Cyril never intended to actually go home with her. She had asked him to stay and talk to her for a little while longer. So he did. Then it was closing time at the bar and she asked for a ride home. He couldn't let a woman walk home alone at two in the morning (even though her apartment was just two blocks away.) When they got to her building, she asked him to come up for some coffee. Who doesn't have time for coffee? Cyril thought to himself. He went up and had a cup. When he finished it, and was on his way out the door, she asked if there was anything else he wanted, anything at all? She licked her lips, tilted her head to the side and ran her hand down her throat, past her neck, to her chest; she rested her fingers on her cleavage. That's when his stomach tightened and Cyril closed the door that he had been so close to walking out of.
Trina had taken her leather vest off, rather, Cyril had ripped it open first and then she took it off. He had her up against the wall. He held her chin in his hand as they kissed. She curled one long leg around his waist, and pulled his black T-shirt off over his head. They were both bare chested now. Cyril's hands drifted down her neck, caressing her throat, sliding down to her chest. He gripped her titties and sucked in as much flesh as he could fit into his mouth. Trina's response was to leave a ragged trail of scratches across his left shoulder blade. Cyril picked her up as she wrapped her other leg around his waist. He carried her into the bedroom like that, kissing her the whole way.
Within seconds they were on the bed, he was on top of her at first, still sucking, licking, biting anything he could get into his mouth. His hand slid up her thigh, under her skirt. He found what he was looking for and plunged two fingers in. The scratches she was imbedding into his back were raw but he couldn't feel any of them. She bucked and thrashed and screamed like an injured animal. She arched her back and spread her legs wider. Cyril frantically worked his fingers in and out of her until her body spasmed and went limp. To Cyril's surprise, Trina rolled him over and straddled him. She licked his nipples while her hips were grinding into his cock. If someone had asked him about Jamie at that very moment, Cyril would have said Jamie? Jamie who?
Trina sat straight up and looked down into his eyes. She could feel that he was hard (who wouldn't be?) Slowly, she unbuttoned his pants, then unzipped the fly. His cock was straining against his underwear; she released it, looked up at him and smiled, wickedly. Cyril let his head fall back onto the bed and closed his eyes. All hope of keeping a skeleton out of his closet had been abandoned the moment Trina buried his dick in her mouth. His own mouth was open and he was using every inch of it to inhale long, ragged breaths. Trina used her hand at the bottom of his shaft, where her mouth couldn't reach. Cyril wanted it to go on forever.
Then like a flash of light under his closed eyelids, he saw her face, not Trina's but, Jamie's. It was burned into his mind, and even though some stranger was sucking his dick, all he could think about was his girl. What the fuck am I doing? This isn't happening, it just isn't. How could I let it go this far? I love Jamie…my precious, beautiful Jamie. I don't deserve her love after this. Those thoughts occupied the space in Cyril's brain that wasn't being dominated by the thought process it took to block the thoughts out. His mind ached from trying to push her out and try as he might; he couldn't do it any longer.
Cyril opened his eyes; he saw dried water stains on the ceiling above him, he gulped, his mouth was dry. He brought his hands up and rested them on his forehead, his mind raced. Even hell would be too good for him now, he silently told himself.
"Stop." Cyril's voice was hoarse. Trina didn't respond. He spoke again, louder this time. "Please. Stop."
"Did you say something baby?" She asked breathlessly, looking up at him while her hand was still pumping up and down.
"I need to leave." Cyril sat up, moving Trina off of him in the process.
"Are you kidding?" She asked, stunned.
"No…I'm not kidding. I shouldn't even have come here tonight."
"Cyril, don't leave. Baby, this is only the appetizer, you're not gonna want to miss the main course. You have no idea how good I can make you feel." She purred into his ear.
"Fuck!" he growled through clenched teeth. Cyril stood up and looked at Trina, as she sat on the bed topless. "I love my girlfriend, Christ I love her so much I'd die for; I'd kill for her. So what the fuck am I doing here with you?"
Cyril caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror on the back of the bedroom door. He hated what he saw. He wanted to laugh and cry and scream all at the same time. He gathered up his things and ran out of Trina's apartment.
His car was cold and for one terrifying minute he thought the engine might not turn over, then what would he do? Ask Trina for a jump (Cyril wanted to laugh at the irony of that)? Call a tow truck? Worse yet, call Ryan to come and get him?
"Turn over motherfucker!" His voice resonated inside the car. Just then he heard the engine catch and roar to life. "Oh thank Christ." He said and exhaled. Cyril pumped the gas pedal and tore away from the curb, with tires squealing.
"Mrs. O'Reily?" Dr. Halloren asked looking around the waiting room at the strangers gathered there.
"Yes? I, I'm Shannon O'Reily." She answered and stood up to talk to him.
"I have good news, the injury wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. The bullet didn't get any of the surrounding organs, though at first we thought it might have pierced his left lung. We got the bullet out relatively easy but he has nine stitches and will obviously be in pain. And of course some bruising is to be expected. Other than that, I anticipate that he will have a full and uneventful recovery," Dr. Halloren said.
"Thank God." Shannon sighed when she heard the news. "When can I see him?"
"Well he's in an ICU recovery room now and he's still asleep but as soon as he wakes up someone will come and get you."
"Thank you so much Dr. Halloren." Shannon was noticeably relieved. "Oh James, did you hear that? He's gonna be fine." Shannon told her cousin with a smile.
"Ya see? Didn't I tell you he would be?" Jamie said and gave her a hug.
