Friday, August 4, 2000

In/Exhale - September 22, 2000 - Part II


September 22, 2000 - Part II

Nikki hadn’t bothered to go home after her shift. She figured she’d meet Jon, leave the pie with him, then go back to her apartment and shower before heading to the Greyhound station. But when she got to Kai’s room, she realized Jon was nowhere in sight.
 
It was a regular double-room, not the cube of ICU or the single from the step-down unit where she’d last visited him. A curtain divided him from his roommate, and the lights were dimmed, but from the doorway she could still see him. He lay flat on his back, his legs up, staring at the ceiling. The room was much quieter than his previous ones, the monitor silent, the only sound the subtle snore of the other person behind the curtain.
 
For a moment, she debated leaving. Kai had made it clear he didn’t want to see her. But even from here, she could see that vacant look in his eyes, the way his jaw worked as he ground his teeth. And she had brought him pie.
 
She knocked lightly on the door before striding in slowly. He turned his head toward her, and his face didn’t betray anger. Instead, his eyes were lit with surprise, a happy, relieved kind of shock. Like the look on a man’s face who’s been trapped in a collapsed mine so long he’s given up hope, and suddenly, he spots the beam of his rescuer’s flashlight. It made Nikki’s heart clench in her chest.
 
Nikki smiled. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”
 
He choked out a laugh, not able to hide the cringe that followed.
 
She hid her frown and held up the white styrofoam box. “I brought you pie.”
 
“Ugh. Everyone’s always trying to make me eat.”
 
She smirked, flipped open the box. “I spoke to your brother. He said you’re supposed to stock up on salt, but we both know you’re also more stubborn than a biker in a bar fight, so I brought you apple with cheese.”
 
Kai raised the bed slightly, then patted the edge. Nikki sat on it, legs dangling off, and offered him a bite of pie on a plastic fork. His eyebrow raised, and he took the fork from her. “Don’t feed me.”
 
The last time Nikki had seen Kai, he’d been eating through a feeding tube, and he was so drugged up on muscle relaxants he could barely lift his arm. So she could understand why he’d snapped at her. She decided to say nothing, watching as he brought the fork to his lips, hesitating before he took a bite.
 
“Still nauseous?”
 
Kai looked up, off to the side, and Nikki followed his gaze to the bank of IVs. “Finally got on a new drug. It works pretty well. Doesn’t make me drowsy, either. Gives one hell of a headache, but I’ll take the headache.” He hesitantly put the bite in his mouth, chewing slowly, eventually humming happily. “I’m starving,” he said, seemingly surprised.
 
Nikki laughed. “I brought almost the whole pie. Figured if you didn’t want it all, your brother might like some.”
 
Kai laughed around another mouthful. “Jon’s diabetic.”
 
“No way.”
 
Kai nodded. “He doesn’t likes sweets, anyway.”
 
Nikki smiled. “How’s the pie?” Kai had already eaten about half of it.
 
“So much better than the salty broth they made me eat earlier. Before the antiemetic kicked in, too.” He finished another bite, then set down his fork and looked at Nikki. “I’m sorry,” he said. “For last week. I was in a bad place, and I took it out on you.”
 
Nikki shrugged.
 
“And thank you for the pie. I haven’t had any in weeks.”
 
A smile slipped onto Nikki’s face, and she found herself tucking a strand of hair behind Kai’s ear. “I know.” She felt that subtle burn, hinting at the beginning of tears, and she had to put all her effort in keeping her smile in place.
 
Kai frowned, closed his eyes a moment. He suddenly started to lean toward one side, throwing out his hand to brace himself. He caught her arm, gripping tight enough it sent her heart pumping in the beginnings of panic.
 
“What’s wrong?”
 
“Dizzy.” He lowered the bed, never opening his eyes. She saw his breathing grow faster, and he looked much paler than before.
 
“Kai?”
 
The monitor beeped a warning.
 
“Just need a minute.”
 
