Written by: JeremyDCP@hotmail.com
Chapter 14: "Confession"
Amidst a sea of green foliage, blue ocean, darkened
volcanoes and crimson landscapes, Devon and I were enjoying
the views as we hiked along the southeastern corner of the
island. The natural fauna and flora, waterfalls, basins and
bay truly made this particular area a tropical haven.
Devon, who had been holding my hand for the better part
of an hour as we strolled along at quite the leisurely pace,
squeezed it a bit tighter and commented, "You and this island
of yours, dear Jeremy, have helped all of my fantasies become
a reality. When I came to this island two weeks ago, my sole
experience in sex was limited to two people - both of whom
were guys. There was my boyfriend from high school, Tim, and
my long-time boyfriend in later years, Barrett. Now, add six
girls to that list, as well as yet another man - you - in
just two short weeks. Not only is the sex and togetherness a
refreshing change for me, but everyone here is so incredibly
nice and friendly. Everyone here seems to get along so good.
Sometimes, I fear that I'll wake up and everything that has
happened to me these past two weeks will be just a dream."
I brought her hand to my lips and tenderly kissed it. "I
have the same fear, Devon. But I think in the past couple of
days, I have started to realize that this is NOT a dream. It
is very real. And as you know, there are four more weeks
before you and the other ladies are scheduled to return home.
I can only imagine what will happen in those four weeks. I
look forward to them but, at the same time, I wish they would
never come. I don't like having to say good-bye."
Devon smiled. "You like me being honest with you, right?
You want me to open up and be truthful with you?"
Devon smiled again. "I think that you and Krissy are the
two best things that have ever happened to me."
"You know that I am attracted to you," Devon murmured, her
voice sounding a bit coy and reserved. "I... I really like
you as a person, Jeremy. I hope you know that..."
"I hope you know that I like you as a person too, dear,"
I countered, my own voice thoughtful and sincere.
"So the feeling is mutual?"
"Yes," I nodded. "Very much so. You should know that."
Devon grinned and moaned. "Krissy... Krissy has been a
dream-come-true for me. Not only is she the sexiest woman
that I have ever seen - without question - but Krissy is so
charismatic and outgoing. She is so incredibly fun to be
around. That girl always has me laughing."
Figuring that Kristanna was eavesdropping on us right now
with the help of the voyeur room, I took a deep breath and
smiled inwardly. Knowing how highly she thought of Devon,
Kristanna would be most happy to hear those kind words. It
would probably make her day. In fact, I knew it would.
"Kristanna really likes you," I told Devon. "Whenever I
I speak to her about you, I hear three specific words a lot."
"What three specific words?" Devon asked, curious.
I chuckled. "Dat sexy ding."
Devon laughed as well. "Her accent sounds so exotic. It
is another thing that I really like about her. But at the
same time, it also makes me laugh. You know, the way she
butchers the English language from time to time. Call me
crazy, but her accent sounds wildly exaggerated to me. I
guess maybe I should not think of it as being funny, but I
just cannot help it..."
"Don't worry about that," I insisted, smiling. "Kristanna
wants you to laugh. She wants you to think of her as being
funny. Kristanna has been that way for all the time that I
have known her. She loves making people laugh."
"Being around someone who constantly makes you laugh and
feel so good inside can really make you forget a lot of your
troubles in life," Devon commented. "I think that may be
the thing about Krissy that I am attracted to the most - her
charisma, and her energy, zest. The way she makes me feel
as a person... you know? Whenever I am with her, I seem to
totally forget about my life back home in Pennsylvania."
"Why would want you want to forget about your life?"
Devon hesitated for a brief moment, then frowned. "Well,
there are many reasons. For starters, I already told you
what happened at my old job. I was a project manager at
[Company Name]. I gave my heart and soul to that place. I
worked late every single day. I worked weekends, off days,
even during my vacation. But I saw people with half of my
experience pass me by. They got promoted ahead of me, got
to work on the bigger projects and thus, made more money.
Worst of all, my boss took all of the credit for all of the
work that I did. I think that is the main reason why I was
passed over for a promotion so much. My boss liked all of
the extra effort that I put into the job. It made him look
better in the end because he took all the credit. If I was
promoted, chances are I would have had a different boss.
Then, the old boss would no longer have me around." She
shook her head and ended, "It was just so frustrating..."
"But you quit that job," I remarked. "You said you quit
working there in order to come to the island."
"I'll be unemployed when I go back home," Devon fretted.
Don't go home, I said inwardly. Stay with me on the island,
Devon, and all of your worries in life would just fade away.
I would personally see to it.
Of course, I felt the same way for most (if not all) of
the other ladies as well. I wanted all of them (with the
possible exception of Camille (she and I have yet to really
_click_ yet)) to stay with me here on the island. I had
confidence that I could make the entire group happy. But, I
knew that was a pipe dream. It was not going to happen.
"What will I do then?" Devon added. "Will another company
hire me after I just quit and walked out at my old job?"
