I know im the slowest uploader in the world! But this story will keep coming I promise. I know some of you are desperate for Ebony to start getting back at Jay, and I am too :D the fact that Jay got away with this whole thing in the show is what inspired me to write this story! And it's coming, there are lots of handsome men in the Mall for Ebony to choose from ;D, but bare with me, I want this story to have a realistic pace, and I think that even Ebony needs some time to get over her injuries and deal with her losses before she moves on to her next guy! But revenge is on its way boys and girls :D As ever, thank you for reading, it means the world to me. Here's another chapter, hope you enjoy...
Ebony thought back long and hard, over the years of her life, she could think of so many times that her emotions had ruled her. There had been times when she'd been so jealous she'd resorted to unmentionable acts to get what she wanted; there had been times when she'd been so blinded by love that she'd failed to see that she was being used, and there had been times she'd been so desperately sad she could barely make herself get out of bed. Today, right here stuck in this damn bed again, this was one of those times where her emotions were swallowing her whole. She had never felt so conflicted in her entire life.
She'd woken up this morning; being poked and prodded by Patch, yet again, and being yelled at by her sister; yet again. It had taken her a little while to even understand what had happened, but from a mixture of her vague memories and from the gist of Siva's lecture, she'd pretty much pieced it all together by the time Patch had been done with her stitches. She'd remembered leaving this room, and heading over to the cafe. Where you thought it would be a great idea to go and visit Jay... she'd thought to herself dryly.
She sighed, shifting in the bed to avoid the afternoon sun that was streaming through her window and into her eyes, her side hurting as she did so. She remembered the kiss of course. How could she not; it had been one of the most passionate moments of her life. But it had also been one of the stupidest mistakes she'd ever made.
She'd sat there for alone for hours, just thinking. Siva had stalked off as soon as Patch had told her Ebony would be ok, but only after she'd threatened to lock the door behind her if Ebony felt like wondering around the Mall again, and Patch had followed, quiet as a mouse so as not to attract Siva's attention. It made her smile somewhat, to see that Siva genuinely cared about her enough to be this worried; but at the same time she was irked at being told off like a child.
And so she'd sulked for a bit, picked at the sore scabs on her knuckles and huffed at the pain in her side; made worse of course by her trip up those damn stairs, and she'd thought, for hours, about what her next move was. Usually her plans just came to her; her devious and brilliant mind delivering them to her without her barely having to try. But today her brain was having no luck; her heart was shouting over it whenever she tried to think rationally. So she still loved Jay, well that wasn't too big of a surprise, it's not like she had been the one to end their relationship. And sure, she obviously still wanted him enough to kiss him like that. Her lips still burned with the memory of his mouth on hers. But at the same time; she was still angry about his betrayal; and nothing inside her could begin to forgive him for what he'd done. Never, she thought, chewing her lip. I could never trust him enough to be with him again; and I certainly can't get over what's happened... Ugh, so why do I still want him so badly?
The kiss had been wonderful, full of love and passion, and it had been everything she'd ever wanted from Jay. When he'd kissed her last night, it had been all about her. She'd felt that there had been nothing else in his mind at that moment, all he'd wanted was to be with her, to be close to her. Until she'd fainted of course. That must have freaked him out. Ha, good. She thought, smirking.
Her smile faded slightly when she began to accept the reality of the situation. It was the last time. She had been half delirious with oxygen deprivation by the time she'd gotten up those stairs, and yes, even though she was willing to admit that she'd wanted that kiss just as much as she suspected Jay had, it had been a mistake. Things were never going to get better between them and that's just the way it was. She didn't even think she wanted to see him again after this, even though she knew it was inevitable. It's not like she could leave the Mall and start a fresh somewhere else; Rams spies were everywhere and every corner of the city was covered by his cameras. And she certainly couldn't avoid Jay in the Mall once she was released from this dumb hospital and allowed to move back into her room.
And so the only option she seemed to have left was to freeze him out completely. So they would live in the same place, eat at the same cafe, but that didn't mean she had to speak to him ever again did it? She would just ignore his very existence; with the odd exception of a scathing remark maybe or a dirty look here and there. And eventually they would both move on. She hoped.
And that had been her plan; until Siva had come back to her room with an envelope in her hand and a look of distaste on her face.
'What is it?' Ebony asked when she saw her sister's face.
Siva looked from Ebony to the envelope in her hands. She put the envelope on the arm of her chair and plonked herself down, turning to Ebony and away from the offending package behind her. Ebony raised an eyebrow to emphasise her question, but Siva seemed content to ignore it for the time being.
