Title: Life is changing (4/?)
Fandom: The Faculty
Character: Zeke, Mrs. C.
Disclaimer: as ever, I don't own The Faculty, neither the boys or any other person from the movie
all chapters here
Mrs. Connor finally had accepted Zeke's refusal to spend some time together with the family.
"We are in the living room, just in case you change your mind," was all she told him when he brought him some chicken soup and tea for dinner, light food, like the doc at the hospital had advised. It felt strange to be mothered like that, but Zeke was much too tired for another discussion. He managed it to eat some of the soup, then he dropped down onto the bed and closed his eyes. But it was difficult to fall asleep, restless he was lying there, tried in vain to blend out the unreal nightmare he was caught into.
Despite Casey's apprehensions that Zeke might ruin Christmas Eve for them, the Connor's seem to have a lot of fun together, only a few steps away in the living room. The loud laughing of Mr. Connor could not be overheard, along with some chatting and chirping of Mrs. C. And there was Casey, of course. Zeke couldn't help it to eavesdrop, almost against his own will. It was strange to hear him giggling, and laughing and babbling. Once he even started to sing a Christmas carol. God, was this geeky?!
But in the same moment, Zeke almost felt disappointed, that he couldn't enjoy some good times together with him. He was so different at home than at school, not the brilliant but bullied and ridiculed student, not the shy boy who barely dared to look up when he hurried through the halls. He was open and funny and self-confident.
Zeke did still remember their fight this afternoon. Yes, there had been tears shimmering in his eyes, and Zeke knew all too well that he had hurt him with his words. But the vulnerability had surprisingly been mixed up with anger and determination, and for a moment, Zeke had been sure, that Casey was ready to punch him right into his face. It was long since someone had dared to look at him like that ... and even longer that he got off fairly lightly. But for whatever reason, Zeke knew, never ever he would be that harsh on Casey.
This was the moment where Zeke turned on the light again and grabbed for the painkiller on the small side table. It was not that the pain had increased, actually, he even appreciated the slight hammering in his foot because it did remind him, that all this was not just a weird dream. But he desperately needed to switch off his mind, he grimaced at the thought of the good Jim Beam and the pot in his garage, out of reach in the moment he needed it most. Feeling grumpy, he grabbed for the glass of water and gulped down three pills. Finally, he was able to drift off into a fitful sleep.
The next some days weren't much better. Mrs. Connor still refused to let him go home until he would be able to take care of himself again. And Zeke finally had to admit, that maybe she was right. The day after Christmas he felt even weaker than before. He still had difficulties to move with the crutches, not to mention to do even the simplest tasks. Plus the dizziness caused from the painkiller. Even if he hated the thought to be reliant on others, it was either going back into the hospital or to stay where he was.
He did spend most of the time alone in his ... no, in Casey's room, and beside of Mrs. Connor no one came to spend some time with him. Not that he had expected that. Casey seemed to spend most of his free time outside the house, probably he just couldn't bear it to be under one roof with him. Zeke could hear him in the garden together with his father, where they obviously were clearing the roof of the porch from the snow, but it ended with a wild snowball fight, with loud laughing and giggling. Later Casey tried out his new camera and he and his parents were sitting together in the living room again, chatting about pictures, good motifs, and the photo tour into the park he had planned for the next day.
Only some days ago Zeke would have called him a geek for all that. But suddenly he couldn't help it but feel a touch of jealousy. The Connor's were a family, they loved each other, enjoyed their time together. And one thing was clear: if Casey would have an accident and end up at a hospital, his parents would be there to take care of him.
He was alone as ever, no one had called, though it was Christmas. Not even the guy from the garage which had finally had towed away the GTO. And when his parents in the meantime had found out about his accident they just didn't care.
It didn't happen often, that Zeke felt the urge just to curl up and cry. But maybe he was just sentimentalizing, no wonder, in a house like this, surrounded by an oh-so-perfect family. Suddenly Zeke knew, he couldn't stay here for longer or he would lose is mind. Meanwhile, the pain in the foot was bearable even without painkillers and he had learned it to handle his crutches better. Determined he grabbed his backpack; it didn't take long to get his stuff together.
"So, you want to leave us," asked Mrs. Connor, when he left the room with the backpack over his shoulder while balancing out his crutches.
"It's about time to go home."
Zeke put on a determined expression. No matter what she said, she would not hold him back for longer.
"I've already called a cab."
To his relief, she nodded.
"I guess, that's okay," she agreed.
"In the meantime, you have gained back enough strength to deal with all alone. Just one thing, will you allow me to take over your backpack?"
When she noticed his confused look, she smiled.
"Just to make sure that you don't break your other leg too while hopping to the cab."
Zeke couldn't help it, he chuckled slightly, probably for the first time since the accident, he was able to relax a bit. Just half an hour and he would be his own master again. So, why don't play nice at least for a moment?
"Thank you," he murmured and dropped the backpack onto the ground.
"For everything, I guess."
What else could he say? He was more a guy of few words.
"You are welcome, Zeke," said Mrs. Connor.
"And don't forget: call us, whenever you need help. Or if you want to talk. I guess, you still have the number?"
Zeke nodded without hesitation. Of course, he still knew this fucking phone number, it was outright burned into his mind. Though he didn't intend to use it. Relief was rushing through him when just in this moment the cab stopped in front of the house and the driver blew the horn shortly. No need to say even more shit. He grabbed for his crutches and deliberately in his movements he walked down the short way to the street, thankful, that Mr. Connor ... or Casey ... had cleared it thoroughly from snow and ice.
Casey. He knew the boy was at home. For sure he had noticed his departure. And he would be happy about it, finally, everything would be back to normal for him again. Zeke couldn't help it; he turned back to the house for one last time, but no one had shown up there beside of Mrs. C. who already placed his backpack onto the back seat of the cab.
Zeke shed his thoughts up and somehow managed it drop down onto the co-driver's seat without entangling his legs into the crutches. Probably it had been stupid to hope that Casey would show up at least for a moment. And actually, he didn't even know what to say to him.
High time to go back into his normal life. He bent forward to the cabby.
"Sun Ave twenty, please," he said.