Beans and heroes
***POV - Damion
fratello = Italian for ‘brother’
“Get Dr. Burden on the phone, now!” My aching head lifts a fraction from my hands, Doc Barney is standing at the nursing station a few feet from my chair. Something in his posture alerts my non-functioning brain. As if in a dream I see the nurse handing him the phone over the counter.
“Dr. Burden? Doc Barney from ER. Melaena Blackburn is here – level 2, your name is on her chart. Anything I need to know?” He rambles the information off. He looks confused, surprised even, pouting his mouth.
“Neh!” He shouts out in shock.
Something is wrong, I can just feel it. His eyes find me and he looks even more confused and worried. What is wrong? I want to shout at him, but my tongue is stuck to the top of my mouth and all I can do is stare back.
“Okay, thanks, doctor. I’ll see you in a few minutes then.” His eyes stay on me for the rest of the conversation, and the nurse takes back the phone. He rushes back to Mel’s room, leaving me to fall back into mindless worry and despair. I need to know what’s going on or I might just go mad.
They push Alejandro’s bed past me, on his way to the OR, and I slowly get up, my one hand holding onto my chest, trying to lessen the pain. I order the nurses to stop for just a moment. My parents with Luke in hand are walking just behind the bed.
“You’re going to be fine, brother.” I grab Alejandro’s shoulder, thinking if you told me a few weeks ago that I will like this guy I would’ve laughed in your face, yet here we are, blood-brothers, and I don’t like him, I love him – as if I’ve known him my whole life. He grabs my arm and takes the oxygen mask from his face.
“I’ll see you soon little bro.” He sarcastically pulls out the word ‘little’ with a sly smile. I lean down to whisper in his ear – “Sniff pixie dust and soar, fratello?”
“Now I’m sure you’ve completely lost your mind,” his eyes are teasing me.
“It’s something our sister always said to me before a race, and it got to be my lucky chant,” I say, putting the mask back on his face.
He closes his eyes and they push him away to the lifts. He saved my life, he saved Mel’s life – how can I ever repay him for that? I’m just glad he’s going to be okay. Luke looks up at me with a smile that spreads from ear to ear, flinching before he grabs his cheek. It’s bruised and I wonder what happened to them.
“Hey buddy, want to tell me what happened to you?” Then he starts babbling about how Lucinda hit him when he tried to protect Mel, how Mel kicked Lucinda’s butt, how they cut off the old dude’s finger, and something about the girls being worried about a magical bean. Maybe they must just check his head to make sure he hasn’t a concussion, cause he’s not making any sense.
“Any news?” Axel comes out of Kiara’s room, the hope for good news splashed on his face. I just shake my head. My father then shrugs his shoulders and winks at me.
“Time to use the privileges of being a doctor,” he says and then looks at Luke, “Eh, Axel, don’t you want to get Luke something to eat?” He winks at Axel and we know he just wants to get my little brother out of the picture in case the news is not good.
He walks into Mel’s room just as a middle-aged woman doctor runs from the lifts, also towards Mel’s room, clinging to her shoes for dear life. She must have taken them off to run faster. Her hair is a mess and her cheeks are red from the exercise.
I go stand in the doorway, staring at a ghostly-white Mel still unconscious on the bed, tubes now running from her sheet-covered body to machines that make weird sounds. My father greets the new doctor with a frown and then he gives me the exact same confused-surprised look Doc Barney did while he was talking on the phone.
“Doctor Grimm, eh … congratulations … I suppose?” The lady doctor stutters with an oh-shit look on her face and she doesn’t look him in the eyes, as if she’s caught doing something illegal.
“Fucking shit!” Dad’s swearing must mean something major is happening. Is something wrong with Mel? My father looks at me with an appalled look I can’t quite place; it might be disappointment, or anger, or happiness, or maybe a combination of all three.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” he shouts at me. Okay, I’m lost. What the hell did I do wrong this time? I frown at my father, on my way to ask for an explanation when Kiara walks into the room.
