'Why? What happened?' I stood up, turned my back on Sam and took a few steps to the left as if that would keep him from hearing the worry in my voice.
'They don't know. He just collapsed in class.' Her voice was even but shaky. 'I'm on my way now. When can you get there?'
'I'm like an hour and a half away.'
'What? Where are you? Aren't you supposed to be at work?'
'I took the day off and went for a drive…with Bobby.'
'Well can you get there as soon as possible? Leave now? Please.'
I turned and looked at my brother who was staring up at me full of concern. He needed me too.
'Dean, are you really hesitating here? Ben is in hospital!' Lisa almost yelled at me.
'I know. Yes, I know.'
'So I will see you there in an hour and a half right?'
'Yes. Just – keep me informed okay?'
'What's wrong?' Sam asked as I disconnected the call.
'Ben. He's umm…he's in hospital. He collapsed.'
Sam bolted upright and started shoving all the food and drink into both of the plastic bags. He understood the emergency and I admired him for that. I, on the other hand wondered how on earth I was going to be in two places at once that night.
Dean was stressing out big time. I had offered to drive but the look he gave me put me right back in my place. I, he thought, was in a way worse condition than he was and man, if that was true, then that was really saying something. The way he was taking the corners and the speed he was doing made me hold on for dear life.
I had no idea what to say to him to calm him and I wondered if I ever did. I wanted to be a brother that could be there for him just like he had always been for me; even if it was more in presence than in words - but with this, I was kind of clueless as to where to start and it didn't really seem like the right time anyway. When Dean had this much going on in his head, he usually just clammed up and didn't want anyone to press him. I had to try though right? I had to say something. Anything. I hated seeing him like this.
'I'm sure he will be okay.' What a dumbass thing to say. How would I even know that? Idiot.
'Yeah me too.' He surprised me by replying. 'Hey, you want me to call Bobby? Get him to come back?'
'No. No way. Leave him with his friend.'
'Try Cas then. Get him to stay with you until I get there.'
'Until you get there?' What was he talking about?
'Yeah. Call him - or do you want me to?'
'I don't want anyone to. Don't worry about me. I'm fine.'
He frowned like I was an idiot. 'I can't leave you alone.'
'Of course you can.'
'No, Sam, I can't.'
'Dean I've been alone for two weeks and I was fine.'
'You weren't fine. You were anything but fine.'
I tried not to let that sting as much as it stung and looked at him. 'Well, I will be fine tonight.' Then, with what I said next, I shrugged in an attempt to hide my terror: 'I have to get used to living alone anyway.' I felt like I came across nonchalantly which was what I was going for all along and that pleased me. Maybe that would make him feel a bit better.
He swallowed like he was ingesting a horse, like hearing that was harder for him to take than me and I hoped to God that the reason for this erratic driving and the freaked out frown on his face was because his step son was lying in a hospital bed sick and not because he had to leave me to go and see him.
I don't know how I was doing it but somehow I was and I felt like the worst brother in the whole entire world. I was actually driving in the direction of that crappy motel to dump Sammy there so I could go and be with someone else. He needed me. Ben had Lisa, Lisa had Ben…who the hell did Sam have?
Yes, I was worried about Ben. That was why I was doing this. Something was wrong with the poor kid and I really wanted to know what it was and I really did want to be there and help him...and his mother but I just wished our lives weren't that much of a screw up that I couldn't take my fragile brother with me – because he needed to be helped as well.
Yet still I drove and with every mile that ticked over, the more ticked off at myself I would become.
I could tell Sam didn't expect me to do anything else. Ben was sick and I had to be there. To him it was as simple as that. He was always good in that way and I was sure he was sure he could handle being alone but I wasn't so sure and now with Bobby hours away, I was having a tough time reconciling what I was doing to what I should have been doing – and which was the right thing to do above what I wanted to do.
To put it mildly I was confused – and worried – about everyone; Sammy, Ben, Lisa and me. All of us.
And then to top it all off Sam had said what he said. That he would have to get used to living alone. The reality of his words slapped me hard across my face. I had a choice to make and I was pissed at myself for even considering the two options.
Leave Lisa and Ben for Sam or leave Sam for Lisa and Ben.
If I was asked only a few days ago what I would have picked, I would have said door number one without a single doubt, but now, now that I had my brother back, I found myself wanting both of the doors. The only thing was, if by some miracle I could manage that, then to put it bluntly, Sammy was left out in the cold to live alone, without me. And right now, he wasn't up to that.
