Episode 39

Episode 39 Heartache

The night was dark and the disorientation even from the few days of incarceration was unnerving JC Carter. His eyes ached and his body felt heavy as he sat in the passenger seat of Rico’s truck. The good hearted man beside him had collected him and ensured that he got home, changed and they were now heading to the hospital where he would see Caitlin. “How bad is she?” He asked sullenly, lighting a cigarette. Rico sighed heavily knowing that any answer he gave wouldn’t make JC feel any more comforted. “The doctor’s are pleased with her progress,” he informed him. “How is she?” The look in JC’s eyes scared the living crap out of his long time friend. “I don’t give a shit what the docs say, I wanna know how she is!” His voice was sharp and filled with fear! His face contorted with the effort to prevent the emotion falling from his eyes. Rico turned back to the wheel out of respect for his friend as he continued to weave through the busy LA streets. It was almost two in the morning and he knew they’d meet obstacles on the roads and had a suspicion that the doctors wouldn’t be too happy about letting Caitlin have visitors but JC wanted to see her and who was he to argue.

The repetitive sound of the heart monitoring machine was driving Caitlin nuts. She wondered where she was. Was Rose watching one of her hospital dramas again and she’d fallen asleep in the living room? But if that was the case, why wouldn’t it stop? Her eyelids were heavy and she rolled her head to the side, not noticing the tube across her throat as she drifted back to sleep.

The walk to her hospital room was a long one. Every stride felt as though there was lead in his timberlands. His eyes were hidden by his dark shades as he pushed open the door, staring at her still figure, tubed up on the crisp white sheets. “Oh, my God!” He breathed, covering his mouth with a trembling hand. Her long hair was lay across the pillow with streaks of blood in its pure goldenness. Walking into the room, closing the door behind him, he was fixated on the lines bobbing up and down on the heart monitor. “I’m so sorry!” He knelt beside her bed, taking her warm hand and wiping his cheek with the back of his other hand. “I’m sorry you were there alone. Caitlin, I love you!” “Jay?” Her voice was hoarse. “Is that you? What happened?” Realisation of her predicament flashed across her drawn face but he placed a hand on her arm and quietened her. “Listen, we can talk in the morning. You just sleep, and rest baby girl!” He kissed her hand, a solitary tear landing on her fingertip. She smiled and let her eyes close once more. “Bueno Noches, mi reigna,” He kissed her cheek and walked out to the truck, lighting a cigarette as he opened Rico’s truck door.

“She’s in a bad way, bro!” JC said, staring at the lines of street lights stretching off into the distance as he took huge drags on his cigarette. “I think it looks worse than it is,” Rico tried to console his best friend. “It shouldn’t have happened at all though, should it?” Jay looked at his friend who leaned on the bonnet of the truck with eyes of a mad man. “You get those fuckers?” “Yeah, they’re at lock up,” Rico informed, drawing on his own cigarette. He knew what was coming. “Not tonight JC. You need to rest.” “Don’t tell me what I need, homie!” He growled. “I need to reek some fucking havoc on those bastards! They hurt my girl!” “I know,” Rico said with understanding in his voice. “I know what they did. I was there. But bro, she needs you more right now. They’ll be there in a few days. Listen, we know Battle’s behind this. They told us.” “Battle?” JC’s thick eyebrows shot up with concern. “Thought he’d left this one lie.” “It seems he wants ultimate revenge. And attacking your business and girl seemed to be his idea of appropriate revenge. I believe they were trying to kidnap her. Big D and a few of the others are sitting watch. They ain’t going anywhere. So you are going home, having breakfast with your very worried grandmother, then coming back to the hospital to see Caitlin.” “Since when I was I meant to listen to you?” JC asked with amusement rather than anger in his honey-cone coloured eyes. Rico shrugged knowing he was speaking sense. JC shrugged in return and obediently got into the truck. He knew Rico was right. His frame of mind was no where near in the correct state to deal with battle’s little henchmen. So Rico drove him home and he lay awake, petting Callie and missing the girl he was undoubtedly in love with.

When she awoke again, he was sitting there. she could smell his cologne and felt his hand holding hers. “Hey baby girl,” JC’s voice was thick with emotion. She smiled gently. “I almost thought it was a dream,” she mused as she stroked his huge hands lovingly. “What happened?” “You were attacked,” He moved his chair closer to her. “No, I remember that. I meant with you!” She said urgently, trying to sit up. He placed a hand on her arm. “Lie down, mama,” He kissed her cheek. “You don’t need to worry about that. I’m out and ain’t going anywhere!” “But?” She tried but he hushed her gently. “Don’t worry, just get better. Callie’s missing you. So am I. That bed doesn’t feel right without you in it.” He kissed her hand seductively and she giggled. “How’s the club?” She asked and he sighed heavily. “What? That bad?” “No, but this is typical you. Worrying about everything but yourself. Caitlin, you could have been killed!” “And I wasn’t,” She protested as the door opened and Emily and Cory walked in with a huge bear and some flowers and candy. “Hey!” em hugged her and JC and Cory shook hands. “Wanna get a coffee?” Cory asked and JC complied, leaving the girls to catch up.

