Everything in both of their lives comes back to this. Hell.
In hell, time all but ceases to exit.
With no light to determine the time, with no clock to break the time into neat, structured blocks, Jenna finds herself slipping.
When she's finally able to sleep, she finds the lack of knowing just what time it is disorienting. It makes her dizzy, and nauseous. She can sometimes feel it slipping away from her, and it makes her want to scream in frustration. The times she sleeps, she simply loses track.
Minutes, hours, days. There's no way to tell.
In hell, the hour is always none.
In hell, there are no names. The closest she gets is hearing him call her 'pretty'. The sound of that word makes her flinch, grit her teeth.
That word has a reddish feel to it. Tacky, maroon, and it smells like copper. That word tastes like death and ashes in her mouth. It twists her stomach into rolling knots.
Like she's a vase or a rug or a string of pearls. Like she's a goddamn possession.
He says it so often that she hates the sound of it almost as much as she's begun to hate him.
She sharpens her hate against that word.
She loses track of days.
She loses track of time, but it's her hate that keeps her from giving in.
The one constant is that in hell, it can always get worse.
It's maddening at first,then infuriating, and finally, a little scary when Jared can't stop hearing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida playing on a loop in his head.
Hearing that brings his worst fears, and darkest thoughts about what's happening to Jenna to the surface of his mind.
He lies awake hearing the beginning of that song, and imagines Jenna screaming for him. He pictures her dying thousands of horrible deaths.
He sees her face frozen in agony, he hears her begging for her life, he imagines torture so vivid and gut-wrenching that it makes him physically sick.
Hell isn't something that Jenna is going through alone. Jared is right there with her. Not in the same level, but definitely in the same facility.
His torture is being without her. His pain is brought on by the thought of her being afraid, hurt. His agony is thinking that she might give up.
He prays to a God he isn't sure he believes in. He prays for her. He has no idea if God hears him, but he prays anyway.
When he lies there, watching the minutes on the clock glowing in the dark, when he watches three a.m. become four, and four become five, he finally gets up, rubbing his eyes, which feel like they have sand in them.
Jared decides to take a shower, because, yeah, it's been about three or four days, and it's just kind of slipped his mind.
When he gets out of the shower, he doesn't feel better, but he feels clean. When he passes the mirror over the sink, his heart just about jumps out of his chest.
From the steam, he can read one of the messages that Jenna had written on the mirror. When he sees that, it somehow makes it real.
Jenna isn't here to write messages for him to find after he gets out of the shower.
She isn't here to steal his t-shirts or share a coke with him.
She isn't sleeping in or making breakfast or doing any of the thousands of things that made up their relationship.
She's probably hurt, and afraid, and maybe she's counting on Jared to find her.
If their places were reversed, she'd be out there searching for him. She wouldn't give up. She wouldn't sleep. She wouldn't stop until she found him. Impossible just isn't in Jenna's vocabulary.
While Jared's dressing, yanking a shirt over his head, throwing on a few more layers, and stepping into his jeans, for the first time in days, he's stopped hearing that song. For the first time in days, he's got a sense of purpose.
Before he leaves the house, he goes back into the bathroom, and runs the shower until steam floods the room.
He needs to see that message one more time. He needs it, because he isn't going to give up. He's going to find her. He's going to bring her home.
But first, he needs to see that message again. He needs that little bit of her to carry with him.
He stares at it like a man dying of thirst in the desert. He drinks it in. He can almost see her grinning while leaving this message for him.
He takes a deep breath, and walks out.
The steam is almost completely gone, and on the mirror, that last note from Jenna.
There's her hand print, and one word.
Everything in both of their lives comes back to this.