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on the sidewalk.
Lark didn't seem to notice Noah, but his face lit up at
the sight of Jeremy. Noah noted that some of his facial
lesions were fading, and a barely perceptible spark lit
Lark's otherwise dull green eyes. Noah hoped time
would heal the hurt. To someone familiar with drug
abuse, Lark's window-dressing, spit-shine hid nothing.
The guy had a long way to go.
The normal chemical smell that'd always clung to
him had been exchanged for some classy cologne,
probably from a worker, since patients weren't allowed
products containing alcohol or anything sprayable, and
unless Noah missed his guess, that scent didn't come
"Hey, kiddo. Big day, huh?" Lark asked. Normally he
buzzed with pharmaceutically-induced energy, now his
feet dragged.
Apparently, other people got away with calling
Jeremy "kid". Noah knew better than to try. He recalled
the agonized, "Damn it, Noah. Please stop treating me
like a child. I can take that from anyone but you," from
the night before. Not a good thing to be called "kid" by
the guy you're sleeping with, he supposed
"Yeah." Jeremy bounced on the balls of his feet,
working off graduation nerves.
With an anxious glance toward the two waiting cars,
Lark nodded his head, shuffling to the curb in Jeremy's
wake. He spared a backward glance to the orderly, who
nodded and said, "You go on, now. Have a good time."
Instead of climbing into the front seat, Jeremy
silently asked Noah a question with a troubled gaze and
lifted brow. Noah nodded, a slight tip of the head, and
Fallen Angel 86
Jeremy crawled into the back seat with Lark while Doc
took the front passenger seat.
They pulled out into the street, Mary following in her
Noah chatted quietly with Doc, occasionally
consulting the rearview mirror. Jeremy squirmed,
tugging at his hair and chewing his lower lip. Several
times he tried to involve Lark in conversation, only to
receive single-word replies.
Lark stared out the window, occasionally turning
nearly completely around to follow something with his
eyes. What was he seeking? A chance to escape? Was
this a bad idea? Normally, Noah felt nothing but
sympathy for such men and blamed his suspicions on an
overprotective nature about Jeremy's welfare. Jeremy
liked Lark, maybe trusted him a little, and could be
setting himself up for the crushing blow of betrayal.
Many times in the past Noah had witnessed addicts
stealing from, and even hurting, those attempting to help
them -- to get more drugs. He wasn't being fair, but he
couldn't prevent worrying what Lark might try,
especially with an easy-going target.
As if reading his thoughts, or more likely, his
repeated glances into the mirror, Doc quietly murmured,
"Have you forgotten that he lived on his own for
months? He resisted taking the easy way out. If he were
helpless, we wouldn't be heading to the boy's& " Doc
scrunched his face up in concentration. "The boy's& "
"Graduation?" Noah offered.
Doc nodded his head, a weak, rueful smile peeking
out from beneath his bristly moustache "Yeah, that's it.
You know how old minds can be." He rapped his
knuckles against his forehead. "Fill 'em too full and
things start leaking out." His mouth stretched wide in a
Noah sighed and nodded, agreeing with the voice of
reason and passing off Doc's momentary memory lapse
as fatigue. "Yeah, you're right. How'd you get so
damned smart?"
Fallen Angel 87
"By getting so damned old," Doc replied. The hand
resting on his knee, that had skillfully pieced Noah's leg
back together ten years ago, bore the wrinkles and spots
of advanced years. Noah noted some trembling in the
fingers. In a few months Doc would turn seventy-two.
He'd earned the right to forget a thing or two.
Pulling up to a red light, Noah studied his mentor.
Doc had always been wiry -- now his natural thinness
appeared frail, the salt-and-pepper hair more salt than
pepper these days. Despite his protests to the contrary,
the man needed to slow down before he burned himself
out or got sick. What would happen if Doc no longer ran
Cook's Cause? Sure, since Noah's arrest and release last
year word had spread, the charity growing by leaps and
bounds, but who'd ensure that their mission stayed true
to Doc's vision and didn't become a corporate money-
making scheme, like many other initially well-
intentioned organizations had?
"It's green!" Jeremy hollered from the back seat,
breaking into Noah's thoughts.
Passing through the traffic light, he nearly missed the
orange-vested woman waving him into a grassy area
marked, "Parking." Far more cars packed the area than
the previous night, when he'd gotten a better spot closer
to the school. He now understood the reason for handing
out tickets and limiting each student's guests. Maybe not
every senior had been in attendance the previous night,
judging by this crowd. A series of orange-vested [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]