Although the recital musicians' shift from performing pretty, wistful music into disturbing, ethereal chanting was a slow, building transition, it happened very quickly in Jennifer's mind. The crowd grew restless and uncomfortable as a very perceptible change occurred in the room. It seemed as if the students producing the ominous song were in some kind of trance. Jennifer knew something horrible was about to occur. She wasn't nearly as surprised as she should have been, then, when the accompanist's neck was slashed open by an errant piano string, brilliant red blood splattering her instrument and the stage as she crumpled to the ground. This concert was held to honor the dead, and it appeared the name of one more slain victim needed her name in the program now.
The emergence of the haunting melody and consequent murder had to be the work of some evil creature part of the supernatural world in Beacon Hills that was recently revealed to her. Hopefully one death a night would be enough for the dark deity, but she had no way of knowing for certain if she was safe now that someone around her had been killed. She leapt out of her seat and searched frantically through the auditorium for Scott, Isaac, or even Stiles for that matter, knowing they were good kids involved with Derek and knew way more about this situation than she did. Unfortunately, after a minute of scanning the chaotic room, she hadn't found one trace of the students she was looking for. Even if they were still in the auditorium, there'd be no guarantee she could find them within a room of screaming and crying Beacon Hills citizens stampeding around.
Jennifer decided it was best to distance herself from the school and get in contact with Derek, partly because she was terrified and knew he could help, and partly because she needed to know that the man she had probably too much affection for was safe. She saw that there was a thin enough crowd of people to make her way through to the stage, most likely because no one wanted to head toward the location of the murder. However, Jennifer knew of a stage level exit that would save her the time it would take to become one with the mob and attempted to leave through the two sets of auditorium doors at the back. As she ran to what she hoped was safety, she pulled out her phone and called the number Derek had, coincidentally, only given her that afternoon. It rang a few times, a few times more than Jennifer liked, but at last, a gruff voice answered the call.
"Hello, who is this?"
"It's Jennifer," she answered, relieved it was him regardless of his curt greeting. "Derek, where are you?"
"At the hospital. What's wrong? Are you hurt?" he replied, voice growing frantic.
"No," Jennifer said quickly, "I'm okay, I think. I just really need you."
"I—damn," he sighed. "I'm sorry, but I can't leave."
"That's all right. I'm coming to you. Don't go anywhere, please." Jennifer had made it to her car and hurried to jump inside, ending the call as she started the engine. Although the drive to Beacon Hills Memorial Hospital was a brief one, it gave her enough time to worry about why Derek was there. She hadn't even asked him if he was okay in her haste to get to him. She'd never parked more horribly than she did that night when she arrived at the hospital, jackknifed across no fewer than three parking spaces by her estimate. She didn't even lock her car as she rushed across the parking lot and through the emergency room doors.
"Hale!" she shouted the moment she saw a few hospital employees, hoping someone could tell her what room Derek was in. Doing so made Jennifer feel like a character in a movie or book. That's all her life seemed like anymore; an piece of mythology or fiction. She was about to scream the name again when a tired-looking but attractive dark-haired woman approached her with a compassionate look on her face.
"Room 201. Regular visiting hours are long over, but Derek told me you were coming."
Jennifer didn't recognize the woman who seemed to know her but thanked her quickly and headed in the direction the woman had gestured to. As she hurried down the hall she heard someone shout, "Melissa, your son's on the line. It sounds urgent."
Room 201 was nearly at the end of the hall, and Jennifer was impatient to see Derek as it was. When she finally stepped through the room's doorway and spotted her maybe-boyfriend, she was so relieved to see him unharmed that she almost missed the site of Cora lying on the hospital bed, heavy gauze wrapped around her forehead. Derek sprung up from where he was sitting to cross the room and take Jennifer in his arms. She relaxed slightly and draped her arms across his shoulders, holding him tight.