Nikki packed up the rest of the pie and set it aside. Just in time for a nurse to come in.
 
“Mr. Fox?”
 
Nikki backed away, toward the door, letting the nurse do her thing. She should leave. She hadn’t even changed, still in her uniform, complete with a stain from that morning where a little kid had knocked over his mom’s mug, spilling coffee across the table and onto Nikki’s skirt.
 
A moment later, the nurse left, giving Nikki a sour frown. Kai looked a little better than he had a few minutes before, but she was forced to remember he wasn’t here for a vacation. She took a seat on the edge of the bed again, and he slipped his hand into hers, which she laid in her lap.
 
“Know what I love most about you?” Kai asked suddenly, after a long moment of quiet between them.
 
Nikki’s heart fluttered a little--actually fluttered. She’d never believe it if she weren’t feeling it herself. She knew he didn’t mean love love, but hearing him say it still hit her. Even harder since she’d be leaving soon. She managed to shake her head.
 
Kai smoothed his thumb over the top of her hand. “You never ask me, ‘how are you feeling?’”   
 
Nikki tilted her head, raking her mind, trying to recall the past month in particular and whether or not that was true. It seemed an odd thing for him to say. Wouldn’t that be something not to like about someone?
 
Sensing her confusion, he squeezed her hand. “I’ve probably heard ‘how are you feeling’ a million times in my life. Most of the time? People want me to tell them I'm fine--kind of like when someone says, ‘How are you?’  They don’t expect a real answer. They don’t want a real answer. The rest of the time, it’s people who mean well, who’ll push me for details I don’t want to give, or make me talk about things I'm tired of talking about.”
 
“So how are you feeling?”
 
Kai mirrored her smile. “Fuck you.”
 
“I’d like that very much," she said, walking her fingers up his belly and chest. Then she lied, because she couldn’t stand to tell him. Not now. "In fact, you need to come over once you’re better.”
 
Come over?”
 
Nikki rolled her eyes and playfully hit Kai in the chest. “You did not just make the worst pun ever.”
 
#

 
Laughter and muted voices filtered out of Kai’s room as Vicky and Jon approached. Jon was ready to interrupt, but Vicky pulled him back, holding up a finger to her lips. Kai seemed happy with this girl, if the snippets of their flirtatious banter and laughter were any indication. Vicky had known Kai a long time, since before Jon even started his fellowship. He was good at smiling and pretending he was fine--much better than Jon, who wore his worries on his sleeve--but it was nice to see some genuine mirth for once.
 
“His girlfriend?” she whispered.
 
Jon shrugged. "I'm pretty sure it's complicated."
 
“I know you’re there,” Kai called out suddenly.

Nikki and Vicky both laughed, and Jon sighed, rolling his eyes. They entered the room together, Jon immediately offering an apology. “It was Vicky’s idea.”

Kai studied the two of them for a moment, then signed quickly to Jon, smiling. She couldn’t quite follow, but he pointed at Jon, and at himself, and made a sign, drawing a finger from his mouth down and outward that could maybe have meant something like “speak” or “tell.” Jon hadn’t told Kai, but it hadn’t taken him more than a few seconds to figure it out.

Jon blushed, and Kai laughed.

Kai made another sign, hand flat, palm up, drawing it from his chin downward, gesturing outwardly toward his brother, just slightly. He grinned when he did it, and Jon blushed deeper.

Vicky and Nikki both looked to the brothers for some sort of insight. Jon shifted his weight uncomfortably.

“I should probably go,” Nikki said once the silence began to be awkward.

“No,” Vicky said immediately. “No.” She cleared her throat. “Actually, Jon and I have a party to go to.” She sensed everyone’s eyes on her, but kept talking. “You should stay.”

Jon tried to talk, but Vicky put a hand on his arm, looking at Kai, who was trying to hide his smile.

