It's Gerard's party time. As the kids party the night away and have the time of their lives, little do they know about the tragedy that lies just around the corner, literally.
Finally the doctor came out, and we all spun around to his direction and looked up at him with pleading eyes. The doctor sighed as he looked down at his clip board. He looked back up and took a deep breath.
"I'm afraid I have grave concerns for his chances of survival."
"Hurry up..." Frank quietly whinged to himself. We were sitting outside in the courtyard, mindlessly sipping away at our non-alcoholic drinks as we waited impatiently for the workers to leave for the day so we could set up for Gerard's birthday party.
"So how are we going to do this?" I quietly asked him. "Everyone's going to leave in ten or fifteen minutes, then what?"
"Jerry's gonna go get the booze for us while we remove anything that could get broken."
"The gardener?" I asked.
"He's getting his worth out of it." He said as he took a sip. "He's getting half an ounce."
"Of?" I asked confused. Frank grinned and looked at me.
"Weed, ya knob. What else would I be paying him with in terms of an ounce?"
"I dunno... Baby formula?"
"Baby formula?!" Frank snorted. "The fuck would he do with formula?"
I shrugged and smiled at my own naivety as we watched the workers pack up their stuff for the day.
"Alright, Frank and Rachel," Agnes came out through the french doors. "Billy and I are leaving for the night. We'll be back in the morning. Don't get up to any mischief you two. I'm fuckin' warning ya! There'll be trouble."
"There won’t be any trouble, Agnes." Frank smiled. I just smiled sweetly at her. I was a horrible liar so I just kept my mouth shut.
She looked down her glasses at us and shook her finger before waddling back inside to yell at Billy to hurry up.
Jerry walked up to us as he took off his gardening gloves and had a quick glance around, and peeped inside to make sure no one was loitering around. "So, what exactly am I getting for you?"
"Here's a list." Frank said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper with a list on it. Jerry quickly scanned it and frowned.
"You want me to get all of this?" He questioned.
"Yup." Frank smiled up at him as he grabbed a cigarette and lit it up. "I'd rather have too much than not enough. The money is in your bag. You'll get the dope when you get back, I'd rather people didn't see me with it."
"Yeah fair enough." Jerry nodded as he folded the bit of paper up and shoved it into his pocket. "I think everyone’s done for the day anyway. I doubt anyone will be here when I get back. Catch you later."
I waved goodbye to him, and waited for my que to get up and get the place ready.
Finally the last person left for the night just as Frank put out his cigarette. We jumped up and started re-arranging the place.
About half way through, Jerry turned up with a whole load of booze. I froze and gawped as he and Frank set it all up like a bar. In fact, I wasn't sure if I had even seen that much alcohol in a mini bar.
"Enough alcohol much?" I asked in amazement.
"I hope so," Frank laughed.
"If you kids go through all of this tonight and still need more I will be horrendously surprised," Jerry laughed.
"So here we have all the good stuff in the shit end of the spectrum of bourbon and whiskey." Frank set up a display of all the bottles and ran his hands along the line of all the different types like a sales person. "There's Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Canadian Club; which is my favourite, by the way. These can all be mixed with coke, although CC is quite nice with ice and ginger ale."
I snorted at how professional he was trying to sound.
"And here we have Smirnoff Vodka. We have two bottles of 2L, I didn't get that much of it because I don't know if anyone actually likes Vodka. And last but not least, here we have the beast, Jagermeister."
"And what do you recommend I mix that with?" I giggled.
"Nothing. You harden the fuck up and drink it straight." I laughed as I got up to answer the knock at the door. It was Gerard. My face cracked into an enormous smile. I jumped up and hugged him, wrapping my legs around his waist; which almost caused him to drop his beer.
“Well hello to you too,” He laughed. He leaned over to put his beer down on the ground, and stood up right to give me a proper hug.
“I missed you,” I sighed.
“I missed you, too.” He kissed me on the cheek. “I’m sorry I wasn’t at school this week. After I got arrested, Dad and I went to Scotland for a few days to just chill out. I was a bit angsty after having to give your Dad an apology with that fucking smug look on his face the whole time.”
