Sometimes I'm just behind with my stories, so this one takes place during the last days of Christmas Holidays. I hope you will like it anyway.
Title: This didn't happen to me
Fandom: The Faculty
Character: Casey / Zeke
Rating: PG13 / maybe R for language
Word Count: 3899
Disclaimer: Of course, I don't own The Faculty nor the character :( - I'm just borrowing them for a while
Zeke cursed silently while fighting against the snow, which seemed to fall more and more heavy with every minute. No one was in the park anymore; no one but him. It had been a stupid decision to go out despite the weather forecast, he knew this. But he hadn't been able to stand the emptiness of the house for longer. Usually, he broke the silence with loud music, silly game shows or cartoons on TV or with one of his famous parties at the weekend. Not during Christmas holidays, though, this was the worst time of the year. The whole world seemed to go crazy, and all Zeke wanted was to hide somewhere until school finally would start again and hopefully bring back some normality.
His mother's call this morning had completely stirred him up.
„I'm just calling to wish you a belated Happy New Year, Honey,“ she had told him.
„Sorry that I didn't found the time to call earlier. It's every year the same, isn't it, such a busy time.“
Zeke huffed inwardly. Yes, it was always the same. Of course, the trip to Hawaii, Las Vegas or maybe a Caribbean cruise was much more interesting than her son. He could remember only one New Years Eve his parents had spent at home together with him ... because his Dad has broken his leg at Christmas. Not one a birthday, Easter or any summer break. Nannies had cared for him, au pairs had read good night stories to him. They had tried their best, nowadays Zeke knew this and sometimes he felt guilty for giving them such a hard time. But as a child he hadn't been able to understand; he wanted his mom, his dad, he wanted a family like everyone seemed to have one.
In the meantime, he was grown up and he knew better than to hope for something that would never happen. Nevertheless, the phone-call had churned him up. But he had managed it to keep himself under control, they had talked for some more minutes, she had even asked him about his future plans for the new year. As if she was interested in that.
And finally: „I hope you've gotten the check, Honey, we did send you for Christmas. Don't spend it all at once.“
She had laughed and Zeke had felt the urge to throw the phone against the wall behind him. For sure he didn't need her fucking check. He had torn it apart, burned the pieces, like every year, without even looking at it.
„Yeah. Thank you, Mom,“ he had answered instead.
Finally, they had said goodbye, have fun, love you and that was it. Every time the same shit.
Lost in thoughts he jogged along the way, though in the meantime it was more a half-blind stumbling through the heavy snowfall. Just good that he knew this part of the park like the back of his hand. The small path to the right was a short cut to the parking lot where his GTO was waiting for him. He speeded up a bit ...
... and overlooked the broken-off, snow-covered branch in the middle of the way until it was too late. Under better weather conditions he might have been able to break the fall, but the snow and the slippery ground underneath literally carried him off his feet.
Instinctively he protected his head in the last moment but his body crashed down onto the hard-frozen ground with full force. A sharp pain was running through his left ankle. For a moment he was just sitting there, fighting the dizziness and trying to consider his situation. His fleece lined sports pants were tattered over one knee, and he could see some blood seeping through the fabric. Carefully he moved his hands; a bit numb, but not seriously hurt. The pain in his foot slowly turned into a dull drumming.
So far, so good. This stupid accident for sure didn't help to improve his mood but it could have been worse. All he had to do was to get up carefully, to make sure that he wouldn't lose balance again. The parking lot was only about 500 feet away, that should be doable. When he would finally sit in his GTO the rest would be a mere child's play.
After a while, he felt the cold creeping into his body and he rolled over onto his side, grabbed for a branch of the tree behind him and started to pull himself up slowly. His whole body felt stiff, he still was slightly dizzy but he decided that it was better to ignore this for the moment. He would drive home, he would have a hot shower, maybe a beer … or two …
The moment he tried to put some weight on his foot, he knew it wouldn't be that easy. With a loud outcry, when the sharp pain rushed from the foot into his leg with full force, he clung to the branch to prevent himself from falling down again. Struggling hard for breath, he squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the pain to ebb away again.
"Fuck," he cursed loudly.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck!"
Casey had decided to ignore the upcoming snowfall and go to the park with his camera.
"It's the perfect weather for my winter project," he had told his mom and kissed her fleetingly on her cheek.
„I still need some pics of snow-covered trees.“
"Please, be back before it gets too dark," she had begged him with a slightly worried smile. But she knew better than to protest. Nothing could stop Casey when it came to his photography and she actually was proud of it that he did go his way so unflinchingly.
