Chapter Twenty - One: Excruciating Pain
I went to her and told her I still loved her. Yet she ignored me. She’s gonna marry Richard Harrison Sr.
Over my dead body.
When I got home, I went to my entertainment room and turned on some music. Then I went to my bar and pulled out a brand new, large bottle of cognac, and poured a drink. When I was finished with that one, I poured another, and another. I probably drank at least a pint in a matter of five minutes. I poured another one and plopped down on my couch. All I could do was sit there and listen to the lyrics of the song. It was a song about a man who had a woman until she left him. I listened to that song about five times in a row. As I listened, I could see Kay’s face. Her beautiful, perfect face. I got up and poured an even larger shot of cognac. By this time, I was starting to get drunk.
I felt betrayed. Cheated, even. I loved her. I loved her first. How in the hell did she even consider marrying Richard? She didn’t love him. Or did she? I downed that shot, and then threw my glass against the wall. I was angry. I went to my bar and this time got a larger glass. I filled it up halfway. I went to my stereo, changed my music, and turned it up a little louder. I threw myself back down on my couch.
Though it took a few minutes, Josephine came running into the room. I gave her a glazed over stare and didn’t utter one word.
“Is everything alright, Darren?”
“Get out of here, Josie,” I said quietly.
“But I heard glass breaking and I thought…”
“Leave me alone, Josie.”
She glanced at the wall and noticed that it was stained. She looked down at the floor below the stain and saw shattered glass. “Let me just clean this up. I don’t want the boys…”
“Get the fuck out of here Josie and leave me the hell alone!” I yelled.
She didn’t move. She crossed her arms in front of her and stared at me. “Boy, don’t you dare talk to me like that. What’s wrong with you?”
I sighed. “Nothing. Just please leave. I don’t want the boys to come in here and bother me either. Keep everyone away from me.”
She looked at the large glass of cognac in my hand and knew something was definitely wrong. “Fine. You’re going to need some food after you finish your drink. What would you like?”
“Josie, please leave me alone. Just make sure Tevin is fed. Please.”
“Okay. I’ll check on you later.”
“When I said I didn’t want to be bothered, that includes you.”
She left without words. When she did, I downed the glass of cognac like it was water and got up to pour another.
This went on for as long as I could remember. In my current state, I didn’t remember much. I know I broke a few more glasses and opened another bottle of cognac. Beyond that, the rest of the night was pretty much a blur.
Pearl and I decided that we would take a day off from work, so we could just hang out. I woke up with insane morning wood. I rolled my girl over and convinced her to allow me to take care of my…situation.
As we lay there sweaty and out of breath, I could hear music. I got up and put on my robe. I looked out of the window, and there was nothing going on outside, so it must have been coming from in the house.
“You hear that?” I asked.
She took the time to listen. “Yeah.”
“If Tevin is downstairs blasting that music, dad is going to kill him.”
She laughed. “Well why don’t you go save him. I’m going back to sleep.”
“Okay babe. Be right back to wake you up.” I smiled and winked. I opened my room door and walked down the hall to Tevin’s room. He was still asleep, so it wasn’t him. I followed the music all the way to the entertainment room. By the time I got there it was blaring. I walked in to find my father dancing like Michael Jackson. Not very well, I might add. The room reeked of expensive alcohol, urine, and sweat. Something was wrong with him.
“Dad? Are you okay?” I asked with real concern.
He smiled, nodded, and replied, “Yeah son. Fine,” he said breaking into the moonwalk.
There was a large empty bottle of Hennessy on the bar, and right next to it was another large bottle that was just about empty. My dad was a mess. His long dreadlocks were free from confinement, and all over the place. His shirt was wet with a combination of sweat and liquor. His pants were wet in his groin area. My guess he decided not to stop his party for anything. Not even to go the restroom. I was worried. I had never seen him like that.
“Have you been drinking all night?”
He smiled and attempted a famous Michael Jackson spin. Again, not very successful at that either. “Yeah. So what?”
I looked at the time. “It’s nine thirty in the morning.”
He stumbled over to the bar, grabbing the remote to the stereo. He changed the song to an upbeat R & B jam and started dancing again.
He looked me in the eye, smiled and said, “Yup. I know.”
