Uriah called Bro. Moore and my parents. Soon Manuel, Sarah and Adam were there too.
My Mom freaked out when she saw my bandaged neck. I told her I was fine. She tried to talk to me, to help me feel better. But nothing could, except maybe seeing Alex emerge from his sick bed completely healthy.
Suddenly Manuel was beside us. “Mrs.Fritz?”
He coughed slightly. “Sarah and I would like a word with you and Mr. Moore….outside.”
My Mom patted my knee and followed them out of the waiting room.
“I’m here!” Addy rushes into the room, taking the seat my Mother had just abandoned, while Uriah sat opposite me.
“How is he?” Addy asks, taking my hand.
I shake me head, and Uriah fills her in on the latest details.
“Oh no….” She gasps, seeing her tears only revives my own.
We hug for a long moment, trying to comfort each other.
It seems that, when you’re young, you don’t truly value the life you have until something tragic like this happens, then its all too real, all too scary.
“Family of Alex Moore?” A man steps through the doors.
“We’re his friends.” Uriah says, standing. “Should I get his Father? He’s just outside..”
“Yes, please, but Alex is asking for a Jewel?…Jewel Fritz?”
“That’s me!” I cry with excitement.
“Will you come this way miss, but I must warn you, he has lost a lot of blood and is very weak. I would advise you keep your visit short.”
“Yes sir,” I follow him down the hall towards the room where Alex is being held. “…how long do you think it will be before he gets better?” I ask.
The man stops short and turns, looking me straight in the eyes, his own blue ones were tender, but serious.
“Your friend is in a critical state, we’re running tests and trying to decide which route will be the best and safest. His Father will have the final say. We’ve already sent word to all Hospitals in the country that we’re in need of a kidney replacement and hopefully by the end of the week he’ll be off of life support. But don’t get your hopes up too high, this will take time for him to recover….my best advice would be to pray for a miracle.”
I nod and we continue on our way.
Life support?! Alex is on life support? Oh you better believe I’m praying, praying my heart out.
He eases the door open and pulls the curtain to the side so I can enter.
I hear the beep beep beep of the machines and the smell of blood and bleach hits me in the face.
When I see Alex I cover my mouth to keep the sob from being vocalized.
Oh dear merciful Savior, please save my Alex, oh please dear God.
Alex’s face is a greenish hue, and I fear that he is dead, but I calm myself remembering the steady beep beep beep, is him telling me he’s still alive, he isn’t going to leave me. Yet.
“You can talk to him, just be quiet.” The doctor whispers before leaving me alone with Alex and the machines.
I sit in the chair beside his bed and run my fingers down his cheek.
He stirs slightly and opens his eyes a crack.
“Hey” I whisper.
He whispers back, “Hey”
I bite my lip. I will not cry, I will NOT cry!
“How you feeling?” I ask.
“Like I was ran over by a semi-truck…a few times.” He attempts to laugh, but his hand shoots to his wound site and his face contorts in pain.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry Alex.” Here comes the waterworks….
“Hey, hey,” he croaks. “Don’t cry jewel, you know how I hate….the crying.”
Sniff….Sniff “I know, but I’m sorry Alex, I shouldn’t have had you come.” I sob.
He smirks. “I don’t recall giving you the choice…”
“Alex, it should be me here in the hospital, that knife was meant for me…”
I’m startled by his outburst, and he keeps his eyes closed, biting back a yelp of pain.
“Don’t…you dare…say that, Jewel.” Alex scolded, his blue eyes were fierce. “This is my fault, not yours.”
I try to argue, but just then my Mother and Bro.Moore step into the room.
“Son!” Bro.Moore exclaimed, coming to his son’s bedside, and taking his hand.
Alex smiles. “Hey, Dad….Mrs.Fritz.”
“Hello Alex.” Mom kisses his forehead and says she hopes he feels better.
“See ya Jewel.” Alex says, a weak smile appearing on his lips. I give his other hand a slight squeeze and we leave Father and Son alone.
“Mom….” I start, I don’t know how much the Parkers told her. “I’m so sorry for everything.” The tears come again.
My Mom hugs me tightly. “Honey, I’m very disappointed, that you lied, that you snuck around behind my back, and that, because of this, Alex is near death. I wish you would have just told me and your Father.”
Sigh. “I know Mom, I was scared, Manuel and Sarah threatened me. They told me that if I told anyone you would be in danger….I couldn’t stand to see you, Dad or Clara hurt.”
Mom takes my hand and we walk down the hall. “Manuel told me that….and I guess if I were in your circumstance I would have done the same. But that still doesn’t explain how Alex, Addy and Uriah got involved.”
“Alex was getting upset because I was hanging out with Manuel and Sarah so much….He knew something was up, but I couldn’t tell him, Manuel and Sarah’s threats went for my friends too. He asked me to explain to him what was up….before I could, I was kidnapped.” Mother gasps. “He and Manuel worked together to rescue me and on his way to drop me off at home, he demanded I explain. So I did….He deserved to know.”
