Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A Pessimists Romance Ch.04
Ugh, don't hate me. I suck. I've been done with this chapter for weeks now and could have posted it awhile ago. But I shoved it aside and started the next one cuz I was waiting for my editor to send it back. But because I can post instantly whenever I want now, I could have sent it in pre-edit for you impatient mofo's ;)
So sorry, but the good news is that you get two chapters at once! The story is finished, this is the second to last chapter now. Enjoy!
Connor was eventually kicked out of the room and was forced to wait in the waiting room until visiting hours started again. It was six in the morning and he hadn’t gotten an ounce of sleep the whole night, when he saw Dalton walking towards the front desk. He held his jacket and was forced to wear his bloody clothes he had been wearing during the crash. He had a bandage on his head and a cast on his left arm. That was it.
Connors fury burned even brighter. Neil lost an arm and Dalton got to walk away with a scratch and a band aid. The world just wasn’t fair. Dalton turned away and was heading towards the door when Connor stopped in front of him.
“You piece of shit.” He said, through clenched teeth.
“Connor...How’s Neil, have you heard anything?” It was obvious he had sobered up.
“Yeah, you stupid son of a bitch!” Connor shouted. The nurse gave him a look and he dragged Dalton outside.
“Is he okay?” Dalton asked, not noticing how Connor dragged him outside by his collar or how his jaw was clenched so tight you could practically hear his teeth crack under the pressure.
“God you’re such an ass. I cant believe you did this! He’s in the hospital! He had to have surgery!” Connor shouted, pointing inside the hospital. Dalton looked down at the ground.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. How is he?” Dalton asked.
“He’s in deep shit, now. You did this to him you cost him...” Connors voice cracked and he turned around, trying to keep himself from crying. He turned back around, angrier than ever.
“You cost him his fucking arm, Dalton!” He shouted. Dalton went pale. “You just ruined his life! He wanted to go to Berkeley! He wanted to be a musician! How the fuck is he supposed to play the violin with one hand!” He lost control and swung at Dalton, who moved just a second to late. The blow connected to his shoulder and he fell against the wall. Connor pulled his hand back again, but this time Dalton was ready. He moved aside and Connors hand hit the wall of the hospital.
He cried out and bent over, holding his hand in agony. He pulled it away and looked at the scraped flesh. His anger was subsiding, but he was still furious at Dalton.
“I’ve dealt with you two being together, and him picking you over me. I can live with that, as long as I know he’s happy. And he was! He was so happy with you!” Connor shouted. “But you just had to go and fuck it up, didnt you? What the fuck was going through your head? He loved you, and in return, you ruin his life!” Connor said. “Stay the fuck away from him, or I’ll beat you so bad you’ll wish you’re in his position, right now.” Connor said. Dalton was crying and looking down at the ground like a kicked puppy.
“I’m sorry...I’m so sorry...” He sobbed quietly.
“Good. I hope you feel sorry for the rest of your life.” Connor said, anger finally gone. Now all he wanted to do was get back to Neil. The nurse said he would probably be waking up today. Without another word, he did just that. He stepped inside and walked up to the front desk. The nurse he had gotten to know, Wendy, agreed to let him in to visiting hours half an hour early, since it seemed Neil was beginning to wake up. Connor wanted to be there to comfort him when he found out just what kind of condition he was in.
He stepped into the room and sat down on his left side, so he was able to hold Neils hand. Neil turned his head and wrinkled his brow when Connor put his own hand on his. Connor watched him and smiled a little when Neil squeezed his hand. Connor took another look at where his right arm used to be. It had been amputated just above the elbow, and was wrapped in thick gauze. Connor sighed, he didn’t want Neil to go through this. He had already had a harder life than most people his age, he didn’t need this.
As if on cue, Neil began to wake up. He sighed and squinted his eyes as he opened them. He groaned and turned his head, as if he was trying to turn his head away from the bright hospital lights. Connor swallowed, how soon would he notice? What was he going to tell him? He didn’t want to have to deal with that look on his face when he realized he was missing his right arm.
“God, my head.” He mumbled, voice thick with sleep.
“Hey, Neil. How do you feel?” Connor asked, sweetly.
“My head hurts.” He mumbled. Connor looked at the large gash in his head that had been stapled shut. “My mouth is dry.” He said, not able to open his eyes completely yet. “Can I get some water.” Neil asked. Connor paged the nurses station and Wendy walked in.
“He’s awake.” She smiled. She looked at Connor and he shook his head, Neil still hadn’t noticed.
“He’s a little thirsty. Can he have something to drink?” Connor asked.
“Let me get some ice chips for you.” She smiled sweetly, and came back with a paper cup full of ice chips and a plastic spoon. She gave them to Connor without hesitation. Connor scooted closer.
