Chapter 25 Welcome back
"So, Carlitos. Are you ready to get out of here?"
Carlos looks up from his hospital bed, where he's already sitting fully clothed. He grins widely as he watches James hop into the room on his crutches.
"God yes. I just want to go home and sleep in my own bed again." James smiles back.
"Okay, Carlos, let's go home." Kendall says as he walks into the room with Logan in tow, pushing a wheelchair.
"Uh, what is that?" Carlos asks, pointing at the wheelchair.
"This is what they call a wheelchair. It's used to transport people who can't or are not allowed to walk on their own." Carlos glares at his smart friend.
"Yes, thank you, Logan. But I can walk perfectly fine on my own." Logan and Kendall exchange looks.
"Right. Just sit in the chair, buddy." Kendall tells him and he walks towards him, ready to help him get up. Carlos holds up a hand.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm helping you stand up and sit in the wheelchair."
"I don't need any help, Kendall. I'm fine now, why else would they let me leave?"
"Just because you're well enough to leave the hospital, doesn't mean you're fine."
"Well, I feel fine, Logan. So, I can walk out all by myself. Why don't you give James the wheelchair, he looks tired leaning on those crutches."
"Hey!" James protests.
"Okay, fine. If you think you can handle it, let's go." Kendall says as he steps aside holding up his hands.
"Uh, Kendall, I don't think this is such a good idea." Logan quietly mentions to is friend.
"I know, Logan. But he's stubborn. He needs to find out just how wrong he is. So if he wants to walk out, I say let him."
"He'll never make it to the parking lot." Kendall chuckles.
"He'll never even make it out of the room, Logan. You give him too much credit." Logan looks worried.
"This is a really bad idea."
"Let's just watch. We're right here."
They watch as Carlos slowly starts to get off the bed. The moment he puts his feet on the floor, he nearly falls over. Logan wants to walk over, but Kendall puts a hand on his chest to stop him.
Again they stare with worried glances at their friend who is trying his hardest not to show the pain he's feeling as he slowly starts to move. He keeps one hand on the bed as he tries to stand up straight and make his way to the door. His breathing has become heavier, but he is still too stubborn to admit it.
"Carlos, just come sit down. It doesn't make you any less cool." James tells him.
"I'm fine, just give me a minute." All three boys sigh and Kendall shakes his head. He moves very slowly and stands up straight, letting go of the bed now. "See, I'm fine." He says with a smile.
"Carlos, you're still standing next to the bed. The door is way over here." Logan hits Kendall with a glare as he just grabs his chest with a wince. "What?" Logan just shakes his head.
"I-I know that. I'm walking over right now, see?" He says with a smile as he very slowly starts to walk. The guys can see his breathing getting more difficult as he tries to move. He blinks faster and even bites his lip now and again, showing them he is still in pain.
"Carlos…" Kendall starts this time.
"I can do this.." He replies, panting. He moves again, but suddenly grabs his stomach and tries his best not to cry out. He wants to move again, but hisses at the movement. He nearly falls to the floor, but Kendall catches him before he can.
"So, are you finally done proving yourself?" He asks with concern laced through his voice. Carlos looks up at him and then gives a small embarrassed smile and nods. He gently helps his friend up and guides him towards the wheelchair. He lets out a long breath when he finally sits down in the chair.
"You okay?" Logan worriedly asks.
"Yeah, I'm alright. Let's just go home." Carlos quietly tells them with a smile.
Then suddenly Logan slaps the back of his head.
"Ow, Logan. What was that for?"
"Idiot. You don't need to act cool around us. When you're in pain, just tell us! Every time you do this, you are so stubborn.." Carlos sighs as Logan drags on and on while pushing his wheelchair, while James and Kendall just chuckle behind them.
"Well, we're here." Kendall says as he pushes the wheelchair towards their home. Carlos breathes in deeply.
"Ah, the Palmwoods. I've missed this place."
"…and stay out! Rotten teens, always messing up my lobby.."
"Hey, Mr. Bitters!" He shouts with a small wave and big smile.
"Oh no, you four are complete again? But it was so quiet around here. I'm going to hire more security guards." He grumbles.
"Aww, I missed you too, Bitters." The other guys chuckle.
"Come on, Carlitos, let's head to the pool."
"Wait, we're not going to the apartment?"
"Not yet. Don't you want to see the pool again?" James asks him.
"Well yeah, but it's not fun when I can't jump into it.." He pouts. Kendall laughs from behind the wheelchair.
"You'll be fine, buddy. There's plenty of things to do at the pool without getting wet."
"Like what?" he asks in horror.
"You'll see." Kendall replies with a mischievous grin. The other guys share equal grins as Carlos looks around in fear.
