45 Days

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Chapter 20- More Heartache

When the time chimes nine in the morning before anyone begins to move in the house, the first one up is Dakota, thanks as his phone buzzes with text messages.

Dakota, when you get this, come home. Please, I’m not feeling good.

Babe, where are you? I’m not feeling any better text or call me.

D-Hurry home, I need you!

Fuck, it’s getting worse. I need you home now!

Panic settles deep within Dakota’s stomach when it feels like an anchor slam against the pit of his gut.

“Rey, get up. I need to get home like now!”

Drowsy at first, Rey pulls himself from his makeshift bed, “Oh yeah, hey, come on, let’s move. Oh, you can drive since I’m feeling messed up still.”

Dakota tosses off the blanket and helps Rey to his feet, taking the keys from the end table. The two of them depart the house without so much as a note.

With the deep roar of the SUV firing up, Eddie sits up as a headache hits him with the force of a 50lb sledgehammer, “Ah sum a bitch…” He moans, holding his head.

Eddie braces his body against the wall to make it down the hallway. Tapping on Aiden’s bedroom door, he stands in the doorframe.

“Hey bro, Rey and Dakota just took off. I’m going to make some coffee, and we’ll get a move on out that way for practice, or well, maybe lack thereof.”

Aiden’s already annoyed, “Yeah, good idea, we need to pack up and get ready for the Import Room tonight.”

“We need a new place to play. Like totally bro, don’t get me wrong, but we need a scene of changery.” Grunting and holding his head, Eddie regrets that statement still woozy.

With a good laugh, Aiden corrects his statement, “I think you mean a change of scenery.”

“No, I meant what I said. It got you to laugh. I’m making coffee, Eddie needs coffee, Aiden needs to get laid.” He jokes, banging against the wall along the way to the kitchen.

Aiden picks up his phone to see nothing from Ally. After he collects his thoughts over being stood up types out a short message that he’s finished with her, Aiden erases it all and locks his phone.

The phone buzzes, but he ignores it and goes about his business and waits for the coffee to finish brewing.

“I have to be honest, last night after we got home, I waited for Ally. She said she was going to come by to talk, but as usual, another let down when it comes to her and that lying sorry ass.”

“You mean her fine, sorry ass bro.” Eddie continues to joke.

“Yeah, it is still very nice. Trust me. I couldn’t take my eyes off her body last night.” Aiden accidentally admits.

“Bro, I love you like a real brother. Suck up the pride and make it work. It’s obvious you love her still. She might still feel something too.”

Aiden explains how he sees it, “Because we shattered each other’s trust in the other. How do I know she’ll never cheat again or lie about things like that again? Yeah, I love her to death. At the same time, it’s impossible to know what’s going on, and the worrying would kill the joy in our lives.”

Shrugging his shoulders, Eddie comments, “I guess I can see that. I’ve not had a serious relationship since high school. Kind of hard to remember how much real work goes into something like that.”

With a pat on the back, Aiden drops the subject when he takes two mugs and places them on the counter, “I’m going to hit the head. Add a little milk to mine when it’s ready.”

“You got it, and it’ll be waiting on ya.”

Eddie and Aiden pair up the coffee with some brown sugar buttered toast.

Half of the group tries to sober up and collect themselves the other half drifts along the backroads.

“Dude, take it easy. Your house will still be there when we arrive.” Rey reminds Dakota and hangs on for dear life.

“I need to get home.” He says, focused only on the road as sweat beads form across his brow.

It’s only a few more minutes before they slide down the driveway, nearly slamming into the Mazda.

“Oh man, that was close!” Dakota says, sighing relieved they stopped in time.

“Dude, take it easy next time!” Rey warns him, releasing his grip on the handle over the door that left an imprint on his palm.

“My bad, but I gotta get in there,” Dakota states after he unbuckles the seatbelt.

Unsure of what’s going on, Rey gets out and begins packing up the gear. Inside, Dakota goes to the bedroom to check on Heather.

“Hey, I’m home; sorry I’m late and didn’t respond.” He announces when he barges through the door.

“It’s fine, I’m fine, it went away finally,” Heather replies with her hands on her stomach.

“Do you need to go to the doctor or the hospital just to be sure?”

Shaking her head no, Heather sits there and nurses on a can of Sprite with some saltine crackers, “I’m okay, baby, I promise, just some tummy issues.” She tries to assure him when he sits on the edge of the bed.

“If you’re sure, then I’m going to go help Rey and get a shower. Do you need to call off work?”

