This chapter is a little shorter than usual, but I didn't want to keep everyone waiting too long before we could get things straightened out with Eddie. You're welcome!
Some of you are going to totally fall in love with another kid in this chapter. Nathan's a trip!
I hope you enjoy this latest chapter of the Preacher's Kid!
THE PREACHER’S KID: HIGH SCHOOL
by Geoff Chassen
Chapter 9 – Recovery
What the fuck? Why can’t I wake up? And shiiiiiiit! My head hurts!
Wait a minute—where the fuck am I? This isn’t my bed. And what are all those little beeping noises? Wake up, dammit!
I try like crazy to open my eyes, but they’re not being very cooperative. And now I gotta pee and I can’t move myself to get out of bed, and—oh fuck! I’m gonna pee anyway? In the bed?
What the fuck is going on? Where’s Matty? He said he was gonna fuck me tonight! Something’s not right. This is all kinds of fucked-up!
“Trey! Are you awake? Open your eyes, bro!”
What the fuck is Haley doing here—or wherever here is?
“He’s Eddie now. Everybody calls him Eddie now—even Mom and Dad.”
And the squirt? What the fuck is going on??
“Nathan, bring me my phone, I need to text everyone to tell them Eddie’s waking up.”
I felt someone’s head close to mine. Matty? No, it’s the squirt. What the fuck?
“Wake up Eddie. It scares me when you won’t wake up. I want my big brother back. I promise to be good if you just wake up, Eddie. Please?”
Oh man! The squirt is crying now? I hate when he does that! C’mon eyes! Get the fuck open! Get. The. Fuck. OPEN!
There! Whoa! Lights are bright! I squint, trying to block out some of the light.
“Nathan, can you go over to the door and turn off the lights?”
“Okay, Sissy—I gotEddie to wake up!”
“Yeah, you’ve been here since Friday afternoon.”
“Hold on a sec. I told the nurse I would let them know when you woke up.”
“Mkay.” Damn! My throat is dry, and my mouth feels like it’s full of cotton. “Thirsty”
Haley pressed the button that was hanging on the bed rail, then poured some water into a cup. She put a straw in the cup and put it to my lips. I was able to get some of the cool water into my mouth, and it felt awesome.
“Hales. How did I end up here? And why are you here?”
“You don’t remember anything?”
“Well, I remember the baseball game on Friday, and after saying goodbye to Mom, Dad, and Matty, I was heading to the team bus when—Oh! Wait a minute. I heard someone yell something, and then I was knocked down to the ground. That’s all I remember.”
Before Haley could fill me in on what happened, a nurse came in, checked the machines that were beeping, took my temperature and blood pressure, and punched stuff into a computer. She lifted a bag that was hanging on the side of the bed, and from I could tell it looked like it was full of piss.
“Well, the bladder’s working well! We’ll probably be able to get that catheter out later this afternoon.”
“What’s wrong with me? I mean, my head hurts pretty bad, but why am I in the hospital?”
“Your doctor will be here in about fifteen minutes, and he can answer all your questions.” She looked at Haley and asked if Mom and Dad knew I was awake.
“Yeah, I texted them, and they should be here in about 10 minutes.”
“Excellent, the doctor can talk to everyone at the same time, then.”
The nurse asked if I needed anything, so I told her I was thirsty and hungry. She said she would be right back with a water bottle filled with ice water and that the doctor would get me set up with some food after he checked me out.
Just as Haley was about to fill me in on what the fuck was going on, Matty came running into the room, followed by Mom and Dad.
“Eddie! Thank God!”
He practically knocked Haley out of her chair as he ran to me and wrapped me in a hug.
“Whoa! Matty! Careful! Head hurts.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, baby!”
I asked Matty to back up cuz Mom wanted to hug me, and well—there’s nothing better than a mom-hug when you feel crappy. By the way, the dad-hug felt pretty damned good, too!
Now I had four people in the room who could tell me what was going on but no—that’s not gonna happen since the doc walked into the room and asked everyone to wait in the hall while he looked me over.
He started asking me stupid questions like what city I was in, who the president was, where I went to school. When I asked him why all the questions, he smiled and said it was just a standard test for people with concussions.
“A concussion? Can you tell me what’s going on? I don’t even remember coming here.”
“Sure, son. I will tell you what I know. You were brought into the hospital after the baseball game on Friday. You had been beaten with what appears to have been a baseball bat. You were hit across the back, and that knocked you to the ground where you hit the right side of your head on the pavement. The perpetrator then tried to hit you on the head with the bat, and he did—but thankfully, several of your teammates were able to pull your assailant away before he could hit you hard enough to cause even more severe damage.”
“Did they catch the guy who did is?”