He danced around the room as I watched. I couldn’t believe it. Multi-millionaire Darren Smith was not the man he was, just two days earlier. I had no idea what to do. I thought to call Jeffrey, but for what? My dad was just drunk. I could handle it.
“Dad, come on. Turn the music off and let’s go to bed. You don’t want Tevin to see you like this.” Just the mention of Tevin’s name stopped him in his tracks. At least that’s what I thought it was. He held on to his stomach, and I knew what was about to happen. “You don’t look so good.” My father leaned over and opened his mouth. He threw up all over the floor. Because there was no food in his stomach, it was all liquid. “How much did you drink?” I asked. Before I knew it, he passed out, hitting the floor hard. “Dad!”
I went into panic mode. “Josephine! Call the ambulance!”
Two hours later, I was standing in the hallway at the hospital, worried sick about my dad. I called my mother to talk to her. She was able to calm me down a bit, but I was still worried.
Would he live? What caused him to drink like that? I just knew that I wanted him to make it.
Not long after I hung up the phone, Josephine walked in. She looked way older than she was.
“Walter, do you mind if I go in and see him?”
“Not at all, Miss Josephine.”
Darren Anthony Smith, you better not die on me, I mused. I looked at the grown man in the hospital bed, and wished his parents were still alive. If they were, he wouldn’t be in the state he was in now. David would have set him straight. Eleanor would have hugged him and let him cry on her shoulder. There is only one reason that he was in the hospital. He was trying to cure his broken heart. I wonder if I should call her? Yes, it will be best if I do. They have a child together. She deserves to know.
Suddenly the door opened. It was Walter.
“How is he?”
I looked back at him. “He hasn’t woken up yet, so I have no idea.”
“I hope he wakes up soon. Tevin just called me, and he is losing it.”
I shook my head. “Don’t worry about Tevin. He’ll be fine. I’m not so sure about your dad though.”
“What do you mean?”
“I have worked for the Smith family since Darren was very young. In all those years, I have never seen him like this.”
Just then Darren mumbled something. It sounded like he was talking about Kay. I decided then that I was going to call her for sure. “Stay here with your dad. I’ll go home and explain things to Tevin, and I’m going to call Kay.”
“Okay. I will call if there is a change.”
I walked out of the door and didn’t even wait to get to my car before I called her.
“Hey Josephine, what’s going on?” Kay asked, seemingly very happy.
“Miss Jacobs. You must get to the hospital immediately. Mr. Smith has been admitted.”
I could hear the panic in her voice. “What has happened to him?” I told her about the events that led up to my phone call. “I will be right there.”
My heart was racing, and I didn’t really know if it was because I was concerned for Carl or myself. I just know I had to get there. I was at Richard’s with Carl when Josephine called me.
I walked into the living room and I’m certain Richard saw the worry on my face. “What’s the matter, Kay?”
I did everything in my power not to cry. “Darren is in the hospital.”
“Okay honey. I’ll stay with Carl. You go,” Richard said understanding completely.
“Thank you, darling!” I grabbed my purse and was gone.
On my way to the hospital, I had to hold back from crying, or I wouldn’t have been able to drive. I was worried about Carl. He loved his father so much, and he was still very young. If something happened to Darren, I’m not sure I would be able to handle telling Carl. I was worried about Tevin. I’m almost certain that Tevin loved his father just as much as Carl did. Then my thoughts drifted to Celiene. Had Josephine called her? I’m almost sure she did. She had a son by Darren as well. I was worried about me. At this point I had been associated with this man forever. Forget for a moment that he is my son’s father. Over the years he had been my rescuer. He was my hero. We were like Lois Lane and Superman. Every time I was in trouble with Jacob, he would show up out of nowhere and save me. I was grateful that I had him in my life. I thought he was going to be a part of it forever. Perhaps, maybe soon, my hero would leave, and never come back. I didn’t want that. I wanted him to always be around to be my hero.
I entered the waiting room to find Walter there pacing like crazy. What happened? Why did he seem so upset?
He looked up and saw me. A sense of relief was all over his face. “Oh, thank goodness, you are here.”
“What exactly happened? Why is he here?” I asked.
