Chapter 15: I Don't Know A Lot, But I Know This
I look at all of the shocked faces around the circle, confused. “Ready for what?” I find myself saying. Nobody responds they all just continue to stare at Derek so I repeat myself a little bit louder, and with more urgency “Ready for what?” He looks over to me and wipes his hands nervously on his jeans.
“I’m ready to talk about Georgiana” he says softly. Everyone’s eyes go wide and they bow their heads slightly. I look at them still confused but decide to just let things unfold. I lean back in my chair crossing my legs. He takes a deep breath “When I was little, like really little, my sister Amy got really really sick and had to come here.” he shifts his weight uncomfortably “and this one time I came to visit her with my parents, and she uh...she didn’t remember who we were.” a tear rolls down his cheek and I instinctively begin to move to comfort him, but I feel a hand on my arm. I look over at Matt and he just shakes his head. I lean back and after a few moments Derek gathers himself and continues talking “She was so sick, all she wanted was to die, but as a little kid I didn’t get that.” he laughs lightly “So I got mad and ran. I ran and when I stopped running I was in that little courtyard thing. I was so mad I punched the door, not a good idea. Must have broken my hand in at least three places.” he laughs again relaxing a bit. “And that’s when I met her, she was sitting under that big old tree crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said that her dad told her that she was crazy.” he runs a hand through his hair and looks down at the floor “and I told her that when I came to visit Amy I would visit her too. For the next few months that what I did. We had so much fun” he looks off into the distance as if reliving a memory “we used to run up and down the halls, and hide from her dad. It was great.” the small smile that had formed on his face falls “And then Amy died, they said umm” his voice hitches in his throat and he coughs to clear it “they uh said that she got free and jumped out a window. I was umm I was supposed to visit her that day but I wanted to go to some stupid football game instead.” another tear rolls down his cheek “I wasn’t there for her, and I kept thinking that maybe if I hadn’t been such a little shit then maybe..” he pauses putting his head in his hands “Maybe my sister would still be alive.” he croaks out through the tears. He wipes them away quickly
“You don’t have to continue Derek that was very good for today.” Dr. Quinn says looking up at him.
He shakes his head “No, no I can” he sighs “I can do this I just need a second.” Dr. Quinn nods and offers him a box of tissues from her desk.He takes them and wipes his eyes hurriedly. After a few minutes of silence he lifts his head up and nods to the doctor as if to tell her he was ready to go on. She grabs her notepad and nods back at him. Jamie gives his hand a small squeeze and he returns it before dropping her hand and continuing with his story. “After Amy died I couldn’t come back, I jout couldn’t. Everything reminded me, still reminds, me of her. So I stopped going, I just didn’t go for months. Then Dr. Kirkland called my parents. He told them that Georgiana had gotten worse and that she had stopped talking. He said it was my fault that she wasn’t talking, that because I had broken my promise to visit her that..” he coughs lightly “because I had broken my promise she had started refusing treatment.” looking down at his shoes and stuffing his hands deeper in his pockets he continues “So my parents made me go. Told me I had to, that I had already lost my sister that I couldn’t lose her too. So I went, and I thought she would be mad ya know? Georgie always had a temper, and when she got mad her cheeks would go bright red and her eyes would…” he stops, a small smile across his lips at the thought “anyway, she’s wasn’t. And that was..”
Dr. Quinn cuts him off “Wasn’t what Derek?”
“Oh yeah, she wasn’t mad at me for not visiting her. She seemed to get it, like why I hadn’t come.” he pauses looking out of one of the big windows against the back wall. He frowns “They never really told me what exactly did it, like I asked them so many times, but they never told me.”
“What did what?” the doctor asks looking up from her paper.
“What umm..” he coughs again and wipes away another tear. Jamie hands him the tissue box and he takes it with a nod. “What killed her.” his voice breaks and everyone can tell he is on the verge of tears.
“Well what happened on your end?”
“We did what we always did, we raced to the tree…”
She cuts him off “The same tree where you two first met?” he nods and she motions for him to continue.
“We raced to the tree and Georgie won like always, and then we just hung out there. After a while I guess I just noticed something was wrong. Her chest..it, it wasn’t moving like it should be when you’re breathing right.” he puts his head in his hands “I tried, to wake her up but she wasn’t moving, I tried to call for help. I mean I did call for help. I-I picked her up and brought her back in, but.” his shoulders begin shaking as he quietly sobs behind his hands. I shoot a look to Matt, and it is clear that his heart is breaking for his friend. Matt catches my eye and gives me a slight nod. I practically jump out of my seat and walk quickly over to Derek. I wrap my arms around his waist and pull him close to me. “She died Paisley, she died in my arms.” he cries onto my shoulder, wrapping his arms tightly to me. “She’s gone and I tried so hard, everyone I love…” he trails off again.
“Shush, it’s okay, it’s okay. Just let it out, shush it’s okay.” I whisper into his ear as I rub small circles in his back. “It’s okay, Jamie’s not going anywhere, and Matt’s not going anywhere, and I’m not going anywhere I promise. It’s okay.” After a few minutes he stops crying but keeps his head on my shoulder. We are the only two in the room, Dr. Quinn rushed everyone out a little while ago. We stay like that for another few minutes just listening to each other breath. He finally looks up at me, tear tracks down his cheeks.
“I’m sorry” he mumbles pulling away and looking down at the floor “I just wanted you to know why I’m such an ass sometimes.”
“Hey” I tilt his chin so that he is looking up at me “it’s okay, I get it. I mean I don’t really get it, that was a bad choice of words, what I mean is that i’m here for you okay?” He nods a smiles a little, I smile too before adding “you are kinda an ass sometimes.” we both laugh lightly.“What do ya say that we get out of here?”
He thinks for a moment before nodding “Yeah, yeah I think that’s a good idea.” we join hands and walk out of the room.