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Shiner…

Chapter Text

Title: Shiner…
Story Type: AU
Word Count: 3217
Warnings: Anti-Michael, Passion and Lust…
Beta Queen: Bigj52

 

Summary: Brian and Justin find themselves in the hospital trying to explain that things aren’t, as they seem.

Chapter Summary: Through a series of unfortunate incidents Brian and Justin are hospitalized.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, plot, etc. are property of their respective owners, including, but not limited to Russell T. Davies, Cowlip, and Showtime. The author of this story is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended…

 

Shiner…

 

Chapter One ~ How Did We Get Here?

 

Brian’s POV

The hardest thing I’ve ever done was to watch him walk away from me. I planned it out. I pushed him away. Then finally over the edge. But when I saw the look in his eyes, and his heart breaking, all I wanted to do was run after him. But it was for his own good. He deserved someone better than me. Someone his own age. Someone who could be what he wanted and what he thought he needed.

I didn’t think it would hurt this much. I didn’t think I was in love. I never wanted to fall in love with him. But, he peeled away all my layers of defense, and left me feeling vulnerable. I tell myself that this feeling of dread is just temporary. I’ll be back to my old, arrogant, self-centered ways in no time. At least that’s what I thought, until I saw him this afternoon. He’s a stubborn little shit and wouldn’t listen to reason. I can still hear our conversation echoing through my head.

“Brian! We’re Not Together Anymore!”

“Tell me what’s going on!”

“Nothing!”

“Bullshit! Have you looked in the mirror?”

“I don’t want to talk about it!”

“That’s one hell of a shiner you’ve got there!”

“Just let me go!”

“I did that already, and look what you’ve become!”

“Brian, please! Please. It’s just better this way.”

“I don’t think so!”

“I made my choice. Now I have to live with it!”

“What the fuck does that mean? Is that what he told you? You have a right to change your mind, you know.”

“You don’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“He loves me!”

“He’s not the only one.”

Justin’s speechless, he’s not sure he heard Brian correctly.

“Justin! That’s not love. That’s hate.”

“I owe it to Ethan to try and make this work.”

“You don’t owe him anything. Trust me, he won’t change.”

“He’s under a lot of stress.”

“That’s no excuse for him hitting you!”

“He didn’t! I… I ran into the door frame.”

“Stop Lying To Me!”

“Brian. This doesn’t concern you. Please, just let it go.”

“No! Never! Don’t you know you’re worth so much more? You deserve so much more.”

“I have to go.”

“Justin. Don’t go back to him. It will only get worse. Trust me, I know!”

“I don’t have anywhere else to go.”

“You can stay at the loft.”

“No!”

“Why not?”

“I just can’t.”

“Why?”

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea. Besides, he promised it won’t happen again.”

Forget Justin getting 1500 on his SATs. He sure is a stupid little shit!

Justin’s actions this afternoon only confirm my worst fears. He’d rather stay with someone who beats him than come back to me. I lift the bottle of Beam to my lips and realize it’s empty, which is strange, because I don’t feel that drunk. Maybe my tolerance for alcohol has reached a new level. I lean my head back against the sofa and close my eyes. I still can’t get the image of him walking away from me once again, out of my head.

Justin’s POV

I’m standing in the pouring rain, shivering under the entrance way to the old brick building I used to call home. I’m hesitant to use my key to go in, even if he did say I could stay with him. It’s late, and the idea of walking in on him with a trick isn’t something I think I can stomach right now. It’s only been a few weeks since I left, and I wish I could take it all back. Why couldn’t I see that I was throwing away the only man that I ever truly loved, for a man who only cares about himself? Even though Ethan promised he loved me and cherished me, it was all lies and empty promises. All he wanted was someone to cook, clean and provide him with a paycheck, so he could cut back on his street performances and hone his talent.

I was so stupid to not admit to Brian that he was right. That it wasn’t a one-time thing; that it started almost immediately. But I bought all of Ethan’s excuses, as he justified his jealousy when he’d see Brian in the diner, or walking down Liberty Avenue. Of course Brian’s right. What I have with Ethan isn’t love, it really is hate. The night’s sky lights up with a flash, and then the sound of thunder booms and shudders the ground. It makes me jump, setting off a slight panic attack. Needing to feel safe, I fumble to get the key in the lock. I climb the stairs two at a time, and then I just stand there in the dark, staring at the door, afraid of what lies behind it.

Brian’s POV

I’m jolted awake to the sound of thunder, and a minute later by the loft door being pulled open, then shut. Glancing at the clock it’s 2:57 am. I can’t help smiling to see him sneaking in. I wonder if he sees me in the dark. I’m laying on the sofa watching his every move. He tip toes over to the bottom of the stairs and looks at the bed. I wonder if he’s relieved that I’m not there with someone else, or worried that I’m not there at all. He runs his hand through his hair, and then he sees the reflection of my whisky bottle in the moonlight.

Kneeling next to me, he takes the bottle from my hands and sets it on the coffee table. We look into each other’s eyes, reading each other’s emotions. Regret and sorrow, mixed with longing and desire. I reach out and touch his face, running my thumb under his eye. It’s swollen, and darker than before. A tear escapes, and runs down his face. I wipe it away with my fingertips, stroking his face.

“What the fuck? He hit you again?”

“Yeah…”

“Why?”

“I told him I ran into you outside of the diner this afternoon, and he flew into a rage.”

“Just because you talked to me?”

“Yeah. Then I laughed at him, after he told me that he wasn’t going to put up with all my bullshit the way you did.”

“He said I was a whore, and he wouldn’t tolerate me sneaking around with other guys. He said there would be rules, rules that had consequences.”

“I told him I wasn’t very good with rules, and that I made my own choices.”

“That’s when he lost it, and punched me in the eye again. I tried to get away but he grabbed me and threw me up against the wall, punching it so hard his hand went through the drywall.”

“It must have stung like a bitch, because he was holding it close to his body, rubbing it to relieve some of the pain. That’s when I escaped, running out of the door, and slamming it behind me. He screamed at me to get back in the apartment. But I was already out on the street before he finished his sentence.”

“Christ, Justin! How could you have been with such a bastard?”

“I was a fool. I didn’t really love him. I just wanted you to say you cared, to say you loved me.”

Justin looks at the floor, ashamed of himself and what’s happened.

“Justin. Look at me.”

He looks at Brian through wet eyelashes.

