“David?” Denton asked, his voice full of concern. “Do you need anything? I can find someone to cover your class if you want to go to the hospital or the station and check on Jack.”
David managed to nod, and started to stumble down the hall. He only made it a few feet before he had to place one hand on the wall for balance.
Denton grabbed his other arm. “Could you call him?” he asked, his voice full of concern.
Somehow, the rational suggestion managed to penetrate the fog that had taken over David’s brain.
“Phone,” he managed. “That would…” but then the realization that there was no way that Jack could be answering his cell phone at the moment, even if he was uninjured. There was still a fire to contend with.
“The station,” he managed. “I can call there. They would know.”
David glanced around the hallway, trying to remember where he had left his cell phone. It was in his briefcase, the one that Jack… that Jack had given him upon hearing the news that David had been hired.
Luckily, Denton was prepared, and handed his cell phone, an ancient thing that was probably still pay by the minute. Denton had never been a fan of ‘new fangled gizmos’ as he called them, preferring to stick with the classics. He was the only member of the department who still used a typewriter, as he was unable to understand how a computer was turned on. So the mere fact that he had a cell phone surprised David, but he wasn’t willing to argue with the minor miracle that had presented itself.
He just took the phone and began to dial the station number from memory. He growled in frustration upon receiving a stupid automated message. “We’re sorry, but all available circuits are busy at the moment. Please try your call again. If this is an emergency, you should try 911.”
David glared at the phone. This was getting incredibly frustrating. He called again, but received the same response.
Denton looked at him in sympathy. “No luck?” he asked.
David refrained from cursing at him. There was really no need to state the obvious. If he’d had any luck getting through, he’d have spoken to someone and would probably have had his answer already, instead of still being stuck in this hallway not knowing if his boyfriend was alive or…. Well, David didn’t want to think about that.
“Mr. Jacobs?” a voice called hesitantly from the now open door of his classroom. “Sir, your cell phone has been ringing for the last few minutes.” The girl, Maria, was one of David’s brighter students held out the brand new cell phone which was playing the star trek theme.
“Thank you,” David whispered, still leaning against the wall for support. He fumbled with the cell phone, and managed to flip it open, and received the call.
“Hello?” he asked hoarsely.
“David?” David recognized the voice instantly; it was Michael Ballat-Meyers, whose partner was also a fireman on Jack’s engine. “I’m at the hospital now. You should get here as soon as possible. They’ve been bringing in injured….” Michael’s voice trailed off, and David was sure that he heard a hint of tears. “’s one of them.”
“Michael? I couldn’t… I didn’t hear that.”
“Just get to the hospital now,” Michael said quickly, and then the line went dead.
“Mr. Jacobs?” Maria asked, her voice full of concern. “Are you okay?”
David could feel the tears welling up in his eyes, but he blinked rapidly, trying to keep them from flowing over. He couldn’t cry, not here, not in front of his students. But he didn’t trust his voice to try to speak without breaking down into hysterical sobs.
Denton placed a steadying hand on his shoulder, and spoke in a hushed tone to Maria, who nodded and went back into the classroom. David didn’t know what had been said, all he knew was that his worst fears had just been confirmed. He mutely let Denton lead him into the office, and hand him a cup of horrible coffee, which was the sort of thing that one only drank when there was no other alternative, but it was the only thing that they had to drink. He recognized some of the other teachers from his department fussing around the office, shooting him sympathetic glances. David just didn’t care. He wanted to be at the hospital. He wanted to be with Jack.