Five: 'Two hours?'
I scream enthusiastically, “Nah, Robb was hot.”
Jake nods, leaning forward over the mahogany table, “Alright alright, I agree Robb was a’ight.” he looks back at his coffee and sips on it, his smile disappearing behind the mug. I grin victoriously and balance my black mug between my fingers. He looks up from his coffee, his tone changing in character, “What are you going to do about the note?”
I reply with a nonchalance shrug, “I don’t really know.”
Jake leans back in his seat and huffs, “You should prob--”
I place the mug on the table which makes a thud sound. “We both know how I respond with orders, Jake,” I say, smirking and he grins knowingly.
We heard a shrill shriek and snap our heads to the voice that screams, “Ash, Jake!” Alexie was pacing to us with Jack in tow, grinning widely. We all sat down and I filled them in on my predicament to Jack and Alexie.
Jack widens his brown eyes through the entirety of the story, “Fuck.”
Alexie scoffs agreeing with this choice of word. She breathes out slowly contemplating a numerous amount of decisions in her head before nodding altogether. Her eyes fall onto Jack with a pointed suggestion. They turn to me within seconds as Alexie speaks on both of their behalfs, “We’re in.”
“Sure,” Jack says, flinging an arm behind Alexie getting comfortable in his wooden seat. A powerful warm smile envelops my body. I scratch the back of my head unable to express my pure appreciation for the group of friends of made. I blink a couple of times pushing the bad thoughts away. I want to enjoy this moment.
I had this deal with my parents that if I went out for too long, I’d promise to get the grocery shopping done. I didn’t like the idea particularly but to win some, you got to do some. That’s how the quote goes right? Either way, it seemed like a fair deal, I started to seriously enjoy the grocery store.
I set the two plastic bags on the ground outside the house expecting Ricky, Alan and Sam to have gone for dinner, a plan that they had texted me about but I wanted to skip it and enjoy a little ‘me’ time. My parents had gone for their traditional bi-weekly date night dinner. Rummaging my jean pocket, I pull out the keys and place it into the keyhole. Pushing it in, I try to rotate the cornices, but to no avail.
That’s odd, why would anyone be home? I knock on the door a few times and pick the bags from the cold ground feeling the strain of its contents on my forearms. The door swings open and I take in the sight of a weeping five-year-old. The bags fall to the ground instantly. My hands pulling her in a hug trying to comfort her torn state, “Sam, love--” I caress her back with a calm motion, “what’s wrong, hun?”
She moves from the hug, still shaking. Pulling the door wider, I watch her walk into the house. I pick up the bags and set them inside the kitchen before walking to the living room where Alan, Ricky and Sam were.
Alan was engrossed in his phone, not really caring about anything in general. When Ricky saw me, he walks to me and engulfs me in a hug. I may not know why Sam was crying and why Ricky was holding such a grim facial expression, but I was indeed sure that I like my cousin brother more than Alan.
I sit on the couch and cross my arms on my knees, leaning forward knitting my eyebrows in the process. “Someone say something.”
Ricky was sitting next to Alan who still hadn’t looked up from his phone. Ricky nudges him and he looks at me with wide eyes. Alan slides the phone into his back pocket and stands up, “We’re going to the hospital.”
I shoot to my feet raising my voice, “What the fuck happened?”
Sam’s footsteps came from the stairs, she was now out of her pyjamas and her curly brown hair was less damp from the tears. I look back to Ricky for some form of explanation as Alan walks to the door, not telling me anything. He pulls the tiny girl with his hand and leads her out the door assuming we would be following in-suite.
“Your friend, Jake.” Ricky says, gripping onto my shoulders, “He got into an accident.”
I slump slightly, my knees feeling weak at the sudden pressure my body was applying onto it. “A-Accident?” I whimper and Ricky nods before pulling me into another one of his bear hugs.
“Don’t worry.” His voice calm, “Alan will go with you.”
I shake my head against his chest. My eyes tearing up, but my voice finds itself, “Come with me.”
Ricky tenses and pulls out of the hug, “Ash, I don’t know him.”
“Yeah.” I nod but look at Alan at the doorway, “But I can’t suffice a car ride with Alan he doesn’t give a shit about anything and that will piss me off. If I get pissed off, he’ll get pissed off and we all know how those two reactions are going to end up.” Ricky nods, opening his mouth several times but shutting it completely and grabbing his coat. He shuffles my hair and begins walking towards the door, waving for me to come.
The car ride was silent, as I expected. Alan put on the music but I slammed that bullshit off. Alan was about to put it on again but luckily, Ricky being the eldest whacked his hand off preventing any fights. Alan was nice, as he could be. I guess for a long part of our lives, we didn’t know how to express anything to each other. Over time, it just became normal.
Getting to the hospital within fifteen minutes, we asked the receptionist the room and scurried over. Upon finding the room, I took deep breathes before pushing open the door. The room’s walls, like always, were white. A sickly white with attempted textures printed over them. The smell reeked an overdose of detergent. The only sound in the room reverberating from the beeping that indicated Jake’s presence to us. His parents and sister were seated on the chairs alongside his bed. Distress would be an understatement to describe their emotions.