Cyril took the stoop two steps at a time; he got into the building and ran up the stairs. When he reached their apartment he burst in the door, expecting to see Jamie awake and sitting on the couch waiting for him. He readied himself for a major blowout but he didn't care about all that, hell he deserved whatever she had to say. He deserved worse than whatever she had to say. He looked around the room; she wasn't sitting up waiting for him. He sprinted to the bedroom; she wasn't in there either. He ran back out into the living room.
"Jamie? Baby where are you?" His voice echoed through the empty apartment. She was gone.
The room started spinning and Cyril had to sit down on the couch or else he would have collapsed. He took three ragged breaths and looked around again. One of his headaches was coming on, and it was a big fucker too. He'd been getting these headaches ever since Dino Ortolani attacked him. He'd never had dizziness until that attack, now he got dizzy spells all the time.
Cyril got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen, he went to the sink and turned on the water. He let the cold water run down over his eyes, across his cheeks and into his mouth. He put his head under and let the water drench his hair; it stung his scalp and made him shiver. What the fuck are you gonna do now asshole? Cyril wondered silently. He turned off the water and reached for the dishtowel hanging on the refrigerator handle. He grabbed it and wiped his face. Just then, he saw Jamie's note on the counter. He inhaled deeply, picked it up and trembled at the thought of what it might say.
Cyril dropped the note and ran out of the apartment. He bounded down the stairs and out into the night. He slid across the hood of his car and got in, it was still pinging from when he got home. To Cyril's amazement, the engine turned over on the first try. As he sped away, his headache got worse and it made the sound of his pulse thump in his ears.
"Dear God, please let my brother be alive. Please don't take him from me. I can't lose the two people I love most in this world, on the same night. Please hear me God." Cyril prayed as tears clouded his vision and streamed down his face.
Jamie had chewed the inside of her mouth raw. She wasn't aware of how bad it was until she'd eaten the salted peanuts that Shannon bought. Each peanut stung her mouth fiercely until she couldn't take it anymore. She was boiling with rage and her heart was breaking. It was now 3:11 a.m. and Cyril was nowhere to be found. The note hadn't slid off the counter and under the fridge, it was where she'd left it, Jamie was sure of this. Cyril had not gotten the note because he had not come home yet.
Out of nowhere, and to the complete surprise of herself and Shannon, Jamie choked out a sob that left fat tears spilling out of her eyes.
"Oh my God James, you heard the doc, he's gonna be fine sweetie. You don't need to get yourself all worked up like this." Shannon said as she listened to her cousin weep.
"I'm not crying for Ryan you idiot!" Jamie yelled. Shannon jerked her head back and her eyes widened.
"Haven't you noticed that Cyril isn't here? Has that fact completely escaped you? Jamie took a breath and started crying harder than before. Shannon was speechless.
"I left him a note on the counter. If he had come home, he would have gotten the note and he would be here but he's not here, so obviously he hasn't come home." Jamie's nose was running and she didn't notice the other people in the waiting room staring at her. Shannon pulled her up out of the seat and hurriedly whisked her away to the nearest bathroom. All the while Jamie's wails were getting louder and louder, she didn't care who heard her.
In the bathroom Shannon decided to tell Jamie the hard and fast facts about being with an O'Reily. "James, listen to me…calm down and listen to me for a minute, for Christ's sake!" Shannon was quickly becoming impatient. "What did I tell you all those years ago? Huh? What did I say? She waited for Jamie to answer, and when she didn't, Shannon continued. "I told you not to get involved with Cyril didn't I? He's an O'Reily and O'Reily's are notorious for not coming home, usually because they're out scrounging for pussy. I knew this day would come James, I knew it all along. There's no use crying about it, the smart thing to do is to get him the fuck out of your life right now, don't even give him one chance to apologize or lie. Cause if you do, you're going to be in the exact same situation that I've been in for all these years." When she was done talking, Shannon wiped a wet paper towel over Jamie's face.
Jamie stared at her incredulously. "Are you fucking kidding me? That's your idea of comforting someone? Christ Shannon, maybe you should go work at a suicide prevention hotline, God knows the world could use a break from the increasing population!" Jamie yelled. "Stay the fuck out of this, I will handle it on my own." With that, she left Shannon standing in the bathroom, with a wet paper towel dripping water on her black suede boots.
"His name is Ryan O'Reily, I'm his brother. I got a note that said he was shot and that he's here." Cyril told the nurse at the front desk in the ER.
"The name doesn't sound familiar to me." The nurse yawned.
"Well could you check with someone who doesn't have their head up their ass? I know he's here." Cyril said through clenched teeth.
"Sir, there's no need to take that tone with me. I will see what I can find out about your brother. What's his name again?"
"O'Reily, Ryan O'Reily." Cyril exhaled deeply. His headache was worse than ever now.
Jamie could hear Cyril's voice as she stalked out of the bathroom. She stopped and looked around; her heart was pounding wildly when she finally found him. She walked up behind him and touched his shoulder. Cyril turned around in a panic and saw that it was Jamie. He burst into tears and pulled her into his arms. He held her very tightly to his body and cried into her neck.
"Shhh, calm down baby. He's alright. He's okay baby, just calm down." Jamie said quietly to Cyril as she rubbed his back. She noticed that his hair was wet but decided not to ask why.
Cyril loosened her from his grip and looked into her eyes; they were red and swollen, just like his were. He gently kissed her lips.
"I thought I lost you tonight." He whispered to her and closed his eyes. "When I came home and you weren't there…"
Jamie interrupted him, "Shhh, let's not talk about it now okay?" She whispered back, wiping the tears from his chin.
