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Chapter 3: August 5th, 2000

Saturday, 9:37 P.M.

Downstairs, DJ was carrying his guitar and a couple amps to the front door, sighing as he stretched and turned to the flight with a chuckle as he called out, “Yo Vi-Vi, I’m goin’!” DJ’s hair had become longer and he himself taller than he had been all that time ago. He was getting ready to walk out as the frantic sound of running could be heard from the second floor, revealing the same little girl, though she was a tad bit taller. As she reached the bottom floor, she screeched to a halt and hugged her brother tight, DJ wrapping his arms around her with a smile on his face.

The man chuckled and gave her a kiss on the forehead, “You never change Vi. Anywho, I’ll be home late again tonight, so don’t stay up waitin’ for me, ‘aight? You have to get back in the swing’a sleepin’ so you don’t fall asleep in class.”

Victoria groaned, “Fine! But you better not come home drunk again like last time! Mom really freaking hated it when you do.”

He chuckled, “Jeez, you’re starting to sound like mom! You know a drink or two never hurt anybody sis.”

“That’s not the point!” she screamed as her brother nearly froze in surprise, “I swear, if you come home piss drunk again, I will personally beat the alcohol outta you, got it?!”

The man was going to protest until a tear trailed down the side of his little sister’s face, followed by another, and another, until she was full-on crying, her voice breaking. “You hear me? I will... I’ll... I’ll deck you so hard... You’ll...” she clenched her teeth, trying her best not to break into hysterics as she stood her ground.

He looked at his sister sadly and walked towards her, hugging her tight, “Right... I totally blanked out… I’m so sorry Vicky... I didn’t mean to make ya cry or nothing...” he said sadly as the memories came flooding back to him.

DJ looked at them confusedly and slowly nodded, “Uh… Yeah, why? Is everything okay?” he said with a hint of worry, but more confusion than anything.

The two men looked at each other and then at the 20 year old as the man that had spoken sighed, “… Well… There’s been… an accident…”

DJ’s eyes widened as he grabbed the policeman by his collar, “What do you mean?! Where’s my mother?!” he shouted in fear and confusion as the policeman looked down.

“… A drunk truck driver came… There was a deadly collision. Your mother and the driver are currently at the hospital but… I don’t know if she’ll make it… Your mother is—“

“No… You’re kidding…” he said in disbelief as he backed away. He looked down sadly as he turned around, seeing Victoria sitting on the steps with tears flowing from her eyes, her face showing shock and sorrow as she ran upstairs to her room. DJ’’s eyes widened as he called for her and then sighed, looking over at the officers who were still standing there, both their heads down.

The officer cleared his throat and sighed, “I know that this probably isn’t the best of times… But… What will you do about your sister? If you want… We can find her a—“

He glared at the man, “Don’t you dare think of taking my sister… I am her brother, I have a job. I can take care of her! I’m not letting my sister be taken away from me! Not a chance in hell!” He said in anger before growling and glaring at the ground, “… Take me to my mother… now…” he said angrily as the policemen looked at one another, deciding to drive him to the hospital where his mother was.

As he walked in, the smell of anesthetic and decontaminants surrounding him and attacking his nostrils, he gasped in shock, looking down at his mother with tubes, wires, machines and other medical equipment. She was just barely breathing, the heart monitor she was connected to slowly beeping, moving at a snail’s pace across the screen with small, sudden spikes of her slow heartbeat.

He ran to her side and grabbed her hand, “Mom…” He said in disbelief of what he was seeing right before him, the woman that took care of him and his sister for their entire lives, the sweet, caring woman they’d known the entirety of their existence was bandaged and still slightly bleeding in places, multitudes of equipment connected to her somewhat mangled body. He held her hand up to his forehead and clenched his teeth, weeping uncontrollably.

The soft groaning of his mother brought him back from his trance as he gasped and looked up, “Mom? Mom, are you okay?” he said shocked and hopeful. She groaned and held his hand back, her hold almost nonexistent. She gave a grunt and turned her head to face him, her eyes watering, one eye covered by the bandages and the other leaking tears as she whispered something in a low, raspy voice before her hand gently drooped and went limp within his own, his eyes widening in shock as the last sound his ears could truly register was the sound of the heart monitor’s continuous beep as he broke down holding her hand tight, crying out in sorrow and pain.

