Yeah, those updates during the summer... they rocked your world, eh?

Sorry 'bout that... here's a little Christmas gift to ya'll who waited so patiently! [:

[I rewrote this 3 or 4 times!] Also, I'm working on the next chapter. Hopefully have it up in a few days but don't kill me if I don't please. [:

Chapter Twelve

Outside, the off-white moon shone brightly upon the silhouettes of the swaying trees. The expansive field of grass was illuminated by the soft light that hung in the night sky. Small pin points of stars twinkled brightly in the early night sky, new ones appearing as the sky progressively got darker.

Inside the mansion, I rolled over on the couch lazily with my eyes still shut tight from sleeping all day. I let out a large moan and stretched out on my pale stomach. My long arms reached for the ceiling temporarily and then fell to the couch with a soft thud, giving up.

Begrudgingly my eyes opened a crack and I expected to be blinded by the room's light. But to my surprise, the main light of the room was still off; although, a few candles were lit about the room romantically. Smiling to myself, I told my brain to remember that for Jinx's bedroom. It created a nice, peaceful mood. Then perhaps, it would be more cozy in there.

The night before came rushing back to me in an instant. Would I ever be in Jinx's room again? He had gotten fairly mad with me about what I had done. I stuck my tongue out at the thought of him, childishly. With a huff I rolled onto my left side and faced the back of the comfortable couch. I fell in and out of a restless sleep for the next two hours before I had finally had enough of the constant waking up. Sitting up, I stretched my tired muscles once again. This thing with Jinx was bothering me a bit more than I liked to admit.

"There's a room that's not in use on the other side of this floor, would you perhaps like to live in those rooms until you can make amends with Ixie?" Naomi suggested on the second day that I was staying with them.

I smiled at her. "That would be nice. Is it really okay though?"

She nodded. "Of course! Come, I'll show you to them now." I began to realize that she was anxious to get me out of her rooms. For although she was quite energetic and a very good at socializing, Naomi wanted space for just her and Henry.

As she walked me down the halls, my eyes wandered. They studied the designs and portraits on the hallway walls. "How old do you suppose those are?" She looked back at me and shrugged.

The next few days, or rather nights, went by slowly. As I was walking down one of the hallways, I caught a glimpse of a familiar face. Narrowing my eyes at the faraway figure, I tried to focus in. My eyes acted like the lens of a camera, slowly fading into focus on the right object. Strong and tall, Jinx was walking with his hands in his pockets. As soon as our eyes met and I blinked, he was gone. Looking down the hallway once again, I saw no one.

I was sitting with Naomi in a dining room. Since I had moved to my own chamber, I had not talked with Jinx once. It felt pointless to be in his home now that he was avoiding me. Naomi seemed like she kept an even balance between us, spending time with me when I was feeling lonely and also helping Jinx cool down his random temper bursts that he was prone to. I was positive that she had stuff about Jinx that she was hiding from me, for she seemed to be full of secrets, like a magic box that just waited for a key to be turned in its lock so it could spew out terrifying truths. There was a hot plate of breakfast before me; the space in front of her was empty. I stared down at my food and picked at it with the fork in my hand. The scrambled eyes tumbled across the plate as they were slid around, bumping into the bacon bits. Black specks of pepper covered the pale yellow food, just waiting to accentuate the taste in my mouth. I couldn't think about eating it though, it just seemed so unappetizing at the moment.

My fingers tapped the edge of the table as I prepared to argue with her. For, to me, it no longer seemed correct for me to stay in the home of a man who disliked me. I also needed to get back to college. They probably, at least hopefully, had search parties going for me, for I had not used my phone in some time. Actually, I would be hurt if they did not have any. After all, I had been gone more than two months and the exchanging text messages with my mother had stopped a while ago.

"I want to go home-" I began evenly, head held high and shoulders pointedly back, in a prideful poise. Turning her head in the other direction; Naomi ignored me. "Naomi, there's no reason for me to be here anymore. Jinx was the one who brought me here in the first place and now that he has told me to scram, I am just intruding on you for no reason at all."

Her eyebrow twitched and she looked up at me severely. "Will you stop saying that?"

"What do you mean?" I asked her without patience. "He's been avoiding me!"

"You have to stop saying that you want to go home!" She told me angrily, which was quite a sight. "Do you not realize how much Jinx – "

"Look Naomi, once he found out that I had been talking to Alex he-"

"You were talking to Alex?" Her facial expression took a whole different turn. "Do you not know their history?" She was outraged, and talking in a loud voice that made all the heads in the room turn towards us. "His reaction makes sense now."

I gave her a disdainful look, did she not realize anything? "No, I don't actually. Maybe you could understand that I was kidnapped and dragged here by the lunatic that everybody calls Master?" My fingers continued to tap the cold wooden table top as I stared at her with defiance.

Naomi took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "Listen Roxanne," her serious mode had been automatically turned on somehow. "I know you have had one hell of a time here. But will you just hear me out before saying or doing anything else?"

