Love & Hate – Chapter 9: The Job

Chapter 9 by Matt Wall

Tyler Gold sat in the waiting room of the hospital with his sobbing step-sister, Sky Bell. Her face was dry, but her eyes were red and glassy. “Bobby is going to be okay,” he said.

She wiped her nose with a tissue. “I know. I just don’t understand how he gets himself into these situations.”

“It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, I guess.”

“So, you’re saying, it’s just a matter of time before we come to a hospital to say goodbye to him for the last time.” She choked on her words at the end and buried her face into Tyler’s shoulder. 

He lifted his arm up, and placed it around her, holding her close. “I didn’t mean it like that. I’m sure that everything is going to be all right. He’ll learn.”

She lifted her head up and stared at him with her sad, blue eyes. “Do you really think so?”

“Yeah. He has all of our support.” He trailed off as her eyes broke his heart. He could feel her breath, warm on his face. Their gaze wandered from each others eyes, to their lips and back again. They were silent, but could hear their hearts beating loudly…

Meanwhile, in Bobby’s hospital room, his mother, Irna, was holding his hand, silently praying to God to save her son from his dangerous lifestyle. She was startled at the touch of a hand on her shoulder.

“Ed! I’m sorry. I thought Bobby and I were alone.”

“No, I’m the one that should be sorry, dear. I shouldn’t have snuck up on you like that. I was just trying not to disturb you.” His eyes studied Bobby for a moment. “Irna, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind leaving the room while I examine him. Something on his chart doesn’t sit right with me, I want to give him a once over.”

“Absolutely, darling. I’m sure Bobby would appreciate that very much.” 

Ed kissed her on the cheek and shut the door after she left. He sighed and walked over to Bobby. “You can open your eyes now. I know you’re not asleep.”

Bobby barely lifted a eyelid and quickly scanned the room to make sure his mother had gone. 

“You’re not hurt that bad. I don’t understand the act, unless you’re trying to guilt trip everyone into helping you.”

Bobby raised his eyebrows. “Is it working?”

“Not on me,” Ed said. “But I’m sure it worked on everyone else.”

Bobby grinned on one side of his mouth. “Anything is worth a try.”

Ed sat down at the bedside. “Just level with me. How much do you owe, and to who?”

“Five-hundred to Sylvester Bava.”

Ed chuckled. “Sly Bava? Wow. That old bastard. Still shaking people down, huh?”

“Oh yeah.” 

“If you promise to keep this between you and I, I will take care of your debt.” The corners of Ed’s lips curled.

“You mean it?” Bobby said, excitedly. “That would be so great.”

“Well, I’m not going to give it you. I am going to hire you.”

“Hire me? At the hospital?”

Ed licked his teeth. “No, not here. But instead, off the books. For me, exclusively.”

“Doing what, exactly?”

“Whatever I need you to do.”

Bobby shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so.”

“Prefect.” Ed walked to the door, then turned back to Bobby. “One more thing. This stays between us.”  

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