His mother was gone.

The following week, Victoria stood in a black dress, watching her brother, Logan with a pained look on his face, Jesse with a entranced look on his face as the situation slowly seemed to seep into and take hold of his mind as his knees slightly buckled, keeping calm so he could carry the wooden casket on their shoulders, another man helping carry the wooden box as well. Next to Victoria, trying to calm her down, barely keeping herself calm was Serenity, her eyes flooding with tears, spilling out of her eyes as she held Victoria tight in her arms.

DJ sighed and shook his head, wiping away Vicky’s tears as he looked down at her, “Hey, tell you what. I won’t drink tonight if you don’t want me to. Not a single drop of alcohol.” He said as he rubbed her back and looked down at her, “Okay?”

She sniffed and looked up at him, “P-Promise?” she said in a broken tone as she tried her best to stop crying.

DJ nodded, “I promise.”

She nodded and hugged him tight, “Not a single drop, got it?”

He nodded and snickered a little, “Got it… Oh, and before I totes forget...” he grabbed something from the guitar case and handed it to her, white wrapping paper with aquamarine and blue ribbons, “Happy 12th B-day little sis!”

She regained her composure and stopped crying, wiping away the tears to grab the box, ripping it open and gasping at the sight of what occupied the cardboard prison. Within its walls lay a pair of black shades with purplish faded blue lenses. She smiled and put them on, “Thanks so much bro...”

He smiled, “No prob lil’ sis. Anyways, I gotta split! See ya in the morning! We’ll go see that movie you’ve been talking about so much.” he called out as he walked out the door with his equipment and to his black van, getting in and driving away. She closed the door and sighed happily, making her way to the couch with soda, a bag of chips, and the TV remote as she sat down on the couch, eating from the bag and turning the channels till she found one she liked, wearing her glasses happily.

Six hours later, Vicky was asleep with the chips scattered on the floor next to her and three or four bottles of soda in front of her, one of them only half empty as there was a loud knock on the door. Vinyl yelled in fright and fell off the couch and jumped back up wobbly as she ran over to the door, the knocking getting louder, “I’m coming, I’m coming! Jeez!” She groaned and fixed her shirt as she threw the door open, “Would you hold your freaking-- Huh?”

In front of her were two men, both in a police uniform as the black one on the left started, “Are you…” he looked at a notepad with his tired, old eyes, “Victoria… Alexia? Daniel James Alexia’s little sister?” He said in curiosity of the name, “Alexia… I’ve heard that name before…” he then looked closer at Victoria and gasped, “You’re… You’re the little girl from four years ago...” he said in surprise.

She looked confused, “Uh... Yeah, that’s me. What’s up? Did my bro do somethin’ wrong? Is he okay?” she said a little worriedly.

The men looked at each other as the Caucasian man spoke, “He... Well… There’s been an attack. And your brother, I’m sorry to say, was the victim.”

Vicky’s eyes widened at the word attack, but when he said ‘victim’ she was even more concerned, “Attack? Victim?! Is my brother okay?!”

The black one continued, “Well… Yes and no. He’s being held at the hospital currently, and being treated. He’s in critical condition.”

“Oh my god… I need to go see him!” she said, more or less begging at this point. The policeman nodded and lead her to his police cruiser, opening the back left-side passenger door for her as she jumped into the car, driving to the hospital with the police sirens wailing through the streets of the town. Upon getting to the hospital, Victoria leaped out of the car with the officer behind her as she ran to the front desk, “My brother! Where is he?!” she said in a frightened, hurried voice.

The woman at the front desk blinked and her expression changed to one of shock, “You’re that new patient’s sister?” she said trying her best to keep her composure.

“Yes, now where is my brother?!” She shouted in a panic.

She gasped and looked down at the floor, “H-He’s in the ER... A group of others came earlier to check on him… I’ll take you…” She said as she gestured for them to follow her as she led them to the observation deck that usually, new or student doctors watched surgeries from. Standing in the room was Logan, Serenity and Jesse.

