I stood on the landing while I waited for Abby to close in on me. “You quit your job?”
She pushed me backwards until I was all the way up the stairs and she pushed past me to the coffee pot.
“Yes. I can’t see Alex.”
“Alex? What did he do?”
“Nothing.” I said though she knew I was lying. She sniffed at the air. “Nothing more than what you and Will have been doing since I arrived – lying to me.”
Abby turned around in a quick movement sloshing her coffee all over the floor. She looked guilty for a split second before she started to weep. “I’m so sorry Nox. I didn’t want to lie to you.”
“So you just kept quiet that I’ve been sharing a bed with a werewolf and her boyfriends a vampire, and your families are at war with one another and I’m caught in the crossfire because I care about you both.”
“Nox, I’m so sorry.” But all that fear and remorse faded as she knelt to clean up the mess. Her voice changed back to her normal one, “But, we were only trying to protect you. It’s dangerous.”
“I can take care of myself.”
Abby stood up with the dirty rag in her hand and shook her head, “Nox, Liam almost killed you, if I hadn’t been there to stop him he would have.”
“He’s Dom’s left hand. He’s the guy who he sends to do all the dirty work.”
“Like killing a vampire while he sleeps?” I asked.
“You sure did figure a lot.”
“I’m not daft, Abby.” I growled.
“I know you aren’t. I told them you’d figure it out. No one believed me.”
“Why did you think I’d figure it out?”
She smiled, “Because you are bright. You have this ability to just fix things. Whether it’s saying the right thing, or just giving up a hug, you know what to do. And I’ve seen you adapt to everything that’s thrown at you. You were broken for so long, everyone just sees that. But I got to see you everyday and everyday I saw you put it back together, like a puzzle. And Nox, there was never any missing pieces. You just haven’t got them in the right order yet.”
“I’m still angry with you.”
“I know. I wouldn’t expect anything less of you. But Alex is complicated.”
“Alex is in love with his dead lover. I’m nothing more than a mild fancy.” I said as I sank down in the chair. I was a broken mess. “I can’t look at him again. I can’t see him, hear him. And I don’t want to be near him. He doesn’t want me.”
“So what are you going to do?”
I shrugged, “I can draw on the street for a while, that makes money in the tourist areas.”
She smiled, “It won’t make much.”
I shrugged again. “I don’t need much. I’ll do some things around here for Armande to keep my rent down. I’ll talk to him tonight. He’s a vampire too isn’t he?”
Abby nodded, “He is the leader of the Harlem Vampires.”
“So why is he not my contact for Will’s family?” I asked.
“Armande is neutral party. He runs Safe Harbor, everyone here is on safe ground. No Vampire, Werewolf, Dragon or other supernatural can harm another here. Ant is the Prince of the City. I always feel so strange calling him by his shortened name, but I know him now. He’s a nice guy. He’s hot too.”
“I’ve met him.” I said.
“Did you swoon too?” she asked giddily.
“No, I threw up all over his shoes.”
Abby burst out in laughter. “He shadow walked you? That is so cool.”
“Right before Alex and I had the last big blow up fight.”
Abby’s mirth sank as I did. “I’m sorry Nox. Alex and Ant are bound together for life. Ryan and Alex are Ant’s Chevalier – his personal human servants.” She giggled, “But it’s not like it sounds. They are family.”
“And how does Rider fit into that family structure.”
“Rider and Laker are Alex’s …”
“You don’t have to say it, his brother in laws.”
Abby nodded, “They are wolves. Rider is his own Alpha. He’s technically my Alpha, but I fall under Adrian, and Dom and Adrian are having issues, and that includes Rider and it’s all a big mess.”
“Who was Alex’s…”
“We don’t talk about him anymore, I don’t know really, it’s all kinda a blur about what happened. It was bad, like so bad Alex made us all forget the details. To ease our pain. We all loved him so much, and he’s this big hole in our hearts, but we all have to move on. He was this big point and now he’s gone. And everything back the way it should be, like the rest of the world. The supernatural fighting for territory. Except those of us who have some sort of idea of what existed before.”
“You mean those of you who still have ties across the races?”
Abby nodded, “Yeah. I love Will. I don’t care he’s a vampire.”
I sighed, “So I didn’t even have a chance.”
“You know Alex would hate that you are talking down about yourself.”
“I noticed that.” I frowned. “I don’t know why it matters to him, I’m never going to measure up to that guy.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Abby, the guy in my dreams is Alex. The guy I fell in love with is in love with his dead husband.” I stood up and I grabbed my old drawing kit with easle and sign and I went out the door. “I can’t be here. I can’t be with any of you right now.”