Frustrated and feeling like he’s about to smoother her. A mood swing strikes, and Heather snaps back at Dakota, “No! I said I am fine, damn it. Just go do your own thing and let me relax so I can get some sleep for work later, please.”

Dakota takes his leave and heads back outside, realizing it’s a losing effort.

“Hey man, what else needs to be packed?” Dakota calls out.

“Just the last of the drums, I have to place them on top of the guitar and bass guitar and Aiden’s keyboard,” Rey replies, walking into the garage.

“Cool deal, gonna be a good show tonight,” Dakota mentions with an uneasy feeling lingers inside his body.

“We need a new gig, don’t get me wrong, we always play a packed house, but we need somewhere new,” Rey adds, feeling stagnate about performing at the same club every weekend.

“Yeah, but like Henry tells us, it keeps his club afloat, and we’re a smash hit every time we’re there.”

Snarling one side of his face, Rey holds to his argument, “Yeah, but how can we get better if we stay at the same place? We need to change it up and move around to a different club, you know.”

“Maybe one day, but we do need to get work on making the demo CD for the Ohio Rock Fest for next year. We have to have our demo in by January.” Dakota reminds Rey as they pick up pieces of the drum set.

“We have time, man, so just chillax, and we’ll get it,” Rey says to help keep Dakota calm.

Once everything is packed up, and the SUV hatch is closed, Rey texts Aiden for a heads up.

“Got everything packed up. I’ll head over to Import Room around seven or so to get setup. See ya then.” Aiden reads aloud, so Eddie knows what’s going on at the moment.

“Cool, that gives us the afternoon to get the lawn cut and tend to the trees out back.”

Agreed with a nod, Aiden and Eddie change into old clothes and begin the lawn work in the blazing humid summer sun.

The afternoon comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Soon Eddie and Aiden get cleaned up and prepare to head out. Dakota loiters around the house. He doesn’t trust the sensation still fluttering around in his gut.

He hangs around as late as he can. He misses sound check leaves Rey to tune and test the guitars in his absence.

“I hope everything’s okay.” Eddie brings up beginning to get worried.

“If it isn’t, we’ll be there ’til it is,” Rey says, placing the guitar in its stand.

“That’s about all we can do. Eddie, call and check on him just to be safe.” Aiden advises plugging in the keyboard.

Eddie goes outside to make the call and waits patiently for Dakota to pick up.

“Hey, Eddie, what’s up?”

With a sigh of relief, he begins with small talk, “Nothing too much, just uh thought I’d check on ya and see how you and Heather were doing.”

“She’s fine and resting for work tonight. Oh shit, I missed soundcheck, didn’t I? Fuck man, that’s my bad, but I will be there tonight for sure.” Dakota states with his voice heightened from anxiety.

Assuring his best friend, Eddie keeps his wits about him, “Just checking, but it’s all gravy. We’ll see you tonight, and we’ll have a beer on me.”

They end the call, and Eddie heads back inside to finish up everything and head out for a bite to eat and stroll around downtown until it’s time to head back for the show.

Back inside the club to be escorted to the rear of the bar, the boys are greeted by the regulars who show up to listen. They greet the patrons with a passing high five and collect themselves.

“Gonna be a good show tonight, fellas.” Rey guesses entering through the door last.

“Let’s hope so boys, I love playing here,” Aiden admits taking out his phone sending a text to Addie.

Hey, we’re playing tonight. I know Rey would love it if you were here. So just come on down and support him at least-Aiden

He’s about to put his phone back in his pocket when he feels it buzz again—lighting up the screen, his demeanor shifts when he reads the message.

I saw what you sent to Addie, and you’re all going to choke cause you’re nothing but little wannabe rock stars bitches. You suck! Love Ally. P.S.-You’re a dumbass, by the way

A fire returns in Aiden’s eyes as he paces back and forth.

“Where the blue hell is Dakota?” Aiden snaps, feeling a new inferno fuel his soul.

“He said he was coming, so just relax. We still have about a half-hour ’til we go on stage.” Eddie reminds him.

“He best show up,” Aiden snaps back, continuing to pace.

Ten minutes later, Dakota arrives, and still shaken with the look in his eyes of fear like a devil in the moonlight.

“Hey, everything okay?” Eddie asks, walking up to him.

“Yeah, it’s just been a very long day, that’s all.” He tells Eddie with his hand on his shoulder to comfort his best friend.

“Then let’s get ready to play!” Aiden mentions heading out to the stage.

Right behind Aiden, the other three take their spots as he stops in front of the microphone, “Good evening Huntington and thank you for coming out tonight. Let’s have some fun, shall we.”