Now, about two hours later, he had to admit, that, of course, he had forgotten the time once again. As always, when he took one photo after the other; in his mind already developing and editing them, put them together to a new project. This time he planned to do a photo book and he wanted it to be perfect; a birthday present for his grandma. The cold and the snow didn't bother him, the old but thick parka of his dad kept him warm, and the colorful bobble hat his mom had knitted for him looked slightly ridiculous, but who cared? No one but him was in the park this afternoon and he felt free and happy.
At least he had thought so still a minute ago.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck!"
The voice, breaking the silence, was a familiar one. Just in the moment he had decided that it was time to go back to the parking lot; it wasn't even that late but the snowfall seemed to swallow up most of the daylight. He knew, his mom would wait for him to come home though she had tried not to show her concern. She could get a bit overprotective; used to ignore the fact that he already was a senior at Highschool and next year he would leave Herrington, even Ohio behind, to go to art school at the west coast. But to be honest, he actually didn't want to have it differently. And he didn't mind when others called him mummy's boy, because of healthy lunchboxes or game evenings at home with Scrabble or Romme at the weekend. He loved his parents and they loved him. It was that easy.
Yet another cry. Casey frowned while putting away his camera into its bag. He wasn't sure what to do. Running into Zeke while he was carrying out one of his dubious transactions was the last he wanted. But these piercing cries, followed by suppressed groans and curses, were kind of disturbing.
Almost inaudible he sneaked closer; as if he hadn't learned it to sneak through the halls at school almost invisible. At first, he noticed a tall figure clinging to a tree. When he got closer, he noticed Zeke's face, twisted in pain while he tried to keep balance on one foot. Only when Casey had almost reached him he suddenly looked up, stared at him with threatening dark eyes.
"Fuck, Connor," Zeke hissed.
"Why do you sneak up like this?"
Casey blinked nervously. Although Zeke was none of the school's bullies, for sure they were no friends. He preferred to stay away from Zeke as far as possible; chemistry, where he had to share a lab table with him, almost felt like hell. Whenever Zeke's piercing eyes were resting on him, he felt the urge to jump up and run; it seemed as if Zeke was able to read his mind. Confusing thoughts and feelings, he preferred to keep for himself.
But today things were different. Obviously this time Zeke had no control over the situation.
"Do you need help," Casey finally asked.
Zeke pulled the face.
"Help from you? For sure not!"
Casey snorted softly. Of course, what else had he expected? Then his eyes fell on Zeke's torn sports pants and the foot, he still didn't dare to move.
"Woah, that looks pretty swollen."
"Oh. So now you're not just a photo geek, but a doctor, too?"
"You're such an ass, Zeke."
Hazelnut brown eyes sparkled wildly.
"And why do you care?“
Okay, enough was enough. Determined Casey clutched his photo bag and turned back to the small path. Some people were just too stubborn to accept any help. Fine, if this was what he wanted; he didn't care. He started to walk down the path, not as quick as he would have liked, but he needed to be careful. The last he wanted was to slip and crash his camera.
A suppressed groan finally made him stop again. When he turned back to the tree he could see Zeke only blurred through the now thick snowflakes, but it was obvious that he was in real pain. Annoyed he went back to him.
„Fuck, Zeke. You need help. We need to find a way to bring you to the parking lot and then to the next hospital."
"We need what?"
Zeke gasped in surprise.
"For sure I don't put my feet into a fucking hospital."
Casey rolled his eyes.
„Well, I guess in the near future you won't put your foot anywhere. It looks like it is broken; at least seriously sprained.“
Zeke opened his mouth to protest, though deep inside he knew that Casey might be right. It did hurt like hell and he needed to see a doctor to get at least some good painkiller. Question was, how to get there. He cursed slightly.
„Put your arms around my shoulder. Maybe, if you lean on me, you can make it to the parking lot. The Sankt Mercy Hospital is nearby, I will give you ride.“
Shit! Dumbfound Zeke stared at the boy in front of him; a much too wide, old jacket, a stupid bubble hat and two heads smaller than he was, at least. That was ridiculous, wasn't it? But he noticed the determination in Casey's eyes and he knew that he meant it. Zeke needed to close his eyes for a short moment, desperately wishing that all this would turn out as his deepest nightmare as soon as he opened them again. But, of course, this didn't happen.
