Title: Highspeed to love (26/ ???)
Fandom: Zeke & Casey
Disclaimer: of course, not mine
Author's notes: AU without Marybeth and Herrington High - Zeke is 23 years old in this story, living in
Youngstown, Ohio - Casey, is 18 years old and loves ... cooking. Or what do you think ? ;)
Previous parts: one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten / eleven / twelve / thirteen / fourteen / fifteen / sixteen / seventeen / eighteen / nineteen / twenty / twenty-one / twenty-two / twenty-three / twenty-four / twenty-five / tbc
The silence was dismal. Zeke refused to look at Casey. Casey was still standing beside the door and didn't dare to move.
"I thought that maybe you need some stuff," he finally murmured helplessly.
"I could bring you ... a pajama ... or your toothbrush ..."
"No, thanks, I'm fine!"
Zeke snorted slightly.
"What does it matter anyway? My life is so totally fucked up!
When will you go to New York, huh? Leave all this shit behind!"
Casey blinked bewildered.
"But I'm gonna stay here, in Youngstown. Mr. Pepin and the others liked my cooking skill. They want to help me, but ... I'm not leaving!"
For an instant Zeke seemed to relax a bit. But when he finally turned his head to look at Casey his eyes were dark and somehow angry.
"You don't stay here just because of me, right?"
"Well, yes ... no ...
Casey shook the head.
"I'm gonna go back to school after summer. And Mr. Billings offers me a part-time job in a little hotel here in Youngstown. I also can ..."
He stopped, thinking about it. Was it okay to tell Zeke that he wanted to move to the hotel as soon as all was wrapped up? It had looked like a reasonable plan before, because he couldn't stay in the office of the garage forever. But things had changed. Maybe Zeke needed him now ... more than ever before. And he surely didn't want to abandon him.
"I could get a cheap room there, but ..."
Exhausted Zeke closed his eyes.
"Because you won't be able to stay in the garage. Next month this time I won't own it any longer. It's over, Casey!"
Casey almost cringed. It was hard to see Zeke so resigned.
"Maybe you should take a rest now," he murmured.
"The nurse told me not to stay for too long. It was a serious surgery and you're still worn out. So ... I guess, tomorrow everything will look better."
"You think so? Tell you what, Casey. I'm a fucking loser!"
Okay, this was too much. Surgery or not, Casey was not willing to watch Zeke wallowing in self-pity. He was a fighter. He needed to look ahead.
"What a bullshit," he snarled.
"We will find a way, Zeke! You know ... I've called them before I came here. I'm sure they will ... "
Zeke looked confused.
"You have called ... whom?"
"The lawyer ... you know, because of the garage ... Please, don't be mad at me, I didn't sneak around in your stuff. Just wanted to keep me busy and I've sorted out the papers on your desk. There was this letter and ... it was registered ... and ... "
Casey took a deep breath. He was babbling, he knew this. And it was hard to say what Zeke was thinking. If he at least did understand what he was talking about. He was just looking at him deadpan.
"Yeah, like I said, I read the letter and I decided to call them. Someone needed to tell them about the surgery. They need to know that you will not be able to comply with the term."
Finally Zeke broke his silence.
"What did he say?"
He sounded almost uninterested.
"Nothing at all," admitted Casey.
"He says, he will talk to the heirs and come back to me with the answers later! But I'm sure they will ..."
"Just forget it, Casey, they won't! Believe me, they give a shit. This gives them a reason to cancel the contract."
Zeke sighed sadly.
"They were mad at Pete when he gave me the garage for such a low price and that a payment in installments was okay for him. But he was never interested in the money. He was okay. Without him I would never have come so far. He was always there for me with a good advice. And sometimes when I couldn't pay the complete installment because the business was so low, he was always: 'Don't worry, boy. I've all I need. You go and pay me when the times are better.'
His children never wanted his garage, but they know they can make fast bucks with it now. When I'm out of the game there will be nothing in their way anymore. They will put it up for sale again and probably get twice as much for it as Pete asked for. End of the story."
Casey frowned. As sad as this story was he couldn't get it that Zeke was willing just to give up his dream.
"You can't let this happen, Zeke. Pete wanted you to have the garage."
Zeke laughed bitterly... and pulled the face.
"Ouch ... shit. Still hurts like hell. And what do you think I can do now? I could have made it, you know. Business was good lately. There is this private cap company ... they wanted me to do all their inspections and shit ... Not much work but good money.
Now? The doctor says, two weeks in the hospital and then at least four weeks more before I can go back to work. Go back, pfft. In four weeks I'm not even gonna have a room to stay anymore."
Casey started to fight with his tears.
"But there must be something we can do," he murmured.
Zeke almost jumped ... and groaned again.
"Fuck," he yelled.
"Do me a favor, Casey, okay? Go and rob a bank or do whatever shit you want. But leave me the fuck alone. If you wouldn't have called the ambulance ..."
Casey flinched. There it was! He had known it all the time that Zeke blamed him for his situation. This was not fair! Without the surgery Zeke would probably be dead. And it was not his fault that he hadn't paid his installments in time. He would do everything to help him, but Zeke didn't want to think rationally. As much as it hurts, Casey was not willing to put up with this any longer.
"Okay," he murmured.
"See you then!"
Maybe. Maybe not. He was not sure if they still were friends ... or even more? All the weeks in Zeke's garage, they had had so much fun together. He had liked so much to cook for Zeke. No one - besides his grandma - had ever encouraged him as much as Zeke did. He had his own dream - his garage. He could understand.
And this one night. All his hopes, his dreams. Was it only two days ago that he had been on his way back home from the seminar, so excited and eager to see Zeke again? Ready for a future together, as long as Zeke was ready for it?
Now nothing could be taken for granted any longer.
Barely to hear. But the words made him stop.
"Will you ... come back tomorrow?"
"Sure, if you want me to come!"
Zeke seemed to fight for words.
"Sorry for being such a prick," he finally said in a small voice. It was so obvious that he was utterly exhausted and needed a rest.
"I know it's not your fault!"
In an instant Casey was beside his bed, knelt down to get closer to him.
"Hey, it's okay," he assured him.
"I get it!"
"It's not", Zeke protested weakly.
"Everything ... so fucked up ... I'm gonna lose everything ... you ..."
He closed his eyes again. Casey stood up, feeling a bit better now. It would be okay. Everything would be okay.
"You need to sleep now, Zeke. We can talk tomorrow."
Zeke searched for his hand to hold it.
"Case? Do you ... do you still want me?"
go to part 27