Still going with this one anytime I feel like it. It's been a while but I promise it will get finished eventually. Read and review
All day the kids had been hanging out with their parents, spending more time with them than they had in a long time. They were exhausted by it all. Some of them had been dreading these 3 days o torture. But even then no one wanted to be the guy whose parents never showed. Tom was more or less bewildered by this place and the people he was stuck here with. They seemed to be brainwashed by this Peter guy. It was like all Peter had to do was tell them it would all be ok and the minions would all believe him. But Tom knew better. He knew that no one could ever fix his relationship with his father. And nobody would ever free him of the guilt he felt for his mother. At some point he had to stop caring. Peter would never be able to fix anything about Tom. Because Tom had given up on being fixed. He'd lost everyone. Even the one person he thought he'd have forever. But he and Jerri were over. It would never be the same. Not after that night. Not after she'd witnessed him do what he did. She would never forgive him.
The aroma of good home cooked meals filled the air as some of the Cliffhangers relaxed into the well worn couch in the mess hall. With his legs draped over an arm and a basketball balancing on the tip of his finger Auggie looked happy.
"What a day huh?" he asked no one in particular.
Ezra, who was propped up beside the couch playing video games chimed in. "I'm never gonna be able to eat again".
"Yeah, you're tellin me", agreed Auggie.
"At least we get to work it all off tomorrow", Anna said, a ball of optimism.
"Friggin A", David said sarcastically while trying to beat Ezra's monster on the video game. The last thing David wanted to do was take his dad on a hike through the woods.
"Oh, come on", Anna bent down from her position on the couch and rested her chin on his shoulder, "Was it really that bad".
Grinning playfully David looked at her and lost the game. "You could make it better".
Anna light heartedly slapped his cheek and continued to watch his monster being shot to death by Ezra who was making gun sounds with his voice.
"You ok Shelb?" Auggie peered over to Shelby who was sitting pensively in an arm chair. She didn't look up. "Shelby?"
"What?" she asked softly.
Shelby brushed her hair away from her face with her hands, sighed not knowing how to answer and walked away.
"Maybe she heard from Scott", David offered.
"Maybe", Auggie said wistfully.
"Hey, where are the girls?" Ezra asked noticing the absence of Juliet, Kat and Daisy. The absence of Tom was nothing to write home about.
Auggie shrugged. He didn't want to think about Juliet.
"I mean, what the hell, you know", Juliet said exasperatedly. "He breaks up with me, completely out of nowhere, no explanation, no nothing and then I find him talking with my mom"
Daisy had been listening to this since her parents had left and her patience was wearing about as thin as Juliet's waist.
"Did you ask your mother?" she said boredly wrapping a piece of string tightly around her index finger cutting off the circulation and making it blue.
"Yes", Juliet spat, "She just said that it was her that went up to Auggie to tell him what a douche he is even though she's glad and she thinks he made the right decision".
"Any possible way that she's telling the truth?" Daisy pulled tighter on the string.
Jules grumbled, "You're no help".
"Wasn't tryin to be", Daisy said as Juliet got up and walked away. "How was my day, you ask? Splendid! Thanks for asking", she said to herself.
"So, what'd you think?" Kat asked Hank chirpily.
"Bout what", he turned to face her.
"My parents", she exclaimed.
He started walking again wondering if he should tell her what he'd found out. He decided to wait. "They're nice people".
"Nice?" Kat wanted more. She was so happy that Hank had finally met them and everything seemed to be falling into place.
"Yeah, nice", he laughed, "What do you want me to say, I wish they were mine?"
"Well that would be going a little far", Kat agreed.
Again he turned to face her. "You're lucky. I know you guys have had you're problems in the past but its obvious they love you".
Kat smiled as she stood up straight to kiss him.
It was getting dark as Tom walked the grounds of Horizon, as he did every night by himself. He couldn't fit in with these people even if he wanted to. If they ever found out it would be a nightmare. So as Tom thought, why even bother? As he looked towards the car park he saw a familiar silhouette. Was he imagining this? He blinked but when he opened his eyes she was still standing there watching him. As she came into view he was sure it was no trick of the light. It was Jerri. Unsure of how to react he stood there, waiting for her to come to him. What would he even say to her? What was she going to say to him? As she got closer but still at a safe distance neither of them spoke. They just stared at each other.
"Hi Tommy", she finally spoke. He opened his mouth to say something back but nothing came out.
"What are you doing here?" he tried again.
She smiled slightly, "I wanted to see you".
He said nothing for a minute before asking "Why?"
