A New Flame - Chapter Six - Noahs Tree
 By Moose   •   8th Jul 2014   •   1,587 views   •   0 comments
A New Flame

Jane smiled through teary eyes and let out a soft laugh. “Thanks mom,” she said.

“Now, would you like to help me make some salsa?” Elise started to smile making her deep blue eyes sparkle.

Jane smiled back and nodded. “Of course.” She glanced down at the broken glass. “But first I think I need to apologize to someone.”

“Would you like my advice?” Her mother asked. Jane nodded. “There’s still plenty of time before dinner. Give him that time to cool down and go find him after they’re finished working.”

Jane contemplated the advice and sighed softly. “How am I supposed to apologize for what I said? I had no idea... I feel awful.” She admitted softly.

“I know you do, sweetie.” Elise said, standing up slowly. “The best thing you can do right now is apologize and then wait for him.”

After cleaning up the broken vase and helping Elise make dinner, Jane looked for Elijah. She stepped outside into the hot, late afternoon sun to find the men taking a break on the trailer by the barn; all but Elijah.

“Looking for someone?” Liam said with a teasing smile as Jane neared the trailer.

“Where is Elijah?” She asked her brother, knowing that he already knew who she was looking for.

Liam smiled and wiped sweat off of his face with the collar of his t-shirt. “Dad sent him to the barn office to get us water.” He replied.

“Thanks,” she said quickly, before spinning around and heading for the barn. When she reached the door to the office her heart was pounding. She took a deep breath, threw open the door, and stepped inside only to step right into Elijah’s chest. Water bottles spilled onto the floor.

“I’m so sorry!” Jane blurted out as she attempted to chase the rolling water bottles.

Elijah grabbed her shoulders and pushed her away gently, “It’s fine.” he said, picking up a bottle of water and setting it on the desk.

Jane felt her cheeks growing hot as she looked down at Elijah picking up the bottles. He glanced up, setting the last of the water bottles on the desk.

“I’m guessing your father didn’t send you here to check on me.” Elijah said.

“No,” Jane admitted softly, brushing a strand of hair from her eyes. “He didn’t.”

“Then why are you here?”

Jane felt her heart begin to pound again. She nervously tucked her hair behind her ears and looked down. “I wanted to apologize for what I said earlier. I had no idea-”

Elijah interrupted Jane quickly, “You don’t have to apologize. You were in a moment of grief and you were right, I should have told you earlier.”

Jane glanced up and met Elijah’s soft brown eyes. “No, I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been. And I should not have made that assumption about not knowing what it was like.”

“How would you have known?” Elijah asked, shaking his head. “I have never told anyone what I told you.”

“Well, thank you for telling me.” Jane’s gentle voice replied.

“Can you forgive me?”

Jane nodded softly, “Of course. Can you forgive me?”

Elijah smiled and sighed, “Yes.” Jane felt a weight dropped from her shoulders. She exhaled with a long sigh. A small smile grew on her lips as she watched Elijah turn and gather the bottles of water in his arms. “I heard your mom was making fresh salsa?” he continued with a soft smile on his childish, dimpled face.

Jane bit the corner of her lip as she smiled and looked down. “Yes,” she said through laughter, “Would you like to join us for dinner?” She glanced up and asked.

“I thought you’d never ask,” Elijah answered playfully.

Jane felt relief and comfort in Elijah’s smile. She took three bottles of water from his hands, carried them outside and handed them out to the men. When she got to Liam, his eyes were on her. He smiled knowingly as she handed him a bottle. “That took quite a while for a few bottles of water.” He mumbled.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Jane hissed back.


Jane ignored Liam’s suspicion and he and the other men finished their water in silence, then stood to head inside for dinner. Elijah sat down on the edge of the flatbed trailer, scooting over to make a spot for her. Jane smiled and sat next to him. He cracked open the water bottle and took a long drink.

Jane glanced at Elijah out of the corner of her eye, “So, Eli, do good riding skills run in the family?” she asked with a teasing smile. “Your little brother seemed to know what he was doing up there.”

Elijah looked down and tipped his head to one side. “Are you inviting me to go riding with you?”

Jane shrugged her small shoulders and looked away, raising one eyebrow. “I might be.” She replied.

Elijah smiled. “In that case I might consider your offer.”

“Good. After dinner, we ride.” Jane said confidently.

Elijah laughed out loud. “You make it sound like an order.”

Jane nudged him playfully, “I do not.”

“At dawn, we ride,” he mocked her.

Jane tipped her head back and laughed. She gave Elijah a shove, spilling some of his water in his lap. Elijah jumped and Jane started to laugh even harder.

“I’m so sorry!” She said, covering her mouth to keep herself from laughing.

Elijah glanced around quickly, making sure that no one was watching, and then he dumped the rest of the water over Jane’s head. Jane squealed and jumped off the trailer.

“Elijah!” she screamed, squeezing water out of her hair.

He sat on the trailer with a satisfied smirk on his face, laughing to himself.

“You look like a wet dog.”

Jane frowned back at him, but she couldn’t keep a straight face for more than ten seconds. She stepped forward and shoved him with all of her strength. Elijah fell back onto the trailer playfully. Jane laughed until he suddenly sprang up off the trailer and reached for her. She screamed and ran out of the way but Elijah had already slipped one arm around her waist, yanking her to a stop. He spun her around in circles, her legs flying.

“Jane, Elijah, we’re having dinner now!” A voice called from the porch.


“You look like you belong on a horse.” Jane said with confidence.

Elijah laughed and shook his head, “It’s been a long time.”

“You would have fooled me.”

