Empty Bargains [Jason McCann]

"I have nothing else to offer you," Markus barked through gritted teeth, his fists clenched hard at his sides.

Jason shook his head, chuckling. "I only want one thing, and it's in this room," he sneered.

My brother took a step closer to me, trying to push me toward the door. Jason's eyes flashed over and caught mine, a glint in his eye while a shiver went down my spine.

"What do you want?" Markus asked, impatient.

Jason's head nodded in my direction. I froze and the room fell deafeningly silent.

"I want her."


22. ~10.25...2~

    I threw out my arm to catch Jason but staggered under his weight.  My head hit the wall as we tumbled against it and I winced with the ache spreading through my skull.  Jason’s body was limp in my hold, and I strained to see if he was breathing.  Heart pounding heavily, my mind was moving too fast to stop and watch his chest.

    “Don’t just stand there!” I shouted across the room, pointing a glare at Leah.  Her expression was shocked, but I couldn’t tell whether she was genuinely concerned or not.  “Go get Xander, or Carter, or someone!”

    “Did he just–“

    “Fucking move!” I bellowed, sounding loud even with the noise of the music blaring downstairs.

    She gave me an icy look before going out the door as fast as she could on her high heels.  I quickly discarded any hatred stemming in me.  All I could have time for was worrying about Jason, whose arm I slung over my shoulder and slowly lowered to the ground.  My hand felt around his left peck, searching for a heartbeat.  When I found one a small part of my anxiety vanished.  I was able to calm down enough to notice the rise and fall of his chest, short and shallow but present.

    What had done this to him?  I recounted the whole night in a few seconds — he hadn’t gone downstairs until just before I did, and even then he hadn’t been there long enough to get stoned or hammered.  The smoke wasn’t quite potent enough to get him high in that amount of time, most of which we’d spent outside, even.  Uriah couldn’t have done anything to him with all those people in the room, but even then it didn’t seem right that he was acting so odd that shortly after going into a party.  All I could remember seeing him drink was the scotch–

    I could feel the color drain from my face.  When he’d swiped the bottle from the counter I hadn’t thought twice of it, even when he’d informed me about someone spiking it.  The kick — whatever the hell it was — must’ve been the cause of this.

    “Where’s Jason?” I heard Xander call through the hallway.  He spun into the room a second later, eyes searching wildly until he found us hunched about ten feet from him.  “What the hell happened?”

    “I think he drank something,” I told Xander as I glanced down at Jason’s face.  Xander kneeled next to us, feeling for a pulse and watching for breathing the same way I had.

    “He’s alive,” he said, and I struggled to find patience.  I knew he was alive, I just didn’t know by how much.

    “We need to get him to a hospital,” I said hurriedly, shooting my gaze over to the doorframe as Leah came back into view.

    “Do you want me to call an ambulance?” she asked, digging around in the part of her dress covering her chest.  She pulled out a phone a second later and I wrinkled my nose.

    “If you’re going to say something, make it helpful,” I spat.  “An ambulance would draw in cops, too, and I’m pretty sure this whole party could get thrown in jail for at least two years.”

    “I can take him,” Xander said harshly, cutting Leah off from whatever she’d opened her mouth to say.  He reached for Jason’s arm and pulled his limp body into a bridal-style hold.  Jason’s head lolled to the side, his nose pressed into Xander’s shoulder.

    Before either Leah or I could react, Xander was out the door and jogging down the hall.  I stood quickly, nearly growling as Leah took off ahead of me.  She clicked down the stairs slower than I needed her to, and by the last stair I’d caught up with her.  My hand reached out and I more or less pushed her, causing her to stumble and be swallowed by the crowd.  If I hadn’t been so stressed about Jason, I would’ve laughed.

    My head snapped to attention as I caught Xander in the corner of my eye, jogging around the corner with Jason.  I strode after them, coming to a halt as I saw Xander shouting at Carter in front of the door.  Carter looked flustered, casting nervous looks at Jason as he received instructions from Xander.  Leo stood next to them, stunned at the sight of the unmoving form.