"Oh God, Derek, what happened to her? Shouldn't she be healing?" Jennifer asked quietly as they broke apart from their embrace. She walked slowly over to Cora and shook her head, reverting back to an old habit by biting her thumb nail nervously.
"Poor girl," she muttered.
"She was acting tough, like usual, and went after someone. I hope she'll be okay, but I really don't know," Derek said. He sighed and lowered himself into an armchair beside the bed. "But what the hell happened at the school tonight?" he asked, a hard worry line appearing on his brow. Jennifer placed her hands on top of his and sat on the armrest of the chair.
"I'm not even sure myself. The night started out auspiciously enough, I thought the concert was going well and everyone was pleased. Then…then something changed." She stopped for a moment as a shudder ran through her. Derek removed one of his hands from her grasp and slid that arm around her waist, gripping her side.
"Go on," he urged.
"Something was very different. You could feel it in the air, as corny as that sounds. The choir started into this very bizarre chant that grew so overpowering and unsettling I thought someone might actually have to stop them from performing. The atmosphere was so strange and just wrong. Then God, this was terrible; it couldn't have been an accident. A piano string snapped and caught the music teacher's throat. It looked like her neck just burst open." Jennifer supplemented her description by bringing her hands up to her throat and splaying her fingers outward.
"I'm not sure if anything else happened at school," she continued, growing quiet. "I left after that, knowing I had to find you."
At the conclusion of her story, Jennifer sighed deeply, almost more upset at having to relive the evening than she was when it occurred. She wrapped her arms around Derek's neck and pressed her forehead against his. He pulled her closer and she willingly slipped down off the armrest onto his lap.
"You're safe now, you know that?" he asked, nuzzling her neck with his scruffy but not uncomfortably so stubble. "I'm sorry I wasn't there with you, but I can't leave my sister; she deserves to have someone take care of her."
"Don't even think about being sorry for being loyal to your sister," Jennifer said before she pressed her lips softly to Derek's cheek. "Is it okay if I stay here with you for now? I wouldn't feel right going home. I know it's selfish, and I might be in the way—"
"No," Derek interrupted. "No, don't go anywhere."
Jennifer pulled back to look at him, her gratitude and affection shining clearly through her eyes. He gazed back at her, and before he could stop himself, his eyes darted down toward her lips. She smiled and pulled him close to her, sharing a sweet moment before the tension progressively grew stronger and neither of the two could keep their lips to themselves.
Derek's grip around her waist was gradually tightening, but the movement of his firm lips was surprisingly gentle. Jennifer relished in the warmth of the moment, letting the feeling of the kiss wash over her and eradicate the fear previously instilled in her by the murder at the recital.
"Jesus, I think I'm going to be sick."
Derek and Jennifer broke the kiss and quickly turned around to see Cora shifting in her bed, groaning lowly. Her brother thought at first she was feeling ill because of her injury, but a certain "annoying little sister" spark in her eye told him she was just messing with him.
"Oh, honey, do you need anything?" Jennifer pushed herself off a not-so-pleased Derek. He rolled his eyes as the woman he was thoroughly enjoying kissing leaned over his sister and started to fluff her pillow. She shook her head at the woman but gave her a grateful look.
"You really should be resting, Cora," Derek said. "Are you at least feeling any better?"
"I'm not sure; I'll let you know when I choke back the bile that came up when you guys were sweet talking and sucking face."
Jennifer laughed loudly as Derek glared at his sister. He couldn't hold the serious stare for long, though, and was soon laughing along with the object of his affection. Cora scoffed at the two of them and shut her eyes again, sinking down into her bed. Jennifer turned back to Derek and slowly moved toward him. He opened his arms to her as she resumed her position seated on his lap.
"Do you think this could actually turn into a nice night? I mean, save for the fatal concert," Jennifer mumbled as she leaned her head against Derek's chest. He brought up a hand to stoke her hair and she closed her eyes, relaxing into his touch.
"Yes, I certainly think it could."