"Mr. O'Reily is it?" The nurse was back. "I found some information on your brother."
"Uh, thanks, that's okay. I know what's going on with his brother, I can just tell him myself. Thank you for checking." Jamie stammered to the perturbed nurse and led Cyril over to the plastic chairs in the waiting room. They didn't speak of the argument or where Cyril had been all night. Instead, Jamie told him about what had happened to Ryan.
An hour later, a P.A. informed Shannon that Ryan was awake and that they could all go in and see him now. Shannon nearly ran to the recovery room and over to Ryan's side. She hugged him delicately and kissed his forehead. He was groggy but he was alive and that's all that mattered.
They all stayed in the room, Shannon and Jamie slept on a full-sized cot and Cyril settled into an armchair in the corner, propping his feet up on a plastic trashcan. As they slept, Ryan was awake and thought about the events of the evening. If he could have, he would have gone straight to Dino Ortolani's house and strangled him in his sleep. But Ryan knew Dino was affiliated, and there was no way he could retaliate because of the fuckers that Dino had on his side. That would be like asking for the most painful death sentence imaginable.
Ryan looked over at his brother and was surprised to find Cyril awake and staring at him. He got up, walked over to the bed and gave Ryan a one armed hug, trying his best to avoid the bandages.
"Hey killer." He whispered to Ryan. "What the fuck happened tonight?"
Ryan chuckled softly. "Got shot."
"I know that Ryan." Cyril said and looked over to make sure Shannon and Jamie were still asleep. "Did you see who did it?" Cyril asked. Ryan nodded his head.
"Dino Ortolani." Ryan whispered.
"Oh, that's one dead motherfucker right there." Cyril said, clenching his fists.
"Cyril…" Ryan tried to explain the situation.
"I don't care what it takes, that bitch is mine." Cyril was seething.
"Leave it alone Cyril. I don't want you anywhere near him."
"I'm not fucking around. You stay away from him, got it?" Ryan said aloud and looked over at his sleeping wife.
"I can't do that Ryan." Cyril replied.
"You can and you will Cyril. Listen to me, he had help, he went through DeLorenza. Ortolani wasn't trying to just wound me, my ass is supposed to be dead right now. That's why I want you to stay out of it." Ryan explained with hushed importance. Cyril searched his brother's face, he knew that Ryan was right and he understood why it needed to be dropped.
"What are you gonna to do?" Cyril asked him.
"What can I do? The reasons I don't want you getting him are the same reasons that I can't get him. I'm not worried about it though. His day is coming Cyril, I don't when, and I don't know where, but it's fuckin coming." Ryan answered with a sneer.
After two days in the hospital, Ryan was finally alone. Shannon, Jamie and Cyril had all gone home to eat and get some sleep. Ryan used the time in the to reflect on his life. He'd heard that's what people who'd survived near fatal episodes did after the fact, to cope with being given a second chance. And that's exactly what it was, a second chance. He realized that life is precious but it's also too fuckin short to live it like you got a thousand years on earth. Ryan thought to himself. So why the hell am I living like I have two thousand years? What am I, some kind of fuckin churchie all the sudden? This is bullshit, I've been the walking dead since Shannon came home and that shit is gonna end today.
"I gotta get outta here." Ryan said aloud in his empty room. He carefully swung his legs over the side of the bed; then stood up and took his first step. Hey, that's not too bad, he thought to himself. Shannon had brought him some clean clothes and had put them in the chair in the corner.
Ryan was dressed and putting on his shoes when a nurse walked in the room to check on him. She blinked twice when she saw what he was doing, but asked anyway, "What are you doing Mr. O'Reily?" She looked him up and down.
She startled Ryan with her question. "Huh? Oh, I've gotta go, I can't stand being in this room anymore." He answered and stood up.
"You're not scheduled for release until tomorrow. Dr. Halloren wants to keep you here until then for safety's sake." She replied, confused.
"Hey, ya know, I'd like to hang but, I just can't. I found out last night that I'm allergic to lime Jell-O, and that seems to be the only thing you feed people around here. For safety's sake, it's better that I leave now." He said, walking past the nurse, and out the door.
"But…Mr.O'Reily, I have to check with the doctor before you can leave." She called after Ryan as he was walking down the corridor. "Will you at least sign yourself out?" She sounded desperate.
Ryan walked steadily out of Mercy Medical Center and into the night air. He lit a cigarette and hailed a cab. He knew exactly where he was going, if there was one bitch on earth that could suck a dick within an inch of its life, it was Trina. He told the cabby to take him to Mooney's on the south side.
Cyril and Jamie were alone in their apartment; it seemed as if they hadn't been there in ten years, even though it had only been two days. The inevitable weighed heavily on their minds and each of them was trying to avoid what they both knew was about to happen. Cyril had to think fast. He could try to save his pitiful ass with lies about where he had been the night of the shooting, or he could be a man and tell Jamie the truth. Up until the last second, Cyril had no idea, which it would be.
"Baby, I think we need to talk about what happened, okay?" Cyril stammered as Jamie walked out of the bedroom.
"Okay." She answered uneasily and sat down next to him on the couch.
"Okay." Cyril gulped. "I know you're probably wondering where I was, and why I came home so late the night we had that argument."
"Yeah, it crossed my mind." She said.
"I went to a bar, and had a few drinks." He started out slowly. Jamie's throat tightened at the thought of where this might be leading.
Cyril continued, "I started talking to the bartender and…ya know…she kept me company." He said quietly. Jamie inhaled deeply and felt queasy all of the sudden. She now had a very good idea of where this was going.
