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About Aceinthehole

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  1. Big 3rd period coming up. Do or die time for my boys.

    1. BHopper2


      I give Schneider props. He's been really good.

    2. BHopper2


      It was a good game.

  2. Anyone have any advice for writer's block? Usually music and a walk fixes it, but I've got a brutal case this time around.

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Daddydavek


      Read, read, read, read.  That often inspires me to write.

    3. Aceinthehole


      Thanks @JayT I'll try writing it down and if that doesn't work I'll take a break and read something good like @Daddydavek recommended! 


      Hopefully I break through it soon.

    4. JayT


      you can always text me and bounce ideas off me

  3. Shoulder to Cry On

    I don't think that's nitpicking, thanks for pointing it out! The funny thing is I love Thirty Seconds to Mars too! I have no idea how I slipped!
  4. :Steve2::Steve2::Steve2: The Puck drops in 30 mins. May the best team win. #GoBolts!!! ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️

    1. Daddydavek


      Good luck, they are up by 1 goal as I type this....

    2. Aceinthehole


      Was there again tonight, unfortunately left heart broken this time. Lightening's physicality is just something we can't match. Haven't given up on the series yet, but it's not looking great. 


      Hoping for a hard fought game 5.

  5. Definitely recommend Netflix's reboot of Lost in Space. Funny, exciting, heart warming and sad all in one. 

  6. Playoff hockey is going to screw with my writing schedule a bit, but on the plus side I'm going to my first playoff game ever.

    1. BHopper2


      Depending on who the team is (please don't say Devils), Good Luck to them, and enjoy the game.


      (If it is the Devils, then we're rivals, and I won't be unsportsmanlike. But, I'll be rooting for the Lightning to win.)

    2. Aceinthehole


      @BHopper2 Devils! I'm a die hard fan! We have a great series brewing right now. I'm hoping Wednesday night we can even it back up. 


      PS: Stamkos has been my favorite non devil NHL player since I was a kid. Something about his one timers just blows me away. I'm just hoping this series doesn't make me hate him too much! 

  7. Family Man

    I was honestly thinking of a running Oli book I update when I have the chance but wasn't sure how many of you would read it. It wouldn't get updated very often because I'll be working on other projects. However if enough of you are interested I have no problem with it.
  8. Family Man

