***** So uh. This is a work in progress. I’m sorry*****

“ZAI! Zairi, wake up! Please!” I screamed. I felt my voice getting hoarse, but I didn’t care. I shook her as if that would help and she didn’t fucking move. Her last gasp…the terrified look in her eyes as the knife slid across her porcelain skin…I couldn’t take it. “Zairi, I need you to get up, you’ll be okay. Please wake up!” I had my hands on her throat, desperately trying to stop the bleeding. Red was spilling in between my fingers and already I was sitting in a puddle of it. God, this couldn’t be happening. She was fuckin’ invincible! How could she have let this happen? How could I have let this happen? Her movements and struggles ceased and I still sat there, clutching her tightly to my chest, the sound of cars speeding on the overpass ringing in my ears. “Zairi, my Zai-Zai…I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” There was no response.

She was gone. Zairi Iato, the most precious person in the world to me, was gone. And the worst part? It was my fault, all my fucking fault. Her body was laying limp in my arms, eyes closed, her blood everywhere, her murderer standing above me, and I couldn’t fucking move. I could feel myself begin to shake, and barely noticed the tears spilling down my cheeks.

“And this, gentlemen, is what happens when one jackass doesn’t pay his debts,” Alex, my once go-to guy was looking down at me, arms crossed, and a smug look on his stupid face. The other men there just laughed. “You see, Sethy-poo? Your debt is paid now, you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

I laid Zairi down and stood to face him. “What did you have to gain from this?! What does this get you?! She never did a thing to you! She owed you nothing!”

He laughed, uncrossed his arms and pointed the knife at my throat almost casually. That stupid smirk stayed on his face. The small black handled knife was still dripping with her blood. I didn’t blink, just narrowed my eyes. The fucker just continued,“Don’t you see? We can win the tournament now. With your precious Zai-Zai in the way, there wasn’t a chance. But now, the prize money should more than pay for your little.. hobbies. In fact, if you can find a way around the murder you just committed, I’m willing to do more business with you.”

I spat in his face, my fists clenched. “That I just committed? You couldn’t possibly…the evidence is all over the knife! Your prints are there!”

Cocking an eyebrow, he wiped my loogie off his cheek and held the knife in front of my face. “Is that so?” The switchblade in his hand was mine, and to make it worse, he had been wearing plastic gloves that I hadn’t noticed until just then. “You bastard…” His gray eyes shined in the light, he was practically getting off from this.

Dropping the knife, he turned to leave. The sound of it clattering against the ground echoed in my ears. “Have fun with the law. You know you can’t escape it. After all, wouldn’t you like atonement? It is your fault she’s dead, you know. She tried to stop you, and you didn’t listen. Pity.”

A black car pulled up, and the bastard tipped his hat before getting into the passenger seat, his two cronies took their spots in the back. It was like a scene out of a shitty crime drama. I felt myself drop to my knees, five feet away from where she lay. If the blood was gone, she would have looked as peaceful as she had that morning when she was sleeping. She was still beautiful, but the life was gone. That fire in her green eyes would never shine again. God, why didn’t I listen to her? Why didn’t I stop when she asked me to? All of the late night fights, all of her trying to take my fixes away, it had all been for me. I could have stopped this.

She had been so excited about the fight tomorrow. She was gonna make a life for us she said. Not just the two of us, but Jak-Jak and Elisa, the family, it would have all been taken care of. I heard the sirens, but I couldn’t have moved if I wanted to. I just sat there staring at her lifeless body as the police surrounded me.

“Don’t move! Place your hands on your head and get to your feet!” I averted my gaze and noticed a couple of the cops were also members of Alex’s gang. It didn’t matter. I looked back down at the once spirited girl laying before me, her black hair splayed on the pavement like a raven’s wings. Once Jak-Jak found out it was my fault his little sister was murdered, he’d probably kill me himself.

I didn’t struggle when I was placed in handcuffs and led to the cop car. I could only see them begin to place the black tarp over her as they hauled me away.

They gave me the chance to make one phone call. I didn’t take it. Who was I going to call? Jack? There was no way in hell I was going to call him to ask him to get me out. He probably wouldn’t even want to.

The cell was cold, small, and had a stench to it. A bed squat in one corner of the room, and on the opposite wall were a dingy sink and toilet. The bed was ratty and the mattress was lumpy, but who was I to complain at this point? I was a fucking piece of shit burnout who ignored any chances to change. I didn’t, and now I’m wasn’t only without my fix, but also without the one thing in the world that actually meant something to me. I sat on the bed and leaned against the wall. Why couldn’t they have given me a roommate? I needed someone to talk to.

I could only think of her. Her pale face with those gorgeous brown eyes peeking out from behind her jet black hair. She was always smiling. The very thing that I loved most about her was haunting me right then. I kept seeing the terrified look in her eyes right back to that dazzling smile. When I win this, Seth, there was that damned smile again, we’re gonna get outta here. Me. You. The family. I’m gonna take us far away from here. We’ll get you clean, and we’ll actually have a place to call ours. We’ll get a dog and name him Percy. I could see her grin as though she were standing right there. It’s gonna be wonderful. All I gotta do is win, and I’ve got it, easy as shit. God, she was beautiful. I couldn’t take it.

I broke down. What would happen when Jack found out? Would he be angry, heartbroken? Would he try to find me? He sure as shit wasn’t going to find me here. How would they contact him to let him know? He technically didn’t have an address. None of us did. We kinda just took over whatever abandoned place we could find. Word travels on the street though. He knew. I knew he did. He always had that same fire in his eyes that Zairi did, and now both would be put out. He loved that girl almost as much as Elisa. It was him that introduced us. I’d be willing to bet that he didn’t expect me to let her down like this; it was me that let her die…

“Keep it down in there, would ya?” It was a growling voice from around the corner.

“Fuck off,” I murmured in response.

“Oi, oi, I’m just tryin’ to get some fuckin’ sleep, don’t take it out on me!”

“Sorry. Shitty day is all…” It was almost a whisper. I was honestly shocked that he heard me.

“Well no shit, you’re in here. We’ve all ‘ad those and we all ‘ave our sob stories. What’s so bad that yer neighbor can’t get any sleep?” The man’s voice boomed.He sounded older, and fucking huge to boot. “Name’s Jon.”

“Seth. And it’s a long one…Look, I’m sorry for keeping you up.” I guess I only thought I wanted to talk to someone.

“Nope. Too late. You ‘ave to tell me.” The man’s voice was gruff, and he kind of reminded me of aguy I would see at the pub and have a couple drinks with. I could hear his weight shifting. He was also placing his back against the wall apparently, we might have even been sitting back to back.

“You ever been in love?” I choked on the last word. That was the last thing she said to me before she went out for smokes. It was a simple ‘I love you,’ but it always rang true with her. She meant it every time.

“Yeh, shoulda known it was a broad that led ya ‘ere. What’s she doin’ now? Celebratin’?”

“She’s dead.”

The silence on the other side was deafening. I sighed.

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