Two of the biggest motion pictures, Walk the Line and Brokeback Mountain were placed under their names, and really, neither one of them expected to become friends. But, slowly, from talking inside the show, at the after parties, and even the day after, they were surprised how fast their friendship clicked.
When Jake pulled up the the large white house, number 356 to be exact, he waited patiently on the front steps for Joaquin to come to the door. Joaquin had been staying there with his girlfriend Amber for a while now, but today they had planned to just hit the town, hang out, talk, and do whatever. When Joaquin did answer the door, Jake was slightly surprised to what he saw.
Joaquin didn't look well... he looked tired --more like sick-- and unshaven, but Joaquin was persistant that he was alright. He was shaking, Jake noted, as he watched his friends scramble around the kitchen looking, searching for something.
"I'll, uh wait for you to get ready." Jake said softly. Joaquin half nodded and then went back to looking through the drawers and then in a few cupboards. He pulled things out as he looked for something, getting more annoyed when he couldn’t find it.
"Fuck.." Joaquin whispered. He was shaking more as he did so, but then pulled out the cutlery drawer, pulling it too far and everything fell out to the floor. "Fuck!" he screamed as he knelt down to pick it up. Jake moved over to help him pick up the drawer and the things that were in it. He positioned himself a little away from Joaquin and neither one of them said anything until the drawer was in place. When they picked it up, Jake stood and looked at Joaquin shaking.
"What's wrong with you? I know, it’s not nothing." And then the truth came out.
Joaquin had stopped drinking, killing himself daily by drowning himself in the amber colored liquid, but he hadn't stopped with the soft white powder he consumed in whichever way he could. As Jake sighed, watching his friend leap up and run to the other room, coming back out sturdy, smiling, and looking happier, he knew. Joaquin did need help with the addiction... but Joaquin would hear nothing of it. As far as he was concerned, nothing was wrong.
That was until it happened. Until Johnny --Depp of course-- flew out to be by the side of one of his closest friends in one of the scariest battles any of them would go through. Thats when the addiction started to consume him, and the fact that the unknown really can hurt you, became true. It was when Joaquin would find out, just how strong he was, no matter how badly he just wanted to give up, and give in.
Johnny sighed and lit up another cigarette. They'd been up all night and now he was back home, neither himself nor Rain could even think about sleeping with Joaquin still in and out of sleep. He and Rain seemed to take it in turns watching over him, as Amber, Summer and Liberty had rest.
Jake pulled into the driveway and ran up the steps. He paused, thinking about ringing the doorbell but decided against it. Everyone was exhausted and most of them would be sleeping. Opening up the door, he walked through the kitchen, searching the rooms for Johnny.
"Always let yourself in?" Johnny smiled, as he stood behind Jake. "I’m guessing you're Jake." he said, stepping forwards and holding out his hand.
"Hey." Jake smiled and put his hand in Johnny's. "Decided against waking the house... guess it was a good idea." Jake said looking around Johnny's shoulder where two people were passed out on the bed and another on the floor. "Are you the only one up?" Johnny shook his head.
"His sister is in his room...he keeps coming in and out of sleep." he told him. "I just needed a cig break." Jake nodded his understanding.
"How is he?" He asked meeting Johnny's eyes. Johnny sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"It’s hard to say...he comes round and talks for a while but then he just zones out again." he explained. "He took a mix of cocaine and powdered mercury." he said, resting his hands on the side. "And when I find the bastard who gave it to him, I’m not holding any bars. Whoever it was, is going to know they're in shit."
"I can't fucking believe..." Jake shook his head. "You know, me and him had a conversation before the Oscars and he was glad he was off, off of everything! What happened? Did he say?" Johnny half nodded.
"Well...it's complicated and as much as I don't condone him being on the shit...he had a pretty good reason this time...he's been off the drink for 8 months now...but the drugs....that's different." Jake half shrugged. He didn't think there was any real reason to be up on drugs... but to each his own.
"So what happened? I got a call from his sister, uh Rain, saying he was in the hospital. It was a message and she didn't leave any details." Johnny could tell by the look half of what Jake was thinking.
"So tell me, Jake.." he said softly. "Has...anything ever happened to you that it drove you so far that you didn't want to...be here...because you couldn't stand to even look at your own reflection?" Jake met his eyes quickly and then looked down. He didn't answer, though, he didn't think he really needed to. Johnny knew the answer to that question, it was pretty obvious, etched out across his face. "Where were you in 1993?" he asked softly, moving up a little, he titled his head and stubbed out the cigarette in the ash-tray.
"In 1993, I was 13... trying to get some acting gigs." Jake whispered his response. "Why?"