    ---Ryder--- In the coming days after the studio the Haner family seemed to be overwhelmed. Between Teddy trying his hardest to get better and the surprise drop of both Messiah’s last album and Unity’s second song, well, we had a lot going on. Yet, Teddy was always everyone’s main priority. Sure, the music was exciting. But it’s clear this family has finally grown together. It’s clear they understand what’s important. Three days after the murder of Chris Simmonds his father plead guilty to second degree murder. Thankfully for Teddy’s sake he wouldn’t have to testify at any trial, or ever have to confront the man. As the wake and funeral came and went we tried our hardest to encourage Teddy to go, but it was clear he couldn’t. In his words he needed this to stay at a distance. He needed Chris to just be another patient, and not something more. Thankfully, his strategy worked and he’s slowly but surely growing back to the Teddy we all miss. There’s still a hard road ahead of him, but he’s talking about going back to work. At least on the condition that he can take his seven days without problem once a month. “Let it out, let me in, take a hold of my hand There's nothing like another soul that's been cut up the same And did you want to drive without a word in between? I can understand, you need a minute to breathe And to sew up the seams after all this defeat All this defeat1” Oliver sang as I tried my hardest to concentrate and get the stacks of paperwork in order. Eventually I had to turn around and just observe the scrawny teen behind the large guitar. Yet my gaze didn’t matter to him. When I first got here he was at my beck and call. Took every chance to tell me how great I was and how much he loved my music. But now, well now his brother is his idol. He’ll never admit it, but somewhere along the way he realized Messiah is a bunch of old drunks trying their hardest to relive their youth. And as much as he may love our music, well it won’t even come close to touching his brother. “That was great Oli.” Teddy smiled, sitting on the edge of our bed. “How are you picking the songs?” Oli shrugged his shoulders and stayed quiet. “Come on,” Teddy provoked. “They’re all so, so, poetic.” “They’re songs I like when I’m in a bad mood.” He shyly confessed. “Aww.” Teddy let out as Oli quickly made his way to the door. “No come on.” He whined. “Just a hug goodbye.” “No.” Oli sneered, slamming the door behind him. “They grow up so fast.” I teased, leaning back in my chair. Teddy nodded but fell deep into thought as he reflected on it. “How come this all isn’t going to his head?” He asked looking at me. “Three different Messiah songs he worked on are fighting for the number one spot in rock music right now. But you could never tell by talking to him.” “It’s Oli.” I shrugged. “He either doesn’t understand the gravity of how big he’s getting, or, he just doesn’t give a fuck.” “Doesn’t give a fuck.” Teddy chose in a laugh. I proudly nodded my head in agreement. “This is all about music to him. The fame that comes with it will just be annoying.” “That’s funny.” Teddy teased as he stood up. “I think I know someone just like that.” I rolled my eyes and let my head fall against the desk. “You said you’d help.” I groaned. “I hate looking at this stuff.” “Well you need to.” Teddy smiled, standing over me. “Because if you’re marrying me you’re taking on debt.” “How much debt?” I asked, faking judgment. “Hundred and fifty thousand.” He shrugged turning my act into genuine shock. “Teddy.” I exhaled, staring at him with wide eyes. “Medical school is expensive.” He lightly laughed. “And after undergrad my parents couldn’t really help pay it all. I paid off a large amount already.” “Already?” I repeated, taking a long look at him. “How much did you start with?” “I’d rather not say.” He smiled. “Why hot shot? That a lot of money for you?” “That’s a lot of money for anyone.” I shrugged, looking back down at my papers. “Guess you’re not as rich as I thought.” He provoked in a laugh. “Guess I’ll just have to marry Brandon or Tommy.” “You go do that.” I rolled my eyes before finally handing him the papers. His eyes carefully scanned the financial document until finally I saw him drop the page and look at me. “The number at the bottom, that, that’s like, that’s not how much you’re worth right?” He asked, as a serious look overtook his smile. “That’s it.” I nodded my head. “Not as much as you expected?” “How much do you think I expected?” He asked, falling back onto the bed. “Ryder, I, that can’t possibly be how much money you have.” “It is.” I insisted. “I’ve got my music, a clothing line, endorsements and all those different beach houses.” “But four hundred million dollars Ryder?!” He gasped. “And you want to live in the house in the cemetery?” I slowly nodded my head. “I wasn’t joking when I said I can add whatever you want.” “I-I could switch to private practice if I wanted to.” He suddenly exhaled as it all swarmed his head. “Do you want to?” I asked, trying to help him sort out his thoughts. “Not yet.” He shook his head. “But, but in a few years, when we’re ready for kids, I could just, I only have to work when I want to.” “Teddy,” I sighed, shooting him a cautious look. “Didn’t you kind of expect this after you saw the Florida beach house? Didn’t you see my will?” “I just, I never put much thought into it or noticed a number.” He shook his head. “I knew you had money, but I didn’t know you were smart with it!” “About that.” I nervously laughed. “I don’t think I am.” “Why not?” Teddy worriedly asked, jumping right back to his feet. “I just have so much shit draining me.” I shook my head. “I have houses I need to clean and sell, and car insurance on cars I don’t even drive.” “Poor you.” Teddy teased, looking over another sheet. “You might not financially survive this.” “Shit, you will have to marry Brandon.” I mocked with a grin. He rolled his eyes but I saw his stare beginning to focus on something else. “You have two million a year that just go missing.” “That’s okay.” I quickly tried to distract. “Because look at this boat insurance! I don’t even know how to drive,” “That’s stupid.” He dismissed. “But at least you know where that’s going. This is two million unaccounted for. I think you need to call whoever handles this.” “I will.” I slowly nodded. “Why aren’t you as worried about that as me?” He suddenly asked, observing me closely. “Where does that money go Ryder Sullivan?” “Nowhere.” I lied, trying my hardest to look away. “Was that your drug money?” He gasped. “No. That, that was a million a year.” I tried to defend. “Ryder.” He disappointedly groaned. “Partying gets expensive.” I shrugged. “Trust me. I’m not proud of it.” “So then where does this two million go?” He demanded. “I know you know.” “Charity.” I grumbled. “What?” He asked, unable to hear me. “Charity.” I repeated in a louder voice. “Charity?” He repeated in a surprised look. “Yeah.” I muttered. “I don’t like people knowing, okay?” “Okay.” He quickly nodded. “I won’t tell anyone. But, but don’t the companies know where the checks come from?” “I make the donations in another person’s name so they can’t track it.” I confessed. “What name and what charities?” He dug as I grew quiet. “Please.” He pleaded. “The Trevor Project and Shatterproof.” I finally folded. “I know the first one is for LGBT plus people, but what’s the second?” He asked with curious eyes. “Children affected by drugs.” I surrendered, seeing the excitement rise in his eyes. “Can we not celebrate this? It’s not even much compared to how much I have.” “Okay,” He slowly nodded, laying a kiss on my head. “But I think that’s pretty amazing Ryder Sullivan. Even when you were an addict you were donating to help others.” “Yeah.” I sighed, looking down at the forms. Another smile crept across his face as he thought about it. “So then, whose name is it in?” “No ones.” I dismissed but as I turned to him I realized he was never going to drop it. “My grandma’s.” I muttered, sending even more pride through him. “You’re an amazing person Ryder Sullivan.” He encouraged as he wrapped himself around me. “But don’t they notice Sullivan?” “Yeah, but no one’s connected the dots, and it’s given to them on the agreement they won’t mention it.” I explained. “Can we stop talking about this?” “Sure.” He shook his head. “But I still think it’s pretty awesome.” “That makes one of us.” I muttered, looking over the paperwork a little longer. “I, I know I have all those nice houses but I want to sell them.” I suddenly began. “Yeah?” He asked, shooting me a worried look. “I just want the cemetery, and the beach houses in Florida and California.” I explained. “I want to live somewhat reasonably.” “That makes sense.” Teddy nodded. “But most people only have one beach house.” “Stop.” I warned, slowly turning to him. “Ryder Sullivan,” Teddy began, causing me to groan. “You’re ashamed of how much money you have, aren’t you?” I stayed quiet at the question. “You’ve worked hard and earned every cent. If you really want, do more charity work. Sometimes taking it in your own hands goes so much farther than money ever can.” I nodded my head and thought it over. “You know Oliver is about to become a millionaire right?” “Oliver is?” Teddy repeated in a gasp. “Like my brother Oliver?” “Yeah.” I slowly nodded my head. “I cut your parents a check for half a million when we came back from Florida and it’s looking like Remedy will make him more than that.” “Does he know that?” Teddy asked with a shake of his head. “My baby brother makes more money than me!” He tried to comprehend. “Seriously?” “We’re not telling him. I wasn’t even going to tell you.” I sighed. “We just, we want him to be a kid.” “I understand that.” He nodded. “But wow, that kid’s a millionaire?” “He will be.” I confirmed. “And if your parents and him are smart with money, well he’ll never have to worry about making ends meet.” “Incredible.” Teddy shook his head. “I’ve had enough of this for today.” I decided, pushing the papers forward. “How about we go out for lunch?” “I-I don’t know.” Teddy answered, starting to grow nervous. “You haven’t left the house all week.” I pressured. “You’re going to have to rip off the band aid