It had been a few days since I’d been back and I’d avoided one person. I’d seen Mia when picking up Drake and told her I’d talk with Jace later. I didn’t want to make it worse by waiting too long. He’d hopefully understand why I didn’t tell him right away. But I didn’t think he’d understand either way this went or when it went down.
Jace was cleaning up his classroom when I knocked on the door. He looked up and he smiled out of habit. But it faded with into anger as he looked back down at his desk.
I walked inside the room and shut the door behind me. Jace said with a white hot voice, “You afraid I’m going to yell at you?”
I shook my head, “No. I figured you’d rather keep some modecum of your calm cool collected reputation.”
“That’s thoughtful of you.” He said as he straightened a stack of papers a little rougher than was necessary. He bent the stack several times before he huffed and put them down. He looked up at me. “Why did you let Chris die?”
“Yeah, Jace I let some fucking were just kill him. He’s like my own nephew. ”
“But he’s not your nephew. He’s mine. You’re nephew survived.” Jace stalked over to me where I stood halfway between him and the door. He shoved me and I could feel the bruise form and almost immediately heal. “You could have saved Chris too.”
“I tried Jace. I raced to them as fast I as I could. You know I didn’t know which ones were which on the screen you know how it works.” I spoke calmly and tried not to make things worse and I just stated facts.
“Don’t Jace me. You didn’t try hard enough.” He shoved me.
“I’m sorry Jason. Or would you prefer Mr. Hill?” He shoved me harder and I had no choice but to take a step back.
“You could have saved him.” Another shove. “You were so worried about every other boy.” Another shove and I took another step backwards. “You saved a fucking were boy before you saved my brother’s son.” He shoved me again and I hit the wall behind me. I took a deep breath and squashed the rising fear, the overwhelming crushing pain that enveloped my chest as I started to panic. I couldn’t panic now. Jace had every right to be angry and I’d rather he take it out on me than Fae or Matt or one of the other boys who survived. “Who the fuck do you think you are, saving monsters over your own kin.”
“Chris was dead by the time I found the boy. I found him first Jace. I cried. I was broken. I couldn’t do anything and I knew you’d hate me cause I let him die. You think I don’t wish I could have gotten to him faster.” I tried not to let my voice crack with the pain from the encounter and this very situation.
He grabbed my shoulders and shoved me into the wall, I felt the drywall dent as my shoulders crashed into it. I knew I was on the verge of a panic attack. I tried to cont to ten backwards. It didn’t work. My heart was in my throat. I felt the tears fall silently down my cheeks, they burned my eyes and were warm against my skin. Jace was yelling a torent of whys and hows and whos at me. I couldn’t focus on any of it. I couldn’t listen to him with my heart pounding in my ears.
I didn’t hear the door open but the next thing I knew Mia was ripping Jace’s hands from my shoulders and he was staggering backwards. I didn’t hear Mia shouting over the rush of fear coursing through my body. I stayed where I was, frozen in fear. Caught up in the memories that flooded through me any time something like this triggered me.
I remember standing in the fire starter room – behind the orange door with my hands to the wall and in my head Garrett was screaming at me. I could feel the lashes of air and earth falling on my back around my arms over my shoulders, wrapping around me. The pain of my skin ripping form my body was real. Living my nightmares while I was awake was worse than in the dreams. I could feel the pain and I would remember it.
There was a tender hand on my cheek wiping away the tears. I heard a name through the jumble of noise in my body, “Sage.”
But I didn’t register anything else as I sank to the floor and pulled my legs up to my chest. I slowed my breathing, the hand still on my cheeks running small fingers over my beared, rubbing the hair and grabbing a small handful of manicured hair. I glanced down at the small hand and the flood gates opened and the tears fell. I sobbed, “I’m sorry.” I said it over and over again.
The small little girl was pulled from me and I reached for her but a strong hand grabbed my hand. He pulled me into his lap and I curled up against him. He whispered in my ear. “I’m sorry, Nox. I know you did everything you could. I know. I’m angry. I’m not angry at you, babe. It’s okay. I’m here. We’ll take you home. I’m sorry.”
There was a barrage of I’m sorries as he held me close. He’d done it so many times before. I calmed down but I don’t know how many minutes had passed. Mia was smiling at me when I looked up. She asked, “You think you can walk?”
I nodded and she stood up and offered me here hand and I stood up with her’s and Jace’s assistance. Mia handed me Naya and smiled, “You think you can walk and hold her?”
I nodded again and took the small one offered me. She wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me. She murmurred in my ear baby nothings and I couldn’t help but smile. Jace turned me towards him. “You are coming home with me right?”
I nodded. “I wouldn’t be anywhere else, babe.” He leaned in and pressed his lips to mine and kissed softly and hugged me to him with Naya craddled between us.
Jace pulled away and took my hand. Mia took his and she lead us through the door and towards the elevator. They would take me to Sage. I think I understood that from the barrage of things they said. When did Sage’s place become home I asked myself.