'So,' she said, fussing with Ebony's blankets slightly, smiling as she talked, 'Patch said that as long as you behave yourself-'
Ebony made to fiercely interrupt, but Siva talked over her, smiling, knowing she was winding her sister up.
'As long as you behave yourself and stay in your bed today,' she repeated, 'you, missy, can leave the hospital tomorrow.'
Ebony felt her face break out into her first genuine smile in days. 'God, finally!' she exclaimed.
'And I thought,' Siva went on, 'That we could move your stuff downstairs into Alice's old room.' She looked to Ebony shyly. 'Because it's right near mine and Lex's room and I'd like to keep an eye on you. You know, just while you're healing.' She added nonchalantly.
Ebony felt a warmth spread through her that she hadn't felt in years. The feeling of love that came from having a family. If Siva wanted to say that she wanted Ebony nearby while she was healing, that was fine with her. Because she could tell from Siva's shy smile that her sister just wanted her close again, on a permanent basis. Ebony was surprised to find that that's what she wanted too. Maybe you haven't lost everything yet Ebony she told herself.
'I would really like that Siva,' she responded to her sister warmly, catching her sister's fingers that were still fiddling with the bed sheets, and squeezing them in her hand softly. Her sister smiled too her eyes shining happily. This moment, right then made Ebony feel a lot less unhappy about being back in the Mall. She'd tried to break free of the city and start a new life, that clearly hadn't worked out for her, and now here she was. But looking at Siva's smile and feeling her sister's hand in her own, Ebony was willing to accept that this was where her new life would start now.
'Good,' Siva said. 'I'll get Lex to carry your stuff down from your old room this afternoon. He's a big strong Sheriff; three flights of stairs should be no problem for him.' She smirked. So did Ebony.
'He's going to love that.' Ebony mused.
Siva laughed out loud. 'He won't have a choice really. Oh he'll grumble about it, and curse me and you, up and down every flight of stairs, and every time he picks up a new box most likely, but he'll do it. He loves me.' She smiled again and shrugged happily.
Ebony laughed along with her sister, feeling happy for the first time since she'd bumped into Amber in the woods. She almost forgot about the letter Siva had brought with her until her sister's smile faded and she reached over to grab it. She seemed hesitant at first, but she passed it to Ebony. Ebony saw her name was written on the envelope, dread settled in the bottom of her stomach. It could only be from someone who wasn't welcome to visit her in her hospital room, and therefore probably contained a lot of things she didn't want to read.
'Is it from him?' she asked Siva quietly, toying with the edge of the envelope.
'No,' her sister said softly. 'It's from Amber.'
Ebony scrunched up her nose in distaste and dropped the envelope like it had caught fire. 'I don't care for a second what that girl has to say for herself.'
Siva sighed and nodded, leaning back in her chair. 'I knew you wouldn't, I said as much to her when she begged me to bring it to you. But she said whether you read it or not she needed to try and make things right.'
Ebony narrowed her eyes at her sister. 'Hey,' Siva said, holding her hands up in surrender, 'it's not that I'm saying she could make it right, those were her words not mine. You should be glad I brought the letter, if I'd have refused; I think she would have found a way to sneak in here. You know Amber, she's not exactly one to be told no.'
'Yeah and that's her problem the skanky cow.' Ebony grumbled, scowling at the letter. 'If she thinks she can just send me a sorry note to apologise for ruining my life then she's sorely mistaken. She's going to pay for what she's done.'
'Come on now Eb, let's not start your revenge plans while you're still in the hospital,' Siva said leaning forward and putting her hands on top of Ebony's. 'No stress or action of any kind for you, until you're fully healed and those stitches have come out, do you hear me?'
The warning tone in her sister's voice meant Ebony's only option was to promise not to go after Amber until she was fully healed. Her sister glared at her threateningly for a bit longer and promised Ebony that the repercussions for disobeying a direct sisterly order were severe. Ebony had had to laugh then, and Siva had left her after dropping a kiss on her sister's forehead and promising to visit after she'd supervised Lex moving Ebony's things to her new room.
It took Ebony two hours to decide to read Amber's letter. She'd gone to rip up the letter at least six times; but at the last second curiosity had got the better of her each time until finally she'd just had to open it up.
The letter had been everything she'd expected. A great deal of sanctimonious crap about how Amber couldn't be more sorry for what she'd done, about how she'd not only betrayed Ebony, but Bray as well and she couldn't begin to apologise for what had happened. At least we agree on one thing Ebony had thought snarkily.
