tagRomanceA Gray Area Ch. 09

A Gray Area Ch. 09


Was he serious?

Was all this really happening to her? She had trusted him. Trusted him with everything. With all of her deepest and darkest secrets. She had given him things she never thought to give anyone around her. And there right in front of her, he sold her out. He looked her in the eyes and sold out everything to his friends. She felt sick to her stomach.

"Are you serious, Jon? You swear to God she said all that?" Michael Brosier was asking. He had just recovered from a hysterical fit of laughing and looked exhausted and red faced. She looked back at Jon who was sweating. He was on some sort of drug but that didn't make it any better. "Yup," he answered matter-of-factly. His words were slightly slurred. "In her own fucking bedroom. I pounded the shit out of that." He admitted, laughing. His friends began laughing again and she did the only thing she knew how to do. She stood there. She took it. Every gruesome syllable of it.

"And get this," Jon added. "Her mom doesn't even know that I go up there. Her mom thinks I'm a fucking angel. And she has no idea that I'm fucking her angel." Caden wanted to roll her eyes. That wasn't funny but she supposed that if she were a pathetic loser she would laugh at that too.

Jon stumbled back and fell on his butt to the ground. He was definitely on a drug. A good one. Michael Brosier and his friends, Todd and Cal advanced on her, getting as close as they could. "Who woulda known that little Caden was a secret whore? A little naughty girl that likes it from naughty boys." Todd put his arm around her and leaned close to her ear. His breath reeked. Morning breath with a shot of sauerkraut and onions. Sick. She looked at Jon. His head was down on the concrete. He had passed out probably. Whatever drug he was on was the same one Michael and his buddies had popped. Only Jon didn't seem too used to it like his buddies were. Jon was sweating profusely and when he talked he would shake his head as if clearing his vision.

Whatever drug it was that was working through his system, he was trying to fight. He was losing, but he was definitely trying to fight it.

Todd licked Caden's ear and she jerked away from him only to be jerked back. "Stay still—what was it? Kitten?" At her nickname she felt her stomach churn. He had spilled everything to them. From their midnight visits to her nickname. What did he keep a secret?

In front of her, Michael un-zipped his pants, letting them drop to the floor. "Oh, Caden, my daddy died, please hold me, love me, need me, suck my fucking cock." All his words had been delicate and sincere except for the last four. Caden glanced across the street. Passed the gate her porch light was on. Someone was home. She just wanted to get home. Up to now she had kept her mouth shut but she wasn't so sure she could keep the act up.

"C'mon, Cady. Show me some of that hospitality I've heard so much about. I need some love." He was going to ditch the boxers soon. Caden's mind was buzzing, the shock of Jon's involuntary betrayal playing continuously in her mind.

Michael hooked his fingers in his boxers. They were going down. He was urging her on more but she would wait. Down they went. Around his ankles.


Caden freed her hand from Todd's weak grip and launched her fist right at the half naked mans baby making factory. A crackled howl permeated the air as Michael clutched his balls, and possibly broken instrument, as if they would fall off. The howl had been quick and Caden was sure, as she stood up, Todd and Cal running to the mans side, that he had lost consciousness.

No one made a comment when Caden opened her gate and stepped through. She looked back at Jon before closing the gate and walking to the house. She had planned on telling him tonight. C.K. had bought a ticket for New York. The flight was for next month but she had the airport on speed dial. As soon she got in her room, save for a few minutes talking to her mom, she called the airport, pulled a few strings, and had her ticket re-dated. They would hold her ticket for her.

Her flight left in the morning for 9:30. It was 1:30. She packed her things as quickly as she could and was settled into bed by 3. She didn't want to come back to this place. Everything was so plain. The colors around had turned bland over the hour and a half of her packing. Her purple room and taken on a grayish tint to it. Her purple bed was grayish. When she looked in the mirror her light chocolate skin and light brown short hair was grayish. Was she going blind?


She wasn't. She knew she wasn't.

She was just seeing things for how they were. Dull and boring. Meaningless and bland. Ugly, dreary and gray.