“I’m not sure why, but I just know he was drinking heavily a little after nine this morning.”
Drinking at nine in the morning? No, not my hero. “What? You are joking!”
Sadly, shaking his head Walter replied, “No ma’am I’m not.”
“Oh my God, Walter where is the doctor?”
“Let me see if I can find him.”
Minutes later, Walter returned with a handsome young doctor with a pleasant smile.
“Hello Miss Jacobs. I’m Norman Fry, Mr. Smith’s doctor.”
“What happened to Mr. Smith, Dr. Fry?”
He crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Well, when he came in he had very slow breathing, his pulse was weak. His skin was clammy and a hint on the bluish side. He even vomited while he was passed out and didn’t wake up after vomiting.”
I was confused. “So, what does all of that mean? Is he going to die?”
“As a matter of fact, if his son hadn’t been with him, he would have.”
Thank God for Walter. He saved my hero. “Can I see him?”
“He isn’t awake. He is going in and out of consciousness, which is a good sign really, so don’t let that alarm you. He will be fine in a few days. Go on in, Miss Jacobs. Oh, and let me know if you have any questions.”
The doctor walked away to go and tend to his other patients. I was scared. Why was I scared? I turned to Walter.
“Go on in, Miss Kay. If he wakes up, he will be happy to see you.”
I nodded, still holding back tears. He hadn’t been in the hospital long, so he was still in the emergency room. I went to Darren’s room and stood outside the door. I took a deep breath. Relax Kay. He will be fine.
I pushed the door open to find my hero in a hospital gown under the covers unconscious. He was breathing, which was a good thing. He had tubes in both arms. Fluids from bags flowing into him. There was a chair next to his bed. I pulled it close and sat. I reached out and held his hand.
“Darren, please wake up. Your sons need you. Please don’t die.” I said aloud, and hoped he heard me. I stared at his handsome face and remembered the first time I met him. It brought a smile to my face thinking about how giddy I was. Look at him. Still as handsome as the day I met him. A little older, maybe. If he dies, I’m not sure how I’m gonna take it.
I pushed back tears when he mumbled, “No, you can’t do this to me. Please don’t do it.”
Surprised to hear his voice, I spoke to him. “Darren honey? What’s going on?” He didn’t respond. The doctor warned me that he was like this. I tried to will him awake. That didn’t work. I got angry. “Darren Smith, you better wake your ass up and talk to me.” I sat by his side, after that threat, expecting him to wake up and give me shit, but I got nothing.
I finally succumbed to tears. My hero was going to die. He wouldn’t wake up. Why wouldn’t he wake up and talk to me? “Darren, please. Wake up.”
Nothing. I rubbed his big strong hand and cried more. He mumbled something else, but I couldn’t understand. I wanted him to wake up. Why wouldn’t he wake up? “Darren, please wake up. Your children need you. I need you.”
I pulled his hand to my mouth and gave it a gentle kiss. My hero wasn’t waking up. Fear set in. I was going to lose him. Carl, Tevin, Walter, and everyone else was going to lose him. We couldn’t function without Darren Smith. He had to wake up.
After a while I moved away from his bedside and sat in the recliner, and at three in the morning, I couldn’t stay awake anymore.
I had no idea what time it was when the door opened. I looked up and saw Jeffrey. I was relieved to see him. It pained my heart to see Darren’s best friend in pain. Jeffrey had the same fear I did, and I could see it.
I stood after I realized that it was him. I walked over to him and gave him a hug. He kissed me on the forehead. “How is he Kay?”
“He is talking in his sleep about someone doing something to him. I don’t know what it means. The doc says that he was going to be like this for a while.”
Jeffrey took a deep breath as he looked at his best friend asleep with tubes in both arms. “So how did he end up here?”
“The doctor said it was alcohol poisoning.”
Jeffrey was just as shocked as I was. “Are you fucking kidding me?” I nodded. “Kay can you please leave me alone with him for a minute?”
I nodded. I had been gone all night. I’m sure Carl was wondering where I had gotten of too. “Do you have time to stay with him? I have to go explain to Carl.”
Jeffrey nodded. “Sure. I’ll be here when you get back. Leave Carl at home. I don’t want him to see his father like this.” I nodded and left the room wondering if my hero was ever going to wake up again.