“Open.” he smiled, and fed Neil a small spoonful of ice chips. Before long Neil had taken the whole cup and was beginning to open his eyes.
“Thank you.” He said, voice still dry and raspy.
“You’re welcome. I should get the doctor.” He said.
“What happened?” Neil asked, before Connor could even completely stand up from his chair.
“You don’t remember?” Connor asked. Neil shook his head.
“I remember...I think I remember graduation...we went to the grad party afterwards in the gym...” Neil mumbled, squinting as if he was trying to see something that was just really far away. “I cant remember anything after that...Am I in the hospital?” He looked around.
“Yeah...You were in a car crash.” Connor said. Neil looked at him like he was insane.
“What?” He asked.
“Dalton got drunk...he freaked out and just started driving...I couldn’t stop him Neil, I tried. He didn’t see the turn and he rolled the car.” Connor sighed. “Jesus, he must have been going ninety on that fucking road.” He swore, running his hands through his hair.
“I don’t understand...” Neil said.
“He flipped the car, Neil. You guys were both thrown out of the fucking windshield. I had to carry you to my truck and get a police escort to get you here before you-” He couldn’t finish the sentence. “I was so fucking scared.” His hands were shaking and he looked down at the floor.
“Fuck...” Neil swore. “...Where’s Dalton? Is he okay?” Neil asked.
“That piece of shit is fine. He walked away with a bruise and a kiss from mommy.” Connor said, bitterly.
“What?” Neil frowned.
“He just has a broken arm and a bandage around his head.” Connor shrugged.
“A broken arm? Jesus, where is he? Can I talk to him?” Neil reached up to push off the blankets to go find Dalton.
“Neil...wait... You don’t need to worry about him, it’s you you have to worry about you-” Connor didn’t want to tell him. He couldn’t tell him. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed yet.
“What?” Neil asked, still drowsy and not all there.
“Neil you....You’re in a lot worse shape than he is, right now.” Connor said.
“My head just hurts, is all. I don’t feel that bad.” He mumbled.
“Neil...” Connor knew he had to say something but he just couldn’t. He couldn’t be the one to tear his world apart.
“Connor I just want to see-...” He reached up what would be his right hand to push the blankets away and froze. Connor froze as well and the room was deathly silent. Neils jaw dropped and he stared at the stump that sat where his lower arm used to be.
“Neil...I...” Connor didn’t know what to say. the silence was killing him. Neils eyes filled with tears but none fell. “I’m so sorry, Neil. I’m so sorry I couldn’t do more...” Connor cried. Neil stared down at his arm and finally he blinked, forcing the tears to fall down his cheeks.
“No...I...” He was out of breath and tears were falling down his face at full force now. He was shaking and was on the verge of sobbing.
“Neil...” Connors voice cracked and Neil finally fell apart. He sobbed heavily and his left hand was bunched into a fist.
“NO!” He shouted. “It’s not fair!” He cried. Connor bent over the bed and held Neil the best he could. “It’s not fair!” Neil sobbed.
“I know, it’s not.” Connor said. Neil cried into his chest for a long time, just repeating the three simple words, that had been the base for his entire life.
The world was not fair.
After almost an hour of crying, Neil had finally fallen asleep. Connor worried about him and didn’t leave his side for a minute. After only forty five minutes of sleeping, Neil woke up.
“Hey.” Connor gave a weak smile. Neil didn’t answer him. He only stared at the spot where his arm used to be. “It’s going to be okay, Neil. I promise.” He said.
“Is my dad here?” He asked.
“No...I didn’t know how to get a hold of him...I ran by your house and he wasn’t there.” Connor said.
“He’s in Florida...On a business trip.” Neil said, his voice flat.
“Do you have his cellphone number? I can call him.” Connor said.
“No...I don’t want to interrupt him...It can wait until he gets back.” Neil said.
“Neil...He should be here with you...You need someone to be here for you.” Connor said, worried.
“I have you....Don’t I?” Neil finally looked at him, almost begging him not to leave.
“Yeah, you do. I love you, Neil. I don’t know how you feel about Dalton, now. But I just need to say it, okay? I thought you died...I thought you left me and I cant handle that, okay? I just need you to know that I love you and that I’ll always be here. For whatever you need, understand?” Connor said. Neil nodded. The room went silent, but it wasn’t the heartbreaking silence that filled the room two hours ago. It was a warm silence. There was a knock on the door and they both turned to see the doctor standing there.
“Hey, how are we feeling?” The doctor asked. Neil didn’t answer him. “I just thought I would come in and tell you what’s going on. I know you’re probably wondering how you’re doing.” He said, and Neil nodded.
“I’ll go...” Connor stood up.
