I lean forward in the uncomfortable plastic chair as I gently brush Sammy's fringe out of his eyes. He's still unconscious ... it's been two days and the doc's not very optimistic. He says it's hard to tell with this kind of head injury how long he will be in a coma, but I'll wait, I'll wait as long as it takes. I sigh wearily as I look at his still features. He's going to wake up ... please Sammy ... you need to wake up. I rub my dry eyes, I have no more tears ... just the pain of failure and the fear of loss. In my head I keep replaying the lecture I'm going to give my baby brother if ... when he wakes up.
A nurse came in a while ago to check his vitals and administer some more drugs. ‘No change' is all she could tell me. The doc said that they'll know more once the brain swelling goes down. From the results of the CT scan the injury is pretty serious ... moving in front of guy swinging a bat at your older brother will do that to you.
"The cerebral cortex is badly bruised and the contusion is causing a dangerous rise in intracranial pressure."
It sounded technical but I got the picture. Bile rises in the back of my throat and I swallow ... a burning sensation settling in my stomach. I should be lying there. I rub my hands through my hair irritably. Damnit Sammy ... it should have been me, that hit was meant for me ... not you!
The cold tendrils of dread wrap themselves around my heart again. When Sammy put himself between me and that bastard, getting knocked full force on the side of his head ... shit ... I'll never forget that sound. I don't remember much after that, just that it took four men to pull me off the bloody mess that was our attacker. If they had left me a minute longer ... I look down at my bruised and swollen knuckles and rub them absently. I nearly killed that guy but I really don't give a rats ass.
It was just a game of pool that turned into an argument and then into a full out bar room brawl. It's happened before, it'll probably happen again and we had the situation under control, until someone unexpectedly pushed me into a table. I quickly regained my balance, turning around to get my bearings and looked straight at the bat swinging for my head. My eyes closed in anticipation of the impact that never came, instead Sammy fell back into my arms, blood pouring from a gash on his temple. I managed to lower him to the floor, holding him steadily as I supported his head ... but it was the blood ... the blood coming out of his ear that sent me over the edge.
Thankfully nobody called the police. Apparently those thugs had been harassing the owner and patrons for some time. My full attention was on Sammy just before the ambulance arrived, so I didn't see when they left with their bleeding pal in tow.
I lean back, listening to the swooshing sound of the ventilator. It's keeping him alive. I swallow another lump in my throat. Shit ... this is definitely not how I planned us spending Christmas eve together. I dig into my jacket pocket and pull out the ‘Swiss Army Renegade watch' I bought Sammy for Christmas. It has a compass attachment which he's seriously gonna flip over. I take it out of its pouch and hold it in my hands, smoothing the surface with my thumb. He's never said anything, but I've seen the looks every time we pass a shop window. It costs more than we can afford, but I've been saving my own money, doing without the odds and ends I usually buy, haven't had an M&M for months ... I just hope I get a chance to give it to him and to see the look in his eyes when I do.
I suddenly need some air. Shaking, I push myself up, replacing the gift in my pocket while I squeeze Sammy lightly on the shoulder. My voice sounds strained, "Hey bro, just need to stretch my legs, I'll be back ... don't you go anywhere!"
Silence ... except for the soft swooshing and beeping of the instruments surrounding his bed. He looks so pale, the white dressing plastered over the gash standing out in contrast to the dark bruises snaking their way across his forehead. I turn away reluctantly. I've been watching him fight for his life, waiting and wandering if his next breath will be his last ... I'm making myself crazy. I look up at the wall clock. It's 2:32 in the morning. The corridor is quiet and the night nurse just smiles at me as I walk past on the way to coffee machine. I smile back tentatively ... I don't have the strength to start a conversation. I pour a cup and drink the bitter, black brew as I move away to the balcony. The air is crisp and cold but I take a deep, long breath. Don't know when I last slept or even ate but I can't ... I can't carry on living until Sammy's back.
