Title: The Non-Prodigal Son Returns 2
Fandom: House M.D.
Characters: Chase, Original Character, Mention of Chase
Rating: All Ages
Summary: Chase’s POV while being driven home by a former primary school classmate. Pre-House
Disclaimer: Mr. David Shore, Mr. Bryan Singer and FOX Brodcasting Company, you guys already own House, Wilson, Cuddy, Cameron, Chase and Foreman. Isn’t that enough? Do you have to sue me for borrowing them for a little while? If you decide to sue, then you are just plain old meanies who will get nothing from me since I'm poor. If not, then I love you guys forever. Well not so much FOX since they cancelled Kitchen Confidential. But I do love you for giving us House.
I breathed in the cool evening air as I hang my head outside the car window and gazed out into the passing scenery. I didn’t realize that I would miss seeing clusters of buildings until I no longer saw them on a daily basis. Though I have to admit that the strobing lights from the different store signs and the sounds of honking cars with the general hum of the milling population out and about in the streets came as a bit of a shock. After a couple of years living in a semi-secluded area where only the rhythmic prayers of the pious and eerie hoots and howls of the local wildlife break the pervailing silence that reigns, experiencing such sensory stimulation is a bit overwhelming for me. I can’t help but swivel my head from side to side to view everything I could before they disappear from my line of sight as the car swiftly navigates around other vehicles with careless abandon.
The car is owned and being driven by Julia Fitzgerald, a fellow classmate in the Introduction to Advanced Chemistry course I somehow found myself enrolled in. She offered to give me a ride home when the class was informed that Proffessor Stein had just called in sick and would not be able to come to class.
Normally I would have refused. The lesson ‘Stranger Danger’ has been ingrained in me as a child and I see no point in not applying that lesson just because I’m no longer a little kid. But Julia is hardly what I could call a stranger. I may not have recognized her immediately when I came to class but I did when she came up to me and introduced herself. I mean, how could I forget the girl who always stuck her gum in my hair because she didn’t like my haircut. A haircut that I am still sporting now. I half expected her to pull the same stunt again, seeing as she currently has gum in her mouth. Fortunately she seemed to be more interested in small talk as we waited for the professor rather than ruining my hair. But despite her earlier friendliness I was still surprised that she offered to take me home. Not that I wasn’t grateful that she did. I was quite grateful.
At fifteen years of age, I am still not allowed to be licenced driver. Heck, I am not even a student driver. Driving is what you could call a low priority in seminary school, which is where I was studying until a week ago. So with me being unable to drive myself to the university where my class is, my mother has decided that she will drop me off at the Uni and drive back two hours later to fetch me when class is done. With the class called off for the night, I would be sans ride home for at least an hour and a half with nothing to do but to wait around until I am picked up. And even if the class was not called off, the idea of my mother picking me up did not sit well with me. Not because of any juvenile reason such as being embarassed that my mum still needs to drive me around. The fact that she had already consumed two glasses of gin and tonic before she drove me to the uni had me concerned. Catching a ride back home would certainly save my mum from the task of driving drunk.
“What are you doing?”
I jumped at the question and blushed madly when I turned and saw Julia giving me an amused yet inquiring look. I must have looked like those dogs that hang their head outside the window with their tongues flapping about. She’s going to think I’m the strangest bloke she’s ever met. That is if she isn’t thinking that already.
“I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve been away for quite a long time and I’m just noticing that a lot of things have changed in the town.” I gave her a sheepish smile and hoped she understood and not thinking about throwing me out of her car.
She must have read what I was thinking in my face because she gave me a big smile and said, “Hey no worries. I expect that seeing a lot more stores around here must be boggling to you. It’s boggling to me too and I haven’t left here like you have. I mean, who would have thought the those high-end boutique store owners would actually catch on that instead of having their customers come to them, they should come to their customers instead.”
I nod and smiled, looking every bit like I understood what she is talking about when I really didn’t. I didn’t really notice if there were more stores around. I suppose there are because there sure seemed to be a lot more buildings and flashing signs than I remember from before. I couldn’t really say if they were, as Julia put it, high-end stores since I really didn’t know about stores all that much. I’ve never been particularly interested in shopping although I believe that comes from being male but then again my fellow male classmates, even the ones from the Jesuit school, knew enough about brand name stores that I’m tagged as abnormal for not having that knowledge. It wasn’t that I was really unaware. I’ve always worn certain kinds of clothes and had certain kinds of things growing up that having them wasn’t a big deal. They were just clothes to me. I didn’t say that to them because I knew that would just be a mark against me. We were training to become priests, not saints. My classmates there were not really above resenting me for being a rich kid, a fact that I have taken for granted in primary school where everybody else has, more or less, the same financial situation.
