(A/N: Ok, guys! Here's an extra-long chapter! Why is my A/N at the top this time…? I have no freakin' idea! But it is! That's what being the author of a fic does! It gives you power! Muhahuahhahahahwhahaha! –Insert maniacal, evil laughter here-! Anyways. Yeah…so…I'm goin' out of town tomorrow, for a week, so I decided to update for you guys! Especially since you've been so good and reviewed! Now, normally, I'd offer the review button to strip if you reviewed…but, well, sorry to tell you guys this, but the review button is goin' with me on vacation! However, we're leavin' it's identical twin—Review button Joe!—to take it's place. So, if you guys leave a review, Review Button Joe (Not Smexy Purple Review Button) will be glad to share with you some booze and a story of how the great Confederation was founded. He'll also tell you some war stories!
Er…even though, well, Review Button Joe is only 18 years old…he doesn't HAVE any booze…and he was obviously never a Confederate solider…but, still! If you review, he'll be glad to pretend that he was!
Hehe. Well, yeah. So, anyways. I'm goin' out of town, so I won't be able to update. However, if you're good, and I get at LEAST 3 reviews while I'm gone, then I might be able to whip something up for when I get back. Besides, if I have reviews waiting for me, it'll make me smile!
And, I promise, I'll smile BIG!w00t w00t!)
Disclaimer: Ok. Don't own Even Stevens. I'm not gaining profit and BLAH BLAH BLAH! Just pretend that I said all the legal crap! Haha. I'd much rather you be reading my STORY than my legal DISCLAIMER! Is it really that boring?! Sheesh. If my story was THAT boring you could have just TOLD me!
Or are my disclaimers just THAT interesting?
ON WITH THE STORY!!!!!
Tawny pulled Ren's limp body against her, tightly, feeling Ren's forehead with the back of her hand. "Shit. Shit. Shit." She was cold. Tawny whipped her head around to see Louis standing there, fear written all over his face. "Quick. Help me get her up, Lou. We need to get her into the shower. Fast." Louis jumped to Ren's side and the two lifted her off the ground, heading towards the stairs. The crowd started to gather around them.
"Shouldn't…shouldn't we get her to the hospital…or…something?" Tawny could barely hear Ruby's voice choke over the pounding voices of the crowd and the blaring music echoing throughout the Steven's household.
"There isn't enough time. Twitty!" Twitty popped out of the crowd, worry plastered on his face. "Call a doctor." Twitty nodded and ran to get the phone, disappearing out of site. "Lou…we have to get this stuff out of her system…fast." Tawny said sternly, her voice shaking slightly. Ren could die. Ren could die. It happened. People drank too much--and by the looks of things…Ren drank way too much--and they passed out and they never got up. They died. They just had a party and died. Or they just…drank too much and went upstairs, never to speak a word again. They just left you on the side of the couch…wishing they would wake up. They just died. They just…died. Ren could die.
Tawny took a deep breath.
Ren could die.
Suddenly, the only noise that Tawny could hear wasn't the thumping of the base from the music…it was the raging beat of her own heart against her eardrums and the deafening silence of what silence really was.
Silence was death.
Tawny wished that she could go back in time an hour…a day…a week…a month, even, to stop Ren from doing what she had just done. She wished that she could go back even a couple of minutes. She wished that she could go back to the music…back to before anything but the deadly silence and the headache that her heartbeat was slowly bringing upon her.
What had happened?
Ren was usually so rational. She was the sane one. According to everything Tawny had ever heard or ever known…Ren Stevens was the sane one.
But…she wasn't sane tonight.
Tonight, Ren Stevens had made a mistake. And she could die because of that mistake.
Ren could die.
"Just…get everyone out of here!" Tawny shouted as she focused on getting Ren into the bathroom, knowing that's what her life depended on. She had to make Ren throw it all up. They didn't have enough time to get to the hospital. Ren would die if they tried.
But…she could die now.
Ren could die.
Tawny and Louis hoisted Ren up the stairs, trying their hardest to make it to the bathroom as fast as possible. Tawny didn't notice everyone slowly start to clear out, or the fact that Louis and Ruby were crying. She didn't notice any of it. She couldn't notice any of it. All Tawny noticed was the fact that, of all the times she had wanted to hold Ren in her arms--the feeling steadily growing over the past weeks--she had never wanted to have to hold her this tightly. She had never wanted to hold an unconscious Ren tightly against her chest, praying that her heart was still beating.
