Dr. Andy Yablonski was waiting. He was uncomfortable waiting in prison. He had nearly gone to this place thirteen years ago. And in his place was his brother, who was getting out today. Andy started to wring his hands nervously. Andy remembered the cold December day well. It was 1993. Andy was almost eighteen, and his brother, Logan, was almost nineteen. As they were about to leave with their stolen items, the brothers froze. Andy remembered well the shock of the adults face, seeing two burglars, mere boys, dressed in ski masks with his belongings, and wielding guns.
"Why are you doing this?" the man had asked. He glanced nervously at their guns. "Who are you?" The boys didn't respond.
Logan clicked his trigger on his gun. "If you leave us alone, sir, no one will get hurt. Just…let us go."
The man seemed to lower his guard. "Sir?" he repeated. Then the man chuckled. Andy and Logan glanced at each other nervously. "Boys like you should be-"
"Shut up!" Logan suddenly yelled. He pointed the gun at the man's head. "Be quiet," Logan snarled. "Let us be, and no one will get hurt." Logan and the man stood their ground for a couple of minutes, and then Logan slightly lowered his gun. "All right, if you behave, you'll let us get these items, we'll be on our way. And-"
"But why?" the man interrupted Logan. He was talking to Andy now, who had been silent the entire time. "Why are doing this, boy?"
Without even thinking, Andy answered. "I'm doing this because…I have to."
"Have to?" the man repeated. "You don't have to do anything, boy." Logan was observing this dangerously calm. His finger was still on the trigger as the man spoke again. "What is the real reason you're doing this, boy?" Now the man seemed to drop his guard completely.
It took a while for Andy to answer. "I do it, because…I have to feel alive. I want to feel alive. I…" Andy faltered for a second. "I…ever since I began doing this, I started to feel safe. I was… doing something. Something to forget the anger and sadness whenever I looked at her, and at my life. But I knew it was wrong, and I felt afraid all the time, and it was as if I was wrong. I would have killed myself if I didn't do the things I did to…"
"To forget." Andy finished. "I'm sorry, Logan," Andy told his brother. His brother was trembling. With anger or another emotion, Andy couldn't tell.
"What is your name?" the man suddenly asked. "Don't tell him anything!" Logan yelled to his younger brother. "Don't-"
But for the first time, Andy didn't listen to his older brother. I want this to end, he thought. I don't care…I don't care I go to prison. I just want this to end. Andy took off his ski mask, and there appeared a tall seventeen year old boy with blue eyes and dark brown bangs. "My name is Andrew, and that's my older brother, Logan." The man seemed to nod approvingly. "You know what, Andrew, you can hear the wake up call or walk away." Now the man grinned. "I think you-" "Get on your knees!" Logan yelled as Andy dropped his gun down. The man flinched. "Get on you knees!" Logan screamed. "Logan-!" Andy never got the chance to finish his sentence. For when he jumped between the man and Logan, the man pulled the trigger of his own gun. Excruciating pain erupted from his right leg. Another shot rang out, and pain erupted again. Andy remembered screaming. "Andrew!" Logan had yelled, and that's when Andy had blacked out.
"I did this for you, little brother," Andy remembered Logan saying goodbye. "And you threw it all away! And for what? It doesn't matter now! Goodbye, Andy!" Some goodbye, Andy sarcastically thought. It's been thirteen years. I wonder if he's changed.
"Dr. Yablonski?" A voice interrupted Andy's thoughts.
"Yes?" Andy replied.
"Your brother, Logan W. Yablonski, is released now. He's here to see you."
"Thank you, officer." Andy said.
"You're welcome." The officer walked away.
Andy sighed. How was this going to work out? In November last year, their uncle and caretaker, Michael had asked Andy to resume his criminal activity "to help" him. Andy had declined, and so far, since that day, Andy had not seen Michael, nor Michael's shadowy friend, Casper. I wouldn't be surprised if they asked Logan, Andy thought while opening the door. After all, Logan had been in prison with them for the same time. Then again, Logan would be older. He would be an adult now, thirty four, and no longer an almost-nineteen year old boy. Andy opened the door and walked inside.
"Hey, Andrew," Logan stood up and shook his brother's hand.
"Hey, Logan." Andy was at loss at what to say. "Are you ready to get out?"