A sharp turn and several dangerous swerves around other speeding cars dragged me away from my thoughts and back to the present. I looked around and saw that we were near my house but the turn that we just took was not really in the right direction. I waited for Julia to straighten out the car after just barely missing a crossing man, who let out a stream of expletives at us, before pointing out this out to her. “Julia. Julia, I think you’re heading the wrong way. I live over at Covington, we’re almost at Dover.” The streets here are arranged in alphabetical order which is very helpful if you’re lost.
“I know. I know. But there’s a back to school party at Essex. It’s going to be the biggest bash ever and I have to be there or my social calendar will be empty for the rest of the year.” Her eyes glistened with excitement and anticipation as she glanced at her reflection in the rearview mirror to check her make up.
Now I’m not quite sure if she was just blatantly ignoring my point or if she forgot that she promised to take me home. Which ever it is, given her current state, I thought it best to no longer impose on her good graces and offer a solution to our predicament. “Uhm ok. I suppose you can drop me off here.” I looked around the well lit street and calculated how far a walk I would be taking to get home.
“Drop off? What do you mean?” she asked, absolutely bewildered at my suggestion.
“Well, as I’ve said, my house is over there,” I said, pointing to the general direction behind us. “And you’re going there,” I continued, this time pointing to the general direction in front of us. “So dropping me off here would be good. It’s not all that far away from Covington.” I smiled at her to show that I didn’t mind being dropped off which I really didn’t. In fact, taking a walk would give me the time I need to steel myself to the drunken vision of my mother that I am sure I will find when I enter the door.
“Don’t be silly. You’re coming with me.” She said it in such a tone that brook no argument and for a moment I didn’t. Going to a party, meeting kids my age and doing normal teenage stuff would be nice. Ok, I probably would feel awkward and out of place but that sounds infinitely better than coming home and half-dragging half-carrying my mum to the shower to clean her up before putting her to bed, kissing her lips with a soft smile while trying my best not to grimace at the stench of alchohol in her breath. But I knew I couldn’t go.
The reason I left the Jesuits was so I could take care of mum. I’ve just learned that my father has, once and for all, stopped coming over to check up on her and, given her current state, I knew she shouldn’t be left alone.
My father and I argued about it. He didn’t like the idea of me becoming a priest but he didn’t like the idea of me caring for my mother even more. But I would not be swayed from my decision. She’s my mother and if he wasn’t going to take care of her then I would. Besides, I’ve always thought that if he would see how affected I was by all of this, then he would get up from his arse and use his many connections to get her the help she needs. Needs that I cannot even begin to understand much less help with. But so far all he has done is promise to keep giving my mum and I financial support if I promise to attend some classes in the nearby university. It’s not really the help I wanted from him but I’ll take what I could get at this point since mum couldn’t be bothered to pay the bills when she could use the money that she has to buy more booze and I don’t have any access to her bank accounts or to my trust fund to withdraw money to pay the bills.
“Julia, thanks for the offer, but I really need to be getting home.” I smiled apologetically at her and hope she doesn’t ask me why.
“Spoil sport,” she teasingly replied as she, suprisingly, smoothly eased the car to the side of the road. “Are you sure you don’t want to go THE party of the year?”
Yes. No. Yes. “Yes, I’m sure.”
“Alright then mate. But if you don’t attend, you’ll be missing half of your life. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Julia said as she opened her glove compartment and took out a pen. A moment later she took my right hand and proceeded to write in it. “Here’s my number. Call me, ok.” She then ran her hand against my thigh and gave me a long and wet kiss on the lips. Before I could say anything she had pushed me out the car and was speeding into the night.
As I watched the tail lights of Julia’s car slowly disappear, I touched my lips and felt the heat rising up my body. It sure is different out here in the real world, outside the calm and peace that I had gotten used to in the Jesuit school. I didn’t expect things to be all that pleasant considering the circumstances of my return. I’ve accepted that. But it is only now that I wish that my mother would get better soon for a selfish reason. I wish that she would get better so that I can go back to becoming someone I haven’t been for so long. Someone normal.