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Coincidental Meetings

By Mel R. C.

Chapter 5

I groan as I open my eyes feeling every ache and pain in my muscles throughout my entire body as I shift for a better position in my bed. I swallow softly feeling a slight burn and scratchiness in my throat. I open my eyes slowly then shut them quickly as the brightness of the light in the room I'm blinds me. I groan slightly again as I lift myself up onto my forearms, but I fall back due to the weakness of my arms. I lie there listening to the sounds of the room and take a deep breath noticing the chemical smell of the room that makes my nose twitch. I sigh softly as I open my eyes and see that I'm in a hospital room all to myself. I lean my head to the side and crack my neck before looking around the room then out the window and to my surprise I see snow blanketing the ground. I feel around then grab the remote that allows me to move the bed into a different position and bring the bed upright so I can see around the room better.

I look around the room after getting the bed into a better position and see that there are flowers and balloons all over the room that I'm in. I sigh then chuckle as I once again glance outside.

"It wasn't snowing before. I don't remember it snowing anyway," I mutter to myself as I take in the room and the iv that's stuck in my arm.

As I watch the snow begin to fall I hear the door to my room open then a nurse walks in with her head bowed, looking at a medical chart. She looks up from it and gasps.

"You're awake. This is wonderful. The doctor said you would be in a coma for at least a year and a half. I must go and notify him then call your family," she says as she turns to leave.

"Hey wait!" I say in a hurry before she can leave, my voice slightly rough from lack of use.

The nurse turns around and looks at me. "Yes?" She asks politely.

"How long have I been asleep?" I ask as I close my eyes and wait for her to tell me the worst.

"Oh, I would have to say for four months," she says softly.

I nod my head then open my eyes. "What day is it?" I ask as I yawn softly.

She rubs her head then smile softly. "It's December fifteenth. It's wonderful that you're u p before Christmas isn't it?" She asks and I nod, then she turns around and leaves, but not before she lets me know that she'll be back with the doctor.

I blink softly then shake my head as I watch the snow fall outside the window once again waiting for the Doctor to come and check up on me. After a while I being to feel slightly drowse so I lay my head back onto the pillow and close my eyes yawning softly. I open my eyes when I hear the door open and I smile at the doctor as he walks into the room. He pulls a chair over to the side of my bed and sits down looking at his charts then looks at me smiling.

"How are you feeling today, Ms. Steffano?" He asks as he takes out a light and shines it into my eyes then nods when he finds whatever he's looking for to be alright.

I scratch my neck then shrugs my shoulders slightly. "Well besides feeling like I've been ran over and the shock of seeing it snowing outside, I'm fine," I say with a chuckle. "So where exactly am I and when can I leave?" I ask as I raise an eyebrow at the doctor who just chuckles.

The doctor writes something down on the charts then rubs his neck. "Well you're in the Central Community Hospital and you can leave as soon as we take some x-rays and so come check ups. Then if all turns out alright you should be able to leave today or tomorrow depends on how well you react to some of the procedures," he says with a smile towards me.

I nod my head. "Well that's good news," I say with a smile.

The doctor smiles back and nods his head. "Ah yep. So lets get the tests started. You seem kind of anxious," he says with a laugh.

I laugh with him then nod my head. "Good observation. I don't like hospitals that much."

He nods his head then tells me he'll be right back with a wheel chair then leaves the room and I lie back and wait for him to come back and collect me.

After being poked, prodded, x-rayed and cat scanned I am finally wheeled back to my room and am greeted by my parents, Tad, Marion, Max and Kate sitting in my room. I smile at them as they say "hi" to me then I'm hugged by my mother as she cries.

"Oh, Jackie, never do that to me ever again. You had me so worried," she says as she smothers me with her hug.

I gasp and nod my head rapidly. "Okay, but if you don't want me to stay longer let me go or I'm gonna pass out," I gasp out then take a deep breath when she lets go of me.

As I catch my breath the doctor comes into the room and smiles at everyone in the room.

"Well good news. Everything checks out alright. There's no fluid in the brain nor any swelling. So I don't see any more reason to keep her over night, but I do want her back if should anything seem wrong with her and she's to come back in a week for another check up to see how she's doing. Other then that she's good to go," he says as he pats me on the back. "So lets get you dressed and out of here. Of course you'll be wheeled out of here. Standard procedure," he says with a laugh when I give him a disgusted look.

I shake my head and smile back with a roll of my eyes. Mom and dad take me into the bathroom where they help me up out of the wheel chair.

"Do you want me to help you, honey?" Mom asks me before closing the door to the bathroom.

"No, mom. I'm okay, really. Just a bit stiff that's all though," I say as I wave her off.

She nods her head. "Okay, honey, but if you need anything while in here just holler," she says as she kisses my forehead.

I nod my head as well. "Okay, mom."

I shut the door then begin to undress. As I undress I turn around and look towards the mirror. I stare at my reflection that I know barely recognise as my self.

I tug at the back of my now long hair, which is longer due to me being in a coma for four months, and my face is thinner then before, but where there used to be dark lines under my eyes, there is nothing, but tan skin. I rub the spot under my eyes and smirk slightly at myself. I run a finger along the small, thin, silver scar that stands out painfully clear against the tan skin on my face. It runs from the corner of my eye to my hair line. I take a couple steps back to see my torso in the mirror and groan when I see the jagged edge of two fairly large silver scars, one on my abdomen and the other on my right side. I explain the rest of my body for the exit scars, but see none. I frown slightly to myself before I touch the one on my abdomen not really remembering who gave me that one at all. I sigh as I put my under cloths on then the rest of my cloths. I sit down on the commode to pull on my socks and boots. After I'm finished tying my boots I get up and look at myself in the mirror once again.

