The "Ho Hey" Contest (WINNER, Hosts' Choice-Best Song Interpretation)

Story Title: Bleeding Out

Pen name: JenEsme

Pairing: Charlie… Just Charlie (and his thoughts about Renee)

Rating: T

Word Count: 5,164


WINNER: Best Song Interpretation, The Lumineers Ho Hey Contest 2/2013. "NYPD, We have an officer down on the NW corner of Canal and Bowery. Single GSW to the chest. I repeat, an officer down at Canal and Bowery. Requesting EMT…" A lonely life, a broken heart. Will it all end here, on the corner where she left him bleeding? One Shot, AH, Charlie.

Bleeding Out

By JenEsme

Inspired by the works of Stephenie Meyer and the song "Ho Hey," by the Lumineers. No infringement intended.

The lyrics of this song are quite forlorn. (see below) They screamed out, "Charlie," to me. This was my first contest, my first one-shot, my first male perspective. I'm thrilled that it won the Hosts' Choice for Best Song Interpretation. I hope you like it. (Not beta'd—any extra commas are mine.)

Posted to Ho Hey Contest 1/29/13, Posted to JenEsme Profile 3/6/13


A uniformed officer in pursuit with his service revolver pulled is enough to stop most perps, but not this asshole. He took off. Probably on meth. He fits the M.O. That shit scrambles their brains, makes them act completely crazy, irrational. How else would you explain holding up that crappy little shop? There must have been a half inch of dust on the shelves—not a customer in ages. Certainly not much take in the till. He couldn't have made off with more than a hundred bucks or so. And then to run like that with Jake and me on his tail? Only an idiot would do that, or a junkie, unless…




Unless he had a partner. It hit me just as I rounded the corner. Hot. Red. Instantaneous, searing pain. I couldn't breathe. Couldn't see. Couldn't think. There was only pain. And black. And more pain as I hit the ground, full force, the crack of my skull as it hit the pavement reverberating through my head. A pinball bouncing from edge to edge, ringing in my ears with every snap, each change in trajectory, just like the machine in the bar where we used to hang out after our shift, the one with the picture of the girl with the big tits draped over the hood of a Camaro.

Ping! Ping! Ping!

Through the din in my own head, I sensed a distant, muffled shot, the squeal of tires, Jake on the radio.

"NYPD 9483. We have an officer down on the NW corner of Canal and Bowery. Single GSW to the chest. I repeat, an officer down at Canal and Bowery. Requesting EMT…"

Canal and Bowery.

Of course.

Of course I'd be standing on Canal and Bowery.

All the blood I would bleed happens at Canal. And Bowery.

It's where the city comes together: Chinatown, SoHo, Tribeca, the Manhattan Bridge.

At this very intersection.

This intersection is where things come together. Where life is lived. My life, anyway.

Canal and Bowery.

It's where life falls apart. Where I lay bleeding, crushed, the whooshing of blood through my veins with each slowing heartbeat creating an excruciating pounding in my head, a deafening drum.

It's where we first met. My Sweetheart. My Love. My Life… My Wife.

I'll never forget the sight of her, bouncing gaily down the street, a smile that lit her face like the sun as she talked and laughed with her friends. I was walking the neighborhood, casing the shops and street vendors, part of some initiative the city launched to crackdown on counterfeit merchandise—bootlegged video tapes and cassettes, I think it was that time. Anyway, there she was, just leaving an acupuncture class. She was always chasing some new hobby, learning some new random thing. She was talking animatedly to some classmates—a gay couple—arms flailing, wearing a long, bright skirt with her toenails painted the same shade of orange—she'd call it coral or apricot or some shit, but it was orange—the same shade as her tank top; a wide, brown belt cinching her narrow waist, a ring around her toe and just the hint of a sparkling stud in her nose. She was like nothing I'd ever seen, all exuberance and light and life. Damn, she was fine.

As I watched her, some asshole lifted her wallet out of her tiny, little backpack purse. She hadn't latched it shut, so it was an easy target. She never did pay attention to things like that, to the kinds of details that seem second nature to me. Nope. She didn't feel a thing until I tapped her on the shoulder, my other arm twisting the pickpocket punk's wrist behind his back.


