Crispen's Rose: Chapter Eight

Crispen's Rose: Chapter Eight

A Chapter by Rhayne

CHAPTER EIGHT

ALEXANDER

 

 

Tabora Beach, North Carolina

Winter, 2014

 

Exhausted, Rose leans outward from the porch rail, letting the cold mist spray on her face as Rochelle works to unlock the door to the beach house.  Rose was exceptionally quiet all the way home from the museum, obviously still in a mild state of shock.  The door lock finally clicks and the door jars open.  She takes Rose by the arm and leads her inside where it is warm and cozy from a blazing fire in the fireplace.  They both stop in their tracks.  Rose swallows hard leaving a lump in her throat.  Rochelle reaches slowly into her pocket where her fingers enclose a pocket size can of mace.  He stands quickly, tossing the newspaper onto the sofa. He raises his hands in front of him as if gesturing that he is harmless.

“Who the hell are you and how did you get in here!” says Rochelle.

He points toward the patio doors overlooking the beach, “it was unlocked.  Let me explain” he says looking straight at Rose.  Her eyes were set upon him as if she knew him somehow. She wasn’t afraid in the least but intrigued by his appearance.

“You’re Alexander, aren’t you?” she says shedding her coat.

He seems genuinely surprised that she would know him but nods his head nevertheless.

“Where is Crispin?  Is he here?” she says frantically looking around.

“He is not here” he replies, “but he is why I have come.”

“Is he hurt?  Sick?  Why isn’t he with you?”


Just as he is about to answer, a blundering knock comes to the door nearly launching Rochelle out of her skin.  The door shoves open as she turns toward it.  Derrick barges in obviously intoxicated.  He laughs at himself as he stumbles over a small rug and falling into Rochelle’s arms as she tries to break his fall.  Pushing away from her, he falls backwards against the door, slamming it shut.

“It’s not your arms I want to fall into” he slurs angrily, “but hers” he slurs again, pointing at Rose.  “I mean, you’re an okay looking woman, but, well, you know how I feel about Rose.  And you!” he slurs more, pointing at Alexander, “Cr...Cris....Crispin, what are you, man?  A male stripper or something?” he laughs. “No, I know, you’re one of those fairy guys, you know....gay.  No, you can’t be gay and be with my Rose. She wouldn’t bed a gay guy.....would ya?”

“Okay, Derrick, I’ve had enough of you for the rest of my life.  I’m calling the police.  You can sleep it off in jail tonight and I’m getting a restraining order to keep you away from me from now on.”

Dialing the phone Rose watches Rochelle open the door and try to push Derrick onto the porch.  He pushes her away from him and slams the door again.  Before he can turn around, Alexander simultaneously opens the door and shoves Derrick onto the porch. It was so fast that neither Rose or Rochelle actually saw it happen.  Remembering that Crispin had showed her his ability to move swiftly, she realizes that Alexander has the same ability and lays the handset back into its cradle slowly.

“Who was that man?” Alexander asks as he helps Rochelle to regain her balance.  “Why does he say those things about Crispin?”

“You’re kidding, right?” chuckles Rochelle, relishing the thought of his touching her.

“Don’t pay any attention to what he says.  He’s drunk.  His name is Derrick and he’s an ex-friend of mine.  Why are you here, Alexander?” asks Rose.


He steps to the fireplace to poke the logs and enrage the fire. Rose and Rochelle sit side by side on the sofa, Rose awaiting an answer and Rochelle examining every inch of him.  He turned, his eyes falling on Rochelle first.  Her golden eyes seizing him.  Rose looks from him to her and then from the corner of her eye she sees movement at the patio door just a split second before Derrick comes bursting in again.  This time a gun gripped tightly in his shaking hand.  His sights are on Rose when his finger snaps back on the trigger and fires.  Alexander moves quickly between the bullet and both women, feeling it burn into the left side of his chest.  The force of it sending him backwards, crashing down onto the coffee table.  The ceiling swirls round and round as the screams of Rose and Rochelle echo away.  Both women rushing to him angers Derrick even more.  Charging around the sofa and waving his gun, he demands the women to move away.  Rose holds a small pillow against the gushing wound.  Rochelle reaches for the phone only to have it ripped from her hands and tossed out the open patio door.  Suddenly, Derrick seems not only angry but cold sober.  His drunkenness had been a ruse.

