Saturday, August 7th, 2010 Who: Jack Daniels and Jia Li Adlar What: Confrontations When: Saturday, August 7th, 2010; Beginning in the morning, but fast forwarding to the afternoon Where: Jia Li’s dorm Rating: R Status: Complete
Jia Li Adlar couldn’t just let things go. It was something that was beyond her. However, her usual methods of going over things again and again in her mind just weren’t cutting it this time. Of course, that didn’t stop the mental images that flickered through her head – what she could have done, should have done, or would have done. Things could have been different, right?
She still had those horrible nightmares of Jack lying in a pool of his own blood, but in her dreams, he didn’t come back from his wounds. The dryad would awaken, bearing a large sense of guilt and remorse at her dreams even after she realized they weren’t reality. He was alive, and he had seemed okay physically despite those pinkish slashes that had littered his torso in that brief glimpse she’d had of him before he’d slammed the door in her face.
Of course, no matter how many times she’d knocked, he hadn’t answered even to shout at Jia Li and Kay to leave him alone. The two women had left the pizza they’d bought for him at his door and had left. The siren had said she’d bring the whiskey she’d acquired for him later, but Jia Li hadn’t wanted to return, so Kay would have had to have gone by herself.
Despite all of the anger and all of the frustration that Jack’s very presence tended to bring upon her, the dryad couldn’t ignore the fact that he had saved her life. There was no doubt in her mind that she would have been the one lying in a pool of her own blood from so many stab wounds if Jack hadn’t adopted a façade of humanism long enough to shove her into a tree. Why had he helped her if he had only turned around and had acted like it was a mistake once it was all over? It wouldn’t have been just so he could try to get himself killed. If he wanted to die, he would have committed suicide or something. Even if it wasn’t necessarily because she, Jia Li, had been the one in danger, the fact that he’d helped her at all meant he had a good heart. His helping her also proved that even though his goodness wasn’t something that showed on the surface, it was there, waiting to be uncovered by someone. Maybe even by herself.
In order to uncover something like that, she would need to learn the truths that he kept buried deeply about himself. He’d hinted that something had happened to him, something he hadn’t been able to control. In order to uncover something like that, she needed his real name, but she desperately hoped he’d at least given her one key to that in the nickname he’d used to describe himself.
Discovering his name had been tricky. It had required going to the administrative building and lying to the woman behind the desk, sort of. That woman actually liked Jia Li, and the dryad like her in return, but she felt a half lie was necessary to get the information she wanted. Yes, she played on the fact that few people thought she was capable of lying, but in a sense, Jia had been lying to everyone around her for four years by keeping herself closed off from them. Of course, lying by omission and lying upfront were two very different things.
Still, it wasn’t a total lie. Jia Li had simply stated that a guy from Arvandor had helped her out of a tight spot, and she hadn’t gotten a chance to really thank him. She knew what he looked like, and she thought his last name was Daniels. The woman had complied and had pulled up a list of Arvandor Daniels. It hadn’t taken long for her to single out the one she wanted: Gabriel Jackson Daniels. His student ID picture that accompanied it had been the greatest help of all. Who could forget those eyebrows? After thanking the secretary, Jia Li had made her way back to her dorm room where she could use her laptop.
If something had happened to him, there was a chance it would have shown up in a newspaper or something unless it was an encounter like what had happened with the humanists that no one had reported. Jia Li desperately hoped to get a hit when she typed his name into the search bar for Google.
What she found shocked and horrified her. There were news articles surrounding his name, and some had a picture of him accompanying them. Though he looked much younger in those news pictures, it was still obvious that it was him. The words seemed to leap from the page at her: “explosion,” “five dead,” “unknown cause,” “fowl play suspected.” Those listed as killed in the accident were his parents, two of his siblings, and a girl who had been about his age, one who was listed as a friend of the family. There was also an unidentified injured person, but she didn't think anything of that. It was probably just someone that didn't want to have their name in the papers - maybe a neighbor or something. The authorities didn’t know what had caused it.
No wonder he pushed everyone away from him. It wasn’t for exactly the same reasons that Jia Li pushed people away, but there were similar underlying things. His family had died, and a friend of his. The papers said he hadn’t been there, but losing people with whom he’d been close would have been hard. Jia Li had lost her mother, but she hadn’t even known the woman. She couldn’t imagine losing her father.
Jack didn’t seem to have anyone, but he wouldn’t let anyone else get close to him. He obviously didn’t want to get hurt after a tragedy like that. He’d been fifteen at the time, and looking at the date, it had happened four years ago. That meant he’d be nineteen now. That wasn’t enough time to get over something so monumental, but it was probably enough time to stop ruining any chance he had at happiness.
The dryad sighed and rubbed at her temples. She couldn’t just let a revelation like this go, but what could she do? If she went to his dorm, he would probably just slam the door in her face again, and she couldn’t stop him from doing it. He was physically stronger than her. Then again, he hadn’t stopped her from slapping him, and he almost seemed to want her to hit him when she’d been tempted during other encounters. No, even if she threatened to hit him in his own abode, he probably wouldn’t just take it, and she didn’t want to have to lie about her motivations. Who really went to someone’s place to hit them, anyway? He wasn’t an idiot. He could probably spot her lying a mile away. He was too perceptive for someone who sat around drinking all day. It was infuriating!
Jia Li took a deep breath. Lying by omission she could handle with flying colours because all that took was avoidance tactics. Blatantly stating a lie wasn’t as easy for her, and she wasn’t good at it. A lot of people were able to see past her fibs, and Jack likely wouldn’t be an exception. Her only genuine option was to be honest with him.
Seeing as how it was actually still technically the morning, she decided to write him a note. It was simple and short and to the point, and she wrote her dorm address on it and slipped it and a small map into an envelope with Jack Daniels written in pen across the front.
Jia Li made her way to his dorm, slipped the envelope under his door, and headed back to her own to wait. After what she’d been through last weekend, her employers wouldn’t let her work this one, declaring she needed rest, so she had decided to be somewhat productive with it.
When he found the note, he would read:
Gabriel, We need to talk. ~Jia Li
The dryad only hoped it was enough to get his attention.