She turned, wide-eyed. A gasp escaped and she covered her mouth with her hand, shocked at the sight of me right next to her. A cop.

"I believe this belongs with you."

She took the wallet gingerly in both hands as I reached for the cuffs on my belt and slapped them around the wrists of the heathen who would steal from someone so precious. The jerk probably takes coins out of wishing wells, swipes candy from babies, and all that. Scum!

A black and white pulled up alongside us and I handed the creep over to them, hoping he'd bang his head on the car as they shoved him in. Good riddance!

I turned back to take care of business. To ask whether she wanted to press charges and come down to fill out a police report and all that. But my heart spoke instead of my head. The words that came out could have gotten me fired, but I said them anyway. I couldn't help myself, so affected was I by this woman. All my training, gone. Professionalism, pfffft! There was just her, glorious and colorful. "And I just may belong with you, too, Miss…" I knew there was a good chance that she'd slap me across the face, but she didn't. She looked into my eyes instead, softening.

Her friends were another story. They gave me hell.

"You use that line to pick up all your damsels in distress, officer? Has it ever worked?" they taunted.

"Shut UP, you guys!" She wheeled around to give them a seething look and turned back toward me with a glowing smile. "It's Higgenbotham. But call me Renee," she pleaded, laying a warm hand on my bicep. I nodded, one sharp tip of my chin to my chest, heart accelerating as I drank in the bright blue of her eyes, the dusting of freckles across her nose.

"Oh my god, I just cashed my paycheck. My whole LIFE is in here. My rent money, my…" She clapped her hand to her forehead as she spoke.

"Thank you so much, Officer… what was your name, again?"

"It's Swan, Ma'am. Charlie Swan."

"Swan? That's a great name! I just love Swans. There's this little swan family at the park that I've been watching all summer. They had one little cygnet in the spring—just one—it's so cute and kind of clumsy, but the parents are so devoted. It's sweet, you know?"

I laughed a little, surprised and almost dizzy, overwhelmed by her… Well, by HER. Her words came out so fast, thoughts flitting from one to the next like a hummingbird.

"Oh, look at you with your cute little dimples!" She touched a finger to my cheek. I wanted her to leave it there, to pass me some of her light, her warmth. But instead, I took a step back. I had to get back to work. Didn't want to be caught flirting on duty. I'd already said something foolish and inappropriate. I knew I'd better walk away from her before I did something foolish and inappropriate. God, she was… I can't even describe it. I'd never met anyone quite so dramatic before, and never have since. I was captivated, enthralled, besotted. And have been ever since.

"Wait, Charlie." She wrapped a handful of long, thin fingers that were capped in hot pink around my elbow. "Listen, there's this fantastic little dim sum place about two blocks from here. What's it called, guys?" She addressed her friends, who had their heads bent toward each other, sniggering at our interaction. "Chen somethings."

"It's Benny Chen's, Renee."

"Benny Chen's, that's right. Don't you just love that name? It's so rhymey. Anyway, Charlie—Officer Swan—you saved my life today. You really did. So, let me buy you dinner. You know, to say thanks?" When I explained that I couldn't accept tips for doing the job that was expected of me, her face fell. "Oh, that sucks. Well, then… Hey—then let me buy you dinner because…" her lips curved up in the sweetest coy little curve, "…because I belong with you." The tiniest chuckle bobbed in her throat. "I belong with you, You belong with me…" She shrugged her shoulders and let loose another of those adorable giggles. "We could write a song, couldn't we?!"

And write a song, we did. We made the most beautiful music together. For a while.

The memory of that giggle filled my ears, growing louder, replacing the muted sounds of the emergency situation at hand, the incident that centered around me. One of a hundred incidents that take place in this city every day. And this one had to hit me. Here, of all places. That bullet… hit me. Renee's laugh filled my head, my thoughts, drowning out the distant drone of sirens growing nearer, the murmurs of the crowd that had gathered to gawk and gossip, the anxious voice of my partner barking out instructions to eager and concerned passersby as he tried not to panic. I didn't notice any of it while I lay bleeding. Only that laugh, that tinkling, melodic giggle. It all faded as I slipped from consciousness, tried to escape from the pain.