I'm getting a hair cut when I get out of here. I can't stand looking like a shag rug. I think to myself as I tug at the back of my hair once again and leave the bathroom.

I smile at everyone then walk back over to the wheel chair and look up at the nurse. "Let's go, Jeeves. I don't wanna spend anymore time in here, then I totally have too," I say as I lean back, but not before tossing the hospital gown on to the bed.

Mom comes over to me. "Oh honey, put this on so you don't catch your death." she says as she hands me my bomber jacket.

"Thanks mom," I says with a smile and take the jack from her and put it on.

The nurse smiles then wheels me out of the hospital and to my fathers car. I smile at her then get up out of the wheel chair and into my dad's car. I smile at my friends as they get into their cars and yell out the window.

"Hey ya'll meet me at the house. We'll hang or something," I say then smirk at the chorus of cools and okay.

We drive to back home in silence, but finally dad breaks the silence.

"So honey. Are you really okay or are you just saying that so you could get out of the hospital?" He asks as he looks into his rear view mirror at me.

I shake my head. "Nope. I'm feeling great and aside from the new scars you wouldn't know I was hurt," I say with a grin.

Mom turns around in the seat and looks at me. "Jacqueline, I don't want you to be around your uncle Tad anymore. You wouldn't have been hurt if it wasn't for that party you were at," she says as she shakes her finger at me.

I groan and mutter under my breath. "I do not need this today," then out loud. "Mom! It wasn't Tad's fault. I was the one that got into it with Tyrone and his father. He brought up something that I did not like," I says as I lean back in my seat massaging my temples.

"Now Mary Anne. Jack said it wasn't her fault nor Tad's. It was four months ago. Let's just forget about it," he says as he looks towards my mother.

Mom turns sharply and makes a disgusted face at my father. "How can you say forget about it when she killed someone, Marcus?" She asks as she slams her hand on to the dash board.

"IT was self defence. There was alot of witnesses that said so and the judge ruled it that way even with, Jack in the hospital," he says as he slams his hand against the steering wheel.

Before things can get worse we're pulling into our driveway and I get out as soon as we get parked, shaking my head then I slowly walk over to Marions car standing back waiting for Marion and Max to get out then Tad pulls up and right behind him is Kate. Tad must see the hurt and anger on my face because he walks over to me and puts an arm around my shoulders.

"What's up kiddo?" He asks me as he hugs me sideways.

I look up at him from the corner of my eyes and mumble. "It's worse then after I came home when I was sixteen," I say softly. "I've disappointed them again, Tad or at least I did in my mom's eyes," I says as I bow my head looking down at my feet.

He hugs me again then says loudly. "Lets get out of this cold air and into the house," he shifts me towards the house and he helps me up to the house the others walking beside us.

I make a face then mumble. "Tad. I can walk on my own you do know this right? I may be slow going, but I can walk. I was in a coma I didn't break a leg," I say with a roll of my eyes as I look at him side ways.

He just shakes his head. "Doesn't matter, Jack. You were hurt so just humour me okay?" He asks as he looks at me.

I sigh softly. "Fine! I'll humour you," I say as I lean against him smiling slightly.

Once we're into the mud room, Tad helps me take off my boots and jacket. I stand there giving him an evil look and he just smiles to me before helping me into the den.

Tad pushes me down into a chair once we're in the den. "You stay there and I'll go get us all something to drink. You must be thirsty," he says with a smile.

I nod my head my head then lean back against the soft, leather surface of the chair and stuff my hands into my pockets. I frown when I feel something lumpy and cool in my pocket. I pull what ever it is out the pocket and see that they are my cigarettes and zippo. I look up to see Tad grinning at me then he turns around and walks out of the room and my friends walk in. I smile at my three friends as they sit down in various places. I pull out a cigarette from my pack and am going to light it when I hear a cough from beside me.

I look towards Kate and raise an eyebrow. "What?" I ask as I strike the flint on the zippo and light the cigarette.

She shakes her head. "Ummm, Jack, I wouldn't do that if I was you," Kate says as she points to my cigarette.

I chuckle and just shake my head. "Why?" I ask as I inhale a lung full of smoke and then being coughing horribly.

Everyone begins to laugh and Kate pats my back shaking her head slightly as my coughing subsides.

She sits back in her chair and looks at me with a funny look on her face. "I tried to warn you, but nooooooooo, don't listen to me," she says with a smirk.

I smirk back then shrugs. "So I had to find out for myself. Besides maybe it's time for me to quit," I chuckle. "At least I know now not to take such a big drag," I say as I flick some ashes from the cigarette then try a smaller drag of the cigarette and nod my head slightly when I don't go into a coughing fit. "So any who. How are things going? What have I missed since my very long sleep?" I ask with a smirk and a slightly raised eyebrow.

Kate pulls out a cigarette of her own, lighting it and shares the ash tray that sits on the lamp table that's between our two chairs.

"Well you've become an even bigger hero then before. Not only to the gay community, but to the rest of the town. Though yes some don't like the fact that Tyrone's dad is dead, but alot see it for what it was, self defence. Plus it was Tyrone's word against all of ours, but after other then that everything is great," she says with a slight smile.

I frown and scratch my head as I take another small drag from my cigarette and look at Max. "What isn't she telling me, Max?" I ask as my green eyes bare into his.