“You said you would be here for me when I need you.” Neil held onto his hand, keeping him there. “I need you.” He whispered the last part. Connor smiled weakly and sat down.
“I’m going to tell you right now, that you’re actually really lucky. I know it’s hard to see it that way now, but you should have come out of that crash much worse than you did. In reality, you really shouldn’t have survived that crash at all. It’s really a miracle.” The doctor smiled. Connor squeezed Neils hand.
“However, that’s not to say that you’re out of the woods. Obviously the worst of it is your arm. We didn’t have any choice other than to amputate. Because we couldn’t save any of the tissue below the elbow, that’s going to make it very complicated to put on a prosthetic.” The doctor said.
“But a lot of people live with missing limbs and no prosthetic.” The doctor attempted a smile. ‘They’re really expensive, anyways.” Neil finally gave a weak smile. “You have a pretty bad concussion, but that should get better soon. We’ll have to keep waking you up every hour or so. To make sure you don’t slip into a coma.” The doctor said, looking at the clipboard he held in his hand.
“You have some pretty bad whiplash, and we didn’t want you to hurt your neck when you first woke up, that’s why the neck brace is there. You don’t need it as long as you try to stay still and not turn your head to much.” The doctor said. Neil agreed and the doctor took off the brace right away. Neil rubbed his neck and moved it slightly from side to side.
“You’re back is the worst, next to your arm. It’s a miracle the spinal cord wasn’t severed. After being carried and driven to the hospital and then carried inside again, plus the CPR we had to do to keep you alive...Like I said, Miracle.” The doctor laughed. “It’s badly damaged and we had to put in a few bits of metal to keep you together, but you’ll be able to walk which is a blessing in that of itself.” He said. “Your ankle is sprained and you had a lot of glass shards scattered all up in you, but we managed to get all of them out. Overall, it’s not as bad as it seems right now, I know I keep saying that. But you really are lucky.” The doctor smiled sadly.
“Thank you.” Neil said, and it seemed he was maybe starting to believe it, once the doctor told him how bad it should have been.
“Do you have any questions I can answer?” The doctor asked.
“Will...” Neil stopped, the doctor smiled and nodded for him to ask away. “Will I be able to play the violin, again?” Neil asked. The doctors face fell.
“Well...I...I don’t think so, I’m sorry. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to try. I’ve had people in cases like yours prove me wrong all the time. One of my patients a few years back lost an arm and a leg, went on to be a champion skier. Fuck I cant ski with all of my limbs!” The doctor laughed. Connor decided he liked him. It was obvious the man cared about his patients and tried to make a connect with all of them. “If you need anything else, don’t be afraid to page the nurse, just ask for me and I’ll be here ASAP. Oh, I’m so sorry, I’m Doctor Stein, by the way.”
“Doctor Stein?” Connor smiled.
“Yeah, You can call me Frank.” He smiled.
“Wait...Your name is really Frank Stein?” Neil was smiling, Connor was glad he still had a sense of humor. He was worried Neil wouldn’t be the same person he was.
“Yep, thank god my middle name doesn’t start with an N.” He made a face and left the room.
“He’s nice..” Connor said.
“Yeah...” Neil mumbled. “I’m really tired...Can I go to sleep?” Neil asked.
“Yeah, I’ll be right here when you wake up.” Connor smiled.
“Promise?” Neil asked, already drifting off.
“Promise.” Connor smiled and rubbed the back of Neils hand with his thumb.
“Wont you be bored?” Neil asked, almost completely asleep.
“I brought a book.” He shrugged. Neil smiled and fell asleep.
Neil had to be woken up every few hours and it was obviously pissing him off. He had already lost an arm and now he couldn’t even get a decent nap. Everytime he woke up, he ended up just staring at where his arm used to be sadly. Connor wanted to do something to help, but there was nothing he could do.
“Fuck this, why even bother sleeping?” Neil mumbled, after being woken up for the sixth time that day. Connor chuckled.
“I’m sorry.” Connor apologized.
“You could make it up to me by getting me some more ice chips.” He mumbled.
“Sure.” Connor stood up and walked out of the room. He was on his way to find Wendy when he saw Dalton at the front desk talking to her. “What are you doing here? I told you to leave him alone.” Connor said, angry.
“I just want to talk to him. Can I see him, please?” Dalton asked. As much as Connor wanted to say no, he knew he should at least ask Neil what he wanted.
“Wait here.” He said, and took the cup of ice back to Neil. Neil ate a spoonful before Connor could get a word out. “Daltons here...He wants to see you.” Connor said. Neil froze and looked down at his blankets. “If you don’t want to see him, thats fine. I can tell him to get lost.” Connor said. “I just wanted to know what you wanted...” He blushed a little.
