#48 Karma is a bitch
“Kian?” I ask when I pick up the phone, trying not to sound completely devastated.
“Dylan.” His voice is strangled, and a tiny little part of me is worried about him, but I shrug it off immediately. “Silas is in the hospital,” he goes on, his voice trembling.
“Okay…” I don’t see why that would lead to him calling me. “Is he okay?”
“I don’t know.” He’s definitely panicking. “He collapsed in the bar, and he wouldn’t wake up. I’m at the hospital right now, and he’s in surgery, but they can’t tell me how he’s doing yet. I’m not sure they’ll tell me anything even if they could. I mean, I’m not his husband or a family member or anything, and I tried calling his dad, but he won’t pick up, and-”
“Kian,” I cut in, both worried and annoyed. “Why are you calling me?”
“Who else would I call?”
Is he serious right now? “I don’t know? Maybe one of the people you didn’t cheat on? Cooper, Kyle, anyone but me.”
“They were all there,” he says. “We’re all drunk. I’m freaking out, Dylan, I don’t know what to do.”
I grunt and pinch the bridge of my nose between my fingers, trying to think of something to say or do. “Give me a second, I’ll call you back.”
Thank God I’ve got friends in high places. And by that, I mean friends who work at the hospital. I could call Christopher, since he’s a doctor, but I don’t know him that well and he works in pediatrics anyway, so I’m not sure how much help he’d be. Then there is Jacob, a peds nurse who I met a couple of times in a gay bar. We never had anything going on, but he tried to hit on Scarlett’s straight friend Jianyu a couple of times, much to my amusement. There’s only one person to call, really. Francesca, who works part time as a peds nurse as well. She used to be an ER nurse, so I bet she knows just how to find out what’s going on.
“What?” she snaps when she picks up the phone. I can hear a crying kid in the background.
“Sorry to call you this late,” I apologize right away. “A friend of mine is in the hospital, and his boyfriend is freaking the fuck out. I’m trying to find out what’s going on.”
She groans. “Okay. I’ll text a friend who’s working tonight. What is his name?”
There’s a long pause. “You mean your ex-boyfriend’s new beau? Why would you be calling to check in on him?”
“Kian called me. I don’t know what I’m doing either.”
“Give me a second, I’ll find out what I can.” She hangs up without another word. While I wait for her to call back, I put my phone in the holder so I can easily put whoever calls on speakerphone. Then I contemplate whether or not I should drive to the hospital. I really don’t want to be forced to be there for Kian, but I feel guilty for wanting to ignore him. I know he doesn’t have anyone to call. If Silas is in surgery, and Cooper and Kyle are drunk, there really isn’t anyone left for him to rely on.
Before I can make up my mind, my phone rings again. It’s a number I don’t recognize.
“Dylan?” a shrill female voice says. “Dylan Dyer?”
“Yeah, that’s me. Who’s this?”
“Chloe Connor.” It takes me a second to realize she’s Annabel’s sister. “My stupid as fuck husband just came home shit-faced drunk, babbling about a gay bar and Silas being in surgery and Kian crying all over the damn hospital. So I called Francesca to figure out what’s going on, and she could shut up that crybaby of hers just long enough for her to tell me that Silas had an aneurysm.”
“Ah fuck,” I breathe. “That’s bad. Will he be okay?”
“Probably. It’s serious, but it could have been worse. Doctor says he’ll be fine. I called Chris, who called a colleague. I heard Kian called you, so I’m just letting you know that there is no need for you to go to the hospital.” Chloe talks so fast it’s impossible to get a word in. “They’re my stupid-ass colleagues, and my idiot husband’s best friends, so they are kind of my responsibility. I’ve already dropped the kids with Aston. Annabel is in the car with me. Say hi to Dylan, Bella.”
“Hey Dylan,” Annabel says, sounding tired. “I’m sorry Kian called you.”
“Fucking asshole,” Chloe agrees right away. “This is you and me having to handle Silas’ divorce with fucking Bambi all over again. I can’t believe I had to defend a woman that my husband cheated on me with.”
“Hey, I had to defend my ex,” Anna chimes in. “Against the woman he married seconds after telling me he was leaving me because he never wanted to get married to anyone. And now he’s working for us.”
“And gay,” Chloe adds. “I still can’t believe Silas is gay. Not even bisexual, but full-blow homosexual. That’s insane. He better not die in that surgery. He deserves to get hell for the rest of his life for all his stupid life choices.”
“So you’re going to the hospital?” I check. “You’ll take care of Kian?”
