Disclaimer: I do not own the Breakfast Club.
Rating: R for violence, language, drug use and sexual content.
Friday, March 30, 1984
I'm pretty sure that this wasn't supposed to happen. I made a big mistake, and what was meant for someone else was given to me instead. It shouldn't have happened. I wish it hadn't.
Then again, I guess everyone says that when they die.
I've been having a hard time with a lot of things since it happened, but mostly I've had a hard time remembering. How it happened, who was there, why they did it. I keep trying to remember, but everything is slipping away. All those microscopic details, those tiny moments that meant so little at the time, but now hold the key to the truth. They're slipping away, one piece at a time, and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it.
But maybe if I start at the beginning, maybe then I can put the pieces back together. Maybe I can figure out what happened on Friday afternoon in the parking lot, when everything spun out of control and the world went black. Maybe I can figure out what happened before it happens again, this time to one of the others. To her.
And I'll have to do it quick, because time is running out.
Send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Chapter One: Grey Sunday
Sunday, March 25, 1984
Andy Clark hated the rain.
He hated it mostly because it made him tired and depressed, but when he was younger, he hated it because rain meant that his games would be cancelled. Of course, that was back when he was seven years old and he played Little League baseball and football and he actually looked forward to the competition. Back when he was too naÃ¯ve to realize that getting a hit or scoring a touchdown was just making things worse, giving his father another reason to push him. He knew different now, but he kind of missed those days, when ignorance was bliss.
Andy picked up his ham and cheese sandwich and took another bite. Outside, a roll of thunder sent off a car alarm somewhere down the street. Probably the one on Mr. Jones's Mercedes, which was really sensitive and went off all the time, so often that Andy was desensitized to the sound by then. He looked outside to see if he was right, but he couldn't see past the torrent of rain on the other side of the window. So, he just stared at the pane of glass, grey and cloudy, and ate his sandwich.
After a few minutes, his thoughts turned towards Allison. He'd been thinking about her a lot since the previous afternoon when they'd parted ways after detention. He wouldn't call it obsessing really, just thinking. He kept wondering where she was and what she was doing, whether she was eating lunch like he was and what she was eating if she was. Probably not a ham and cheese sandwich like his, but maybe another kind of sandwich, with gummy bears and horseradish sauce or something. Andy imagined her standing at her kitchen counter, taking a huge bite from a sandwich like that, and he smiled.
"What are you thinking about?"
Andy looked up to see that his sixteen-year-old brother Jeff was watching him from the other side of the kitchen table. Jeff's mouth was full of ham and cheese sandwich, and he had a spot of mustard on the corner of his mouth.
"Nothing," Andy responded, trying to stop smiling. "I just wish it wasn't raining."
Jeff nodded emphatically. "Yeah, me, too. I hate the rain."
Andy nodded and took another bite of his sandwich. Outside, the rain slowed down briefly, and Andy could finally see past the curtain of water coating the window. Across the street, Mr. Jones was standing next to his car, trying to get his car alarm to turn off. His pants were soaked to the knee, and he didn't look too happy about having to be outside. The streets were already flooded with about three inches of rainwater.
"Maybe it'll clear up soon and we can play basketball or something," said Jeff.
"I doubt it," Andy responded, still looking out the window, watching Mr. Jones curse at his car. He glanced back over at Jeff, who looked disappointed. "But maybe," Andy said quickly. "I would be up for a game."
Jeff smiled and went back to his sandwich.
A few minutes later, the phone rang. Andy put down his sandwich and jumped up to answer it. "Hello?"
Andy frowned. "Oh, hey, man."
Mark let out a frustrated breath. "Where the hell were you last night? I called three times."
Andy sighed. "I was tired, and I didn't feel like going." It was the truth, even if it wasn't the whole truth.
Mark didn't say anything for a few seconds. "You could have at least called to let me know. My mom is still using my car, so I ended up having to go with Steve, and you know how much I hate driving with him."
