Wrong time to take that shortcut home pt 1
Was it the wrong time to take that shortcut?
Let me tell you a bit about myself before we go into the rest of the story here. My name is Marek. I'm 5'8”, and on a good day, 150lbs, with some tone. I'm 18, about to graduate from high school, clean cut, brown eyes, dark brown hair, with a few annoying cowlicks mixed in. Even though I hate them, I wear glasses. Most consider me a geek, nerd, take your pick. My family and friends love me for it. I can fix most anything, after reading about it. I am awkward in groups, but great one on one. I don't drink, as I never could stand the taste. Same for smoking and drugs. Most think I am a momma's boy, that is until they met her!
That being said, onto the story...
It was late at night and I barely remember leaving the party I’d gone to earlier. Cain had done his usual; drank, lost it all in the bathtub, cried, and passed out. I had a great time, talking, dancing, and attempting to sing. Everyone laughed and was saying various things like I sounded like I’d swallowed a bullfrog and had a bad chest cold at the same time.
It was about 1 or 2 AM when I left. Most everyone else had gone home already. While I wasn't feeling any pain, I certainly was in no shape to drive. Considering I hadn't got my license yet there were no worries there. I was too tired from all the dancing, so I figured I'd take a short cut home. That meant crossing a field and through Tillman’s Gully, which is about 75 feet deep and almost 100 feet long. I guess it's more of a trench, but there were too many brambles on either side to walk along sides so I went down through it.
Just as I was nearing the top of the other side, I misjudged a step and slipped. I guess I was more tired than I had thought. I tumbled backwards, hit my head on a rock and packed earth. That's about all I remember before blacking out. I woke up sometime later, in a semi-dark room I didn't recognize, on a bed that was just barely comfortable. Mom and Dad were there sleeping in chairs on one side of the bed, my Lil bro' cuddled up with me on the bed. Like me, he's short for his age. He wasn't sleeping well. I guess he was scared about my falling and knocking myself out. I can't blame him, my head hurt like I'd gone a few rounds with Jet Li and Bruce Lee at the same time. My body hurt only slightly less.
I squeezed his shoulder, while shaking him gently, “Vance, shh, it's okay. I’m alright now. I'll be fine when you wake up, OK?”
That seemed to calm him down, because he stopped fidgeting. So I gave him another hug and let him sleep. Mom woke up then. Being a nurse, she's always been a light sleeper; one of many reasons I rarely got into anything like trouble at home. She works in The Ward, and can wrestle with her patients and than have them come back to apologize for her having to do it in the first place. Dad on the other hand, you could drop ice water over him, and all he'd do is snort, and roll over to face the other way and then wake up wondering what had happened.
She got up and came over, checked my vitals, while asking me how I felt, and made a few notes on the clipboard. I could see the concern in her eyes.
I told her, “No, I didn't fall off the wagon. No it wasn't a fight. Yes, I slipped. Sorry I wasn't more careful.”
She said, "We'll take more later. There's someone you have to thank for finding you."
She walked out of the room, and came back a few minutes later with Cain.
While we didn't get along, we weren't enemies. We just didn't click. He was a typical jock. Tall, built like a linebacker. He excelled in sports, and surprisingly did great in most of the classes he was in, except shop. He just couldn't grasp how things came together. That's where I came in to his life, and unexpectedly at that for both of us. I tutored him to help keep him on the team. His dad was expecting him to work at his shop when he graduated. I think Cain wanted to go for a football scholarship though.
She picked up Vance, woke dad, and they talked quietly near the door for a few minutes. All the while Cain was quiet, like he wasn't sure what to say. Dad came over gave me a hug and said he'd see me later before going to work. Cain seemed a little more relieved after they were gone. No one ever new why, he wasn't a troublemaker, he just had problems with parents and small kids. As far as I know, he's an only child. That covers one of the two. Being me though, I never pushed, and he seemed grateful.
He pulled up the chair mom had been sleeping in and asked, "Does it look worse than it is? I heard head injuries usually do."
Leave it to him to bring a few more surprises to the table. I never knew he had any compassion for much else other than sports.
“Well, aside from the sparring partners winning that round, I think I’ll be OK. It just hurts a lot right now.”
We both laughed and I groaned, and he was up out of the chair immediately, saying, "Do you want a nurse or something for the pain?"
His calloused hand touched my cheek ever so gently. He actually trembled, I thought he was going to cry and run for the door, whatever I said.