“He doesn’t … eh … know. “
“Oh … OH… yep it’s complicated alright!” The new doctor pulls out the last ‘oh’ and gets this oh-boy expression on her face. Well, shit, I still don’t get anything.
“Know what? What the fuck is complicated?” I don’t want to shout, but I don’t have any nerves left. And I’m not feeling my best right now, my head is gonna burst, my body is bruised, there’s a gunshot wound in my shoulder, and my girlfriend’s skull got smashed in … need I continue.
“Hi, it’s Damion, isn’t it? I hoped to meet you under different circumstances.” The female doctor now gives me a big warm smile holding out her hand for me to take.
“Hi, yes, and you are?” She drops the chart and her eyes flag up into mine as if she’s caught off guard by my question. She lifts her index finger and opens her mouth slowly as if contemplating what to say.
“Okay, … eh yes … I should …“ She seems to know me, and she’s Mel’s doctor. What the hell? She makes some funny movements with her eyes and even more funny gestures with her hands. Then she scratches her head.
Both Dad and Doc Barney are staring at Mel as if they’re looking for something in particular but not finding it.
Kiara’s face is pulling into a funny position and she’s wringing her hands, looking uncomfortable.
What the fuck is going on here? Is there something wrong with Mel? What are they not telling me? I can feel my heart tearing from my ribcage, so I put my hand there to push it back, trying to still the pain a little.
“Is Mel okay? Just tell me cause I had a really shitty day so far,” Now the doctor seems confused, she picks the chart up again and holds it against her body. Mom takes my hand and holds it.
“I’m Dr. Burden and Melaena here is my patient since … eh well, since this morning. My name is on her chart and that’s why Barney called me in.” I’m slowly losing control and I feel like I’m going to faint. I remember meeting Mel and Kiara in the hospital just before them being kidnapped. It was Kiara’s menstruation shit or something. I fall onto the chair next to Mel’s bed, feeling as if my legs are going to give in.
“You better sit down.”
“I am sitting!”
“Damion, I’m an OB-GYN, do you know what that means?” I don’t say a word, but it feels as if my chest is shrinking cause it’s extremely difficult to breathe right now. And the pain from the broken ribs doesn’t help.
“They deal with womanly problems … a vagina doctor or something like that,” I say lethargic, my heart, mind, and body all shut down when I woke up in the ambulance … I don’t have the energy for guessing games. My brain is not working at this moment, my mind is blank … I’m not even sure if I know my own name right now.
“Well, among other things, but mostly we deliver babies ....” She looks at me as if that explains everything, waiting for me to get on board, but as I said, my brain is totally not working right now so I just stare at my father with a blank expression. He’s almost as white as Mel at this moment, Doc Barney’s hand on his shoulder as if he wants to give my father some strength, support, and encouragement.
“Just get out and say it!” I don’t mean to be rude, but enough is enough.
“Damion, son, I think what the doctor is saying is that Mel is pregnant!” It feels as if I’m going to drop from the chair, my whole body numb. My mouth drops open but I don’t know what to say. Whatever I was expecting, it for sure as hell was not this.
Mom gives a high-pitched yelp and then clasps her mouth with her hand, her wagon-wheel eyes staring at my father filling with tears. Dad pulls her into his arms, rubbing a soothing hand up and down her back.
I stare at Mel’s tummy as if the baby is going to leap out of there any second now, yelling ‘SURPRISE!’ I jump up and the chair falls over from the force.
“Fuck! She’s … fuck!” I push my fingers through my hair and clamp them at the back of my neck. “Fuck. I’m gonna be … shit!” Eventually, I look at Dr. Burden with wide eyes and I notice she hasn’t moved since I last looked at her.
“How?” I ask, ’cause the test we did was negative. She cocks her head to the side, laughing softly.
“Well, my best guess is that you pushed your something into her something … no condom … your sperm found her egg … etcetera … etcetera … Simple biology actually.”
