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Chapter 29

The group of 9 arrived at the door of Room 220 and waited patiently as the doctor opened the door and stuck his head in. He then stepped out of the way and held the door open for them and waited until Kevin who brought up the rear of the group entered the room. He looked over at the bed to find Brian sleeping restlessly letting out small moans every few seconds. He looked towards his parents and nodded at them and watched as the walked to their youngest son's bed side shaking him gently to wake him up.

A few moments later, Brian woke up to see the worried faces of his parents. He tried smiling at them but broke into another coughing fit and his mother wrapped her arms around him rubbing his back as she patiently waited for the coughing to go away. When it finally did she gently laid her youngest son back on the bed and kissed him on the forehead, frowning at the heat she felt coming off of his forehead and the irregular pattern of his heart that showed on the heart monitor.

Brian smiled a small reassuring smile at his mom and opened his mouth to speak but his mother put a finger on his lips signaling him to be quiet. He stared at the far wall for a few seconds then slowly turned his head towards where he remembered seeing his father earlier. He met the gaze of his father and seen that behind his father were the rest of his family and friends but he sensed something was missing.

He looked around with confusion in his eyes but was interupted when his father reached over and hugged him whispering in his ear, "Great to have you back son."

Brian gave his father a small grin and reached for his parents' hands giving them both a weak squeeze letting them know he would get better. He then looked at the group assemled and realized that there was someone missing.

He gathered up all the strength he had in him and tried to vocalize what he wanted to ask but his voice came out as scratchy and hard to understand. Everyone looked at him eyes wide as they realized he was trying to say something to them.

Dr. Adele hopped off of the counter he was sitting on and poured Brian a small cup of water from the pitcher by his bedside and sat beside of Brian gently lifting him into the upright position assisting him in drinking some of the water to soothe his dry and scratched throat as a result of the breathing tube that were helping him breath earlier. Brian accepted the water gratefully and sipped it quickly but only ended up coughing again and having Dr. Adele explain to him that he had to drink it slowly. Brian thought about it for a minute and obeyed, drinking some of the water slowly.

When it was evident he was finished, Dr. Adele handed the cup to Mrs. Littrell and gently laid Brian back down on the stiff hospital bed. Brian blinked up at him and smiled and again tried to speak and was pleased when he whispered somehting that sounded close to "Nick" Brian's family and friends looked at each other as Brian and Dr. Adele look on confused. Brian again tried to speak, "Where, Nick?" but was again answered by silence and the eyes of everyone looking at each other searching for answers about how they would tell him that Nick wasn't there.

Chapter 30