Jane had just grabbed the morning charts when she was confronted by Dr. McGowan.
“Dr. Knight may I speak with you for a moment? It’s about Luke,” Dr. McGowan said as he came up behind Jane.
Jane turned and faced Dr. McGowan.
"Luke is doing fine. He was extremely lucky that Drew found him, but I believe that I will allow him to check out in a few days,” Jane replied coldly.
Dr. McGowan looked down at the charts he held in his hand and then back up at Jane. She saw the look in his eyes and somehow she knew what he was about to ask.
"I know I am overstepping my bounds, but I know you see how protective Drew is with Luke.”
"I don’t know if you know Luke’s history,” Dr. McGowan paused, waiting for Jane to reply. When she nodded he continued, “Luke lives with me and that isn’t comfortable for anyone, mostly because Luke’s father was my older brother and we were very close. Luke will be eighteen in a couple of days, and he is obviously not safe staying with me.”
"I see,” Jane said looking at Dr. McGowan in disgust. “What you are saying is you want to know if I will take Luke in to my home because you don’t love him enough to protect him from dangers he does not deserve. Right?”
"I see,” Jane said, looking at Dr. McGowan in disgust. “What you are saying is you want to know if I will take Luke into my home because you don’t love him enough to protect him from dangers he does not deserve. Right?”
Dr. McGowan bristled. “Luke brings most of his misfortune and onto himself. He hangs around with the wrong type of people, which got him into this position in the first place. Who knows what else those hoodlums are capable of? I can’t spend all my time keeping him out of trouble, I have the entire pediatric ward to run.”
Jane looked disgusted. “I’m not going to say no. That boy deserves to be loved, and if not by you, his only family, than I will gladly be the one. It is extremely heartless and inappropriate of you to even suggest his sort of thing, and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
McGowan rolled his eyes. “You don’t know what you are getting yourself into.”
Jane placed her hands on her hips and huffed, “I believe I know exactly what I am getting myself into. You will do well to keep your distance from me and my family from this point on!”
"Tell him he can come get his stuff when he checks out,” Dr. McGowan spat.
"No, that I will leave you to do. You will go into his hospital room and tell him that the only family he has left is asking him to leave.”
Jane was fuming as she spoke her words. Dr. McGowan was bringing back every slimy memory she had of her ex-husband. She watched as he nodded and walked down the hall.
Jane was thoroughly pissed off. She grabbed her clipboard and got back to work.
Drew stepped out of the bathroom wearing a pair of grey sweats and an old, grey t-shirt with TEXAS written across the front. He quietly walked across the room in his socks and sat down in the recliner. Luke was still asleep with the same expression on his face. Drew looked down at his watch. It was twenty minutes after eleven and Drew’s stomach was beginning to growl. He took a deep breath and stood up once again.
Drew thought about waking Luke, but he couldn’t bear it. Instead he retrieved a pen and paper from the drawer of the night stand a quickly scribbled Luke a note.
I have gone to eat and will be back as soon as I can. It is about eleven thirty and my mouth thinks my stomach has left town. I know how hospital food is so I will bring back some contraband. I don’t know what you like but I will guess.
Drew left the note lying beside Luke’s arm on the bed so he would find it. He quietly slipped out the door and went to find his mom. It was a fairly short search considering she was at the nurses’ station down the hall. As Drew neared he noticed her stiff posture and the way she was violently shoving papers into a filing cabinet.
“Hey mom. What has you ticked off?” he asked.
“You can tell I’m ticked off?” she asked slapping her charts on the counter.
“Yeah, who is the culprit?”
“Luke’s uncle, Dr. McGowan.”
“Uh oh, what did he do?” Drew asked letting a frown settle on his face.
Jane sighed, “I’ll tell you all about it tonight. Where are you headed?”
“Out to lunch, I’m starving. I thought I would ask you to check on Luke.”
“You bet, how is he doing by the way?”
“Um, physically he seems well. On the other hand he really doesn’t sleep well. I think you can understand why. I didn’t want to leave him, but I just might pass out if I don’t get some food soon.”
“I’ll keep a close watch on him.”
“Alright, I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Drew quickly kissed Jane on the cheek and left.
Drew kept his lunch short. He stopped at the local McDonalds to pick up a Big Mac and fries; he ate it on his way to Baskin and Robbins.
As he polished off the last of his fries he took his cell phone out of his pocket and called Rose. It was on the fourth ring before she finally answered.
“Hello?” she said in a sleepy voice.
“Hey Rose, I didn’t mean to wake you, but I was wondering if you knew what flavor of ice cream Luke likes best.”
“Oh, so he is doing well then?”
“Yep, he will be back to his feet in no time. Flavor?”
“Umm, Mint chocolate chip is his favorite, but if they don’t have it settle for something chocolate. He hates strawberry though.”
“Alright, thanks Rose,” Drew said.
Drew laughed and snapped the phone shut as he climbed out of his car. He got himself two scoops of chocolate chip and he got Luke two scoops of mint chocolate chip. He hurried back to the hospital and tried his best to hide the food, but ended up getting a few dirty looks from the nurses despite his efforts.
When Drew got back into Luke’s room, Luke was wide awake and looking out of the window. His face brightened as he saw Drew enter with the bag.