“I...I think I want to see him.” Neil mumbled. Connor nodded. He only now realized how truly tired Neil looked.The shadows under his eyes had gotten deeper and his skin was almost as white as snow. The nurses had finally washed all of the blood from his hair, but it was still a mess. His lips looked chapped and it was obvious he really did want to get some sleep. Not just the hour long cat naps the nurses allowed him. Connor turned and left the room. He was unhappy with Neils choice, but also respected the fact that Neil was able to make his own choices, even in the state he was in.
“Fine. But you touch him at all and I’ll throw you out of there in a heart beat.” Connor threatened. Dalton nodded and followed Connor ino the room. Connor opened the door and crossed his arms over his chest. Dalton stepped inside and froze when he saw Neil, looking so small in the bed.
“Neil...I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.” Dalton said, tears beginning to fall down his face.
“I know...” Neil said, voice raspy as usual.
“I cant believe all of this happened. I hardly even remember last night. I didn’t mean for you to lose your arm, Neil. I was just jealous I just...Jesus I cant believe this is happening.” Dalton cried. Neil was looking away, at the wall. He was crying silently and looked up at Connor and Dalton finally.
“I’m not ready for this...I’m sorry can you just...” His voice cracked and he sobbed quietly. Connor pushed Dalton out of the room and shut the door. He walked over to Neil and held his hand.
“I’m sorry.” Connor apologized, though he had nothing to be sorry for.
“I just...Why did this have to happen to me? I knew the world was shit before...but I never knew it could get this bad.” Neil said, still crying.
“I don’t know...” Connor said truthfully.
“What am I going to do? What kind of job am I going to do with one fucking arm?” Neil asked, holding up his missing limb.
“Don’t worry about that right now. You just need to focus on getting better.” Connor said. “They have physical therapy and stuff like that, right? That could help you. And Dr. Stein only said that it would be really hard to get you a prosthetic. Not impossible. Your family has money, everything will work out, Neil.” Connor said.
“That’s easy for you to say.” Neil wiped his face with his only hand. “You still have all of your extremeties.” He said, and for some reason he found this funny. He laughed and soon Connor was pulled into his fit of laughter, and they were both laughing until the tears that fell down Neils face weren’t ones of worry, regret, pain, or suffering. He was crying because he knew he wasn’t alone.
Connor had told Neil he needed to focus on getting better. His back was to bad to be able for him to leave the bed and go to physical therapy, but that didn’t mean that the therapist couldn’t come to him. Within the first few days of him waking up, he asked Dr.Stein when he could start therapy.
“You want to start your physical therapy now? That was fast. Most patients don’t want to start at all.” Dr.Stein said.
“I don’t want to just sit here being useless. All my life I’ve worked with what I’ve got and things have turned out alright.” Neil said. “I know things are different now, and they probably wont be the same...But sitting here and being depressed about it, isn’t going to help anything.” Neil said, a determined look on his face. It had been only four days since he had tried to talk to Dalton, and they hadn’t spoken since. But Connor was glad that Neil was handling this well. Better than he thought he would handle it at least. Neil looked small, and thin, and helpless, but he was strong enough to survive the camps that they kept him in, and he was strong enough to survive this.
“Well, it’s going to be at least a month before I want you to get out of bed. Your spine needs time to heal, if you try and work it to hard now you will only cause more damage.” Dr.Stein said.
“But isn’t there something else I could do? I feel so useless just sitting here.” Neil said, looking around the hospital room.
“Well, I can scheduel you some appointments with the physical therapist who will help you with your arm. Since you lost you right arm, I assume you’re right handed, you’ll have to learn how to write with your left. Also, you’ll need to build up the strength in that arm. Most people don’t realize it, but your primary hand is strong than your secondary.” The doctor said.
“I never thought about having to learn how to write again” Neil frowned.
“It’s not as hard as most people think. Just stick with it and you’ll get better. Just think about how long it took you to learn how to write the first time.” The doctor shrugged. Neil nodded.
“When can we start?” Neil asked.
“I can check. If you want I can probably get you a session today.” He said.
“I’d like that.” Neil smiled a little. Connor hadn’t seen him smile much since he woke up. Most of the time he was sleeping or was seriously determined. Connor still wanted to call his dad. As soon as Dr.Stein left, Connor turned to Neil.
“When does your dad get back from Florida?” Connor asked.
“What day is it?” Neil frowned.
“It’s Wednesday.” Connor checked his phone for the date, even he had lost track of time.
“His flight gets in tonight...” Neil sighed. “I didn’t want to deal with him.” He rubbed his forehead carefully with his hand, trying to avoid the gash in his head.
“Why not? He’s you’re dad. I thought you would want him to be here.” Connor frowned.
