The Sequel: The Year of Separation

Chapter 16

Rae checked the future before entering the Danvers's residence again.

Good, no run ins with Evelyn.

Grabbing the key under the floor mat, which Gorman left for her, she opened the door and turned to the left toward the stair case. She twisted the door knob to Caleb's room and she was surprised to see Gorman, who was holding empty bottles of alcohol.

"Oh, Miss Preston. Mr. Danvers's is asleep now."

Rae said, "Thanks, Gorman."

He nodded his head, "Do you need anything?"

Rae replied, "Ah, no." He was almost to the door when Rae asked, "Actually I need lots of garbage bags."

He smiled and said, "Yes, Miss Preston."

Rae surveyed the room while Caleb stayed fast asleep in his bed. She was going to scavenge all the alcohol he stored in his room and get rid of the temptation. Piling them up in the corner, Gorman came back with the bags and helped her throw the bottles of liquor in.

Rae asked, "Could you take these and place them in the back of my car for me." He picked up the three bags and dragged them out.

Placing a bucket by the bed and a cup of tea,which Ben made to flush the alcohol out of your system more quickly, on his nightstand, she was ready to start getting Caleb back on his feet. She walked over to the window and opened the curtains to let the sunshine in. Caleb grunted at the sudden light and pulled his blanket over his head.

Rae moved over to him and pulled the blankets off him, "This is your wake up call, Caleb. Time to move your ass and get a shower." Caleb peeked at Rae before puking right into the bucket. She rubbed his back until he finished and helped him sit up.

He put a hand to his face and mumbled, "Oh my head." Rae handed Caleb the herbal tea.

She whispered, "Drink this for your headache."

After taking the medicine, she helped him up over to the bathroom. Rae started the water for the shower and stripped his shirt off. "I want you to take a shower and I'll get you something to eat okay?" Rae asked.

Holding onto her for support, he used his other hand to take this flannel pants off. It may seem odd helping him undress, but she was use to it, especially when he hit rock bottom and needed a shower. But thankfully Pogue was there to helped in that time.

Since Caleb was all set, Rae quickly went down stairs to the kitchen to get him some toast and orange juice and waffles for herself.

Gorman came in and asked, "How is he?"

She answered, "Getting better. I made extra waffles, if you're hungry."

Gorman grabbed a plateful and opened the kitchen door and stopped dead in his tracks, "Ah, Mrs. Danvers. I made you breakfast, let us go to the dining room." He was giving up his tray of food to Mrs. Danvers.

Rae poked her head out to see Gorman waving her to go and she mouthed, "Thank you," and ran up the stairs quickly. She thought, I need to get him a great gift one of these days.

When she carried the tray inside his room she glanced down quickly to the floor. Oh, boy. Caleb was getting changed into the clothes she placed on the bed and was not caring about anything, even her seeing him butt naked.

He turned around in a t-shirt and jeans and said, "What time is it?"

Rae placed the tray on the bed, "Ten o'clock." He took a bit of the toast and searched his drawer in his nightstand. Rae continued to say, "So I think we should get out of the house. There's a masquerade ball the school's holding at the Crystal Palace."

He checked the second drawer, "No."

Rae bit her cheek in anger, "It's not there."

Caleb glanced up, "Where is it?"

Rae crossed her arms saying, "I burned it all up." Caleb sighed and moved for the door, but Rae cut him off and stood between him and the door. "No more drinking, Caleb. You've moped around too long. It's time to get your act together and go back to school."

Caleb sat on his bed and asked defeated, "What does it matter?"

Rae grabbed his hand and said, "It matters because you have a life a head of you to live. And you drinking your life away is an insult to your father's sacrifice. He knew that you would become a remarkable man someday, so I need you to stop dwelling on the past. What's done is done."

Caleb shifted, "You don't know how hard this is."

The medicine was starting to work as Rae said, "Caleb, he may not have been my father, but he was my best friend." She paused remembering talking to Will, "He really did care for you. He just had a hard time expressing it." She took a deep breath, "But I know for sure he and everyone else that loves you wouldn't want to see you like this."

Caleb said testily, "Why do you care? If you're afraid you're going to fail your job, I relieve you from any responsibility."

Rae felt like she had been slapped in the face with his comment, "You think I'm doing this because of my job?" Caleb nodded his head and headed for the door again.

She called his name, "Caleb?" He was ignoring her and she grabbed his shoulder to turn him around. She said, angry and hurt, "You listen, and you listen good. I have been taken care of you for seven months now. Making sure you don't smell or starve, I bring your homework and tests home, and occasionally I have been taking your tests for you so you can keep up your high grades. I don't do this for my health or because it's my job. I do this because I'm your friend. And I have given everything to help you."

She choked as she said, "I hoped that maybe you would eventually give me some feedback. But now I realize that I've done all I can do. It's time for you to grow up, face the real world and make your own choices."

She picked up her purse and said teary eyed, "I see two choices for you. You can throw your life away and be a lonely, miserable person, living in the past like your mother, or you can take control of your life, move on and start caring about yourself and others again."

