Danny’s feet bring him to the now sealed portal. His knees grew weak from the despair that he was beginning to feel. With one swift motion, he fell to them. Danny couldn’t believe it. The love of his life was gone again. The fresh memory of Trinity leaping into the portal sends sharp stabs of pain to his heart. He pounds the ground with his fist. Several tears fall from his eyes, landing on the smooth tile. More tears fall before he finds his words.
“Why,” He groans, “Why her? Why did she have to be so stubborn?”
He sniffles. In that moment, something inside him snaps. He lifts one of the remaining student desks high above his head. With brute force, he slams it to the ground, causing the tile to crack beneath the impact. The desk breaks into a mixture of large and small pieces. He grabs another desk close to him and throws it to the ground.
“Open!” he yells, “Open! Give her back! Give her back!”
“Daniel!” Anthony Garrett shouts, “The portal is closed, doing this is not going to bring her back!”
“I-jus- I just.” Danny can barely form a sentence through his hard sobs, “I want her back.” He tries.
“I know son, I know,” He put a consoling hand on Danny’s shoulder, “But we cannot control what destiny was given to us.”
Danny took in a deep breath, but that didn’t ease his racing heart. He wipes his eyes clean of any signs of tears before leaving the empty classroom. He no longer wanted to be in that room. He couldn’t handle it. He rubs his lip gently. He could still feel her soft lips against his.
He drags his feet in the direction of the building where his sister and Ari were. He looks for them in the different classrooms. He finally finds them in the empty room of an anatomy teacher whose name escaped him. Kaori wraps her arms around Danny.
“She’s gone.” He cries his voice slathered in misery, “She’s really gone.”
“I know, brother. Trust me, everything will be okay.”
He could hear the sadness in her voice. The truth was, things were not going to be all right. The Texas Guardian was gone and it was up to the two of them to keep it, and the surrounding cities, safe. He knew that. He knew things were going to be ten times as hard without Trinity by his side.
Kaori guides Danny to his truck. With his inability to drive correctly in his state of mine, Kaori had no choice but to take his keys and drive them home. Danny doesn’t say much on the way. In fact, he doesn’t say much of anything. It was as if his lips had been sewn shut. He doesn’t even open his mouth to take small breaths of air. He remains quiet, staring out the window watching everything on the outside pass him by. Both Kaori and Ari help Danny to his room once they get to their house, well, Trinity’s house. They laid him on his back, removing his shoes, and draping a thin blanket over his legs.
“Would you like for me to turn on the television for you? Can I get you some water? Can I get you anything?” Kaori asks with a gentle tone to her voice.
Danny doesn’t respond to any of her questions. Instead, he stares aimlessly at the blank television set. His eyes are lifeless. The twinkle is gone. They’re like an empty shell. Kaori takes the initiative and turns the television to Danny’s favorite channel, National Geographic.
Danny hears the faint sound of the door close. He can no longer contain himself. After a quick breath, he let out a river of tears.
Kaori prepares dinner for the remaining members of the family that night. She hardly cooks, but when she does, the food was excellent—or so she thought. She makes Danny’s favorite oven-baked lemon pepper salmon with white rice and peas in hopes of getting some kind of reaction out of him. Anything other than his lifeless stare into space, she couldn’t bear to see him like that. Although Trinity hadn’t been gone long, it was clear that Danny wasn’t himself anymore; anyone could see that. Kaori is sure that if the question were presented to him, Danny wouldn’t even be able verbalize his own name. She didn’t want to see her brother fall into a deep wave of depression.
She brings Danny’s food to him on a tray. He still has the same lifeless look in his eye. She sets the tray of food down on his lap.
“Danny, I made your favorite.” Kaori smiles.
Danny says nothing. He wouldn’t even look at her. Kaori sighs. Out of precaution, Kaori leaves a plastic knife next to his plate. There was no telling what his mental state was.
“Please eat, Danny,” She pleads, “It wouldn’t be healthy and Trinity wouldn’t want you to starve yourself.”
She kisses his forehead. His skin felt cool and clammy against her lips. She exits his room, leaving a crack in the doorway.
Kaori cleans the kitchen with caution. She kept worrying about her brother, which made it hard for her to concentrate on her task. She wanted him to be okay. She didn’t want him to be miserable. Kaori nearly finished cleaning the kitchen when she noticed a black sweater tucked in between the cushions of the chairs. She examines it closely. It is Trinity’s sweater. Kaori held it tight. She presses the sweater against her cheek. The sweater felt like smooth fleece against her skin and almost instantly, she recognizes Trinity’s familiar scent of lavender and vanilla.
Kaori quietly walks into Danny’s room to hang Trinity’s sweater in the closet. Dinner was almost three hours ago, but she noticed that Danny had barely started eating.
“I can heat that up in the microwave.”
Danny shakes his head.
“Please talk to me. You know I hate it when you’re like this.” She pleads, giving him a tiny nudge with her elbow.
He blinks hard but doesn’t look at her.
“Do you want chocolate cake for a dessert?” She asks politely.
