Author's note: Once again, seriously SERIOUSLY long chapter - 3,774 words this time... and Jason's Point of View Makes an appearance. Enjoy. and please leave some thoughts... I would love and appreciate it =]
Where are you? Can’t see you! K x
I pushed the button to reply, then realised that she was probably standing at the bottom of the steps, looking up at us with a half-squint, her mouth hanging open slightly as though she could barely breathe. It being Katie, I wouldn’t be surprised if she couldn’t... she didn’t feel too well this afternoon and I wondered if she was feeling the after-effects of last night now, rather than eight hours ago, when it would have been convenient.
Her lips stood slightly parted, her eyes wide and glassy, as I watched her, knowing that one row behind me and eight seats across, Nathan would be staring at her, probably trying to get the flood of perverted images out of his mind with little success. I only knew that because within the past four or five months, during the summer and when we’d been working together, I’d started to look at Katie with those images in mind too, wide eyes and blonde hair in disarray...I shook my head and tried to get the picture from my mind as I rose from my seat and whistled to her in the darkness.
She practically sprinted up the stairs and straight to me. I knew Katie wasn’t the biggest fan of crowds, but... even so, I expected a measure of control over her fear. She stopped beside me and looked expectantly up the row, trying to see where Nathan and the others were sitting.
“Where are the others?” She said, her voice lightly constricted as she looked at me, a little panic in her eyes.
“They’re in the row behind, they kept a seat for you, but there weren’t enough...” I felt the bottom of my chest drop out as she looked up the row and no doubt saw Nathan, Emily and Mandie waiting for her. She didn’t want to sit with me – I could tell by the small smile on her face. I couldn’t blame her... but even so, I felt the hurt and irritation that came with her leaving me.
“But there’s a seat there!” She whisper-hissed as she pointed there, a small smile crossing her face. I could see her expression, and it said ‘don’t you want me to sit with you?’, “And I don’t want to disturb anyone!” Her excuse was fair, and I wondered why she was lying until she crouched down into my ear when I raised an eyebrow, “I’m not feeling too good right now... might need to make a quick getaway...” She murmured and my eyes widened as I jumped up to switch seats so she could sit down beside me.
She did, groaning slightly as she arched her back and curled up against me, pushing the armrest out of the way as she did so. I liked that. I could feel the heat from her body and the soft, fresh scent of her hair as she tucked herself up into me.
“You know I’m gonna have to come back to see this again,” She sighed, “I’m so gonna fall asleep...” And before I could even get my arm around her to make sure she was comfortable, she was snoozing lightly, small snuffles escaping her lips as she sighed. I slipped my arm around her and let her curl into me as she slept; barely taking in any of the film as my brain switched off and I began to doze, just enjoying the feel of her pressed up against me, when I knew that I damn well shouldn’t. To get my mind from the thought of it, I blinked twice and sent a text to Nathan, using the number he had given me about two months ago and hoping it worked.
The film was pretty much a snooze, it being quite a chick flick, and Katie being sleepy and generally ill. My attention was about ninety percent focussed on her sleepy form beside me, and I wondered if I would be able to get to sleep at Mandie’s tonight knowing that my best girl wasn’t well, and I couldn’t do anything to help her – mainly because Mandie’s mother would murder me if she found me in the girls’ room tonight.
“C’mon, Kate,” I whispered to her as the credits started to roll and the lights came up. She blinked up at me shakily and I smiled slightly as she shut her eyes again, leaning her head against me with a small sigh. “Let’s get outta here, yeah?” She nodded at my chest and slowly got up, her head ducked down and her eyes refusing to lock with mine as I kept up a mindless stream of inane conversation. She sighed as we met up with the others outside and I pressed my hand to her hip, putting my arm around her as she leaned into me. Nathan mirrored the action and I wanted to turn to him, to yell at him and tell him to back the hell off, but Katie sighed, glad, I think for the other support and I figured that what made her happy would make me happy. Slowly, we stumbled back to the car, and Katie called a weak, almost sorrowful shotgun, practically falling back into the car.
“Can I call shotgun, I don’t want to throw up on your gearstick.” She murmured, her head in her hands.
“Oi-oi!” I tried to make her laugh, but I don’t think it worked, her head sat, still cradled in her hands as she let out a tiny whimper. “Come on... I’ll even lend you a T-shirt if you throw up, alright?” I teased lightly, figuring it was probably the least I could do for her. She gave me a tiny smile and I sighed, glad that she would give me that.