Kai passed one hand along the side of his head, almost like a weak salute, then tapped the thumb of the same hand on his chest, fingers spread, twisting outward slightly. "I’ll be fine. Nikki'll stay with me, and you can come back in a few hours. After the party."

Jon scrunched his eyebrows up, crossed his index fingers and drew them apart with intensity. He pointed at Kai, then moved his fingers on his right fist a few times, then dropped his hands into a claw shape, palm up. It was clearly a question, and Jon was clearly concerned, which was understandable, but more than that, Vicky couldn’t say.

Kai sighed. His signing wasn’t as slow as Jon’s, and she had trouble even distinguishing all of his individual motions, but he had the look of a teenager telling his father, Don’t worry so much. I’ll be fine. She caught the end, where he raised his eyebrows slightly, drawing his index finger from his mouth up and out in an arch. His mouth moved, and she could just make out the word: “Really.”

Vicky squeezed Jon’s arm. “Jon, he’s not alone, and he’s safe here. It's a hospital. And we’ll only be gone a few hours.”

“That’s what I said,” Kai chimed in.

Jon nodded, reluctant, but finally sighed, relenting. “I’ll keep my phone on.”

Kai grinned, tapped two fingers on his nose, then rotated his hand around and tapped them on his left hand’s two fingers.

“What does that mean?” Vicky asked as she led Jon out of the room.

“He told me to have fun.”

“Then I consider it my duty to make sure you follow his advice.” Vicky winked and kissed Jon on the cheek, unable to resist the “special” feeling that filled her knowing that Jon had chosen her for once over his brother.

#
 
Vicky answered her door in her bathrobe, half dressed. Jon was early. Big surprise. “You said you had a costume,” she said, but before he could answer, she took in his outfit. Scrubs, which Jon rarely wore. His hair was styled in a retro kind of way--Jon’s “styling” of his hair usually amounted to the disaster it was left in after he’d spent a day pulling his fingers through it. And the white coat . . . it didn’t fit right, the sleeves a little too short, the shoulders a little tight. Then she noticed the embroidered name: D. Howser, MD instead of the expected J. Taylor, MD.
 
“Oh my God.”

Jon laughed and stepped inside, closing the door behind him.
 
“Oh my God. Turn around.”

He did, reluctantly. “Wow, you even kind of have the same hair. You’re cuter, though,” she said, kissing him lightly on the lips. “Let me just throw on my dress and we can go.”

Jon grabbed the lapel of her robe and pulled her closer, kissing her again, deeper this time. “We don’t need to go anywhere,” he said, his chest heaving, his breath hot against her ear.

It was so tempting. “Kate will kill me if I don’t show up.”

He clung to her a little longer, but then released her. “Don’t make me wait too long.”

#
 
Jon had headed off to get them each a drink almost as soon as they arrived, and it wasn’t long before Kate found Vicky. “Sexy nurse. Really?”
 
Vicky shrugged. “It’s a classic. What can I say.”

Kate linked her arm in Vicky’s and led her off to the side, then leaned in. “Was that really Jon Taylor I saw you come in with? The Jon Taylor? At a social event?”
 
Vicky found herself smiling, nodding.

“He’s not in costume, but I guess we can only hope for so much,” Kate added.

“Actually, he’s Doogie Howser.”

Kate gasped, covering her mouth for a moment, forcing herself not to scream. “I thought he hated that nickname!”

Vicky shrugged.

“Wonders never cease.” Kate shook her head. “So . . . does this mean the rumors are true? About the two of you?”

Vicky felt her cheeks heat, offering a slight nod.

“Wow. Wow.” Kate looked around, to make sure they weren’t being overheard, smiling and waving at a few of the guests. “I mean, I heard the gossip, of course, but I couldn’t believe it. Especially since my best friend didn’t say anything to me about it!”
 
Vicky opened her mouth to explain herself, but Jon arrived with their drinks, offering one to Vicky with a sweet, besotted smile that--complete with his Doogie Howser look--was knee-weakeningly adorable. “Kate, this is Jon. Maybe you two know each other?”
 
