Caitlin awoke with pains in every part of her body. For a moment she was disoriented and wondered where she was. Then the club, the chaos and waking up with JC there, even though he’d been in jail, all came flooding back to her. So why was she so groggy and knocked out now? stirring, hearing the machinery around her, she tried not to move too much in fear of pulling a wire or something.
“Jay?” She murmured, her voice much weaker than she thought it would be. A chair squeaked and a female’s hand touched hers. “Caitlin, it’s OK. You’re in hospital.” She recognised the voice but couldn’t place it for a second. Her ears and brain were struggling to connect but she couldn’t figure out if that was the drugs or her memory’s fault. “Who is it?” She asked hoarsely, licking her lips to attempt to moisten them. The dry feeling in her mouth and throat was making her want to gag. “It’s Kira, I’m a nurse at the hospital now,” And it all clicked. “What are you doing here?” A glass was placed into her hand and she drank the cool, wet, water with gratefulness only a man in a desert would exhibit. “I saw your boyfriend and Emily as I was dealing with another patient,” Kira replied, wiping the young girl’s blonde hair from her pale cheeks. Kira knew she couldn’t tell Caitlin Lexie was her patient and didn’t want to upset the girl. her doctor had said her bleed needed to heal a great deal, the sutras put in place would help it heal but too much excitement could cause them to burst so she kept that trinket of information to herself. She’d missed Emily and Caitlin, in spite of herself, she knew could admit it to herself. even Jasmine, who she was living with now suggested she make contact again. Kira hadn’t realised how much the two girls had meant to her but she knew for as long as they had Lexie in their lives, she couldn’t deal with the situation. But now, Lexie was seemingly losing her faculties and the other two had washed their hands completely of her. Maybe now, she could retrieve the friendships she thought she had lost. Even JC seemed to be apologetic and seen as she’d forgiven her asshole of a brother for his many assaults on her physically and emotionally, she figured JC deserved a second chance. Caitlin was not as dumb as Kira would sometimes like to think she was, so she knew there had to be good in him somewhere. Things had changed for her friends, as they had for her in the past few months. She had made up with her brother, upon Jasmine’s continual urges to do so and she and Jaz had moved into a studio apartment in Santa Monica just before Kira had got the psychiatric nurse’s job. She had contemplated teaching but would need to do a further qualification and money wouldn’t stretch so getting the job at the hospital had been a God send. she was enjoying it. She was enjoying life and felt her new lease of happiness could open her heart to her old friends again.
At five AM, a few minutes after her shift had ended, she had been doing suicide watches all night, she’d decided to visit Caitlin. Emily and Cory had gone to Cory’s old apartment seen as Emily had no place to stay yet in LA. Then JC and his boys had said they were going to head home for a sleep so she’d taken the opportunity to sit by Caitlin. And here she was, awake and already asking questions.
“I came to see you,” Kira said watching her old friend. “Emily and JC have gone home for a bit of a rest. They were here all night until you came back to your room and had been given the all clear,” Kira told Caitlin who lay back on her pillows looking worn. “Kira, I’m confused, is it the anaesthetic?” “No,” Kira laughed gently. “I’ve missed you guys. But with all that had gone down with Alexia,” And kira now noted the look of disdain on Caitlin’s face at the mention of the former roommate’s name told Kira all she needed to know about Caitlin’s feelings toward Alexia. “I understand,” Caitlin sighed. “A lot went down between us all. Did Emily tell you about it?” “To be honest,” Kira smiled gently, wondering what on earth had transpired in order for emily and Caitlin to turn on their friend so quickly. “Emily was so worried, I didn’t ask. But I’m guessing it was something huge.” “Alexia,” caitlin almost spat her former friend’s name. “Set fire to the house, with Callie inside. As well as getting JC locked up for something he didn’t even do. She’s lost it, Kira. Truly lost it. And I know you’re going to tell me that JC’s bad news, using phrases like “Losing it” is not appropriate until a psychological diagnosis has been provided but seriously, there has been a screw lose in that girl for a while now.” Kira smiled wistfully at Caitlin. She did know her. she knew that Kira was always harping on about correct diagnosis before jumping to conclusions and this made her happy. Caitlin and Emily did know her, they did stand as friends in her life and she had been a fool to walk away because of others Lexie and JC had pushed a wedge between them but JC seemed happy to work things out but she knew in her heart, Alexia never would. She also knew that there was some kind of break down going on with Alexia but she couldn’t confirm that to Caitlin.
