This was not happening. Not tonight. Not to him. No no no Alexander refused to believe that this was happening. Alexander walked over to the cigarette box on the table, considering it with all his heart. He shouldn’t. Eighteen months clean he really shouldn’t. Defeated, he slumped down on the expensive couch. “Oh, my God. This is a night gone very wrong,” he groaned.
Suddenly from the balcony above, a door opened and quickly emerged Alexander’s husband, Thomas. He looked flushed and panicked and all the same elegant. “Did he call yet?”
Alexander looked up with narrowed eyes. “Wouldn’t I have yelled up?”
“Call him again.”
“I’ve called him twice, they’re looking for him. How is he?” Alex stared up with worry.
Thomas drummed his fingers on the railing anxiously. “I’m not sure. He’s bleeding like crazy.”
Alexander jumped up. “Oh my god!”
“It’s all over the room. I don’t know why people decorate in white…” A pause as he looked back to the door he’d exited. “If he doesn’t call in two minutes, call the hospital.”
Alex pressed a hand to his forehead. “I’m going to have a cigarette.”
Thomas slightly leaned over the edge, staring at his husband. “After eighteen months? Like hell you are. Get a hold of yourself will you!” He turned back to the door and entered, leaving it just a crack open.
Alex shook his head and went back to pacing anxiously. “I can’t believe this is happening.” He kept going and jumped when the phone rang. “Oh god! T-Thomas! The phone is ringing!” He called up. When no response came and the phone rang a second time, Alex crossed over to answer it. Slowly pressing the answer button and holding up to his ear, he forced himself to remain calm. “Hello? Dr. Dudley? Oh! Dr. Dudley I’m so glad it’s you! Your service said you were at the theater.”
The door above opened and Thomas poked his head out. “Is that the doctor?” He asked.
Alexander ignored Thomas and continued talking. “I wouldn’t have bothered you but this is an emergency.”
“Is that, the doctor?” Thomas asked again, walking to the stairs and prepared to walk down them.
“I’m Alexander Hamilton-Jefferson. My husband and I are good friends of Aaron Burr.”
“Is that the doctor?” Thomas was fully down the stairs and slowly approaching Alexander.
Alex grinned and lowered the phone, turning around. “It’s the doctor! It’s the doctor!”
“Well why didn’t you say so!” Thomas replied as loudly as he could without being heard through the phone.
Alexander turned away and continued speaking to the doctor. “Dr. Dudley, I’m afraid there’s been an accident...I would have called my own doctor, but my husband is a lawyer and under the circumstances, he thought it better to have Aaron’s own physician.” A pause as the doctor spoke. “Well, we just arrived at Aaron’s ten minutes ago and as we were getting out of the car we heard an enormous-”
“Don’t say anything!” Thomas cut him off quickly and loudly.
Once more, Alex lowered the phone. “What?”
“Don’t tell him what happened.”
“Don’t tell him?”
“Just do what I say!”
“What about Aaron?”
Thomas sighed. “He’s alright. It’s just a powder burn. Just don’t tell him about the gunshot.”
Alex stared at Thomas is confusion. “But they got the doctor out of the theater.”
Thomas thought a moment. “Tell him...he tripped down the stairs! He, uh, banged his head! He’s perfectly fine.”
“But what about the blood?”
Thomas was frantic now. “The bullet went through his earlobe. It’s nothing. I don’t want him to know.”
“But I already said we were getting out of the car and we suddenly heard an enormous-what? What did we hear?”
Alex quickly pulled the phone to his ear. “Just a minute, doctor.”
“We heard...we heard..we heard...an enormous-thud!”
“Thud?” Alex stared at his husband in confusion and disbelief for what must have been that hundredth time that night.
“When he tripped down the stairs.”
Alex nodded. “Good. Good. That’s good.” He yanked the phone to ear. “Dr. Dudley? I’m sorry, I was talking to my husband. Well, we heard this enormous thud. It seemed Aaron tripped going up the stairs.”
“Down!” corrected Thomas. “Down the stairs!”
Alex nodded and frantically fixed his mistake. “Down the stairs I mean!” He laughed a little. “He’s alright.”
“He’s...sitting up in bed. He’ll call him in the morning,” Thomas instructed Alex to say.
“He’s sitting up in bed. He’ll call him in the morning.”
“You! He’ll call you in the morning.”
“You’re very sorry you disturbed him.”
“I’m very sorry I disturbed you,” mimicked Alex.
“But he’s really fine.”
“But he’s really fine.”
“Thank you. Goodbye.”
Alex looked at Thomas. “Where are you going?”
“Him! Him! Thank him goodbye!” Thomas said, exasperated.
“Oh. Thank you and goodbye Doctor...what? Just a minute.” He looked to Thomas, who was heading up the stairs. “Any dizziness?”
“No. No dizziness.”
Alex nodded. “No. No dizziness… what?” He looked back to Thomas once more. “Can he move his limbs?”