Jon shook Kate’s hand. “Peds, right?”

Kate nodded. “Vic and I are old friends from nursing school, even if she did abandon us, despite her costume,” Kate said with a smirk, wrapping her arm around Vic and squeezing.

Vicky noticed Jon seemed unsure how to proceed, drinking his punch as if he were parched. “Uh, I didn’t know you two knew each other. Uh, I mean, I knew you knew each other, because Vicky told me this was her friend’s party. I meant, I mean, I didn’t realize you were you. Uh.” Jon reached up to pull his fingers through his hair, then seemed to realize he’d mess up his costume, and awkwardly dropped his hand, downed the rest of his drink. “Um. Nice to meet--I mean, happy birthday.”
 
Kate laughed. “Thank you. I’m glad you came. I have to go mingle. You two have fun.” Kate departed, but not before giving Vicky a comically exaggerated wink.

Jon stood awkwardly after Kate left them, obviously unsure what to do next. It occurred to Vicky she’d only ever seen Jon at work in some form or another, or at home, worried about Kai.

“You really are out of your element,” she muttered.

“What?”

Vicky took Jon’s empty cup, tucked hers into it, and set it aside, then led him toward the living room, which Kate had turned into a makeshift dance floor.

“Uh, Vicky . . . I don’t know how to dance.”

Vicky wrapped her arms around Jon’s waist. “This isn’t the tango. Relax. Just move with me.”

After a few minutes, Jon’s nervousness lessoned and he gripped her tighter against him. Vicky relished the way her body felt so right against his, cherishing his smell, simple and masculine with just a hint of the hospital lingering, as if it always clung to him--disinfectant, alcohol from antibacterial gel, latex.

The thought of latex made her blush. They’d barely done more than kiss, but she knew Jon wanted more than that with her. It’d been so long for both of them, and normally, Vicky liked to take things slow. But she and Jon had already known each other so long. If it happened tonight, would that be so bad?

#

“So . . . I noticed you haven’t mentioned Kai once yet during this entire conversation,” Evangeline said over the line.
 
Renee lay in her bed, phone to her ear. She’d been talking to her grandmother for the better part of an hour, hearing tales about which cousin was boycotting whose wedding, how her younger brother Luc was doing at NOCCA--fantastic--and how Marie--Renee’s mother--still tried to convince Renee's older brother JP to move back in every time she saw him. In other words, not much had changed on the homefront.
 
“I’m starting to think I imagined him.”
 
Evangeline let out a short laugh. “Like Sleeping Beauty?” She hummed some of the theme, "Once Upon A Dream," from Disney’s version, one of Renee’s favorite films when she was a kid.
 
Renee sighed. “He was there for like two seconds today, in class, but he disappeared again before I could talk to him.” Renee pulled her blankets around her, as if everything with Kai--including that one wonderful kiss she really needed to forget about--really was a dream, and if she could just close her eyes she’d relive it. “I think he might have hurt his leg or something. He had a brace on his knee and was in a wheelchair. Maybe that’s why he’s been harder to track down than--”
 
“Your Great Aunt Celeste’s etouffee recipe?”
 
That made Renee smile. She felt a physical pain in her chest, realizing how much she missed her grandmother. Maybe it really had been a mistake going so far from home. She didn’t have to tell her parents about Jude, and even in as small a town as New Orleans, she could avoid him if she wanted to. She felt tears forming and squeezed her eyes together to try to stop them.
 
“Sweetie, let me tell you something. The moment I met your paw paw I knew. Call it love at first sight; call it a silly, sheltered Uptown girl getting treated sweet by a handsome young man. But I knew.”
 
“Really?” Renee sniffled, reached for the box of tissues on her nightstand to blow her nose.
 
“For true,” Evangeline said, her voice a little softer; she must have heard Renee’s sniffling. “But it took me a while to convince him.”
 
