9.46: Dreams

Thank you to everybody for your patience! I will try very hard to get the next chapter out sooner, but I can’t promise anything at the moment. I’ll do my best to keep everyone informed as things change. Thanks so much for always being awesome


Five years ago

It wasn’t even 10am yet, and Asher already felt ready for a nap. He took another long sip of his coffee, hoping to help stave off the effects of his lack of sleep. He had to be at the hospital in less than an hour for his clinical, and he couldn’t show up half asleep… Dr. Nicholls would lose his shit. The man was absolutely brilliant, but a huge dick too.

Least I’m learning a lot, Asher tried to remind himself. And just a couple more months of this garbage, then I can move on. Within the next month or so, he’d finally be matched with a hospital for his residency. Then he just needed to pass the next step of his USMLE, make it through graduation, and he’d be closer than ever to being ‘Dr. Rosebrook’ at last.

He couldn’t help but smile at the thought. Despite how late he’d been kept up by his racing thoughts the night before, Asher felt a strange sense of inspiration and determination too. If Landon’s lifelong dream could finally come true, then so could his. 

Asher never really followed any sports, but he secretly made it a point to catch any Brindleton Bay Bobcats game he could, and last night’s game was by far the best one he’d ever seen. Watching Landon lead his team to winning the Super Bowl and be named the game’s MVP had been surreal. 

Hard as he tried to get sleep, Asher stayed up most of the night thinking about those long talks he’d once had with Landon about football and all his dreams for the future. Asher couldn’t help but feel a little emotional seeing them finally come true, and the whole thing led to a level of reminiscing about his high school boyfriend that he hadn’t experienced in a very long time.

God, I’m such a fucking mess right now. It had been less than six months since he and Felix decided it was time to end things, and he was still reeling from the breakup. Though Asher knew it was for the best, to say he was heartbroken would be an understatement.

Then, just a month ago, he’d received an invitation to Ollie’s wedding this coming summer. He’d already known about the engagement for over a year, but it still stung to open that envelope, much as it shouldn’t have.

And of course, seeing Landon’s face on the screen last night had stirred something inside him too, just like opening that wedding invitation had. 

I just feel weird about it because of Felix, he’d told himself. I’ll get over it.

Asher glanced down at his phone on the table beside him as the sound of his ringtone filled the air, pulling his mind back to the present. For a moment, he panicked. Was it the hospital? Had he somehow lost track of the time? Was he late for his clinical?

He did a double-take at the name that he saw appear across the screen. It couldn’t be… They hadn’t spoken in almost two years now. He lifted the phone to his ear. “Landon?”

“Asher! Hi!” There was no mistaking that voice — after all, he’d just heard it the night before during all those post-game celebrations and interviews. It was really him. 

“Wow… Um… Hey! How’s it going?” Asher fumbled awkwardly over his words, trying to think of something to say. ‘How’s it going?’ The guy just won the fucking Super Bowl, and you ask him how it’s going?!

“Great! Amazing, actually…” Landon let out a low chuckle that gave Asher a flurry of butterflies, in spite of himself. “I know you’re not super into sports, so you might not have heard –”

“No! No, I did! I was watching.” Asher assured him hurriedly. “Congratulations! That’s seriously unbelievable.”

“You watched?” Landon sounded surprised, but happy.

“Of course I did.”

He could hear the smile in Landon’s voice. “Then you saw how bad we almost blew it in the second half… But we did it! Man, this is so fucking surreal. Still kinda feels like I’m dreaming…” His voice trailed off for a moment before he continued. “Anyway, I know this is totally out of nowhere, and I hope I’m not bugging you or anything… I just wanted to call and say thanks.”

“Thanks?” Asher’s brow furrowed. “For what?”

“Everything you did for me. Back in high school.” Landon explained. “You helped me pass Trig so I could graduate, and you pushed me to go for it when I almost chickened out about going to Ohio. I don’t know if any of this would’ve happened if it wasn’t for you.”