Brian whispers, “I care about you. Don’t you know that? I… I love you…”

“Even now? After I left you, and humiliated you in front of everyone.”

“Yes. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.”

Justin stares at him, knowing how much Brian’s ego and reputation means to him. But he sees the truth behind Brian’s words, and knows it’s true.

“Okay! Fine! I’ll admit it! I miss you, you little shit!”

“Really?”

“Yes, really, you silly twat.”

Justin sniffles, and Brian leans forward to kiss him. But in his drunken state he slips off the sofa, hitting his forehead on his designer coffee table.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”

He’s lying on the floor cradling the side of his face. Justin can see blood seeping through his fingers.

“Brian! Brian, you’re bleeding. Let me look at your cut.”

But Brian’s being stubborn, pulling away, as he tries to stand up. But he slips in a puddle of his own blood and falls. Smacking the back of his head on the corner of the coffee table, and then finally hitting his head on the hardwood floor.

“Brian! Brian! Oh my God! Brian!”

Justin shakes him, but soon realizes that he’s unconscious. Knowing Brian’s drunk, he quickly dials 911. Justin’s sitting on the floor, rocking him in his arms, crying and praying that Brian will be alright. The paramedics arrive in just a few minutes. Taking in the scene they assume it’s a lover’s quarrel. Brian’s eye is bleeding profusely, as Justin holds his shirt over it, applying pressure. They’re both covered in blood, and the EMS techs are sure it’s another case of jealous rage.

By the time they get to the hospital, Brian’s eye is swollen and has turned purple and black. Justin’s eye has also gotten darker, and without a shirt on you can now see all of the bruises Ethan inflicted on him. His stomach and side are turning purple where he hit the wall, as well as Ethan’s handprints on his arms, and around his neck. The hospital staff has separated them, even though Justin’s hysterical, demanding to stay with Brian. The doctor finally calms Justin down, promising that he can see Brian as soon as they’re both cleaned up and examined. But that wasn’t exactly true…

When the nurse slipped out of the room to get a kit to document the abuse, Justin notices a policeman standing outside his room. He didn’t think much of it at the time, but when she returns with a camera he becomes suspicious.

“I just need to document your injuries. If you could stand and hold your arms away from your body.”

“What? Why?”

“It’s the law. Now turn to your right and lift your arms over your head. Oh my, that is a nasty bruise.”

“Law? What do you mean?”

“Please turn around and face the wall, and lower your scrubs.”

“What?”

“Mr. Taylor. I know this isn’t pleasant. But Officer Strickland needs the photos for his files, so he can investigate your case of abuse.”

“Abuse? Against Ethan?”

“Ethan? I thought Mr. Kinney was your boyfriend.”

“He is.”

“And who is Ethan? What’s his last name?”

“Gold, it’s Ethan Gold.”

“And what’s your relationship to him?”

“He’s my boyfriend. I mean. I dated him a few times, but Brian is my boyfriend.”

“I see…”

“Please face forward. I need to get a close up of your neck area. Now Officer Strickland will be back in a few minutes to take your statement. I’m sure he’ll have more questions about your injuries, and both of your boyfriends.”

“Ethan isn’t my boyfriend, he never really was.”

“I’m sure Office Strickland will be glad to go over the details of your personal life.”

“I don’t want to talk to the police, or make a statement. I want to see Brian! I’m worried about him, and I need to see him!”

“Yes. I understand. It’s very common in these situations, but unfortunately it’s necessary that the hospital report and document all domestic abuse.”

“There is no domestic abuse.”

“Yes. I noticed this is the first time that you’ve actually sought medical attention for your injuries, but I think we both know this isn’t the first incident. Trust me, you’re doing the right thing. These types of situations can escalate quickly, especially considering that you’re involved with two lovers.”

“What? I… No, that… This isn’t that!”

“Don’t worry, you’re in good hands now.”

“No! No, you’ve misinterpreted the situation. There’s no abuse! I need to see Brian! I’m worried about him.”

“It’s not uncommon for the victim to try and protect his assailant.”

Justin shakes his head; it’s now almost 5 am and he’s just too tired to fight with her. He sits on the examination table, dressed in scrubs, kicking his legs, thinking about how they got here…

Flashback to a month ago…

He had snuck back into the loft well after 3 am, but when he crawled into bed it was obvious that Brian was still awake. When he lay down, staring at the ceiling, Brian had covered him with the duvet. Both of their emotions were on high alert, yet neither of them said a word. Justin wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw a sheen in Brian’s eyes. He remembers wondering if he might actually have been crying that night. He should have said something, should have begged for forgiveness. He never meant for his cheating to go that far, he just wanted Brian to acknowledge they had a relationship.

He had an early shift at the diner the next morning, and left before Brian was even awake. He was exhausted, as he hadn’t slept much the night before. The customers were all demanding, and the cooks were behind on the breakfast orders, which was causing the patrons to be late for work. Justin was the one paying for it, making lousy tips. By the time he walked into Red Cape Comics his mood was dark, and his tongue was sharp. Seeing Brian there didn’t help matters, and then there were the reporters from the newspaper, wanting to interview them about the comic book, and the Rage release party that night. This was the last thing he wanted to do, so he lashed out at them, and stormed out of the comic book store.

He didn’t get back to the loft until almost 8 pm that night. After classes he stayed late, painting to catch up on his project. He quickly showered, and changed into his club clothes. His mood had improved and he was actually excited about tonight’s event, because, after all it was a party to celebrate his artwork. Moreover, it was the first time he was actually facing the bashing, which was a hard subject for him to confront. Brian had always struggled to talk to him about it, and he refused counseling, sure he didn’t need it. Everyone else avoided the topic, always unsure of what to say. In general it just made everyone uncomfortable. So maybe tonight might help everyone to understand what happened, or at least help him comprehend what he’d been evading for so long.

But that’s not what happened. When he arrived, Brian was busy making sure the performance went off without a hitch. As he watched his bashing play out in front of him, it was overwhelming. It was more than he could handle as all his dreaded fears came rushing back to him. He needed Brian, needed to feel secure in his arms, and he needed his meds as he felt an anxiety attack coming on. He fought his way through the crowd, all the time feeling like everything was closing in on him. But when he found Brian in the back room, fucking his alter ego, it was more than he could take. He was crushed, and it was then that he realized that he was nothing more than a convenient fuck, just like Michael had been telling him all along. He was sure that Brian didn’t love him, that he had never loved him. That the only reason they were together was because Brian felt guilty for what had happened to him.

