"A Friend In Need"

by AmyK

"No." Sara shouted as she stood up fast enough to knock her cheap metal folding chair over. She threw her cup of water down before sweeping the contents of the table in front of her, to the floor. She kicked the small trashcan as hard as she could before she stormed out of the group therapy session. Had there been a door, she would have slammed it.

"Let her go." Dr. Grayson said gently to Jim, the orderly who stood to follow Sara. Jim sat back in his chair as the other "students" began to help Dr. Grayson pick up the mess Sara had created.

"Oh Dr. Grayson, your papers got wet." Jessica said as she started to cry.

"It’s all right Jessi, it’s okay. I can get more." Dr. Grayson smiled to set the young lady’s mind at ease.

"Why does Sara do that every time we have a group session? If I pulled that shit Jim would be chasing me down the hall to drag my ass back in here." Keith grumbled as he crossed his arms and sat back in his chair.

"Keith, please watch your language." Dr. Grayson said nicely as she stacked the fallen papers in front of her. "Sara is still new here, and it takes some time to adjust." She explained.

"She’s been here three weeks." Keith continued to frown.

"She doesn’t even go to regular therapy." Cassandra practically whispered from her corner.

"She does go to one on one therapy Cassandra. You know that is a requirement."

"She said she doesn’t go." Cassandra insisted.

"I can assure you that she does." Dr. Grayson smiled and folded her hands in front of her. "Now… where were we?"

"You were asking Sara if she was ready to talk with us."

"Clearly she isn’t. Is there anything any of you would like to share? How do you feel about having Sara here?" Dr. Grayson asked slowly. No one said a word for a moment. This was a small group, only 6 "students", Jessi was the youngest at 18 years old, then Cassandra was 19, Keith and Jem were 20, Sara was 22 and David was almost 23. David would be leaving soon, going home finally. They were here for a multitude of reasons, all resulting in attempted suicide.

"I think she doesn’t realize that we’re here to help. Has anyone tried talking to her outside the group?" David asked quietly from his seat beside the doctor.

"She doesn’t come out of her room ever, not even to eat." Keith pouted. "No one else gets to eat in their rooms."

"I tried to once, but she just acted like I wasn’t even there." Jessica whispered as she wiped her eyes with a tissue.

"That might be something we can try individually during the next couple days." Dr. Grayson smiled. "Good idea David."

"Thanks." He said almost shyly.

"Now guys, next week will be David’s last session with us, you will be back for the session won’t you?" Dr. Grayson asked.

"Yeah, I’ll be back. I’m going to bring pizza for everyone." He smiled.

"Wonderful, we’re so proud of you David." Dr. Grayson stood and hugged the boy, who stood more then six inches taller than her. David was being allowed to go home for the next week, to prepare him for life at home. He’d improved by leaps and bounds over the last 9 months of his stay here at Wycroft Recovery Home.

"That’s cool David." Cassandra said softly, smiling shyly as she blushed.

"Well, I think we’re about done for today, unless anyone has anything else to add?" Dr. Grayson said after a moment. No one responded so she smiled and picked up her papers, "Okay guys, I’ll see you all later. I’m on this weekend, so if you need anything go ahead and call."

"Okay, bye Dr. Grayson." Jessica gave a small wave as the others followed the doctor out the door. Jessica pulled her chair over to the window and watched as it began to rain.

Sara sat on her bed holding her knees and rocking back and forth. She was angry beyond tears and had no outlet to express it. This place was her own private hell. Everyone hated her, even her therapist doctor lady thought she was stupid. All she ever did was ask how Sara felt, which did nothing to make her feel better.

Dr. Grayson stood outside Sara’s door and knocked softly before pushing it open slowly, "Hey Sara, you okay?"

"I’m fine." Sara said through gritted teeth.

"Okay." Dr. Grayson nodded and sat in a chair beside Sara’s bed. "Well then let me tell you what I think." Sara glared at the doctor, but said nothing. "I think that it’s Friday afternoon, and I think that you’d rather be anywhere else but here. You’d probably rather be at the movies or out dancing with your girlfriends… anywhere but here huh?"