At first, Asher didn’t really know what to say. Landon’s words left him feeling extremely touched, but strangely sad too. He couldn’t exactly explain why. “Nah, you would’ve graduated. Your coach probably would’ve murdered Mr. Marshall if he didn’t pass you.” He replied at last.

“Maybe.” Landon was clearly amused. “Still, I know it’s dumb, but this whole thing’s got me feeling all sentimental and stuff.” He laughed softly as he spoke. “So I’ve got a bunch of people I should be thanking right now, and you’re one of them. So thank you, Asher. Seriously.”

There it was again — the strange mixture of appreciation and sadness bubbling up in his chest. “Well, you’re welcome, I guess.”

“And listen, I know it’s been a long time… But maybe I can fly back out to LA and visit sometime?” Landon offered. “I’d love to see you.”

“Me too.” Asher agreed. And he really meant it.  “But I’m not living in LA right now… I’m still up in San Francisco for school.” He explained. “And I’m not sure yet where I’m gonna be next year for my residency. I applied to a bunch of hospitals between here and there, so…” Asher shrugged, though he knew Landon could not see it. “It’s kinda up in the air right now.”

“Oh shit, that’s right. Sorry.” Landon’s apology sounded sincere. “Guess I kinda forgot how long it takes to become a doctor…”

Asher laughed. “Yeah, it feels like forever… But it’ll be worth it. I think.”

“It will.” Landon replied seriously. “You’re still one of the smartest people I know, and you’re gonna be an amazing doctor someday.”

Asher smiled. “Thanks. I hope so.”

“And let me know where you end up next year. I’d still be down for making a trip out there to see you… Only if you want, though.”

“Yeah! Yeah, that’d be great.”

There was a beat of silence before Landon continued. “I’ve gotta run, but I’m so happy I got to talk to you, Asher. And thanks again.”

“You too… And congrats again on the win.” Asher fought to hide his disappointment that the conversation was coming to an end so quickly. “I know you’ve been working your ass off for this for a long time. You deserve it. So… enjoy it! Go to Disney World, or whatever it is they always say.” He forced a laugh.

Landon quickly joined in. “Would you believe I’m literally about to head to the airport right now?”

“Wait, seriously?”

“Uh-huh. I always thought it was just some weird catchphrase or something, but apparently it’s really a thing, so… I’m going for it!”

“Well, have fun!” Asher finally managed to push away his disappointment. He needed to stop being so ridiculous. “And thanks for calling. I really appreciate it.”

“Of course. I’m sorry it’s been so long. My life’s pretty crazy these days.” Landon paused. “But we’ll talk again soon, okay?”

“Okay.” Even then, Asher didn’t really believe it. “It was really great talking to you. Bye, Landon.”

A few months after their conversation, Asher tried to call Landon and let him know he’d be back in LA for his residency after all… But the number had been disconnected, and as far as he could tell, Landon never tried calling him again.

It had been a little more than five years now since that phone call, and Asher had been certain that he would never see or hear from Landon again. He’d accepted it. Made peace with it. And now…

Asher felt like he was practically sprinting down the hall toward the exam room he’d left Landon in just two hours before. Now that his shift was officially over, he was free to go back and visit — Not as a doctor this time, but as a friend.

Asher was considerably calmer than he’d been earlier, but still struggling to believe what had happened. Much as he’d secretly longed for the chance to see Landon again someday, he could honestly say that he would rather it never have happened at all than for it to have been like this.

The memory of that last phone call stung terribly now. He had been so overjoyed back then at seeing Landon’s dreams finally come true… And now here he was again, witness to those very same dreams being completely crushed. Forever. It didn’t matter whether he recovered or not — Landon would never play football again.

Asher paused outside the door and took a breath. He needed to put on a brave face for Landon. Forcing a smile and giving a quick knock, he stepped inside.

The room was completely empty. 

Shit… they moved him already. Asher cursed himself. He should’ve known it wouldn’t be long before they sent him to another floor. No one stayed in the Emergency department for more than an hour or two. They always got sent somewhere else.