Totally panicked he ran through the crowded dance floor, as his heart shattered. That’s when he ran into Ethan, who was the last person he expected to see at the Rage party. But it made sense. After all, he had bumped into Ethan when he was hanging the Rage posters. So he knew about the promotion, and when and where it was. That was when Michael saw them kissing, and immediately ran to Brian, squealing on him like the snitch that he is. Michael never gave him a chance to explain, nor did he get a chance to explain everything to Brian himself. Fucking Michael, always sticking his nose into his and Brian’s relationship.

He can’t believe how stupid he was to allow Michael to be part of the comic book. Now Michael is acting like it’s his comic, and he created it, swelling his ego and making him a total pompous bastard. Who the fuck did Michael think he was? Justin was the one who produced the graphics. It wasn’t fiction, it was his story to tell. His life, it happened to him. All Michael did was take what happened, and write simplistic words in the caption bubbles over the characters’ heads. Michael wasn’t the author. He was nothing but a glorified copywriter, rewriting an actual event that happened to him. The only reason he worked with Michael, was to help smooth over their friendship. He had hoped to stop Michael’s snide comments, and him continually undermining his and Brian’s relationship.

Ethan rushed towards him, seeing how upset he was and held him in his arms. Looking over Justin’s shoulder, he saw Brian across the room. That’s when he pulled Justin tighter, and gave him a passionate kiss. As the kiss broke, they both turned and looked directly at Brian. Ethan stared at Brian, smirking with a knowing smile, while Justin looked surprised, feeling caught, and sad at the realization that he had probably just lost the love of his life. Smugly Ethan took Justin’s hand in his to reinforce his claim, making sure Brian understood that he had won. Then they turned and walked out of Babylon hand-in- hand.

But they didn’t ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. Justin was even more upset than he was upon seeing Brian. Seeing the hurt in Brian’s eyes, his heart was breaking even more than before, if that’s even possible. He had a headache, and hadn’t eaten since breakfast. They found a small hole-in-the wall restaurant far away from Liberty Avenue. Justin poured his heart out, needing someone to talk to. He wished it was Daphne who sat across from him, knowing that she always knew just what to say. She could always help put things in perspective for him. But it was Ethan, and he just sat there barely listening, growing angrier the more Justin talked about what he had with Brian.

Justin was broken hearted, while Ethan couldn’t be happier about the turn of events. The more Justin cried for what he had lost, the more impatient Ethan grew. He’d had enough, and he told Justin to get over it. That it was better this way, and now they could finally be a couple. He spouted all his pretty words about love again. He promised Justin commitment and devotion, and that he’d treat him better than Brian, telling Justin he deserved someone who only wanted to be with him. And now that Ethan had him, he would never let him go. Justin didn’t realize just how frightening those words would become. It only lasted a few hours, and then Ethan turned on him, showing his true colors.

TBC…

Chapter Text

Title: Shiner…
Story Type: AU
Word Count: 3084
Warnings: Anti-Michael, Passion and Lust…
Beta Queen: Bigj52

 

Summary: Brian and Justin find themselves in the hospital trying to explain that things aren’t, as they seem.

Chapter Summary: After the police take everyone’s statements, they have a better understand of the situation.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, plot, etc. are property of their respective owners, including, but not limited to Russell T. Davies, Cowlip, and Showtime. The author of this story is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended…

Chapter Two ~ Perception and Reality…

Ben’s jolted awake by the phone ringing. Looking at the clock he realizes that he needs to get up anyways. He has an early class this morning, and a faculty meeting before that. He shakes Michael’s shoulder, then hands him the phone. At the same time across town, Jennifer’s making Molly’s breakfast when the hospital calls to let her know that Justin’s been admitted.

Jen’s fretting over what could have possibly happened to Justin, the nurse wouldn’t say over the phone. The last time she saw him was a couple of weeks ago when he was leaving the Rage party with ‘that Ethan’. She doesn’t know anything about him. As a matter of fact she was shocked when she saw Ethan kiss Justin right before they departed. And she can’t forget the sad look that flickered across Brian’s face, before he firmly slipped on his mask of indifference. She may not have always thought that Brian was the right man for her son, but she also doesn’t think that Brian would ever do anything to hurt Justin. Brian may not show it, but she’s sure he loves her son much more than he lets on. She remembers seeing him, sitting in the hospital, waiting for word on Justin’s condition after the bashing. That kind of love doesn’t fade just because things get difficult in a relationship. Now here she was once again rushing to the hospital, worried sick about Justin.

Jennifer, Michael, and of course, Debbie all arrive at the hospital at the same time. Jennifer’s concerned about Justin’s condition. Michael’s hysterical, and Debbie isn’t much better, as their minds conjure up the worst case scenario about Brian’s condition. Michael has Brian’s POA and when he sees Jennifer, he’s sure that Justin is to blame for Brian’s condition. The nurses separate them, so they won’t cause more of a scene than they already have. Jennifer’s confused, not understanding what’s happened, and what Brian might have to do with Justin’s admittance to the hospital.

Since Justin’s awake, Jennifer’s led to his room to see him. She’s shocked when she sees all the bruises and abrasions on Justin’s eyes, arms, sides and neck. Justin’s frantic, demanding to see Brian. He calms down a little when he sees his mother.

“Oh, Justin. What’s happened? Brian didn’t do this to you, did he?”

“No! Of course not!”

“Then what’s happened?”

“Oh mom, I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life. I never should have left Brian. I know now that he loved me, he just didn’t know how to tell me. He tried to show me with his actions, but I thought I needed words.”

“Yes, I know Brian loves you. It’s blatantly obvious to anyone who knows the two of you. But that doesn’t explain what’s happened tonight.”

Tears well up in Justin’s eyes. “I’m so ashamed of the way I’ve been acting, and I didn’t want to admit that I’ve been a fool.”

“Justin! Justin, tell me who did this to you!”

Officer Strickland enters his room, just as he says, “I’m trying to explain! It was Ethan!”

“So Mr. Kinney wasn’t the one who beat you?”

“No! Of course not! He’d never hit me!”

“Calm down, Justin.”

“Mom, I can’t calm down! I need to see Brian.”

Officer Strickland has his notebook in hand, jotting down notes, as Justin recalls the events of the evening.

“So, was it Ethan who beat up Mr. Kinney as well?”

“No! No, that was an accident.”

“The doctors don’t seem to think it was an accident. He’s received several blows to his head, that has left him in and out of consciousness.”