She had never wanted to wonder if the older girl was still alive.
Tawny thought back to a week ago, when Ren had asked her to stay with her for the night. Tawny thought of how her arms wrapped around the shivering girl as she held her, and how Ren slept in her arms, her breathing deep and slow. Tawny thought of how peaceful it felt…how…right it felt. Tawny thought of all of this as she moved quicker than she ever had in her life, fear taking over her nerves. But the rational side of her brain and her instincts thankfully overrode her nerves, and both Tawny and Louis positioned Ren over the toilet as Tawny moved over to the shower. She turned the faucet and, soon, cold water rained down from the shower head, splashing against Tawny's hand.
"Come on, help me get her in here. She needs to wake up. At least be a bit coherent." Tawny closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. That is, if she does wake up. She thought bitterly, knowing that they could have been too late. It had been around twenty minutes before Tawny could get to the older girl after she drank the bottle—the people in the crowd just wouldn't let her get the hell through!--and it had been around fifteen minutes of them hoisting her up to the bathroom and, in those thirty five minutes…Ren hadn't moved an inch. At least she was still breathing…and she had a pulse…but both were faint. She could just be in an alcohol-induced coma. God, Tawny prayed not. Please wake up. Please wake up.
"Come on, Ren. Come on." Tawny whispered as they pulled Ren's body into the shower, they were both relieved to hear a sharp intake of breath as Ren's eyes slowly started to drift open. But they had a glazed look to them.
"Oh, thank God." Tawny and Louis breathed the words at the same time and they both looked at each other.
"Ok. She's alive. That's…that's a good step. What next?" Louis asked, and Tawny could tell that he was much calmer, now, knowing that Ren was alive. But it needed to stay that way. The older girl could be in deep trouble if they didn't get that alcohol out of her system.
"We need to get her to throw up." Tawny stated and Louis nodded. He was too shocked and scared with Ren's current state to be surprised at Tawny taking the lead in all of this. He knew that she knew quite a bit about everything, and he always trusted her. What would be different about trusting her with this?
"How?" He asked, not sure what to do.
"Well…I…maybe she can make herself." Tawny bent down in front of Ren, her hand gently rubbing the older girl's back. "Ren…Ren…can you hear me?" Tawny whispered in her ear, her breath tickling Ren's neck. Ren drowsily turned her head, but such a movement made her head shake with pain and her stomach start to churn. "I need you to throw up, ok?" Tawny whispered in that same soothing voice and Ren started to nod, but stopped, the pain in her head too much to bear. Ren really didn't think she would have much of a problem with Tawny's request. She felt like she was going to, anyways. Tawny noticed the look on Ren's face and, quickly, positioned the older girl in front of the toilet once more, turning away when Ren emptied the contents of her stomach into the porcelain bowl. "Good, Ren. Come on. You can do it. You need to get all of that alcohol out of your system. Come on, that's it. There we go." Tawny continued to whisper soothingly into Ren's ear, one of her hands gently rubbing Ren's back, while the other gently stroked her hair. She averted her eyes every time Ren threw up, but she was still always there, stroking Ren's back and hair, that comforting voice in her ear.
Louis just sat there and listened, his back against the bathroom wall, and his head in his hands, feeling all of the stress of the past forty or so minutes start to pile on top of him. He actually hadn't drunk a single thing all night, even though he was planning on it, but Louis realized that there couldn't be more of a sobering experience. He lifted his head and watched the scene in front of him unfold. His sister could have died. Ren could have died. And Tawny…Tawny…Louis didn't know how she did it. He knew for a fact that, if he was Tawny, he'd be crying right now. For Tawny…this had to be a living nightmare of the past. He knew the two girls were friends. Yes, Louis could be self-obsessed sometimes…but he wasn't completely non-observant. What had happened last week had only justified his thinking. After what had happened with Jason, he'd thought that Ren would have gone to Ruby's…but, instead, she had wound up at Tawny's.
God, Louis felt like an ass. First, he brought a psychopath back into his sister's life—Tawny had told him all about what had happened after Ren and Jason both left the restaurant—and then he just let Ren drink a whole entire bottle of tequila! God, he was really screwing up. He just seemed to mess up his sister's life constantly. And he almost got her killed! Twice!
Yes, Louis grimly thought as he took in a deep breath, it was a sobering experience, indeed.
In fact, watching Ren throw up the contents of her small stomach, Tawny gently rubbing her back and encouraging her, soothing her, Louis was pretty sure that he would never drink again.