"So you'll give Joaquin a little credit for his...problem, having being only 19 and having to call for an ambulance as he watched his only brother die from an over-dose outside my club?" he questioned. Jake met his eyes and nodded.
"Sorry." He whispered with a sigh.
"Don't be sorry." Johnny said, pulling out another cigarette. "Just don't judge someone before you read the lines." he went to the tap and poured himself out a glass of water. "That’s not the reason, though..." he mentioned, lighting up and handing the glass to Jake. "Why he's in this mess."
"Thanks." Jake said taking it and sipping. "Well, do you know why?" He asked trying to relax himself.
"Yep." he said, his back still to Jake as he went to get a jug full, which he would take up to Joaquin. "Don't think its my place to tell you, though." Jake nodded and then realizing Johnny couldn't see him cleared his throat.
"Yeah, alright... but that’s not something I should really ask him though." Johnny nodded and handed him another glass.
"Come up with me," he said. "His sister needs a break." he smiled to Jake and lead him through the hall and then up the stairs to Joaquin's room. Jake followed him upstairs and saw Rain sitting on the bed, Joaquin's hand in hers. If she heard them come in the room, she paid them no reorganization. "You get some rest.." Johnny said softly, placing the jug on the side. "I'll get you if anything happens." he promised. Rain half smiled to Jake as she left, trying to show some kind of gratitude.
Johnny sighed and sat down on the chair, which have been next to the bed for over 3 days now. Jake looked around the room and noticed a second chair. He picked it up and placed it carefully on the other side of the bed. Joaquin looked asleep, sweat was beaded out on his forehead. Jake bit on his lower lip, he didn't like to see his friend like this. Johnny grabbed the damp cloth and dabbed his forehead.
"This isn't half as bad as what it was.." he said softly. He concentrated on what he was doing, still having the cigarette in his mouth. "We got rid of the rest of the stuff, too." he told Jake.
"That’s good, until he wakes up looking for it though." Jake said smoothing the blanket lying up to Joaquin's chest. He didn't know exactly what he could do, but somehow doing that did something.
"He won't be looking for it." Johnny said. "He won't be doing anything apart from telling me who gave it to him. It was a slip." he said softly. "One that hasn't been this bad for almost 6 months." Jake nodded and took a deep breath.
"When I saw him last week... even a couple days ago, he wasn't like he was yesterday." Jake said looking from Joaquin's face to Johnny's. Johnny nodded.
"Yesterday...something happened...he and Amber had a fight." he said, moving Joaquin's head up a little so he could try and get him to drink a small sip. "He and Amber broke up a while ago because of his drugs...but that was so much worse than this." he admitted. "But... yesterday... Amber... had something happen to her...and then he lost control." he explained.
"What happened to Amber? You mean, with her ex-boy friend the night before the Oscars?" Jake asked taking the cloth from Johnny so he could wipe Joaquin's neck down. He nodded.
"I don't know what happened to her...she didn't say anything...well, actually I kind of worked it out...her ex, Jason.." he said looking down at Joaquin, "Went out with Liberty--Joaquin’s younger sister." he said. "Ended up treating her wrong and he...well he raped her." he said, his voice lowering even more. "But...it seems the same story happened with Amber." he concluded.
"What?" Jake exclaimed in a whisper. He leaned forward, his eyes wide. "Last night? What..." Jake shook his head. "That fucking bastard."
Johnny nodded but shushed him. It seemed Joaquin was coming round. "He needs cooling off..." Johnny said, shaking his head. "He didn't know there was powdered Mercury in it...he thought it was just cocaine." he sighed a little and reached over, dabbing Joaquin's forehead. "No wonder he got a bad hit."
"So someone sold him the wrong thing?" Jake asked dropping his hands back into his lap and watching Joaquin move slightly. His eyes were slightly moving even though they were closed and Jake hoped he wasn't dreaming anything bad.
"The guy that fucked with his sister and Amber is behind this." Johnny told him. "Its a long story...I can't go into it now, but we think someone who knows this guy...Jason...sold Joaquin the stuff." he looked down to him and dabbed his forehead again. "He had cocaine, but they powdered the mercury into it. Usually, it's a liquid form."
"That could've killed him..." Jake said looking up at Johnny. "Couldn't it have?" He whispered. Joaquin stirred again and both he and Johnny watched, waiting to see if he would wake.
Johnny half nodded but stopped when he saw Joaquin move a little. It seemed he was waking up. He glanced to Jake and lowered the damp cloth, hoping that now, he'd finally wake up. Jake moved forward on his chair and studied Joaquin's face. Slowly, he and Johnny fell silent, both watching Joaquin open his eyes and look around the room, landing his eyes on Johnny. A very faint smile played on his lips and Jake found himself smiling, glad he was awake.