"So? I’m locked up here. I can want to be anywhere else but it’s not going to do me any fucking good." Sara kept her eyes on the plastic covered electrical outlet near the baseboard.

"If you’d like to watch a movie, there is a VCR in the recreation room. I can rent any movie you’d like."

"I don’t want to watch a movie." Sara mumbled. "Not in the recreation room anyways."

"Well, unfortunately we can’t have a VCR in every room here." Dr. Grayson smiled and continued, "You could always go to the library. I think Cassandra is in there now, maybe she can suggest some good books." Sara just continued to star at the doctor. Dr. Grayson sighed and said, "You know Sara, we’re all here to help you. Myself, Jim, Donna and Kate, as well as all the other students here."

"Why do you call us students? You should call us captives, or patients or something else."

"You’re all students. You are learning how to love yourself, and how to cope with your specific disorder. You’re learning how to interact with your peers in a socially acceptable way."

"Fuck off, I don’t have a disorder. I tried to off myself, that is not a disorder that’s a shame. A shame I didn’t succeed."

"I don’t think you feel that way. I think you want us to believe you do, but I don’t think you do."

"Yes I do." Sara set her jaw and stared at the doctor.

"If you really wanted to kill yourself Sara, you wouldn’t be here to argue with me." Dr. Grayson stood up and headed for the door. "The offer still stands for a movie. If you think of anything else you’d like, let me know." She shut the door behind her and left Sara alone in the pale blue room.

 

The ambulance pulled up at the back entrance of Wycroft shortly after 11 that night. It arrived without the usual fanfare or sirens and running nurses. The patient inside was being admitted unconscious, and under the careful guard of a private escort.

"Is this Mr. Chasez?" Dr. Grayson asked as she met the gurney at the admitting desk.

"Yes." Tom, the escort, said softly.

"He was seen in the ER how long ago?"

"About 4 hours." Tom explained.

"And he came directly here from county?"

"Yeah." Tom nodded.

"Okay." Dr. Grayson nodded and reached for her new patient’s arm. He’d slit his left wrist twice, like a watchband, straight across. That was the most common cut, and usually the most unsuccessful. She reached for his right wrist and saw a few small nicks, where he had attempted to start a third cut. "Who found him?"

"His friend."

"Where is his friend?"

"He’s back at the hotel."

"Has he been seen?" Dr. Grayson looked up quickly.

"He’s… yes, they are all being seen tonight."

"They? How many friends found him?"

"Just one." Tom said slowly. "But… JC here is in a group, and all of the boys are torn up about this. Their manager has called in a private psychiatrist to come talk to them."

"Who?"

"The boys?"

"The doctor."

"Oh, um, Mike Matthews?" Tom guessed.

"Mark. Yeah, he’ll be good." She nodded and stood to the side as her young patient was wheeled down the hall to what would most likely become his home for the next couple months. "I’m Dr. Grayson by the way." She extended her hand.

"Hi, I’m Tom Thompson." He shook it.

"Nice to meet you Mr. Thompson." She smiled. "Why don’t you come on down to my office so I can get a little bit of a background on this young man." He followed her down the fluorescent lighted hallway to her warm and friendly office.

They sat across from each other, with Dr. Graysons wide desk between them. "So, I’ve read over the chart that county faxed over this evening, but is there anything more you can add?" She asked.

"Like what?"

"How has he been lately? Was he under any unusual stress? Has he ever mentioned suicide before?"

Tom sighed and closed his eyes, it had been a long night, and it wasn’t going to get any better. "I… JC is a performer, and we’re at the end of a 4 month US tour, so as far as stress goes, he was peaked for sure. But we all were. And he’s used to it." Tom shrugged slowly and thought, "He wasn’t acting any different, not that I could tell."

"Are you around him enough to know the difference?" Dr. Grayson asked.

"Yes, I see them 8 to 10 hours a day, every day." He explained. "I’m their tour manager."

"We need to focus just on Joshua."

"Dr. Grayson, this is a group of boys. They are like brothers. When I say I see "them" that means JC. I know them almost better than they know each other. JC wasn’t acting any different. If anything he was excited about going home next week." Tom paused for a second before continuing softly, "That’s what’s killing me here. How did I miss it?"