Andy cringed. Steve was one of the wrestlers, and one of the most obnoxious people Andy had ever met. He showed up at every party thrown by anyone worth mentioning, and he got smashed at just about every one of them. Mark and Andy tried to avoid hanging out with him if they could, even though it was kind of hard since the wrestling team spent so much time together, even outside of school and practice. In fact, Mark and Andy tried to avoid hanging out with most of their fellow wrestlers, with a couple of exceptions, since most of them seemed to be on their way to becoming drug addicts or alcoholics and didn't have time for much else besides perfecting their craft. Andy wasn't a heavy drinker, and Mark didn't drink at all, so they didn't have much in common with the other guys. The two of them kept to themselves mostly, making them the bunt of numerous jokes questioning their sexuality, which Andy did not find amusing at all. He and Mark ate lunch with some of the guys from the basketball team, a much tamer group, along with some guys they'd known since elementary and middle school.
"Sorry," said Andy, and he meant it. "Did he drive you home?"
Mark sighed. "No, Sarah gave me a ride home."
Andy grinned. "Oh, really? How did that go?"
"It didn't," Mark said bluntly. "She's still dating that college guy."
"Oh." Andy knew that Mark had been in love with Sarah Forester ever since they were in diapers and their mothers would take them to the playground so that they could eat sand together and push one another off of the merry-go-round. Sarah cared about Mark, but only as a friend, and even though Andy made fun of him about it nearly everyday, Mark refused to give up the ghost and date someone else. Andy didn't know if that was romantic or retarded, especially since he was pretty sure that Mark could get some action if he put a little effort into it and stopped pining.
"Whatever," said Mark, signaling that he didn't want to talk about it anymore, as usual. "How was detention yesterday?"
Immediately, Andy's stomach tightened up. It felt so odd to have someone mention it when they weren't there and weren't part of it. In fact, it felt wrong, intrusive almost. "Detention was fine," Andy said hesitantly.
Mark paused. "Did something happen?"
"I don't know. You just sound weird. I thought maybe something bad happened."
"Nope," Andy answered. He didn't really know why he was lying about it. He wasn't ashamed of anything, or at least he didn't think he was. It was just that part of him felt like what happened wasn't anyone else's business and they wouldn't understand anyway, even if he did tell them. He recognized immediately what a childish thought that was, but he couldn't push the feeling away.
"Okay," Mark said uncertainly. "Well, what are you doing today? I was thinking that if the rain let up we could grab something for dinner, maybe go over to that new burger place off the boulevard. Jonah said it was pretty good."
Andy hesitated, though he wasn't exactly sure why. He wasn't really in the mood to be social, and he didn't know if that was because of the rain or detention or something else entirely. Maybe a little bit of everything.
"I've actually got a lot of homework to do," he lied. "I think it would be best if I stayed home today."
Mark was quiet for a few seconds, and Andy wondered if he'd hung up on him. Then Mark said, "Okay. I guess I'll see you tomorrow then." His tone was cautious, like he wanted to say something else, but had decided not to.
"Yeah, definitely," said Andy, trying to sound like he was excited about it. "Later."
When Andy hung up the phone, he turned to see that Jeff was watching him. "Was that Mark?" he asked.
Andy nodded and took his seat at the table again. "Yeah."
"Were you supposed to go somewhere with him?" Jeff asked.
Andy nodded. "A party. Last night."
"Why didn't you go?"
"Because I didn't feel like it," Andy answered, shooting him a playful glare. "What is this, twenty questions?"
Jeff grinned, and a piece of blonde hair, a little bit longer and lighter than Andy's own, fell into his eye. "Maybe. Why didn't you feel like going? Were you sick?"
Andy watched him closely for a moment, trying to decide how much to tell him. He talked with Jeff about a lot of things going on in his life, but the most important things he kept to himself. And this was definitely important. Detention, the Breakfast Club, Allison. He felt dumb thinking it, but part of him felt like this was a new beginning, an opportunity to make some changes in his life that he'd been needing to make for a long time. He could feel that he was on the verge of something big, and even though it wasn't quite there yet, he knew it was coming.
"Well?" Jeff asked.
Andy sighed. "I just didn't feel like going. It's not a big deal."
"What happened in detention yesterday?"
Andy glanced up, a little too quickly. "Nothing, why?"
