I woke up in Iggy's room in the morning, curled up on his couch. We’d spent most of the previous night talking about pointless things and I figured that I’d fallen asleep before I’d realized it.
As I sat up and stretched out my stiff legs, I took a quick glance around the room. A tiny warning buzz went off in the back of my head.
Iggy wasn’t in his bed. And the wheelchair was gone from beside it.
He hadn’t left his room once since I’d met him. No way he’d leave now! I jumped up and bounded for the door. Where would he have gone; there was no where for him to go. Why’d he leave?
When I stuck my head out the door, I almost fell over. There was a man standing right in front of me, stunned at my sudden appearance.
“Who’re you,” he slurred lazily. His eyes were half-open and hos shoulders were drooping even more. He looked about to collapse. I didn’t answer him, because the instant I opened my mouth to respond, the distinct smell of alcohol hit me. Hard.
Instead of words coming from my mouth, it was last night’s dinner that ended up all over the floor.
“Ergh,” I muttered and hurried down the hall in search of a nurse. My knees shook as I peeked into one room after another. In the fourth room I checked, she was there, taking a patients temperature.
She looked up the instant I stepped into room.
“Jove? Something wrong—“
I pointed towards the door and collapsed against the wall, my knees buckling beneath me. “Drunk guy in the hall.”
Her eyes widened and she whispered, “My Lord. Not that awful man again.” To the kid in the bed, she said, “I’ll be back,” and rushed from the room.
I stumbled out after her, my strength recovering slightly. (Just a forewarning. Chemotherapy and the smell of beer don’t mix well. At all.)
When I caught sight of the nurse again, all I could tell was that she’d panted herself in the doorway of Iggy’s room, eyes fierce. “I’m not asking you to leave, Mr. Nole. I’m telling you.”
The man staggered to one side and spit at the floor. “I can see ma’ boy any time ah want, lady. Get outta ma’ way.”
She didn’t budge, still glaring him down. Right about then, a doctor started down the hallway. Fast. I leaned against the wall, too nauseated to keep myself standing any longer.
The doctor took hold of Mr. Nole’s arm. “Sir, please come with me. We can get you something for that headache you’ve got.”
“Ah wanna see ma’ boy. Don’t got no headache.”
“A hangover, then. Sir. You can see Indigo after you’re feeling better.”
At this, Mr. Nole seemed to relax and allowed himself to be led down the hall, away from Iggy’s room.
And it was then that I let myself slide down the wall, afraid I’d barf again. The nurse hurried to my side and crouched beside me. “I’ll get a wheelchair. You stay put.”
After she’d gotten it and helped me into it, she wheeled me to my room. She helped me into bed, gave me something to help me sleep and I was out.
“Dude, you sleep forever . . . dude. Hey. Wake up! Dude! Hey! Jove!”
“Mmm.” I rolled over and opened my eyes the tiniest bit. “What’d you want?”
It was Iggy, sitting in his wheelchair, scowling at me with arms crossed. “You’ve been asleep almost all day. Time you got up, don’t you think?”
“Not really.” Everything came back to me in an instant and I suddenly blurted, “Where were you this morning?”
“Huh?” His jaw fell open and he sat there like that, eyes extremely dull-looking and slack-jawed.
“When I woke up . . . and you were gone. Then that guy came and—“
“That ‘guy’ was my dad.”
That shocked me enough to stay quiet, but only for a moment. “He was—“
“Drunk. Nothing new.” Iggy shrugged. “He’s showed up like that before. Almost hurt one of the doctors trying to get to me.”
“An alcoholic, then?”
“Where were you, though?”
He looked down at his lap and smiled sheepishly. “Under my bed. I collapsed the wheelchair and stuffed it under with me.”
“He’s scary when he’s drunk.”
And that’s what we left it at. The disappearance of Iggy had been solved.