"People who are deeply depressed have a good way of hiding it sometimes. Especially if the person is in the spotlight." Dr. Grayson explained.

"Yeah, he hid it real well." Tom sighed and rubbed his temples. "Is there anything else? I need to get back to the other guys."

"Has he ever mentioned suicide before?" She asked.

Tom shook his head slowly, "Never."

"Just one more." Dr. Grayson said as she looked through her notes, "What did he cut himself with?"

"Glass. From the mirror in his hotel room." Tom frowned and placed his hands on his knees. "A mirror."

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

"What the hell have I done?" JC thought as he pried his eyes open the next morning. He was in an empty room that he knew was not his hotel. He sat up quickly and regretted it immediately. His head exploded with fireworks as he pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes. That’s when he noticed the bandages on his wrists.

The memory of the night before flashed through his mind and JC felt the contents of his stomach rise to the back of his throat. He retched onto the floor beside his bed, hoping he could fall into the center and disappear.

Within seconds, a nurse was at his side with one hand on his back and the other pressing a button on the headboard of his bed. "Go ahead and sit back." She said softly.

"Leave me alone." JC croaked as he heaved again, narrowly missing the nurses shoes.

"Not gonna happen kid." She shook her head and helped him lean back in his bed. She pulled a tissue out of a drawer beside his bed and handed it to him. "I’m Deb, you must be Joshua."

"Leave me alone." JC repeated after wiping his mouth.

"Now Joshua-"

"Don’t call me that."

"What would you like me to call you?"

"A cab." JC growled before turning to glare out the window.

"Ahh see, you’re goofing with me already. You’re gonna be okay kid." Deb smiled and tucked her silky gray hair behind her ear as Dr. Grayson walked in with JC’s chart in her hand.

"Thanks Deb." Dr. Grayson smiled at the nurse, then noticed the mess on the floor. "Can you please call housekeeping?"

"Sure thing Dr. G." Deb smiled and headed for the door. "And good morning to you too Cab." She tapped the doorframe before leaving.

"Who did this to me?" JC asked, meeting the doctor’s eye.

"Joshua…"

"It’s JC dammit."

"JC… do you know why you’re here?" She asked.

"It’s kind of obvious, don’t you think?" He held out his arms.

"Well… you never know."

"Yes, I know why I’m here. When can I leave?"

"Josh- JC, you’re at Wycroft Recovery Home. County hospital brought you here last night."

"When can I go home?" He asked again.

"You’ve been admitted here, until further notice."

"Bullshit." JC shook his head. "I made one little mistake and now I’m stuck here?"

"What do you consider your mistake?"

"What?" JC asked, confused.

"Do you consider your mistake to be not succeeding? Or making the attempt in the first place?"

JC stared at her for a second, "Making the attempt in the first place." He looked at his hands, unable to believe he’d actually gone through with it.

Dr. Grayson sat on the edge of his bed for a minute before she asked, "Are you feeling okay? No more queasy stomach?"

JC shook his head, "No. I’m not gonna be sick."

"Do you want to talk?"

"No." JC stared up at her. "I want to leave."

"I’m sorry. That’s not an option right now. Tom Thompson has admitted you, and by law we have to keep you for 72 hours."

"This is bullshit." He said again.

"Ten down… 62 to go. You can make it that long." Dr. Grayson smiled.

"I want to talk to Tom."

Dr. Grayson shook her head as she stood up, "He’ll be by this afternoon, you can see him then."

"No, I want to call him." JC’s frown creased his forehead.

"No." Dr. Grayson met his stare. "You can see him this afternoon during visiting hours. We’re making that exception for you, be grateful for that."

"Do you even know who I am?" He asked defiantly.

"JC, around here you are my patient. That’s all that matters. Who you are out there, " She nodded at the window, "Doesn’t mean a thing."

JC averted his eyes and stared at a snag in his blanket, "After 72 hours, I’m leaving."

"Possibly." The doctor nodded slowly, "We’ll have to see about that. If you’re feeling all right I’d like to talk with you today."

"About what?"

"About why you’re here." She smiled. "How do your arms feel?"