“Yeah, a ‘friend’ of the Parkers’ Grandfather thought I knew where the journal was, so he kidnapped me and tried to get it out of me….but I didn’t know where it was, I only knew who had it. Adam…” I ramble on, not sure if she’s catching all this. “I told him so, and I think that’s why he was there tonight….He’s the one who stabbed Alex.” I, again attempt to hold back the tears by biting my lip. And again I fail.
“I’m confused at how you got cut, dear….if Alex was the one who was stabbed.”
“Alex took my place….Greyson had the knife to my throat, he pushed him away from me…. Mom, I should be the one in the hospital bed, this is all my fault, Alex was just an innocent bystander until I got him involved.”
“Honey, don’t say that, Alex stepped in for you, because he loves you! If you were in that bed, and he were in your place, I can assure you he would feel the same, if not worse than you do right now.”
Sniff. “You think he loves me?”
“No, darling, I know he loves you.” she smiles, kissing my cheek.
When we reach the waiting room Addy is asleep, her head resting on Uriah’s shoulder, while he works on a word search in a newspaper. Manuel is pacing back and forth while Sarah and Adam flip through magazines with expressions of boredom.
“Any news?” Manuel asks, coming to a halt when he spots us.
My Mom takes a seat before responding, apparently the Doctor filled her in. “They’ve requested for a kidney and hope to hear back soon…The Doctor says we’re lucky Alex is even alive, if a kidney is punctured, the victim will most likely bleed to death in up to five minutes….God had his mighty hand in the situation.”
“Julia….Can I have a word with you?” Manuel steps forward. I’ve never seen this quiet, worried, sheepish side of Manuel, it was definitely different.
“I’ll go too.” Adam grunts, rising from his chair.
Manuel puts his hand on his shoulder. “No, you stay here.”
I follow him out of the revolving doors, ignoring Adam’s complaints. The air is sticky and I immediately miss the cooled waiting room, but by Manuel’s expression, I can tell this is serious.
“Julia…” cough. “I knew how wrong of me it was to force you into helping us…. We shouldn’t have threatened you….to be honest, we shouldn’t have even met the way we did.” Running his fingers through his hair, I see signs of tears forming in his eyes. “But I didn’t know how to change it….until tonight.”
I motion towards a bench and we take a seat, the street lamp behind him casts strange shadows on his face, I can see sadness in his blue eyes.
“Manuel…” I start, but he puts his hand up, silencing me.
“Let me finish.” He swallows hard before continuing. “My Father is an evil man, he will do anything to get what he wants. His Father, my Grandfather, was disappointed in how his son turned out, that’s why he left the journal to us in his will, and not our Father.”
I nod, encouraging him to go on.
“My Father, much like my aunt, was angry….for years he has said that once we found the treasure he would get a part of it….when a deal that my Father was involved in, failed, he panicked, and we were forced to rush the process. When my Father heard that Mr.Doubleday had been nosing around in the journal, he told me to shoot him….I told my him I wouldn’t do it, so instead he shot Doubleday, but made it look as though I did.
“What?! You didn’t shoot him?” Ok, this is news to me.
“No, I couldn’t shoot anyone. So my Father shot him, but made me hold a gun so it would look as though I had. He said if I didn’t he would shoot me, instead of Doubleday.”
“But…after the shooting, you acted as though you had shot him….”
“I had to, Sarah was very much on father’s side in all this, back then at least. She thought that I had actually shot him, and my Dad said that if she knew I didn’t obey him, she would become rebellious.”
“So, you pretended to shoot Doubleday, so that if anyone saw the scene you’d be blamed and not your Dad, and also so that Sarah wouldn’t become rebellious?”
Manuel’s cheeks redden. “Silly, I know…..but when someone has a gun pointed at you, it’s crazy the things you’ll do.”
Again tears gathered in Manuel’s eyes, trying to blink them away, he continues. “When I found out you had seen, I was heartbroken….I knew that if my Father knew he would have kill you too, I couldn’t let you be killed. So I told you if you didn’t help us, we’d have to kill you or someone in your family. Though those were empty threats at the time, I knew no matter what that I couldn’t kill anyone. But my Dad had no problem with putting some led into someone. Anyone, who got into his business was in danger.
When you invited your friends along I wasn’t worried about their safety, I just wanted to find the journal and be done with all of this.”
Though one would think I had cried all my tears, I too have tears streaming down my cheeks.
Taking my hand in his I wonder where this conversation is going.
“Julia, I’m sorry for getting you and your friends involved, because of me, Alex is where he is, and you’ve gone through so much because of me and my family’s problems. I’m turning myself in to the police, and you are free to go. You never have see me again.”
I didn’t know what to say. Ever since I had met the Parkers’ I have had mixed feelings, especially about Manuel, he was charming, handsome and sweet….but he was a murderer, criminal and cheat.
