Nolan sat at the back of the waiting room on one of the uncomfortable chairs. He wouldn’t have been there if Nelson hadn’t climbed that tree. Nelson had climbed all the way to the top and fell. Nolan was inside, but had heard a loud crrrraaaccckkkk and Nelson’s scream and immediately called nine-one-one. Nolan had also told Nelson not to climb the tree earlier that day. Dumb twelve-year-olds.
Now Nolan was worried and angry. His little brother was now in the hospital (worried). It wouldn’t have happened if Nelson listened (angry). Nolan’s hands were sweaty and his mind was racing.
“Son, are you alright?” Nolan came back from his trance and looked to his left. It was a man, most likely around his mid-thirties.
“Yeah, I’m alright.” Nolan forced a smile and the man nodded before turning back to his magazine. Nolan sighed and leaned back in his chair.
This is all my fault. Mom’s gonna kill me. Nolan sighed again. He decided to close his eyes and fell asleep quickly.
Nolan woke up with a start. He hoped it was all a bad dream, but when he looked around, he was still in the waiting room. Still anxious.
He looked behind him and out the window. The sun was setting; it was probably around nine o’clock at night. Nolan turned to his left and the kind man from earlier was gone. He stood up and stretched before collapsing back down on the chair. His eyes closed and he was asleep again.
Nolan woke up for the second time to bright lights blinding him. The source was a nice chandelier that was hanging above him. Without turning around, he could tell that it was pitch black outside. He brought his wrist up so it was straight and looked at his watch. Midnight and he still hadn’t heard anything about Nelson. Nolan stood up and walked to the front desk.
“Excuse me?” The lady sitting there looked up at him.
“How can I help you, sir?” Nolan thought for a minute; what did he need help with?
“I was just wondering if there was any news about my little brother? His name is Nelson Miller. I’m his older brother, Nolan Miller. Here’s my ID.” Nolan reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. He dug around before pulling out his ID and handing it to the woman. She took it from him and looked at it.
“Here you go. Let me pull up his file on the computer real quick.” She handed Nolan his ID back and he stuck it in his wallet, which he stuck back in his back pocket. He watched as she typed on her computer and stared at the screen. A minute passed by before she stopped typing and looked up at him, but it felt like an hour to Nolan.
“There’s nothing that I can tell you. But his doctor should be out soon and she can tell you more. I’m sorry.” Nolan nodded and thanked the woman. He turned around and walked back to his seat. Squirming a little, he made himself as comfortable as possible in the uncomfortable conditions. Nolan pulled out his phone and tapped on Instagram. He scrolled and scrolled through his feed until he heard his name called.
“Uhhh… Nolan Miller? Is Nolan Miller here?” Nolan looked up in surprise and quickly put his phone back in his pocket and walked to the front of the room. The doctor was an average woman, but she had bright blue streaks in her hair. She was looking at the clipboard she was holding, so he couldn’t see her face.
“Hi, I’m Nolan. Is there news on my little brother?” The woman looked up and Nolan gasped. She looked just as surprised as he did.
“I-I...uh...didn’t recognize your name.” Her eyes widened.
“Yeah. Long time no see. Literally.” Nolan was suddenly more interested in his shoe than talking to her.
“Anyways, about your brother. I’m the nurse-in-training, by the way. He broke his left arm and left leg. He also broke his ring and middle finger on his left hand and fractured his right wrist. We’re not sure exactly how long he’ll have to stay in the hospital, but most likely a minimum of two weeks.” She looked at her clipboard again and nodded.
“Thanks, Maddy.” She flinched at the name. “Oh. Does everyone call you Madelyn now?” Nolan was suddenly embarrassed, even though there was no reason to be.
“Yeah. Once I graduated from college I switched back to Madelyn. Where did you end up cho-Gotta go and check on Nelson. See ya’ around?” Nolan nodded and she walked away, down the long hallway. Nolan turned on his heel and walked back to his seat and sat down before closing his eyes and smacking himself repeatedly on the forehead.
“How can you be so stupid? The first time you’ve seen her in two years and you say ten words. Stupid, stupid, stupid.” Nolan leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands.
“She misses you, too.” Nolan looked up and a girl-no older than thirteen-was twisted backwards in her chair looking at him.
“Who are you?” Nolan sat up straight and looked at the girl with his eyebrows raised.
“You don’t remember me? I’m Madelyn’s little sister Mallory. I was ten when you and Mad split up.” Now he remembered her. She was the girl who could always make even the saddest person laugh with her cute little jokes.
“Oh. Yeah. What do you mean she misses me? It was two years ago. How would she still miss me?” Nolan stood up and Mallory watched as he walked around the row of seats she was in and sat next to her. She twisted herself around to face him again.
“You really don’t get girls, do you? Unless she was forced into the relationship, a girl will always have at least a little bit of feelings for him. You know, she hasn’t dated anyone since you broke up. And it’s because she knows no one will be as good as you.” Mallory shrugged and leaned back in her chair.
“The moment I saw the way she looked at you, I knew that no man on this earth would be as good as you for her.” Mallory got up and walked over to the book shelf that was nestled in the corner. Nolan thought about following her and asking more questions, but his gut was telling him it wasn’t a good idea. So, he sat. And he thought. About her.