"Like they’ve been sliced open." He said sarcastically.

"If you’d like a Tylenol, you can ring a nurse and they can bring one for you." Dr. Grayson headed for the door. "There’s a change of clothes for you on your chair, if you’d like."

"Thanks." JC said out of habit. The doctor grinned as she left JC in his room.

 

"Who’s the new guy?" Jessica asked to no one in particular. She was sitting around the recreation room with Keith, Jem and a couple other students.

"Who cares?" Keith asked as he flipped through the pages of a magazine.

"Jem, do you know?" Jessica asked the silent young man. He had yet to say a word since his arrival almost 2 month’s prior. Jem shook his head, never taking his eyes off the TV in the corner.

"Maybe Sara knows, go ask her." Keith smirked.

"Sara hates me." Jessica said softly as tears welled up in her eyes.

"So what? Why do you care what she thinks? She’s just a stuck up bitch anyways." Keith muttered under his breath. Jessica sighed, and left the rec room quietly.

Sara was sick and tired of being in her room all the time. She frowned at the walls and mentally decorated the room with her own belongings from home. Nothing was working, she needed to get out of there. Her only option was to go to the recreation room with all the other freaks, and she’d rather stare at her sky blue walls all day than sit with them. There had to be something else.

She pulled herself off the bed and hiked her jeans up to her waist. Sara pushed her door open and stepped out into the hall. Deb, the nurse at the desk to her right looked up startled. This was the first time Sara had voluntarily been out of her room for anything other than therapy sessions.

"Well hello there Miss Sara, how are you this morning?" Deb asked with a surprised smile.

"Is there anywhere I can go to be alone?" Sara asked with a scowl.

"I don’t think the rec room is too busy this morning." Deb suggested.

"Nevermind." Sara turned to go back to her room.

"Sara?" Deb called after her. Without responding, Sara turned around. "You could always go out on the back porch. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s quiet."

"Great." Sara said as she headed down the hall toward the shatter proof glass doors that lead to the outside.

She pushed the doors open and walked across the front of the home. She looked around and for the first time got a look at the building she’d been living in for the last 3 weeks. It looked almost like a house. Like a ranch house kind of. It was in the shape of a U with a lap pool in the open area. There was a tall, locked fence surrounding the pool, but the water looked crystal clear, even under the dark gray storm clouds above. There were windows looking out onto the pool area, which must have been offices because all of the student’s rooms faced the outside.

Sara continued around to the back of the building where there was a short wood porch surrounded by some kind of flowering bush. She stepped up the wooden stair and sat on the worn out looking beach chair. Deb was right, this was nothing much. But she was outside and she was by herself.

Sara took a deep breath and looked out over the "back yard" if you wanted to call it that. Basically it was just a big yard with grass, and sick looking grass at that. There were polls shoved in the ground that could be used to hold a volleyball net in the summer, and a small wooden swing set beyond that, with three sorry looking swings hanging from it. That was it, the barest essentials. And of course, who could miss the 9 foot stucco wall surrounding the entire place?

She knew that almost every inch of the "home" was monitored with security cameras, so even though she felt alone, she knew she wasn’t… not really. But that didn’t matter, no one was bugging her.

 

JC pulled on the jeans that were left on his chair for him and buttoned the fly. They were a little big, but they’d do. He reached for the plain white t-shirt and pulled it over his head before tossing the vomit covered hospital gown into the trashcan by his bed.

He opened his door slowly and poked his head out, "Hey!" He called to the nurse that was in his room that morning.

"Well good morning, are you feeling better?" Deb asked from her desk to his left.

"Where’s Dr. Grayson?" He asked.

"She’s in her office, do you need something?"

"Yeah, I need-" He was going to ask for something to eat, when a terrible thought struck him. He didn’t just show up at the hospital last night. Someone found him. Someone came into his room and found him lying in the bathroom, undoubtedly covered in blood. Someone called 911 and took his sorry ass to the emergency room. Someone saved his stupid fucking life. "Where’s her office? I need to see her now." JC said forcefully as he began to shake.

"I’ll call her." Deb reached for her phone and dialed the doctor’s extension.

