Jack Rory Gets a Surprise Visit

After his invigorating phone session with Lisa, Jack Rory sat down to his customary breakfast of a bagel and coffee. But he soon realized his hunger pangs were no match for the roiling mass of confusion and nerves still sloshing around in his gut. Frustrated, he pushed his plate away.

JR_bagelbreakfast

With just days to go before his departure for the Gluttony Games, he had so many questions and no one seemed willing or able to answer them.

JR_SantaMeeting

Santa was no longer taking his calls, and when he’d returned to Mitchell’s house, no one had answered the door, though he’d had an eerie sensation of being watched.

JR_KnockingMitchellWatching

Crowds still gathered outside his house every day to wish him well on his upcoming quest, but the novelty of firm hugs and tearful goodbyes had long since worn off. He didn’t see much point in continuing to go through the motions, and so he avoided the weepy masses, closing his curtains and using the back door for his comings and goings.

JR_FansOutside

Jack Rory felt deflated. This was meant to be his defining moment—the turning point in his scarred and sordid existence, his true destiny—and somehow, it seemed to be passing him by. He collapsed onto his couch, setting his hat beside him.

JR_CouchCollapse

Presently, an unfamiliar noise roused him from his wallowing. It sounded like…like a tapping at his back window. There it was again! He rose and walked over to the window, pressing his nose against the pane and peering out into the swirling whiteness.

JR_lookingoutwindow

There below his window, much to his surprise, stood one of Mitchell’s henchwomen—the one with the exotic accent he couldn’t place. She appeared unfazed by the driving snow and howling wind, despite her bare feet.

JR_FrenchHenchwoman

Quickly he threw open this window and leaned out.

“Pssshhhh,” she cautioned him, a finger to her pouty lips. “Attends, monsieur. We must be cautious.”

“But what are you doing here?” Jack Rory asked in amazement. “I thought Mitchell…”

“Nothing you could have thought is the truth. Pas de tout,” she said, pursing her lips. “Now, you must come with me, Monsieur Jack Rory.

JR_FrenchHench3

“But…where? And how do I know I can trust you?” Jack Rory said, bewildered. “Who are you anyway? And what are those strange words you’re saying? It’s no language I’ve ever heard before.”

“There is not time,” she said. “You will know you can trust me, because I have this.”

From an unseen pocket, she produced the one token that Jack Rory could not deny. A tie to both a distant past and a past not so distant. The amulet that represented his birthright, despicable as it was to him.

JR_LocketReturns

“Now, we go, monsieur? Allons-nous?”

Fixated on the tarnished locket swaying from her hand, he was powerless to resist her entreaties. Unable to speak, he nodded meekly and followed her, no longer caring where she was leading him.

JR_WithFrenchHench

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JACK RORY PHONES IT IN

[Sick kid = short entry. Perfect opportunity to catch up on the Jack Rory archives!]

Jack Rory woke the next morning feeling conflicted and confused by everything that had transpired at Mitchell’s house the day before. He did a little yoga, followed by some deep breathing exercises, but try as he might, he could not seem to clear his mind of negativity.

JR_Meditation

He needed to elevate his consciousness to a higher level, and he knew of only one person who could help him get there: Lisa, his former couples counseling therapist. Luckily the two of them had remained on good terms, despite his abrupt departure for the North Pole last year. He picked up the phone and dialed her number.

JR_PleasePickUp

“Hello?” Her familiar voice was a welcome balm on his troubled heart.

LISAPHONE

“Lisa! It’s Jack Rory! Hi! Oh my GOD, I need to talk to you. Is now a good time?”

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JACK RORY PREPARES FOR THE GAMES

[Previously: ‘TIS THE SEASON OF JACK RORY]

There was much to do before Jack Rory could depart for the Gluttony Games. Word of his new gig as tribute had spread fast, and it seemed like everyone in the North Pole was lining up to congratulate him and wish him well.

JR_LoveYouMan

Some even wept with joy as they swept him into firm embraces, gripping him as if it was the last hug they’d ever share. He basked in the glow of their admiration, his heart swelling with pride.

JR_dinocool

Santa had advised Jack Rory that he should stop by the home of Mitchell, a peculiar old elf who was something of a hermit. Years ago, he too had been a tribute in the Gluttony Games, and Santa thought he might be able to give Jack Rory some helpful tips from an insider’s perspective.

