The first thing Haley noticed when she woke up was a strange beeping sound and the distinct smell of antiseptic. Then she noticed the throbbing pain coursing through her entire body. Groaning, she opened her eyes and looked around at the white hospital room. Instantly, three heads popped into her line of view. “Is she awake?”
“She’s alive!” Spencer and Jon whispered at the same time.
“Can you remember who you are?!” Brendon shouted in her ear.
“Ow.” Haley croaked, placing her hand to her head. “What happened?”
“Some guy was on his cell phone and didn’t see the light change. The van skidded and flipped, and hit a pole on your side.” Jon explained, using his hands to demonstrate the motions.
“Your airbag didn’t go off, and you broke your nose, three ribs and they think you have a concussion.” Spencer continued.
“I broke my nose?!” she tried to bring her hands to her face, but Jon grabbed her wrists.
“I wouldn’t do that.”
“How bad is it? Do you have a mirror?” she asked, panicked.
“They re-set it. It’s just really swollen.” Spencer shook his head.
“Does anyone have a mirror?” her voice shook, slightly.
“Are you sure?” Jon gave her a look.
“I have no marketable skills, the only thing I’ve ever done well is model. I need to know if any possibility for a career is over!” She shrieked, glaring at him. Brendon pulled out his iPod and held up the back.
“They had to pick some glass out of your forehead.” She had two black eyes and the entire right side of her face was puffed out, and she had a couple stitches along her hairline. She nodded silently, turning away from her reflection.
“The doctor said the scars shouldn’t be too bad. Your nose might be a little crooked though.” Spencer said.
“Is Ryan ok?” she asked, quietly.
“He’s fine. He’s getting a cast on his arm, but he’ll be ok.” Their manager, Bob, said from the doorway. “We should go, he’s almost done downstairs.” He waved the guys out of the room.
“Where are you going?” Haley tried sitting up, but it hurt too bad.
“We have a press conference to announce that we’re postponing the rest of the tour, we can’t play when the guitar player has a broken arm.” Brendon shrugged.
“We’ll be back soon, though.”
“Could you call Pete for me?” she asked in a small voice as they each hugged her gently.
“He’s still on the plane, but I left a message. He should be landing in about half an hour. And I called Bill, he’s getting on the next flight and should be here first thing in the morning.” Bob nodded. “I brought the intern to stay with you until the guys get back.” He stepped aside and a pale girl with long black hair stuck her head around the corner.
“We’ll be back in a couple hours, if you need anything just call.” Spencer waved.
“Hi, I’m Allison.” The girl stepped into the room.
“I know. I’m a huge fan.” She sat down in the chair beside the bed.
“How long have you been interning at Crush?”
“A couple months now. They have me do all kinds of cool stuff.” Allison gushed.
“Like what?” Haley smiled, weakly. The only amount of enthusiasm she could comfortably exhibit.
“They send me to help out at shows, photo shoots, signings. The other day I went to go hear a new band they might sign.”
“That sounds awesome.” Haley said as a nurse came in.
“Oh, good. I heard voices and thought you would be awake.” She smiled. “Did your brothers tell you about your injuries?”
“Brothers?” Haley wrinkled her eyebrows.
“Bob registered you as a confidential patient so the tabloids wouldn’t find you, so technically you’re only allowed to have family members visit you. They’re your brothers, I’m your sister and Bob’s your uncle.” Allison leaned in, explaining in a low voice.
“Oh, yeah. Sure.” Haley nodded to the nurse.
“Great. Now keep this on and the swelling should go down in a couple hours.” She placed an ice pack on the side of Haley’s face. “I’m giving you something to help with the pain, but it will make you very sleepy.” The nurse injected something through the IV tube in Haley’s arm. “Can I get you any water or juice or anything?” Haley shook her head. “Ok, my name is Tina. If you need anything, just press this button.” She pointed to a button on the side of the bed.
“Thanks for coming, by the way.” Haley turned to Allison as the nurse bustled out of the room.
“It’s no problem, they told me you’re afraid of hospitals. I am too, so I know how it feels.”
“It’s not that I’m afraid of hospitals, I’ve just been through enough shit, that I’m afraid I’m going to go in and never come out.” Haley shrugged. “This stuff does make you tired.” She yawned and adjusted the ice pack on her face, quickly falling asleep.
Haley jolted awake as someone violently shook her. “What the fuck?” she shouted groggily at Ryan, grinning down at her.
“What?” She whined, trying to go back to sleep.
“You have a concussion, you have to stay awake.” He shook her again. “Check it out, it’s green!” he held his cast in front of her face.
“That’s fabulous.” She yawned and looked around the room. “Where’s everyone else?”
“They all went to the hotel to sleep, but I said I’d stay with you. Since it’s my fault you’re here.” He stared at his shoes.
“Ry, it’s not your fault. Some guy wasn’t paying attention.”
“But I should have seen him coming.”
“It’s in the past, there’s nothing you can do. We’re both going to be fine. It could have been a lot worse.” She sniffed, willing her eyes not to water.
“Bob reached Pete. He should be here in the morning too.”