The coffee doesn't fill that hollow spot inside my chest and I suddenly feel sick. I dash back in, slamming the restroom door as I rush over to the toilet to throw-up. The hot liquid makes an unpleasant reappearance and I heave until there's nothing left. I find myself sobbing again, resting my sweaty brow on my arms as I hang over the bowl ... god Sammy, please come back to me ...
I don't know how long I've been hugging the rim, but I eventually manage to push myself up, staggering to the basin to scrub my hands and splash water over my face. I look at my reflection in the mirror, the person looking back seems older and so very soul weary ... shit I look like crap. I cup water in my palm and rinse my mouth ... spitting into the basin while trying to steady myself. I dig into my pocket for the pack of Wrigley's, the sharp mint killing the unpleasant taste in my mouth.
Rubbing my sore stomach absently I walk down the maze of passageways and corridors, Level A - Ward 1, Level C - Ward 5 ... I don't know where I'm going cause I have no destination, I'm just walking, fighting the urge to run, fighting the urge to weep.
Don't know how I got here, but I'm standing, looking through the window at the babies sleeping in the nursery.
"You a dad?"
I jump slightly. I thought I was alone, but there's a man standing to my right. He's wearing overalls.
"What, no ... no ... well not that I know of ... my brother, he's in ICU ... I was just wandering around ... and I kinda landed up here."
"Sorry to hear it ... is he going to be okay?"
I don't know ... but I nod my head. He holds out his hand and I shake it firmly.
"The names Mike."
"Dean. One of these yours?"
"Nope, I'm a doctor ... I come here to relax when I get a break. I don't know what it is, but seeing these little innocent souls, full of possibilities for the future, it just gives me peace when I need to clear my head."
I know how he feels.
"Don't you have a family, its Christmas dude."
"Yup ... I'm having lunch with them tomorrow. It's a real gathering let me tell you ... and to add to my miseries, every year I have to listen to my mom go on about how she'd love to have grandchildren while my dad keeps threatening to take us all on a family camping trip."
We both chuckle.
"I wouldn't take it for granted though ... trust me, just enjoy every minute with them while you can."
He looks at me sympathetically and it makes me uncomfortable ... people are always trying to analyze me but that's Sammy's job. I smile at the thought even though tears are threatening to make an appearance. My protective barriers immediately go up.
"If you could have anything in the world, what would you wish for?"
The question surprises me, don't know why he's asking ... I mean what would I wish for? I don't get asked that question ... but his words bring back a memory of a time when mom did.
"Make a wish Dean, what do you want for Christmas sweetheart?"
Mom was four months pregnant. She said that if I closed my eyes and made a wish, whatever it was, no matter how big or small, I'd get what my heart desired.
Christmas came and I did make my wish ... but I got a bike instead.
A month later it was my birthday, I made the same wish ... but I got an ‘Action Man' figurine instead.
And then one day dad rushed mom to the hospital while I stayed at home. Our neighbor looked after me until dad returned to tell me that mom and my new baby brother would be home soon. I didn't know it then but there had been complications so I didn't get to see them in hospital and that made me sad. I was already sad cause it was the same week ‘Hector Winchester the Third' had gone belly up like his predecessors, over a short period of three months. I was never very good with goldfish. But all that changed when they came home.
I sat on the couch while dad placed the little squirming bundle into my small arms.
"Dean, this is Sam."
His little face was peaking at me through the blankets.
"Sam, this is your big brother Dean."
Those words planted a seed of protectiveness which only grew with each passing year. I don't think I've ever been as proud as I was at that moment. I was only four but I was a ‘big' brother. I remember looking down at him, he was so small and helpless, his fine hair already curling into his eyes as I clumsily moved the wisps out of his face.
I remember the smell of him. He smelt soft and special and new. He smelt warm and safe, he smelt like mom. It was the best smell in the world.
Someone's calling me, tapping my face ... strange ... I don't remember going to sleep ... I open my eyes.
"Hey ... you with me?"
I'm looking up at Dr Mike ... I read his name tag ... Killian. I'm lying on the floor. He leans down to lift me up into a sitting position.
"Take it easy kid ... how you feeling?"
