CHAPTER FORTY TWO
Brian felt a little dizzy as he opened his eyes for the first time in days. The dazzling brightness stung him and he winced as he blinked a few times. His body felt heavy and tired. It wanted to go back to sleep, but Brian was sick of resting and of being unable to wake properly. This time, he wanted to look around.
He forced his eyes to stay open, despite the blinding whiteness that surrounded him. there was a fuzzy blob sat beside him. he rubbed his eyes and tried to sit up, moaning at the pain it caused him.
“It’s okay,” a familiar voice said. “Take your time.”
Brian tried to speak but the only sounds that came out were unintelligible. He tried to push himself up into a sitting position but his body protested by seizing his muscles up. he lie back down again. His eyes had shut themselves and he slowly opened them again. He stared hard at the blob until it began to form a recognisable shape.
“K – Kevin?” he said, his voice sounding weak and little more than a croak in his ear..
“Yeah, it’s me,” Kevin smiled and clasped one of Brian’s hands. “How do you feel?”
“Awful,” Brian replied, feeling the painful twang of every muscle as he tried to move. It hurt to swallow and he could hear a rasping noise every time he breathed. Around him, the colours and shapes slowly swam into their correct places. He was in a hospital room with white walls. A vase of blue flowers was on the table beside him.
“Your mom bought them,” Kevin said, seeing Brian’s eyes alight upon the flowers. “She thought the place looked too bland and that you would like some colour when you woke up.”
Brian put a hand to his head. it ached slightly. “H – how long have I been here?”
“Three days,” Kevin said. “We were getting worried about you. This is the first time you’ve woken up.”
Brian said nothing as he remembered the awful dreams he had experienced as well as the unsettling feelings he’d had when he had known he was almost awake, but been unable to open his eyes and enter the real world.
“Your mom will be here soon. She went down to get a coffee.”
Brian suddenly noticed the brown, fluffy dog on the table. He reached out with weak hands and clasped Rocky in his hands.
“Sammy was here?” he asked.
Kevin paused for a second. “He came to see you yesterday.”
“Is he okay? Can I see him?” Brian asked hopefully. He had to know that Sammy was okay. He had seen him in countless nightmares and he wanted to banish those images from his mind.
“Sammy’s fine. He left yesterday.”
“Where’s he staying?”
Kevin didn’t answer. Brian felt an awful dread rise within him. A cold chill seemed to be running through his veins.
Kevin looked at the floor, unable to meet his eyes.
“Where is he?” His voice was beginning to sound more desperate now. He sat up so that he could look his cousin right in the eyes.
“They won’t let you keep him, Brian.”
He felt his whole body seem to freeze. A gaping hole seemed to be opening up in his stomach making him feel sick.
“W – why not? It wasn’t my fault Pete took him!” he said and then stopped as he began to choke on his tears. This could not be happening. He had awoken from one series of nightmares and entered into another. He felt his heart ripping in his chest.
“I know, but - ”
“So what’s the problem?” Brian said desperately. “He loves me and I love him! He’s mine!”
Kevin had tears forming in his eyes. “I tried to talk to the home but Hilary said that there was nothing she could do. The board won’t let you keep him! Hilary tried to change their minds, she really did, but the board decided it would be best to find him two parents.”
Suddenly, Hilary entered with Jackie by her side. His mother smiled joyfully to see him sitting up, but the smile faded when she saw the tears running in little streams down his face.
“Please let me keep him!” Brian sobbed, as Hilary walked over.
“Brian, I’m sorry,” Hilary said. “I did everything I could but they won’t give him to a single parent. Your job put you at a disadvantage as well.”
“Please! I love him! Don’t take him away!”
“They already have done. I had to take him to a new home yesterday. There was nothing I could do! There were already several complaints that you were even allowed to look after Sammy in the first place!"
“It wasn’t my fault! It wasn’t my fault!”
Brian was unable to stop the sobs that shook his body. His mother wrapped her arms about him and Brian felt her own tears on the back of his neck.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered.
“Brian, you can’t look after a child, not with your job. What will happen when you go back on tour? What about Sammy’s schooling?” Hilary said.
“I could get him a tutor! Please let me keep him! I’ll do anything!”
“He’s not yours, Brian,” Hilary said gently. “I tried to convince them to let you keep him but there’s regulations standing in the way. He’s with a new family – Mr and Mrs. Geralds. They’ll adopt him if he like them. He’ll have a family.”
“But I’m his family! I can look after him!”
“You can’t get custody of him. You’re a single parent in a highly hectic and unreliable job. I’m sorry.”
Brian’s tears were covering his face. They leaked mercilessly from his blue eyes. It felt like a part of him had been torn away. It had.
“I tried to stop Pete from taking us. It wasn’t my fault,” he murmured.
“I know, but that’s not the reason you can’t keep him I’m so sorry Brian,” Hilary said, her eyes full of sadness.
“It’s not fair! Doesn’t Sammy get to choose?”
“Sammy is so young. He doesn’t understand these things.”
Brian could not say anything else. His tears and sobs had over powered him completely. It hurt so much inside of him.
Kevin whispered a few words to Hilary, she nodded and the two of them crossed to the door.. Brian was left alone with his mother.
“Why won’t they let me keep him, mom? Why!”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Brian held onto her. He had been so happy since Sammy had come along. There had always been a hole in his life and Sammy had filled it for him. Now they had been cruelly ripped apart and Sammy seemed to have taken Brian’s heart with him.
“Do I really make that bad a father?” he asked.
“No! You know Sammy loved you and he always will! He’ll never forget about you and you know it! You’ll always be his daddy!”
It had felt as if Sammy were his own son. He had almost believed it. Then Pete had come along and he had ruined everything for them. Brian didn’t care what anyone said, in his eyes Sammy was his baby and right now, he wanted him close to him.
He looked down at his hand where he still clutched Rocky and the sobs escaped his distraught body.