Chapter 17 ~ Zavion
“Zav, you’re awake?”
I heard those words fall from Arlo’s mouth in strangled disbelief, and naturally, my entire body moved before I could process thought. I was fully dressed within seconds, and striding out that fucken door.
“Where are you going?” He really should have guessed this would be my reaction.
Did I need any more confirmation? Hell no. Did I care there was a chance I would be attacked by Carter again? Fuck no. Zavion had woken – that was all I needed to know, and no one was getting in my way. Yes, I had purposely been avoiding Carter, choosing to go after I knew they had gone for the evening, but my reasoning behind my choice was simple – Carter was hurting, and he didn’t need any more stress added to his already frantically worried mind.
“Goddess… wait up,” Arlo called, but I was not waiting, no way in hell was I hanging around a second longer, my friend was conscious, he was alert, and he had called. We had been praying for a miracle and here it was – Zavion had survived – albeit a little more holier than before – but he was alive.
I speed walked down those stairs, not bothering to wait for the elevator at all, the sun had just risen, the morning light filtered through the mansion just enough to illuminate my way. Jesus, how long had we slept?
“Would you slow down? It’s not like he can walk at the moment,” Arlo scolded from somewhere behind me.
But I couldn’t, every nerve in my body was pinging like crazy, the urgency to get to Zavion was unbelievably powerful, and I was desperate to wrap my arms around him and choke the motherfucker to death for making me worry so damn much.
I zoomed across the tiled floor, and reached for the handle, swinging it open, and I proceeded, “hurry up Ar…” But my body smacked straight into a solid, immovable and wet object. “What the hell?” I cried out as I fell backwards onto the floor.
“Holy shit, are you okay?” My gaze drifted up to meet sapphire blue eyes.
“Tristian?” I exclaimed, his hand extending in front of me to help me on my feet. “Why are you wet?”
“Sweat, I was working out. Where the heck are you rushing off too? It’s six in the morning.”
Finally, we were joined by Arlo, who was hopping on one leg, tying his shoelace as he reached us. “Fucken hell Goddess, I expect you to move this fast if I ever got hurt.”
“Hurt? Who’s hurt?” Tristian’s face morphed from relaxed to steely cold and ready to pummel.
“Whoa, that was the fastest turn around I’ve ever seen,” I chuckled heartedly.
“What are you two up to?” Tristan eyed us quizzically.
I turned quickly to stop Arlo from spilling the beans, “wait.” Swivelling back around, I gripped Tristan by the shoulders, staring him down as his brows furrowed. “Titan, Zav’s awake.”
“Titan?” Tristian and Arlo spat at the same time.
I shrugged innocently, “my nickname for Tristan – because of how bravely he fought when he was injured.”
Arlo snorted loudly, “I love it, Goddess.”
“Wait, what the hell? Zavion’s out of his coma? I’m fucken coming with you.”
Tristan ignored my cute nickname for him, launching into the passenger’s seat, I did feel slightly perturbed about it, but I guess Arlo being his best friend, he was used to occupying the position. I had already caused a rift between them, so I wasn’t about to argue.
But Arlo stopped me from opening the back and stood with the driver’s door open, he mouthed the words ‘hang on’ to me, which had me confused. What am I waiting for?
Suddenly the passenger’s door opened again and out steps Tristan with an apologetic look. He cleared his throat and scratched the back of his neck, uncomfortably, “uh, sorry Harlyn, old habits.”
The gigantic six-foot brute re-entered the vehicle, seating himself in the back. Arlo smiled and climbed in behind the wheel. It wasn’t like we had healed our relationship entirely, but it was a small gentlemanly gesture, and I appreciated it.
It took forever to reach the hospital, and I was bouncing around like a madwoman, impatiently waiting for him to find a damn carpark – I swear he was torturing me on purpose. The second Arlo pulled into a bay, I was out that door quicker than anyone could stop me.
