By Martin Clement
Unless otherwise noted, this story is Copyright 2006 by Martin Clement for Clement & Boule Associates. All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, published, distributed, displayed, performed, copied or stored for public or private use in any information retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, including electronically or digitally on the Internet or World Wide Web, or over any network, or local area network, without written permission of the author. No part of this story may be modified or changed or exploited in any way used for derivative works, or offered for sale, or used to construct any kind of database or mirrored at any other location without the express written permission of the author. Thank you for respecting the intellectual property rights protected by the copyright laws of Canada, the United States and International Copyright Treaty.
This story is a work of fiction. All the events and characters depicted in this story are parts of the imagination of the author only. Any similarity to real people, living or dead, or any event that might have occurred in reality should be considered as purely coincidental.
I Don't Need Your Pity
"Yannick! don't do that, pleeeeeeease..." Valerie pleaded on her knees, hands joined, faking crying right in the middle of the doorway of my room. "Suicide never is the solution!"
I put back the spoon in the bowl of disgusting porridge the nurse had brought a few minutes before.
"Well hello you too, Valerie." I chuckled.
In a flash, her drama cleared from her face and she plopped down in the chair next to my bed, pushing on the tray from hell and handing me a paper bag.
"Hello darling!" she batted her eyes so fast it was hard to see her eyelids. "Give me a kiss?"
"You're crazy..." I looked in the bag an met her eyes, then I lifted the plastic box out of it. A huge grin spread from cheek to cheek on my face. "Oh no... it's not..." She smiled broadly.
"Oh no! Not a..."
"Mango and passion fruit mousse cake!" we both exclaimed at the same time.
"Yes," she said, waiving a hand in front of her face, "I ate the rest of it. I know, I'm a pig."
The Pig... Oh crap! Colors drained from my face as I remembered his words. I let myself fall back onto the pillow, completely destroyed.
"What?" Valerie asked, her smile falling. "Yannick, are you doing alright? Do you want me to get the nurse?"
"Fuck..." I muttered.
"What?" She was getting nervous. "Damn Yannick! Tell me already!"
"It's okay..." I whispered, waving a hand in front of my face.
"It's not okay, Yannick, I can tell. Now stop being so stubborn and tell me!"
"I promised The P... my landlord I would give him the money for the rent... yesterday."
I felt a hand gently holding mine. Then Valerie spoke.
"So this is why you were so anxious to get your pay check yesterday?"
"Yannick... you're in a hospital." she said, her voice low and soothing. "I can't believe he won't understand..."
"Yeah... probably..." I lied. I knew The Pig didn't care about anybody. Not even if that anybody was lying in a hospital room. The only important thing for him was his cash and his relation to it. "You know," I mumbled, "you could get into a lot of trouble for bringing that kind of food to patients in hospital. Especially cake." I said, changing the subject.
"You rather die by poisoning yourself with that canned shit they served you?" She sighed loudly. "Anyway, you hurt your back! You're not sick! Not yet. But I can assure you that eating that dump they call food could make your stay in that room longer... Hum... maybe that's what they want..."
"Valerie, you see way too many movies! Stop seeing conspiracies everywhere!" We both laughed. "Anyway... like you're here to take me home?"
"Yes. My mother's car is parked downstairs."
"Cool! Dr. Werner should be here soon to sign my departure."
"Good! Then eat that cake before she comes and throw it to garbage and force that hospital junk into your throat."
"I also have a cane waiting for you in the car. That way you won't need to buy one."
"You shouldn't have..." She interrupted me.
"It's no big deal alright? It's from my mother when she broke her ankle a few years ago. It is adjustable, but I think you're the same height as her or close enough anyway. It was sitting there in the closet and felt a bit lonely I guess. Now it gets to meet someone! Yay!"
"Well thanks... The pain killers probably are overpriced so..." She cut me.
So I did as commanded. And the cake was as good as ever. I knew she must have driven through the whole city just to get a hold of it as there only was one place in Montreal where the mango and passion fruit mousse cake was so delicious. Bel-Air cake shop on Belanger street. I ate it quick and lucky me, as soon as the cake was gone and the plastic box hidden back in the paper bag and inside of Valerie's coat, Dr. Werner entered the room. The circles around her eyes hadn't disappeared but she looked less tired than the day before.