But now, knowing the truth, I didn’t want him to go to jail for his Father’s crimes.
His Father was behind most of his evil deeds, even though he could have stood against his Father and disobeyed him, I still felt sorry for him. I was glad to know he hadn’t killed anyone.
“I shouldn’t have had my friends help….I knew that…but once Alex knew about all this, he wouldn’t have let me help you alone, he wanted to be there for me, to protect me….and he did.” I whispered the last part, choking back tears.
Manuel’s phone buzzed, he looked at it, sighed and put it back in his pocket.
“What is it?” I ask, drying my red puffy eyes with my sleeve for the thousandth time today.
His jaw tenses. “My Dad….he’s been calling and texting me for hours.”
“What does he want?”
“Me to kill everyone who knows about the journal, and move on.”
A gasp escapes my lips. Manuel turns to me, regret written on his face.
“That’s one of the reasons I kept you close….my Dad would have sent someone to kill you.”
His phone buzzed again, he took it out of his pocket, placing it on the bench.
Standing, he says, “I…I need to go for a walk….”
“Take your time.”
Once he walks away, I grab his phone.
Who doesn’t put a pass-code on their phone? I wonder.
I click his messages, and click ‘Dad’.
The most recent texts read:
Dad: Why aren’t you answering my calls?? Greyson called from the PD, says you had something to do with his arrest, how DARE you turn in one of our own.
Dad: I told you to kill that Fritz kid before things got out of hand, now there’s how many involved? Have I taught you nothing?
Dad: I’m very disappointed in you son. Don’t plan on coming back home.
Wow….Poor Manuel….and Sarah.
I scrolled back to the day I had first run into the Parkers’.
Dad: Who was that girl I saw with you guys? You haven’t gone off and gotten a Girlfriend, have you?
Manuel: Err, no Dad, just a friend.
Dad: What is she doing with you?? You’re supposed to be working on a secret mission right now.
Manuel: She’s helping, Dad….She saw me with you know what…So we asked her to help.
Dad: You WHAT??? How could you be so clumsy? Shoot her, easy as that, then we can continue our search in peace. Make sure you’re deleting these messages.
I laughed to myself. How could he be so clumsy? Mr.Parker must not realize what these texts would mean to the police.
Five days later, lounging in the lazy boy with a book, while Clara watches cartoons, my phone rings from the coffee table Buzz…buzz… Clara tosses it to me.
“Julia? This is Pastor Moore.”
“Bro.Moore! How’s Alex?”
“He’s doing great, and we just got some wonderful news.”
My Mother and Clara stare expectantly and I turn it to speaker phone.
“They’ve found a kidney, and are going to start the surgery Monday morning!” Bro.Moore’s voice crackles through the speaker.
“They’ve found a kidney for Alex!” I squeal, hugging Addy tight when she arrives for dinner that night.
OK, yeah, I was acting a little crazy….but this is my best friend we’re talking about!
There’s a knock on the door and before anyone can open it, Uriah comes rushing in.
“Look at what I just found!” He shoves a newspaper into my face.
Ezra Parker,arrested for murder, and countless other crimes, trials to be held this week. My Dad took the paper to read the full story, while Addy, Uriah and I trudged up to my room.
“Should I feel bad for turning him in?” I ask, climbing onto my bed. “I kinda do…”
Addy pats my arm. “Don’t. The world is safer with him off the streets.”
“What about Adam?” I ask. “I’m not really sure what all he’s done…but I doubt he’s a law abiding citizen.”
We all laugh.
“I’m glad Alex is doing so well.” Addy says, laying back on my pillow. “It was all pretty scary those first few days.”
Uriah nods, “He has made exceptional progress, once they replace his kidney, his recovery shouldn’t take much time at all.”
“Thank God! Too much longer in that hospital and he’s going to have to hire a maid to be at his every beck and call.” We all laugh again.
“So, what ever happened to that journal?” Addy asks.
“Last I knew, Adam had it…” I recall the night, 5 days ago, when we had snuck into his home, hoping to leave with the journal. Not expecting to be escorted out in an ambulance.
“I wish we could have found it…”
“WAIT!” Uriah interrupts. “Remember?! I DID find it!”
“WHAT?!” Addy and I ask in unison.
“Right before we heard Julia scream, I found it! I didn’t know what to do with it, so as we ran to find you and Alex, I slid it under a table in the hall.”
“Then that means….that no one has it…and it’s at Adam’s house!” I didn’t know why this was so exciting. The only reason I had been looking for the journal was because I had to, I had been forced to.
But now, with Mr.Parker and Greyson in jail, I felt like it might actually be fun trying to find it, and cracking the code.
“Guys….I think it’s time we gave Adam Parker a visit….” I announce.
Sorry this took so long for me to get out guys, I wasn’t very happy with how it was turning out so I had do some serious editing 😀
Hope you guys like it! 🙂