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A Late Night Call

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    Jack lied awake in bed, it was about two AM. He couldn’t sleep, he just couldn’t stop thinking about it. He fucked up, he fucked up bad. It was his fault, everything was his fault. He had put all these kids in danger and then turned his back on them. Sure, everything was okay now, but just a few weeks ago nothing was and he was still sure everyone hated him.

    He tried to tell himself it wasn’t true but it had to be, there was no way they didn’t hate him, but that’s just what he deserved at this point.

    Jack covered his face with his hands. He couldn’t do this, he should be dead. He deserved to be dead after all of this.

    He wanted to be dead.

    It wouldn’t be hard, he was already pretty close to the top of the building. He would just have to take the elevator the rest of the way up and then climb up the fire escape to the roof. He could do it, it wouldn’t be hard at all.

     No!

     Jack rubbed his eyes. He couldn’t do it, there were still people that cared about him. People who he put in danger and turned against but still cared about him anyways. God he was such an idiot. He didn’t deserve these people, he couldn’t hurt them.

    He couldn’t stand this, he needed to get his feelings out. He wanted to die but for everyone else’s sake he had to make sure he didn’t kill himself, so he called one of the few people he knew could talk him out of it, and the only one he knew he could always count on to be there for him no matter what.

    He grabbed his phone from his bedside table and went to contacts. He clicked on the contact he wanted, but his finger hovered over the call button for a moment.

    Did he really want to do this? Did he really want him to know? He could just put his phone down. He could just put it down and try to sleep.

    But he knew that would be counterproductive. Every day would be just like the last, he’d still want to die. He needed to stop himself before he went too far. He needed to do this.

    Carefully, he clicked call. The phone rang twice before it picked up.

    “Hey, Crutch?” Jack asked, his voice almost a whisper.

    “Jack? What’re you doing up?”

    “Can’t sleep. You studyin’?”

    “Yeah, what’s up?” Crutchie asked, a hint of concern in his voice.

    “Could we uh—could we talk?”

    “Yeah, of course. What’s wrong?”

    “I uh—I messed up. I messed up real bad Crutch.” He let out a shaky breath.

    “Is this about the whole strike mess? It’s fine, Jack. The whole thing’s been resolved. We know why ya’ did what ya’ did. It’s okay, Jack.

    “I know, I know. It’s just—none of this is goin’ away, Crutch…” Jack’s voice wavered and he was on the verge of tears. “I still can’t stop thinkin’ about it. I- I’m a terrible person.”

    “Hey, don’t think like that. You’re a wonderful person, Jack. We all know that’cha only tried to help us, and you did!” His tone got softer. “What’s wrong, Jack?”

    Jack audibly sighed into the phone. “Do you...do you ever feel like everything is your fault, and hate yourself because of it?”

    “Is that how you feel, Jack?”

    Jack felt his eyes well up with tears, his breath shook as he tried to stop himself from crying.

    “I—” he couldn’t stop it, he broke down crying. He sobbed into the phone, clutching his shirt.

    “Hey, hey, Jack, it’s alright! Are you okay?”

    “Crutchie...please don’t go…” he inhaled sharply and wiped his tears. “Don’t go…”

    “It’s alright Jack, I won’t go, I promise.”

    Jack took a relieved and shaky gasp. “Thank you…”

    “Yeah, no problem. Now answer me, Jack. Is that how you feel?”

    “Yeah, yeah it is.” Jack answered hesitantly.

    “Jack, I can assure you that no one thinks you’re at fault. We all love you, Jack.”

    “I know that, I just—” he paused, extremely hesitant to tell someone about this, let alone his best friend and basically brother. Did he really want Crutchie to know? Would Crutchie still think of him the same way? Did he want to worry Crutchie like this?

    “You just what?”

    Jack let out sigh. “Crutchie,” His voice cracked. There was a pause. “do you ever want to die?”