"I don't know, what the hell just happened?"
He looks worried.
"Well we were talking and suddenly your eyes rolled back and you fainted."
"I don't faint dude ... pass out ... maybe!"
He snorts at my comment, "I checked your blood pressure and its pretty low, when last did you eat something?"
"Lunch time, had a turkey sandwich."
"Well you'd better eat something now ... you seem a bit shaky, I think I'd best check you over, just to be sure."
I push myself up, trying to keep my balance as my head swims again. The burning feeling in my stomach isn't helping matters.
"Listen doc, no offence, but I think I'll be okay. It's probably just stress ... I'll have a bite to eat and I'll be fine ... besides I don't want to know how much you charge for a check-up."
He laughs at my weary expression.
"Okay, but I'm walking you back to the ICU ... I don't need the law suites if you ‘pass out' in one of the corridors."
I smile back at his sarcasm, ‘Touché dude!"
We walk back slowly, I'm using ever bit of stubborn willpower I posses to look as casual and in control as I can, even though spots are dancing in front of my eyes and a swishing noise has filled my ears. I make it back to Sammy by shear force of will and collapse into the hard chair while Dr Killian organizes a sandwich for me. He reads Sammy's chart and tries not to show it, but from the look on his face there isn't much hope. I'm good at reading faces. His eyes are still full of concern and my stomach churns uncomfortably.
"Take it easy okay Dean. I'll come back a bit later to check on you."
I nod my head in thanks as he leaves. The sandwich remains untouched on the bedside table.
Nothings changed. I was silently hoping, even praying that I'd come back and he'd be awake, asking me where I've been, telling me how bored he's been waiting for me, asking if we can leave this joint. But he hasn't moved. I reach over to rub his arm while I wipe my hand vigorously over my stubbled chin. Come on Sammy ... please I'm begging you man ... just wake up.
The hours tick by slowly, it's morning. Kids everywhere are waking up to gifts and Christmas trees, tearing paper off presents, squealing with delight. We never had Christmas' like that. Dad used to buy us each a gift which we'd find at the bottom of our beds in some motel room we were staying in. It was usually something practical, something we could use on a hunt ... followed by a roadside diner lunch with processed turkey on the menu, if we were lucky. But dad did the best he could to make it as enjoyable as possible. He'd spend the whole day with us and we'd go hiking or play ball on some deserted field. We'd joke and laugh and I'd ignore the look in Sammy's eyes when he spotted a Christmas tree through the window of some ‘normal' family's house. I was content just to be with them ... but Sammy's always wanted a bit more. More than dad could give, more than I could offer.
I lean forward onto the mattress, resting my head in my hands. I sigh tiredly. If I could have anything in the world, what would I wish for?
A sound interrupts my train of thought. I look up. Sammy's moving. My heart races. He's moaning softly, his fingers twitching as he reaches up for the tube in his mouth. I stop his hand. He starts coughing, his eyes wrinkling in pain and then opening, looking at me in confusion. He's awake! He coughs again. Shit! I press the call button and yell for a nurse.
I get pushed out the way as the buzz of activity erupts around Sammy. The fear of brain damage and memory loss takes a back seat. He's awake! I'm grinning. I can't stop myself.
But my legs nearly give way under my weight when I hear the soft, hoarse whisper.
I move forward, not certain if I'm hearing things, weary that I've fallen asleep and I'm just dreaming this. But as the nurse moves out the way and his hand reaches out to me, I take it in my own and it's solid and warm. He is awake, I'm awake ... I grin again!
"Sammy ... thank god," I choke on the words.
His voice is scratchy, but he's looking at me lucidly, frowning at my tear streaked face.
"You ... okay?"
I sniff and chuckle.
"Yeah, I'm okay ... it's you who's been wasting time just sleeping all day princess."
He smiles ... but the doctor needs to do what he calls a ‘Rancho's levels test' to check Sammy's response levels ... so I'm ushered out into the passage. The nurse explains that the test will give an indication on the extent of the brain injury ... but so far it's looking good. I lean up against the wall with relief, my hand rubbing at the pain in my midsection.