Opening the door, Rae turned her head back to Caleb, "Why do I care Caleb? Because every time I see you like this,” she paused trying to regroup herself, “it breaks me a little more inside."

Rae closed the door on Caleb's astounded face and wiped the remaining tears. Tonight she was going to the dance whether Caleb was going or not.

Only four girls were bent over the balcony rail watching the scene unfolding before them; the detailed dresses, the ball room dancing, the eloquent foods carried by waiters, and the live band playing classical music. Sadly, Serenity had stayed home because she couldn't move with the 'morning' sickness of her pregnancy.

Thea said, "This wig is a pain in the butt. Look at it. It keeps falling in my face."

Kylie straightened her emerald satin colored gown out and said, "You know wearing wigs is a part of the masquerade ball tradition. Plus you look good as an auburn."

Thea curtsied in her midnight blue, off the shoulder gown, "Why thank you. Reid probably won't recognize me."

She tripped on her dress and Kylie grabbed her arm laughing, "Yep, you definitely could fool him…if you don't move."

Abby said, "What I love is that we get to use our old masks."

Thea agreed, "Yes, they are beautiful. Why aren't you wearing your mask, Rae?"

Rae shrugged her shoulders and Abby hoisted her gown up so she wouldn't trip too and said, "Shall we go." Thea was already making her way down and Abby asked, "Rae? Kylie, are you coming?"

Rae said, "Yeah, I'm coming. I need something to eat." She turned to Kylie, "Do you need help getting down the stairs?"

Kylie shook her head, "Na, I don't feel like hobbling out of people's way yet. I'm going to stay here awhile."

Rae smiled at Kylie, "Okay then. See ya baby."

As time slowly passed, Kylie leaned against the rail scouting out her friends. Rae and Abby were picking food off of trays and Thea was standing still by a column, probably trying to not fall over her feet.

"Hello B," a voice whispered into her ear. She smiled and turned around to see his arm grabbing the railing tightly. She realized he was afraid of heights, just like his father.

Distracting him, Kylie said, "Was it that easy to recognize me? I threw my crutches in the corner too."

Tyler in a very nice tailored tux and a black mask said, "No. But I know you tap your fingers to the song, 'The Ants Go Marching One by One', when you're bored or waiting."

Kylie blushed as she said, "You really need to get a hobby."

He leaned in closer, "Would it help if I said, your fiery red hair is sticking out of your wig?"

He tucked a strand back, leaning closer to kiss her and she teased, "Tyler not here. Someone might see."

He whispered, "Then let's find a place more private."

It was almost midnight, the time that if a person found you they would be the one.

What a crock of bull that was, Rae thought as she was eating an entire entrée of cheese cake, which Rae knew she would regret later on.

Now sitting at a table with other single rejects, she caught a glimpse of Thea and Reid dancing quite gracefully. Rae tried to seem focused on the dancing couples hoping Kate would catch the hint she didn't, under any circumstance, want to talk to her.

But Kate, being the most self absorbed person on the planet, went on saying, "He better be here before then. It's almost midnight. Do you think it would take Pogue this long to go to the bathroom?"

Rae muttered sarcastically, "I don't know, I never timed him?"

Kate continued to go on, ignoring Rae's remarks, "This is just like him leaving me at the drop of a hat. Well he's in a load of shit when he comes back."

And what does he see in her again? Maybe he likes women to wear the pants, Rae thought as she popped another piece of cheese cake in her mouth.

Kate paused in her rant, "Have you seen Abby?"

Rae glanced over at her sudden change of topic, "No. Why do you ask?"

Kate started to search the crowd with her hawk eyes, "I bet you, he's going to cheat on me with Abigail."

Was that a joke? Commander Pain aka Abby wouldn't be caught dead with Pogue, let alone cheating.

Rae choked, "Really, Kate, grow up. Abby and Pogue would never do that." Giving one more glance at Kate, Rae walked away saying to herself, "Why doesn't she just stick a tracker up his butt already."

Quickly swiping a glass of water from a tray, she scoped the room to find someone to talk too. Out of shock the glass in her hand slipped through her fingers and onto the floor. The pull Rae had throughout her life, the one she thought was appendicitis for the longest time, was behind her. She turned around slowly to find Caleb in a black suit and tie.

"Sorry to keep you waiting, Miss Preston," Caleb said as he bowed. Rae studied him to see any indication that he wasn't sober. He added at her scrutinizing, "It was the best I could do under short notice." Even though Rae was jumping inside, she remained calm on the surface.

She asked stubbornly, "Why did you come here, Mr. Danvers?"

Caleb gave her a smile, which she hadn't seen in a long time, "I choose to move on and to be with you," he paused for a second, "and my family, which is mostly my friends."

Rae took his hand, "Well since you're late, I guess you can start making up by dancing with me." As they danced she pulled him closer in a hug. Rae was just relieved and happy she finally got through to him.

Caleb whispered into her ear, "Thank you for not giving up on me when I did."

Rae smiled and responded, "Anytime you need a good kick in the pants, I'm your girl." The bell on the big clock chimed throughout the building as the stroke of midnight passed.

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