“Thanks for gathering on such short notice.” My parents stood at the front of the room. They called an emergency F.R.O. meeting with just a few board members.
“Let’s jump right in, Hero, would you start us off?” My mom gestured to our old family friend.
“Well, as you all know, my men and I have been working on disarming the trap in the ocean so we can send people out. So far, we’ve only been able to disarm it for a few minutes at most. But yesterday, we were able to disarm it for forty-five minutes.”
“What does this mean?” Iris asked excitedly.
“This mean that we’ll be able to send someone out there.” Grandma explained.
“This is huge.” Grandpa exclaimed.
“Yes, but are we sure we’re ready for this? We don’t know what’s out there. Sending someone out there could be a suicide mission.”
“I’ll do it.” I blurted out. It was perfect, I needed to get out of this place. I also loved F.R.O., so why not volunteer for this?
“Jasmine, we can’t let you do this.” My grandma sounded worried.
“I’m turning eighteen next month, there’s not really anything you can do to stop me.” I gave her a tight smile. I get that she was worried, but I had to make my own decisions.
“Sweetheart, I think you should think about this. This is a huge decision, you should at least take a few days to think it over.” My grandpa suggested.
“No, I’ve made up my mind. I’m volunteering.” I turned to Hero. “What do I have to do and when do I leave?”
He didn’t answer me and looked at my dad.
“Jazzy, I can’t let you do this.” My dad said.
“You can’t really stop me.” I crossed my arms defiantly.
“Look, I can’t let you go on a suicide mission, Jasmine. What kind of father would I be if I let my daughter do something so dangerous?”
“You don’t have to let me, I’m going whether or not you ‘let’ me. This is something I want to do, so I’m gonna do it.”
“This isn’t something you want to do.” My dad shook his head sadly.
“How do you know what I want?”
My dad looked over at my mom. She smiled sadly at him, and nodded slightly.
“Fine, we won’t try and stop you,” She said, “But just think about this, okay?”
“I’ve thought about it, Mom.”
I looked around the room. Everyone was giving me looks of pity. I didn’t deserve their pity. I did something awful, and I needed to be punished for it. Dying slowly and painfully on a boat in the middle of the ocean sounded ideal.
“I don’t need your pity.” I stood up and glared at them, then turned to Hero. “Call me, tell me what I have to do, and I’ll do it.”
I left the room without another word.
“So you’re really gonna do this?” I met up with Venus, Ash and my sisters after they got out of school the next day. I hadn’t been back at school since what happened, and I wasn’t going too. But at least I was actually leaving the house.
“Yea. I leave a few days after my birthday.” Hero and I had talked on the phone, and he gave me all the details. He’d be teaching me how to drive the boat in a few days.
“So, after that I’m never gonna see you again?” She asked sadly. I hated all the sadness surrounding this. I was doing a good thing.
“Have you told Ash?” I shook my head. “You should probably tell him. How do you think he’s gonna take it?”
“I don’t know, I hope he’ll be happy for me.”
“What? Why would he be happy about this? He’s probably never gonna see you again and you expect him to be happy?”
“Yea, but he’ll understand. We both love F.R.O. and I know he’d do the same thing if he could.”
“Maybe he should go with you.” She suggested.
“No, this is something I have to do on my own.”
She sighed. “I’m really gonna miss you, Jazz.”
“I hope you come back someday.”
“That doesn’t seem likely. I’ll probably die out there.”
She sighed again, and shook her head. “Whatever. Maybe you should go talk to Ash.”
I could tell she was upset with me. But it didn’t matter, I’d be out of here soon, and it’ll be easier on her if she hates me when I go.
“Yea, good idea.”
I approached him excitedly, I wanted him to think of this as a good thing, like I did.
“Hey babe, guess what.”
“I’m going on a mission in about a month!” I smiled widely at him.
He took my hands in his. “Oh my god, that’s amazing! What kind of mission is it?”
“An expeditionary one. They’ve figured out how to disarm the ocean traps long enough for me to get past them, and then I just explore the ocean, hopefully finding an island or another city.” His smile fell.
“Babe, that sounds dangerous.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. And besides, you and I both know I would die for this organization.”
“I know, I just don’t wanna lose you.” He sighed.
“Hey, we’ve still got a month.”
“Yea, but then what?”
I took him in my arms and kissed him. “Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it, okay?”
“Okay.” He smiled. “I’m proud of you, babe.”
“Thanks. I’m glad, everyone else is trying to talk me out of this.”
“I know better, you’re stubborn and you’re dedicated, there’s no stopping you.”
“You’re welcome.” He grabbed my hand and started pulling me away. “I’m gonna win you something, so you can take it with you on your mission and if you miss me, you can just look at it and remember me.”
“You are such a sap.” I joked.
He led me to the claw machine game. He wasn’t very good at the game, but I cheered him on anyway.
To my surprise, he actually won me something. It was a tiny, plastic little animal. He grabbed it from the little slot and handed it to me.
“So you’ll always remember me.”
“Thanks.” I couldn’t help but smile.
“I promise I’ll keep it with me all the time.”
“I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too.” He said. I gave him a small kiss and left the arcade. It was getting late, and I know he was hurting, and I didn’t want to make it worse.
One month passed a lot faster than I thought it would. My birthday came and went, and now it was time for me to leave. I went around the other day, saying goodbye to all my friends and family. I didn’t want a lot of people at the beach saying goodbye.
But still, my family showed up to see me off. I went down the line and said goodbye to all of them. First up were my grandparents.
“Oh Jazz, we’re gonna miss you.” My grandpa spoke sadly.
“I’ll miss you guys too.”
“Please, don’t let this be the last time I see you.” Grandma was about to cry, I’ve never seen her cry in my life. It was a weird feeling.
“I’ll try.” I lied. I knew I was gonna die out there, I only had a months worth of food, I doubt I’d be able to find any place before I die.
Next up was Venus. She looked a lot different, her mom got her extensions and a new wardrobe for her eighteenth birthday. It was like I didn’t even know her anymore.
“Be careful, okay?” She said awkwardly. Things between us got weird after I volunteered to do this. I didn’t like leaving on a bad note with her, but I didn’t really have a choice.
“I will.” I lied again, lying to them would make me leaving easier.
My parents were next, and they were the ones I was most worried about.
“I really wish you weren’t doing this.” My father crossed his arms.
“I’m sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say. What do you say when you’re leaving the two people who raised you? After a few seconds of silence, I finally choked out a small “Thank you.”
My father nodded slightly, and I nodded back. There wasn’t anything else to say.
“Why do I have to lose everyone I’ve ever loved?” I heard my mom whisper to my dad, barely audible over the crashing of the waves. I felt my heart break, I hadn’t even thought about how my mom lost her parents and her husband during a mission. She also lost her sister, and now she was about to lose one of her daughters. I swallowed my tears and moved on to my sisters.
“You guys be good, okay?”
“We will, you be good too.” Iris smiled sadly at me. I worried about her, she didn’t have very good judgement. Hell, she was considering dating Sage until I told her that he was Venus’s ex. I just hoped she wouldn’t get into any serious crap after I left.
“I’ll miss you.” Ivy whispered.
“You too kiddo.”
Ash was the last person in line. As soon as I saw him, I couldn’t help but kiss him.
“I love you Jazz.”
“I love you too.”
“Don’t forget me, okay?” He asked, his eyes brimming with tears. I felt horrible for hurting him, but I’d feel even worse if I stayed.
“I could never.”
I kissed him one last time before climbing into my boat.
I sped off into the vast ocean, never looking back.