“The slice in the fridge is Trinity’s.” Danny spoke, his voice a barely audible whisper. He sniffles.
Kaori didn’t have the heart to correct him. “I can get you some cheesecake instead. I think there is still a slice or two left.” Kaori suggests.
“Yeah that’s fine.” He murmurs.
Kaori brings Danny the piece of cheesecake he agreed to take. He nibbles on it, taking only small bite-sized pieces. Kaori ruffles his hair before leaving him alone. Kaori then made her way to the living room. She wanted to drown out her thoughts with small amounts of cleaning. Usually around this time, Trinity would comment about how they needed to move to a larger house ASAP. Kaori thought of the good moments of Trinity, and some that were not go great. Kaori took in a deep breath. Soon, tears began to flow from her eyes. She grips the pillow tight. She shoves it against her face to muffle her screams of agony. Tonight, would be the first of many without Trinity.
This entire time she had been strong, strong for her brother, for Ari and for those around her. This time, she couldn’t pretend any longer.
It had only been several hours since Trinity left, but to Ari, it already felt like years. Trinity had known so much about Ari already. She knew her real name, where she came from. Trinity was like the older sister Ari never had. She was even like a motherly-figure to her.
Ari sat in her bed, flipping channels to keep her mind off the portal and off the cruel fact that Trinity may never return. She was in search of a television show that would let her forget, even if it were just for a moment. Ari hugs the stuffed panda bear Trinity gave her as a present a few months ago. Ari holds it close to her. She takes a few gasps of air before unleashing a wave of tears.
It’s been a week since Trinity has left, leaving Danny two options. He could get out of bed to attend school, or he could stay in bed. Either way, he would be a broken soul. Danny tries to move a muscle, but he fails. It was as if he had no energy. He looks around the room. Everything reminded him of Trinity. Danny places his palm on Trinity’s pillow. Flashes of her sweet smile, her smooth face, her laughter came rushing to him. He gasps and removes his hand from the pillow. Danny jumps from the bed. He swallows a lump forming in his throat. He scratches the back of his head and makes his way to the balcony that was attached to the bedroom. There, he knew he would have no interruptions.
Danny sat there for hours— he had locked his bedroom door to ensure no one would disturb him— the breeze of the cool air calmed him for brief moments, but it was only temporary. He tries hard to keep his mind off his love. Thinking of her only put more pressure on his heart. He was about to prop his leg up on the chair adjacent to him when he spotted a small figure out of the corner of his eye.
“Why did you lock the door?” Kaori asks.
“Why did you pick the lock?” Danny snaps, “It was locked for a reason.”
“Why are you being such a jerk? I just wanted to see if you were okay.”
He looks at her surprised. “Are you seriously asking that ridiculously stupid question?”
“You know, just because Trinity is gone doesn’t give you a pass to be a dick.”
Danny breaks eye contact with his persistent little sister. “Get out.” He hisses.
The muscles in Danny’s jaw tighten. Kaori slams the door behind her as Danny watches her leave the room. He hastily locks it. Kaori’s cruel reminder of Trinity’s departure put him on the verge of tears. The buzzing of his cell phone forces him to gain composure before answering it.
“Hello?” He says, his voice almost cracking,
“Daniel, are you coming to school?” His voice is somber.
“No Anthony, I will not be attending school today. Technically I don’t even need it, remember? I was never an actual student.” He snaps.
“I know. I just thought it would be good to converse with others. What about your sister? Will you call ahead if you plan on coming back?”
“If I decide to waste my time, I’ll call ahead. I’m not sure if Kaori is going, that is not a concern of mine. Good-bye Sir.”
Danny doesn’t give his friend ample time to respond. Instead, he presses the end button hard. He held the button for several long moments until the light shut off, signaling the end of the phone life. He tosses it onto the nightstand. No one would be bothering him right now. Danny walks over to the closet hesitantly. He hadn’t been in there since Trinity left, so all her clothes were still on their hangers. He unfolded an old banker’s box he had laying in the far end of the closet. One by one, he began neatly stacking her items in the box. Once it was full, he packed her shoes and other items from the drawer the two shared.
“I’m sorry,” He whispers to the box of clothing, “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to protect you. I vowed that I wasn’t going to lose you again and I fucked that up. I should’ve sacrificed myself.” He sniffles and covers the boxes with an old blanket. He continues the same motion with his side of the closet as well.
He doesn’t stop until he had the entire room packed. When he finishes, he laid on his now sheet-less bed. He stares at the ceiling, wishing he could fix this situation. A tear escapes the corner of his eye. He closes them tightly.
A knock at his door made him sigh with frustration. “Who is it?”
“It’s me.” A mousy voice says on the other side.
“I-um, I just wanted to know if you wanted anything to eat. We’re ordering Chinese food from Jade Fang.”
“Sure. Get me some Mongolian beef with steamed rice.” He shouts from his bed. Danny hears small muffled voices coming from the kitchen, then another knock at his door. He groans and opens it. This time, it was Kaori standing there.
“Danny, I think what you are doing is unhealthy.” She states.
“So you have Ari bribe me with Chinese food just to get me out of my room?” He scoffs.
