Chapter: 4 of 43
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: Isaac was not happy. He’d finally fallen asleep, after what just may have been the most miserable night of his life, and some twit had decided to leave the TV on, to wake him up again.
Isaac was scowling. He’d been home less than half a day, and he was already sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. He didn’t know why he’d had to come. His dad had said he could use a hand, and had asked him to come along, but so far all he’d done was sit and vainly attempt to focus his burning eyes on whatever year old magazine was close at hand.
Why they had to be here now, was a mystery. His mom had decided that Jessie and her earache, along with Zac and his cough, needed a doctor. Evidentially the doctor had agreed, and here they were. Jess had been seen, diagnosed, and prescripted within half an hour, now they were waiting for their dad to finish talking with the doctor about Zac.
He sighed, and gave up on the magazine, flinging it in the general direction of the table. He glanced at Jess, who was hobnobbing with a small group of children in the toy corner.
“Great,” he thought. “They’ve got them a little germ swap going on over there. Wonderful. Like we need more than we already have.” Seeing that she was at least safely occupied, he sat back and closed his eyes.
“Ike are you okay?” Jessie’s voice penetrated the fog that was surrounding him, and Isaac focused bleary eyes on her face.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”
Jessie giggled, “You looked like you were falling asleep. Were you?” He shifted his weight, trying to get comfortable, everything was starting to ache. “Were you?”
His head was buzzing unpleasantly and starting to spin.
“Really getting sick, oh yeah…” floated through his head.
“Ike!! Were you?!”
The repetitive question, he’d been ignoring suddenly snapped his patience.
“Jessie, what?! Will you go away please?! God!!! NO!! I wasn’t asleep!”
She scowled at him, ready to come back with a dig of her own, but he dropped his head into his hands, and she heard him groan softly. Her irritation was suddenly replaced with worry.
“Ike? Ike I’m sorry. Are you okay? Really?”
She shook him a little, and he looked up at her.
“Yeah Jess, I’m getting sick though. I’m sorry I yelled at you.”
She nodded, not really caring if he’d yelled at her. He did it all the time.
“Ike, what’s the matter?”
He shook his head. “Nothing Jess, it’s okay, getting the flu, that’s all. Where in hell is Dad? And Zac? What are we waiting for?”
Jessie shrugged. “I don’t know. You better stay awake.” She went back to her little circle of friends in the toy corner. Isaac watched her, vaguely amused. How she managed to make friends everywhere she went was beyond him.
Some sound woke her. She lay in the dark for a few minutes, trying to figure out what was out of place. Hearing nothing unusual, she was about to dismiss it and go back to sleep, when it suddenly hit her.
The TV. She was hearing the TV, at… she turned to the clock on the nightstand… 3:00 AM? Who on earth was up watching TV at this hour?
She slipped out of bed as quietly as she could, pulled on a robe, and tiptoed downstairs. She was pretty sure she knew who she’d find.
Taylor heard someone coming. He knew it would be her. Somehow, she always knew when to come around, and when to keep back. She always knew when to listen. He wished he’d realized sooner, that the times she came around, were the times he needed to listen to her, too. He smiled a little when he felt her hand brush against his hair, and slid over so she could sit with him, pulling up the edge of his blanket to share it with her.
As soon as she settled, he moved closer, leaning his head on her shoulder. She slipped an arm around him, surprised and pleased at the affection.
“What’s the matter, baby, ” she asked softly, “Why can’t you sleep?”
He sighed, and shook his head a little. “I don’t know, I’m all achy, and my head’s all stuffed up. Can’t get comfortable. Zac’s coughing his brains out, and Ike’s throwing up. It’s too noisy in there. And besides…” again the bitter sigh, “I wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway. y’know…”
She nodded. She knew. “That’s going to go away, Tay, you know that. Just hang on.”
He nodded. They’d told him to be patient. It wasn’t easy. He snuggled closer to her, absurdly close to tears. It had been so long since he’d felt like anyone even liked him. His head was just all screwed up.