Mr Fields strains a smile upon seeing us raising to his feet and giving us firm handshakes. “Ashley, nice to you again.” His eyes fall on my three family members holding a polite smile in place under his tired eyes, “You must be Alan. And you two?” He asks politely looking at Ricky and Sam.
Ricky grins genuinely, “Richard and she’s Samantha.”
Mr Fields nods, “Nice to meet you two.” He gives me another forced smile and walks to Mrs Fields, who looks shattered beyond words.
I knew avoiding the sight of Jake for so long was inevitable. I dart my eyes to the bed and see a pale, still guy sprawled on the sheets. His brown hair tousled up in a mess, and he wore the same black shirt that he wore when we met Alexie and Jack. His leg was raised high up with a white cast and a black belt holding it up.
“H-He’s going to wake up, right?” I stammer and cross my arms to stop myself from shaking at the sight of my injured best friend. I am greeted with a comforting side hug from Ricky. I find Alan in one of the chairs, holding Sam on his lap.
Mrs Fields looks at me, widening a nonexistent grin, “Oh yes, I’m sorry dear.” She gets to her feet, away from her husband’s comfort. “Nice to see you Ashley.” She wraps an arm around me and departs, “He is going to wake up, quite soon. It’s just the dosage is heavy so he’s been sleeping for around two hours now.”
Why didn’t anyone tell me about this before? I went grocery shopping not to a wedding reception. If he doesn’t wake, I can’t do this. I can’t deal with this. My eyes dart onto the Fields, my heart sinks deeper. I can’t do this again. Jake, don’t make me do this again.
“Ashley?” She rises from her chair walking to me, her essence engulfs me warmly, “Thank you for coming, hun.” She quickly flattens my hair that had gone array from our hug.
I offer a muster of a smile, “Why don’t the three of you get some fresh air? I bet you three haven’t had any food for two hours.”
Mrs. Fields chuckles genuinely for two seconds before nodding, “Thank you, sweetie.” She pulls her hand out for Mr Field and Jake’s older sister. The three of them exit the room mumbling a thank you in the process. I occupy the seat next to Jake, Ricky sits next to me whilst Alan stays rooted in his seat because Sam was asleep on his lap. I mumble, looking at his frozen, pale face, “You’re such an idiot.” My hands involuntarily reach his face as sigh overcomes my body.
Alan scoffs with a smirk, “You’re insulting your friend—while he’s on a hospital bed?”
I snap my neck to him with a joking grin, “How about you stay out of it?” Alan quirks an eyebrow and before he can say something. Ricky taps my shoulder as my gaze was rolling over my brother’s annoyance. I turn to him in confusion, “What?”
“Jake!” I squeal and lean closer. His eyes were open into the majestical baby blue colour that they are whilst his cheeks flush into a tiny red shade. He still looked so weak as I understand was due to the internal bleeding. Moments of just staring at him made my tears well up in my eyes, I breathe out calmly, “You’re a dick.”
He balances himself on his elbows trying to sit up, but instantly feels pain and falls down. “Well,” He says blankly settling back into his pillow, “aren’t you a great friend?”
I shrug annoyed at his consistent wit, “How’d you end up here?” I say, taking out my phone to text his older sister. They’d want to know he’s up more than I ever could.
“Well.” He says and tries to straighten up again but flinches from the pain. I wanted to help him but I was afraid if I even touched him, he’d collapse. He looked better than he was ten minutes ago, but he still looked fragile. “There was this barrier that came out of nowhere. He quirks an eyebrow at me as my face contorts in rejection of his theory. “Fine.” He admits wholly as I deadpan him, “I was changing a song when this drunk guy cut me off, I rear-ended him.”
My lips purse together in frustration. My hands gripping onto my phone as I type a message wondering where the crew was. Finding out that they were on the way, I store the phone back into my pocket. “You need to be more careful, Jake.” He nods trying to make small of the issue. I sigh, “You’re lucky nothing serious happened.”
“I’m sorry,” He lets out, looking away from me. “I didn’t want to make you do this again.”
Sam’s scream cuts through the air. Jake’s eyes fall on the rest of my family as the creases of his lips widened. Ricky and Alan come out from the corner, they were trying to give us some space until the little adorable ball of joy noticed Jake’s voice. Alan grabs a hold of his cousin sister when she consistently tries to give Jake a hug with the joy radiating out of her. It was fucking adorable.
“Jake!” His mom yells from the door of the room at the sight of her fully awake son. His dad and sister rush in after and brim in happiness as well. Jake gets bombarded by a sea of questions and his eyes looked at me, pleading for me to stay. Obviously I couldn’t, little old Jake would need family time.
Alan collected Sam in his hands and the four of us bid the Fields a goodbye before leaving. We slide into the warm interior of the car and the ride home was silent save for a few abrupt conversations between Alan and Ricky.