JR_SantaAdvice

 

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‘TIS THE SEASON OF JACK RORY

[For a refresher on Jack Rory’s backstory, please click here.]

In the months following his tumultuous return to the North Pole, Jack Rory sank into a deep depression. His world felt tarnished and empty; he had somehow veered so far off course that he saw no hope of recovery. His eyes were twin pools of suffering, a reflection of his tortured soul.

JR_depressed

Once his playground, the Pole had become a prison; a snowy cage without escape. The barren white landscape stretched bleakly in every direction as far as the eye could see. Its chilly blankness was a metaphor for his nonexistent hopes and dreams.

JR_depressed2

Was he the only one who noticed? The only one who felt the oppression of having to embrace the Christmas Spirit seven days a week, 365 days a year? How could they all just go on, day after day, lifting their voices in joyful carols, hobnobbing with whimsical woodland creatures, playing the same old reindeer games, over and over again. Did none of them suspect there could be more to life?

JR_NorthPole

 

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The Elf’s Destiny: ‘Tis the Season for Romance

37.116PROLOGUE
It had been a long journey, but at last he found himself at the door. It was the same door as a year earlier, yet different. It seemed to regard him knowingly, as if saying, “Once you pass over my doorstep, there’s no turning back.” Jack Rory was not sure if he was ready. But the time had come. The season was here.  READ MORE…

 

JR_ItsKaren

1. AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER

Jack Rory could not pinpoint later what it was that caught his eye, shifting his glance away from Destiny, if only for a moment. But in that moment, he knew their shared fantasy was in grave danger. READ MORE…

JR_YodaPark2. BOYS’ NIGHT OUT

“Serious it is, Jack Rory,” Yoda replied. “Know this, I do. And tell you this, I must. Not for you is Destiny. There is a dark path ahead and choose it, you must not.” READ MORE…

JR_cafe3. DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER

Jack Rory had an hour before he was due to pick Destiny up at work, so he stopped for a cup of coffee. He picked up a newspaper, but it was hard to pay attention to what he was reading, as he kept feeling the strange sensation he was being watched. READ MORE…

JR_destinyshocked4. A BIG SURPRISE

Destiny rounded the corner, an expectant smile on her face. As soon as she saw Jack Rory and the baby, the smile left her lips, replaced by an expression of revulsion. READ MORE…

 

JR_BabySave5. THE ART OF COMPROMISE

Destiny’s eyes seemed to double in size and her mouth puckered into a furious parody of its usual rosebud shape. Her words flew like nonsensical arrows, persistently wide of their mark. READ MORE…

 

JR_marypoppinspark6. IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Jack Rory froze. There it was again.  Whoever was at the door was now pounding on it so forcefully that it was rattling in its frame. The baby woke from her nap and began to wail.  Jack Rory threw his hands up in resignation and went to see who it was. READ MORE…

JR_workbored7. THE HEART OF THE MATTER

Fatherhood affected Jack Rory in ways he could not quite discern. Moonlit pegasus rides with Destiny, his hands cupping her limber hips as they gyrated in time with their mount’s footfalls, didn’t hold the same appeal they once had. READ MORE…

JR_eyecontact8. USE YOUR WORDS

Jack Rory looked around the group therapy circle with suspicion and dismay. How could Destiny have possibly thought this was a good idea? READ MORE…

JR_onceuponatime9. CIRCLE OF TRUST

Jack Rory sighed. “Fine,” he said. “You want to hear about my childhood? Gather ’round.” Everyone eagerly complied. READ MORE…

JR_destinyfrustrated10. TIME TO CHANGE

Destiny was frustrated. After Jack Rory’s big breakthrough at group therapy, she had hoped he would return to being his former self. The Jack Rory who had charmed and romanced her. READ MORE…

JR_airport11. MEET THE PARENTS

Jack Rory squirmed anxiously in the hard plastic seat of the airport terminal. He was still feeling conflicted about his decision to accompany Destiny on her trip to Florida. READ MORE…

JR_siblingblood12. THE DARK SIDE

“But this means…” He made eye contact with Destiny across the table. She stared back at him, a sick expression in her eyes. “Yes,” Darth said. READ MORE…

JR_drama13. THE END OF THE SEASON

“Oh, I’m such a fool!” Jack Rory cried. In his anguished state, he did not hear the front door open, nor was he aware of the light footsteps approaching the bed, until…  READ MORE…

JR_FiresideFAQBONUS: A FIRESIDE FAQ

Welcome to the Terrible Things Have Happened Fireside FAQ,  in which I will attempt to answer some questions I’ve received in loose order of most to least frequently asked. READ MORE…

 

 

 

 

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THE END OF THE SEASON

[Just in time for Easter, the stunning conclusion of The Elf’s Destiny: ‘Tis the Season for Romance.]

