Deciphering the Bloom Ch. 06byseeker71©
Thank you to everyone for reading, voting and commenting. Your emails and votes have meant a great deal to me over this almost 2 year period. I am truly grateful for the time you devoted to reading my work.
I have no editor or betas so I ask your forgiveness with my mistakes. All comments are welcome.
This is a copyrighted work of fiction by the author seeker71. All rights reserved
Nicolao had Breezy repeat the short conversation three times as she drove to Peltier Hospital. She obeyed no laws of traffic and ignored him the last time he posed the question. She raced along the streets and pulled haphazardly into the parking lot.
Nic's long legs carried him through the halls of the hospital. He paid no attention to the looks he received or that Breezy was jogging to keep pace. At the emergency department desk he stuck his head in the glass opening, startling the clerk.
"Sir, fill this out and I'll get you back right away." She grabbed a pen and clipboard.
"No, I'm looking for a patient, David Collins."
"We can find him after you get that examined." She handed him the clipboard and pen.
Nic laid the papers down, "I'm fine!"
Her eyes flickered over him, a belligerent patient. "Sir, you're covered in blood. You certainly don't look fine."
Breezy nudged in the window. "Of course we'll get that taken care of. But the police called and told us to meet them here. It's a young man who should've arrived by ambulance a short time ago, a car accident."
"Yes, we've got him. I'll let the officers know you're here. You can help by giving me his medical history. And what is your relationship to the patient?"
Breezy picked up the clipboard. "--medical history and payment information, sure. Will you tell the officers Mr. Mylonas' secretary is here?"
The clerk turned to speak to her coworker.
Breezy saw Nic was about to say something more and tugged him away from the desk.
"I know you want to see David. But hang back a little alright?"
"Saint, he's here I don't have time for this. " Had the woman lost her mind?
Her eyes narrowed at his annoyance, "Time for what Evangelista? Think. Did you hear the question? What is your relationship to the patient?" Her voice was sharp, as she slowly repeated the question. "The moment you answer boyfriend access is cut off, you'll be burnt. This ain't warm and fuzzy. Its elephant man fucked up, but this has to be my play. You have to trust me. There's nothing I won't do for family, you're my family. Trust me."
Double doors opened. The clerk pointed, directing two officers to them.
Breezy turned again to face him. "Give me time to maneuver and don't say anything about Mylonas. He's the only lev we've got."
Officers Ennis and Smalls took Nicolao's statement. The look that passed between them was unmistakable when he and David's relationship was revealed. It occurred to him that they both regarded him with disdain and yet they were owned by Jeremy, paradigms of integrity. He had nothing left over from his despair to feed his anger and he retreated from the exchange. Breezy gave a bare-bones account of what happened and pushed for information about David. The officer said he was unconscious at the scene. When she asked they be taken to his room to see him Officer Ennis declined, David was in the hands of the trauma team. They let them know detectives would be contacting them and turned to leave.
"Officers wait. Where's Benjamin?"
"Sir, we only had your friend at the scene. An ATL will be issued. The detectives will be contacting you; they will be of more service than we can be."
His head and body ached. Ben was not in custody, only an order to attempt to locate. Smalls barely kept the contempt out of his voice as he said 'friend'. He had no way to make them do their job.
Nicolao stared at the door after the two men exited. Saint had said Jeremy was their lev, their only leverage. That notion was repulsive, but nothing compared to being denied contact with David. He was hurting and alone.
Leanne, the clerk had been standing next to their seats.
"Mr. Evangelista, come on back." She laid a hand on his shoulder and her voice dropped. "Mr. Collins is stable. We're taking good care of him. Now let's go get a look at your head."
Nic stood. The unexpected sliver of news from the kind young woman was overwhelming. The absence, the inky nothing of being away from one another could not be all that remained. Nic was certain neither one of them would survive it. Yet he was helpless, reduced to stolen snippets of information. The day had morphed into a twisted reality one in which he did not have dominion.
"Nicolao give me your cell." Breezy rose with him and was pinned by the intense gaze of her companion.
"Do what you have to Saint. I have to see him." He was entrusting her to return to him the marrow of his life.
The only response was her hand, waiting for his phone. He placed it in her upturned palm without question.
