-.-


24.

Three days passed and Jude was able to go home, his arrangements for rehab set up by Chris. He slipped his wrinkled blue shirt on, running a hand through his hair that fell perfectly back into place over his eyes. He made note to get a hair cut as soon as possible. He glanced at Sherry as she cleaned up his hospital room, tightening his belt around his waist. He picked up a bag of gifts as Katelyn entered his mind. She was finally gone. He had called her cell phone and house phone, but she didn't answer her cell phone and Mary or Kevin would answer the house phone. Both of them would say she wasn't around and he figured that they were lying about it once or twice.

Laurie had come to see him, bringing him his favorite candy and kissing him lightly on the cheek. She felt sorry for him, sorry for the fact that he had a problem with drugs and that he lost the one girl he truly cared about. She would be lying if a big part of her was still angry with him about the accident.

"But honestly Jude, you kinda...brought this all on yourself. You knew you had a problem and you didn't take care of it soon enough."

He sighed, smiling slightly at his mother when she looked at him and she smiled back, motioning to the door. "Ready to go?"

"Not just yet, can I meet you out in the car? I want to go see Andy and see how he's doing."

"No problem. Ten minutes though because I have to pick up Matthew and Sarah up from school."

"Ten minutes," he promised her, watching her leave the room with her purse in hand. He walked out a few seconds after, walking down the hall in a different direction. They had three weeks until their last day of school as seniors, and then they walked at graduation. He was excited, but scared at the same time. Things would change when high school was over and he didn't like too much change in his life. He stopped when he read the room number on the closed door, hesitating before reaching for the doorknob, turning it and opening the door.

He closed the door quietly, smiling slightly when he saw Andy watching television. He laughed quietly, Jude eyeing the purple bruise on his cheekbone, along with the stitches on his temple. Jude swallowed, having his evidence of stitches on his neck where the long cut was found. Andy glanced when he sensed someone in the room, grabbing the remote and muting the television, clearing his throat uncomfortably. Jude shifted awkwardly before walking towards his bed, the tension hanging in the atmosphere around them.

Even though they were connected at the hip, neither knew what to say.

"I...I'm not sure of what to say," Jude confessed quietly, looking at the teddy bears placed next to Andy's bed. They were all most likely from Laurie.

"Sorry would be nice, I suppose," he muttered, sending a small glare at his friend. He remembered what had happened in the accident, though it took him two days to recollect all the pieces. His glare deepened and he looked away, clenching his fists. "What were you thinking Jude? I'm your best friend and you know to tell me when you're high or doing stupid shit! Instead, you let me get in the car with you and you let yourself get in the car. My life means a lot to me, but your life means a lot to me too."

"I know–I'm sorry, it wasn't supposed to happen. I don't know what I was thinking–"

"You weren't thinking. Damnit Jude, your lucky I'm still alive. Otherwise, I would haunt you as a vengeful ghost and make your life a living hell," he teased lightly, glancing at his friend. He still held a glare, but the tone told that he was teasing with his last statement. Even though he nearly died, Andy could still make light of the situation. Jude couldn't get himself to smile, a bit stunned that Andy was even trying to joke. Before entering the room, he was sure that Andy was going to throw a vase directly at his head with that good arm of his.

"I...just know that I'm very sorry. I would've rather had myself die than you. I," he stopped, rubbing the back of his head as he looked away, glancing to see if anyone was even in the room even though they both knew no one was there. "I care about ya man, like a true brother."

Andy stared at him, his mouth forming a thin line before he broke out in his goofy grin, "Aw, Jude, that's so cute. Give me a kiss–"

Jude glared dangerously at his joking. "Andy, it's not funny."

"Hey dude, I care about you too. Love ya always. Don't get so serious. I'm alive, right? That's all I care about. I got to live to see my best friend, my girlfriend, my mom, and everyone else I care about. We made it out alive, that's all that matters."

"What about.."

"Being paralyzed. Pffsshh! I just moved my two feet two days ago! I told everyone not to tell you so I could make ya sweat a bit. No way GOD will let this perfect body be destroyed," he spoke. "I have to go through therapy to test my strength on my legs and everything. The doctor said it would be hard, but whatever."

"Wha—"

"Anyway, he said that I could possibly walk for graduation, but I'd have to use a cane to stable myself and have someone nearby in case if I end up falling. You know, you could make this whole accident up to me."

"How?"

"Serve me night and day."

"Be your maid?"

"I think butler is the correct word."

Jude cracked a small smile, glancing down before looking back at Andy. "I'm…getting sent to rehab. I want to stop all of this. I hurt you, I hurt my parents, I hurt–"

"Katelyn, yeah, I heard what happened. Sorry…I know how much you care about her.."

"More than anything," he muttered, resting his face in his hands. "I'm an idiot."

"Amen to that, brother. Katelyn is a good girl and you lost her."


-.-

Dawson Residence

Katelyn twirled around in her red graduation gown, staring in the mirror when she faced forward. Laurie lied on the bed, Mary next to her and trying on the red cap. It fell over her eyes and Laurie grinned, pulling it up so she could see. She made a face at her, causing the five year old to giggle. Laurie looked over to Katelyn, sighing softly. She knew how torn up she was about her break up with Jude and she wasn't handling it well. She cried herself to sleep, didn't talk much or smile at school. The bubbly, ditzy, and talkative Katelyn wasn't really there for people to see anymore. Laurie sat up, forcing a small smile. "Hey, don't think too much about Jude. He's going to rehab and everything, doesn't that count for anything? Like...a possible get back together thing?"

