ll be right back.” He motioned for me to follow him.

41

“Are you trying to set us back up, Shane?” Bowie gave me a dirty look. “There are so many reasons why we didn’t work out before.” I shrugged innocently. “Well…I thought it would be good for her to get out and have fun with some friends. She seems so lonely.” I said as I watched Holly sit down at a picnic table by herself. “Lonely…right. More like crazy.” Bowie rolled his eyes. “Just be nice. Okay?” I stuck my lower lip out in a pout. “Yeah, whatever. I’ll be over in a few minutes. Gotta make a phone call.” He pulled his phone out and dialed a number. “New girlfriend?” I teased. “Something like that.”

42

I sat down next to Holly and asked her how she’d been doing. “Very good actually! I just won two tickets to Selvadorada from a radio show!” She blurted out happily. “Wow! Good for you, Holly! I’m actually kinda jealous.” I laughed. “Don’t be. I was wondering if you’d like to come along. I can’t think of anyone else to invite.” My jaw dropped in surprise. “Really? That would be so amazing! I’ve been dying to go back!” I couldn’t believe my luck. Maybe I’d get to see Hawk again after all.

 

JF 19

Over the next few days, I kept thinking about the confrontation with Holly. I hated that she was right…I didn’t love Bowie and I was only with him because it was convenient. It really bummed me out that I had no idea what I was doing with my life anymore. When exactly did I give up on myself? “Hey, babe. I was wondering when you were going to get up.” Bowie’s voice came from the doorway of my bedroom.

37

“It’s the middle of the day.” He sat down beside me on the bed and cupped my face. “Are you sick?” I leaned away from him and shook my head. “No. I guess I’ve just been tired.” I couldn’t even force myself to smile for him. “Right.” He narrowed his eyes in disbelief. “So are you going to tell me what’s really going on with you, Shane?”

38

“Okay.” I pulled his hand into mine. “Well, it’s just that I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. When I think of the life I always wanted…I imagine traveling all over the world or moving off to some exotic country. But instead I’m stuck in this cramped apartment. I feel like I settled.” I sighed. “But you don’t have to stay here. I asked you to move in with me.” He nudged me with his shoulder jokingly. “I know.” I pursed my lips and stared down at our hands in my lap. Even after everything he put me through before, I still didn’t want to hurt his feelings. “But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m just not happy, Bowie.” I finally look up into his eyes. “Oh.” He mumbled. “You mean with me.” He pulled his hand from my grasp.

39

“If I’m being honest then I probably should’ve seen this coming. Can’t say that I’m surprised.” He let out a dry laugh. “I always knew you were too good for me, Shane. And you can’t let me keep holding you back from your dreams…you need to get out there and make them come true.” He gave me a sad smile. “Thank you for being so understanding, Bowie. It means a lot to me.” I told him. “Sure thing. Friends?” He asked hopefully. “Always.”

JF 18

I was on my way to Bowie’s house the next day when I saw someone familiar coming down the sidewalk. It was Holly and she was coming from Bowie’s house…which was odd considering he’d told me they didn’t even talk anymore. She was vacantly staring down at her feet as she walked and would’ve went right past me if I hadn’t said anything.

34

“Hey! It’s been a while, Holly.” I smiled at her pleasantly. “How’s life been treating you?” She turned her head towards me and I noticed the solemn expression on her face. Then I realized that her eyes were swollen and her cheeks were puffy. “Have you been crying? Did something happen with Bowie?” I wouldn’t put it past him to cheat on me but he’d sworn up and down that he hadn’t seen Holly in months.

35

“We aren’t friends, Shane. You don’t have to pretend like you care about me.” She finally managed to croak. “We may not be friends but I also don’t hate you.” I told her truthfully. “Plus, we survived the jungle together!” I joked, hoping to make her smile. “That’s gotta mean something. Right?” I reached out to lay a hand on her shoulder but she jerked away from me.

36

“You don’t deserve him!” She pointed an accusatory finger at me. “I’ve been in love with him for years but he tells me that he doesn’t want a serious relationship. But then here he is begging you to move in with him. That sounds pretty serious to me.” She scoffed. “He always chooses you, Shane. How do you think I feel?” She looked at me expectantly. “I’m sorry, Holly. I didn’t know you felt so strongly for him.” I mumbled awkwardly. “You don’t even love him! So why are you with him?” I open and close my mouth not knowing what to say. “I don’t know.” I finally admit. “Well maybe you should think about that.” Holly flips her hair over her shoulder and struts away.

JF 17

It was a few weeks later and we were hanging out in Bowie’s pool. We were actually getting along really well and I guess I was happy in a way. But lately Bowie had been hinting around about me moving in with in him and I still hadn’t given him a real answer. “So…have you given my question anymore thought?” He asked with an easy smile. “Um…I-” Suddenly a shrill ring interrupted my stuttering. “Is that me or you?” I asked as I got out of the pool. I was relieved to change the subject. “My cell is in the house. It’s gotta be you.” Bowie replied.

31

“It’s probably my parents. I’ve been avoiding them.” I admitted sheepishly. “You should talk to them. They’ll be happy to know that we’re back together.” Bowie winked at me before he dove underwater. I grabbed a towel and dried off quickly. I didn’t recognize the number but answered it anyways. “Hello?”

32

“Mi cielo…how have you been?” I would know that thick accent anywhere. “Hawk? I never thought I’d hear your voice again.” I whispered and closed my eyes. I could almost feel him standing behind me, his warm breath on my neck. “I thought you would try to get in touch with me by now. I assume I didn’t have the same effect on you that you had on me.” Even though he was teasing me, he still sounded hurt. “That’s simply not true.” My response seemed to satisfy him. “I had an idea and wanted to run it past you. How would you feel if I came to visit you?”

33

“I’m seeing someone.” I heard the sharp intake of Hawk’s breath. “I should’ve known better.” He laughed dryly. “It’s been four months. Why wouldn’t you move on with your life?” He cleared his throat. “But I do hope you’re very happy, Shane.” The line went dead. Bowie came up behind me as I put my cell back into the pocket of my jeans. “Everything okay, babe?” He looked concerned. “Yeah. Everything is fine.” I lied. “Perfectly fine.”

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