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Brian’s throat felt very dry and he smacked his lips as he started to move around.  He was laying on a bed, that much he could tell and he wasn’t on the train anymore, the smells were different.  He let out a small groan as he managed to get his eyes open.  The room was white and clinical.  There was the bed and a few machines he’d been hooked up to.  There was no television set, there was no guest couch and there was no window. 

Brian attempted to sit up but a pounding in his head forced him to lie back down.   He tried to lift his arms to remove the IV but his arms would not move from his sides.  He glanced down and noticed that he was strapped down to the bed.   Seeing the straps caused him to panic.  Where was he?  He was more awake now and glancing around at everything trying to get any indication where he was.   The heart monitor next to him started to increase in sound as he struggled to get off of the bed.

The door to the room opened and a man in a white coat entered and calmly walked to Brian’s bed.  He placed his hand on Brian’s arms to calm him. 

“Dr. Smith?” Brian couldn’t understand what his cardiologist was standing next to his bed.  His hands immediately flew to his chest.    “What’s going on? Where’s Megan?” He craned his neck in an attempt to look around the doctor, maybe Megan would walk in behind him.  Laying in the hospital bed, strapped down with his cardiologist standing over him was making his blood pressure rise.  He was scared and he wanted out.

“Who is Megan?” the doctor looked at him perplexed.

“I was with her on the train,” Brian tried to pull his arms out of the straps again but to no avail.  Dr. Smith placed his hands on his chest and pushed him back down towards the bed.  “I need to get out of here.”

“Calm down Brian.  If you continue to stress your heart I am afraid you could go into cardiac arrest.”

Brian couldn’t understand.   What was going on?   “I want Megan, or Isabelle. I want to see them.” 

The other man shook his head.  “Brian I don’t know what you are talking about.  There was an accident.  You collapsed while you were turning with the guys when you over exerted yourself and collapsed.  They stopped the concert and rushed you here.”  He motioned around him to indicate the hospital they were in.   “You’ve been here ever since. “

“No, I was traveling to California with Isabelle’s friend Megan.  We were…” Brian stopped talking not wanting to talk about what they were planning to do once they got to California.  What if he was one of the nine?  How could he be one of the nine thought? Brian had known him from before he was famous.  He’d taken care of him several times before when he was having heart troubles.

The doctor continued to shake his head.  “You must have been having some very vivid dreams.  You have been here for the past week in and out of consciousness.  You took a turn for the better only eight hours ago.” 

Brian laid in the bed staring up at this man who was telling him everything he’d experienced, everything he’d felt the past few days had been in his mind.  He thought about Isabelle and seeing her face.  The dreams where they were talking and laughing together, the dreams where they were being chased and then ultimately having their memories changed were all just that, dreams.   He couldn’t believe what he had felt had been just a figment of his dream.   He reached to his arm and touched the bandage that covered the wound he had received when fighting with Howie.  How could that pain be made up, and the injury was there, wasn’t that proof that he hadn’t been dreaming, that this was either a dream or he’d been captured?

“You received a nasty cut when you fell.” The doctor spoke up supplying an answer when his hand touched the bandage.    Brian looked at him warily.  The injury happened after he’d started dreaming.  If the injury happened when this had started wouldn’t he have a dream to explain it sooner?

Almost as if he could sense what Brian was thinking, Dr. Smith spoke again with an explanation for the timing.  “You were brought in and on heavy pain medications for the first few days.  You probably wouldn’t have felt it.  After we weaned you off of the meds the pain was probably terrible and your mind tried to find any way to explain this new pain.  You’ve been locked in a world of your own design.”   The man looked at the monitors and fiddled with the IV in Brian’s arm.  “Everything else looks good.”

“I want to see my wife, Leighanne and Howie.” Brian spoke with determination.  Leighanne was in hiding and Howie was dead.  Seeing them would go a long way to actually proving what the doctor was saying. 

Dr. Smith smiled at Brian.  “Leighanne is right outside.”  He turned and exited the room. 

Brian wanted to pull the IV out of his arm; he didn’t want drugs being pumped into him until he knew what was going on but his arms were still strapped down to the bed.  He pulled on the arm without the IV in an attempt to get his arm out of the binding but the straps were too tight, or he was too weak from whatever they were pumping through him.

The door opened and Brian quickly lay back down as if he’d not been doing anything.  “Brian?” a female voice said from the door.  He looked up and watched as Leighanne approached his bedside, tears in her eyes.  She wiped the tears away before leaning down and hugging him quickly.  Dr. Smith entered the room carrying a chair.  He placed it next to the bed for Leighanne to sit in then continued to look over the machine print out of Brian’s heart activity for the past several hours.   Leighanne took her seat and grabbed hold of Brian’s hand.

Brian hesitated to say anything with the doctor still standing here.  He wanted to ask Leighanne if she came out of hiding or if they found her.  If they found her, where was Baylee?   

