Drip Drop Teardrop Page 5

When she was starting to feel a little stronger her aunt told the doctors she wasn’t going to have any more chemo. They didn’t argue with her. Avery wanted to but it was selfish to ask Aunt Caroline to go through the ordeal of it all just so she wouldn’t have to live without her for an extra couple of months.

Weirdly the decision seemed to put a spring in Caroline’s step. Finally facing the cancer, facing the inevitably of her death, had lifted a weight off her shoulders and the last week of the month she had been strong enough to go to the market – they’d even gone to a movie together. She was exhausted afterwards but there was colour in her cheeks again.

Nightclub night came around as quickly as it always did and for once Avery wasn’t as worried about her aunt. Her friend, Stacey, from Greener World Magazine had come over with some wine and Caroline had said “to hell with it” and was forgoing her meds to have some. She was a grown woman. Avery wasn’t going to argue with her. She left the two of them giggling at the television in the sitting room and ventured out to find Sarah waiting for her. Jemima had a modelling job the next day and was on a 24 hour fast because of it - it involved no alcohol and an early night in bed. Josh still wasn’t talking to her, and Aaron and Adam were on a double date with a brother and sister (Avery refused to get into their complicated dating life), so it was just her and Sarah tonight. Avery didn’t mind. Sarah was the only one who seemed to be as addicted to the dance floor anyway.

They hopped in a cab, Avery thankful she’d worn skinny jeans and a leather jacket tonight, considering the bitter wind blowing in from the north east. They were early so there wasn’t much of a line outside and it wasn’t long until they were inside 4.0 sipping mojitos at a table in the corner. As soon as Jennifer Lopez’s On the Floor came on Avery was shrugging out of her jacket and dragging Sarah up to dance. Like always, she was lost, carelessly dancing with random guys and girls who were enjoying the beat as much as she was. But somehow as the hours crept along she began to miss something. And then she choked, coming to a stop when she realised what it was. There was no familiar prickling sensation tonight. She spun around, searching the crowds and the club for tall, dark scarred guy - the tall, dark scarred guy she was afraid to admit had crossed her mind more often than he should have this past month. Huh. He wasn’t here tonight.

Of course he isn’t, Avery snorted inwardly, it’s not like he’s stalking me or anything and only comes to this club on the nights I’m here.

“You OK?!” Sarah shouted over the music, her brow creased with concern.

“I’m fine!” She shrugged it off and continued to dance. But the rest of the evening was somehow poisoned by the thought of him not being there. Avery felt a little sick. Which was just so weird… considering the guy scared the crap out of her.

Sarah didn’t seem to notice how distracted Avery was and they danced on into the night. They burst out of the club just after 1am, people milling around outside. There were no cabs.

“We’ll have to walk a little, I think,” Sarah grumbled.

Avery groaned, the blue stilettos she had borrowed from Sarah pinching. Giving into her fate she tucked her arm into Sarah’s and they strolled down the street together, not surprised by how busy it was even at this time of night. Just as they made it out of the busier section, Avery felt an alien chill rush over her at the sight of three people ahead of them. Two guys and a girl. The girl stood in between the guys who were clearly facing off, their bodies bristling with aggression.

“Jake, cut it out!” the girl screamed, trying to pull the taller of the two men away.

“Oh God,” Sarah muttered, “Domestic.”

Avery tugged on her arm, somehow desperate to get to them. “Come on.”

“Avery…”

They grew closer, the two guys shouting in each other’s faces now, the girl having been pushed away from them.

“You think you’re a tough guy?!” the shorter of the two screamed, spittle dripping from his lips. “Yeah, let’s see how tough you are now!” There was a flash of silver and then he seemed to punch the Jake guy in the stomach. But as the girl screamed and Jake fell to his knees, Avery came to a stop, bile rising in her throat at the sight of the bloody knife pulling back from its attack on Jake’s body. The short guy brandished it at the girl. “Told you not to mess with Dominic! Bitch!” The guy spat and then he took off at a run.

“Oh my God, oh my God!” Sarah was trembling as the girl screamed over her boyfriend’s body. “Avery, oh my God!”

Avery pushed past the fear gnawing at her gut and hurried over to the girl. The girl looked up at her, tears streaming down her face, mascara all over her cheeks. “Help me!” She sobbed, her hands shaking, covered in blood.

Jake lay on the ground, clutching his stomach, his white t-shirt completely soaked through with blood as it spread at a worrying pace. He shuddered in little starts that told Avery he was going into shock. Shit!

“Sarah, call 911!” Avery yelled over her shoulder and then pulled off her leather jacket. She whipped her top off, goosebumps erupting across her skin in the cold night air. Quickly, with trembling fingers, she pulled the jacket back on and zipped it up. Her top she balled up and pressed to Jake’s wound to try and staunch the bleeding. He cried out at the pressure.

“It’s OK,” Avery assured him, breathing too fast. “It’ll help, Jake. It is Jake, right?”

“It’s Jake,” the girl answered, shaking hysterically.

“They’re on their way.” Sarah cast a shadow over them. Avery looked up at her, noting a couple of people who now stood to the side, pale and in shock, watching them. Sarah was crying.

A prickle caught at the back of Avery’s neck and her heart seemed to stop. Slowly she turned and stared across the street. She gasped. Tall, dark scarred guy was standing on the opposite sidewalk, pale and serious - his dark eyes fixed intently on Jake. There was a sense of finality about him. He sighed heavily, putting his hands into the pockets of his black wool coat before he turned away from them, slowly striding out of sight.

And somehow Avery knew without looking down that the ambulance wasn’t going to make it in time.

Jake was already gone.

I’m Going to Watch you

While you get me Wrong

The next few weeks were not good. Her aunt had deteriorated quickly, whether it was the shock of finding out Avery was a witness in a murder investigation, or the cancer had decided to take hold with a vengeance, Avery didn’t know. Despite Avery and Sarah’s descriptions, the guy who had killed Jake hadn’t been found because Jake’s so-called girlfriend swore she didn’t know who had done it. She was clearly afraid of whoever was behind it and Avery knew she probably should be too. Instead she was a bundle of emotions: surprised that her irrational fear of being centre of attention had dissipated during the events of that night, despite the crowds that had gathered around to watch her huddle with a grieving girl and her dead boyfriend, and despite being the focus of attention from a few police officers. As well as that she was furious. A blood-boiling anger lived inside her for the stupid idiot with his knife… and tall, dark scarred guy. It was irrational. Impossible. But somehow Avery felt he was responsible too somehow.

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