Thomas was clearly irritated by this point. “Yes! He can move everything. Get off the phone.”
Alex glared. “They got him out of Phantom of the Opera! ” He turned back to the phone. “Yes he can move everything. What? Any slurring of the speech?”
“NO! NO SLURRING OF THE SPEECH!”
“Don’t yell at me! He’ll hear it!” Alex huffed and went back to the phone call. “No. No slurring of the speech.”
Thomas shook his head and continued up the stairs. “I’ve got to get back to Aaron.” He opened the door to Aaron’s room but was stopped by yet another question from Alexander.
“Any ringing of the ears?”
Thomas sighed and put his head in his hands. After a few seconds he lifted his head. “I can’t believe this. No. Tell him no.”
Alex rolled his eyes. “Yes, a little ringing in the ears.”
“I told you to say no.”
“Sounds more believable to have ringing.”
Alex ignored Thomas’ outburst and listened into what the doctor was asking. “Who? His husband? James? … Yes. James is here.”
Thomas rushed down the stairs. “He’s not here! Don’t tell him he’s here! He’ll want to speak to him!”
Alex nodded in response. “Dr. Dudley? My mistake. He’ll be out in a minute. Yes. I’ll tell him to call.” Thomas sighed and walked back up the stairs. “Okay, thank you Dr. Diddly...Dudley. Enjoy the show. Thomas and I saw it, we loved it. Especially the second act. Who’s playing the Phantom tonight?”
“Are you going to review the whole goddamn show!” Thomas yelled from the balcony, leaning dangerously far over the railing.
“Oh! Aaron is calling me!” He pulled the phone away from his ear. “Coming! Just a minute!” He laughed awkwardly as he pulled the phone back to his ear. “He sounds a lot better. Have a nice night! Okay Doctor, I will certainly inform him. Goodbye.” He hung up the phone and set it back down on the stand before whipping around to face Thomas. “Don’t you ever do that to me again. He must suspect something. I didn’t get his name right once.”
Thomas rolled his eyes. “If anyone calls again don’t answer it.”
“Then why’d you tell me to answer that one?”
“Because I thought the bullet went through his head and not his earlobe. Fix me a double vodka, I left Aaron standing in the shower.”
Alex laughed sarcastically, turning to the shelves full of alcohol bottles and various glasses. “If he drowns you’re making that call.” Thomas rolled his eyes and slid into the bedroom, shutting the door just a bit too hard behind him. “I don’t know why we’re always the first ones here,” he begins fixing the vodka, “Never came late once in our lives. Someone else could have dealt with all this.” He leaves the drink and goes to the coffee table where the cigarette box sat. He picked it up but a sudden ding from the doorbell made him jump and drop the box. “Oh, SHIT! Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!”
Thomas opened the door frantically. “Who’s that! Who is that?”
Alex froze and turned up to look at him. “Am I near the door? Do you see people in here? You think I’m on roller skates?”
“Let me think a minute.”
“Take your time because I don’t answer doors. I only speak to Dr. Dudley.”
Thomas ignored the sarcastic comment. “Alright it’s either Lafayette or Maria, one of the others. We’ve got to open the door.”
Alex crossed his arms. “You’ve got arms. Reach down.”
“I’ve got to dry Aaron off and bandage his ear. Don’t tell them what happened. I need a few minutes to figure this out. Can’t you stall them?”
“His best friends are coming to his tenth anniversary, his husband isn’t here, he shoots himself in the earlobe and I’m supposed to make small talk when they come in?”
Thomas sighed and propped his elbows on the railing of the balcony. “Attempted suicide is a criminal offense, not to mention a pretty ugly scandal. Aaron is deputy mayor of New York. He’s my client and my best friend. I’ve got to protect him don’t I? Just play host for a few minutes until I figure out how to handle this.
The doorbell rang once more. “Play the host? There’s no food out, there’s not ice in the bucket. Where’s the help? Where’s the cheese dip? Where’s James? What am I supposed to do ‘till you get back? Play charades? I’m lucky I can still speak english.”
“You’re a lawyer yourself. Can’t you figure out something to say?”
“Contracts!” Alexander cried in response. “I draw up legal publishing contracts. If someone walks in the door and wants to make a deal, I CAN HANDLE THAT!”
“Take it easy, calm down. I’ll be right back.” The bell rang again. It seemed to grow impatient, even though it sounded the same. Elegant and obnoxious as usual.
“Put some slippers on Aaron and make him answer the door.”
Thomas shook his head. “Just calm down. Drink my vodka.”
“Oh so how is vodka better than two puffs of a cigarette?”
“Because they know you quit and if they see you smoke in here they’ll know something is wrong.”
“You mean falling at their feet is going to look better?” Thomas groaned and as the doorbell rang once again, he bolted into the room. Alex crossed the room to answer the door. He was thankfully greeted by his friend John Laurens, who held a handkerchief to his lip.