“I guess. I mean, we don’t really...Connect..anymore. I just...After I got out of the camps we had drifted apart. He see’s me as that weird Infected kid living in his house. I feel like that weird Infected kid living in some random guys house.” Neil shrugged. “I just don’t feel comfortable there...Oh shit! I cant believe I forgot about the animals! They’re probably starving to death how could I-”
“Calm down, I took care of it. When the nurses kick me out I go back to your place and feed all of the little guys.” Connor said. Neil sighed.
“Thank you, so much.” He rubbed his neck. “I thought I had forgotten about them...Jesus.” Neil said, voice shaking. Connor was surprised when he started crying.
“Hey hey hey.” he said, stroking Neils hair, trying to get him to calm down. “What’s wrong? I told you I took care of them. They’re fine and just waiting for you to go home.” Connor smiled sadly. He sometimes forgot about all the stress that was on Neil now and how he seemed to be dealing with it on the outside, he was probably crushed on the inside.
“Sorry. I just...There’s so much going on. I have to worry about everything.” He said, sadly.
“I know...Neil, maybe you should talk to somebody. We can ask Dr.Stein about a good therapist. You’ve been through a lot the past few years. Have you ever seen somebody about it?” Connor asked. Neil shook his head.
“I was always to embarrassed.” Neil admitted.
“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s you’re life, Neil. You should take care of it.” Connor kissed his forehead gently.
“Do you think Dr.Stein would know someone I could talk to?” Neil asked quietly.
“I’ll ask him, okay?” Connor smiled. Neil nodded. “I’ll also get a hold of your dad once his flight comes in. He should know what’s going on, Neil.” Connor said.
“I know...” He mumbled.
Neils dad had rushed to the hospital and ran frantically to his room, but when he got there, the silence was awkward and he shifted from foot to foot awkwardly.
“Are you okay?” he asked awkwardly.
“Yeah.” Neil shrugged. And that was the end of the conversation. His dad excused himself to to go the cafeteria and Neil watched him leave.
“Wow, you weren’t kidding.” Connor laughed and sat down.
“Yeah...I really don’t want to go back home with him, but now really isn’ the time to move you, you know?” He held up his amputated arm.
“Well, you could always move in with me.” Connor said.
“What? Really?” He was shocked.
“Yeah, my parents wont mind, and my brothers are nice. They’re just a little...Yeah...But they’re nice.” Connor said.
“I couldn’t just invite myself in.” Neil shook his head.
“You’re not. I’m inviting you. If it makes you feel better, I’ll ask everybody first. Okay?” Connor asked.
“Okay.” Neil nodded, convinced his parents would never agree to it.
“Mom, He’s kind of tired I don’t think he’ll-”
“Hi! I’m Connors mom, but you can cal me Becky!” A large woman with bright red hair stepped into the room, surprising Neil. Neil raised an eyebrow and looked at Connor, who shrugged helplessly. “We just wanted to stop by and tell you that of course you’re welcome into our home!” She smiled brightly.
“W-we?” Neil sputtered, still in shock from the loud woman barging into his normally quiet room. With the word spoken, three very large men stepped into the room. It was obvious that Connor was the youngest, most of them were probably in their mid to late Twenties.
“Hey, Neil! Connors told us a lot about you. You can have Big Bens room. He’s moving out anyways!” One of the men said.
“Guys, would you leave him alone, Jesus. I’m sorry Neil. I just asked and they insisted they all come down here to introduce themselves. We can go if you’re to tired.” Connor said.
“Hi Neil! I’m Connors father, Mark.” The man held out a hand and Neil hesistated. He blushed and held out his left hand. “Uh, Sorry.” He was large man but the deep blush in his cheeks and the warm smile he gave showed that he wasn’t some big guy with a tough guy complex.
“It’s okay...” Neil smiled at little and shook his hand with his left. It felt weird but he supposed he would have to get used to it.
“Connor told us what happened, we’re so sorry. Are you okay?” His mother put a hand on his shoulder and pouted her lip as if she was talking to one of her own children after he had fallen off a bike.
“Yeah. I’m okay.” Neil smiled weakly, still overwhelemed by the very tall people that filled his room. Connor was the shortest and was already standing at five foot eleven inches. Neil felt incredibly short, at his own five foot six.
“You’re completely welcome in our home, in fact, we already cleaned up the room for you and got you a nice bed. You have a good sized closet so you’ll have lots of room to put your things!” Connors mother crooned.
“Really, you guys. It’s okay. You don’t have to do this...” Neil was a little shocked at how warm Connors family was. He had never really had a family like this. He supposed it was like this before his mom died, but that was so long ago it was pointless to try to remember.