He visibly gulps then looks at Marion." He told the school board about the true Jack Steffano. You've been kicked out and Marion and I left the school as well in protest," he says as he scratches his head. "We're staying with Kate because our dad kicked out for and I quote, 'For following that trouble maker, Jacqueline Steffano. I've heard bad things about her and this proves it,' " he says with a shrug. "Dad wasn't to keen about hearing you shot Tyrone in the hand or his father either. It seems that after some extensive searching, thanks to the help of your uncle Tad, we found out that he was in a way helping John Palaski, Tyrone's dad, with what he called, 'Operation Extinguish the Gays," he says with a sneer.

I frown deeply. "I've heard of that, but that was suppose to have stopped four years ago," I say as I look at Kate with a sort of a panicked look.

No it can't be. If that plan was still in effect then that's why... I shake my head to get the thought of out my mind and look towards Marion when I realise that she's speaking.

"Jack what exactly is this program or whatever?" She asks as she leans forward frowning as well.

I run my fingers through my hair and tug on the back then answer. "Well the name of the group really explains it's self, because they do exactly what they say. They're a group of people trying to get rid of homosexuals. It's a cult more or less. It's a like a white hate group. They think they have to purge the world of our kind, because they are better," I say with a sigh. "And they'll do anything they think will help get rid of or "Cure" people who are homosexual. Shit they go so far as straight women rapeing gay men and if that doesn't help they'll kill them, simple as that for them. The same goes for Lesbians except half the time the men in the group think that all lesbians need is dick and they'll be "cured" from their perverted way of life," I scoff in disgust. "On very few occasions will there be a woman killed by this group, that is unless you're really butch and fight back," I say as I take a drag of my cigarette and take to big of a drag.

Kate leans towards me and pats my back again. I look over when I hear Marions voice. "But how do you know so much about this moronic group?" She asks a look of disgust written across her face.

I wait for my coughing to subside then answer her. "I had a friend that got killed because these people," I say with a sigh thinking about Teegan then I shake my head. "I thought that her death and my efforts had an impact and got rid of this group. I guess I was wrong," I say as I hit my fist into my open palm.

I look up to see Marion and Max sitting in their seats with their mouths wide open then Marion leans back in her seat and rubs the bridge of her nose.

"Okay so, let me get this right. Our father is apart of this so called cult or group or whatever the hell they are and they kill and rape people simply for who they choose to sleep with and fall in love with the same sex?" She asks as she throws her arms up.

I nod my head looking down at my hands as a long time pain comes close to the surface, but I push it back where it was then look at Marion.

"Arg! I don't get that. Some people screw animals and no one goes after them and chase them down kill or rape them. Oh no. It's just the ones that prefer the same sex that are the perverted ones," she rants on.

I laugh and lean my head back against the chair then look at the wall behind me. "That is very true and I’m sorry for laughing, but the way you said it made it sound funny, but I you do make a good point. I don't understand it either because most of these people go around and preach the bible. Saying loving the same sex is a sin. Well I really don’t see how they can be so god damn smug when they try and constitute the breaking of one sin, by doing a sin that’s even worse then sleeping with the same sex. Killing people. How in the hell do you do that? They are suppose to be so "holier then thou" and yet they go around killing people simply because they live their life differently then these people. I just don't get it," I say with a shake of my head.

I'm about to say something else when Tad walks into the room with mugs and two pots on a tray. He sets them down and points to the one on the left.

"This one is coffee," he says then points to the one on the right. "And this one is hot chocolate. Now hold on I need to bring in the creme and sugar," he says as he trots back into the kitchen.

He comes back a minute later with a small pitcher of milk and a bowl of sugar. I'm about to pour myself some coffee when Tad slaps my hands then shakes a finger at me.

He looks at me and I smirk slightly up at him. "You haven't had anything in your system for four months. I don't think coffee would be good for you at this time, sooooooo, I brought you this," he says as he takes out a bottle of water and hands it to me.

I groan slightly then take the offered bottle and put it beside me on the end table and watch Tad take a seat on the couch beside Marion.

He pours himself a cup of coffee then sits back against the couch. "So what are we talking about?" Tad asks as he looks around at us.

"Max was telling us how you helped him find out about his father then Jack was explaining, what this so called cult thing, was all about," Kate says as she sips from her mug.

Tad raises his eyebrow at me. "Really? What is this group about? Because honestly I'm curious to know about it." He says to me quietly rubbing his nose.

So I proceed to explain what I told the others about this group and until that moment I never thought someone could get as red as Tad did. I watch as he gets up off the couch and paces around the den.

He pulls out a cigarette of his own and I raise an eyebrow at him. "Why didn't you tell me about this, Jack?" He asks as he continues to pace around the room, rubbing his forehead as he take a deep drag from his cigarette. "All I have worked for is now gone with this simple tid bit of information," he says with a sigh."

I stand up quickly. A little to quickly because everything starts to spin, but I put my hand on the chair before looking at my pacing uncle. "Tad!" I yell at the muttering man pacing the room. "I thought that I had it taken care of. You don't know what I lost with this new development either, Tad. I lost a friend that was like a sister to me. So don't you be going off on my like my parents alright? Because I can't fight that fight right now. Understand? Not now and I doubt not ever again," I say as I go over to him and put my arms around him and hug him. "I did it once and I can do it again. You have no idea what this knowledge means to me. So please. Just keep it cool," I say into his ear then look at Kate. "She's been hurt because of this and I'm thinking so has Max and Marion," I whisper to him. "Now I have more help and together we will stop them once and for all. Everything you and I have worked for will be justified in the end," I say as I look into his eyes.

