It’s been seven months since the car accident that Patrick suffered, and that threw him into a coma. His wounds have healed a long time ago, but he still hasn’t woken up.
Pete spent the majority of those months on his hospital room, next to the singer’s bed. He couldn’t leave his friend, not now. He would only get out of the room when Patrick’s parents come to visit him, or when he was kicked out of the hospital by the nurses. But even then, he would come back the next day, repeating the cycle over and over again.
Pete didn’t cry. Why cry when you still have hope your best friend will eventually wake up?
However, today Pete was crying. Desperately.
The doctor had appeared earlier that day, during the parents’ visit and told them they should turn off the machine.
“It’s not worth it. Your son has been seven months in a coma. The possibilities of him ever waking up are very limited at this stage.”
The doctor was right, they all knew it. But the idea of killing their own son wasn’t easy.
“I… I can’t do it. I can’t kill my own son.” Patricia said, tears in her eyes.
“I know this is hard, ma’am. But it’s the only option.”
After fifteen minutes of discussion, they reluctantly agreed in shutting off the machines the next day.
When Pete saw Patrick’s mother crying, he instantly knew something wasn’t right.
“Mr. Stump,” he called, “What’s wrong? Is everything okay with Patrick?”
When David explained the situation, the bassist was in shock. How could the doctor have proposed that option? And worse, how could his parents agree with it?
He felt like screaming at them, to call them and the doctor all kinds of things. He only refrained from doing it in consideration of Patricia, and because it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t their fault that they wanted their son to be better, wherever that would be.
But that didn’t make it any better.
“I know this is hard for you too, Pete. You’ve been his best friend for 10 years; you can’t forget all the moments you’ve passed. But it was the only option we had. Patrick is going to be in a better place, I believe. And you should too.”
Pete watched them leave, and turned around, to the door. He had tears already going down his face. He was afraid to open that door. He was afraid to see Patrick laying down in that bed, knowing that would be the last night he would spend with him.
Ten seconds later he found himself in front of the bed, looking at Patrick’s resting features through blurred eyes.
He fell on the chair, crying. He was completely broken. Patrick had only few hours to live before they shut the machine off and he goes away for good.
He stood there for half an hour, crying on the chair, listening to the steady beeps of Patrick’s heart.
“They want to kill you…” He muttered. He raised his head and looked to the singer. The tears in his eyes were making it difficult to see him properly.
“They want to kill you, Trick! They’re gonna shut the machines off!” He was screaming now, all the desperation of seven months finally coming to surface.
“You can’t die, Trick! You can’t! I need you, I can’t do this on my own!”
He didn’t know if ‘this’ meant the band or life itself. Pete always said that Patrick saved him on a daily basis. He kept his nightmares away, by making him laugh, taking him out for a walk, or simply by being himself.
And Pete loved him for that.
He got up and walked to his bedside, breathing deeply to calm himself down. He had only one last night to spend with his best friend, he didn’t want to spend it crying and freaking out.
“I regret having agreed with the hiatus.” He muttered, looking at his hands. “I know it was for the better. Things were spinning out of control, we needed a break.”
The bassist ran a hand through Patrick’s blond hair, smiling sadly.
“But that doesn’t mean it made it any better for me. I was so used to having you around, to have someone that could actually understand me…” he sighed. “You became this wonderful solo artist, Soul Punk is literally one of the best albums I’ve ever listened to. You seemed to have moved on. Well, one of us had to do it.”
There was a long pause, with only the beeping sound of the machine filling the room.
“Can you save me once again, Trick? Can you do one last miracle for me? Wake up, please. I need you so much, Patrick. I love you so much…”
For the rest of the night Pete sat on the bedside, talking with Patrick in hopes he could hear him.
But it wasn’t the same. He wanted to hear his voice one last time, to listen to him talk, sing, whatever! He just wanted to see him awake again!
The hours passed way too fast for Pete’s liking, and when the clock stroke 6 a.m., he knew it was time to go.
He got out of the chair, and walked to the window. Tears were going down his face again, and he choked down a sob.
He wasn’t staying. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t take the pain of seeing his best friend die in front of his eyes.
“I guess this is it. The goodbye.” He whispered, turning to the singer.
Pete slowly walked to the bed, and softly grabbed Patrick’s hand. He was breathing shakily, and the knot on his throat grew by every second.
“I don’t wanna go. I don’t wanna lose you.” He said, sobbing. “You’re taking my heart with you, Patrick. You’re taking my life…”
He heard a knock on the door, and he knew it was a nurse, telling him it was time to go.
“Just a minute!”
The bassist looked down, to the peaceful features of his friend, and thought that maybe he could be in a better place.
“Goodbye, Lunchbox.” He said and, out of impulse, leaned down and pressed his lips to the singer’s, in a sweet farewell kiss.
Pete reluctantly broke the kiss, eyes full of tears, and caressed Patrick’s face one last time before leaving.