She looked to the ground, "I need a reason?"
Another pause from his side. "I missed you", she said almost pleading with him to say something.
"You shouldn't" he sounded harsher than he meant to.
"So this is where you've been staying", she said changing the subject.
"This is my punishment", he said facetiously, "summer camp with a bunch of screwed up hippies".
"You did nothing wrong", she interrupted him. She shouldn't have said it. She knew it as soon as she did so. It opened up way to many difficult things.
"How can you say that?" he said maddeningly.
"Because I see the truth", she was equally as frustrated.
"You see nothing", he said.
"No, I see guilt", Jerri got closer as she got louder. "Guilt for something you never meant to do".
"But I did!"
They'd caught a jogger's attention and Jerri sighed. The wind caught her hair and brushed it out of her face before continuing.
"I came with someone", she whispered.
She looked up at him anxiously. "You're father".
Scott had been asleep for less than an hour when he woke to the sound of doctors and nurses yelling orders to each other as they wheeled Matty out of the room.
"What?" he half consciously said as they blurred past him in a chaotic scramble. "What, what are you doing to him, where are you taking him".
When they wouldn't tell him anything he tried to get up. "What's happening? Tell me what's happening, please!"
A nurse held his arms to the bed while calling out to others for help. "Stop, it don't touch me, you can't touch me!" He tried to resist. From the corner of his eye he saw an oxygen mask being put firmly around Matty's mouth.
Another nurse held down his legs and started strapping him to the bed. "What the hell, stop it", he continued, "I just want to know what's happening to my friend".
He was so concerned for Matty he heard nothing from the nurses as they struggled to hold him down. A bit of "Help me hold his arm", and "He's panicking". The last thing Scott heard that night? "We need to sedate him".
"Tom" Ben Jacobz said as he came out of the shadows. Tom's father always did have a thing for the dramatics.
Tom was stunned silent. He could do nothing but look ahead at the man.
"What? No hug", his father uncharacteristically brought him into a big bear hug.
"Dad", Tom started before realising he didn't know what to say next.
"Where's mom", Tom suddenly thought. "Who's looking after her?"
"You're aunt Millie is staying over", Ben said.
"Does Peter know you're here?"
"We knew it was late so we saw him first to see of it was ok", Anna offered before Ben looked at her and gestured for her to let them have some time alone.
"So this place making you better yet?" Ben said as tactful as ever.
"You mean has it brainwashed me into thinking I'm fine and you're the best dad in the world?" Tom argued sarcastically. "No".
"Well you can't keep blaming me for what happened".
"You know I blame myself more than anyone", Tom said under his breath.
"Good", Ben said before adding, "Cos it was your fault and you need to take responsibility".
"I do!" Tom said frustrated, "Dad, what are you doing here?"
"Its parents week", he said matter of factly, "What kind of father would I be if I didn't come?"
"I don't know, the kind of father I grew up with", Tom mumbled.
"Still a smart ass then?" his dad reached into his pockets and pulled out a small ring. It was his mothers. "She wanted you to have this. God knows why".
Ignoring his father's cruel words Tom took the ring. Silver with one lone diamond on it, he'd only ever seen it off his mother's finger once. When she was lying in a coma in the hospital.
"I'm moving her to a home", Ben said unfeeling.
"She'll be in better care and I don't have the time to look after her".
"Too busy entertaining all your skanks, dad?" Tom said defiantly.
Ben slapped him across the cheek. "You know that's not true".
"Do I?" Tom brought his hand to his face. "For god's sake, for years you've been parading your whores around the house, right in front of her. Hey, it's not like she can do anything about it, right?"
"Well, whose fault is that?" Ben interrupted callously.
As the Cliffhangers exited the Mess hall for lights out, they heard the arguing. David stopped before Auggie forced him along. "Come on man, would you want everybody listening to you and your dad?"
"The guys a freak", David responded, "Maybe we'll find out what his deal is".
"Keep going", Anna pushed him out of the door and onto the path up to the cabins. "It's none of your business".
Tom was sickened by his father. "You can't do this, you can't send her to one of those homes, they're cold and clinical..."
"You should have thought about that before you put a gun to her head", Ben yelled over the top of him.
Tom froze. He suddenly became aware of his surroundings and who was watching. He'd never heard those words before. Everyone had always tried to avoid saying them.
"That's not what happened", he said under his breath, his eyes welling up with tears.
"Seems pretty accurate to me considering", his father was merciless. Tom hated him with every fibre of his being. "What, you're gonna cry now? You gonna cry? You always were a wuss".
