Chapter 43

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Dark thick lashes lay gently against high cheekbones, the once lively smooth tan skin having paled but only slightly, hair in a complete disarray like usual. The firm broad chest rising and falling with deep breaths, the black comforter that lay atop it moving along with him. The top of the white medical wrap they'd plastered onto his wound peeking from atop the comforter. He lay calmly in his massive bed, that looked almost ordinary with the inhabitance of his large frame.

I titled my head back slightly, trying to get in a deep breath, despite the windows being open and the large room I felt absolutely suffocated. As if I hadn't gotten in a lungful of air in weeks. I was depraved of it, and how I craved it. It was as if something heavy rested on my chest, perhaps the guilt. The knowledge that it should have been me struggling for life, but he wasn't ordinary like me, he had survived a shot right to his chest that had very narrowly missed his heart, I wouldn't have been so lucky. I was a smaller target. It was what James tried to convince me as tears had trailed down my cheeks. But there came a time when the tears ran out. When there were no more, and in their wake they left a shallow despair, an aching sorrow, an empty void right in my own chest. It hurt so much more. That silence was much worse then the loud sobs. Crying was an outlet.

My mother always said it was as if you had an ocean of sadness within you, drop by drop it leaked from your eyes, freeing your soul from its drowning depths. How I wish I could cry again, but perhaps I deserved this pain. Xavier had been shot and yet it was my chest that ached, it was true, love was pain. But only because now you weren't just one person, you felt the pain of the person that held your heart between their hands. You felt their pain, strikingly within your own chest, perhaps magnified.

I reached out a trembling hand, resting it gingerly on the hot skin of his forehead. He was so very warm always, even in this state he was burning up, it's why the doctors had advised to leave him without a shirt. My eyes lolled back slightly as my skin came in contact with his, and I allowed my hand to trail down, resting it on his arm that rose and fell steadily along with the movements of his chest. Yet safely away from the wound. Assuring me ever so quietly that his heart was still beating, he was still breathing. Xavier was alive.

"Raine." A deep smooth voice called softly. Allowing my hand to fall from his chest, I turned around to face the person who had called my name. James stood inside the doorway, his eyes on the spot that my hand had  previously been. He cocked his head to the side looking at my face.
"Are you alright?" He asked softly as he came to stand beside my chair.
"I'm fine." I said quietly, it was almost rehearsed, robotic throughout the years the amount of times a person said they were fine without meaning it, it became second nature.

"Come with me." He requested softly, and I got up from my seat, following him out to the hallway.
"Look, Raine you've been great for the past few days, I know you care about him, despite what you saw. He may be in a coma, but I'm sure he knows what's going on. He needs you here, and he'd kill me when he wakes up and I've let you leave. It's still dangerous for you out there. I don't want to have to force you Raine, please just stay here, be there for him. You're all he needs." James says, his eyes narrowed in scrutiny, carefully assessing every part of my face, waiting for any sign I was unwilling to cooperate.

"I'm not going to run, I'm not going to leave him when he's like this. You don't have to worry about that." I answer softly and his eyes widen in surprise at my words. I hadn't verbally responded to anyone in days, I murmured to Xavier sometimes, and I'm sure they knew, but I hadn't spoken to anyone else since that night.

"Thank you." He says, nodding his head.
"I-I know none of us are your favourite people at the moment, but if you need anything Raine you can tell me, or anyone here. Nobody would refuse you, besides the whole leaving thing." He adds sheepishly after a moment of contemplation.
"You might remember my wife Alia, if you'd like I could call her. I'm sure she'd be glad to see you again. Maybe you could speak to her, spend some time with her." He says. There wasn't a need for them to find alternatives for the people that I generally spoke to, who they'd informed I had gone away with Xavier for a little while.

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