Chapter 30 – The Aftermath

The waiting room was not exactly where Brittany thought she’d be spending Christmas Eve.

But she sat there by herself, tapping her foot lightly on the ground as she waited for something. She didn’t exactly know what – it wasn’t like anyone was going to come out and tell her anything. She hadn’t even been able to ride in the ambulance with Nick, and instead had followed right behind in her car.

Now she just sat there, alone with her thoughts, not knowing what to do or who to call.

She had no clue why or how this had happened. It wasn’t like she hadn’t argued with Nick before – they’d certainly had their fair share of spats over the years. But obviously they had never ended with Nick declaring he was having a heart attack of all things.

At first Brittany had thought he was bullshitting her; saying something ridiculous to cut off their fight. But as she spoke on the phone to the operator, she realized there was no way Nick could be faking. He looked too sickly and afraid for it to be anything less than real.

Now, she sat there looking around at the walls at the other people in the room. Thankfully no one there was interested in bothering her for an autograph or a picture. Obviously they all had their own problems to worry about.

She dug through her purse in search of her cell phone. She had also grabbed Nick’s off the table before running out the door, thinking he would probably want it when he was released.

Because she was sure he was going to be released and everything was going to be fine. Wasn’t it? She lazily scrolled through her contacts, thinking she should call someone, but she hadn’t a clue whom.

She tossed her phone back into her bag and instead went for Nick’s. If she was to call anyone and let them know, it should probably be someone he knew rather than anyone she did. But she hadn’t the faintest idea of who to break the news to. She looked through his contacts, falling on the names of a couple family members, but quickly changing her mind. She had no idea how to speak to anyone from his family, and she hadn’t heard Nick talk about any of them in ages. From the little she did know about them, especially his mother, they’d just cause trouble. If anything, it would be better to let them know after the fact.

Besides, it was fairly easy for her to put herself in Nick’s shoes. If it had been her, there would be no way she’d want her mother to know. She pondered that for a moment, wondering who she would want for Nick to call.

She actually didn’t know. If something happened to her, she’d want Nick himself to be the first person to be told about it.

She glanced down at his phone again, wondering if she should tell one of Nick’s friends. Before she had a chance to ponder which one of them she could call, the phone rang in her hand.

Brian Littrell.

She frowned. That was strange. For all the times Nick had talked about any of the other Backstreet Boys, Brian had been the one he talked about the least. In fact, she wasn’t even sure he and Nick were friends anymore. Though clearly she’d been wrong in her assumption, since he was trying to get ahold of Nick, afterall.

“Hello?” she answered cautiously, knowing that Brian probably wasn’t going to know who she was.

“Oh,” he said, sounding sort of surprised. “Uh, who’s this?” he laughed a little.

Brittany rolled her eyes slightly. Brian probably thought that she was one of Nick’s week-long girlfriends. “It’s Brittany.”

“Oh.”

She didn’t know what else to say to him, but luckily he filled the silence quickly. “Can I talk to Nick?” he asked, the lightness returning to his voice.

“Uh, no,” Brittany said shakily, but she wasn’t going to let herself cry on the phone while talking to this man she barely knew. “He’s… he can’t come to the phone.”

“O…kay,” Brian said slowly. “Well, just let him know that I called.”

“Wait, Brian,” Brittany said quickly, deciding that she obviously had to tell him. “Nick can’t come to the phone because we’re at the hospital, well he is, I’m just waiting. He had a heart attack.”

“What?!”

“Yeah,” Brittany said, leaning down towards her lap. “I don’t know what happened. We were at his house and he just looked really sick and told me to call 911,” she said, choosing to leave out the fact that she was pretty sure she‘d caused it.

“Are you sure he had a heart attack?” Brian asked her thickly, his voice suddenly filled with concern and worry. Which wasn’t strange, but she felt his question was a little odd.

“That’s what he said he thought he was having.”

Brian didn’t say anything, he just sighed.

“What should I do?” Brittany asked him quietly. “Who should I call?”

“Kevin,” Brian said almost instantly. “Call Kevin. He lives near there and he and Nick are pretty close,” he said, then he paused. “Actually, I’ll call Kevin.”

Brittany sighed a little. That was a relief, she didn’t want to have to make any awkward phone calls. “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “If anything changes, let me know.”

“I will,” she nodded, even though he obviously couldn’t see her. “Bye.”

“Take care.”

The call ended, but she still gripped Nick’s phone in her hand, just in case someone else called. She continued to sit there impatiently, waiting for something to happen.

The minutes dragged by, and she half paid attention to the people around her, and half paid attention to the TV screen.