I watched as Kay walked out of the room. I felt for her. Shit. I felt for me. The man who I knew almost all my life was lying in a hospital with tubes in each arm. What was I going to do if he died? Darren Smith was my strength. He had been throughout our lives. I would never admit it to anyone, but there were things I loved about my best friend. He had qualities about him that I never had. I always admired him. He was strong and confident. I was somewhat shy and a bit reserved. He was handsome. Shit, hanging out with him, as far as looks, I didn’t have a chance, but I was by no means ugly. He was the reason I met several girls when we were younger. He was insanely smart. Numbers were his thing. I on the other hand had a way with people. Not women, people. That is why our partnership worked so well. I would pull them in with my charm, and Darren would wow them with the possibility of wealth.
I was not going to be able to function if my best friend died. Thinking about all we had gone through all our lives, I was suddenly angry with him. “Wake up, you drunken man whore, so I can kick your ass!”
There was nothing. He just lay there. I wasn’t done with the threats. “Wake up damn it, or I’m gonna punch you in your sleep.” Still nothing.
My heart beat strongly in my chest, but I couldn’t cry. I believed he was going to come back to us. I stood and stared at my friend. I cursed him for drinking like a fiend. I cursed him for not coming to me with the pain he had in his heart. I prayed that he heard me.
Just when I was about to give up and go home, he stirred.
“Jeffrey?” Dude said my name. I was elated. “Where the hell am I?”
I chuckled. So happy my friend spoke. “You are in the hospital. Apparently, you tried to drink yourself to death.”
Dude was quiet for a moment. I could see that he was trying to remember what landed him in the hospital. “Naw man. Just trying to kill some pain.
I did everything that I could not to cry in front of him, but the tears came anyway. They were tears of joy. “Well I’m glad to see you’re alive. You look like shit, but you’re alive.”
“I feel like shit. When can I go home? I hate hospitals.” He looked at me and asked, “What the hell is wrong with you? Why are you crying?”
I chuckled and wiped my face. “You’re alive, man. That is why I’m crying. Don’t ever do that shit again, you hear me?”
Dude turned away from me. “She’s gonna marry him.”
I sighed. “I heard.”
“Jeff, I love her. I don’t want her to marry Richard.”
I shook my head. “Don’t worry about that right now. That is what got you here in this bed. Just get better.”
He looked at me. “Oh yeah. When can I get out of here again?”
“Not quite sure. Maybe a couple of days.”
He shook his head. “Hell no. Go get the doc. I’m ready to get the hell out of here, now.”
I knew he wasn’t going to be able to leave, but hell he was my best friend. I was going to oblige him. I turned to walk out of the door. “Okay.”
Before I got to the door he stopped me. “Hey, Jeff?”
I turned back. “Yeah Dude, what is it?”
“Is Kay here?”
I shook my head. “No, not now. She spent the night with you, but she had to go check on Carl.”
“Well call her and tell her to stay at home. I don’t want to see her now.”
“What the fuck do you mean?”
“Look, I’m having issues with her recent decision. Just tell her I’ll talk to her when I get out of here.”
“Alright Dude, whatever you say.”
I left the room happy that my best friend was going to live.
The doctor wouldn’t let me out of the hospital, no matter how much I begged, bribed, and threatened. After three days, I was able to go home. I was in my study reading. Josie came in. “Darren, how are you feeling?”
“I am feeling much better Josie, thank you. I apologize for yelling at you like an ass.”
She smiled at me. “It’s okay, Darren. Just fix it. You will be so much better when you do.” She was very cryptic. I had no idea what she was trying to convey. She immediately moved onto the next subject. “Are you up for some company?”
I wasn’t in the mood for company. “Who is it?” I asked, prepared to be grumpy at whoever decided to come in my study without permission.
“Carl and Tevin.”
I chuckled. “Sure. Tell them they can come in.”
Before she left the room, she turned and glared at me. “Darren, are you sure you are okay?”
I nodded. “Yeah Josie, I’m fine.”
She gave me an approving smile and turned to open the door to my study. When she did, Carl and Tevin stood outside of the door. She addressed them both.
