It was Monday night and I get a phone call from Jamie, she is frantic.
*I need you to get dressed.*
*Derek's dad collapsed at work and he just left my house in a rush with tears in his eyes.*
*Shit I'll meet you at the hospital.*
When I get to the hospital I see Derek sitting in the waiting room hunched over and bouncing his leg, a telltale sign that he is nervous.
"Derek." No answer. "Derek?" Again, no answer. "Derek Michael Mercer!" His eyes shoot up to mine. He's been crying. Wiping a tear from my eye I pull him close and hold him while he finishes crying.
A doctor comes out and calls us into the back. Jamie hasn't come yet so I ask them to send her back when she gets here.
The doctor explains to Derek that his father had a stroke and they had caught it in time to prevent any extreme damages. Although he was at a higher risk of having another stroke, Derek's father, Jason was discharged from the hospital. For a while after that we would hang out at his house and help him take care of his dad. Jamie and I would go to his house and sit with his dad while he went out with Aubrey. She wasn't interested in sitting around with his sick dad. She would prefer to go out to a restaurant or an "actual date" (her words not mine).
On Tuesday night Jamie and I got ready to go to his ceremony. On our way into town we picked up Derek's dad so he could go too, he wasn't able to drive quite yet. Every year the school puts on a ceremony for those students that choose to enlist in the military. It was a long and boring ceremony but I cheered for Derek when he went up on stage. I got quite the glare from Aubrey, but it was worth it.
After the ceremony the five of us went out for dinner at the local diner, nothing too fancy. We weren't really the type to require a five star restaurant.
When I excused myself to use the restroom during dinner, Aubrey followed me and I just knew I was going to hear shit from her.
"You need to stay away from my man. I am uncomfortable with how close you two are and I don't want you to start any problems in my relationship. If you do start problems within my relationship I will not hesitate to cause drama within your life."
"I have no intentions of causing drama within your relationship, however, Derek is one of my bestfriends and I will not 'stay away from him' just because it makes you feel uncomfortable. That's something you need to figure out." I walked out of the restroom and to my seat feeling more than a little victorious.
After dinner I drove Jamie and Jason back to their homes and then went to my own home.
I had a text message from Derek saying that he and I needed to talk. I call him immediately.
When he finally answers the FaceTime call he starts with
*hey, we have to stop hanging out so much.*
*I disagree but I can see that you like this girl. So I will a little, I am not going to stop being your friend because of her. I will however step back a little. *
*I know what Aubrey thinks, she cornered me in the ladies room today and basically threatened me into staying away from you. I told her I wasn't interested in causing drama within her relationship. But I appreciate the fact that she feels threatened enough by me that she felt she needed to threaten me.*
In the background I hear
*that never happened you fucking liar, we both needed to use the bathroom, I didn't even speak to her.*
*yeah, I'm the liar, anyway I have to go, we have school tomorrow.*
I hung up not interested in hearing their argument.
Homecoming Football Game 2013 (October)
Jamie and I were at the homecoming game cheering our school's team on. They weren't winning but we were enjoying ourselves anyway. Derek and Aubrey were supposed to meet up with us but they sent a text saying that they were just going to stay home because they were arguing. On my way home that night I was about ten minutes away from my house when I get a phone call from Derek.
*Hey, where are you?*
*I'm driving home from the game, I'm almost home why?*
*Can you come over here? I need to talk to someone and my dad is sleeping*
*Yeah, I'll come over, I'm on my way now.*
*Okay thank you, I'm gonna owe you one.*
As I pull up to his house, he is waiting for me on the front steps.
"Yeah sure, sounds good, let me just grab my sweater from the back of my car." He seemed really nervous for some reason. "Alright, are you ready to start walking?"
"So what did you want to talk about?"
"Aubrey and I aren't together anymore."
I stopped in my tracks. "What? Why? Are you okay?"
"Yeah. I'm fine, just over it I guess. She was giving me shit about going to the game to hang out with you when she wanted to hang out with her friends without me. She wanted me to stay home because she doesn't trust you around me."
"I've never given her a reason to think that I would do something like that to you or her, I respect your relationship and I would never go behind her back like that."
"I know and I tried to explain that to her, she didn't want to hear it, so I told her that if she wasn't going to trust me then I didn't want to be with her anymore. She wasn't happy and told me that I would regret it in the morning." Reaching the end of his street we turned around and headed back.
"I'm sorry you have to deal with that, I know what its like to be in a controlling relationship. It makes you feel like you aren't living your life for yourself anymore, its like you're living for the other person and their wants and needs while you completely disregard your own needs."
"I miss her already though, we have more good days than bad days. She did say that she is still going the homecoming dance with me. She expects us to keep up appearances, a breakup this close to the homecoming dance isn't good for her social standing."
"What?!? Is that what she said?"
"Yeah word for word."
"When I went through this you told me to leave my boyfriend at every turn, but you won't take your own advice?"
"Yes but your boyfriend was abusive for a long time."
I rolled my eyes, that had to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. "It didn't start out that way, it began as only every so often, but the more I let him get away with the more he would start doing."
"It won't be like that for me, I won't let that happen."
"She already tells you when you can and cannot leave your house and when you are taking her out and where you are taking her. She tells you that you aren't allowed to be anywhere near me. But, okay, I can't make you do what I think you should do. I can only offer my opinion."
We had reached my car and I knew I should be getting home, it was getting late.
"Will you stay the night? I really miss hanging out with you and Jamie. We haven't really had any time together in a while."
"I mean Jamie is out with her girlfriend tonight so she's not going to be available to come over too."
"No no, that's fine, I really wanted it to be just us anyway."
"Why just us? Its gonna be awkward, were not that close anymore."
"Lets just go inside we can talk about it later." I nodded my head and headed inside while texting my parents that I was safe at Derek's and I was spending the night. On my way past his father's bed room I stopped in to check on him and ask him if he needed anything, he didn't but I saw a smile on Derek's face, I'll ask him about that in a few minutes.
"Derek, what's that goofy face for?"
"I kind of realized something."
"Yeah what is it?"
"Aubrey hasn't once asked about my dad after his stroke, but you don't even hesitate to go in there and make sure he didn't need or want anything. I also know that if he did need something you would have helped him with it, no matter what it was. Aubrey would think that's beneath her."
"Yeah I also got that vibe from her, she's the type to need to be taken care of but she never wants to do anything for anyone else."
"I'm glad you're here, I missed you so much."
"Yeah, Lets get ready for bed, tomorrow is the dance and I have a lot of getting ready to do if I'm going to be presentable at the dance."