“Nonsense! You’re a sweet boy and it’s obvious Connor cares about you. We’re honored to have you in our home.” Connors father boomed.
“We’ll get out of your hair, dear. Oh, but here we brought you some good home cooked food. None of this hospital crap.” His mother cursed. Neil blushed at the mention of Connors feelings for him. But accepted the food gratefully.
“Thank you... It smells fantastic.” He smiled.
“It is!” One of Connors brothers smiled widely. Neil recognized him as the one he had met when they were looking for Connors backpack.
“Alright, good bye guys!” Connor practically had to force them out the door, but soon it was shut and the room was quiet again. They stared at each other a second.
“What the fuck just happened?” Neil asked.
“I’m so sorry, they can get like that. They’re just really loud.” Connor chuckled awkwardly.
“Is it like that all the time in your house?” Neil smiled and began trying to unwrap the food.
“Yeah kind of. You get used to it though. It’s better when they’re not in a closed space together.” He sat down next to Neil and finally helped him unwrap it.
“Sorry.” Neil muttered, after struggling with the wrapped food.
“You’ll get the hang of it.” Connor smiled, confident. “Speaking of which, you have your first physical therapy today, right?” He asked.
“Yeah. In about five minutes.” he said.
“Do you want me here?” Connor asked.
“Yes please.” Neil blushed.
“Okay.” Connor held his hand. “There is one more thing I should ask though...” Connor said.
“What?” Neil frowned.
“Don’t get mad.” Connor warned, and Neil just turned his head like a confused puppy. “What are you going to do about Dalton? I haven’t told you, but he comes by like four times a day asking to see you. You can avoid him forever.” Connor said. Neil sighed.
“I don’t know. To be honest...I’m really scared to face him. All I see when I look at him is that jealous look on his face when he was driving...” Neil covered his eyes with his hand.
“You don’t have to talk to him, I was just asking.” Connor stroked his hair.
“Are we...Are we together now?” Neil asked.
“No.” Connor said, without hesitation. Neil looked shocked.
“No?” He said.
“No.” Connor repeated. “You’re going through a lot right now, and I don’t think you need to worry about a relationship on top of that. When you get better, we can see where it goes if you want. But right now...I think you should just take a break and focus on getting better.” Connor said.
“So you...You’re not....You don’t...” Neil bit his lip.
“What?” Connor asked, turning his head this time.
“You aren’t bothered that I only have one arm?” Neil asked. Rubbing his shoulder nervously with the only arm he had left.
“Of course not. just because I don’t think we should be together now, doesn’t mean I’m no interested. I still like you Neil. Which is why I don’t want to be with you right now. I want you to focus on getting better is all.” Connor said, before smiling. “I’ll make you a promise. When you come to terms with what happened to you, I’ll take you out on our first REAL first date.” Connor smiled.
“I’ve already come to terms with it.” Neil frowned.
“No you haven’t.” Connor shook his head. Neil sighed.
“Fine. Okay.” Neil pouted.
“Then you better get to work. You need to get better for me.” Connor winked, and Neil smiled weakly.
“Okay.” He agreed.
After a month of being in bed and only doing small physical therapy for his left hand, he was finally able to get up and walk again. There was almost no spinal cord damage to his back and he only had a little trouble getting up and walking again. Connor walked slowly with him, prepared to catch him if he fell. But Neil continued to move along slowly. After awhile, he was tired and crawled back into bed.
“Man, I cant believe I’m tired after only walking around a little.” Neil said.
“It’s been awhile since you have, it’s expected that you’ll be tired the first few times. You have to remember that your body is still healing.” Dr.Stein said.
“Yeah...So when do I get out of here?” Neil asked. After a month in the hospital he was done. The walls were starting to drive him crazy.
“Well, I really would like to keep you here for awhile longer...” Dr.Stein frowned.
“Come on, Doc. I’m sick of this place.” Neil moaned. “It cant be healthy to keep me locked up in here.” Neil pouted.
“I know I know, but look on the bright side. It will be good for you to walk around and escape this room for a bit everyday. You’ll live.” The doctor smiled. Neil groaned.
“Suck it up.” Connor laughed.
“Don’t tell me you’re not sick of this place already.” Neil said, annoyed.
“Okay, you got me. If I have to look at these walls one more time I’m going to flip.” Connor chuckled.
“See!” Neil pointed at Connor, begging the Doctor to release him.
“Sorry. I have spoken!” He shouted dramatically, and walked out of the room chuckling to himself.
“Damn you.” Neil growled to no one in particular.
“Come on, Neil. Just eat the god damn soup.” Connor begged. He had been sitting with Neil for as long as he could, but he had a job interview to get to. He sat there, in his fancy clothes, trying to get Neil to eat something, anything. Neil had lost his apetite awhile ago and it was a chore to get him to eat anything. Dr.Stein and Neils therapist both agreed that it was because he was still in shock from losing his right arm. They said he would get over it, but it wasn’t looking promising.
