Chapter One

Jane wiped the tears from her eyes and the blood from her wrists. Her hair still wet from her bath, she leapt from the tub spraying water everywhere. Loud music pounded against the walls but Jane didn't care. She needed something loud to ease her pain. She threw the pictures from the bathroom wall-small pictures of flowers, little girls in fields, a waterfall-and the glass from the frame flew everywhere around her bare feet. She lifted her bleeding wrists and wiped them on the pale creamy wall paper with lilac flowers, making the flowers more of a deep purple and the creamy white background a blood red. Her long fingernails ripped through the shower curtain, tearing it to shreds in seconds.

She stood breathing heavily in front of the large bathroom mirror and sneered at herself. Look at what had happened. The scene in the living room now seemed so...real. The two people she most loved...gone. Why had she never realized what a twisted circle she had been living in. So many lies and she'd been oblivious. So many people had been hurt beyond their beliefs and still they lived. Jane wished she could be like them, ignoring the pain and living life to its fullest.

Here she was, naked in front of the bathroom mirror, a tub full of water and blood behind her, a reflected woman close to dying in front of her. Her black hair was plastered to the back of her neck, water and blood dripping from it to the floor. Her pale blue eyes were full of hate and anger where they had once used to be loving and happy. She'd fallen so far...now she couldn't help but wonder if anyone would bother to pick her up.

Staring at her reflection, Jane almost softened. The anger could be pushed away. She could easily just clean all the blood, call Dylan...wait, she couldn't call Dylan. It was too late to call Dylan. Remembering Dylan's sweet face brought fresh tears to Jane's eyes and a lump the size of a football formed in her throat. She let out a choked sob and grabbed the hair dryer. With a scream, she hurled the hair dryer at the mirror, the shards falling all around her. Some got in her hair, one cut across her cheek, but she was virtually untouched.

Why can't I ever be hurt when I want to? Jane thought wearily. She looked around the small bathroom, blood, glass, and water all over the floor. How lovely, more blood.

Jane let out a shaky sigh and went to her room, connected to the bathroom. She grabbed a white t-shirt, some loose fitting jeans, a navy blue zip-up sweater that went to her knuckles, covering the deep slits in her wrists. Is it possible to live this long after I've lost so much blood?

She didn't bother wiping the mascara that streaked down her cheeks or the blood from the cut by the mirror away. If people couldn't feel her pain, they had to see it somehow.

As Jane passed through the living room to the front door, she saw Eric's lifeless body laying on the couch, his eyes wide with fear and horror as he saw his life pass before them. What a useless mess, Jane thought coldly. It didn't seem right that she would be the one to clean up so she decided to just leave and maybe she'd come back and get some help with cleaning.

She knew she had to call an ambulance or the police or someone but she had to get out. No one would be going to her apartment anyway, there was no one left to care.

The elevator was empty as Jane went from the tenth level to the lobby. She walked out into the raining city. It was black out-eleven o' clock at night-so the city was filled with the bright lights of advertisements, restaurants, buildings, cars, clubs. Jane almost wished she was out to go to a club or restaurant. But who would she go with? Delia used to be the first person she'd call, but Delia was long gone. Jane looked up at all the apartments. Many lights were still on even though many people were sleeping. What's the city that never sleeps? Las Vegas? No, New York City, right? Well then what's Las Vegas? Jane ignored her thoughts as she hailed a taxi.

The driver who pulled over was young, about two or three years older than Jane's twenty-two years. He looked shocked as he saw who he was picking up. Jane ignored his stare and climbed into the backseat of the taxi. She didn't say anything about where she wanted to go because, she realized suddenly, she didn't know where she wanted to go.

"Whoa! Wha' happened to you?" the driver exclaimed with wide brown eyes. Jane thought briefly about getting out but changed her mind.

"You really want to know?" she asked in a cold voice. The driver arched an eyebrow for a moment, but then shook his head and chuckled. He had a warm laugh, the kind that normally made Jane smile and feel a warm sense of happiness in her heart, but not tonight.

"Not really, but if ya wanna tell me..." the driver said in a voice that told Jane he thought she was a joke. Her anger rose up yet again. A joke? Jane? No, this driver obviously didn't know who Jane was. "Anyway, my name's...well ya can call me B.B, 'kay? Where ya goin' tonight?" Jane felt like laughing at this man because of his name. If he would laugh at her, she would laugh at him.

"B.B.?" Jane asked with a snort, "What kind of name is that?" She look at his expression through the rearview mirror and found that he was looking back at her through the same mirror. Jane blushed and looked down. B.B. however didn't look embarrassed or insulted.

