Chapter 24 - All Apologies (Nirvana ; 1993)

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Jon is a cool guy, really. He's pretty funny and he knows Chicago pretty well because he's from here, so he offered to give us a tour of the city sometime this week. Frank got him and Spencer their own apartment on the fifth floor, which was good, because Brendon and I couldn't seem to keep our hands off of each other.

We had just made love for the second time since we'd been here, and now we were just lying down, tangled in each others arms and legs as we kept our eyes on each other. Every time I see Brendon like this, in his purest, rawest and most natural form, it pains me to remember that he doesn't see the beauty that I see in him.

"You're so beautiful, Bren," I whispered gently as I carded my fingers through his hair.

He smiled softly and pressed a kiss to my nose. "You're stuttering less," he noted with bright eyes and I nodded softly.

"I stutter less around people I'm c-comfortable with," I said gently. "I guess you're pretty special," I added with a playfully indifferent shrug.

He rolled his eyes and lightly smacked my chest. I laughed gently and pulled him tighter to my chest as I began to run my fingers up and down his back in a soft manner, making him sigh gently. "How did I get so lucky to m-meet you," I whispered into his hair as I held him.

"That's a good question," he mumbled playfully against my chest and now it was my turn to roll my eyes and playfully smack his chest.

"You're a little shit," I commented before rolling on top of him, my hands pressed to his hips as we kissed each other gently, laughing into each other's mouths. Again, before things could escalate, we were interrupted by another knock on the door. I sighed gently as I dropped my head to the crook of Brendon's shoulder. "If this is Gerard, I swear," I threatened emptily before climbing off of Brendon and pulling on my sweats as I walked over to the door.

I opened the door to reveal Frank standing in the doorway with a concerned look on his face. "Ryan," he said softly, "I just got off the phone with your mother."

I stared at him with a blank face, worry filling my chest as he explained to me that my father had had a heart attack while he was at work and was now in the hospital. They've managed to stabilize him and give him the right sedatives, but they weren't sure what good that would do considering his already dwindling conditions.

"You have full permission to go home for as long as you like, Ryan," Frank said reassuringly. "If you even need to stay through the gallery, we have more than enough pieces to put it all together; it's not a problem."

I shook my head as I kept my eyes cast down to the floor. "N-No," I said quickly as my grip on the door tightened. "I-I'll just go f-for a few days, and th-then I'll come b-back."

Frank nodded sullenly as he reached into his pocket. "I'll leave you to it then," he said as he handed me some cash. "For the plane tickets," he said softly. "Don't even think about paying me back."

I nodded softly as I watched him walk completely away before closing the door slowly. I turned to see Brendon shyly leaning against the wall opposite of me. "Ryan," he started, but I didn't want to hear anything right now. I walked right past him and began changing my clothes in a haste. I didn't bother packing my suitcase, because if I needed anymore clothes I could grab them from home or buy more.

"Ryan," I heard Brendon's voice cut through my thoughts. "Ryan, please, slow down. You're going to give yourself a panic attack."

"W-Where's my w-wallet," I said, completely ignoring his voice of concern as I threw clothes around the room, looking for my wallet.

"Ryan," Brendon said a little louder, his voice ringing in my ears as my eyes filled with tears. It wasn't until he grabbed my shoulders that I was brought back to where we were and what was going on and I immediately collapsed in his arms and began sobbing uncontrollably. Brendon held me in his arms as we fell in a heap to the floor. Both of us were now crying as we held each other, the only other sound being the traffic outside our building.

Brendon's hands were running up and down my back in a soothing manner as I tried to calm myself down. "G-Go with me," I whispered against his chest. He nodded gently and pulled my face back gently before pressing a reassuring kiss to my lips.

"He's okay right now, Ry," Brendon whispered softly. "You're dad's tough as hell, and this was only the first one. He's not gonna let that take him down."

I nodded softly, wiping under my eyes as we both stood and Brendon grabbed both of our wallets from the bedside desk.

"Let's go," he said, taking my hand in his and leading me out of the room.

* *~~~* *

The flight definitely took longer than I wanted it to, and by the time we got to the hospital it was the middle of the night. We reached the front desk and Brendon took the initiative and asked the lady for my father's room. As soon as the number came out of her mouth, we were barreling down the hallway to find the room.

We found my mother seated in the waiting room and I called out to her. "Momma," I called loud enough for her to hear. She turned to us and rose from her chair, pulling Brendon and I into a hug.

"He's okay, Ryan," she whispered softly. "It's good that someone was in the room with him when it happened, because it could've been a lot worse."

I nodded as I walked over to the window into my father's room, seeing him sleeping peacefully and looking just as we saw him last. I let out a breath of relief and then my tears started to fall from my eyes before I could stop them. I felt a pair of arms wrap around me and I didn't have to look to know that it was Brendon. I held onto his arms and he pulled me tightly against his chest.

"He's okay, Ryan," he whispered reassuringly. "He's okay."

I nodded along with his words.

He's okay...

...but for how long?

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