somehow.” “Okay.” He timidly accepted. “You want Pizza, don’t you?” “Please.” I bashfully smiled. “My diets been good lately.” “Fine.” He conceded. “But you’re driving.” “Deal!” I shouted as we both quickly got changed and headed for the door. “Where are you going?” Oli called out. “Just grabbing food.” I dismissed, trying my hardest to avoid him. “Can I come?” He asked, drawing a quiet sigh from me. “Sure.” Teddy nodded his head. “That’s okay, right?” “Perfect.” I replied as Oli ran upstairs to quickly get changed. “Why go on a date with my fiancé when I could bring his brother along too?” “You’re the one who started a band with him.” Teddy teased. “Besides, I, I think I need people close right now.” “Okay.” I accepted. “Besides, I think I need to take you on a real date this weekend.” He smiled. “Oh yeah?” I smirked as he got closer. “With suits and flowers?” “And everything in between.” He nodded moving in for a kiss. “I’m not coming if you two are going to be like this.” Oli warned, quickly heading back down the stairs. “Just keep going.” I groaned opening the door for them both. ************************************************************************************* As much as I hate to admit it, Oli was a welcomed addition to our little lunch. Sure, I love alone time with Teddy, but that’s not always realistic. If being a family man means having to make sacrifices like this, well I guess this is my new life. After all, compared to how I used to live, well I’m so much happier this way. As we walked into the Pizza place and sat down all eyes were on us. Okay, maybe it wasn’t too smart to go out the same week we dropped an album and a single. Oli slowly began to fidget at the attention, trying his hardest to ignore it all until finally someone was brave enough to approach. “I-I’m sorry.” The teen a few years older than Oliver began. “I know you must get this a lot, but I really love Messiah.” “Thank you.” I nodded. “You know that’s Oliver Haner right there.” I explained pointing her to him. “Did, did he really write those drum pieces?” She asked in a nervous voice. “Yup.” Oliver answered before I could. “Why? Not good enough?” “No.” She quickly shook her head. “They, they’re my favorite part.” “Oh.” Oli exhaled. “So do you want like our autographs or something?” “If that’s okay.” She excitedly nodded. “You were excited to ask that, huh?” Teddy couldn’t help but tease his little brother. “Have you been practicing it?” “I have.” Oliver proudly nodded as she handed us her white phone case and a sharpie. “Is that what you do instead of pay attention in school?” I couldn’t help but tease as he passed me the case. His signature, well it’s exactly what you would expect from a fourteen year old. “Maybe.” He smirked, watching how I signed it closely. “Thank you! Thank you!” She yelped as I handed it back to her. “Wait, so you said you liked the drums on this new album better than the singing?” Oli proudly asked, trying his hardest to make a point. “You don’t have to answer that.” I said, beginning to stare him down. “I love it all.” She quickly nodded. “Right answer.” Teddy smiled with a nod. “You guys, have a good lunch.” She nervously dismissed, not knowing how to end the interaction. “Wipe that look off your face.” Teddy warned his as he began to lean back in his chair. “What look?” Oli teased with a smug grin. Teddy rolled his eyes and lightly caught him with a smack upside the head. “You’re just as much human as everyone else.” “Just as much human as everyone else.” Oli mocked. I couldn’t help but laugh at their exchange, yet as a bigger man walked in and shot us an angry look I braced for what would come next. At first he approached the counter and made his order without saying anything, but as the minutes passed he began to stare at our table. “You serve these faggots?” The man suddenly let out, staring at our table. “Excuse me sir,” The woman behind the counter began. “We’re going to have to,” “No, they’re ruining music.” He interrupted her. “It’s on every station and it sounds like garbage.” “Come on man,” I began but as I went to rise to my feet Teddy pulled me back down. “Go try to kill yourself again.” The man spit, beginning to stare me down. “I feel bad for you.” Oli began as Teddy grabbed his hand. “I really do.” “Oh boy here we,” “I mean it.” Oliver insisted, slipping free of Teddy’s grip and getting to his feet. “You should.” The man nodded. “Because I have to hear your shitty music.” “No, you can dislike our music.” Oli nodded. “I mean you’re wrong, but that’s okay.” He shot back in typical Oliver fashion. “But that’s not why I feel bad for you.” “Please tell me,” The man sarcastically bit. “Why does your unoriginal ass feel bad?” “Because you’re getting so worked up over something so small.” Oli taunted. “It’s just music man. You don’t like it, turn it off. It’s not that hard.” “I can’t just turn it off, it’s everywhere.” He complained. “On T.V., on the radio, hell they even play it in the grocery stores! And it’s all regurgitated garbage!” “What a hard life you must live.” Oli taunted. “Having to hear music wherever you go.” The crowd watching began to laugh at Oli’s antics. “Here’s what I’ll do for ya.”He began once more. “I’ll let you go grab your food and leave, and I’ll head back to my table and forget this ever happened.” “Or else?” The man asked, starting to grow more and more angry. “I’ll start singing.” He teased drawing some more laughs from the room. “Apparently that’s your weak spot.” Before the man could respond two or three waiters began to escort him out. Teddy quickly jumped up and pulled Oli back to the table. Relieved that the tension was finally beginning to disperse. All eyes fell on us as people began to murmur about the interaction. Oli handled it well, but still, people are going to find a way to twist it against us. “Hold on.” I instructed, jumping my feet and quickly making my way out to the car. I let out a sigh of relief as I found an acoustic guitar from the studio in the back. I gripped it tightly as I quickly re-entered the small restaurant and handed it to Oli. “Sorry about that guy.” I began as everyone’s attention returned to us. “What do you say we play a song to make up for it?” “Really?” Oli excitedly asked as we got a few encouraging yelps. “Sure.” I nodded. “Is this cool?” I asked a passing waiter. “Of course.” She quickly smiled. “Do you mind if we record it?” “Go for it.” I encouraged, trying to rally as much good PR as possible. “Post it all over social media if you want. Let’s just have some fun with it.” “What do you want to play Oli?” I asked, as he slowly worked through his nerves. “Something old but not too old.” He swayed his head. “Do you know HELP? I was just signing it for Teddy a few days ago.” “Yeah.” I rolled my eyes. “I was there. It got stuck in my head.” Oli proudly smiled before beginning to play the off-tune intro. His confidence quickly rose as people around us began to clap along. The second I started to sing the room felt like so much more than just a pizza place. “I think I need help Cause I'm drowning in myself It's sinking in, I can't pretend That I ain't been through hell I think I need help I'm drowning in myself2” The second the song ended the growing crowd seemed to roar for more. “Sorry guys.” I shrugged, knowing I had to leave them asking for more. “If you want to see us Messiah will be playing Metlife next month.” “And Unity is playing Terminal Five in February.” Oliver proudly announced. “That wasn’t announced yet.” I groaned as excitement tore through the crowd. “What day in February?” A faceless voice shouted. “Can we get this to go?” Teddy asked a passing waitress as the crowd grew more and more restless. He nodded his head and quickly ran to grab a box for us. “Can I get tickets?” Another voice shouted. “I just want a pre-sale code!” Another yelped. “I want more than that!” The first began again. “Two-hundred dollars for the floor is insane!” “That’s the going price!” Someone tried to defend for us. “Have you seen what Messiah has accomplished?” I tried my hardest to tune them out as we slid food into the box. I quickly paid the bill, but as I turned I noticed more and more people flooding the restaurant. Okay, maybe this wasn’t exactly the best idea. “Ready?” I asked Teddy as he grabbed onto Oli. “As ready as I can be.” He sighed as we suddenly started making our way through the crowd. A few more requests got shouted at us until finally I reached into my pocket and found a small stack of black cards. Without warning I threw the small album cards into the crowd and slammed the door. We quickly jogged to the car as we noticed more and more people starting to arrive. With a big sigh Oli dropped the guitar into the car and fell into his seat. “Is everywhere going to be this crazy from now on?” He groaned. “Kind of.” I answered with a serious look. “Weeks we release albums or singles will be the worst.” I tried to explain. “But you always have to brace for the chance it gets like this.” “Maybe playing them a song wasn’t too bright.” Teddy weighed in. “We needed the press.” I clarified. “Sometimes moments like that are unavoidable.” “You okay with this Oli?” Teddy checked as he turned back. “This could be your life now, you understand that right?” “Yeah.” He sighed, looking out at the dispersing crowd. “It’s pretty cool when you think about it. They were really that excited to watch us play something?” “Yup.” I began to smile. “They wanted you to play another too.” “Yeah.” He accepted in a nod. “Can we do that some more?” I couldn’t help but laugh at his enthusiasm as I glanced into the rear view mirror. “We probably shouldn’t make a habit of it.” I advised thinking it over. “But surprise free concerts for fans wouldn’t be a bad idea.” Oliver excitedly nodded his head before falling back into his own world. So it really is about the music with you, huh? You had grown men and women asking for autographs and tickets, and you barely flinched. Hell, you had a douchebag get in our face about it, and you didn’t even back down! He really does believes in the music we’re making and the band we’re building. 1- Handwritten- Gaslight Anthem 2. HELP - Papa Roach
  9. Another Half Baked Oliver Plan