“So, how you doing?” Emily sat down in the chair and put her feet up on the bed. “Feel like a bus ran me over twice,” Caitlin cleared her throat. “But I’m OK. Just worried about Jay. He just got out of jail and he won’t talk about it.” “Shit Caitlin, you can be such a girl sometimes,” Em laughed gently at her friend. Caitlin screwed up her face and that made Em laugh even more. “Come on, Caitlin, he’s a freaking thug. Last thing he wants to think is his girl is worrying about his ass. He can take care of himself and you know it. He knows, like I do, you should be worrying about yourself.” Emily’s tones got serious then. “Caitlin, they came after you because of him, didn’t they?” “What have you heard?” Caitlin wasn’t sure of why the guys had attacked her. She wasn’t sure even if she had been singled out but it sure seemed like JC and Emily thought so. So had she? “Nothing specifically but you were the worst hurt, weren’t you?” Emily looked at her friend and for the first time in her life felt a pure ice finger of fear roll maliciously down her back; Fear for her friend and her life. “Well, I guess,” Caitlin sighed. “I have an awful feeling Battle’s behind this.” “Why?” Emily leaned back in the chair as though gangster related problems had been a regular occurrence in her life’s line of problems. “Well, no one in the area was a known enemy. And not even Lexie could get together that many people to attack the club. It had to be a gang related grievance, and Battle’s still got that, right?” She looked like a child lying in that hospital bed and em felt a pang of guilt. Could she have prevented her friend from getting caught up in all this? Could she have stopped this from happening? She knew the answer was no but she couldn’t help feeling like she should be protecting her best friend.

Cory and JC sat in the cafeteria staring into nothingness. Cory knew if JC wanted to talk, he had plenty of friends who would oblige that duty. so he was surprised when JC started babbling. “If I’d been there, she wouldn’t have got hurt. I could have protected her,” He hung his head with anguish as he looked into his murky coffee. Cory sighed gently and leaned back in his chair. “JC, there’s no point in beating yourself up over this. I know you care about her but this was out of your control.” JC’s head snapped up then and he blew out his cheeks and exhaled a deep sigh. “I know that, Cory,” Tears brimmed in his light brown eyes as he looked into Cory’s. “But you can’t help but blame yourself.” And for that one moment, Cory understood him, and Jc understood Cory. cory hadn’t been able to protect Emily during her drunken stage and the termination and JC had been prevented from protecting Caitlin because of Alexia’s crazy accusations. Cory shrugged and they both looked down into their coffees again. Sometimes men’s actions convey more than words ever could do and even though there had never been bad blood between JC and cory, in that one moment in time, they’d been united in understanding.

Emily watched her friend as she lay quietly, thinking or sleeping, Emily couldn’t be sure. Her friend’s eyes usually were closed so Emily sat patiently waiting for her friend to speak or start snoring. Emily sighed gently. How had it all come to this? “She sleeping?” Cory asked as he walked into the room quietly. Emily shrugged. “Where’s JC?” She asked gently as they walked to stand by the door. “Went for a cigarette,” Cory looked over to the blonde headed girl who he had known for years. It didn’t seem right her lying in a hospital bed with monitors on her. She was too bubbly in life for all that machinery to be monitoring her heart beat and lungs. She looked like a fragile, china doll laying there. “He OK?” emily asked as Cory stared at the heart monitor’s red line bobbing up and down. He wasn’t sure if it was his eyes but it seemed as though the line was growing flatter. Then the alarms sounded and Emily jumped as a team of nurses came streaming in, tubes were unhooked, hooked up again and a ventilator was stuck down Caitlin’s throat. Cory saw the colour drain from emily and pulled her quickly outside away from the chaos.

“What’s happening?” Emily’s brown eyes stared like saucers as rivers of tears flowed down her porcelain cheeks. “Cory!” She cried as she clung to him. He pulled her away from the chaos and held her tightly to him as she wept. “She can’t die! Please, God, no!!!!” Emily was shaking and Cory tried to watch through the window as they worked on the girl.

JC felt a little calmer as he walked down the white washed hallway toward her room. he couldn’t wait to see her smile and hold her hands and help her get better. When he could hold her again would be the happiest day of his life. Turning the corner his heart sank and he felt the pit of his stomach open up and bile cause him havoc. “What’s going on?” He asked Cory, his mouth drying up like death Valley. “She arrested,” Cory stuttered clutching a weeping Emily. He pushed open the door, his legs like jelly as he saw her and the team of nurses and doctors. “What’s wrong with her?” He choked out. “Why she, why you doing that?” He was leaning against the wall, his blood raced around his body making him hot and the colour drained from him turning him grey. “Sir wait outside,” A nurse put a hand on his arm and then Rico was beside him, hauling his ass into the hallway and sitting him on a chair. Leaning heavily on his friend, he cried like a baby. Big D was there with a strong shoulder and a coffee with a heavy shot of brandy in it. Then he saw them rush past with her on a gurney. “What the fuck?” He yelled, jumping to his feet. “Sir, please, wait here, our head nurse will be over to talk to you in a few moments.” JC opened his mouth to argue but Big D and Rico settled him somehow.

Rico stared at his crumpling friend whom’s six foot five frame looked dwarfed despite the small plastic chair he was inhabiting. Big D stood by his side, waiting as they all were. The sounds were quiet now the nurses and doctors had accompanied Caitlin to the operating room. Rico stood up and began pacing. If she didn’t come through this? If she didn’t make it? Those thoughts couldn’t formulate, that he knew. He glanced over to her friend and her boyfriend who sat huddled on the opposite side of the hallway. Emily’s eyes were red and she clutched a Kleenex in her hand. The grief this girl’s death would cause was too hard to imagine. Taking a seat by JC, he rested his chin in his hands. JC was sniffling at the side of him, for once not being able to control his emotions. “I love her, man,” He breathed hoarsely through thick emotion. “I can’t,” He choked with tears. Rico looked up just in time to see a red headed girl he knew by the looks on JC’s and Emily’s faces was not welcome.

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