“Sleep okay?” Drew asked as he shut the door with his foot.
“Yeah, I woke up about ten minutes ago and found your note.”
“Ha, I knew you would wake up before I got back with the good stuff. Mint chocolate chip.” Drew handed Luke the frozen treat.
“How did you know this was my favorite?” Luke asked, taking a bite.
“I called Rose.”
Luke nodded in comprehension.
“You know my mom is real mad at your uncle for some reason. She said she would tell me about it tonight, but I can’t stop wondering what it’s about.”
“Huh. I don’t know what he would have done. He seems to get along with everyone with the exception of me.”
“I killed his brother; I think that is a good enough reason for him to hate me.”
“He doesn’t hate you Luke.”
“ You don’t know that. You don’t live with him. Have you noticed that he hasn’t been in here once to visit me?”
Drew took that into consideration and realized that Luke had a valid point. Drew knew every person that had been in and out of the room and never once was one of them Dr. McGowan.
“Man!” Drew exclaimed pressing his hand to his forehead, in an attempt to change the subject.
Luke started to laugh and had to grab his ribs. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to eat ice cream too fast?”
“No,” Drew said smiling as the brain freeze began to fade. “So,” Drew began, “How do you like my idea of contraband?”
“Love it,” Luke said shoving another bite into his mouth with a smile.
“I’m glad. This is what Jordan would always bring me when I was in the hospital.”
“Hospital?” Luke asked confused.
“Yeah, I was in there a few times after some of my matches. You can’t be the state boxing champ and never get hurt.”
Luke nodded again in comprehension. His expression had become relaxed and a smile rested upon his lips.
Both were quiet as they finished their ice cream, only exchanging smiles when their eyes met. As Drew took the last remaining bite of his frozen treat he tossed the empty container into the trash can. Luke handed his to Drew and he repeated the motion.
“So, when do you think I’ll get out of here?” Luke asked.
“Mom said it won’t be long. Maybe a couple more days at the most.”
“I don’t think that I ever said thank you for finding me.”
“You’re welcome.” Drew replied.” I should have never left. I should have stayed and drove you home. Then none of this would have happened.”
Luke looked over at Drew’s guilt stricken face.
“Yes, it would have. David would have broken in and taken me right out of my bed. He had this date set and nothing would have stopped him.”
“Your uncle would have called the police.”
Luke’s expression went grave, “No, no one would have been called,” he said, his voice empty.
“What do you mean? They wouldn’t have bothered your-” Drew was cut short by Luke.
“He wouldn’t have done anything Drew. He would not have said a word. When I said I had ‘no one’, I meant it.” Luke’s voice was full of pain as he spoke. “When you offered your friendship I wanted to say yes so bad, but I didn’t. I wanted you to stay with me at the hospital night before last, but I said nothing. I wouldn’t let myself get close to you because I knew you cared and it would just hurt you that much more when David killed me. It would have made my own pain so much worse to know I had caused your grief.”
There were tears in Luke’s eyes and Drew’s were not far off. Drew cleared his throat before speaking.
“Luke, it took everything I had in me last night not to pull that trigger and kill David. Do you know what stopped me?” Luke shook his head. “Knowing that I had to get to you. Knowing that I had to save you. I have never needed a friend like I do now. When I met you that first time I was so lost and racked with guilt. I was barely making it through the day. I hadn’t smiled in God knows how long, and then you helped me pick up those papers in the hall. Somehow I just knew you were worth the danger.” There were tears streaming down Drew’s cheeks now as well. “In the car when you told me that it was my fault,” Luke began to shake his head, but Drew continued. “Wait, I need to tell you this. Every blood stained, cold sweat nightmare I had ever had, came flooding back to me. When I got you to the hospital I couldn’t look at you because I knew I had caused it. I had to leave. I had to do something to deal with my guilt.”
“Drew I only said those things to you so that you would stay away. I couldn’t let David hurt you. You are too nice of a person to deserve anything you have been through. I wasn’t about to let you risk your life for me, someone who should have died a year ago. I don’t deserve to have a friend like you, and you deserve so much better than me. I killed my father, Ben’s brother. Uncle Ben hates me for a reason, a reason I can’t hold against him.”
“Luke you are a good person, a person who deserves to be loved. Your uncle should not blame you. Your father should not have tried to kill you. What I’m trying to say is that no matter how horrible of a person you think you are, I know different. I’ve spent my life around horrible, dangerous people and I know that you are neither.”
“The same goes for you,” Luke said with a smile.
“Is it safe to say that you and I are friends?” Drew asked, handing Luke a tissue, also taking one for himself.
Luke nodded and put his tissue to good use. Drew did the same.
“You realize we’re crying like a bunch of girls don’t you?” Luke said smiling.
“Yeah, but since we are in a hospital I guess it is okay. Besides, I won’t tell anyone of you won’t.”
“Deal. Although… will you make me two promises?” Luke asked.
“I want you to promise me that even if something does happen to me you won’t blame yourself. You won’t let your guilt consume you. Second, I want you to promise me that if you ever want to leave because it gets to dangerous you’ll go and not look back.”
Drew opened his mouth to protest but Luke stopped him.
“Promise me,” Luke said looking right into Drew’s eyes.