Three hours later…
David and Patricia Stump were in their son’s hospital room with the doctor, ready to turn off the machines that kept Patrick breathing.
Well, not ‘ready’. You are never ready to see your child dying. But they knew they had to do it.
“Where’s Pete? I thought he would be here.” Patricia whispered, turning to her husband.
“He’s not coming. I don’t blame him, to be honest. He doesn’t want to see his best friend die.”
This was true. Pete was currently at his bedroom on his house, laying on his bed and crying, hugging a pillow.
“It’s time, Mr. Stump.”
David looked up, somehow resigned, and nodded in agreement.
The doctor made a movement to shut the machine, but Patricia interrupted him, running to the bed and kissing his son, crying.
“I love you, sweetheart. I hope you’re in a better place now.”
David did the same, and after that, the doctor pressed a button, and all the machines stopped.
Silence filled the room, as the beeping sound ceased, and Patricia cried harder, holding onto her husband.
He hugged her, tears also running down his face. The doctor left, letting them having one last moment with their son.
“It was the only option, Pat. We couldn’t do it any other way…” David whispered.
“He… he’s gone, David. He’s gone!” she cried out, holding him tightly.
David looked at their son, laying on that bed, and suddenly a movement caught his eye.
He froze, thinking he was seeing things, but he saw the movement again and ran to the bed.
He only saw black around him. Why? Why couldn’t he see anything?
He could hear people around him. A deep voice, which sounded familiar.
And then another voice. A much softer one.
“I love you, sweetheart. I hope you’re in a better place now.”
He desperately tried to open his eyes, but any of his muscles seemed to respond.
Why can’t I move? What’s going on?
He heard a muffled crying, and tried harder. His hand shook.
Come on, just a little more!
His hand shook one more time, and suddenly he heard running steps, and a strangled voice next to him.
“David, what’s going on?”
“He’s alive!” David cried out, turning to his wife. “He’s moving!”
“What?” Patricia exclaimed, running to his side. She saw the shaking hand, and she started crying. “Oh my God, Patrick!”
“I’m gonna call the doctor!” David said, running to the door, looking for the said person.
Patricia held his son’s hand, smiling, and she saw Patrick’s lips slowly moving.
“Oh, my darling, I’m here!” she called.
Patricia blinked, hearing him calling his friend.
“He’s not here, sweetheart, but I’ll call him, don’t worry.”
She took her phone for the bag, and dialed Pete’s number.
Pete just wanted to disappear.
He felt a strong tug on his heart, and he deduced the machine has been turned off by now. He groaned in desperation, and cried harder.
Five minutes later, he heard his phone ringing. He picked it up, and saw Patrick’s mother’s number on it.
Most probably she wants to tell me it’s over…
He heard Patricia’s shaking voice, and got confused. She sounded happy.
“What’s wrong, Ms. Stump?”
When he heard the news, he sat down on a rush, and his head hit the headboard in the process.
“He’s what? And he called me? Oh my God… I’ll- I’ll get there in 5!”
He hurriedly got out of the bed, and ran to the front door.
Patrick’s alive… He woke up… And he called me…
He was crying again, but this time from happiness. His miracle happened! His best friend woke up, and he called for him!
Ten minutes after, he was running through the hallway of the hospital, looking for Patrick’s room.
He found it, and opened it on a rush.
Patrick was sitting down on the bed, talking to their parents. When the bassist entered, he instantly looked at him and grinned.
“Lunchbox!” He cried out, running to the bed and hugging him, crying.
David and Patricia watched the scene, and smiled. It was obvious Pete cared a lot for their son, they could see it by the way he held on to him, like he was afraid he could go away.
Patricia couldn’t help but think that Pete would be a perfect match for Patrick.
They saw that the two boys would need a moment alone and quietly left the room. Patrick thanked for that; he didn’t want their parents there for what he was gonna do next.
Pete raised his head, choking down sobs, and looked at Patrick. However, he barely had time to blink when the singer pulled him by the hips and kissed him in a way that made his brain shut down.
He kissed back after a second of freezing shock and wrapped his arms around Patrick’s back, bringing him closer.
The singer broke the kiss after a minute, panting heavily. As for Pete, he was essentially gasping for breath.
“I wanted to do this since I was sixteen.” Patrick muttered, catching his breath.
Pete blinked twice, unsure he had heard it well. “Six-sixteen?”
Now that the adrenaline of the moment had passed, Patrick wasn’t so sure if he should have done that. He vaguely remembered of feeling a soft pair of lips on his when he was ‘sleeping’, but he could have imagined it, since he wanted that to happen for so long.
“Well, yes, basically.” He said, looking at his hands.
Pete gently raised his head, still startled.
“Trick, are you serious about this? Are you really… Do you really love me?”
Patrick nodded, looking at his brown eyes. They looked even more beautiful when they were shiny with tears, he realized.
The bassist chuckled and hugged him tight.
“I love you too, Lunchbox. So much…”
“I know.” Patrick said, resting his head on his shoulder. “I heard you.”