“Oh my God! I have to see him!”

“Once I’ve gotten your full statement, you can speak with the doctor. Now, back it up to earlier in the evening. What is Ethan’s full name?”

“It’s Eachann Natan Gold III, but his nickname is Ethan.”

Jen can’t help smirking, as she covers her mouth with her hand.

“Can you spell that?”

Justin rattles off the spelling, being sure to strongly enunciate ‘the third’, making it sound even more pretentious than it already is. Then he starts to explain how his relationship with Ethan began. Then how it eventually evolved into the nightmare that it is, and how he now feels trapped.

~~~

Now that Jennifer has been shown to Justin’s hospital room, Michael is arguing with the on-call nurse.

“I want to see Brian Kinney, right now!”

“As I’ve already explained to you twice now, the hospital called you because you were listed as Mr. Kinney’s POA in his chart. But during one of Mr. Kinney’s brief moments of consciousness, he told us that he had changed his POA to Mr. Taylor. Then he said we should call Ted Schmidt for a copy of the POA, and that he was allowed to make decisions on his behalf.”

“And as I’ve already told you a hundred times, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Kinney are no longer together. Therefore I’m now Brian’s POA again, instead of Justin.”

“That’s not how it works. It’s a legal document, and it has to be notarized and filed with the court.”

“I don’t care what you say. I want to see Brian. He needs me!”

“Please have a seat, and I’ll check with the doctor on Mr. Kinney’s condition.”

“Christ, Michael! I can hear you yelling before the elevator even stopped.”

“They won’t let me see Brian, and they think Justin has Brian’s POA. But I know there’s no way he would ever have Justin listed as his POA.”

“Actually, he did change his POA after the bashing, when Justin came to live with him.”

“But they’re no longer together! So it should be me, again.”

“Brian’s never asked to change it from Justin, back to you.”

“That’s because he just hasn’t had the time.”

“Either way, Justin is his POA until Brian decides to change it.”

“Ma! Can you believe that little shit has Brian’s POA?”

Disconnecting her call, Debbie says, “Carl says he’s too busy to come down here. Can you believe that?”

“Are you even listening to me? Justin has Brian’s POA!”

“I told Carl that I expected him to stop what he’s doing! He needs to come to the hospital and make them let us see Brian.”

Ted sarcastically says, “I’m sure he’ll drop everything and rush right down here.”

“You’re damn right he will!”

“Ted. There’s the nurse. You go and talk with her. Make her let us see Brian.”

“You’re Ted Schmidt?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Good. Mr. Kinney is asking for you.”

Michael jumps up, saying, “It’s about time!”

“Isn’t your name Novotny?”

“Yes! But I’m Brian’s best friend!”

“You’ll have to stay here. Only Mr. Schmidt is allowed to see Mr. Kinney.”

“But… No! Ted, do something!”

Meanwhile down the hall, in Brian’s hospital room…

“Mr. Kinney. Please calm down! The doctor will be right in to examine you, and then the police will take your statement.”

“I want to see Justin Taylor! And get me Ted Schmidt!”

“If you don’t calm down, the doctor will have to sedate you.”

Under any other circumstance, Brian might like that idea. But right now he needs to know that Justin is alright. He needs to see him, he needs Justin to know that he loves him. The nurses are fussing around checking his heart rate, and changing his bandages, trying to stop the bleeding.

The doctor comes in and does several simple tests to make sure Brian hasn’t received any serious brain damage. He shines a light into Brian’s eyes, then he asks Brian to follow his finger. He asks him who the President of the United States is, if he knows what day it is. Finally he asks him if he remembers what happened, and why he’s in the hospital. Brian’s irritated by all the questions, and demands to see Justin.

Ted sits quietly next to Brian’s bed, while Office Strickland questions Brian.

“What is your relationship with Justin Taylor?”

Normally the idea of a relationship would send Brian off the rails, but not today.

“He’s my partner.”

“It’s my understanding that Mr. Taylor is living with his boyfriend, Mr. Gold. Not you.”

“That was a mistake. He’s no longer living with him. He’s come home. His address is 408 Tremont.”

“I see. If I asked Mr. Gold where Justin Taylor lives, what would he say?”

“How the fuck should I know what that greasy weasel would say!”

“Did you and Mr. Gold get into a physical altercation tonight?”

“What? No! I haven’t seen him since he was loitering around at the diner several days ago.”

“The diner?”

“Liberty Diner. That’s where Justin works.”

Officer Strickland writes that down in his notebook. “Can you tell me where Mr. Gold works?”

“On any given street corner. Begging for tips.”

“What are the tips for?”

“Making passersby ears bleed, while abusing his violin.”

Joking, he says, “I guess you’re not a fan of classical music? Now, tell me. Have you and Mr. Gold ever been in a fight before?”

“No! But I can guarantee you that the next time I see him, I’m going to beat the shit out of him! Did you see what he did to my sweet angel? That motherfucker has been abusing him.”

“When did you become aware of the abuse?”

“Yesterday afternoon. I saw Justin on the street, and he had a huge black eye! I questioned him about it, and he finally admitted that Ethan hit him.”

“That’s when he came back to live with you?”

“I asked him to come home, but he felt some sense of obligation to Ethan. But last night he came back to the loft after Ethan beat him again. Have you seen the bruises all over his body?”

“Yes. They’ve been documented for the record. You know legally, the hospital must report any form of abuse with the police department.”

“Which leads me to my next question. Who did you get into a fight with last night? You’ve received several blows to your head, and you’ve been in and out of unconsciousness for the last few hours.”

“I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

“It appears that after examining the crime scene, that you and Mr. Taylor were involved in a physical argument. Maybe you were angry about his relationship with Mr. Gold? Maybe you hit him for cheating on you, and leaving you for another man?”

“No! What crime scene? I would never hit Justin! I love him! I love him!”

“Yet, he did leave you for another man?”

“Yes. He was unhappy, and I thought maybe he would be happier with someone else. Someone closer to his own age.”

“Just how much older are you than Mr. Taylor?”

“Twelve years.”

“Twelve Years! That’s quite an age difference. How old was he when the two of you started sleeping together?”

Brian takes a deep breath, even though it was legal for him and Justin to have sex. It always sounds bad when you say it out loud.

“He was seventeen. A very mature seventeen.”

“Ah ha…”

The doctor steps back into the room.

“Excuse me, Mr. Schmidt, would you mind stepping out of the room? I need to ask Mr. Kinney a few more questions. Officer Strickland, you might need to stay, and document this for your files.”

Brian stares at the two men, not liking this turn of events, or anything going into a police record.

“Ted Schmidt stays.”

“All right. If that’s what you want.”

“It is.”

“Mr. Kinney. I have reviewed your x-rays and searched the hospital records for any previous injuries. It seems that you have suffered many previous injuries, during your childhood. Your x-rays show numerous broken and fractured bones. Upon examination, and review of the way your bones have healed, it appeared that you were very young when your abuse started. Yet, I find no medical records or documentation of this abuse in the system.”

“Oh…”

“I know you might not be comfortable discussing your past, but I strongly recommend that you let us document these injuries in a permanent record.”

“No.”

“Mr. Kinney. I understand that you’re an adult now, but the hospital is still legally bound to report all abuse.”

“What are you going to do? Dig up dear old Jack, and arrest him? Or maybe you want to drag my drunken mother out of her hoarder house and put her in jail?”

“I understand that it’s difficult to discuss your past, but I believe that it would be beneficial for you talk to a professional.”

“A shrink? I don’t believe in therapy! It’s better to just let sleeping dogs lie.”

“Brian. May I call you Brian?”

“That’s my name.”

“I think we both know that you’re suffering long-term effects from your childhood. It’s obvious that you’ve abused drugs, and you’ve inherited your parent’s addiction of alcohol.”

“I don’t want to talk about this!”

“That’s understandable. But sometimes therapy helps. Just knowing that others have also experienced what you’ve gone through, will help relieve some of your pain.”

“I think we’re done here.”

“Please consider what we’ve talked about. I truly believe you would benefit from acknowledging the pain from your abusive parents.”

“Can I be discharged from the hospital?”

“No. We need you to say for twenty-four hours, just to make sure that you don’t have any residual effects from your head injury.”

“I’m fine! I want to leave! I want to see Justin Taylor!”

Brian’s shouting has caused a sharp pain to surge through his head, as he leans forward, cradling his head. The doctor comes over quickly and examines Brian, as the nurse ushers everyone out of Brian’s hospital room. He removes the bandages and sees Brian’s head is bleeding again, and decides to send him for an MRI.

Meanwhile, Officer Strickland is called on his radio to report to room 315, one floor down. Ted’s worried about Brian’s condition, as well as being concerned about how Justin is doing. He asks one of the nurses, if he can see Justin and is shown to his hospital room. He sits next to Jennifer, getting an update on Justin’s condition.

“At first the doctors were worried that Justin was injured, because he was covered in blood. But Justin explained that there was an accident, and Brian fell and hit his head on the coffee table. Trying to help Brian, Justin’s clothes became stained with Brian’s blood. Upon examination, it was obvious that Justin has also been involved in an altercation that left him with deep bruises and abrasions.”

“Where is he now?”

“Justin’s been taken down for an x-ray and an MRI. The doctors want to be sure that Justin hasn’t received any head trauma. They’re just being extra cautious, considering Justin’s head injuries from the bashing.”

“Yes, of course.”

“At first the police and hospital staff thought that Brian and Justin had been in a fight. But Justin explained that there had been two separate incidents tonight. Ethan Gold had assaulted Justin, punching and choking him. Brian had been drinking and was injured when he fell, and hit his head on the coffee table, twice.”