“Cool, thanks.” She smiled. “Is my face still all fat?”
“It’s a little puffy around here, but it’s pretty much back to normal.” He pointed around her eyebrow as she tossed the melted ice pack on the table beside her.
“You want to sign my cast?” he pulled a Sharpie out of his pocket.
“Um, yeah!” she snorted. “Can I draw a picture?” she placed his arm in her lap.
“You can do a bunch, just make it look cool.”
“Ok, puppy dogs and daisies it is then.” Haley said, giggling.
“You better not.” He scowled at her.
“What about the kinds of things you paint on your face? Then it’ll look like part of the ENSEMBLE.” She said in a snooty voice.
“You know, you really ARE cool.” He laughed.
“You say that like you just figured it out. I’m delightful.” She said, faking insult.
“I mean, I’ve only really gotten to know you these last couple months on tour, but you’re the closest thing I’ve ever had to a sister. I’ve always wanted a sister.”
“Aw, that’s so sweet. Does that mean I can give you a wedgie?” she grinned.
“No.” he slid his chair away.
“How about a swirly? As soon as we get out of here, I’m giving you a swirly.”
Some time during the night Haley must have fallen asleep, because when she woke up Ryan was curled up in the chair snoring softly, his cast decorated with bats, skulls and spooky little trees on one side, and a big pirate ship on the other. She saw Bill out in the hall talking to the doctor. He walked in, smiling when he noticed she was awake. “I came as soon as I heard.” He hugged her, slouching into the chair on the opposite side as Ryan. “I’m so sorry. Are you ok?” he asked, taking her hand
“I’m fine. Just a couple broken bones, they’ll get better.” She laughed. “When did you get here?”
“About an hour ago. You were both asleep I didn’t want to wake you. You should get to go home soon. The doctor said you have a concussion, but the time window of anything bad happening is closed.” He combed some dried blood out of her hair with his fingers.
“That’s good, right? On Grey’s Anatomy it’s good.” she smiled, cocking an eyebrow.
“I guess so, I have no idea.” He laughed waking up Ryan.
“What happened? What time is it? We have to wake her up every two hours.” He yawned groggily, rolling out of the chair.
“You ok?” Haley leaned over the side of the bed.
“I’m cool.” He popped up, straightening his shirt. Just then, they heard clomping footsteps in the hallway. They all turned to look questioningly at the door as Pete ran through. He paused for a moment before dashing to the bed, embracing Haley as tightly as he could without hurting her.
“I’m so sorry, Baby. I got off the plane and had, like, 7 messages from Bob, I thought you were dead. I’ll never leave you again.” He gasped, out of breath.
“I was so scared I would never see you again.” She wrapped her arms around him, bursting into tears as he kissed her forehead.
“I think that’s our cue to leave.” Bill said to Ryan, nodding towards the door.
“Yeah, awkward.” They shuffled out, closing the door behind them.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Pete asked, wiping her eyes. She gave him a soggy smile and sniffed.
“I’m fine. I got a few broken ribs, and my nose.” She lifted up her hospital gown a little, showing him the large purple bruise running down her entire side. He grimaced, sucking in a breath.
“Shit, Haley. I’ll stay here with you as long as you want me to.”
“You don’t have to. They’re letting me out this afternoon after they shoot me up full of more painkillers, and the guys are postponing the rest of the tour because of Ryan’s arm. So I can come home with you.” She scooted over in the bed, patting the spot next to her.
“Then I’ll stay with you and take care of you. I don’t ever want to leave you alone again.” He climbed in the bed with her, wrapping his arms around her, being extra careful of her injuries.
“You can’t! You have to go back to the studio and record.” She jumped up.
“What? Why? I don’t want to, I want to be with you.” He looked at her, confused.
“You have to. If you don’t finish recording, you won’t have an album to release, and you won’t go on tour in June. And then we can’t get married before you go on tour.” She stared at him, blankly.
“We can wait until you’re better if you want. We have a break in touring in the end of August.” He brought his hand to her face, gently caressing her cheek.
“No, I want to do it in June…unless you don’t.”
“I want to do it whenever you want to. I would marry you tomorrow if you wanted.” He kissed her sweetly, before leaning back as she turned the TV on and flipped through the channels. “What IS this?” he laughed as she stopped on a show.
“This is something I discovered on tour. You’re going to have to get used to it. It’s called Hannah Montana.” She explained very seriously.
“Are you tired?” Haley took Pete’s hand as he yawned for the third time standing in the security line at the airport. She had been released from the hospital fur hours ago, and by now the accident was all over the TV. Fueled By Ramen had sprung for a private plane to take them back to L.A., in hopes of limiting the media attention. It was also the only way to get Pete back to the studio. Pete nodded.
“I was flying across the country all last night, I didn’t sleep at all. And you didn’t let me get a whole lot the last couple days, either.” Haley smiled innocently behind her giant sunglasses and hood hiding the bruises, shrugging her shoulders. Pete grinned and leaned down, capturing her lips. Haley pulled away when she heard a loud cough behind her and an elbow to her back. She turned around, crossing her arms over her chest.
