A/N: Hey everyone. I been gone for awhile and I apologize for that, but work and life was calling for me to care about them. However, I am back. And I bring with me a new story. I will begin each chapter with a verse from my favorite song, which the story actually, surprisingly, fits very well with.
Chapter 1: Friday - I Will Try to Fix You
When you try your best, but you don't succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse
Maddie sat down at the table, rubbing at her eyes for the hundreth time. Sleep was becoming something she wasn't getting enough of. Her friends had noticed this time, and were all taking seats around her, waiting for an explanation. She paused her music as the last of her friends took their seat.
"So? What's going on, Mads? You're never this tired," Zack asked gently. Zack was easily 5' 11", and he sported bright red hair that was always spiked, a rather large nose, and bright, intelligent green eyes. He was well muscled and broad shouldered, and he loved to play the flute. He was something of an oddity in that sense.
"I'm worried about Josh," Maddie began. Maddie herself was fairly tall, standing at 5' 9". Her hair was brown and she always wore it in a ponytail. Her eyes were a piercing gray and her build was lithe and athletic. Her eyes were downcast, knowing most of her friends had already given up on Josh.
"Oh. How uh. . .how's he doing?" Zack asked after a long silence, realizing no one else was going to speak. The group, including Josh, used to be a tightly-knit group of six. Six kids that had grown up together and gone through a lot of hardship. Even though Josh had been a close friend, and had been there with them for so much, the only one he still regularly talked to was Maddie.
"More of the same...I really don't know what else to try. It's come to a final ultimatum," her voice was set, but behind the determination was an attempt to keep her tears back. Josh had been the glue that held them together. He was unfathomably loyal to his friends, and helped talk them through some of the hardest parts of their lives. He was always the first to show up, after a single phone call. He'd called the whole group together to try new activities every weekend.
Josh had once been a star athelete, and a captain of four different teams at the school. He was always so full of life, and it was nearly impossible to imagine him without thinking of that mischeivous smile, and that unruly mop of golden brown hair. His light gray eyes were always full of life and glinted with hidden mirth, like everyone he looked at were all part of some inside joke.
"What are you talking about, dear? Surely you've given him enough ultimatums," the smooth voice of Emily, the daughter of the richest man in their city, cut through Maddie's thoughts. Emily. . .Emily was someone you had to get used to. Her behavior towards outsiders was of that, 'I'm too good for you to even think about talking to,' and she usually dismissed other students. She was obsessed with fashion, and was always on top of the latest fashion trends at their school; usually because she started them. Emily was a talented seamstress, and that was how she increased her already massive wealth. In all reality, Emily was a very generous and kind girl, never afraid to lend whatever help she could.
Emily was a little on the short side, standing at 5' 3", and was skinny; healthy for her height, nowhere near anorexic. Her hips were full, a fact she was very proud of, and her eyes were a deep violet.
"I may be a fool for believing there is still hope for him, but I do. Which is why I'm heading over there today. I plan on staying the entire weekend," Maddie said forcefully, shooting up from the table and grabbing her duffel bag. She stormed to her truck and shut the door a little harder than she'd intended, knocking off a little charm from the rearview mirror. Bending double to pick it up, she recognized it as the charm necklace Josh had given last year. It was a little Batman symbol, colored in Harley Quinn's color scheme and featuring her symbol of three diamonds. Maddie smiled at the memory.
Starting up the truck, Maddie let it get out the first few chugs of the engine starting, before setting it in reverse and pulling away from the university. Her thoughts drifted to Josh as she drove, though she stayed attentive and alert. Three years ago, Josh had been in the backseat of his father's car. They were driving back from one of Josh's games when his father asked a rather personal question. Joshua's answer was enough to distract his father long enough for a truck, going 80 mph in a 65mph zone, to swerve into oncoming traffic. Michael, Joshua's father, didn't have enough time to respond, and the car was forced off of the highway by the force of the impact.
The car rolled several times down a steep hill, smashing and crashing until the car was a dented shell. Josh came to and immediately started trying to get out. He saw his little brother beside him, and took his hand, crawling through the shattered window. His leg got caught in seat belt while he was trying to get through the window, and his leg was cut by a piece of glass and sharp, twisted metal. The cut was deep, going from just below his knee all the way up his hip, stopping just above the waist line of his jeans.
That's where Josh claimed he hadn't known any more of the facts. Where his memory was blurry. So the police took note of what was left. Michael was thrown several yards from the vehicle, his neck snapped and his spine broken in three places. Elizabeth, Joshua's older sister, had been in the front seat. They found her upside down in her seat, a big shard of glass sticking out of her neck. The blood was still dripping, but it was dark, and there was no color to her skin. Caleb, Joshua's twin brother, had been sitting on the far left of the back seat, and they found him lying half-in and half-out of the car. He was sporting broken bones, but he was rushed to the hospital along with Josh. Adam, only seven years old, was killed when the vehicle started rolling, his small frame unable to protect him from the bludgeoning force of the car rolling down hill.