"I'm not going to beat around the bush okay? I ended up going home with her." Cyril said it fast and loud enough for her to hear it the first time so he wouldn't have to repeat it. Tears sprung into Jamie's eyes; she started biting on the inside of her mouth, and found there was almost nothing left to bite.
"We were in her apartment…"Cyril could not bring himself to finish the story.
"Just stop." Jamie whispered before he could finish. "I don't want to hear what you did with some random whore that you met at a bar. I don't want to hear it Cyril." She was fully crying now and felt like she was going to throw up.
"No wait, baby please…I didn't fuck her." Cyril swallowed all the spit that had collected in his mouth, and under his tongue. "But," he closed his eyes; "I did do something."
"I DON'T WANT TO FUCKING HEAR IT YOU SON OF A BITCH!" Jamie screamed at him and got up off the couch. "I'm packing my shit and I'm leaving Cyril, that's all there is to it." She stormed into their bedroom, choking on sobs.
You're losin her man; you're losin her fast. You shoulda just lied. It's so much easier for a woman when you lie and say that you were alone in your car, down by the river, crying all night long. Chicks eat that shit right up! It's was Ryan's voice running through Cyril's head. He walked back to the bedroom and found Jamie shoving her clothes into a gym bag. He sat down on the bed and just watched her, without saying a word.
"Shannon was right, I should have known! I should have fucking known that you would do this eventually. Christ, I'm such an idiot for thinking…no, for believing that you were different, that I could actually trust a word you said, you fucking bastard." Jamie said evenly, without any wavering in her voice.
"You're right, I am a bastard and I want you to know that this is killing me. If I could take it back and it exchange it for my own life; I would in a heartbeat. I never wanted to hurt you." Cyril could feel a lump growing in his throat. Jamie finished packing and stormed out of the room. He listened as she slammed the front door on her way out of the apartment.
Shannon showed up at Mercy the next morning to take Ryan home. She'd cleaned the apartment from top to bottom for his homecoming and she planned on spending the whole day with him, just talking. However, Jamie had come over last night, with her things, crying about Cyril. She was staying in the second bedroom and planned on staying there for awhile. It was a crimp in Shannon's plans but it didn't stop her from being giddy with excitement.
When she got to the recovery ward, she found Ryan's room; empty, his clothes and all his things were gone. For one tiny second she thought he'd died in the night and they'd taken his body away already. Shannon panicked. She walked quickly to the nurse's station.
"Um, where's my husband? I just checked his room; he's not in there and all his things are gone. He's supposed to be released today. Do I have to go somewhere else to pick him up? Nobody ever mentioned anything like that to me." Shannon said it all without taking a breath.
"You're Mrs.O'Reily, right?" The nurse asked her.
"Yes I am." Her heart started thudding against her ribs, she thought for sure the nurse could hear it.
"Your husband left last night at about a quarter of ten. We thought he was going home." The nurse said with sympathy stitched on her face for Shannon.
Shannon snorted. "What? What do you mean he left? He just got up and left?" Shannon was confused; she started to sweat and could feel her deodorant beading up in her armpits.
"Yes Mrs. O'Reily…he just got up and left." The nurse stammered. "I'm sorry, we thought you knew."
Shannon hadn't known that he left of course. One thing she did know was that Ryan was gone, not just gone from the hospital, but gone from her…again. Shannon trembling with sorrow, put her head back and screamed.
Thirty days had come and gone. Ryan was back on the prowl with a vengeance, Jamie was still staying with Shannon and Ryan, and Cyril was keeping to himself. Actually, "keeping to himself" was the understatement of the century; Cyril hadn't seen the light of day in two weeks. The days went by in a blur of brief periods of consciousness followed by too many hours of sleep to count. Cyril was in a bad way; he hadn't showered in four days, hadn't eaten since yesterday morning, he just lay in bed, unmoving.
He heard on knock on the door one afternoon and knew instantly that it was Ryan.
"Come in." He called from his bedroom, not bothering to get out of bed. He heard Ryan walk in, go to the kitchen, check the refrigerator, then finally make his way back to the bedroom.
"Dude, you gotta go shopping, all your food's rotten and your fridge fucking wreaks." Ryan looked down at him.
"Thanks for the newsflash. Is that all you came over here for, to tell me that my fridge wreaks?" Cyril's reply was muffled; he was lying on his stomach with his face buried in the pillow.
"No, man...hell no. Jesus Christ, you need to get up outta this bed and do something with yourself. The shower might be a good place to start, cause you smell as bad as the fridge Cyr." Ryan snorted. Cyril didn't respond, so Ryan jumped on top of him.
"Fuckin A Ryan, what are you doing?" Cyril hollered.
Ryan released him from a head lock and said, "I'm worried about you bro, I don't like seeing you this way." They both sat up on the bed; Cyril's greasy, unwashed hair hung in his face.
"How's Jamie?" He asked quietly.
"Well she still thinks you're a piece of shit so I guess nothing's changed." Ryan said sarcastically.
"Has she said the word hate Ryan? Because I really need to know if she's ever uttered the word hate anywhere in the same sentence with my name?" Cyril asked with a scoff.
"Fuck, I don't know Cyril, I never listen to what she says. Between her bitchin and moanin about you twenty-four seven, Shannon hittin the bottle and bitchin and moanin at me twenty four seven, shit it's like Lifetime Television for Women every fucking day at my place. Sometimes I just wanna knock their heads together, ya know like on the Three Stooges? Ryan said, laughing at the thought. "But hey, let's not talk about all that. There's no need to spoil a perfectly good day by gettin into a crying jag over Jamie. So, why don't you get in the shower and we'll go out okay?" Ryan smirked at his brother. Cyril rolled his eyes as he walked to the bathroom.