“Come on, little bro. I gotta take you back over to the hospital ‘cause you’re due for another check-up.” Nelson nodded and let Nolan push him in his wheelchair out to the minivan. Nolan opened the backseat door and pulled the ramp out. He pushed Nelson up and locked him in.
“Thanks.” Nelson forced a smile; he never liked going to the hospital. Even if he had been doing it for a month now.
“Anytime.” Nolan closed the door and got in the driver’s seat. He sighed and started the car up. They were already about half way there when Nelson talked again.
“Why doesn’t Mom take me to my appointments? Most of the time she’s home.” Nolan slowed the van down as they came closer to an intersection and came to a full stop when he saw that it was a red light. He looked up into his mirror and made eye contact with Nelson.
“She could. She wants to. But I tell her no.” Nelson looks away and Nolan puts his eyes back on the road and starts going again.
“Because. You wouldn’t be in the condition you are now if I had been outside to stop you. I shouldn’t have left you outside by yourself; even if you are twelve.” Nelson was silent after that, and Nolan could tell that he understood. They drove the rest of the way to the hospital without another word. Except for when they both “rocked out” to their favorite song when it came on the radio.
When they pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, Nolan heard an obvious sigh from Nelson.
“It’ll be okay. It’s just going to be Doctor Keef this time. No one else. Just him. Okay, bud?” Nolan twisted around in his seat and looked at Nelson. He nodded and Nolan unbuckled his seat belt. He got out and did the whole process of getting Nelson out of the van. Nolan pushed Nelson into the hospital waiting room and put him next to the middle row of chairs. He ruffled Nelson’s hair before walking up to the front desk to check in. Nelson looked all around, but didn’t see any sign of her.
“Hey.” She jumped out from behind the chairs and jumped over the one next to him and sat down on it.
“Hi. How come I didn’t see you this time?” Nelson turned his head to look at her.
“I hid behind your wheelchair so you wouldn’t see me when you looked around.” Mallory smiled and readjusted herself so she could look at Nelson.
“Have you gotten anything out of Madelyn yet?” Nelson looked at Mallory with expectant eyes.
“N-have you gone to the beach lately?” Nelson didn’t understand at first, so he was about to respond when he felt Nolan standing to the left of him.
“No. It’s been too hot. How about you?” Mallory pretended to just realize Nolan was there and looked up at him.
“Oh, hey, Nolan! How’s it going?” Nolan smiled and shrugged.
“Pretty good, pretty good. Nelson, they’re ready for you right now. Let’s go.” Nelson nodded and said his goodbyes to Mallory. Nolan pushed him away and into the office.
“At exactly five-oh-eight, you will stand right here with the rose in your hand in your suit and all that. Because at that exact time, Maddy will be walking out of those doors. Got it?” Mallory smiled and rubbed her hands together (similar to an evil villain with a brilliant plan). She looked at Nelson, who was looking at Nolan, who was looking at the automatic doors that Madelyn would walk out of.
“Okay. I’ll do it. You guys are sure that she’ll say yes?” Nelson rolled his eyes and Mallory chuckled.
“Of course she will. She’s been talking about you all week.” Mallory laughed loudly at Nolan’s shocked expression and pulled him to the side. Nelson followed on his crutches.
“Five minutes and you’re going to stand there. Madelyn’s going to walk through those doors. You’re going to ask her out on a date. You both live happily ever after or whatever. Got it, big bro?” Nelson smiled as Nolan smiled. This is going to be priceless, Mallory thought.
For the next five minutes, the group just stood right next to the doors, going over the plan again and again. When there was only thirty seconds left until Madelyn would walk out, Mallory and Nelson pushed Nolan to his position and whispered at him to “Stand up straight!” and “Smile bright!”. Just as Mallory had said, Madelyn walked out of the doors at five-oh-eight. Mallory and Nelson laughed when Madelyn stopped in her tracks the second she saw Nolan.
“Madelyn Noelle Hall, will you go on a second first date with me?” Nolan held out the rose and smiled. Madelyn started slowly walking towards him and plucked the rose out of his fingers.
“Sure. Pick me up at seven on Saturday.” Madelyn walked off and to her car. Nolan smiled and started jumping up and down.
“Nolan! We’re in front of a hospital!” Nolan realized what he was doing and ran back over to the kids.
“Congratulations, bro.” Nelson smiled and punched Nolan in the arm. Nolan pretended to be severely injured and then smiled even more.
“Do you, Nolan Jay Miller, take Madelyn Noelle Hall to be your lawfully wedded wife?” The minister held his bible in his hands and smiled.
“I do.” Nolan smiled the brightest he had in what felt like an eternity. He smiled at the beautiful woman standing in front of him. He smiled at the wonderful friends and family sitting around him.
“And do you, Madelyn Noelle Hall, take Nolan Jay Miller to be your lawfully wedded husband?” Madelyn wiped away a tear from her eyes and nodded.
“I do.” Those two words were so powerful, yet so simple.
“Then I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.” The minister added a slightly mischievous tone to those last words and closed his bible. Nolan leaned in and dipped Madelyn. She laughed and kissed him.
“I told you they’d live happily ever after.” Mallory nudged Nelson and he laughed.
“You were right. You were so right.” Nelson grabbed Mallory’s hand and held on tight.