Mr. Lewis Ch. 06

Mr. Lewis Ch. 06


Yooooooo. Long time, no talk! For those of you who aren't new to me and my stories, welcome back! I've missed interacting with you all by reading your comments and emails. I've missed being on here, in general. Dani and Ryan's story is wrapping up rather quickly based on the chapters I've written recently, so stay tuned for the ending!


To those of you who are new, hi! How the heck are ya?? I'm glad you've made it around to my stories and hope you enjoy the innermost workings of my brain. I do apologize for my earlier writings LOL I was young and naive back then. 


Happy reading!


[[CC]]


Chapter Six: Awake


Beeps and hushed voices became clearer to me as the seconds ticked by.


My body felt heavy, my brain was like a staticky television. 


I tried to conjure up memories of what happened to me and why I felt so...odd...but all I could come up with was being at prom and watching Ryan as he watched me.


Prom? Mmm, Ryan. Even his name made my mind clearer. The more I thought of him, the more I swore I could sense his presence and hear his voice.


But why did I feel this way? Why was I dragging and tired? My eyelids were even too heavy to open. 


Ryan, prom. Cori, Erin...Dustin.


Dustin!


The cup he handed me at the dance. 


He fucking...he wouldn't, would he?


"The doctor says she'll be fine, but it's been so long. She came in with her eyes closed and they've been closed. Stayed closed."


Mom?


"You know I've been watching her vitals, too, Tasha. She's doing fine and will wake up when she's ready."


"We're so grateful to you though, Mr. Lewis. You've always been there for Danica."


Mr. Who?


"Please, call me Ryan. Makes me feel less like my father."


The beeping in my ears sped up as I realized what was happening around me.


"Robert! Is she crashing? What's going on?"


I tried to find my voice, but my throat was dry and sore. 


The air moved around me, indicating the rapid movement of bodies.


Well, I'm definitely in the hospital. Why am I always winding up here? I asked myself.


"Should I call for the nurse?" my mom asked.


"No," I croaked. 


"Oh, thank God!" my mother grabbed my hand. 


"Dani." My dad breathed a sigh heavy with relief. 


"I'm calling the nurse anyway." My mother released my hand in favor of jamming a finger to the 'call' button on the side of my bed.


"Of course," I opened my eyes just to roll them. 


Ryan stood in the opposite corner of the room, his hand gripping a cup of coffee so tightly I was sure the contents would gush out at any given moment. 


I cursed the IVs and hospital bed for keeping me from him.


I knew my parents were in the room, but the less sensible part of me didn't care. The connection I felt to Ryan in that moment was like no other. The air in the room became so electric I feared if I moved any of my muscles, I'd end up electrocuted. 


The tightness around his mouth and eyes lessened and the grip he had on the coffee cup loosened. 


My dad cleared his throat, breaking the flow of energy between Ryan and me. "I'm just going to step out," he said, looking at me, a puzzled look in his eyes. 


"Detective Martin will want to...to know you're awake so he can come ask you a few questions."


"So, it's true then?" I asked. "I kinda guessed but I never would have thought," I shook my head. 


"Shh," my mother stroked my head with a feather-light touch. "Don't stress yourself, Danica."


"I-uh..."


My head snapped back up to look at Ryan. 


"I think I'll be heading out. Dani, I'm glad you finally woke up."


"Thank you, Mr. Lewis," I said.


"Yes, thank you so much, Ryan. You acted so quickly and saved her life," my mom said. 


"Honestly, Mrs. Matthews, it was no problem and I'm just as grateful I was there. Dani is a special girl." 


Ryan took his phone out of his back pocket and waved it, looking into my eyes. I knew what that meant; he'd be texting me.


"Principal Fox will want to know you're awake and doing well. He's been worried and messaging me non-stop." 


I had to give it to Ryan, he was getting pretty slick at covering our interactions with plausible stories. I sighed, longing for the day we wouldn't have to do such things.


"Thank you again, Mr. Lewis," my mother said. "Oh, yes, forgive me, Ryan," she corrected after watching him theatrically cringe. 


I watched Ryan walk out of the room as the nurse appeared. My attitude went sour. No offense to the nurse herself, I just really hated hospitals. 


