One of my favorite flashbacks…
Julie walked into Tommy’s bedroom and stood at the door. “Tommy?”
“Go away,” he grumbled and rolled over. “It’s the middle of the night.”
“I don’t feel well, wake up.”
“You have to go to school. Do you have a test?” he mumbled in his sleep.
She walked to his bed and shook him. “Wake up.”
He sat up and blinked. “What is it?”
“My stomach hurts and I threw up.”
“Did you eat anything you shouldn’t have?” he turned the light on and looked at her.
She lay down on his bed and held her stomach. “Something is wrong, Tommy. I’m scared.”
He got up and touched her cheek. “You’re burning up, Jules,” he went to get the thermometer and knocked on Jack’s door. He went back and took her temp. “Shit.”
“What is it?” she asked fearfully?
“Someone better be dying,” Jack said as he made his way into the room. He scratched his chest and yawned.
“Put some clothes on. We need to go the E.R.”
He looked at Julie in the bed and walked over. “What happened?”
“I don’t feel well. My stomach really hurts and I’m so hot,” she moaned and Jack felt her forehead.
“Her temp is 103. We need to go now.”
Jack nodded and ran to throw on some clothes. He came back in and Tommy was helping Julie to stand up. “I can’t move,” she said and Tommy looked at Jack who scooped Julie in his arms and they ran to the car. Tommy sped off to the hospital.
They sat with Julie in the triage area while they waited for the doctor. She had been vomiting and was getting worse. “Am I going to die?” she asked Tommy with a tiny voice. Jack went to get someone in there immediately.
“Of course not. You are going to be just fine,” he said, his chin quivering.
She was shaking and he held her hand, his fears running into overdrive. Jack came in with the doctor. “She has appendicitis and needs to have an appendectomy right away.”
Tommy nodded. “I figured,” he looked at his sister. “Jules, you’re going to have surgery to remove your appendix. They are going to take you now.”
She looked at him and Jack. “I’m scared. Will it hurt?”
Jack smiled. “Nope. You’re going to go to sleep and when you wake up, it will all be over. You’ll feel great.”
“Will you both be here when I get up?”
The men looked at her. “You’re our whole life. We will always be here.”
She cried and nodded. “I love you both very much.”
Tommy kissed her forehead. “Love you Jules.”
Jack leaned in and kissed her cheek. “I love you Julie Bean.”
They took her in and Tommy and Jack walked into the lobby. Jack could see Tommy was ready to lose it and he sat down next to him. “She will be fine. You know that. Most surgeons can do this procedure in their sleep.”
“I didn’t even ask who was operating. Maybe I should observe?” Tommy wiped his eyes.
“We are only students. They won’t let us near the OR and they shouldn’t. She will be fine, Tommy.” Jack looked at his hands.
“You’re worried. I can see it,” Tommy said. “What am I going to do? I can’t lose her.”
Jack shook his head. “Don’t be an ass. This is nothing. She will be fine.”
“Did we miss something? Are we too busy to notice when she is suffering? Maybe she should live somewhere else.”
Jack stood up and looked at him. “I’m not listening to this. I’m going for a walk,” he paced into the hallway and felt his eyes fill with tears. Was Tommy right? Did they let Julie down? She was really the glue that held them both together. She had given them a purpose and she was the best thing in both of their lives. He slid down against the wall and put his arms on his knees.
“You’re right,” Tommy said as he walked up to him and sat down. “She will be fine.”
Jack looked at him and his eyes were wet. “I know.”
“Who would have thought? You and I as parents to a teenage girl.”
Jack grinned. “I always thought when I had a child, it would be with someone a lot more attractive and less hairy.”
Tommy chuckled. “I could say the same thing, but we’ve all seen some of the women I’ve dated.”
The two friends laughed and looked up as the doctor walked out. They scrambled to their feet.
“She did great. She will be in recovery soon and you can see her. She will need to stay a day at least, but then she can go home. We can go over more instructions then.”
“Thank you so much,” Tommy said and he hugged Jack.
“It’s always nice to see couples so devoted to each other. Julie is lucky to have you both.”
Jack and Tommy looked at each other. “Thanks. Julie is the best of both of us,” Jack said and put his arm around Tommy.
The doctor walked away and the two men laughed as they made their way to recovery.
“Julie? Can you wake up?” Tommy asked his sister as he and Jack sat next to her bed.
She opened her eyes slowly and looked at him. “Did I make it?”
Tommy grinned. “Can you see your handsome brother?”
She looked at him. “Since when do I have a handsome brother?”
Jack laughed and Julie smiled. “I’m kidding.”
“That’s not very nice,” Tommy said. “But you did just fine.”
“Is there a scar?”
Jack took her hand. “They went in laparoscopically, so there shouldn’t be any scarring.”
“Good. I need to wear my bikini soon,” she said.
Tommy crossed his arms. “No bikini. You don’t need a bikini. If you want to swim, you can wear a t-shirt and shorts.”
Julie looked at Jack. “Will you talk to him? I can’t deal with him.”
Jack smiled. “How about we discuss this tomorrow?”
“You can discuss all you want. You never need a bikini or make up or a car or anything else that will mean you’re growing up,” Tommy said.
Julie smiled at her brother. “You’re cute when you’re delusional,” she took his hand and took Jack’s hand in her others. “You are both my heroes. Thank you for being here and for being my family.”
The two men were both choked up and looked at their sister. They were blessed more than she could ever know.