Maxxie had barely been gone five minutes before the phone rang. I answered it and heard the panicked voice of the old guy that’s worked at the drug store since forever.
“Oh, Cayden, you’ll do. There’s a gentleman here who says he’s with your family but in not as many words. He’s… It’s okay; just take nice deep breaths for me. Can you just come down here?”
“Sure” I said and he hung up.
Shit, Mom and Dad had gone to the store, how was I supposed to get there without taking fifteen minutes? Shit. Fuck. Shit. I don’t even have a key to get back in the fucking house. Well done, Cayden, you’re so prepared for… I don’t even know what.
“Need me to drive you?” someone asked quietly.
I turned round and saw Hadley, instantly fighting back a glare. “I can get there on my own, thanks”
“Cayden, it sounded like he was having a panic attack”
“I can still… Wait, how do you know what he sounded like?”
“We answered the phone at the same time. Now stop being stubborn and get in the car”
We got to the drug store in about two minutes since Hadley broke pretty much every speed limit in the State but sure enough, there was Maxxie; sat on a chair and struggling to breathe. Shit. What do you even do when someone’s having a panic attack? Apparently Hadley knew since he marched over and sat with him and within about eight minutes Maxxie’s was pretty much all panicked out. I looked over at Hadley with a puzzled frown. Since when has he ever been that helpful to, well, anyone? Shakily he stood up as Hadley flashed him a warm smile and handed the old drug store guy twenty bucks. Even through a panic attack, Maxxie had kept his grip on those nicotine patches it seemed. Hadley led Maxxie out to the car and all I could do was follow like a lost sheep.
“Should I sit with him or…?” I asked once Max was sat in the back.
Hadley shook his head so I sat up front with him, biting down on my lip like there was no tomorrow. How come Hadley knew so much about panic attacks anyway? The question must have been written on my face because he said quietly “I’ve had my share of them”.
“Why would you have a panic attack?” I asked without meaning to.
“I was in high school, remember?”
“So you had panic attacks over finals…?”
Hadley sighed. “I used to smoke pot, Cayden”
“Yeah. I gave it up because my grades started slipping and then Mom and Dad found out and grounded me for like all of Sophomore year so-”
“Wait, Sophomore year? Jeez, Hads, when did you start?”
Hadley stayed quiet for a while, focusing on the road. He looked like he was debating with himself whether or not to tell me the truth. “…Since a little before Freshman year” he finally admitted.
“Fuck. When did you stop?”
“A little into Junior year…”
“Jesus Christ, Hadley”
“Don’t act so high and mighty, Cayden, I know you did it too”
“Yeah, once or twice every other month. I wasn’t fucking hooked on it for two years”
“Who said I was hooked on it?”
“The fact that it took you two years to stop says enough. So, if you were grounded how come you were still doing it?”
“You know that Bi friend of mine?”
I smiled at that. That was fucking genius. He can’t leave the house so he gets his Bi friend to bring it to him, then Mom thinks he’s not so bothered by the gay thing either and everyone’s happy. Hang on, he’d lied to them, what if he was still lying? That would explain why he was so chilled out at dinner.
“Hads, you are off the stuff, right?” I asked carefully.
“Answer my question”
“Yes I am off “the stuff”, I haven’t touched it in two years. In all honesty it made me feel kind of sick each time anyway” he shrugged and turned all his attention back to the road, obviously done with the conversation.
Well, at least we weren’t screaming at each other. I looked round at Maxxie sat in the back, shrinking into himself a little. I smiled a little but he didn’t seem to catch it. Something told me he wasn’t exactly going to be around for Mom’s little get together tonight. Even though Max had had a panic attack, trust me, she’d still have it.