It took much longer than expected to make the way to the parking lot. The path was only small, slippery and in the dim light barely visible. It was difficult enough to go side by side and Zeke needed to look for hold on Casey's shoulder much more than he liked while hobbling along the way, trying to put as less weight as possible on his foot. Two times he almost lost balance but Casey caught him both times, panting hard but not complaining even with a word. This little geek was much stronger than he looked like, Zeke had to admit. And deep inside he knew without his help he would never have been able to make it to the parking lot.
Only two cars were standing there, covered with a thick snow layer. Zeke stared at his beloved GTO and all his hopes crashed in like a card house. No way that he would drive home with it this evening; he could barely move his foot without crying loud. Groaning he squeezed his eyes shut. He couldn't remember when he had felt so helpless at last.
„Sit down in the GTO, while I free the Audi from the snow,“ Casey said.
Much too tired to protest, Zeke reached for his keys and obeyed. Only some minutes later he was sitting in the old Audi of Casey's mother while Casey slipped onto the driver's seat and started the motor.
The pain in Zeke's foot had turned into a dull, steady throbbing. All he wanted was to go home but Casey insisted that they would stop at the hospital at first. What a stubborn shit. When the Audi finally left the parking lot, at a snail's pace, Zeke leaned his head back, groaning slightly while he closed his eyes. No, he wouldn't start to think about it, how embarrassing all this was. Casey Connor, the biggest geek in town was giving him a ride to a hospital in the most shabby car of Herrington. All he could hope for was that they didn't meet anyone they knew. Rumors in this hellhole of town were faster than a speeding bullet.
To Zeke's surprise, they made it to the hospital without any incident. Casey had stopped the Audi in front of the main entrance and suggested that he could go inside and ask for a wheelchair. With a dark look, Zeke had silenced him; somehow he had managed it to get out the car under barely hidden cursing and to limp over to the building without any help. Casey followed him with a shake of his head but at least he kept quiet.
Of course, the emergency room was crowded to the brim. Zeke cursed inwardly. People could be so stupid; why couldn't they stay at home during this weather conditions when they weren't able to drive a car or at least to stay on their own feet? While he had an irritable discussion with the obviously overworked nurse at the front desk, Casey decided to call his mom.
"You're in the hospital," she asked alarmed when he told her about the reason for his delay.
„What's happened, Casey? An accident? Are you okay?“
"It's not about me, Mom," Casey assured her.
"I'm fine. It's just ... a friend of mine. He had a little accident in the park and he can't drive himself. So I offered to give him a ride. As soon as he has seen the doctor I will bring him home. No need to worry.“
"A friend," she asked slightly irritated.
"Someone from the chess club?"
"No. A guy from school. My lab partner in chemistry. You don't know him."
Casey did hang up as soon as possible, glad that she hadn't asked even more questions. Zeke's rep in town definitely was not the best. Casey could still remember the day his dad had discovered this article in the Herrington Post some weeks ago, about drug selling at Herrington High.
„Probably it's this boy again, Ezekiel Tyler,“ he had said.
„I don't get it why they don't expel him from school. He only causes trouble.“
„Zeke isn't that bad,“ Casey had protested.
„There are a lot of rumors about him but I think not even the half of it is true."
His father had looked surprised and Casey had shrugged to cover up his sudden uneasiness.
„Well, it's not that we have much in common. But at least he didn't bully me.“
Then he had quickly left the kitchen with a flimsy excuse. Not willing to talk about Zeke any longer.
To distract himself from these slightly uncomfortable thoughts he glanced over to the front desk. He noticed that Zeke obviously had finished his discussion with the nurse successfully and had been vanished behind one of the curtains. While others were still waiting uncomplainingly that it was their turn to see a doctor. Inwardly chuckling he shook his head. Some things would never change, Zeke knew to get what he wanted.
Casey dropped down onto one of the wooden chairs which were standing along the wall and grabbed for an old comic someone had left behind. Hopefully, it wouldn't last too long; he hated it to be here in the ER, it reminded him too much of the three times he had already been here because of Gabe and his stupid bullying.
It was about half an hour later that Zeke came back into the waiting area, a bandage around his foot and a crutch to support him while walking. Obviously, in a much better mood, the usual, wide grin was back on his face.
"I knew it was nothing serious," he said.
"It's just sprained. So you can take me back to the park now and I can pick up my baby."
"Ähm … the Doc thinks it okay when you are driving with this foot?"
"No prob. He gave me an injection against the pain. Good stuff, helped in a flash."
A young nurse stepped closer to them; beaming at Zeke.