"Morning.." Johnny said, smiling a little. He immediately got the glass of water and helped Joaquin drink it. Joaquin didn't answer for a while, he rested his head back on the pillow and then cast his eyes to Jake.
"Hey.." he whispered.
"Hey." Jake replied moving to the very edge of his chair. "How are you feeling?" He asked his smile fading from his eyes and concern filling them. Joaquin half nodded.
"Like I took a bad hit.." he said, a small smile forming on his lips. He nodded, correcting himself. "I’m...well..I've been better." Jake laughed shortly and nodded.
"I bet... You've looked better too." He joked smiling. "I'm glad you're getting better though... I was, well we all were, worried." Joaquin looked to Johnny and slowly pulled himself up.
"Is Amber alright?" he asked very softly. Johnny nodded, and handed him the glass of water.
"She's going to be fine." he told him. He stood up, going to the blinds and pulling them up a little. "I'll be back soon...I'm going to make a few calls." Joaquin nodded, watched him go and then looked back to Jake. Jake had followed Johnny out with his eyes and turned back to meet Joaquin's.
"I didn't see Amber, but I think she is sleeping down stairs at the moment." Jake said to him nodding. "Your sister was up here for a while as well." Joaquin nodded. He was silent for a while before looking to Jake.
"I'm surprised you're here..." he said softly. Jake look confused.
"Why? Why wouldn't I be here?" He asked
"I lied to you for one thing..." he said placing the glass back down. "Secondly, I’ve known you less than a week...its not exactly a normal thing, is it?" Jake looked down and placed his hands in his lap. He was quiet.
"Yeah, I haven't known you that long... you're right, but that doesn't make me care about you any less. In the past couple days, I think I've gotten to know you and I wanted to make sure you we're alright. And," Jake said glancing up quickly. "Yeah you lied, but like you said you didn't know me that long." Joaquin looked to Jake and shook his head slightly.
"I didn't...know." he said softly. "I never knew it was mixed." his voice broke to a whisper. "And..." he looked down and fell silent. Jake studied him for a bit before moving the chair a bit closer to the bed. "They shouldn't have fucked with it," he said, his voice trailing off.
"Do... how are you feeling?" Jake asked again, biting his lip. Joaquin didn't respond. He wondered how long Johnny would be. His body felt so tensed his head was throbbing, but there was nothing he could do to stop it. He finally looked back to Jake, once he felt Johnny was still downstairs and not in ear-shot.
"I want some more." he said, partly nodding. Jake nodded and looked up at him.
"I... its better if you don't though." He said softly, watching Joaquin's face. "You were... pretty sick." He licked his lower lip, not really sure what to say. He didn't really know what he could say. He leaned back into the chair and crossed his feet. "Is there anything you need?" Joaquin pulled himself up and little, nodding and leaning towards Jake, he seemed to have lost any complexity,
"I'll give you the money.." he said, his voice low, but tainted with desperation. "Not as much as before--just a gram or two...it's all I need, just a little more." His face was shed of moral expression, replaced with need and want. He nodded to Jake. "Its okay...Just a few grams."
"I... fuck Joaquin... You know I can't do that." Jake said freezing in his seat. He searched Joaquin's eyes and shook his head. "I'm sorry... but... I don't think getting more is going to help anything. Is... is there anything else I can get you?" Joaquin sat up a little more.
"Please!" he said, his voice in a harsh-whispered. He glanced to the door, checking for Johnny and then looked to Jake again. "Its just a bit--its okay, I can take a little more and I'll be okay...I won't...do it again after, alright, it's just a couple of grams, Jake...I'll give you the money, it's okay!"
"Joaq... I... no... I... I can't..." Jake said shifting in his seat, his eyes darting towards the door. "I... I don’t..." He trailed off, looking back at Joaquin, staring at him. Joaquin was almost pleading him now.
"Its okay--he, you wont, Johnny doesn't have to know." he said, nodding. "Just a few...and then I won't ask you again, I promise.." he said. Jake couldn't speak. He shook his head, looking away from the intensity of Joaquin's eyes. Inside of them... Joaquin was Joaquin... but there was something else there... something, which Jake could see, clouding his eyes.
"I can't." He said softly looking at his feet. He wanted to help Joaquin... he would do anything he could. But... getting him more of what put him in this bed in the first place Joaquin closed his eyes, frowning slightly, and he lent back against his pillows.