Jesse had a busted lip with semi-dried blood leaking from his mouth, a bandage on his arm, Logan had bandages wrapped around his head showing that he had been injured as well, which it was surprising that he was still standing. Both their clothes were slightly ripped up in places, showing that they were also involved in the same fight that DJ was in. Serenity seemed the most shaken, her arms wrapped around herself as she was being comforted by Jesse and her brother.

Jesse held Serenity tight in his arms as Logan patted her back, “Sis, I’m sure DJ’ll be just--” just then he noticed Victoria, “Vicky?” Logan said with a shocked tone in his voice, a similar expression painting his face. The sound of her name made the other two shoot a look over at her, making them gasp in surprise.

“What happened? Are you guys alright?” Victoria said in worry of the others, seeing that they were also injured.

“Vicky? What’re you doing here?” Jesse said as he walked over,

“Well…” Jesse looked over to the others, Serenity gently shaking her head, showing she didn’t really want to talk about it at the moment. Jesse sighed, “It’s nothing really, we’re all fine… We should keep our minds on DJ and why you’re here.”

“I want to see my brother!” She pleaded to Jesse who stood in the way of the window.

“This really isn’t the best time to see him… Believe me, you really don’t wanna see this…”

“I need to see him Jesse! Please let me see my brother, please!” She begged as she sounded as if she was about start crying.

Jesse looked down and sighed, standing aside. “Fine… But I warned you, okay?” he said before she ran past him and straight to the glass, gasping at what she saw, her brother’s head bleeding at an alarming rate, what seemed to be a stab wound in his stomach. His eyes were closed and his mouth was covered by a mask, pushing air into his lungs as his breaths were soft but still visible. She gasped as she saw the doctors attempting to stitch up the wound and turned away, not being used to seeing blood besides a little cut or a tooth falling out.

“… I told you you wouldn’t wanna see…” he said hugging her tight, patting her back as she covered her face with his shoulder.

A couple minutes later, a doctor and nurse duo ran into the room, “I was told that the patient’s sister was—Oh no…” he said in surprise as he saw the scene before him, the small girl weeping into Jesse’s shoulder.

Her sobbing slowed to a stop as she then stood up and nodded, trying her best to wipe away her tears. “Y-Yeah…” She looked up at him, her face streaked with tears, “Will my brother be okay?” she said frightened, a scared but hopeful look in her eye.

“Yeah, is DJ gonna be alright? We’ve just been getting “We’ll see’s and it’s starting to piss me off.” Logan said as he stepped up to the doctor, growling lightly at him in annoyance before Serenity grabbed his arm, “Sis?”

The doctor made a sad look as he sighed, “I… I’m unsure… the wound is deep and he’s bled out two or so pints already… We’re doing everything we can to make sure that your brother goes home and will stay alive.” He said, forgetting that he’d been speaking to a twelve-year-old. He gasped as he heard her whimper, digging her face further into Jesse’s arms as he glared up at him, sniffles and sobs emitting from her small, quivering form. The doctor sighed and turned, “We’ll do whatever it takes… So please, go home and get some rest…”

“No…” She said softly as she sniffled and wiped her tears away, more still cascading down her delicate face as she turned around, “I’m not leaving my big brother… You can’t make me…” she said forcefully. She cowered in a ball, rocking back and forth, “N-Not again… It’s all happening again… I don’t want it to happen again…”

He sighed and looked to the officer, “Sir, can I ask you to take care of this while I go take care of her brother?” The policeman nodded and walked up to her as the doctor left to continue overseeing the operation.

He sighed and rubbed her back, “Please Victori--”

“Vicky… My name is Vicky…” she said with a forceful but saddened tone, her face buried into her knees and arms again.

“Right... Vicky, please understand that the doctors are doing all they can to help your brother to the best of their ability. But that wound…” He paused as he looked out the window again and sighed, “It’s a very serious injury… I’m not a doctor myself, but I’d say that he has about… a fifty-fifty chance of surviving… his head was beaten pretty bad… and that stab wound is, as the doctor said, very deep. All that you can do for him at this point is… pray and hope he survives… Is there, maybe, any other family members you can stay with?”