"If you go home in four weeks, Devon, you will be either
$100,000 or $500,000 richer," I reminded her. "That will be
your compensation for spending these six weeks with me here
on the island. You may not have to worry about finding a job
for a good, long while. You will be able to take your time,
pick and choose what is best for you. There is nothing for
you to worry about. Absolutely nothing."
"You've got a point there," she mused, her voice gentle.
"I forgot for awhile that you were actually paying us to be
here. You know, I agree with Trish. Trish says that we
should be the ones paying you, Jeremy - not the other way
around. We are living in the lap of luxury on a beautiful
island. This is a six week vacation for us. We should be
paying you, Jeremy. Most people don't get a free vacation,
then also get paid for taking it. I feel so fortunate."
"I feel fortunate that you and the other girls decided to
give me six weeks of your lives," I told her. "And in the
end, I will be more than happy to set all of you up in terms
of finances. I want to know that all of you are well taken
care of and provided for even after you leave the island.
That is the thing about me, sweetheart. If someone is good
to me, I do whatever I can to be good back to them - but
only a hundred times more. I've always been that way."
"What happens if one of us doesn't want to leave?" Devon
said, which was obviously her most bold statement to date.
She glanced downward for a moment, then made eye contact
with me and murmured, "What happens if one or maybe even two
of us would rather stay here on the island with you?" I
smiled as she concluded, "Would you be interested in that?"
"Of course I would be interested," was my response. "I
would like that very much. Do you have anyone in mind?"
"What do you mean?"
"Anyone specific who would like to stay here with me?"
Devon smiled at me. "Well... there is this ONE GIRL on
the island who I think would maybe love to stay with you."
"Oh yeah? Who is it?"
"I cannot tell you her name," Devon grinned, obviously
teasing me. "But I can say that she is from Pennsylvania.
She is blonde, very sweet and fun-loving, has a really big
heart... is even a little fun and spunky. I hear that she
is crazy about you, Jeremy. Totally crazy... maybe even in
love with you. I bet that she would like to stay with you."
I grinned and asked, "Her name start with a D?"
Devon nodded. "Yes, it most definitely does."
I guided Devon over to a large boulder here in the forest
and motioned for her to take a seat upon it. When she did,
I plopped myself down right next to her. I then clutched her
left hand with my right and offered it a tender, loving kiss.
"Let me be honest with you as well, Devon. Out of all of the
girls that Kristanna and I brought here, you are my favorite.
It is close between you and Pamela, but I give you the edge.
I like this girl. I like that girl. But in the end, Devon,
it always seems that I find myself coming back to you."
"Really?" Devon asked, somewhat surprised. "I thought for
awhile that you were starting to focus upon Lindsay."
"Lindsay is a sweetheart," I nodded. "If I was her age,
I would do whatever I could to hook up with her. Problem is,
I'm not her age. I am 21 years older. Lindsay is 18, while
I am 39. What I want and what Lindsay wants right now out of
life are two entirely different things."
I nodded my head once again. "I am looking for a true,
long-term commitment. I am looking to get married and start
a family. Lindsay is too young for that if you ask me. She
needs to date a variety of people before even thinking about
settling down. That is the vibe I get from her, at least.
The island has opened a new door in her life. You know, she
was a virgin until a week-and-a-half ago. I think Lindsay
is enjoying herself now more than ever before. She will go
through an absolute ton of boyfriends and girlfriends before
the thought of settling down even remotely crosses her mind.
I have no problem with that."
Devon took a deep breath and shook her head. "I guess I
am different that way. When I was Lindsay's age, I had
already thought about and strongly considered marriage. I
wanted to marry Tim, my boyfriend from high school. I kind
of scared him off, though, because of it. He was not at
that point in his life yet. Most 17- or 18-year-old kids
aren't. I was, though. I guess that I have always wanted
to get married. Nothing ever worked out, though."
"I wanted to get married at an early age too," I told
Devon. "I almost did, in fact. I made it all the way to
the chapel with my ex-fiancee, Victoria, at age 19. She was
19 too." I shook my head and sighed, "She backed out at the
very last second. I... I never saw her again."
Devon's eyes narrowed. "What happened? You told me about
your ex-fiancee leaving you two weeks ago, but did not want
to go into any real details about it. You said that you felt
like waiting a little while and getting to know me a bit more
before telling me exactly what happened." Devon shrugged her
shoulders. "If you feel like sharing, Jeremy, I would love
to listen. I don't mind if it's bad..."
I hesitated for a brief moment, then smiled. Yes, perhaps
this was the right time. I had held back from talking about
Victoria with the likes of Pamela and Trish, as well as Devon
herself, in the past two weeks whenever the subject came up.
Now, however, I felt a certain sense of ease. I loved being
open and honest about myself, and talking about problems.
Although what happened with Victoria was the most traumatic
experience of my life (bar none), I thought it would do me a
lot of good to revisit the hurt and talk about it with Devon.
Aside from Kristanna (who knew everything about me), Devon
seemed like the perfect person for me to share this with.
"I moved to California from New Jersey in 1992 at the age
of 18," I began. "My father was transferred in his job.