The crowd roars to life.

Turning to others, he mouths, “Livid Inferno,” signaling the count with just a tap of his foot. Rey begins playing the first beats. They take off playing for nearly two straight hours before taking a break. The crowd thunders with claps at the music and drinks the night away to their heart’s content.

Drenched in sweat, they all take a break. Back in the breakroom, Dakota rushes to check his phone. He felt it vibrate several times throughout their performance, and he’s afraid of something gone wrong.

In the first few text messages, he’s relieved to see that they say, I’m fine on break, and I miss you…Still feeling a little nauseous, but I’m fine…I know you’re on stage, and good luck. I love you…

He gets to the second set of messages, where things begin to change. Oh God, the pain just hit, but I’m fine it’ll pass…Oh, the cramps and puking are never-ending, ugh…”

That’s when Dakota notices he has four voicemail messages.

Placing his phone to his ear, Eddie can sense something’s wrong and immediately gets by Dakota’s side.

“Ugh, baby, it hurts. I think I’m going to ask to go home soon. I’ll be fine, just stay and play the show. Love you.”

Dakota waits impatiently as the next set of messages play.

“I’m still at work, but when I was heading out of the breakroom, I fell to my knees, and when I looked down, I noticed blood in my jeans. They’re calling me an ambulance. I’m going to St. Paul’s Hospital, and please get there as soon as you get this.”

“FUCK!” Dakota screams at the top of his lungs.

Aiden, Eddie, and Rey turn with intensity listening to the agony in the shriek.

“What’s wrong?” Eddie asks, seeing Dakota begin to shake.

“She was bleeding and, and, and… They called her an ambulance.”

Unsure of what to do, Dakota stands there frozen with fear.

“Alright, Eddie, you drive him to the hospital, hit your flashers, and fly. Rey and I will inform the manager of what’s going on. We’ll come back for our equipment later. We’ll meet you there, now go, GO!” Aiden lays out giving everyone marching orders.

“MOVE YOUR ASSES!” He screams again, running for the door.

Eddie helps Dakota get out to the car and speed to the hospital. Rey and Aiden head out, where they bump into two unexpecting guests.

“Addie, Ally, you’re here!” Rey calls out, stopped to talk while Aiden makes his way through the crowd.

“Hey baby boy, great show tonight, really sounds a lot better.” Addie compliments, taking hold of his arm.

Looking over, they don’t see Aiden anywhere.

“Hey, where’s Aiden?” Addie asks, trying to find him.

“He went to find the bar manager. Dakota had an emergency, something with Heather and the baby.”

Both girls stand there covering their mouths.

“Oh dear God, okay um, um, Ally, you find Aiden and go with him. Rey, I’ll go with you, and they’ll meet us there.” Addie says in a panic removing her hands from over her mouth to the top of her head.

“Go!” Ally yells, pushing them both as she begins to search for Aiden.

Over at the end of the bar, Aiden pulls the manager in close to make sure she can understand what he says, “Our guitar player has a personal issue going on, and we need to split. Is there any way you can store our gear out of the way? We’ll be back in the morning to get it?”

Leaning in to whisper in his ear, the bar manager makes a simple request seconds before Ally arrives, “Hand me your phone.”

Quickly taking it out, she punches in her name and cell phone number, “Call me in the morning. I’ll come to unlock this place. I pray everything will be alright.”

Aiden feels her hand take and places the phone in the palm of his hand, and is ripped away when Ally gets her hands on him.

“Hey, come on, Rey and Addie have left.”

There’s a look of shock in his eyes as if he’s seen a ghost.

“Ally…” He mutters when she begins yanking on his shirt, partially ripping it.

Walking out of the Import Room Club, Aiden comes to his senses and rips his hand away from Ally.

“I’m not riding with you. I can drive myself.” He says as he begins to walk away.

“Hey, you know what, Aiden. Fuck you, you sorry piece of shit!” Ally argues with an angry look on her face.

“Fuck me. No fuck you, you little tramp.” He yells, walking backward to the Mustang.

Ally runs to catch up, and when she stands by the Mustang.

“Unlock the damn door!” She yells when Aiden slides into his seat.

He cracks the window as he flips her the dirty bird starting the car and pulls away.

“Dickhead!” Ally screams.

Rushing to the hospital, Aiden quickly finds a place to park and runs inside, where he finds Rey and Addie with Eddie close near the doors.

“Any word on what’s going on yet?” Aiden asks, standing with Eddie.

“Nothing yet, a nurse took Dakota back. I haven’t heard from him yet.” Eddie informs him.