Then on the other hand and especially with this happening now, if I did leave Lisa and Ben none of us would be happy. Sam would hate to be the cause of our break up and I would hate to lose them. They had been so great to me and I enjoyed having them in my life. I didn't want our relationship to come down to the fact that I had used them because I didn't have my brother with me. I never wanted that.
I looked over at Sam who looked back at me and gave me one of his supportive half smiles. He was the most important person to me, that was a definite fact, but could I bump him down my list to have it all? Should I?
I already was though, wasn't I? Because I was already driving him back to his motel room where he would stay the whole night alone because he was too frightened and terrified to open the damn door.
I looked at him again. He waited for me to say something, but instead I thought it. I loved him the most but in spite of that, I still had a decision to make.
And it was already stressing me out on top of everything else.
'I'm fine Dean' I repeated again as he checked around my room for I don't know what. He had to go. Why wasn't he going?
'You promise me you will eat.' He nodded to the bags that were nearly full with all the messed up food we hadn't really even touched. 'And I mean now. You have enough there for lunch and dinner. You promise me.'
'I promise but you should take some too, you haven't eaten either.'
'No, I'm fine. I'll get something at the hospital.'
'You haven't been to the bank yet.' I reached into my back pocket and produced another twenty dollar bill. 'For parking and something to eat.'
'Thanks buddy. I'll pay you back.'
'Forget about it. Just go and let me know how he is.'
'And you call me if you need me for anything okay? Promise me.'
Another promise. 'Okay, yes. Just go Dean.'
He gave me a panicked look, a look that said he didn't want to leave. A look that said if he did leave something really bad was going to happen to me.
'I have the TV. I'm not going anywhere. I'll be fine. Quit worrying about me. Just worry about Ben.'
'I'm going to call Bobby on the way. Get him back here.'
'Consider it done. He'll be back in about two hours.' He told me as he stepped out of the door and closed it behind him.
I rolled my eyes and figured I would give it another five minutes before I called Bobby to tell him not to bother coming back to babysit me. If I was here alone, then I WAS FINE!
Only, when I watched the impala drive out of the driveway and turn left onto the road and then out of my sight, my heart began to pound a little bit faster and my guts began to churn a little bit harder. I looked around the room wondering what to do next and felt myself a little bit lost all over again.
So I did my usual and turned on the TV and flicked through the channels until I landed on one that wouldn't bore me as much as the others and as I sat there I thought about opening the bags so I could eat and drink something like Dean had made me promise to do, but then instead of doing that I sat back and stared at the screen, just like I usually did.
And it was there I stayed until I heard the knock on my door almost three hours later.
So it seemed that Ben's fainting was caused by diabetes. He was now a diabetic. Lisa was beside herself being told her son would have to inject himself a few times a day every day for the rest of his life and Ben, well Lisa informed me that Ben wasn't too thrilled himself. This was going to affect his sports, his lifestyle and his life.
The poor kid.
'Hey you.' I smiled at him when I stepped into the room with Lisa trailing behind me. I had called her to let her know I had arrived and she had met me outside his room to tell me of the diagnosis. For his sake, she was appearing strong but when I had hugged her she had cried harder than I had ever seen her cry before.
He looked so seedy propped up there on his white pillows under his white sheets and I tried to remember if he had been that pale and sickly before this. If so, I hadn't even noticed. What kind of a dad was I? If it was Sam I would have picked it in a heartbeat…and so would have Bobby.
'Hi.' He said without a smile.
'How are you feeling?'
'M'okay. Mom told you what is wrong with me?'
'Yeah, she did.'
Lisa smiled at him as if it wasn't going to be a big deal.
'It's okay, we'll figure it out.' I said.
'They say I can't over –ex..'
'Exert.' Lisa said for him while sitting down on her chair near his bed and picking up his hand and holding it. I grabbed the spare chair from the corner of the room and sat down next to her.
He looked at me sadly. 'So I guess that means I can't play-' He stopped.
'Exercise is good for diabetics. They recommend it.' Lisa smiled. 'You just can't go too hard.'
'But if I don't go too hard, then we won't win.'
'Then maybe the rest of the team needs to start pulling their weight hey?' I winked at him.
'Yeah, I guess.'