“Actually, caitlin,” she smiled warmly. “JC seems alright. I guess we just got off to a bad start.” “Really?” caitlin grinned at her. “So you like him now?” “I didn’t say that,” Kira was seemingly more relaxed these days which made caitlin smile hugely. She guessed all the stress of studying was long gone and now Kira could be herself. “But I’m willing to give him a chance. Hey, when you’re better, you, me, Jaz, Jc, em and cory should go out to eat.” caitlin smiled gently at her. She decided Kira had definitely had a turn around since they’d last seen each other and she was thankful. sometimes, something her father had always told her ran truer than anything anyone else had ever taught her, never judge someone until you’ve walked a thousand miles in their shoes. “That would be great,” caitlin smiled and leaned back. “what time is it?” “Time you rested and time I went home,” Kira replied. “I’ll pop in before my shift to see how you’re doing.” And with a shuffle of feet, Kira was gone and the room was quiet. Caitlin slept.
Jay woke up with Callie wagging her tail hard against the bed and her head with her pink bear clutched in her mouth resting beside him as though to say, wake up, it’s time to get up. He stretched his arm out and patted her which only lead to more wagging and excited pouncing on her paws. “OK, Callie-Cals, I’m up,” He looked at his clock and saw it was ten-thirty and he stretched extensively and walked down into the kitchen where the back door stood open and he could hear his grandmother singing happily outside, tending to her plants. “Morning, big mama,” he poked his head into the yard and she looked up, beaming. “I’ll come and do you some breakfast,” she called, wiping her hands on her gardening apron. “I didn’t want to wake you as I didn’t know what time you got home from the hospital. I take it she’s doing better?” Her dark eyes that had a watery tinge to them looked hopeful as she spoke. “She’s doing much better, big mama,” He called from the kitchen where he was placing Callie’s food bowl on the floor and giving her the command to go and eat. “I’ll get my breakfast, thanks big mama. I’m only going to grab some toast and head back up to see her.” “OK,” She called, returning to her rose bushes and singing merrily in the fall sunshine.
As he busied himself in the light, airy kitchen, listening to the sounds of morning flourish around him, he missed her with a heart aching retch. If only… He kept thinking. But he knew that “if onlys” never got you anywhere. Direct action was the only solution and that he would take part in as soon as she was home, safe and well.
Callie stood at the open door staring longingly into the sunshine. “Callie?” His thick, dulcet tones reverberated around the kitchen as he called the dog’s name. She responded by pricking her floppy labrador ears and tilting her head toward the sound of his voice. “Wanna go see your mama?” To which she wagged. He was under no illusion that the dog knew where she would be going but she’d been out of sorts, like the rest of them, since Caitlin’s hospitalisation. He ate his toast while drinking a coffee standing by the counter, reading the morning paper; a habit both his grandmother and Caitlin berated him for constantly. soon after his shower, he and Callie were riding in his Chevy toward the hospital. He vowed, as he waited at a red light to buy a new car with the money that was coming in. Rico said that the books had been looking promising but JC would definitely talk to his boy about that once he knew his girl was OK that morning.
Emily woke up in the neat but bare apartment that cory hadn’t yet ditched his room in for San Francisco. Which on the outlook of things had been a wise decision. He was moving back to LA and he had been talking about getting a place with her but that was something she wasn’t altogether sure of. Maybe, if Caitlin was there, she’d feel better and how long could her friend really go on living at her boyfriend’s grandmother’s place in Compton? Emily knew she worked there but living there was another issue and the house was nice but small. She wanted to broach the subject with Cory but she was afraid he’d run a mile at the thought of living with her and her friends after the recent, horrific events.