“I know your pain.” I smiled. “But! That’s done now. Can we just put the last few days behind us for tonight and just enjoy it.”
“How about we just put the last few days in the past and keep them there?” He sighed.
“Sounds good to me.” I jumped down and grabbed his beer with one hand and his hand with the other, and led him inside.
His jaw hit the floor as his eyes bulged out of his head, and he gazed around the room in amazement.
“This place is incredible!” He exclaimed.
“I know right! Who would’ve guessed Frank was the rich kid?”
“It reminds me of the Whipstaff Manor in Casper!”
I just looked up at him and nodded my head.
“You haven’t seen Casper, have you?” His face dropped.
I shook my head. He rolled his eyes and grinned.
“Hey bro!” Frank piped up and man-hugged Gerard.
As Gerard asked Frank a bunch of questions about the mansion, I grabbed the box of beer and put it in the mini fridge Jerry had set up next to the couches we had moved into the room next to the fountain.
“So is it like, you know, haunted?” Gerard asked as he sat down on one of the couches as I handed him a glass mix of Jim Beam and coke. I started to pour Frank one, too.
“No.” Frank giggled. “Would totally be cool if it was, though.”
“Fuck yeah.” Gerard took a sip. “You could host the most amazing Halloween party here.”
We had already had a few drinks when Bob and Ray showed up. I jumped up almost immediately and had them both bourbon and cokes each by the time they sat down.
After some chit chat and some more drinking, Frank grabbed a deck of cards and shuffled them. He straightened the deck up and placed in the middle of the table and spun it around so that the cards lay out in a perfect circle in front of us. The boys explained the rules of the game ‘Circle of Death’ (of which I hadn’t known up until then that our friends circle had been named after). Bob also made it quite clear that I had to pay immense amount of attention while they were explaining the rules to me as they wouldn’t be helping me out during an actual game. This is what royally screwed me over.
We didn’t notice that the hours had rolled by to just past midnight, and we were all pretty drunk. It was around about then we decided that it was a good idea to go out for a smoke.
As we all piled out Frank grabbed his phone to call Bonnie who hadn’t shown up yet. Bob poured Ray a full glass of straight Jim Beam and dared him to drink it. As Bob and Gerard cheered him on, in my tipsy state I followed Frank, who had put his phone on loud speaker, to the garden table and chair set in the courtyard.
“Where are you?” He asked, sounding pretty tipsy.
“Alicia’s,” She answered. There was a lot of noise in the background so there were obviously a lot of people there.
“Did you forget about Gerard’s birthday?”
“No.” She replied bluntly. “Alicia decided to have a party at her house so I decided to stay.”
“What about Gerard?” Frank took a massive swig of his drink.
“What about him?” She scoffed. Frank shook his head in surprise and I raised my eyebrows. “You should come over here.”
“No,” Frank started. “You should come over here. Where you said you would be, where you should be, with your real friends.”
“Alicia’s my friend now, Frank. She’s way cooler than the rest of them. I know that Rachel’s jealous and all, but meh. She’s not important anymore.”
Frank and I just looked at each other in absolute disbelief. Even in my nearly drunken state, I could still wonder where the hell the girl I grew up with wandered off to, it hurt a little, but the alcohol had numbed most of it, and I wasn’t sure if I actually comprehended what she said. Frank shook his head.
“I’m over this.” He said. “We were your real friends. You’ll soon find that out but I guess you know better. We’re over.”
And with that said; he hung up. Before I could say anything, he finished off what was left in his glass and got up. He headed for the drinking room and poured himself another drink. He came back out and raised his glass just as Ray had finished drinking his entire glass.
“Cheers to being single!” He shouted. Ray and Bob cheered, not really understanding what it was that Frank said. Gerard gave me a funny look and I walked over, shaking my head and mouthing the words ‘don’t ask’.
We finished our cigarettes and stumbled back inside. As we did, Ray grabbed a guitar that was sitting in the corner of the room and got up on top of the grand piano. He swayed side to side for a little bit before he started playing Led Zepplin’s Ramble On. He screamed the lyrics at the top of his lungs.