Ho—the pain…

"Charlie, CHARLIE!" Jake. My rookie partner was probably shitting his pants. Eight months on the beat and something like this happens. This'll change him, toughen him up, put something real behind that wall of bravado and muscle he hides behind. It'll make him a better cop. He's a good kid. Puts up with a lonely old fart like me. I never have much to say. I know I probably bore him to death. Either that, or I depress him. Me and my little black cloud. Renee used to call me Eeyore toward the end. I wonder who Jake pissed off to get stuck with Charlie Swan?

He's a nice kid, though. Got a good heart. He'd be good for Bella, I think, if she were a little older. Like, 30.

"Charlie—You've gotta stay with us, Man! Open your eyes. You gotta stay awake, just til they get here. They're right around the corner. CHARLIE!" He was pressing his hands against my chest, the towel someone had brought him from the teahouse near where I'd fallen, saturated, red, ruined for sure.

My eyes blinked open a crack, just enough to be blinded by the bright noontime sun directly above. It was Jake's face silhouetted there, but it reminded me of another face. Another time. The sweetest little face you ever saw. My baby girl. How she would squiggle and squeal with delight as I swung her over my head, silhouetted in the sunlight. "Hey!" I'd shout each time I tossed her in the air. Renee would freak out. "Charlie, stop! You'll drop her!" Then I'd catch her and swing her down between my legs with an exaggerated "Ho," at the bottom of the arc as if she weighed more than a bag of chips. Little wisp of a thing. Back up high with a "Hey," down low with a "Ho." Laughing all the time. My little cygnet and me.




Ho… over and over again, her long brown hair fanning through the air.

"Do the 'Ho-Heys,' Daddy!" she'd beg every day, running to me and jumping into my arms, so trusting, as soon as I walked in the door after my shift. Every day, "Do the 'Ho-Heys.'"

My baby girl. She's not a baby anymore, that's for sure. Seventeen last September, not that I'd seen her that day. Phil had taken my girls—MY family to his rich-boy house in the Hamptons for the weekend. I had to settle for dinner with her at the diner a week later, and that's when she dropped the bomb. Phil had proposed. Took MY family out to dinner for Bella's birthday—some swanky place right on the beach—and gave my Sweetheart a ring. The little prick gave Bella a diamond necklace, too. She was so excited to tell me how the setting matched Renee's ring—some symbolic bullshit about being a show of family and his commitment to her as a stepdad or something.

I don't know where I went wrong. My Sweetheart's gonna marry Phil. She belongs with me.


"Get it down here. We need it NOW!" Jake was letting it out on the EMTs. Thank god, another unit arrived to help calm him down and manage the gathering crowd.

I couldn't think clearly. Everything was blurred, fuzzy, grey. My head was pounding, my body felt… empty, deflated, crushed. My thoughts were indistinguishable, overlapping and hard to define—real from memory, now from then, spoken words from thoughts. What…

"Ho…" I groaned. A new surge of pain as they lifted me to the gurney. "No, no… She's gonna meet me here. Gonna meet at the corner—Canal and Bowery… Gotta wait… My Sweet…"

She was supposed to meet me there, here—at the corner of Canal and Bowery. That night fourteen years ago. Friday night. I made all the arrangements. I don't know what I did wrong, but we're going to talk things over. We're gonna make it right. Called home and heard her sweet voice asking me to leave a message after the beep. What's that beeping? Left a message on the machine. My big surprise. Told her to drop Bella off at my mom's and take the M103 bus to Chinatown at 6:42. I've been trying to make it right. Planned it out, just perfect. We're going to that dim sum place she likes so much, the place where we had our first date. Benny Chen's—rhymey. We need it now. Need to talk. To remember. I bought her flowers. Those big, bright, baby food daisies she likes—Gerber something. Hot pink, and orange, and yellow. Colorful, like that skirt she wore.

I waited… and waited… I'm waiting… The guy in front of the jewelry shop sold one of his fake Rolexes to a tourist and some knock-off Gucci sunglasses to his wife. They got a t-shirt for their kid back home. I waited… The sun went down on the Citizen's Bank building, it's dome all lit up and glowing for those few long minutes while I waited… Love—we need it now. She'll be here—I know she will—standing next to me. Bus to Chinatown… 6:42.

