Always There

Follow the main characters as they go on their own paths through life while struggling with their own inner battles.
Alisha Reynolds: A spunky keep-to-herself kind of gal. She likes having someone who at least acknowledges her existence. Moonlit walks and dark chocolate are romantic but too much can sufficate her.
Brandon: A proud bi-sexual, he constantly puts up face with the other kids. Meanwhile at home his family is falling apart. Still he attempts to prevail.

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7. Brandon

The nights in the hospital could have been better. He could have gone home, brought his parents to their senses. Try and get them to imbue a sense of hope in him. But there was none of that. Just last night he used the last of his money in the hospital’s cafeteria. Some day he would have to leave. He didn’t want to accept this, but someday he would.

Hours droned by without any consolation for his grieving heart. None. At all. As if he didn’t even exist inside the room. Just a small particle floating around. He couldn’t feel anything. All he heard from the nurses didn’t make sense. Like they were just mouthing words, or if they were talking the words fell on broken, beaten ears.

Brandon got up. The use of his legs from sitting for hours caused sharp needling pains to shoot up his entire lower body. Like somebody was taking miniature gaffs to his feet and then dragging them all the way up until they got to his hips. Closing his eyes, he waited. Waited for the pain to stop, waited for any news aside from the daily conversations. He just waited. Hoping, and praying for something to change.

White walls had caused a droning sensation of color. It would burn if he saw anything else. All in all, Brandon had slowly become a mindless being. One without care or thought. It wouldn’t return unless she was back. What was taking so long?

Using his hands, Brandon absently felt his way to the emergency doors. The dreaded thought wouldn’t leave him alone. He had to know: Was I too late? He couldn’t stand it. Three days and still all he was told was that the doctors still didn’t know her exact situation. Brandon had asked multiple times to see her, and was refused again and again and again.

“Umm sir?” It was the nurse again. He let his head fall, chin touching his collar bone.

“She’s dead isn’t she?” A toneless voice carried out the words. No meaning, but yet they held his life.

“No. She’s actually awake. They had her in a coma for the past two days. She woke up, they say she’s breathing just fine. Would you like to see her?”

Tears curled at the bottoms of his eyes. Brandon couldn’t breathe. It was all too much. After all of the waiting, he could finally go and see his sister. All of that agonizing pain of the thought, just the thought of loosing her. His life. His everything.

“Please?” It was just a small whisper. One minimal usage of vocabulary. Gripping onto the pole on the wall, he used it as a guide unsure he could truly walk without it for just a second.

The nurse held a small genuine smile upon her face. One full of complete and utter enjoyment that she was able to help yet another person continue and see his family. Her strong hand held his elbow, enabling him to use her as a cane.

They made their way through the E.R. doors. Mechanical pieces of wall that opened on command. Blocks of plaster that wouldn’t dare let Brandon through without an escort. It was just not possible. Now here he was slowly making his way towards what seemed like nothing at first.

As his vision became ever clearer, an effort to look presentable for his sister, he saw her little shape awaiting him in a hospital bed. Fragile but clearly able to breathe on her own. Reaching with curious small hands.

Suddenly he didn’t need nor want the nurse to help him. All he needed was right there in front of his. If it were a movie, he could have sworn he heard the orchestra swell as he got ever closer to his goal.

Now he was running. The slow ticks of the clock never moving fast enough. All he wanted was to be by her side. His parents may not care enough to be here, but Brandon would be damned if he left her all alone for more than the necessary time it took him to get back here. All of those hours and days waiting, they were worth it. He didn’t care, didn’t want to think of anything else.

All previous dramatized thoughts of Alisha and Drake were obliterated. Alisha who? What about Drake? It didn’t matter anymore. Sara was alive. His life was returned to him. The precious gem that held his heart steady.

“Hey sweatheart.” He cooed over her bedside as he ran his hand along her face. A small chuckled came out as tears started to pour down again. It was too much. But yet it was too little. He couldn’t and wouldn’t ask for more. If she was to be condemned to this bed for the rest of her life, he would stay here. No money and no phone. He would endure the visit as long as she was here.

“Brover Dake” Her small voice curled the syllables to his name with no difficulty. He would teach her the real pronunciation to his name and how to say the ‘th’ sound later. It meant little to nothing.

“Yes,” He laughed, “yes it’s me. Your brother Brandon.”

Her high giggle shouted joy and ecstasy to his heart. Those small curls on top of her head bounced with excitement and then she squealed in pain as her arm jerked the I.V. that was taped to her skin.

It was funny to see her bottom lip quiver and then stop and quiver and finally decide to stop. Her small raging war of whether to cry or not was absolutely adorable in Brandon’s eyes. She was his little tough girl. The solid angel that kept him grounded. The only one he would do absolutely anything for. And she was going to live.

“That’s an I.V.” Brandon mentioned the sharp object’s name to her.

“Um Mr. Avericks?” the nurse asked.

“Yes?” Brandon replied.

“I need to speak with you, away from your sister. The doctor is unfortunately busy at the moment.” Her kind voice was layered in foreshadowing. Something was wrong, and slowly, not completely, his faith and hope started to diminish and deteriorate into nothing.

He had fought tooth and nail for her. He didn’t want to know that he was going to lose her. His life. His Sara.