“I’ll hold you to that,” she murmured, leaning forward and gently pulling me closer, pointing at my brand new, bright blue superman shirt, that I had hidden beneath my chequered flannel overshirt, “I want that one. The one you’re wearing.” She laughed and my chest automatically tightened. Then I stopped and blinked for a second, considering how I would feel with her wearing my shirt. The result was pretty damn good, so I leaned over, ruffled her hair and smiled.
“What the lady wants...” I pulled her toward me, out of Nathan’s arms so he could clamber into the car and pulled her into my arms, hugging her and kissing the top of her head. “The lady gets. Scout’s honour.” I saluted and she made a face at me as I helped her into the car, hoping to blast the heating and warm her up a little longer so I could make her a little more comfortable over the journey.
We pulled out onto the main road and I kept one eye on the street, the other focussed totally on the girl sitting beside me. She was shaking and pale, and I know my brain was telling me that she needed to get home straight away, because she needed to sleep... but my heart was telling me that I should take her to Mandie’s and get her to bed there. That way I would still be able to hang out with her... make sure she was okay.
She seemed to brighten slightly as she watched me navigate the streets with ease, me being used to the traffic and straight roads that she had never quite understood. That was, of course, until she looked up at me, flushed pale, then bright pink and clapped her hand across her mouth, banging on the dashboard as though it would burst open and reveal the meaning of life.
“What is it?” I was trying not to crash as I looked across at her and she looked back up at me and tried to breathe out.
“Gonna-gonn-” She was going to be sick. I could tell and she looked terrified that she could risk throwing up over my gearstick, just as she had foreseen earlier on.
“I think she’s gonna be sick!” Well duh, Nathan. Do you think she’s a girl, as well? I was irrationally irritated, but glad I kept my mouth shut because it would have made Katie even more uncomfortable than she was right now. I gunned it across two lanes and pulled over into a lay-by as Katie practically threw herself out of the car and gave me a stunning view of her backside as she upchucked on the grass by the side of the road. She let out a whimper as I sat, trying to get my breath back and hoping that I didn’t throw up right next to her, my chest pounding as I even thought about it. I wanted her to be alright.
“Can’t you do something?” Mandie’s voice and a subtle kick into the back of my seat made me jolt back to the present. I wanted to kick her, the whiney bitch, but I rolled my eyes to myself and looked out to Katie, her head in her hands as she sat on the side of the road.
“I...” I looked at Nathan and realised that he was trapped between the two girls who wouldn’t get anywhere nearer to the vomit than where they were. “Course.”
Without another thought, I was out of the car and sprinting around, appraising the mess that lay before me. She had, quite effectively, thrown everything she could at the floor, and was sitting on the floor beside it, her head in her hands and a soft sob escaping her lips.
“It’s alright, Kate, hun.” I said, trying to work out how I could fix her broken form. She shifted slightly and I held my hands out to her, to pull her to her feet.
“I’m pathetic!” She almost wailed the words and I shook my head, worrying that her self-deprecation would kill her, rather than the illness she was suffering.
“No, you’re not, come on... I’m taking you home.” I started, as I pulled her to her feet and held her upright. She was pale, and her eyes were bloodshot, and I didn’t like Katie not being Katie. She was, and had always been my strong, always-there constant, with her wide smile and irritating independence. I never saw her ill, and seeing it now made me worried. Really worried.
“No! You can’t!” She pressed her head into her hands, and I bit back a growl as she let out a sob, as though this were the end of the world, and I had just rejected her from my nuclear bunker.
“I can, and bloody well am,” I said, not realising that my fury had just bubbled up to the surface and I was done with her complaints. She was going to do what I said, because she wasn’t thinking right. And I knew it, because I could see it in her eyes, her weak smile and the paleness of her skin. I looked her up and down, she had god-knows-what across her top and I wasn’t letting her back in the car with that all over her. She’d throw up again at the smell. “Listen, you need to change your top, you’re covered...”
She looked at herself, pulling the t-shirt she was wearing out and looking at it with utter hatred and disdain. She let out a groan and looked at the mess across her.
“Oh! I am such a pain!”