Of course it was her luck that TMZ would be on. And, of course, she was the hot gossip for the day. Over the years she’d really grown to hate TMZ and everything they’d said about her. Which was strange, because when she’d been younger, she’d watched it all the time, and had even been excited the first time she’d been shown on it.

She glanced up at the screen, and watched the segment that showed pictures obviously taken two nights ago of her and Niall eating dinner, and of course, the one of the two of them kissing. She rolled her eyes and sank down in her chair, hoping that no one else in the waiting room would realize that she was the one that was being talked about on the screen.

Luckily Kevin chose that moment to call Nick’s cell phone. Brittany answered it quickly. “Hi.”

“What happened?” he asked with concern, not bothering to greet her.

She sighed. If she could explain it, she would have, but she truly couldn’t. “I don’t know,” she said dumbly.

“No,” he said stiffly. “You’ve gotta give me more than that. My cousin just called me on Christmas Eve to let me know that Nick apparently had a heart attack. You’re the one who was there with him when it happened – so what happened?”

Brittany bit her lip. What happened was that Nick had completely flipped his lid, she’d screamed at him, and apparently it had stressed him out enough to land him in the hospital. “I went to his place and we started talking and then he got all pissed off about some news article he read about me,” she said, shaking her head. It was hardly just a news article that had upset Nick, but Kevin didn’t need to know that. “We had an argument, and then he just looked sick and told me to call 911,” she finished, her voice cracking.

Kevin didn’t say anything for a couple of minutes. “When was this?”

“A few hours ago,” she muttered. “I’ve been waiting for him in the hospital ever since, and I have no idea what to do because it’s not like they’ll let me go in there.” She swallowed a little. “But I didn’t mean it, I was just so angry with him, but I never wanted this to happen!”

“It’s not your fault,” Kevin sighed. “You didn’t know. And he should have known better than to stress out.”

Brittany furrowed her eyebrows. “What?”

“He’s been having heart problems again, he went to the doctor a few days ago about it.”

Brittany put her head in her hands. So that was why he hadn’t been able to go with her to New York. She felt guilty all over again, but this time for a different reason. She’d been so annoyed with Nick for ditching their New York trip – but of course there was no way she could have known why that was.

“I didn’t know.”

“I know you didn’t,” Kevin said. “He keeps that stuff to himself. To a fault.”

Brittany just nodded, not knowing what else she could say, but wanting to stay on the phone. Kevin didn’t seem to make any move to end their call either, and Brittany was sure their reason was the same. Neither of them knew what to do, and the only thing they could do was wait.

A couple minutes later, a nurse came out looking for her. Brittany glanced up and muttered a quick goodbye to Kevin, letting him know that she would call him once she knew something.

“Nick said he’d like to see you,” the nurse said to her, and she nodded, picking up her purse and following the woman down the hall to where Nick was.

She was led inside the small room, and the two of them were left alone. Nick turned his head to look at her, while she sat in the chair beside his bed.

“I can’t believe you were in the waiting room this whole time,” he said, giving her a look.

“Of course I was,” she said quietly. “You’re ridiculous.”

He just shrugged. He thought for sure she would have given up and gone back to his house. Or back to LA.

Or back to New York.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you were having heart problems again,” she continued, taking his hand and lacing his fingers with hers. She didn’t care that just hours ago she’d been screaming everything she hated about him. She hardly even remembered why she’d been so mad.

Again he just shrugged. “I didn’t think you’d want to know,” he admitted.

“Of course I’d want to know,” she said, her voice cracking. “If I would have known I wouldn’t have…”

“What?” he laughed a little. “Blown up at me?”

She just nodded, still gripping his hand.

But Nick just shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t your fault. I was feeling sick the whole day and that’s probably why I lost it. I was the one who started yelling, anyway.”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said, looking at him sadly. “It was a stupid fight and I’m sorry.”

“Me too,” he muttered. “I thought you’d be halfway back to New York by now,” he laughed a little bit, trying to make light of the ridiculous paranoia he had in his head.

“Yeah,” Brittany scoffed. “My best friend declares he’s having a heart attack and the first thing I’d do is hop on a plane back to my favourite place in the world,” she said sarcastically. “Sounds like my perfect day.”

Nick didn’t bother arguing with her, not wanting to get back into the details of her New York trip again. “Thanks for staying,” he said instead.

“You don’t need to thank me. I wasn’t going to go anywhere until I knew you were okay. I’m still not going anywhere,” she said firmly.

“Yeah, neither am I,” he said, rolling his eyes a little. “They’re not letting me out until tomorrow.”

“That’s probably a good thing, isn’t it?” she asked him. “They just want to make sure you’re okay.”

“They just said they thought it was a mild heart attack,” he shrugged, acting as though he wasn’t bothered at all. In reality, he was completely terrified. “I guess that means no Chinese food,” he laughed.

