Eddie pulled up outside the house Rory directed him to. There was the moving van he assumed had all of Gayle’s things in it. He didn’t see anyone about. Maybe they were done and taking a break inside. Sighing loudly inside his car he sat undecided whether he should get out or wait. He had a strong urge to put the car in gear and drive away.
The front door opened. A man and woman came outside. The girl laughing up at the guy as their hands touched. He gasped as Rory followed behind the couple. Eddie’s heart leaped into his throat as Rory looked up and down the street in search of someone.
Eddie’s fingers fumbled with the door latch as Rory strode purposely towards him. He managed to get the door open as Rory came around the car. He stood from the car as Rory held the door open for him. Their eyes locked onto each other.
There were so many things Eddie wanted to say. His brain felt like mush refusing to send the right signals to his mouth. His mouth was stuck as if someone had super glued his lips shut. He took a deep breath inhaling Rory’s scent. He missed that the most. His earthy scent mixed with sweat from his exertions of moving heavy boxes and furniture. The scent that in Eddie’s mind equated strength, safety.
Taking a step nearer Eddie inhaled deeply filling his senses with his heady scent. His eyes never wavered from Rory’s as his mouth unstuck itself “I’ve missed you so much.”
As if the world was waiting for the sound of his voice the moment was broken. His phone back to chime alerting him to an incoming text message. Turning to answer it he saw the hurt in Rory’s eyes.
Rory looked over Eddie’s shoulder reading the name on the screen. “Ramsey,” he growled “have you been seeing him?”
Ignoring him Eddie walked a few paces away dialing Ramsey’s number “this better be important….”
Sighing in relief Ramsey’s hand shook as he held the phone to his ear. “It is” he hissed as he reached out to prevent Bruce from sliding over into his vomit on the floor. “I need your help” the unexpected plea made his voice rise.
“What’s wrong?” Eddie’s voice was concerned less irritated as Ramsey’s plea penetrated over the phone.
“I…I…don’t know,” Ramsey dropped the phone with a loud clatter as he dove to catch Bruce before he fell face first onto the floor.
“Tell me what happened” Eddie demanded once Ramsey came back on the line. Eddie’s heart beat fast as he listened to Ramsey’s story of what happened. He closed his eyes telling himself to hold it together. He couldn’t break down now. Gripping the phone he demanded “how is his breathing?”
Ramsey put the phone down to check. He didn’t like the clammy gray look of Bruce’s complexion. His eyes were open staring blankly ahead. Reaching for his phone “he’s breathing but it’s shallow and rapid.”
“Is he awake?” Eddie inquired.
“I think so,” Ramsey’s voice was stressed “he’s just staring blankly ahead. He hasn’t responded to anything I’ve said in a while.”
“Don’t let him fall asleep,” Eddie shouted causing everyone in the yard to look in his direction. Taking a deep breath Eddie tried to calm down “Ramsey listen to me. You need to get him to the hospital. Take whatever liquids he may have ingested with you.”
“Why?” Ramsey asked panicking as Bruce closed his eyes.
“Just do it” Eddie ordered “whatever drugs she gave him is going to be in them. The doctor’s are going to need to know what he was given in order to help him. It’ll save time. Now do it.”
“Ok ok ok” Ramsey repeated running a hand through his hair “don’t panic” he told himself. He grabbed the glass on a nearby table. Running into the kitchen he rummaged through the drawers for a zip lock bag big enough to hold the glass and it’s contents. He found a half empty bottle of pop beside an uneaten cold pizza. Threw both items into a plastic bag and ran back to Bruce. Still breathing. Good. Reaching for his phone “I’ve got it.”
“Good” Eddie said “I’ll meet you at the hospital.”
There was no reply back. Eddie stood shaking in the middle of the yard. Shocked that he had managed to keep it together long enough to have helped. He jerked away from Rory’s touch as he came up alongside him. “Eddie honey you need to sit down,” Rory said softly.
Shivering in the warm slight breeze Eddie felt the world tilt around him as he started to fall. Strong arms caught him before he hit the ground. Panic rushed through him lending strength to his panic induced thrashing “Eddie calm down.” Rory’s voice pleaded “I’m not going to hurt you.” The slight breeze blew his scent around, earthy and safe.
Eddie went limp in Rory’s arms. Picking him up Rory carried him into the house. “Put him here,” Gayle directed him towards the couch that he and Trent had carried in earlier. “What’s wrong with him?” Gayle asked.
Shrugging Rory ran a hand across his face “I don’t know. He was talking to Ramsey. Then he fainted.”
“Hopefully something didn’t happen to Bruce” Trent said coming into the room “we all now how hard he took Ramsey breaking up with him.”
“You don’t think…” Rory knelt beside Eddie watching as Gayle put a cool damp cloth to his forehead.
“It’s a possibility,” Trent said avoiding eye contact with his best friend.
Nodding Rory said “I hope you’re wrong. Eddie and Bruce grew up together.” He took Eddie’s hand “he’ll be devastated if anything happened to him.”
“Why don’t you call him?” Gayle suggested.
“Do you have his number?” Rory asked Trent.
“No don’t you?” Trent returned “I could call Liono and Milo and see if they have it.”
“Um guys” Gayle cut into their conversation “why don’t you just use Eddie’s phone?” She waved it at them.
With a sheepish grin Rory took it from her. It felt strange looking through Eddie’s contact list. It was like he was spying on him. His brow creased as his frustration grew “it’s not in here.”
“It has to be” Trent said taking the phone from him “it was Ramsey he was talking to right?”
“I know it was. I saw his name on the screen” Rory told him reaching from the phone “it has to be in there.”