“I said move away from him, Rose!  Now!”

“No, Derrick!  Why?  Why did you do this?” she yells in tears.

“Because you belong to me. Now, get up and get your coat.  You’re coming with me!”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.  You’ve made a mistake. This man is not Crispin!  I’m not going to let him die.  Now let Chelle get my cell phone and call for help, please Derrick!”

“Then who is he?  I watched him walk right in here and make himself at home.  He built a fire and sat here reading the paper until you walked in.  He’s no stranger!”

“His name is Alexander.  He’s, he’s just a friend, Derrick. Please let us call for help.”


“Oh sure, let you call for help.  You know, I’m really not as stupid as you think.”

“Then what do you call what you’ve just done?” sneers Rochelle.

“I call it protecting what’s mine, protecting the woman I love from an intruder.  So, okay, call for help as long as you tell them it was in self defense from an intruder. Deal?”

Rochelle gives Rose a look that asks her to agree.  Rose looks down at Alexander who is barely conscious.

“Okay, Derrick, whatever you say.”

He motions for Rochelle to get the cell phone.  She scrambles on her hands and knees to the sofa to retrieve the phone from Rose’s purse and quickly dials 911.  As she is talking to the dispatcher, Rose lifts the pillow to take another look at the wound.  The release of pressure pains him and blood once again gushes from the gaping hole but then she notices something strange.  A glow within the wound and a yellowish haze emitting from it.  The wound begins to close right before her eyes.  Consciousness begins to arouse him again.  His dark brown eyes open, weakly searching around.  Rose lays the pillow back against the wound with only the slightest pressure.

“It’s all right, Alexander.  You’re going to be fine” she says.

“You must not go with him” he whispers.  “The wound will be healed completely soon.  Do not leave my side.”

“I’m not going to leave you, Alex.  Please, just lay still and stay calm.  Help is on the way.”

“Alex” he repeats, “I’ve never been called that.  I like it” he says getting stronger.


Rochelle closes the cell phone and crawls back to Alexander while keeping her eyes on Derrick.  He paces back and forth behind the sofa, the gun in his hand swinging by his side.  Then he stops and puts the gun securely in the band of his pants.  He kneels by Alexander’s side as if examining the situation.  Alexander closes his eyes, pretending to be unconscious.  Touching his fingers to Rose’s chin, he lifts, forcing her to look at him, “I’m sorry about your friend.  I thought he was that creep you’ve been dating.  Can’t you see how much I love you?  What I would do for you?  You’re mine, baby, always and forever mine.  Now, I want you to get up and get your coat.  You’re coming with me.  Rochelle can stay with your friend until help gets here.  Come on, baby, don’t make me hurt her too.”

Rochelle swallows hard again adding to the lump already lodged in her throat.  A warmth comes over her hand, drawing her eyes down. Alexander is gently holding her hand.  Her eyes shift toward his as he winks at her.  She looks at Rose as Derrick stands and steps briskly away to get Rose her coat.  She moves the pillow slightly to show Rochelle the healing wound.  She gasps, getting Derrick’s attention.  He rushes back, pulling his gun from his pants and tossing Rose her coat.

“What?” he demands.

“I was showing her the wound, Derrick, that’s all” explains Rose.

“Let me see it” he demands.

“We need to keep pressure on it until the ambulance gets here, to slow the bleeding” she explains nervously.

“I said let me see it” he demands again.

She moves the pillow only slightly, making Derrick lean over to see, giving Alexander the opportunity, he needs.  He lunges upward taking the gun from Derrick’s hand and squeezes his throat with his other hand.  He pops to his feet in renewed health. 


“Please, stop, you’re killing him.  We have the gun, just make him sit down until the police get here.  Please, Alex” Rose says pulling his arm.

