October was never a good month for Jason Costello.....
Jason jumped out of his sleep and sat bolt upright, beads of sweat running down his face.
''Jase?'' Bart turned to Jason, looking concerned. ''You were having another nightmare, you're OK now, it's over.''
Jason lent his head against Bart's chest and Bart put an arm around him and reassured Jason,
''You can go to sleep now, you're safe.''
Jason eventually fell asleep. Bart remained awake. He was still awake when the sun began to seep through the curtains. Bart was worried about Jason. He had been having these nightmares for over a week. Something was really troubling Jason, but he wouldn't talk about it and Bart had all but given up getting through to him. Something had to be done.
At breakfast, Bart decided that enough was enough. He was going to get it out of Jason whether he liked it or not. This wasn't the time for being macho; Bart needed Jason to be honest with him.
''Jase, you can't go on like this,'' said Bart.
Jason looked up from his mug of coffee, ''What do you mean?''
''The nightmares,'' replied Bart. ''Whatever is bothering you, you can tell me.''
Jason was silent.
''Talk to me Jay, please'' said Bart.
''I.....'' began Jason.
Bart leaned across the table and grasped Jason's hand tightly.
''Come on Jase, let it out,'' said Bart, trying to show Jason that he only wanted to help him.
After a long pause, Jason finally spoke.
''I'm back there...back in the village," Jason began. "Back how it was ten years ago, when....''
Jason's voice started to crack up under the strain of painful memories. Bart sat and listened.
Jason continued, ''Mum." "It's the same dream every time.''
''You're remembering what happened?'' asked Bart.
''It's not like I can forget it, but it has never plagued my dreams like this until now.'' said Jason. ''Go on,'' said Bart, gesturing to Jason to continue.
Jason went on, ''I always get uneasy at this time of year. October is never a good time for me, because it's not just Mum.....but..."
"Riley," said Bart.
"Yeah," replied Jason, swallowing hard.
Jason never saw his older Brother again after leaving Hollyoaks to move to California. When he heard the news that Riley had been killed, Jason just couldn't take it in. He had felt as though he was in a recurring nightmare. How could this happen to the same family twice and within a year? It was something neither him nor the surviving members of his family have ever come to terms with. It was now over ten years since his Mum's murder, gone nine years since Riley was accidentally shot and what was left of his family was an emotional minefield.
After losing Riley, Seth had to move to the States to live with them. It would have been an understatement to say that relations were strained between Jason's twin Brother and their dad, Carl. Seth already blamed Carl for Heidi's death and he felt that he was equally responsible for Riley's. As far as Seth was concerned, if things had gone to plan between Riley and Mercedes, both Heidi and Riley would still be alive. Seth had long since moved out and rarely kept in touch, even with Jason. Jason felt it. It was yet another emotional wrench for him to deal with.
Bart looked Jason straight in the eyes.
''You need to get away,'' said Bart.
''I suppose you're right,'' Jason replied.
It had only been a few weeks since the incident on the beach when Bart almost lost Jason for good.
''You have had enough to deal with in your life to last someone ten lifetimes and you need some time away. Besides, you came here to start again and now there are way too many dark memories for you even here,'' said Bart.
''So what do you suggest we do about it?'' asked Jason.
''Pack the car and let's just go. We'll work out where we are going when it comes to it,''
Shortly after, Jason was hastily stuffing some belongings into a rucksack. He didn't know exactly what he needed to pack or how long they would be away for. All he was concentrating on was getting out of the door.
Bart walked into the room, "You ready, Jase?" he asked, casually throwing his own backpack over his right shoulder.
"I think so," replied Jason, as he made one last look around the room to check that he had everything that he needed.
Jason looked at Bart and Bart looked at Jason.
"Let's go!" said Jason, with a knowing smile. The pair headed out the door to Jason's waiting blue mustang and threw their bags on the back.
"I must be crazy to do this," said Jason, as he got into the driver's side. "I'm not telling anyone, not even Dad."
"You can give him a buzz when WE know where we are going!" said Bart. "Anyway, you are doing this for you and no one else.''
''You mean for us,'' Jason replied. With that, Jason turned the key in the ignition and the car roared into life……..
To Be Continued.....