Luckily it didn’t take him long to find Gwen again, this time by the nurses station. 

She did not appear surprised at all when he approached. “Looking for your ‘friend’?” Asher could practically hear the air-quotes she’d put around the word. He chose to ignore it.

“Yeah… What floor is he on?”

Gwen shook her head. “No non-family visitors right now. Not til he’s out of surgery.”

Asher’s eyes widened slightly. “He’s in surgery already?”

“In the morning.” She clarified, sighing. “Try again after your shift tomorrow.”

“But… I promised I’d visit him tonight.” Asher felt like a whiny little kid, but he had to see Landon again and find out what was going on with him. He needed to know that he would be alright… Or at least, as alright as he could be, given the circumstances.

Gwen shrugged. “He’s gonna be here for at least a few days. You’ll have plenty of chances to see him.”

Asher hesitated for just a moment, before a series of questions he knew he shouldn’t be asking began spilling from his lips. He couldn’t help himself. “Okay, but just… How bad is it? Obviously it’s an SCI… but complete? Incomplete? Does he have a concussion? Where did –”

Gwen raised a hand, cutting off the flow of his word-vomit. “Asher, go home.” The tone she was using reminded him of his mother. “You know I can’t tell you any of that anyway. He’s not your patient.”

“I know, I know…” He replied, defeated. 

Gwen gave him a strange, almost pitying look. “You know he’s in good hands here, right? You’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

She seemed to hesitate. “And, to answer your first question… it’s not quite as bad as I thought it was at first glance. And that’s all I’m going to say before they swoop in here and take my license away.”

Asher was shocked. This was, without a doubt, the nicest she’d ever been to him. “Thanks, Gwen. I —“

“Dr. Danielson.” She corrected him, giving a small shake of her head. “Now go home.”

Unfortunately, he had no choice but to comply. 

He was so lost in his thoughts on his way back down the hallway, that Asher almost ran into Darryll. It looked like he’d just arrived for his shift.

“Hey, Asher… Word to the wise, I’d look at sneaking out a side entrance if I were you.”

“What? Why?”

His friend shrugged. “Bunch of paparazzi and nosy-ass tabloid reporters stalking the place. You guys got Samantha Murdock in there or what?”

Holy shit… the paps found out already?! Asher shook his head. “Not her, but, uh… I think your friends in orthopedics are gonna have someone interesting in the OR tomorrow morning.” He tried his best to smile. Thankfully Darryll wasn’t an orthopedic surgeon. Otherwise he’d be way too tempted to grill him about Landon.

“Oh?” Darryll smiled, clearly interested. “Anyone I’d know?”

“Maybe…” Asher shifted his feet uncomfortably. “Listen, I’ve gotta run. But thanks for the heads up. I’ll try and dodge the paps if I can.”

“Well, if you can’t, make sure they get your good side!” Darryll teased, giving a wave and a hearty chuckle before continuing on down the hallway, leaving Asher alone at last.

He let out a heavy sigh. Now that no one else was in sight, Asher finally let some of the weight of what he was feeling come crashing down on him. It was all so damn overwhelming… The past twelve hours fell like an absolute whirlwind. How had he gone from coffee with Ollie to… this?!

The moment Ollie’s name crossed his mind, Asher felt an unpleasant twisting sensation in the pit of his stomach. Everything that had happened with Ollie recently was bad enough. But now adding Landon to the mix too? Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any more complicated…

And the worst part was, Asher had a horrible, sinking feeling that this was only the beginning.

17 thoughts on “9.46: Dreams

  1. No worries! Thank you for continuing the story! It is definitely worth the wait, and understand life happens ❤
    Especially this year 🤯
    I'll be here for the next chapter whenever it comes out, do what you need to when you need to. 🥰

    *Goes back to lurking in the shadows*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So excited to see another chapter. No apologies needed. 2020 needs to be gone. It’s totally messed with everyone. 😭😭😭. But escaping into the land of the Rosebrooks and their bad decision making journals helps!