At the sudden change of mood I twisted uncomfortably in my seat. My eyebrows hung on my forehead with anticipation. I just could not understand why there was such a big deal about me talking with Alex. "Yeah, fine."

"Alright then, thank you. I think knowing this will help you understand the situation much better." She paused momentarily. "I, myself, do not exactly know everything that happened or why. So I suppose I should not build up how much I know. You'll have to find the rest out from Ixie or maybe Henry knows?" I opened my mouth to say something but she didn't give me the opportunity to let words escape. "Jinx and Alex have known each other for a long, long time now. They used to be good friends even, but one day something changed."

"Jinx did have quite the reaction when I told him I had been talking to Alex." I input before she could stop me.

"Roxie, one more time-" She threatened.

"-Go on," I urged her.

"This happened before I ever met Henry so it really was quite a while ago, though I guess that really doesn't give you a time mark..." I shook my head; it did not help me understand how long ago it occurred. "Anyways, Jinx had a sister-"

"Had? He doesn't anymore?" This was the first I had ever heard of a sister.

"Roxie can you not just shut up for one minute?" There were deep wrinkles in her forehead from her elevated brows and there was an upset frown on her face. "Do you want to know or not?"

"Sorry," I whispered and crouched back in my chair.

"What I saying? Oh yes! So, Jinx had a sister." She confirmed that her grammar was right when she saw my look of befuddlement. "Yes, had, not has. She was quite the beautiful girl, though I suppose once people are dead they are built up to more than they really are. She was young and sophisticated; sought after by many men. One of those men happened to be Alex, though I do not believe that bothered Jinx too much. He approved of his friend and his sister being together, until, well... I know that Alex did something to her and Ixie was not happy at all!"

I looked at her expectantly.

"That's where my knowledge gets fuzzy."

I gaped at her, judging. "So you have that huge reaction against Alex but, you don't even know what he did to Jinx?"

"I know it was bad."

"How did she die? At least tell me that."

She shrugged. "He avoids the topic, obviously."

"Do you not think that it's suspicious he didn't tell you?"

"No..."

"Naomi!" I admonished her.

"What are you trying to suggest?" She narrowed her eyes.

"Nothing, I just I think you should know what happened to her." I said. "Have you ever seen those murder investigation shows? This is almost perfectly like one."

She rolled her eyes. "Now, that, you are taking too far."

I looked at her with unbelieving eyes. "You want me to stay here, then, and get back into the good graces of Jinx? That's going to be impossible, you realize."

"Step one might be to start referring to him as Master Jinx, not just Jinx." Naomi pointed out blandly, holding up her pointer finger. "You said that Jinx was avoiding you whenever you saw him, how?"

"Whenever he sees me walking down the hall he somehow vanishes or turns the other way. I don't think he really wants to get on better terms with me. Tell me, Naomi, does he ever mention missing me? Or perhaps he says something about letting me go home?" Still stuck on the unbelieving aspect of things, I was.

"Don't be like that, Roxie."

"How do you expect me to be? How am I supposed to react?"

Naomi took a large sigh. "I know that the two of you really did not get to know each other very well-"

"Didn't get to know each other my ass!"

Naomi's thin eyebrows furrowed. "When did you start swearing?"

I ignored her and continued. "I know Jinx, straight on and through! He's high on his horse and thinks that he's my superior."

"Roxie, dear, he is your superior. He's everyone's superior here, that's why everyone calls him Master Jinx. I'm sorry to say hun, but, I think you're the one mostly in the wrong here." Naomi looked at me with pity.

"First, you don't call him Master so why should I? Second, how am I in the wrong? Perhaps if Alex really is all that bad, I did something not right but I had no idea about him! Jinx knew that and he just threw me out. Lastly, he kidnapped me! Kid-napp-ed," I drew the word out with emphasis. "I don't understand how you can be on his side after he's done all of that."

Naomi was silent and closed her eyes. Then, she looked up into my eyes. "Look, Roxie. I can't make you understand. Just... take a deep breath for me right now, alright?"

"Fine." I frowned, and took a breath and let it out quickly.

"You know what I mean, Roxie." She said, and I saw some emotion flicker behind her eyes. Was that impatience? "Take a deep, relaxing breath. Let yourself calm down and think straight."

"I don't want to." I stubbornly replied, crossing my arms.

"I don't care-" She paused, and then took it back. "Please, Roxie. Just let me walk you through this." Leaning back in the chair, Naomi shifted into another position. Finally complying, just for her, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, and then another. "Alright, Roxie, will you answer a few questions for me?" Nodding, I slowly opened my eyes and looked into hers. "I want you to tell me, do you truly hate Ixie?" My head shook, back and forth. My eyes shifted downward and studied my hands. "Good," she smiled at me. "What, then, are your feelings for him?"

There was long silence before I responded. My mind clicked through several memories of him, trying to get an accurate picture. The sounds of the others in the room slowly faded as my lips opened.