'We'll figure it out.' I said again not knowing how but just knowing we would.
He then gave me a smile believing me. This kid trusted me with all his heart and so did his mother.
Lisa rubbed my back and I tried not to check the time…already.
Dammit! I forgot to call Bobby and now here he was on my doorstep reporting for duty. I thought about not opening the door but then wondered what that would prove so stood myself up and greeted him with a fake smile.
'You should really ask who it is.' Was his greeting.
'I knew it was you.' The first thing he did was look at the table which still had the bags sprawled across it. 'You didn't have to come back.' I said as he stepped over to them. 'I told Dean not to call you.'
He opened one to check the contents and then opened the fridge. Dammit!
All I could do was watch him and wait for the lecture I was going to cop, because, hey, I deserved it.
'You haven't eaten a damn thing have you?'
'I meant to.'
'Take a seat Sam.' He pulled out one of the chairs from the table and waited for me to sit down. Then he sat on the closest one and turned his body towards me. I picked up the cardboard motel thingy and started reading it until he took it out of my hands and placed it down on the furthest corner away from my reach.
'Okay, so what's the deal here?'
'What do you mean?' I thought I would play dumb. He didn't buy it.
'Dean told me you promised you would eat something.'
'Sam these things need to be refrigerated, you know that. And anyway, he gave me the feeling you were supposed to eat something for lunch as well as dinner seeing as though you didn't get in anything at the lookout.'
I didn't have an answer for that so I looked at the cardboard thingy again. He flicked it onto the floor and ordered me to look at him.
'You said you didn't want me to come back tonight.'
'No, I didn't.'
'Because I didn't want you to have to leave your friend and I don't need to be watched like I'm a kid.'
'Yet you don't eat and it looks like you haven't had a drink either. How can we believe you don't need to be watched if you refuse to look after yourself?'
'I didn't refuse; I just hadn't got there yet.'
'Well, that's just not good enough Sam. And all this is probably spoiled now. So what did you plan on having for dinner?'
'Could dial a pizza?'
'Sam.' He rubbed his forehead just like Dean did when he was stressed.
'I'm sorry Bobby. I just – I don't know, I just …forgot.'
'And that's a worry.' He sighed. 'You know I'm going to have to tell Dean don't you?'
'What?' My head snapped up. I didn't even know I had been looking down again. 'No, why?' Was he trying to scare the crap out of me or what? Hopefully so – hopefully he wasn't serious. He couldn't be. Dean had enough to worry about.
'Because he is going to ask and I aint gonna lie to him.'
'No don't tell him please.' I panicked. 'He doesn't need this. He'll just freak out. I'll dial a pizza now – or you could. We could both have pizza. Do you want some pizza?' I stood up and moved toward the menu and the phone.
'Sit down Sam.'
'Bobby please.' I begged as I did as I was told. 'Please don't tell him.'
'I'm going to. He needs to know.'
'I'm sorry. I'll eat now.' I opened a bag and pulled out some chicken wrapped in its foil bag.
'If you even touch that I will call him right now. Don't you dare.'
I pulled my hand away quicker than I had moved in a long time.
'That did not help. You are willing to give yourself food poisoning?'
'Yes you are.' He shook his head and then softened a bit after he saw the fear in my eyes. 'Boy, all we want is for you to get better and it is obvious right now you can't do that alone. Right now, you need someone to help you. It scares us seeing you like this but we are here to help you okay?'
'So you won't tell Dean then?'
'Are you listening to me Sam or are you just worried about Dean's reaction?'
'Both?' I answered honestly.
'Dean can't stay here with you forever-'
'I know that.' I frowned.
'Especially with what is going on now.'
'I know.' I frowned harder trying to push my selfish horror away.
'So you have to learn how to look after yourself properly again.'
'I can do that.'
'I know you can, if you let us help you.' He smiled at me. 'So what do you say about moving in with me?'
Wow, okay. That wasn't what I expected to hear next but he had said it and all I could think about was being hours away from Dean. 'When?'
'After we spend some time with your brother. I'm not saying now, I'm just saying soon. You need a home where you can settle into some kind of routine and get through this.'
I didn't have anywhere else to go – I didn't have anywhere else to be and Bobby was the only other member of my family.
What else was there to consider?
I looked at him and smiled back. 'Yeah okay. Thanks.'
(to be continued…)