He smiles at me fondly then hugs me back. "We will. I promise, Jack. Even if it is the last thing I do," he whispers to me then pulls back and turns me around to look at my friends he leans in and whispers. "But before you ask them to help I think it's time that you tell your friends the truth about yourself, before they hear it from Tyrone or someone else. They're a loyal bunch, but to keep loyalty in the family that you have or that you have made, you must be truthful. I've always believed that. So be truthful to them and help them understand who Jack Steffano is," he whispers softly as he pats my shoulder gently.

I sigh then sit back in my chair, but before I say anything I pull another blasted cigarette from my pack, not caring if I start another coughing fit or not, I light it then take a small drag from it then look around to the people gathered in front of me.

I smile then run my fingers through my hand before groaning softly. "Well now that I'm awake and seem to be in once piece. I do believe I owe you some explanations about myself instead of hearing everything from Tyrone," I say with a slight smile as everyone else chuckles softly. "So I suggest that ya'll get some hot chocolate or some coffee and curl up because this is gonna take a while," I say with a sad chuckle.

"So ummm yeah. My story beings with me in Texas and being twelve years old. My parents were having some problems because of my younger brother died due to something I can't remember...... Wait no. That's not true I don't know what happened, because my parents never told me. So one day while they were fighting I just packed a bag and off I went. At the time I didn't set out to end up here in Elkader, but I remembered that my favourite Uncle lived here, but when I got here he was gone. True I could've gone here which at the time my grandmother lived here, but I don't think I wanted to be around anyone. So I just wondered around," I say as I smile slightly.

"Believe me. I met some ugly people, but I was saved from rape by a girl who's name, will turn into legend it would seem as well as mine, was Alex," I say as I look towards Kate and smile.

Everyone turns to look at Kate who blushes. "You're Alex?" Marions asks as she points towards Kate.

Kate nods her head and smiles. "Yeah, I'm Alex. It's not a good idea to tell anyone your real name on the streets in case someone is looking for you, because your a runaway. So I changed it to Alex. My aunts name was Alexandra and I loved her very much," she says with a sadness in her voice.

I smile at her then everyone else, but then I remember what I was suppose to be telling them and I clear my throat. "So anyway. I don't know why, but I think I was drawn to the streets. True the first night I spent out there I almost did go to my grandmothers, but I stayed, more out of stubbornness then anything else, but I also liked the thrill I got when I dodged the cops left and right. I was constantly ducking someone whether it be the cops, rival gang members or drug pushers," I say with a sigh and a shake of my head.

"Not only did I have to duck them, but I had to duck those people that knew what I was capable of and wanted me off the streets because I making them look bad. I heard something once about me not being normal. They said I was half something or other, but still to this day I don't know half of what. Well anyway as I told Marion, I was just a street rat," I say with a laugh.

"Alex saw how much I pushed myself to be a better and thanks to the wandering Martial Arts instructor we hung around with I became the best at what I was doing," I sigh about to tell them what I've been dreading to tell them. "I dealt drugs to other people on the streets and to people who are rich, so we could have money for some food and every once in a while a change of cloths. Hell I even did some myself, but that was when a friend of mine was killed. I'm not proud of it, but that's what I did," I say with another sigh.

"People wanted me to be in their gangs and "associations" cause I had become so good, but I wouldn't hook up with any of them because my loyalty belonged to one person and one person only," I say looking at Kate then I look away from her sadly and take a deep breath before I go on. "We did everything together after we had met. I left the streets after this one encounter with some people and because of me she was shot," I say as I look down at my hands then I look back up at everyone else.

"You've heard the stories about Alex and Sela, but left me tell you the truth about what really happened when Alex and Sela was on the streets," I say looking around at the curious faces then I begin to let the memories rush over me like a huge ocean wave and tell them the story of Alex's and Sela's last night on the streets when their worlds would be changed forever.

I laugh as I run around the corner with a store keeper hot on my heels, as I round the corner I see Alex right in front of me, as I run by I grab her hand and pull her with me running faster as I do so.

Alex pulls her hand out of mine and runs beside me. "What did you do this time, Sela?" She asks laughing as we run for our lives.

I shrug my shoulders as I turn around and run backwards then toss her a loaf of bread. "I was getting some bread when I accidentally knocked over some trays," I say with a laugh as I turn around and run the right way before we round another corner.

I look at her from the corner of my eye as she shakes her head slightly. "Show off, but seriously, Sela. You always know how to get into trouble, don't you?" She asks laughing with me.

I smack her on the arm. "Yeah, but I can get out of trouble just as fast I can get us into it, Alex," I shoot back at her smirking lopsidedly.

We round another corner that leads into an alley way. At the end of the alley is a fire escape ladder, but it's pushed up, so I break out into a sprint and jump, catching the bottom rung I use my weight to pull it down. As soon as we're up the ladder we pull it up before heading to the roof top. We stop and clasp at the edge of the roof giggling softly before we hear pounding footsteps come closer as the store keep runs into the alley way. I cover her mouth to stifle her giggles as we watch him turn around in circles. I let go of her mouth and watch as he scratches his bald spot.

He continues to look around for use, but he can't seem to figure out exactly where we went. Then Ales starts to giggle and I start up as well then before long we get a little to loud and the store keep looks up then starts jumping at the bottom rung of the ladder yelling something unintelligible. We look at each other and at the same time say, "Oh shit."

We scramble up onto our feet and take off running, jumping from one roof top to the other before we finally stop after getting a good distance away from him. I look at the buildings roof tops and chuckle then look around for another fire escape. I spot one then motion for Alex to follow me.

I make my way over to the ladder and look at her and smirk. "It's a good thing the roofs in this town are close together huh?" I ask as we make our way down to the street.