Forty-five minutes later, they were in Ryan's Impala, headed down Central Avenue.
"Hey did ya hear Tommy Luca died?" Ryan asked Cyril.
"Oh for real?"
"Yeah he had a stroke. The funeral's tomorrow. I'm goin, you wanna come with?"
"Definitely." Cyril answered; looking out the window as Ryan turned onto 125th.
"Hey Cyr, I think you may have met a friend of mine." Ryan said.
"Oh yeah, who's that?" Cyril asked, still looking out the window.
"Name's Trina, she owns a bar called Mooney's, over on the south side. Does that ring a bell?" Ryan said, changing the radio station. He didn't see Cyril staring suspiciously at him. "She said you came in the bar a while back, and well, that you two got friendly."
Cyril remembered back to the night that he'd met Trina. He thought he was such a big man because she was a girl that Ryan would fuck in a heartbeat, and yet she was with Cyril. What a fuckin joke! It figures she already knew Ryan first, Cyril thought to himself.
"Ya know what's interesting Cyril? I didn't know what came between you and Jamie, I mean I figured it was probably some whore but, I guess I never quite believed it. That's why I was so surprised when Trina mentioned your name and asked me if I knew you.
"What did you tell her?" Cyril felt sick.
"I told her hell yes I knew you. You're my sweet baby brother." Ryan said and reached over to pinch Cyril's cheek. "Then she told me she gave you head but of course she didn't mention any of that till after she sucked MY dick. Anyway, here's my real question Cyril, what did you tell Jamie about Trina?" Ryan asked as he pushed in the cigarette lighter.
"The truth." Cyril said softly.
"Bad move man. You ain't ever gonna get her back now. Somehow I don't think she's as stupid as Shannon is." Ryan said as the lighter popped. He lit his cigarette and stared straight ahead, he wouldn't meet Cyril's gaze.
They bought groceries and took them back to Cyril's apartment. After everything had been put away, Cyril sat down in the recliner and had planned on staying there for the rest of his life
"Hey I'm gonna take off Cyr. You need anything; you call me, got it? And keep in mind what I said; you need to get on with your life, cause this shit that you're doing now, it ain't cool, not one bit." Ryan said, standing by the door. Cyril hated to admit it but Ryan was right, he did need to get on with his life. As far as Cyril was concerned his life wasn't worth shit without Jamie in it.
"Are you going home?" Cyril asked him.
"Yeah but just for a minute, I have to change my shirt. Why do you ask?"
"I'm coming with you." Cyril answered, getting up from the recliner. "I gotta get her back man."
They pulled up to Ryan's building five minutes later, Cyril looked up at the fourth floor window. The lights were on inside, and he knew Jamie was in there. He took a deep breath and thought about what he was going to say to her.
"You sure you wanna do this?" Ryan interrupted his thoughts.
"Absolutely." Cyril said, never taking his eye off the window.
When they walked in the door, Cyril saw Shannon lying on the couch, staring at the wall. The glare from the show on TV made her face look blue and vacant. He looked into the kitchen and saw Jamie gazing at him from around the corner. She looked scared, almost like she was trying to hide. Finally, she came out of the kitchen and walked past them, towards the back bedroom.
"Jamie." Cyril said. She turned and looked back at him "Will you please talk to me." His face was hard as stone but his voice was pleading with her. She nodded and walked into the bedroom. Cyril followed her.
Jamie sat on the bed with her hands folded in her lap. Cyril pulled the chair from the corner and placed it in front of her, he sat down and leaned forward, their knees were touching.
"What can I do James? Just say the word and I'll do it. I know that telling you how sorry I am, and how miserable my life is without you, will never be enough to make up for what I did, and it sure as hell won't change the fact that I did it. But if that's what you want, I will tell you until I have no voice left." Cyril reached for her hands. "Whatever you want me to do to make it better, I'll do it Jamie, all you have to do is tell me what it is. I'll go to college, I'll get a degree, I'll change, I'll be whatever you want me to be. "I…I can't be without you…it's killing me baby."
"Cyril, I don't care about all that stuff. None of it matters to me anymore. I don't want you to change, I love who you are already." Jamie was crying, Cyril moved from the chair onto the bed and sat next to her. "You fucked up, we both know that, and we both know that if you could take it back you would. I hate not being with you, it's killing me too." She said quietly. Cyril kissed her hand, and then her lips. "I want to be with you Cyril, but I'm not going to be like the other mindless idiots who just takes this shit over and over again, like Shannon. So help me God, if you ever fuck up again, all you'll have left of me will be the memories."
"Baby, I swear, on my mother's grave, I will never touch another woman again." Cyril said earnestly. Jamie sniffled and kissed him.
After finishing his second beer, Ryan got up and listened at the bedroom door. He didn't hear any talking; the only sound he heard was Jamie, moaning softly.
Sounds like you got her back bro; Ryan thought to himself and smiled. He walked back out to the living room and looked down at Shannon's lifeless figure lying on the couch. "Shannon…get up, we're going out to eat."
"Huh?" She asked, confused.
"I said we're going out to eat." He pulled her up from the couch.
"You want to eat with me?" Well aren't I a lucky girl? You mean to tell me that you don't have some whore waiting for you somewhere?" Her voice was filled with venom.
"Cut the shit Shannon! Get your coat on and get your ass out that door, now." Ryan ordered and not surprisingly, she obeyed him.