“Yes, and I’ll let your family fill you in on those details. You were unconscious when you were brought here. You had some fairly severe swelling in your brain, and we had to perform surgery to remove a portion of your skull to help relieve the pressure. We’ll be replacing that piece in a day or two, and you’ll be back to normal in no time at all.”
“And I’ve been out since Friday?”
“Well, yes—but the main reason for that is we sedated you quite heavily in order for your brain to stabilize and let the swelling go down. We began to lower the amount of sedative last night and had you completely sedative-free this morning. Now if you’ll look at my finger and follow it’s movement for me?”
He ran a couple more tests and finally let the family come back in. He explained that he wanted me to remain in the hospital at least three more days, but he was also pleased that there didn’t appear to be any long-term damage from the concussions.
“Wait—concussions? There’s more than one?”
“Yes, there was impact on your skull in two completely different regions. We’ll call that a double-concussion. The symptoms are really no different than a single concussion; they are just a bit more noticeable.”
“Am I gonna be able to play ball again?”
“From what I can tell, you seem to be recovering quite nicely from the concussion. We’ll most likely be keeping you from sports until your skull heals when we replace the piece we took out. That should take four to six weeks so it looks like—if all goes well—that you should be back for the playoffs.”
“Okay—one more question...”
“What’ that, son?”
“Can I eat something? I’m soooooo hungry!”
I’m glad that doc thought it’s so fucking funny that I’m so fucking hungry! “I’ll get you some soup for now. Dinner tonight will be on the soft side of things, and we should be able to get you on a regular diet beginning with breakfast in the morning. Sound good?”
The doc wrote some stuff down on my chart and told me that he was going to get me something for the pain but would ease me off the pain meds beginning tomorrow. He wanted me to get a good night’s sleep tonight. And then he left.
Finally! I never thought I would be so happy to be alone with my family as I was at that very moment! Everyone was smiling except for Nathan. He was sitting in a chair by the window, just staring at me—and it looked like he was on the verge of tears. Now, I might bitch and moan about the little twerp, but all-in-all, he’s a great kid. This was breaking my heart.
“Hey munchkin—get over here!”
Nathan looked at me like I had lost my mind, which may not be too far from the truth from what the doc was saying. Anyways, Nathan got up and walked over to the bed, and I motioned for him to lean in to me.
“Hey kiddo,” I whispered to him. “You okay? You look like you lost your best friend.”
“I almost did. I thought I was gonna lose you.”
“Hey! I could never let you lose me. Besides, who would bug you every day if I wasn’t around?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore. It’s like everybody is telling secrets they don’t want me to know. I hate it.”
I looked over to Matty and saw that he was leaning in and listening. He smiled at me and nodded. Yeah, it was definitely time to let Nathan know what was going on.
Matty looked at Mom and Dad and told them it was probably time that we had our talk with Nathan. Mom and Dad smiled and took Haley out with them. They decided to go and get some coffee from the Starbucks in the lobby.
“C’mere, buddy.” I patted the mattress next to me, inviting the twerp to sit up with me.
“Are you gonna be okay, Eddie? Please don’t die!” Awww man, the kid started a floodgate of tears but wasn’t crying out loud.
“Hey, I’m gonna be okay. I promise I’m gonna be around to drive you crazy for a long, long time.”
“You know, you don’t really drive me crazy. I kinda like it when you kid around with me.”
“But you drive me crazy sometimes—and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Nathan bent down, gave me a hug, and rested his head on my chest—right on Matty’s spot!
“Why did Mom and Dad leave with Sissy? Is she in trouble or something?”
“No. You see, Matty and I wanted to have a talk with you alone. There’s something we both wanted to tell you, but we had to wait until I woke up.”
“What are you gonna tell me? That Matty’s your boyfriend—and you’re his?”
“Little dude! How did you know? Did Eddie’s sister say something to you?”
“No. Last week when Mom and Dad sent me to Simon’s house for a sleepover—on a school night—I knew there was something wrong. I was talking to Simon about it, and he said we should look on Instagram and see if there was anything there.”
“You guys are twelve! How did he get an Instagram account.”
“Really? We might be twelve, but we’re not stupid! Anybody can get an account. Sheesh!”
“So—what did you see? Was there anything about your brother and me?”
“Yeah, the first thing we saw was some jerk telling the whole world that you guys were boyfriends. Simon said that was called being outted. And then we saw all these messages from people saying how happy they were for you and being really cool about it.”
“How did that make you feel? I mean, you know Matty pretty well, and he’s practically a part of our family anyway, right?”
“I’m cool with is. I mean—c’mon, it’s not really any different than before. You guys are always spending time together. I guess there’s just kissing now.”
“Wow! How did my little brother get to be so fucking cool?”
“Don’t let Mom hear you drop the f-bomb, Eddie. She’ll have a cow.”
“Yeah, I know—I’ve been caught before.”