“He was trying to kill me and take you away” he says angrily.

“But you’re okay now and I’m not going anywhere.  Please, let go of him before you kill him.”

Rochelle watches in horror as Derrick’s face begins to turn blue and his eyes roll back.  Alexander feels her looking and turns to her, “do you want me to let him go as well?”  She nods to him, saying yes with her eyes too.  The lines in his face smooth down to the kindness that was there before.  He loosens his grip and lets Derrick fall onto the sofa with a thud.  He begins to cough and gasp for breath.  Rose takes the gun from Alex just as there is a knock at the door.

“Paramedics!” the man shouts as he enters.

Immediately the paramedic sees Alexander’s bloody shirt and urges him to sit down.  As he is being attended, Rochelle and Rose, who have hidden the gun under the sofa cushion, try to explain to the police officer what happened. 

“I told you, sir, it’s just a flesh wound, nothing serious” explains Alexander.

“One at a time” pleads the officer, “tell me what happened.”

“Derrick broke in and shot him” blurts Rochelle.

“And who is Derrick....?”


Rose and Rochelle turn toward the sofa, only to find it empty. Rose rushed to the other side expecting to find him on the floor but Derrick is nowhere in sight.  The three of them look toward the open patio doors.  Rochelle looks back to Alex who only shakes his head and then looks down to watch the paramedic bandage an already healing wound.  The paramedic urges Alexander to let them take him to the hospital but he refuses saying he is perfectly fine.  The medic gathers his things and leaves quietly, leaving only the police officer behind to finish the report.  He has searched the patio and around the house and found no sign of Derrick.  Only footprints deep in the sand leading away from the house were evident.  The officer closes the patio door and checks the lock for security.  Rochelle is helping Alexander back into his shirt as Rose assists him to the sofa where he will sit on the cushion hiding the gun.

“You will arrest him, won’t you?” asks Rochelle.

“As soon as we find him, ma’am” he replies, sliding his pen into his pocket.

“Is there anything else you need, officer?  It’s been quite an eventful evening and we’re all rather tired” Rose said wearily.

“I think I have everything I need for now.  I’ll let you know as soon as we have him, but in the meantime, I suggest you keep your doors locked and your curtains drawn.  Anybody can see inside here at night from the beach.  Well, you folks call if you need to, I’ll keep a car patrolling through the night.”

Rose closes and locks the door behind the officer and immediately pulls all drapes together.  As she double checks the lock on the patio door, a shadow passes across the deck giving her a start.  She gasps and steps back as a face appears at the glass.

“Rose!” he calls out.

Rochelle pours out the contents of Rose’s purse to get the cell phone.  Alexander, still feeling a little weak, pushes from the sofa and quickly steps up behind Rose.  She is quivering under his touch.


“Rose, it’s me, Crispin, open the door” he shouts and then sees his brother move up behind Rose, “Alexander!  No!  Don’t hurt her” he shouts again as he easily breaks the lock. “It’s all right, Alexander, I’m fine. The Council lied to you, brother. Your mission is over.”

Relief overcomes Rose as she lunges into Crispin’s arms, sobbing. He holds her close with one arm and reaches out to Alexander who is holding the gun at his side.

“Give me the gun, my brother.  You don’t have to go through with the mission now.  Everything is fine.”  He speaks calmly and slowly.

Alexander is stunned at the sight of Crispin and had not even realized that he had the gun as he looks down at it and then glances up to Crispin.  Suddenly, he realizes what Crispin thought and slowly hands him the weapon.  Rochelle watches in total confusion as she mauls over Crispin’s words.  Crispin takes the gun, noticing the blood on Alexander’s shirt. 

“Are you all right, brother, have you healed?” he asks.

Composing herself, Rose leans back, “oh, Crispin, you should have seen him.  He was so brave.  I would be dead if it hadn’t been for Alex.  He saved my life and Rochelle’s too.”

“That’s right, he did” adds Rochelle, taking Alexander’s arm in hers.

