High School Again? Ugh! Ch. 08byJoeDreamer©
The beeping woke me. I tried to open my eyes, but it took too much effort. I hurt. I hurt in places I didn't know existed. I lay there for some time listening to the sounds surrounding me and smelling the odors of what could only be a hospital room. What happened? How had I gotten here? The last thing I remembered was sitting through Mr. Hargrove's lecture on the first day of my senior year of high school. God was that man boring!
I felt the little strength I had disappearing and despite my confusion and fear, I let myself begin to drift off, but something brought me back. It was a sound. Someone was sniffling. I fought to open my eyes. I succeeded eventually. There was someone standing over me, but I couldn't focus enough the make out features. The figure was obviously female and she was crying.
"Tiffany?" I guessed, but it wasn't her. The body shape was all wrong. I blinked a few times and slowly my sight returned. The girl hovering over me had dirty blond hair with pink highlights. Weird. There was honest concern in her expression that turned to relief when she realized I was awake.
"You had me scared there for a while Johnny," she said with a grin as she wiped away her tears. I knew her, or at least I thought I did, but right at that moment my drug impaired mind couldn't put a name to her face. It didn't help that a nurse came racing in, saw that I was awake and frankly, looked more than a little shocked. The strange girl reached out and brushed my cheek with her hand. "You're going to be alright. The best thing you can do right now is rest. Everything will be okay."
Her confident tone and comforting words calmed my fears somewhat, but I still wanted to find out what happened. I also wanted to ask her name, but the nurse was directing her to the door rather forcefully.
"You're not supposed to be here. You have to go," the nurse was saying. "I need to page the doctor."
The girl nodded in understanding. I wanted to argue, but the medicine I was on and my sheer exhausting were too much. I couldn't keep my eyes open. I felt myself falling back to sleep and could do nothing to prevent it. The last sight I saw was the girl glancing at me over her shoulder as she walked through the door. She was smiling and wiping one last tear from her cheek.
I woke up slowly. This time is was people talking that forced me to consciousness. I was even more tired than before, but at least the pain had lessened. Of course, that might have been the drugs because I was clearly on something. My mind was doing funny things. I was too exhausted to open my eyes so instead I listened.
"I'm sorry Mr. Simmons, but I really can't tell you more than that," a male voice said. The tone alone said the speaker was a doctor of some sort. "We still can't find a reason for John's seizure, but whatever it was caused a complete systemic shutdown. Frankly, it's a miracle that he actually woke up from his coma."
"My boy is a fighter." Pop's voice was proud, but also strained. He was worried. I could hear that. I wanted to comfort him, but between the exhaustion and medication it was impossible. I couldn't control my body.
"We won't know the lasting effects of his attack for weeks yet, but there will be some," the doctor's voice warned. "This is going to be a long, arduous battle and John's going to need both of your help to face it."
"And he'll have it," my mother's voice promised. "But I bet you he surprised you again. John's special."
"We'll see," the doctor said, his words meaning to comfort, but his tone doing anything but.
"Thanks for inviting us to visit Mr. Simmons."
My eyes fluttered open. I knew that voice. It was my friend Jimmy. I was unsurprised to see Mike with him. They were my two of my closest friends. I'd played football with them since Pop Warner. I tried to say hello, but nothing came out.
"I thought it might do John some good," my father said, watching me carefully. Pop looked exhausted. My heart went out to him. "He was able to talk a little yesterday with his mother and me. He seemed more concerned about the football team than anything else so we thought seeing you two might help."
I'd talked to my parents yesterday? I didn't remember that.
"Sounds like John," Mike smiled. "He eats, sleeps and breaths football."
"Just like some others I know," my father teased, but he didn't smile. His expression was worried as he continued to watch me.
"How is he?" Mike asked, obviously meaning me.
"He was better yesterday, but the doctors had to up his medication last night because he had a relapse," my father replied. "Oh the other hand he's awake, which at one point the doctors were confident would never happen."
"I'm sure he'll be fine in time Mr. Simmons," Mike said, placing his hand on my father's shoulder.