She had taken a deep breath before addressing him. Something that quickly annoyed Brandon. It was just something he couldn’t understand. Why nurses and doctors had to be so professional all the time. It would be nice to just break down and cry and know that somebody else would do the same.

“It’s about your sister sir.” She said, classic regime.

“I kinda figured. She’s the only one I care about here.”

The nurse sighed in annoyance. Guys like these would never understand the importance of her job, saving lives and not saving lives and living with the guilt that you have to be the one responsible for telling the heart-grieving parents.

“Sir, you don’t seem to understand.”

“No, I understand perfectly. You people walk around here telling the news to broken parents. Well I’m not her parents. Our parents aren't here! And you know why they aren’t? Because they don’t care. In fact I think I am the only one in the world who truly cares for her. I don’t want to know how long she has, I don’t want to be treated like I don’t understand. I’ve sat here 3 days waiting for her. She’s alive. That’s all I care about! She’s alive…”

Brandon had whispered the last words. Caresses of the stale hospital air. He didn’t want to know that his sister was going to die. That she even had the slightest possibility that his rock could vanish and leave him suffocating and drowning in life.

“Sir-“

“Just please. Leave me alone,” he turned away and disappeared behind the curtain. It didn’t matter if she had any number of seconds left. He would spend every single one with her. Every millisecond, time didn’t matter.

She watched him disappear behind the curtain. Behind a veil thin glass of plastic that hid everything and nothing. Something she was entirely used to. So many more kids were being diagnosed with it all the time. An emotional problem that couldn’t really ever be solved. Depression.

Walking around the corner, she stared at them once more. Remembering all too clearly his position.

“Sir, would you care to come for a walk with me?” She watched him kiss his sister reluctantly on the head before letting her hand go.

They exited the hospital in a matter of minutes, and for a long time they just walked in silence. She took out a cigarette and a lighter and offered him one.

“No thanks, I don’t smoke. Ever. Never have and never will.” He replied with instant longing for his sister. He looked over his shoulder, as if she could walk and follow him out here. If anything were to happen while he was gone- his chin returned to his collar bone, head hung low.

“You think I don’t understand don’t you?” She questioned, tucking one arm under the other and blowing smoke in the opposite direction.

She had stopped in place and he finally looked at her. Her hair was dark, thick, brown and wavy. Placed in a bun, it was the only thing you needed to see in order to understand she had lived while too many had died under her care. The stress was getting to her and it wasn’t going to hide inside. Her eyes held dark circles, sorrow providing their curtain.

“No.” One simple word. He didn’t believe that such people could ever feel this much sorrow, hate in his parents. No one was capable.

“I do. I’ve been exactly where you are.” Another puff of smoke.

“And I supposed you were dealing with your bi sexuality and parents whom could care less about their children as well and the only thing holding you to this earth was the little person sitting in the hospital bed sick with who knows what? Yea ok then.” He said as he leaned against a pole and slammed his head back in frustration.

A sharp pain rang through his head; at least he could feel something. Anything was better than an emptiness that couldn’t be filled.

“Yes. I was.” Her words made him look up.

The nurse came towards him, making sure her cigarette was as far from him as possible, looking older than her years.

“How old are you?”

“17” He responded.

“I was exactly your age.”

“I’m sorry.” Brandon sympathized. She raised her smoke free hand to stop him and shook her head. He could tell that he was going to hear her entire story. A life full of depression just like his, but for much longer.

“COPD.”

“Excuse me?” He questioned.

“It’s what your sister was diagnosed with.”

“Oh.” He responded, not really in the mood to know what was ailing his life. He knew what was ailing it. ****ty parents who had two kids but cared less about both of them. He had to deal with those kisses from Drake and Ashley. But they could wait.

“It’s also what my sister was diagnosed. Same age. Innocent to the point anyone would instantly fall for her.”

She was staring off and the light of the moon lifted her into a woman who was absolutely stunning. For a while she just stared, and he watched her searching for an answer to a past horror.

“So young. She was so so young. Just three years old.” A soft chuckle came from her lips as she turned and looked at him. Those gorgeous brown eyes. They completely captured him.

“Her name was Sara.”

Brandon grabbed her wrist and made her drop the cigarette. A soft gasp came from her lips as he pulled her to him and kissed her.

Completely different from Drake and Alisha. This one was just out of pure sadness. An exit to the pain. A relief to all the crap that had begun to kill him from the inside out. A kiss for his Sara.

It was him who broke the kiss however. Shame. Burning guilt. He couldn’t betray Alisha. Not when he knew they may still have even the slightest chance of hope for each other.

“I-I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I-I’m dating someone. I’ll be sure to look up this CPOD.”

“COPD” She corrected through a cough and took out another cigarette.

“Thanks.” He said as he walked away, leaving behind perhaps the only one who truly understood. Or maybe it was all a lie. All he knew, and would truly believe, is that his sister was going to be with him the rest of her life. He would take her home. One day or two days without food. He could do this. He would do this.

Brandon smiled gently at the awaiting bubble of laughter. Two doctors were talking to her. One changing her I.V. while the other took an exam on her chest. The thought infuriated him. He had gone off with a nurse for what? Just some kiss? One kiss for information that didn’t matter. Silently, he waited as time once again became meaningless and lifeless.

The second he got home, however, he would make sure to find out exactly what this COPD was. If there was any way he could prolong her life, he would do it.

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