I put my hand over his and said, "That sounds like a good plan."
I don't think I’d wish this on anyone right now. Not even Mrs. Hildeburg (she's my English teacher, and a nightmare for most want to be writers).
He left pretty fast, coming back with two cups, a jug of water and nurse right behind him. She seemed a bit perturbed for some reason. I think he all but dragged her to my room. Once she saw me though, she was all business, finishing what my mom didn't write on my clipboard. She said she'd have to change the bandages, and would be back with them in a few minutes.
She was looking at Cain when she said, “Next time use the buzzer near his head,” and left.
He shrugged kind of sheepishly and actually blushed.
He got me the water and pills and gave both to me.
“Are you sure you're going to be OK? That was a pretty bad fall. You're lucky I was behind you when it happened, I just wasn't close enough to keep you from falling.”
There was that look of concern again, and something else I couldn't quite catch. Was it hope?
Again, he moved the chair closer to the bed, this time lowering the sidearm as well.
"I guess you haven't seen yourself yet have you? With how bad you're hurt, I'm not surprised," he reached and over gently touched my face.
“You're head is wrapped in bandages, right cheek split and you'll need some dental work,” he said as he gently rubbed his finger over my left jaw.
“Your left arm's broken from when you landed on your 'sparring partners' and they're scheduling you for pins to be put in.”
We were both approaching tears now.
“Your ribs are cracked in several places,” his hand brushed my nipple and we both shuddered.
“Your right leg's sprained at the hip, knee and ankle. Your left is fractured just above the knee, mid shin, and ankle.”
Now we were both sobbing quite a bit at this point. He came back up to my face, and I realized that I couldn’t see out of one eye. Cain was looking like a dam about to burst at this point.
“Your left eye will recover, but they only expect about 60-80% of your vision to return. When your glasses broke, a piece jabbed in and just missed your cornea,” he was sitting on the bed at this point.
Somewhere there was a loud wail of a scream. I realized it was me. I don't remember when it happened, but I was holding on to him for dear life. I knew I was going to get out eventually, but when?
Nurse Wellen came running back in, with a doctor and two orderlies. She is my mom's best friend, Karen, from high school. She sent the two orderlies away when she saw the both of us. Cain said the orderlies looked a bit concerned when they saw him. With him being 6'5 and close to 300 lbs of muscle, I don't blame them. It took the three them of close to twenty minutes to get me to let go of Cain.
I felt a jab from the needle in my arm and heard her say, “It's an I.V. with something to help you sleep. From what I see here, I’ll get an extra bed for Cain. You're in a room with a shower and bathroom. I suggest you use it Cain, you smell like you could use it in the worst way.”
With that, she left with the Dr. I realized that he must be new. I didn't recognize him, as I drifted off to sleep from whatever was in the I.V.
I woke up awhile later. Cain was sleeping in the chair on the right side of my bed, head near me. My hand was on his shoulder. Mom, Dad and Vance were back as well. I felt like I've swallowed a bag of cotton balls. And trying to talk around them muffled everything.
All I could get out was “mmmrrm...” She woke up instantly, moving around the chair that Cain was passed out in. She shook him gently, and pulled him to sitting.
She got the jug of water and poured it into a cup with a straw. I guess while I'd been sleeping I was moved to a semi reclining position on the bed. I took a few sips and she pulled the straw out of my mouth to let me swallow.
“Swish it around before you swallow, your tongue and throat probably need it. You've been asleep for awhile.”
Cain was awake about that point and eying dad strangely. Dad didn't seem to notice or he was pretending not to at least. Dad couldn't harm fly; odd with him being a cop and all. Vance was quiet, almost too quiet.
“Hey kiddo, relax, I’ll be OK soon, mom's here she knows what to do. OK Lil bro?” He tries to act like it's OK, but his lip was quivering like he'd been holding back crying.
“Cain, sorry but can you let Vance up please? I think he needs some 'Me time.’'”
Cain stepped back, and helped Vance onto the bed, albeit a bit awkwardly, Vance doesn't like being picked up, especially by strangers. So he squirmed a bit when Cain gently lifted him up onto the bed.
Vance pouted and said “I'm not a football you know,” and kind of smiled at him before cuddling up to me. I can feel the tears through my hospital gown, so I hugged him as tight as I dared.
Mom came up and asked me what happened that I ended up here. I was covered in blood, mud, leaves, and bits of gravel. Like I had dove out of a moving car into a ditch. And missed by landing on the side of the road first and tumbled in after. I told her I'd taken the shortcut through Tillman’s Gully, because I was too tired from all the dancing I was doing last night.