This was well before I stumbled into all of the money and
riches that I now have. I got a job on the beach washing and
polishing boats. I loved the beach, the ocean. Not too long
after I moved and settled in California, I met a girl. Her
name was Victoria. I met her, believe it or not, on the
beach one day. I fell in love with her right away."
"We dated and every single day, I fell deeper and deeper
in love with her. She was the same age as me. I thought
that everything was perfect between us. I really had no
reason to think otherwise. Six months after meeting her, I
proposed. Victoria accepted. We were to be married that
summer and, as I envisioned it, spend the rest of our lives
together. Get married, have kids, grow old together and
then, eventually, die together. That is what I wanted."
"Why didn't she marry you?" Devon inquired, curious. "I
mean, you're the nicest and most humble man that I have ever
met. I don't see how anyone could have let you get away..."
"Getting there," I nodded. "We were to be married on
July 9, 1993. Both of us were 19 then. We did not have a
whole lot of money, but I thought we had enough to live
together and survive even in the tough California economy.
As long as Victoria and I were together, I thought that we
could conquer anything. We would always pull through."
I paused, then took a deep breath and shook my head. I
even found myself having to suppress a tear which nearly
trickled from my left eye. This had always been a very
delicate subject for me to discuss with anyone.
"All of my family was there. They had all flown out to
California to take part in my wedding. As I have told you
in the past, Devon, most of my inner family is living in and
around Cincinnati. Even my great grandmother made it out to
Los Angeles. She was age 95 at the time."
"Wedding day came and everything seemed perfect. I still
remember it like it was yesterday. Victoria walked down the
aisle on her father's arm. She looked so... radiant. So
incredibly beautiful in her wedding dress. So... perfect."
"Was she a blonde?"
"Yes," I replied, puzzled. "Why?"
Devon giggled, flipping her hair. "You seem to like us
blondes. Of the seven girls here, five of us are blondes."
She giggled again. "Sorry... please continue."
"We went through all of the wedding rituals and speeches,
the lines, up until the point where the minister asked us if
we took each other to be husband and wife, respectively. I
said yes... I do." I sniffed my nose and went on, "Victoria
hesitated, then started crying. I had no idea what was
wrong. Then, she said that she could not marry me."
Devon looked at me rather intently. "Why?"
"Because she was in love with someone else." Now, I had
to control my emotions. I could have easily broke down and
started crying here, but I wanted to stay strong in front of
Devon. "Victoria screamed that in front of everyone. I
will never, ever forget it. The whole chapel heard her say
that she was in love with someone else."
"Who?" Devon exclaimed, her voice loud and shrill. "Who
was she in love with?"
I shook my head and let out a hurtful, begrudging laugh.
"Her best friend. Mindy... a girl."
Devon looked stunned. "SHE LEFT YOU FOR ANOTHER GIRL?"
I nodded my head and exhaled sharply. "Yes. She screamed
out Mindy's name in front of everyone when I demanded to know
who this person was. Then, Victoria ran out of the chapel
with Mindy, who was supposed to be the maid of honor. They
went off into the night together." I sighed and continued,
"Everyone... everyone in the chapel was... was... staring...
at me. They knew... they knew that my fiancee had dumped me
at the altar... for... for another woman." Devon reached out
and clutched my wrist as I concluded, "Do you... know how...
incredibly HUMILIATING... that was... for me?"
Visibly upset and shaken, Devon seemed as if she was about
to cry. "I'm sorry, Jeremy. I... I don't know what to say.
That's... it's... it's terrible!" Devon vigorously shook her
head. "It must have been awful for you!"
"My great grandmother - the 95-year-old - died two weeks
later," I frowned, my mouth twitching. "Her last memory of
me is getting left at the altar because Victoria was in love
with another woman. Think of that... that is my great
grandmother's final memory of me. That is awful in and of
itself. Victoria simply loved Mindy more than she loved me.
Apparently, they had been lovers for several years. I... I
had no idea." I sighed again. "I had no idea..."
Now clutching my right wrist with both of her hands, Devon
soon tossed her arms around my shoulders and offered me a
very warm and thoughtful embrace here on the large boulder in
the forest. "I'm so sorry, Jeremy. Oh God... I cannot even
begin to imagine how that hurt you."
"It destroyed me..."
Devon hugged me tighter. "How could this girl agree to
marry you and then screw around behind your back in secret?"
"I have been trying to figure that out for the past 20
years, Devon," I breathed. "It still affects me today.
There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about
Victoria. I... I never got an answer, or an explanation,
from her. I went to her house the next day, but her father
threatened me. He said that Victoria did not want to see me
ever again. He told me to leave and never come back. I kept
demanding to see her - I thought I was owed an explanation
from her - but soon her father threatened me with a lawsuit.
He said I was harassing her. Being young and naive, that
was it for me. I stopped trying to confront Victoria. I
was too afraid of being taken to court."
Devon pulled back and looked into my eyes. She felt so
sorry for me that there were actual tears in her own eyes.