After several vital checks and answering over a million dumb questions, the nurse left and a doctor appeared alongside my dad. They both began another slew of questions that made my brain hurt but that problem was quickly for gotten in light of new information the two doctors told me. What they'd said made my skin crawl so badly I was sure it would just detach from my body.


Dustin Hoffman had, indeed, drugged me on prom night. According to his confession, he used ketamine that he stole from his parents' veterinary clinic. My dad and his colleague figured Dustin miscalculated the dosage needed to moderately sedate someone of my size, which is what ultimately landed me in the hospital. The drug was out of my system at this point and my recovery was going as expected; but, both doctors said even with the help of IVs I would still need to diligently drink water and rest. 


My dad had mastered doctor mode, barely flinching when I had to discuss events from the previous night as well as symptoms and other "chart-worthy" information, but when the detective showed up, my dad switched to full-blown "father mode". I knew from the angry set of his jaw and fiery eyes that his mind was nearly set on murdering Dustin, especially when I had to answer questions about my former friend's motivations. 


"You're telling me this was because of a bet he made with friends?" 


"Robert, keep your voice down," my mother chided. 


"He's been running with a new group when he wasn't around me," I shrugged. "To me, it seemed as if they were just hyping him up to perform acts of idiocy. You know, see how far he's willing to go to be accepted."


"I see," the detective said while scribbling notes on a notepad that seemed far too small for his hands. 


"Am I allowed to ask where he is and what's going on with him?"


Detective Martin looked up from his notebook. "After Ryan Lewis's statement, we had sufficient evidence to make an arrest. The boy's bail was set so high we thought it was unreachable, but it was met and he is, at this point, free."


"Which I find ridiculous! He shouldn't have been offered bail in the first place!"


"Robert," my mother's voice was a harsh whisper. 


"Tasha," my dad hissed back. "She could have died. I have the right to be angry."


"You do, Mr. Matthews," the detective said. "I've seen a lot on the force but never in all my years have I seen a guy almost kill his best friend over a bet. You two were pretty close from what I've heard."


I nodded as a lump formed in my throat. "I guess you just never," I sighed. "People change so much. Dustin was made fun of and disliked for being smart and on the chunkier side. He spent the entire summer working on his weight and improving his physical appearance...I guess his mind and heart had a change, too."


"And it certainly wasn't for the better," Detective Martin sighed. "Well, I believe I have all I need from you, Danica."


"What happens now?" my mother asked. 


"Well, we're going to need to pull phone records now that we know where to get more concrete evidence."


"The little bastard probably deleted all traces of any of his bullshit," my dad spat.


My mom just shook her head, obviously weary of attempting to make my father behave. 


"That doesn't matter much. Technology like we have today doesn't let information just disappear. The boy's parents have been very compliant with the department and aren't trying to fight us in any way, so that's been helpful. The buddies he squealed on also had some information of their own to provide that gave us a big push in the right direction. Your statement really puts one of the final nails in the coffin.


"I know this has been difficult just now waking up and having to answer so many questions but I'm appreciative of your willingness to cooperate with me. If anything advances or we find more information, I will be the first to notify you."


"Can we have a quick word outside?" My dad rose from his chair and motioned to the door. 


Detective Martin nodded. "Of course. Mrs. Matthews, Danica, thank you again for your cooperation."


"Your father has been wound up for days," my mother sighed as soon as both men left the room. 


"Days? What day is it?"


"Thursday."


"Prom was almost a week ago! I missed graduation!"


Tears filled my mother's eyes. "You're so petite, Danica. The drug really messed with you. We didn't know...we were so afraid."


I drug in a deep breath, willing myself to reach a level of calm that would help put my mother at ease. "It's okay, Mom. I'm awake now and feeling okay. I just wish I would've woken up sooner."


"Well, if everything checks out you should be free to leave within a day or so. Are you hungry? Do you need anything? I think I'm going to take your father to grab some lunch. He needs to clear his head."


"I don't feel hungry just yet, but I'm crazy thirsty."


"We'll get you something, Sweetheart. Try to rest and please cooperate with the doctors."


I rolled my eyes, "Okay, Mom."


Waiting until my parents were gone was torture. It was as if they thought I couldn't function without them. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief once I was free and made the mad dash to grab my phone. There were far too many notifications for me to scroll through; texts, voicemails, social media mentions. I skipped all that and dialed one of the only numbers I knew by heart. 