Jeff shrugged. "You mentioned it on the phone. It sounded like you didn't want to talk about it."
Either his brother was really observant, or Andy was really bad at keeping his emotions under wraps. "I don't mind talking about it," he told his brother.
"Okay. So, what happened?"
Andy sighed, realizing that he'd been trapped. "Nothing," he said again, this time more resigned. "I just met some people, that's all. Some...new friends, I guess."
"New friends?" Jeff echoed skeptically. "In detention?"
Immediately, Andy knew what Jeff was thinking. About twelve months previous, his younger brother fell in with a bunch of lowlifes at school and got into a bunch of trouble. At first, it was skipping school and climbing back through his window at night smelling like cigarettes or weed. He probably did other stuff, too, but no one knew exactly what. Then, a few months after that started, Jeff and a friend got arrested for stealing a sports car from a parking garage, taking it for a joyride, and brutally assaulting the officer that tried to arrest them. Jeff got off pretty light since it was his first offense and he hadn't been the one behind the wheel. He spent about six months in a youth correctional facility before he was allowed back in school. That was only three months ago, just before Christmas, and in some ways the family was still adjusting. Especially their father.
"I don't know," Andy said, trying to sound casual. "I guess."
Jeff paused thoughtfully. "Do you have lots of homework tonight?"
Jeff smirked. "But you just told Mark you did. Were you lying?"
Andy glared at him. "If I'd known when you were born that you were going to be this annoying, I would have told Mom to give you up for adoption."
"Told me what?"
Andy and Jeff looked up to see that their mother had walked into the kitchen. She was wearing a pair of grey athletic shorts and a matching grey t-shirt that said 'Back off, I'm out of estrogen and I've got a gun." Her hair was pulled back with a clip, and she was covered in sweat, obviously from working out downstairs in the basement.
"Andy was just telling me that he wishes you'd given me up for adoption," Jeff offered cheerfully.
Mrs. Clark went to the fridge and grabbed a pitcher of water. "Some days, I wish I'd given you both up for adoption."
Andy rolled his eyes. "Thanks, Mom."
"You're welcome." She wiped a lock of hair away from her damp forehead and reached up to grab a glass from the cabinet above her head. "Did you two already eat?"
"Yeah," Andy answered, standing up from the table. He took his and Jeff's empty plates and walked over to the sink to rinse them off.
Mrs. Clark took a few deep sips of water and set the glass back down on the marble grey countertop. "Did your father call?"
Andy shook his head. "No." His dad had left the night before to go fishing with a friend, and he wasn't due back until later that evening. The rain probably meant that he'd be stranded out there for a while longer than he'd anticipated.
Mrs. Clark took another sip of water and sighed. "He was supposed to help me move all those boxes out of the garage tonight..."
Andy, who could see where this was headed, tried to duck out of her way, but she was faster. She grabbed him by the sleeve of his grey hoodie and pulled him towards her. "...but maybe you two could help instead," she finished.
Andy sighed, but Jeff went so far as to groan out loud. "Mom!" he exclaimed. "It's Sunday. Didn't Jesus want us to rest?"
Andy stifled a giggle. His mother had been raised Catholic, and she still practiced her faith every week at church. Her husband wasn't particularly religious, so he didn't go with her very often, but Mrs. Clark made sure that both of her sons went to Mass every week, whether they liked it or not. Jeff hated it, but Andy didn't mind. He believed in God, and it made his mother happy that he went, so he didn't argue with her about it.
Mrs. Clark glanced over at her younger son, eyebrow arched in challenge. "Since when are you such an expert on Jesus?"
Jeff shrugged, smirking. "I've been reading my Bible a lot lately."
"Well," Mrs. Clark responded, pretending to be impressed. "In that case, you probably read the part about working hard and honoring your parents, didn't you?"
Jeff didn't even blink, just stared back at her, still smirking.
Andy stepped away from his mother and grabbed Jeff by the sleeve of his t-shirt. "Come on, let's just get it over with," he told him.
Jeff sighed. "But it's Sunday. It's God's day."
Mrs. Clark swatted Jeff with a towel as he passed. "Don't forget the big box in the far corner."