Jane clucked to Flora, leading Elijah and Aquillo onto the trail. The air outside the barn was crisp and cool. Once they entered the woods, the cool breeze had ceased and the air was still. Tall maple trees lined the trail and light peeked through their leaves as the sun lowered itself onto the horizon. The distant sound of frogs in the river began to fill the air. Crickets joined in, creating one steady hum.

Jane took in a deep breath of earth. The air that filled her lungs smelled of soft, earthy dirt and fresh greenery. The woods felt alive around them. The occasional silk of a spider’s web draped between branches glittered as the sun struck it. It looked almost like decoration. The horses continued to walk peacefully along the winding, beaten path through the woods. Jane couldn’t help but feel so disconnected from the world yet so connected to her surroundings. She felt the rhythmic, ever so gentle beat of the horses’ hooves hitting the soft ground, each step careful and precise. Every so often the breeze returned, flowing through the air, playing with Jane’s unkept strands of hair and dancing through the trees, making their leaves rustle.

Jane watched Flora’s ears flick forward attentively. The low sun poured in through the leaves and branches, shooting through in beams and leaving a pattern of light on the ground in front of them. The feel of the sun’s warm light bouncing off her golden brown skin gave her goosebumps. The sun seemed to swallow her whole, sinking into her skin and warming her veins. Flora’s bright red coat reflected the sunlight like a mirror. Each and every one of her chestnut hairs shined and glistened as proud as gold. Jane noticed the tiny fragments of dust and dirt and small bugs riding the rays of sunlight towards the ground, so serene and peaceful.

Elijah and Jane continued, silenced by the beauty of the woods around them and the stunning scene of the setting sky peeking through the trees. As they continued deeper into the woods, the air changed. A cool, damp shadow settled on Jane’s skin, sending chills up her spine. The warm green of the plants and trees seemed to transform into a soft, cool blue. The trees began to grow thicker and closer together, their branches creating a cage around them. Then the rushing of water filled her ears and drowned out the gentle stirring of the woods. The ground sloped and the dirt became softer and sandier. Finally, the trees cleared and revealed the river like a secret. The water spilled over the rocks and meandered through the woods with grace. Aquillo and Flora paused when they reached the place where the sand and the river meet. Then Flora took a step. The water sucked her hooves in like a vacuum and pulled her feet to the very bottom of the soft sand. Water splashed and reached for her knees as she lowered her head and hovered above the water before taking a long drink. Jane could hear her every gulp until at last she raised her head again. Water dripped off the hairs on her chin, making Jane smile.

“It’s beautiful,” Elijah said, breaking the silence. He gazed out at the river and watched it bend and turn out of sight.

“It is, isn’t it,” Jane said, sighing contently. “But there’s some place I want to show you.”

Jane and Flora crossed the river. The soft croaking of frogs was replaced by splashing and clattering of hooves over the rocks until they reach the other side of the creek. Farther down the trail, the trees part again and revealed a clearing. The grass glowed like a blanket of pale green velvet. The light became softer as the sun set, barely visible through the trunks of the trees. One tree in particular grew in the center of the clearing and all the other trees seemed to face it. Jane slid off of Flora’s back and landed in the tall, cool grass.

Elijah watched her lead Flora towards the tree in the center and followed her, sliding off Aquillo’s back slowly. The short, occasional glow of a firefly caught his attention. He glanced up at the darkening sky and saw the indication of a few stars just beginning to reveal themselves. The air got cooler and the sun slipped away.

“My older brother Noah,” Jane began softly, breaking the silence once again. “He died when I was young. But before he died he took me here. He called this his tree. The one place I could always find him.” Jane smiled and turned to face Elijah. For a moment, she saw Andrew standing in the exact same place as she told him the exact same story. She felt a tugging at her heart. “I took Andrew here,” she went on as she turned towards the tree and released Flora to graze.

“We carved our names in this tree.”

Jane became quiet as she gazed up at the tree and her mind was filled with memories.

“That’s a beautiful memory, Jane.” Elijah said softly. “No one can ever take that away from you.”

Elijah’s words sunk deep into Jane but her heart continued to ache as she looked at the tree. So many beautifully painful memories were in this tree. Jane felt so many different mixtures of emotions at once that she couldn’t decipher her own feelings. “Why do I keep losing the people that I love?” She said suddenly as she spun to face him.

Elijah hung Aquillo’s reins over his neck and released him to graze with Flora. He stood next to Jane and looked down at her. Jane’s pale blue eyes were filled with tears as she looked back up at him. “No one knows why things like this happen.” He told her gently, “I know that’s not what you wanted to hear. You want a reason, I know that feeling. After a while you learn to accept that you can’t change these things, but that doesn’t make it any easier.”

Jane leaned into Elijah’s shoulder and closed her eyes as she listened to his soothing voice.

“The first mother’s day came almost a year after she left us and I wasn’t prepared for it at all. I thought that I had accepted it, but I hadn’t, I had just buried it. So when that day came I was suddenly hit with all of these emotions and memories and I felt like the wound was reopened. My father told me that if you prepare yourself for days like mother’s day, birthdays, wedding days, and graduation then it will be much easier to get through. I’m not trying to say that it will ever be easy, but it will hurt less.”

Jane glanced up at Elijah after her had finished speaking and felt a sense of relief and comfort. He was completely right. Jane saw Andrew and Noah’s death differently now and felt better knowing that she wasn’t the only one who had struggled through this same thing.

Elijah wrapped one arm around Jane and let his chin sit on her blonde head. She could hear his steady breathing and felt contented by it. After a long pause she glanced up, “Let’s head back, it’s getting dark.”
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