Forever Eight: An Original Story by Dawn Collins, Conclusion (Part 6)
Calvin awoke to a bright light, making him think to himself that at least if he did die this time, perhaps he had finally made it to heaven. He felt pretty confident that taking a bullet for your pregnant mother would at the very least not send him anywhere unpleasant.
As his eyes adjusted, he realized the bright light was a television mounted on a wall. He reached over and realized there was a needle in his arm... an IV... he must be in a hospital which meant he was alive. Immediately Calvin felt another hand over his own.
"Oh thank God! Malcolm, come quick he's awake!"
Calvin's vision had completely cleared and he watched Malcolm rush into the room with a bundle in his arms. He set the bundle in a nearby bassinet and threw his arms around Calvin.
"If you hadn't made it I never would have forgiven myself!"
"You got shot..." Calvin's mother replied.
Calvin couldn't help but laugh, "Yeah I know that part, mom." He looked up at Malcolm's tearful face still hovering over him, "It was your brother..."
Malcolm nodded, "There was this thing that happened a long time ago. I thought Darren had forgotten about it, but I was wrong."
Calvin strained his memory, "He said something about a fire..."
"Yeah. The old playhouse on College Avenue. I was working as a security guard in my late teens and Darren was an actor."
"That would explain the Shakespeare..." Calvin muttered.
"Nothing, go on."
"Anyway, I was outside taking a cigarette break and threw a butt into the mulch. I should have known better. We were in the middle of a drought... there was a burn ban and everything." Malcolm had to stifle a sob before he could continue, "Everyone was inside when the fire started. Most people made it out but there were four actors in the dressing room... they were trapped by the flames. They didn't make it."
"And Darren was mad about it." Calvin commented.
Malcolm wiped away more tears, "He kept screaming that those actors were like his family and asking how I'd like it if someone killed my family. He grew more and more hysterical... they had to sedate him and take him to the hospital for psychological evaluation. A few days later, they let him out and he moved to California. He didn't talk to me for over a year, and then he would call once and a while, ask how I was doing... and he always asked if I was married or had kids."
Malcolm broke down sobbing again and it took a few minutes before he could gain his composure. "I always thought he was showing brotherly interest. The last phone call was a few weeks ago... and then he was right there at the door. I was so happy to see him, it had been so long. I had no idea he planned to..."
"Oh God!" Suddenly Calvin realized someone was missing and remembered the second sound of gunfire, "Cory!?"
"He's fine. He's at school right now." Calvin's mother replied, stroking his arm.
Cory was at school... and the bundle must be...
"How long was I out?"
"The bullet nicked an artery... you lost a lot of blood. You've been in a coma for almost seven months."
"And you're all ok... I could have sworn I heard another shot..."
"That would have been me..." A voice sounded from the doorway. Calvin looked past Malcolm and his mother and smiled. Will Finley looked ten times better than he did the other time, months ago when Calvin had first laid eyes on him. He eyes were no longer bloodshot and his clothing was clean and crisp. It was obvious he hadn't had a drink in some time.
Malcolm stepped back so Calvin's father could hug him. As he leaned in Will whispered, "Told you I knew how to use a gun."
Calvin laughed and then thought of something else, "So is Darren...?"
"Nah I didn't kill him. Came close though!"
"He's in an asylum on the other side of town." Malcolm added.
Will cleared his throat, "So I was thinking maybe you and I could see each other once in a while. Now that I've given up the bottle."
Calvin raised his hand, "On two conditions: First you and Malcolm can both be my dads and you can't fight or anything." Both men nodded, "Second, Cory goes everywhere I go... he could use a dad or two as well."
All of the adults laughed and Calvin lie back, finally able to relax in how many years had it been technically? He didn't feel like doing the math right now.
"Now bring Sophie over here so I can see her!"
"How did you know her name?" Calvin's mother asked.
Will chuckled, "I told you, Molly. He knew just like he knew what night I needed to be at your house with a gun."
Calvin didn't even want to explain. All he wanted to do was hold his baby sister, hug his mother, and maybe later watch a basketball game with his dads and new brother. And he couldn't be happier to have no idea what was going to happen tomorrow...
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