By the time taping was over, they only had an hour to eat something before the meet and greet. As they walked into the venue, Braelyn pulled a PA aside and asked her if she could go get Braelyn an energy drink. She hadn’t had one since the green room at Fuse and she was feeling a crash coming on.
“Can you do me a favor?” Mikey asked, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. When she looked up at him, he continued, “Can you not drink another one of those today?”
“I’m serious. Those things aren’t’ great for you. Please?”
Braelyn sighed, “I’ll try.”
She knew that not drinking her Amp would mean, inevitably, going to sleep. But Mikey looked so worried. And she was getting shaky and jumpy from all the taurine. She’d try.
“Thank you.” Mikey kissed her lightly. She smiled and leaned into him.
They were all seated a few minutes later. The PA brought Braelyn her drink just as the doors opened and the fans came bursting in. Braelyn spent the next hour and a half chugging her drink, signing autographs, posing for pictures, and keeping a running commentary of the current events with Frankie who was sitting next to her.
“Ninety-seven phone numbers,” Frankie observed victoriously as the last fan left.
“You’re joking.” Braelyn’s voice was filled with disbelief.
“Isn’t that a little low?” Ray asked. “You’re losing your touch, man.”
“Girls just give you their numbers?”
Frankie looked at her, eyebrows raised. “I’m famous. Not to mention ridiculously good looking.”
“Not to mention ridiculously conceited,” Mikey said coming to stand next to Braelyn’s chair.
“Rude,” Frankie replied sticking his tongue out at Mikey.
Mikey just shook his head.
“Braelyn, you have sound check,” Topher reminded her.
She nodded, got up, kissed Mikey’s cheek, and traipsed off to the stage. The pre-show by this point was routine, checks, stars, and then showtime.
“Hey Los Angeles, it’s great to be here,” Braelyn started her set. Most alarmingly, about halfway through her set list, Braelyn could feel herself coming down. She tried to shake it off and keep playing. Somehow she managed to keep singing and playing on key. She finished and said goodnight as her vision began to swim. Offstage she hugged all the boys as usual before they went out. Then Chelsea pulled her aside.
“Are you drunk?” She whispered.
Braelyn looked at her shocked. “No. Why?”
“You just seem a little unsteady.” Chelsea looked worried now. “Are you ok?”
“I don’t know.” Braelyn stumbled a little bit.
“Come on. Let’s go sit down.”
Chelsea helped her friend to the couch in the green room. She brought Braelyn a bottle of water. Braelyn tried to drink it, but the edges of her vision were going black.
“I’m fine. Just ti-“ She didn’t finish the word.
Chelsea tried to shake her awake, trying not to freak out. When she wouldn’t wake, Chelsea checked that she was breathing. Satisfied that she was alive, Chelsea ran to find Topher who called the medics.
The medics were still checking her out when the boys came into the room. “Where’s Braelyn? She didn’t come out to sing ‘Dis-‘”
Gerard’s words stopped when he saw the commotion in the room. Braelyn lying on the couch, paramedics around her.
“What the fuck?” Frankie asked.
“Ok. No freaking out allowed,” Chelsea said, coming up to the group of boys. “Braelyn just passed out. They’re taking a look at her.”
Mikey pushed past Chelsea and went to Braelyn’s side. Immediately he said to the medic closest to him, “She hasn’t been sleeping.”
The woman’s head snapped up. “For how long?”
Mikey looked to Gerard for help. Gerard answered, “Umm, at least four days.”
“And she hasn’t slept at all?”
Both Gerard and Mikey answered “No.”
Mikey continued, “She’s been drinking energy drinks. A bunch of them.”
“When did she stop?” The paramedic was trying to get all the information she could.
“She had her last one around five,” Mikey answered, now holding onto her hand tightly.
“Ok.” The medic pulled her co-workers together to discuss the situation. A few minutes later, she turned to the group now clustered around Braelyn. “Alright. We’re going to give her a low does injection of epinephrine to wake her up. Kind of like a mini Epi-pen. We need to do a brief exam while she’s awake, then we’ll decide if she needs to go to the hospital.”
The all nodded. The medics cleared everyone from Braelyn. Well, except Mikey. He was obviously not going anywhere. The woman who had been speaking was obviously lead paramedic; she took a syringe from her kit. She hiked Braelyn’s dress up a little and plunged the needle into Braelyn’s thigh.