“I already called Silas’ parents,” Anna assures me. “His dad didn’t pick up, but his mom did. I’ve known them for ages. They’re coming too, but it’ll take them at least three hours to get here. Chloe and I have it handled till they get here. Don’t worry about it, Dylan. No one expects you to give a shit about either of them.”
“I don’t want him to die,” I groan, feeling a little guilty. “When I told Kian that Karma is a bitch and she was out to get him, I meant that I wanted Silas to cheat on him the way he cheated on me. I didn’t want Silas to die!”
“I know,” Anna says kindly. “He’s had high blood pressure for over a year now. This isn’t because you wished them ill, Dylan. Kian never should have called you. He’s an amazing lawyer, but a clueless idiot when it comes to anything but the law. Same for Silas.”
“Made for each other,” Chloe mutters. “Fucking morons, both of them. I swear he’d better not die. Doctor said he’ll most likely be fine. I’m gonna hold him to that. Okay, Dylan, we’re at the hospital. You go to bed, or go out and party, or whatever you wanna do. We’ve got this.”
“We’ll text you when we know more,” Anna promises.
I say goodbye as well, my mind reeling. Thank God for those two hard-ass women taking control tonight. Us men would be lost without them. Aston could probably use some help taking care of three Connor kids on top of his own two handfuls. I know it’s not my job to head over there, but Aston has been a great friend to me, and I feel like I have to do something at the very least.
Right when I want to pull out of the parking lot, my phone rings again. I expect it to be Kian, Anna or Chloe, or maybe Aston, but instead it’s the person I want to talk to most of all.
“Hey,” I say when I pick up the phone.
“Dylan,” Andre croaks out. “Could you… could you come back?”
I don’t dare to hope. “Why?”
“Where are you?” he asks. “You must be home by now. I can come to you.”
“I’m still in the parking lot,” I confess.
“Come back in,” Andre orders, his voice a little stronger now. “Please.”
“Okay.” There’s no other decision to be made, after all. There’s no way I am leaving if he wants to talk to me. “I’ll be up in a second.”
Once we’ve hung up, I rush out of the car and back into the building. The elevator is occupied, so I take the stairs two steps at a time. My heart is beating so hard I might drop down and have a fucking heart attack right in front of his apartment. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up next to Silas in a hospital bed. It’s so weird, but the conversation with Andre feels like it’s hours ago instead of thirty minutes. Still, my mind goes straight back to that dark place when he told me he couldn’t do this and that it would be better for me to leave.
Andre is waiting for me in the doorway like he always does, and it’s clear he’s been crying just like I have. His eyes are bloodshot, and his sleeve is wet from wiping his tears. He steps aside to let me in, and closes the door behind him a little clumsily.
“You’ve been crying,” he says, looking up into my eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
“So have you.” I don’t have time for this. “Why did you want me to come back up, Andre?”
“I don’t know if I can do this,” he says, effectively snuffing out the last hope I was holding onto against all reason. “I really have no fucking idea, Dylan. This is not what I was expecting tonight. Not at all.”
“I know.” I start to pace up and down the room, unable to stand still and do nothing. “You didn’t need to call me in here to tell me that. You already said you can’t do this.”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying.” He sounds so much calmer than he did before. “I’m saying I don’t know. The only thing that I do know is that when you walked out just now… It broke my heart, Dylan. We’re not even together and you leaving already makes me break down and cry.”
“I didn’t leave because I wanted to,” I can’t help but point out. “You told me you needed time. You told me to leave. And it’s not like I was sitting in my car dancing to songs on the radio. It hurts like hell knowing that what we have… what we had is already over.”
Andre comes over and grabs my arm, forcing me to stop pacing. “You’re not listening to me. Maybe it doesn’t have to be over. I don’t know if I can do this, but I also don’t know… I mean… I might. You said it yourself – we have a year to figure all of this out. The idea of not even trying sounds worse than trying and failing. So… I guess what I’m saying is…”
Ah fuck, I’m going to cry again. “You want to try?”
“I can’t promise I won’t have to tell you no in a few months.” He looks more vulnerable than I’ve ever seen him. “I honestly have no idea. But yes, I want to try. The idea of losing you…”
“Then don’t,” I whisper. “Don’t lose me. You don’t have to.”
Finally, we kiss. It tastes like both of our tears, but also like finally, I can breathe again. Maybe I won’t have to give up on my vision for my future after all. Not yet.
When we come up for air, we embrace each other in a way we never have before. It’s just a hug, but it’s also so much more than that. It feels way more intimate than any way we’ve ever touched each other before.
“I think I did something really stupid,” he mutters against my shirt.
“What?” I ask, squeezing him tightly.
“I fell for you.”
