Can you love two people at the same time without it damaging all? Harper Davis hopes so.
As he made his way back to his bunk, Harper’s foot hit something large and solid. He fell forward, shielding his face from hitting the tour bus' metal floor with his arms. Rubbing his now sore elbows, he turned back to see what it was he tripped over. He panicked when he saw his best friend lying there, still, eyes closed, arms splayed out. He scooted closer and shook him. He hoped he'd passed out instead of the... alternative.
"Garret. Garret! Hey. Wake up. Please. Hey." he said.
"Garret. Garret. You fucking asshole, listen to me and open those beautiful brown eyes of yours."
Nothing. Harper felt tears in his own eyes and wiped them away. He forced himself to focus on Garret's chest. It didn't rise and fall. God why does he look dead? he thought as he took in Garret's paper white face and arms. His tears hit his hand as he forced Garret's mouth open, looking down his throat to see if anything was stuck there. Anything but the alternative. he thought. His throat was clear.
Harper squeezed his eyes shut against the pain and knowledge that washed over him. He took his fingers out of his mouth and slid them down to check the pulse on his neck. He left them there for 10 seconds. His tears broke into sobs as he realized he hadn’t felt anything. Hesdeadhesdeadhesdeadhesdead ran through his mind over and over again. His hands shook as his breath came faster and he felt like he was going to be sick. It had been a long time since he'd had a panic attack. His phone vibrated in his pocket and he felt like he could have hit the roof with how high he jumped. He pulled it out and saw the message preview. Lake. He said they were heading back to the bus now too. He wanted to throw his phone to the other side of the bus but thought 'hey doofus. You might wanna call 911 before they come back ready to leave... His hands shook as he punched the three numbers in and told the operator his emergency.' He shot a longing glance toward Garret and thought, Why? Why would you do this? And, more importantly, how did I miss this? And why do I feel like it's my fault somehow?
Lake held him in his lanky arms, comforting him, as the red, white and blue lights of the ambulance and police sirens surrounded them. Neither could watch as the paramedics loaded their friend's body into the ambulance. Harper allowed himself to hope that the (less panicked) professionals could do a better job than he did finding a pulse. He can't be dead. He can't be. he thought.
The sun had burst through the clouds when a doctor finally came to talk to the three of them.
"We were eventually able to find a pulse and Mr. Bruce is currently stable. But, we are concerned about the high levels of both alcohol and NyQuil we found in his system, which is what caused him to pass out. We want to keep him here for the next four days for observation,"
To say they were all relieved that their friend wasn't dead was an understatement, but, for Harper, this brought up a whole new set of worries. He was the only one Garret had ever felt comfortable telling about his depression and suicidal tendencies. He knew, deep down, that's what this was. A suicide attempt.
He looked down at the engagement ring on his finger. He'd ended things for good with Garret when he and Lisa had gotten engaged two weeks before. He hadn't taken it well. At all.
I'll kill him myself if he did this just to get my attention or because he thinks this will get me to come running back to him. No. Garret's not disgusting and manipulative like that... Right? he thought.
"Mr... Davis? You were the one who found him, correct?" Harper nodded, suddenly feeling numb to the whole situation.
"Come with me please. I have some questions for you,"
"Me? But---O-okay I'm coming,"
He scrambled to get up from the cheaply upholstered chair and followed the doctor to a corner on the opposite side of the room.
"Mr. Davis--- "
"OK, Harper. Does Mr. Bruce have any history of depression? Suicide? Self-injury?"
Harper could only look at the floor.
"I'm the only one he felt like he could tell,"
"We didn't find any trace of antidepressants in his system. Has he ever sought treatment or been hospitalized like this before?"
Harper still couldn't take his eyes off the floor.
"No. I wish he had. And I wish he'd told me he was feeling like this again. But no... he hates doctors. No offense,"
"None taken," the doctor said with a kind smile.
"Do you know if he hit his head when he passed out?"
"N-no... He was already passed out when I found him and he was just s-sprawled out like someone had pushed him or something,"
Harper felt his voice shake as his brain so helpfully supplied him with that picture.
“Any history of concussions, anything like that?"
"No... Nothing like that,"
"Any allergies to medications?"
"Not that I know of,"
The doctor made a note of Harper’s response on the clipboard he was holding.
"We'll have to wait until he wakes up to check for any signs of concussion then and to do a more complete exam,"
Harper looked up from the floor in time to see the doctor turning to walk away.
He turned around.
"H-how close was he to -- um, how close of a call was it?"
The doctor smiled sadly but sympathetically.
"It's a good thing you found him when you did. He's lucky he's got a friend like you,"
Harper felt like he'd been punched in the gut. He doubled over like he had been and grabbed onto a nearby foundational pole for support.
"You know, visiting hours are over, but I can bring you up to his room if you want to sit with him. The others can come too,"
"I could hug you,"
The doctor laughed.
"Please don't," he said.
Harper waved the others over and they all walked toward the elevator.
Four days passed before Garret woke up. Four agonizingly long days in Alex's opinion. He almost forgot how mad he was at him when he saw his eyes open. I thought I'd never see those again. he thought, nearly crying at the relief that coursed through his body.
He hit the call button above Garret 's bed so one of the nurses could take out the tube currently plunging down his throat. He never thought he’d be so happy to hear someone sound like they were hacking up a lung. After the tube was out and he stopped coughing, his eyes landed on Harper's. He stared at him like he didn’t believe he was real. He barely acknowledged Lake's and Logan’s presence. Garret hadn’t looked that combination of angry and sad in years.
Garret’s hoarse voice came: "If this is hell, Lucifer did a good job with the eternal torture part,"
Harper tried to disguise how much that hurt him, but he'd never been the best at controlling his facial expressions. Garret saw it. Harper knew he did and that he probably relished it. Is this really all about me and Sloane? he thought.
"Guys, can you give us a minute?" he turned to Logan and Lake .
Two "yeah, dude, of course"'s came as response and he and Garret were alone.
"I know you said that just to hurt me. It worked. But I'm not leaving your side until you tell me--- "
"Why? Why do you think, Davis? God, why didn't you just let me die? You coulda done some good for this world,"
"I-- you--- you actually think that? Fuck, Garret. You know I found you right? I literally tripped over you as I was going to my bunk. When I couldn't find your pulse a-and really looked at you - at how paper white and almost blue you looked--- look, you've been my best friend and my boyfriend for most of my adult life and when I saw you like that... It was like a part of me died too. I need you. You’re my partner in crime and I… I – any world that doesn’t have you in it is the opposite of good,”
He felt tears blur his vision and it almost felt like he couldn't speak because of all the effort it was taking not to break down. Again. But he forced himself to continue.
"Do you understand that not just me but Logan and Lake thought you were dead for hours? HOURS, Garret, before we knew what happened. And your parents were just here. Think about them and what they’ve been going through. had the worst feeling - this INSANE guilt - that I knew exactly what this was about and honestly, as much as I love you, fuck you if this was a ploy to somehow manipulate me into being with you again. I'd ruled that out, by the way, because I thought there was no way my Garret could be that abusive or awful but now I don't know,”
“I haven’t been your Garret in ages, Harper,” he turned so his back was to him.
All the control he’d had over his emotions crumbled at that.