Alexander returns to the sofa with Rochelle where he falls back onto the overstuffed cushions.  He lays his head back, feeling unusual.  His chest aches and burns as it did when the bullet first entered.  His breathing becomes labored causing beads of sweat to form across his forehead.

“Alex, you should have gone to the hospital” complains Rochelle, “the bullet has to still be in there.”


“I know what you were thinking, Crispin, but I was only going to protect her from that lunatic.  That was his gun, not mine.  I couldn’t go through with the mission.  I knew that if I did and you lived, you would hate me and I couldn’t live with that.  I figured either way, you were going to be without her and so what was the point, either way, I would be without you.  Don’t think I could have lived with that either, brother.”

Crispin opens his brother’s shirt to find the wound bleeding through the thick bandage.  Rose runs to get towels as Rochelle dials 911 again.  Crispin takes the phone and ends the call, looking at the surprised look on Rochelle’s face.

“I can help him, trust me” he says.  

Alexander pulls on Crispin’s sleeve, trying to pull himself up. His face pale and sweaty.

“Something is wrong, Crispin, I feel different.  I can’t heal it again.  I feel like I’m dying, Crispin.”

Pushing him back gently against the cushion, Crispin lays his hand over the wound.  His brother’s fevered blood oozing between his fingers.  Alexander grows weaker by the moment as Crispin concentrates completely on the wound.  His hand red with both blood and his own healing heat.  Rochelle’s patience has worn thin as she thinks Crispin is only making matters worse.  She pleads with Rose to make him stop as Rose wipes Alexander’s wincing face with a cool cloth. She holds a larger towel under her arm, waiting to press it against the wound as soon as Crispin moves his hand.  She too, is worried for Alexander. Crispin takes a breath, his eyes closed tightly, he whispers under his breath, “help me, brother, concentrate with me”.

Rochelle holds his limp hand until suddenly it becomes rigid and then grips hers with such force that it pained her, but she never made a sound.  She stares at his face and winces with him for every pain.  He opens his eyes to look at her, Rose and then Crispin.  He felt his life slipping away and could tell that Crispin could feel it too.  Crispin’s face is fiery red as he still gives all he has.


“Let me go, Crispin” he whispers calmly.  “I have no power left in me.  Everything is gone.  I failed and this is my punishment.  Let me go.”

“What’s he talking about?” asks Rochelle. 

“Help me, damn it!” Crispin says, never opening his eyes or moving his hand, “I’m not going to let you go.  They will not take you.  You’ve done nothing wrong.  Help me!  Concentrate!  Together, we can do this.  But you have to want it. You have to fight, Alexander, you have to fight.”

“Listen to your brother, Alex.  Do what he says.  We both need you.  Work with him, you hear me?  Whatever concentrate means, do it, please” Rose pleads.

Rochelle had no clue what was going on but one thing she did know and that was she didn’t want him to die.  She wanted a chance to know him better.  A chance to tell him how he had stirred something inside her.

“Alex?  You listen to me, now, you hear?  You have to live. We have things to do, you and me.  I want to know more about you. I like you.  I mean, well, I more than like you.  You have to do whatever it takes to pull through this, Alex.  I don’t want you to leave me.  We just met, for heaven’s sake. Do you even hear me?”

His hand becomes like a hot poker in hers as his grip loosens. His chest, covered in his own blood is now mixing with blood dripping from Crispin’s nose.  Alexander’s breathing slows to near nothing as his chest is hardly rising at all now.  Crispin bares down harder on the wound as the blood flow has nearly stopped.  Something is pressing hard under his palm.  Spreading his fingers, the bullet emerges between them.  Rose pulls it from his fingers in amazement.  Alexander is still and limp.  Rochelle slaps his hand, crying out his name.  Rose stands with her hand covering her mouth, tears streaming.  Crispin opens his eyes to find his brother lifeless.




© 2019 Rhayne


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I didn't like Alexander at first, but he can't die! Nooooo!

Once again, your wrting is lovely and so very descriptive

Posted 3 Weeks Ago



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Added on September 13, 2019
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Rhayne
Rhayne

Nashville, NC



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