"Me too," my father replied, sounding less certain than he did when he was talking to the doctor. At least my memory of waking up that time was still intact. I was betting that the upping of my medication somehow robbed me of my memory of yesterday. I wondered how many other times I'd come awake and no longer remembered.
"Why don't you talk to him about football?" my father said, patted Mike's hand before moving away from me to make room for them. "He'd like that."
"We played our first game last night," Jimmy began. "We won, but it wasn't the same without you." He proceeded to tell me about some of the key plays in the game. It was killing me that I missed it, but his talking did make me feel better.
"Of course, you know Coach Riley," Mike sighed. "We beat the other team by two touch downs and he still spent the entire bus ride back telling us what we did wrong." I didn't quite shake my head. Coach Riley was a character. He wasn't my favorite guy in the world, but he did get results.
"Sounds...like...him," I was finally able to force out. My voice sounded terrible to me, but both Jimmy and Mike smiled when they heard. Pop looked relieved. I was able to squeak out a few more words during their visit, but quickly grew tired. I don't remember them leaving, so either I passed out somewhere in the middle or the medication robbed me of the rest of their visit.
"Good morning John." I opened my eyes and there was a young woman standing by the door looking at me with an expression that seemed to me a little too intent. I had no idea who she was. She seemed very young. Her hair was brown and she had pretty blue eyes.
"Hi," I croaked. My voice sounded like I hadn't used it in a long time. I still felt terrible, but I knew I was getting better. It was just slow going. "How long have I been out of it?"
Whoever she was, she ignored my question. Instead, she moved closer. Something about her expression made me think she wasn't as young as I originally guessed. She surprised me by taking my chin in her hand and holding my head steady. My heart beat faster. I thought she was going to kiss me.
"You're not that lucky," she laughed. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I didn't like her tone. I reached up to push her hand away. It took some effort. It was then that her eyes locked with mine. I froze. I'm not even sure why. She starred into my eyes for what felt like an eternity before releasing my chin and stepped back. I suddenly regained control of my body. My hand flopped back down on the bed.
"What just happened?" I frowned, feeling oddly confused.
"Nothing much," the girl shrugged. "The three hags are in a lather. They keep saying something big has changed, but they can't name it, which frankly, should be impossible. They think it has something to do with grandmother, but she's become even more of a recluse than usual."
"What?" I asked, my confusion growing.
"Don't worry about it," the girl said. "You're clearly just a confused eighteen year old."
"What else should I be?" I frowned.
"Older," she replied. "And somewhat jaded, at least according to your friend Rodger."
"Huhn? Rodger who?" I asked. She didn't bother responding. I tried to understand what she was talking about, but it was a waste of time. I did come to the conclusion that either I was losing it or she was. I shook my head and decided that it was her. There was definitely something not quite right with this one, which was a shame. She was pretty hot. I found myself attracted to her despite the oddity of the situation. I was guessing that she'd be pretty crazy in bed.
"You have no idea," she smirked, her eyes once more focused on me. Had I said that out loud?
"Certainly not about you," I snorted, not knowing how to take this girl, but too tired to try and figure her out any longer. "Why are you here?"
"Be thankful I am," she replied. "Mother sent me to do more than just make sure you're who you think you are. She also sent me to speed up the healing process."
"What are you talking about?" I asked in frustration.
"Don't worry about it," she smiled. I was about to try another question when she placed her hands on my head. I was stunned speechless, not with pain or pleasure, but with simple relief. I hadn't realized how much discomfort I was in until it was gone. I was unconscious a moment later.
"Three weeks? I've been out of it for three weeks? What about football?" I knew it was a silly thing to say considering how close to death everyone said I had been, but I'd put a lot of effort into getting in shape this summer. I wanted to go to a good college and was banking on at least a partial scholarship. Three weeks meant that the season had already started. It meant that someone else had my position. I bet it was that prick Brian! Asshole!
"The team somehow survived without you," mother said, rolling her eyes. Pop frowned. He understood.
"That's not important right now," he said in the tone he used when he wanted me to know what he was saying was important. "What is important is you getting better and out of this place." Pop was right. I knew he was, but it was hard.
"I feel fine, great even," I said, knowing he didn't quite believe me. Neither had the doctors who came in earlier. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I didn't want to rehash this argument again, but one point stuck in my craw.
