No one likes hospitals.
"Let's tour again." Pete said.
"Sure. But what about the kids?" Patrick asked. "I can't just leave them. And I can't take them on tour with us anymore - they have to go to school."
"So leave them with Addison. It won't be long, we can do a few shows, like one in each big city."
"I dunno," Patrick wavered. "I'm not sure about..."
"Oh, come on, Patrick. I need to get away from here for a few days. I need a break from everything."
"I remember when you used to say that about touring." Patrick said.
"I need a break!" Pete snapped.
"I know you do." Patrick replied, calmly. "And I sympathize, but..."
'It's like this gigantic, black abyss!" Pete exclaimed. "And if I don't get a break, I'm really going to go nuts. Again." He added.
"Let me think about it, please."
Pete rolled his eyes and turned away, with a huff. He flopped onto the couch and scowled as he flipped channels on the TV. A while later, Andy sauntered in and started a conversation with Patrick, recognizing Pete was in no mood to converse. It was always more appropriate to ignore Pete in return when he had one of his moods, rather than being yelled at.
"So I went out and bought them from that store, y'know, the one you recommended? And..."
"A black abyss!" Pete's voice interrupted them. Andy frowned and turned around to stare at him.
"He wants to tour again. But I don't know what to do with..."
"Tour? Awesome! I'm in." Andy said, excitedly.
"See? Two against one. And I bet Joe will be up for it, too." Pete pointed out.
"Joe will be up for what?" Joe himself entered the room, having raided Patrick's cupboards in the kitchen.
"Do you mind?" Patrick said, indignantly, as he spotted the food in Joe's arms.
"Not really." Joe shrugged. "So what am I up for?"
Andy opened his mouth but Joe jumped up and down ecstatically.
Patrick groaned, Andy rolled his eyes and shook his head, but Pete kept quiet. He was suddenly very aware of his sidekick in his pocket, containing the message; 'I'll be there - 7pm.' His plans for tonight - meeting the girl he'd randomly picked up at a club - were unknown to the others. He intended them to stay quiet. The guys weren't going to know about his "fuck buddy".
"No, Joe. Tour." Andy corrected him.
"Wow, cool!" Joe replied.
"Are you in?" Pete asked him.
"You're damn right I'm in." Joe said, his mouth full. The three of them turned to look at Patrick, who shrugged.
"Alright, let me fix something up." He said, shaking his head. He stood up and shrugged again.
"Who're the kids gonna stay with?" Joe questioned. Patrick's head started spinning, his mouth suddenly very dry. He tried to reply but his eye lids were too heavy to focus on the three men staring at him as he swayed on his feet. Joe made to catch him just a little too late.
"Fuck!" Pete yelled, as Patrick hit the floor. "Call 911!" He screamed at Joe, who stumbled on his way to the phone, while Andy stood staring at Patrick's face, which was progressively turning whiter by the second. Without warning, Patrick's eyes closed and his body proceeded to jerk uncontrollably, during which he began to convulse repetitively.
"I think he's having a seizure." Pete said, his voice shaking. He held Patrick, placing a cushion by his neck and shoulders and trying his best to move him away from the coffee table so he couldn't hurt himself. He unbuttoned the first two buttons of Patrick's shirt to stop his breathing being restricted, glancing around for Joe to come back.
"Oh, fuck." Andy said, watching in panic.
"Andy - don't flip out on me, please." Pete told him, his words becoming mixed up as he talked quickly. "JOE! HURRY UP!"
"They're coming, they're coming." Joe said, returning into the living room. He spotted Patrick and his eyes widened in shock.
"What's going on?"
"He's having a fit." Andy told him, his own face turning pale as they watched Patrick's body jerking. It was terrifying to hear him groaning, watching him twitching and jerking knowing they couldn't restrain him. When the ambulance finally arrived, Patrick's body was still wrenching.
"Uncle Andy - what's wrong with Daddy?" Josh asked, tugging on Andy's sleeve. Andy jumped and turned to face him. He was waiting at home with Danielle and Josh while Joe and Pete had ridden in the ambulance with Patrick.
"He's just..." Andy searched for the right words. "He's overtired."
"Is he going to die?" Danielle asked, in typical three year old honesty, having no sense of what a euphemism was intended for.
"No, honey, he's not." Andy told her. He picked Josh up and cuddled him under his arm as Josh began to cry with worry.
"Hey, hey, don't cry. He'll be okay." Andy whispered. "He'll be okay."
A voice sounding from a doorway made Joe and Pete start, scrambling to their feet as they noticed the Doctor.
"Is he okay?"
"He's doing fine. He was having a seizure." She confirmed Pete's suspicions.
"Why did he have one?" Pete asked, while Joe tried to crane his neck to see into Patrick's room, but to no avail.
"He was suffering from tachycardia, which is a form of cardiac arrhythmia. That's when the heart beats at an excessive speed, usually over the normal times in a minute."
