Story 545 ~ Derrick & Mae


#1

Derrick groaned as he lay there in the alley, his entire being a universe of pain. He clenched his stomach, wondering if his ribs were broken. He didn’t fight the waves of agony, he let them come, he deserved it. Sorrow washed over him and he curled up there, shivering and crying like the pathetic weakling he was. He heard the sound of footsteps and wondered if the men who had attacked him had returned to further punish him. He wouldn’t resist them, between the alcohol and his shame, he wanted to hurt. “Oh my god, are you alright?” The voice was soft, the tone gentle and warm. He barely manged to turn his head, his eyes colliding with those of a woman, those hazel orbs sparkling with concern and shock. “Who did this?” She asked as she reached out to brush his hair from his face.

“Go away.” He said, his voice hoarse.

“You don’t mean that.” She gently pulled him into a sitting position. “Let me help you.”

“No, just leave me.” He couldn’t have another beautiful woman near him, not after what had happened. She would get hurt too. “Just go, I’m fine.” He pushed her hands away and then started slowly to his feet. He stumbled and she grabbed him, pulling his arm over her shoulders. “Are you stupid or something, you need to leave me here.”

“Hush, no more of that. You can’t just lay out here, it’s getting cold and it’s going to rain.”

“Who cares.”

“I do.” She pulled him out of the alley and in his half drunk, beaten state he couldn’t resist her. “I’m Mae, what’s your name?”

“It doesn’t matter.” His legs gave out and she pulled him back up.

“Hey, no passing out until I get you in my car, okay?”


#2

Her words made him determined to get there so he managed to walk with her aide the rest of the way. He still felt no better than the garbage people tossed in the dump but this was another kind, incredibly beautiful woman and he was going to follow a simple request, especially since she was so insistent on helping him. He was surprised when she even took the time to strap him in “is it comfortable”

“Its fine” sometimes her belt locked on people pretty tight so she hoped he would have told her if it was hurting him. She was beyond grateful she actually had her car today. She had only brought it because the weather threatened hail today. It hadn’t come but it turned out she needed her car anyway. Next thing he knew she was unbuckling him “where are we?” he asked and she answered “the hospital”

“I’m half vampire, I’ll be okay”

“I dont care what you are. I’m going to get you sobered up and tend to you”

“You really shouldn’t help me. I don’t deserve it”

“everybody deserves care when they are hurt. I firmly believe that”


#3

Derrick had never known someone so stubborn. Her eyes were filled with compassion and determination and he had a feeling that if he refused to cooperate, she would drag him. The security guard at the front looked a little concerned when she walked in with him and she gave him a smile that told him everything was fine. “Don’t we have to fill out paperwork first?” He asked.

“I will once I have you in a room.” She said.

“Mae?” One of the emergency doctors said when he came out and saw her with Derrick. “Whoa, what happened?”

“I have no idea, but can you get a room set up for me?”

“Of course.”

“Thank you, Reed.”

Derrick was a little surprised at how smoothly that had gone and couldn’t resist asking, “What are you some kind of super hero?”

She laughed. “I’m a nurse, I work here.”


#4

He couldn’t understand why the world would send a nurse his way. He didn’t deserve such care at all and even as drunk as he was all he could think about was repaying her somehow for wasting her time on a man like him, a man who hadn’t been there for someone else. Reed had a room ready quickly so she took him in and helped him lay down “please dont waste supplies on me” he tried again but she just left and came back with paperwork 'so, what’s your full name?"

“Derrick Rankin” he answered, deciding he may as well just give her the information she wanted. He could tell she was stubborn enough to keep him in here all evening if that’s what it took. “age?”

“Thirty Three” she smiled “thank you for not being mysterious. A lot of vampires like to get cute when you ask that”

“I know my match when I’ve met it. I’ll answer you honestly”


#5

“Still, I appreciate it. So, since you’re a half vampire, I’m guessing no allergies?” He shook his head. “No medical conditions I should know about?”

“No.”

“Insurance?”

“Don’t have it.”

“How about your address and phone number?” He rattled them off for her and she quickly wrote it down. “Okay. Now, how about you tell me what happened.”

“I was attacked.”

“By who?”

He shrugged. “Just some guys, I didn’t catch their names or really see their faces.”

“Should I call the cops?”

“No, don’t bother, there’s no point. I’m already healing and they’re probably long gone.”

She frowned and he looked away from her. He didn’t want her pity. “How much have you had to drink?” He shrugged and she sat the clipboard down and reached over, gently grabbing his chin and turning his head so he was looking into her eyes. “It’s okay, I won’t judge. You have a reason, especially when you’re drunk, banged up and didn’t want me helping you.” She gave him a warm smile that lit up her face and made his heart stutter. “Just a few more questions okay and then I’ll let Reed look you over while I clean your wounds.”

“They’re pretty much healed.”

“Then I’ll clean up the blood and make sure you make it home.”


#6

“I promise you, you shouldn’t care so much about me”

“You can say that to me as much as you like but I’m going to care anyway. Something terrible has obviously happened to you. I’m so sorry for whatever it is but you’re obviously a good man to let it burden you this much. Whatever happened, you deserve forgiveness, I’m sure of it” He somehow managed to move his face in such a way that made him look even sadder. She went back to asking him the questions on the sheet, wishing he’d talk to her about whatever was burdening his heart. When she called Reed in she left briefly to get what she needed to clean the blood off of him. His body had almost completely healed itself but she was looking for anything to keep him there longer.


#7

“Nothing seems broken and it looks like any bruises or abrasions you had healed up nicely, not that I’m surprised.” Reed said as he finished his examination.

“See? I told you I’d be fine.”

“Physically maybe.” Mae said as she finished cleaning his face.

Reed sighed. “Well, you can go home if you feel up to it or you can spend the night here.”

Derrick waved him off. “I’m sure there’s someone else who needs this room.” He hopped down off the table and nearly fell over, but Mae grabbed onto him, steadying him.

“Still drunk.” She said.

“You should take him home, Mae.”

“I can make it on my own.” Derrick protested. He didn’t want to further burden her.

“Hush now, let me help you, Derrick.” Her sincerity and compassion were almost too much for him to bear. Why did he have to meet her? He couldn’t help but think of what might have happened if those men had returned while she was aiding him. What if they had attacked her? What if they had done worse? “Thanks Reed, really. I’ll get him home and then I’m going to crash.”

“No problem, just be careful, give Arges my love.”


#8

“who is Arges?” Derrick asked as he buckled his seat belt once they were back in her car. “My dog”

“any kind or a mix?”

“He’s a newfoundland, poor thing only has one eye. He was like that when I adopted him”

“You’re a nurse, you helped and and you have a rescue for a dog, maybe you are a super hero”

“I try, the world is so ugly and full of hurting people. I want to help as many as I can. Anyway, you need to tell me how to get to where you live” He gave her directions then sat there silently. Only speaking when they pulled up and she said “I’m going to help you in”

“Mae”

“I’m helping you in Derrick then I promise I’m out of your hair for the evening”

“Just for the evening?” Her look turned more meaningful as she said “You’ve obviously been through something terrible or caused someone else harm that you cared about deeply. I work in a hospital, you kind of get a feel for these things. You obviously push away anybody that attempts to care for you and I’m that stubborn, annoying, pest that’s not going to stop until you open up and realize you’re worth something, regardless of whatever happened.”


#9

He huffed. “Maybe I’ll just lock the doors.”

“You can try, but I just happen to know a few cops and I bet they’d let me in if I told them how scared I was for you.”

“You’d ask cops to break in?”

“Most definitely.”

She slipped out of her seat belt and pushed her door open, getting out and hurrying over to his side when he started to get out on his own. “I can walk.”

“Oh hush, you’re obviously still unsteady.” She helped him to his feet and pulled his arm over her shoulders. “Keys?” He reached into his left pocket and handed them to her.

He hadn’t noticed until now just how strong she was for a human and he wondered if it had to do with being a nurse. He was sure she had had to help lift at least a few heavy people. She got the front door unlocked and he pointed to the stairs. “My room’s up there.”

“Okay, take it slow.”

“Bossy.”

She laughed. “Thank you.”


#10

She helped him to his room then fetched him a glass of water. She may not live there but cups and the sink generally were easy to find so she went down with confidence and returned with a glass of water “I’ll be heading home now unless you want me to get you anything else”

“You’ve done more than you should already”

“Get some good rest okay? I’ll be over tomorrow after work”

“There’s really no stopping you?”

