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Kevin paced about the waiting room nervously. He had been pacing since a doctor had shown them to the room and it was making Nick more and more anxious by the minute. Why hadn’t anyone told them what was happening? Brian could be dying in surgery for all they knew! No, he couldn’t think like that… he WOULDN’T think like that.

Howie was sat beside him, hid head in his hands. Why had this happened to them? Brian did not deserve to die in surgery, he had been through so much already.

The door opened. Everyone looked up expectantly and Kevin ceased his incessant pacing, but it wasn’t a doctor. Brian’s mother entered, looking extremely worried.

“Jackie,” Howie said. “Have you spoken to the doctor? Brian’s in surgery…”

“I know,” she replied. “Has there been any news on him?”

Howie slowly shook his head. “We haven’t heard anything since we got back.”

Nick saw her shoulders sag. She sat down beside them.

“How long has he been in there?”

“Not long,” AJ said. “About half an hour?”

Half an hour? Had it really only been thirty minutes? It felt like they had been waiting forever. A sudden thought struck him.

“Does anybody know what they did with Sammy?” Nick asked.

“He’s sleeping,” Jackie said. “I just left him. I’ll have to go back in a minute. The poor baby’s terrified.

” Nick slowly ran his fingers through his blond hair. He thought he’d had it stressful when he was thirteen but it was nothing compared to what had happened to Sammy. What kind of a father would put his son through such an ordeal? Pete didn’t deserve Sammy. Brian did.

“Is he okay? I mean, apart from being frightened?” Nick asked.

“He’s got pneumonia,” Jackie said, after a moment’s silence. “But the doctors say he’ll recover. It would have been much worse if Brian hadn’t of gotten him out of the water. Sammy wouldn’t have survived.”

“Brian loves him,” Nick said.

“Jackie nodded. “I know, and if anything happens…” Her voice choked slightly in a sob.

“He’ll be okay,” Kevin said gently. “Brian’s a fighter. He’s proved that.”

Jackie dabbed her eyes with a tissue. “I’d better get back to little Sammy. I promised I’d stay with him.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” Kevin asked.

“No, it’s all right,” Jackie replied. “I’ll be fine. Harold will be here soon, can you tell him where I am?”

“Sure thing,” Kevin replied.

Jackie turned slowly and Nick watched her go with a heavy heart. No matter how bad it was for him, it was much worse for Jackie. She had seen her son in hospital more times than any parent deserved to.

As she walked out, a doctor hurried into the room.

“Mrs. Littrell?” he asked, stopping her with his arm.

“Yes?” she replied anxiously. Nick saw the concern and fear in her eyes. He stood up and all of the others stared at him, hoping, praying for him to say the words they so badly wanted to hear.

“Your son’s condition is stable,” he said. “There’s was more internal bleeding than we originally thought but we’ve managed to stop it.”

“He’s okay?” she said smiling.

The doctor nodded. “He’s very weak, but he’s alive. Your son’s a fighter it would seem.”

Kevin exchanged a grin with AJ. Nick found that he was almost trembling. He was okay… he was alive…

“I – is he awake?” AJ asked hopefully.

The doctor shook his head. “No, and he probably won’t be for several hours. He’ll need a lot of rest and we will have to keep him in for quite a while. He swallowed a lot of water and he already has an infection with his breathing system.”

“Is it serious?” Jackie asked.

“We got to him just in time,” the doctor said. “It can be treated, but like I said, he needs time. The worst is over, but there are still more problems that could arise.”

“Like what?” Nick asked, his joy beginning to sink inside of him.

“More infections and, of course, we’ll need to keep an eye on his heart.”

Nick nodded and gulped, remembering the last time Brian had been in for heart surgery.

“Will he recover?” Howie asked.

“We hope so, but we have to try and prevent any other infections from occurring.”

“We hope so?” AJ said. “Does that mean that there is still a chance that he may not recover?”

The doctor took s deep breath. “We’ve got him through the worse. Few people would have survived what he went through.” He looked hard at them all. “I won’t lie to you, there is still a chance that we could lose him.”

Nick put his head in his hands and sat back down. It could not be happening. Not to Brian.

“Can I see him?” Jackie asked.

The doctor nodded. “Of course, but I don’t want all of you going up there. It’ll be too crowded.”

“You go with her, Kevin,” Howie said.

“Thanks,” Kevin said.

Nick nodded. It was only fair. Kevin was his cousin, but he wanted to see Brian and make sure he was okay himself… His worry for his best friend must have shown because Kevin patted him on the shoulder.

“You can go see him when I get back, hey Nick?” he said.

Nick nodded gratefully and then looked up at Jackie. “Do you want me to go and sit with Sammy?”

“Would you?” Jackie said.

“Sure. Is that okay, doctor?”

The doctor nodded. “I guess so.”

They all left the room together and then split off along the corridor. AJ looked through a window into a room.

“This one,” he said, seeing the small blond child fast asleep.

Nick entered first and sat down beside Sammy’s bed. He was tossing and turning and moaning slightly.

“It’s okay,” Nick said gently. He stroked Sammy’s face until he calmed down a little.

“Daddy?” he murmured in his sleep. He gave another whimper and then fell still.

“Poor kid,” Howie said.

“Yeah,” Nick replied. “He’s so sweet.”

“He’ll be all right. He’s a fighter, just like Brian,” AJ said.

“They need each other,” Nick said. “What are we gonna tell him about Brian when he wakes up?”

“Just tell him Brian’s sick. It’ll be easier,” AJ replied.

Suddenly the door swung open and the doctor re entered.

“Sorry to disturb you, but there’s a police officer here o see you all.”

“Harsen?” AJ asked.

“That’s the one. There’s a woman from some foster home with him. They need to talk to you about Brian and Sammy.”


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