    It's become my new favorite word. I keep trying to get away from it, but it perfectly describes the trouble making spirit of Oliver. I was able to hold myself to only using it once this chapter though!
  10. ---Oliver--- As I sat there and held my brother I couldn’t bring myself to even imagine the hell he’s seen. If the rumors are right Chris’ dad really went after him. At first I heard it was with a gun, then a knife and now a baseball bat. Whatever it was, it’s clear his dad was going for the kill. It’s clear that Teddy really never had a chance to save him. But that doesn’t matter to him. He’ll blame himself all the same. That night I found myself tossing and turning. Sure, part of it was stress from almost finishing the album. But another part was, well, I don’t know. I just feel bad that Teddy’s in pain. I’ve never seen him like this. This, this, broken. As I slowly made my way downstairs for breakfast I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation at the table. “He’s still in bed?” My mom worriedly asked. “Yeah.” Ryder sighed as they tried their hardest to keep their voices down. “I’ve never seen him like this. I don’t know what to do.” There was a moment of silence as they both thought it over. “It’s okay.” Mom tried to comfort. “Last time, last time he just needed a few weeks.” “Last time?” Ryder asked before a soft “Oh” escaped his lips. “So this is what he was like?” “Yeah.” She conceded. “Nearly to a T.” “How’d you guys put him back together?” Ryder investigated, desperate to find help for Teddy. “Me and Harry, we tried to spend as much time with him as possible.” She replied, trying her hardest to recall. “He wouldn’t say much though. The only thing that would really pick him up was taking care of Oli.” She answered as my heart skipped a beat. “Other than that, Liz and Blake really did the heavy lifting.” “I’ll call her later.” He sighed. “But now she has a baby and,” “It’s okay Ryder.” Mom comforted once more. “He has you now. You’ll figure it out.” “Yeah.” He agreed as I finally started to descend the stairs. They both grew silent as I entered the kitchen and started to pour a bowl of cereal. Ryder glanced to me then away as he grew lost in thought. He looks just as beaten as Teddy. As much as I want to put my faith in him, I can’t. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. I picked Teddy back up once when I was a baby and I didn’t even know it! I can totally do it again! “What are you planning?” Mom grilled, seeing the smirk spread across my face. “Nothing.” I shrugged, quickly hiding my smile and looking down. “You can’t afford another detention man.” Ryder groaned. “We really need you in the studio.” “Oh.” I exhaled. “I was, I was hoping I could go to Marks after school.” I lied, drawing my mom’s attention. “I haven’t really gotten to spend a lot of time with him lately.” “I don’t know.” Ryder began, but the second he noticed my mom’s stare he eased off. “All night?” Ryder prodded. “Just until like, before dinner.” I shrugged. “I’ll bike there and home, and be back for dinner. Then my dad can just drive me and I can put in a couple of hours.” “I don’t like you biking anywhere alone.” Mom weighed in. “Why?” I whined. “I do it over the summer, and remember our talk about giving me a chance to show how mature I am?” “Yeah.” She sighed. “But one missed call and you’re grounded for a week, understood?” “Yeah.” I nodded, as I slowly worked over my plan. “Those two hours better be perfect.” Ryder warned. “We have three days left in the studio, and we really need you to record the pieces that are giving Tommy trouble.” “You mean the pieces I wrote?” I asked, letting the smirk return to my face. “What’s the matter? I write something too advanced for him?” Suddenly I felt my mom’s hand whack me across the head. “Don’t be arrogant. It’s not charming.” “Sorry.” I grunted, immediately rubbing where her hand had connected. As Ryder tried to stifle a laugh she turned to him. “Do you need a smack over the head too?” She cautioned in a serious gaze. “Because I’ve seen your interviews mister king of rock, and they weren’t very charming either.” “I was on drugs.” He tried to defend but I could tell she wasn’t buying it. “Sure you were.” She rolled her eyes. “Where did that sweet innocent boy in black go?” “Right there.” Ryder teased, pointing to me. “Sure.” She sarcastically dismissed. “He’s nothing like you were, he’s too, loud.” “Ain’t that the truth.” Ryder began to laugh. “Hey!” I yelped as I heard the bus pull up. “I’d like to remind you that you raised me Jill.” The second the name left my mouth I braced for impact. “Absolutely not.” She reprimanded as her hand knocked across the side of my head again. “This is not funny.” She yelled as I began to giggle. “Oliver!” I couldn’t hold my laugher back as I weaved through the house and to the front door. “I’m not finished with you young man!” “Love you!” I shouted back, running out the door and to the bus. As I climbed on and turned back I saw a look I had never seen on her face before. It wasn’t anger or sadness. It was like she was thinking. Like she was reflecting back on how much I had grown. I couldn’t help but smile and give her a small wave as the door shut behind me. “Mama’s boy.” Mark teased noticing the small display of affection. “What happened to your hair?” He asked, beginning to fix it as I sat down. “Mama happened.” I giggled with a proud smile. “She hit’s you?” He asked as concern began to drip into his face. “No.” I couldn’t help but laugh. “Well not seriously.” I tried to explain. “Just like, like light slaps to the side of my head when I say something stupid.” “What’d you say?” He asked with curious eyes. “I called her by her first name.” I cackled with a grin. “Dude.” He shook his head. “That’s sooo disrespectful.” “I was just playing around.” I shrugged. “That’s how me and my mom are.” “You drive her insane?” He asked in a sigh. “Yup.” I nodded. “But she loves it. I can tell.” He shot me a curious look as he heard my words. “When did you two become so close?” “I don’t know.” I honestly shrugged. “Maybe like, during the Florida trip. I think my music and coming out helped.” He nodded before thinking it over once more. “I want to come out to my dad.” He suddenly announced. “Yeah?” I asked as my heart began to beat faster. “Yeah.” He doubled down. “He told you he’s cool with it, and, and it’s always been just me and him my whole life.” I nodded as I thought over Mark’s situation. One day when we were in kindergarten his mom just up and left. He hasn’t even heard one word from her since. “That’s kinda why I’ve been more open with it.” He shrugged. “Cause if he finds out, well I think he’ll be okay.” “Good.” I proudly smiled. “Just tell me if I can help.” He nodded his head but as Wendy jumped on the bus dropped it. “I need you to lie for me.” I suddenly began. “If anyone calls you I’m over.” I explained as the topic changed. “Why?” He cautiously asked, looking from me to Wendy. “Look at that, eight in the morning and already another half-baked Oliver plan.” She provoked. “Can’t wait to see how this one blows up.” “It’s not going to blow up.” I rolled my eyes. “This doesn’t even involve you guys.” “Kinda involves Mark.” She smirked, happy to see what trouble she could create. “Butt out, this is boyfriend things.” I dismissed. “Besides, shouldn’t you be hitting on Sammy.” She rolled her eyes but grew quiet. “Where are you actually going Oli?” Mark asked with a concerned look. “Help my brother.” I quietly responded. “He just needs me right now, okay?” “At the hos,” “Okay?” I asked once more drawing nods from them both. The school day moved on just as slow as every other day, yet something was weird about my class. An empty desk sat in the back corner, a marker of the missing kid. Just like yesterday every now and then one of Chris’ friends would break out into tears and needed to be escorted to guidance, or the class would grow quiet at a question we all know he would’ve answered. I barely knew him and yet even for me things felt, off. “I heard his dad was on drugs.” A kid began as rumors flew. “I heard he fed him rat poison.” Another speculated. “No way,” A third defended. “It was definitely gun shots. I hear his funeral has to be closed casket because of it.” Teachers tried their hardest to stop the rumors from spreading, but at the end of the day thirteen and fourteen year olds are going to talk. They’re going to conspire and wonder what happened. They’re going to try and put the pieces back together themselves. ************************************************************************************* As I got off the bus I didn’t even step inside the house. I grabbed my bike from the garage and like a bat out of hell I was off on my adventure. It took some navigating and I think I took a few wrong turns, but as I finally pulled up to the small white house I took a deep breath and walked up the stone pathway. I could hear the echo of a babies’ cry as I began to knock on the door and tried my hardest to brace for whatever hid behind it. “Oliver.” Blake greeted in surprise. “I uh, are you okay?” “Yeah.” I nodded laying my bike against the side of their house and walking past Blake. “Can I talk to your wife?” “Sure.” He skeptically answered. “Is this boy problems?” “I live with two gay guys and my mom, and you think I came all the way here for boy problems?” I rolled my eyes. “Alright then.” He dismissed heading into another room. “Liz, a very sassy Oliver is here for you.” “I can hear you!” I called back. “Good!” He replied as the crying finally began to fade. After another moment or two Liz finally turned the corner and entered the room. “Hey.” She greeted, studying me closely. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing, well, with me.” I clarified. “I just overheard my mom and Ryder talking this morning and she said you put my brother back together last time he was upset.” “And you want me to come over again?” “No, I just, I want to know how you did it.” I blushed. “I can do it myself. I just need to know how.” “You came here just to help Teddy?” A soft smile grew on her face. “This is why we need a second child Blake! Look at how sweet siblings are.” “Thanks for that Oliver!” Blake shouted from the other room. “Sorry I just, please, how can I help him?” I pleaded, desperate for answers. I know this is only the third day since it happened, but I’m sick of seeing him tied up in bed. I’m sick of seeing him so, so, depressed. She readjusted how she was sitting as she saw how serious I was. “Teddy’s weird.” She began. “He tries so hard to always look happy, but anyone who gets close knows it’s just a mask.” Liz explained. “He want’s everyone to be happy around him because the truth is, he believes more in them than himself.” I tiled my head as I heard those words. “Haven’t you ever wondered why he became a doctor?” She asked as I slowly nodded. “He does it because he thinks by helping all those people it gives his life meaning.” “So when Chris died he lost the meaning?” I asked. “Kind of.” She encouraged. “He just lost confidence in himself and the world around him.” “How do I get it back for him?” I prodded with curious eyes. “You have to remind him he’s around people who love him.” She shrugged. “You have to help restore his hope in other people.” “It won’t be easy though.” Blake chimed in, cradling Hayley as he walked into the living room. “Seeing a kid who got stabbed thirteen times by his dad. That’s pretty freakin brutal.” “Blake!” Liz yelped, seeing the surprise on my face. “They’re not telling the kids what happened!” “Why not?” He rolled his eyes. “Oliver can handle hearing that, right buddy?” “I, yeah.” I shook my head. “Thirteen times?” I repeated. “Like one three?” “Yup.” He nodded. “It’s a miracle that boy even made it to the hospital.” “Do you know why?” I asked, looking down. “Kids at my school are saying drugs.” “That’s what they’re saying on the news too.” He explained. “Dude!” Liz scolded, beginning to stare him down. “He’s only fourteen!” “It’s okay.” I sighed. “I live with Ryder so, I-I know how bad drugs can be. That’s why I’m never going to do them.” “That’s our little rock star.” Blake couldn’t help but tease. “I’m gonna do something about it.” I nodded my head. “About the boy in your class?” Liz nervously asked. “No.” I shook my head. “About drugs.” “Oh.” She exhaled, looking for her husband for help. “Do you want to stay for dinner?” Was all he could think to ask as the room fell quiet. “No.” I rejected. “I think I have all I need.” “Just give your brother love and time and it’ll work out.” Liz tried to support. “But if I can ask, what changed between you?” “Yeah, you used to hate Teddy.” Blake giggled as his child began to wake up. “I never hated him.” I defended. “We just had disagreements.” “And what about those disagreements changed?” Liz pressured eager to know the answer just as much as her husband. “He started listening to me.” I shrugged as I stood up and headed towards their door. “If anyone asks I wasn’t here.” “What?!” Liz demanded as I pulled open the front door. “What do you mean you weren’t here?” “Don’t mention that you saw me today.” I shrugged as they both shot one another concerned looks. “There’s the new Messiah album in vinyl in it for you.” “There’s going to be a new Messiah album?!” Blake exclaimed. Hayley jumped in his arms and began to cry out at his father’s yelling. “Blake!” Liz reprimanded as I shut the door behind me. Poor suckers! They actually thought having a kid would be a good idea! I don’t know about Mark, but I never ever want kids! They’re just too much work! ************************************************************************************* On the ride home all I could do was try and hatch a plan to help Teddy. How in the hell am I going to show I love him? Do I love him? I know he’s my brother but, uck! As I thought deeper about the man stuck in bed all I could do was keep coming back to the word love. Okay, fine, I guess I do love him! When I finally arrived home I had a plan in mind. Okay fine, maybe it’s similar to the plan that helped Ryder get better, but it helped him! So adjusting it to Teddy should work too, right? “Hey bud, I thought you wouldn’t be home for another hour or two.” Dad cautiously asked as I climbed the stairs. “Mark has a lot of homework.” I shrugged. “We agreed we’d just hang out another day.” “Oh.” He nodded. “Wait!” He exclaimed as I reached the top. “You’re in all the same classes! Doesn’t that mean that you have,” His words faded as I turned the corner and grabbed my guitar and mini amp from my room. It took some effort but when I finally got them into Teddy’s room he popped up in his bed and watched me. “What are you doing?” He asked but I stayed quiet. “Oliver, I really don’t know if I’m,” I ignored his words and began to lightly play the intro to one of the few rock songs he listens to. I messed it up every now and then but he grew quiet as he watched. “You know I'm a dreamer But my heart's of gold I had to run away high So I wouldn't come home low Just when things went right It doesn't mean they were always wrong Just take this song and you'll never feel Left all alone*” I’m pretty sure I messed up most of the lyrics as I sang, and I didn’t exactly play the guitar perfectly but I could tell I was finally getting through to him. “Really nice.” He smiled as I finished it up. “What was that for?” “I-I’m going to play you a song every day until you feel better.” I nodded my head. “You care about me that,” “No.” I lied in a blush. “I just, I need you back in the hospital working. We all do.” “Oliver I don’t,” “What if there’s someone getting wheeled in right now that only you can save Teddy?” I asked as he grew quiet. “It sucks that Chris died. It really really sucks. But that’s not your fault. It’s a miracle he even made it to you in the first place! “Oliver it’s not that simple, it’s,” “It is that simple.” I insisted. “I get that you had to watch it happen.” I gulped, hardly even able to imagine what that would feel like. “But it was going to happen regardless of the doctor. So stop holding yourself accountable and start pointing the blame to the man who stabbed him!” He softly nodded his head, but I could tell he wasn’t connecting the pieces. “It’s going to take time.” He finally exhaled. “This, it’s not something that’s going to instantly heal, and I just, I need a few more days off.” “Okay.” I conceded in a nod. “But I’m still playing you a song everyday.” “Good.” He softly smiled. “I love you Oliver.” “I love you too.” I forced out. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an album to finish.” I nodded as he quietly laughed and let me leave without any more words. ************************************************************************************* I got an earful about homework from my dad on the way to the studio, but all the lying was worth it. Even if Teddy stays in bed for a little longer, well, at least I saw him smile. At least I can see that he’ll start getting better. At least I can hope for it. “Look who finally showed up.” Tommy grunted as I walked through the door. “At least he’s earlier than he said.” Ryder sighed, looking me up and down. “Everything okay?” “Yeah, I just felt bad leaving you guys.” I shrugged. “Bull shit.” Tommy called, watching me closely. “Mark’s parents were probably home and it ruined his little escape.” “Is it hard?” I asked, walking up to him. “Is what hard?” Tommy asked shooting me a cautious look. “Being such a dick!” Joe guessed. “No.” I shook my head. “Knowing your fourteen year old counterpart has more sex than you!” The room exploded into laughter and yelling as they heard my words. “Oliver!” Ryder shouted staring me down. “Not cool dude.” “Come on.” Brandon encouraged as Ryder rolled his eyes. “That was pretty fuckin good.” “It was gross.” Ryder shook his head as he got back to work. “You guys are turning him into a pig.” “Well if it wasn’t for me, you would’ve never gone through with it in the first place.” Tommy dismissed, handing me a few music sheets. “Now go record.” “Wait.” I shook my head, looking over them. “This is like, four more than we agreed on.” “Is it?” He asked, faking shock. “Well since you have all that free time to bang your boyfriend that must mean you have free time to record more music.” “You’re such a dick.” I sighed, heading for the empty booth. “Thanks kid.” He winked. “I owe you one.” “You owe me like twenty!” I replied, slamming the door behind me. The truth was I can complain all I want. I love this gig and they know it! Everything about it was just so perfect. From learning how to properly write songs, to expanding my mastery over the drums. I mean, I wrote Revival before this! I can’t wait to see what I write now! *********************************************************************************** As the days came and went I found it hard to say goodbye to the studio time. The album was done. Unity’s second song was recorded. And things just felt, different. I know the band promised they’d practice four times a week before the big Metlife show, but still, it sucks that this experience is over. “It’s alright Oli.” Ryder smiled as we all stood in the cleaned up room. “You and I have hundreds and hundreds of recording sessions before us.” “I know,” I nodded. “I just,” “Know I won’t be there?” Tommy teased, giving me a playful shove. “I’ll miss you too kid.” I nodded but stayed quiet. “But we still get to practice together, and you can always call me when you need.” I saw Brandon smile to the other’s as he heard those words. “Plus this album drops in a few days and it’s going to surprise the whole world.” He smiled. “But not as much as that second Unity song, what’s it called?” “Remedy.” I answered with a proud smile. “It’s an electric, pop, rock nightmare, but your generation will eat it up.” He exhaled. “They’ll eat you up.” I nodded but looked up to Ryder as he laid his hand on my shoulder. “Future’s bright.” He smiled. “Messiah at Metlife, then Unity at Terminal Five and after, well that’s up to you Oliver Haner.” It is up to me, isn’t it? For the first time in my life I have control. I get to decide my own destiny! I know my mom said no touring during the school year but summers coming and I have a ton up my sleeve! I let out a sigh as it all flooded my head. Suddenly a flash of Teddy in bed showed in my head. He’s been getting better recently, but he’s still not one hundred percent yet. And if he’s not by the summer, well, well Unity’s first tour will have to wait. I’m not doing this without knowing if my brother is going to be okay. Without him by our side.
  11. The Love and the Loss