“I’m not hungry.” Neil said, for the thousandth time.
“Neil, please. You haven’t eaten a single thing all day. How are you supposed to heal up if you don’t eat anything? You’re only hurting yourself right now, Neil.” Connor said, trying again to get him to eat the spoonful of soup.
“I don’t need your help!” Neil shouted, slaping the bowl of soup from Connors hand, spilling it all over his black pants and white shirt.
“Fuck! God damn it Neil!” Connor cursed. He stood up and stepped into the bathroom of Neils hospital room. He picked up a rag that was folded neatly on the counter and began scrubbing at his shirt with cold water. He looked at Neil in the mirror and saw him turning away from him, staring angrily at the wall.
“I have a fucking job interview. How the hell am I supposed to explain why I look like I just walked in out from under a fucking bridge.” Connor snapped.
“Tell them you were at a hospital volunteering to help some poor cripple.” Neil said bitterly. Connor stopped scrubbing for a second and just stared at the back of Neils head, through the mirror.
“I’m sorry, Neil. I shouldn’t have gotten angry. I knew you would have a hard time coping with this.” Connor took a deep breath. “You’re not ‘some poor cripple’, Neil.” He turned around to face Neil, who still refused to look at him. “It’s okay to accept a little help sometimes. It wont be forever.” Connor said.
“But for now, you need help.” he sat down next to Neil, making him look at him.
“I don’t want your help. Or your pitty.” Neil whispered.
“I don’t pitty you, Neil.” Connor stood up. “I respect you.” he said, and picked up his jacket. “I’m going to be late.” He walked out of the room.
Neil stared at the doorway a second longer, before picking up the half empty bowl of soup and eating it.
Neil stood in a room with several other physical therapy patients. His therapist had advised him to try painting to get out his frustrations. Every day he was becoming more and more angry, at everybody and everything. Waking up was a chore for him, he didn’t want to talk to his doctor, or his therapist, or even Connor most of the time.
But his therapist had been right, the class really helped him. The brush strokes he made were smooth, and helped him practice keeping control of his left hand, which was often shaky and unsure.
He was actually a decent painter, too. It calmed him down and honestly there really was no downside to it.
“Wow, that’s really good, Neil.” Connor said. Neil snapped out of his trance and realized the group had ended and most of them had left. Connor had found him and had watched him for awhile before interrupting.
“Oh, thanks.” Neil mumbled. He finally looked at what he had painted and most of it was dark. A few specks of light filtered through the reds and the black of the painting. “It looks familiar.” Neil mumbled.
“It’s the car crash.” Connor said.
“Huh?” Neil frowned, tilting his head to try and see what Connor was seeing.
“Look. That’s the windshield.” Connor pointed to a squarish shape of dark with several jagged pieces of white scattered in and around it.“There was a lamp post here.” Connor pointed to a tall piece of silver with a yellow white color on top of it. “The red around the edges must have been blood, this is all from your eyes.” Connor said. “...And thats-”
“You.” Neil said quietly, as if he now saw the picture he had been painting. A single point in all the dark reds and blacks. It was brighter than the glass of the broken windshield, and the light, the shine of the wheels, or the blood around his vision. It was a single piece of light that somehow felt like home.
“Me...” Connor agreed. Neil looked at Connor and then back at the painting.
Connor did feel like home.
“Daaaamn.” Connor smiled. “Look at you go!” He found Neil in the hospitals therapy gym. It was a medium sized room with various pieces of gym equipment in it. A few people speckled the room, but for the most part it was empty. Neil was completely shirtless and only had on a pair of shorts and some tennis shoes. He sat in the middle of the room, doing push ups. It had been over a month now since he was allowed out of bed, and right away he started trying to get used to using his left arm. When he wasn’t working out, he was practicing his penmanship with his left hand, which was still kind of iffy.
“You got some moves, stud.” Connor laughed.
“Thanks.” Neil was panting lightly, he had counted off twenty push ups before he stopped and talked to Connor.
“Have you talked to Dr.Stein yet? To see if you can leave?” Connor asked. They had been talking about it for awhile now, and Neil thought he was ready to leave the safety of the hospital, and go outside again. The thought scared him, but he knew it was something he had to do. He still hadn’t spoken with Dalton, or gone back to school at all. Connor had been his only visitor. Him, and his family of course.
“No, I haven’t seen him today. I’ll finish up here and then find him. Hey, do me a favor?” Neil asked, wiping the sweat off his forehead with a towel.
“Sure, what?” Connor asked.
“Lets see who can do more pushups.” Neil smiled. Connor frowned.
