Brian gaped at Leighanne when she spoke, in utter disbelief that she would give him an ultimatum like this.
“Walking away? Y- you want to break up with me?” Brian stammered, as if he’d been dunked in cold water.
“I don’t want to but I can’t watch you do this to yourself. You’re becoming so angry all the time. You’re getting sick. You’re not the Brian that I met at the video shoot anymore. I don’t know you anymore. It’s like you’re becoming a different person.” Leighanne sniffled, wiping her eyes as she zipped up her suitcase and put it on the floor. Brian had to privately agree with her, he didn’t even know who he was anymore himself. How was he going to fix everything? It was all fine until Nick came along and made him feel different. All of this was Nick’s fault.
“Baby, please don’t leave. I’m sorry…I’m afraid...I don’t know what to do.” Brian begged, starting to cry himself. He was so stressed and her leaving him wouldn’t help. He knew it would only complicate things more. Finally admitting to himself and to his girlfriend that he was afraid was definitely a huge step.
“So will you see someone?”
“I don’t know.”
Leighanne held up a Polaroid that they’d taken on their first date and gave it to him, smiling sadly at him with tears in her eyes. She was so disappointed in him and knew that she had to do something drastic if she was going to get Brian to start taking care of himself. Nick had suggested that they do an intervention of some kind, but Leighanne took this idea and decided that she needed to make him see that if he didn’t get help he’d lose everything, including her.
“When you find this Brian, you’ll know where to find me. I think I need to go.”
She picked up her bags and left him, left him alone with his thoughts. As soon as the door closed, something happened, it was like a switch flipped in Brian’s head and he felt numb. He didn’t love her but he felt rejected, ashamed of himself. He didn’t want her to leave. He started to panic, he had to catch her somehow.
“Leigh!” Brian called, jumping up and running for the door. He caught her in the hallway and held onto the handle of her suitcase to keep her from wheeling it any further.
“Brian, I have to do this. Let go.”
“No. I’ll….I’ll see someone. Please...please don’t leave. I don’t want to be alone.” Leighanne’s face softened when she saw him crying. Brian looked like a scared child. Part of her wondered if he just didn’t want her to leave solely for the convienence of having someone there with him. He’d been acting so strange the last few weeks.
“I don’t know what’s happening to me. I don’t know what to do. Help me.”
Leighanne leaned in and kissed him gently on the cheek, touching his face with her hand.
“The only person who can help you is yourself.”
Brian decided that Leighanne and him needed some time apart so he helped her out to a cab to the airport and then went back upstairs, feeling exhausted physically and emotionally, but when he laid down to sleep he couldn’t. The room seemed so much bigger without his girlfriend or Nick there. It was too quiet, and he hadn’t slept alone in a long time. It was almost suffocating.
The next morning, Nick came by to check on him because it was their day off.
“You look like shit, dude. What the hell happened?”
Brian let Nick into the room, the bedsheets were a jumble on the bed as if Brian had spent the night tossing and turning.
“Leighanne went home because of the fight last night and she wants me to go see a doctor about my chest pain.”
“She has a point, Brian. I don’t want to see you like this either. If you don’t want to do it for her….would you do it for me? For your family, for the group? You need to see someone. I care about you.” Nick said softly as he watched Brian sit down in the chair by the door. Brian looked at Nick, who was really looking concerned about him, just like Leighanne was.
“I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m angry all the time now. I yelled at my girlfriend, Nick. I yelled at you. That’s not like me. This Brian...I don’t like him. How can I fix all of this? I wasn’t like this until after we went away this summer. How did things get so bad?”
Nick looked at the floor, was Brian really blaming him for being sick?
“You haven’t felt good for a while, Brian. The only reason you’re finally acknowledging it now is because you have been stubborn and ignoring it this whole time. This has nothing to do with me. We aren’t doing anything today, why can’t you see a doctor now?”
“I...I don’t know, Nick. I guess I’m scared.” Brian whispered.
“You’re afraid to go to the doctor?” Nick asked in awe. Brian was always the strongest one in his eyes, he always put him on a pedestal and thought he was like Superman. To see him so vulnerable and openly admit his fear was shocking. Brian was always the strong one, now it was Nick’s turn to give him the extra push he needed.
“I guess. There’s just so much going on right now.”
“You won’t know if something is wrong or not unless you go and find out.” Nick said.
“Okay. I’ll see if Johnny can have someone come to the hotel or if I can go to one.”
Nick smiled at him as he went to go and find their manager to see about a doctor’s appointment.
He just hoped that it was nothing serious.
Nick went with Brian to a doctor nearby, they were brought there in one of the vans the group had been using on tour.
“How are you feeling?” Nick asked softly.
“What are we going to do if there really is something wrong with me? What about the tour?”
“You just worry about yourself and how you are going to deal with this. I’ll be right here when you come back out.”
Nick waited for what seemed like forever in the waiting room. Patients came and went, nurses filed in and out. The whole time Nick thought about him and Brian. Would Brian ever accept who he was? Nick knew what Brian didn’t know. He knew that they were the same. He had feelings for him, strong feelings and he saw them in Brian’s eyes when they kissed. Part of Nick was hoping that if he helped Brian see that he was denying who he was, they in turn would grow closer together. His hope diminished when Brian came out of the doctor’s office with a solemn expression.
“Well, what did the doctor say?” Nick asked, standing up and walking over to him.
“He wants me to get some tests done. Something is not right, Nick. The chest pains are a warning sign…”
Brian swallowed hard, tears in his eyes and he spoke with a shaky voice.
“Something is wrong with my heart.”