Today was the day; the second anniversary of Jack's death. Somehow, when I was still a fledgling, it was much harder to deal with. But now, that I had completed the Change and grew into a full vampyre, I see this as Nyx intended. She told us that she would welcome us with open arms in the Otherworld as her beloved children. Jack was with her and I knew that Jack was happy being there. And I knew that someday, I would join them.
I set my keys on my end table by the front door and I walked into my apartment. Adam was not home yet and so I had some time to myself. I rested on the couch and put my feet up on my coffee table. Sitting there, just below my foot, was Jack's last birthday present for me; he got me a whole new sketchbook. Within its bindings, I had drawn many pictures of the school grounds, my group of friends, and even a few portraits of Nyx. Looking at the cover, I remembered the first time I met Jack.
It was a normal lunch period, well normal for vampyre fledglings. Our nights and days were reversed compared to a human; we had lunch at midnight while the humans slept soundly in their beds. I was seated with the twins, Shaunee and Erin, and of course Zoey and Stevie Rae as well. Our High Priestess at the time was Neferet and she had come bursting into the dining hall with Jack at her side. She introduced him to our group and asked me to show him around, informing me that he was to be my roommate. After lunch, I did just as I was asked to. I showed Jack the courtyard, the stables, the classrooms, and lastly, the dormitory.
I opened the door to my room, and now his. "This is…our room." That was awkward. Thankfully, my little Cammy strode over to Jack and began sniffing his shoes. "Oh, that's Cammy, he's my cat. He chose me shortly after I enrolled here. Isn't he precious?" I picked him up and pressed his face to mine. He squirmed a bit in my arms but he didn't whine. I let him down and he curled up next to Jack as he sat on his side of the room.
"It's nice here." Jack simply said. He sounded so nervous, I felt sorry for the poor kid. Unlike Jack, I was relieved to finally get here; my parents didn't approve of my drawings, of my homosexuality, and especially not my becoming a vampyre. Being accepted wasn't something I had until I met Zoey and the others; and for that, I would always be grateful.
"So, Jack, what activities do you like to do?" Jack didn't answer me at first but he looked around the room and spotted my library. He got up and wandered over to my case.
"You…like Harry Potter too?" He asked me, brushing his fingers along the binds of The Chamber of Secrets and further along until he stopped at my copy of Edgar Allen Poe's works. That night, we discussed books until we were blue in the face. Adam burst through the door at that moment, sending the memories flittering into the air.
"Damien, you would not believe the stories I gathered today." He sighed heavily and sat next to me on the couch. He put his feet up on the coffee table and crinkled my sketchpad. I lifted his feet so I could free it. "Oh, Damien, I'm sorry baby."
"It's okay. What did you want to tell me?" He dove into wild stories of yet another string of disappearing humans. They knew that vampyres existed but they were unsure if the bodies had any evidence of vampyre attack or if they were in fact the victims of an active serial killer. Adam told me all about the interview he had to film today and the excitement of today's story. His eyes sparkled when he talked about his job.
Adam looked down at his watch. "Oh gosh, I have to get a shower before I meet my brother for dinner." He kissed me on the lips and ran for our bathroom. I stared after him and smiled to myself. I was lucky to have met him; after losing Jack, I never thought I would be worthy of someone else. I never thought I would want anyone else either but with some encouragement from Zoey and the others, I was able to heal my heart and move on.
I laid back on the couch and stared at the ceiling fan. I waited for Adam to come home that day and distracting myself proved to be a nightmare. I couldn't think of anything other than Jack. I had moved on from Jack but part of my heart still missed him and longed to see him again and the other belonged to another man. I was thankful when Adam strolled through that front door and sat down next to me. "How was your evening sweetie?" He asked.
"It was fine." I lied.
"Damien, are you alright? You look like you've been crying." I wiped under my eyes. My fingers were wet with tears I hadn't realized I shed.
"It's Jack isn't it?" He asked.
"I'm sorry Adam." I admitted.
"Damien, don't apologize to me for that. Ever. I understand that Jack was your first love and he'll always have a place in your heart. And I know that today is the second anniversary of his death." He patted my shoulder and held me close in his arms. I remembered why I loved Adam so much; he was so understanding and loving. I didn't know what I would do without him. "By the way love, you never told me what happened."
"Well, at the time I couldn't because I was a fledgling and we weren't allowed to interact with humans. And that was before Zoey changed the rules." I smirked, thinking fondly of my dear friends. Zoey and Stark eventually got married when they went through the change and last I heard, she was still a High Priestess. I hadn't heard from Stevie Rae since she and Rephaim also tied the knot. Shaunee was doing just fine with Nicole as far as I knew; they were even traveling the world, taking in all of the sights. There was a reason I didn't keep in touch with Aphrodite and Darius; don't want to know. Adam was patiently waiting for me to tell him so I cleared my throat and began the tale.
Things were finally starting to go our way; this ritual was supposed to be a Celebration Ritual of the return home of Zoey, Stark, and Aphrodite. The rest of the gang had already taken care of most of the arrangements, so I thought I would sneak in a quick run. I put on my best workout clothes and tied my running shoes onto my feet. I jogged down to the spot where Jack was finishing the set up. He was working so hard to make his origami swords it was cute to watch. I snuck up behind him and wrapped him into my arms. He giggled.