„Here is the prescription for the painkiller. Not more than three pills a day, not mixed up with any liquor. And for the next few days, you should relief any pressure of your foot. Have some nice days on the couch and enjoy it to be spoiled a bit.“
Zeke smiled back and reached for the paper.
The nurse blushed slightly.
"Fine. Then, get well soon. And just in case you feel uncomfortable, come back here. Anytime."
She almost looked as if she hoped for the last. Casey smirked when she finally left to take care of other patients.
"Great," he said.
"Seems as if you have one more fan.“
„What can I do against it? Girls like me.
Can we leave this crappy place behind now?“
„Sure, I'm gonna bring you home.“
Casey shook his head.
„You are such a stubborn shit, Zeke. No pressure on the foot. What about this is so hard to understand?“
It didn't happen often that Zeke felt speechless. So far the evening had been more a blurred chaos, marked by the pain in his foot and a feeling of helplessness he had never felt before. He hadn't had much of a choice when Casey had offered him some help. But slowly he started to think clearer again and he realized how strange all this was. Casey, the geek at school, shy and introverted. Never before he had dared to talk to him in that way. Never before his blue eyes had sparkled that much when he looked at him. But to his own surprise, he didn't feel annoyance rising up but amusement.
„I don't need a babysitter, Casey,“ he said with an almost soft voice.
For a split of a second Casey stopped short, then he shrugged.
„Sometimes you act as if you do. You shouldn't drive, Zeke, you would risk a serious accident in your state, with the foot and the painkiller you have gotten. Let me give you a ride home. We can stop at the pharmacy and get your pills.
Get some rest and tomorrow you can call a friend to bring the GTO home. It's not a big thing, really.“
Keeping quiet Zeke eyed him; his thoughts were racing. How could it be that no one did notice what a great guy Casey was? For sure he had no reason to care for him. At school Zeke had always acted like a prick, he knew this well enough. It would have been so easy for him to stop the jocks bullying Casey. Everyone respected Zeke, even the jocks. But he had preferred to stay out of it like he always did. None of his business, that was his first device.
So, why did Casey care for him? Why had he stopped in the park to help him? Why didn't he just call 911 and leave this job to others? Why was he still here after all Zeke had said, why didn't he just leave him alone in this mess? Like everyone else would have done it. His so-called friends at school, the girls who were crazy about him. His parents. No one had ever been there for him when he had needed them.
„I'm not an idiot, you know,“ he finally murmured.
„It's just … I'm so used to it to deal with everything alone. It's not easy to accept your help.
But … thanks, I guess.“
Casey blinked surprised.
Zeke smiled inwardly; that was so Casey, wasn't it?
„Well, I guess I was stuck in a pretty mess back in the park. Don't know if I would have made it here without you.“
„Oh. Fine. So, does this mean it's okay when I bring you home now?“
„Bring me home,“ he agreed.
Slowly Zeke hobbled through the kitchen area to the living room where he dropped onto the couch. Feeling relieved he leaned his head back and closed his eyes for a moment. Finally at home again; this nightmare was coming to an end.
Casey had followed him slightly hesitating.
"Will you be okay? I mean, it's no one around to help you.“
"Don't worry, I'm used to that since I'm fourteen. I guess I will sleep in the guest room for the next two or three days; so I don't need to go upstairs. Everything else shouldn't be a problem. The freezer is well-stocked, there are are some six packs of beer in the pantry ..."
Zeke couldn't help a grin.
„It's basic food.“
It looked as if Casey wanted to protest but then he decided differently.
„If you say so,“ he murmured.
„I guess, then I should go home now. For sure my mom is already freaking out because it's running so late.
Take some rest. Try to get some sleep."
Zeke watched him opening the back door but before he left the house Casey turned back once more.
„Hey, Zeke. Just an idea.
I will have to go the Mall tomorrow morning with my mom. She thinks it's a good idea to do the weekly shopping on a Saturday morning.“
He laughed slightly.
„But after lunch I'm free. I could drop in, see if you need something.“
Taken aback Zeke stared at him until finally a pleasant feeling of happiness sneaked into his body.
„Why not,“ he answered.
„You could bring me a coffee from Starbucks. Make it a double, with milk, no sugar. And maybe one of these Italian-Style Ham & Spicy Salami sandwiches, they are good.“
Casey laughed out loudly.
"I'll do my best,“ he promised.
„And … Zeke. I would say, no beer today, for sure that goes not well with the painkillers."