It turned out that Star had done some damage to my throat with her crushing hand. My larynx was fractured, and I spent five days in the hospital. Everyone came over and spent time with me, sitting and talking to me. I couldn't talk, so I wrote -- I wrote everything.
Kruise and Jace told me a lot of what happened, and Dayle added her parts of the story. I had to wait for several weeks to get Jesse's story, and Nix only came by for a few minutes. Things were strained, and Nix didn't stay long. Dayle told me she'd been staying away from everyone, even Jesse. Even I could tell it was driving Jess nuts.
Tess and Cam dropped by. Cam was warm and considerate as always. Tess was moody and silent and slightly cold. She didn't stay long. Cam did, though, and told me some of what I'd missed after I passed out.
When they realized I'd been injured they rushed me back to the car, and Tess drove the SUV like a madwoman getting into the city. From there, Jesse and Kruise and Jace took over and got me to a hospital. Dayle made the call to the vampire council about what had happened, and they took over the situation, relieving Tess and the others of any responsibility.
Dayle was picked up by Kelsey, so she could get her leg looked at. Cam and Tess waited at the hospital until they knew I was out of danger, and then they left.
Nix had disappeared hours before that.
Jace was by my side every time I woke up. She brought me everything I wanted; books to read, my journals to write in, plenty of raspberry sherbet -- when the doctor said it was okay, of course.
I was going to be released on Friday afternoon. Jace had a meeting she and Kruise had to be at for the theater, and I was waiting for her to come pick me up. Someone tapped on the door, and I thought it would be Jace, but it was Cam.
She didn't look very good. She was pale, and seemed more timid than I'd ever seen her. But she hugged me and told me I looked good.
"Better than you look. You been eating okay?" I wrote on my pad. My throat still had healing to do, and I had orders to talk as little as possible.
"I'm fine. Tess and I haven't been out to the club, and we haven't fed, so . . . " She shrugged. "So, you're getting out today. Looking forward to getting home?"
I nodded, and motioned for her to sit down. Taking my pad, I wrote, "How is Tess? Is she doing better? Is she talking about it yet?"
Cam sighed and shook her head. "She's not talking. She just sits at home and broods. I ask her to talk about it, and she just can't."
Biting my lip, I asked, "I know Kelsey is the doctor for you guys -- what about a psychiatrist?"
She laughed. "Right. Vamp psychology. Wow, that would be a good thesis paper, don't you think?"
I smiled and nodded. "Is she willing to talk to anyone else? Maybe you guys are just a little too close for this."
Another head shake. "Dayle's tried to get through to her. So have a couple other friends. She tells them she's fine."
"What are you going to do?"
Her head dropped back against the chair. "Not a clue." She shrugged. "All I can do is love her until she gets over it."
I nodded. What else could I do?
Jace picked me up shortly after that. Cam promised that she'd call, and she hugged each of us. We set a date for the four of us to meet for dinner two days later, hoping that Tess would join us.
She didn't. Cam showed up by herself, made excuses for the both of them and left. Jace and I had a gloomy dinner and went home to consider things.
Jesse waited impatiently for the cab to pull up at the curb. When it did, she threw a couple of bills at the driver and ran for the sliding door.
She caught Nix just as she was about to pass through airport security.
The blonde vampire stopped and turned. She sighed when she saw Jesse.
"What are you doing here?"
"Looking for you. What the hell are you doing?"
Another sigh. Nix moved out of the line and set her bag down against a wall. "I'm going back to Toronto for a while. I need to get out of the city. I told you that in my phone message."
"Why are you leaving?"
Nix folded her arms and looked down at the floor. "I need time, Jess."
"Nix, you can't do this."
"Can't?" The blonde head came up. "What do you mean, can't?"
"I mean --" Jesse stopped and shook her head. "Look, I don't want you to go. Please."
The two of them stared at each other for several moments.
"Jesse, I need some time and some space. I need to think, to work through some stuff."
"You can think here. If you don't want to stay at your place, come stay at mine."
"Phoenix, please." Jesse reached out and put a hand to her cheek. "Please don't leave me."
Nix swallowed. "I'm sorry, Jesse." She leaned down and picked up her bag again, slipping the strap up her shoulder. "I'll call you when I get back." Stepping up on her toes, she kissed Jesse gently on the cheek. "Take care, Jesse. I do love you. I just need some time."
One hand caressed Jesse's cheek softly, and then she was gone, moving quickly through the checkpoint and heading for her gate.
Jesse watched her go.
Jesse dropped by our apartment a few nights ago and told us the story. She was stoned drunk, and had taken some drugs as well. We kept her there, and sometime after Jace went to bed, and it was just the two of us, she actually broke down and told me a little of what happened.
"I wanted to tell her and I couldn't, Trey. Why am I such a coward?" Her voice was slurred and she was swaying even as she sat on the couch.
"You're not a coward, Jess. You're one of the bravest people I know."
"Then why couldn't I tell her I love her?"
My eye brows went up. All of us had believed that Jesse had fallen for Nix, but we never expected to hear her say it.
"Maybe it just wasn't the right time, Jesse."
She snorted and leaned back against the couch. "There ain't no right time. Right time is for movies and tv shows. Fuck the right time."
I didn't say anything.
"And you know what?" Jess sat up again. "Fuck Nix. Just -- fuck her." She reached out and grabbed the soda I'd given her. She finished it and threw the can towards the kitchen door. It banged against the wall and bounced back.
Jesse didn't notice. She'd already passed out. I took her boots off and put her feet on the couch, then covered her with a blanket. When I woke in the morning, she was gone.
It's been a full three weeks since Star died.
Nix has been gone for about eight days, and we haven't seen Jesse since the night she showed up drunk.
We heard from Dayle that Cam and Tess are having problems. She won't expand on that by much. Just says that she's keeping an eye on them and will let us know if there's anything we can do.
I worry about Cam as much as I worry about Jesse.
The real surprise has been Kruise and Dayle. The two of them have started a relationship. It's strange; all of us had been paying so much attention to the Jesse-Nix romance that we missed it when Dayle and Kruise got together.
I had lunch with Kruise just yesterday. She seems happy, and told me that the two of them are talking about moving in with each other. There's some financial stuff they need to work out, since Kruise refuses to just let Dayle pay for everything, but I have a feeling they'll be okay.
When we were having lunch, she asked me how Jace and I are doing. I told her things were fine. Sometimes I wonder, though. Jace keeps talking about California, and how she'd rather work in movies than in theater. I really don't want to live in L.A.
But, things will work out. I'm sure of it.
We invited Cam and Tess over for dinner, but they refused. Dayle and Kruise said they're going upstate for the weekend. Jace is working late at this other job she got, so I'll be all alone.
I'm getting used to that again.
End Blood Vengeance
(The saga of Nix, Jesse and Trey will continue soon.)