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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Forgotten Prince Ch. 6


After Dane’s surgery, he was moved to the ICU, so the doctors could monitor him. Taz and his parents had taken turns sitting at his bedside for the next forty-eight hours. Dane had slept through most of those two days, only staying awake for a couple hours at a time.

During one of those brief interludes, Taz had told him of his decision to marry Tepin.

"Dane," he had said haltingly, "I told Tepin I'd marry him. I'll be leaving as soon as I get my passport." He chewed his bottom lip as he waited for his brother to reply. He was a little afraid of how he'd react to the news.

"That's great, Taz," Dane said. He smiled, but it was sad, resigned smile, making him look older than his fifteen years. Taz hated to see that look on his brother's face.

"But...?" Taz prompted, because he knew there was something his brother wasn't saying.

Smiling sardonically, Dane said, "I knew you'd pick up on that." Dane looked out the hospital room's big window, as if the mid-morning sun would tell him how to continue.

Taz said nothing as the silence stretched into a minute. He took the time to examine his brother. Dane's hair was disheveled, and his skin was a little pale. He looked tired and sore, but otherwise healthy, considering he's just had open-heart surgery.

One minute became two. Taz was eternally grateful that his brother was okay. When the doctor had come out to talk to them after Dane's surgery, he had told them that the hole had been successfully closed. Once he was fully healed, Dane should be fine for the rest of his life.

Two minutes became three, and Taz was beginning to think that his brother might not tell him what was bothering him. He was about to say something when Dane sighed. His brother turned away from the window and looked at him. Dane's light brown eyes bore into into his own. Taz held his gaze, and Dane nodded, seeming to come to a decision.

"You're doing this for our parents and me." Taz just looked at him, and his brother continued. "You're going to go off to some foreign country, and marry some guy you don't know, all so you can spare our parents from going into debt.

It wasn't a question, but he answered as if it were. "Yes."


"Because I love you guys," he said, shrugging as if it were no big deal. And to him, at this moment, it wasn't. "If there's a way I can help, Dane, you know I'm going to take it."

"What about kids?"

"What about them?" Taz asked, frowning. He wasn't quit sure what his brother meant.

Dane had raised the head of his hospital bed earlier, so that he was sitting. He now leaned forward a little, careful of his chest. His face was earnest as he said, "You've always wanted kids."


"And," Dane said, clearly exasperated, if you marry this guy, and he doesn't want kids, then what? You won't be happy if you can't have kids."

Taz sighed. He dug two pieces of Werther's Original hard candies form his pocket and offered one to Dane. When his brother took the proffered candy, Taz popped his own in his mouth, sucking thoughtfully on it.

It was true that he loved kids. It was also true that he wanted to be a father someday.It was definitely something he would need to discuss with Tepin. However, as long as his family was safe and debt free, Taz thought he could be happy with or without kids.

He smiled, a small quirk of his lips. "We'll work it out."

Dane looked skeptical, and he had to laugh.

"You know, I find it amusing that I'm about to marry somebody I hardly know, and yet your only concern seems to be if I'm going to be able to have kids or not," Taz said, smiling wryly. "Aren't you worried about the serious lack of love?"

Dane grinned mischievously, his eyes lighting up like the night sky on Independence Day. "I don't think you'll have to worry about that for long."

"Why not?" Taz asked, frowning.

"Mom said he came over here with you."

Momentarily thrown by the non sequitur, he blinked. "And?"

"Mom thinks he has the hots for you."

Taz just stared blankly at him.

Dane rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically. "Mom said that Tepin couldn't keep his eyes off you."

Tepin had been watching him? His heart skipped a beat. But that made no sense, because he had sounded bitter when they were talking about it in Tepin's hotel room. Tepin had seemed to resent that he had to marry him, instead of ruling his own island.

"Are you loopy? Is the morphine making you imagine conversations?"

"I'm serious, Taz," Dane sais earnestly. "Mom said that Dane stayed close to you at all times. He even had his hand on the small of your back," he said triumphantly.

Taz snorted derisively. "He stayed near me because where else would he go? This is a hospital; he's not going to just stroll down the halls, sightseeing."

"I'll give you that, he conceded, "but what about his hand at your back? That's an awfully proprietary touch. I'm telling you," he said cheekily. "The man was staking his claim."

"Oh please," Taz muttered, his cheeks heating. "That's nothing."

"You, brotha, are in serious denial."

They looked at each and laughed.

"Ow," Dane said, his laughter almost immediately stopping, his hands moving up to clutch gingerly at his chest. "Laughing hurts."

"Do you need me to get the nurse," Taz asked, his heart racing. He was ready to panic, but Dane calmed him.

"I'm fine, dork," he said, smiling a little. "It's already starting to feel better. I just can't laugh."

Dane yawned suddenly, a big, jaw-popping yawn that startled them both. He started to giggle, and then hissed.

"Damn it. Not laughing is gonna suck," he complained.

Taz smiled, his chest tight. He loved his brother. He was protective of him, and he absolutely hated seeing him so frail in that hospital bed. It infuriated him that his brother had to go through this hell, and there was nothing that he could do to make it stop. The only think making this even remotely bearable was that according to the doctor, he wouldn't have to go through this again after this. Dane could live his life as a normal, healthy teenager.

Taz reached over and ruffled Dane's dark hair. Then he got up from the uncomfortable chair. "I'm going to go home for a bit. I'll get Mom."

Dane just nodded sleepily as he lowered the head of the bed. He snuggled down under the thin white blanket, his eyes already closing. Taz quietly slipped from the room.