She answered on the first ring. "Bitch. You're finally awake."


I laughed. "Yes, bitch."


"See, I was telling Erin and the guys you'd wake up when I was gone! Your parents told me I needed to go home and try to rest, so I did." I could hear her eye roll through her voice. "How do you feel?"


"Fine. A Little groggy. What's going on with everyone? What's the news?"


"I'll be up there in ten," Cori said before hanging up.


I laughed. "Should've expected that one."


I laid back in the bed, closing my eyes. "Can't believe this." I shook my head. "Who gets drugged by their best friend? Former best friend," I corrected myself. 


No, there was no going back to normal for Dustin and me. He'd crossed a line with the bet, but to drug and actually plan on taking advantage of me...I didn't even know this new Dustin and I did not want to even try. 


"Missed fucking graduation. Missed all my friends' parties. Fuck Dustin Hoffman."


As if bidden by my words, my eyes opened and landed on a lump of purple fabric with a hat atop it. My cap and gown. My diploma sat propped next to it with several bouquets of flowers and cards. 


The sting of betrayal tore through me as I thought of all the times I confided in Dustin, all the times I defended him from the very people he was going to use me to impress. 


I used him, too, though, my subconscious said before I could push the words away. But did I deserve this? Is this karma? Did I deserve to die for playing on his feelings for me just to get back at Ryan? Part of me was unsure. 


My brain flicked through images of dinner and the dance, making me both laugh and frown. "It was my senior prom," I sighed. "I didn't even get the chance to dance," I sighed. 


But who would I have danced with anyway? The man I wanted to dance with was so close and yet so far away.


My gut tightened as I remembered the way Ryan looked at me all those nights ago at the dance. A chill ran over my arms as I recalled the way he touched my earrings with the gentlest of hands—a stark contrast to the way he spanked me when I had pneumonia.  


The monitors beeped in tandem with my heart, making me chuckle. Better calm down before these nurses come barging in here. 


My phone vibrated on the table next to me, causing me to smile. "Probably Ryan."


It was not. 


The number was unknown but I knew who had sent the message. 


*Get your parents to drop the lawsuit against me or I'll tell your little secret. You have one week.*


***


"I know it's him, Cori," I said, breathless. "But how could he know?"


"He doesn't, Dani. The little bitch is bluffing."


"He sounds so serious. How did he even know I was awake to get that text?"


"I wouldn't put it past him to be lurking around the halls. Fucking creep."


"He wants to meet me."


"No, Dani! He's already proven he can't be trusted. And if anyone finds out about the meeting, the case could go badly. How does it look for someone who got drugged to meet with the person who drugged her?"


"It looks hella sus, but I need to figure out how he knows. I need to get information."


"By going you're basically admitting to what he's speculating, which is all he has at this point. I wouldn't make any moves until you're absolutely sure. We need solid proof. Pictures, text records, video footage. Until then, call his bluff."


"Okay, Inspector Cori," I laughed. "I get it. I get it. It's just that," I sighed, "you know what it took to get to this point with Ryan. We love each other and we're finally in a good place. I can't let anyone ruin that again."


"I get that, but we have to be smart about this. No meeting without, what?"


"Evidence," I rolled my eyes.


"And what's Ryan say about all this?"


"I...ehhh."


"DANI!"


"I know, I know," I whined.


"You have to tell him!"


"Cori, trust me. I know. I just wanted to come up with a plan first. I want to do this face to face," I groaned. "I was drugged. You think my parents are ever going to let me out of their sight?"


"Leave that to me," Cori said.


"Well, what am I supposed to do then? Just sit around and be useless?"


"You still need to rest, Dani. Despite how 'okay' you may be feeling, Dustin's dumb ass drugged you pretty hardcore. There's a reason you were out for so long. Everyone was frantic."


"How can I rest with so much at stake?" I laughed without humor. "How is it I was actually naïve enough to believe me becoming a legal adult and graduating high school would change anything?"


"You're quite intelligent, Dani; but, when it comes to reality, you're kind of...out of touch," she laughed.


"You're right," I sighed. "And you're my wise, grounded friend that brings my head out of the clouds. Two peas in a pod."

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