“No, you’re a pain when you whine.” I smirked and she looked at me as I went to pull my overshirt off. “What? You wanted this one, didn’t you?” I let myself smirk, then I pulled at the lumberjack thing, tugging it off and resting it on the back of the car as I pulled the other one off, “Christ, it’s cold.” She quirked an eyebrow at me, and I held the t-shirt out to her, waiting patiently as she took it and then looked down at herself.
“This-this is new...” She whispered softly as I buttoned up my shirt, waiting for her to change. “What if I-” She stopped when I looked at her and held out my hand.
“Just put it on.” I said softly, “Please? For me?” She sighed and relented, and I watched her as she moved to pull her top off.
“Turn around, let me put this on!” She said, when she noticed – and I noticed that I was still staring at her, my eyes totally focussed on the small sliver of skin she was flashing me, making me wonder exactly what else was hiding under there. “Don’t bloody stare!”
Maybe I wanna watch...
“I... I just wanted to make sure you didn’t, you know, throw up on it...” I smiled. Though, of course, I really did want to watch... I stared at her face as it flashed bright red, grinning because she had her colour back, her eyes brightening as she turned around.
“Shut up!” She yelped, pulling the top from her body, and putting my one on. Mine.
“Shall I throw this away?” She held it out to me and I shook my head as I leaned into the car and watched her sit down, made sure she was alright.
“No, I’m sure we’ve got a bag we can use?”
“Sure...” Emily handed me the plastic bag from absolutely nowhere, and she smiled at me with wide eyes as she threw the top into it, and wrapped it up tightly, stowing it where none of us could see it.
“I’m so sorry, guys... I feel shit about this... I didn’t mean to ruin anything for you guys...” She murmured, keeping her eyes down on the dashboard in front of her, tears gathering in the corners of her eyes.
“You’re not!” Nathan and I spoke simultaneously, and I smiled, reaching across to rub Katie’s back. “I’ll drop these guys off to Mand’s and then... I’ll take you home, and make you something to eat... or get you to bed or... whatever,” I knew I was ranting, so I turned my voice down and tried to keep my mind on the road. Glancing up into the mirror, I caught Nathan’s eye as he watched me with interest. I smiled at him and scratched my neck, only realising that the now-bruising bite mark that Katie had so subtly left me was on show, plain as day. Damn. She said she didn’t want anyone to know about it...
I pulled my collar up tight as the others jumped out of the car, leaving me with Katie, who was curled up, her head in her hands and her eyes stuck, refusing to look away from the road in front of her.
“J-Jase?” She asked as I threw the car around a corner quickly and hoped she wasn’t jostled too much, “Jase, how long until we get to school? It’s nearly nine, we’ll be late...” She muttered, almost incoherently, and I looked over at her, totally confused as to why she’d think we were headed to school...
Unless she was delirious.
I rubbed my arm and kept driving, until we pulled into her driveway and I managed to help her out of the car. Katie stumbled as I held her upright and she made a noise as I gripped her tight around the waist.
“You must hate me right now...” She whispered into my ear as she pulled me toward her, then stepped back and looked at the house. “Oh! We’re home!” She laughed and I rolled my eyes, “Coming in, Jase?” She said in a mock-posh accent, and I sighed as I followed her, watching her trip a couple of times, stumble against the doorframe but damn well push me away when I tried to get closer to help her.
“Katie, let me help you-”
“I’m fine, Jason!” She muttered, scratching at the back of her neck awkwardly. “Listen; take a look at my neck, will you?” She knocked on the front door and the porch light came on as I bent my head over her neck and looked at the skin under her hair. She threw her hand up across her eyes as the light brightened a lot, and she let out a whimper, tucking herself against me.
“You’ve caught yourself, hun, that’s all,” She nodded against the side of my chest and I looked down at her, “Are you alright?”
“Just a headache... the light’s not doing me any good...” she said softly, ducking her head as she pulled away from the light and pressed her cheek against my chest. “Can I go inside yet?”
“Have you got keys?” I murmured, she shook her head and slumped against me. “Katie?” I gently shook her shoulders and she fell forward, all of her weight resting on my arms. She wasn’t heavy, but she wasn’t light either, especially as a dead weight in my arms.
Then I panicked. She wasn’t moving...