Breezy's dark brown eyes were fierce as she looked up at him. "Nicolao, I promise I've got this."
He followed Leanne behind the double doors.
Brecia exhaled and collected her thoughts. A lesson learned young came back to her, men were weakest when losing what they love, but they were never more dangerous. Winners exploit the weakness and redirect the danger. "Thanks mama," she quipped to the air then set to her tasks.
Nicolao forced himself to answer the questions of the medical staff. The young woman was friendly and efficient. He wondered if the trauma team had one person there who would spare a smile for Dee when he awoke. David hated hospitals. He grimaced at his thoughts.
"You're very lucky."
Nic focused on the speaker.
"The contusion's discoloration will fade in weeks and maybe you'll have a small scar. You're walking away from a showdown with a gun. That's a good thing."
Instead of pointing out all of the ways she was wrong Nic nodded and withdrew to his own ruminations.
Breezy sat her down with the children in the waiting area. She had only spoken with them briefly after she had the car pick them up from school.
"Alright gang I'm going to need your help. Davey's been in a car accident like I told you on the phone. I think he'll be alright, but no guarantees." They knew death was an inevitable part of life; she paused to gauge their reactions.
Abel shook his head, "He wouldn't drive the car. How'd he get in an accident?"
"His uncle stole the car and hurt Uncle Nic in the process. Davey told you about him right Abel?" She held her son's eyes, as he nodded. The lies of protective parenting she'd abandoned years ago. The world was simply made of too many hard truths. "I'm working on a way to be able to see him. Right now we can't, only family can."
"He doesn't have family, only us and Mr. Nic. That uncle's not real family!" Averie interrupted.
"I know Rie, but you know people have rules. The rule is blood relatives only. I have to make a way for your Uncle Nic and the three of us to be able to help him, and protect him if need be."
She raised an eyebrow at the question, "Yes, Abel I can. But it may change our plans. You know when we leave town it's the wrap up routine. This is the opposite of that, this in entanglement."
"I never wanted to go." Averie announced.
Abel shrugged, "I don't mind staying."
"Good, now Uncle Nic should be coming out soon. Just sit with him, I have to leave for a bit; take him to the chapel or something."
They settled in and waited for Nicolao. The children played cards while she used the phone and laptop to fill to further her work.
Nicolao stepped into the lobby. He seemed a different man from the one she knew. Nicolao was normally the beacon in any room, now the light was lost. She trembled at the thought of him losing something so precious. Breezy stood. "I'd make the sky burn for you two you know."
Abel looked up from his cards, "Yeah we know mom. But we don't need you to right now. Go set some fires for Davey." He ordered casually, accustomed to his mother's odd sentiments of affection.
Breezy evaluated her friend as he approached them. He held an ice pack in his left hand. She had managed to pay for some information on David, but decided against full disclosure.
"Nicolao, the kids are gonna sit with you. He's in surgery right now."
Nicolao spun, his feet seeking David, but he stilled. There was nowhere to go.
Breezy waited for him to focus on her again, "His leg, tibia is broken and he had a wound glass or metal. The good news is no internal injuries."
Nic collapsed in a seat by the children. "No internal injuries?"
She pressed her lips together and shook her head. If he was thinking clearly he would have called her on the lie. "Now, I've gotta go. When I get back I'll make good on my promise." Breezy gathered her things and headed for the exit.
"Uncle Nic, does your head hurt?" Averie asked as she took over icing his swollen fingers.
"No I'm alright Averie. There's no need to worry about me." Nic reassured her. She eyed the blemish but allowed her focus to remain on his hand.
Abel made trips to the vending machine. After an hour passed the two asked him to take them to the chapel. It was easier if he focused on them instead of himself or David so he complied. The siblings seated themselves on the first row, but did not bow their heads. Abel folded his legs with his eyes closed and Averie took Nicolao's hand in hers and did the same as her brother.
Hospitals are temples to many gods. Pain, hope, and joy find supplicants on every floor, every hour of every day.
"When are you and Davey going to have kids Uncle Nic?" Averie queried with her eyes still closed.
Nic stiffened at the strange question. What children were they going to have if David never made it out this hospital? Silence was the only answer he could provide. He turned to the tug on his other arm.
