Drew had just handed Luke another tissue and a cup of water when they both heard a knock at the door. Not expecting his mother for a while, Drew’s eyes darted over to the door. As the door opened he quickly positioned himself between it and Luke. When Dr. McGowan entered Drew’s temper began to spike. Drew turned to face Luke who had an astonished expression on his face. Slowly, Drew backed up and stood beside Luke and kept a watchful eye on Dr. McGowan as he spoke.
“How are you feeling?” Dr. McGowan asked without a hint of compassion in his voice.
“Fine,” Luke replied in a diminutive voice.
“I came in here for a certain purpose. You will be eighteen in a couple of days and after this latest incident I feel it would be beneficial for the both of us if you moved out.”
Drew looked down at Luke’s face, which had become stricken with pain, and watched as Luke nodded. Drew could no longer contain his temper. He took a step forward and placed himself in front of Dr. McGowan.
“You heartless son of a bitch! How can you turn on your own nephew?!” Drew yelled.
“It’s alright Drew,” Luke said, “I’ll be alright. I’ll find somewhere to go.”
“You don’t have to look for a place to go. You can stay with me.” Drew said, softening his tone.
“I can’t stay with you Drew,” Luke insisted. “You have done too much for me as it is. I will find somewhere to stay.”
“I’ve already discussed this with Dr. Knight,” Dr. McGowan interrupted. “She fully agreed with you moving in with them. With you living with her and Drew things will be much easier. Drew can keep you safe and with your injuries it will be good for you to be living with a doctor who will keep an eye on you.”
“Are you saying that you, a doctor and his uncle, would not bother to check on him?” Drew asked.
“I am afraid so.”
“How do you sleep at night?” Drew spat.
“I’m sorry Drew, but Luke and I both know that this is for the best.”
"Bastard,” Drew spat as he looked Dr. McGowan in the eye.
Dr. McGowan took a step back seeing the fury Drew held in his gaze. He looked at Luke, whose expression was blank as he stared out the window.
"You can pick up your things when you are released,” Dr. McGowan said quietly as he walked to the door.
Drew let power flood into his voice as he called after him, “I will pick up his things.”
Dr. McGowan nodded without turning and left. Drew turned to look at Luke. His eyes were red and watery. Drew walked over and sat down on the side of his bed. Luke looked at him and saw the warmth in his eyes.
"You are not alone. You have me.” Drew said as he grabbed another tissue from the box on the bed and handed it to Luke.
Luke took the tissue and twisted it around in his fingers. Drew watched as tears slid down his cheeks. Before he realized it Drew had taken Luke’s hand in his and was holding it tight. Luke and Drew looked at their intertwined fingers, and then looked at each other. Their eyes flew to the door and they quickly released their hands as it opened.
"Hello, boys,” Jane said.
"Hey, Mom.” Drew said as he stood up.
"Hey, sweetheart. I thought I would come and check up on Luke. Has Dr. McGowan been here?”
"Yeah, you just missed him,” Drew said frowning in disgust.
"Well, I guess he filled you both in on the new arrangements.” Jane looked at Luke with all the love and warmth in her heart and smiled. “I couldn’t be happier that you’re moving in with us. Don’t for a second think that you are not welcome because you are. You have a home with Drew and I.”
"Thank you Dr. Knight,” Luke said shyly as he smiled.
"Jane, call me Jane. There is no reason to address me so formally.”
Luke smiled, “Thank you...Jane.”
"You’re very welcome.”
Drew looked at Luke and then looked to his mom. “When do you think he can get out of here and come home?”
Luke felt a surge of warmth spread through his body when Drew said home and he watched as Jane smiled.
"I think he should be able to leave in a couple more days. You,” Jane nodded to Drew, “need to go home and set up your room to fit two. I don’t want Luke to sleep alone for a while. I know he looks strong, but don’t let him fool you. He needs rest and plenty of it. If it wasn’t for the fact that he is going to be living with us, I would keep him longer than just a couple of days.”
"I’ll set everything up before he gets home. Also, I think we need to make Luke a key.”
“You don’t need to give me a key to your home.” Luke said shaking his head.
“Oh, shush! It’s your home now too and I agree with Drew. You need a key even though I am pretty sure Drew isn’t going to let you out of his sight again,” Jane giggled, making both of the boys turn pink. “Well if you boys need me don’t hesitate to have me paged. Luke you are going to be just fine. Just remember to keep upright, and walk around when your knee allows.”
Luke nodded. Jane smiled and made a quick exit. Drew, who was now standing at the window, gave Luke a warm smile. Luke returned the smile and Drew stretched out on the couch and yawned. Luke closed his eyes and let his smile linger on his face.
“You know there is one thing we haven’t discussed yet,” Drew said keeping his eyes closed.
“What’s that?” Luke asked.
“Rose and Jeff.”
Luke’s eyes snapped open, “What about them?”
“They are going to come by to visit you today. I figure when they do that’s when I’ll go get your key made, fix up the room, and possibly bring an air mattress to sleep on.” Drew said as he tossed restlessly on the couch.
“I don’t want them coming to visit me. David might not be able to get to you, but he can get to them.”
“Luke, David isn’t going to go after Jeff and Rose. If he does the whole damn boxing team, not to mention me, will go after his ass. I don’t know how long it’s been, but they are all a pretty tight knit group now.”