Half an hour later I'm allowed to go back in. Sammy's asleep but the doctor tells me that he's going to be just fine. He says that it's practically a miracle. All I can do is thank him profusely as I settle in to watch my baby brother sleep. He finally wakes up again 2 hours later.
"Hey Sammy, you with me?"
He looks at me groggily, his face wrinkling.
"Yeah ... head hurts though!"
"No shit Sherlock." I lean forward to brush his forehead gently, "Do you need something for the pain?"
"Nah ... I'm good ... did you get the number plate?"
I snort as I give him a sip of water, "what can you remember?"
"Not sure, I think we were in a bar ... everything's a bit fuzzy after that ... what happened?"
I explain but as I talk the fear that I felt begins to consume me and my temper flares ... I didn't want to do this now, I should just be happy that he's alive and awake ... but the hours of worry suddenly just bubble over and before I know it I'm lecturing my dazed brother on the stupidity of throwing himself in front of me, of all the hair-brained ideas. I mean, he has no right ... my gut wrenches ... that's my job damnit.
He looks back at me angrily, his eyes full of pain.
"You know what, you're full of shit Dean ... I mean how many times have you done the same thing ... am I just supposed to sit around and let you get hurt? Is that it? Cause we can do that if you want ... you can just take care of yourself and I'll look after myself ... that way nobody gets in anybody's way!"
He starts rubbing his temples and I stand up in agitation. He knows very well that's not what I want.
"Sammy! You nearly died ... how am I supposed to handle that? Hey? Please tell me! I can't function when you're hurt or dying ... don't you understand ... I can't do this anymore ... I'm tired and I'm sick to death of this life we lead ..."
My stomach is starting to cramp and I cough painfully but I can't stop my tirade.
"... I can't fight and I can't go on ... I can't do any of this if I'm by myself ... I don't want to be alone Sammy ... I can't be alone!"
I start coughing again, shaking as I hold my chest while waves of pain wash over me. I bend over trying to ease the burning sensation. Crap, why are we fighting? ... I didn't want to fight ...
"Dean ...hey, hey ... what's wrong? Shit ... are you okay? Speak to me!"
Sammy is sitting up, leaning forward as his hand reaches out to steady me ... worry etched on his pale face. I try to straighten up.
"I'm fine Sammy ... sorry, I didn't mean to ... just give me a minute ..."
My ears are ringing again and the room seems to fade in and out as I sway on my feet.
I look at Sammy mouth, his lips are moving but I can't hear a word he's saying. I blink profusely as he reaches for the call button, his mouth shouting my name. A sharp pain shoots through my body, doubling me over. My legs buckle and my last coherent thought before I collapse is ... Shit, I should have had that sandwich.
----------------------------------------------------------Pain. Oh shit ... I really hate pain. There's a bright light shining in my eye, forcing me to squint. I groan as another stabbing sensation washes over me, nearly knocking me back into oblivion.
"Dean? Can you hear me? I need you to open your eyes."
I reluctantly comply and look straight into Dr Killian's concerned face while he shines a torch in my eyes. I squint again. I'm lying on a gurney, a nurse is putting a pressure cuff on my arm.
"Hey there ... you with me?"
I nod my head slowly, but another white hot stab has me turning slightly, trying to ease the pain. That's when I see the buzz of activity surrounding Sammy's bed. My heart nearly stops.
"SAMMY! Oh god ... SAMMY! ... what's happening to him?"
"Take it easy ... he tried to get up to help you ... it wasn't such a great idea."
Ah crap ... this is all my fault ... shit ... I try to push myself up but another spasm nearly knocks my breath away. The doc is pushing me down.
"Dean ... listen to me, there's something seriously wrong here ... I need to do a few tests on you and ask you some questions."
Hell ... I don't have time for questions ... Sammy needs me ... I try to push myself up again, but he's having none of it. He firmly pushes me back. I grunt in agony while my heart races in my chest.