"Hi Yannick!" she said, a smile adorning her lips. "Hello Valerie!" She took the pad that was at the end of the bed. "I'm glad to see you're already here, Valerie, because as soon as I'm done with these papers, Yannick will be free to leave. Yannick, you didn't eat your breakfast?" she asked.
"I wasn't hungry." I stated, relieved that the lie hadn't shown in my voice.
"Uh huh...I see..." she smiled, rubbing the tip of her finger on the side of her mouth. I lifted my hand to my lips and sure enough, there still was some of the cake's topping in the corner of my mouth. Dr. Werner stifled a laugh. "You were not on strict order, Yannick," she said while rummaging through the forms in the folder, "and the hospital food isn't very tasty, as it's based on proteins and vitamins for sick patients laying on beds all day long. I hope the cake was good though... It was probably better than what I had for breakfast, I guess."
The ride downstairs was all but quiet, and I don't mean doctors and nurse running everywhere as the day before, since we didn't pass by the emergency ward. Trust me, you don't want to be pushed on a wheelchair by Valerie. I guess hospital's policy of riding patients outside of hospitals on wheelchairs would surely change from that day on, seeing as Valerie scared the shit out of myself and from some nurses who had to jump out of our way.
"To the bat-cave, Robin!" she said in a super-hero voice as the elevator doors were closing in front of us.
In the lobby, she left me so she could bring her car from the parking lot to the front landing stage. Another one of hospitals' policies. I had always hated hospitals. I remember the first time I was brought to the Trois-Rivieres' hospital. It was the first time I was having asthma crisis. I was only ten years old back then. I had been sent to a semi-private room with a boy who must not have have been more than eight. The day after, as his bed was empty, my mother had told me the kid had gone back to his home. I had felt relieved until my father rudely told her that if I was to become a man, I had to be treated like one. So he told me the kid had died in his sleep while I was asleep. He said that to his son, who was just ten years old, suffering from the same illness as the boy who had died... What a jerk! I had gone into a fit of panic and soon it had turned to another asthma crisis. Oh! my father hadn't lied to me, but he sure did to the three nurses who came running into the room to help me breathe. He had said he didn't know what brought me to have that crisis. Yeah right!
"Excuse me sir, could I get a ride?" I heard from my left. I raised my head and saw a golden thumb pointing upward. I already felt nervousness as I knew who this thumb belonged to. My eyes followed the hand and up the arm, meeting the skin of the neck, the chin, the dimples of the cheeks, the warmth of the smiley cheeks and the slightly twisted tooth, the button nose and finally could find his stare... his deep, warm, dark, beautiful pools of brown eyes looking at me... But then his look changed to one of concern. "Are you okay?" he asked, seeing the upset one on my face.
"Yeah, I'm alright," I nodded. "I just hate hospitals, that's all. Brings back bad memories."
"Okay." He seemed satisfied with my answer. "I think I almost missed you there. I see you're on your way out."
"Yes. Valerie has gone to bring her mother's car." My eyes slowly drifted to a second figure who stood up right behind Jerome, a little smile on his lips and green eyes sparkling. I recognized the spikes in his hair.
"Oh! Here's my brother... Damian." Jerome said, pointing his thumb over his shoulder. I nodded and Damian waved a shy hand. Then a little girl, maybe seven years old, came to talk to him, and he couldn't resist her charms. So he squatted down and started entertaining her.
I found awkward that the little girl's parents, who were standing quite close, didn't do nor said anything. But it was even stranger that Damian would just up and go find a little friend and chat with her. Jerome followed my stare and stifled a laugh.
"Don't worry, he's always like that," he said, trying to get my attention back to him. "I guess you're happy to go back home after a night in hospital?"
"Yeah... I guess so," I stated, remembering I had to go and face The Pig so he accepts my apology for being late to give him the money.
"Jeez! Don't be so jumpy!" He grinned. "Dr. Werner must have been very nice for you not to want to leave..." he trailed, and I could tell he was kicking himself hard for what he just said. "Shit..." he whispered under his breath.