    Now … onto today’s new cliffhanger …. augh. I was all ready to see Landon. I guess he’s in no situation to talk to Asher anyway until after surgery. So … that phone call. Wow, Landon still has fond feelings towards Asher to call him after a big life event like that. Of course it was 5 years ago. But he obviously wanted to talk to Asher when they brought him in too. I wonder if things are gonna get weird again or if Landon is in a relationship. Surely someone like him would be. Ollie. You better get back, you just got major competition again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, there is a definite fondness for Asher on Landon’s part (and vice versa too!). And of course, that same fondness is there for Asher and Ollie too…

      We will find out more about Landon’s current romantic situation soon, I promise! 😉 Last we/Asher heard, he was dating a hot Italian model. But that was a couple months ago story-time (and real life time LOL) so… who knows what’s happening now? 🤷🏻‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You really do not have to apologize 💖
    In many ways, the world has gone totally unpredictable. We just have to do the best we can.

    I read a little too many heartbreaking stories today and as for Asher, I did not expect anything else.
    Sorry 😳😊

    It was therefore quite interesting to see him think back to the call from Landon five years ago.
    Dare I call it uplifting? 🤔

    As for Asher, everything quickly ends in a worried frown 🙁
    Asher has never come to a clarification and now it seems that the trials of the past are returning. Asher – Ollie – Landon … the eternal tree.

    I’m excited about where the story is going now … because I should know you badly if this ends in a tragedy without development.
    I mean there is still another generation before we reach a final conclusion 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehe definitely uplifting, in a way! It was nice showing that moment — they’re both clearly fond of each other, even after all these years. But yes, a worried frown will probably live on Asher’s face for a while! Haha he is feeling so overwhelmed right now by the love triangle of the past coming back to haunt him… poor guy 😛

      Thank you for your understanding and your kind comment too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Only the beginning! That’s an understatement! Bahahahaaaa!

    Well…hopefully Asher can visit Landon soon. And I’m torn between the two guys. (Even though I’m Ollies Sim mama).

    That was a sweet phone call back in the day. Asher should have jumped on it.

    Now to the rest of the story…😈😈😈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehehe definitely just the beginning 😈

      Asher is determined to visit Landon sooner or later… though that might cause even more trouble Hehehehe Definitely a sweet memory with that phone call… hopefully Asher won’t end up as torn as you are though 😉 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I completely understand it is hectic. Especially this year in total. I bet it isn’t easy being a teacher in these times. Take all the time you need ❤ We'll be here when you publish the next chapter and all the others to follow ❤

    Asher is really in the middle of a shit storm right now. I feel for him. On one side he's got Ollie and he really cares about him and I feel like there is still something between them… is it love?

    And then there is Landon. I predict that if he really can't ever play football again, he will come down with a depression. He and Asher will get back together (i don't think Landon has a partner?) and they'll move in together, and Landon will for a while end up on the couch, binge drinking and eating chips out of the bag and watch sports, cussing out all the mistakes his former team mates makes. And punishing himself for not being there to help them out. And Asher will get so frustrated with him that he will force Landon to go to therapy. Either that or they break up. And Landon will go and he will get better, and over the course of a year or two he will find himself again, apologize to Asher and they will live a long and happy life together. And over the years they'll adopt a cute little girl and they will all three be so happy together.

    Now Ollie – He will be heartbroken when Asher chooses Landon. And he will be angry with the both of them, and he will end up moving away again and not speak to the two and Lilly for a long time. Then when they are all gray and wrinkly, Ollie will make contact with Asher and Lilly again and they will make up and be friends again. In the meantime Ollie will either have become a grumpy old man, or he will have found another love in his life. But he will never have forgotten Asher as the love of his life.

    ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry it took forever to reply to this comment! I really like your predictions… you never know what could happen 😉

      And thank you so much for your understanding! The next chapter is finally in-progress, so maybe this weekend? 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.