“Alright boys, your father said you can visit, but don’t stay too long.”
They both went into cheer mode. Josie wasn’t having it. “Pipe down boys. Your father doesn’t need all of that noise.”
Josie was scary when I was a kid. I she hadn’t lost her scariness over the years. Both of my sons closed their mouths. She smiled. “Much better.”
Josie walked out of the room, and I laughed. My kids had no idea what they were up against. But I greeted my young boys. Both five years old, one only months older than the other. They were similar, yet different.
“What’s going on boys?”
Carl looked up at me. “We were worried about you daddy. I thought you were going to die.”
Tevin agreed. “Yeah, you have never been in the hopsital.”
I laughed. “You mean the hospital, son.”
Tevin nodded. “Yeah, that place daddy.”
My sons were five. I had to explain. “Well, the hospital is a place where you go to get better. I needed to get better.”
“What was wrong with you?” Carl asked.
I had to think about it for a minute. “I had a little pain in my heart.” Was that good enough to satisfy them? Because it was the truth. Kay was marrying another man. Focus, Darren!
Tevin smiled. “Well we’re glad you’re better daddy.”
“He came home from work and wouldn’t play with us. He is in his room.”
“Could you boys please go and tell him I want to see him?”
Carl smiled. “Okay daddy!”
My young sons left my study chanting their older brothers name. Josie was not having it. “What did I tell you boys? Pipe down!”
I chuckled as both of my younger sons immediately shut their mouths. I picked up a book and waited on Walter. A few minutes later, Walter and Pearl came in to see me. Walter was so lucky. Pearl was a beauty.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Smith?” Pearl asked.
“I’m feeling much better Pearl thank you. Can I speak with Walter alone please?”
She nodded and left the room. After my hospital episode, I felt like it was time for me to come clean.
“What’s up dad?” Walter asked.”
“Has Kay been by here?”
He shook his head. “No. She called me and asked me to come get Carl.”
“Did you pick him up from the Harrison Mansion?”
Walther shook his head. “No. She was at home.”
“Dad, what is going on with you? I have never seen you drink like that.”
I crossed my arms in front of me. “I want you to do something for me and for yourself.”
“Do you love Pearl?”
“Of course, I do.”
“As long as you love her, never, ever let her get away from you. Because if you do, you will be a lonely old man still pining for her.”
“Dad, I still don’t follow you.”
I sighed. “Have you ever wondered how I got my nickname?”
Walter nodded. “I have wondered about that.”
“Your mother gave it to me.”
“How much has your mother told you about our past relationship?”
“She said that you were both young and in love, and I was a product of that love.”
I shook my head. “Only a third of what she told you was the truth. I don’t want you to be mad at your mother, but she meant well. Walter, you are not my son. Your mother didn’t love me either. Though I thought I loved her.”
“I can’t believe she lied to me all this time,” Walter said with anger in his tone.
“Walter, calm down. Your mother loves you, and she did what she did to help you. You are not my blood, but I love you like my son anyway.”
Walter paced the room for a moment before turning to me and asking, “So who is my real dad?”
“A man by the name of Charlie Brewster.”
“What happened to him?”
I sighed. “Keep this between us. Your mother will kill me if she knows I told you.”
“Andrews Academy. A private high school. Most, who attended, came from wealthy families…”
I proceeded to tell Walter the story of how I met his mother. During the telling of my tale, he had plenty of questions. On his last question, I admitted my guilt.
“So, what happened to my dad?”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “I killed him.”
“Well for one, he scared the shit out of me. Second, he busted me and your mother together. Lastly, he was an abusive asshole, and I didn’t like him.”
“Did you kill him on purpose?”
I shook my head. “No son I didn’t. I only meant to get him away from me, so I could run.”
“So, you told me all that to tell me what?”
“Kay is getting married,” I said somberly.
Walter squinted his eyes in anger. “So that’s why you so almost drank yourself to death?”
“Yeah. I was trying to forget how much I love her.”
Walter rolled his eyes. “Well if you love her that much, fight for her. Don’t leave your sons without a dad.”
“I’m sorry son. I’ll try.”
Walter was right. I had to fight for her. If I couldn’t keep her from marrying Richard, I was going to leave town.