    When I reached them, Xander had already turned to go.  Leo pulled the door open before brushing past me, shouting about shutting the party down.  I had reached the door frame and was intent on following Xander to his car when Carter’s arm thrust out to stop me.

    “What the hell?” I snapped, attempting to swat him away.  When he remained where he was, my mouth dropped open.  “You’re fucking kidding me, right?”

    He looked hesitant.  “Jason didn’t say you could leave.”

    I gave a hoarse, bitter laugh.  “He’s not even awake to say that.  I’m going with them.”

    “If he doesn’t say, it doesn’t happen.”  Carter seemed more confident, stepping in front of me to completely block the passage out.


    I was trying to figure out how to respond through my shock when Leah’s voice came from behind me.


    “Where are they taking him?” she said, a little too passively for the situation.


    Carter’s expression dissipated and was replaced by the same baffled look that Leo had worn seeing her that night.  He couldn’t form a response to her question and she scoffed loudly.


    “Fine, then I’ll just follow him,” she huffed, shoving past both of us.


    “What the hell!” I screamed, casting my fiercest look at Carter.  “You’re letting that bitch go and not me?”


    “I have no power over her,” he said absently.  My nails dug into my palms as an attempt to channel my anger.


    “You have absolutely no power over me,” I spat.  When I tried to push against him, he only threw me back, causing me to scream in frustration.  “Let me go, Carter!”


    “No,” he shook his head.


    The blaring music shut off just then, making it seem as if Carter’s one word had stopped the whole party.  I bit my cheek hard and tried not to strangle him.  The muscles in his neck were tensing and releasing, showing he was almost as angry as I was.


    People were complaining noisily about the lack of music, but Leo’s voice came above all of them, shouting that it was time to go.  A few seconds later, an annoyed crowd began flocking to the front and back doors.


    My eyes widened.  The back door.


    I sent Carter one last glare before striding away from him.  Weaving my way through the pushy crowd, I kept my eye on the sliding glass door leading to the backyard.  I’d just shoved a drunken blonde out of my way when I felt a hand wrap around my forearm and tug me sharply around.


    I threw out a punch as I came face to face with Blondie, the same expression on his features as Carter had worn.  He was stressed and exasperated, pulling me out of the mass and into the kitchen.


    “Let go of me,” I snapped, trying to break from his grasp.


    “No,” he said simply, walking us through to the dining room.


    “What the hell is your problem?”  I strained against him, but he was dragging me too fast through the house to get in a good kick at his knee.


    “Right now, you are my problem,” he hissed back, and we plunged through the now thinning crowd of people and came out on the other side, facing the study.  Carter was shouting at people, telling them to hit the road or he’d call the cops and bust them for drugs.  They left less than pleasantly, and he turned to face us as we approached.


    “Good,” Carter breathed, opening the doors wider for me and Blondie to slip inside.  Carter stepped out to the opposite side of the doors, shoving the last few people out the front door with Leo.


    I attempted to swipe my leg under Blondie’s, but he managed to hook his leg under my own and knock me to the ground.  A scream of frustration left my mouth as he let go of me and went straight for the study doors, striding out and slamming them behind him.  I was alone in the room, and could see the three guys through the glass.  As I got to my feet and ran to the door, I heard a lock click into place and a relieved expression appeared on Blondie’s face.


    My nose almost pressed to the glass, I glared at him as he stood right in front of me.  Pulse pounding throughout my body, I knew when I got out I would kill all three of them.  Jason was on his way to the hospital for something I was the only one who knew about.  The whole situation was ridiculous.  Unable to contain myself, I kicked the door.


    “Fuck you all!” I screamed, receiving nothing more than a glance from Leo.  They continued talking but their words were muffled by the barrier between us.