“What? You’re just a kid!”
“You know something? Being twelve totally sucks. Everybody wants to think I’m this little kid. But let me tell you something. I know about sex. I know about gay stuff. I know about not-gay stuff. And I’ll tell you a secret. I have three hairs—down there—and yesterday morning, I squirted for the first time.”
“Whoa! TMI, little bro!”
“Well, who else can I talk to about this stuff?”
“Well, that would be kinda weird. After we saw all that stuff about you and Matty online, Simon got real quiet and finally said he had those feelings, too—about me.”
“How did that go?”
“He wanted to kiss me. I’ve never kissed a boy so I figured I’d give it a shot. I told him I like kissing girls better. He cried.”
“You still friends?”
“We will be. He’s kinda weirded out that he told me all that stuff—and then kissed me. He thinks I hate him—and I don’t, I just don’t want to be his boyfriend.”
“Dude—how many girls have you kissed?”
“I dunno—three or four, I guess.”
“And you knew when you kissed Matty that was what you wanted?”
“More than anything, little bro.”
“Kiss Matty now.”
“Go ahead and kiss your boyfriend. I just wanna make sure Simon and I did it right.”
What. The. Fuck? I looked at Matty, and he was grinning as he leaned into me and kissed me lightly on the lips.
“Really? Is that how you guys kiss? Kinda boring, if you ask me. C’mon. Kiss him the way you really kiss him.”
“Okay. Here goes nothing!”
This time Matty leaned in and kissed me the way he does best. Our tongues did their little tango that I love so much before he pulled away.
“Yup. That’s how Simon kissed me. It was okay, but kissing Jessica Weinstein is a helluva lot more fun.”
“Are you sure you’re only twelve? Eddie wasn’t anywhere close to this cool when he was twelve!”
“Says the nerd with the wicked tongue!”
“One more thing, Eddie.”
“Will you stop calling me twerp? That bugs the crap outta me.”
“Sure thing. What do you want to be called now?”
“Nate. I’ve decided I’m gonna be Nate.”
“Then Nate it is. Thanks for being so cool. I love ya, kiddo.”
“I love you too, Eddie.”
“This is so cool. It’s like I now have the cool little brother I always wanted!”
“Don’t be stupid, Matty. I’ve always been like your little brother. You’ve told me that a hundred times. See? Nothing’s really that different—even if you guys are kissing now!”
I looked at Matty and gave him a don’t-you-even-think-about-it look, and he just smiled back.
Nate—that’s gonna be kinda hard to get used to—gave each of us a hug just as a nurse came into the room with two bowls of soup. Tomato soup that was nothing like Mom’s, but I was hungry as fuck and wasn’t about to complain!
After I ate, another nurse came in and gave me a pill for my pain. I was out in less than fifteen minutes. Before I conked out, Dad said he was taking the family out for a decent meal and that he would check to see if he could bring me something back.
A couple of hours later, I woke up to the smell of something wonderful—and it turned out to be lasagna from my favorite Italian restaurant. Haley came back with everyone to say goodbye—she had to get back up to Boone since she had a lot of work to do on her sociology project.
As she was making her rounds, she looked out the window and gasped. At the same time, Matty got a text from Bella saying we should look out the window. Well fuck! I was stuck in the bed as my entire family—and my boyfriend—was standing at the window and waving.
I wanted to see and asked Dad if he could get a nurse to help me get to the window. Dad agreed, and in less than five minutes, I was able to get up and out of bed—even though I was dragging the IV along with me.
Holy shit! There must have been 300 people standing in front of the hospital, holding candles. Matty put his arm around my waist and walked me right up to the window. We had our arms around each other and waved to the crowd below. Wow! I can’t even begin to imagine how loud it got out there, but we could hear the crowd cheering even with the window closed up like it was.
Dad got a text, and he said it was from his Associate Pastor, Bill Stevens. Apparently, after Mom, Dad, and Matty left church this morning the congregation planned this candlelight vigil thing. Matty got a text from Bella saying she was at church this morning and contacted as many people from school so they would be there as well.
Matty texted Bella and told her to come up to the room. He then took me back to my bed so I could finish my Italian feast. It’s weird how tired I got just from walking across the room and standing for a couple of minutes. Jesus! I can’t wait to get better, cuz this totally sucks a big one!
Haley came over to the bed, hugged me, and said I needed to ask Matty about the talk they had Saturday night. I looked at him, and he blushed! Ha! I couldn’t wait to hear what they talked about!
About thirty seconds after Haley left the room, Bella came in. She had Carrie and Eric with her. God, it was good to see them! Bella was happy to see Dad was there. It turns out that although her parents knew about her relationship with Carrie, things were more than a little strained with the family.
After hearing Dad’s sermon this morning, they sat down and had a long and healing talk and things have never been better.