Abel's dark serious eyes gazed up at him. "You can't think about him not being okay. That's the possibility you can't bring into being. See you and mama worked together, then you met Davey, and he met us and now we're family. Of all the possible outcomes, even improbable ones, you should call to you good ones. Because we are meant to be here, right here for each other. Miracles happen every day, when thought makes fate. Rie what are you asking for?"
She turned her dancing eyes on Nicolao. "I see us all together, just like last night, but this time at a house on the beach, since Davey's never seen the ocean. Abel you can surf good and you're teaching a little boy who looks like Uncle Nic. And me and Davey and a girl with curly blond hair are dancing, I like it when he dances with me. Mama and Uncle Nic you're having your serious talks still, since you both like to talk. I think that would be a good time. I'm asking for a tomorrow where we can be happy together again." Averie turned her head and closed her eyes, building a nonexistent day into a prayer.
He hadn't prayed, afraid he had always been talking to himself. But they were both right. They were bound together and Averie's future was one he wanted to come true. Queer coincidence and everyday miracles had changed his life and it was enough. It was enough, but he needed more. He tightened the grip on her small hand and bowed his head.
Consciousness affecting fate, God granting a prayer was all the same thing. "Please," was all he managed, a monosyllabic petition for mercy.
When the three of them went back to the waiting room Nicolao felt more himself the detached expectation of dread left in the small chapel. It was enough that David was alive, even if he had failed to keep him safe.
They resettled in the waiting room. Nicolao lost himself in conjuring the children in Averie's wish. He sensed a change in his young companions' focus and followed their curious gaze. He stood and waited. When Natanaele's arms wrapped around him he let himself rest in his father's sure embrace.
"Hi Pop." He muttered as they parted.
Natanaele paused, eyeing injuries to his son, swallowing the distress of how close he had come to losing his third born. "You look---", he faltered and offered a slight smile. "Nico."
Nate, Narisco and Lil Nico hugged him in turn.
"Your mother and sisters are driving up with Joshua. They have a few more hours. We came as soon as we got word."
Nicolao was about to ask how they had gotten word, when Breezy stepped out of the elevator and approached them.
"The Evangelistas I presume?" She smiled at her friend. "I'm Brecia St. James, we spoke on the phone."
Introductions were made and Breezy returned Nicolao's cell phone, with an admonishment to lock it. "I called your family and chartered a plane for them. I would've had them here sooner, but neither city is major hub."
"You all can head up to the fifth floor. David will be in 503. If you like you can get settled in the common area. The nurse's station has all of your names." She paused to turn to Nicolao, "And Nic can go back to see David, he's been out of surgery a good while now."
Nicolao was stunned. His mind raced with questions, Saint had made a way for him to go to Dee.
"Pop why don't you go upstairs and take Lil Nico and the kids. Call Ma and tell her what's happening." Narisco suggested.
Natanaele got in the elevator with his grandson, Averie, and Abel. As soon as the doors closed Narisco turned to Nicolao.
"Lil Nico is amped but...the plane was Piper PA-12. I think Pop needs a drink."
Their father was an "engines man", for a time airplanes had caught his interest. He had always referred to the small planes' engines as hopped up lawn mowers.
"He flew in that? He didn't have to, none of you had to." Pop definitely had to white knuckle the flight.
Nate sighed. What lead his brothers choose dreary desolate roads? "We know that. We're here because we want to be Nico. Pop wasn't going to ride in the van with Ma; you know he couldn't get here fast enough."
Breezy looked up at the three men. Her desire to speak to Nicolao alone was in danger of not happening. "Um, Nic we need to talk." She turned and walked to the end of the hall, willing the newcomers to stay put, but by the footfalls she knew she was out of luck.
She eyed the two brothers flanking Nicolao, "Alright, first let's cover the police. The detectives will be contacting you. Mylonas is not a topic, plus it wouldn't go anywhere if you did bring him up. They're looking for Benjamin; they don't think he's a danger to you or Davey after the accident. He's likely injured and on foot. But if you want I can hire private security. The Hope's Cove compound is having new keys and security installed as we speak, I'll be sure to give you the codes and new keys."