"Now, I need to see her NOW." JC quickly turned and started down the hall.

"Now wait just a second." Deb stood up with the phone in her hand.

Dr. Grayson turned the corner and almost ran right into JC, "I’ll bet you’re-" She began.

"Who brought me in?" JC interrupted her.

"Excuse me?"

"Who brought me in?"

"Into here? You arrived by ambulance from county hospital, Mr. Thompson came with you."

"Who took me to county?" JC asked quickly, grabbing onto the doctor’s coat.

"I don’t know, JC. That is not part of the records."

"I need to know who found me. I need to know right now." His teeth began chattering as his body shook. He felt like he was going to be sick again.

Dr. Grayson could see JC was on the verge of an anxiety attack so she calmly rested her hand on his shoulder and said, "Why don’t you come to my office and we’ll give Tom a call?"

"Right now?" JC asked.

"Right now." The doctor nodded. She led the way down the hall to her office and shut the door behind them. JC sat in the chair beside her desk and tapped his feet nervously, clenching his fists in his lap trying to keep them from bouncing all over the place. "Please, please I need to know who found me." His voice shook uncontrollably.

Dr. Grayson nodded as she picked up her phone and dialed Tom’s number. "Hello, Mr. Thompson? This is Dr. Grayson." She said softly.

"Is something wrong?" Tom asked quickly.

"No, everything is fine. JC needs to speak with you for a moment."

"Okay." Tom said, "He’s okay then?"

"We’ll have to talk about that more later." Dr. Grayson nodded, and handed the phone over to JC.

"Who found me?" He asked quickly.

"JC what happened man?" Tom asked.

"Who? Dammit Tom who found me?"

"Come on JC… "

"Who?" JC shouted.

"Justin." Tom said softly.

JC’s body shook with sobs and he dropped the phone to the floor. "No no no no no." JC shook his head as he rocked back and forth in the chair. It wouldn’t have made a difference who he would have said, but the last person JC expected was Justin. The one person in the world JC would never ever want to witness his lowest moment… had found him.

Dr. Grayson picked up the phone, "Mr. Thompson?"

"Shit… is he okay?" Tom asked.

"What… what did you tell him?"

"That Justin was the one who found him." Tom sniffed obviously in tears himself.

"We’ll talk about this later." Dr. Grayson placed the phone back on the receiver and gently placed a hand on JCs shoulder.

"Shit shit shit. Dammit Justin." JC said angrily as he held his head in his hands. "I need to call Justin." He looked up at the doctor with tears running down his face.

"Right now isn’t the time for that." Dr. Grayson explained gently.

"I just fucked up his life, can’t I apologize for that?" JC growled as he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.

"JC, right now you need to pull yourself together. Tom is coming this afternoon to visit with you, you can talk to him more then."

"No man, I need to call Justin." JC shook his head. "I need to call him."

"I don’t think that would be a good idea right now. You’re my patient JC and I can’t have you this upset."

"I just need to talk for one minute." JC pleaded.

"Tom will be here this afternoon, you can make some calls then." Dr. Grayson stood up.

"I need to explain to him though." JC sniffed and wiped his eyes again.

"Why don’t we start our first session now… why don’t you explain to me."

JC stared at her for a full minute before saying, "You won’t understand."

"Try me." The doctor challenged.

"No." JC stood up and left the doctors office, the door shutting slowly behind him. He retreated to his room, and stayed there for the remainder of the afternoon, until Jim came to get him for his visit with Tom.

Jim escorted JC down the long hall around to the other side of the building, where he opened a door and led JC into the room, "Tom and your friend will be in in a minute, they’re with Dr. Grayson right now." Jim smiled as JC sat on the couch.

"Okay." JC nodded as Jim left. Wait, Tom and a friend? Oh no… not Justin. JC looked up quickly as the door opened and Tom walked in. Yes Justin.

"Oh God." JC whispered as Justin creeped into the room. His eyes were red and his nose was running, if JC didn’t know any better he’d say the kid looked like he’d been doing lines all morning. "Justin… I…"

"Jesus JC." Justin said as he flew into the room and grabbed JC tightly. "Oh God JC." He held his friend close and broke down in tears. "You ass hole."