Diana felt him trembling a little, heard his breathing become ragged, and knew he was crying. She didn’t say anything, he’d talk if he wanted to. She didn’t want to push him. It had been too long since he’d been this open with her, she didn’t want to bring his walls up. She held him a little tighter, and kissed his hair. She half expected him to pull away, but instead his arm came up around her, holding on tight.
She felt tears in her own eyes when she felt his fingers twirling a lock of her hair. Sweet nostalgia. He’d done that when he was little, climbed into her lap, put his head on her shoulder, and twined his little fingers around her hair, until he fell asleep. She had treasured such moments then, and she clung to them even more now. He was nearly fifteen. These moments wouldn’t come often. She held him close, hoping he’d talk to her, and tell her what he was feeling, but also content to let him take what he needed from her.
Taylor wasn’t sure why he was crying, and he really didn’t care. It was enough that she was holding him, that she loved him. That she wasn’t criticizing, or judging, or watching him. That right now she didn’t care if he was sitting up straight, or if his clothes were neat, or his hair brushed, or his demeanor acceptable.
He wasn’t onstage, he had nothing to prove, and she wasn’t asking anything of him. Her arms were around him, and her hand, stroking his hair, felt good. Soothing. Right now he could just be.
As warmth and sleepiness crept in, his tears tapered off, and he began to drift.
Isaac was not happy. He’d finally fallen asleep, after what just may have been the most miserable night of his life, and some twit had decided to leave the TV on, to wake him up again. He’d gone to bed early, feeling too nasty to want to be around people. He’d woken up after about half an hour, because he couldn’t breathe, and had spent hours tossing and turning, trying to find a comfortable position for all of his aches. He was freezing, sweating, and thoroughly fed up with the whole thing.
Added to that was Zac, who just couldn’t breathe. He’d come home from the doctor’s office with enough medications to sink a rather large ship, but still couldn’t manage to lie down without falling into a coughing fit. He was fine while he sat up, but, as he whined fairly continuously to Isaac, he couldn’t sleep unless he was lying down. Ike felt for him, but right now just wished he’d shut up.
Just when he’d thought it couldn’t get any worse, his stomach had started acting up. He’d fought it for a while, not wanting to be sick, but finally decided, he’d get more rest if he just got it over with.
Bad idea. Once he’d started throwing up, he couldn’t stop. Now not only was he awake, he was awake sitting on a cold floor. He’d started swearing after two hours, and finally fed up beyond endurance, had flat out refused to let it happen again. He’d fight it till it killed him, but he was going to bed. End of discussion. He’d managed to outstubborn his recalcitrant body, swallowing half a bottle of Nyquil and grimly forcing it to stay put.
He’d finally, finally fallen asleep, and now the TV was on. He tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, but periodic bloodcurdling screams, wafting up the stairs, were making it a real challenge. Sighing, and wondering how much of him would self destruct when he stood up, he climbed out of bed, and started downstairs to shut the damn thing off. He held onto the walls, going down the hall, feeling very much as if he were made of jello. Every muscle in his body ached, and he dearly wanted to squish whoever had left the TV on, forcing him to take this hike.
Isaac stumbled into the living room, and stopped in the doorway when he saw his mother and Taylor asleep on the sofa. “Oh, well now isn’t that sweet,” he thought bitterly. “I’m up there puking my guts out, and they’re watching the Love Boat.”
Grimacing at the stiffness in his legs he limped his way over towards the TV set. For a moment he stood, mesmerized at the movement on the TV screen. Shaking his head, he broke his trance.
Suddenly a thought crept into his mind. Grabbing the remote control that had been discarded on the coffee table, he held his finger poised above the volume button. “Should I?” For a moment Isaac considered just flipping the TV off and going back to bed, to salvage what was left of the night. Diana and Taylor looked so peaceful, wrapped in each others arms the he felt just a small stab of guilt. However, his guilt was overridden by a horrible, yet unrestrainable desire to make them as miserable as he was. His finger deftly pressed the up arrow next to the word VOLUME. He watched the marks on the television rise to about mid screen. Then he removed his finger and checked the two sleeping beauties reactions. Nothing. Frowning, and creasing his brow, he pushed the button again. Still no reaction. Finally he just slammed his finger on the remote and watched the volume marks go to the end of the screen. The sound was almost deafening. His mother jumped. Her abrupt movement caused Taylor, who was laying half on top of her, to fall off the sofa and he landed in a crumpled heap on the floor.