The next morning, Cyril and Jamie were lying naked in their bed. His head was on her chest, they held each other tight, and their legs were intertwined.
"What do you want to do today baby?" Jamie asked him.
"Well, I have to go to a funeral with Ryan, but that shouldn't take too long. After that we can do whatever you want." He said, rubbing circles around her bellybutton.
"Who's funeral?" she asked with a yawn.
"Tommy Luca's. He's a business associate but, he was always good to me and Ryan. I just wanna go and pay my respects."
It was getting late and Cyril wasn't home yet. He'd said the funeral wouldn't take long but he'd left hours ago, and there was still no sign of him. Jamie refused to let her mind wander. She refused to let herself think the worst. But, it was hard to keep the worst at bay. Was she a fool for taking him back? Was he with that bartender right now, while Jamie sat here unpacking her clothes? No. Dammit Jamie, stop it! She silently chastised herself. The phone rang, she hoped it was Cyril on the other end.
"Hello?" she answered on the first ring.
"Jamie, its Ryan…there was a fight…at the funeral; me and Cyril are at Mercy. You need to get down here right away." His voice was ragged.
"Is Cyril alright?" Ryan didn't answer her. "Ryan?" Still nothing. "Ryan?" she pleaded.
"We're in the Emergency Room." He said and hung up. Jamie's mind raced. Why wouldn't he tell her about Cyril?
She ran out of the building and got into Cyril's car, it started with an erratic sputter. Jamie sped off towards Mercy; she ran three red lights and almost missed the hospital parking lot. She hated Mercy Medical Center, it seemed she was here all the time, and she could remember nothing but sadness each time walked through the sliding doors.
She looked around the ER waiting room and didn't see Cyril or Ryan anywhere. She ran to the front desk and swallowed before she spoke.
"I'm looking for two people." She blurted out.
"Who are they?" the nurse asked
"Cyril and Ryan O'Reily, I just got a call that they are here in the ER."
"Yes, they are. Follow me."
The nurse led Jamie to a berth, surrounded by a blue curtain. She pulled the curtain back and saw Ryan sitting on a hospital bed. Jamie was bewildered.
"Ryan where's Cyril?"
"There's been an accident." He answered in a hushed voice.
"Just tell me where he is!" Jamie yelled.
"He's not doing too good James…he's…" Ryan didn't finish, his voice was pinched. He couldn't look at her any longer.
Ryan was soon released from the ER with only minor injuries. He and Jamie went to the waiting room and sat down. He told her what happened to Cyril at the funeral, he didn't want her to hear from it from a doctor. They both felt helpless, there was nothing to do but wait it out.
"Mr. O'Reily?" Ryan looked up in a daze at the person talking to him.
"Yeah?" Ryan realized it was a doctor, and got up from the seat. "Do you have news about my brother?" he asked impatiently.
"Yes I do. Come with me please." Ryan and Jamie followed the doctor. He turned and saw Jamie. "Are you family?" the doctor asked her.
"No, I… I'm Cyril's girlfriend."
"You'll have to wait here."
"Bullshit! Whatever you gotta say to me, you gotta say to her too." Ryan was in the doctor's face.
"O…okay, that's fine." He stammered. The doctor led them to a small, private room. Inside were a few chairs, they were nicer than the plastic ones in the waiting room. Jamie knew what room this was; it was where they brought people to tell them their family member was dead. Jamie's chest tightened with fear and new tears spilled from her eyes.
"Folks" the doctor sighed, "Cyril's condition is not good. I'm afraid he's in a coma. Right now, it's just too early to tell if he'll come out of it or not. Until then, there is no telling how the injuries he sustained have affected his brain. I read his charts; he had a previous head injury, correct? The doctor was speaking to Ryan. He didn't acknowledge it.
Jamie spoke. "Yes, that's correct." She choked out.
"Well right now the previous injury is what has me worried the most about what we'll find if and when he comes out of the coma. It may have left him more vulnerable than people without previous trauma to the head. As I said, it's still too early to tell. We'll keep you updated of his condition and at the first sign of anything, someone will come and talk to you."
"Thank you doctor." Jamie said before the doctor walked out of the room.
Ryan called Shannon and his father. He got answering machines at both residences. The messages he left were scattered and confused. He spoke in single words. "Cyril's. In. The. Hospital. He. Had. An. Accident. We're. At. Mercy." That was all he said and hung up.
Shannon was there twenty minutes later. She was groggy and looked like she had been sleeping. She hugged them both and Jamie decided to give her and Ryan some time alone. She went to the cafeteria for some coffee; when she got back Shannon was gone.
"Where's Shannon?" Jamie asked.
"I sent her home, there's no point in her being here." He answered matter of factly. Jamie silently agreed. Frank O'Reily never showed up and Ryan hated him more than he ever thought possible.
Ryan and Jamie waited together for three days, they ate in the cafeteria, and they washed themselves as best as they could in the hospital bathrooms. They slept in the plastic chairs in the waiting room. Jamie started to see Ryan in a different light; she realized how much he too loved Cyril. Jamie had been so resentful of Ryan and his influence over Cyril and how he abused it. But she could see now that Ryan was in as much agony as she was. She knew his heart was breaking right along with hers.
On the third night, they still hadn't been able to see Cyril, when a P.A came to tell them that he'd been moved to the ICU Trauma ward.
"We wanna see him." Ryan said calmly.
"I'm afraid that's not possible Mr.O'Reily. He wouldn't know you were there anyway, he's in a very deep coma." the P.A. nonchalantly informed them.