~~~

“Mr. Gold. I’m Officer Strickland. Are you Justin Taylor’s boyfriend?”

Ethan thinks, I knew Justin would come crawling back to me; he’s too weak to be on his own.

“Yes. Is he here to see me?”

“Not just yet. I need to ask you a few questions.”

“Oh. Alright. What do you need to know?”

“I just wanted to confirm that the two of you were involved in a lover’s spat tonight, and that’s how you hurt your hand?”

Ethan’s pumped up on painkillers, and doesn’t seem to have any pain. He hasn’t really given his hand injury much thought, still being groggy from his surgery.

“Well, yes. But it wasn’t anything serious. You know, just the normal arguments that couples often have.”

“So, the two of you argue often?”

“Well… He’s just getting used to being in a normal relationship, having ended one that was unhealthy for him.”

“So, you were just showing him how a relationship with you would be.”

“Yes. Exactly. He needs to learn that there are rules and consequences, if he disobeys me.”

“So, this isn’t the first time you’ve had to set him straight?”

“No! He repeatedly defies me, and breaks my rules!”

“That must be frustrating and make you angry?”

“You have no idea. That’s why I’ve had to use extra force, so he understands that I will not put up with his behavior.”

“Well, I think that answers most of my questions. Although I may need to have you fill in a few blanks, later today.”

As he leaves Ethan’s room, Carl meets him in the hallway and goes over Ethan’s statement. Then he reads the statements from Brian and Justin. Both Brian and Ethan’s apartments have been officially designated as crime scenes, and CSI is collecting evidence of the crimes. He takes a deep breath, knowing that he’ll have to face Debbie, and set Michael straight.

“Carl! Carl, what’s going on? Michael and I have been waiting here for hours. The nurses won’t tell us anything, and I’ve yet to hear from the doctor!”

“Debbie, please. Just listen…”

Michael butts right in. “I want to know what’s happened to Brian! I want to see Brian!”

“Michael, control yourself! I’m explaining the situation as best I can! Neither one of you are blood relatives, or listed as Brian’s POA. So there is very little I can actually divulge to you concerning Brian’s condition.”

“You’ll have to wait until he is allowed visitors. It will be up to Brian if he chooses to tell you what’s happened. So, right now you two should go home and get some rest.”

“This is bullshit! I want to see Brian right now! I’m Brian’s best…”

“Michael! If you raise your voice and cause a ruckus here at the hospital again, I will have you banned from visiting Brian. Then you’ll have to wait until he’s released, and see if he wants to see you.”

“OF COURSE HE WANTS TO SEE ME! I’M HIS BEST FRIEND!”

“You just couldn’t resist, could you?”

Carl takes Michael by the ear, and pulls him into the elevator. Debbie‘s hot on their heels. Once he has them both in the parking lot, he issues Michael a citation and a fine, with a warning that if he returns to the hospital he’ll be arrested.

TBC…

Chapter Text

Title: Shiner…
Story Type: AU
Word Count: 3899
Warnings: Anti-Michael, Passion and Love…
Beta Queen: Bigj52

 

Summary: Brian and Justin find themselves in the hospital trying to explain that things aren’t, as they seem.