“I was worried about you,” Leighanne spoke looking from the doctor back to Brian.  Brian’s thumb moved to caress the back of her hand.  He continued to rub her hand and look at her face.  He wished they could communicate without words.  He had so much to ask her, so much he wanted to know but he still felt uneasy discussing it in front of his doctor.  

“Everything is looking good,” Dr. Smith finally spoke up and smiled at both of them.  “I’ll give you two some private time.”  He put his hand on Leighanne’s shoulder and squeezed it lightly in comfort before leaving. 

Brian opened his mouth to start talking but Leighanne was shaking her head ‘no’.  

“I was worried about you when the boys said you’d collapsed during a show.  I’ve been here almost every day sitting with you.  You have been muttering in your sleep.”  Leighanne smiled at him.

“It doesn’t feel like I was sleeping.” 

Leighanne smiled at him and he felt calmer.   It was a relief to see her face again. Maybe it really all was a dream.  “So what did I talk about?”

Leighanne shrugged.  “You muttered a few names, something like Isabelle and Megan I believe.  You said something about ‘false memories’ and how you were still in love with me no matter what Isabelle told you about your past and cell phones.”  Tears were beginning to form in Leighanne’s eyes again as she talked. 

Brian laughed.  “I must have muttered something about flushing my cell phone.” He shook his head remembering flushing the phone after talking to Kevin.  Or had he talked to Kevin.  His head was beginning to hurt with all the confusing thoughts running through his mind. 

Leighanne looked away from him for second before staring up again.  “Baylee misses you. He’s not been able to see you while you’ve been in here.” 

“I miss him too.  How is he doing?”   This felt so right sitting in this room with Leighanne, this had to be right. 

“He’s still safe, he’s with his cousins.” 

Brian leaned back on his pillow and smiled upwards.  “I’m glad that things are back to normal.”  He pushed the thoughts about Izzy and Megan out of his mind.  It had been a complication from the accident and his heart he told himself.   “So where’s Howie?”

He loved his wife and he believed her but he still had to see Howie.  See that he was alive and well that he hadn’t been involved in some plot which ended up killing him. 

Leighanne’s face dropped and she avoided his gaze.  “Howie, he….” She looked towards the shoulder the doctor had touched and cleared her throat.  “You don’t remember the accident?”

Brian shook his head wondering what she was going to say.  Her mood changed drastically and he’d only seen her like this a few times and it was never good news.  “Leighanne?”

“A lighting rig wasn’t fastened correctly.  When it fell, it nicked your arm,” She pointed to his bandaged arm that he no longer felt pain in.  He wondered briefly if he was on pain medication for it again.  “But Howie, he was under the rig and it killed him.”   Tears started to flow freely from her eyes and she gripped Brian’s hands with both of hers.  “I’m so sorry.”  She whispered. 

Brian sat in shock.  Howie really was dead.  Maybe his mind, in an attempt to cope with everything had created the scenario of the fight.  In his mind he was injured in the fight with Howie that ultimately lead to his death.  In reality he’d been injured in the accident that killed Howie.  It made sense.  

They sat together in silence.  Brian wanted to ask her more questions but he thought they’d sound ridiculous.  They were based on his dreams.  He needed to get better so he could get out of here, mourn his friend and be with his family.   The doctor entered the room and requested that Leighanne leave so that Brian could rest.  He reassured her that he shouldn’t be in the hospital much longer now that he was awake; everything was looking good for his return.  

“Leighanne,” Brian called out.  She turned at the door and looked at him. Her eyes seemed sad but she was probably mourning Howie, he was her friend too.  “I love you.”  He said smiling at her to help reassure her that everything was going to be alright now. 

“I love you too,” she said in almost a whisper and then exited the room. 

Brian continued to look towards the door, he half hoped that Leighanne would come back in despite what Dr. Smith had said.  He wanted her to sit with him while he slept.   He wasn’t sure why he was told he had to rest. He just came out of a coma, hadn’t he rested enough?  He turned to ask the doctor why he had to rest when he saw a needle coming towards his arm. 

“No!” he shouted out and tried to move in the bed as far from the impending needle. 

“Brian, calm down.”  Dr. Smith halted the needle and held it away. 

“No, no needles,” he asserted.

Dr. Smith smirked at him.  “It is a sedative with mild pain meds. I want to remove the IV but don’t want you to be without pain medication yet.” 

Brian continued to breathe hard, his eyes never leaving the needle.  It was just a dream right? People weren’t injecting him with something to take away his memories right?  He continued to breath quickly and soon felt lightheaded.   His vision blurred but he could see the doctor approaching him again with the needle.  He felt the slight prick of the needle as it was inserted and the pain the medication brought with it.  His arm felt cool as the injection flowed through his veins.  It wasn’t long until his eyelids became heavy. He fought to keep them open but soon lost the battle.  He fell asleep wondering what dreams his mind would give him this time.