    “Uh, it’s crossed my mind a couple of times, but nothing serious” Crutchie said quickly, trying to shift the topic back to Jack. His voice was filled with concern. “Do—Do you?”

    “...yeah. I uh—I was thinkin’ about it, you know? I was thinkin’...there’s uh...there’s an easy way up to the roof. I was just thinkin’ about how easy it would be to just go up there and just…” there was a pause. “Jump, you know?”

    There was a clattering sound on the other end.

    “Crutch?”

    “I’m here, I’m here. I just uh, dropped my phone. Jack, are you for serious? How long have you—“

    There was a silence.

    Crutchie’s voice was soft. “How long have you wanted to die?”

    “Ever since our failed uh, what would you call that? A riot?” He laughed a little, but it was filled with pain. “A buncha’ the boys got hurt real bad, and you...you know what happened. You still have the bruises from your time there. That was my fault, Crutch…I—” tears fell from his eyes again, his vision blurring.

    “Jack, that was weeks ago. You...you need help, Jack. Why’dya you wait so long to tell someone?”

     “I dunno, I dunno. I guess, I just thought that if I ignored it I could deal with it myself, and I wouldn’t have’ta worry anyone. I thought, maybe they would go away...I guess. I dunno, Crutch. No one needs to hear me complain. It’s not a big deal.”

    “Jack, no. Of course it’s a big deal! Jack, I think you should tell the guys.”

    Fear raced through Jack’s mind. No, no, no! He couldn’t tell anyone, he couldn’t. What would they think of him? What if they looked down on him? What if they no longer saw him as the fearsome leader they needed?

    But then again, he wasn’t.

    “Crutch, no, you can’t. I can’t let the boys know about this. They can’t know!”

    “Jack, if you ain’t gonna, I gotta tell someone. I can’t just let you just suffer alone.

    “No, please. I don’t want the boys to see me like this. I don’t need them knowing I’m broken. I hardly ain’t one, but I need’ta be a leader. I can’t…” his voice trailed off as he went to wipe his tears again.

    Crutchie sighed on the other end. “Jack, you know I care about’cha. I care about you so much, so we need to tell someone at least. If we ain’t gonna tell the boys...at least let me tell Katherine and Davey.”

    Panic rose in Jack’s chest. He supposed Davey was alright, Davey was a smart and mature guy who could keep a secret, telling Davey was fine, but not Katherine. Not Katherine.

    “No, please!” His voices sounded desperate. “You can’t tell Katherine. Davey is fine I ‘spose, but not Katherine.”

    “Why? She could help you! Don’t you think this is something she should know?”

    Jack paused. “I—what if she…”

    “What if she what?”

     “What if she, I dunno. What if she sees me differently? Or like...what if she starts thinking less’a me? What if she…”

    “What if she what, Jack?”

    “ What if she doesn’t love me anymore?!”

    “ Jack…” Crutchie almost whispered. “Are you really thinkin’ this way?”

    “What’re you talkin’ about?”

    “Do you really think that? D’ya really think people wouldn’t love you just ‘cause you’re in pain?”

    “I—” Jack couldn’t speak, the tears building in his throat.

    “Katherine loves you, Jack. She wouldn’t stop lovin’ya just cause you’re in pain. Katherine is a smart girl, she can help . Hell, I’m sure she’d wanna help.”

    Jack gripped his shirt again, it wet from tears. “Crutch I... I can’t tell her. At least not by myself. Could you...could you tell her for me? An’...Davey too? Maybe?”

    Crutchie let out a relieved sigh on the other end. “Of course, Jack. Now you should go’ta bed, ‘ya sound like you need sleep.”

    “I will.”

    “Promise?”

    “Promise.”

    “Call me in the morning, okay? And if ‘ya don’t I’m gonna go straight to your place personally ‘ta make sure you’re okay!”

    “I’ll call you, I swear!”

    “Alright, night Jack.”

    “Night Crutch. Oh, and one more thing.”

    “Yeah?”

    “I- I love you, Crutchie.”

    “I love you too, Jack.”