The other boys formed a sort-of mosh pit around the piano and started singing along also. I raced over to the couches and grabbed Frank’s camera to video the whole thing. Most of the film consisted of me laughing at them and how ridiculous they looked.
When Ray was done he bowed to his ‘crowd’ and we all cheered.
As I turned around to put the camera back down I noticed Billy and Agnes standing in the doorway. Wide mouthed and eyes wide open, bulging out of their heads.
Ray immediately stopped playing and jumped off the piano. He looked at Frank, who had only just turned around to see what we were all staring at. When he saw Billy and Agnes, he spat his drink out.
“You’re not supposed to be here!” He yelled.
“I don’t think you’re in a position to be who shouldn’t be here, boy.” Billy answered calmly with an eyebrow raised. Agnes put her bag down and crossed her arms.
“I can totally explain!” Frank panicked. He put his glass down on the piano and paced over to Billy and Agnes. “You see, uh… Uhm… Uh... Well… You know. Fuck. It’s Gerard’s birthday and we wanted to party.”
“I see.” Agnes said as she pulled her glasses down to the end of her nose, and peeked over the top of them and looked at Frank. “And you didn’t fookin’ think to mention this when we were leaving?”
“Can I ask what you are doing back?” Frank scratched the top of his head nervously.
“We were going to get a hotel in the city for the night. But everyone decided to party tonight out on the street, we couldn’t sleep.” Agnes answered. “Ah what the hell. You kids will find another way to party, we might as well supervise.”
I cracked a smile as I poured her and Billy a glass, and laughed as I realized that I had become the night’s personal bar maid.
They sat down on the couch and looked at us all, in our drunk states and grinned to themselves.
“Back in my day,” Billy started as we sat down with them. “I used to sneak out with my friends. One night we all went down to the train station with someone’s Dad’s whiskey. We got rotten drunk. It was all good fun until my Dad found us.”
“What happened next?” Ray slurred.
“I’m not sure. I was too drunk to remember.” He smiled.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to be giving the kids any ideas like that, Billy.” Agnes said.
Another hour had passed and we were pretty drunk. Ray was absolutely off his face. As he poured himself another drink, Agnes held the bottle still.
“I think you’ve had enough, son.” She said.
“Oh shaddup. I’ll be drinking you under the table. Ya old hag!”
I froze and Frank burst into a fit of laughter. Bob shook his head as Gerard face palmed.
“Oooh burn.” Billy grinned.
Agnes sat up straight and looked down at him through the top of her glasses.
“Say what now?”
“You heard me.”
“Bring it on then.”
Billy poured them both a glass of straight Canadian Club each. Agnes, of course, finished her glass well before Ray, and when he eventually did finish his glass he looked up with his eyes going criss-cross all over the place. His eyes then rolled to the back of his head and he passed out.
Agnes rolled her eyes, as Gerard and Bob swung Ray’s arms over their shoulders and laughed all the way carrying him to a spare bed. Agnes followed them through with a vivid and wore a devilish grin on her face.
Frank and I picked up the empty glasses together and stumbled into the kitchen, in a desperately failing attempt to start cleaning up. Frank ended up smashing a glass in the sink as he tried to clean it. Billy quickly ushered us out of the kitchen, mumbling curses.
Agnes came back down the stairs, with a giggling Gerard and Bob behind her.
“Alright. All of you have had enough. Time for bed, off you go. I’ll clean up here.” She said, waving her finger at everyone.
I hugged them all goodnight and we all stumbled off. Bob and Frank ended up going to separate guest houses while Gerard and I made our way to my unit. Gerard was too drunk to walk and ended up having to crawl through the courtyard, which I found highly amusing.
“Thank you.” He slurred when we finally managed to get ourselves into bed.
“For what?” I asked. When he didn’t answer, I looked over at him to find him sound asleep with his mouth wide open. I giggled and eventually drifted off to sleep.
I woke up and looked at the alarm clock. It was 11.55am. I sat up and cringed. An enormous headache and sickly feeling washed over me. I noticed Gerard wasn’t in the bed so I managed to haul myself out of the bed and throw on a hoodie.