Brittany smiled at him. “Actually, I meant to talk to you about that.”

“What?”

“I bought all these groceries and before all this happened, I was going to make us a real Christmas dinner,” she smiled at him, almost not believing that had only been earlier that day.

He raised his eyebrow. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. It was dumb, I bought all these groceries and I thought we could eat turkey and stuff,” she said sheepishly, not really knowing what had been going through her mind. She and Nick never had a traditional Christmas, boycotting it was sort of their thing.

“It’s not dumb,” he protested. “It would have been nice. It’ll still be nice.”

“Huh?”

“I mean, there’s no reason we still can’t do that. They’re gonna let me go home tomorrow, so you can still make it if you want,” he laughed a bit, giving her a cheeky grin.

“Yeah, totally,” she said, still looking at him intently.

Nick watched Brittany. He really hated the sad, defeated look on her face. He didn’t understand why she still looked so worried. “Hey, where’s that Christmas present you said you got me, by the way?” he asked, trying to change the subject to lighter fare so she would stop looking so distraught.

“What?”

“You know, you said you got me a present. So where is it?”

“Oh,” Brittany said, rolling her eyes a little. “I was just kidding. Why, did you actually end up buying me one?”

“No,” he said, shaking his head. “Why would I do something like that?”

“Because you’re a sweet guy who wants me to have nice things?” she tried.

“I don’t think so,” he replied, looking at her. She still looked tired, but at least she looked a little bit happier. “Go back to the house, Britt.”

“No way,” she protested.

“Yeah,” he said with a nod. “I’m tired, and there’s nothing for you to do here. Tomorrow we’ll have our dinner and everything’ll be back to normal,” he assured her.

She began to shake her head, but Nick kept giving her a look. “Fine,” she gave in, letting go of his hand for the first time since she’d sat down next to him. She dug through her purse and handed him his cell phone. “Here,” she said, standing up. “Kevin’s worried.”

“Of course he is,” Nick muttered, looking down at his phone. He sort of wished Brittany hadn’t told anyone what had happened, because now he was going to have to deal with assuring Kevin that he was fine. Which was never an easy task. “See you tomorrow, Britt.”

“Bye,” she said, looking back at him before walking out of the room. All things considered, it had been a long, rough day, and she was glad to be able to go back to Nick’s house and crash. “Nick?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m really glad you’re okay,” she said, giving him a final smile before walking out of the room.

“Yeah, me too,” he said, leaning back and looking up at the ceiling. He breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn’t wanted to guilt her into staying with him just because of his health problems – but he was certainly glad that she still seemed to want to spend Christmas with him.

He held his phone in front of his face, figuring he’d better call Kevin before the older man had a heart attack of his own. He tapped the recent callers list and hit the button to call him, holding the phone to his ear.

“How is he?” he heard Kevin answer the phone.

“He’s fine,” Nick said, grinning a little. Kevin had clearly been expecting Brittany to be the one to call him.

“Thank goodness,” Kevin said, his voice switching from worried and frantic to slightly less worried and frantic. “What happened?”

“They said it was mild,” Nick shrugged, knowing he couldn’t really get away with being vague. “I don’t know. I was just feeling shitty the whole day, then Brittany showed up at the house and I yelled at her and bam, heart attack.”

“You’re supposed to try not to stress,” Kevin reminded him, and Nick rolled his eyes.

“Easier said than done,” he muttered.

“What else did they say?” Kevin asked, ignoring Nick’s comment.

“They’re keeping me here overnight and they did some tests and yeah, I dunno. I shouldn’t have stressed out, you’re right. I was just feeling weird, and Brittany pissed me off, and yeah. Sorry,” he said sheepishly.

“It’s not me you should be apologizing to,” Kevin said, and Nick could almost hear his condescending look over the phone.

“Yeah, I know,” Nick sighed. “I apologized to her too. I shouldn’t have gotten so upset,” he muttered, even though he never would have admitted it to Brittany. “She didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I’m just glad to hear that you’re okay,” Kevin said. “Take care, Nicky.”

Nick didn’t even attempt to correct Kevin’s use of his most hated nickname. “I will, Kevvy,” he laughed a little. “Don’t worry about me.”

“I will,” Kevin told him.

“I know,” Nick said smiling a little. “But I’m fine.”

“You better be.”

“Have a good Christmas, Kev,” Nick said, itching to get off the phone.

“You too, buddy. Try to eat a nice dinner for once instead of going out for Chinese food.”

“I will,” Nick said, before he hung up the phone. He looked at it for a second before closing his eyes. The smile faded from his face and he tried to will himself to sleep.

Despite what he’d told Brittany and Kevin, he wasn’t quite so confident he was going to be fine.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: