Driving to the hospital is definitely the easy part. There isn’t much traffic today. Maybe it’s because William is speeding.
He came to the office this morning, oblivious, with a cup of tea in his hand, ready to talk to his father about moving the wedding date. He did promise it to Nina. Just when he was sitting down and picked up the phone to call his dad Micah entered the office and told him the news about Lennon Lewis being rushed to the hospital last night, concert cancelled and suspected overdose. Tea spilled all over the papers on the desk was long forgotten as he was already running through the door.
Is this really happening? He can hardly comprehend it.
Is he dying? Shock grips him. Numbness like he never experienced spreads through his body. Lennon has so much left to go, so many places he has to explore, moments to live. He is too young, too promising. Now when William has him back in his life again, by mere twist of fate, even though only as a client he still feels like he can lose so much more.
He wanders down the memory lane torturing himself with bittersweet memories. He can’t lose him. He feels guilty for some reason. If he made a different choice back then, if he chose him would this still have happened?
It is easy to find out the floor where Lennon is. Everyone knows Lennon Lewis. Soon enough he finds himself in the hallway where he’s been told his room is, approached by Jorja and their manager. If someone recognised him, they didn’t acknowledge it.
- What are you doing here? - Jorja is the first to talk to him.
- How is he? What happened? - the uncertainty is driving him mad.
- You shouldn’t be here. This is all y.... Hmm... You know what? I can’t. I don’t have the energy anymore. Just stay away.
- William. She’s... - Rick, their manager appears behind Jorja, holding her tense shoulders and then letting her go. She disappears somewhere. - She is just upset and stressed. As you understand. All of us are. Lennon is okay, thank god. He is resting. - he breathes out in relief. - They pumped his stomach last night and ... It was bad, but not life threatening. He can actually go home this evening after they run some more tests but he will have a house nurse for the next few days. I was just about to call you about the concerts, we’re not sure if Lennon will be capable of performing.
- He’s not. We’re cancelling the shows. I will manage all of that, later, we will arrange other dates. All he has to do is recover now.
- Thank you for that. You didn’t have to come all the way here, you must be busy...
- Oh no. It’s .... Fine. I came as soon as I heard. - he didn’t even think if his coming here would raise any eyebrows, if people other than Lennon’s band members know something or suspect. Maybe they wll just add it to their alleged new bromance that started at the tattoo parlour. - Can I see Lennon? Is it ok if I see him?
- Yeah, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, he is awake, Sam is inside with him, Nate went to get him some change of clothes.
He gives a nod to two security guys in front of the door and knocks and that knock is one of the hardest things he has to do in his life. When he steps through the door, William is holding his breath, he really didn’t think this through. Glancing in the direction of the bed within the room first he sees Sam, sitting on the bed with his back against the headboard. And then he finds Lennon resting, eyes closed, his pale face on Sam’s lap. He is gently brushing Lennon’s messy bed hair with his left hand and holding a book in his right hand.
William’s chest tightens.
Did something change between two friends?
Few moments pass in silence and only then Lennon’s tired eyes open and finally rest on William, widening considerably. They don’t move from their position and William feels awkward just standing there, like he doesn’t belong, like he’s interrupting something intimate between two of them. He puts hands in his pockets and tries to look everywhere but at Sam’s hand in Lennon’s hair.
- Hello. - is all he manages to say.
Sam looks at him with an unreadable expression on his face, then looks down on Lennon then at his book. He sighs, placing his book on the bedside table and then he slowly leans in to whisper something in Lennon’s ear that William can’t hear. He hates how Sam’s lips brush Lennon’s earlobe while he whispers but tries to ignore it. Lennon nods at whatever Sam asked him and he kisses Lennon’s temple. William looks away after this, it’s too much.
- I’ll be just outside if you need me. - the blond says and gets up from the bed. William moves carefully so Sam can leave through the door, and Lennon props himself against the headboard with the pillow behind his head staring at William for a long time.
- How are you feeling, Lennon? I came as soon as I heard. - William finally manages to ask.
Finally he can see him properly. He is a mess but still a masterpiece. With dark circles under his tired eyes, a thin layer of stubble across his jaw he still is the most beautiful young man he has ever seen. How lucky he is just to be in his presence?
- Sorry about the cancelled concert. It must have been a big loss. I will be ready for Wednesday’s show, don’t worry. - his voice lack any trace of emotion.
- What? No, no. Lennon, I don’t care about the concert, it’s... That is already being taken care of, we’ll move the dates for the end of the year. You need to recover.
- I’m fine. - he isn’t looking at William when he says it.
- No, you’re not! Lennon, what happened? How did you... is it true? That you ...
- Overdosed? Yep. Now fuck off. I don’t need your sympathy. - and there it is, his fury.
William opens his mouth to respond when Lennon cuts him off before he can say anything. - You see, I really don’t know what is the problem, it’s certainly not your problem. Just another pathetic rock star that ended up on drugs, nobody cares.
- Don’t be like that. What are you even saying? So many people care about you, Lennon. You have to realise this. You’re not just some random rockstar junkie. You’re smart. You’re special. You... - desperation finds him. Lennon turns towards him now and the viciousness that his eyes contain make William’s blood run cold. He gets up from the bed and walks until he is standing in front of William.
- Is that your professional opinion of your client or...? - his jaw clenches as he studies William’s face.
- Lennon, you can believe whatever you want but I do want to help you. If you have a drug problem, or whatever else, you can come to me. I... I know you hate me, and we have some fucked up history but... this ... seeing you here in this bed, you ... You lost weight a bit and I didn’t even notice when we were in the tattoo parlour. Why didn’t I notice? - somehow he manages to say all this, mind wandering and going back to past few days trying to remember if there were any signs that he missed. Lennon’s eyes capture his, making him paralysed.
- It’s not yours to notice. It’s never been. Don’t beat yourself too much about it, William. - feeling his heartbeat rise he stares down at his feet. He can’t handle the intensity of Lennon’s eyes.
- When did you start using? You were high that one night when we... when I picked you up from Fabric. Was it all along? Since before I met you? - William needs to know. Heart is slaming against his ribcage and he thinks that Lennon can hear it, he is standing really close.
- No. That was just for fun, I... I would only take it sometimes. When I was younger I did use a lot, at parties, but...- Lennon’s voice starts trembling, words stumbling. - I never... this is...it started last year or, a few months ago.
A year. William can’t ignore the fact that there’s been a year since Lennon broke his heart. Or did he break Lennon’s?
- Cocaine? - William’s question is dry on his lips. Shit. He cares so much about this man.
- Yes. - Lennon answers and there is sadness in his voice. - And sleeping pills.
- Don’t. - he cuts him off.- I’m fine. It was an accident. I didn’t sleep for days and I just took more than I usually do. I forgot about it and took coke also.
Shit. Shit. This is bad. Why is he hurting so much? Jorja warned him that Lennon was struggling after William left for New York, but... Can the reason be... ? William tentatively reaches his hand up and lays his palm against his pale cheek. Lennon smacks his hand away with urgency, a storm in his eyes.
- Don’t touch me. - Lennon says angrily and William drops his hand and pushes away from him.
- I’m sorry. I ... please let me help. I know a really good rehab center, they are discrete and professional...
- No. - he can hear Lennon talking through his teeth, he is moving towards William now.
- ... I will make a phone call today. We will ...
- Shut up. Shut. Up!
- ... Lennon, this is serious. Sleeping pills and cocaine, it might be an accident now but you’ll be going through withdrawal soon and you’ll need someone to help you and..
- I don’t need your help.
- Trust me, please... - and then there is a punch on his face and William gasps, stumbling back.
He hits the wall behind him that he isn’t aware is there. He didn’t see that fist coming, at all. Lennon looks as confused as William, his hands shake and eyes fill with tears. His eyelids flutter, like he can’t believe he just did that.
- William, I’m s-so sorry, I...
He chokes, but William doesn’t speak and doesn’t move, he just stares at Lennon for a long time. There’s no fear, there’s not much pain in his jaw, actually he feels more pain when he sees Lennon’s red rimmed eyes that are staring back at him. And then there are hands wrapped around his neck. And those hands aren’t there to hurt him. They are so familiar, so inspiring. He gasps for breath, the rush of memories, Lennon is impossibly close, his breath against William’s lips.
Lennon slams his lips against William’s, moves against him immediately, pressing him against the wall. His own hands find Lennon’s waist and he draws him closer, until their hips are pressed together. Lennon kisses him deeply. His tongue furiously invading into William’s mouth. God, this feels right. This feels more right than anything he’s known, like this is what he should be doing all the time.
Kissing him. Kissing Lennon.
Skin is burning where Lennon holds him around the neck. It’s like he is coming alive, it’s like he’s been in a coma this whole time and his mouth is bringing him back to life.
The door suddenly opens and Lennon jerks away from him, breathing like he just ran a marathon. William ignores the possession that runs through his veins as he releases him and now he is left in midair, empty, and nowhere near being done. They both look in the direction of the door and there is a woman in a white coat standing. She probably knocked before entering but William didn’t hear a thing. She gazes across to him as she walks in.
- I’m sorry... For interrupting. Mr. Lewis needs his rest now. Also I have to administer IV to him so I’m afraid I have to ask you to leave, please.
Breathless he nods and knows he has to leave. He aches to reach for Lennon, to wrap his arms around his waist again. He never expected him to punch him but he definitely didn’t expect him to kiss him like that either and he can feel his own mind short circuit - because he doesn’t remember the last time he felt like that before. Maybe last year in the room 507 of Four Seasons.
Lennon turns back to him, his eyes shift between William’s, completely vulnerable. William bites his lip, not daring to speak, to shout words building in his chest. He clears his throat, a flush in his cheeks spreads as he slowly walks over to the door.
One more time he glances over his shoulder at Lennon. He sniffs as he stands shakily, staring at William. He looks lost. The doctor closes the door impatiently.
Outside in the hallway there are Nate and Sam and Jorja and probably someone else but he just runs to the lift, holding his bruised jaw. He doesn’t want anybody questioning him about it and finding out it was Lennon. His whole world is shaken when he sees dozens of journalists and paparazzis in front of the hospital door as he opens the door. Somehow he manages to hide behind a group of people and leave unnoticed. Only when he is in the car he realizes his limbs are trembling, hands gripping steering wheel like his entire world depends on it. Regret settles in the pit of his stomach as thunder cracks overhead. Who did he become? Rain starts falling, heavy and drenching and he doesn’t know how long he is sitting there, all he sees is Lennon’s scared face.
He hates the ride back to the office and the rain trashing down on top of the roof gives him chills because he realizes that he is leaving him again.