It was nearly six in the morning when the last two people cleared out of the Stevens' household. Those last people being, in fact, Ruby Mendel and Alan Twitty. The two had been very unwilling to leave, throughout the night, and had both cleaned up the house without a word, both wishing they could make sure Ren was ok. While Twitty wasn't as close to Ren as Ruby was, he was still worried about her. Ruby, however, was literally shaking until Louis came from the bathroom, two hours after the pair had hauled Ren upstairs, and announced that she would be ok. Ruby was still shaking after he announced it.
By the time Louis had come down the stairs, the two were sitting on the couch, the whole house cleaned. Ruby had to fight down the bile rising up in her throat when a thought entered her mind, looking at the now-spotless home: Ren would have been proud. Twitty had noticed Ruby's growing sense of fright over Ren, while they sat there, the silence threatening to consume them, and had wanted to say something…anything…to comfort her…but found that his throat was simply dry and the words couldn't possibly leave his lips. He settled for the fact that silence was better than Louis screaming because his sister had died from alcohol poisoning. While he knew it was weird…Twitty figured that the silence was more of a reassuring factor that Ren might still be alive, rather than a negative.
The silence gave them hope, in an odd sort of way.
They both froze as Louis descended the stairs, a more mature and somber look on the boy's face than one Twitty had ever seen. He looked like he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders but they both let out a deep breath when a tired smile crossed his face, directed towards them.
"She's ok. She's…Tawny's…" Louis took in a deep breath. "She's ok. She's going to be ok, thanks to Tawny. Tawny's actually cleaning her up, right now…that's why I came down here. I figured I should give her a bit of…privacy." Both Ruby and Twitty took in deep breaths, relief washing over their bodies. Ruby looked like she was about to faint. "Tawny talked to the paramedic earlier, and she said that Ren needed to…get some sleep. They don't need to bring her in or anything. Just sleep. Apparently, we got pretty much all of the alcohol out of her stomach…but now it's just getting it out of her blood. So…she needs to sleep." Louis whispered, a headache starting to form. Both Ruby and Twitty nodded. He was relieved beyond words, that his sister had survived but, somehow…he still felt…useless.
Twitty, as per the request of Tawny, had called 911 immediately after she asked him to call a doctor. It had taken 20 minutes to get through hold—Twitty had been outraged, asking what would have happened if a murderer was in the house?!-- then around 30 minutes to get there. When the ambulance finally did arrive, a paramedic rushed upstairs to the bathroom, checking over Ren. He asked for only family to come up (Leaving Ruby and Twitty nervously downstairs) and rushed up the stairs with Louis. Once he arrived he began to question Tawny on what happened. Louis barely followed any of their conversation, just watching as Tawny nodded and asked a couple of questions. Before the paramedic left the house, an hour after he had originally arrived, he turned to Tawny and gave her a weary smile. "You did good, Tawny." His voice was gruff from lack of sleep, but he still remembered her name from when she had whispered it before. "You saved her life." And with that, he left the building.
Tawny had saved Ren's life…and everyone was thankfully aware of that fact, even though all of them had a sick feeling in their stomachs at the thought of what could have been, had Tawny not been there.
As soon as the paramedic descended the stairs, he was assaulted with questions from Ruby and Twitty, but apologized, telling them that he had to be on his way. This was his last stop for the night, which was why he could stay so long, and he had to head home to his wife and child. Thirty minutes, anxiously waiting after the paramedic left, Louis walked down the stairs to give the good news to his friends.
"But maybe you guys should still…stay here for a while…until morning. Just in case, y'know…?" Louis' tired voice trailed off and the two blondes nodded without question. He knew they probably would have stayed without him asking. Twitty would probably stay probably more for Louis' sake—he could see that Louis was about to nearly drop dead from all of the emotional baggage that was piling up on him—whereas Ruby would just stay for her own best friend's well-being. "Besides…I'm sure, when Ren wakes up, she'll be happy to see you, Ruby." Louis smiled softly before heading back upstairs to his bed, even though he was sure he wouldn't sleep that night. However, when he went to open his door, he stopped and crossed across the floor and leaned his back against Ren's door, drifting down to the floor. He let in a shaky breath and tried to still his raging heart.
Even if he hadn't done much tonight, he could still sit outside her door and make sure she was safe.
He would make sure she was safe.