"And you never saw this girl again?"
I shook my head. "No. Sent my life into a downward
spiral. I was so embarrassed, so humiliated. My whole
family was there and witnessed it all. My friends, people
that I worked with, went to school with. It affected me so
much. It affected me for years. Changed the type of person
I am. Made me scared of other people."
"I was scared to get close to anyone for the next several
years," I explained. "I was afraid to fall in love, or
become attached, and then get hurt again. You will never
understand, Devon, just how much Victoria destroyed me."
Still upset, Devon simply shook her head in response.
"The person who really helped bring me back and restore
my confidence in not only myself, but others as well, was
Kristanna. I met her four years ago over in Peru when she
was on vacation there with her family." For the first time
in several minutes, the smile that I flashed Devon's way was
totally pure and genuine. It was full of good vibrations.
"Kristanna has helped me so much throughout the years. Even
though she usually only visits me for one week every month,
Kristanna has helped me so much. She is a Godsend to me."
"Little by little, Kristanna helped bring me out of the
shell that my life had become. After I developed and then
sold my Internet businesses, I basically bought a big chunk
of land in the middle of nowhere - this island - and shielded
myself from the rest of humanity." Frowning, I shook my head
and continued, "Victoria affected me that much. I was... I
was so afraid of being hurt again that I... I preferred to
stay here all by my lonesome. That way, no one could hurt
me. But th-the loneliness... it got t-to be... unbearable."
Devon reached out with both arms and pulled me into her
embrace. I wrapped my own arms around her body as well.
The warmth generated as a result seemed to provide my body
and soul with a definite source of strength and resolve.
Again, I was holding back the tears. The last thing that I
wanted to do was break down in front of Devon.
"You're not going to be lonely anymore," Devon proclaimed,
rubbing an open hand over and across my shoulder blades in a
repeated motion. "Not if I have anything to say about it, at
least." The 27-year-old angel from Pennsylvania ended our
mutual embrace and offered me a deep, insightful expression.
"How long have you lived on this island again?"
"You have lived on this island in near isolation for 17
years? A visit from Kristanna once a month? A visit or two
from your family every year? That has been the extent of
your interaction with civilization for 17 years?"
"I do go on trips from time-to-time," I sighed. "I also
spent a little time in Oregon. I thought that I met a nice
girl there, but it turned out that all she really cared about
was my money. I broke up with her and came right back to the
island. That was a couple of years ago."
"Before Kristanna," I nodded. "The girl from Oregon...
her name was Tiffany. She hurt me too. Not near as much as
Victoria did, of course, but she still hurt me. Tiffany
wanted my money more than she wanted me. It just gave me
more reason to stay here and shield myself away."
"I will never understand that about certain people," Devon
commented. "Falling in love with a person's money more than
the actual person themself. You know... women that marry
men, or vice-versa, for just the money. You only live once.
I think that it is stupid to want to marry someone because of
their money if you do not really, truly love them. I mean,
as I said, you only live once. Is money so important to
some people that they are willing to forego the chance at
actually being happy in life? Again, you only live once. I
rather struggle financially, live paycheck to paycheck, and
be with the man I love instead of having loads of money and
being with a man that I do not love. That would be a waste."
"Can I ask for a favor, Devon?"
"I told you one of my real secrets in life," I said. "You
know... concerning Victoria, and why my wedding with her fell
through. I remember a few weeks ago that you told me that
you seem to have an awful lot of problems with your parents."
Devon shifted her body and squirmed about upon the boulder as
I added, "If you do not mind sharing, dear, I would like to
know what the problem is that they have with you. Please?"
When Devon did not respond at first, I simply decided to
keep talking. "You said that you have not seen either of
your parents since your 27th birthday, which was what...
three months ago. Yet you live four miles from them, right?
You did not see them at Thanksgiving or Christmas last year
because you did not feel welcome in their home? You rather
skip major, important family holidays like those than spend
time with your parents? The relationship is that bad?"
Devon frowned. "The only reason I saw my parents on my
birthday is because Patricia, my sister, forced them to go.
I met them at a restaurant outside of town. Patricia and her
husband was there, as well as their two kids, and my two
brothers. I could tell that my mom and dad did not want to
be there. They did not want to be around me AT ALL."
"Why?" I insisted. "Tell me, Devon. I was very open and
honest with you. I sincerely hope that you can trust me with
whatever you say to me, or confide in me. What is it, dear?
What is the problem between you and your parents?"
Devon sighed and took a deep breath, and momentarily tore
her gaze away from me. "It goes back 11 years... all the
way to high school. They never did forgive me..."
"Forgive you for what?"
Devon shook her head. "I don't even know where to start."
"Start at the beginning," I suggested. "Please tell me."
"You gave me a date for your wedding with Victoria," Devon
began. "I'll give you a date for when everything started
going downhill with me and my parents - January 19, 2002. I
was 16; a little more than two months away from turning 17."
She hesitated for a moment before continuing, "There isn't a
day that goes by for me, either, when my mind does not flash
back to that horrific night some 11-and-a-half years ago."