Chapter Summary: As usual Michael can’t help himself from jumping to conclusions, and spreading rumors.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, plot, etc. are property of their respective owners, including, but not limited to Russell T. Davies, Cowlip, and Showtime. The author of this story is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended…

Chapter Three ~ Time for a Little Rest and Relaxation

“Debbie! I’m just doing my job, and I won’t have you interfering in a police investigation! You may bully your so-called boys, to get what you want with them. But I won’t tolerate being treated that way! If that means ending our relationship, so be it! I won’t be henpecked by anyone. Especially someone who is supposed to love me!”

With that Carl turns and walks back into the hospital to talk with Ted, and check on Brian and Justin.

~~~

Ethan’s been pressing the call button for the nurse’s station for the last half hour.

“What is it now, Mr. Gold?”

“It’s my hand, the pain is unbearable. Why does it hurt so much?”

“The morphine given to you during surgery has worn off, and now you’re on Percocet. It’s not as strong, and you’ll still have residual pain as your hand heals.”

“For how long? I’m scheduled to participate in an international violin competition.”

The nurse looks at him sympathetically. “You’ll have to talk with the doctor about your prognosis.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? Where are you going? Aren’t you going to give me any medication? Come back here!”

Carl passes the nurse as he enters Ethan’s room.

“Ethan Gold?”

“Yes.”

“I’m Detective Lieutenant Carl Horvath with The Pittsburgh Police Department. I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

“I already talked with the other officer.”

“Yes. I was just going over your statement.”

“I thought Justin was here? Why isn’t he here with me? I have a long list of things he needs to get done.”

“I don’t believe Mr. Taylor will be visiting you any time soon.”

“Why the hell not?”

“It is my impression that the brief relationship you two had, is now over.”

“The fuck it is! Get him for me, now!”

“As I was saying, upon reviewing Officer Strickland’s report, it says that you assaulted Mr. Taylor, punching him in the eyes, sides, and stomach. You threw him up against the wall, and choked him, leaving handprints around his neck, as well as multiple bruises covering his body.”

“What! That’s an exaggeration! I barely touched him!”

“This wasn’t the first time you hit him during an argument, is it?”

“Couples argue! But I’ve never hurt him. I just needed to make sure he understood that I wouldn’t tolerate his disobedience.”

“Thank you. That confirms Officer Strickland’s report. You’ll be transferred to the medical care unit of the Allegheny prison system later this afternoon. Then you’ll appear in front of a judge and officially be charged with assault and battery, and domestic violence.”

“What the fuck?”

“Ethan Gold, you’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent; anything you say may and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you have any questions concerning your rights?”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Which part of assault, battery and domestic violence didn’t you understand?”

“This can’t be happening!”

Carl leaves so Dr. Evans can talk with Ethan.

“Doctor. What’s going on? The nurse said you operated on my hand. Is it going to be okay?”

“Yes. The operation was a success, and with time and occupational therapy you should regain use of your hand. Of course, it will all depend on how much effort you put into your hand exercises, as to how much you regain use of your hand.”

“What do you mean, regain? I’m a violinist! I need the use of my hands to play music! I’m going to famous one day!”

“Well… That is a wonderful goal, but it’s unlikely to happen. Right now you’re not even able to feed yourself. The bones in your hand were broken. Focusing on being able to hold a fork at this point should be your main goal.”

“This can’t be happening!”

“It is my understanding that you punched a hole in the wall of your apartment. Your hand hit the stud, shattering all your bones.”

“This is all Justin’s fault! He made me do it!”

~~~

Carl finds Ted and they go to the little café across the street, both having missed breakfast and lunch. They talk about Brian and Justin’s injuries, and what’s happened at the loft. Once it is determined that it was just an accident, Ted makes arrangements to have Brian’s loft professionally cleaned. The last thing he wants, is for Brian and Justin to return home to the bloody scene from the accident.

Meanwhile, Michael has gone to Brian’s loft under the guise of getting him some clothes. He wasn’t allowed in by the police, because they were still investigating the incident as a crime. From what little Michael could see, it looked like someone tried to murder Brian, and that’s the story Michael ran with. Knowing that Justin was also in the hospital, Michael is sure that Justin is to blame. Convinced that Justin will be charged with murder, he can’t help himself from spreading the news around Liberty Avenue.

He charges into the diner, shouting to his mother that the police are at Brian’s loft, and they’ve declared it a crime scene. All heads turn upon hearing the news. Michael tells everyone that Justin tried to kill Brian in a fit of rage. The rumors of Brian and Justin are spreading like wildfire on the Avenue, even though there isn’t a word of truth in them.

On Ted’s way back into the hospital he is accosted by a very angry Deb, Michael and Emmett. Okay, Emmett wasn’t angry, just very worried and concerned.

“Ted! Why haven’t you demanded that Michael and I be allowed to see Brian? He needs us, we’re his family!”

“Deb, I’ve already explained this to you. You’re just going to have to wait until Brian’s released from the hospital to visit him.”

“What’s going on? Has Justin been arrested?”

“Arrested? What are you talking about?”

“I went to Brian’s loft, and the police were there. The place was covered in blood. I just know it’s Justin’s fault!”

“As usual, you’re full of misinformation, Michael! ”

“I don’t think so!”

“Michael. You always jump to the wrong conclusions. Try getting the facts before you start making accusations.”

“Well, no one would tell me what was going on! How would I know what’s happened?”

“You don’t need to know anything, until you’re told! It’s not your place to know what’s going on, and before you say ‘I’m Brian’s best friend, I have a right to know.’ You don’t! You’re not Brian’s POA, you’re not his boyfriend, and if you’re not careful you just might not be his best friend much longer!”

“This is total bullshit! Don’t you walk away from me! Ted! Ted, I’m talking to you!”

