Monday, November 1, 2010

into the morning

Didn't he. Didn't he make it out the door with him.

Her dad wouldn't wake up. And then by the time he did get him to come around, the room was engulfed with smoke. It wasn't suppose to happen so soon. The smoke. It was like its own monster and the blaze was not far behind.

What had Violet been doing? Derrick didn't have time to ask. He was panting for air and her Dad was barely moving along. It was as if he didn't even want to go.

The burning sensation hung on, inside Derrick's chest. Even his eyes stung. He flopped the thick man on the grass and laid there beside him. Couldn't someone take over? He could barely breathe.

In his mind, he kept thinking fast forward. Only it wasn't. It felt like repeat. But he knew a crowd was gathering. He could see the flashing light of the fire truck, the ambulance, the police officers. Suddenly, they all crowded around him.

Derrick leaned up on his elbows, think he could slip away somehow. It was the father that needed looking after, not him. And Violet, she was motionless. At least she hadn't wanted to go back into the house. She wasn't completely insane. Actually, she looked pretty good to just come out of a house fire.

Derrick laid back down on the ground, wishing he were alone, looking at the stars. His head hurt a little. But not really. He could think himself out of a headache. As it was, the medic were loading up the Dad. He had a mask on. Before he knew it, they were doing the same thing to him.

"Come on." He tried to make an effort to say, but maybe he didn't say it at all. Maybe he was in shock. He couldn't understand a thing they were saying to him. He just went under the mask and fade out.

Next thing Derrick knew, he was in the emergency room. They were taking his vitals. They still had that wonderful mask on him. For a second, he thought they were treating him like an alien from outer space. He was in a hospital gown now.

How had that happened? He looked around. They were monitoring him as if he might decide to take a nose dive in to nonrecovery.

Derrick really didn't care for hospitals. The smell alone made him ill. He thought of his Mom and her great bout with cancer. He winced a little thinking the smoke would give him lung cancer, and they'd soon tell him, he hadn't a chance. No chance. The way it had happened to his Mom.

But the next thing he knew, his eight year old niece and brother were there. Along with his sister's family.

Charity was the first to give him a hug.

"Stop." He croaked with such a sore throat. He didn't want anybody touching him. He really wasn't the touchy feely kind of guy type.

But Charity wouldn't let go and his brother even grabbed his hand. He couldn't remember Dan ever holding his hand. Wasn't he the guy who pushed him down the deep hill on cemetery road to teach him how to ride a bike. Yeah, Dan was just his casual self. You were always on your own when you were around him.

At least he wasn't high these days. And even his partner Dylan was finally doing what he loved at the University. They finally were being the perfect dads to Charity. Really, it didn't take much to make Charity happy. Sometimes, Charity's happiness made Derrick sick to his stomach.

Derrick laid there in his own sweat looking around at his family.

"Wow, I can't believe you saved those people." Dan just said. He was all smiles with that freckled face of his. His shaggy hair fell in his face, and Dylan gave him a hug. He was shorter and always worried about his thick dark hair he pushed behind his ear.

"You are coming home with us? Aren't you?" Dylan's dark eyes were serious.

Derrick gave Amanda a sharp look. He was suppose to have this stupid mask still on his face, wasn't he. How would he ever get her attention.

"No, he's got his room at our place. He's got school, you know." Amanda informed both of them

"You aren't going to make him go to school tomorrow, are you?" Dylan acted as if he was the official caregiver. No way, was Derrick going to go back to their place and let Dylan tend to him like an invalid. It would just be weird. At least, it felt normal at Amanda's.

She had a husband, Elliot, who was a third grade school teacher. He left Derrick alone, these days. Of course, he was the one who said he couldn't play his music for the next few weeks. He did lay down the law and enforced the rules. But other than that, he wasn't on his case about anything. He guessed Elliot was an OK guy.

They'd spent the summer together on the road for a few weeks, playing live music. So maybe come the holidays, they'd get the band back together. Probably no gigs, but at least a few jam sessions. And if that worked out, who knew, maybe they'd be practicing once a week. But at the moment, everyone made Derrick feel he was addicted to his music. How on earth would he ever get better if he didn't practice all the time?

Finally Charity left Derrick a few pieces of her Halloween candy. Dan and Dylan had to get home because it was going on midnight. Amanda stayed behind.

There went that touching again. He didn't know why she had to make over him like that. Pushing her fingers back through his sweaty hair.

"Just why were out there, anyway? Weren't you with Ian? Where was he?" Amanda wanted to know.

Derrick just winced. Honestly, this was just not a good time to be caught in a lie. His throat still ached. His eyes didn't sting as bad, but he didn't feel like talking about it.

"I-I guess we had a..a misunderstanding." Derrick liked the sound of that. He had to think of something.

"A misunderstanding? Amanda squinted. She tossed her bright auburn hair behind her back. She gave him a stare as if she was watching to see if he were telling the truth.

"You know." Derrick pulled the mask under his neck and let the cool air breathe on it.

"No, I don't. Elliot really wanted you to go to that haunted house with us. Then you are a no show because of ..of this date you had with someone. One of Ian's friends."

Derrick nodded. Yeap, he'd kept true to that story, only it wasn't real. It hadn't happened. He didn't even have the time to let Ian cover for him.

"I got stood up." Derrick smiled weakly. "And, and I was out walking." Suddenly, he thought of his Mp3 player. Where was it? He bit his bottom lip. He needed his tunes. He needed to escape this somehow. Why so many questions? He didn't do anything wrong. "Just don't bug me about it, will you?" He flinched from her fingertips then. The touching had to stop. Had to. He didn't need her. He didn't need her care. He didn't need anyone.

Derrick turned his back from her. He was tired. Finally, she got the message and she left. At least he didn't have Elliot standing over him too.

But Derrick really wasn't tired. He played with the mask on his face. He wasn't that bad off. Couldn't they see that? Really.

Derrick reached over to the drawer next to the bed to see if his music player was there. No, just the bible. Derrick rolled his eyes. Just then he got a touch on his back. It made him jump. He was mad now.

"Didn't I tell you I didn't need you making over me!" He looked back to see it was Ian.

"I guess you're OK, then." Ian was in his hoodie and his hair dark blond hair swooped around his face like he was some sort of boy band member. He was tall and lean. Perhaps not perfect posture. There was something kind of clumsy about him. But he was the one with the girlfriend.

Derrick just nodded. Tears came to his eyes for some strange reason. He just didn't know what he could say.

"Amy's with her dad. Well, she in the waiting room, waiting to see if he's OK. He's really out of it. But he didn't get burned." Ian shrugged.

"You gonna be here all night then?" Derrick fumbled with the mask.

"Guess so." Ian told him that Amy and Violet's place was gutted. Probably wouldn't be livable for quite a while.

"You're like the best boyfriend ever, aren't you?" Derrick couldn't help but be a little snide with Ian. He didn't mean too. Sometimes, he felt himself really hating Ian. He didn't know why. Maybe it was because he thought Ian's life was perfect.

Ian just gave him an open grin and shook his head.

"Well, I see you are your old cantankerous self. That's good." Ian nodded. "Get some sleep, will you?"

"Maybe I'll get enough for both of us." Derrick slyly smiled. He really didn't envy Ian that much. He wouldn't want to have to stay up all night for a girlfriend.