"Tell me, Devon... please?"
Devon straightened her posture upon the boulder and went
on, "I guess it was like any other day - any normal day. At
least, it seemed that way. It was a Saturday. I went
skiing, I rode my horse. But it wasn't normal, because
that night I was going to try _Ecstasy_ with three friends."
"Ecstasy?" I asked after a short pause, that term sinking
into my brain. "You... you tried Ecstasy? The drug?"
Devon pouted and nodded her head. "My friends and I had
heard about it at school from others. They told us how they
ROLLED at raves and even at friends' parties. They said it
was loads of fun and, to us, it seemed safe." Devon paused
and added, "I was only 16, Jeremy. I was too young to know
what I was getting into. I wanted to follow my friends."
"Peer pressure," I nodded. "Go on..."
"So that night, Sandra, Veronica, Kaylee and I were all
set. It was Kaylee's birthday. There was a party at her
mom's house and a ton of people were invited."
"I arrived at Kaylee's at about 6:30, with Sandra and
Veronica in tow. We were the first ones to show up. We
all spoke about how nervous and excited we were to actually
try Ecstasy. It was the first time for all of us and let me
tell you, it was frightening. We decided to take the pills
at 9:30 after meeting in Kaylee's room at that time. We
bought them at school the day before."
Devon stumbled over a few words before continuing, "People
began to arrive at the party. Some brought birthday presents
while others brought alcohol. By the time 9:30 came around,
I noticed that it seemed half the school was there, and many
of them were drunk. I went upstairs with Veronica and both
of us found Kaylee and Sandra in Kaylee's room. Kaylee was
unsure about taking her pill. I told her that it was her
decision if she wanted to take it or not. In the end, she
decided to take half of the pill."
"All four of us went into the restroom and closed the
door behind us. We each said a prayer and swallowed the
pills and made our way back into the party."
"About 45 minutes later, I started to feel strange. My
vision was blurred and the music seemed to blast my ears.
My heart was pumping harder than ever before. I started to
feel thirsty and my teeth were grinding uncontrollably. I
was up dancing to the music, though, and doing my best to
have a good time. But this didn't last long."
"At about 11:30, I noticed that people were acting really
weird. Veronica and I were downstairs hanging out with some
other people, but we couldn't find Kaylee or Sandra. I saw
that there were people running downstairs to fetch bottled
water and then running back upstairs, where they went into
the restroom and locked themselves in."
"I dismissed the bad feeling I had but after midnight, I
went back upstairs with Veronica and we finally started to
understand what was going on. Kaylee, Sandra and two other
girls, Kate and Tara, were all in the restroom. I glanced
inside and I saw Kaylee. She was just sitting on the floor
looking around at the faces of all her friends. It seemed
like she did not know who any of us were, though. Kaylee
looked pale and then her eyes rolled back into her head, and
she threw up. Apparently, she had been getting sick for a
good hour or so, but nobody knew what to do. People kept
giving her water, but she would just throw it up. By the
time I figured out what was going on, people were panicking.
Kaylee's body was having a terrible reaction to Ecstasy."
"Everyone was yelling, saying to give her water, while
others said not to give her water. Some said to call 9-1-1,
but others said she would be fine. None of them wanted to
get caught because they were all drunk. Then a whole bunch
of people left the party. Kate, one of Kaylee's closest
friends, told me that she had to leave. She was crying so
hard and I realized that this was very bad."
"Kaylee's brother, Dave, told Sandra, Veronica and me,
and about five other people, to hide in the basement because
he was going to call an ambulance. So all of us went down
to the basement and sat. We could hear cops and paramedics
upstairs. I started to get really scared. Sandra was very
upset. I tried to comfort her, but nothing seemed to work.
That was when she told me that Kaylee had taken the other
half of the pill. I became even more scared."
"45 minutes later, Sandra, Veronica and I went upstairs.
The cops were gone and so was Kaylee. Tara and a couple of
other people were sitting in the kitchen. They all looked
very upset. Tara wanted to go home, as did the others.
Soon, the only people left in the house, besides me and my
two friends, were the ones who were still in the basement -
drunk. I suggested that we try and get some sleep. Hours
later, at four o'clock in the morning, the phone rang. It
was Janet, who was Kaylee's mom. I asked her if everything
was okay. She said Kaylee was in a coma, on life support."
A tear streaked down Devon's face as she continued, "I
fell to the floor and cried. I told her to call if anything
happened, and she promised she would. I hung up the phone
and realized that Sandra and Veronica were looking at me. I
told them what Janet had told me. Sandra couldn't take it,
and started crying. I told her that everything would be
okay. Kaylee was going to wake up and our lives would be
normal again. But I knew that wasn't true."
"We fell asleep but two hours later, the phone rang again.
It was Kaylee's step-father. He said that some cops were
coming to the house to see if we all of us were okay. He
said to let them in and tell them everything."