The hospital was a scary place. Caden had learned that last year. The hospital was a place that you never wanted to go because good things never came from it. If you went to the hospital, you could probably expect a worse case scenario. Which was exactly what she was waiting to hear. Her mom had long since been out of the E.R. but no one had yet to come to her about anything. She watched the surgeons wheel her mother out. It didn't look like they cut anything open or off but she looked very sickly. Her normal brown skin had a grayish tint to it at the sight of seeing her, Deity had burst into tears again for the third time that night. Each time brought Caden a little bit further to her own breakdown. Again.

Everyone took a separate part of the hospital room. Collin leaned against the wall, gazing out the window. Jon sat on the floor next to the bed. Shane crowded the doorframe and Deity sat close to him. Not because she wanted to but because he had dragged her chair from across the room over to him the last time she broke into tears. He needed her within arms length. It was obvious now that Candice Winter was going to live so slowly Deity was able to compose herself and was needing less and less help from the detective. Despite that she still looked fragile. Her skin had taken a pale, sickly color, her eyes looked flat and were red from irritation of the tears. Sometime during midnight Shane had taken her down to the cafeteria and forced her to eat something, which apparently hadn't done any good. Jon had woken her minutes later with a pack of carrots, dip and lemonade in his hand. Carefully, she had eaten the snack, taking one hour just to finish one carrot.

Of course she would have an appetite. She was in a room with her mother who was in some sort of coma.

Not a damn doctor had come in yet. Over the hour, Caden's patients had steadily declined till finally: "Have they said anything to any of you? Why am I still in this hospital and I don't what the hell is wrong with my mom?"

All attention was on her. Deity sat up in her seat, glancing at Shane then her sister. The same thing was on her mind but it was obvious she hadn't wanted to say anything. "They're probably still running tests," Shane reasoned.

"They should still hypothesize with us. What do they think it is? What the hell is in that IV? Something. Tell us something." Jon's head had been lulling in his hands when he looked up at her. She knew he was staring but she made it a point not to meet his hazel stare. She needed a distraction. The constant beeping on her mothers heart monitor was like Chinese water torture. She pulled out her cell phone.

Jason had yet to call her back. Her and Jon had arrived at the hospital a little passed midnight. It was eight in the morning now. He had to be home. If he was, he knew where she was. Why hadn't he called?

She pressed the three key on her phone and it speed dialed his number. It rang twice before he answered.

"Maldonado," he answered. She felt a flood of relief that quickly entailed another emotion. Anger. She excused herself from the room before beginning her conversation.

"I'm still at the hospital," she explained. No 'hey baby' or 'I miss you'. No. She needed to get to the point.

"I figured that. When are you coming home?"

"My ma is still here," 'in case you forgot' she was dieing to add. Of course he forgot.

"Oh yeah," Oh yeah? What? "How is she? She gonna live?" She could hear the smile in his voice. Had that been a joke about her mothers well being?

"I'm kidding, babe," he sounded as if he expected her to laugh at it now. An awkward silence past between them.

"Why didn't you come to the hospital after you got off work?" She asked.

"Baby, I was so tired. I came straight home and slept—"

"While I sat in a hospital chair dozing off, with the smell of rubbing alcohol wafting in the air like freshly baked bread from a bakery. You don't think I was tired too? You could have come here with me and been a pillow for me. I'm sure your job would understand." She waited for his answer.

"No, Caden, they wouldn't understand. Some things are just more important, babe. This is my future I am holding in my hands here. I'm not going to let some incident take my dreams out of my hand." That was the last thing she had expected to hear. An 'I'm sorry' would have been fine. This was new. This was different. This was Jason. The part of him that she had so generously looked beyond when she examined him.

"Your future, huh, Jay? Not ours anymore. Yours. Not our dreams. Yours. Do you love me, Jay?" she asked, quietly.

The man on the other end of the line sighed. "Baby, stop being like this. I have to go to work and I don't want to go in a bad mood. Don't ask me stupid questions right now, please." Caden laughed at that. She had to or else she would cry. "Stupid questions?" she echoed. "Bad mood? My mom is in the hospital and your concerned about your mood? What is wrong with you? Two days ago you were per—well, lets make that two months ago, you were the man of my dreams. Suddenly we come to Cali and your...Well you're you, aren't you? This is the Jason that I always knew was hiding in there but I never thought had the guts to rear his ugly head. Wow. I'm blind. I'll call you later Jason." She didn't wait for him to say anything more. She simply hung up.

