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Chapter 32

BJ stared at Nick. “And you left him?” she cried angrily. “You just left him?!?!”

Nick hung his head, tears streaming down his face. He had just gotten done telling BJ everything that had happened from that horrible night when Brian had collapsed on stage, to him flying to Los Angelos. BJ was shocked that he would leave his best friend, who lay dying in a hospital many miles away. And she had a right to be shocked. Nick felt like a horrible person, for he knew what he had done was terrible. He had betrayed Brian at the time when he needed him most.

“I hate myself,” Nick murmured, his voice thick with his tears. “I betrayed my best friend. I’m a horrible person. If I could take it all back, I would do it in a heartbeat.”

BJ’s hard stare softened as she saw the pain her older brother was going through. He had made an awful mistake, but he had realized that and was suffering for it now. “Maybe you still can,” she said softly. Nick looked up at her, a glint of hope shining through the look of despair in his eyes.

“How?” he asked.

“Go back to him, while there’s still time,” BJ said simply.

“How could I? How could he ever forgive me? I left him,” Nick sobbed.

“Nick, you know Brian. He has a heart of gold. He’ll forgive you, you know he will,” BJ assured him.

Nick sniffed. “You really think so?” he asked, his voice small.

“Yes,” BJ replied. “You need to go, now. There may not be much time left. You have to let him know you’re sorry.”

Nick nodded. “Where’s Mom and Dad?” he asked.

“They’re gone,” BJ replied.

“Ok, then tell them I’ve flown back and explain why. I’ll call you later.” With that, he grabbed his bags from his room and ran out to the Camaro and drove off to the airport.

***

Luckily, Nick got there just in time to buy a ticket for a plane that left in a half an hour.

Two hours later, Nick’s plane had landed, and he was on his way to get his luggage. He picked up the luggage and hailed a taxi, giving the driver the name of the hospital where Brian had been.

Ten minutes later, the taxi pulled up in front of the hospital. Nick payed him and ran inside. He tore through the lobby and ran to an elevator. He remembered that Brian’s room was on the second floor, but he wasn’t sure what number it was. He hoped he could find it.

Once he reached the second floor, Nick ran out and hurried down one hallway, looking all around for familiar sites that would help to point the way to Brian’s room. He found himself at a dead end, and spun around to head the other way. Suddenly, he collided into someone.

“Nick!” cried a voice. Nick looked up to see Kevin standing before him.

“Hey Kevin,” Nick squeaked, looking at him sheepishly.

“What are you doing here?” Kevin asked, his green eyes forming narrow slits as he glared at Nick. Nick swallowed hard.

“I’m here to see Brian,” he said. Before Kevin could even open his mouth, he continued, “Look, Kev, I know you guys must all be pissed at me. I’m pissed at myself. I betrayed Brian, and I feel horrible. But I knew I couldn’t just keep running from the truth. I had to come back and ask for his forgiveness,” Nick explained, his voice shaking with the tears that threatened to surface.

Kevin’s hard expression softened. “Nick, you screwed up, big time,” he said. “Brian was really upset when he found out you weren’t here. Do you have any idea how hard it was for us to have to tell him that his best friend had left him?”

“I know,” Nick said, his voice wavering. “I’m sorry, Kev.”

“Don’t tell me that. I think it’s Brian you need to say that to,” Kevin said gently.

Nick nodded. “You’re right, as always, Train,” he said. “Can I see him now? How’s he doing?”

“Not too good,” Kevin said sadly. “He’s been drifting in and out of consciousness, but he needs a new heart really bad. I don’t know how much longer he’ll make it without one.”

Nick nodded, facing the hard truth, and followed Kevin down the hall to Brian’s room.


Chapter 33