"Minutes later, the cops arrived. We opened the door and
they all rushed in. There were also paramedics. One cop was
right in our faces, yelling and screaming at us - saying
things like, _I hope you had fun, your friend is in a coma.
Was it worth it?_ I was so scared. They made me, Sandra
and Veronica all sit down on the stairs and they took down
all of our information. They found the drunk kids down in
the basement and got their information, too."
"Then they told us that we were going to be taken to the
hospital to make sure that we didn't have the same reaction
to Ecstasy that Kaylee did. That was when I flipped out.
I told them that I was not going to any hospital without my
mom or dad. The cops told me that it was too late for that
and that I was in their hands now. They took me, Veronica
and a drunk girl to one hospital, and everyone else to
another. They were going to the one where Kaylee was."
"At the hospital, a police officer came in and told me
that my mom had been called and when she got there, he - the
cop - was going to ask me some questions. My mom arrived and
I could tell by the look on her face that she was not happy.
She did not know what had happened, so I told her. Then the
cop began asking questions. He wanted to know where we got
the pills. They brought in a yearbook and made me point out
all of the people who I got the pills from. I told the cop
everything because he said that it would help Kaylee."
"Later that day, my mom and I went to the hospital where
Kaylee was. We got there and all of my friends were there,
with their parents with them. The first people I saw were
these two guys. They were crying and I knew that it must be
bad. I cried the whole time I was there, but almost lost it
completely when I was allowed to go inside and see Kaylee."
"I went in with Veronica to see Kaylee, who was lying in
this bed with tubes going down her throat. She was hooked
up to all sorts of machines. We went in and talked to her
and told her that she would be okay. It was so scary. Her
forehead and throat were all swollen. She looked like she
was sleeping. I still see that image of her lying there.
It's so vivid... almost as if it happened yesterday."
"The next four days were awful. I had to go back to
school on Monday and endure hundreds of questions about what
happened. I got to read about Kaylee in the newspaper and
see her on television. I got calls from all of the media
asking questions. The police called and told me that we
were all going to be arrested. So my dad called a lawyer
for me. All this time, Kaylee was still in the coma."
"On the Friday following the party, I went with my parents
to the Justice Center to turn myself in. There was a warrant
out for my arrest. Again, I was only 16 and I was SO scared.
Sandra, Veronica, the two girls who we bought the pills from,
another guy and myself were all arrested on drug-related
charges. The shock was that they were all felonies. At the
Justice Center, one of the cops who questioned me at the
hospital took me into a room, separate from my parents, and
arrested me. He just entered information into the computer.
Then he asked me if I knew how Kaylee was doing. I told
him that I hadn't heard anything in awhile. He brought me
back into the room with my parents, who were dealing with
the bail bonds guy because I had a $2,500 bond. The cop
looked at me and said the words I had feared all week long."
"Kaylee passed away at 1:13pm today."
"I fell on the ground and started to cry. I just started
shaking so badly. The cop told me that Kaylee's parents had
taken her off of life support. To this day, I have never
understood why they did that. I was so upset that I did not
even care that I had been arrested. I went home and just
couldn't take it anymore. I sat in front of the television
and waited for the news to come on. For some reason, I had
a strong obsession with the media coverage of the case. I
cut out every article from the newspaper about it and I
still have them all." Devon frowned and added, "I even
brought them to the island with me, so they'd be safe."
"When the news came on, I knew that it was a mistake to
watch it. They had copies of the warrant and they said that
we were all spending the weekend in jail, which obviously
was a lie. They made us out to be terrible criminals who
had killed our friend, but I believed it. I believed that
everything which happened was my fault. I didn't sleep a
wink that night. All I remember was thinking that Kaylee
was gone. I didn't understand why I hadn't died, too. I
took Ecstasy just like she did. She was dead, but I was
still alive. It did not make any sense to me."
"But then I realized that I was lucky. I was lucky to be
alive and to have Sandra and Veronica. I wanted to pick up
the phone and call them, but I was not allowed to because we
were co-defendants. If I did talk to them, I'd go to jail.
My parents were SO UPSET with me. I... I felt so alone."
"All of this because of a stupid pill. It got me and my
friends arrested. We were in-and-out of court for three
months. In the end, we pled guilty to one charge. We were
sentenced to one full year of probation and 100 hours of
community service. Eventually, we were able to talk to each
other again. Later, we learned that we were nearly charged
with manslaughter. We were expelled from school and had to
go to private school. My parents grounded me and did not let
me do much of anything until I became an adult at age 18.
Just about the only person who was really there for me at
this point in time was Tim, my boyfriend. But my time with
him was cut drastically because I was, as I said, grounded."
"But the worst part is that I lost a friend. Attending a
17-year-old girl's funeral is just unreal. There were about
500 people there. All of my friends were there, and even
people from the community who did not know Kaylee were
there too. This had affected them all so much and it was
really touching. But even after 11 years, I still cannot
believe that it happened. I think about Kaylee everyday."
After hearing that long dialogue, I had no response for
Devon. None whatsoever. I could not believe what she had
just told me. Devon, who seemed so mature and level-headed,
was once arrested for the possession and use of an illegal
drug? Devon? _DEVON_? She lost a friend due to it, too?