Renee laughed, her tears easing. “Knowing Paw Paw, I don’t find that hard to believe.”
 
Renee heard her grandmother sigh softly. “He’ll kill me for telling you this, but the truth is, he fell for me just as hard, just as fast. It just took him longer to realize I didn’t want to get married the next day.”
 
“So what are you saying?”
 
“It’s all right to keep the candle burning, but he might need time. Don’t sit up in the window waiting for him every night.”
 
“Is that old-person for ‘I should see other people’?”
 
Evangeline laughed. “I’m telling you, from everything you’ve told me, you two remind me so much of your paw paw and I when we were your age. Sometimes men need time to get their heads wrapped around something scary like love.”
 
Love? Evangeline had mentioned the word before, but Renee knew what she felt for Kai couldn’t be that, and certainly, there was no way he could feel the same. But still . . . it made her feel better. She might fail as a stalker, but she didn’t have to give up hope. Her grandparents--whose 50th anniversary was the coming summer--had the kind of marriage she’d always imagined she’d have one day--well, except maybe for the traditional gender roles. Certainly, no man on earth would marry Renee for her culinary skills.
 
“You all right, sweetie?”
 
“Yeah. I am now. Thanks, Maw Maw.”
 
“You stay warm up there, and once you finally snare your man, you bring him down here and we’ll show him what real food’s like.”
 
Renee smiled. “Love ya, Maw Maw.”
 
“Love ya, too. And remember, I can always send your Paw Paw up there to knock some sense into that kid if necessary.”


#
 
A few hours later, Vicky returned from the bathroom to the sounds of “The Macarena” blaring at full blast. How had every possible copy of that song not been tracked down and destroyed years ago? A crowd had gathered around the dance floor, and several of the people were laughing so hard they could barely breathe.
 
Vicky pushed her way through the bodies, searching for Jon. They should probably go, so he’d have time to shower, change, etc., before heading back to his brother. Her heart fell through her body into the floor when she finally found him.
 
In the center of the dance floor, dancing to the song with chaotic, wild, exaggerated abandon.

Oh God.

“Don’t you worry ‘bout my boyfriend, the one who named me Macarena . . .” Jon slurred along with the music.

“Jon?” Vicky said, approaching.

He whirled around, grinning like a Cheshire Cat. A drunk. Very. Drunk. Cheshire cat. “Vicky! Dance with me!”
 
She let him pull her close and gripped his hip with one hand as he drunkenly swayed to the beat. “Jon. How much have you had to drink?”
 
“Uh . . .” He held up two fingers, almost poking her in the eye.

“Really?”

“Really!” Jon twirled her awkwardly. “Kai didn’t tell you? Oh. I can’t drink.” Jon giggled. “Does funny things to my blood sugar. Makes me loopy!” He laughed again. When he continued, he spoke with strange pauses, as if he were having trouble forming a complete thought, let alone a sentence. “One. One? One drink and I’m tipsy. Two. And I’m silly. Three . . . and I’m on the floor.”

Vicky sighed, shook her head. “Come on, let’s get you home, then.”

“Oh, dance with me!”

Vicky laughed, found Kate in the crowd and waved to her. “Party’s over.”

#
 
The entire drive home, as short as it was, Jon kept trying to kiss her and grope her, and while a part of her found it hot, she had to keep pushing him off, reminding him that she was driving. When she finally got him inside his apartment and checked his blood sugar, it was sky high. So she injected him, then led him to his bedroom, figuring she’d undress him, put him to bed, and take another reading to make sure he was OK.
 
He was less drunk now, especially as the insulin started clearing the excess sugar from his blood, but he still stumbled, falling back on his bed with a bounce and getting tangled in the white coat as she tried to help him out of it. Finally, she managed to pull it off, the momentum sending her toppling onto him on the bed.
 