I made myself a coffee in my kitchenette and chucked on some sunglasses before stepping outside the guest house. I wandered through the grass and found the boys sitting in the courtyard. All of them had sunglasses on.
“Morning,” I grumbled. Everyone murmured their greetings back to me. I sat down next to Gerard and rested my head on his shoulder, and he rested his head on mine.
“I think I’m dying!” Ray whinged. He had ‘Love from the Old Hag’ written in black vivid right across his forehead.
“You’re not dying, you’re a fucking moron.” Bob groaned. “You tried to take on an Irish woman in a drinking competition when you were already wasted. Shut up.”
“I accept that.” Ray whispered to the ground.
Jerry eventually turned up, ready to Ray and Bob back home.
“Do you need a ride home, Gerard?” He asked.
“Na man, I’m gonna stay here and nurse the hangover for a bit. If that’s cool?” He answered.
“No problemo, just get Frank to give me a txt or something if you get stuck.”
We dragged ourselves out to the front of the mansion. I hugged Bob and Ray goodbye, and waved as Jerry drove off down the driveway.
We stood there for a bit, trying to figure out what to do next. I managed to lift my head up slowly so that I wouldn’t throw up. The horses in the field were running around in circles together playfully, and a couple of Foals were taking their first steps. I smiled as a milk tanker drove past and gave them a fright.
“What should we do?” Gerard asked, finally breaking the silence.
“I’m keen for some really bad food and really good movies?” Frank suggested.
“I’m down for that.” I said as I followed the boys inside. As I closed the front door behind me I thought I heard a strange banging sound. The boys didn’t seem to notice so I figured it was my hungover brain playing tricks on me. I shook my head and followed them up to the cinema.
We plonked ourselves down on the comfy couches. Frank lay down across the centre couch, and Gerard and I took to the couch behind Frank’s. We flicked on the Back to the Future trilogy and munched on the food that Billy and Agnes brought in for us.
We managed to get through half way of the third movie, when Agnes came in and stood in the doorway. We didn’t suspect anything unusual as she would sometimes come in to check on us. The alarm bells were sounded when she stood there for quite a while tugging on her apron. Frank swung himself up right and placed his feet on the floor. He grabbed the remote and put the movie on paused. I had been lying down with my head on Gerard’s lap, and sat up straight.
“Everything all good, Agnes?” Frank asked softly.
“We have to go to the hospital.” She said, her voice slightly shaking.
“What?” Frank jumped up. “What’s wrong?”
“Unfortunately there was an accident.” She took a couple of steps into the cinema. “Jerry wasn’t looking where he was going, apparently he was stoned. He took a careless turn at the end of the driveway and a milk tanker crashed into the side of the car. Bob and Ray are in ICU.”
My heart sank. The strange banging sound had been the milk tanker colliding with the car. Frank raced out of the cinema, just as Gerard and I got off the couch. We followed Agnes out of the room and down the stairs to the garage where Billy was waiting for us in a car.
He drove us to Liverpool hospital. We arrived to find both Ray’s and Bob’s Mum’s pacing frantically in the corridor, trying to comfort each other.
“Any word yet?” I asked as I gently placed my hand on Raven’s shoulder. She shrugged it off.
“No.” Her voice was harsh. “Who’s idea was it to get drunk?”
“Mine.” I answered immediately, taking the blame.
“If anything happens to my boy, you will be sorry.” She growled. The look in her eye was the deadliest glare I’ve ever received.
“Raven I’m so sorry.” I whispered. “We didn’t want this. We just wanted some fun.”
“Well you still can, while my boy lies unconscious in hospital.”
I nodded. She had crossed her arms and was still glaring at me.
“Raven,” Gerard cautiously started. “I get that you’re upset, but that was a little uncalled for.”
Raven’s death stare shifted from me to Gerard. She took slow steps over to him without blinking or moving her eyes.