"We won't," Andy assured her.
"And when you come back in, use a towel to dry off before you sit down anywhere, will you?" she asked, leaning out into the doorway, hand against her hip. "Because if you ruin that new sofa, I'll kill you myself."
John Bender loved the rain.
Mostly he loved it because other people hated it and he figured that anything that made people that angry was at least worth appreciating. He really enjoyed watching people when it rained. There was a cigar shop a few blocks away from his house, right in the heart of downtown Shermer (though it seemed ridiculous to Bender that a town as small as Shermer even had a downtown). When it rained, he liked to go down to the shop, buy the nicest cigar he could afford, and smoke it outside under the bright red awning. There, protected from the weather, he would lean back and take long, slow drags while he watched everyone else battle the rain. Old ladies worried about their hairdos, men running with newspapers over their heads, little girls dodging mud puddles. He enjoyed watching them get frustrated and irritated, and a small part of him liked that their day was ruined by something they couldn't control.
On Sunday afternoon, Bender put on his dark grey trench coat and stepped out into the downpour. His boots protected his feet from the puddles, but he didn't even try to keep his head or clothing dry. By the time he reached the end of his street, his hair was soaked all the way down to his scalp and his coat was heavy with rainwater. He kept walking.
The inside of Joe's Cigar Shop was small and ugly, but it was clean, and Bender loved the way it smelled. Like tobacco, obviously, but deeper. Bender walked straight up to the counter and leaned over the glass to ring the bell.
"Don't get my countertop wet." An older man with greyish-brown hair stepped out of the back room and nudged Bender's hand away from the bell. "Back up."
Bender smirked and did as he was told. The man grabbed a roll of paper towels from under the counter and ripped off a sheet. This wasn't Joe. Bender didn't know who the hell Joe was, or if he ever even existed, because he'd never asked. Carlisle owned and ran the shop, and no one else worked there. He claimed that he didn't have any use for other employees, but Bender thought that really he just didn't want anyone else touching his cigars. Carlisle had a deep reverence for everything he sold, along with an almost uncanny knack for picking out the perfect cigar for a person's mood or situation. Wife just had a baby? A light Ecuadorian claro-wrapped cigar was a good choice. Just caught your wife fucking another guy? Better go with a dark Brazilian maduro.
"I keep these down here because of you, you know," Carlisle informed him, still wiping away at the countertop. "I knew you would come in today just to drip water on my floors and merchandise."
"At least it gives you an excuse to clean," Bender told him, fingering a bowl of lighters right beside the register.
Carlisle tossed the roll of paper towels below the counter. "What do you want today, John?"
"Got any Cubans?" Bender asked, grinning.
Carlisle glared at him. "If I did, I certainly wouldn't sell them to you."
"Fair enough," said Bender. "What do you have that's new?"
Carlisle turned to look at the wall of boxes behind the register. "Finally got the new CAO Gold Labels in. And the Brazilias." He reached up to tap a burgundy-colored box on the far right. "Rocky Patel Connecticuts. Been out of those for a while."
Bender skimmed the labels, letting his eyes travel up to the top shelf. That was where Carlisle kept the best cigars, the most expensive brands. For some reason, he was in the mood for something a bit classier. "What about those?"
"Which ones?" Carlisle asked, looking up to where John was pointing.
"The blue box. Gray something."
Carlisle shook his head. "Graycliff Presidentes. Way too expensive."
Immediately, Bender felt a surge of anger at Carlisle's presumption. "How much?" he demanded.
"Twelve bucks," said Carlisle.
Holy fuck! Twelve bucks for one cigar? He could buy a couple grams of weed for that price, and it'd last a lot longer. He'd probably enjoy it more, too. But the way Carlisle was looking at him, like he knew Bender was going to say, "No, never mind, give me the cheap one," told him that he couldn't back down.
"I'll take it," Bender said casually, pulling his wallet out of the pocket of his coat. Carlisle rolled his eyes, like he thought Bender was an idiot, but he took the box down anyway.