From above I hear Alex chuckle. "Yeah it is. Other wise we would've been pancakes," she says with a snort.

I jump the last of the ladder and land in a crouch then straighten up and breathing hard lean against the building waiting for Alex to get down. "I have never in my life seen an old guy move that face before," I say as I lean over to catch my breath.

Alex jumps the rest of the way down as well then leans against the wall with me laughing softly. "Yeah well. You give him a good work out, my friend. Keeps him young and all that," she says gasping for breath as well.

I turn my head and smirk at her then push my damp bangs out of my eyes. "Yeah, but still, he should've learned by now that he can't catch me," I say as I get my breathing back to normal then lean my head back against the wall looking up at the night sky.

I feel her lean her body towards mine and I turn my head to look at her then I smile at her when she leans her head against my shoulder. "This is true, but he's a determined old fellow," she says as she turns her head to look up at me.

I smile then gently wrap an around her shoulders as I look up at the night sky. Watching the lightning flash across the sky before nodding my head. "Aye, that he is, Alex. That he is," I say with a chuckle then shove myself off the wall. "Come on. Looks like it's gonna start storming soon. We might wanna get to shelter," I say as I help her up off the wall.

We start down the street arm in arm chuckling softly over our latest fiasco. I glance over at her and take in her twinkling blue eyes and beautiful face that is lit up by the flashing lightning in the sky. I stop her then put my arms around her, pull her against my body and hug her tightly. She pulls back from me and looks into my eyes.

She smiles tenderly. "What was that for, Sels?" She asks in a whisper.

I shrug and look down at the ground. "Just for being you, I guess," I say as I look up into her gentle blue eyes.

She puts her hand on my face and strokes it gently. "Is that so?" she asks as she leans her head to the side.

I can feel my cheeks grow warm before nodding my head. "Yes, that's so, Alex," I say as I lean against her body.

The wind wipes at my shirt as she wraps her arms around me. "Mmmmm, that's nice," she says as she leans her forehead against mine.

The lightning flashes making everything illuminous as we lean slightly closer to each other, as we stare into each others eyes the thunder rumbles in the distance, but neither one of us seems to notice as we continue to stare into each others eyes. Neither of us need to voice what we're feeling because we can read it through each others eyes. The rain begins to fall as our lips touch each others. When her lips touch mine I feel as if lightning had struck my lips and a tingle rises through my body. We're so close to each other I can feel the need coming from her body as I'm sure she could feel my need as well. The kiss deepens, but we are suddenly pulling away when we hear a crash that's not thunder coming from down an alley way to our right. We both look down the alley way then at each other an unspoken promise passing between us then we turn and walk down the alley to investigate what's going on down there.

As we walk carefully down the alley way we pull out our dagger. I motion to Alex then point towards a bunch of trash cans. We hide behind them then peer down to the end of the alley where the only light is from a street lamp and the lightning that illuminates the back portion of the alley. I squint as I make out large dark shadows, one shadow is walking around while another shadow looks to be more then one person all bunched together. We creep over to another set of trash cans, the wind begins to get stronger, but blows the opposite direction making the conversation that the shadows are having come this way on the wind. We keep to the shadows as we make our way closer and then the shadow walking around comes underneath the street light and I see that it's a girl. We crouch lower behind the trash cans so that she can't see us and I strain my ears to hear what she's saying over the thunder, people talking as they hurry down the side walk and car alarms blaring in the distance. As another flash from lightning lights up the sky I can see that the blob of shadows in front of her is actually two boys holding up a third. I frown slightly not liking or trusting the sight before me. I motion for us to get to the last bunch of trash cans and we carefully creep over to them. When we're safely hidden behind them the conversation becomes louder and understandable.

The girl continues to pace around the three boys. "Where in the hell is she?" The girl demands from the boy being held up by the two larger ones.

He shakes his head slightly. "I told you. I don't know where she is," he says his voice quivering.

She turns and stares at him. "Wrong answer," She says as she punchs him in the gut.

If it wasn't for the boys holding him up he would've dropped to the ground, but they jerk him back up in kneeling position, the boy on the left pulls his head back by his hair so he's looking up at the girl standing in front of him. I can't see her face, but I'm sure she's smirking as she pulls out a dagger because his eyes grow real big. She runs the tip the blade down his cheek leaving a trail of blood in the wake of the razor sharp edge.

"Now we can do this the hard way or we can do this the easy way. I am going to ask you a question and you're gonna answer me. If you want to stay alive then it would be your best bet to co-operate, otherwise your death is going to be slow and painful. Have I made myself clear?" She asks as she punchs him again in the stomach.

The boy nods his head faintly as he turns white as a ghost as we watch this from our hiding spot behind some trash cans.

"Good. Now. I'm gonna ask you again. Where does, Sela, sleep?" She asks as she taps the tip of the blade against her cheek.

I growl softly, but I restrain myself from lunging at her only because of the calming hand that I feel on my shoulder. I lean back against her as the wind whips my hair around my face and the rain becomes harder, plastering my shirt against my body. I look back towards Alex and smile reassuringly at her before putting my dagger back into the sheath that's on my back then I slowly get up from my hiding spot and saunter into the light of the street lamp before the boy can answer her question and end up dead.

I stand in the light letting my gaze flick from the girl to the boys and back again. "You looking for me?" I ask my voice cold and void of any emotion.

The girl whirls around to face me in total shock, but recovers quickly from her momentary shock and grins at me. "As of matter of fact, yes. We were just asking this young lad where you were, but he hasn't been co-operating with us, so we had to how do you say, persuade the information from him," She says as she turns fully towards me and smirks sadistically at me.

