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Earth to the Moon (3)

by Elinor


AN: The goal of this short story project is to show how each lead character joined the cult in order to compliment/draw context to the story of Eagle Rock as a whole. In that regard, this story is complete. However, Claire's eventual defection has as much, if not more to do with the story as a whole. So I may continue this or I may complete it in another's story. The girls, for now are done, but there are two boys to explore as well. Either way, enjoy!

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“I don’t have my bags,” I finally said.

He leaned in close and asked me to repeat myself. His presence was warm and comforting and I didn’t want to leave it.

“I don’t have my bags,” I said again.

“I have them, don’t worry,” he said. He put his arm around me and looked right into my eyes. “It’s okay.”

I looked back at him for a long time, thinking about what to say. Somehow Alex snapping at me didn’t matter. That was a symptom, not a cause of my unhappiness.

His eyes were so very blue, they were almost unreal. God, he was so handsome.

“You’re beautiful,” he said. Then he kissed me.

I never wanted it to end. And for a while, it seemed like it wouldn’t. I didn’t allow myself to think. I couldn’t. And from when he led me to his tent and he made love to me, and I started to reconsider my plans to leave. There were a lot of questions that I had. Who were the girls? Did they meet Jay like I had? Did he sleep with all of them too? Somehow I knew he did, which bothered me, as it seemed obvious in hindsight. But in that moment, none of it mattered. There, that night, he and I were the only two people in the world. I felt wanted and loved.

I woke up sometime later in the night to find that I was alone, my soaked shirt crumpled in one corner of the tent. But my bags were there too. I changed into my white cotton dress and put on my cream jumper over it. Not exactly pyjamas but it would do for now. I heard voices that sounded like Alex and Jay’s. I could barely make out what they were saying. Their voices weren’t raised, but it was still tense.

“I’m all you have,” I heard him say. “Unless you want to go back to Montana.”

“I don’t,” she said.

More words were exchanged that I didn’t hear.

Before I could move or do anything further, Jay re-entered the tent. He smiled and kissed me. “Hi,” he said. “I hope we didn’t wake you.”

I shook my head. I was still on air, but I started to realize how little sense what just happened made. Millie and I used to make fun of girls who did things like this. I doubted she would believe me if I ever had a chance to tell her what happened.

He sat next to me, eyeing my dress and sweater. “I love the dress.”

I blushed.

“You know, Alex doesn’t seem to like me,” I said. Really? That’s what I could think of to say?

“She does,” he said. “She will.” He took my hand then, and looked me straight in the eye.

I’d definitely never felt anything like this with anyone before. “How did you meet everyone else?”

“Just like you, they’re smart girls who wanted more out of life,” he said. “They were open to the truth of what life can be when we all open our eyes.” 

“And what is that?”

“Living in the present moment,” he said. “Not being tied to someone else’s vision of how to live our lives.”

“I’ve never been camping, you know,” I said. “I always wanted to.”

He smiled. “I hope you decide to stay with us. We’ll look after you, if that’s what you want.”

I did. It was an opportunity not to go right back to Mum and Dad, to spend more time with Jay. And maybe, like Helen had said, Alex would warm to me once she got to know. Had men landed on the moon only hours ago? It felt like another lifetime. “I think so,” I responded.

He smiled again, and I could have stared at his face forever. Then, he laid down, and gestured for me to lay beside him. I did.

“So,” he said. “Where’s your favorite place in Liverpool?”

I thought about. “There’s a coffee house my friend Millie and I would go to after school. And there’s the shops on Penny Lane. You know, like in the song.”

He smiled.

“My mum and dad never even asked if I wanted to move.”

“That must have been hard.”

I nodded. “I miss it every day.”

He said nothing, but somehow, something in his eye told me that he understood.

We talked, just like that, until we both fell asleep.

The next morning, as we packed up the van, Jay made Alex and I sit together in the very back. Helen sat with him up front, Debbie and Sasha in the middle row.

I was so far away from him, much further than I had been the night before. He’d only be able to hear me if I explicitly got his attention. As we drove away from the campsite and out onto the freeway, I felt Alex’s eyes on me and found my answer. Jay was deep in conversation with Helen. To him, for all intents and purposes, I wasn’t there. Debbie and Sasha were in the midst of a conversation too, so it seemed the only potential conversation partner I could have for the time being was Alex.

I heard her voice then. “Listen, I’m sorry,” she said. I continued to look at her. “But you have to understand that Jay will always come back to me.” I wasn’t entirely certain what she meant by that, and I didn’t feel like asking, as her tone was vaguely threatening.