"How comes you know Dr. Werner?" I asked, the smile gone from my lips and my eyes narrowing. "I don't think I told you her name." I could see he was fidgeting. My eyes drifted behind Jerome a brief moment and to the guy who was now writing something on a piece of paper, still squatted in front of the overexcited little girl. When my stare came back to Jerome's face, his eyes were on the handle of the wheelchair. "Jerome?" I asked. He wouldn't meet my gaze. So I continued. "How did you know I was here? I mean, this is not the only hospital in Montreal, you know.
"I..." he started, but choked on his words. Behind Jerome, the little girl gladly received a kiss on the cheek and very warm hug from Damian before she skipped back to her parents, pen and paper up in the air as some priceless prizes. Damian smiled, watching her go and nodded to the cheerful parents. A brief moment, the mother's eyes were fixed on me and she winked. I was too strange for me. "I think we should talk," Jerome said, pulling me back from the awkwardness of the last minutes. I looked back at him and pointed to a chair.
"I... I think so."
"Not here though," he quickly said.
"Why not?" I asked. "You know, I'm a little bit at loss here."
"I know that. And I'm sorry about it." He looked pass me and out the door, then sighed. "Your friend is there."
I looked too and met Valerie's huge smile as she came through the sliding doors.
"Hey, Jerome!" she cheered.
"Hello... Valerie... am I right?"
"Yeah!" She was just so hyper... Must have been hell for her mother to raise her. Well maybe they were both alike... Scream! Would be hell for their whole neighborhood. When I saw her eyes drifting slowly to the floor in a shy way, I could tell something was not normal with her. A shadow had formed over the chair. "Damian..." she mumbled. What the hell!?
"Valerie?" I asked, cutting in the strange silence that followed. Her eyes met mine and I could tell she was annoyed that I had destroyed her moment. "Are we staying here all day?"
"No!" she exclaimed a little too loudly. "I mean no... You're coming to my place, right?" she asked me. "You guys want to join us?" she asked Jerome and Damian. My eyes narrowed on her.
"Valerie... I have to go and pay my landlord. Remember?"
"Yeah! I know about that. So we'll stop there on our way to my place."
"Are you kidnapping me or what?"
A smile appeared on her lips and she mouthed a small "thank you." I was not sure what this thank you was for exactly but I understood quite easily when the cheerful tone came back in her voice. "Well, you're a bit old for being kidnapped, I guess. But you know, as you've already been abducted by aliens, I guess anything might happen to you now!" I was still looking seriously at her though.
"Valerie, I need to go home. All my things are there." Yeah right! All my nothings were there...
"I can get them for you while we're there..."
"I really need to be home, Valerie. I'm working tomorrow and I need some rest before I go."
"You are so not going to work tomorrow!" she stated. "I thought Dr. Werner had been clear enough! You're off from work for at least one full week." I'm not so sure, but at that, I thought I saw a little smile spreading on Jerome's lips.
"I can't stop working, Valerie," I hissed. "I need the money."
"You'll get money, Yannick. Don't forget that George owes you a lot of hours that he hadn't paid you yet. It's worth three months of full time work."
"Yeah right! and you think he will pay me?" I asked, rolling my eyes.
"Of course, he'll pay you! I'm going to make sure of it. Take it as a vacation."
"Can't you just let me go back home?" I pleaded.
"Why should I? So you can be miserable? So you can hurt yourself in the stairs? So you can sleep on the floor because you fell off your bed? Not a chance... Even if you had a phone..." she quickly put a hand on her mouth and her eyes went wide as she realized what she had said. My eyes narrowed on her and I flipped the wheelchair the other way. "I'm sorry," she whispered." My face was red with anger and humiliation. She knew I was broken poor. She knew it embarrassed me. She knew it, but still, she rubbed it in my face in front of complete strangers, and in a crowded hospital hall for God's sake!
"You should say it a little bit louder... I think this old lady down there with the hearing apparel didn't hear you."
"Yannick, I really am sorry..."
"Go away!" I said. "I don't need your pity."
"Please, Yannick... I'm not pitying you. It's not the way I see our friendship."