“Nope”

“Then get home safe” She smiled, thinking again about how sweet he obviously was. She left his home and drove to hers, worrying about him even as she fed her dog. She knew she was going to think about him all day tomorrow too but she wouldn’t let it distract her from her patients. As a nurse she couldn’t afford to have her mind elsewhere when she was in the hospital.


#11

Derrick lay there staring at the ceiling for what seemed like an eternity that night, his heart aching as he sunk into the mattress and his sorrow. As usual his mind drifted to his loss, to the pain and anguish that plagued his every waking moment. Why hadn’t it been him? Why was he still even alive? Could he even die? “Mae would probably just pull me back.” He mumbled to himself. He was surprised that his thoughts had gone straight to her. It was like her warmth and determination had seeped into his subconscious. “Why?” He whispered to himself. “Why didn’t you just leave me?”

“So, how was the patient last night?” Reed asked the next morning when Mae met him in the elevator.

“Fine, I guess. He’s suffering. Thanks for taking care of him for me.”

“It’s no problem.”

“Arges says hi, by the way.”

Reed chuckled. “What a good boy. Ezekiel wanted me to ask you if you’d like to come and have dinner with us some time this week. You can bring the big ball of fluff, I’ll even get him a bone.”

“Are you two going to make me that roast?”

“Sure.”

“Alright, assuming everything goes okay with Derrick, maybe I could bring him too?”

“Oh I see, you save a guy and now you’re in love.”

She punched Reed’s shoulder, causing him to laugh. “Oh hush, I’m just worried about him.”

“Well be careful, he was drunk when you brought him in.”

“I know, but I don’t think he’s the violent type.”

“Still, stay safe.”


#12

“I will” While her thoughts did venture off to Derrick throughout her day at the hospital she stayed focused when she needed to and went about her day as normal as you could consider a day in the hospital. After work she jogged home like she always did then immedietly got in her car to have dinner with Derrick. She wondered how well he looked after himself since most depressed people skipped meals far too frequently. When she arrived and knocked on his door it startled him out of a nap he had been taking. He knew who it was instantly since he hadn’t ordered anything and nobody came to visit him. “Mae” there was no indication from his tone if he was happy or not to see her “I thought I’d have dinner with you.”

“why?”

“I said I was going to be a pest didn’t I?”

“That you did, well, I’m not sure what I have to eat”

“want to go out or order something then?”

“I guess we could eat somewhere”

“sweet tomatoes?”

“what?”

“it’s the name of a place I was suggesting. They have incredibly good and healthy food”


#13

“Can’t we just get burgers or something?”

“We could, but you look like you need something healthier.” She looked him over. “That’s the shirt you wore yesterday.”

He sighed. “I know.”

“Alright, that’s it, inside.”

“What?”

“Come on, you’re taking a shower and changing clothes.” She took his hand and pulled him upstairs, leaving him too surprised to say anything until they were standing in his room and she was opening his chest of drawers.

“Hey, wait, I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”

“If that were true you would be half dead in alleys.” She pulled out underwear and socks then a clean t-shirt and a pair of jeans. She turned to him and gave him the clothes, giving him a look that said she wouldn’t be argued with. “Now, go bathe or I’ll undress and wash you myself.” She said with a smile. “Besides, a shower will make you feel better.”


#14

He made a face, one of confusion and a hint of frustration but he did as he was told, wondering what she’d do in his home while he was busy showering. She seemed to not be shy about going where she pleased. She waited until the water was running to try and figure out where he kept his sheets. Healthy, happy people sometimes wouldn’t change their sheets, depressed people were much worse about it and she didn’t want him laying in dead skin cells and other grossness at night. Not more than the average person at least. She found some stuffed into a closet them seemed clean so she changed his sheets and took his blanket down to the washing machine. Both the washer and dryer were empty so she just stuffed it in, threw a laundry fling into the washer and let it run.