"I was only 16, Jeremy," Devon told me once more. "I was
so young that I had no idea what I was getting myself into
that night. It... I... still can't believe it. I've never
touched any sort of drugs since then, nor will I ever again.
It was a one-time thing." Tears streaked down her face as
she added, "I don't touch alcohol anymore, either. I'm
about as squeaky-clean nowadays as anyone can possibly be.
I... I just want you to know that, and understand it."
I quickly realized that I had to corral any thoughts that
were negative about this situation, and get rid of them.
Obviously, Devon was not some sort of addict. It seemed as
if she had made a stupid mistake at a very early age - and
paid the consequences for it. Fortunately, she made that
mistake just once. Unfortunately, though, Kaylee was no
longer alive because of what happened that horrific night.
Clearly, Devon was still in a lot of pain because of this.
"You don't hate me... do you, Jeremy?" Devon whined, as
she was crumpled over upon the humongous boulder next to me
here in the forest. "I have told that story to others in
the past and they wanted nothing to do with me because of
it! Please tell me that you don't hate me for this!" Wow,
she was in a really bad state right now...
"Of course I don't hate you," I finally replied. "I could
never hate you because of anything." I smiled at her and
offered, "You're still my princess, no matter what happened
to you 11 years ago. You are too good of a person for me
to think otherwise." Devon breathed a sigh of relief as I
added, "But your parents still hold this against you?"
"Oh yes," she responded, wiping away some excess tears
with her fingertips. "The media absolutely destroyed our
family. They went to where my parents worked and hounded
them everyday for quotes. They spoke to co-workers about
them and me. My parents said that I had humiliated them and
our good family name. My mom and dad... they never forgave
me for that. Maybe they shouldn't have, but at least they
could have been a little nicer and more receptive toward me
through the years since it passed."
"11 years later, they still give me the cold shoulder.
I feel like an outcast in my own family. My sister cares
about me, I guess. So do my brothers, but I hardly see them
anymore because they still live at home with mom and dad.
Do you know how lonely it was for me over Thanksgiving and
Christmas? I spent time with my grandparents, yes, but I'd
much rather have been with my parents themselves, and
Patricia, Michael and Seth." Devon shook her head and
frowned. "I'll never understand their anger. It happened
11 years ago. 11-and-a-half years ago, even. Before that,
I got along fine with them..."
"Come here," I said, bringing Devon into my arms and
giving her a warm embrace. She began to gently sob upon my
shoulder as I planted a simple kiss on the very crown of her
pretty blonde head. "Shhhhh," I hushed her. "It's okay..."
"I've always felt responsible for Kaylee's death!" Devon
whined, much more upset now. "Kaylee had so much to live
for! A lot of times, with the way my life has turned out, I
sit back and think that I should have been the one who died!
Not Kaylee, but me! _ME_!"
"HEY!" I scolded her, but in a very caring and sympathetic
manner. I pulled Devon's lovely face away from my shoulder
and looked into her bleary, tear-stained eyes. "I don't want
to hear you talk like that again, Devon. I don't even want
you to THINK that way again. That's crazy."
"I know..." she fretted, shaking her head. "It's just...
nothing in my life seems to go right. My parents want
NOTHING TO DO WITH ME. I got stepped on at my job. I do
not even HAVE a job anymore. And my ex-boyfriend, Barrett,
treated me terribly. He was after Tim. I was with Barrett
for seven years. It was seven wasted years. I just think
that Kaylee, if the roles were reserved, would have led a
much more productive and happy life than I have."
"I know two people who want a whole lot to do with you,"
I told Devon, my voice firm and authoritative. "You are
looking at one of them - me. The other is named Kristanna."
Devon flashed a quick smile at the mention of Kristanna's
name as I added, "I do not have one negative thought, as it
pertains to you and my perception of you, because of what
happened to Kaylee. I will never look down on you because
of it, Devon, or think any less of you. You were only 16
and really did not know any better. I think that you are an
incredible woman and I would like the opportunity to get to
know you on a much more personal level. I believe that you
and I have a lot of things in common. A LOT."
"Just promise you won't tell anyone else on the island
about this," Devon pleaded. "I want to do my best to put
what happened behind me, and forget it. I don't want the
others to talk about me and say things behind my back. I
won't be able to handle it."
"Your secret is safe with me," I told her. "I won't tell
any of the others about it." Although, I said inwardly,
Kristanna was probably eavesdropping on us right now with
the help of the voyeur room. She would know about Devon's
secret, too. But I had no worries about that. Kristanna
would _never_ tell the others what Devon had said to me.
But it was such an emotional struggle for Devon to share
that dark tale from her past with me that her face was coated
with a thick sheet of tears. I reached out and placed my
hand on her chin, then offered her a warm, soothing smile.
"Listen..." I said, my voice gentle and loving. "Thank you
for sharing that with me. I want you to know that you can
trust me, Devon. You can trust with me anything. Sharing
something like that makes me feel a lot closer to you."
