“Hey Johnny, wake up! What does it taste like?” she asked, patting his cheek lightly to bring him around. Johnny, with his head resting on her thighs opened his eyes, his head swinging left to right like a pendulum as the car skirted the heavy traffic. His vision was blurred but he knew this was Cathy. It was an odd question but then this is exactly the kind of thing she would ask.
“What?” mumbled Johnny slightly parting his cracked lip. It hurts.
“Blood, what it tastes like?” she asked again.
Johnny grinned. The moment he did, he wish he hadn’t. “Kiss me and find out” he murmured. He had a cracked lip, few broken ribs and the cockiness of a seventeen year old. He lifted his face and glanced at the front and saw two guys. He had no idea who was driving, but the guy riding shotgun was his friend Dan shouting directions “turn left” “turn right” from his phone, probably using Google maps, Johnny thought. This is exactly the kind of thing Dan would do. Johnny’s vision was blurred from the blow to the side of his head; one of the many he received earlier. Wincing in pain every now and then as the car made a sharp left or right turn, Johnny wondered if there could be so many places on a human body to get hit upon.
“You still alive Johnny boy?” asked the guy driving the car. Johnny recognized the unmistakable huskiness in his voice, it was his friend Ronald. The car he was in must be Ron’s Toyota as he is the only one in his group with a driving license and a rich dad to have his own car. “They banged you pretty good…” he continued.
“you shud…see…other…” Johnny tried to reply but the sentence was too long for his cracked lip and aching mouth.
“Hah, ya, we all saw him clutching his broken nose. Blimey good of Sara for raising the alarm, his friends were beating the shit out of you.” said Ron over the voice of Dan shouting “hard left, hard left.”
“You guys think with your dick and it is going to get you killed someday.” said Cathy, her one hand under Johnny’s head holding it firmly and the other clutching the front seat of the car. Johnny had no idea how fast they were going. What he wished to say was too much an effort for his cracked lip. He thinks with his heart when it comes to Sara, for it is his heart that aches when he sees her with that buffoon. It is after all the heart that makes us do things we would never do otherwise. It is the heart that makes us astonishingly brave and act out with no regard to safety and caution. It is his heart that aches for Sara and now maybe some of his ribs too, he thought wryly.
“She’d come,” murmured Johnny.
“Oh really!” Cathy replied, “You don’t think she would rather tend to her boyfriend’s broken nose.” Others gave her a quizzical look. She knew Sara would do nothing of the sort after what her boyfriend did to her; humiliating her in front of everyone. Johnny did the right thing, but she would not give him the satisfaction, at least not now. It was a brave foolish thing to do. She looked over at Dan and wondered if he would do the same for her. He probably would, she thought.
“She’d come” said Johnny again.
“If you say so Johnny boy, damned if she didn’t.” said Ron.
The car pulled into Mercy General’s ER wing. Seconds later, Johnny felt a strong hand pulling him out, holding his head firmly but gently like someone would hold a new born. It was Dan. With his other hand on Johnny’s belt, he pulled him out of the backseat. Cathy followed. Hospital attendants were putting him on a stretcher as if they were expecting him all along, Johnny wondered.
It was a windy October night. Johnny caught a whiff of Jasmine as the stretcher was pushed inside, his two friends, Dan and Cathy on either side. Johnny looked up at Dan who had a wide grin pasted on his handsome face. Johnny looked at him quizzically for a while and finally realized what his heart has been telling him all along. He grinned back and gripped Cathy’s arm, “told you, she’d come.” Cathy looked back and saw a tall lean girl, dressed in a peach tank top and blue jeans following them silently just five feet away.