Logan shrugged, which seemed to be a nod, according to Andy. Andy surveyed his older brother who he hadn't seen in over a decade. Logan was tall, taller than Andy's six foot two; Logan was six foot five. The brothers looked more alike than different, though. They both had the same short dark brown hair and the similar face features that made them attractive. Logan had their father's chocolate brown eyes, while Andy had their mother's blue. Andy suddenly remembered they day when he and Logan were called the "Jews of Mt. Washington." Andy cracked a grin.
"What are you smiling at?" Logan suddenly said. "Are smiling at the thought of me getting dragged down into this hellhole while you were training to be a doctor?" Logan's voice rose at the last word. Andy's smile faded.
"No, Logan, I wasn't thinking about that." Andy tried to explain, but Logan interrupted again.
"I can't tell you how many times I've beaten, little brother. I can't tell you…what they did to me. And you didn't call. Nothing. Nothing in thirteen years. I suppose you were too busy, with your practice." Logan spat that word out before he noticed that Andy was looking at him strange. "Andrew, I'm sorry," Logan immediately said. "I never should have said those things."
"It's all right," Andy said. "Let's just get out of here." As Andy and Logan walked out the door, Andy added, "Oh, by the way, it's Andy."
"This is your home?" Logan asked. Logan had now changed from his prison clothes to one of Andy's shirt and pants. He stared at the door. It said, Room 120.
"Temporality." Andy put on his lab coat. "Until we work it out."
"We?" Logan stared at his brother.
"Yeah." Andy smiled. "Rena and I."
"Wait." Logan didn't see the wedding ring on his brother's finger until now. He must have married Rena, a.k.a the Nazi when Logan was…away. "So you guys are separated?"
"Yep." Andy turned his attention to putting his ID on. "Have been for a couple of months." The ID fell on the floor. "Damn it!" Andy reached for it.
"Here, let me do it." Logan reached for the ID, and pinned it his brother's coat. "'Dr. Andy Yablonski,'" he read, "'MD, surgeon.'" Logan had a sudden memory of pinning their father's ID to his lab coat. "They would be very proud, you know," Logan told Andy. "Our parents."
"Yeah, they would be." Andy replied. Logan knew that Andy had no memory of their parents, or of the car crash that had killed them. They were with their parents when it happened. Andy sighed. "Okay, let's go."
"So," Andy asked Logan. They were walking down the hallway to Three Rivers. "Do you know where we're going?"
"Three Rivers, your work," said Logan. He felt increasingly nervous as he and Andy walked further and further down the hallway. "I am supposed to stay in your office, and not move anywhere, unless I have to go to the bathroom."
Andy nodded approvingly. "There's another rule."
"Don't touch anything." Logan repeated to what Andy had said earlier.
"Right." Andy and Logan were now at the entrance of Three Rivers. Andy's face was etched with concern. "Are sure you're ready for this, Logan? Are you still afraid of hospitals?"
Logan turned his head away. Yes, he was still afraid. January 21st, 1978, that was when his phobia began. The series of the ambulances and the beeping of the machines and IV's that kept Andy and Logan alive, while their parents were all ready dead. Logan remembered the doctor that had healed him and Andy. The doctor's name was-
"Logan? Are you okay?" Andy asked again, his voice hesitant.
Logan swallowed. "Yeah, of course I am. Go ahead." Logan gave Andy a half hearted smile.
"Okay." Andy wasn't convinced, but he opened the door.
"Dr. Yablonski, you're late." a nurse immediately came up to Andy. Logan saw that she had her blonde hair tied up in a pony tail. She was beautiful. She looks like mom.
"Dr. Reed, you know I'm always late." Andy said laughing.
"Not in the beginning of the day." The nurse – or doctor, Logan realized, smiled back at his brother. Logan stared at them. There was obviously something going on between them. "You're always here." Dr. Reed returned her gaze to Logan. "Who's this?" she asked.
"Oh!" Andy exclaimed. "Dr. Reed, this is my brother, Logan Yablonski, and Logan, this Dr. Lisa Reed." Lisa and Logan shook hands. "She works in the E.R.," Andy explained. "Lisa's a resident here."
"Goodbye, Dr. Yablonski," Lisa said goodbye as she walked away.
"Goodbye, Lisa," Andy called back. "Goodbye," Andy repeated as soon as the E.R. resident, Lisa, disappeared around the corner. He gave an impish grin.
"What was that?" Logan and Andy were riding in the elevator.
"What was what?" Andy gave Logan the impish grin again.