Sprinting like a marathon runner on a mission, It was fundamental I get to the one person I’d been missing so very much, the hilarity of knowing two burly herculean, so-called ‘fit’ men, tailing me just barely keeping up, only solidified the fact that muscles can’t outdo agility. You’d think for the amount of time they trained they’d be faster? But no one could beat this wonder woman. My shoes skidded to a complete stop in the doorway of Zavion’s room.
“You fucking asshole,” I bellowed.
Zav beamed up at me with a smile that would have melted ice cream. I burst into tears, I have never been so relieved to see him sitting up – damaged or not – he was awake and smiling. Zavion opened his arms, “come here, Arly.”
My chin quivered as my vision blurred, and I propelled my body into his welcoming embrace. His scent filled my senses with warmth and familiarity, he was like my brother, cuddly and safe, reliable and comforting – we had a connection – a deep transcending friendship, and I loved him as that. “I hate you so much,” I squeaked out, bawling as if I were a child.
Zavion laughed, “I missed you too.”
“D-don’t d-do that-t ever ag-again,” I spluttered, burying my head into his chest.
“I promise. Next time we’ll just put holes in my shirt and not my body hey?”
I snorted, “if you stunk so bad you could have just put on some deodorant, there was no need for air holes Zav.”
He chuckled again, “nah, next time I vote you go in instead of me.”
I withdrew from his refreshing hug, “deal.”
He patted the bed, and I climbed up, ignoring the scoffs coming from his father in the corner. This wasn’t about Zavion’s Dad so he could make as much noise as he liked, I would be respectful and focus on my friend – despite how bad it made me feel inside to be so despised.
“You come here every night?”
I nodded, “I had to make sure you wouldn’t leave me.”
“I kept trying to find my way back to you, I promised you I would.”
“You didn’t mention anything about being aerated when you returned though.”
Zavion chuckled, it was so good to hear his amusement. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cause you sorrow.”
“It doesn’t matter now, you made it, you’re back.”
“Just how fucken close are you two?” Tristan questioned, but Zav just creased his forehead and carried on.
“Listen, when I woke up last night, there was a young girl here…”
“Flora,” I cut in.
“You know her?”
“Yes and no. She’s been keeping watch over you at night.”
“Joel?” Carter gasped, “did you know?”
Joel winced, realising his sudden mistake of not informing Carter, “uh – we’ll talk about it later, babe.”
“Why does no one tell me anything? I’m only the father,” Carter bit sarcastically.
“Harlyn,” Zav beckoned, gaining my attention again. “This woman, that was holding my hand…”
“Right, Flora. I know her…”
“She’s the coffee shop chick, she was the one tethered to the bed when we rescued Paisley, and you got torn to shreds,” Arlo chimed in, taking a seat on the windowsill.
“Yes. I recognised her face, but I scared her. She was holding my hand, fast asleep, and I panicked.”
“Why did you do that, she’s been through enough at the hands of those monsters?”
“I didn’t know, everything was blurry, I had a large tube down my throat, and I freaked out because I couldn’t breathe. Arly, I need you to find her, bring her to me; please, so I can apologise.”
“Okay, I’ll go get her now, she’s been helping The Brothers track…”
“What?” Clearly, no one had bothered to inform him of what went down.
“Arlo, you fill him in while I go get Flora,” I ordered, jumping down from the bed and striding out the door.
“I have never seen anyone move as quickly as Harlyn did to get to you, maybe I should cut her a break?” I heard Tristan confess.
“We might have to replace you with her,” Arlo teased.
I didn’t bother turning around, just the fact that Tristan could finally see how much I cared was enough for me. Now to find Flora and hope she’ll return with me – no, make her return.
As I rounded the corner, I noticed the nurse’s station was empty – this was a good sign, for some reason, they didn’t seem to like Flora very much. I gave a curt nod hello to the two guards keeping watch over Flora from The Brother’s organisation and stepped into her room.
Flora was shaking, moving at a rapid pace, attempting to shuck into some new clothes we had dropped off for her the day before. “What are you doing?”
My question startled her, she snapped her head in my direction with widened eyes and pants halfway up her legs. “Shit,” she cursed, “what are you doing here?”