“Haha … so not funny!” I interrupt her rather sarcastically, teasing explanation. Then it hits me like a bucket of water … Darren … the blow to her tummy, the beatings she endured … “Is it okay ... the baby I mean … he punched her in the stomach … ”
“That’s why I’m here … to check on the little bean.” Doc Burden says warmly.
I wipe my face with my hands and pick up the chair. Mom grabs my face between her hands like you’ll do with a little kid while doctor Burden pulls the sonar-machine closer to Mel’s bed.
“Let’s see what the little one is doing in there,” she says. I nod and move closer to the bed, pulling my mother with me. Kiara hooks into Doc Barney and Dad stands just behind us, holding both me and mom around the waist. Suddenly I realize why Luke was going on about magic beans. When my mom pulls her hand from mine with a quick jerk I realize that I’m probably squishing it a little too hard. I’m nervous like never before in my whole fucking life. But also excited. I’m going to be a motherfucking father!
Everything makes a little more sense now, the book on the table, Kiara and Mel acting funny, the secret appointment, even Mel’s reaction when Dean mentioned a girl being pregnant. She thought he was talking about her.
Fuck, how could I miss all of it until now? Dr. Burden pulls the sheet away and then squirts some gel on her still flat tummy. Now, mom is holding onto my arm again. The doctor moves the transducer over her stomach checking the images on the screen.
Dr. Burden smiles and then she starts to explain, pointing with her finger on the screen, what she sees. Mel is around 8 weeks pregnant and I lean forward to see the screen better, my eyes finding the beating blob she’s specifying to be the heartbeat. My baby’s heartbeat. Tears roll slowly down my cheek and I don’t even care to hide them. Shit, I’m going to be a dad. Me a fucking father … sorry fudging father! I’ll have to learn not to swear anymore … fuck.
“The baby is fine, strong heartbeat. It’s maybe moving a little too much.” She leans forward, eyes piercing the screen, “Eh, it seems there might be a slight tear in the first layer of her womb, nothing too serious at the moment, but I’ll keep an eye on it while mom is here in the hospital. Congratulations, daddy-to-be.”
I let out a deep sigh, throwing my head back and closing my eyes, relief rushing through me.
“What?” Logan asks behind me, I was so preoccupied I didn’t notice her family coming into the room. I turn around slowly letting go of my mom. I wipe my watery eyes with the back of my hand. Shit.
“You knocked up my little sister?” Logan dashes forward, his face far from what I would describe as happy. I roll my eyes, here we go again.
“Melaena is about 8 weeks pregnant and the little bean is doing just great. Congratulations to all of you.” Dr. Burden now talks to them, unaware of the fact that they’re probably hosting murderous thoughts right now.
She patiently shows them the blob on the sonar, the tiny heartbeat. They all look spooked, I think if the doctor told them that a meteorite is about to explode into the earth they would look less shocked. For what feels like forever they just stand there with dropped jaws and pale dismayed faces and then all of them death-glare me at the same time.
“I can’t believe a man-whore like you don’t know how a fucking condom works!” Uncle John shouts, throwing his hands in the air before he storms out of the room, my mom runs after him. Then her three brothers circle around me like hyenas would a carcass – Jackson is still missing it seems. So are Darren, Harry, and Lucinda.
“Boys now is not the time or the place!” Doc Barney shouts and Ilkay leads his siblings out of the room without uttering a word.
“Complicated ... got it,” Dr. Burden says looking at Kiara who hasn’t said a single word the whole time. She pulls one shoulder up pulling her mouth at the doctor.
“That went better than expected.” Doc Barney confirms with a shake of his head and a forced smile. The nurse prep Mel to take her for her CT scan while the doctors talk some more. Mel gets pushed out leaving me standing like a statue in the room.
“You know, she was going to tell you tonight.” Kiara is leaning against the door and I can see she’s been crying. “Even though she knows you don’t want to be a dad, I convinced her to tell you instead of leaving for San Francisco.”