"God dammit!" Ryan yelled and hit the waiting room wall. He turned and grabbed the P.A.'s collar. "Why can't we fuckin see him? This is bullshit man, it's been three days!"
The P.A was terrified, his eyes were wide and his mouth hung open. "I'll see what I can do." He said and went over to the front desk. He called someone, Ryan and Jamie could see him whispering into the telephone receiver and staring cautiously at them.
"Please follow me." He'd said after he hung up the phone. They all got in the elevator and the P.A. pushed 7.
Ryan and Jamie flanked the sides of Cyril's bed. Neither one spoke, both too stunned to even utter a word. He looks like he's sleeping, Jamie thought to herself. How can it be that bad when he looks so peaceful? She reached down and picked up Cyril's right hand, it was limp. She placed his fingers on her lips and kissed them softly as a single tear dropped onto his hand and rolled down his wrist. Don't leave me baby, I just got you back, I can't lose you again, not like this.
Ryan stared down at his brother's lifeless body. The beeping of the heart monitor reverberated through Ryan's head and the light from the life support machine glowed green on his face. He wanted to pick Cyril up and hold him in his arms; somehow he knew that would help; Cyril would wake up and say "Hey killer." But Ryan didn't move. His whole body felt like a boulder that was destined to be in this spot for all of eternity.
They stayed in Cyril's room for two hours, standing by his bedside the whole time. They didn't exchange any words but when they locked eyes, both knew what the other was thinking. Silently, they walked out of his room and left the hospital.
They sat in Ryan's car in front of Jamie and Cyril's building. Jamie didn't make a move to get out and Ryan shut the engine off.
"Do you wanna come up?" She asked him wearily. She was exhausted but she new she would never be able fall asleep.
"Do you mind? I just don't want to go home, I can't deal with Shannon tonight. I mean, I know you probably want to sleep, so I'll just go somewhere…"
"Ryan, it's okay. I want you to come up."
"Thank you." He whispered.
Jamie walked into her apartment, followed by Ryan. It was dark, and she didn't bother to turn on the lights. They sat on the couch and listened to the sound of the heater kick on. The streetlights outside shone brightly through the window onto their faces.
"I can't believe this is happening." Ryan said. Jamie could see his that he was staring out the window like a zombie.
"I can't either Ryan." She answered.
Ryan leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. He rubbed his eyes and covered his face with his hands. Jamie couldn't make it out at first, she thought Ryan was whispering inside his hands. Then she realized he was crying, Ryan O'Reily was crying for his brother. A lump formed in Jamie's throat, she tried to swallow but couldn't. Ryan's sobs got louder and as they did, Jamie tears started to fall again.
She reached over and wrapped Ryan in her arms and he put his arms around her; they clung to each other like scared children. Ryan uncovered his face, and Jamie could see the wetness on his skin. She wiped the tears off his cheeks and he surprised her by doing the same for her. He held her face in his hands and they looked at each other with questions in their eyes.
Ryan moved closer to her, his lips touching hers. He kissed her; then he kissed her again. Jamie's stomach flip-flopped as Ryan gently rubbed his fingers over her lips. She reached for his hand and kissed the inside of it. In that instant, their lips met again as they lay down on the couch, Ryan was on top of her now. Jamie's mind drifted back to a night long ago, when she'd first come to live with Gran. He'd snuck into the room that Jamie shared with Shannon and had sex with her while Jamie watched. And Ryan knew she was watching. The memory of it made Jamie blush.
Ryan was placing small kisses down her neck; Jamie felt the heat building in her stomach, it was slowly moving down. She pulled his shirt up and off over his head while he unbuttoned hers. He helped her take it off and not a word was spoken. She unhooked and removed her bra. Ryan pulled back from her; he was looking at her naked breasts in the light coming through the window. He caressed her left nipple with his thumb and bent down to take it into his mouth. To Jamie, it was all taking place in slow motion; she watched his head as he moved from one breast to the other. He made a trail of kisses down to her bellybutton, and licked it. It made Jamie's senses pop and she moaned softly. Ryan continued down to her jeans, he unbuttoned and unzipped them. Just then, he looked up at her and they both knew that they didn't want it to stop there.
Jamie lifted her hips and Ryan pulled her jeans off, along with her shoes. He then came up for her panties, he could see that they were white satin, with a bow at the top. Ryan was breathing hard as he removed them. Jamie was laying completely naked in front of him now. He started at her face and let his eyes wash over her entire body. When he got to her legs, he opened them and reached for the button on his own pants. He got undressed and lay naked on top of her. Their skin was warm to the touch. He kissed her again; his tongue was licking her lips. She opened her mouth to taste him as she felt Ryan sliding into her.
Ryan moved in and out of her slowly and carefully, he was afraid if he went any faster, it would all be over too soon. He wanted this to last because he knew they'd wake up tomorrow with their regrets and he'd never have this chance again. He wanted Jamie from the very beginning; it was an ancient, lurking desire that he had for her. For one millisecond he was jealous of Cyril for having Jamie. Ryan swept Cyril out of his mind as quickly as he'd entered.
They made love on the couch, all night. The regrets were non-existent in the darkness, that's what made it all right. Ryan and Jamie fell asleep in each other's arms, both knowing that with the sunrise came the consequences.
The first thing Jamie heard was the phone ringing. She thought she was dreaming but then realized it wasn't a dream and that the phone really was ringing on the end table beside the couch. Her eyes popped open, it was light out. She felt Ryan spooned behind her. She thought he might still be asleep, but how could he be with the phone ringing? She wanted to answer it without waking him but it was too late. Ryan confirmed the fact that he was awake by picking up the receiver and handing it to Jamie.
