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a soft place to fall

Chapter Nine

Hiding from a Friend

November 13 2007

As Jim sat in the car waiting for Bryce to exit the restaurant, he thought he would have a panic attack if he did not settle down. He was nervous, and the fact that his hands were shaking did not make things any better. He could feel the sweat rolling down the back of his neck. Although it was somewhat cool outside, he was experiencing a summer heat wave inside the car. After a few moments, Bryce appeared through the front doors of the restaurant and started walking towards the car. Now a whole new set of issues came rushing into Jim’s consciousness. How would he explain his behavior to Bryce? He would have to be creative with his explanation.

As Bryce neared the car, Jim looked in his direction, still sweating profusely, and held up a set of keys to communicate to Bryce that he wanted him to drive home. As Bryce took his seat behind the wheel, he looked over at his friend and peered at him intensely. Deciding not to say anything, Bryce grabbed the keys and started the car. For once, Jim was glad that his friend had decided not to speak and instead start the drive home. After a short drive through the city, Bryce and Jim arrived home. Although the drive had been less than fifteen minutes, the fact that it was made in utter silence made it seem as if they had just driven across the continent.

As they exited the car, Bryce looked over at his friend, who was still sweating, and decided that this would be a good time to break the silence.

“Jim, I would have offered to take you to the emergency room, or would have asked you if you were feeling okay if I had thought that what happened was because of an illness or sickness, but it wasn’t was it?” Bryce was taking a chance at being this forward with his friend. He knew that something was wrong.

“Let’s just go inside so I can get something cold to drink. Maybe that will help me settle down,” Jim replied without looking at Bryce and steadily walking in the direction of the front door.

Deciding that this was probably a conversation that would need to be carried on inside, Bryce did not argue, and instead followed his friend inside to do as he asked. Now having made it inside, Jim walked quickly toward his bedroom, where he had planned to go into the bathroom and wash his face and hand, and if the truth be known, to avoid Bryce and by himself some time. Maybe Bryce would forget about what had happened and not mention it again. “Not a chance,” Jim thought as he walked into his bathroom and flipped on the light. The image he stared at in the mirror frightened him. He was pale, like a ghost. His forehead was wet with sweat. No wonder Bryce and the others back at the restaurant had reacted as they had when he came out of the restroom. He reached over and closed the door to the bathroom and then stepped over to the tub where he turned on the water, fully intending to slip in to a warm shower before he went back outside to talk to Bryce, which, he knew full well that he would have to do. But before he had gotten the water to the right temperature, there was a knock at the bathroom door.

“Jim, are you okay? I brought you a glass of ice water,” Bryce said.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I just wanted to jump in the shower really quickly; I got sweaty and maybe this will help me feel much better. Thanks for the water. Just sit it down over on the counter by the sink, and I’ll have some when I get out of the shower,” Jim said trying to stave off any further conversation

Realizing that Jim more than likely did not want to talk about anything at the moment, Bryce decided to just do as Jim asked and allow him his privacy. He placed the water on the counter and quietly left Jim to his privacy. Bryce returned to the living room where he sat patiently waiting for Jim to finish his shower. He could not help but to be worried about his friend. Although it had been some time since the two of them had had an opportunity to be close, Bryce felt a connection with Jim, and was sure that Jim felt one with him. But something was strange. Jim had not acted right ever since Bryce had arrived in town. There was only one thing to do, and Bryce knew that it was a risk. He would have to confront his friend and point blank ask him what was going on with him. He heard Jim turn the shower off and open the shower door. In just a few moments he heard the bathroom door open and Jim’s footsteps coming down the hall.

“Feel better now,” Bryce asked as he smiled at his friend.

“Yeah, I guess that was all I needed. It must have just been something in the air,” Jim said as he took the towel and dried the back of his neck while standing in front of Bryce in his bathrobe and slippers.”

“Well, I’m glad that the shower made you feel better, for now at least,” replied Bryce trying not to sound confrontational yet clearly getting a subtle point across.

“For now? What do you mean; do you think I might need to go to the doctor. Come on, Bryce, you know how I feel about doctor’s offices and hospitals. I’d rather just let whatever it is or was run its course. I’ll be fine. You worry too much, just like you always did.” Jim was now sitting down with his head leaning back in the chair.

“No, I don’t think you need a doctor, Jim. I think you need a friend. I guess it was divine intervention that I came here when I did. And yes, I realize that I used to be a bit of a worry wart, but I don’t think I am overreacting by being concerned about you now. I want us to talk,” Bryce said as he leaned forward on the couch, staring directly at Jim.

“Okay, so let’s talk. I still think you are making way too much of this. It was just a little dizziness and an upset stomach. I vomited in the bathroom before I got in to the shower,” Jim said hoping that this explanation would assure Bryce that there was nothing wrong.

“Yeah, Jim, you know you never were a good liar. If you vomited in the bathroom, then why did I not hear you flush the toilet? You don’t have an upset stomach, Jim. There is something else, and I think I know what it is,” Bryce said to Jim still looking at him with glaring eyes.


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Jeff is a 31 year old english teacher from America's South with a particular interest in horror movies. His background in journalism and literature provides a solid foundation for his writing which we love so much on Superdrewby. Jeff enjoys writing, reading, movies, long walks on the beach at sunset (* sorry I made that up).

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