The 27-year-old sniffed her nose and wiped away some more
tears. "Thank y-you for telling me about V-Victoria, and
what sh-she did to y-you. I feel closer t-to you, t-too. I
do... I do trust you, Jeremy." Devon paused and added, "A
bit later on, maybe tonight, I will show you a few of the
newspaper articles from 2002. As I said, I brought all of
them with me to the island so I knew that they would be safe.
I have all of the clippings laminated to help preserve them."
"You don't have to do that..."
"I want to," she insisted. "I want to."
"I don't want you to show them to me if it will make you
feel upset again," I countered.
"I'll be okay," she promised me. "I would like for you to
see them. Kaylee's name, my name, our friends' names... we
are all plastered throughout every article."
I stood up from the large boulder and extended my right
hand to Devon. "Come on sweetheart, let's get back to the
mansion. It will be time for dinner in a little while."
She accepted my hand and rose to her feet before me. "Do
you think Kristanna would think any less of me if I were to
tell her about Kaylee?" I shook my head as she continued,
"I really like Kristanna, you know, and I have this urge to
be totally open and straightforward with people who are good
to me. No one has been better to me since my arrival than
you and Kristanna. But I don't want her to look down on me."
"Kristanna would appreciate you confiding in her just as
much as I have," I informed her. "She would not tell any of
the others about it, either. She would not breathe a word.
And Kristanna would NEVER look down on you. She is very
open-minded, and has a forgiving heart."
"I don't want anyone else to know about it," Devon said.
"No one but you and Missy Krissy. I was thinking about maybe
telling Camille, but decided against it." When I began
walking, Devon followed me in tow as I still held her hand.
"Do you have any plans for tonight, Jeremy?"
"Not at all. Why?"
Devon smiled. "I was hoping that maybe I could stay with
you in your room again. Your bed is so comfortable."
"Krissy was planning on sharing my bed with me tonight,"
I mused. "I am sure that she would love your company. I
definitely know that I would love to have you with us."
"I would LOVE to go to bed and fall asleep with you and
Krissy!" Devon chirped, suddenly full of joy and happiness.
"Maybe I could sleep in the middle?"
I chuckled and remarked, "With Kristanna and I squishing
and hugging on you from both sides?" Devon seemed to blush
for a quick moment as I added, "Sure... you could sleep in
the middle between us. I have no problem with that."
Devon brought my hand to her mouth and kissed it. "What
happened to that _rotation system_ you had planned? You
know, where you were going to take a different girl to bed
every night? The past couple of nights, at least, it seems
that Krissy is going to bed with you more than anyone else."
"I'm taking a day-by-day approach," I replied. "Whomever
I spend most of the day with, if I feel comfortable with her
and she feels comfortable with me, chances are I will invite
her to spend the night with me. The main three right now
are you, Kristanna and Lindsay. But I do not want to push
or prod Lindsay too much because of her age. Obviously,
Trish is totally focused and zeroed-in on Lindsay. She does
not realize that there are other people on the island, too.
I like Pamela as a person, despite her profession and the
stereotype that goes along with it. Amy is like the wind.
She will want to be with me non-stop for a few days, then I
will hardly see her for a few days. It is like Amy drifts
in and out - like the wind. Wherever it takes her, I guess.
Camille? Camille is the one girl out of all of you that I
have yet to spend any quality time with. I haven't really
even spoken to her. I am not close to her at all."
"I am glad that you feel comfortable around me," Devon
grinned. "I feel comfortable around you too, Jeremy. I
feel very comfortable around Krissy, as well. She is such
an angel to me. I think... I think I love her."
Kristanna was grinning like a Cheshire cat inside the
voyeur room right now, I figured.
"Tell her that," I advised Devon. "Tell Krissy that you
love her. I think she'll tell you the same thing."
"What about you, Jeremy?"
"What about me?"
Devon hesitated for a moment, then grinned and professed,
"I'm also in love with you. I... I love you, Jeremy."
Those words made me stop dead in my tracks. I immediately
turned to face Devon and placed my hands atop her shoulders.
Although I was already aware that Devon was in love with me -
thanks to the voyeur room - I certainly did not expect her to
share her feelings for me quite yet. I was somewhat stunned.
"Really?" was the first word that came out of my mouth.
"You really feel that way about me?" When she nodded her
head at me, I smiled and brought the young woman into my
arms for another embrace. "Devon..." This was the first
time a woman had spoken those words to my face in 20 years.
Victoria - my ex-fiancee - was the last woman to say those
three magical words to me. "I love you too, Devon."
I pulled back slightly and gazed into those amazing blue
eyes for several seconds. Devon seemed happy and vibrant.
It was so easy for me to tell. This woman really loved me.
Soon, I cemented my own feelings for her with a kiss. I
pressed my lips to Devon's mouth and kissed her with an even
mixture of tender love and affection. Perhaps Devon was the
woman that I had been searching my entire life for? Was she
my soul-mate? Could Devon, one day, become my bride?