"Guys? What does that mean? Guys?" They just grin and head for the Palmwoods pool. Carlos is still scared when they open the double doors.
"Surprise!" He jumps and screams a little at all the people yelling surprise at him.
"What's going on?" He looks around and sees familiar faces with big smiles on their faces. He looks further and sees a large sign hanging up, which says 'Welcome back, Carlos!' He then smiles widely. "You mean, this is all for me?"
"They really missed you." James tells him.
"Welcome back, Carlos." Camille and Jo tell him, each giving him a gentle hug. "It hasn't been the same here without you. The guys are really boring without you acting crazy."
"Hey!" The other guys shout in protest.
"Come on, Carlos, we'll show you the cake we got you." Camille says as she grabs the wheelchair from Kendall and starts to push him away.
"You know, you really don't have t push me, I can totally walk by myself." He starts to get up.
"Don't even think about it, Carlos!" Logan shouts from behind him. He quickly sits again and crosses his arms, grumbling under his breath.
"What was that?" Jo asks him.
"Nothing. Let's just go find that cake!" he says, his smile fully back. The girls just laugh and shake their heads. They start to walk again, when suddenly the Jennifers stop them. Carlos' mouth falls open when seeing them.
"What do you girls want?" Camille angrily asks them.
"We just want to say…" One starts.
"that even though we always thought it was annoying the way you followed us around everywhere…" Number two goes on.
"we were really worried about you and…" Number three adds.
"We missed you." The three say in unison before giving him a kiss on the cheek and walking away again.
Camille and Jo chuckle as Carlos doesn't say a word. He just has his eyes closed and a weird grin on his face.
"Uh, Carlos? Are you okay?" Camille asks.
"Yeah…" he breathes out dreamily, opening his eyes slowly.
"Come on, lover boy, let's get you that cake."
The party goes on for a few more hours, Carlos getting all the attention he always wanted from everyone there. But the guys decide the party is over when they see their friend yawn for the fifth time in half an hour.
"Come on, Carlitos, you've had enough excitement for one day." His dad tells him as he grabs his wheelchair and starts to push him inside.
"Aw, but dad… I can.." He is interrupted by his own yawn. "Sorry.. Maybe I am a little tired." His dad just smiles and pushes him towards the elevators. The guys follow quickly.
Back at the apartment, Antonio Garcia helps his son into bed, with a lot of protesting from his side. When he's finally in bed, the guys come in.
"Okay, I'll be in the living room. So if you need anything.."
"I'm fine, dad."
"Alright then, goodnight son." He tells him and kisses his forehead. Carlos groans and wipes it off.
"Dad…" Antonio just chuckles and walks out.
Carlos looks up at his friends, who are grinning at him strangely.
"That was such a cute moment.." Kendall says, dramatically wiping a fake tear away.
"Oh, shut up." Carlos says as he flings a pillow towards his friend. All three guys just laugh out loud.
Then Carlos yawns again.
"Well, we better go to our own room, so you can sleep. Come on, Kendall." Logan states as he gets up to leave.
"No, wait." He stops and turns around. "Maybe we can sleep here tonight." Kendall suggests.
"I think we should just let Carlos catch some sleep."
"Yeah, but it'll be fun. Come on, Logan, don't you remember our sleepovers in Minnesota?"
"Yes, I do, so like I said, Carlos needs to sleep."
"It's okay, Logie, I'd really like it if you guys stayed." Kendall breathes a sigh of relief as Carlos agrees with him.
"Great. Let's go get our stuff, Logan."
"I thought you were tired?" James asks as soon as the other two leave the room.
"I am, but Kendall needs this. He hasn't left our sides since the trip. I think he might be scared of losing us." Carlos tells him. James is somewhat amazed that Carlos picked up on that, he hadn't even noticed. But looking back, Kendall really did nearly panic every time one of them left the room. And Carlos did seem to pick up quickly on the others feelings.
Pretty soon all four guys are in the room. Carlos and James in their own beds and Logan and Kendall in sleeping bags on the floor.
"Wow, this brings back a lot of memories."
"Yeah, it does. I remember one sleepover where James woke up with different hair." Carlos says.
"I remember that one and I still don't find it funny!" James grumbles.
"Oh come on, James. I thought you completely rocked that purple hair."
"I don't want to talk about this anymore! That was a bad day…" The other guys burst out laughing.
"Ow, stop, you're making my stomach hurt…" Carlos says in between laughs, making the other guys stop right away.
"Are you okay, Carlos?"
"Do you want me to get your painkillers?"
"I'm fine, guys, really." They're all quiet. "I'm really glad to be back here with you guys. There was a time I really didn't think it would happen again." Nobody responds. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ruin our sleepover."