But some of it had come as a shock. In the letter, Amber had admitted to having feelings for Jay, which wasn't entirely unexpected; Amber had always been ridiculously honest, but she'd gone on to say that that very morning she'd confessed as much to Jay. Ebony, who'd previously been reading through all the apology nonsense, had been so close to throwing the letter away, now she gripped it in her hands, unable to look away. Amber said she wanted her to know that Jay had not returned her advances; that he was still too in love with Ebony. She urged Ebony to give Jay a chance to explain himself. That no one in the world loved her as much as Jay did.
Tears rolled down her cheeks and splashed on the page, running the ink from Amber's pen. Amber ended the letter with more apologies, and with a promise that if Ebony and Jay worked things out and got back together, then Amber would stay away from him.
She crumpled the letter up in her fist angrily. It was just like Amber to make her feel worse when her life was already in tatters. Just what did she expect Ebony to do with this information; run upstairs and forgive Jay like it never happened? Of course Amber wanted to rub it in that Jay still had feelings for her, when she must have known full well that Ebony wouldn't forgive him. God she hated them both. She threw the letter away from her in disgust. It bounced off the door and rolled under her bed. Good, she was glad she couldn't see the damn thing anymore.
She brushed the tears away from her eyes; angry that she was so weak. It didn't matter what Amber or anyone said, this thing was over, she wouldn't allow herself to shed a single tear over it again. As of this moment she was moving on. She would have her revenge on both Amber and Jay, but she would not hurt over this anymore. When she got out of this stupid hospital; she would find something else to focus on. Maybe she would meet someone else, hell, maybe she would take Ram down and save the city, it didn't matter what, as long as she didn't have to think about Jay and Amber anymore. They are welcome to each other she thought darkly.
Dinner with Siva was a quiet affair. Ebony's sour mood didn't help, but her sister seemed distracted as well. Only laughing occasionally when Ebony asked her how Lex's afternoon of lugging boxes around had gone, and really smiling only when she told Ebony she'd nearly got her room all sorted out for her.
When Ebony asked her what was wrong, her sister smiled a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes, and told her it was nothing. She was clearly hiding something, but Ebony didn't push it, if Siva wanted to talk, she would, when she was ready.
When it was time for Siva to go, she held Ebony tightly and for a long time. She looked down at her little sister and pushed a braid away from her face, telling her that she loved her more than anything, and that she would see Ebony tomorrow. She left with a sad smile on her face.
Ebony was worried, Siva was acting weird. Especially after how happy she'd been earlier on in the afternoon. But there was nothing she could do about it now; her sister was gone and she was stuck in the hospital bed until tomorrow.
She was exhausted; she'd not gone back to sleep after waking up from her unconsciousness that morning. Her bed wasn't getting any more comfortable however; and the pain in her side was constant and sharp. Her legs were tangled up in the covers from her continuous efforts to find a position in the bed that didn't hurt, and the second soft white nightgown Siva had given her to wear in the hospital was twisted all around her. The darn thing came down to her feet when she stood up, and she looked like she was from the middle ages with it on. The first nightgown had been knee length and far more comfortable to sleep in; but of course Ebony had bled all over that one when she'd insisted on climbing up half the stairs in the Mall the night before.
She huffed loudly and flung all of the covers off the bed and onto the floor. The nightgown covered her legs anyways, and she found it easier to relax without the weight of the blankets pressing down on her injuries. Her ribs were still sore and bruised; but weren't broken like Patch had thought at first. Ebony was glad for that; she'd broken a rib before the virus, playing softball in high school, and it had been agonising. For all the discomfort of her pain and the horrid hospital bed, Ebony knew she was lucky to be alive.
She drifted in and out of sleep. The image of Jay kissing Amber in the woods was burned on the back of her eyelids and when Ebony slept, that moment haunted her dreams. Sometimes she would dream that Jay pushed Amber away at the last minute, declaring his love for Ebony instead. Waking from that dream hurt the most. She was dreaming about running away from Jay, through the forest and the rain, lightening flashing overhead, when she snapped her eyes open suddenly, her body tense and alert. Someone was trying to get into her room.
Quiet as a mouse, she slithered from the bed and crept over to the door, standing in wait at the edge of the door frame for the person who was rattling at the door knob, trying to turn it slowly and silently. Ebony could see from the small clock on her bedside that it was quarter to two in the morning; whoever was trying to open the door clearly wasn't trying to visit; they were trying to sneak in.
Her heart was pounding as images of Java and a troop of Technos sneaking in to arrest her flooded her mind. And then she saw Ram, creeping in through the darkness to take her back to the hotel to suffer for her crimes. She shook her head trying to clear her mind. She was Ebony. She would not be afraid.