Michael’s still screaming as Emmett runs to catch up with Teddy. For once Michael and Deb stay put, knowing that they won’t be allowed into the hospital after Carl’s warning.

~~~

Ethan wakes to the sound of his mother’s voice. “Ethan, what is going on? The hospital called and said that you broke your hand.”

Ethan just stares at his parents, totally freaked out that they’re at the hospital.

“We went to your apartment to get you some pajamas and toiletries. The police were there, and they said it was a crime scene. They wouldn’t let us in, or tell us what’s happened.”

“It’s a crime scene? God, I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Ethan. Is this about your temper? You know your doctor recommended that you go to anger management classes. You did go, didn’t you?”

“Ethan! Your mother’s talking to you!”

“I… I was going to, but I felt I needed to practice my violin more.”

“The apartment manager talked with us, and he said that you’re three months behind on your rent. He said you promised to pay it yesterday, but you never did. You’ve being evicted, and we have to pack up all your things, once the crime scene is released. Otherwise he’s going to throw everything in the trash.”

“I can’t believe this is happening to me! Justin should have paid the rent! He needs to pay the rent! This is all his fault!”

“Who is Justin? Please tell me you’re not involved in another homosexual affair. Ethan, you know your father and I will not tolerate your deviant behavior!”

“You promised that you’d never have sex with men again! Is it true? This is unacceptable!”

He just looks at them with his mouth open, unable to say anything.

Ethan’s father screams, “Answer me! You disgust me! We warned you! You’re no longer our son! You deserve to burn in hell!”

It was eerily silent, after his parents left. He was seeing his whole life crumble and disappear before his eyes.

~~~

Jennifer is sitting with Justin, trying to be supportive as they wait for Brian’s return. She knows how frightening it is to not know what’s going on, as she reflects on her time after Justin’s bashing.

“Justin, you need to relax. I’m sure everything is going to be fine. His injuries can’t be anywhere near as bad as when you were bashed.”

As soon as she hears the words come out of her mouth, she knows she shouldn’t have said that. Justin is now panicking, remembering how much he struggled after the bashing. She tries to think of something positive to say, but she has no idea how bad Brian’s injuries are. She holds his hand as tears well up in his eyes.

“I’m so scared. What if Brian’s injuries cause serious brain damage? There was so much blood. He was unconscious. There was nothing I could do. I just held him, praying that the ambulance would get there soon.”

“You did everything you could do. You need to stop blaming yourself. I’m sure Brian’s going to be fine. After all, Ted said that he had regained consciousness, and was talking to the doctor before he was taken for his MRI and CT scan.”

“You don’t know! You can’t know that!”

“Calm down. Getting yourself this upset isn’t helping.”

“How can I calm down? What if I lose him? I love him! I love him more than anything in my life! We were just getting back together. There are so many things I needed to tell him. So many things I wanted to apologize to him for. What if I never get that chance?”

“Oh Justin. I’m sure that Brian knows that you love him. It’s so obvious to anyone who knows you two, that you’re hopelessly in love with each other.”

“I never thought I’d hear you say that.”

“Honey. My opinion of Brian has changed greatly over the last year. I know I wasn’t always so supportive of your relationship. But I can now see that you two share something very special, something that most couples never have.”

“Well then, why didn’t you say something? Why didn’t you tell me I was making a huge mistake, leaving him for Ethan?”

“It wasn’t my place to tell you. It was something you needed to figure out on your own. You and Brian were struggling, and you two were the only ones who could fix what was breaking. You wouldn’t have been able to see it, and you would have resented anyone trying to tell you.”

“Yeah. I guess so. We’re both pretty stubborn sometimes.”

The nurse comes in. “Your MRI came back fine, but the doctor wants to keep you for observation for the next twenty-four hours. Mr. Kinney is finished with his tests, and you’ll be able to see him soon.”

“So, he’s going to be alright? Will he be here on the same floor as me?”

“The doctor will be in to talk with you soon. In the meantime, we’ll be bringing in a second bed. So yes, Mr. Kinney will not only be on the same floor as you, he’ll be right here in the bed next to yours.”

“Really? Oh God, that’s great!”

“So you don’t need to be so worried, and try not to be too excited when you talk with the doctor. He might have reservations, if he thinks Mr. Kinney won’t be able to have a peaceful recovery.”

“I’ll calm down. I won’t disrupt Brian’s recovery. I’m pretty sure he’ll recover faster knowing I’m right here with him.”

The nurse just smiles, and Jennifer mouths ‘thank you’ to her as she leaves. But before she’s completely out the door she turns and says, “It’s so great to know that two of you are still together. I remember how he used to sit for hours watching over you in the middle of the night. But I should have known that if you two could survive that, you can survive anything.”

Then she was gone.

“Mom! What was she talking about? Did you know about that? Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“Justin, it’s not what you think. I didn’t find out about it until a few days before you were released.”

“And you didn’t tell me? Why? When you knew how much I needed him?”

“I was still angry with him. I still blamed him.”

“The question was why didn’t you tell me?”

“I was trying to protect you. I now know that was wrong.”

“Do you understand that if I had known, so many things would have been different between me and Brian? I needed to know he loved me! You know how hard it is for him to express his emotions! Yet you stayed silent when I walked out on him, because I didn’t think he loved me!”

“I’m sorry, Justin. I really am. I guess I thought that maybe you needed to see what it was like to date other men.”

“God! I am so angry with you right now!”

“I’m sorry. I know now that it was wrong. I should have told you. Please forgive me. You don’t understand what it’s like to be a parent; you’ll do anything to protect your children.”

“I’m not a child! I don’t understand. You just said it was obvious how much we loved each other?”

“I’m still evolving, Justin. You were so unhappy before you left with Ethan, and I couldn’t change how things were. I could only hope that your love for Brian would bring you back to him.”

“Do you know how fucked up all of this is?”

“I was just trying to be supportive of your choices.”

Justin lays down on the bed and puts the pillow over his face, his emotions all over the place.