Shaking her head at them Gayle sighed “why don’t you just pull up the last number that called?”
Following her suggestion Rory found the number “here talk to him” he said tossing the phone to Trent.
“No you talk to him,” Trent said tossing the phone back like they were playing a game of hot potato.
“Somebody talk to me,” Ramsey snarled into the phone “I thought you said you’d meet me here”
Rory took a deep breath hoping for calm. “Sorry to disappoint but this is Rory. Eddie fainted soon after he finished talking to you. What did you say to him?”
“Me?” Ramsey almost shouted “this isn’t my fault.”
“If this a trick I’ll…”
“I called him because he’s the closest thing to family Bruce has here.” A long pause ensued “um I’ve got to go.”
“Ramsey?” Rory called into the phone. It was the first time Rory had heard Ramsey sound so upset. “How is he?” Rory asked turning to Gayle after Ramsey disconnected.
Ramsey put his phone away as two policemen with disapproving grim frowns upon their stern faces approached him. “Mr Ferris” one of the men said coming to a stop in front of him.
“Yes” he stammered.
“The hospital administrators call us when they suspect foul play,” the man continued.
Ramsey swallowed audibly “ok” he squeaked out nodding.
“Your friend” the officer continued emphasizing the word friend. The way he said it made Ramsey feel like he had been punched in the gut. “Your friend was given a lethal dose of Rohypnol .”
The color drained from Ramsey’s face as he reached for something to lean on. The younger officer grabbed his arm and led him to a nearby chair “you got your friend to the hospital in time,” he assured Ramsey. He gave his partner a scowl to show his disapproval of how his partner was handling things.
Unphased the man asked “you know what Rohypnol is?”
“Yeah” Ramsey nodded “it’s the date rape drug.” He felt sick to his stomach imagining what might have happened if he hadn’t come when he did.
“Did you drug him?” the officer asked “did he reject your advances you sick pervert?” The man pressed his advantage “was his rejection too much for you to handle? Was that when you spiked his drink with the drug?”
“I wouldn’t do that,” Ramsey protested “I wouldn’t hurt him like that. I love him.” The admission shocked him into silence.
“You have a funny way of showing it,” the officer scowled “your fingerprints are all over the glass and pop bottle. Both were spiked with the drug.”
“I didn’t do it,” his protests fell on deaf ears “my fingerprints are on them because I picked them up to bring to the hospital. Test them. I’m sure you’ll find Amber’s prints on them as well.”
“Stand up” the officer ordered “your under arrest for assault.”
His partner put a restraining hand on the older man’s shoulder “what about the other prints?”
“What about them?” the officer snarled “this is our perpetrator. He has a record. A list of priors.”
“Yes I know he did time but nothing as serious as this,” the other man argued “your being to hasty.”
“Wha…what happened?” Eddie asked batting the helpful hands away. The damp cloth slid to the floor.
“You fainted” Rory explained.
Sitting up despite Rory’s restraining hands Eddie asked “how long?”
“I don’t know,” Rory said looking around at Trent and Gayle “20-30 minutes.”
Groaning Eddie moved to stand up “I’ve got to get to the hospital.”
“You’re in no condition to drive,” Rory protested crossing his arms giving the impression he would do what it took to stop Eddie from leaving.
“Then drive me,” Eddie demanded unwilling to concede to Rory’s request. He rubbed his hand across his forehead feeling weak and wobbly sure that a slight breeze could knock him over.
“I can’t. I promised Gayle I’d help her move” Rory told him ignoring the muffled snicker from Trent.
“Please” Eddie pleaded “Bruce needs me.”
“I don’t like this,” Rory protested “you’re not well.”
A slight smile crossed Eddie’s face “what better place can I be then at the hospital.”
Unable to argue that point Rory shrugged. “Alright I’ll drive you.” Turning to Gayle he shuffled his feet feeling awkward recalling all the terrible things he thought and said about her. “Thank you,” he mumbled.
“It’s what sisters do for their grumpy older brothers,” she smiled up at him “now go and call us when you get there and let us know how Bruce is doing.”
Nodding Rory followed Eddie outside. Walking towards the car Rory held his hand out waiting for the blonde to give him the keys. Passing the keys to Rory his phone began to chime. Walking around the car Eddie frowned. Getting into the car he turned to Rory “we have to go to the police station first.”
“What? Why?” he asked confused.
“They arrested Ramsey for attempted rape and assault” Eddie muttered in disbelief.
Putting the car into park Rory absorbed the news. “Wait here,” he told Eddie getting out of the car he jogged back to the house. “Trent” he called as he opened the door.
“Hey I thought you were going to the hospital,” Trent said upon seeing his friend enter the room.
“We are but I need you guys to do me a favor,” he tried to ignore how cozy Trent seemed to be with his sister. A flicker of brotherly concern rose to the surface as he wondered if he should assert some boundaries. Later he told himself. “Ramsey has been arrested.”
“What for?” Trent asked.
“They think he assaulted Bruce.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Gayle cried outraged. Trent put an arm around her waist to calm her.
“Ramsey’s a lot of things” Rory said “but he wouldn’t hurt anyone. “Eddie wants to go and see if he can bail him out. That’s going to take time.”
“You want us to go to the hospital and check on Bruce,” Trent said already moving towards the door.
Gayle approached Rory to give him a quick hug “don’t worry we’ll take care of Bruce. You go take care of Eddie.”
“Gayle….” he stopped unsure what he wanted say “thank you” the words were inadequate for what he wanted to convey.
She smiled pushing him towards the door “we’ll talk later. Just go and do what needs to be done.”