Today is the twenty-ninth day she's been missing. For the first time since she disappeared, Jared didn't wake with this thought in his head.
When he and Mike set out to canvass some abandoned buildings in the woods, Jenna has firmly made up her mind that it's her time to die.
She's always heard the phrase 'so and so died happy'. She firmly believes that's a crock of shit. Nobody is happy to die. But she's made her peace with death. Death is preferrable to the hell she's found herself in.
This time, when she looks at the door leading out of what he calls her room, and she thinks of as her cage, she sees the door slightly ajar.
Last time, it was a test. Or, more likely, a game.
Last time, blind panic and fear were with her.
This time, she's made up her mind that she will get out of this room, or she won't. The look on her face is something like peace.
If it's her time to die, she's made her peace with it. She'll carry Jared with her. Even though he's miles away from her, Jenna knows he'll be right there with her. She has begun to cry quietly, taking one last time to think of Jared.
She remembers him laughing at her, sitting beside her in the Blackbird, kissing her, loving her.
She knows that he is the great love in her life. He is her love, her heart, her happiness.
She's going to leave this room, and every step she takes is one step she's taking toward Jared, toward home, toward love and sanity and happiness.
She takes a deep breath, wipes her eyes, and slowly opens the door.
Since Jenna has been gone, Jared gets one classic rock song after the other stuck on a loop in his head. Today is no exception.
Today's song is Tuesday's Gone, which is one song that makes Jared quiet, withdrawn, and he ends up singing it under his breath as he walks along, looking for Jenna. Always looking for Jenna.
Train roll on many miles from my home,
See I'm, I'm riding my blues away, yeah
Tuesday, you see, she had to be free
Realizing that he was singing out loud, Jared laughs, although he knows that in five minutes time, he'll be singing the same song.
Seven hours later, and they still haven't found shit, so they decide to go eat dinner. Mama C has been keeping them fed since the night of Jenna's birthday, and she insists that they both take lunches on the rare occasions she isn't there to fill them up with her home cooking.
As Jared climbs into the passenger seat of Mike's pickup, he gets a call on his cell. It's a number that looks familiar, but isn't saved into his phone.
On a long stretch of dirt road, Deputy Cole Alston is running radar. That's his official reasoning. Unofficially, he's texting.
As he reads the latest text message from his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, he sends back an angry reply. He's told her before that he can't always answer her immediately, and they're having this fight. Again.
He's boiling mad, and as he throws his phone into the floorboard (knowing that the next time it chimes with a new text, he'll be picking it back up), he notices something from the corner of his eye.
Something moving in the woods. He sees a flash of white, thinking it might be a deer, and is shocked when he sees it's a young woman.
He gets out of the warm cruiser, and just as it starts to snow, she stumbles toward him, looks directly into his eyes, and faints.
When Jared answers his phone, it's Trooper Northcutt. Jared has told himself this call might happen, but he's not prepared for it.
He's so sure that Trooper Northcutt is telling him that they've found Jenna's body, that he says, "Wait, wait, wait." It's all he can say, and when Mike takes the phone from him, he lets it go.
He sits as Mike listens. When Mike hands him his phone back, he twists in the truck to look at Jared. He takes Jared by the shoulders, and says, "Jared. They found her. They fucking found her."
Jared grabs Mike's shoulders, and they both shake each other, whooping and yelling. Jared feels the weight in his stomach lift. He's starving. He's happy, and he can't quit grinning.
Mike guns the engine and they drive toward the hospital.