Ruby felt the most joy she had felt in the past two hours when Louis said that Ren would be happy to see her. Throughout this whole ordeal…she knew it was terrible to think but, well…she felt useless. Like she wasn't worth anything, to Ren…as a friend or even a good Samaritan. She knew that Tawny and Ren had been friends—she had heard Ren mention it throughout the weeks—and she had even felt slightly jealous when Ren had told her about what happened with Jason. Though, really, she was too appalled at what Jason had done to pay any mind to Tawny. And, really, thinking about it, she felt that it was reasonable for Ren to end up going to Tawny's house, when the blue-eyed girl and Miles—she still remembered that dazzling smile from when she was a sophomore and he was a senior…Miles was definitely a man that was hard to forget—had saved her life. Even then, though, she felt worthless. She hadn't been able to protect her best friend from Jason…
And now she wasn't able to protect her from drinking herself to death.
Ruby only felt worse when her mind pointed out to herself that not only was it her fault that Ren had even had alcohol at the party, but it was her tequila bottle that Ren nearly died from!
Ruby sighed, leaning back in the couch.
It took a lot for them to leave in the morning when Louis descended the stairs once more and saw them there. He knew that they would want to stay, but Louis had insisted that they needed to go home and get their sleep—the sun had already started to rise—and that Ren definitely wouldn't be waking up until much later that day.
All Louis could think as he went back upstairs and resumed his earlier restless position, leaning his back on his sister's door, was: 'Thank God Mom and Dad aren't going to be back until tomorrow.'
Tawny helped Ren up onto her bed, silently thanking God that the bathroom wasn't too far from the girl's room. It had been 3 hours, now, since Tawny and Louis had dragged her upstairs and into the bathroom. She would have originally started cleaning Ren up an hour ago, like she had told Louis she had been doing, if Ren hadn't started throwing up again. Tawny had only wanted to put the exhausted girl in bed after she made sure that there was absolutely no more alcohol in the older girl's system. After around 20 minutes of dry heaving, and another ten minutes of silence and Ren's moaning, along with Tawny's soft, comforting reassurances, Tawny helped Ren up and practically had to carry her into her room—unfortunately, due to her state, Ren couldn't even move, so Tawny was pretty much carrying 120 pounds of dead weight—and pulled her onto the bed. Ren groaned something and Tawny just went to Ren's dresser, figuring she was just mumbling incoherently.
"You know, Ren…I've had to change you how many times, now? And you haven't even taken me to dinner yet." Tawny grumbled, grabbing a t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms. She normally would have laughed at the irony of it all, but Tawny was too tired and still frightened to have a sense of humor, at the moment. Tawny wordlessly changed the older girl, her nerves still too shot to really feel embarrassed about it this time around. Besides, Ren was insanely drunk, she wouldn't even remember any of this tomorrow. However, Tawny still felt a soft blush making its way onto her cheeks as she slipped off Ren's pants and pulled on her pajama bottoms, her fingers tingling as she gently ran them over the smooth skin on Ren's hips. She made sure Ren was in the known recovery position before she turned around, intent on leaving.
However, Ren's continued mumbling of the same sound made Tawny turn around. It was a little more pronounced now.
Tawny walked back over to the side of the bed, leaning across it—Ren was lying on the other side—and brushed a small strand of hair from Ren's sweat-ridden forehead. Tawny didn't mind. In her opinion, right now, sweat was good. Sweat was very good. It meant that Ren was recovering and that she would, in fact, be fine. Ren was sweating the alcohol out of her system and, if she was sweating that meant that, tomorrow, she wouldn't be dead.
"What was that, Ren?" Tawny whispered softly, her fingers still gently rubbing against Ren's forehead. She figured that a headache was already forming there, from the look of relief that was crossing Ren's features at the pressure.
"S…ay." Ren mumbled again, her eyes still closed shut, and her breathing still labored. "…s…d…ay…"
"What?" Tawny whispered again, not sure what Ren was asking for. "Do you want water? Or maybe Louis or Ruby?" Tawny asked, not sure what the older girl could be asking for. Surely, if it was company she wanted, then Louis or Ruby would make sense. They made a lot more sense than her, anyways. Ren drowsily shook her head and groaned from the pain it brought.
"Wan…" Ren groaned and Tawny's brows furrowed in confusion. Did she say want? Want? Want what?
"You want what?"
