Exiting the elevator the girls combined gasps alerted the guys that something was wrong. “Stay here,” Liono commanded as he and Milo went to inspect the damaged door. He and Milo exchanged worried glances as they moved cautiously towards the door.
“What the hell happened here?” Liono demanded.
Shrugging Milo crept closer to their apartment. What reply could he give? He wasn’t here when it happened. How was he supposed to know what happened? He glanced back towards the girls who were standing anxiously by the elevator. Turning back to Liono he nodded towards the door “I hope Bruce is ok.” He could tell by the shift in Liono’s stance and nod he had been thinking the same thing. “Should we call the cops?” Milo asked.
Liono stared at the damage. If Bruce wasn’t hurt he was going to make the guy pay for the damages. If he was hurt Liono would still make him pay for the damages. He’d just be nicer about how he told him. “Did you hear that?” he asked Milo.
Nodding “it sounded like someone crying.”
“We better tell the girls to call the cops,” Liono said taking charge again and giving commands. He waited until Milo came back from his errand before entering the apartment.
“The police should be here in a few minutes,” Milo informed him.
“Uh huh” he grunted stepping over the ruined door.
Grabbing his arm Milo hissed “you’re not going in there.”
“Someone could be hurt in there,” he wrenched his arm free and stomped into the apartment sure that Milo would back him up.
Gayle gripped Trent’s hand as they walked through the hospital doors. Her eyes darted around the emergency room. People of various shapes and sizes littered the chairs waiting for their turn. Trent tugged on her arm as he walked past them oblivious to their stares. “He’s already in a private room” he whispered in her ear. He led her towards a different set of doors “just keep walking” he told her as an agitated grumpy middle aged woman yelled at them “visiting hours are over.”
“What if she comes after us?” she asked as she let Trent guide her to a nearby elevator.
“She won’t” he told her confidently “that would require her leaving her enclosure. Once she does that she’ll be mobbed by half a dozen tired, grumpy, angry people who have been waiting way too long to be seen.”
“What are we going to do once we get up there?” she asked in a breathless whisper.
Looking around the empty elevator Trent pulled her close “why are you whispering?” His normal voice sounding too loud in the enclosed space of the elevator.
Slapping his chest “I didn’t want to be overheard,” Gayle laughed at the absurdity of it all.
“By who?” Trent smiled down at her “we’re in an empty elevator.”
“I’m not used to sneaking around hospitals at night,” she told him as the elevator came to a stop and the doors slid open.
“And you think I am?” he asked grunting when she elbowed him in the side.
She gasped upon exiting the elevator and coming face to face with a couple of hospital security guards. Leaning close to Trent she whispered “now what?”
Rory glanced over at Eddie who had been silent and staring trance like out the window. Taking his right hand from the steering wheel Rory held it out to him palm up. “It’s going to be alright,” he said hoping to instill confidence. The corners of his lips quirked up when Eddie took is offered hand in his.
They drove the rest of the way in silence. Rory rubbed his thumb up and down the side of Eddie’s soft hand offering what little comfort he could. Pulling into a parking lot near the police department Rory asked “do you have enough money to cover the bail?”
“I think so,” Eddie mumbled turning to get out of the car.
Walking around the car Rory took Eddie’s hand “if you need more I can help.”
Blinking at his offer Eddie asked “why? You don’t even like him.”
“It’s not a matter of me not liking the guy,” Rory shrugged feeling his cheeks flush “You do. I know you well enough to know you wouldn’t have let him near you if you didn’t trust or like him.”
While he knew Rory’s assessment of him was true Eddie could feel himself withdrawing inside. Had he let his insecurities dictate how he interacted with the people around him? Sighing he wondered if he’d ever be whole again or if that one disastrous point in time would forever color his future, holding him back from the things he wanted. Looking over towards the foreboding building he said “you don’t have to worry about Ramsey.” He wasn’t sure why he said it just that he felt it needed to be said.
“I’m not concerned with that right now,” Rory assured him putting an arm around him “let’s worry about getting Ramsey out first then we’ll worry about everything else.”
Nodding Eddie knew Rory was right. He disliked the thought of being in a tug of war again. If only Rory would have accepted his declaration of love so many weeks ago he wouldn’t have to worry so much now. Taking a deep breath Eddie walked across the street and into the police station.
