Chapter 20

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“So what the hell happened,” Mark asked. He had gotten home late and as usual and was having his early morning cigar and coffee. Alex choked down a mouthful of charred pancake, holding up a finger up while he swallowed his food.

“A headache. A really, really bad one. I don’t know if I passed out or if it happened while I was sleeping and woke me, I just know it hurt like hell and I ended up on the floor. I was worried something was finally showing up from the accident or something.”

“Kinda late for things to start showing up I’d say. From what I was told, if anything was gonna come from it something should have happened by now, otherwise I’d still be taking you up there for tests every month.”

“I know, I know,” Alex said between bites, “it just scared the hell out of me and I wanted to be sure. Sorry if you got in trouble at work by the way.”

Mark sipped his coffee and looked at Alex, amused. “For what? Getting a phone call from the hospital and signing a fax to release you. They’re happy I’m there at all, as much as they’ve been driving me. I bet I could show up naked and they’d just smile and ask if I wanted to borrow some boots. They sure as hell won’t say a thing about a medical emergency.”

Alex rolled his eyes, “thanks for the visual while I’m eating, ass.”

“You’re welcome sweetie pie, now is that all it was, a headache? You’re sure there was nothing else?” For the first time Mark had a genuinely serious look in his eyes when he asked the question, as if he was expecting more. Alex just shrugged.

“Yea, that’s it. I won’t be so panicky next time, I promise. Besides, that doctor’s a real ass anyways, I’d rather not see him if I can help it.”

“Yea but he knows you’re case better than anyone, and I know he’d give it to me straight if something was really wrong. You’ll just have to deal with him till you get your own insurance.” Mark had a small smirk when he talked about Alex’s doctor, and Alex was convinced the only reason Mark liked him so much was because of how much Alex didn’t like him.

“Wonderful,” Alex said sarcastically.

Mark grinned at him and put his cigar back in his mouth. They both sat in silence, looking out at the morning fog and watching fish jump in the lake. Alex jammed the last piece of pancake into his mouth and stood up. May as well get to school early and catch up on some homework, he thought. He’d go back to the library after school and look though whatever old newspapers Peggy may have dug up for him. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too much so he could get out while it was still light and get down to the sand pit. He needed another trip out there to clear his head.

“So, when are you going to have enough time off work to get back out to the pit with me? Before the summer’s over I hope, you’ll need all the practice you can get before hunting season.”

Mark sat back in his chair and sighed. “No idea, but it’s not even summer yet so don’t get your panties in a wad. I’ll get out there eventually, but if one of those headaches comes back you’ll let me know right? Or anything else for that matter...”

“Yea, yea I’ll let you know. I’m taking off though, need to get some stuff done before the day starts. I’ll catch ya later.” He left Mark to his cigar and coffee and went inside to dump the dishes in the sink.  

Maybe he was just stressed out, after all, and maybe that could cause the headache he had. He had been stressed out with the way Ethan’s been, not to mention all the extra homework he’d let pile up. For now he’d just try to forget it and try to go on like everything was normal. Alex had no idea just how short lived his “normal” life would be.

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