 

~~~

Officer Strickland and two prison guards enter Ethan’s room. They instruct him to change into the standard orange jumpsuit, and he’s taken into custody. On his way to the Allegheny County prison, he passes Ted and Emmett in the hallway.

Once in Justin’s room, Emmett wants all the juicy details of how he and Brian reconnected. He holds onto every word, as Justin tells him about Brian insisting that he stay at the loft. And how worried he was about Justin’s safety, finally confessing that he missed him. Jennifer’s phone rings, so she steps out into the hall to answer it.

“Hello.”

“Jennifer, its Debbie. I’ve been so worried about you. How is Justin handling everything? Have the police questioned him?”

“Justin’s doing fine. His only injuries are the bruises, and the black eye he received during the fight.”

“So he’s faring better than Brian? That’s surprising, considering Brian’s so much stronger than him. Was he cut? I know it’s not unusual for the aggressor not to get cut during a knife fight.”

“What are you talking about, Debbie?”

“You know the loft is now a crime scene? There’s police tape around the building, and they’re not letting anyone into Brian’s loft. According to Michael, there was blood everywhere.”

“I guess that’s to be expected. They’ll need to investigate the accident.”

“I hardly consider it an accident, Jennifer! You know I love Justin, as if he was my own son. But when it comes to choosing between Brian and Justin, you have to know that I’ll always take Brian’s side.”

“Brian’s side? Don’t you mean Michael’s side?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about?”

“Yes, that’s becoming more evident the longer this conversation goes on.”

“Listen, Jennifer! I’m just trying to be a supportive friend! I’d think you’d need one right about now, considering that Justin’s going to be charged with attempted murder!”

Jennifer burst out laughing. “I’m sorry, Deb, but I can’t help laughing. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I’m guessing that’s something Michael told you? Because we all know Michael has an over-active imagination. Let alone, he’d like nothing better than for my son to be arrested, and removed from Brian’s life!”

“How dare you talk about Michael that way? He’s Brian’s best friend, and he’ll always look out for him.”

“Best friend! Right! We both know he’d like to be more than Brian’s best friend; he’s foolishly in love with Brian! But we both know Brian doesn’t love him, not the way he loves my son!”

“You think Brian’s in love with Justin? Brian’s a selfish, self-centered bastard who will never love anyone but himself! Well, except Michael, of course! They’re meant to be together!”

“Of course! Okay. I’m going to hang up now. Hopefully you’ll return to reality soon, and stop believing all these lies that your son is spreading.”

“Wait! Jennifer, don’t hang up!”

“What is it, Debbie? This conversation is getting tedious.”

“Do you know how Brian is doing? How badly was he stabbed? Is he out of surgery? Is he going to be okay?”

“You’ll have to ask his doctor. Oh, that’s right, neither you or Michael are his POA. Good bye, Debbie.”

Jennifer stands aside, as they wheel Brian into the hospital room. Emmett and Ted are sitting next to Justin’s bed, as they watch Brian getting settled. The nurses hook up the machine to monitor Brian’s condition, and check his IV. As soon as they leave the room, Justin pulls back the curtain separating them.

Brian smiles up at Justin. “Hey, Sunshine! I was so worried about you.”

“Oh, Brian! I’m so glad you’re going to be alright. I’ve been waiting hours to see you. They wouldn’t let me stay with you in the emergency room. At first they thought we had a fight, but once I told them about Ethan they understood the situation better.”

“Come here. I need you close to me.”

Justin crawls up into bed with Brian, snuggling into his side.

“Justin. Do you really think that’s a good idea?”

“Mom. Do you know how long it’s been since we’ve been able to hold each other?”

Jennifer blushes, and makes an excuse about getting everyone coffee from the cafeteria.

~~~

Meanwhile back on the Avenue, Michael’s now at Woody’s, spouting misinformation about Brian. He’s exaggerating the point that Justin stabbed Brian, just missing his heart. Now there’s a manhunt out for Justin to be charged with attempted murder. Everyone’s listening to him, as Michael’s filled with glee at being the center of attention. His imagination is running wild as his lies grow larger.

“Oh, for crying out loud! You are so full of shit!”

“I’m Brian’s best friend! Who would know better than me?”

“If you’re his best friend, than why are you banned from entering the hospital, and seeing him?”

“How would you know about that?”

“I hear rumors. I’m the ER nurse who first evaluated Brian’s condition, and he wasn’t stabbed! He hit his head!”

All the guys at the bar look at Michael. They may love hearing all the juicy gossip, but they hate being lied to.

The bartender says, “Christ, Novotny! I should have known you’d say anything just to get attention, and try and maintain your ‘I’m Brian’s best friend image!’”

The bear at the end of the bar says, “Yeah! And to go so far as to accuse sweet Justin of trying to murder his man!”

“Brian’s not his man! And you don’t know anything! Justin tried to murder him! Maybe he wasn’t stabbed, but he was injured!”

Another patron shouts, “This is so typical of you to mouth off, just to be the center of attention!"

“I’m just worried about Brian!”

“Then why aren’t you at the hospital? Oh, that’s right, you made a big scene, and got banned from the hospital!”

“No! Wait! I can explain!”

Everyone turns away from Michael, going back to their previous conversations, leaving him looking like a fool and a liar. Michael runs out of the bar, feeling embarrassed and humiliated, thinking this is all Justin’s fault.

~~~

Jennifer returns with coffees just as the doctor comes in. Justin is curled up next to Brian, sleeping with his head on Brian’s stomach. Brian’s talking quietly, giving Ted and Emmett his version of their reunification. Emmett thinks this is the first time he’s ever seen Brian smile. It’s so obvious that Brian’s never felt this happy before, or at least he’s never let it show.

“Brian, I’m glad you’re awake. I have your test results.”

“We’ll step out, and give you some privacy.”

“Nonsense, Jennifer. I don’t think he’s going to say anything dire, so please stay.”

“You’re right. You don’t have any serious injuries to your head. Just a large hematoma, so you’ll have to take it easy and give it time to heal.”

“So we can go home now?”

“No, I’d like you to stay overnight for observation.”

“Doc! Do you really think that’s necessary? I mean, we really just need lots of rest and relaxation.”

“Well, you’ve both received head injuries. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be alone. You‘ll need someone to look after you, in case you experience confusion or black out.”

Emmett is about to offer to stay with Brian and Justin at the loft, when Jennifer suggests they stay with her for a few days. The doctor agrees that they can be released the following day. They’re now holed up in Justin’s old bedroom, and Molly’s having a blast playing nursemaid. Jennifer checks on them often, making sure they’re taking their medication, eating, and get plenty of rest. They mostly slept the first forty-eight hours, and now they’re feeling much better, even frisky. Both of them are more than ready to return to the loft.

Jennifer’s taking Molly to a friend’s birthday party, so she tells the boys she’ll be back in an hour or so.

“Molly, hurry up! You’re going to be late!”

“Finally, she comes down the stairs dressed in a pretty pink ruffled dress, wearing her old beat-up tennis shoes.”

“Molly! You can’t wear those shoes! Put on your black patent leather shoes!”

She goes back upstairs and digs through her closet, unable to find both shoes. She stomps back downstairs in tears.

“I can’t find my other shoe!”

“Okay, fine, let’s go. We’ll stop and buy you a new pair of shoes on the way.”

“Mom! I think we should check on Brian and Justin once more before we go. They were making loud moaning noises when I passed their bedroom.”

Jennifer’s face scrunches up, as she grabs Molly’s arm, pulling her out the door.

“Don’t worry. I think they’re feeling just fine.”

The End