    I spun and stalked to the table, slamming my fists against the surface and groaning in anger.  Not only was Jason going to the hospital without me, but when he woke up — if he did — Leah would be the first one he’d see.  I couldn’t let that happen; wouldn’t.  My nails dug into my palms so hard I thought they might break the skin.  A thin layer of sweat had found its way onto my brow and my dress suddenly seemed suffocating.  I had to get out of here, I had to get to Jason.


    A long while back, Tyler had come home from a party so smashed I was surprised he’d even remembered my name.  I feared for his life after consuming so much alcohol since he hadn’t puked any of it up.  I’d stayed with him in his room at the time, and nearly had a heart attack when he didn’t wake up right away the next morning.  But even then, I didn’t feel as strong of a pull to Tyler as I did to Jason now.  Maybe it had been because I was actually physically with Tyler, but the anxiety didn’t feel the same.


    The last of the party-goers peeled out of the neighborhood, the sound of the horn loud even inside the house.  My eyes flashed to the window and I noticed Xander’s car gone, most likely several minutes ago.  I’d only been in the study about two minutes, but it felt like an eternity.  I wondered how long it took to get to the hospital from the house and hoped it wasn’t more than ten minutes.  It could’ve been anything in that scotch, and given his reaction to the substance, being out for as long as Jason was could be dangerous.


    My legs gave out and I collapsed into one of the wooden chairs, sighing heavily.  The tightness in my chest was still there, clawing at my insides as I rubbed my temples.  How long were they going to leave me in here?  It couldn’t be all night; they had to go see Jason at one point, right?


    I’d witnessed twenty more minutes tick by on the wall clock before I heard the noise of a lock.  My body stood and spun abruptly, balance momentarily thrown off by the wedges I wore.  I closed the distance in two strides, making it to the glass doors before Leo could even put his hand on the knob.  As soon as they were open, I threw my arms at the doors and shoved Leo by his shoulders.


    “You asshole!” I shouted, sending him a look that could kill.  “How could you let her go and not me?  I’m the only one who even knows what the hell happened, and you didn’t let me go with him!”


    “Calm down, Phoebe,” Leo snapped, pushing my hands away.  I’d attempted to bawl my fists in his shirt, intending to deliver a punch to his gut.  I wanted to hit something — someone.


    “Don’t tell me to calm down,” I hissed.  “He could be dead, you know!”


    “He’s not dead,” Carter said as he came around the corner.  “Xander just called.  Jason is fine.”


    A weight lifted off of my shoulders but I was still furious with all three of them.  “Just get me in a car and let’s go.”


    “No,” Carter said, his answer the same as the last time.  My mouth dropped open.


    “Carter…”  Leo trailed off, sending both of us a weary glance.


    “I will die before I let a prick like you boss me around,” I spat, flipping him off before striding toward the door.


    “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”


    “I thought you were smarter than that, but obviously I was wrong.  I’m going to see Jason.”


    “No you’re–“


    “Carter,” Leo cut him off harshly.  “It’s fine.  I’ll take her.”


    “Damn straight you will,” I scoffed, turning the knob on the front door more rough than I needed to.  The cold night air rushed in at me, but I was too energized to feel the difference in temperatures.


    “Jason hasn’t said a thing about letting her out of here, and I’ll be damned the time I let her tell me what she’s going to do under our roof!”


    “How are you supposed to control me when you can’t even keep your own girl in check?” I retorted without thinking.  Carter looked as if he had been stung, and I instantly felt regret for saying something so soon about a touchy subject; but it seemed to have the effect I was going for, which was to shut him up so I could leave.


    “Let’s go, Leo,” I said quietly, and stalked out into the night.


    I heard the front door close, followed by his footsteps on the grass as he jogged out to the street.  The guys had been parking out on the street the past week, so it only took a few seconds to find Leo’s car and slide into the passenger’s side.  Leo jogged around to the driver’s side and slid in, shoving his key into the ignition and turning on the car.


