My home now didn’t smell like me. It didn’t feel like home. The moment I was a lone, I knew I was going to have a panic attack. And the anger started to bubble up as I felt Alex telling me it was just me feeling sorry for myself. His words still stung even hours later. I wished he’d call me back.

Instead I stepped outside on to my balcony. I looked down over the edge and knew I could jump if I wanted to. Hide in the veil and no one would even notice. FDR Drive was busy as usual, and the river was black in the night against the night sky. But fuck it it wasn’t a goregous night. I snapped a picture and sent Alex a text with it attached.

N: Checkout my view.

I wanted to add more. Wanted to tell him I missed him, and I wished he was here with me. What I couldn’t give to curl up against him and sit up here. At least outside wasn’t any different here than my own place, except I couldn’t just step outside on any given night like I could now. That was one advantage which made me smile.

I heard claws scramble across the floor and the next moment there was furry tail in my face as she found comfort in my arms. “Guess you don’t like shadow walking either.”

Ant came out on to the balcony and sat down in one of the chairs. “Dorian knows exactly what you need doesn’t he?”

I nodded. “I’m that predictable I guess. It doesn’t smell like home. I’m going to have problems for a while.”

Ant nodded, “You want me to stay?”

I shook my head. “No. I have to do this on my own. If Alex can’t be here, then I guess I need to man up and do it myself.”

Ant sighed, “Nox, he has no idea what he’s talking about.”

“Ant, don’t okay.”

“Look, Nox. I’ve been dealing with your shit for 5 years now. I can feel that this is different. I know you well enough to know you are panicking over things he’s said. You let him in to your life. That’s a big deal. But don’t make changes because he can’t deal with you. Nox, there is someone out there who will put up with you.”

I sighed, “I don’t want to talk about this Ant.”

He echoed my sigh. “I know. That’s what scares me, man. You talk about everything.”

“Ant he’s the same guy in my dreams. The one who pulled me up when I was done. The one who I fell in love with. I can’t get past that he’s real. That my fucking friend fucked me over. I’m angry that I never got a shot. And now I have one, I’ve broken down every day in front of him.”

“And he can’t deal with it Nox. He doesn’t get that you just need time. It’s not like that all the time.” Ant grinned at me. “I know from experience that you just need to get used to the new normal. And then you go back to being the chipper, go gettem, fucking life of the party Nox. You say it’s just a mask to what you are, who you are, but I don’t think it is. I think you hide in your fears because you are afraid to be happy.”

“What’s happy to a kid who’s never been loved, Ant?”

“You have been loved. You are loved. I love you. Dorian loves you. Sage and Mia love you. Nox, you have a fucking cat, and you are adopting a little boy. Nox you know love. You know happiness. You just have to live your life. Stop worrying about the fucking Venatori and live your life. This apartment is the best fucking thing for you.”

“You sound like Margo.” I said.

“She’s right. Your dad is right. Dorian is right. You will never be happy with the Venatori looking over you. I get they pay for this place and you work for them, but this is home. This is going to be yours. You, Drake and Fee. And if your Alex wants to come to the party he’ll come, but Nox don’t count on him. Life your fucking life for once.”

I sighed and set Fee on the balcony floor. I stood up and walked inside. “I need a shower, then I’m going to bed. I have some bad guys to catch.”

Ant rolled his eyes. “If Sage finds anything. Or IT right?” He laughed. “Good luck. Call me if things get shitty tonight.”

“Thanks Ant.” I said and stepped inside the glass doors and slide them closed behind me. Ant was gone in a heartbeat and I was alone again. Fee was sniffing around. Hopefully this place became home sooner rather than later.

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