Are We Demented Or Am I Disturbed

The Paths We Choose

Jaelyn opened her eyes, blinking at the bright white color of the room. Why was everything so bright? She tried to fling an arm over her eyes only to find she couldn't lift her arm. She looked down at her body, gasping as she saw how thin she was. She could see distinct ribs even through the blankets.

She cleared her throat, wincing at the sudden pain. There must have been a tube or something... She couldn't remember.

"Joey?" she croaked. She was answered by silence.

A nurse walked in, bustling about changing Jaelyn's IV. Jaelyn looked up at her, glancing at her nametag before attempting to speak.

"Lisa?" Jaelyn rasped, making the nurse shriek, clutching her heart.

"Oh, you're awake! Don't scare me like that, honey!" Lisa smiled and went back to her buisness.

"Where's Joey? And Gerard? And why does my throat hurt so bad?" Jaelyn frowned.

"I think they're still in the waiting room. I'll let them know you're awake. You had a breathing tube in your throat; it's better if you don't talk for a while." Lisa handed her a dry-erase board, marker, and eraser from underneath the bed. "Here you go. I'll get you some pain meds."

"Thank you," Jaelyn said as the nurse exited. Minutes later, Joey and Gerard burst in, each rushing to her side. Both started talking, grabbing her hands.

"Hey, calm down, it's okay," Jaelyn said, grimacing as she remembered the dry-erase board all too late.

"I'm so glad you're awake, Jaci," Joey said, brushing her hair out of her eyes. She smiled up at him. It felt like it had been forever since she'd seen his eyes. She was mesmerized by the pure green color. Suddenly she frowned as she saw the tear stains on his cheeks. She tried to lift an arm, and again failed.

"Why can't I move my arms?!" she said angrily, glancing down at them. They weren't tied down, so why weren't they moving?

"You don't have enough strength left... Your body didn't absorb enough nutrients from the IV's they had in you," Gerard explained, and Jaelyn sighed.

"This sucks," she muttered, making the two men chuckle. Jaelyn glanced over towards Gerard, and, seeing the crowd gathered at the window, she jumped.

"Holy shit."


Joey sat in the waiting room, allowing Linz and Cizz to see Jaelyn for a while. She had been moved again, to a more private room. She was eating again and had gained two pounds in the week she'd been awake. Jake supposed it was from all the ice cream Lisa brought her.

"Hello. I'm here for Jaelyn Way," a male voice said. Joey's head snapped up. He looked at the guy standing at the nurses' station, and his eyes widened in shock and anger.

It was Tom.

Joey stood up, meeting Tom in the hall. He grabbed Tom's shoulder, spinning him around.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing here?" Joey asked. Tom put his hands up, as if in surrender.

"I just wanted to see her. I swear."

"Sure you're not going to shoot her again?" Joey spat. Tom looked at the floor.

"Listen, I know I fucked up... I know I can never be forgiven, okay? I just want to see her... To apologize." Tom ran his fingers through his hair, and Joey snorted.

"I'm not letting you see her."

"Look, I don't have any weapons on me! You can strip search me if you want!" Tom said, obviously angry.

"Fine. But I'm coming with you," Joey said.


The two walked down to Jaelyn's room. Joey stopped Tom just outside the door.

"Turn out your pockets," Joey commanded. Surprisingly, Tom did so without hesitation. He even included the ones in his jacket. Joey nodded, satisfied but still on edge.


They entered the room, seeing Jaelyn eating lunch and watching South Park reruns. Her eyes flickered from the television to the boys, widening when she saw Tom.

"Tom. What... Joey?" she said, her voice quivering. Her hand travelled to the scar on her chest from her last encounter with Tom.

"Jaelyn, I... I came to say I'm so completely sorry... I know that doesn't make it better- I shot you, for fuck's sake... But I want to tell you that I will never hurt you again. I'd like to start over." He looked at her with pleading eyes, extending a hand to her. She shook her head slowly,

"I don't think we can, Tom," she said softly.

"Please, Jaelyn. I promise I'll never so much as touch you! Please..." He was crying now, and she looked away from him.

"You've made promises before. You promised you'd never hurt me, then you beat me and shot me. You're the reason I'm here in the first place... How could we possibly start over? Tell me that. How can I ever trust you again, Tom?"

He nodded, backing against the wall.

"Okay," he whispered. "Then I have no choice... I'm sorry, Jaelyn."

He pulled out the revolver, still spattered with blood. He fired just one shot.