Wait… No… Don't take me… Can't go. Don't take me home. Home is pain. I finally went home. It was empty. She's gone. They're gone. No hugs and kisses from my Sweetheart. No "Ho-Heys, Daddy." Nothing but pain. And my message blinking on the machine, unheard. My machine, not ours anymore.

"He's bleeding out."



I woke with a start. Shit! I've been sleeping in my bed like a lazy-ass. What time is it? Bella's coming. The wedding's on Saturday and she's bringing her things over tonight. I have to be there to help. To lift boxes and stuff. To help her move. She's moving in. Wednesday night. It's Wednesday, right? What's that beeping? What is this place? Ow—can't move. Where am I? I'm not where I belong. My arm itches—what is that? What's that noise? Panic.

"Officer Swan? Officer Swan, you're in the hospital. It's okay." I opened my eyes, slowly, blinking against the invasion of light. "Officer Swan, my name is Maggie. I'm a nurse. You're in the intensive care unit at New York Downtown Hospital. The doctor will be with you in a few minutes. You've just come out of surgery and I'm sure you're feeling disoriented, but you're going to be all right."

Disoriented? That's an understatement. I closed my eyes and tried to remember.



It's just flashes, pictures.

That kid in the green beanie, running.


Can't breathe.



Oh, that's right. I was shot. Shit! When was that? What day was it? How long have I been here? It was Wednesday, I think. Bella's moving in tonight—Wednesday night. 5:30. Is it still Wednesday? What time is it? Did I miss it? Is she still coming if I'm in the hospital? Sleeping here instead? Can't miss it. Gotta help. My baby girl's coming home to me. I gotta be there. She's moving home.

I remember. We were at the diner. She was griping about the wedding—Renee's wedding. The big wedding we never had. The one she always wanted. Phil can afford it. Asshole! Bella hates it. All the planning, and people, and her fancy long dress. She's scared that she'll trip in those tall shoes Renee picked out.

If she ever gets married someday, she said, she's gonna elope. None of this planning crap. No color schemes, or seating charts, or centerpieces... I just smiled. That's my girl! She's Renee's too, though. Words shooting out of her mouth a mile a minute like a little machine gun, those cute freckles on her nose. Just like her.

"I wanted to ask you something, Dad…" She was nervous, worried about asking to move in with me full time. No need, I was thrilled. I've missed my little girl. Weekends haven't been enough. There's so much that I missed. She's all grown up. Seventeen. She wants to move to my place instead of Phil's after the wedding. Suck that, Phil. You can give her all the diamonds you want, but she's still my baby girl, my little cygnet.

"The thought of living with newlyweds just squicks me out, Dad."

Tell me about it.

"I mean, that's my mom. It's disgusting."

Oh, god. That's my wife. My Sweetheart. She belongs with me.

"Please, Dad…"

We went straight down to the Bed & Bath store from the diner. She has her own room in my apartment—always has—but I told her to pick out something new. A new comforter, some of those girly pillows-Renee used to have about a dozen of those all over our bed. They're 'decorative,' she said. All I know is it took 10 minutes just to clear it off every night.—Hell, even a new toothbrush or something. I just wanted Bella to get something that would make my place feel like "home." It used to be, fourteen years ago. There are still flowers painted on the walls. Flowers and ladybugs. I never changed it. Couldn't…

I came home that night after waiting for hours on the corner—Canal and Bowery—and my family was gone. I dropped those damn flowers on the table and searched all through the apartment. I switched on the light in little Bella's room, but it stayed dark. Renee'd taken the ladybug lamp, the toy box, even the big teddy bear I won for Bells at Coney Island. There's a new lamp in there now. And a desk and a bookshelf for her weekends with me. But still those nursery walls. Renee's doing, all those years ago.

I stopped by the hardware store last week after my shift. Spent three nights painting—purple to match the bedding she picked out. The name on the chip may have been "Mountains Majesty," but it was purple—my big surprise.

I guess I've got an even bigger surprise for her now.