“Em,” Cory walked into his small room, the one he’d thought he’d said goodbye to but in actual fact had never got the balls to say goodbye to it, or LA or his girl. She was sitting in her blue jeans and simple blue T-shirt, looking so adorable as always as he stood naked, wrapped in a towel. He still felt nervous in front of her. For years, he’d liked her, wanted her to notice him and now that she had, he felt like a boy in comparison. He looked at Caitlin’s boyfriend, JC, and knew he was years older than him mentally and had way more experience when it came to girls, both relationship wise and in the sex department and he still felt inferior for it. He knew Emily didn’t like JC in that way and thank goodness, or else he wouldn’t even be able to talk to her but she was a woman of the world. She’d had a few partners before him and her recent freak out session made him feel slightly inferior sexually. And then there was that trouble with the unborn baby. He half wondered, late at night, if that had been his son or daughter but the pain in his heart told him to stop thinking that way. He knew they couldn’t have gone through it for Emily’s sake and he loved her so much he’d do anything for her. Recent events would have confirmed that if he didn’t already know that to be true. Lying, turning a blind eye to JC’s behaviour with Lexie. Despite what he thought about Alexia, which wasn’t much good, he knew that some of what JC did and said was ultimately wrong and cruel but Emily was trying to keep the peace and protect herself and Caitlin so she wanted him to go along with it. And because he loved her, he did, willingly. “Yeah?” She looked up and a seductive grin spread across her porcelain cheeks. “Get your mind out of the gutter, Miss Andrews,” He laughed, a slight blush creeping up his neck and into his cheeks. “Why don’t we ask Caitlin if she’d wanna move with us? I mean, she needs a place to stay and you and she have been roommates before and lets face it,” he started to dress, “She’s not crazy!” Emily laughed and leaned back. “And yo’d be comfortable with JC coming over?” Emily knew his discomfort, well some of it, where Jay Carter was concerned. “Yeah, guess it’s better he’s on our side, right?” And for that one moment, he felt like a stupid, inexperienced boy again. But she smiled lovingly. “Cory, if you’re not comfortable, we won’t ask Caitlin but I’d like to have her around again. And JC’s not that bad, when he’s on side. I know, ideally, she wouldn’t be with him, but she is, both in work and personally so there’s no getting away from it.” And there she was, talking like a grown up and he merely nodded reasonably. She was right, he knew it. And he also knew his paranoia was childish. JC had no problem with them and wouldn’t unless they crossed him which he knew Emily had no intention of doing and he certainly did not. Pulling a sweat shirt over his head, he looked up at her. “OK, let’s ask them both then?” And Emily grinned and hugged him. A part of her felt as though if JC was at their place, even more protection would befall upon them.
Caitlin awoke with a weird sensation on her hand. Was someone licking her? She stirred and JC’s laughter echoed throughout the room. “Callie?” She said with happiness reverent in her voice. “The one and only,” He bent and his thick lips brushed her cheek. Smiling, she sat up slowly and despite the odd ache, felt better as she petted her best friend. “Thanks for bringing her,” She smiled at JC. “Thanks for coming.” “You gave me a real scare there, mama,” He took her hand into his. “I’m glad you’re OK.” “Me too. How’s the club?” He laughed and dismissed her question as Cory and Emily came into the room.
“So Kira was here?” Emily smiled with warmth in her eyes. “Yeah, she seems more relaxed,” Caitlin mused as she stroked Callie’s head and soft velvet ears. “Not living with Lexie will do that for a person,” Cory joked awkwardly but all faces showed smiles in the room and he felt a tingle of acceptance serge within him. “Cory’s right,” JC leaned back in the chair, his long legs striding over Callie. “She and I have bridges to mend but I think she’s a smart girl.” And the almost threat in his voice wasn’t wasted on the others within the room. But they also knew, he’d try with Kira, for Caitlin’s sake. “Cory and I were thinking,” Emily glanced at Cory as she twisted her fingers nervously. “Why don’t we all get a place together? Us four?” JC looked at Caitlin who smiled happily and he nodded. “Yeah, Cory and I will go on a mission to the real estate office tomorrow, how about it?” He said with nothing but friendly tones and Cory complied still slightly cautious but feeling so much more relaxed than usual. “That’s settled then,” JC stood and picked up Callie’s leash. “Better go and see if little miss needs a potty break.” And Caitlin busted up with giggles. “Check you out, all domesticated,” She grinned playfully. “I ain’t hovering, polishing or doing dishes,” He mumbled as he left with a wagging callie in tow. “It’ll be great!” Caitlin mused and Emily and she entered into a long conversation about furniture and such well past the point where JC and Cory left to play a game of basket ball at a local court.