Jack Rory returned from his trip a broken man, stunned and demoralized. With nowhere else to go, he made his way to Destiny’s place and used her hide-a-key to let himself in. Now he lay alone in the bed where they had once been so happy, unable to escape the pounding crescendo of his thoughts.

JR_brokenman

Destiny was his sister. He was her brother. He shuddered and covered his face with his hands. With all the fathers out there in the world, why, oh, why did the two of them have to have the same one? Remembering the moment when he’d seen the other half of his charm bracelet clutched in Darth’s fist, Jack Rory swallowed hard, fighting back nausea and despair.

JR_DARTHLOCKET

So many times he had dreamed of being joyfully reunited with his real, live family. But never had any of his imagined scenarios turned out anything like this. Shame washed over him as he pictured how his therapy group would react to his grotesque discovery.

JR_TherapyConfession

No. Despite all the progress he’d made with the help of his therapist, Lisa, this was not something he could share. Ever. With anyone.

Or could he?

“It’s not like I could have known,” he silently reasoned with himself. “No one could have known. So I’m not to blame. It’s not my fault.”

Suddenly he bolted upright. Someone had known. And that someone had tried to warn him. He heard Yoda’s voice in his head, as clearly as if the diminutive Jedi Master were standing beside him.

JR_YODAadvice

“Tried to warn you, I did, Jack Rory. Listen to me, you would not. Devastation and destruction, upon yourself you have brought.”

JR_YodaToldYou

“Oh, I’m such a fool!” Jack Rory cried, clapping his hands over his ears, trying unsuccessfully to drown out Yoda’s voice. In his anguished state, he did not hear the front door open, nor was he aware of the light footsteps approaching the bed, until…

JR_drama

“Jack Rory!”

JR_DestinyReturns

Startled, he flinched violently; then rubbed his eyes in shock and confusion as goosebumps rose on his arms.

“Destiny? But how…why…? You can’t be here. Or I can’t be here. We can’t be…This is wrong,” he stuttered.

“Jack Rory, I know,” Destiny said, somehow managing to sound soothing. “You’re upset. But, baby, we can work through this. We’ve been through tough times before.”

JR_DestinyCuckoo

“Wait, what?” Jack Rory asked. “You think we can work through this, Destiny? No matter how much work we do, you’ll still be my sister!”

“But that’s not all I’ll be, lover,” Destiny said seductively, reaching in to stroke the side of Jack Rory’s face.

JR_DESTINY-ONBED

Recoiling, he batted her hand away. “What is wrong with you, Destiny?!” he shouted. “Don’t you see—it’s over! There’s no more us.”

But Destiny wasn’t giving up that easily. Perched calmly at the edge of her bed, she babbled steadily, reminding Jack Rory of all the magical times they’d shared already, while affirming her plans for their future together.

“Our magnetic attraction, you know we have that…and there’s just so much there…and of course your baby…and then kids of our own…”

JR_DestinyFondMemories

She went on and on, weaving a fantastical world of possibility. Jack Rory did everything he could to drown her out, but gradually his resolve began to weaken. It had been a draining 24 hours and he found that all he wanted to do was sleep.

“Okay, okay, Destiny. That’s enough,” he said. “Please. I’ve got to get some rest.”

“Great, me too!” Destiny said, enthusiastically clambering into the bed beside him, and throwing one of her legs over his. Before he could utter a word of protest, she had fallen sound asleep.

JR_HotSister

Despite his exhaustion, Jack Rory found it impossible to sleep with Destiny beside him. Revulsion aside, he was somehow still drawn to her, and he felt his body beginning to respond, when…

…the sound of jingling bells filled the air. Familiar jingling bells. Could it be? He looked quickly at Destiny, but she slept on, snoring lightly. He extricated himself from her bed, and rose, quietly making his way to the door. He threw it open and there stood…Santa!

JR_SantaNaughtyList

“Santa?” Jack Rory said in disbelief. “What are you doing here?”