She shook her head, “N-No… I’ve never met the rest of my family. My dad left years ago… My mom’s dead… And now my big brother’s going to die too!” She cried out as she started to cry harder. Thoughts of her brother’s smile buzzed through her head, memories of when he’d call her the little nickname he made up, his devious laughter as he would tickle her. All the memories flooding her mind at once caused her to break down more than she already was, her wails of sorrow breaking the hearts of those around her.

The policeman sighed and looked at her as he thought, “There must be someone that can take care of you… Anyone?”

Serenity cried lightly as Logan shook his head, “We don’t have any room at our place…” Logan said begrudgingly, cursing himself for getting a place that was only big enough for he and his sister.

“It’s probably not too good of an idea for me to keep tabs on her… I’d do anything for DJ but I just… I’m scared I may mess up or something.” He looked down at her and hugged her tight, “I’m really sorry Vicky… But we’ll do everything we can to keep you safe, okay?” he said brokenly as Victoria hugged him back.

“She could stay with me.” The nurse from the front desk said finally speaking up.

She and the others looked up to her with her bloodshot blue eyes, “S-Stay… With you?” she asked in confusion.

She nodded, “Yes, and I have a daughter that’s about your age. You can stay with us until your brother is released. How does that sound?” she asked with a sad smile. Vicky looked down at the ground and then back up at the kind nurse with an unsure gaze, the others joining her with their own perplexed looks.

The next morning, Victoria stood in front of a big house, white walls, multiple windows, gothic design with columns; the whole nine yards. She looked at the door and noticed the woman walking out, surprised to see her standing there. The nurse walked up to her and smiled, “Well, I didn’t expect you to come to me. I was just on my way to come and pick you up.” she looked above her and noticed Logan, Jesse and Serenity walking up to them, a white van behind them.

She nodded and looked at him, “I’m Juliet Orson, I only now realized that I never really caught any of your names back at the hospital.” She said as she shook Jesse’s hand.

“Yeah, name’s Jesse. DJ and I went to college together. These two are Logan and Serenity Larson, they went to our college too.” He said, a bit chipper than the night before, “So, uh… DJ is still out, but… The doctors said that he’ll be okay. Just out of commission for the next few months or so, maybe till next summer. But I guess you already knew that, right? You know, working there and all.”

Juliet smiled a little, happy to hear the news, “Actually I didn’t, but that is very good to hear. I presume that van behind you is most of her belongings?” she asked as he walked towards the van

“Yep, even brought her bed and all that. Clothes, bathroom stuff, ya’ know.” He shrugged as he walked back to Logan and Serenity, opening up the van.

Juliet nodded and the four of them started working on getting Victoria’s room set up. “Vicky, why don’t you go play? I’m sure my daughter would love to meet you.” She said as she struggled with the bed along with Jesse. She nodded and walked into the house, walking into the back and standing still from shock of who she saw before her.

Sitting there in the middle of the backyard with a bass and bow, wearing the purple bow tying back her raven black hair, in a grey skirt, white button-up shirt and a pair of knee-high socks and black loafers.

It was her, the girl she’d seen 3 years ago.

The girl she’d drawn on that day of the competition! The one she’d drawn before...

Her eyes were closed, showing that she was too busy playing to notice her. She walked forward slowly and stopped, noticing as the other girl began turning and gasped seeing her. She blinked inquisitively at her and then smiled, “Why hello there. I’m Aria, and I assume you are Victoria?” Victoria nodded shyly, averting her gaze. “Now, no need to be shy. Go ahead and talk.”

She nodded and spoke in a small voice, “Uh... Yeah, o-okay...”

Aria smiled brightly, “Wonderful, see? Now then, I heard about your brother... I am so very sorry to hear of such a terrible situation... It must be fairly tough on you, am I correct?” Vicky nodded sadly.

“Hmm... Well, I heard that you apparently play a type of instrument as well... Would you like to play together?” Victoria couldn’t believe what she was hearing. A girl like her, posh and proper, wanting to play with her, who couldn’t care less about manners even if her life was on the line. She smiled and nodded as Aria’s smile grew wider, “Wonderful. Whenever you’re ready, we’ll begin.”