“Can I help you?” a tired over worked voice asked from behind a partition.
“Err” Eddie mumbled overwhelmed by the activity going on around him.
Stepping forward Rory announced “we’re here to post bail for a friend.”
“Take a seat kids this will take a while,” the man waved them over to a row of chairs obviously dismissing them.
Balking at the man’s attitude Eddie shocked not only himself but Rory too who stood beside him. “We’re not kids that can be dismissed until your ready to deal with us.”
“Look sunny,” the man pointed a finger at him ready to launch into some tired refrain about respecting authority
“No you look here,” Eddie shouted shrugging off Rory’s restraining hands “you arrested my friend on trumped up charges and I want him out.”
“Eddie please,” Rory tried to dissuade him from going any further.
“No I will not just sit down and do as I’m told” Eddie shouted “I have one friend in the hospital another in jail. I will not just sit and wait.” Turning to the officer “I want to talk to your superior.”
Ramsey paced his small cell. He should be used to being locked up by now. It wasn’t his first time although it was the first time he didn’t deserve it. He felt the sting of being wrongfully accused and wondered if the truth would ever come out or if they’d take what looked like a slam dunk. He wanted to scream that he shouldn’t be in there. He didn’t deserve to be locked up in this stinking hell hole. He needed to be at the hospital begging for Bruce to forgive him, to give him one more chance.
An image of the young blonde blue eyed male with the infectious laugh that never ceased to bring a smile to his face. Why had it taken something like this for him to realize what his feelings were? Why had he clung to Eddie for so long? What had he been so afraid of?
He banged his head against the cool steel bars. A scream was building deep within him. What if he was convicted? His fingerprints were all over the glass and bottle. He hadn’t given a thought about what it would look like to anyone else. Who would drug someone then bring the evidence with them? Seeing Bruce so out of it, so sick had scared him. Scared him more than anything ever had and he’d seen quite a bit in his young life. His dead beat dad had left him in the back rooms of every seedy bar he could in order to drink himself to oblivion. Ramsey had learned quick how to survive on his own.
Milo followed Liono into the apartment. Heart pounding he had the fleeting sensation that he was walking into a trap. The crying increased in volume and intensity. It seemed to him like the crying was forced, fake. He glanced over at Liono who at the best of times had little to know patience for weeping women. At his father’s funeral Milo recalled Liono had patted his weeping mother’s shoulder mumbling a few heartfelt words. He had been relieve when Milo had arrived and he could pass her onto his shoulder letting her tears soak into his best friends suit instead of his own.
He was pulled from his recollections by Liono’s loud demanding voice “what are you doing in here?”
“I came…looking for….Milo” the girl managed to say through hiccups and sniffles.
Milo forced back a groan upon hearing her voice. Amber was the last person he expected or wanted to see. The double date with Jillian had opened his eyes. There was something about Amber that made his skin crawl. “Where’s Bruce?” Milo asked her holding his hand over his mouth and nose as the putrid stench of stale vomit assaulted in sinuses.
“I….I don’t…know,” she sobbed throwing herself into Milo’s arms.
Reluctantly Milo patted her back. The cold calculated look in her blue eyes didn’t go unnoticed before she resumed her sobs. “Ramsey crashed through the door like a mad man.” She ran her hands up and down his back leaning her head on his chest. “It almost seemed like he was jealous. I was so scared.” She looked up at him tears streaming down her cheeks. She almost looked as scared and innocent as she pretended to be “it’s not my fault that Bruce preferred me to him is it?” she asked hiccuping to effect “I would have preferred to have spent the evening with you.”
Milo was saved from coming up with a response when a couple of police officers entered through the broken door.
“Visiting hours are over,” the guards deep voice boomed in the silent hallway.
Trent wrapped an arm around Gayle’s waist “we’re going up to the third floor waiting room.”
“Family of the accident victim brought in a few minutes ago?” the security guard inquired.
“That’s right,” Trent nodded without blinking. He hoped Gayle would play along or at the very least keep her mouth shut. He watched the guards eyes move from him to Gayle and stop.
“Alright you’re free to go,” the guard said satisfied they were who they said they were. “Next time just inform the receptionist why you’re here. It’ll save us all a headache.”