"I was really scared. I thought we were going to lose you." James quietly says.
"We almost did, twice." Kendall reminds him.
"What do you mean?" Carlos asks them.
"They lost you twice the day they found us."
"They lost me?"
"You died, Carlos.." Carlos grows quiet as Kendall goes on. "I broke down, I couldn't imagine having to go on with just the three of us. It just wouldn't be the same. I'm really glad you're okay. All three of you. I don't know what I would have done if one of you.." He doesn't continue.
"But we didn't. We're all still here, Kendall. We're all okay." Logan reminds him.
"Speak for yourself. I died, twice?" Carlos suddenly mentions.
"Can we please not talk about that anymore? I've had enough nightmares about it." James tells them.
"Sorry James.. I didn't know I put you guys through so much…"
"Yeah, well, you're okay now. So let's just forget it ever happened."
"So, I got kissed by the Jennifers today. All three of them. At the same time."
"We know, Carlos. We saw you." Logan reminds him.
"And you've told us like five times already." Kendall adds.
"They said they missed me."
"Carlos, they missed you because you're the only guy who keeps following them around all day. They missed you stalking them." James says.
"Yeah well, they still missed me. And kissed me." The other guys groan and each throw a pillow at their friend. "Whatever. You're just jealous." They all laugh at this.
"I got some good news too." Logan quietly says.
"What is it, Logan?"
"I talked to my dad today and he says he's going to try and spend more time with me."
"He's said that before." Kendall huffs.
"Yes, maybe. But he says he's really sorry and he's even looking for an assistant to help him out with all his phone calls. He's coming to stay in LA next week and he's promised we're going to spend all week together. He's cancelled all his appointments."
"That sounds great, Logie." Carlos tells him.
"Yeah, I'm really happy for you too. I guess my mom talking to him did have an effect." Kendall tells him.
"I think it also has something to do with Carlos' dad handcuffing him to a chair and forcing him to give up his phone. After that, he threatened to lock him up into a real police cell with real criminals if he didn't try harder as a dad." They all laugh out loud.
"Yeah, I guess my dad needs to take sensitivity training once again." Carlos chuckles.
"How many times has it been now? Ten?" James asks.
"Fifteen actually." The guys burst out laughing again.
"Speaking of anger management issues; Do you guys think Gustavo will try to get us into the studio now that were all out of the hospital?"
"I'll bet he's already planned a rehearsal for tomorrow, but Kelly is keeping him from calling us." They all laugh at this as they imagine a screaming Gustavo and Kelly rolling her eyes and putting headphones on her ears.
"I can't wait to go back to rehearsals. I wouldn't mind things to be normal again." James tells them.
"Yeah, especially now that we're not fighting anymore." They all smile a little at Carlos' statement.
"I guess that camping trip was good for something then, huh?" Kendall adds. They chuckle.
"Maybe next time Gustavo wants to give us time off, we could go camping again!" Carlos excitedly says.
"No!" The others shout in unison. Carlos shrinks back into his bed.
"I was just suggesting it."
"Sorry, Carlos. But next time we get time off, we should just ask for Griffin's beach house again. Some nice sun, surfing, now that is relaxing." James says, putting his hands under his head and smiling dreamily.
"Yeah, until you surf into a cliff." Kendall tells him.
"Hey! I am an excellent surfer."
"You almost drowned last time." Carlos reminds him.
"That was an accident. I lost my footing. And besides, I met a great girl through that experience."
"Who dumped you after you thought she was a mermaid." Kendall replies.
"That was an honest mistake. And I still got a kiss out of it."
"How would that make it better? You laid on the sand and thought you were turning into a mermaid yourself."
"Merman, Kendall. Men are called merman."
"I know." Another pillow fight is started, until Logan interrupts them.
"Uh, guys?" They stop and look at their friend, who points to a now peacefully sleeping Carlos.
"This isn't over, Kendall." James whispers. He is met by another pillow smacking him in the face and a quiet chuckle in the dark as Logan turns off the lights.
"Just go to sleep guys, you can kill each other in the morning."
"Fine. Goodnight guys."
"G'night.." Kendall closes off with a yawn.
"Goodnight Carlos." They whisper in unison.
"Goodnight Jennifer.." He dreamily replies. The guys have to fight back their laughter.
Yep, things were really back to normal…
Well, there you have it. The story is really over now. I hope you all liked reading it as much as I loved writing it
Pretty soon I'll post a new story with lots of angst and drama again for all four boys. It's a lot darker than this one, but I hope you all like that. Plenty of whumpage anyway ;)
Thank you all for your support and I hope to see you all again for the next stories
Until next time!