"I was aiming for you!" he yelled, tears pouring out. "You, damn it! But mom, she was so conditioned to stay by your side no matter what, no matter what you did to her, or me. She wasn't supposed to get in the way. You fucked everything up! And you loved every god damn minute of it. I hate you. And I was aiming for you."
His audience was stunned. Auggie, Ezra, Anna and David looked on, unable to move. The silence was deafening to Tom. As he fell to the ground his father just stood tall, a small grin appearing ever so slightly on his face. His head in his hands he felt a pair of arms reaching around his back and holding him.
"Go home", Jerri demanded looking up at his father. "Go!"
Ben reached for his keys in his pocket and took off as if to say, 'job done'.
"I'm so sorry", Jerri whispered, "I didn't know he would do that, I thought he wanted to smooth things over, I'm sorry Tommy".
"He only wanted to hear me say it", Tom realised, "he only wanted the satisfaction, to hear me say that I wanted him gone".
"He's a psychopath", Jerri said grimly.
Gradually everyone disappeared and all that was left were the two, sitting in the middle of the football field, arms wrapped around each other.
The next morning the events of the night before were all anyone was talking about at breakfast. Those unfortunate enough to miss it were busy being filled in by their peers.
"So the guy tried to off his dad", David was typically unsympathetic as he shovelled mush into his ready mouth. "Actually, I like him more now".
"Wonder what made him do it", Daisy said in her usual sinister tone.
"We shouldn't be gossiping, you guys", Auggie had become the master of sensibility lately. "The guys obviously going through some rough shit".
"Oh Auggie, always showing how much you care", Juliet said sarcastically. This had also become the norm.
"Auggie's right", Anna jumped in, "show some respect".
For a brief minute there was silence as they thought about what to talk about next. But it was on everybody's minds, they couldn't exactly talk about the weather when this was going on.
"I wonder why he did it", Ezra's eyes lit up slyly.
"Ezra!" Anna exclaimed.
"Oh, come on, don't act like you don't wanna know", Ezra grabbed a French fry from his plate and bit into it.
Shelby sat quietly at the end of the table next to Daisy, who'd grown bored of the conversation and concerned for her friend.
"When are you going to see Scott?" Daisy asked.
"Midday", Shelby answered as she stabbed her food with her fork before getting up and picking her plate up off the table, "This is disgusting, I can't even eat this".
She threw it in the bin before taking off.
"She's really scared about seeing him, huh" Auggie said before the whole table went quiet thinking about their friend. So many things were going on, still. Parents coming and going, arguments, breakups. Life continued for the remaining Cliffhangers. All the while Scott sat in a hospital room, waiting for something to happen. It was hard for them to think about that.
Scott had been going crazy. All morning he stood outside his room asking anyone that would listen about Matty. Still, nobody told him anything. He was so worried about his friend, even when nurses came to put him in bed and told him to get rest, he'd just crawl back out and wait. Eventually the nurses gave up and just walked past him. Finally as Scott was sitting on a chair in the hall, biting his fingernails, a nervous habit he'd had since he was a kid, he saw Matty being wheeled out by some doctors. He wasn't conscious but he didn't have a sheet over his head. Scott guessed that was something.
"Wait, where are you taking him", Scott stood, yelling after them as they continued wheeling Matty's bed down the hall. "Would you please, tell me something!"
"We're moving him to a new room", one of the busy doctors turned his head back, "He'll get the care he needs there".
Scott paced around in a circle, thinking about that for a minute, repeating it over in his head. 'The care he needs'. That should have given him hope; instead it made him feel helpless. Matty's cancer was obviously progressing. That was clear. And they said 'care'. Not 'help'. If they said help that meant that they could do something to make him better. But care? Finally he made the assumption that what that doctor meant to say was 'He'll get the care he needs in his final moments". And while that was enough to take in, Scott couldn't stop the nagging feeling that that would be him one day very soon. He slumped back in the chair, a tear falling from his eye. He didn't want to deal with this anymore. Not another minute of having to worry about what would hit him next. His head in his hands, he let the tears flow freely down his cheeks as he sobbed.
As he completely let go of all the anger and misery he'd built up since he was a kid he heard slow footsteps coming up the corridor followed by a familiar but anxious voice.
He wondered if his mind was playing tricks on him. But when he looked up, he saw her standing in front of him, sorrow all over her face. Any other day he would have turned her away. But today as he looked up at her, watched on as a tear escaped from her eye, all he managed to do was stand up and fall straight into her arms willing for her to make everything else disappear. Like only Shelby could.