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    *HJ*
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Always - 4. Stormy Weather and Guilty Hearts

“Hey man! This Saturday, the lake, you coming?” Jeff asked as Drew was heading to his car.

"Lake?”

"Yeah, it tradition every spring break all of us dudes on the team and our girls head to the Coyote Lake for a late weekend. Saturday through Monday what do you say?”

"Um, I don’t think so. I have plans this weekend. Besides, I’m not part of the team yet.”

"Semantics, but think about it will ya’? Rose will be disappointed if you don’t show.”

"Just tell her that I’m being persistent,” Drew laughed.

"You aren’t going to see McGowan during break. He is no social butterfly.”

Drew shrugged as he opened his car door, “Maybe I can change that, but I hope you guys have fun.”

"Alright man, see you Wednesday.”

Jeff hoped in his black wrangler and sped off toward the highway. Drew steered himself toward the exit and found himself searching for Luke. Does he drive? Walk? Maybe he rides the bus… Drew thought as he drove away from the school. As he drove through the neighborhood streets he found himself looking for some sign leading to the docks. He wanted to see the place and what it looked like. Where it was exactly, was what he was wondering most.

As he drove he looked up to the sky and saw that it was beginning to cloud up. The sky was darkest toward the horizon and it looked as if the storm coming might be potentially dangerous. He decided to give up his search and head to the hospital to find his mom.

He steered his car down one of the more deserted roads he had turned down earlier, hoping it led toward the general direction of the hospital. The houses had been boarded up and most lay in damaged piles with no doubt due to a recent tornado or a very strong storm.

He was near the one mile marker when a red 4X4 pick-up sped by him with at least three guys in the back, whooping and hollering. Drew realized that the driver was David Davison and he wondered what he was up to. He decided to keep his eyes peeled just in case. He didn’t know if he was coming back or not.

Drew couldn’t help but wonder where Luke was and he pulled out his phone to call Jeff, whose number he received earlier from Rose.

"Hello,” Jeff laughed.

"Yeah, it’s Drew,” Drew said noticing the rain had begun to move in.

"Hey man, change your mind about the lake?”

"No, I was just wondering if Luke had a car.”

"Yeah he has one, but he never uses it anymore. Bad memories I guess. He walks to school and back. It takes him a good thirty minutes to get home, why?”

"I was just curious that’s all. Have fun man, sounds like your late weekend has started early.”

"It always does,” Jeff laughed, and Drew heard cheers in the background before the line went dead.

He shook his head and almost smiled. As he drove down the deserted road the rain began to pick up, and if he hadn’t been looking he would have driven right past Luke, who was lying near the side of the road unmoving. Drew slammed on his breaks.

He ran over to Luke who was curled into the fetal position. The rain was coming down harder than before and the wind was beginning to pick up with the rain. Drew checked Luke’s pulse, it was strong.

"Luke, wake up. Can you hear me?” Drew asked as he checked him over for external wounds.

Luke made no sound, but instead weakly smacked at Drew’s hands. That’s when Drew realized that Luke thought he was there to hurt him. Drew placed a hand on Luke’s shoulder, “I’m not going to hurt you, Luke,” he said as Luke attempted to scramble away without opening his eyes, “It’s me, Drew, I just want to help.”

"Drew?” Luke asked in a raspy voice as he looked up through blurry eyes.

"Yeah, come on, we need to get out of here before this storm hits.”

Drew helped Luke up and held him close as the winds whipped pass them. As Drew started to move toward his car, Luke nearly fell.

"Luke what’s wrong?”

"My knee, I can’t­­­­­-” Luke grimaced in pain.

Drew tucked one of Luke’s arms around his neck and supported most if not all of his weight by latching his arms around his waist. Drew basically carried Luke to the passenger side of his car and helped him in.

Drew hurried back to the driver’s side and quickly ducked in out of the rain.

"What happened?” Drew asked looking over Luke.

"Don’t worry about it, I’m okay,” Luke said laying his head back against the seat in breathless exhaust.

"You are soaking wet, bloody and beaten. Who wouldn’t worry?!”

Luke raised his head and stared at Drew in surprise. Drew stared right back at him with curiosity and concern burning in his eyes.

"What happened? I want to know.” Drew said.

Luke looked away concentrating his gaze on dash board. The rain was beginning to let up slightly, but the thunder began rolling and the lightening flashing.

"Just leave it, Drew, please,” Luke said in a quiet and small voice. “You don’t want to know anymore than I want to tell you. Just drive me to the hospital and try not to be the one to find me next time.”

"Next time?” Drew asked angry and saddened at the same moment.

Luke only nodded as he kept his gaze focused on the dashboard and blood slowly trickled down the side of his head.

"Why does there have to be a next time?”

"You can’t have as many people as I do that hate you and not have a next time. Just please, next time you see me getting punched, shot at, thrown from a moving vehicle, or by the side of the road just keep driving. Believe me things will just get worse if you don’t.”

"What do you mean worse?” Drew asked.

"Certain people don’t like people helping me, and I tend to get thrown from back of a moving pick-up when they do.”

"David did this to you didn’t he,” Drew said tilting Luke’s chin toward him with his index finger to inspect his injuries.

Luke was bleeding from a deep gash above his eyebrow, and he had a couple bruises forming around his jaw. Drew sighed as he also noticed blood seeping through Luke’s shirt in lines. Drew didn’t want to think about what had caused them.

"It doesn’t matter if he did or not, the point is that it happened and will keep happening.”

"It doesn’t have to be this way Luke. Let me help you.”