    ---Teddy--- They tell you a lot when you graduate medical school. They tell you you’ll do great things. They tell you you’ll save a lot of lives. They tell you you’ll make a difference in the world. What they don’t tell you is the long hours that come with it. Or the fatigue that sets in after a long surgery. Between schooling, residency, and my own experience, I assumed I had seen it all, the good and the bad. But nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened today. For losing my first patient. “Dr. Haner, the family, they’re,” The head nurse stuttered. “They um, they’re waiting to speak with you.” All I could do was hold my head in my hands as I sat near the body on the surgery table. “Jesus Christ.” I exhaled, wishing I could just wake up. “I’ll speak with them.” One of the older surgeons volunteered. “Dr. Haner needs to go home for a few days, why don’t you,” “I can do it.” I interrupted, finally rising back to my feet. “Dr. Haner, I really don’t know if,” The surgeon continued. “I can do it.” I insisted in a strict tone. “This, this was my surgery. How will it look if their son died and I’m missing?” “Like you’re a surgeon who cares about his patients.” The head nurse argued. “You’re a human Dr. Haner, if you need time to,” “I can handle this.” I repeated, shooting her a stern look. “Fine.” She shrugged. “But I’m grabbing Cait Hollis for the second you’re finished. You listen to her right?” I ignored her words and went right back to the prep room. Getting changed into clean scrubs, talking with the other doctors, making my way to the small office. It all felt like one big blur as I tried my hardest to keep up a confident façade. I just, I have to make it through this then I can think about it all. Then I can grieve. “I’m Dr. Theodore Haner,” I bravely began, staring at a middle-aged woman and her mother. “I was the surgeon who was taking care of,” “My son.” The woman worriedly interrupted. “You were taking care of my son Chris, he’s thirteen, he’s about to graduate River Edge Middle School, he loves,” She began, trying her hardest to give me a reason to care about her child. Trying her hardest to make this all mean something to me. But the cruel reality is it already does. “I understand.” I interrupted, not wanting to hear anymore. “Unfortunately Chris, he didn’t pull through.” I forced out. Professors and peers bring it up, but no one really tells you how to deliver this news. How to look a mother in the eyes and tell her you lost her son. “What?” She asked, looking over to the older woman. “What do you mean?” “He was too weak when he was brought in,” I tried to elaborate without losing control of my emotions. “And the surgery just didn’t take.” “No, no,” The mother shook her head in denial. “You, you have to try something else. Anything else Dr. Haner.” “I’m sorry for your loss.” I shook my head. “We have grief services and,” “Please!” She interrupted once more, this time through tears. “Don’t you have a son? Or a brother? Or anything? Can’t you understand that you have to keep,” Before she could finish the older woman grabbed onto her and pulled her close. “Thank you for trying Dr. Haner.” She gulped. “We, we just need a few minutes.” “Of course.” I nodded my head. “I uh, I’ll have one of my nurses give you my information and help you set up grief support.” The older woman nodded as I quickly left the room. I could feel my heart racing and emotions starting to bubble as I stood in the hallway. “Teddy.” Cait finally called out, rushing up to me. “Teddy are you okay?” “I’m fine.” I lied with a shake of my head. “Absolutely fine.” “You need to go home.” She instructed, grabbing onto my arm and beginning to pull me. “I can’t just,” “Teddy!” She reprimanded staring back at me. “Your doctors, nurses and patients can’t see you like this. They can’t see you doubting yourself.” “But I,” “But nothing.” She cut off. “You’re allowed to be in pain right now. You’re allowed to want to grieve, but you can’t do that here. And you can’t jump into another surgery like nothing happened.” I felt one of my hands rise to my face as my mind tried to replay the situation. “I’m going to have to go in front of the board and,” “No you won’t,” She insisted as her tone grew more worried. “I, I don’t know all the details but based on what I was told the patient was already in critical condition. You’re not a miracle worker Teddy. You can’t bring people back from the dead.” She was trying her hardest to keep her voice down so the family wouldn’t hear, but her words boomed in my head like thunder. “There’s always a way.” I argued as she pulled me to the reception desk. “Go home now Teddy.” Cait warned. “I’m taking you off schedule for the next two days and I, I really think you should take your seven days. Or as much of it as you can.” “I can’t just leave my staff and,” “Dr. Haner.” The head nurse interrupted from behind the desk. “You’re here nearly all hours. You cover for everyone and anyone who asks. We can easily do this for you.” She explained. “And you, right now you won’t be the doctor your staff or patients need. Go rest.” “Come on.” Cait nodded, noticing the words were starting to break through to me. “Do you want me to call your dad or Ryder to come,” “I can drive myself.” I shook my head as she walked me to the front doors. “Are you positive?” She gulped, taking a long look at me. “Yeah.” I sighed as the sun blinded me. “You’ll be okay.” She tried to comfort as we finally reached my car. “Every doctor goes through this. And what happened today, it wasn’t your fault.” “It sure as hell feels like it.” I exhaled, falling back into my own world. “It’s not.” She insisted grabbing my arm once more. “Now go, or I’m calling Ryder.” I nodded and in another blur got in and drove away. I don’t know how long I drove, or how exactly I got back, but suddenly I was pulling into the driveway. ************************************************************************************ I think my dad said something when I walked in the front door, but I kept moving until finally I was sitting on my bed staring out the window. Once more I have no idea how long I sat there, or exactly what I was trying to do. But flashes of the scene kept playing in my head over and over again. I’ve seen a lot of terrible things in my time as a surgeon. Burn victims, car accidents, bullet wounds, what’s felt like whatever the world can throw at me. But nothing was ever as bad as today. As those thirteen holes right in the boy’s chest. The site alone was enough to keep me up at night, but what happened after, well it guaranteed I’d never sleep again. The way nothing we did seemed to work. That way the heart monitor seemed to scream at us for help. The loud fast beeping taunting us and sounding off in my head. I don’t even know how the other doctors and nurses are handling this. I know they’ve seen it before, but still. This, this is the cruelest punishment for someone just trying to help. “Hey,” I heard Ryder force out as the door lightly opened. “Your dad called and said you were acting weird today.” “I’m okay.” I responded in a quiet voice. “Are you sure about that?” He asked, shooting me a cautious look. “Yeah.” I forced a nod, but kept my gaze ahead. How in the world could I tell him at a time like this? When he’s already gone through so much, and still has so much more on his plate. I heard the door shut before the figure slowly worked its way over and sat next to me on the bed. “What happened Teddy?” Ryder forced out, carefully scanning me. “Nothing.” I shook my head. “This doesn’t look like nothing.” He pressured. “You always tell me we need to be honest with one another. That we need to come to one another with our problems.” He lectured. “So stop shutting me out and just,” “I lost a patient today.” I finally answered as the first tears began to fall. “Oh, I, I,” Ryder stammered in shock. “I’m so sorry Teddy.” He finally began to comfort as he pulled me into him. “He was thirteen, and I-I think he was in Oliver’s class.” I shook my head. “I don’t know how but he, he was stabbed thirteen times Ryder. Thirteen times.” “It’s okay.” Ryder said, starting to rub my arm. “It’s all going to be okay.” “How can you say that?” I argued as frustrations began to mount. “I, I’m going to have to go in front of the board. I could lose my license just for telling you what happened. I could lose my license for what happened! And telling the family.” I groaned as tears began to fall faster. “The, the way they looked at me. The way the mother began to cry,” “Don’t think about that right now.” He interrupted. “You have to,” “She asked me if I had a son or a brother Ryder.” I heavily exhaled. “What if that was Oliver? What if,” “It wasn’t!” He exclaimed, trying to pull me back to reality. “It wasn’t Oliver. And this isn’t your fault.” “But there’s so much I could’ve done different, so much,” “Theodore,” Ryder forced out, trying his hardest to get me to look into his eyes. “This, it happens, and it fucking sucks. You’re allowed to feel whatever you want right now, but you’re not allowed to blame yourself.” He consoled as I finally began to calm down. “You tried your hardest and that boy, he’s so lucky to have had you there. Because anyone that knows you, well we know that you never stopped fighting for him. You gave this everything you had.” “But it wasn’t enough.” I shook my head. “No, this wasn’t on your skills,” He tried to correct. “This, there wasn’t enough time.” I nodded but fell quiet as he held me. Once more I lost track of time as we sat there quietly in our room. The scene stayed on loop in my mind, and all I could do was hold Ryder tightly. As though he could take away my pain. As though he could fix everything going on. “I’m not going back to work for a while.” I said, finally breaking the silence. “Teddy, I don’t know if,” “I’m not.” I repeated. “I-I’m supposed to take seven days off a month and,” “Woh, woh,” Ryder interrupted. “Seven days?” “For every week you work as a surgeon you get seven days off and,” “You have fourteen days off a month and you don’t use them?” Ryder pressured, trying his hardest to wrap his mind around it. “No one uses the full fourteen. That, it’s an unwritten rule.” I shook my head. “But I, I’m going to start to take my seven off.” “As happy as I am that you’re taking time off I just don’t want it to be for the wrong reasons.” He explained, trying his hardest to support me the best way possible. “This isn’t your fault. None of it is.” I nodded but grew quiet once more. “You’ve saved so many lives Teddy. You’re so skilled and gifted.” He encouraged. “You can’t give up because of one bump in the road. I-I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you, and I mean that. I have no idea how you brought me back to life, but you did Teddy.” “I won’t give up.” I concluded, not knowing if I even fully believed it myself. “But I need the next week off to think about it. I-I still see the boy’s face, and his body and,” “It’s okay.” Ryder began to comfort once more. “You don’t need to think of that, I’m here.” ************************************************************************************* That night was one of the slowest of my life. The guilt intertwined with the sorrow for what became a combination that haunted my mind. My mom brought food up to me and Ryder, but I couldn’t eat. All I wanted to do was sit there and stare out my window. Thinking of anything and everything I could’ve done different. “I know you don’t want to hear it,” Ryder finally began. “But I know how you feel. I know how much life can hurt.” I stayed quiet as I stared off into the darkness. “But trust me, you can’t just think of that. You have to look at both sides. Today life took but it also gave.” “How did it give?” I shook my head. “Because this is something you’ll never forget.” He explained. “And I-I don’t know how, but I know you’ll find a way to turn this into something good. Because that’s what you do Teddy. Because that’s who you are.” “I’m sorry you’re missing work.” I said, suddenly switching the topic. “I know you can’t afford to and I know,” “It’s okay.” He forced a small smile and rubbed my arm. “This is so much more important than the studio. Besides, the guys can handle this.” “And Oli?” “He’s fine.” Ryder nodded. “He’s probably the one getting the guys to work.” “He’s going to hear about this and,” “And nothing.” He cut off. “He’s going to hear about this and be proud of his older brother for trying to save a life. He knows what a great surgeon you are, he always talks about it.” I nodded but fell quiet once more. This time the hours felt even longer than before, and when it was time to go to bed I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned as everything flashed in my mind once more. Now I know the hell Ryder has gone through his whole life. The pain he constantly battles night in and night out. How has he survived it for so long? How has he been able to handle it? ************************************************************************************* When morning rolled back around I practically had to force him to go into work. He can’t sit here taking care of me all day. It’s not fair to him. It’s not fair to the band. It’s not fair to Oliver. “Hey.” Mom forced out as she entered the room. “Ryder told me and your father what happened.” She began, not knowing what else to say. “I’m sorry.” I stayed quiet and tried to look away as she grew closer. “I know you take everything to heart. I know you feel like it’s your responsibility to save everybody who comes to you.” She comforted as she rested her hand on my side. “But you can’t save the world Teddy.” I looked to her then quickly away as I heard her words. “When you were a little boy you told me you wanted to save people.” She began once more. “And you’ve saved so many people Teddy. But, trying to save people, it comes with the risk of losing people.” I kept quiet as she watched over me for a few more minutes until finally another person entered the room. As I heard the small coo’s of a baby I quickly turned to see Liz standing nearby with Hayley in her arms. “Hey.” Liz forced out, taking a long look at my face. “How are you feeling?” Once more I stayed quiet and stared off into the distance. “This again, huh?” She asked, looking to my mom. “I’ll leave you three alone.” She nodded. “Unless I can take Hayley.” “I think Teddy needs some time with her right now.” Liz smiled as my mom nodded and slowly left the room. “Teddy,” Liz began, but as she saw she wasn’t getting my attention she picked up my hand and gave it to Hayley. Hayley’s small fingers wrapped around my thumb as the young baby kept exploring life. “You make life like her’s possible everyday Teddy.” Liz suddenly encouraged. “You’re the reason why babies like her have moms and dads. You’re the reason people come home to their spouses or their kids.” “I’m the reason a kid,” “You’re not the reason.” Liz shook her head. “Whoever attacked that kid is the reason. The world can become a dark place real quick if we let it.” She exhaled. “But it can also become a place of laughter and love.” As I shook my head and went to turn away I felt Liz grab onto my hand along with her child. “This isn’t going to be the first time this happens to you.” She warned. “But look at Hayley and tell me you don’t want to keep making sure babies like this have parents to come home to. Because that’s what you do, and you’ve saved so many more people than you’ve lost.” I nodded and slowly sat up as I pulled my hand away. “Can I hold her?” I asked as Liz quickly handed me the small bundle. I won’t say Hayley healed me because I’m still in so much pain. But holding her close, hearing her soft coo’s and laughter. It gave me hope again. It reminded me why I became a surgeon in the first place. “I was thinking,” Liz began once more. “Maybe, maybe you can write the family a condolence letter. Maybe even attend the wake or funeral. It might help you find peace.” “Maybe.” I slowly nodded. “But I don’t know, it, it already feels, just, too real.” “I understand.” She accepted as I handed Hayley back. “But just think about it.” Liz stayed with me a little longer until finally the baby grew fussy and tired. I could tell she didn’t want to go, but I know she needed to. After all, she has a family of her own now. I can’t expect her to put all the pieces back together for me anymore. This time the hours seemed to pass by faster as I finally began to find peace in what had happened. “H-hey.” A young voice called out as my door slowly swung open then shut. “Ryder kind of told me what happened.” Oli softly forced out. “I’m really sorry.” I couldn’t bear to look at him as flashes of the boy on the surgery table appeared in my head. “But you were just trying to help him.” Oli tried to comfort. “It’s not your fault.” I kept my eyes away as Oli took a seat on my bed. He stayed quiet not knowing what to say as he tried to force eye contact. “I-I’m gonna tell you something Tommy told me when I first started in Messiah.” He began. “He told me that when something goes wrong, I can either sit around and cry about it, or I can learn and become better for it.” He exhaled. “And I know this isn’t the same thing, but, but this is a challenge for you.” Oli shook his head. “And you can either quit all together and let more people die because you were scared, or, or you can learn from this and make sure Chris didn’t die for nothing.” “You know his name?” I forced out, trying my hardest to hold back tears. “Yeah.” Oli slowly nodded. “We, we heard about it at school today. Don’t worry. No one knows you were the surgeon.” “Did you, did you know him?” I pressured, seeing how much I could learn. “Kind of.” Oli swayed his head. “He always just kept to himself and all. He was friends with all the quiet kids so he didn’t like me very much.” He explained “Kids at school were sad, but it, it’s not your fault, okay?” He asked, forcing me to look at him. “Okay?” He repeated with water building in his eyes. “Okay.” I nodded as I pulled him close. I need to remember the two sides of life if I’m going to get through this. The love and the loss. I need to remember that life moves on. That I need to keep moving on. I don’t know how yet, but I’ll pick myself back up from this. I’ll learn, and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’ll make it up to that boy and his family. I’ll even the score. Somehow. Some way. I swear I will.
  12. A Hard Day's Night