He laughed. Then he kissed her. Not on the lips, but on her jaw, then her neck, then her shoulder. Soft, tender kisses that left a fire in their wake.  His hands moved around to the back of her dress, fumbling for the zipper, continuing to suck and kiss at any exposed skin his mouth could find.
 
She felt herself getting lightheaded, the subtle want of earlier blossoming into reality. She pushed away from him, yanking off her dress and tossing it aside. She could see, through the thin fabric of his scrub bottoms, he was hard. He tore off his shirt, worked to undo his pants while she did the same for her bra and panties.
 
Vicky had never seen Jon completely naked before; he was extremely thin, though he had a bit of a belly from years of insulin injections there, and a long, old scar along one hip. A line of dark golden, almost brown hair traced its way from between his pecs toward his navel, with darker, curlier hair at his groin.
 
“Leave the stockings on,” Jon grinned, beckoning her closer.
 
Laughing, Vicky obeyed, approaching, but before she could crawl back onto the bed, he wrapped an arm around her, pulling her toward him and trailing more kisses, a line from her hip to breast. The gesture was strangely erotic, and she found herself gripping his shoulder to help keep herself upright.
 
It was this tender side of Jon she loved; she could see the hunger in his eyes, yet he took his time to explore her, treasure her, his fingers dancing lightly along her skin, bringing up goosebumps and sending a frisson up her spine that made her shiver.
 
When he finally took a nipple in his mouth, one hand cupping between her thighs, she gasped. He sucked and rubbed, teasing her until she was ready to scream before slipping first one, then two fingers inside her, probing to find the spot that would make her grunt.
 
He pushed her until she was about ready to cry out, then pulled back, guiding her onto the bed, climbing on top of her and kissing her--this time on the mouth--with passionate intensity, rocking his hips so he ground against her leg, but seemingly giving her a chance to change her mind--as if she could think straight after what he’d done to her?
 
He pulled away from the kiss, staring down into her eyes as if for permission. His seemed suddenly very blue; it had to be a trick of the light.
 
“We shouldn’t,” she said, her voice weak even to her own ears as it struggled through her panting breath.
 
“Why?” He blew hot breath on her neck before licking and kissing and nipping the skin there, just at the nape.

“You’re drunk. This would be a mistake.”

“Not so drunk anymore,” he said between kisses. “And it’s not a mistake.”

She could see in his eyes he was sincere, and the way he was nudging her with little punctuated rolls of his hips made her want to throw all logic to the wind and pull him into her. “We should be safe,” she hedged.

“I haven’t been with anyone in two years,” Jon whispered, “and the hospital does full blood tests constantly.”

“I’ve wanted you a long time,” Vicky said, spreading her legs and sliding her hand down along his back.

Jon smiled, shifted, and pushed in, grunting. He dipped his head, resting it on her shoulder as he moved, slow, agonizingly slow, and Vicky realized she was ready to cry it felt so fantastic. Had it always felt this good? Had it been so long she’d forgotten? Or was it something about Jon?

She wrapped her legs around his hips, linking her ankles and pulling him toward her, urging him to go harder, faster.

“God, Vic,” Jon panted, thrusting hard, stealing nipping kisses when he could, “I’m not going to last much longer.”

“Me either,” she said, dragging her fingers along his back, desperate to bring him closer.

He shifted, rolled his hips, and sank deeper; they both cried out at the sudden sensation, each of them moving frantically, reaching for their own climax.

It hit her first, then him, seconds later, perhaps the spasms inside her pushing him over the edge. She felt his heat, and a couple quick thrusts, then he stilled, breathing heavily, their skin clinging to each other from rapidly cooling sweat.

He rolled to the side, helping pull her stockings off and tossing them away before wrapping her in his arms, an embrace almost as good as the sex. “Thank you,” he whispered against her.

“Thank you,” she said with a laugh, inhaling his scent, stronger now, a mix of sweat and sex. “I’m glad you got drunk,” she teased.

“Me too,” he echoed.