Kiara’s words shook me deeply. Mel thought I wouldn’t want the baby, that I didn’t want to be a dad … because I lied about it … I lied to make her feel better and I actually made it worse … and she almost left me.
She walks forward holding out a piece of paper to me. I take it and see it’s a wrinkled-up sonar photo.
“She’s the bravest girl I know. She never stopped fighting, for me, Luke, the baby, Jackson, and even her father. You better not let her down.” She hugs me and then leaves me alone. I stare at the black and white photo and so many feelings rush through me, feelings I never experienced before. I’m going to be a dad, me Damion Grimm is gonna be a baby’s father.
Hell, I haven’t even figured out this boyfriend shit, now I’m in this situation. I don’t know if I can do this. What if I screw up that kid’s life forever and he turns out to be just like me – broken? I lean against the wall with my back and slowly slide down so I’m sitting on the cold floor, my head on my knees. Thoughts rush through my mind but I’m not thinking about anything, as if my mind is a black hole. I hear footsteps but I don’t want to look up. I don’t have the energy to face anybody right now.
I hear some whispers and footsteps moving away. A person slides down to sit on the floor next to me and then I hear my dad’s voice.
“Alejandro is out and he’s going to make a full recovery. They found Jackson but he’s not talking. Physically he’s going to be fine but I think it’s going to take some time for his mind to get fixed. And Harry and his kids died in a car accident.” I look up into my father’s ice-blue eyes. Jackson’s mind … I don’t think that’s something that’s ever been fixed, nor will it ever be. Talk about broken.
“Son, I know these past couple of weeks have been overwhelming, to say the least, but right now you have to focus on what truly matters and let the rest slide by. It’s not going to be easy, but difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. And every stone on that road is there for a reason. Things will work out for the best, just give it time.” He bumps me with his shoulder and I look up at him.
“And you’re not in this alone, you have lots of people out there that love you both.” I smile at him, thinking that he’s right. I love the idea of having a baby with Mel, but I didn’t plan on it happening so soon. She’s still so young, she hasn’t finished her studies. And she’s still in a coma. What if she never wakes up again? What if I fuck up? I don’t deserve to be a dad. What if Mel leaves me when she sees the darkest broken parts of me? Dad notices that I’m still struggling and I tell him about my fears.
“The way I see it, son, is that if you want the rainbow you gotta put up with the rain. Right now a thunderstorm is passing over you, but that’s just it, storms pass. Don’t worry about the timing or her family. Yes, she’s young, but you’re both in the fortunate position that you have enough money to last a lifetime. And she can still finish her studies if she wants, even if it’s after the birth.”
“What matters now is that when, and I say again, WHEN Mel wakes up, you’re there for her and your baby. I’ve never seen two people more in love than you guys. Stuff all the rest, they will fall into place when they’re good and ready. And I’m very excited to be a granddad.” He gets up saying that he needs to go be there for Alejandro.
“Tell my brother he’s going to be an uncle so he better gets his head out of his ass! Jackson too.” Dad smiles lovingly at me and I know that it means the world to him that Alejandro and I are getting along.
I sit there until my legs ache and my butt feels numb, but I don’t move until I hear movement in the room. I lift my head. They’re pushing Mel’s bed back into the room.
“Damion!” Ilkay holds out his hand to pull me up. I take it and pain shoots through my stiff bruised body.
“Alejandro told me what happened with Darren. Thanks for protecting my sister. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like strangling you for knocking her up, but I know you love her, and I can understand that.” I give him a faint smile, knowing that he’s talking about the runaway he lost his heart to. I watch him hoping that he would tell me how Mel’s doing.
“She’s going to be okay, her skull has a hairline fracture, but there’s no bleeding on the brain, just a little swelling. It should subside soon and then all she needs to do is wake up and rest. They will keep an eye on the baby as well.” He puts a hand on my shoulder to reassure me. I nod, not having the energy to even open my mouth, and then I fall into the chair next to her bed and take her hand in mine.