    Happy birthday man! Sorry for the late response! I'm sure you'll find your happily ever after, it'll come soon!
  13. The Love, the Fighting and the Laughter

    I'm sorry to hear that. Condolences to you, their friends and their family.
  14. ---Teddy--- As the coming days came and went the growth between Oliver and Ryder was incredible. It was something me and my parents couldn’t believe, something we never expected. When he was home Ryder was walking around the house laughing, smiling and joking! Ryder was doing that! He was bringing a light atmosphere wherever he went, and as his boyfriend, well I’ve never been happier. With a flip of the switch he could make me smile, or just want to be close to him. He’s matured so much since he came home from the hospital, since he wanted to give up. Then there’s Oliver. He’s still got a big mouth, and doesn’t know what to say or when to say it. But I can’t believe how hard he seems to be working. How committed he is to this project. I know he’s Messiah’s biggest fan, but to step in and write the way he is while still going to school? It’s insane! Odds are his grades are dropping and he’s nearly falling asleep in class, but how good for him is school anyway? I don’t mean that in an uppity way either! Some people, they just don’t learn from being in a class room all day. As someone who went to school for twenty-one years, it’s a little hard for me to accept, but now I see that’s true. I see the person he’s becoming, and how much pride he’s bringing into this house. As I stepped through the basement doors from a long shift I couldn’t help but smile at the site. Mark’s head was lying in Oliver’s lap as their new friend Wendy sat on the floor between Oli’s legs. I’ve seen this site before. No, I’ve lived this site before. Enjoy it Oliver, being an adult is fun, but those innocent days of growing up. Well there’s nothing like them. “It’s cool.” I dismissed as Mark went to raise his head. “Cuddle all you want.” As I grew closer I couldn’t help but ruffle Oliver’s hair. “Happy Birthday!” He let out a long groan and tried to push me away. “It’d be happier if I was allowed to go to the studio.” “You’ve been overworking yourself, a day off won’t kill you.” I warned. “Besides, you’re with your friends. Just relax and enjoy it.” “He doesn’t know how.” Mark teased in a giggle. “His mind moves at a million miles a second.” As I heard the garage door roar open I couldn’t help but smile wider. Talking about someone who can never shut off their mind. “Am I late?” The figure forced the door open. “I lost track of time and,” “It’s fine, I just got home.” I waived as he grew closer, and pulled me in for a hug. “EW!” A few groans from the group sounded as they saw our affection. “Not in front of my friends.” Oli protested in a whine. Ryder turned and raised an eyebrow, before tossing a think black box he had been holding on the cushion next to Oli. “Tommy said Happy Birthday.” “This is from him?” Oliver gasped, reaching over and eagerly grabbing it. “Yup.” Ryder nodded, still lightly holding onto me. “I-I’m kinda scared to open it.” Oli giggled, shaking it lightly. “Yeah, I would be too.” Ryder smirked, as the boy finally began to pry it open. The second the lid came off I saw the expression on Oliver’s face change. “Woh.” He softly exhaled taking a pair of drum sticks out. He took a closer look as a black M decorated the side with a signature right next to it. “Woh.” He repeated in an excited laugh. “Tommy really gave you these.” “Yup.” Ryder nodded in a smile. “Don’t worry, we gave him plenty of shit for it.” “Like Oli hasn’t been trying to act like Tommy enough.” Mark sat up and rolled his eyes. “Seriously.” Wendy supported. “He’s been all confident and rude.” “Have not.” Oli argued. “I was never rude to you Mark.” “No.” He blushed. “But to other people.” Mark whispered discreetly gesturing to the girl on the floor. “How?” He pressured with a tilt of his head. “You called Sammy ugly.” Wendy shrugged as Ryder and I eagerly watched the eighth grade drama unfold. “He is.” Oli clicked, looking down at her. “You can do so much better.” “You can do better.” Mark nodded. “But if he makes her happy,” “We can get a hot guy to make her happy.” Oli provoked. “Like you.” He teased, beginning to tickle Mark. “And they ew at us.” Ryder whispered, lightly squeezing my side. “Cause you’re not as cute.” Oli smirked, overhearing our conversation. “Teddy’s so much cuter than you.” Wendy defended before a blush quickly overtook her face. “Sorry.” She nervously giggled. “I just, I love the way you dress.” “Thank you.” I proudly smiled. I haven’t gotten to know Wendy all that well yet, but if she’s Oli’s friend I know two things about her. She’s outspoken and loyal. “Everyone around here makes fun of me for it.” “Because I nearly get blinded every time one of us opens our closet.” Ryder couldn’t help but tease. “You do know it’s after labor day right?” “Sorry I don’t wear black all day.” I shrugged, taking a long look at Mark. “You look like you’d like bright colors.” “No!” Oliver exclaimed in a loud voice. “You’re not going to come in here and Teddy up my friends!” “We’ll work on it when they’re on tour.” I winked drawing a laugh from Mark. “Can I come?” Wendy quickly asked. “I love shopping!” Ryder couldn’t help but laugh at her excitement. “You’re so happy to have gay friends, aren’t you?” “No.” She lied in a blush. “I just, if one of them happens to like shopping,” “Wendy!” Mark yelped. “What?” She cried out. “I like that you and Oli are real and straight forward, but I also like that I can talk to you both about guys and stuff.” “Give her a break.” I defended as me and Ryder inched towards the stairs. “It’s kind of stereotypical, but girls can be a gay guy’s best friend. Besides, you need a girl in your life. She’ll help you not,” “Be a stupid guy?” Ryder finished for me in a laugh. “Yup.” I nodded as we finally made our ascent. “Maybe I like being a stupid guy.” Oliver grumbled, looking at them both. “You’re not stupid,” Wendy began to comfort as we shut the door behind us. “Dude!” I yelped when I was sure they couldn’t hear me anymore. “Mark and Oli totally messed around together.” Ryder rolled his eyes and hid his face. “Because they were cuddling?” “Because they were cuddling and getting all handsy.” I corrected, trying to force eye contact. “I know my brother, he hates being touched. Something had to break there.” “Maybe they’re just comfortable with one another.” Ryder shrugged, but as he turned back to me I could tell he was hiding something. “You know!” I exclaimed. “How long ago was this? How do you know about it? Did he tell you and not me?” “Relax, relax.” Ryder giggled, grabbing back onto me. “It, it was like five days ago. And he didn’t tell me, he told Tommy.” “He told Tommy?!” I shouted even louder. “Tommy Walst?!” “Yes,” Ryder quickly hushed. “Now stop, he’s going to hear you.” “But how could he,” “He’s getting really close to Tommy, okay?” Ryder tried to hush. “They work together for hours every day. It was bound to happen.” “I don’t know if I like that.” I pouted. “You just don’t like that he never told you.” Ryder sighed. “And I know Tommy is a bit on the rougher side. But he’s got a big heart. He was the first band member to get me to just be myself. He’s exactly who Oliver needs in his life right now.” “Whatever.” I grumbled, walking over and taking a seat on the couch. “Don’t do this.” Ryder sighed, taking the seat next to me. “It’s not personal.” “No, please,” I dismissed, purposely getting overdramatic. “It’s bad enough Oli is growing up so fast. Now you and him are out of the house twenty-four seven.” Ryder studied me closely before landing a kiss on my cheek. “I know you’re joking around, but I love you. This will all ease up soon. All the songs are written, now we’re just recording.” I nodded my head but with a serious face turned back to him. “I meant it when I said I want the tours to be small.” “We’re not talking about just Messiah anymore, are we?” He sighed, trying to prepare himself for whatever was coming. “Nope.” I shook my head. “Because what’s going on downstairs, the love and the fighting and the laughter, it’s so much more important for him to experience than going on tour.” “I know.” Ryder slowly nodded. “And I-I have things under control, I’ve got a plan and all.” “And that is?” I couldn’t help but ask. “A secret.” He smirked. “You’ll just have to trust me on this one.” “Anyone ever tell you how annoying you are?” I asked as our foreheads slowly met. “Only you.” He smiled, as our lips connected. “Up here too?!” Oli shouted as they poured out of the basement. “And there goes the quiet.” Ryder groaned. “How long until we move out?” Mark and Wendy pushed past Oliver as he seemed to freeze at the question. “You’re joking right?” “Yeah.” I quickly nodded before discreetly nudging Ryder. “Where would we even move? Florida?” “I wish.” Ryder played along. “But your brother’s job at the hospital has us chained here.” Oliver skeptically stared at us both before nodding his head. “Good.” He decided. “Because I’m not staying here alone with mom and dad.” “Why?” Wendy prodded. “Your parents are soooo nice. They’re like the coolest people ever.” “Thank you!” Dad happily accepted as he wandered into the room. “Is there any chance the coolest dad ever gets to hear some new Messiah?” “Look what you did now.” Oli groaned as they all found places on the couch or chairs. “I already told you, you can’t hear any of it!” “He can hear,” “None of it.” Oli finished, staring down Ryder. “I’ve already tried Mr. Haner.” Mark shrugged. “Oli isn’t giving any of it up.” Ryder and Oliver shared a proud nod as their own bond strengthened. I never thought I’d be so happy about how close my fiancé and brother are, but it’s comforting. Ryder’s walked