Caleb was in a coma when Josh awoke, and he was given the horrific news that his family was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. Joshua and his twin brother where given into the custody of their aunt and uncle, since there was no other family member to care for them. Josh and Caleb were 18, but it was decided that Caleb needing a guardian with power of attorney, a power granted to Michael's brother in his will. Josh tried to move on for those three years, constantly visiting his comatose brother and attempting to be with his friends like he was before. Yet the dark cloud wouldn't leave him. Deep, deep down, Joshua knew he was responsible for the accident. His secret had forced that confrontation in the car.
Josh started going downhill just before the end of high school. He quit all of his teams; two teams had him kicked off. His grades, once straight A's, dropped to C's and below. His fall from grace was so abrupt, so sudden and so powerful, that he dropped from 10th in his class to 30th in the class in less than a month. Josh deigned not to go to college, and instead moved in to his old home; a few blocks away from his aunt and uncle. Michael had left Josh a large inheritance, and had stated that, if in any event any his children couldn't collect their, it would go to the other three; if all but one child died, all of the inheritance would go to that one child.
Josh used the inheritance to pay for the house, and tried to look after it. He seemed to be adjusting better than he was during high school, so his friends relaxed their weekly visits. On his 21st birthday, Joshua fell into a deep, deep depression. His PTSD and other mental illnesses, and his massive sense of guilt, drove him to drinking. He was a certified drunk in less than a week. He drank to forget, drank to alleviate the pain. The injury to his leg, so severe it caused nerve damage among other things, was the reason he'd lost all of his scholarships for athleticism. His mood darkened, and his former love of life turned sour.
Joshua's friends, watching the strongest of their group dissolve into a shadow of his former self, vistited less and less, until Maddie was the only one who came to see him, every Friday.
When Maddie pulled up to the house, she looked in sadness at the overgrown yard. The grass was knee-high in many places, overtaken with weeds. The once immaculate white fence was peeling and warped, and the tree that hung over the property used to be trimmed, but now branches, dead and living alike, hung low and covered in vines. The gutters were overfull of gunk, so much that they sagged. Maddie had no doubt the backyard was in a similar state of disrepair. She stepped onto the weed-covered path leading to the house, and knocked on the door.
After several moments of waiting, Maddie went to knock on the door again when it was pulled inward a small distance, and Josh's face appeared in the crack between the door and doorframe, "What?" he said gruffly.
Maddie smiled, taking in the disheveled hair and sunken eyes. She guessed, hidden behind the door, a bottle of vodka was in his hand. He was wearing basketball shorts and a blue hoodie, "I'm here for our usual Friday sleepover," she said with a smile that was somewhat forced. Josh rose an eyebrow, almost like he'd forgotten. Seeing him like this broke her heart; seeing him defeated. He'd always seemed a little infallable to her, always the most confident and self-assured person she knew. But now, the black depression that gripped him so tightly made her wonder what she would be like, had she gone through what he had. She didn't like the idea.
"You know the thing we do every Friday?" Maddie prompted, putting a little pep into her voice. There went the eyebrow again, but surprisingly, Josh let the door swing open as he moved away from it. Maddie stepped in and looked around, noticing how dark it was in the house. Curtains covered every window, and the glass door that led from the kitchen/dining room to the backyard had a heavy drape covering it. Empty bottles, half-filled bottles, and empty cans littered every surface. Josh swept some from the coffee table in the living room into a black bag.
"Didn't have time to clean up today," he told her lamely, though he didn't seem embarrassed. He just didn't care about anything anymore. She nodded, though in her mind she thought, 'Or yesterday.' His minor cleaning job done, Josh settled onto the couch and turned on the TV, flicking disinterestedly through the channels. Maddie sat on the old armchair, watching him with sad eyes. She was so distracted by staring at him that she almost didn't hear his voice. It was quiet, and he sounded very small, "Don't sit there. That's dad's armchair."
Maddie almost wanted to laugh, but sensed that a laugh would not go over well in this situation, "Why? He's not going to kick me out of it, is he?" She asked, trying for a light joke. Josh met her eyes and patted the couch cushion on the other side of the couch from himself.
"Just...sit here instead. Not there," Josh said again, and if he weren't so depressed and emotionless, it would have been a plea. She humored him and shifted to the couch, leaving her duffel bag by the coffee table in front of her. Maddie sat awkwardly beside her silent companion, watching the channels flick by as he relentlessly tapped the channel up button.
Maddie put a hand on his arm, "Oh, go back, go back! Football's on!" Josh and Maddie used to be football buddies, almost always choosing the opposing team to the other's team. That way, they could jostle each other and carelessly and carefreely insult each other. With a sigh, Josh went back to the football game, taking a swig from a nearby bottle.
This was going to be hard few days, but Maddie knew it needed to be done.