Luke jerked his chin from Drew. He knew that Drew could probably help him, but he also knew David would act full force against him. He said the one thing he knew would make Drew back off for good; to make him safe. It was a lie he had fabricated long ago, to keep the few people he cared about safe.

Luke looked him in the eye, “Drew, have you heard a word I have said? You are the reason David and his gang plucked me off the sidewalk, beat the hell out of me and threw me out of his pick-up. Word got around that you wanted to help me,” Luke paused for a short second, “that you wanted to be my friend. If you care at all, do what I said, and keep driving next time.”

All the light faded from Drew’s eyes and they once again became cold and distant. The slight progress he made in his new home disappeared as the memories from LA began to flood back to him: his mom asking him to stay home from work, Jordan begging him to help him with his homework. If he would have stayed he knew he could have fought James off, and his family would still be safe and together. Now, it was his fault all over again, and Drew’s self loathing rose up to choke him.

As Luke looked over at him he saw the drastic change, and guilt washed through him. He knew what he said had hurt the other boy but he knew it was for the best. If Drew kept his distance he would not be in harm’s way.

“I’m sorry.” Drew said stiffly, his voice tainted with guilt and self hatred before falling silent and putting the car into drive.

The ride to the hospital was tense and silent. When they arrived Drew exited the car without a word and went to find a nurse. They came to Drew’s car and helped Luke into a wheelchair before they rolled him into the hospital. Drew couldn’t bear to look at Luke and knew what he needed to do. He went to find Jane.

Jane was already examining Luke when Drew entered the emergency area. Jane looked at him and saw his eyes filled with sadness as she stopped what she was doing to stare at her son. An identical sadness filled her eyes. She knew what that look meant.

Luke watched the change in her expression and suspecting that he was the reason, he kept silent.

Drew made sure not to make eye contact with Luke, and tried to keep control of his emotions.

"I left my enrollment papers on your desk,” Drew said lifelessly.

"Alright. I’ll see you at home later?” she asked, hoping not to hear the response she knew was coming.

"No, I’ll be back in a few days,” he said looking only at his mother.

Luke stared at Drew. Jane just nodded, biting back tears.

Drew nodded to his mother and left without another word. Jane sighed and turned back to Luke who noticed the bleak look on her face.

He knew he would regret asking but he couldn’t help it.

“Is he alright?” Luke asked as Jane cleaned the blood from his head.

“No,” she said sadly, “As much as I want to say he is, I can’t. I know you know who he is; our past. He blames himself for everything that happened. It wasn’t his fault, but all those months with no one to tell him otherwise…I wish I could have been there. I wish I knew what he was blaming himself for now.”

Luke felt worse than before and wondered if what he said really was for the best.

"Since we have been together I have yet to see him smile like he used to. Now it’s just forced, painfully forced. He doesn't laugh or joke, he just gets up every morning and goes through the motions. He is trying so hard, and the worst part is that the only reason he tries is because of the guilt. If he thought that it wouldn’t kill me if I lost him too, I doubt he would have made it this far.”

Luke felt the guilt from his earlier words rip at his heart and another question bubbled to the surface.

"Where is he going?” Luke asked.

"Wherever he needs to go to keep going. Me and the thought that his brother is still alive somewhere, are the only things that keep him on this earth. But sometimes his guilt, his self hatred, is almost too much for him to handle. The thing that worries me the most is that one day his guilt just might prevail.”

"Do you have a pen and paper?” Luke asked.

Jane nodded and went to the counter to retrieve a piece of paper and handed him a pen from her lab coat pocket.

Quickly he scribbled the following on the sheet of printer paper,

Drew,

It wasn’t your fault that David attacked me again. I just said that to try to keep you safe. I’m sorry, but I knew if you thought you were the cause you would stay away. I didn’t want anyone else hurt because of me, especially not you. You have enough to deal with already. David wants me dead and he will kill anyone in his way. I couldn’t bring myself to tell you that the reason I didn’t want you to find me next time was because next time is going to be the last time. David has had this particular date set for a long time now. I wanted to make sure no one would be in harm’s way when that day finally came around. That’s why I had no choice but to say those things to you, no matter how bad they hurt. I wrote this for you because I can’t die knowing you think it’s your fault. Please know it’s not your fault. Thank you for caring so much.

 

P.S. Take care of Rose, and know that Jeff is a real good friend; he’ll stick by you.

Luke

           

Luke folded the paper and handed it to Jane, “Can you give this to him when he gets back?” Luke said with sad eyes.

Jane nodded as she slipped the paper into her pocket.

Copyright © 2013 *HJ*; All Rights Reserved.
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It's been long overdue, HJ, but I finally got around to re-reading this. (So that if we ever do discuss this again, I'll know which version you're talking about.) Although I know what's going to happen (or at least I think I remember), this chapter saddens me greatly. BUT I'm moving on to the next one. =)

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On 12/22/2011 04:59 PM, InTheMindOfSunshine said:
It's been long overdue, HJ, but I finally got around to re-reading this. (So that if we ever do discuss this again, I'll know which version you're talking about.) Although I know what's going to happen (or at least I think I remember), this chapter saddens me greatly. BUT I'm moving on to the next one. =)
I'm proud and you are forgiven =) and we will discuss it again soon.
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On 02/27/2012 02:49 AM, Rebelghost85 said:
The plot of this story is really good. I can't wait to find out what happens next and I'm anxious about Luke.
:) I'm happy you like the new direction.
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On 08/10/2012 06:20 AM, joann414 said:
I don't know who to feel bad for Luke, Drew, or Drew's mom. So sad. Great chapter though!
Might as well feel bad for all of them :(. I mean I am horrible to my characters.
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