"How could he...?" Joe asked, puzzled.
"It wasn't life threatening, but it's a normal physiological response to a lot of stress. However, it's only in more serious cases the patient begins to have a seizure. Has Patrick been under any stress lately?"
"Uh... actually, yes." Pete told her. "There's been a few things going on - he passed out a few weeks ago, 'cause he was stressed then, too."
"Right. Well, he must have been under immense stress this time round."
"Well, he's been through a lot in the past few years. Is it possible it all caught up with him?"
"That's certainly a good explanation for this." The Doctor nodded. "Usually, it's normal in people who are stressed - but in a more serious case like Patrick's, it causes them to pass out. Usually, people only realize their heart is beating irregularly. But this time Patrick only began to have the seizure after he had passed out - so he had no chance to become aware of it. We're monitoring him for a while, to make sure his heart is regular again. But don't get too worried - he's going to be just fine."
Pete and Joe nodded, the pieces falling into place. Patrick was taking too much on, trying to please others around him before thinking of his own health.
"Can we see him?"
"Certainly. He's heavily sedated and he'll most likely be asleep, but you can go in."
Pete and Joe were shown into the room and then left alone, where they watched Patrick lying on the bed, a few wires attached to his chest. His eyes were closed and his breathing was soft, in time with the beating of his heart monitor by his bed.
"Oh, Patrick." Pete said, sinking into a chair.
"He looks so small and vulnerable." Joe whispered, sadly.
"We'll have to call Andy, explain this to him." Pete said. Joe nodded.
"Oh, yeah." Pete said. "Do you want to call them or will I?"
"You can." Joe said, running a shaking hand through his hair.
"Alright. Stay here incase he wakes up." Pete replied, standing up and leaving the room. He found a hospital phone and dialed Patrick's home number. It was snatched up straight away, Andy's voice still panic stricken, although he tried to remain calm for Danielle and Josh watching him.
"Yeah, it's me." Pete said.
"Is he okay?" Andy whispered.
"Yeah, he's okay. He had a seizure... something to do with being too stressed and his heart beating excessively."
"My God." Andy said, letting the words out in a rattled sigh. "He's going to be okay though, right?"
"The Doctor said he'll be fine. They're keeping him in for a while, though. Just to keep an eye on him."
"Good. Do you want us to come?"
"No, no." Pete said, hurriedly. "I mean, it's awful seeing him wired up to machines... I think the kids would be really frightened."
"I understand. I can come see him later." Andy nodded.
"Okay. Look, I'll keep you updated, alright?"
The next call Pete made was to Addison. He had no idea what her number was, but after calling the operator, he was lucky she was in the phone book.
"Pete? Is that you?"
"Yeah, it's me. Listen - you need to come to the hospital, now."
"Why? Oh my God, is it Patrick? Danni or Josh?"
"Yeah... there's been a sort of accident. It's Patrick."
"Sort of? What do you mean sort of? Is he okay?" Addison asked, panic gathering in her voice.
"He's okay. Just, please, come down." He proceeded to tell her the ward and room number, before replacing the receiver.
"Pete!" Addison's worried voice echoed down the hall as she came closer to him. She glanced in the window where Joe was curled up on a chair by Patrick's bed. She gasped at the sight of him and leaned closer to the glass.
"Addison, listen to me. He's okay. He's alright - he had a seizure."
"What? Why?" Addison exclaimed.
"The Doctor said it was techardian something..."
"Tachycardia? Oh, my God." Addison whispered.
"Oh, right. I forgot you were a nurse."
"What was he stressed about?"
"A lot of things." Pete replied. "We'll explain it all later. The important thing is that he's okay."
"Can I go in?"
"Yeah." Pete said. He guided her into the room and prodded Joe awake, who rose to allow Addison to sit down.
"We'll be outside." Pete said, quietly, leaving the room with Joe.
Addison took Patrick's hand and watched him, taking in how pale he was and how needy he looked wired up to machines with an oxygen mask to help his now irregular breathing. She watched his chest rise and fall slowly, and didn't notice when Patrick slowly opened his eyes. He squeezed her hand with what little energy he had, and his eyes told her he was thankful she was there. She looked up and exhaled in relief.
"Oh, Patrick. I was so worried."
Patrick took a while to realize that he had a mask covering his mouth, and as he summoned up all his energy just to talk, his voice was just a quiet muffle.
"Shh, don't talk, honey." Addison said. "Save your energy."
Inside Patrick's head, he was aware of how much he hurt all over again. He was terrified at the fact that he had no recollection of what had happened in the last two hours. Waking up in the hospital and not knowing why he was there frightened him.
"You had a seizure." Addison informed him gently. His eyes widened in panic and darted around the room, but Addison stroked his hand and shook her head.
"Don't get scared. It was normal - you were too stressed. I don't know too much myself, but Pete will tell you when you're a bit better."