"Listen damnit ... they're taking good care of your brother ... you on the other hand have just collapsed for the second time, you're in obvious pain and you're running a slight fever. So if you don't lie still and let me check you over ... I'm going to tie you down!"
He's just lucky that I'm too tired to put up a believable fight ... so I relent, nodding my head again in serious misery.
"Good ... now I'm going to press down lightly on your abdomen so tell me when and if it hurts ... okay?"
I keep my eyes on the activities surrounding Sammy's bed as he lifts my shirt and starts pressing around my pelvis area, moving a few inches at a time before he presses again.
"Well good news ... it's not your appendix."
I don't have the energy to snort. He continues firmly prodding but I nearly arch up of the table when he suddenly presses down on the area just below my breast bone.
Spots are dancing in front of my eyes again as I battle to catch my breath, hands try to prevent me from rolling over ... pain radiates through every nerve ending in my body as I battle to stay conscious.
"Book an OR immediately and let's get him down to x-rays."
I'm only half aware of being pushed down the corridor to have the abdominal x-rays done while Dr Killian starts rattling off some questions about recreational drugs, injuries, eating habits and stress levels ... stress levels? he has no idea. I can just give him short answers as I huff, trying to fight the nausea.
"Have you been taking any medication for pain?"
"Yeah ... just aspirin though ... dislocated my shoulder a while back ... still hurts ... but only when I move it."
He's not impressed. Sammy would also kill me if he knew.
"How long have you been taking aspirin?"
"I don't know ... a few months ... I guess. Why? ... What is it?"
"I think you may have a perforated duodenal ulcer."
I look at him with a raised eyebrow, so he tries to explain.
"It's a small hole in your gastrointestinal tract probably caused by the extensive use of aspirin which in turn increases the risk of ulcers. Aspirin prevents the enzymes from protecting the stomach lining against harsh digestive acids. You'll have to stop them, start using antacids instead which well help with the healing process and you should make a full recovery. I'm also going to check your shoulder. You probably don't need to be told that it's not healthy taking excessive pain meds ... you should have had your shoulder checked out."
He gives me a stern look. I know I'm guilty ... but shit ... that just can't be right.
"I have an ulcer?"
"I'm afraid so. In your case, the aspirin acted as a painkiller as well as an erosive and that's what caused the ulcer. Your abdomen is rigid which means it‘s leaking fluids into your abdominal cavity. From the pain levels I think it's led to Peritonitis so we're going to have to operate immediately."
"Operate? ... hell no ... I don't think so doc ... just give me some medication ... and I'll be on my way."
"You don't have a choice Dean ... we need to operate ... if we don't, you'll die."
Oh crap! This is so not good. Sammy's gonna kick my ass for sure ... and I don't particularly like my choices. Maybe I should just wait a while, check on Sammy first, make some contingency plans, just in case ... but my body has other ideas as another piercing pain shoots through my stomach.
I try to bite back a cry of agony as wave after wave of sharp stabs assault my weakening body ... god it hurts. I shake uncontrollably as I try to breathe through it ... it doesn't help. There's a flurry of activity around me, the doc is shouting orders as they start running next to the gurney, rushing me through to the OR. I don't care anymore, I can only focus on the pain ... I think I'm dying. I reach over to grasp Mike's wrist. I don't want to die alone.
"You're gonna be okay Dean ... just hang in there."
They quickly prep me for surgery as I look up at the huge lights in the operating room. I nervously hum ACDC's ‘stiff upper lip' ... Sammy ... I seriously hope you're okay ... I'm so sorry about this man.
The doc is speaking to another surgeon as the anesthesiologist places an oxygen mask over my mouth. I try to listen to what he's saying.
"There's acute pain in the epigastric region, diffuse abdominal rigidity, rebound tenderness, plus the fever and nausea. He's also been using extensive NSAIDs for a dislocated shoulder."
They look over the x-ray charts.
"Localized infectious Peritonitis?"
"That's my guess."
Great ... that made about as much sense as Sammy's taste in music.
I still want to tell the doc ... Steve ... that if I don't make it ... to please give Sammy my gift with a message ... but a gentle hand turns my face. I look into warm brown eyes as the person behind the surgical mask tells me to count back from 100.