Breezy had a stack of papers under her arm and pulled them out. "Now to the second and most important bit; these papers grant you medical access and control over David's care." She shook the papers, "I had to get creative and there wasn't a lot of time."
Nicolao marveled at how that big statement yielded so little information. "Saint."
To his surprise she flinched.
"I forged an adoption agreement, complete with new birth certificate. Legally you can't get married here, so that was no good. This took care of everything. There won't be any billing or insurance issues. Payment comes directly from an account I set up. This is strictly to get past hospital scrutiny. If it needs to go further, I'm confident by tomorrow I can set up a better paper trail that shows you as David's father. But with no insurance fraud, and money for the right hands, it should be fine."
"Can Nicolao go to jail for this?" Nate asked pitching his deep voice lower as if the wall were conspiring to listen.
Breezy shook her head, "No, why should he? I signed his name. No matter what the relationship or why I did it, I did it. I even have myself down as your health care proxy in case you want to distance yourself from this."
Nic did not hesitate to assure her, "Not happening."
"Good, you're officially in charge of his medical care. But before you go back there I have to tell you one more thing."
Breezy dropped her head, studying the floor. "He's in a coma. David was never con—." Nic stepped toward her, and to everyone's surprise she maneuvered backward.
"I didn't want to tell you and you be locked out. In case I couldn't pull this out of my ass I sent for your family." Words sprinted from her lips. Hiding the truth was lying and in her mind should cost her Nic's friendship. She shrank further away only stopping when Nicolao's arm encircled her.
He did not release her until some of the rigidity left her body.
"I did alright?"
Nicolao moved back to peer at her unsure face, "My Saint you did more than alright. How couldn't you know that?" He kissed her on her wrinkled brow as he posed the question. "Thank you my friend. Can I go to him now?"
"Yeah, through those god damned double doors, CCU. They're expecting you." Swearing allowed her to project the strength she feared her display had cost her.
Nicolao made his way down the corridor, thankful that part of the nightmare was over.
Nate scrutinized his brother's friend. "You falsified legal documents. Why'd you go so far?"
"Because I could, and the look in his eyes--," she paused as she visualized her motivation. "They're my friends, and I made a promise. I never break a promise."
Nate placed a steadying hand on her shoulder.
Breezy smiled at the reassuring touch.
Narisco winked at his brother's pretty saint. "I think it would be my pleasure to get to know you better."
"Careful what the hell you wish for Evangelista the Younger. You know what Nicolao didn't, I have criminal tendencies." Breezy straightened her shoulders, "Let's get upstairs. I have food coming." She turned on her heels for the elevator.
The smell of the Critical Care Unit assailed Nicolao's nostrils. He sound of his feet hitting the polished floors reverberated in his ears. He had walked that walk before. Existence shaped by the senses; he subsisted at two point of time as he made his way to David. When he entered the room he stood at the foot of the bed, absorbing that moment, rooting himself to the present, to David.
David's face had very little bruising, just slight scratches on his left check, his left leg was in an immobilizer and a cold pad. He was intubated, there were wires going to flashing monitors, a horror show to the uninitiated. The bed was inclined at 20 degrees. The injuries and mechanism attached to him belied the peaceful stillness of him.
Nicolao forced himself to accept the absoluteness of this familiar yet foreign geography. David shouldn't be battered and he was. He should have been able to prevent this, yet he hadn't.
The nurse took David's vitals, explaining they were strong, and the doctor would be in to speak with him soon. Nicolao did not acknowledge him. He remained standing at the foot of the bed, mapping out the landscape
Samuel shook his head. You could never predict how people were going to react. He liked mute, it was better than hysterical screamers any day. He wheeled the blood pressure monitor away from the bed and grabbed a chair pulling it beside the bed.
"Sit down Mr. Evangelista, and talk to him. Some patients say they hear everything. Let him know you're here."
Nic finally looked at the lanky man in blue scrubs and sat as he was told. He took David's hand and began to appraise the damage to the fair skin. His wrists were bandaged were the cords had cut into the flesh. His arms had taken the brunt of the damage, as he had shielded his face. The forearms were black and purple.
"I should tell you first about your big sister, our big sister. Saint's really remarkable--" Nicolao began to speak, determined to fill every minute with words, if there was any chance that was all Dee had to cling to in the dark.