“Kate?! Katie, speak, please!!” I gently shook her shoulder again, then attempted to lift her, failed and tried to sit her down and pound on the door simultaneously. “Mrs Rosstow!” I slammed my hands on the wood and felt it judder underneath me, hoping they would answer the door as soon as possible. “Elsie!” I pressed the bell and went to knock again, jolting out of my skin when I realised that Katie’s mother was standing at the door, watching me panic with a look of horror on her face.
“What are you... what’re you doing here?” She murmured, and I looked up at her from the bottom step, “What’s wrong with my Kate?” Her voice clinched and she let out a petrified squeak.
“M-mum?” Her soft voice made me drop to my knees beside her and I tilted my head up to look at her, watching her pupils to see if they dilated properly. “Mum, I don’t feel so-”
I had to literally dive out of the way to avoid what came at me.
Damn she couldn’t have felt good.
“What do I do?” I looked up at her mother and hoped she had an answer.
“I think... I’m going to call a doctor... can you... can you let me know what... her symptoms are?” She said softly as she straightened up and stepped inside. “Can you lift her?” She called back.
“I’ll try!” Katie stirred in my arms as I tried to lift her, the dead weight of her semi-conscious form not helping matters at all. I half-dragged her inside, mentioning Katie’s various symptoms as her mother called for them. She was silent on the phone for a long time, and then she hung up, looking as pale as my Katie did, and twice as worried.
“They’ve told me to call an ambulance.” She said softly, “Said that it could be something severe.” She wouldn’t look at me and I was tempted to ask, but didn’t want to push if she was that panicked. “I-...I have to go with her.” I nodded, not expecting any less.
“Do you want me to... to come too?” I raised an eyebrow as Katie clung onto my leg and I ran a hand through her hair. She squeezed me tighter and ducked her head against me longer. “Kate, let me go, I’ll get you some water?”
“O-oh, okay.” She nodded and released me, running her hand across my knees and sighing as she pulled away. I quickly ran to get a glass of water for her, and as I handed it to Katie, she smiled up at me, eyes wide and slightly dazed.
“Will you come?” I looked up as Elsie looked at me, her eyes wide with fear, “I’m going in the ambulance with her, but... come to the hospital? Please?” Neither of them liked hospitals, and I had to say, I didn’t either, but I knew that I couldn’t let Katie go on her own. She squeezed my leg almost painfully and I looked down at her, seeing tears in her eyes and wondering if I could get into the hospital without having a panic attack myself.
“Jason?” Elsie said my name again, bringing me back to the present as I looked over at her. Her soft voice and the fact that Katie was shaking in her seat as she sat on the stairs beside me made me nod.
Five or six minutes later, the ambulance arrived and I was left standing on their front porch, holding the front door keys and watching as the lights, flashing bright and almost blinding me, pulled away from the kerb, Katie sitting in the back, hooked up to god knows what and even the thought of it making me feel sick, making me feel ill.
She had asked me to get her some clothes together, because it being late, she might not be going home tonight. They would be in her drawers, she said, folded nicely, so I shouldn’t mess them up... on pain of iPod theft. I had laughed when she said it, but now that I was looking up at her organised, sensible, colour-coded drawers, I felt a pang of both confusion and fear, dreading messing up her well-organised chaos, and freaking about the fact I’d have to go into her knickers... I mean... her knicker drawer.
About five minutes later, I had pulled together a bag of relatively safe clothes, a shirt, some jeans, a jacket... and was currently staring at the open drawer filled with underwear of every kind. It worried me that a girl like Katie... had that. Underwear. Well... not underwear... but lacy shit. And... Yeah.
I shut my eyes, stuck my hand in, scrabbled around and hoped, organisation be damned. Because really. This was the necessary part. I couldn’t let her go without...
About half a million images crashed through my mind. Katie sick, clutching her stomach as I stood at the end of her bed, watching her, helpless. Katie screaming in agony, whimpering as the doctors poked her and prodded her with god knows what. Katie lying with her eyes glassy, unable to recognise me because of the stuff they were pumping into her to stop the pain, to stop the hurt that was coursing through her.
The last thought was the worst. If this was something... bad. Something really, really, dangerous, terminal, long, horrible, painful... what if she... I shut my eyes and tried not to think about it. It was nothing. It had to be nothing, because Katie was strong and good and kind and funny...
Because I could see it going wrong, and I didn’t want her to die.