“What the…” Taylor didn’t move for a moment, still a little stunned from his tumble.
“IKE! TURN THAT DOWN!”
Isaac snickered, and flipped the TV off. “Oops, sorry. In the dark all these dang buttons look alike.”
“Why the heck… OWW!” Taylor, who had begun to sit up, grabbed his head where he had banged it on the coffee table. Rubbing his sore cranium, and muttering under his breath, he moved away from the table and stood. “Thanks a lot mom. Appreciate it,” Taylor said sarcastically.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t really expecting to be woken up by a blaring TV at,” she glanced at the iridescent face of her watch, “4:30 in the morning.”
“Gee… what a coincidence. Neither was I!” Isaac snapped.
Diana looked both puzzled and annoyed “What are you talking about?”
Ike gestured to the TV. “That. You guys are so inconsiderate. I’m dying up there, all I want to do is go to sleep, and you have the TV down here blasting away…”
Taylor snorted. “Blasting, right, I was like, sound asleep in front of it. What’ve you got, dog hearing or something?” He was still rubbing the knot on his head, from his impact with the coffee table. Diana laughed in spite of herself, earning an evil glare from her eldest son.
“I’m glad you think it’s so damned funny!”
Her brows knit at that. “Watch it, pal, don’t even use that with me. Just go to bed.”
Isaac bristled. “I was in bed. Finally. I’ve only been up all night…”
Taylor cut him off. “You guys want to fight, go for it. I’m so outta here.” He wandered toward the stairs, still worrying at the bump on his head. He turned when he reached the stairs, a smile playing on his lips. “Hey mom, remind me never to fall asleep with you. Too dangerous…”
She held her hands up, palms out… “Nope, nope, don’t go there. Not my fault. If someone hadn’t scared me to death, I wouldn’t have jumped up like that.” She was trying to make light of it, but she was irritated. There had been no need of it.
She watched Tay go off to bed, and turned to Ike.
“So maybe you’d like to tell me what that was all about?”
He grunted a non answer at her, shrugged his shoulders and plopped himself down on the couch.
She wasn’t having it. “No way, what was that all about? Do you realize he could have been hurt? Or I could have?”
He jumped back to his feet. “Oh get real. I turned the TV up, I didn’t drive a car through he front window. Don’t be so melodramatic.” He started to turn to go back upstairs, but her temper had finally snapped, and she grabbed his arm and spun him around.
“Look…” she hissed. “I don’t know what your problem is, but this was totally uncalled for. I don’t appreciate being scared awake like that, and I don’t appreciate the attitude. You’re being a real jerk, Isaac, plain and simple.”
He took a step into her space, and she found herself stepping back. He looked furious. For just a second the thought “Holy God, is he gonna hit me?” flashed through her head, but a moment later it was gone. His hands, clenched into fists, remained at his side.
“You know, I’m not the only one.” He snapped. “You knew there were…”
“What did I know?! For heaven sake Ike I was asleep!!”
“Oh, well I’m glad you were! I sure as hell…”
She jumped in suddenly, cutting him off. “Y’know Ike, I don’t even know what we’re fighting about. This is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, on both our parts. You’re about ready to start swinging on me, over the TV being on! And I’m about ready to get violent with you too! Enough already!”
She reached over and switched off the television in question, and the light.
“Come on then, and get to bed, while it’s still possible.”
He stood there, waiting for her to turn off the rest of the lights, and as she walked past him to the stairs, he grabbed her arm. “You know, I wouldn’t have hit you.”
She looked skeptical. “Oh yeah? Well, lets say I’m not willing to test you. Not when we’re all tired, stressed, and sick. And Ike, if I’d realized you were sick up there…”
He waved off her explanation. “Forget it. See you later. Good night.” He slammed into his room and all but fell into bed, no small feat as he had to climb up to it. To his frustration, both Taylor and Zac were out like lights. Struggling to get comfortable, he’d finally started to doze, when his father’s alarm clock went off.