#15

She then went and checked his kitchen. He had a stack of dirty plates in the sink so she popped open the dish washer and put them in, found the soap under the sink and poured some in. She checked his fridge and frowned at how empty it was. She wondered what he had been surviving off of. Maybe he had just made whatever until he had run out of ingredients. There was a jug of expired milk that she disposed of and she made a mental note to take him food shopping. She went into the living room and picked up a little bit and noticed that one of the photos had been turned face down. She lifted it up, surprised to see Derrick smiling back at her and standing next to him a beautiful young woman. He looked so happy, a stark contrast to the way he was now and she was sure the woman had something to do with his depression. She let out a little sigh as she propped it up then decided to go and check on him before she cleaned his entire house. She tapped on his bathroom door and called out, “Are you okay in there?”

“I’m fine.” Derrick called back as he stood there with his forehead pressed against the shower wall and stared down at the water swirling around the drain. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

“You’ll call me if you need me right?”

“Yeah, just give me a minute. You’re not getting into trouble out there are you?”

“Probably.” She called back and he could hear the laughter in her voice. It was light and warm, something it felt like he hadn’t had in an eternity. It caused his heart to skip a beat and he suddenly felt embarrassment creeping in. He knew his house was a mess and she seemed like the type of person to clean it up.


#16

Thinking of this he decided to stop procrastinating in the shower. He washed himself thoroughly then grabbed a towel to dry off. Once dry he dried the floor then dressed himself so they could get going. He noticed right away his blanket was gone and a new sheet was snugly on his mattress. He found her in his living room “you didn’t have to clean”

“I know but you needed it. Your blanket is in the washer if you were wondering”

“thanks I guess but lets go”

“Okay” They went out to her car where he tried again “are you sure we cant get burgers?”

“You’re eating healthy tonight. Maybe tomorrow because yes I’m coming back”


#17

He nodded, not wanting to argue with her. He wanted to chase her away, but he couldn’t be cruel to her. He followed her outside and into her car, finding himself staring out the passenger window once he was buckled up and she was pulling out. “So, how was worked today?” He finally asked.

“It was good, thank you for asking. How about your day?”

He shrugged. “Same as always. I just…” he sighed, “I just did nothing.”

He sounded so tired and distant and she wound up reaching over and taking his hand. “It’s okay, Derrick, one step at a time.”

“More like ten with you.”

She laughed. “Okay, ten steps at a time then. Either way, I’m going to help you, starting by getting you healthier. You aren’t eating right or sleeping right and going out and getting drunk and beaten isn’t good for you no matter what species you are.”

She let her thumb brush lightly over his skin and he hated to admit the contact felt good, that it helped ease a little of his suffering. He swallowed, still refusing to look at her. He couldn’t cry in front of her, she would just want to get closer and he was terrified of the implications.


#18

When they had their food it proved to not be as terrible as he was expecting. If she was going to make him eat better he was glad some places could actually make that good. “we’re going shopping after this. I saw the inside of your fridge and you need food at home since I can’t come over for every meal. Plus, always eating out with you would be unrealistic”

“such a little snoop” He was surprised at himself for trying to tease her and almost blushed over it. “I wont have time to snoop if you shower daily before I get there”

"True, I guess that’s one way to make a man keep hygienic"True to her word the next stop was the grocery store where she specifically bought certain things for recipes she knew by heart so she could cook for him on other nights.


#19

They took the groceries back to his place and put them away, not wanting any of the cold food to spoil. Once everything was put away, Mae asked, “Want to go to the park or something?”

“Not really.”

“Come on, we can go to my place and get Arges.”

He sighed. “I…I don’t know.”

“Come on, please? For me?”

His heart stuttered at the sweet smile she gave him and he felt his face begin to warm. What was wrong with him? She was so hard to say no to. “What would we be doing?”

“Just walking and talking. It’ll be good for you to get out and breathe some fresh air.”

“Alright, of you really want me to.”

“I do. Also, Reed invited Arges and I to dinner this week, want to come?”


#20

He chuckled “ten steps at a time like always…sure” They went out to the car then drove to her place. Arges was excited to see her and she hugged him “I missed you buddy!” she stood, finding his leash “come on handsome” Derrick blushed again despite the fact she was obviously talking to her dog. The park wasn’t far so it didn’t take them long to drive over. Mae would have just jogged with Arges but she wasn’t sure how Derrick would have felt about that and he was already letting her push him quite a bit. “are you sure they want me there?” Derrick asked as they walked along a path. “Yep, I already told them I might invite you”