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Chapter 25

Kevin, A.J. and Howie sat patiently beside Brian’s bedside, hoping he would wake up soon. They had not made much of an attempt to be social with one another since Nick had stormed out over an hour earlier, the only real sound that could be heard was the beeping of the heart machines which were hooked up to Brian. Kevin sat closest to his youngest cousin’s side and held his hand that wasn’t covered with wires and silently prayed for a miracle to occur and restore his cousin’s health.

A.J. sat beside of Kevin just staring off into space, he really didn’t know what to do or think in a situation like this.

Howie sat in the corner punching in a number he had been trying for the last hour. He sighed as the answering machine came on again, he didn’t want to leave such a upseting message on the answering machine so he hung up by pushing the “end” button on his cell phone as he let out a loud sigh. A.J. met his eyes and silently questioned if he got a hold of the Littrell family. Howie shook his head and let out another sigh as he tried dialing Nick’s cell phone number. He punched the “end” button in frustration as a mechanical voice come on the phone telling him the the phone owner was unavailabe at this time and for him to try again later. He threw his phone down on the table and let his anger get the best of him and let out a loud “Damn!”

A.J. looked up in surpise and quickly got up to his feet to find out what was wrong; after all these years of knowing Howie, he had never known him to curse. He made his way over to Howie and put both hands on Howie’s shoulder and asked him what was wrong.

Howie answered with a simple “No one is answer the phones”. A.J. nodded in understanding at Howie, he now fully understood what was bothering him. With a loud sigh, Howie again picked up his cell phone and dialed the number of the Littrell household. He held his breath as the phone rang; he was hoping someone would pick up the phone instead of the answering machine which answered after the fourth ring.

After the fourth ring, the answering machine didn’t pick up and Howie let out a sigh of relief, maybe someone was home. When the phone was about to ring the 6th time someone finally picked up the phone and greeted Howie with a breathless “Hello?” Howie identified the voice that answered the phone as the voice of Brian’s older brother Harold.

“Hello?” the voice asked again as he received no response the first time.

Howie quickly found his voice and replied, “Hey Harold, this is Howie.”

Howie heard Harold let out a sigh of relief and a small chuckle as he then said, “Hey man what’s up? I thought you was another prank caller or fan or someone trying to call us. Is something wrong?”

Howie took in yet another deep breath and started explaining to Harold what had happened with Brian getting sick in the cafeteria to the doctor’s diagnosis leaving out the details of Nick leaving and Kevin hyperventilating. The only thing he heard when he finished was a dead silence.

“Harry you still there man?” asked Howie

“Yeah I’m here. Oh man I can’t believe this, when you called I wasn’t expecting news this terrible. Why my little brother? I need to call Mom and Dad and get the next available flight down there for us. They just left for Aunt Ann’s about 15 minutes ago. Are the rest of you guys ok?” asked Harold whose sentences ran together because he was so upset.

“Um yeah I guess we are doing as well as can be expected. Kev is sitting here holding Brian’s hand and praying, A.J. is just sitting here and I’m talking to you.” stated Howie as Harold then asked where Nick was and Howie hesitantly explained to him that Nick had left earlier and hadn’t came back yet.

Harold drew in a deep breath as all the news he had just heard slowly sank in.

“Hey Harold, do you think there is anyway you can get Kev’s mom to come with you all? I think he needs her right about now.” he told Harold as he looked at Kevin who was now crying with his head buried in the side of the Brian’s bed.

Harold agreed and got some more details from Howie about which hospital they were at and he promised he would call back with the flight information as soon as he reached his parents and then the airport. Howie agreed and they then hung up. Howie pushed the “end” button and tried dialing Nick’s cell phone number for the 2nd time and again heard the mechanical message.

He set down his phone on the small table and stretched his tired muscles. Then, he looked around the room and smiled a small smile at the sight that was before him. Both Kevin and A.J. were asleep with their heads resting on the side of the bed with both of their mouths hanging open. Howie pulled himself down off of the table he was sitting on and pulled the only empty chair in the room to the other side of Brian’s bed. He rested his head on the bed and the steady rythym of the heart machine lurred him to sleep.

Chapter 26