“Are you going somewhere?” I pushed in urgency, it sure looked like she was orchestrating an escape.
“Yes. It was stupid of me – the whole thing…” Flora muttered as she jumped up and down, trying to slip on the tight jeans. I stomped forward, grasping the back of the pants and staring at the size.
“Damn it, I think you got some of Paisley’s new clothes. Take them off, I’ll get you a bigger pair.”
“Oh my god, I thought I’d put on too much weight,” Flora breathed in relief as I extracted a new pair of jeans from the closet.
“For a start, it’s not a bad thing if you put on weight…” I reprimanded, “you’re as skinny as a rake. If I hugged you, you’d snap in half – and secondly, you’re not going anywhere until we get you back on your feet…” I raised my hand to halt her objection. “Third, Zavion wants to see you.”
This made her panic all over again. “I can’t Harlyn, you didn’t see him – he doesn’t know who I am – I just didn’t want him to be lonely.”
Flora finally managed to adorn pants, “are you sure there isn’t any other reason why you have spent every single night with Zav?” I questioned, knowingly.
“W-w-what are you talking about?” Her reaction gave me all the confirmation I needed – she was sweet on our Zavion.
I shrugged my shoulders, innocently, “you can’t think of a single reason as to why you wanted to be near him?”
“No,” Flora growled, blushing furiously.
“Okay,” I rolled my eyes. “It doesn’t matter anyway, you need to come with me.”
“No I don’t, I need to get out of this damn hospital and beg for my job back. I have to find my horrible landlord and somehow convince him to be a decent human being and give me my apartment and belongings.”
“Yeah, I don’t think you should do that, especially not when you’re being released this afternoon into the care of The Brothers, actually more specific, you’re being released into the care of Chase Ramalio.”
I inched closer to her, “I don’t want to ruin the surprise, just please trust me, Flora. I know you have no reason too but, other than the fact that I mixed up some of your bags with Paisley’s, have I followed through on everything I said we would do?”
She was silent for a moment, I guess assessing whether or not there was truth in my words. “No Harlyn, you’ve been the first real friend I’ve had in a long time.”
I held out my hand, “c’mon then – I promise, Zav feels guilty for terrifying you.”
“He does?” Oh Lord, she is beyond sweet on our man that’s for damn sure.
“Yes, he just wants to talk.” She clasped my outstretched hand, and I guided her back to Zavion’s room, with our two Brothers guards in tow. I felt Flora’s resistance the closer we got, shit he must have scared her good. “It’s okay, I’m right here, and I’ll cut off his dick if he steps out of line.”
She smiled timidly but followed me inside. The room was now packed full with not just Carter, Joel, Tristan and Arlo, no. Now we had Ash, Chase, Aiya, Luca, Mags, Blitz, Brady and Tamelia cramping up the already confined space.
Flora began to tug on my fingers and squirm, desperate for release. “Hi everyone,” I cut through the noisy chatter, “um… Zav? Flora – who is twenty, is here.” I winked at her playfully, but she was frozen to the spot, with all eyes staring at her.
“Ah, Flora Delian,” Chase, Arlo’s father stepped forward. “I believe you are coming with us this afternoon.”
“Yes, it will be wonderful having you there – if you don’t mind all the craziness this bunch comes with,” Aiya backed him.
“Y-y y-y don’t know me,” she finally managed in disbelief.
“Could everyone give me a minute with Flora please?” The strong voice of Zavion penetrated through the curious horde. “Harlyn, perhaps you could stay, so Flora doesn’t feel uncomfortable.”
I’ll admit it, I was inwardly clapping at the fact that I was privileged enough to remain.
“What? This is favouritism,” Tamelia scoffed.
“Yeah, we wanna be nosey too,” Brady whined.
I, on the other hand, chuckled as everyone exited the room, mumbling begrudgingly about being kicked out. Blocking the doorway the moment everyone had left, from prying eyes, I pulled across the curtain just so none could intrude on this intimate reconnection.
“Hello Flora, please come sit down.”