    “That was a low blow,” he said flatly after we’d been driving for a few minutes.  His tone didn’t suggest he was angry, or really anything at all.  He was just telling me what I already knew.


    I didn’t want to admit my slip, so I just huffed out a breath and stared at the buildings blurring together outside the car.  The ride felt like ages without talking, and I sighed in relief as the hospital came into view another few minutes later.  Leo had barely come to a stop before I was pushing out of the car and stalking toward the large entrance to the ER.  He jogged behind me into the ten-story building the size of at least a block and stood idly as I strode to the front desk.


    “Jason McCann,” I rushed, knowing how hospitals worked.  I’d been to one enough times to know that all I needed to do was to say a name and I’d be pointed in the right direction.


    “Are you a relative?” the tired-looking woman said, glancing at me after clicking around on the computer in front of her.


    “No,” I told her, wondering why she’d asked.  Was Jason’s condition more serious than I thought?  Usually the family-only restriction was used only in extreme situations.


    “I can’t let you in to see him, then,” she said blandly, clicking a few more times on her mouse.  “He hasn’t woken up yet, but you can wait in the chairs over there until he does.”


    “I need to see him now,” I said in much the same tone, baffled by the fact she wasn’t going to let me in.


    “You’re not a relative or a partner,” she nearly rolled her eyes.  My jaw clenched.


    “I’m his girlfriend,” I said before I could stop myself.  Jason and I hadn’t specified exactly what we were, but we hadn’t been particularly worried about a title in the privacy of Jason’s house.  The word sounded nicer than it maybe should have coming out of my mouth, but I didn’t have the patience to think about it more than I had in that few seconds.


    “His girlfriend went in a while ago,” the woman said, eyeing me skeptically.


    My jaw tightened even more, and I thought my teeth might break under the force.  Leah.


    “She’s not his girlfriend,” I nearly spat, feeling my blood beginning to boil again.  How the hell did she think she could pull all this?


    I received an exasperated look before she bent her head down, scribbling something I couldn’t see.  A few seconds later a visitor’s sticker was placed in front of me on the desk.


    “Sign in,” she grumbled, glancing back at her computer screen.  “He’s in room 621.  Take the elevator to your left.”


    Satisfied but still angry, I hastily jotted my name down on the clipboard set to the side of the desk and placed the sticker on the top half of my dress.  I glanced back at Leo before giving her a quick thanks.  Since he didn’t follow, I assumed Leo didn’t want to see Jason — I understood, since being a part of the group wasn’t necessarily his choice, but still felt a little frustration toward him.  Sure, Jason was fine, but the lack of concern bothered me.


    Deciding to drop it, I rushed to the elevators and pushed the up button a few times.  When the doors finally opened I stepped inside and repeatedly hit the six, tapping my foot impatiently as the elevator took forever to close.  I was stressed beyond belief, angry with Carter for not letting me come sooner; furious with Leah for being Leah; and frustrated with the whole situation I was in.  I shouldn’t have been going to the hospital to see Jason — we should’ve still been joking on the back deck, avoiding the party he was hosting and sipping a bottle of untainted scotch.


    The elevator doors opened onto the sixth floor and I slipped out.  My eyes scrambled to find the sign on the wall that pointed to Jason’s room and made a quick right after finding it.  I counted the room numbers under my breath until my feet stopped at 621.  Without hesitating I opened the door.


    The room smelled strongly of antiseptic and held a dark quality to it, but that could’ve just been the wall of windows letting in what little light the night gave.  The whole rest of the setting was a combination of white and off-white, the pattern only broken by Xander’s clothing.  He was standing off in the corner, looking both annoyed and strung out at the same time.  Leah’s form, clad in a different shade of white, was bent over Jason on the hospital bed.  She wore a neutral look with an underlying tone of worry.  I was going to strangle her.


    Leah had jumped noticeably when I pushed the door open, and Xander had given me an irritated look that I didn’t know who was meant to receive it.  I glared back at Leah, ignoring him.