She nodded and ran inside, a few minutes later waving her inside. As Aria entered, she blinked in minor surprise to see Victoria setting up a blue guitar to an amplifier and plugging it in, strapping it around her.

Aria smiled at the choice of instrument and sat down, readying her bow as she waited, “A guitar player hmm? Interesting.” She said with interest.

Vicky looked over at her and gave a small smile, getting ready to start before she stopped, “Oh, wait!” she searched in her backpack and picked out a pair of black, purple-faded blue lensed sunglasses, putting them on and picking up her guitar again, strapping it back around her.

Aria smiled and nodded and started playing a soft, sweet melody as she closed her eyes in concentration. Victoria listened for a little bit and then began to play with her, the energetic strumming of the guitar corresponding with the calm sound of the bass, making a surprisingly well made contrast. Before long, Juliet walked in with Jesse, watching the two play together, smiling at the scene before them. Aria ended her playing and then sighed, “That was magnificent…” she said with a smile as she stopped and saw Vicky still playing, her eyes closed with tears sliding out of her eyes, a sorrowful look on her face as she continued. Aria blinked and walked up to her, “Victoria?”

“Vicky… My name is Vicky, not Victoria…” she said as she opened her eyes and looked at her.

“Very well then Vicky, are you alright? You’re crying…” she said worriedly as she touched her shoulder, which Vicky jumped from as she looked down.

“… I’m fine… I’ll be fine…” she said in a cold, sad tone as she continued.

“Obviously not. Are you worried about your brother?”

She shot a glare at her, “What do you think?!” She shouted suddenly as Aria gasped from her sudden outburst. Vicky gasped and looked down giving a soft sigh, “I’m… I’m sorry, I just… I didn’t mean to shout… Losing my mom was bad enough… If I’d ever lost my big brother…” she said clenching her teeth and fists, her sorrowful expression increasing as tears fell from her eyes at a quicker rate.

Aria blinked and looked sadly at her as she pulled the guitar from around her, pulling her into a hug to try and reassure her, rubbing her back softly, “I understand… No need to apologize…” she said sadly.

Juliet, Logan, Serenity and Jesse walked to the two girls, “Hey Vicky, your room’s all done.” Jesse said as he scratched the back of his head.

She nodded and sniffled a little, wiping away her tears as she let go of Aria. She stood up and looked at them, “Where’s my room?”

“I’ll show you.” Said a feminine voice from upstairs. Upon turning to the stairs, Vicky couldn’t believe her eyes. At the top of the stairs was her mother, standing there with a smile on her face and not a scratch on her. Her eyes widened in shock before she rubbed her eyes in disbelief, only for a woman with black hair and beautiful amethyst eyes to replace her, looking down at them. She wore a purple blouse underneath a black vest, a pair of dress pants and stiletto heels. Her eyes began to fill with tears once again, quickly wiping them away with her arm. The woman gasped and walked down the steps quickly, going over to her and kneeling down to check on her, “Are you alright?” she said, a British accent evident in her voice.

Vicky sniffled as she looked at her, pushing her shades up from her eyes to wipe away her tears as she breathed deeply, “Y-Yeah… I’m okay…” she said in a soft tone as she looked up at her to hide and hold back the tears attempting to follow behind their friends out of their home behind her eyes.

The woman gently smiled and held a cloth to her face, wiping away what tears were left as she looked at Vicky, “You must be the girl my wife was going on about… I am Aria’s mother, Elizabeth… I’m so sorry about what happened to your brother. I’m sure that he’ll be alright.” She said softly.

Victoria sniffled lightly, “I-I hope so too…” she said with a voice as quiet as a whisper as she unstrapped her guitar and propped it up against the wall. She then went upstairs with Elizabeth and followed her to her room, where there were two beds, two desks, one with her laptop with musical notes all over it and the other with books and orchestra pieces. One of the beds had her sheets which were covered in musical notes as well, on an aquamarine background. The other was checkered purple and black. Vicky stood there in confusion as she looked up at the woman, “Miss Elizabeth, who’s bed is that?” she asked.