"100 ... 99 ... 98 ... 97 ..."
Sounds are fading in ...
"... he's in septic shock ... another aggressive round of antibiotics ... heart rates dropping ..."
... I try to hold onto the voices but they slip away.
I'm floating in a mist of darkness. Soft, cool hands gently brush against my forehead.
"... Dean ... I want you to know that I understand, I understand that you don't want to be alone, I feel the same way ..."
Sammy? Thank god. He sounds like he's been crying ... I try to push through the mist back to him ...
"I'm stronger than you give me credit for you know ... and you're not alone, you'll never be alone, were brothers ... I'd do anything for you ... anything."
... I want to stay, but I just can't fight the darkness ...
Cold ... it's so cold ... a shiver runs through my body. I'm gasping for breath ... really don't feel so good ... my heart feels like it wants to jump out of my chest.
"Doctor ... how's he doing?"
"It's still to early to say Sam ... he's fighting off the infection ... and he's still very weak ... he just needs lots of rest ... talking of which, you should try and get some sleep as well."
"I just want to sit with him for a while longer."
"Okay ... but don't over do it ... alright?"
I feel my brothers hand resting on my arm. My breath hitches ... I can't seem to breathe and I really don't have the strength to try. Alarms start ringing and the pillow is instantly pulled out from under my head as my neck is tilted back. Urgent voices are shouting stats and I can hear Sammy yelling my name ... but all that matters is that he's with me ... I won't die alone ...
I open my eyes tentatively.
Shit I'm exhausted ... but the feeling of doom that's been hovering over my dreamless sleep, seems to have lifted. Oxygen flows freely through the nose cannula as I inhale. I'm lying in bed, connected to IV's and monitors. Turning my head carefully ... I sigh with relief. Sammy is lying on his side, snoring softly in the bed next to me. They've pushed us closer together because his hand is resting on my mattress. I smile.
I watch him sleep ... the bruises on his forehead have turned into a kaleidoscope of colors. The hospital gown he's wearing barely covers his broad shoulders and I snort at the picture that must present from behind.
He's eye's immediately open.
He pushes himself up gingerly.
"Hey." My throat scratches.
"Shit Dean ... you're awake ... how you feeling dude?"
"... god ... I was so worried, it was really touch and go their for a while ..."
"Don't be sorry ... I'm just glad you're okay ... I'm gonna call for the doc, so he can check you over okay?"
He reaches for the call button and seconds later I'm bombarded by nurses and doctors as they take readings. Dr Killian arrives, smiling broadly as he checks my chart.
"Well Dean ... you really gave us a scare ... but it looks like you're gonna be alright!"
I smile back.
"Thanks doc ... aren't you ... supposed to be ... at a Christmas lunch?"
He shakes his head.
"That was four days ago!"
Four days ... crap! Sammy reaches over to squeeze my arm ... he's wearing that dorky smile he reserves for when he's really happy.
"How you doing Sammy ... last time I saw you ... you weren't looking that hot either."
"Well when you collapsed I tried to get out of bed to help you ... apparently it was a stupid idea cause I had an instant-replay-relapse."
My gut wrenches as I listen, god I nearly lost him again.
"I was out of it for a few hours ... and when I woke up they nearly had to sedate me again when they told me what had happened to you ... god Dean ... I nearly lost you."
Looks like we nearly lost each other bro.
"I'm sorry Sammy ... sorry for the fight, and for making you worry ... and sorry that we missed Christmas together."
"We were together Dean ... I asked them to push me into your room later that evening after I woke up, it was the only way they could keep me calm ... I was there with you, even though you didn't know it."
I smile contentedly ... I feel better already.
The doc coughs uncomfortably ... crap ... I forgot he was standing here. I grin at him sheepishly.
"I know dude ... I also hate ‘Gilmore-Girl' moments."
We chuckle as he finishes with his check-up's and leaves Sammy and I to stare at each other awkwardly.
"So ... anything good on the tube?"