"Damien, stop that. I'm almost done and you're breaking my concentration." He turned around and planted a soft kiss on my lips and playfully shoved me away. "Going for a run?"
I began to stretch out my hamstrings and my shoulders. "Yes. Just a quick one though, I shouldn't be long."
"Well take your time, I still have plenty to do. And not enough time to do it in." Duchess tried to help by picking some of the origami paper in her mouth. "No Duchess, don't help girl." He took the paper out of her mouth and put it back where he had it. And that was how I left him, we exchanged "I love you's", I grabbed Duchess, and I went on my jog.
I was sweating profusely, I continuously wiped sweat out of my eyes. When I rounded the corner to that tree, I saw the most horrific scene in my life. My beloved Jack was laying on the ground in a pool of his blood. His eyes were closed, with a peaceful look on his face. I grew weak in my knees and they buckled out from underneath me. "Jack! Jack! NO! Oh Jack!" I wailed. I crawled over to him and cradled his head in my hands; he was as cold as ice and it was at that moment, I knew my Jack was gone. "Oh honey, how could you leave me like this?" I looked at the claymore laying next to him. I couldn't help but feel that this was all my fault. I warned Jack not to leave that stupid sword pointed up like that. I lost my true love and I feared I would never get that back again.
"Aww Damien, I'm so sorry sweetheart." Adam kissed my forehead. "I'm sorry I made you relive that; that must have been so awful for you." He excused himself and left to meet his brother for dinner. He offered an invitation for me to join them but I respectfully declined; I told him that I was too tired to go out and not interested in eating. I laid down on the couch and looked up at the ceiling. The one thing that ran through my mind was something that I never told a single soul about; it was the day Nyx appeared to me, and only me.
After Jack died, I was inconsolable. The others were all very sad too but no one was going through what I was, but maybe only Zoey would know at this point. I did feel kind of bad for her; Jack died not too long after Heath did. Unfortunately, I felt worse for myself and it was to the point that I didn't see any reason to live anymore. I didn't tell Zoey or anyone that I was seriously contemplating offing myself. I knew that Nyx would want me to make something of my life and not mourn the dead. But there was something inside of me that just…died with him. I didn't want to be without him.
Zoey and the others left me alone at Jack's funeral pyre. I was kneeling on the ground, trying so desperately to hold back my sobs. I knew in my heart that Nyx would not approve and I felt terrible for even thinking about this but…I couldn't live anymore. I had lost the will to live without Jack by my side. What Zoey didn't know was that I had hidden a bottle of medication in my jacket pocket. I took the bottle out and twisted open the cap. In a divine light, Nyx appeared before me.
"Damien, my beloved child, what are you doing?" She asked me in her angelic, motherly voice.
"Great Goddess of Night, I know you wanted great things of me and you have truly blessed me with the Air Affinity but…" I sighed heavily, "I need Jack. I need him to breathe, he is my everything and now…I'll never see him again."
"My dear son, do not be discouraged. The love you have for each other was a beautiful thing that cannot be separated by death."
"What do you mean?" I asked her.
"You'll be with him again. Some souls find each other again and again. Yours will; you have my oath on it." In a flash, Nyx revealed an all-seeing portal. She showed me flashes of another gay couple. The first one was of a couple dressed in colonial dress; the scene was by a tree and the black haired guy looked like me. And that beautiful person next to him was my beloved Jack. I watched as their relationship bloomed and survived the harshest deaths. And when I saw those faces again, overcoming the discrimination of their peers, I, myself, was overcome by their love and I felt tears fill my eyes.
I wiped my eye and before me, stood an apparition of Jack. "Jack, is that really you?"
"Yes Damien, I'm really here."
"Oh Jack, I love you so much. I don't know how I would ever get over you."
"Just let go Damien."
I was appalled by his words. "What?"
"Damien, honey, I love you too much to let you do this to yourself. You have to be here for Zoey and the others, you have to live for you. I love you too much to let you kill yourself over me. I don't want that for you; I want you to move on, and find happiness again. It's okay to let me go. Just let me go my love."
"But Jack," I began.
"Damien, if you can't do it for yourself, do it for me." Jack pleaded. "Live. Be happy." Jack disappeared and took my heart with him.
The other time Nyx appeared before me, was the moment I truly let go of my sorrow and pain. The condolences of everyone at the funeral were nothing compared to the sweet joy of knowing that Jack was in a good place and that he would be there waiting for me.
Nyx held her arms out to me and told me, "I want you to know that your Jack is with me, and he is one of the purest, most joy-filled spirits my realm has ever known."
Tears overflowed my eyes. "Thank you. Thank you for telling me that. It will help me try to get over him."
"My son, there is no need to get over Jack. Remember him, and rejoice in the brief, beautiful love you shared. Choosing to do so does not mean forgetting or getting over, it means healing."
I smiled through my tears. "I'll remember. I'll always remember and choose your path, Nyx. I give you my word." And so, I let Jack go.