An Unexpected Visitor
The cell door clanged shut, and its familiar sound of finality sent a shiver down Dom’s spine. The shiver was ignored by the exhausted Italian; he was too damn tired to care about anything but pulling down some serious Z’s.
“Get some rest, Toretto.”
Tanner’s voice came from somewhere behind him, and Dom didn’t even have the energy to nod his head in reply. He offered the man a grunt of acknowledgement and let out a thankful sigh when the cop left without saying another word. Coherent conversation with Tanner was not high on Dom’s priority list at this particular moment. Sleep on the other hand---
Slumped sideways against the wall, Dom attempted to wipe away the hundred mile or so accumulation of grit from his eyes while conducting a vague perusal of his new home. Not bad, Tanner. Hell, compared to Lompoc this place was the fucking Hilton of prison cells.
His vision narrowed in on the single bed, and Dom stumbled forward, almost making it across the room before his legs gave way, and he collapsed face down on the mattress. The physical and emotional stress of the past twenty four hours suddenly rear-ended him like an 18-wheeler out of control, and he groaned as every inch of skin, every muscle, every bone reminded him of the abuse he had recently subjected them to.
“My thought exactly.”
Dom froze, all aches and pains wiped out of existence by the sound of the one voice he knew without a doubt he should not be hearing. Not unless the hit he had taken on the head when he rolled the Charger was finally taking its toll, and hallucinations of the dead would now be the norm for what, at this moment, passed as his life.
“Yep. Me in the flesh . . . uh, make that spirit, maybe?”
Dom rolled over and gazed through bloodshot eyes at the apparition perched on the edge of the room’s lone table. “Jesse? What the hell?”
Groaning, Dom turned his head to the wall and swore softly under his breath. It was bad enough Brian had turned both their worlds completely upside down with his startling confession of lust and love for yours truly. Did the saints have to take it one further and torture him with the presence of Jesse’s ghost while locked in jail?
Dom turned back and found his young colleague still sitting less than a foot away from his bed. Maybe this was his penance, he thought, tucking his pillow more securely beneath his head. Maybe this was his penance for turning his back on a friend in need.
“Dominic, I’m really sorry about all this shit. None of it would have gone down if I hadn’t split after losing that race to Johnny Tran. I was so scared, Dom. Scared shitless and out of my fucking mind.”
Jesse jumped off the table and began pacing back and forth in the small enclosed space. “Hell, I don’t even know why I raced the fucker. Brian tried to talk me out of it, but I wouldn’t listen. I should’ve listened to Brian. He knew. He knew I would lose.”
Dom pushed himself up into a sitting position and watched as Jesse pulled off his knitted skullcap, grappled with it for a few seconds before slapping it back on his head. The slender ghost resumed his pacing, and the frantic way he covered the few feet available for walking made Dom’s stomach seriously consider the possibility of decorating the floor with its meager contents. “Jesse, would you please stop pacing?”
“And yeah, after the race I should’ve come to you, Dom. I knew that. You could have made things right with Tran. Don’t you always? But no, I ran like the chickenshit coward that I am and look what happened. Every single person I care for like family gets hurt, and it’s all because of me. Fuck!”
Jesse slammed his fist down on the table and stared in bewilderment when it passed straight through its metal surface. “Hell, I’m so fucked up I can’t even get to where I’m supposed to be. Ain’t that a kick in the butt? Can’t find my way to heaven or hell. Instead I’ve been glued to your side ever since I . . . since I . . . oh hell. Been stuck to you since I gave up the ghost.”
Jesse lifted his head, and Dom could clearly see the tears gleaming wetly on his cheeks. “I’m really sorry about Mia, Dom, and I’m sorry about Brian. I mean, I’m not sorry he took out Tran; but if it hadn’t been for me screwing up, Tran would still be alive, and his father wouldn’t have come after all of you, and Brian wouldn’t be lying near death over there in ICU.”