C.K. stood outside her mother's hospital room waiting for some sort of sign. Something that would be a banner for 'I told you so. I told you he was a total asshole.' But it didn't come and she knew exactly why. Because it didn't take banner and a marching band to display the obvious. Some sort of ghost had possessed Jason overnight. Now he wasn't Jason. He just looked like him. Didn't really sound like him but definitely looked like him.

Caden could see inside that Deity had moved across the room, closer to her mother. Shane had been keeping close tabs on her, which Caden was beyond thankful for. Things seemed to be looking up for them. Maybe Deity would give in. Maybe she would direct all her anger and hatred to kindness and love for Shane.

The hallways in the hospital were long. Unlike downstairs, things in the upstairs rooms were calmer. People walked aimlessly up and down the hallways, every so often peeking into a room to see who inhabited it. Caden followed suit. She needed to sit down and review things in her mind. She found a sitting area a few hallways over and took a seat next to the wall, pulling her legs up into the seat with her.

She needed a pillow.

She needed...Jon. He had been such a big help for the last couple of hours. She had lied to Jason a little. She hadn't exactly dozed off in a chair. It was more Jon's shoulder. It was so funny how quickly things had changed between them. The week before she hadn't wanted to hear his name but now she wanted to go back to the way things had been with them. Back when she could talk to him and tell him everything and he would tell her things about his mom and dad. Or listen to him play a song on his guitar. Something that would make the present go away. She wanted to slip back to a time when she didn't have half the problems she did now.

"You want a friend?" Jon asked, taking a seat next to her. She hadn't heard him come up. His hazel eyes looked passed her face and seemingly into her soul. She worried for a second that he could see what she was thinking. "Yeah," she nodded and gave him a weak smile. "That'd be nice."

"I'm kinda worried. The doc hasn't come and in said anything. We've been in that room for a while."

"Yeah, I don't know. I don't know what to feel or think or say about anything." Jon scrunched his eyebrows. He shifted in his seat to get a better look at her. Caden looked down at her feet. "I have never felt so weird before. Like...I've failed in some way. And not like you fail a test. I failed because I knew but I ignored. You know?" He didn't, she knew, but he looked as if he were listening intently. "I feel like a guy that knows he has high cholesterol but still goes to McDonalds everyday then one day he has a stroke and dies and he's explaining to whoever he has to answer to that he knew, he just didn't care. He ignored it." Jon held her gaze for a few seconds before his lips turned into a smile. Then he laughed. "That is the weirdest analogy I have ever heard." Caden looked down at her feet trying to hide the big smile that played on her lips.

"Yeah, but it fits. I knew Jason was an asshole. Some how I knew that everything he had been before was an act but because I was so eager to find someone...I looked passed it," she glanced at him then scoffed. "I must sound so desperate."

"No, you don't. You just sound like you needed someone to talk to and you thought you found him but you didn't. People make mistakes, kitten."

He called her kitten again but she ignored it. It didn't bother her much anymore. That was all he called her when they were younger. Why break an old tradition?

"I'm sorry," Jon said quietly. When they met eyes he shrugged. "I'm sorry," he repeated. "For what, Jon?" She knew but she wanted him to say it. She liked the way it played off of his lips.

"You know for what. I hurt you. You know I did. And I know you still haven't forgiven me. So I'm making amends. I know you don't wanna be my friend—" She opened her mouth to say something but he raised a hand to stop her. "Let me finish. I know you don't wanna be my friend so I just want to let you know I'm sorry. I don't want you to have anything extra filling up your plate right now. You deserve better."

Finally she spoke. "I'm sorry too," she got the words out with a sharp nod. "For being a total bitch to you."

'"Don't say that. You weren't being a bitch. You were just making sure you didn't get hurt again"

"Same difference," She laughed out. "I wasn't giving you a chance and I know I should have. And I really didn't mean that comment about us not being friends." The last words had to be grinded out. She winced a little when she met his eyes again. Was he gonna laugh at her and say 'I knew you wanted me!'