    “They let you in?” she said, seemingly indifferent.


    “Fuck off,” I said, kicking the room’s door closed and striding over to the hospital bed.


    I jutted my hip out to wedge between Leah and Jason, and managed to separate the two of them.  She huffed a maddened response before making sure to bump my leg with her heel as she slipped around to the other side of Jason.  I fell into the chair next to me.


    “Did someone tell you what was wrong?” I pointed my question toward Xander, knotting my fingers in the thin blanket that’d been placed over Jason.


    He shrugged.  “They just told me he was fine.  No one has said why–“


    The room’s door glided open and a middle-aged man walked in with a clipboard, looking between all three of us before moving to shake Xander’s hand.  He introduced himself as Dr. Ben Hanson, then asked a few short questions about Jason’s history.  After telling the doctor Jason didn’t regularly use drugs or get drunk, he flipped a page on his clipboard.


    “When Mr. McCann came in, you told us you thought he’d taken a drink from a spiked beverage?” he asked Xander.


    “Right,” Xander nodded, crossing his arms over his chest.  “As far as I know, that’s the only thing he took in tonight.”


    I rested my hand lightly on Jason’s forearm.  Xander seemed to be handling the doctor well, so I decided to stay quiet.  I knew I’d lose all patience if I had to talk to him.  Leah was fidgeting across from me, retaining about as much tolerance for waiting as I was for her.


    “When you brought him in, the emergency room doctors performed a gastric irrigational procedure — stomach pumping,” the doctor explained as my gut knotted.  “Hearing that you’d come from a party, it seemed like a good option for getting any toxins out of his body immediately.  I heard Mr. McCann had only had a few sips of scotch and was skeptical, given the state at which he’d come in.  My curiosity got the better of me, and I ordered a test on the refuse of his stomach.”


    Leah wrinkled her nose with a disgusted noise and it took everything within me not to reach across the bed and strangle her.  The glare I shot her let her know she wasn’t welcomed, as if my words hadn’t made it clear enough.  Jason could’ve been drugged, and she was disgusted by the process that may or may not have taken it out of his body.


    “Did you find anything?” Xander asked, trying to mask his concern.  He always seemed to take on the “second-in-command” role the way my brother did with Markus, which entailed hiding certain emotions in pressure situations.  It was both irritating and admirable at the same time.


    “Actually,” the doctor said with a raised eyebrow.  “Yes.  There were traces of a plant called Belladonna.  The berries are poisonous, and the leaves even more so.  Luckily for Mr. McCann, only a small amount of berries had been diffused through the drink he’d consumed.  Any more for any longer, and he wouldn’t be anywhere close to the stable condition he’s in now.”


    I didn’t feel like I could react.  A plant had done this to Jason?  What kind of berry could knock a guy like him off his feet?  It seemed like a long shot, but if the doctor had run tests, who was I to act like I knew better?  I bit my lip.  The doctor said if Jason had taken in any more, he wouldn’t be stable — meaning that he wouldn’t have a guarantee of being alive.


    “When will he wake up?” I asked.  Jason was breathing noticeably, steady now that the poison was out of his system.  The IV bag connected to the back of his hand was about half empty, and the heart rate monitor sounded normal.


    “It’ll be at least another hour,” the doctor said.  I caught Leah in the corner of my eye pasting a worried look onto her face, but chose to ignore it in favor of listening to the doctor.  “He did take in a toxin that could’ve killed him; would have, had he gotten here fifteen minutes later.”


    My stomach seemed to drop further at the possible outcome, but I was relieved underneath that Jason was going to be okay.  Maybe it had been Leah’s unannounced trespassing that had thrown me off, but it felt like my emotions were swaying every which way and more extreme than usual.  My hand tightened around Jason’s forearm as the doctor continued with his words pointed toward Xander.