She looked into his eyes for a few seconds, where his screamed; 'Don't leave me!'.
"I'm not going anywhere. Just sleep if you need to. Don't think you're being rude. You're going to be fine."
As the hours passed, Joe swapped places with Andy and returned to Patrick's house to take over babysitting, while Andy made the journey to the hospital.
"Oh, Jesus." Andy said, upon seeing Patrick.
"He's gonna be okay, don't worry." Pete said. They turned around as they heard the footsteps of a person behind them, and came face to face with the Doctor.
"You boys must be tired." She said. Pete nodded and Andy stayed quiet, still staring at the sight of Patrick.
"You don't have to stay here. He's going to be in here for another day or two, you best go home and get some rest."
"I just got here." Andy whispered to Pete, when the Doctor had left.
"You can stay if you want. There's nothing really we can do." Pete told him. He looked at him watch. 6.30pm.
"I'm gonna go." Pete said, remembering his 'date' with his "fuck buddy".
"Okay. I'll see you sometime." Andy said, before bidding him goodbye.
"You're late - what took you so long?" His 'friend' whispered in his ear as he joined her by his side. He motioned for the bartender to bring two shots over, and turned to her. In his eyes, she was nameless, he still had no idea what her name was. They only seemed to communicate well when they were in bed.
"Band stuff." He replied, shortly, downing his shot.
"Don't you wanna dance first?" The girl had said, after he had downed three more. He shook his head. Everything seemed okay again. His head was filled with a warm fuzzy feeling as he looked around the room.
"Fuck first. Dance later." He slurred, taking her arm again.
"I know a hotel." He said with a laugh, leading her away out of the club. He was really starting to like this regime he had built with the nameless girl. Somehow it made him feel less empty, less alone.
"Come on, baby, tell me why you were late." The girl said, as Pete's lips crashed against hers in an awkward fashion.
"Doesn't matter." He mumbled, drunkenly, as he fumbled with her pants.
"I like this new routine we have." She giggled in her own drunken state as Pete pushed her against the bed, his body pressing against hers.
"Me too." He muttered, and suddenly he was plunging into her, forgetting every problem, her screams sounding further and further away. This wasn't making love, Pete wasn't even sure he had feelings for this girl, he just knew she was desperate enough to fuck him. Again and again, she always came running back to him.
When it was over, he grinned as she lay on the bed and watched him with a smile on her face. He patted her cheek in a hasty manner, trying to avoid kissing her again. Anyone would have found it patronizing, but she loved it.
"Call me, sweet cheeks." He stammered, before doing up his fly and leaving her alone in the room. He rummaged in his pocket as his cell phone vibrated. Laughing, he put it to his ear.
"Pete... are you going to come back tonight?" Joe asked, sounding distracted.
"Wasn't planning it." Pete replied, dazedly.
"Well, could you? Andy's back at Patrick's with Danni and Josh, and I promised I would stay the night and help him. And Addison's had to go home for Riley, and..." Joe sounded panicky, breaking off in mid sentence.
"Joe?" Pete asked, Joe's panic made his drunken state ebb away, as he stopped in the middle of the street.
"Oh, God..." Joe said, sounding as though he was about to vomit.
"Joe, what's up?"
"Patrick..." Joe murmured. On the other end of the line, he watched two nurses and a Doctor appear in Patrick's room.
"What?!" Pete yelled, feeling more and more sober.
"He's having another seizure." Joe said, before taking a deep breath. He watched the familiar scene as Patrick jerked around, unaware of what he was doing, the Doctors unable to restrain him.
"I can't watch this, Pete. Please come."
"Fuck." Pete said, hanging up. He hailed a taxi and clambered in.
"The hospital." He panted, before collapsing in the back seat and closing his eyes. His head began to pound. Two in one day, something had to be worse than stress for Patrick to end up like this.
Upon entering the hospital, he stumbled his way to the reception and asked for the floor Patrick was on. When he had come earlier that day, he hadn't paid attention to where he was going, he was just focused on Patrick being okay.
He found his way and found Joe pacing the hallway.
"Joe." He stammered, out of breath from running out of the taxi. Joe spun round, his eyes red. A weak smile spread over his face.
"Pete. Oh, God, it was horrible."
"How is he?" Pete asked, peering into Patrick's room.
"He's okay now." Joe replied, as they both watched him. The nurses and the Doctor had left after he had another episode, keeping him under surveillance. He was asleep again, and they felt awful for him, unable to control what was happening to him.
"Are you drunk?" Joe asked.
"Never you mind."
"Fucking hell, Pete. Patrick's ill, so you go and get wasted?"
"Hey! I don't need any lectures from you, Joe. You're not exactly straight edge yourself." Pete snapped.
"What's happened to you, Pete? Is this all because of Rachel? If you want to see your son, maybe you should clean yourself up first."