Call me, as soon as you can.
I just got out of a hellish meeting and as soon as I booted my phone, a bunch of texts from CF came in. Her text made me panic almost immediately, and I pressed 4 on my speed dial. She picked up even before the phone starts ringing (at least on my end), and then plowed through it before I could greet her.
“It’s H. He’s in the hospital.”
It was a very grueling and panicky eight-hour flight just to get to where H was. Counting the hours to get home to grab stuff and my passport, plus the drive to the airport, the immigration and other security circles of hell, I was at H’s bedside twelve hours post-CF’s call.
I have not slept a wink since that phone call, rounding up my awake hours total to 20.
H was sleeping when I got there, looking very peaceful albeit pale. An IV was hooked into his wrist, just above our first couple tattoo. The light drip, drip of his IV and the low hum of the AC were in a weird duet, and my heartbeat seemed to go in synch with them, its lub dub lub following the drip, drip and the hummmm. There were a bunch of handmade cards on the bedside table, a basket of fruits on the table at the foot of the bed, and H’s things strewn on what should have been the bed for the patient’s guest.
CF’s husband, TT, was at H’s bedside, asleep on the chair. CF, the crew, and the other boys must have moved on to the next gig, leaving TT with H just so he wasn’t alone. Totally understandable. While they’re all friends, it was, after all, still first and foremost a job. And secondly, the tens of thousands of fans that are waiting for them at their next destination will be pretty difficult to disappoint if they weren’t there.
I gently shook TT’s shoulder, and he woke up very slowly, wiping the sleep off his eyes. He stood up, letting me throw my things on the chair he vacated before giving me a very big hug. He pulled me away, closer to the door, just so we wouldn’t wake H up.
“What happened?” I asked him, and TT crossed his hands over his chest.
“They were in the middle of singing Live in the Moment when he stopped and just went to the side of the stage. We thought he was just going to ask for his inhaler, but he just started throwing up. He turned into an uncomfortable shade of green, and R just got to him when he fainted,” he narrated, and I absorbed this. I’m pretty sure somewhere online there’d be a video of it, but it’s not something I’d want to see.
TT turned into a graver kind of serious, and continued, “Doc said he’s overfatigued. He’s running a high fever and they’re testing if he’s got an infection or something.”
“So he should rest.”
TT nodded. “For a week, tops.”
I winced. “That kills. I’m already feeling for the fans in the shows that he’ll miss,” I whispered, and TT’s eyes narrowed as he smiled. “You and H said the same thing after he heard what the doc said.”
“Well, fans are important to him,” I said, shrugging. It wasn’t that I didn’t care that H was overfatigued or that he’s sick, but I do know that even before he hit the stage last night, he already wasn’t feeling well. He probably had kept it from everyone just so he could get up that stage and perform in front of the fans that have supported them all throughout. He’s that kind of guy, and I love that and hate that in him.
He says I’m like that too, when it comes to my work. (I’ll disagree, but I do know he’s 95% right.)
TT and I both turned to look at the bed when we thought we saw H move. I walked over to him just as he stirred awake, and his eyelids opened in a flutter.
His eyes stared first to the ceiling, and then they drifted to me. His lips formed into a smile and then he reached up, gathering me in his weak arms. I buried my face in that nook between his shoulder and neck. “Oh H…” I whispered, and he moaned as he held me tighter against him. We haven’t seen each other for about a month—I was buried in my work (which I will be buried in again when I go back, for sure) and then his never-ending tour.
“I missed you,” I heard him whisper, taking me in, sniffing my still unwashed hair, making me back off.
“I haven’t taken a shower yet!” I said, and he laughed weakly.
“You and me both.”
I sat on the bed and he laid his hand on my hip. “You, mister, shouldn’t have gone up that stage if you weren’t feeling well already,” I said, my anger just boiling below the surface. He just nodded, knowing he was wrong in that aspect. He mumbled a sorry, and then lifted his head to address TT.
“You heading to Chula Vista?”
TT nodded, walking over to the bed and grabbing a backpack from all of the things strewn there. “I think the boys will be back after the show to see you—”
“No. Let them get their rest. Tell ‘em K’s here already so there’s no need to worry about me.”
TT just sighed, and then gave H a salute. He passed by me, giving me a cheek-to-cheek, and then was out the door.
“So we have a week in LA. What do you want to do, luv?” H said after a while. I grabbed the remote from the stand and turned the TV on, searching for something to watch. H whispered to me that TLC was on this channel something, and I pressed the numbers. As if on cue, Cake Boss was on TV, and I snuggled closer to H.
“Well, you and I are going to rest. That’s all I ever wanted to do.”
He nodded, letting out a “hmmm…” and giving me a kiss on the temple. We watched in silence for a few minutes, until H broke it.
“Luv, I think you need to get that shower.”
I jokingly pushed him, my laugh a bit louder than his weak one, and then hopped off the bed. “I am not going to complain that you smell, hun, but you do already. Too bad you can’t take a shower. A warm, bubbly shower with me.”
I started to unbutton my blouse, one by one, exposing my lacy bra underneath. His eyes widened, the fire igniting in them. He winked at me, his grin mischievous. “Oh luv, I’d take a sponge bath. From you.”
I gave him a wide smile, my eyes matching the intensity in his. “Consider it done.” I turned to sashay my way to the bathroom, H slapping my butt before I could take a step, and I heard his laugh reverberate around the room.
“Don’t keep me waiting,” he called out as I entered the bathroom, and I just grinned.
He’s gonna be fine. I know he’s going to be.