“Don’t try to make this about yourself,” Her voice was shaking with the anger. “This is my son in hospital. He wouldn’t be, if you lot just stuck to the fucking law. What made you think that this would be a good idea? No adults? No limits? Are you kidding me? Why do you think every time there were drinks at my place there were fucking extreme limitations on alcohol consumption? Do you seriously think there were no fucking reasons?”
“Gerard,” I said as I pulled him back. We sat down on some seats outside Ray’s room, and Raven eventually turned her back and continued pacing. “Don’t worry about it. She’s understandably upset; she’ll be alright in a bit.”
I gripped onto Gerard's hand so tight I thought that I was going to break it; he didn't even seem to notice. I chewed away on my bottom lip nervously as I watched Frank pace back and forwards like a nervous wreck.
Finally the doctor came out, and we all spun around to his direction and looked up at him with pleading eyes. The doctor sighed as he looked down at his clip board. He looked back up and took a deep breath.
"I'm afraid I have grave concerns for his chances of survival." The doctor said as he cleared his throat, stepping out of Bob’s room. “Raymond’s vitals and overall stats are okayish. He’s in a critical state but he’s stable. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for Bob. He’s had a major brain haemorrage and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but he needs urgent brain surgery.”
“Let’s do this!” Raven shouted. “You need to do what you can to save him! Please!”
“We can do the surgery; he has chances for survival at least. But unfortunately the only surgeon that can perform this type of surgery is based in London. We’ll need to get him there via helicopter which is extremely expensive.”
“How much do you need?” Frank stepped in.
“I’m sorry?” The Doctor asked, slightly confused. Raven looked at Frank with frustration, as if she couldn’t understand why he would interrupt the Doctor.
“I asked how much we need?” He asked again. “I can organize the finances but I need to know how much it is.”
The Doctor looked at Raven, who was still looking at Frank. She then turned back to the Doctor and nodded.
“Well,” The Doctor sighed. “It’s about £17,000 for the helicopter, surgery and the surgeon. I can’t give you a quote for aftercare, I’m sorry.”
“Wait here.” Frank demanded as he walked off in the opposite direction, pulling his phone out of his pocket and dialing in a number before holding the phone to his ear.
“What are his chances?” Raven begged the Doctor.
“Small.” He sighed.
“Please,” She brought her hands to her lips. “Please just tell me.”
“I’d say he has about a 20% chance of survival.”
Raven nodded and chewed on her fingernails. Larissa arrived at the hospital and ran up to Raven. They hugged each other and cried as Raven filled Larissa in with what happened and what’s about to happen.
“I’ve got it covered,” Frank exclaimed as he walked up to us. “You just need to get the helicopter ready and fax the details over to my father.”
He handed a sheet over to the Doctor, who scanned and nodded.
“I’ll go get everything organized.” The Doctor said and raced off.
The Doctor organized for the helicopter to take Bob to London, of which was paid for by Frank’s Dad, who also paid for Raven and Larissa’s hotel room. Unfortunately there was only enough room in the helicopter for two other people to go with Bob.
Raven was ever so grateful for Frank’s efforts, and promised to keep us in the loop with what was happening. As they were heading off to the roof, Raven apologized in passing to me. I shook my head and told her to forget it.
After we watched the helicopter depart the hospital, we took to the outpatient waiting room and sat there waiting for news over the next several hours. Despite the lack of religion from any of us; we all prayed that the news would be good.
A/N Thank you all SO much for your patience. Unfortunately the last three months for me have not been the best. In just those three months my laptop broke, the next one I got broke as well but I didn't have a receipt to prove my purchase, I was employed after 18 months of desperately trying to find a job which was near damn impossible thanks to the recession, I got my hands on another laptop that broke also. And right before I went and bought myself a brand spanking new laptop; the company I was working for went into liquidation and I was made redundant. Which means that the business started running out of money six months ago but allowed their staff to hire me anyway and kept us all in the dark about the company's financial status right up until a couple of days ago when we were all crammed into a tiny room and told that we were no longer employed. My family also moved to the other side of the planet.
So like I said. The last few months have not been easy for me, so I thank you all for your patience. I will do my best to update this story as regularly as I can, but at the moment it's looking like a chapter a week, but it could be longer.