“Hopefully there won’t be a next time,” Gayle said giving the guards a weak smile.
Once the guards had walked away they made there way to the waiting room. Turning to Trent she asked “what was that all about?”
“What?” he asked feigning innocence.
“You know what,” she slapped his hands away from her walking towards a chair in the far corner of the room.
Following behind Trent slouched into a chair “I wanted to make sure we got in here.”
“Was it necessary to lie?” she asked deciding to let him squirm a bit.
“Excuse me,” a woman’s voice interrupted him.
Turning her attention from Trent she gazed up at the young nurse who had approached them. “Yes can I help you?”
“Are either of you related to Bruce Van Winkle?” she asked.
“No” Gayle replied shooting a look at Trent “we’re friends of his.”
“Oh that’s too bad,” The nurse turned to walk away “he’s been asking for his cousin.”
“He’ll be here soon,” Trent informed her “Eddie asked us to come until he got here.”
A brief smile crossed her tired face “that’s good.” She turned to walk away “please let me know when he arrives.”
Gayle glared at Trent “you just couldn’t help yourself could you?”
“It’s not exactly a lie. Their families are related.”
Rolling her eyes she turned away from him staring out the window.
“It’s your lucky day” an officer announced approaching Ramsey’s cell “you made bail.” The door opened allowing Ramsey to exit through it. As he walked past the officer the man snickered “you’ll be back.”
Not if I can help it Ramsey muttered under his breath. Once Bruce woke up this would all be cleared up. He tried to ignore the cat calls from the other inmates as he walked past their cell doors. He wasn’t coming back he told himself firmly despite the little voice of doubt that kept asking questions. What if Bruce didn’t wake up? What if Bruce is confused and can’t identify who drugged him? A hundred different scenarios played out in his mind.
Collecting his things he felt the hostile gaze of the man who had arrested him burning into his back. He squared his shoulders refusing to show the man any sign of weakness. Was he getting soft he wondered. There had been a time in the not so distant past that a few hours in a cell wouldn’t have left him feeling so jumpy. Exiting the door he looked up to find Eddie and Rory waiting for him. A sharp pain like a knife twisting in his guts took his breath away. At that moment he realized that at no other time in his life had he so much hanging on the line. Marching up to Eddie he demanded “how is he?”
“I don’t know,” Eddie stammered unsure of himself and Ramsey’s demanding tone.
“I need a ride,” Ramsey said walking towards the outside door.
Shrugging Rory took Eddie by the arm and followed Ramsey from the police station.
As the officers took Amber’s statement the others listened. Milo shook his head murmuring “that doesn’t sound like something Ramsey would do.”
“He wouldn’t need to,” Jillian agreed coming to stand by Milo’s side.
“What do you mean?” one of the officer’s asked.
“It was Ramsey who broke up with Bruce,” Liono explained “Bruce would have taken him back if Ramsey had asked him to. If anything Bruce would have been the one to have a jealous fit not Ramsey.”
“Are you calling me a liar?” Amber demanded spit flying from her mouth.
“Well…yeah I guess I am,” Liono said “why would you just sit in here after a jealous ex-boyfriend had smashed in the door? At the very least you should have called the cops.”
Elyse nodded in agreement “your story is full of holes.”
One of the officers who had stepped back from the group to receive a dispatch came back into the room. Approaching his partner he whispered in his ear so that no one else could hear. Their demeanor’s changed as they turned their attention back to Amber. “Did you know there’s a warrant out for your arrest?”
“That’s just a stupid misunderstanding” she told the officer batting her eyes up at him.
“Then why did you flee the country abandoning your children with your victims parents in the process?” The officer stepped forward with handcuffs at the ready “not so stupid now is it?”
Eyeing them in disbelief that soon dissolved into hatred “what victim? He wanted it.”
“He wanted it so much you had to drug him” the officer clicked the handcuffs around her wrists “Your fingerprints were on the bottle that was used to deliver rohypnol to you second victim.”
“You have no proof that I drugged Eddie or Bruce” she shouted struggling against her restraints.
“No we just have hospital records from both victims” The officer bent down and stared into her face “I wonder if they were your only victims or if there were others.” Looking over at Milo then back at her “you definitely have a type. If there are others I’m making it my duty to find them.” Turning to his partner he said “read her her rights.”