“My daughter’s. We don’t have an extra room, so you’ll be sharing with Aria. Is that alright with you Victoria?” She asked unsure.

Victoria blinked surprised and lightly smiled, “I guess so… I’m actually kind of scared of sleeping in my own room… I used to wander into my brother’s room when I’d get scared… I guess this will save me the time.” She said with a sad chuckle.

Elizabeth smiled gently and hugged her, “Don’t worry about your brother… I’m sure that he’ll be alright. My wife and I will look after you until then.” She said softly as she stood up and walked out of the room, “Dinner will be ready in a little while, so why not make yourself comfortable, have a nap or a shower perhaps to relax.” She said as she walked back downstairs where Juliet and Jesse could be heard with the others, saying their goodbyes to one another.

Jesse saw Victoria coming down stairs and walked over, kneeling down in front of her, “Hey, don’t worry about DJ. He’s a tough guy, and this isn’t what’s gonna do him in. Believe me, I’ve known the guy for a long while.” He said with a reassuring smile and a thumbs up as he stood from his kneeling position in front of her and waved, turning and walking out the door back to the van. Logan and Serenity hugged her tight and said their goodbyes heading back to the van as well. It was then started it up, and driven away, soon taking a right and vanishing from Vicky’s vision.

Victoria sniffled a little and watched as Jesse drove off, a small smile on her face, “He’s right… My big brother is strong! He’ll be fine.” She said with a new-found assurance as she turned and saw Aria with her cello up and her bow drawn, “Would you like to continue playing Vicky?”

Victoria smiled widely at her and nodded, running over and picking up the blue guitar with great enthusiasm and excitement. She and Aria played for hours, both concentrated on their music. After about two or so hours, the two of them had finally finished, placing their instruments back in place. Victoria smiled, “That was the best! You’re really good at playing that… Uh… What’s that thing called?”

Aria giggled at Victoria’s lack of knowledge on her instrument, “It’s called a bass. It’s somewhat like your guitar, but it’s played differently. Instead of strumming it, I use my bow and glide it across the strings.

Victoria’s head tilted to the side in confusion, “Uh… I’ve never seen a bass like that before… They usually look like guitars, don’t they?”

Aria, once again, let out a giggle. “Not like that kind of bass. You’re thinking of an electric bass, mine is a different kind. It’s played in grand symphonies like my mother’s; though it’s not normally used for any other kind of music. Well, aside from jazz.” She explained.

“Oh, cool! I love jazz music! We gotta play it sometime!” she said excitedly.

“Oh no, we have to get you two fed and to bed. It’s almost ten o’clock.” Said Aria’s mother as she walked out of the kitchen with her with Juliet, placing down plates of ham, mashed potatoes, and a few odd, green balls.

“Uh… what’re those weird things? They look like baby cabbages.” Victoria said inquisitively as Aria once again gave a giggle.

“You’re not far off. They’re called Brussel sprouts, and their actually very tasty if you make them correctly. I personally love them the way my mother makes them.” She said as she sat down.

Victoria blinked and sat down next to her, picking up a fork and stabbing one and looking at it as it dripped with what seemed to be some weird yellow sauce. She sniffed it and blinked, surprised from the sweet smell. She shrugged and ate one whole, her eyes widening as she looked down at the plate. The yellow sauce was butter, and it tasted with a mix of salty and sweet, moaning lightly from the taste as she swallowed it and smiled, “That’s so good…” she said excitedly as she ate another one, and another one. Aria smiled and ate as well, her parents doing the same as they ate dinner, every now and then talking about random things like Victoria’s school or her friends.

After dinner, Juliet picked up their plates as Elizabeth picked the two up, “I’ll get these two to bed.” She said quietly, her wife nodding as she kissed her cheek lightly and walked upstairs. She opened the door ever so quietly and placed them both in bed, tucking them in and smiling as she kissed her daughter’s forehead and then walked over to Victoria and kissed her forehead as well, “Good night… And welcome home Victoria.” She said quietly as she stood up and closed the door softly to keep from waking them up. As the door closed, a smile grew upon Victoria’s face.

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