Dom clutched the sides of his head when the deafening roar of his yell jolted what was left of his gray matter. He hadn’t meant to yell at Jesse, but sometimes the boy could take off on a tear about something and there was no stopping him. Like now. Jesse was right back to pacing, but had added what sounded like a tearful muttering to the mix, and it had Dom feeling like shit, like a dizzy, weak-kneed pile of shit that was ready to topple over.
“Jesse, would you *please* be still.”
The ghost immediately halted his pacing and looked fearfully at Dom, which had the Italian rushing to reassure the apparition. “Thanks, Jess. It’s been a rough few days, and I’m seriously running on empty.”
Jesse resumed his previous perch, picking at the black polish covering his fingernails while glancing periodically at Dom. “I know that’s lame, saying I’m sorry and all, but Dom, I really didn’t know what else to do. I was so fucking scared, losing my Dad’s car and all, and the only thought running through my head was to get the hell out of Dodge, but I should have---”
“Jesse, for fuck’s sake, would you stop beating yourself up about this for one second. What is is, and basically, bro, we’ve dealt with the fallout. Well, almost.” Dom rubbed his hands over his face and sat up. “You’re not the only one to blame here, you know. If I hadn’t taken Mr. Tran up on his original offer none of this would have gone down, period. Hell, Jess, there are a million ‘what ifs’ we could wrack our brains about, but none of that means shit now.”
Jesse slid off the table and came and knelt at Dom’s side, looking up at him like the lost, adoring puppy Dom had thought him to be the first time they’d met so many years ago. “Does this mean you, you know, forgive me?”
“Yeah, Jesse. I forgive you, Mia forgives you. Hell, I bet even Brian forgives you.” Dom, for the life of him, couldn’t stop the yawn that grabbed his mouth and held it hostage for seconds on end. Closing his eyes for what he promised would only be a minute, he slid back down on the bed. “Maybe you should go tell him yourself. Yeah, go haunt Brian while I catch some shut-eye. And why you’re there, tell him I---”
“Can’t, Dom,” Jesse reminded him. “Tied to you, remember?”
Forgetting the injured state of his left shoulder, Dom turned on his side and instantly regretted his decision. He muttered a curse as he rolled over onto his back. “Why’s that?”
“Guess maybe ‘cause you were the last person to touch me before I died. Hell, I don’t know, Dom.”
Dom cracked one eye open and glared at Jesse. “Don’t tell me you’re gonna be following my sorry ass around for the rest of my life?”
“Like I said, hell if I know.” Jesse cocked his head to the side as if listening to a conversation only he could hear. “Actually, Dom, seems that Tanner guy is arranging for my body to be released to Mia. Maybe I’ll go hang out with her for a while.”
“Yeah, you do that. Hang out with Mia. She’d love to have your company.” Another yawn caught Dom and before he could stop himself, he slid into sleep, never realizing he whispered Brian’s name before losing consciousness.
Jesse smiled at his snoring friend. “Yeah, I’ll go hang out with Mia. You’re gonna be busy with Brian anyway, and you know what they say, two’s company, three’s a crowd.”
A mischievous grin spread across the ghost’s face. “And just how is it that I know you’re gonna be busy with Brian, you ask?” Jesse turned and glanced briefly at Dom’s profile. “Like I said, I’ve been tied to you since I died, and that means I’ve seen *and* heard everything that’s gone down between you and Brian. And let me tell ya, Dom, that kiss you shared with him in the van? Can I say it was bee-yoo-ti-ful? Not to mention, you brought a tear to my eye with that touching scene in the ICU earlier.”
Jesse reached back and patted Dom’s arm. “Hate to say this, but you, my friend, have got it bad for Mr. Arizona, and I’m bettin’ Brian will soon be up on his feet and running circles around you. Yeah, you can try and deny it all you want, but I just know you’re gonna love every fucking minute of it. Every. Fucking. Minute, Dom.”
Jesse took a seat on the floor and leaned back against the bed. “Damn, maybe I’ll hang around permanently. Hang around and make sure the two of you get it right. I’m the Mad Scientist, right? I know more than just cars. In fact, Dom, if you get the chance to check out my pc, you’ll find some links to some websites that will open your eyes in a major way. The pics themselves will get your motor---”
The end, maybe
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