I nod my head then put my hands behind my back then rock back and forth on my heels staring at her with a lazy smirk. " I bet so. So what exactly do you want from me?" I ask as I put a hand on the hilt of my dagger.

She comes closer to me. "Yes that's so! And what do I want from you? Oh nothing that big. Just YOUR HEART!" She says as she points her dagger at my heart.

I tap my finger against my chin pretending to think this over. "Well I don't give my heart to just anyone," I say with a sneer. "But since you ask so nicely. I just might consider it."

I flick my eyes towards the boy on my left when I hear him growl then watch as he drops the boy and runs at me trying to smash his fist into my face. At the last minute I turn , grab his arm and bring my palm up against his elbow, cleaning snapping his arm at the elbow with an audible snap. He drops to his knees while holding his arm and begins crying in loud sobs. I push him away out of reach of the fight then stare at the girl smirking lopsidedly.

I look around then back at her. "Hmmmmmm then again maybe not. So is that it? And here I thought I'd have a good work out," I say snapping my fingers in mock disappointment.

She looks from me to the boy who's arm I just broke then she looks back towards the other one who's mouth is now scrapping the ground. "GET HER!" She screams in a hiss to the other boy as she points towards me.

I chuckle. "Yeah come get me, little doggie," I say as I bounce around on the balls of my feet.

He picks up his jaw. "I am not a dog!" He screams as he drops the boy he was holding up and jumps to his feet running towards me.

I side step him then turn to watch as he runs past me. I laugh then slap him on the head as he goes by. He tries to turn around, but he slides on the wet pavement and falls on his ass then bounces back up.

I lean my head to the side and look at him. "Well that was graceful. I guess it's true what they say. Idiots do bounce," I say as I run my fingers through my soaked hair.

He scrambles to his feet and screams shrilly as the scream echoes through the ally way he charges at me like a football player trying to do a tackle. I lean my head to the side then shrug my shoulder as I once again side step him. Then turn around as he goes skidding into a wall on the other side of the street. I wince when I hear a thud and cracking bones as he hits the wall.

I scratch my head. "Ouch. That has got to hurt, but then again if you would do something besides try and take me out like yer a damn football player you might get some where," I say with a chuckle as he picks himself up from the ground.

He turns and gives me a funny look. I roll my eyes then motion with my hand for him to come at me once more. He shakes his head then growls and suddenly there's a glimmer of light coming from his hand as the street light reflects off of the blade of a dagger. He runs at me raising his dagger up into the air as he runs. He jumps at me. swiping the blade through the air towards my head. I duck, at the last minute the audible whoosh of the blade indicating that I had cut it close, as well as the air from the blow ruffling my hair when the blade hits nothing but air and dodge his swipes then drop to a crouch and sweep his feet out from underneath him then I lean back and do a back hand spring and motion towards him to come at me again.

He doesn't shout this time, but as lightning flashes in the sky lighting everything up I get a look at his eyes and see that no one seems to really home in his head. He runs at me again and this time I drop down to one knee and as soon as he gets close I do an upper cut pinch to his nuts. I watch as he drops the dagger and falls to the ground holding his coutch, moaning as he withers around on the ground.

I turn my head when I hear shoes squeak against the soaked ground behind me and see Alex step out of the shadows and nod at me. I flash her a smile and a slight wink. She smiles back at me, but losses her smile as her eyes flick to the space behind me. I turn around to see the girl coming closer to me.

She puts her hands in her pockets and stops an inch in front of me. "You may have bested those two bubble heads, but you can't best me," she growls then pulls out a bowie. "I will do as my boss has instructed me to do and you will die," she say as she steps towards me.

I stand up and scratch the side of my jaw then narrow my eyes as I grin coldly. "Well now. I don't think your gonna be able to keep those instructions with your boss, but you can very well try anyway," I say nonchalantly as I stand there looking at her with my arms crossed over my chest.

She pulls back her dagger and yells loudly then runs at me with the knife still in the air. Before she's on me I think. 'What is up with everyone yelling?' I don't have time to ponder that thought because the dagger that was high in the air is rushing towards my head. I shrug and raise an eyebrow then duck and weave as she slashes at me in a mind numbing sort of fashion. She's about to bring the dagger down on my head when I whip my dagger out from the sheath on my back and block her downward strike. She growls in frustration then pulls it back before taking another swipe at me. I duck once again then bring my arms up in a cross and block her hands from plunging the dagger into my now exposed shoulder. I throw off her hands and take step back then swipe at her with my dagger. At the last minute she side steps the thrust and as she does she has access once again to my shoulders. She takes advantage of it this time and doesn't give me enough to correct myself and slices her dagger across my shoulders. I growl as I feel the blade cut into my shoulders and a white blinding pain races through my shoulders and body. I turn and thrust my dagger at her, but this time she doesn't see the blade coming and it catches her arm and my dagger leaves a gash in her arm. She screams loudly and holds her arm as she stumbles backwards. I get to my feet after falling down on my knees and I'm about to plunge my blood soaked dagger into her chest when I hear a gun go off.

As I turn around, it feels to as if I'm in slow motion, I see the boy who I had kicked in the nuts holding a smoking gun. I turn my head towards Alex and watch her grab her chest then drop to her knees before starting to fall backwards.

My mouth drops open. "Noooooooo!! ALEX!" I scream as I turn back to the boy who was still holding the gun and throw my dagger at him watching as it sinks into his forehead and he falls flat on his face then I turn around and run towards Alex catching her as she falls face first onto the rain soaked pavement.