“Really? It didn’t used to be like that. What changed?”
“I don’t know, but Jeff and Rose are not helpless.”
“I miss them. I miss hanging out with them, but I don’t want them to get hurt.” Luke let sadness fill his voice.
“They miss you too,” Drew said as he sat up and nodded toward the door.
Rose and a hung-over Jeff were standing in the doorway looking at Luke and smiling. Luke watched as Rose happily skipped over to the recliner beside his bed and plopped down. Her blonde hair was hanging loosely over her shoulders and she was wearing a deep blue tank, a pair of washed out jeans and black flip-flops. Jeff took a seat beside Drew and sprawled out. He was wearing a pair of baggy jeans, tennis shoes, a gray track shirt and a pair of dark sunglasses.
“I knew you missed us!” Rose squeaked. “I’m so glad you’re okay, I don’t know what I would have done if Drew hadn’t found you.”
“Same goes for me man,” Jeff said lifting his sunglasses to the top of his head.
“This weekend was the lake party wasn’t it?” Luke said looking from Rose to Jeff.
Rose nodded as she frowned. She didn’t like drinking in general.
“I figured that was why Jeff looks so wasted,” Luke said smiling.
“Man, I was wasted before it even started,” Jeff said shaking his head. “We hadn’t been at the lake for more than two hours and I get a call from Drew. Man, he was freakin’ out 'cause his mom called him and said you were missing. That sobered my ass up and from then on me and Rose were out looking for ya’. We even tried to get it out of that sorry fuck, David. Thankfully, Drew called demanding to know where he was and apparently beat it out of the fucker.”
“You saw him today?” Drew asked smiling.
“Yeah, we saw him alright. How can you miss him?” Rose laughed.
“Fuck, man, what did you use on the bastard? Brass knuckles?” Jeff asked.
Drew looked at Luke and then reached into his pocket and pulled out the knuckles with a grin.
Jeff burst into laughter and Rose accompanied him. Jeff took the knuckles from Drew’s hand and looked at them.
"Shit, I guess we know why the whole bunch of fucks looked like they beat the hell out of each other.”
"Yeah, well, let’s just keep it to ourselves. They were all drunk and I know they don’t remember what happened.” Drew took the knuckles and stuffed them back in his pocket.
"Yeah, you’re right, man, but actually I think David is scared of you now.”
"Totally,” Rose chirped. “We were in the pool hall eating lunch, well breakfast, and someone mentioned your name and I swear he went white,” Rose laughed.
"Well, you should have given the fucker a dose of what he did to Luke. Speaking of that shit, Jimmy Peters, the Sherriff’s son, told me that they have the security footage of them dumping Luke in the shop class,” Jeff said.
"Don’t worry about David, he will get what’s coming to him,” Rose said with a sure expression.
"How long are you guys staying?” Luke asked with a hint of hope in his voice. He hoped that they would hang around.
"I plan on staying as long as you will let me,” Rose said with a smile.
"Fuck, I just got you talking to me again. I ain’t goin’ nowhere till we catch up,” Jeff added.
Luke was smiling at his two best friends and he threw Drew a grateful look. Drew smiled back and then got to his feet, allowing Jeff to make full use of the couch.
"Where are you going?” Rose asked.
"I am going to get a house key made for Luke and then I’m going to go convert the guest room into his new bedroom.” Drew grinned at Luke.
"Huh?” Jeff said.
Rose accompanied that with a confused stare at Luke.
"My uncle decided it would be best if I moved out. Drew and his mom have decided to let me live with them,” Luke explained.
"He just kicked you out?” Jeff said looking at Luke in surprise.
Luke nodded looking down at his hands.
"You still have me,” Rose said placing her hand on top of Luke’s.
Luke looked up at Rose’s blue eyes and smiled.
"Me too, dude.” Jeff said nodding in that total guy way.
"And you know you have me,” Drew said.
Drew threw one last caring look at Luke and then walked out the door.
Rose and Jeff looked at Luke with curious eyes.
"Dish. What is up with you two?” Rose questioned.
Jeff sat up and looked at Luke with a crooked smile, “Yeah man. What’s up?”
"What are you two talking about?” Luke asked.
Rose gave Luke a knowing smile and cut her eyes, “I’ve seen the way you two have been looking at each other. I think you have switched teams on me!” Rose beamed.
"I’m not gay, Rose.”
"Man, come on. It’s cool if you are. Just cause you’re a homo doesn’t mean we will love you any less,” Jeff said sincerely.
"I’m not gay!” Luke snapped at them and grimaced in pain as he grabbed his ribs.
"Okay, calm down. Just know that if you were no one would think any less of you,” Jeff reassured him.
“So… your knee? How long till you can walk again?” Rose asked changing the subject.
“Couple of days. It was nothing too bad. Dr. Knight fixed me up pretty well.”
"Good,” Jeff said, relieved. “So, when are you getting out of here?”
"Tomorrow or the day after that.”
"So what about your stuff?” Rose asked.
"Drew is going to pick it up. He isn’t going to let me out of his sight though, and he really hates my uncle,” Luke said.
"Man, I would go kick his ass if he wasn’t the one who always patches me up after my matches,” Jeff muttered.
"Thanks Jeff, but I understand why he hates me. Drew, however, nearly took his head off.”
"Drew cares. He is a good friend.” Rose said putting emphasis on the term friend.