    “He’ll be awake by morning, but he needs time to recover.  Visiting hours are technically over, but I can let you three stay.  I don’t want you to try to wake him up at all, though.”  He passed a look between the three of us, his eyes lingering on Leah and I.  I heard Leah huff under her breath and I struggled to hold in the same reaction.


    “Thanks,” Xander said, and the doctor gave a nod before walking out.


    There was a long silence where I sat looking at Jason, staring at his sleeping features.  He seemed more relaxed, like he always did, when he wasn’t focused on anything.  The lack of creases in his forehead made him look like the kid he’d told me about in the restaurant, going out to eat with his mother every once in a while and doing things a normal kid would do.  One who hadn’t gotten mixed up in everything yet; one who hadn’t gotten poisoned at his own party.


    A sigh came from Leah and I stiffened, looking up to find her already flashing a calculating gaze at me.  My eyebrow rose, the only response I wanted to show her even with the anger boiling in my gut.  Jason had almost died, and I wasn’t going to waste my energy on someone irrelevant to him and I.


    “Leo’s in the lobby,” I told Xander, eyes unwavering from Jason’s form.


    “I figured,” he said flatly.  “Is he coming up?”


    “Not that I know of.”


    “They’re going to make him leave if he’s not in a room.”


    “Go get him, then,” I answered, glancing at him.  A look of territorial annoyance passed over his face.  He was probably angry being told what to do by me, but I didn’t care.


    “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”  He shifted his weight, looking between the two girls sat on either side of Jason.


    I rolled my eyes.  I could be civil for five minutes.  Leah had nothing on me; she couldn’t hurt me if she tried, and I wasn’t about to let Xander convince her I was afraid.


    “Just go,” I said.  “I promise I won’t kill her.”


    “Mature.”  Sarcasm dripped from just the one word.  I chose not to fuel her ego with a reply.


    Xander gave us one last glance before pushing out into the hall.


    “What did he promise you?” Leah asked immediately after the door shut.


    My gaze flashed to her.  “What are you talking about?”  I could already feel the dam holding back my temper beginning to break.


    “Jason,” she said, sitting back in the chair she’d found.  “What did he say to you to get you to sleep with him?”


    My jaw went slack and I gaped at her.  Her question had caught me off guard.  I’d expected something along the lines of an insult or a derogatory name.  In terms of what she’d actually asked, I had no idea what she meant.  Even if I intended to humor her with an answer, I wouldn’t know what to say.


    “What the hell are you talking about?”


    “I know your story, Honey,” Leah continued, an attempt to sound superior evident in her tone.  “I used to live around Poway.  I’m a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.  Your brother hates Jason with a burning passion, and siblings tend to think alike.  I know Jason took you into his house there.  What I’m curious to know is why you’re here.  You’re obviously sleeping together; but what did he say to get you to come all the way to Oakland like some misguided, well-intentioned follower?”


    I snorted.  “Isn’t that what you are, though?  Beside the ‘well-intentioned’ part, of course.  Last I heard, you disappeared back in March.  What made you decide to show up now with the coincidence of being in the area?  To me, there are no coincidences, and to say that’s the reason you’re here is bullshit.”


    She laughed, but the sound wasn’t amused.  “I live here.  Not that it should matter to you, but Oakland is where Jason and I met.  You’re not the only girl to move with him, Hon.  The difference between you and I is simply that I wasn’t a token of power; I wasn’t an object to Jason.”


    I wasn’t affected by her words.  Similar things were said to me at the previous party Jason had thrown, but none of it mattered to me anymore; Jason had proven I wasn’t something he wanted to throw aside.  What bothered me most was that she’d moved with Jason in the same way I had; but was she telling the truth?  Her story made sense, but no one was here to hold her accountable.  For all I knew, Leah had anticipated this conversation with me before she even stepped onto the front lawn.  She’d obviously known who I was within the first few seconds of laying eyes on me.


    “I have every right to care about Jason,” she stuck her chin up, placing her hand on the bed beside his.


