“What are we supposed to do?” I ask.
“We either sit and help him through this or we drop him off at a detox centre.” Mike scratches the back of his head. “But things are going to get a lot worse, in the next few days he’ll become extremely agitated, he’s going to get extremely sick. He will be puking non stop. Shaking all the time, it will physically hurt him. He’s going to get depressed, have constant anxiety. The emotional stress alone will probably cause him to break and go back out.”
“I don’t think he wants to quit.” I say.
“Then there’s nothing we can do.” Mike shrugs.
“How do you know so much about this?” I ask.
“Just some research.” Mike says walking away. I follow behind him as we go outside to the back deck. He lights a smoke and passes me one.
“Why would you being do research on heroin withdrawals? That’s kind of weird.” I say lighting my cigarette.
“Remember Alyssa?” Mike asks.
“Wasn’t she the girl who went to our school last year and ended up getting shipped off?” I ask.
“Yeah, I was seeing her for a while. She got caught in the wrong crowd and she started using drugs with them. She ended up getting hooked on opiates. She didn’t realize what she was taking until it was too late. She went through withdrawals and I sat with her. I didn’t go to school, I didn’t do anything but stay with her. I missed a month of school, till the school caught us. They put me on an expulsion notice but I thought she was more important than anything else. Her parents had found out about all the time she had missed and the drugs. Next thing I knew they had shipped her across the country so she could live with her grandparents. She called me once to say she had moved on but I haven’t heard from her since.”
“Wait what?” I ask. “I had no idea. Why didn’t you say anything before?”
“You never asked.” Mike replies. “Wasn’t that your answer? When I asked why you didn’t tell me you were a virgin?”
I nod, putting my head down.
“There’s a lot we have to learn about each other.” Mike says taking a drag of his smoke, and pulling me in close to his chest.
“I’m sorry about her by the way, that really sucks.” I wrap my arms around him.
“It is what it is. I was angry for a long time about it, not knowing what happened to her, never hearing from her. And then I got the phone call. It was shitty but I got as much closure as you can from a thirty second phone call. At least it was something.” He gives me a slight squeeze.
“Anything you would have done differently?” I ask.
“I shouldn’t have dealt with it alone. I should have told her family when I found out, or at least taken her to the hospital. Watching her go through that was torture.” He replies.
“I think we should take Ronnie to a treatment centre or do something. You shouldn’t have to go through that shit again.” I say.
We finish our smokes and go back inside. Ronnie is half asleep on the couch.
“Ronnie.” I say walking over to the couch with Mike.
“It’s time isn’t it?” Ronnie says sitting up. Me and Mike both nod our heads. “That’s okay. I know I can’t do this shit forever anyways.”
He grunts as he tries to stand up. Me and Mike both help him stand up. We bring him to the car and buckle him in. Mike drives him to the detox centre downtown while I sit at home. I wouldn’t be very much help.
I sit in the living room and wait for Mike to return. After ten minutes I turn on the tv. I flip through the channels and see Harry potter is playing. It reminds me of the night me and Mike watched it. I should call Vic and see how Abuela is doing. I grab my phone and dial Vic’s number. After a few rings it goes to voicemail. I frown, he must still be mad at me. I need to tell him the truth. I call again but there’s no answer. I give up, put my phone on the couch and go outside for a smoke. I sit on the edge of the rails, and light my cigarette. I stare at the ocean in the distance. Why is he ignoring me? I take another drag. I feel like I really screwed up. I want to tell him that I’m inlove with Mike but I don’t know how to without hurting him.
After finishing my smoke I walk back inside. I check my phone.
TWO MISSED CALLS
I call dial Vic’s number. Here goes nothing. It rings once, I hear the shakiness in his voice when he answers my call.
“Hey Vic, are you okay? ” I worry. “What’s going on?”
“Yeah I’m fine.” He says but it sounds like he’s been crying.
“Are you sure you’re okay? Did something happen to Abuela?” I continue to worry.
“She had another seizure an hour ago, that’s her third one in the past two days. The doctors here have no idea what the problem is, it feels like they aren’t even trying. They just her blood work and say they don’t know why she’s having them. They won’t do their fucking jobs.” His tone went from sad and worry to anger on the flip of a dime.
“I’m sure they are trying to find what the problem is, these things take time.” I try to reassure him.
“No they aren’t trying, they have millions of tests. It’s because she’s an elderly minority. They don’t give a shit.” Vic vents.
“Try to think positive.” I coo.
“It’s hard to think positive when I’m surrounded by incompetent doctors. I probably won’t be home for another week. They keep saying they want to keep her another night, but they say that every night.” Vic calms down a little. He never gets mad, it’s weird to hear him like this.
“Sounds like you need someone there.” I say. “I’ll see if on Saturday or Sunday if Mike wants to take a slight road trip so that we can come and visit. I know he really wants to be there.”
“Trust me no one wants to be here right now, this whole situation is just very stressful.” Vic says. I wanted to tell him about Mike but I can’t when he’s already feeling bad that would just make it a hundred times worse. I love Vic and I care for him deeply but not the way I feel for Mike. He just so.. Ugh.
“Spencer you there?” Vic asks.
“Yeah I am sorry, just had to put out my smoke.” I say.
“You’re still smoking? I thought you said you were going to quit?” Vic asks.
“Yeah, yeah I know. It’s bad for me.” I roll my eyes.
“Is Mike there?” The way Vic says his name puts me off. It makes me feel guilty.
“No, he’s out right now.” I say.
“Oh that’s weird where is he?” Vic asks. Obviously I can’t tell him where Mike actually is. Like oh Vic he’s dropping Ronnie off at a detox centre in a bad neighbourhood where Ronnie was most likely shot this morning because he was going through withdrawals from heroin. Because that would go over so well. Thinking about the events of this morning drives me crazy. I keep getting these terrible flashbacks of all the blood. The image of him laying on the floor half-dead with a bloody handprint on the wall beside him is burned into my brain. Vic would freak out if he knew what happened.
“Ronnie came over for a bit today so he’s just dropping him off at home.” I lie.
“Ah, he still hangs out with that guy?” Vic continues.
“Yeah.” I laugh a little.
“One sec.” Vic says I can hear muffled voices in the background. “I gotta go call me tomorrow!”
“Bye!” I say before hanging up. I sit outside for another half an hour before deciding I need to relax. I should grab a towel and get into the hot tub.
Just as I go inside Mike walks in the front door.
“How did it go?” I ask.
“It went surprisingly well.” Mike shrugs.
“Well that’s good.” I say hugging Mike. “I was just gonna hop in the hot tub if you wanna join.”
“Ooo definitely.” Mike says. “You go in there, I’ll be right behind you. With towels.”
“Okay.” I kiss him and walk back outside. I strip completely, put my phone on the stand next to the hot tub and lift the cover off. I turn the jets on max and climb inside. I lay back in the corner and relax. The jets create thousands of white bubbles over the surface of the water.
After a few minutes Mike comes outside in his swim shorts, with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a couple of joints in the other.
“Damn baby you treat me so fine.” I say giggling. He passes me a lighter and a joint as he steps into the water. He rests the bottle of whiskey on the little table beside us. He sits in the corner beside me.
“Why don’t you come a bit closer?” I smirk.