I kneel down in a puddle of water not feeling the water soaking through my already rain soaked pants, nor really caring at the moment either, as I hold Alex to my chest, with my back turned to the girl, as the rain falls down on my shoulders. I smooth back her green hair and look down into her eyes that were once full of life have now a dull look in them. I try to smile, but it comes out more like a wince as the cold makes the ache in my shoulders worse, but I force aside the pain and try to think of something to do my friend. I ripe off a piece of my shirt and press it against her wound to stop the bleeding as best I can. I rock her back and forth crying softly.

"Hey. You can't leave me. Okay? You can't die yet. We're gonna grow old and you're gonna pass on in your warm bed. So don't you leave me. Not now. Please. There's so much I wanted to do with you and say to you. It's so not fair. I love you!" I exclaim in a choked sob as I pound my free hand against the pavement.

Alex looks up at me then tries to smile at me as she slowly brings her hand up and cups my cheek gently. "I'll always be with you, Sels," she whispers so softly that I almost don't hear her, as she locks her blue eyes with mine. "You're the best thing that walked into my life, Sels. I love you too, baby. Always will and I'm not about to go any where. I'll fight," she says softly. "It's a good fight too."

I choke back another sod then lean down and touch my lips against her lips. She touches my face with her fingertips as I kiss her desperately wishing I could give her some of my life force to keep her alive until I can get help. As we break away I feel a sharp pain in my right shoulder. I grimace and growl loudly then look over my shoulder only to see a hilt of a dagger sticking out of my shoulder. I turn my body a little to see the girl standing a bit away smirking sadistically as she raises the gun that was discarded by the now rigormortis boy on the pavement. I don't take my eyes off her as I try to get up to get us out of there, as I place my hand on the ground I feel Alex's discarded dagger laying on the ground beside me. I flip the dagger into the air, grab it by the tip of the blade. Once I've got my hand on the blade I flick my wrist sending the dagger soaring through the air towards her and watch as it embeds to the hilt into her chest where that small heart of hers rests.

She gasps then looks down at the hilt in total shock then at me before dropping the gun from her now lifeless fingers and falls over onto the ground with a splash from the puddle underneath her. I blink as I watch as the rain washes her blood away in rivers of red.

I look at the girl in shocked silence then look around the alley only seeing the boy who I had pinned with my dagger in the head, but not the other one whom I had broken his arm. I sit there for a while then look up to see some red and blue lights lighting up the alley way. I stand up with Alex in my arms then walk over to the cars that are now surrounding the entrance to the alley. I continue to walk to the ambulance taking no heed to the police officers staring at me as I walk in a daze to a paramedic that is standing in back of the ambulance.

Because of my hands being full I use to my foot to get his attention. He turns around and looks at me in wide eyed shock. I look at Alex then back at the paramedic before handing her over to her.

I gulp and begin to sway from side to side. "She's been shot. Please help her," I say then I'm falling and everything is dark.

I wake up, but I don't open my eyes as I feel a bed underneath me. 'Ugh! I must've been caught by my parents and am now home. Fun and joy. Yay for me!' I think sarcastically to myself as I open my eyes then shut them tightly when the blinding light of the florescence fixtures from above me about blinds me. About five minutes later I finally crack open an eye and look around noticing that I'm not in my old room or my crash place, but in a hospital room. ''Well nope. It's worse then being at home. I get to be in the hospital where I'm poked, prodded, pinch and things get shoved in places they really have no business being in.'' I think as I look around for the remote that raises my bed.

After getting myself in a sitting position I reach over to the table beside me and pull the jug of water over to me and a glass then pour myself a glass of water. I bring the glass up to my lips which feel dry and rough from lack of moisture. I take a gulp of water and grimace as the water goes down my throat making it feel like it's on fire. 'Gods how long have I gone without talking? A year??' I ask myself as I put the glass back on the table after taking another gulp this one going down a lot more smoother.

I look up at the door as it opens and see a nurse, with short dark brown hair, hazel eyes, slender build and couldn't be taller then five foot four inches tall, come into the room. She looks up and smiles at me. "Well hello there. How are you feeling?" She asks as she looks down at clip board that she's carrying.

I shrug my shoulders. "A little sore, but other then that I feel alright," I say as I look at her name tag which says Emily Russell. "How long have I been here?" I ask as I lean back against the bed.

She smiles at me tenderly. "Well you've been here for a couple of days now. Not that long, but still you gave the doctors a fright when you didn't wake up on the second day. They were predicting that you might be in a coma for sometime, but it was odd because all that happened was loosing quite a bit of blood though I'm guessing that it can happen. I'm not sure I'm not a doctor. Just a nurse," she says with another kind smile.

I frown slightly not really remembering how I could've lost enough blood to keep me out for more then two days. "What made the wound?" I ask as I look up at her.

She sighs softly and frowns a little. "A knife wound. Seems you were sliced open from one side of your shoulder over to the other one then it was plunged into the middle of your back just barely missing your vertebrae. Seems the person that did it knew where to stab you, but you must've moved at the last second and the downward thrust was interrupted, but it still could've paralysed you. You are very lucky that you did move away at the last minute other wise you wouldn't be able to walk," she says with a sad look on her face.

I put my palms against my forehead as my head begins to pound as images flash through my head. The images get so intense that I gasp out loud causing Emily to look at me with concern written all over her face.

She turns around and starts for the door still watching me. "Are you alright? Do you need the doctor? I can go get him right now," she says as she reaches for the door knob.

I shake my head then look up at her. "No I don't need a doctor. I'm fine. I just remembered what happened," I say as I take a deep breath then rub my face. "Was there umm was there a girl brought in with me?" I ask looking up at her hopefully. "Do you know if she's alright?"