"How can the doctors have no idea what happened?" I asked yet again. According to my parents one minute I was in class listening to Mr. Hardgrove and the next I was having convulsions on the floor until I finally fell into a coma. That was pretty much all anyone knew.
"John, I know this is difficult to accept, but getting angry isn't going to help," my father said. Again, I knew he was right, but knowing and accepting were two different things. I felt lost and confused. I loved my parents, but they weren't helping. I knew who might.
"Where's Tiff?" I asked, and saw my parents exchange an odd look. "She's okay, isn't she?"
"She's fine," my mother said, obviously annoyed for some reason. I knew it wasn't at me, but that left only my girlfriend which didn't make sense. Mom liked Tiffany.
"We called her and let her know you're awake," pop added. "She's planning on visiting as soon as the doctors say it's okay." That didn't make sense. Why would the doctors let Mike and Jimmy visit and not Tiffany?
"Doctors? What do they know! I want to see her," I snapped.
"Not yet," my father said in a tone that brooked no argument. He didn't understand. I loved Tiffany and needed to see her, but I knew him well enough to know arguing would be pointless. I couldn't wait until next year when I went away to school and finally got my freedom. I loved my parents, but sometimes they were a little overbearing.
"John, you have no idea how happy I am to see you awake and yourself once more," my mother said, changing the subject as she reached out and squeezing my hand. I knew she was doing it on purpose, but the concern in her eyes was very real. So were the sudden tears. "We'd thought we lost you."
"Mom, I don't know what happened, but I'm fine now," I said, meeting her eyes and letting her see that I was serious. I forgot my annoyance at being denied a visit by my girlfriend. "I'll be out of here in no time."
"I hope so," she smiled through misty eyes. My own threatened to well up, but I forced myself to smile instead.
"Just be sure to have some of your stew ready," I joked. "I'm going to need to bulk up after lying in bed so long."
"I'll make your father stop on the way home so we can get the ingredients," she grinned. "This way I can make it whenever you finally leave this place."
"Speaking of which," I said looking at my father.
"I'm not sure," he shrugged. "The doctors still want to take more tests, but I think they'll be done before the week is out."
"Another week?" I cried in disbelief. "No way!"
"John, you'll stay until they say it's okay for you to go," my father insisted. I wanted to argue, but I knew it was a lost cause.
"Fine!" I snapped. "I'll stay one more week, but if they can't find anything wrong with me I'm out of here next weekend and back on the football team." My mother hesitated at responding, but my father nodded.
"Agreed," he said. "If they can't find anything wrong with you and you're in good enough shape."
"I am," I said confidently. "If they'd let me get out of this bed I'd prove it to you."
"We'll see," my father said, giving me a kiss on the forehead.
"We'll be back tomorrow with your sister," mom added as she kissed my cheek. "Cindy has been very worried about you."
"Tell her to give me a call when you get home," I sighed. "I'll convince her I'm okay."
"You'll talk to her tomorrow," my father said pointedly. "Right now, you need to rest."
"Dad, I'm fine. Really," I argued.
"John, I'm your father," he said in that tone. "You've been through a lot whether you want to admit it or not. I don't know what happened to you, but it obviously took a lot out of you. Give yourself a chance to heal." I wanted to argue, but there was no point. Pop could be stubborn sometimes. The weird part was that I really didn't feel tired.
"You can't be serious!" I snapped. How could everything fall apart in a mere three weeks? Okay, four weeks if you include my week long battle with the doctors to leave. They'd finally agreed to let me out when they exhausted every test known to man and all the results came back normal. They were calling it another miracle, but I could care less just as long as I was out of the hospital the next morning. I told my parents earlier in the day and that's when dad told me Tiffany was stopping by.
"John, I'm sorry," Tiffany said. She looked beautiful as always, but that only made things worse. "I didn't plan this. So much has happened since school started. First there was your fit and coma, and then the whole Rodger Williams' thing."
"What Rodger Williams' thing?" I frowned in confusion.
"You mean you don't know?" She asked in surprise.
"I know Rodger," I frowned. "I mean, we're friends, but not really that close. What happened?"