I'm laying in my hospital bed, waiting. I'm hooked up to all sorts of things. Tubes and monitors, machines that beep and hum, bags of god-knows-what dripping into my arm. I can't even move—it hurts every time I try. Can't reach the remote to turn on the game. I'm thirsty. My head's pounding. Where's that nurse? My whole left side feels numb. I think I can wiggle my toes, though. That's good. I can't even scratch my balls—they're all twisted up. Jesus, I'm a mess. I wonder what all that punk did to me, what he hit me with. I'll just have to wait and talk to that doctor, if he ever gets here. 'A few minutes,' my ass.

Nothing to do here but wait. Wait and think. Wish I could sleep, but I can't stop thinking. And hurting.

I'm thinking about her. Always thinking of her. I've been living a lonely life these fourteen years. And she's marrying Phil on Saturday. Maybe she already has. Who knows what the hell day it is… I don't think she's right for him. Her light, her spirit with that rich-boy, businessman? Nah. I don't get it. She belongs with me. She's my wife, my Sweetheart.

Well… Ex-wife.


I still don't know where I went wrong. We were happy. I was happy. Renee and me and our little cygnet. Like her swan family at the park. She took me there that summer we met. We bought hot dogs from a cart—mustard for me, sauerkraut and onions, "the works," for her. We sat on a bench and watched those birds glide around, leading their baby all brown and scruffy, so out of place next to their grace and beauty. That was me—brown and scruffy, next to Renee. She loved me, though—for a while. 'I belong with you. You belong with me. You're the earth and I'm the sky.' That's what she'd always say, squeezing my hand and bouncing along by my side. Standing next to me but never standing still. Always singing and laughing, jumping around from thought to thought, all excited like a hummingbird. Traipsing down the sidewalk—the sidewalk I kept safe for her. Not so safe for me, apparently.

Her giggle. Her light. It's like nothing else. I need it now, Sweetheart. I needed it then.

I don't know when it fell apart. Some time after Bella came along. It was gradual. Grey muddying her color, drip by drip. Shadow covering up her light, dimming the sparkle from her eyes. I longed for her laughter. She said it was gone for good, all swallowed up by the heaviness in her heart. 'I need more,' she said. More what? She couldn't tell me. Just… 'more.' I worked my ass off, got that promotion when Billy retired. Took her to Jamaica. More.

"I don't want more money, Charlie. God, don't you get it?"

"No, Baby, I don't get it. I've been trying to do it right."

Another fight. Another flight. She slammed out the door. Woke the baby.

Left me bleeding.


I've been sleeping in my bed, our bed, alone ever since. Fourteen years. It's a lonely life. I've been trying to do it right, but I just don't know where I belong. Well, I belong with her. But she's with Phil. Marrying Phil.

I guess for now, I'll be sleeping here instead. Here in the ICU. Where's that damn nurse? Alone with these thoughts is not a good place to be. Pretty soon I'll start wishing that kid had been a better shot. Put me out of my misery. Shit, there's gotta be a game on. Where is she? Isn't there a button I could push somewhere? I wonder if they'd give me a beer? Pour it right in that IV. Drown it all out. Ho…

I started singing a song in my head. Can't talk with this tube down my throat. Man, it's uncomfortable. Like I swallowed a straw, all burn without the refreshment of the drink that's supposed to come with it. It's a real catchy song—they play it all the time. I don't know all the words, though, so I'm singing the chorus over and over again in my head.

La la la, la la la laaaaaa

La la la, la la la laaaaaa

La la la, la la la laaaaaa

La la la, la la la laaaaaa

I belong with you. You belong with me. You're my Sweetheart…

I belong with you. You belong with me. You're my Sweet…

Wish I knew more words. It's driving me crazy. Over and over…

"Officer Swan. Officer Swan?"

I must have fallen asleep, because suddenly there was a doctor standing next to my bed. He was wearing a lab coat over green scrubs, had my chart open in his hands, hadn't shaved in a while. Or maybe he was going for that look. He's quite the movie star, all blonde and blue eyes. Looks like a young Robert Redford. I bet he gets a lot of ass. Oh—wedding ring. Well, even so... you never know.