Addie speaks up next, “Where’s Ally?”

Aiden smiles.

“Standing on the sidewalk probably.” He mentions not even looking over at her.

“You smug son of a bitch, I told her to ride with you or you with her. You two need to end this game between you and her. Either make it work or get out of each other’s lives.” Addie continues, already beyond frustrated.

That’s when he gives details about the was supposed to happen after they left the strip club.

“Hey, I agreed to talk to her last night. She stood me up. I was willing to listen, but she played me.” Aiden lectures turning to Addie.

“You’re both guilty! Either get over it or get over each other. I am so sick of us being stuck in the middle of your all’s childish bullshit games!” She yells, filled with resentment.

Aiden’s heard enough and heads outside for some fresh air. While he stands there, Ally struts up and slows her pace when she sees him.

“Hey, can we talk?” She begins in a civil tone.

“Like last night? You know I was willing to talk and maybe work on things and see if this was worth saving. Ally, I don’t know what it is about you...”

He stops when he hears the doors opening as Dakota walks outside with everyone by his side.

They’re all visibly shaken up with a melancholic expression on all their faces; Aiden approaches Dakota.

“Bub, you need anything?”

“Yeah, to ask God why, why he decided to take my child from me. Heather’s going to be fine, but she miscarried. I’m not going to be a father after all.”

Dakota fights not to cry as his lower jaw quivers. He looks up and sees Ally standing there. He finally unleashes all his pain out on the two of them.

“Great, it’s an all-new chapter of Aiden and Ally duking it out. You know what, I’m so sick of you two repeating the same old song and dance all over again. You two need to get over yourselves and find someone else to be with because you’re both insignificant to each other.”

Letting Dakota rant, Aiden stands there without saying a word.

“The mind games, and fucking each other over, the cheating, the lying it has to stop. It has to stop now! If you still somehow love each other, then get back together. If not, then move the on. Now get the hell out of my way. I’m going back inside to spend the night here with my fiancé. She’s more important to me than your all’s horseshit.”

Dakota heads back inside. Eddie, Rey, Addie, Ally, and Aiden all stand there under the hospitals’ soft lights staring at each other.

“I guess we’ll call it a night. Come on, Ally, we’ll head home and see you boys later.” Addie says, wiping her eyes and sniffles.

“Yeah, sure…” Ally replies, walking away with her best friend.

An impasse continues between the boys.

“Don’t take it personally.” Eddie begins to say to Aiden.

“I’m not, he’s hurting, and I’m gonna chill here tonight in the waiting room. I owe him that much.”

Placing his hands on his hips, Rey speaks up next, “If you stay, I stay; we’re family. We stick together.”

Eddie follows suit by putting his foot down, “Then we all stay and get comfy in the chairs. I’ll text Dakota and tell him we’re staying until they release Heather in the morning. Rey’s right, we’re family, and we need to stick together.”

Walking back inside, Aiden makes his way to the chapel, but he finds Dakota already there on his knees at the altar.

“Hey, mind if I join ya?” Aiden asks, walking up to Dakota’s side.

“It’s still a fee country.”

Kneeled, Aiden puts his arm around Dakota’s shoulders.

“I’m sorry I snapped back there. I don’t know why man, why did I have to lose my baby?” Dakota cries out.

In a deep breath, Aiden tries to make sense of it all and explains after his faith has disappeared for the most part since losing his parents., “I wish I could tell you and even take away all the pain you’re feeling. It sucks, I’m sure, and if I could fix it, I would. You don’t deserve this, but I’m not that red-headed stepchild called God. He takes what’s important to us and leaves us here to feel the anguish and wants us to kiss his ass through this so-called faith.”

“Nah, I still have faith, but I wanna know why and why now. Why me, why Heather, why our child?”

Tears begin to flow like rain from Dakota’s eyes.

“Time will tell, but for now, we’re all here, and we’re not leaving until y’all do. You’re stuck with us.” Aiden reminds his best friend.

Looking over to Aiden, Dakota replies, “Thank you.”

Together they get to their feet and go back out to the waiting room, where they sit and power nap with Rey and Eddie in the uncomfortable hospital chairs until morning.

When the sun begins to rise, Dakota sees fatigue setting in and sends his friends gratitude.

“Thanks for being here, guys. I got it from here. Go on home, and I’ll call you later.”

They refuse to budge in their seats. The group stays together and continues to wait even though they’re all miserable.

Dakota accepts that his friends aren’t going anywhere. He smiles as he gets up and requests to return to Heather’s room to let her know it’ll be okay as they have the support to make it past the hell they’re experiencing.

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