She nods her head. "Oh yes. She'll be fine, but it was so traumatising to her that she can't remember anything that went on that night. She does however remember her name and that in the least was very remarkable," she says with a slight smile.

I smile for the first time since I woke up. "Really? Can she have visitors?" I ask looking up at Nurse Emily hopefully.

Emily nods her head slightly. "Why yes, she can. Her father is here to see her today," she says as she looks over the papers on her clip board.

'Father? She never mentioned any family.' I think to myself then out loud. "Can I please see her?" I ask looking up into her pleading to her with my own.

Emily sighs softly then nods her head. "Okay, but only for a little while," she as she walks over to my bed and helps me get up then helps me walk out of the room towards the room Alex is in.

When I walk into the room the sight before me makes me wanna cry. She looks so pale and small in the bed. Her tan looks like it never existed. I put my hand against my lips as I walk over to her and sit down in the chair next to her bed and take her hand in mine.

I look up when I feel a hand on my shoulder and see that Emily is still in the room. "Are you going to be okay by yourself?" She asks with concern flowing in her voice.

I just nod my head afraid to speak as my eyes well up with tears of seeing my friend like this.

She just nods her head then turns around and walks out, but before she leaves she turns around and looks at me. "I'll be back in thirty minutes," she says then she opens the door, but before she leaves she turns to look at me and smiles at me. "From what I hear in the halls about you. You are the reason that this young girl is still alive. You should feel proud of that, but I know it must hurt to see her like this. I am sorry for the both of you to have to go through with this. You seem to be a very good friend of hers. A friend of mine who works here as a nurse says she calls out a name in her sleep. Though she doesn't remember it when she wakes up. It seems to me that you must be this mysterious Sela she is asking for. She's lucky to have a friend like you," she says then she opens up the door and walks out then closes the door making it click closed softly.

I nod my head at the now closed door and swallow hard then I turn to look at my sleeping friend and feel tears of regret and sadness fall onto my cheeks. I wipe at the tears angrily then run my fingers through my blue hair and sigh. "Oh Alex. This is my fault. I am so sorry my friend," I whisper to her softly.

I'm about to run my fingers through her hair, but I pull my hand back as Alex starts to stir then she opens her eyes slowly. She turns her head and looks at me. I stare into her twinkling blue eyes. The same blue eyes that only days before I thought I would never see again. While I stare into her eyes I slowly fall into them until I hear her voice through my longing and I'm instantly pulled out of her eyes.

"Hi, ummm. Do I know you?" She asks as she rubs her eyes to get the sleep out of them.

I feel my heart begin to sink as I remember that she doesn't remember a thing about our time together or about the attack that seemed ages ago.

I smile sadly at her. "My name's Sela. I found you in the alley way," I lie to her.

She smiles widely. "Oh! You're the girl that saved me. Thank you ever so much. I'm glad you helped me and even gladder to meet you, but why are you in a hospital gown? Did you get hurt? Whoa. This is so strange. I mean. Here I am just getting out of a four year coma and here is the person that saved me four years ago sitting beside my bed," she says with a chuckle.

I frown slightly then shrug my shoulders. " You're welcome and yeah. I took a nasty spill and I've been in the hospital for some time. I was told that you were in here and awake, so I wanted to see how you were doing," I lie once again as I turn my head to look out the window then back again.

She smiles widely then shrugs her shoulders. "You know. For some strange reason I feel like I know you some how, but that's ridiculous since we've just met," she states as she chuckles again.

I just chuckle and shake my head while rubbing the back of my neck nervously trying very hard not to tell her the truth.

She frowns slightly then rubs her head. "What?" She asks me as she looks at me with a puzzled expression on her face.

I shake my head again then chuckle once again. "Nothing. I just seem to get that alot, that's all," I explain while feeling horrible about lying and not confessing to her what was really going on.

She nods her head slightly while she runs her fingers through her hair and rubs her neck.

I look around the room then back at her. "So, ummm. When do you get out of here?" I ask while rubbing my hands against my thighs.

She licks her lips and I reach over to pour her a glass of water then hand it to her. She smiles then takes a large drink of the water.

"Not till next week. Dad says that he can't wait till I get back home. When I get better he's going to show me the place he works at. He thinks I'll like it alot. He says that we have so much catching up to do," she says with a huge smile on her face before she sets her glass back down on the table beside her.

I nod my head and am about to say something when I hear a cough from behind me. I turn around to see that Emily had come back into the room without me knowing it and is looking at me pointedly. I sigh then nod my head before looking back over at Alex.

I drop my head and mumble to my hands. "I have to go," I say before looking back up at her.

She frowns then nods slightly. "Okay. I'll miss you though," she says sincerely with a sad smile.

I smile back at her too. "Me too," I say as I get up with the help of Emily thinking to myself, 'More then you'll ever know, Alex.'

"Oh! Hey! Where do you live? Maybe we can hang out together sometime," she says as I turn around to see a hopeful look on her face.

I can feel the tears welling up behind my eyes as I once again lie to my best friend. "Oh ummm. My parents are moving to Texas," I say not meeting her eyes, but I can see her smile fad before looking away.

"Oh, I see. Well. I hope to see you before you leave then," she says quietly then looks back at me.

I nod my head blinking back the tears as I say sincerely, but knowing that it wont happen. "That would be very nice. I'd like that," I say as I look over her face memorising every detail of her beautiful face, because I know that once I walk out of the room I'll never see my beloved again.

I smile sadly then with the help of Emily I walk out of Alex's room and out of her life forever.

Continued in Part 6

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