"I hope you appreciate what a fine cigar you've got here," he said, carefully removing one of the sticks from the box. "Sumatran wrapper, the fillers are meticulously blended, the veins are practically seamless--"
"Does it give blow jobs, too?" Bender interrupted, tossing a couple of bills onto the glass counter.
Carlisle just shook his head and started ringing it up.
Outside, Bender leaned back against the grey stone wall of the building, just under the bright red awning, and removed a book of matches from his boot. He struck the tip against the wall and lit the cigar. It smelled just about the same as every other cigar he'd ever smoked, and it tasted about the same, too, with subtle differences. It was a little smoother, a little sweeter. Bender enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn't worth twelve fucking dollars. He'd stick to the cheap ones from then on, his pride be damned.
On the other side of the street, people were rushing in and out of the drug store, trying to avoid the rain as best as they could. A woman was running out to her car, holding her jacket over her head as if that was going to keep her dry. Her two children, a girl and a boy, followed closely behind, trying to keep up. The girl, whose dark blonde hair was plastered to her face, looked miserable, but the boy didn't seem to be in any hurry to get out of the rain. He jumped off of the curb and landed in a deep puddle of grimy water, splashing water everywhere. His sister screamed at him for splattering her shirt with mud, and their mother yelled at him for getting his new shoes dirty, but the boy ignored them both and kicked the water, sending another splash of water in his sister's direction.
About halfway through the cigar, another car pulled up in front of the pharmacy and a young redheaded woman stepped out. Bender's heart skipped a beat, but it wasn't her, and he felt stupid for getting so excited about it in the first place. Still, he watched the redhead walk into the store, followed her with his eyes as she walked up to the counter and paid for her prescription. She was tall and slender, like Claire, but she was a little bit older, and her hair was darker and longer. She wasn't nearly as pretty. Bender watched her run back to her car, plastic bag held over her head, then pull out of the parking lot.
Bender flicked the ash off of the end of the cigar and breathed in deeply, filling his nostrils with the sent of rain and tobacco. He wondered if Claire's father smoked cigars. Probably. Didn't all rich guys do that? They ate their five course meals, and then they retired to the sitting room, where they drank brandy and smoked cigars and talked about business and politics. Bender wondered if Claire's father would be impressed that he was smoking such a nice cigar, or if he would even notice. He figured that Mr. Standish probably smoked cigars like his all the time, and he probably didn't even blink an eye when he laid down 150 bucks for a box. Bender looked down at the cigar in his hand and sighed, releasing a hazy breath into the cold, damp air.
Bender looked up to see that his friend Ricky was jogging down the sidewalk towards him. Bender had known Ricky for a long time, probably forever. They lived down the street from one another, and sometimes when things got bad at home, Ricky would let him crash on his couch for a night or two. Bender didn't really have that many friends, and there wasn't anyone that he trusted explicitly, but he figured that Ricky came about as close as anyone was ever going to.
Ricky stopped running when he reached the dry space under the awning. His long-sleeved grey t-shirt was soaked all the way through, and his jeans were covered in mud up to the knee. He grabbed a fist of material from his t-shirt and started wringing it out.
"Hey, watch it," Bender warned him when flecks of dirty water splattered against his coat.
Ricky took a couple of deep breaths and pushed a lock of dark brown hair away from his face. "Sorry," he said breathlessly. "I just ran here all the way from my house."
"Just to see me?" Bender asked sarcastically. "I'm flattered."
Ricky sighed. "Actually, yeah. I need a favor."
A favor. Great. "What kind of favor?" Bender asked.
Ricky paused. "I don't ever ask you for anything, do I? I mean, when is the last time I--"
"Just spit it out," Bender said irritably.
Ricky sighed again. "I need to borrow some money."
Bender rolled his eyes. "I figured that much. What do you need?"
Pause. "Three hundred bucks."
Bender choked on a puff of smoke. "Three hundred bucks?" he asked incredulously.
Ricky didn't say anything, just stared back at him seriously, waiting.
Bender shook his head. "What the hell do you need three hundred bucks for? Is Susanna pregnant or something?"
Ricky's eyes flashed with anger at the mention of his girlfriend, but he kept his cool. "No," he said evenly. "Nothing like that."
"Then what is it?" Bender pressed.