"It's just a nickname," B.B. said with a grin, "But I like it fine. So where did ya say ya was goin'?" Jane sighed and leaned her forehead against the window. She didn't know what to say.

"I didn't," she said in the same cold voice, emotionless and flat, "I'm not really going anywhere." She kept her eyes on the sidewalk and thought for a moment that she saw Dylan walking up to her apartment. But that, of course, was impossible and she pushed the thought from her mind.

"Then why'd ya get in here?" B.B. asked with a chuckle, "This is a taxi, it's for people taking rides and stuff, not for people who don't even know where they're goin'!" Jane felt her face grow slightly redder although she wasn't sure if that was from embarrassment or anger, probably both.

"Would it be too much trouble to ask if you can just, I don't know, take me anywhere?" Jane muttered. She watched B.B. again through the rearview mirror, hoping this time he wouldn't catch her, which he didn't. Instead, a mysterious smile spread across his face. B.B.'s smile was the warm kind where the person's eyes crinkle up and their whole face looks friendly and loving. Jane used to love people whose smiles were like that-now it just reminded her of Dylan.

"How about we make a deal?" B.B. asked slowly, "I can tell ya got an interesting story to tell and I wanna hear it. Hell, even I got an interesting story to tell. How's about I drive around while you tell me your story, I'll tell you mine, and we won't have to worry about the fact ya haven't got any destination?" Jane couldn't care less about B.B.'s "story to tell" but she did care about the fact he wanted to hear her story.

Jane's story was long and complicated and she didn't want to tell it. There was just too much...heartbreak, pain, sadness. It would just bring back the lost memories she'd tried so hard to forget. Think before you act Jane, a small voice said in the back of her head, Do you really have to take a taxi? What if you just got out of this one and find another taxi driver who'll agree to drive you around without asking for an explanation? But the voice was too small, too quiet.

"Fine," Jane said, "But you tell your story first." She figured she could just listen politely to his story then say she wanted to get off at a gas station or something and she wouldn't have to tell B.B. about everything. B.B. chuckled and shook his head. Jane frowned, now why was he laughing? Is that all he did? Chuckle and shake his head? Well to be quite frank, she was getting tired of it.

"I'm sorry, Miss..." B.B. stopped, "I didn't get your name, miss."

"It's Jane," she answered swiftly. She'd thought briefly of lying to B.B., after all he wouldn't know the difference if she called herself something like Cassandra or Sarah.

"Well, Jane, I think I will tell part of my story, then you tell part of yours, and so on, so we both tell our stories fair and square," B.B. said, ruining Jane's plan of listening then running. She thought for a few moments. Did she really want to stay in the taxi and tell the stupid cab driver her...story? B.B. waited patiently for Jane to make her decision until she finally made up her mind.

"Fine," she said again, "But you go first." B.B. smiled, obviously pleased Jane agreed to the deal when she was so obviously unhappy to share her painful experience.

"It's a deal," B.B. said quickly and started to drive into the night traffic. Jane looked at the clock on the taxi's small digital clock. 11:37 p.m. It didn't seem as late as it had been, she'd thought it was at least 1:00 a.m. "First I have to pull over for gas. Since you're not going anywhere I'm assuming you don't mind."

"Yeah but you know what assuming does," Jane muttered, not expecting B.B. to respond.

"No, actually I don't," B.B. admitted, "What does it do?" Jane almost laughed when she realized he was serious.

"It makes an ass out of you and me," Jane said simply, "Everyone knows that."

"Obviously not everyone." B.B. said in a voice that sounded strangely annoyed.

They didn't talk for the rest of the ride to the gas station. When B.B. got out to pay for the gas, he grinned at Jane. Jane didn't show any sign of emotion, she remained impassive,
but B.B. didn't seem to care.

Jane was having a hard time believing the night. First Eric's...death, then her temper-tantrum in the bathroom, now she was riding in a cab by a driver who didn't know that curiosity killed the cab driver. It was like that Lemony Snicket series where all the kids are constantly in bad situations.

Suddenly B.B. was tapping on the window holding a bag of Doritos, Fritos, Lays,
and Cheetos in his hands. Okay, maybe her situations were a little worse.

"I wasn't sure which kind ya liked," B.B. said with a shrug. He handed Jane all the bags but the Cheetos. Jane looked at the Cheetos only briefly. She hated Cheetos.

"I love this!" B.B. said in a way most people would express love for their husband or wife, or girlfriend or boyfriend.

"So do I," Jane lied. B.B. grinned at her again and handed her the bag. Jane almost refused it but realized that B.B. would be more insulted at her refusal than he would be disappointed in her taking the bag. Jane forced herself to eat the disgusting junk food for her ride's sake. Or was it for B.B.'s?