That's when bomb #2 dropped. She said that it was more than last night and handed me the paper. It's a bit worn, like it's been folded and opened a lot. Seems I made the front page. But the date was one month later than I thought it actually was.
I dropped the paper and looked at each of them. Mom, Dad, Vance.and Cain. That's when the Dr. came in. His timing couldn't have been worse. I tried to brush it off. I couldn't have been out that long could I? I mean it's one month. But it was as fresh in my head as if it had happened yesterday. I think I passed out thinking this has to all be a bad dream. The last I remember hearing was the Dr. saying “I seem to have this effect on everyone lately.”
I woke up sometime later, looked around and no saw that no one was in the room. I felt the buzzer in my hand and pressed it, and put my head back to the pillow. I saw a poster of Cain in his football gear. He was taking down three of West Falls players at all once. When it comes to sports they're out 'worst enemies on the field', off the field, we always mixed it up at various parties together all the time. Sure a few fights broke out, but the girls and Cain kept them in line before it got too out of hand.
Karen came in then. Seeing me awake, she asked how I felt. “I don't know. Confused, scared, angry, most importantly though, hungry. She walked over and sat on the bed, brushed my hair aside, and said, “You could do with a bath. Cain’s at an away game. They're playing Richter. So he hasn't been able to help us out as much.”
Richter's an overnight trip. That means two days plus the game, so three days away time. He'll be back tomorrow night. We're recording the game since you can't watch it. Mom won't let you have a TV till the Drs say it's alright. Now, if you stop passing out, we can get the operations done sooner, rather than having to re-break our bones and reset them with the pins. Your choice, Marek. She brushed the bandage over my left eye, “This has been taken care of already, since it's the least invasive of surgeries that have to be done. You should have the bandages off before we need to consider how the pins are going to be done."
She'd always been so matter of fact. Mom wondered why I take it from her. Anyone else that got hit between the eyes would get pissed. I just nodded and asked to go outside during the day so I can get some fresh air while the surgery's being booked. As she's leaving, she stopped and sayid, “By the way, Cain's dad dropped by, he wants to talk. Sounds good though. He seemed kind of pissed, but Cain's not moping around right now. No pun intended, but he's been light on his feet the past while.”
She knew what to say to pick up the mood not just hit you between the eyes. Guess that's why mom loved her so much. I smiled and thanked her. I didn't even notice, but while she was sitting down, she'd put a mirror beside the water jug. Just in reach too. I eyed it like a viper was sitting there, ate what she brought in on a food tray a few minutes later, and asked her, “Is it as bad as Cain said?” she just chuckled and said “No, but you'll have to see that for yourself. That's why that's there.” And then she left.
I went to sleep rather than pick up the mirror. I always thought I wasn't the most appealing of guys yet at the same time I was scared. Did I hit all the ugly rocks on the way down? Would I end up like someone hit me with a flat shovel? While sleeping I dreamed that Cain had walked in holding a trophy and still in his football gear. He looked so much more imposing. And than he stepped into the light. He was covered in mud, some gravel, bandage over his eye, and left arm and leg in a cast. I woke up screaming, feeling like I'd just been broadsided by a truck......again.
Mr. Carver was there. He spilled his coffee when he jumped out of the chair. He smelled of grease, diesel, and gasoline. Even after he showered. He wasn't as tall as Cain, but just a bit taller than me, which made me wonder, could he actually be Cain's father? His mom's shorter than me. It made me wonder how Cain got so tall.
I just started rambling. “I'm sorry Mr. Carver, I didn't mean to scare you like that. I just a bad dream. How have you been? Sorry I wasn't able to help tutor Cain like we agreed."
He put his coffee down, and said not to worry about it. That he understood after Cain finally calmed down enough to tell him what had happened. “It's you I want to talk about, not Cain though. I know you tried hard, but I can see when someone's got no aptitude for fixing things. After school's done though, I want you to come work for me. You know the shop, and the customers. Hell half of them come from you referring them to me anyways. I'm getting swamped and don't think I can wait on Cain picking up the trade. What do you think?”