“Neil, that’s not going to go well. I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Connor said.
“So you think you’ll win?” Neil asked.
“Have you seen this body?” Connor pointed down at his own body, Neil rolled his eyes. “I-i-i- I work out.” Conor began singing LMFAO’s ‘I’m sexy and I know it’
“Alright then, sexy. Lets see it.” Neil said. Connor rolled his eyes.
“Remember that you asked for this.” Connor said. Neil waved for him to continue. Connor dropped down onto the floor and began counting each pushup. Finally, he was forced to stop at forty five. His shirt was damp and he was panting softly.
“Your turn.” He sat down and pointed at Neil to go. Neil shrugged and got down. Connor wasn’t expecting much, honestly. But was getting worried when Neil hit 30 and wasn’t even sweating yet. “Damn. How long were you here before I walked in?” Connor asked.
“When you walked in, I was at forty. Plus the twenty I did in front of you...” Neil smiled up at him, and Connor sighed. He was surprised when Neil made it to seventy and collapsed in a heap.
“Okay, you win.” Connor laughed, still out of breath. Neil smiled and for the first time in a long time, Connor realized it was a real smile. Connor stood up and reached a hand out to help Neil up. Neil took his hand and pulled himself off the floor. “Come on, cripple.” Connor laughed. Neil flipped him off with a smile and they wandered off to find Dr.Stein.
Three days later, Neil left the hospital. The first stop was his house to get his stuff and move it to Connors. Neil had a lot of money in a savings account for him, and Connor had gotten the job he wanted. So instead of moving into his families house, they had gotten an apartment for themselves. It was cheap, and kind of small, but it was only the two of them and that’s all they needed.
“Neil, I don’t mean to press, or bring up anything thats going to make you feel shitty...but...” Connor paused, as they were walking up the steps to Neils house. “What do you want to do from here? After we move in and what not.” He asked.
“Like, for school?” Neil asked.
“Yeah.” Connor nodded. The house was empty and they gathered up what little he had quickly and packed it into Connor’s car.
“Well...I was actually thinking of going to art school....What do you think?” Neil asked.
“It’s a stupid idea, never mind.” Neil shook his head.
“It’s not stupid. It’s something you’re good at and it makes you happy. So I’m all for it.” Connor smiled.
“Really?” Neil asked, getting hopeful.
“Yeah. I think you could be the next Van Gogh!” Connor smiled.
“Van Gogh killed himself.” Neil laughed.
“Oh shit...well then be the next Rembrandt.”
“A woman...and I’m pretty sure she also killed herself.”
“What the fuck. What artist didn’t kill themself?”
“I think Da vinci didn’t off himself.” Neil shrugged.
“Then be him. Now go up and pack your clothes. I’ll grab some DvDs.” Connor laughed. Neil smiled and jogged upstairs
Connor began rummaging through the DvDs, packing them into a box. Neil had said all the movies were his, his father didn’t have time for movies. But Connor wanted to see what they were getting anyways. In the back of the cupboard under the T.V. he found an unmarked DVD in a plain case. He wrinkled his eyebrows and put the disc in the DvD player. He sat down and waited for it to start.
He was surprised when a home made video came up of Neil. He stood in front of a small school band with a violin in his hands. The conductor said something and Connor turned the sound up.
“...Junior highschool band.” The man said, and stood up on his conducting stand. The audience clapped and then everything went silent as they prepared to start. Neil rested the bow on the strings and the Conducter motioned for him to start playing. It was obvious he was far more talented than anyone else his age. For the first minute or two of the song he had a solo of smooth middle eastern music that made the audience completely silent. Connor watched, transfixed on the slender form of Jr. Highschool Neil playing his Violin.
“It’s Samvel Yervinyans’ Persian Night.” Neil said behind him. He held a box of clothes against his side.
“Sorry, I just didn’t know what movie it was so I just put it in for a second.” Connor moved to turn it off as soon as he could.
“No..” Neil said, stopping him. He set the box down and moved over to the couch, sitting down. “Keep playing it.” He whispered. Connor put down the remote and they watched, as the rest of the orchestra behind him came in. The music sped up and built quickly until Neil’s hands were moving so fast Connor could hardly see them. His bow ran across the strings and the fingers on his left hand flew across the neck of the Violin as the music got more and more hectic, until it was obvious the school orchestra was having a really hard time keeping up with him. He was talented well beyond his years.
“You are amazing.” Connor said, shocked.
“Was...I was amazing.” Neil said, and stood up. “I can be amazing at something else now. Come on, after we’re done here I want to stop at that arts and crafts store downtown and pick up some painting supplies.” Neil said, and picked up the box again. Connor turned off the home video and watched Neil walk away.