Sammy looks relieved for the break in the ‘warm fuzzies' and quickly flicks the channels, eventually stopping on ‘Pirates of the Caribbean'. Thank goodness ... something decent to watch on daytime TV.
"Ooh, I really dig this chic ... she's so kickass!"
Sammy looks at me sideways.
"Who? Kiera Knightly?"
"Yup ... I'll take Kier-a-her-nightly!" I wiggle my eyebrows.
He chuckles in amusement, "ow, ow Dean ... don't make me laugh, my head hurts!"
I snort in return ... trying unsuccessfully to hold my sore stomach ... god it's good to hear him laugh.
We watch Captain Jack's antics in silent companionship. I'm really tired but I don't want to sleep just yet. I turn my head. This is as good a time as any. My jacket is hanging over a chair next to my bed. I carefully reach over to pull the gift pouch out of the pocket.
He turns his head, but his eyes are still on the TV.
Crap ... I feel like a right royal dorkiss doing this ...
"I ... uh ... I sorta ... I ... ah shit ... I kinda bought you a gift for Christmas ... but it's no be deal!"
He instantly looks at me ... both eyebrows raised in surprise. I lean over and quickly hand him his gift ... friggin hell ... I think I'm actually blushing ... shit!
I watch him nervously out of the corner of my eye as he carefully opens the pouch and pulls out the watch. The look on his face is so worth it. He eyes instantly tear up as he looks over at me in awe.
"Shit Dean ... I can't believe it ... how did you know?"
"I have friends in high places ... me and Santa ... we're like this." I cross my fingers to emphasize how tight we are.
"Shit! Dean! ... it's seriously beautiful man ... but I just can't accept this ... it's way too expensive ..."
"Don't you worry your pretty little head over it Sammy, I've got it covered ... it's paid for ... and it's yours to keep ... no arguments!"
He grins at me like he used to do when we were kids. It's the look he gives me when he thinks I'm the most miraculous brother in the world ... I grin back.
"I know, I know ... I'm amazing and thoughtful ... and handsome ... no need to thank me!"
He rubs the face of the watch in wonderment ... shit, I really hope he doesn't start balling ... just now he'll want a hug ... I shiver at the thought.
"You're amazingly modest is what you are ..."
He's eyes are glistening again and his lips tremble slightly as he smiles at me ... something's just flown into my own eyes and I quickly rub at them vigorously ... damn dust!
"Dean, I don't know how you found out ... you're really scary that way sometimes ... I mean ... this ... this is just what I've always wished for ... but I never, ever thought that I'd actually own one."
I beam at him happily as he puts the watch on, moving his arm around as he inspects the compass dial ... he hasn't seen the small inscription yet, but he will ... it just says ‘bitch' ... a little something to remember me by ... I grin.
He looks at me with pure love ... I hate it when he does that.
"I kinda got you something too ... it's not fancy ..." he leans over to pull out a brown paper package hidden in the cupboard next to his bed and leans over to give it to me, "... I went down this morning to fetch it out of the car, one of the nurses helped me ... I hope you like it!"
I don't know how he's hidden it from me, but I take the box and tug at the string. I tear the paper enthusiastically and pull out his gift.
I nearly drop it.
I blink a few times ... shit ... I look at Sammy dumbfounded. He just grins at my expression.
It's an 18" model of the Impala in shiny black chrome ... opening doors, steerable wheels, operating suspension, wired engine compartment, detailed interior ... crap ... the seats even slide back and forth on their tracks ... fabric seat belts, carpeted floor, realistic door hinges ... the only thing that's different is the white leather upholstery ... but its still an exact replica of my baby ... shit ...
"Sammy ... this is freegin' awesome man ... where did you hunt this little bitch down?"
"I have friends in high places ... me and Santa ... we're like this." He crosses his fingers in imitation to my earlier teasing to emphasize how tight they are.
I sniff ... damn dust!
If I could have anything in the world, what would I wish for?
I grin. I've always had what I've wished for ... I wanted a brother ... and I got the best one in the world ... I got Sammy.
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