Her breath was shallow as she groped blindly behind her to the table that held some of the get well gifts the Mall Rats had brought to her on the day she'd woken up. Salene and Pride had brought her a vase of wild flowers; dusty pink and white, they'd reminded her of her mother's wedding bouquet. Mouse had drawn her a picture of a kitten playing with a ball of string; she'd told Ebony that kittens made her feel better and that she hoped this one would help Ebony feel better too. Jack had brought her boring books to read, but it was the thought that counted really; she knew they were from his own collection as they had his name written in the front covers. They'd nearly all sent her cards and notes to wish her well, it had been rather touching. Even Lex had brought her a half drank bottle of Vodka, telling her that that would make her feel far better than flowers and kittens, before taking a swig, and plonking it back on the gift table. It was that she closed her fingers around now, gripping it tightly with sweaty palms and raising it above her head as the door creaked open.
She smashed the bottle down on the head of the dark figure that lurched through the door. The figure grunted in pain and fell to the floor, covered in vodka and broken glass. She made to make a run for it; maybe she could make it to Lex and Siva's room before her assailant caught up with her, when suddenly she recognised his white blonde hair. It glistened wetly in the silvery moonlight streaming in through her window.
She let out a breath she didn't even know she'd been holding and laughed nervously. Jay looked at her like she'd lost her mind, but didn't complain about the blow he'd just received, as he picked bits of broken glass from his hair. She almost wanted to laugh some more; the whole situation was so ridiculous. But a cold feeling settled in her heart and hardened her face. She glared at him, all traces of mirth gone from her eyes.
'I'm sure Siva must have told you that you are not welcome here.' She said coolly, stepping away from the puddle of vodka and glass shards, so as not to cut her feet. Jay saw her movements, and began picking up the pieces of glass from the floor, and putting them in a bin behind the door, not saying a word about bruise she could already see forming above his eye. It was a long time before he spoke at all.
'I know I shouldn't be here.' He said, meeting her eyes. It was the first time she'd really looked at him since she'd said goodbye to him in the forest. It had only been a week or so, she thought, but Jay looked awful, he was skinnier than she remembered, and he had dark circles under his eyes, as though he wasn't eating or sleeping properly. She was almost concerned, until she remembered herself.
'Then why the hell are you here?' she snapped, folding her arms angrily across her chest. She was cold now; she was out of bed and her feet were wet. He was staring at her with concern shining in his brown eyes and that annoyed her as well. She felt scrutinized as she watched his eyes sweep over her injuries, a frown tugging at the corners of his mouth. She didn't have a mirror in her room, but she could feel the newly healing scratches on her sore face and the dull pain of the dark bruises around her neck. Almost nervously she shied away from his gaze; turning away from him to sit on the edge of the bed. She glared at him, waiting for his answer. 'Well?'
He cleared his throat and shook his head, clearly trying to get past her cuts and bruises. 'I have to tell you something.' He said softly, moving over to sit in the chair Siva usually occupied. His knees grazed hers as he sat forward in the chair, so she pulled her legs away from him and sat cross legged on the bed. I should have shoved him out of the door! How unfortunate that he took me not kicking his ass as an invitation... she thought sarcastically.
She rolled her eyes. 'I don't want to hear it Jay. I don't care what you have to say just get out. I've heard your excuses already.'
'I- I'm not here to talk about us Ebony. I know that that's not what you want to hear right now.' He ran his hands through his hair and sat back in the chair. He looked a million years older than he did when she'd last seen him in the daylight of the forest. He met her eyes, and she was annoyed with herself when she felt her breath hitch in her throat like it used too when she caught him looking at her. 'I came here to see you one last time. In case it is the last time. I thought you would be asleep.'
Her heart stuttered and she found herself unable to stop herself from blurting; 'What do you mean the last time you'll see me?'
'Siva didn't want you to know. She doesn't want you to try and get involved.' He sighed and ran his hands through his hair again; and she knew him well enough to know that meant he cross with himself and anxious about something. 'I shouldn't have come, I just had to-' He almost made to reach out for her hand, which she was using to absently pick at the scabs on her knees. She saw him realise his mistake and pull his hand back just before she was about to pull hers out of his reach.
'Involved in what? Jay for goodness sake, you're here now so just spit it out!' she snapped. She was irritated that he'd managed to trick her into having a conversation with him just hours after she'd sworn never to speak to him or go near him again. She deepened the scowl on her face, just so that he didn't get any ideas about being forgiven.