"No," she answered flatly, giving her best friend a look. "Not really. Maybe if it was only drugs that were the issue, then getting back together could be a possibility. But with his lying habits, I don't want to deal with it. And whenever I think about him, I just feel disgusted knowing that he screwed those two."

"I understand."

Mary smiled, looking at her sister as she faced them. "Macaroni real fast, please?"

Katelyn nodded, motioning for her to get off of the bed. "Let's head downstairs then."

Katelyn started to remove her gown as Mary and Laurie headed out of the room. Tossing it on her bed, her eyes caught sight of a picture on her dresser. She looked away immediately, making a mental note to hide the picture somewhere in a box of Jude and herself making stupid faces at the camera.


-.-

Katelyn placed her cell phone down on the kitchen counter, noticing how the phone calls and texts from Jude started to die down. It was all for the better, she kept telling herself. She needed time away from him, time to heal, however long that may be. Katelyn forced a smile on her face, walking off with the bowl of popcorn and into another room where Zach was sitting quietly.. She had called him since Laurie was busy and she wanted to talk to a friend.

Zach smiled when he noticed her, watching her sit down. "Butter?"

"Duh! Tons. What movie did you pick out?"

"A supernatural thriller."

"Joy…"

"Not a fan?"

"Not at all…"

"Don't be a baby. I heard it's a good movie. Plus, I'm here so you shouldn't get too scared."

Katelyn rolled her eyes, handing him the bowl of popcorn before picking up the remote and starting the DVD. Previews started to play and Zach glanced at her, "So…I heard about you and Jude. Sorry about what happened."

She cleared her throat, her heart skipping a beat at the mention of Jude. She forced a smile, looking at him, "Well, I'll get over it," she lied, feeling tears threaten to fall. She inhaled, trying to keep herself under control.

"Was it because of drugs?"

"They played a big part. Drugs just aren't my thing, you know…"

"Well, everyone has their reasons to do drugs. Peer pressure, just wanting to be in the 'crowd', or they just got bored one day and tried it, getting addicted or whatever. You know what, you're a cool girl. You have a good head on your shoulders. You know what not to do and what's right. I like that about you."

Katelyn smiled at him, winking playfully, "Well, I'm a likable person. Thanks for coming over. I was bummed and everyone else seemed to have something to do."

"No problem. Not at all.."

Zach smiled to himself as he looked back at the television, personally happy that Katelyn and Jude broke up. Now, he knew he had a good chance of hooking up with her.

He won.


-.-

Bell Residence

Claudia hummed to herself as she turned the page in a catalog, Kendall busy using the bathroom down the hall. They were left alone at the house as her parents' went out to eat and run errands. They both warmed up to Kendall, greatly when they found out that he was sticking around. He practically lived at the house.

Minutes later, Kendall walked out of the bathroom, drying his hands off on a paper towel and staring at Claudia as she stood by the counter, a hand on her stomach. "Is that baby kicking again? I want to feel–"

"It's too early, right? I'm only seven months–I'm supposed to be pregnant for nine!"

He started to panic, unsure of what she was trying to say, "What? What's wrong?"

"My water broke, but I'm only seven months!"

"Claudia, I'm sure you're just...experiencing something that deals with being pregnant–"

He stopped when she sent him a look that could kill, a frown coming to her face as she kept her hand on her stomach. "My water broke. It doesn't happen for no reason at all–we need to get to the hospital, I think now."


-.-

'I'm getting sick of the hospital,' Katelyn thought to herself, walking in with Laurie and a few other girlfriends. Alyssa hurried to the front desk, telling the woman that her friend was having a baby, giving her Claudia's name. The woman nodded, getting up and leading them down the hall, explaining that Claudia had her baby quickly and she was upstairs.

They were taken to the room, Laurie smiling at all of the babies they saw and the mothers that had large smiles on their tired faces. They entered the room quietly, the two of them smiling when they saw that Kendall was holding the baby as if it were a piece of glass. Claudia was on the bed, fast asleep with her arm draped over her stomach. Kendall glanced up at them, flashing them a quick smile before looking back down at his baby.

"It's a girl," he mumbled, a large grin coming to his face.

Katelyn smiled, "Someone is a proud papa."

"I am."

Laurie smiled as well, glancing at Claudia. "What happened to where she had her early?"

He shrugged, "It just happened. She's smaller than she's supposed to be, but the doctor said that she only needs to stay in the hospital for another week for observation to make sure everything is alright."

Laurie walked to him, smiling big at the sight of the girl that was slowly moving her hands, her eyes closed. "Has she opened her eyes yet?"

"Blue," he told her, glancing at her with a small smile. "Oh, and her name is Sophie. Claudia chose."

Alyssa and Katelyn smiled, approving the name. It was cute. Laurie sighed, "Wow, a terrible car accident where everyone turned out to be just fine and then a baby is born right before graduation. Intense."