To say that I was stunned couldn't describe half of what I felt. Mr. Carver, who had one of the best shops in town. He was good enough that he was certified to fix any vehicle out there; at least those that were meant for regular use. Even some military ones. I was so dumbfounded I was at a loss for words. I shook my head, and regretted it immediately. I started to hurl. He got the garbage can up just in time. Of course, Karen walked in right at that moment. Along with Mom, Dad, and Vance. Vance wailed and ran to hit Mr. Carver in the leg demanding to know what he was doing to his big brother. I think a cat in roomful of rocking chairs was more comfortable than Mr. Carver at that moment.
I wiped my mouth and laughed, groaned, laughed some more, and fell back into my pillow, groaned some more and couldn't stop for at least five minutes. When I did, everyone just looked at me like I was drunk, stoned or both. Vance was pouting, thinking I was laughing at him. Mom looked like she was ready to haul me home by my ear. Dad looked like he'd rather be unarmed in a cell with all those people he'd arrested and sent to jail. Mr. Carver was about as stunned looking at Vance wondering why he was getting pummelled by him. Karen just said, “It's about time.” Grabbed the garbage can I hurled in, swapped it with the one from the other bed not being used and left.
After everyone settled in, Vance was on the bed beside me, looking at Mr. Carver like he was going to try and hurt me again. I tousled his hair, and said, “Ease up Lil’ Tiger. He's alright. He just brought me some good news. Mom and Dad will probably want to talk to him about it, but I think I’ll take him up on his offer.” Mom actually blinked, Dad stopped taking a drink of his coffee, and Vance turned and looked at me all confused. Vance shook his head and lay down and cuddled up. Damn he could pass out faster than anyone I knew yet. Maybe he got that from dad.
Mom asked “What do you mean take him up on his offer? Just exactly what happened since we left?”
Dad just put his coffee down, and seemed to get his bearings when Mr. Carver said “I want Marek to come work for me at my shop. With Marek there, Cain won't to have to. And if things work out, I'll consider Marek for a partner since he's been able to send so many people my way for getting their cars fixed.”
Now that even shocked me. I'm 18, haven't graduated yet, and looking at being a partner in the biggest garage in the area? I just smiled like I was handed the winning lottery ticket for the biggest prize in the Guinness Book of World records.
Dad said, "You're right, we are going to talk." He got that cop look about him real fast. Mom looked like she was ready to jump the bed and take him down real fast. Mr. Carver tried to disappear into his chair.
We talked for awhile, and than they left to let me rest for the operations in a few days. Mom would come by on her breaks. Same with Dad. Vance came when he was done school. Cain was in right after he got back from the game with Richter. He was showered, changed and not in his football gear at least. He looked like he wasn't sure what to do though.
Karen came in for a quick check up, saw Cain, and said, "You two had better talk, I'll make sure no one disturbs you unless it's important. And even than, they will knock before coming in."
Cain kind of flinched. But nodded slowly and she left.
I asked him “What's going on? She doesn't act like that with anyone else, unless she's concerned about.......me.....” I looked up at him as he brushed his fingertips over my bandaged face. “Cain? What's going on, why did she say that?”
He said “She saw me bathing you when you were in a coma. I wouldn't let anyone else do it. As I spent time watching you lay there, so helpless and in pain, covered in bandages, I realized one thing."
He turned to walk away, and I grabbed for his hand and missed, I actually grabbed his pants pocket, and a handful of his ass. He stopped right then, and I felt him shiver, not like he was cold though.
He turned his head just a bit, then slowly turned the rest of the way. He grabbed my hand and lightly pulled it up to his face as he sat down. He put my palm to his cheek and pressed into my hand even tighter. He said “I think I’m falling in love with you Marek....” He looked up at me with tears in his eyes. “I have had an idea for awhile, but never could admit it. Not with someone like my dad around. And the rest of the guys on the team either. But as I helped take care of you I realized there was no way around it. The shear thought of loosing you was just too much.” Shock #3.
I didn't know what to say or what to do. I let him press his cheek into the palm of my hand,. He slowly stood up and leaned over me. He stopped just long enough to look me in the eyes before he kissed me; tentatively at first. He ran his tongue over my lips, like he was asking permission to come in. I wasn't sure. I was scared, aroused, and slowly it all seemed to fall into place. I opened my mouth, and we had our first full out kiss.
Karen looked in at that moment and said, “It's about damned time you two, just keep the hanky panky until later, or I'll talk to your mothers. We both chuckled, touching foreheads, turned to her and said, “Yes Auntie Karen.” It was her turn to look shocked...
So ends chapter one, not sure how far I’ll take this. Any helpful input appreciated.
And thank You Cherism, your help in editing my first story is greatly appreciated.