"So we can be –"

"No," She cut him off before he could finish. She couldn't bear to hear him ask. Jon rubbed his palms on his jeans. "So...now that we have a newly restored friendship. When your mom gets out of the hospital how about we go and get some coffee?" Caden assumed her face held a look of surprise because Jon quickly added "As friends."


"Yeah, um, hot chocolate for me though. You know I don't drink coffee." Jon nodded, laughing. "How could I forget?"

"Ms. Kristoff?" A pepper haired man bent down to her height on the chair and extended a hand. "I'm Dr. McKeen. Your mother's doctor. If you'll follow me into the room I'll explain to you what's going on with your mother." The man had kind eyes and Caden took his hand gladly. "I'm so sorry that no one came to get you sooner." He began walking. Caden and Jon jumped up to follow behind him. He glanced at the two behind him before speaking again. "I can understand how angry you must be, Ms. Kristoff."

Caden sped up to walk along side the man. He walked as if he were in a marathon. "No, I'm really not, Dr. McKeen. I'd just like to know what's wrong with my mom." Dr. McKeen entered Candice's hospital room abruptly. Deity, obviously startled, stood up quickly. "What's wrong with her?" No greeting. Straight to the point. Her pale features were marred with anxiety. Her face was still shiny despite the tears that had long since dissipated.

"Well," Dr. Mckeen began, as he walked over to Candice. He put the blue stethoscope that had been hanging around his neck to Candice's chest, listening to her breathing. "Well, if you hadn't noticed before, she is sleeping." Deity relaxed visibly. "If she were in a coma we would have put her in the upstairs ward," he added. "When she arrived we ran some tests. Tested her blood and her sugar levels. It was more than obvious that she had gone into a diabetic coma. It seems she hadn't been keeping up her insulin—"

Caden put up a hand. McKeen quit talking. "I'm sorry, but did you say insulin?"

"Yes." Caden laughed, shaking her head. "I'm sorry, Dr. McKeen. My mother doesn't take insulin, she doesn't have diabetes."

McKeen flipped through the chart he held in his hand. His forehead wrinkled in concentration. He nodded then tapped a sentence he must have been looking at. "Apparently she does, Ms. Kristoff. Type 2."

"That's impossible," Deity cut in. "I live with her and I have never, not once, seen her shoot up." Everyone in the room turned to Deity. "...On insulin." She finished

"Is it possible that there is a mistake? Ma would tell us if she had something like diabetes. I mean, how do you hide that?"

Dr. McKeen looked overwhelmed. He put his hands out in front of him. "Ladies, ladies. There is no mistake. Candice Kristoff-Winter has been a diabetic since July last year. How she kept it from all of you is beyond me."

"Me too," Collin added. Deity punched him in the arm. "Type 2 diabetes?" the words had been echoing in Caden's mind. She had to try them out loud. "She could have died." Those four words through a tension into the air. A tension that made everyone ask the same question. What had she been thinking? Deity had been in the house for the last few weeks and Candice had not even thought to mention her ailment. Collin came by the mansion at least once a week, even if Caden or Deity weren't there, and the older women hadn't even attempted to mention it to him either. And she hadn't taken her insulin.

Was she trying to kill herself?

"Since this is new for all of you, I'll leave you alone until Candice wakes up." McKeen removed himself from the room, mumbling an apology on the way out. Caden leaned against the door the doc had just exited. In her mind she tried to make sense of everything. "Ma wouldn't try and kill herself, would she?" C.K. hated how her voice sounded. Childish and hurt. Vulnerable. Jon must have heard it because he moved closer to her. Close enough to feel the warmth of his body. She wanted to close her eyes and sleep. Sleep against Jon. His smell was comforting and memorable. A solace for her in these difficult times. She felt as if he were a chess piece and was slowly making his way closer to her side of the board. Moving stealthily closer to her heart. But not so stealthily that she didn't notice it. She did. What scared her is that she allowed it. Removing herself from the door, she allowed herself to lay her head on Jon's strong shoulder. He was tense for a second before snaking an arm around her, bringing her closer.

Her rhetorical question hung in the air like a cloud of noxious gas. No one wanted to answer. No one dared. Caden closed her eyes and mind to the monotonous lullaby of her mother heart monitor. Instead she allowed herself to slide down to Jon's chest and listen to the melodic loveliness of Jon's heartbeat.

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