Chapter Four - Demons

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When we arrived at Jackson's grandparents' house it was already full of people. I remembered the old gatherings, and I'd loved them back then, all the jubilation and noise had been a welcome happy atmosphere to grow up in. I just hadn't been to a big gathering since... since my one attempt at high school partying, and I could revisit that mess in my head, I didn't have the emotional capacity to think about it.


I followed behind Jackson as he walked inside with the pastry box. I had hoped to avoid becoming the center of attention, but the minute Jackson's Nan Sarah saw me she pulled me in to her arms like the long lost patchwork family member I was.


"You look so much like your Mother and Grandmother." She said with a soft, yet somehow powerful voice. She spoke like she had lived a thousand lifetimes, even though she was only in her early 60's


She held me tight, like I was precious. Her lips pressed against my head. I knew she could sense my hesitation, how tense my shoulders were, how closed off I was being. "Your journey hasn't been smooth has it darling." She pulled me away from the others and let her hand brush a strand of hair off my face. I didn't speak, too afraid I'd cry if I tried. "Let the pain out and the light will follow."


The words swirled around in my head, and it frightened me. I didn't want to let the pain out, I couldn't. Knowing I couldn't reply she let me go and walked back over to her husband Nick who was chatting to Scarlett. Jackson walked over and smiled. "Everything okay? You look kind of shell-shocked."


"I just haven't been to a party in a while." I mumbled. "I don't really go out much."


"Well then, come with me." Jackson grabbed my hand and walked out of the full kitchen, causing me to follow along behind him. We walked down the hall and he opened a door, "My Nan's jam studio is down here remember, it's pretty retro, Nan doesn't really play much these days. You want to look?"


"Will you play me something?" I said with a hopeful smile. Jackson smiled back, pleased his attempt to make me happier was working. He nodded and then started to walk down the steps. "Sure."


I followed behind him, down the steps until we reached the bottom. He hadn't been joking, the studio was retro, but beautiful. I wasn't sure why I'd never been down here before, but I was glad I was down here now. I walked over to the wall of vinyl records and let my fingers run over them. "These are beautiful! Dad has a small collection, but nothing like this."


"Nan loves collecting vinyl, she's still pretty rocking for an old lady."


"She always was." I smiled, and wise too it seemed, even if her advice scared the living hell out of me, she had mirrored the thoughts I'd had earlier in the day. Letting goodness back in to my life was bringing my pain to the surface. I had to heal before I could live a full life.


I turned around and watched as Jackson picked up an acoustic guitar. I smiled, it suited him.


"I think, if I remember rightly, you like this song." He smiled strumming his fingers over the strings.


He sat down on a couch and began to play the notes to the only song I'd ever seen him play. He looked up and grinned. "I knew you were watching me that day." He smiled.

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