"Just a couple..." he whispered, but didn't look to Jake. It was as though it was hitting him in waves. Like for an instance he wasn't him, someone else was begging for the drugs, before he came back to himself. "Just one..." he whispered, his eyes still closed.
"I'm sorry Joaq." Jake said looking back up at him. He was laid back, his eyes closed, but not still. They were flickering rapidly behind his eyes and Jake bit back a sigh. "Do you want some water?" Before he could answer, the door opened and Johnny came back. He nodded to Jake, motioning for him to come to the door.
"His mom is here--she wants to see him." he whispered.
"Okay." Jake nodded and turned back to face Joaquin. "I'm going go step out... You're mom wants to see you... I'll be back in later okay?" He said smiling softy as Joaquin lifted his hand slowly off the bed, waving him away. "Okay." Jake said smiling softly at Johnny and squeezing past him. Johnny turned, catching Jake's arm, and pulling him down towards the spare bedroom.
"What happened?" he asked, softly, turning to close the door as Joaquin's mother went into his room. "You look...well, not how you did when I left." Jake looked down for a moment then up at Johnny. He finally released his sigh and shook his head.
"He just... he wants more." He said softly. "He's not... He's not very good... I mean, of course he's awake which is better then how he was but.... I don’t know."
"What?" Johnny leaned forwards a little, gently sitting Jake on the bed. He pulled a chair up opposite him, and blinked a few times, and ran his hand through his hair. "What...did he say exactly?" he asked, leaning back.
"He just... wanted more... said he had money and he wanted me to get him some. 'Not much... just a gram or two.'" Jake quoted and looked at Johnny. "I... I didn’t fucking know what to do. But, I told him no, I couldn't do that and I wouldn't. I think he knows you would get upset, because he kept looking over at the door." Johnny nodded.
"You did the right thing, man." He sighed a little. "If he asks you again, just be firm with him--it's like telling a child no, you just need to be like, "No." and make it sound like no question." Johnny looked to Jake and smiled. "You're probably right...He's asked everyone but me for more." Jake smiled and laughed.
"He knows you're the only one here with enough balls to kick his ass." Jake said shaking his head. "But, I will." He said nodding his head. "How long is it going to be you think? Before... well, before he can function completely without them?" Johnny shook his head.
"Its hard to say...But, you know, I might need you to help me with something. Please don't take this the wrong way, but out of everyone here, you're probably going to be the one he challenges the most, for more. Everyone else here has experience of him being like this, and in his mind, he knows that. Then, the drugged side is "taking advantage" in a way...Does that make" Jake bit his lip and nodded, closing his eyes.
"Yeah... Yeah that does." He said looking back up at Johnny. "Meaning, he's going to try to get me to get them for him more. I... yeah." Johnny nodded.
"Okay, its going to happen again, when he thinks I've left...but I won't leave." Johnny looked right at Jake. "Just go along with it, tell him no, be firm, no matter how much he asks, then, I'll be there...just leave it to me." he smiled softly. Jake studied Johnny's face and nodded slowly.
"Okay... but... what are you going to do?" He asked softly. He knew Johnny was going to do whatever it took to make sure his friend was going to be okay, was going to do what ever he HAD to do. Johnny looked at him.
"It'll just shock him that I heard it all--hopefully enough to subside it." Johnny sat back. "Sometimes, saying and doing isn't needed. Its just being there, which makes the difference." Jake nodded and took a deep breath.
"Okay... I will." He said smiling softly. "I need... fucking coffee or something. I should call Kirsten too, let her know I'm going to stay over here. I mean, if that’s alright?" Johnny nodded.
"Of course...his sisters are downstairs, and Amber." He stood up. "I think she really wants to be with him again..." he whispered. Jake nodded,
"Okay... I'll go down and send them up.. Well, should I wait for his mom to come out first?" He asked looking up at Johnny.
"Just get a drink--don't wake his sisters or anything...once his mom leaves, go back and see him, and we'll do what we said." he opened the door for Jake. "It's going to be okay." he said, softly.
"Okay," Jake said nodding his head. "Come back up here then? Do you want anything? Water, coffee?" He asked surveying Johnny. Part of him had to laugh slightly... as a kid, he used to watch Johnny on screen, and now here he was worrying alongside him about one of their closest friends. Jake didn't know Joaquin all that long, both of them knew it, but... it was weird. Their friendship just happened. Jake took a deep breath and looked up at Johnny again, waiting for an answer. Johnny smiled.
"I don't think a large Whiskey is appropriate." he smiled. "Its cool, I’m fine." he nodded, following Jake along the hall. Jake laughed softly and nodded his head.
"Probably not." He said turning out of the room, and walking quietly down the hall.