in and made my family his own. Maybe that’d be weird for some people, but for me, well it’s what I always dreamed of as a kid. “It’s Harry.” Dad corrected Mark before lightly grabbing onto Oli. “He’ll give it up eventually, or he won’t be getting any of his cake or presents.” “I’ll buy myself cake when the album sells. “ He happily held his head high. “Because we’ll be making out the checks to Oliver Haner.” Ryder rolled his eyes. “You better.” Oli warned. “Or we’re gonna have issues.” “What? You don’t trust me?” Dad giggled, holding him tighter. “Nope.” Oli broke free and leaned into Mark to dissuade my dad from grabbing onto him once more. “What are you doing?” Mark giggled as he nearly jumped on top of him. “Saying hi.” Oliver teased resting his head against his shoulder. “Hi.” “Hi.” Mark smiled, trying his hardest to ease into the situation. “Now you’re like Ryder and Teddy.” Wendy rolled her eyes. “Fourteen years old.” Dad sighed as he headed back to the kitchen. “Where does the time go?” The rest of the day I found myself asking the same question. Where did the time go? Where did that little fearless boy go? And who is this bold teenager who’s taken his place? If you would’ve asked me a few years ago to project Oliver’s life, I never would’ve guessed it would take him here. Boyfriend on his arm, and countless music projects bouncing around in his head. I rested my head against Ryder as I thought it all over. I guess the potential was always there, it just took someone to come in and spark it. As dinner rolled around the house had to readjust to the idea of seven people at the table, but we all found a way to fit in just fine. In a way it reminded me of when I was a kid. Of when Blake, Mike and Liz would come over after school to goof around. The faces and names have changed, but the love in the room is still the same. I know Oliver keeps complaining about missing studio time, but the look on his face tonight was the happiest I’ve seen in a long time. And when presents rolled around, well there was no question about what good friends he had. Wendy had gotten him a big black Messiah flag to hang in his room, something he immediately hung behind his drum kit in the basement. After all, he’s not just a fan of Messiah anymore. He’s a member. Mark had given him a customized Unity t-shirt he had designed all by himself. I swear Oliver almost cried when he unwrapped it! The way those two understand one another. It’s something that only comes with years of being friends. When his friends had finally left, it was time for me, Ryder and our parents to give our gifts. Our parents had given him a combination of nice clothing and some band t-shirts. Just normal parent stuff I guess. Whereas Ryder and I tried our hardest to step up the game. With a proud yet shaky hand I gave him the envelope Ryder and I had worked so hard to make happen. It’s been weeks of planning and sneaking around, but it’ll all pay off, I know it will. The second he opened the envelop he shot us a confused look. “THE BOWERY PRESENTS UNITY WITH SPECIAL GUESTS: NOTHING MORE AND ARTIC MONKEYS TERMINAL 5 610 W. 56 ST, NYC SAT FEBRUARY 16TH 2032 DRS 700PM” “I-I don’t get it.” He quickly looked back up at us. “Is this like, is it supposed to be motivation?” “No, it’s a reward.” Ryder shrugged with a growing smile. “Get writing. We have a show to put on.” “Wh-what?” He gasped, looking back down at the ticket. “You’re playing Terminal Five in February.” I smiled. “That’s the first ticket to the show.” He shook his head in disbelief before nearly tackling Ryder to the ground. “Thank you! Thank you!” He cried out. “Thank you! Thank you!” “It was Teddy’s idea.” Ryder shrugged, happily hugging him back. “I simply picked out the other bands, reached out to my contacts then Teddy did most of the work on it from there. I was too busy writing with you.” “Yo-you’re okay with this?” Oliver asked, letting go and turning back to me. “You deserve it.” I nodded my head. “I don’t love the idea of Ryder back on stage, but he’s playing Metlife a month before, so I have to get used to it anyway. “I won’t make you regret it!” He yelped, quickly embracing me. “You’re the best big brother ever!” His hug seemed to linger as he tried his hardest to wrap his head around the idea. “Wait!” He called out as he let me go. “We only have one song released and another that we’re still recording! And I still have to learn how to make beats on computers!” “Don’t worry about it.” Ryder laughed. “We’ll record a few others before the concert, and we’ll do covers. The most important thing is for you to perfect how you want the band to look and feel.” “Oh!” Oliver shouted. “I want, I want bright colors and streamers and smoke and,” “Bright colors?” I interrupted. “It’s ironic.” He dismissed. “But I also want fire and sparks and,” “Okay, okay.” Ryder laughed as proud tears formed in our parent’s eyes. “I don’t think we can do all of that, but we’ll work on it.” Oli proudly nodded his head before clutching the ticket tightly and turning towards our dad. “Here.” He offered extending the ticket. “What?” Dad forced out, not understanding. “I want you to have it.” He happily nodded. “I want you to have the first ticket to my first concert.” “Me?” Dad asked, slowly taking it. “Yeah, you, you’re the one who showed me music and taught me the drums.” Oliver began in a shaky voice. “You started all this and I, I really want you there.” As the tears finally fell from my father’s eyes he reached out and grabbed Oli. “I’m so proud of you.” He exhaled, as they both held one another tightly. I couldn’t help but pull Ryder closer at the site. If only Oli knew how much that small gesture meant to our father. How long he’s been waiting for a son who loves the same music. How long he’s waited to see his son perform on a stage. And not even a big one either! Dad nearly started crying at battle of the bands! Sure, maybe he didn’t always do right by Oliver, but he’s still his father. He still loves him more than anything else in the world. He’s still more proud than all of us combined! I think I could live in that night for the rest of my life. It’s been a long time since we all just sat around and talked as a family. Even when we go out to dinner someone’s always distracted. Always on their phone trying to talk to other people. Trying to be somewhere else. But not tonight. We sat around listening to Oliver detail out his perfect elaborate concert. Everything from the introduction to the big explosive conclusion. I just hope Ryder can handle all of this. I hope he can take being back up on a big stage. The spotlight is unforgiving. It takes and it takes until nothing is left. But if anyone is up to that battle, well it’s Oliver Haner. ************************************************************************************* When the night finally came to an end I couldn’t help but hug Oliver goodnight. I know he doesn’t like it, but how long until I can’t force hugs anymore? How long until he’s big enough to out muscle me? Or even worse, taller than me! The next morning was chaotic just like all the others, but the love behind it, it was evident. “You okay there?” Cait asked, snapping me back to reality as we both grabbed coffee from the cafeteria. “Fine.” I nodded my head. “Last night was Oli’s fourteenth birthday, so I’m just,” “Reflecting?” She smiled. “You’re totally going to wind up with like eight kids.” “No.” I lied in a blush. “You love kids, and your fiancé is loaded.” She teased. “It’s okay, big families are fun. Maybe Ryder can make a band with them too.” “Stop.” I giggled with a shake of my head. “We agreed the limit is three. Plus, we barely have time together as it is now, I can’t bring a kid into this madness.” “You could if you took your seven days a month like you should.” She provoked, but this time in a serious voice. “Okay.” I rolled my eyes. “And next people will actually start taking the full fourteen.” “No one’s dumb enough to do that.” She sighed. “Just because you take the seven days off a month you’re given,” “Dr. Haner to surgery! Dr. Haner to surgery!” The intercom voice interrupted. “Saved by the bell.” I happily smiled before making my exit. “You’re going to have to take a break eventually Teddy!” She shouted back. I rolled my eyes and kept moving. Me? Take a break? Sure. When I’m dead maybe! It’s really not that big a deal anyway, when the time comes I’ll take time off just like I promised. But for now I enjoy what I’m doing and Ryder isn’t even home! “What’s the rundown?” I asked stepping into the prep room. “All we know is it’s a teenage boy who suffered thirteen stab wounds and is in critical condition.” The head nurse sighed causing my heart to skip a beat. “We don’t know how it happened?” I gulped hard, throwing off my white coat and starting to get dressed. “Officers were responding to a domestic abuse call.” She elaborated, instantly relieving my racing mind. “Always hard to see.” I groaned as we made our way into the surgery room. “Yup.” Another doctor agreed as we anxiously waited. “But lucky for him he’s got Doctor Theodore Haner in his corner.” I nodded but stayed quiet as I heard the shouting of paramedics and the squeaking of gurney wheels fill the air. I promise you kid. I’ll make sure you get better. I’ll treat you just like you were my own brother. I’ll make sure you survive this.
  15. Growing Up

    I think it speaks to Oli's character, and how he's kind of scared by his bisexuality. He has very few friends, so he probably sees dating Mark as a risk, and for him doing anything sexually magnifies that risk. I think a combination of fear, nervousness and over thinking resulted in Oli focusing a lot on the details and trying his hardest to make sure everything goes smoothly.

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