The Boyfriend Games

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31- Working Things Out

“He’s awake.”

My eyes snapped open. I stood up so that Rye could follow. I hadn’t even realized that my eyes closed, much less that I might’ve fallen asleep. Snap out of it, kid, I scolded.

“Graham?” I whispered walking forward. His eyes opened slowly.

“Thera? Rye? What are y’all doing here?” I let out a soft laugh.

“Oh we know a guy,” I said, joking.

After a confused look (he probably wasn’t feeling the best, and my jokes, it seemed, weren’t helping), Rye stepped in to explain. “We’re here for you, man.”

Graham tried to wiggle the fingers in his wrapped wrist and cringed. “Hurts worse than when I fell off of Cobalt,” he told us. A different nurse, female, came into the room.

“Oh good, you’re awake. I’ll have to tell the doctor.” She checked the different systems Graham was hooked up to and left. A few minutes later another lady in a long white coat walked in. She checked the clipboard at the foot of Graham’s bed as she started talking to him about a few things.

“How long was I asleep?” I whispered to Rye.

“About 30 minutes maybe,” he answered. “I could tell because you make this cute little sound when you breathe out. Not a snore, just a small puff of air.” I felt some heat rise to my cheeks and I elbowed him mildly (I could have done harder) before listening to what the doctor was asking.

“Do you remember what happened, Graham? Is there anything you can tell us about the accident?”

He took a deep breath before speaking. “My brother was driving,” he started then stopped, a panicked look coming across his face. “What happened to my brother? Is he alright? John, John! Where is he?” The beeping from the heart rate monitor starting going faster. This wasn’t a good thing; if he started thrashing to get out of the bed, he would probably just hurt himself more.

“You need to calm down, sir,” the doctor said while placing her hands on his shoulders. Rye pulled the lady back and I stepped in front, hugging him while asking him to calm down. He finally calmed his movements, though the screen showed his heart still wasn’t as calm yet.

“I’m so sorry man,” Rye said stepping back. “Your brother, he—he didn’t make it.” Even Rye’s voice was wavering with emotion. Graham started crying and grabbed onto me as best as he could in his state.

“It should have been me,” he said, which broke my heart even more.

“Don’t say that,” Rye snapped. “Don’t you even dare. I’ve heard that too many times before, okay? Your family needs you, and I’m positive someone other than just family does too. Even friends need you. Twenty something people were crying and upset when they heard.” Graham nodded weakly and didn’t say any more. What Rye said made me curious, but I didn’t have time to focus on that now.

“I’m so sorry,” I kept whispering to him. “Graham we’re here for you, I’m so sorry.” The doctor told Graham that he should recover fine, without surgery and left. When the nurse reentered, she said that Graham needed some rest and asked if we could exit to the waiting room. Walking through the door I was surprised to see Graham’s parents just now coming through the doors. Taking a closer look at them though, and it was more understandable. They were probably a wreck from loosing their first son. After talking to some people, they were allowed to visit Graham while Rye and I just sat in the lobby area.

A little later on, the parents were still in with Graham, and a few car loads of people showed up. It was everyone from The Boyfriend Games, even Barbie and Giovanni. Rayna spotted us and tugged Ian over, who handed me a list.

“I wanted you to check it over before I send it out to everybody,” he said pointing to different spots on the paper. “It has the schedule for who can be here for Graham, minus school hours.”

“His parents can take those shifts I’m sure, and that’s only if they don’t just want to stay the whole time with him,” I told him. I figured he wouldn’t know for positive if they would be here or not.

“They’re going to need time to go home too, though,” Rye said. Try as they might, you can’t stay in the hospital room 24/7. Unless you’re the one in the bed, it’s just not possible.” Ian nodded.

“So how does it look?” I glanced down at the assortment of names.

“Does it work around everyone’s extracurricular?” I asked. I knew some of the people played sports, and it wouldn’t be good to have their name listed during a practice. It’s not that Graham wasn’t important enough, it’s that there were plenty of people and ways to work around having it come down to that.

“It does actually. That was the hardest part,” he admitted. I was impressed—I didn’t think he would know to do that.

“Looks good to me.”

“Awesome. I was going to send it over the group messaging and tell whoever is on duty to send any updates while here,” Ian explained. Wow. That’s really genius.

“Sounds good, do we need to update the rest of the crew?”

“I was headed back now,” he said. I looked at Rye and realized I needed to talk to him first. I grabbed his arm so he wouldn’t follow Ian.

“We’ll meet you there in a second,” I told him. Ian looked back and at the hand I had on his arm for a moment longer than he should have, said okay and walked back to the group.

“What’s up, Ther?” Rye questioned.

I sighed. “I want to know what’s going on with you,” I said, then thought I should expand. “Or what had gone on with you. Knowing where the hospital was, the speech with Graham, knowing the feeling of trying to stay at a hospital. What happened, Rye?”

It was his turn to sigh. He ran a hand through his hair and purposefully avoided my gaze. I wanted him to open up, not stay locked tight. Finally, he spoke.

“Remember how I said my sister had been through back things? Well, this was the major one. I don’t want to talk about how, but she spent time in this hospital—a lot of time. I wanted to be with her all day, everyday. I never wanted to leave her side again. She lost a friend, too and said It should have been me. I flipped on her. How could she put herself down like that? My whole family needs her.”

It was like a totally different person when he was talking about his sister. He must really love her. This was one of the few times that I missed not having the opportunity to have a sibling, of either gender. Rye looked really down again, so I hugged him tight, and told him we should go to the others.

Ian was explaining things and I jumped in here and there with my input. “Any questions?”

Maple raised her hand. “Who’s taking care of his horses?” Ian turned to me.

“Well I would say his parents, but they’ll probably want to stay here. You up for the task?”

She nodded enthusiastically. “I’d love to!” Well that should help his parents and take a burden off of their backs some. The side of my brain that nails the whole ”not the right place, not the right time" gig started acting up; Maple and Graham both raise animals. Both can be considered ′country.′ Would it work? Possibly. Invisible check.

When Graham’s parents finally walked out of his room, people were allowed to trickle through two at a time to see him. Some disappeared longer than others, while some must likely went in to say, “Hey, just checking up on you” and left.

Ian, Rye and I explained to the Ruckers in the simplest terms we could (we didn’t need them to stress over details) what we had planned and how we could cover afternoon to evening shifts if they ever needed to go home for a few hours. They thanked us earnestly and promised that if we kept them informed on anything they might miss, they’d return the favor. Everyone, exempting the next people on watch, finally left and went home. Oh what a crazy few hours it had been, I thought to myself. I dropped off those that needed it back at their cars or houses, headed home and told my parents I would explain everything in the morning. Surprisingly (I guess), as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was fast asleep.

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