“No making out in the airport.” Ryan smirked. The Panic guys were all coming with them as well, just because they didn’t have anything better to do.
“Just you wait.” She pointed at him menacingly. “When we get to California, remember what I said at the hospital.”
“What did you say at the hospital?” Jon looked between them, confused.
“Ryan’s going to let me give him a swirly.” She grinned.
“No, I’m not!” he whined.
“Yes you are, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” She turned around ignoring his pleas. Haley took off her hood and glasses as they reached the metal detector, so the guard could check her ID. The woman’s eyes widened, and she glared at Pete’s back as he walked through, assuming he did that to her face.
“Oh, honey. You’re better than this.” The woman shook her head, handing her back her ticket.
“I was in a car accident. Honestly.” Haley smiled politely, passing by. She started cracking up as she went to go stand by Pete to wait for the guys.
“What?” Pete looked at her, laughing as well.
“She thought you beat me up.” Haley snorted, putting her glasses back on.
“That’s not funny. Why would she think that?”
“Probably because I look like this,” she pointed at her face. “And you look like that. You don’t exactly look like a cuddly little kitten upon first glance.” She gestured at all of Pete’s tattoos that were exposed, since she was wearing his hoodie.
It was about an hour into the flight when Pete finally fell asleep. Haley had created a little cocoon for herself, her head resting in the crook of his neck, her feet propped up between the edge of the seat and the wall, burrowed down inside Pete’s hoodie. When she felt his arms loosen around her and his breathing even out, she carefully climbed over him out of the seat. She grabbed her bag from the bookstore and made her way to the back of the plane where the guys were all hanging out. “Hey, everybody.” She waved to get their attention, speaking quietly. “Headphones down. I have an assignment for you.”
“What kind of assignment?” Brendon asked, incredulous.
“If you do a good job, I’ll let you help me give Ryan a swirly. Someone has to hold his feet.” She grinned.
“I’m in. Bring it on.” He nodded.
“Dude, come on!” Ryan huffed.
“Ok, so remember last week when I said you could teach me to play Guitar Hero if you did something for me?” she raised her eyebrows.
“Is this going to suck? Because that’s not fair, Guitar Hero is fun.” Spencer groaned.
“It’ll only suck as bad as you want it to.” She pulled a stack of magazines out of her bag, passing them around. “I need you to look through these and pick out the dresses that are pretty but wouldn’t make me look like a Barbie doll.”
“Wedding dresses?” Jon made a disgusted face.
“Hey! It is your responsibility to either make it ridiculous or totally punk rock.” She held up rock hands.
“So you’re having us do the manual labor instead of you? That’s not cool.”
“You’re just helping. I have plenty more.” She pulled out another stack of magazines.
“Did you buy every bride magazine in the store?” Ryan laughed.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” She shrugged. “Just fold the pages down when you find something good. And don’t wake Pete up.” She glanced back at him.
“Why not?” Brendon shrugged.
“Because he’s tired, and it’s rude, and I don’t want him to see my potential wedding dress. So everyone gets two magazines to look through. I get seven.” She scowled at her huge stack. “I’ll give you some examples, so you do it right.” She flipped through one of the magazines. “Bad…bad…bad…good, fold the page…bad…bad…good…bad. Got it.” They all nodded, pouting. “I’ll be back before we land. Headphones up.” She spun around and crawled back over Pete.
Pete woke up a while later and squinted down at his fiancé. She was furiously writing notes in a Hello Kitty notebook while flipping through pages of the many magazines that were strewn all over her lap, his lap, the floor, and every surface within reach. “What’s going on?” he yawned, scratching his head.
“Research.” She muttered, not moving her eyes from the book in front of her. Her head was on his shoulder, and she was leaning at practically a 45-degree angle, with one of her feet wedged in between the seats in front of them.
“Are you even comfortable?” Pete asked, taking her hand that wasn’t flipping pages.
“It’s the only position that my ribs don’t hurt. My Vicodin wore off 20 minutes ago.” She looked up at him with a sad face.
“Should you really be taking that, you know…with your problems.”
“The doctor said the kind they gave me is non-addictive. I have nothing to worry about.”
“Ok, good. What are they doing back there?” Pete turned in his seat when he noticed the sound of paper rustling.
“Nothing. They’re my minions.” Haley grabbed his face and turned it towards hers, kissing him softly. “Go back to sleep. We land in 2 hours.”
“You know if you want my help with any of this, I’ll do whatever you want.” He yawned, opening one of the magazines to a page that was folded.
“Right now I’m not at a cooperative stage, but when I get there then you can help.” She smiled, slamming the page shut.
“What do you mean, cooperative?” he sighed.
“I’m picking out dresses. You’re not allowed to see them.” She whispered as he rested his head on top of hers.
“You’ll look gorgeous whatever you wear.” He mumbled as he fell asleep.
I think I'm probably about the only college student who has ever watched Hannah Montana. I can't help it, she's so adorable! And when I was about 3, Achy Breaky Heart was me and my dad's favorite song. If you're not familiar, go listen to it. You won't regret it.