Sample Chapter from the novel Last Semester
“Breathe, Rob! Just breathe!” I demand in a panicky voice from the back seat as we swiftly pull up to the entrance of the hospital. Clutching his chest in pain next to me, he heaves out a few spouts of air, but it’s not enough to help him.
I watch my roommate Rob’s cheeks turn from a shade of deep pink to a dark crimson red. “A.J.! He’s getting worse!” I yell to my other roommate in the driver’s seat. He rolls his eyes then turns around.
“Calm down, Jo!” he exclaims. “I can’t think when you’re yelling like this!”
Drew, our other roommate, and usually the voice of reason, says nothing as he quickly jumps out of the Range Rover and runs into the hospital entrance.
“Can’t. Breathe,” Rob manages to force out of his mouth, then before I know it, his body falls limp and his head somehow ends up on my lap. His eyes roll to the back of his head.
“I think he’s dying!” I whine and suddenly I’m losing my breath.
Releasing a loud groan, A.J. climbs out of the SUV and casually walks into the hospital as if nothing is wrong.
Why is he so calm and I’m flipping the hell out?
I begin to shake Rob’s shoulders but he doesn’t respond and I’m almost positive that he’s not breathing at all now.
I killed my roommate.
Okay, maybe he’s not dead yet, but if death was a road, he just made a left turn for the worse then ran over a few annoying potholes and some week old roadkill...and probably drove off a cliff or something...
Ugh! I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore! I feel guilty for doing this to him and I feel even more guilty because I kinda hate his arrogant, smug ass, but just because someone is an asshole, that doesn’t mean that they deserve to die, does it?
The back door opens and I see A.J. and Drew standing outside with a wheelchair. A.J. roughly wraps his arms around Rob’s body and begins to pull him out of the car. “Fuck! He’s like the size of an ogre,” he complains as he struggles to get Rob into the wheelchair. The fact that Rob is as useless as a wet noodle right now makes it difficult for A.J. to adjust Rob’s body in the chair. I cringe just watching it.
“I knew this was going to happen one day,” Drew says shaking his head. “The inevitable always happens.”
Shooting Drew a snarling glare, A.J. grits his teeth. “Just roll the goddamn chair into the hospital,” he instructs. Drew turns the chair around and begins to jog into the emergency room with Rob’s body leaning to one side. A.J. looks at me in the SUV, annoyed. “Well, are you coming?” he asks and I just freeze.
Do I stay? Do I go? I don’t know what to do with myself!
Taking a quick yet deep breath, I climb out of the SUV, shut the door and join A.J. on the other side of the vehicle.
“I’m horrible,” I blurt out and I can feel wetness welling in my eyes. “I’m a horrible person.”
“Dammit, Jo! I hate it when girls cry,” he complains as he shuts the other back door and begins to walk into the hospital. He pauses in his tracks when he notices that I’m not following him.
Sighing, he walks back to me, grabs my hand, and pulls me towards the entrance as he mumbles obscenities under his breath. When we reach inside the emergency room, I see Drew yelling at the nurse at the front desk. “This is an emergency!” he shouts as he motions to Rob’s almost lifeless body sitting in the wheelchair next to him. “My roommate’s barely breathing right now and he’s covered in hives! This situation requires urgent attention!” The nurse, who looks unamused by Drew’s dramatic actions, hands him a clipboard with paperwork. He looks at it in disgust. “You’re giving me paperwork to complete after I just told you that my roommate isn’t breathing?! This is absurd! I want to speak with your supervisor immediately. Who is the physician in charge? He can be suffering from extreme asphyxiation and you aren’t doing anything about it! You should be treating him immediately!”
A.J. calmly shakes his head as he watches Drew practically lose his shit on the inattentive nurse. “This is too stressful to watch,” he says then sighs. “Do you think I can buy some of that medical marijuana? I need to fucking relax.”
I turn to him slightly irritated because all he wants to do is smoke weed right now, but I shouldn’t be shocked because weed is a regular activity for A.J. It is in this moment that I realize that I am associating and living with probably the craziest, ridiculous roommates on Earth and I may or may not have killed one of them by accident.
“I think you need to have glaucoma to get medical marijuana,” I answer flatly as I continue to stare at Rob whose face is rapidly inflating.
A.J. smirks then thinks to himself. “I can have glaucoma,” he says as he spots a nurse a few feet away from us. He begins to flag her down and follow her. “Excuse me, nurse? I think I have the glaucoma.” Grabbing his leg and releasing a fake moan, A.J. pretends to limp. “It might be in my knee.”
I can’t think about how much of an idiot A.J. is when Rob is sitting there suffering and I’ve never seen Drew so angry before. Watching them is so surreal and everything seems to be running in slow motion. The only thing that I can think is that this whole thing is a dream, a really fucked up dream. In fact, I wouldn’t even call this a dream.
It’s a freakin’ nightmare! A real-life freakin’ nightmare!
“What happened to that young man over there?” an elderly woman asks as she walks up to me. “He looks very ill.”
“I just…” The words get caught in my throat and I’m ashamed to admit that I just did something so incredibly stupid. “I think I may have killed my roommate.”