It was almost one in the morning when the phone rang at the Victoria Lane house. Whoever it was wasn't giving up, irrespective of the hour. The phone kept ringing...
Stupid phone. Didn't everyone know when certain people didn't want to be woken up due to better offers? Ry groaned as he rolled out of his bed, leaving Slink sprawled there behind him. Of course, Deirdre wasn't in the house so she wouldn't pick up the phone immediately. Jude was probably as stead-fastly ignoring the phone as he was.
Again, the foreboding feeling pricked at him. He picked up the phone and cleared his voice ready for talking.
Ah, thank god Ry had gotten up. Stupid phone. She wriggled over into the center of the bed where it was warmer and streached out, awake but eyes closed. Who called at this hour anyway- unless something bad has happened. Oh shit- Deirdre was on a plane. Stephie forced her eyes open and listened to Ry stumbling down the hall to the upstairs phone line.
There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment, then the sound of a woman choking back a sob. Finally, she spoke.
"I... I was looking for Deirdre Gallagher... I'm sorry, do I have the wrong number?"
Ry rubbed his forehead wearily. "No... you do not have the wrong number. Deirdre is currently... away. Can I ask what this is about?" he asked.
There was a ragged sigh on the other end of the phone line before the woman responded.
"Um... this is Emilie Baudrillard. Renee's mother? Um, I don't know if you know her. But she is in hospital. She..." Emilie sucked in her breath sharply as she tried to fight back tears. God, it was so hard to say it!
"The doctors say she tried to kill herself."
If it had been a movie, the phone would have dropped out of Ry's hand at Emilie's words. If it had been a movie... many things, if it had been a movie; and none of them relevant.
Ry swallowed. He'd suspected her as being less than stable, but this... What did one say when words simply wouldn't come out?
"How?" It was a stranged sound, barely resembling a word.
The voice on the other end was thick with tears, but continued talking seemed to be holding her together, at least for now.
"She stabbed herself. She was in the park. She... um... she is in the surgeon now. We do not know if she... will live."
Ry felt as though the air had been sucked out of his lungs. No. He simply couldn't be having this conversation with a disembodied voice on the other end of the line whom he'd met only once. This didn't sound like Emilie.
"No visitors?" Ry asked coldly.
Emilie sighed. "We do not know when she will be out of the surgeon." A male voice could be heard for a moment. "The surgery. We do not know when we can see her, or anyone else. Um... who is this?" She only now realised that the speaker on the other end hadn't identified himself. "I can call again when visitors are allowed..."
Stephie sat up when she heard Ry choke on a word- this sounded serious. She groped around Ry's floor for a shirt, found an old black one, and tiptoed over to the door to listen closer, ever curious.
"Yeah, do that," Ry said. "And it's Ry. We met."
"Ryan," there was a smile in Emilie's voice. Any kind of familiarity was good right now. "Renee said you were a good friend. She didn't talk about her friends much..."
The woman was crying now. It didn't seem that she would be able to speak any time soon. At a time like this, the simplest thoughts could bring one to breaking point...
"Yeah, we..." What was he going to say? Talked about philosophies on being greater than we were a lot... Hardly the kind of thing you said to a grieving mother.
No, not grieving mother. Renee was not going to die. But that still left him without know exactly what one said to a crying woman.
God... what if he had something to do with her state of mind?
There was a rustling on the other end of the line, and then a male voice spoke.
"Ryan, was it? This is Renee's father, Remy. I apologise for waking you with such terrible news. I am sure Renee will need all of her friends' support when she pulls through." Even he was swallowing back tears. He obviously didn't entirely believe what he was saying. And who could blame him?
"You will know as soon as there is anything more to tell you, I promise. Is this the best number to reach you?"
"Yeah, I never got around to getting a mobile phone."
"Alright then," Remy responded. "I hope that next time we speak, it will be good news. If you are a praying man, Ryan, now would be the time."
Ry nodded, and hung up the phone before consciously realising that Remy wouldn't be able to see it. Numbly, he wandered out into the living room and where a pile of Renee's books still lay. He opened one at the page he had read up to previously.
She was getting anxious, waiting for Ry to head back to his bed, so when he walked right past the door and down the stairs to the living room, curiosiyt gave her no choice but to follow him. "Ry," she hissed, in case Jude or Peirre were light sleepers, "what's going on?"
"Nothing, Steph. Go back to bed. I'll be up later," he said, not even glancing up from her book.
"Don't patronise me, Ry," Stephie frowned, annoyed, "what's going on?"
Ry looked over his book, exasperated. "Not patronising," he stated. God, wasn't it enough that he wasn't going to be able to get any sleep tonight? Was it too much to ask that it not be something he had to deal with until the next day? Daylight-day?
"Renee's in hospital." He clammed up on the rest. There was nobody who was going to tell him that that was everybody else's business!
"Oh..." Stephie said, searching his face for additional information. Nothing- he'd had too much practice at being unreadable. Jesus, Renee! The day after Deirdre leaves- did this have anything to do with that- no, she said she'd been feeling sick- but it must have been pretty bad to end up in hospital and to call the house after one in the morning! A thousand questions queued up in Stephie's mind, but she forced her jaw to stay wired shut for once. Pushing Ry right now would get her nowhere, she could work out that much. Why the hell was he angry at her? Well, two could play at that game... no, don't. "I have as much right to know as you do Ry," she said, knowing full well it wasn't precicly true. "Please?"
"No." Ry's eyes went back down to his book. Relenting, "Please, Slink. Go. To your own bed. I promise that I will tell you something more tomorrow. Okay?" His eyes came close to pleading with her, before the shutters came down once more and he was reading.
No, it was not okay. She wanted to know and he was treating her like a fucking child- she mentally kicked herself, hard- Stephie, don't you dare do this now. But her hands were clenched in fists, nails digging into her palms. Fuck him, Ry's superiour graces were the last thing she needed. She snapped round and walked off into the library, heaving the door shut behind her and slamming her fist into her thigh the moment she was out of sight. This was not cool, not cool. Why wouldn't he tell her anything?