"And what's with that smile?" Logan asked.
"That stupid – and attractive in her view, I guess – smile! You like her, don't you?"
"No, I do not."
"Yes, you do." The elevator door opened. "What exactly happened between you and Rena, Andy?" Saying Andy was uncomfortable for Logan, and Andy felt uncomfortable too, for different reasons.
Andy sighed. "At first, we were just having relationship issues. We were working too much. Then I had an affair."
Logan was shocked. "And when did this happen?"
"In early December."
"Is it still going on? With her?"
"Yeah," Andy repeated. Andy felt even more uncomfortable. "I didn't know what I was thinking, to be honest. I haven't seen Rena since she found out."
They stopped. "I don't judge you, you know," Logan said. "It happens often now. What you need to do is get rid of Lisa, and apologize to Rena."
"It's not going to be that easy, though." Andy said.
"I know," Logan replied, "which is why I'll be there for you."
"Thanks, Logan." Andy said just as Dr. Sophia Jordan walked up to them.
"Andy-" Dr. Jordan stopped when she saw Logan. "Andy," she began with an edge to her voice, "not only are you late, you bring this stranger in here? Who is he?"
"Dr. Jordan, this is my older brother, Logan Yablonski, released from prison. Logan, this is Dr. Jordan. She is charge of the transplant unit here." Logan could tell that he should not shake hands with Dr. Jordan.
"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Yablonski," Dr. Jordan said to Logan abruptly. She turned her attention to Andy again. "And where is your brother staying, Andy?"
"He is going to be in my office for the rest of the day."
"How can we trust a recent released con to stay here?"
"You can trust me, Dr. Jordan," Logan intervened. He immediately decided he did not like this doctor. "You have my word."
Dr. Jordan nodded, and said, "Koul is here for his check up, Andy. Dr. Bovell had to replace you. Don't be late next time!"
"And that's Dr. Jordan," Andy said once Dr. Jordan was out of earshot. He smiled at Logan's expression. "You don't like her, do you?"
"No," Logan confessed. Logan suddenly remembered something. He had seen that doctor before, thirty two years ago. Logan remembered her staring down at him and Andy as toddlers when they were in the hospital after the accident. Her face was softer, and kinder. What had happened to that face? "I don't."
"Sorry I'm late, Koul." Andy rushed into the examining room.
"It's all right," Koul grinned. No matter if Andy was late or not, Koul was always happy to see him.
Dr. Luc Bovell was less pleased. "Why were you late, Andrew?"
Andy suppressed a sigh of annoyance. Since they met nearly ten years ago, Luc had called Andy by his legal name: Andrew, despite Andy telling him time after time that his name was Andy. "I was picking up my brother from prison."
"The great Dr. Yablonski has a brother?" Koul repeated.
At the same time, Luc repeated "Prison?" His eyebrows rose.
"Yeah, prison." Andy said. "Dr. Bovell, you can exit. I'll deal with Koul now." With narrowed eyes, Luc left.
"No swelling, Koul? No weakness?"
Koul didn't answer Andy's question. Instead, Koul asked his own. "Why didn't you tell me you had a brother?"
"Koul-" Andy tried to change the subject, but Andy knew it would be hopeless. "I don't know. I guess I still was resentful."
"Resentful?" Koul didn't know what Andy meant.
"I've done a lot of things I'm not proud of, Koul. When Logan and I were teenagers, we were thieves. Burglars." Andy found this hard to explain to Koul, his former heart patient. Koul was finding this hard to believe.
"You were a criminal?" Koul concluded.
"Yes, I was." Andy had never told anyone but his wife, Rena, of this. "When I was seventeen, and when Logan was eighteen, we were caught, and I made the decision to tell who we were, but then Logan drew his gun, and I got between the two. The man meant to shoot Logan, but he shot me instead. Twice."
"What happened to Logan?" Koul gasped.
"He ran away." Andy answered bitterly. "The police were able to catch him, and the last thing he said to me was "'I did this for you, little brother, and you threw it all away!'" Logan left me to fend for myself, and he left me." Andy sighed.
"Maybe you'll be able to rekindle your relationship." Koul suggested. "How long was he in prison?" he asked.
"Thirteen years; December 5, 1993 to February 7, 2006. He didn't even tell me he was out. Then he got into a gun fight, and ended up in prison again for another four years." Andy smiled bitterly. "Yeah, maybe we'll be able to rekindle our relationship. Maybe."