“I don’t want to start a row,” was all I said. She looked at me blankly, and I realized she didn’t know what I meant. “I don’t want to fight you.”

“I was nothing before Jay,” she said. She was distant now, gazing in his direction, and I even saw her smile. “We all were.” Then, she looked towards me, and I wondered if, for a brief moment, she really did want to become friends. She had told me I was pretty, after all. It seemed for a moment like she was on the verge of tears, and I realized I felt sorry for her. I had no idea that I was just as vulnerable myself, that I’d taken my first step down the same path that she had tread. “He has so much love to give.” Yes, she was crying now. I didn’t know what to make of that. But then she smiled, and I realized that she must have meant well after all.

I smiled in return. Then, Debbie and Sasha both turned around. “Claire, do you know how to play I Spy?” Sasha asked.

“Of course.”

And so we began the game, and this time, I was fully included, a part of them, a part of something. I was confident now. Wherever my future lay, it was with them. Des Moines came and went, a blip on the horizon that had been so significant the day before. Now, nothing else mattered.


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25 Reviews


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Reviews: 25

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Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:46 pm
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DottieSnark wrote a review...



This chapter was chilling. To start off with that romantic, sensual scene and then move onto Claire overhearing Jay tell something that kind of sounded like a threat…well it sent chills down my spine. As it went on I kind of felt depressed as I realized Claire was staying here, for the time being at once, and Alex was further gone and more hopeless than I had initially thought.

I know this chapter was about Claire and how she joined the cult, but what really fascinated me was Alex. Every line of her captivated me. By the end I think I finally understand her (and without reading any of your previous chapters). She’s insecure and scared Claire is going to take her place. It makes me curious about her relationship with the other women in the cult and how this is going to effect Claire in the cult.

Alex kind of reminds me of those cult victims who wind up becoming the perpetrating. She’s a very fascinating character and when I have more time I definitely think I’ll be giving the rest of this series a read. You’ve created some amazing and deep characters. Great job!




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Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:01 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...



OMG CLAIRE'S EVENTUAL DEFECTION ??

omgogoasdl;aksjdfl;asdf I WANT TO READ MOOORE.

Okay, I'm good. I'm fine.

Okay, so I REALLY REALLY love that this story, as a standalone, refers back to Claire feeling left out. There's this theme through the whole piece of Claire just wanting to find a home, be accepted, feeling alien no matter where she was. And then it ends here feeling like she finally found somewhere to belong. (AS SAD FOR HER AS I AM.) So the theme was really done super well here and closed very nicely at the end. It really doesn't need to be extended at all as it feels like it just concludes so neatly by giving Claire what she had been seeking this whole time.

I STILL HATE JAY THOUGH.

It also goes to show how IN CONTROL Jay is by making Alex sit in the way back with Claire. Not only that, but we also get a glimpse of Jay giving another girl (Helen) some one-on-one time. This is such a huge glimpse into their life, as short a scene as it is. So Alex, who they all kinda see as having a certain level of superiority here, is sitting the furthest away from Jay next to the new girl. Jay knows that these two have to get along so that Claire stays, so he just shoves these two together, but the symbolism of Alex sitting so far away from the one person she cares about is such a heart-wrenching perspective. She's so blinded by this vision of her and Jay, and she expresses it so well in the car that even Claire just gets it and feels sorry for her. It's incredible. And then they all just believe the idea that Jay has so much love to give that one girl isn't enough. Alex isn't enough. And Alex believes that most of all. She hangs on to this idea that she will always be #1 despite it all.

Gosh it's so sad.

And yeah, getting a glimpse of Jay giving another girl attention at the same time shows a new perspective (for me anyway) of Jay interacting with the girls, trying to juggle all of these girls in his little circle of love here.TODAY I WANT HELEN, TO THE BACK WITH YOU ALL!!

So yeah, I guess the main thing here is that I don't think it really needs an extension. I'd really like to see Claire's defection happen in a different piece, whether it's a sequel Claire story or another girl's perspective or I don't kow what plans you have. I know this is kind of a whole series of stories though that you're working with to reinforce Eagle Rock, so anything you decide will certainly work. You have several options. This story definitely stands well on its own though. I just really like how you closed out the theme for a foreign girl in this setting.

Well done! :D

Keep writing!

Jabber, the One and Only!





"You're wrong about humanity. They are your greatest creation because they're better than you are. Sure, they're weak, and they cheat and steal and destroy and disappoint, but they also give and create, and they sing and dance and love. Above all, they never give up."
— Metatron