"I probably shouldn't tell you," she sighed, but then continued. "He killed his father and then committed suicide about a week into the school year. Turns out his old man was beating up on him and his mother."
"Wow," I said. "That's terrible."
"Yeah," Tiffany agreed. "He left a suicide note. The police aren't releasing the details, but he supposedly mentioned something about you and your coma in it."
"I wonder what?" I frowned. Tiffany just shrugged. We both fell silent for a few moments, but despite the sad news about my classmate, I couldn't help focusing on my own personal hell.
"So, I fall into a coma and you dump me," I said slowly. "Interesting."
"John, I know it feels that way to you," Tiffany said slowly. "But let's be honestly. We've only been dating a few months and Brad..."
"That reminds me," I interjected angrily. "Tell your new boyfriend to expect a visit from me as soon as I'm out of this place!"
"Do you really hate me that much?" Tiffany asked.
"Not you, him," I replied succinctly. "I love you. You know that Tiff." She looked at me for a moment.
"If that's true, then let me go," she said softly. "And leave Brad alone. Neither one of us planned on this happening, but he was there for me."
"I bet!" I snorted.
"John, it wasn't like that," Tiffany sighed. "Brad and I have always been good friends. You know that. He's your friend too."
"Was my friend," I growled. "Before he stole my girl."
"Oh John! Grow up!" she snapped suddenly, but then calmed down remarkable fast and added far more softly, "I had to this last month." She was staring off into space as her expression turned forlorn. "You fell into a coma and the doctors had no idea what happened, but it was bad. They weren't out and out saying it, but it was obvious that they thought you would never come out of it. " This wasn't the girl I remembered. Tiffany had changed. There was something different about her. I could almost feel bad for her. Then again, she was breaking up with me.
"And this made you want to dump me for Brad?" I asked.
"No," she replied, looking at me once more. "But you have no idea what I went through. Brad was there for me when you got sick and he was there for me when the whole situation with Rodger happened. It was after Rodger's funeral that we..."
"You know what Tiff," I said, cutting her off. It was too hard to hear her continue. I was done feeling bad for her. "Save it. Say what you want, but the bottom line is that I fell into a coma and you fell in love with another guy. I got it. Have a nice life."
Tiffany tried to say something else, but I rolled over in my bed and ignored her. She gave up and left after a few minutes. I lay there feeling miserable. The only saving grace was that I'd be out of the hospital and able to get my life back together tomorrow.
I decided that the best thing I could so was forget Tiffany and focus on the important stuff in life like making the football team and getting a scholarship. The rest of my life depended on it. I had plans and nothing was going to screw them up.
"John! Done with your Sleepy Beauty bit I see," Jimmy grinned as we bumped into each other in the school parking lot. "Nice to see have you back."
"Nice to be back," I smiled as I locked the car door. "And thanks for visiting." This was my senior year and I was looking forward to it despite everything that had happened. "How are things going?"
"Okay," he shrugged, but then he smiled and added, "Of course, we could use a good outside linebacker."
"What about Brian?" I asked. I knew I was better than Brian on my worst day, but I was afraid it would take time to convince the coach and frankly, I didn't have a lot of that to play with. I'd already missed three games.
"He did pretty good," Jimmy replied. "But he's not you. Besides, he blew out his knee last game."
"That sucks," I frowned. I never much cared for Brian, but a blown knee was serious shit.
"For him," my friend grinned. "For you, not so much."
"That's just wrong," I said, but then laughed. I was relieved despite feeling bad for Brian because now I wouldn't have to waste time getting my position back. It looked like I hadn't totally blown my chance at a scholarship. Besides, I was looking forward to playing. Jimmy and I bullshitted for a few minutes as we made our way out of the parking lot.
"I've got to go," he said as we neared the school. "I'm meeting Jenny in the cafeteria." I didn't quite roll my eyes. He'd been trying to get into her pants since sophomore year. He didn't have a prayer.
"Good luck with that," I snorted. "She's so out of your league."
"Don't I know it," he laughed. "But a guy has to hope."
"If you say so," I replied with a shake of my head.
"See you after school at practice."
"For sure," I said as we went our separate ways.