A smile tugs at my lips and I pull back a little to look him in the eye. “Then I must be stupid too, because I’ve fallen hard as hell.”
Again, we kiss. His hands knot in my hair and I move mine down his back, my nails digging in a little. It all feels so right with him. Like this is where I was supposed to be all along. Being with him feels the same as my decision to tell Deidra and Imani I’d be happy to make them mothers.
It feels inevitable.
I need to remember that he didn’t tell me yes yet. He’s willing to try, but if it all gets to be too much for him, I might still lose him. I need to prepare myself for that. I can’t survive another heartbreak. I just can’t.
“Why were you still in the parking lot?” Andre asks softly, leading me to the couch so we can sit down.
“Well, I needed a moment to cry my heart out,” I admit. “And just when I managed to get myself back together, Kian called.”
Andre’s entire demeanor changes. “Kian called?”
“Yeah, Silas is in the hospital. He had an aneurysm.”
“Oh wow.” Andre’s expression turns soft again. “Will he be okay?”
That. Right here. That’s why I adore this man. He could start kicking and screaming about my ex calling me, but instead he’s genuinely concerned about Silas. Just like I am, even though I don’t want to be.
“Not sure. Chloe says the doctor thinks he’s got a good chance of making it. Kian is freaking out though. Annabel and Chloe are with him now, and Silas’ parents are coming to the hospital as well.”
Andre squeezes my hand. “Is there anything we can do?”
“I’m not going to the hospital.” I shudder at the idea. “I don’t want either of them to die, obviously, but I don’t want to hold Kian’s hand while Silas is fighting for his life. We’re not friends. He shouldn’t even have called me.”
“He shouldn’t have, but you’re one of the few people he trusts.” Andre truly doesn’t seem worried that there is something going on between me and Kian again. “I can tell you’re worried, Dylan. About both of them. That’s okay. What can we do?”
“Cooper is shit-faced drunk, and Chloe had to leave their three kids with Aston, who is all alone because Annabel is at the hospital too.”
Andre gets up immediately, rushing to the hallway to grab his coat and shoes. “Let’s go.”
“Are you sure? You really don’t have to-”
He gives me a pointed look. “I just told you I want to try, Dylan. I’m in. Being your boyfriend is not just about kissing and dating and all that fun stuff. Aston is your friend, and he’s taking care of five kids on his own, who are probably not willing to go back to sleep after being woken up in the middle of the night. You need to feel useful right now while we wait to hear how Silas is doing. Come on, let’s go.”
“You’re really something, you know that?” I follow him out the door, and we run down the stairs together to get to my car. “Wait,” I say when he pulls open the car door. “Did you just say you’re my boyfriend?”
Andre laughs. “That’s what you’re focused on right now? Yeah, I’m your boyfriend. That is, if you’ll still have me.”
“Fuck yeah.” Despite everything, I am grinning from ear to ear. “I’ll definitely still have you.”
That’s how we end up at Aston’s place, helping him as he tries to control those five kids. 15-year-old Cara is a quiet sweetheart, but 8-year-old Caspian is a little maniac, 5-year-old Anna loves to scream at people at the top of her lungs, and don’t even get me started on Aston and Annabel’s kids. 3-year-old Benjamin squeezes everyone’s ass the second he gets the chance – he’s a ladies’ man like his dad, even as a little boy – and his 4-year-old sister Steffi is a cunning little minx. She has been stealing cookies since she grew a set of teeth to eat them, and getting away with it in a way I never could as a kid.
It takes us two hours to get them all asleep, but I don’t mind. I love seeing Andre interact with the kids. He’ll make a damn good father one day. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but I can’t help it.
“You guys are lifesavers.” Aston sinks down onto the couch, rubbing his temples. “This night… One moment, I’m making love to my wife, the next, I’m taking care of five kids on my own, all because of those two low-life idiots.”
“Still, we don’t want Silas to die,” I remind him.
“No no, of course not. Karma overdid it a bit this time around.” Aston doesn’t sound too contrite though. “Anna just texted. He’s out of surgery, and he’ll be just fine. He will need medication and he’ll be tired and have headaches for weeks, but eventually, he’ll probably be as good as new.”
Now that’s a relief. Andre rubs my back in support. He’s been so amazing all night. I still can’t believe how this day ended up. It went nothing like I thought it would.
“So, are you two finally together now?” Aston asks, switching right back to his normal obnoxious self as he winks at me.
“Yeah,” Andre replies, smiling slightly. “We are.”
It’s complicated, I know it is. In a couple of months, we might not be together anymore. It all depends on how comfortable Andre will feel once I start trying to get Deidra pregnant. Still, right now, I feel pretty damn lucky.