"Tah…nee…" Ren groaned again and Tawny gasped. That sounded suspiciously like her name. "Wan…Tah…nee…" Ren repeated once more. Tawny felt a tired smile cross her face at the mumbled words and a small feeling of warmth spread through her whole entire body. She was surprised, however, when Ren's arms weakly wrapped around her waist as she leaned over the bed. Tawny blinked. "Tah…nee…s…d…ay…s…d…ay…weh…me…" Ren whispered and Tawny nodded weakly before crawling next to Ren—making sure to kick off her shoes before she did, since it was a habit that had been drilled into her head since she was little…no shoes on the furniture…especially in a bed—and wrapping her arms around the older girl like she had last week. Tawny turned on her back, letting Ren rest on her side, in the recovery position, against her. Tawny couldn't help the grunt of relief that left her lips as she settled against the warm bed. Her body had truly taken a toll from the past hours, and the feeling of warmth the moment brought on her was not lost on Tawny's mind, or her body. Ren's arms were still around her waist, while one of Tawny's arms stretched across Ren's waist, holding her firmly in place by her back, and the other one gently massaging the back of her neck. Ren buried her head in Tawny's neck, but Tawny double-checked, making sure the older girl had her head elevated. Ren groaned once more from the feeling of Tawny massaging her neck before letting out a sigh and feeling herself fall into a deep sleep, her body resting peacefully against Tawny's.
Tawny took in a deep breath and closed her eyes. Finally, she let her body and mind relax and slow down for the first time in nearly 4 hours. Her heart beat slowed as she held Ren firmly against her, Ren's heartbeat and breathing assuring the younger girl that she was, in fact, alive. Tawny felt all of the emotion catch up with her as she laid there, Ren in her arms. Tawny took in another deep breath, but this time it shook as she let it out. There was only one time in her whole entire life where Tawny had been so scared…
Tawny opened her eyes and gazed down at Ren's now sleeping form. She moved her hand once more to brush another strand of hair from Ren's beautiful sleeping face, feeling so relieved and thankful that she was alive. She took in another deep breath, this time of Ren, assuring herself that she was there and ok. 'Don't you ever scare me again like that, Ren.' Tawny thought as felt tears prick at her eyes but forced them away. 'Don't you ever scare me like that, again.' In a couple of days, when Ren was fully recovered from the whole mess, Tawny would make sure to go up to her and slap her for doing something so goddamn stupid. In fact, she would probably yell at her until her throat was hoarse…well, that was…if Tawny didn't tackle her from being so glad that Ren was alive.
Tawny took in another deep breath.
She would probably have to take some time to think over this, though. She wasn't sure if she would even be able to look Ren in the eyes, the next couple of days. This brought up a lot of memories for her…and they all hit so close to home.
So very, very, very close to home.
Tawny couldn't believe that Ren would do something so stupid…but, then again, everyone did something stupid, sometimes, didn't they? Wouldn't it be better if Tawny was there for Ren, instead of telling her she made a mistake? Yeah…it probably would be better.
As Tawny gazed down at Ren's sleeping face, her thoughts whirling, she decided not to hold it against her. In fact, Tawny promised herself, as her eyes closed, her whole entire body and soul exhausted, that she would help Ren through whatever she was going through…she wouldn't let it happen again, damn it. She would save Ren…even though she couldn't save….
Tawny shook her head to clear her thoughts and looked at the clock: 7:15?!
With a gasp of shock, Tawny gazed at the window to notice that it was light outside. Where had all of that time gone?! Tawny looked back down at Ren's sleeping face and took in one more deep breath. She had to go home…she just had to. Tawny wasn't sure that she could stay there much longer without falling apart…and she didn't need Ren or Louis or anybody that was still there to see that.
With the grace of a cat, Tawny slid out of Ren's arms, instantly missing the feeling of those warm arms around her and the warmth they gave, before she went to the other side of the room. She found a pad and paper and wrote a note before placing it on Ren's nightstand and slipping on her shoes. She went over to the bed and placed a soft, gentle, and loving kiss on Ren's forehead, her lips lingering for a couple seconds. She left the room, closing the door, and gave Louis a couple of instructions before hugging him tightly, whispering to him that it would all be ok. He nodded silently, whispering a raspy 'thank you', in her arms before she left Stevens' household. Her walk was slow and tired as she worked her way to her own house, her thoughts non-stop running through her own mind.
When she opened the door, she was grateful to see Miles standing there in the doorway, a worried look on his face. His questioning stopped when he noticed the tears that she had held in all night starting to fall slowly down her face. Without a word, he rushed forward and caught her in his arms as she fell to the floor, weeping into his chest.