"Hello?" She said, sure that the person on the other end could hear remorse in her voice.
"Is this Jamie McFadden?" a woman's voice asked.
"Yes it is."
"Ms. McFadden, this is Doctor Erickson at Mercy Medical Center. I'm calling in regards to Cyril O'Reily. I've tried to reach his brother Ryan but have had no luck. I saw your name and number on his chart as a secondary contact. I hope I didn't wake you." She said.
Jamie was dumbfounded, that was quite a lot to take in this early in the morning. "Um, no, that's fine, I needed to get up anyway. How is Cyril?" Jamie could feel Ryan breathing but he made no effort to unwrap himself from her.
"He's awake Ms. McFadden, he has been for about two hours. We would have called you sooner but we wanted to study any possible effects from the head injury and coma. You can come down and see him whenever you're ready." Dr. Erickson answered. "Oh, one more thing before I forget, do you have any idea where to reach his brother Ryan?"
Everything happened so fast after that. Crumpled clothes were flying around, buttons were being buttoned into the wrong holes and shoes were left untied, as Ryan and Jamie ran out the door and headed to Mercy. They didn't say one word about last night, hell they could barely even look each other in the eye.
When they got to the ICU, Dr. Erickson was waiting for them. She introduced herself and led Ryan and Jamie into a private room.
"When can we see Cyril?" Ryan asked impatiently.
"Soon Mr. O'Reily but, there are some things I need to tell you first. Cyril has had a lapse in brain function. What that means is that at this time his brain is not functioning at the level in which it should be. His motor and speech skills are that of a child rather than someone Cyril's age." She informed them.
"So…what does that mean?" Jamie was confused.
"It means, right now he's performing at the level of a five year old."
"He's like a little kid?" Ryan asked, unbelieving.
"Yes, that's exactly right Mr.O'Reily."
"How long will it take till he's back to normal?" he asked.
"There's no telling at this point. His normal brain level cold gradually return over an unknown period of time…or it may never return at all."
"So, what you're saying is that he could be like this forever?" Ryan's head pounded.
"Yes, there's a very good possibility that Cyril will be like this forever."
"We wanna see him." Ryan said quietly.
At their fourth visit with Cyril, Jamie knew she would never come back to see him again. She told Ryan that she had to get out of there and that she would call a cab to pick her up. Jamie was waiting in front of Mercy for her cab, when Ryan came running out.
"Why are you doing this?" He asked, breathlessly.
"Ryan you saw him in there, why the hell do you think I'm doing this?"
"He's not going to be like that forever Jamie, he'll get his mind back, didn't you hear the doctor?"
"Yeah, I did. Did you hear her? Each time we come back she sounds more doubtful than the time before."
"So? Because of that, you're just gonna take off like this? He needs you Jamie, he needs us both, to help him get better."
"Ryan, he's not there, don't you get it? That's not our Cyril in that room, that is a child, who barely even remembers us. You heard the doctor, he needs to be taught how to do everything all over again, he's like a blank page." Jamie was quiet as she contemplated what she was going to say next.
"Okay, so we'll teach him." He said.
"Look…Ryan, I'm leaving."
"Yeah, I can see that." He answered sarcastically.
"No, I mean I'm leaving town, I'm leaving for good." She gulped and waited for his response. He made her wait for an eternity it seemed. He looked deep into her eyes, questioning what she'd just told him.
"I can't believe I'm fuckin hearing this." Ryan said to her. "You fucking cunt! How can you do this to Cyril? When it gets tough and you can't handle it anymore, you just leave? You're lucky you have that option, Cyril doesn't, he can't just walk away from this, he has no choice, and neither do I."
"Ryan please don't this, I'm not doing this to hurt Cyril. Can't you please try to understand?" She begged.
"No, fuck that! Christ, how could I not see what a bitch you are? I guess I should have realized that any chick who would fuck her boyfriend's brother was nothing but a useless whore!" Ryan yelled. "Go on then, leave. But let me make this clear to you right now, don't you ever come near him again, got it? If you do, I'll kill you." Ryan turned and left Jamie standing there; waiting for her cab with tears in her eyes.
Three months later Jamie was settled into a small apartment fourteen hundred miles away from all the chaos and grief that she left behind. She'd found out through the newspapers that Ryan was going to prison. He'd gone on a rampage and killed some people, Jamie couldn't bear to read any more of the story after that. She knew that he was in the big leagues now, no more county lock-up for Ryan O'Reily. She couldn't help but to worry about Cyril and Shannon. Who would take care of them now? Not that Ryan was suited to take care of anyone, not even himself but, with him in prison, what would they do? She stopped herself from thinking all the bad things that could happen to them. Instead she turned her mind back to when she was so young and naïve and had come to live with Gran.
Back then, Jamie wondered where the future would take them all? She imagined that she and Cyril would get married and have kids and they would live in a bright blue house with a white picket fence right next door to Shannon and Ryan and their kids. They'd have cookouts together every weekend, they'd spend Christmas' drinking eggnog and unwrapping gifts and all their children would grow up together to be responsible, happy, well adjusted people. Jamie laughed at the foolishness of those thoughts now. Did such a place even exist? A place where reality stopped being reality and instead turned into something you never dreamed possible? Somewhere like the Land of Oz, with it's beautiful Emerald City beckoning in the distance. She thought that maybe it wasn't foolishness after all. Jamie smiled, looking down and quietly humming "Somewhere over the Rainbow" to her growing belly.