He looked like he was having an internal debate; clearly whatever concerns Siva had expressed about not telling her, Jay had seconded them. But she knew he was an honest man, for the most part anyway she thought sourly and he would tell her the truth now that she had asked him.
'We are going to end Ram and the Technos tomorrow. We are taking the city back. And you will be staying here.' Jay had never been one to use more words than were needed, and there it was. Everyone she cared about was walking into their deaths tomorrow.
'And none of you were going to tell me?' Her voice was as cold as ice. 'And what exactly am I supposed to do when none of you come back tomorrow?'
He leaned forward and rested his hands on the end of his knees; not quite touching her, but close enough that she could have reached out and pulled him into her arms if she'd wanted to. The smell of Vodka clung to him still. 'Trudy and Ellie are staying here; Mouse and Sammy and the babies too, you won't be alone. And if things go wrong for us, there are plans in place to get the seven of you out of the City unharmed.'
Ebony snorted. 'You're leaving me with the women and children? Oh please Jay! I am a warrior and this is my city, you won't take it back without me.'
A touch of a smile graced his face for a second, lighting up his eyes for a moment and curving his lips into a smile of fondness. But it passed quickly; one thing she knew about her ex-boyfriend was that when it came to protecting people he cared about, he was deadly serious. He looked at her sternly. 'You are the strongest woman I know Ebony but you're not strong right now. I didn't come here to debate this with you; the plan is what it is; and you're staying here.'
A huge part of her was fully aware that he was being so forceful on the issue because he cared about her still and wanted her to be safe. But there was another part of her that was not about to take orders from the man who'd broken her heart. So she laughed nastily. 'You don't get a say in what I do anymore Jay, your opinion means nothing to me.'
She could tell that had hurt him; Jay was nowhere near as good as her when it came to concealing his emotions. 'Be that as it may Ebony, it's not just my opinion,' He said stiffly, looking away from her angry eyes. 'It's Siva's final request that if anything happen to her tomorrow that you go on and live a safe and happy life away from Ram. She plans to leave you a letter just in case.'
That knocked the wind out of her sails somewhat. Angry as she was that they'd gone ahead and planned a rebellion without her, she knew she would be no help to them in her current state. She couldn't even pace around her room for more than five minutes without getting breathless; she would be worse than useless in battle. But if they failed and she was not there fighting with them... 'She cannot go, I won't let her.' She said in a voice that sounded much softer than her own.
'This was her decision to go Ebony,' Jay said gently, 'Siva and her Militia will be integral to our success, Siva knows that. Your sister is almost as fearsome as you, she'll be ok Ebony.'
'And the rest of you? How do you even know you'll live to see tomorrow evening?' She asked him sharply. She'd been blindsided by this latest plan of the Mallrats' to get themselves killed; even when Siva had been acting so strangely at dinner time, Ebony had had no idea that something like this was going to happen. And now she was supposed to just let them all go, and deal with the very real possibility that some of them might never come back. She felt tears burning in her eyes as she thought of her sister never coming back, of Jay never coming back.
'I don't,' he whispered. He looked up at her, and for once she didn't look away. She was busy trying to remember every detail of his beautiful face; just in case. 'That's why I needed to see you. I needed...' he trailed off, still looking deep into her eyes. He was too close; she desperately tried to force back the emotions that were trying to force their way out of her. Her own fingers betrayed her; twitching with the need to touch him. Her eyes widened when he reached forward and traced his fingers across her cheek. She blinked and the tears tumbled down her cheeks.
'Jay,' she murmured, warning in her voice. She did not want this, no matter how much her body betrayed her; her heart and her mind were still reeling from his betrayal.
He looked at her with such emotion then that she had to look down at her hands in her lap. In one look he'd hit her with the extent of his love and of his regret. It's too late she told herself, biting her her lip.
'I know, I'm sorry.' He whispered and she heard his breath catch in his throat. His hand ghosted across her collarbone and down her arm, leaving her skin ablaze in its wake. His face changed then, as though he'd suddenly remembered what had happened between them. 'I'm being selfish, I shouldn't have come here.'
He stood so suddenly that the chair scraped loudly on the floor, making her jump. There was nothing she could do but watch him stalk towards the door. Her voice stuck in her throat when she made to call him back. She couldn't make herself be nice to him, even now, when this might be the last time she would see him.
He stopped at the door and turned to look at her. His eyes sparkled with unshed tears and an intensity she'd never seen in them before. 'I love you.'
Tears spilled down her own cheeks, her heart aching. 'I know.' She whispered, trembling, a sob escaping her.
He looked at her, with the same look he'd worn on the day she'd married Ram. And then he turned and walked out of the door and out of her life.