“Trust me, it helps,” Vila said, setting a bottle of wine in front of Dayna. He slid into the seat beside her, putting down two glasses as well.
Stiffening immediately, Dayna hastily wiped the backs of her wrists against her eyes. “I wasn’t crying,” she said in a voice tight from crying.
“Course not,” Vila said quietly. “Never thought you were.” Pouring the wine into the glasses, he added, “Wine still helps. Not potent stuff, mind you, not like gin or whiskey, but it can be nicely numbing.” He took a drink from his, draining half the glass, then topped it off. “One thing about Dorian: he didn’t skimp on the good stuff.”
Sniffing covertly, Dayna angled herself away from him. “I’d rather just be left alone right now, Vila.”
Nodding solemnly, Vila said, “That’s why you’re out here in the middle of the night, hoping someone’ll come along and find you.” He gestured to the main room. It was dimmed for the evening, but there was enough light to see by. “Well, maybe you were hoping someone else would show up. Only, we both know it isn’t going to be Avon. Reckon Tarrant wouldn’t piece it together, even if he did happen across you, and Soolin isn’t much for coddling.”
“I don’t need coddling,” Dayna retorted.
Taking another swig from his wine glass, Vila nodded. “Didn’t mean it like that, honest. It’s just. No one wants to be alone after a thing like that.” He hesitated, before adding, “Know I wouldn’t.”
After a few moments, Dayna quietly said, “He’d still be alive if I hadn’t gone to see him.”
“Maybe,” Vila agreed with a nod. “Or maybe he’d be working for the Feds now. Maybe they would have just killed him anyway, and then he wouldn’t have anyone to mourn him.”
Dayna gave a bitter laugh. “You’re not making me feel much better.”
“No,” Vila agreed sadly. “That’s what the wine is for.” He nodded to her glass.
Picking it up, Dayna looked into the liquid before downing a good half of it. She closed her eyes as it went down and let out a deep sigh afterwards. “I’ll be all right, you know,” she said, sounding a bit more her old self. “It’s just, losing Justin so soon after my father and Lauren . . .”
“Love is cruel like that,” Vila agreed. “It can build you up, but it’ll tear you down twice as bad. Least you know he died loving you. That’s got to help.”
“I’m not sure it does,” Dayna softly replied. She took another sip of her wine, her eyes lifting to focus on him. Vila’s gaze had unfocused, settled on the half-empty wine bottle. He seemed lost in thought. “You shouldn’t drink so much.” When Vila blinked and redirected his attention on her, she said, “It’s not going to bring Cally back.”
Vila returned with a strange, sad smile. “If only that were the problem.”
Pulling her gaze off him, Dayna changed topics. “You could always leave, if it’s that bad. You’d probably happier if you did. It’s not like you grew up with him.” She lowered her eyes, wrapping her hand around her glass.
Draining the rest of his wine, Vila said, “Nah. Thought about it before, believe me. Just know I’d be worse off worrying about . . . about you lot if I was somewhere else. Got an overactive imagination, you know. Rather be here where I know for sure he’s . . . you’re all all right.”
“You’re right, Vila,” Dayna said suddenly, causing him to look at her in surprise. “I had a good thing with Justin, and now it’s over. It hurts. It damn well hurts, but it should. I’ll get over it.” She pushed to her feet, much stronger. “You should too.”
Shaking his head, Vila watched her go. Soon, he was all alone, as usual. “Maybe when he’s dead,” he said into the empty room. “But in the meantime . . . ” He sighed and refilled his glass.