-Chapter Two-

It feels like we ve been waiting for days, Edison complained, checking the clock for what seemed to be the fiftieth time. I just wish I knew what was taking so long. How long does an appendectomy take?

Not this long, Murray replied.

His appendix may have burst, Theora suggested. That happened to Shawn when he went in. They had to clean out the abdominal cavity to prevent peritonitis. It takes a little while.

Poor Bryce, Edison said. First Security Systems, now he has to have surgery. I think I m going to suggest that Cheviot let him have some time off.

He d never take it, Murray pointed out. Bryce loves technology too much to leave it for any length of time. It s probably the only thing he ever will love.

Except Theora trailed off.

Except what? That stupid parrot of his? Murray asked, recalling a time the bird had bitten him.

No, not the parrot, Theora smiled, thoughtfully.
You think he has a crush on you, Theo? Edison asked.

Stop calling me that, Theora chastised. And no, I don t think Bryce has a crush on me.

Edison nodded. Then who

You re the one he s got the crush on.

Edison pointed to himself. Me? But

You two have been through a lot together, Theora pointed out. You re both Max s parents in a way. Plus you ve both gone through a mutual near-death experience. That s both ends of life you ve shared together. Of course he s going to feel some attachment to you.

Theora, that s crazy, Edison remarked.

Amen, Murray agreed.

Then why does Bryce use Edison s first name when he refers to everyone else by their last? Theora asked, triumphantly.

They re friends?

Bryce is also my friend, Theora pointed out. But he calls me by my last name.

Well, this is awkward, Edison admitted. I ve always thought of him

As a little brother, Theora nodded. We both do. I guess

Edison Carter, a doctor asked from the other side of the room.

Edison went over to the doctor, along with Murray and Theora.

How is he?

He s going to be just fine, Mr. Carter, the doctor replied. He s in recovery and he ll be waking up in about an hour. You can go and sit with him now, if you like.

Thank you, Edison said as he and the others followed the doctor into the recovery room where Bryce had been put.

It was about an hour and a half before Bryce finally opened his eyes. When he did, he felt a little disoriented at first. It was a bit unsettling to find himself in an unfamiliar room. But he was relieved at least that there was no longer any pain in his midsection. Still, it was very disturbing not to wake up in the same place he d gone to bed. It was, therefore, very comforting to see Edison, Theora, and Murray standing by his bedside. His mind calmed itself, and he reasoned that he was probably in a medical center.

How do you feel? Edison asked.

Better, Bryce admitted. How did I get here?

Max called for help when he saw you were in pain, Edison explained.

Good old Max, Bryce praised.

Thank you thank you thank you, Max replied from the wall-mounted TV. And it s good to see you re feeling bet bet better.

Thanks, Max, Bryce smiled, sleepily, failing to stifle a yawn.

Sounds like you could use a little rest, Edison said. We ll leave you sleep and come back in a while.

Stay, Edison, Bryce said, softly, as he drifted off in spite of himself.

Definitely in love, Theora decided, as she took Murray s hand and led him out of the room with Murray looked a bit nonplussed.

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