It felt like it took ours, but in reality it took less than a minute for Braelyn’s eyes to flutter open. Her face contorted in confusion as the scene around her began to register.
“Hey there, babe. You gave us a scare.” Mikey was fighting to keep his voice steady.
“Hi, Ms. Porter,” the medic said. “Don’t panic. You passed out. I’m just going to do a quick exam, ok?”
Braelyn nodded. The woman gently pushed Mikey aside. He would have just stayed there, but Chelsea’s hand was now on his shoulder, guiding him back to the others. They looked on as the medic took Braelyn’s pulse, listened to her chest with a stethoscope, and asked Braelyn questions softly enough that no one else could hear.
“How long had you been awake before passing out?” The medic asked quietly.
“Four or five days,” Braelyn answered at the same volume.
“And these gentlemen said you’ve been drinking energy drinks to stay awake?” Braelyn nodded guiltily. “Is there a particular reason you’ve been staying awake? Lot’s of work? A song to write? Or just the normal craziness?”
“Nightmares,” Braelyn muttered, looking down.
“I see. Well, I think tonight you won’t have a problem with the dreams, you’re exhausted.” The medic had her follow a penlight with her eyes. “Are you going to be in town tomorrow?” She asked now looking at Topher.
“Yes,” he answered immediately.
“Ok. Well I think we can release Ms. Porter tonight, providing she goes right to bed. But I do want her to go see Doctor Fillmore tomorrow at-“ she flipped through some screens on her official iPhone-“he has an opening at one. Does that work?”
Topher nodded and accepted a business card from her.
Quietly again to Braelyn, the medic said, “Tell him about the dreams. He might be able to help.” Braelyn nodded. “Ok. After you sign the release form, you’ll be all set.”
Braelyn did as she was told. She continued to sit on the couch as the medics packed up. Mikey came to sit next to her, taking her hand, while Chelsea perched on the arm of the couch on the other side of Braelyn.
“Ok,” Topher said letting out a sigh. “That was exciting. Let’s just go to the hotel, ya?” The others nodded. “Good.” To Braelyn, he said, “We will eventually have to have a chat about this, ok?” Braelyn nodded.
She allowed herself to be pulled up off the couch. It was then that the full impact of her exhaustion hit her. Her legs didn’t work so well. Without a word, Mikey scooped the girl and carried her. Braelyn buried her head in his neck.
The ride was short and she still had enough epinephrine in her system, so Braelyn was still awake by the time they got back to the hotel. Mikey still carried her. He set her down on her bed and got her pajamas out of her bag.
“You want a water?” he asked her. She nodded. By the time Mikey returned, she was changed and under her covers. Mikey set the bottle on the bedside table and sat down next to her. “You are going to sleep, right?”
Braelyn nodded. She did her best to keep tears from gathering in her eyes. She didn’t care what the medic said. She knew from experience that it didn’t matter how tired she was, the dreams wouldn’t stop.
“Ok. Well, I’ll let you sleep.” Mikey kissed her on the cheek.
“Stay,” she said.
Mikey shook his head, smiling sadly. “You heard the doctor. You need rest, not staying up to watch television with me.”
“I’m scared. Please.” The tears now spilled over her cheeks.
Now his arms were around her. “Shh.” He kissed her temple. “What are you scared of?”
Braelyn hiccupped and said, “I haven’t been sleeping because of he nightmares.” Mikey didn’t speak, guessing that this conversation would go similarly to the time she told him about Todd. Sure enough, after a few moments of silence, Braelyn began to speak again. “It happened for a long time after I first moved back to Tom and Marissa’s, but it eventually went away. Since I-saw-him again, I had that nightmare in Arizona. They feel so real. I decided it would be easier to stay awake than to deal with reliving that.”
“But babe, you’ve got to sleep,” he said quietly.
“I know. And I’m tired. I’m just scared.”
Mikey took her face in his hands and wiped away her tears. “Then I’ll stay. Everything will be ok.” She nodded and he kissed her forehead. “I’m going to go change, alright? I’ll be right back.”
He returned a few minutes later and slid into bed next to her. Braelyn snuggled up to him, putting her head on his chest. She asked, “Could we put on the television? The silence freaks me out.”
“Sure.” He turned something on low. Mikey was tired. He had stayed up all night the night before too, but he wanted to make sure Braelyn fell asleep. He didn’t have long to wait. Soon her breath evened out and she was asleep. Mikey fell asleep soon after.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed! Go review. hearts, Corri