“That’s pathetic.” He chuckles.
Just when Danny was about to close the door in his sisters face, she stops him.
“Danny, I’m trying my best to be patient with you. I’m trying my best to be sympathetic, but if Trinity could see the way you’re acting, she would be so disappointed in you. You’re being a complete jerk. I’ve been nothing but nice to you and-”
“Hey Kaori, shut up.” Danny snaps.
Kaori pulls her arm back. In one swift motion, she sent a balled fist to Danny’s cheek.
Danny easily blocks her attack. His composure remains statuesque, but on the inside, he is pissed.
“You’re going to resort to violence, Kaori?” he asks, “In front of a child?”
“You’ve pissed me off too damn much Daniel Montgomery!” Kaori’s stern voice didn’t faze Danny. Neither did the use of his full name.
“Don’t swing punches if you’re not ready to throw down little sis.” His voice is cold.
“You wouldn’t hit me.” She teases.
“Now Kaori, you have the strength of ten men and then some. I think you would make a worthy adversary.”
Kaori flashes him a sinister smile. “I’m way stronger than you brother.”
“One day we will test that.”
With that, Danny disappears back into his room, shutting the door behind him.
Kaori stands at the door, her mouth wide open. She couldn’t believe Danny, her own flesh and blood, was saying such cruel things to her. After everything, she’s done for him too!
“You suck, Danny!” She shouts against the door.
She looks over at Ari who was staring wide eyed at her. Kaori sighs and walks away, leaving Ari standing at Danny’s door. Kaori grabs her jacket. Danny has poor coping skills she thought angrily to herself as she leaves the house. Kaori understood how Danny felt. She’s felt the pain before. He needed to know that Kaori knew how he felt. After all, the love of her life was gone too. Kaori was beside herself. She didn’t know the first step to take in helping Danny recover.
Kaori sat at the base of her porches steps with her head in her hands. She thought about that gruesome night so many years ago. To this day, the haunting memory of her fallen lover burned within her.
Kaori remembered the chilling rain. She remembered being back in Iowa with Jesse. They had just received word about the Sisters’ arrival. They tracked them to a warehouse where the five then faced off. Macy and Cara escaped, but one remained. Olivia was a great enough power on her own, it took the two of them to step against her. Even that wasn’t enough. Olivia was gaining the upper hand on Kaori and Jesse. Soon, Kaori was on the ground, she couldn’t move. Olivia had broken three of her ribs. Kaori had no choice but to lay back and watch her fiancé receive a beating. Despite broken ribs, Kaori tried her best to aid her Guardian. It was no use. Kaori watched Olivia pull Jesse close to her. Jesse’s back was to Kaori. He falls backward in front of her. She can see a knife shoved deep into Jesse’s chest, directly through his heart. Kaori gasps. With her last bit of strength, Kaori moves herself closer. She starts to shake him, ignoring the pain in her ribs.
“Jesse?” She whispers, “Jesse?”
She receives no response from Jesse. Kaori puts her head down on to his forehead. She doesn’t hear him breathing. His chest doesn’t move up and down to indicate life. Kaori is trying hard to keep it together. She sobs loudly, letting tears fall onto Jesse’s cheek. Kaori’s ribs begin to ache, but it’s mixed with the pain of her breaking heart…
Kaori wipes a tear from her eye. For her, remembering her late fiancé now, hurt just as much as that night two years ago. Kaori makes her way back into the house. She finds a mountain of boxes blocking the door.
“Hey, let me in!” Kaori yells.
Kaori could hear the clunking of boxes on the other side. The door cracks open. Ari is standing there with a confused look on her face.
“What’s going on?”
“I-I don’t know,” Ari says in a panic, “Danny just started putting these boxes near the door.”
Kaori squeezes through the small crack of space. “Where is he?”
“He’s in the kitchen packing things up.”
Kaori rushes to the kitchen. Danny is gently putting glass items into a box filled with towels.
“Danny, what are you doing?”
He doesn’t look at her. “I’m moving to a new place.”
Kaori gulps. “Y-you’re leaving?”
“That’s the plan.” His voice is cold.
“Danny, please. You can’t leave.” She begs.
Danny shakes his head. “I can’t be here right now Kaori. It’s too painful.”
“Danny let me help you. I know what you are going through.” Kaori put a hand on Danny’s arm, but he snaps it back.
“Don’t touch me.” He says with a sneer.
“Danny I just want to help you.”
“I don’t need your help Kaori!” He shouts.
Kaori jumps at the tone in his voice. She is speechless. She had no words to say to her brother.
“You don’t have to be a dick about it. We have to talk about this. You can’t just pack up and leave.”
Danny sighs. “Kaori, I’m sorry. There are just too many memoires in this house. I can’t even walk into my own closet without seeing her essence there.”
“Okay. I get it, but you don’t have to leave us behind. We can come with you.” Kaori suggests.
Danny is silent for a moment. “I don’t know.”
Kaori smiles. She could tell her brother was debating between a yes and no. She is pleased to see that she was beginning to make some progress with him no matter how small.