“Ho, ho, ho, verrrrry funny, Jack Rory!” Santa chuckled. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what day it is.”

Blankly, Jack Rory looked over his shoulder at the calendar Destiny kept on her fridge.

“For the love of elves, Jack Rory, it’s Christmas Eve!” Santa bellowed cheerfully. “Now hop to it—onto the sled with you! We’ve got a busy night ahead of us, ho, ho, ho!”

JR_SantaHurry

Jack Rory was utterly flummoxed. With all that had happened over the last few weeks, it had somehow slipped his mind that Santa would be returning to pick him up on a prearranged date.

“The thing is, Santa,” he said, “I’m sort of working through some stuff here, and I…well, I might need some more time…”

“Ho, ho, ho, Jack Rory!” Santa said, slapping him on the back. “Girl trouble, I imagine! You elves are all the same! Charlatans, one and all! Now get on the sled, because I don’t have all night.”

JR_SantaHornyElves

Jack Rory hesitated, pondering the situation. He looked back at Destiny’s slumbering figure. He thought of his baby briefly, idly wondering what ever had become of Karen.

JR_GoodbyeBaby

 

Then he shook his head as if to clear his mind of such thoughts. A mischievous and somewhat malevolent smile crossed his lips.

JR_freedom

“Sure thing, Santa, let’s get out of here!” he cried, leaping aboard.

“Thatta boy, Jack Rory!” Santa said, spurring the sled forward.

JR_SantaStrippers

As they took flight, Jack Rory felt a tremendous weight lift from his shoulders.

JR_BESTCHRISTMASEVER

It was truly a Christmas miracle.

THE END.

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THE DARK SIDE

(Previously: MEET THE PARENTS)

Proclaiming herself famished after the long flight, Destiny happily accepted her parents’ invitation to go out for a nice lunch. The four of them–Destiny, Jack Rory, Cookie and Darth–went to a local sushi place where Darth had particularly enjoyed a recent meal.

JR_sushi

 

The fish was fresh and delicious, and the conversation lively. Jack Rory felt himself beginning to relax in Darth and Cookie’s company. It was fun to hear their stories about Destiny as a young girl, and to laugh along with their inside jokes.

JR_familyfun

He hadn’t been welcomed into a family like this since…well, ever. But then:

“Jack Rory, honey, where are our manners,” Cookie cooed at him. “We’ve been going on and on and we haven’t even asked you about your family.” She seemed oblivious to the frantic hand signals Destiny was employing in an effort to silence her.

“Tell me,” she continued. “Where do your folks come from?”

Jack Rory’s spirits sank. “Well, ma’am, it’s a bit of a long story, and not an entirely cheerful one.”

JR_tellusaboutyourfamily

“Yes, I think it’s one we can save for another day,” Destiny interjected. “Now who wants dessert?” But she was too late.

“Details about my life before the orphanage are scarce,” Jack Rory began.

He launched into the lengthy tale he was, by now, used to telling, as he’d shared it many a time since that first day in group therapy.

JR_lifestory

Jack Rory was so absorbed with the details, he didn’t notice the effect his words seemed to be having on Darth. He had just reached the part about the broken charm bracelet, when Darth suddenly spoke up in an almost unrecognizable voice.

“This orphanage,” Darth rasped. “Was it located deep in the woods, and operated by a raging alcoholic?”

“Yes,” Jack Rory replied in wonderment. “How did you…” Only then did he notice what Darth was gripping in his fist.

JR_DarthLocket

“Jack Rory,” Darth said. “I am your father.”

“You’re…my…what?” Jack Rory stammered in confusion. “How…why…how…what is going on?” Somehow in his state of shock, he managed into the hidden pocket where he always kept the bracelet and pulled it out.

JR_locketstogether

There was no doubt they matched.

“Oh my God,” Jack Rory said. He felt dizzy with new knowledge. He had a father! And then it dawned on him.

“But this means…” He made eye contact with Destiny across the table. She stared back at him, a sick expression in her eyes.

JR_omgwtf

“Yes,” Darth said. “The two of you are brother and sister.”

JR_siblingblood

Destiny covered her mouth and looked as if she were about to vomit. Jack Rory was speechless.

JR_gonnabarf

All he knew was that he had to get himself to the airport as quickly as possible. He needed an emergency therapy session with Lisa, and he needed it now.

TO BE CONTINUED….

 

 

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