"Hey." A voice interrupted Logan's reading. He looked up. A doctor was standing in the doorway. She had light brown hair that was shoulder length. Her ID identified her as Dr. Miranda Foster. The same last name of the doctor that had treated Logan and Andy thirty two years ago, William Foster. The man that Logan William Yablonski was named after. Somehow Logan recognized this woman.
"You're Andy's brother, right? Logan? I'm Miranda Foster." Miranda smiled. "What are you reading?"
Logan held up his book. "It's The Art of Medicine. Andy gave it too me." Logan shook his head. "I wonder how he gets this stuff."
"Practice makes perfect," Miranda said. She had now moved from the doorway. "Along with eight years of not sleeping." Miranda was watching Logan curiously.
"Hmm." Miranda was still staring at Logan. "Yes?" he asked.
"Andy says that you're his brother, but he hasn't mentioned you at all. Why is that?"
"Andy still hasn't forgiven me for betraying him." Logan said.
"Betraying him?" Miranda repeated.
"Yeah. I ran away when we promised each other we wouldn't. I abandoned him, and I promised him that I never would. His life was in danger, but I didn't take care of him. Our parents…wouldn't be pleased."
"I don't understand." Miranda said. She was confused. There was more to the story than Logan said.
"Of course you don't understand." Logan's voice cracked a little. He ran away from the office, just as he did thirteen years before.
"Wait!" Miranda called. "Logan!"
"Logan's gone?" Andy repeated when he got out of surgery.
"Yeah, he's gone." Miranda ran her hand through her hair. "Do you know where he could have gone?"
"No." Andy sighed. "I never should have brought him here."
Miranda looked at Andy curiously. "Andy, Logan said something about betraying you years ago. Do this…with him running away…did that have to do what happened?"
Andy knew what Miranda was talking about. "Yeah, it does. Stay here, all right?" Andy told Miranda. "I'll go find my brother."
Andy found Logan on the pediatric unit.
"You don't remember, do you Andrew?" Logan whispered as soon as he heard Andy coming up to him.
"Remember what?" Andy didn't know what Logan was talking about.
"Our parents. How they died."
Logan took Andy's silence for an answer. "They were called in on your birthday, do you remember that? You two years old, Andy. Mom worked on this unit. Dad, he worked on the unit with Dr. Foster."
"Dr. Foster?" Andy repeated. "Our dad worked with him?"
"Yes, he did. Dr. Foster was a great friend to our family. He was the best man at their wedding, I was named after him, and he was our doctor after our parents' deaths." Logan told his little brother, who was silent. "We actually knew Miranda, too. She was there at your birthday party."
"I knew Dr. Foster." Andy exclaimed disbelievingly. "He taught me…everything!"
"And so he did, the great Dr. Yablonski. He taught you well." Logan swallowed. "Dr. Foster was the one who called them in. It an emergency. They were going to bring us to a sitter, Mom and Dad were. They never should have been driving that night." Logan sniffled. "It was dark and slick…and they shouldn't have been driving." Logan took a deep breath. "They crashed into a tree. Dad was all ready dead. Mom was still alive, and you were unconscious. "'Logan William Yablonski,'" she told me, "'protect him. Protect your little brother, Andrew Jason. Never leave him, never make him feel alone, and love him as we loved him, because we'll be gone. Be everything to him…please.'" Those were her last words, Andy. She wanted me to protect you, to never abandon you, and to never make you feel alone, but failed. I left you in that house, bleeding, and I betrayed you. I'm sorry. I never should have left you. I was gone for thirteen years. Thirteen years on your own. Without an older brother to protect you or guide you. I'm sorry."
"Oh, Logan," Andy whispered. Logan was weeping. "Oh, Logan."
"I don't judge you, you know," Andy said. It was the end of the day, and Andy and Logan were up on the roof. "You looked after me for nearly sixteen years after they died. You were more like a parent that a brother. Actually, you were both, and thank you for that."
"I abandoned you the day you got arrested, though." Logan whispered.
"We were kids, Logan." Andy replied. "You were a kid, Logan. Besides, that was a long time ago. I've moved past that," Andy smiled, "and it seems I'm going to have to take care of you. We'll renew our relationship, and I'll renew mine with Rena. I realize now that even though time has past, I have always loved you two. I love, older brother."
The brothers smiled and reached for each other's hands. It was a while before they let go.