    “You have a funny way of showing you do,” I snapped before I could even think about what I was saying.  I didn’t want to play this game with her, didn’t want to make her think I was as immature as she had me pegged for.  Any immediate response from me was going to come out that way.


    “You have no faith in him,” she rolled her eyes.  “Jason is tough; anyone who’s been living with him for almost two months should know that by now.  There’s no way a plant was going to take him out — he’ll go out in style, if at all.  I, of course, know that, and have no problem remaining relaxed about the situation.”


    I bit the inside of my cheek, sending a glare across the hospital bed.  Who the hell did she think she was, making assumptions about me?  She was obviously trying to get inside my head, make me think I shouldn’t be with Jason.  Leah had another thing coming — I wasn’t leaving.


    “Nothing you say is going to change what I think,” I told her, my voice as level as possible.  I needed to show her that she wasn’t affecting me; she’d probably lose interest and leave.  My hand squeezed Jason’s forearm involuntarily.  “You’re not going to get into that house, or get me out.”


    She laughed.  “Don’t flatter yourself.  I heard Jason was back, and thought I’d drop by to say ‘welcome home’.  You never crossed my mind.”


    My teeth ground together.  “I don’t think a friendly greeting entails waiting in his room at a party.”


    “Who said Jason and I were just friendly?”  A smirk found its way onto her face and I felt anger rising in my chest.


    “You need to leave,” I told her, an edge of hostility in my voice I didn’t know I could manage.    Leah needed to leave the way she did before, disappearing from Jason’s life for good rather than popping up a few months later.  “Now.”


    “I could say the same for you,” she sighed, looking at her nails as a way of showing her boredom.  Her eyes flicked to me.  “You seem to care about him a lot more than you should; being Sam’s sister, and all.”


    I didn’t have time to spit a reply back at her before the door leading to the hall opened.  Xander and Leo entered, both looking tired and moody.  This was the last place any of us wanted to be right now, and it showed.  Leo’s eyes fell to Leah, casting her a look that was less in-awe than when she’d first waltzed in.  The silence they’d created hung over the room like a heavy blanket.


    “Lucas needs me back at the house,” Xander said, digging car keys out of his pocket.  “You heard the doctor; Jason needs sleep.  If one of you wakes him up before at least two hours has passed, your ass will have me to deal with.”


    I chose not to say anything as he swept one last glance over Leo, Leah, and I.  Without saying anything else, Xander pushed out the door, closing it with a click that rang throughout the room.  My eyes watched an impatient-looking Leo cross the floor to another chair and sit down heavily.  Before I could bring myself to say anything, I turned to look back at Jason.


    There was no way I was going to continue the conversation that’d been going back and forth between Leah and I while someone else was in the room.  Her last words still circulated throughout my head, my mind trying to pick them apart and find something lying underneath.


    You seem to care about him a lot more than you should; being Sam’s sister, and all.


    What did she even know about my brother?  Or about my feelings toward Jason?  Moving with him to Oakland was supposed to be like hitting a “reset” button, not a reminder of what I’d left behind.  I didn’t want to think about my brother, or Tyler, or anyone else I’d been connected to.  Somehow Leah knew more about me than she should’ve, and having her there was going to bring up everything I didn’t want to carry with me.  Even so, what had she meant by “more than I should”?  Who was she to be telling me how much I should care about Jason?  I hadn’t even thought about what kind of feelings I’d developed for him; how could she know more about them than me?


    My jaw tightened at my thoughts.  I knew Leah wasn’t going to leave, but neither was I.  Leo couldn’t really go without me, since Carter had been so anal about keeping me at the house.  I let out a breath and began tapping my foot.


    It was going to be a long night.



Sorry for the condensed text up top...  Ran out of space to write :O  Hope you all enjoyed this update.  Next one up in a week at least, with finals and everything on my plate.  Thank you for reading!  Feel free to comment.  Xx


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