After successfully avoiding any jail time as a result of the Jurassic World incident, Claire found it ironic - almost comically so - to be currently sitting in the back of a cell. Granted, the cell was designed for a dinosaur not a human, but it was a prison all the same. She looked up to see Owen standing next to the metal bars exchanging menacing glares with their reluctant guard, Ken Wheatley. When Wheatley’s phone buzzed in his hand, he stalked off in a huff to take the call. Owen finally sat down near the front of the cell but was avoiding eye contact with her. His words on Nublar echoed in her head: “You were the one who made me come.” She refused to believe it was that simple. Nothing ever seemed simple for the two of them.
As if to stop the thoughts swirling in her head, she blurted out, “How did we get here?” It was nearly a rhetorical question, but her tone was resigned. She looked in Owen’s direction and found him staring sadly back at her.
He took a deep breath before responding in a similar tone, “By focusing too much on the past and not appreciating what was right in front of us.” His face betrayed his pain. His voice sounded sincere. His words, however, evoked a visceral, bitter retort.
“I thought you never looked back?” Claire sneered. “Isn’t that what you kept saying? ‘We need to keep the past in the past’?”
“Why did you ask then?” Owen spat back, the hurt in his eyes dissolving into an ire that matched hers. “You don’t care what I think. You always know best.”
“That’s not true.” The defensive words spilled out as her throat seemed to be constricting. Although he was the one who had actually been shot in the chest, she now felt a physical sting in hers.
“Oh, yeah?” His posture stiffened, and his palms smacked against his knees. “You left me in Tahoe without a word, a note - nothing! You decided it was over.”
Her heart was beating fast, but Claire had to set him straight, “It was over. A year before, when you left in that damn van.” She paused, and their eyes locked. Fleetingly, he considered making a snarky comment about her finally admitting that he was the one who did the leaving...the first time. Before he could formulate any response, Claire continued, “Lowery’s wedding weekend was just a fling. A final goodbye. Closure, if you will.”
Owen felt punched in the gut. There was no air in his lungs for a statement or even a breath. It was clear that they’d interpreted their “reunion” so differently. They left each other twice and neither made an effort to stop the other. Both of them too stubborn to be the first to admit a mistake. Leaving each other was a mistake. Despite her icy words, she hadn’t been able to keep her hands off him since they’d been in danger on the island. He relished the little moments that made dealing with the recent events easier, just like before. He shuddered to think, however, that he was reading her wrong again. Maybe they were a lost cause. He had no idea how long they sat staring at each other in silence.
When Claire finally blinked, she asked softly, “Owen, why did you come?” Off his confused look, she clarified, “To the island? I mean, I know I baited you…but I don’t fool myself into believing that you came for me.”
“Oh, I did come for you,” Owen replied bluntly. Grinning at her a surprised look, he added sarcastically, “The DPG needed some brains and brawn.”
Her shoulders sagged in response as she exhaled slowly. “Always making jokes, Owen.” Shaking her head, Claire refused to let him get to her. She dismissed his barb and stood up as if to examine the walls of the cell for weak points. Not fully able to conceal the hurt, she couldn’t look at him when she struck back, “You don’t take anything I do seriously, do you? You never thought the DPG was worthwhile. You preferred to hide away but wanted an ‘anchor’ to the outside world.”
His body recoiled at the acid in her tone. He swallowed hard before disagreeing, “No, Claire, that’s not what I meant when I-” Hearing footsteps, and appreciating that someone other than Wheatley was approaching the cell, Owen cut himself off. Now was not the time for this conversation.
“Hi, Claire,” a vaguely familiar voice said in a spine-tingling way. It was Eli Mills, Lockwood’s little flunky in the flesh, distractedly cleaning the lenses of his eyeglasses on the other side of the bars.
x x x
After the brief but heated exchange, Eli sauntered confidently back to the elevator and made a beeline for his room to obtain a new pair of glasses. His confidence grew as he looked forward to tonight’s long-awaited main event. He’d finally be back on top after the Lockwood well had run dry. Pulling an identical pair of frames out of a drawer, he mused to himself with a wicked grin, “Never thought that buy one, get one free sale would come in handy.” Eli laughed as he considered the benefits of having “clones.”
With his 20/20 vision restored, he descended the stairs with a glint in his eye, ready to meet his buyers inside the auction space. Despite some expected and unexpected obstacles, things were going to plan. It was even better than he imagined with the old man fully out of the way. His pace slowed as he considered the other loose string: Maisie. Eli was now stuck as guardian to the girl. No matter, he decided coldly. With Iris out of the picture, too, he was sure that he could arrange an accident for the little abomination.
Pausing for a moment, he considered lessons from the past. Those who had come before him - Peter Ludlow, Victor Hoskins, Simon Masrani - had taken themselves out. Eli Mills’ legacy would be different. He wouldn’t hesitate to take what was rightfully his, even if it meant disposing of Claire and Owen, too. They were meant to die on the island anyway. So what if they made it out? They were at his mercy now. Suppressing a cackle, Eli resolved to dispose of them quietly once the Estate was emptied. In the meantime, he’d let them stew, reliving their missteps, in the sub-basement. The past three years had been quite a journey.