"Justin… I’m sorry man, I’m so sorry." JC cried, holding Justin so tight it hurt.

"What the hell happened JC?"

"Shit Justin, I don’t know." JC shook his head, but couldn’t make himself let go.

"But I mean, you were fine. We were going out with the guys and then outta the blue man, you’re on the bathroom floor. What happened? Jesus JC, what?"

"I don’t know." JC took a step back and looked at his wrecked friend. His little brother.

"Is it, I mean… we were all getting stressed about this whole tour thing."

"No, that’s not it. I really don’t know."

"Dammit JC you scared the hell out of me. Out of all of us."

"Where are the other guys?" JC collapsed on the couch.

"They couldn’t come." Tom said. JC’s face fell, and his heart san through the floor. "Of course they couldn’t come, they hate me." JC thought to himself. "You aren’t technically supposed to have visitors at all for the first week." Tom explained. "And it was hard enough getting Justin in here."

"Justin…" JC looked back at him. "I’m sorry man, I’m really sorry."

Justin nodded and looked at his shoes, "You’re gonna have to... I mean, JC you’ve got to stay here."

"No Justin, I’m okay. I want to go back with you guys."

Tom shook his head and placed his hand on JC’s shoulder, "The shows have been canceled."

"No! Tom that’s crazy!"

"You need to stay here Jace."

"It’s not like I’m gonna fucking do this again!"

"I know." Justin said quickly, a little too quickly. "But… I mean, you did this cuz you’ve got shit going on in your head. We just, you need to figure that out."

"I told you man, I don’t know why I did this."

"That’s why you need to be here Jace." Justin explained softly. "That’s why."

"You can’t make me stay here." JC said defiantly. He set his jaw and dared either of them to say otherwise.

Justin tilted his head to the side and looked at JC, a sad look crossed his face as he said, "You have to stay here Jace. We all need you, you know that. You hold us all together, and we can’t do that without you there. But we need you well man." He pulled JC close for another brotherly hug.

"But the other guys…"

"They want you back in one piece JC. They’re all saying their prayers for you, so you can get back with us soon." He patted JC on the back and sighed. "Till then though, man, you gotta stay here."

"What does everyone think?" JC asked suddenly.

"About what?" Tom asked from the doorway.

"About the tour being canceled?"

"It was just a couple more shows." Tom shrugged. "As far as anyone knows, you’re sick. The shows will be rescheduled at a later date, but for now the guys are taking a well deserved vacation to a undisclosed location."

"So the media hasn’t gotten wind of this?"

"No, and they won’t." Tom said.

"Shit… I’m sorry." JC shook his head and stood up.

"I’ve got it under control." Tom smiled and draped his arm over JC’s shoulders. "You just keep your mind on figuring this stuff out, let us worry about everything else."

"Man… why can’t I just go home and see a doctor there?" JC asked, like a whiney kid.

"This place is the best." Tom explained. "And we’re all going to be staying out here anyways. This will work out."

"I don’t want to stay, you know."

"I know man." Justin nodded. "But you’ve gotta. For everyone else, and for yourself." JC nodded as tears threatened to fall. "You’re gonna be okay."

"I know." JC whispered.

"You are JC." He said again. "You know why, right?" Justin smiled.

"Why?" JC whispered.

"Because… somewhere there’s a break in the weather… where your heart and spirit go free… someday it will be for the better… you know that Jace." Justin smiled and hugged JC again. "You know that."

"I know Justin. Thanks." He patted the younger mans back. "I love you, kid. I’m so sorry, for everything."

"Don’t be sorry, just get better. I love you too man."

"We need to get going." Tom said quietly from the doorway.

"I’ll call you okay Jace?" Justin said as he headed for the door.

"Justin…"

"I’ll get the guys together and we’ll all call you." Justin forced a smile and waved.

"I… okay." JC nodded. "Okay…"

"Okay…" Justin looked at the floor as he left JC in the room alone.

JC watched them walk down the hall before he sat on the floor by the door and covered his face with his hands. He had ruined everything. They could never be the same again.

 

Part 2 

 

 

 Copyright � 2000, Amy Lynn