“Dad? Was this the sermon you said you were going to give—before I ended up here?”
“Yes. A lot of people told me to take the day off, but you know how important this sermon was to me, and with everything that happened, it became even more necessary that I deliver it today.”
“I think I want to hear it. You weren’t too hard on Matty and me, were you?”
“Matty, was I too hard on you?”
“No, not at all. I mean the whole world knows pretty much everything about me—and you—and everyone was so cool about it. Just like in school, all those things we were worried about never happened.”
Dad looked over to Eric and asked, “Son, what did your parents have to say about the sermon?”
“Well, my parents are all cool about me being gay and all, and all Mom said was how happy she was that Eddie and Matty had parents like you in their lives. Then she got all emotional over all the kids who have to suffer at the hands of their parents—like Matty did.”
Mom and Dad decided that they would call it a night and let us kids spend a little more time together. Mom came over and kissed me on the cheek, telling me to sleep with the angels, and that she would see me in the morning. She promised to bring me breakfast so I wouldn’t have to eat that horrible stuff the hospital calls eggs. Ya gotta love my Mom!
Eric said he would take Matty home so he could stay on a bit, and as soon as Mom, Dad, and Nate left the room, Carrie pulled the curtain around the bed and told us we had two minutes to get a good kiss in while the three of them stepped out into the hall.
Wow! That was the fucking best kiss I’ve ever had! Sadly, my cock was totally feeling the effects of it, and there wasn’t a damned thing I could do about it! By the time we were finished with that kiss, Matty was in the same boat.
“Sorry baby, but Eric doesn’t get to help you with that problem inside your pants. You’re gonna have to take care of that when you get home.”
“You dork! There’s no way anyone touches this except for you. I love you so much, babe. I can’t wait for you to get home, so I don’t have to sleep along in our bed.”
“You know, I’m pretty sure you said that same thing to me while I was out of it—at least I think that was you!”
“Yes! You squeezed my hand when I said it, too! That’s when I knew you were gonna be alright.”
Our friends came back into the room, and we had another good thirty minutes of laughing and ribbing. I love those guys. When the nurse came in to shoo everyone away, I was in a pretty good mood, considering I was still hurting like a son-of-a-bitch!
A couple of days later—Tuesday morning, to be exact—I went back into surgery so they could replace the piece they had taken out of my skull. That meant another day of pain meds and grogginess.
On Friday—one week after I was brought to the hospital—I finally got to go home. I was taken off the good shit and was told to take a Tylenol if my head started hurting again.
The Doc said I could go back to school as soon as I was able to go a full 24 hours without having to take anything for headaches. That got me back to school on Thursday.
We had a home baseball game on Friday against Independence High School. Coach was super cool and let me dress out and sit in the dugout with the team. Matty kinda wanted me to sit with him, but the family was there with him, so he wasn’t totally bored.
We didn’t win the game, and the guys on the team said it was because I wasn’t out there with them. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but they’ve lost three of their last four games since I’ve been out. Who knows?
That night at dinner, the subject of Spring Break came up. Well—I guess you could say I brought up the subject. Mom and Dad had already said okay to Myrtle Beach instead of us going with the gang to Pensacola. Now—things were a bit different. Mom didn’t want me driving for six hours—or riding since I wasn’t allowed to drive yet. I was getting more and more depressed when out of the blue, Matty came up with the perfect solution.
Turns out that his mom and dad had a vacation cabin on Lake Norman that hasn’t been used since his mom got sick. The good news was that Mom and Dad agreed since it wasn’t that far away. The bad news was that they insisted on coming to the cabin on Wednesday night to make us a good dinner and check up on my health and shit.
Matty agreed to everything, and I just smiled and nodded. At least I was gonna have several nights alone with my boyfriend!
A couple of days later, we found out that Eric and his boyfriend didn’t have any plans for break, so Matty and I invited them to join us at the cabin. Hell, the place had four bedrooms (some cabin, huh?) and it wasn’t like we would be running into each other all that much—especially at night.
Mom even liked the idea of Eric and his boyfriend joining us. She felt better that someone else was there in case of an emergency. She said they might rethink coming out there in the middle of the week since we wouldn’t be alone now. Yes!
So here we are—three weeks after getting the shit beat out of me—and Eric, his boyfriend Devyn, Matty, and I are in my 4Runner and on the way to nine days of no school, no parents, and no pressure! Spring Break, here we come!
So there you go! Unlike some of my previous stories, I wanted to get us out of the hospital as quickly as possible. I love the support our boys are getting from the school, the community, and especially from their family.
Don't you just love Nate? I'm going to have some fun with him in some upcoming chapters.
Once again, thanks for all your support. Your comments about the sermon kind of blew me away! Keep those cards and letters coming! I love hearing from all of you!