I rolled away from the trio. Valerie sat down on a chair and buried her face in her hands. Damian sat beside her and held her hand the way Jerome had done to me the day before. I looked at the floor. I was not angry as much as I felt ashamed. I felt humiliated. Humiliated as I had been the day my father threw me out of his house with my clothes secured in two garbage bags. Humiliated as I had been when the old fuck in his Cadillac kept on grabbing my knees after he picked me up on the highway. I was so lost in my pain that I didn't realize that Jerome was there by my side, sitting in a chair, his hands folded together, golden fingers intertwined, his head bowed and his eyes to the floor.
"I don't know what to say..." he answered my unasked question that seemed to be floating in the air at this moment. "You know, I don't care that you don't have a phone..."
"You probably don't know how it feels..." I whispered.
"Well... sometimes I feel like not having a phone either. Would be nice not having it ringing all the time."
"You know what I mean."
"You don't have to be." I sighed. "It's not your fault if I have to fight every day to survive. It's not your fault if I had to choose between a phone line and a week's worth of food every month."
"I know that," he murmured. "But I know you must be brave for still fighting for your life the way you do. You have no reason to be ashamed of who you are."
"So you're not rich. What should it change my way of seeing you?"
"If you knew more about me, maybe your opinion would change also."
"Try me," he said, lifting his gaze until it met mine.
"Not here... I can't," I stated.
"Then why don't we go somewhere else and talk about that? Valerie did invite us to follow..."
"I'm not so sure she still wants to be anywhere near me now."
"Then why is she still there waiting? If she didn't want you to still go with her, I think she would have left already."
"I guess you're right." I sighed loudly, then rolled myself in front of my friend. "I'm sorry I snapped at you like that, Valerie."
She lifted puffy eyes up to mine and I knew she'd been crying. Damian gave us some privacy as he stood and joined his brother. I would thank the guy for that.
"I'm not pitying you, Yannick," she breathed. "It's just..." She was struggling with her words to make them right. "You're my friend and I'm worried about you. I didn't mean to insult you. I never meant to push you to tell me something you don't want to share. You're just so... mysterious about yourself, Yannick..."
"I know... I think we should go. They'll need the space in the landing stage."
"Yeah..." she whispered. "Still friends?" she asked.
"Forever." I confirmed. "Your place?" I asked. Her eyes brightened and a smile forced its way to her lips.
"Only if you want to."
"There won't be any problem with your mother?"
"Not at all. Actually, she proposed it even before I could talk to her about that. She's so excited to finally get to know you that she spent most of the night switching her office into a bedroom so you don't have to use the stairs. If you don't want them to come with us, it's alright. Damian said he didn't want to intrude anyway."
"You have a kick for him, don't you?" I asked, smiling tenderly.
"I guess, yeah..." she answered, her eyes on fire. "Aren't we lucky? We both have a kick for a guy who live at the other end of the continent."
"Go get them," I said. "Wouldn't want to make your future husband wait for you at the altar. Maybe that way you will stop living in that fairytale of yours thinking of me as the one." She lightly punched me in the shoulder. "Hey! Don't you see I'm a handicapped?"
"At least you didn't deny you had a kick for Jerome!"
"I don't want to, though."
"He lives in Clermont, Valerie."
"He's probably as straight as a fence post."
"I've seen fence post that were not that straight..."
"You know what I mean."
"I do. But you could be mistaken."
"I'm not that lucky."
"You really think he's not interested in you?" she said, looking at me as if an arm was growing in the middle of my forehead.
"Why shouldn't I"
"I think we'll need to have a good discussion, you and me."
"Aren't we having one right now?" I asked, smiling.
"Yeah, but we need to move."
"Okay..." I said. "Go get them."
To be continued...
Note from the author
This story is treating about friendship, romance, betrayal, forgiveness, acceptance, pain and healing. There might be some intense scenes of passion but you won't find any explicit scene. I don't have anything against eroticism in itself as I have read a lot of very nice erotic stories on Nifty and elsewhere. As the main characters will try and survive their pain, trying to lead their lives into a world full of resentment, I rather give them the peace and privacy of a closed door than failing at the attempt at explaining a theory of their sexual intercourses. That way, as this story will be told at the first person, if you feel as immersing yourself inside the head of the characters, you'll be able to forge your own version and images of their sexuality without me interfering with my own generic ideas about eroticism.
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