Ricky took another deep breath. "I owe someone some money."
Bender eyed him carefully. "Who?" he asked, afraid that he already knew the answer.
Ricky clenched his jaw. "Frank Durbin."
Bender let out an angry, uneven breath. "You're such a fucking idiot," he told him, shaking his head. "Such a fucking idiot."
"I couldn't help it, man!" Ricky shouted. "I needed it right away."
"Why didn't you ask me first, huh?" Bender yelled. "Why? I could have helped you. Why did you go to Frank, huh? He's not someone you want to get in deep with."
"I know he isn't," Ricky said. "Don't you think I know that?" He sighed. "I needed more than you could give me."
Bender narrowed his eyes. "How much did you need?"
Ricky closed his eyes and wiped his wet face with his hand. "A thousand dollars," he said quietly.
Bender felt his stomach drop. "Why did you need a thousand dollars?"
Ricky shook his head. "I can't tell you."
Bender scoffed. "You're asking me for three hundred dollars, and you can't even tell me what--"
"No," Ricky said firmly. "I can't."
Bender stared at him for a long moment, trying to decide what to say next. He heard something sizzle, and he looked down to see that a piece of ash had fallen from the tip of his cigar and had landed on the damp grey pavement at his feet. Bender chucked the small bit of cigar that was left into the street.
"I should have told you earlier," said Ricky.
"You're damn right you should have," Bender replied angrily.
Ricky swallowed deeply, but didn't say anything. Bender took a couple of shallow breaths, trying to collect his thoughts. Finally, he said, "Has he been letting you pay it along?"
Ricky nodded. "A hundred a month for eight months." He paused. "Last month I could only pay half, so he said I had to pay the rest this month." He let out a shaky breath, and Bender knew that he was scared. "I don't have any more money, man. Mr. Grunewald let me go last month, and I haven't been able to find another job. I don't--" He broke off, looking down at his shoes.
The two of them stood there for a for a long minute without saying anything. Bender looked out over the street in front of the store, at the pharmacy where he could see people picking up prescriptions and paying for them at the register. He watched those people run out to their minivans and Cadillacs, shaking the rain out of their hair, then pulling out of their parking space to go home. Bender closed his eyes. A couple of minutes passed.
"Nice day, isn't it?"
Bender's eyes flew open, and he saw Frank Durbin standing in front of him, chewing on a toothpick. His short, light brown hair was dry, but drops of water clung to his neatly-trimmed beard. He had one hand stuffed into the pocket of his dark green windbreaker.
No one said anything for a moment. Frank just stood there, calm as could be, and chewed on his toothpick. Ricky looked like he was about to pee in his pants.
"I can get you the money," Bender said finally.
Frank nodded. "I figured you could."
Bender swallowed. "When do you need it?"
Frank shrugged. "Technically, it's due Wednesday, but I imagine that's probably going to be a problem for you, so I can cut you a break." He paused. "How about Friday?"
As if he had a choice. How the fuck was he going to get three hundred dollars together by Friday? "Yeah, I can get it by Friday," he told Frank.
Frank offered Bender a bland smile. "Thanks, John. I really appreciate it." He glanced over at Ricky. "Good friend you've got here."
Ricky nodded stiffly.
Frank looked over at Bender. "It's hard to find someone loyal enough to help you out when you're in a jam. Loyal enough to put himself on the line."
Bender stared back silently.
Frank turned back to look at Ricky. "Don't let this one go. Good friends are hard to come by." With that, he flipped the hood of his jacket up over his head and stepped out into the rain again.
As soon as he was out of earshot, Ricky turned to Bender. "Fuck, man, I didn't know that was going to happen! I didn't know that--"
"It doesn't matter," Bender cut in. His hands were shaking so badly that he had to stuff them into his coat pockets so that Ricky wouldn't see them. "We'll get the money by Friday, alright?"
Ricky nodded, and Bender thought that he looked a little bit relieved. "Yeah, okay."
Bender nodded again. "Don't worry, we'll get it," he assured him.
...Because if we don't, we're both dead.
A/N: Thank you for reading. Reviews are much appreciated.
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