She felt his grip relax and his breathing shift, signs he’d slipped into sleep. Apparently, she'd discovered the cure for his insomnia. Her brain raced, struggling to process. It had all happened so fast, and yet . . . she could think later. Right now, she was well fucked, in the arms of a man she could possibly love, if he’d let her. Everything else could wait.

#
 
Kai woke up, groggy. The lights in his room were dim, but as he looked around, Nikki was nowhere in sight. She could have simply gone to the bathroom, or for a cup of coffee, but then his eyes fell on a sheet of paper, neatly folded so it’d stand on its own, sitting on top of the rolling bed table, near enough for him to reach without much effort. He could clearly read his name, in a large, curved print, complete with a circle for the dot on the “I.”
 
He reached for it, feeling his heart rate spike, though not enough to trigger the alarm on the monitor. His eyes scanned over Nikki’s hurried writing.


(hear me reading Nikki's letter here)

Kai,



I’d already had this letter ready, planning to leave it, and the pie, with your brother for him to give to you later. But then you welcomed me into your room, and we laughed and flirted and I couldn’t leave you.
 

So when you fell asleep, I snuck out to the nurses’ station, got a pen and paper, and sat down to write you a new letter. This letter.
 

There are things I don’t know about you, and there are things you don’t know about me. For a long time, that was fine. OK. It’s one reason we worked. But these past few weeks, you and I both know things have changed between us.
 
I wanted to be right for you. Desperately. But just because we want something, doesn’t make it so.

The night I hurt you and you kicked me out of your room, I found myself slipping back into the old me. Maybe even the real me. Not the Nikki you came to know as well as I’d let you over the past half year, but instead, a girl named Monica who’d come to Jonesville years ago looking for something more from herself.

I went to a bar. I picked up a stranger. I took him to a hotel.

I had sex with him.

For money.

And even though I thought of you, nothing could change what I’d done. Who I was. What I am.

I love you.

I love you, and that’s why I have to hurt you again.

Because I can never be the girl you need. The friend who will support you when you need a shoulder to lean on. The woman who you can be proud to call yours. A girl you can see yourself with years down the line. Who will see you and love you the way you deserve to be loved.

A girl you can love.

I don’t know what happened between you and the girl you were going to leave me for, but find her, Kai. Please. Maybe she’s the one you need, and you can forget about me as another spot on your road to your future.

Just promise me you won’t hate yourself for this. Hate me, instead. I deserve it. For prying open your bud of a heart, for making you trust me, for betraying that trust.

For not being there when you woke up this time.
 
Remember, the phoenix always rises from the ashes.


                        -Nikki

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Continue to September 23, 2000 ------>

6 comments:

  1. Whoa, it was an awesome chapter, I left me curiously satisfied, I still am waiting for the next chapter, but not desperately and anxiously as normal.

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  2. Just logged on and found this new post -- really beautiful. You're such a good story teller and your characters are so true. I did find all the signing a bit annoying to read cuz I couldnt picture it, but it's hot to imagine kai doing all the signs and stuff anyway. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

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    Replies
    1. I'm really sorry you struggled reading the scene with the sign language! It was Vicky's POV, and she doesn't know ASL, so I was trying my best to describe it from her perspective while still allowing the reader to get the gist of what was going on... But I guess I didn't succeed there as well as I'd thought I had. I'll definitely work on that for the future, as there will be a lot more ASL in Season 2.

      I'm glad you're enjoying the story, though. Thank you for our comments!

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  3. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for bringing these characters to life and sharing it with us. Also, I'm glad you you don't end it here

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  4. OMG... I hope Kai doesn't listen to Nikki and go find her as soon as he go out from hospital!! I still don't like Renee at all... I'm team Nikki... Great story... I really really like Jon, he's so sweet!! Lucky Vicky!!

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  5. Fantastic story, and a powerful way to leave us until next time. I love how you are developing each of the characters as you weave all the ends together into the entire tapestry.

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