He brought an entourage. That nurse was finally back, standing on the other side of my bed, checking all sorts of tapes and monitors; and he had a gaggle of residents fanned out behind him. The girls were fawning all over him, all dreamy-eyed, and—yep, at least that one boy, too. Huh. I can spot 'em. Reading people's part of my job. I can read just about anybody—good guys, bad guys, liars, cheats. Wish I could've read her better. She took me by surprise. Blindsided.

The doc turned toward them, ignoring me, and read off my case, sharing my dirty laundry with the whole gang. Great, a teaching hospital. I didn't understand half of what he said, but I got the gist. Gunshot wound, collapsed lung, bunch of organ damage. It barely missed my heart, apparently. Concussion from hitting the ground. Blood loss at the scene. Surgery. Removed the bullet. Fixed the immediate stuff. Bunch of transfusions. Yadda, yadda, yadda. The students were engrossed, listening intently. They don't want to miss anything. Always trying to impress. Typing notes into their phones.

He finally turned back to me and saw that I was awake.

"I'm Dr. Cullen," he said. "I operated on you after you were brought into the E.R." He went on, listing all the stuff that happened to me in layman's terms. Said I'll need another surgery tomorrow. Nice! Wonder what day tomorrow will be? He asks if I have any questions, as if I could ask them. I try to point toward the TV and he instructs the nurse to help me with that. He said my family's been notified and have been out in the waiting room all day. My partner, too. Jake. I bet he's beating himself up over this, blaming himself. Poor kid. The doc said they were all in here with me for awhile, when I was unconscious. Nobody's allowed back in here until visiting hours tomorrow, though, after my next surgery.

So, I'll wait. At least the game's on now. Hey Doc, how about that beer? Ha! As if I could say it. I s'pose if I knew Morse code, I could blink it out. Jeez, I'm getting punchy. I'm way past bored. Let's see who's playing.



They were explaining what was going to happen, why they had to cut me open again. I couldn't really comprehend it all. Fixing this, checking that, waiting for swelling to go down… I'm not aware of much at all since they showed me the magic button. The one that lets me self-administer pain medication. Just fix me up, Doc, I don't feel a thing.

No pain. No pain at all…

"Well, Honey, I'll be here for awhile... I don't know exactly how long. He should be waking up soon…"

Ho… I hear her sweet voice. Renee…

"No, I have to be here with Bella, she's a minor. Yes, I checked… "

What's wrong with her? She sounds kind of muddled like Charlie Brown's teacher —wuh wuh, wuh wuuuuh.

"Well, you'll just have to apologize to your folks for me. They're parents, they should understand…"

But I'd know that voice anywhere. The pitch, the tone, the cadence. It's all her. Sweetheart…

"No, I promise I will be on time for the rehearsal… Phil, don't be like that. C'mon, he was shot, for god's sake…"

She came. Came back to me. Sweetheart…

"Hey—I think he might be waking up, I see movement… Yes. YES, I will, I promise…"

I waited so long. Waiting here at the corner. Canal and Bowery. I brought you flowers, Renee.

OK—I gotta go. Love you, Honey… Mwah!"

"Officer Swan? It looks like he's coming around now, Mrs. Swan."

What's that tugging? It itches.

"No, no, it's 'Ms.' He's my ex."

"Oh! I beg your pardon."

My Sweetheart. She came here for me.

It's a different nurse this time. Said her name is Sue. She's got a sweet face, kind eyes.

"Renee?" Thank god, they took that tube out of my throat. I can talk, kind of, though I'm not sure what I'm saying. I'm feeling kind of woozy. "You belong to me… My Sweetheart… Not right for him… Meet me… Bus to Chinatown..."

I couldn't quite see her from where I lie, but as the nurse scurried around to the foot of my bed, I could feel someone take her place alongside me.

"What's he saying?" Renee asked. Renee's here! She'll light up this lonely room.

"Ma'am, he's just coming out of anesthesia. He'll be very disoriented and confused."

"Canal and Bowery. My… Sweetheart, make it right. Didn't come. Missed the bus. Mmm… Might have been. They're gone… No light. Come back."

I felt a hand on my shoulder—gentle, tentative—a face near mine. My right eye opened slowly, followed by the left, blinking, unfocused.

"Ho…" I groaned. Oh, the hospital. Sleeping in this bed, tethered, lonely.

The hand on my shoulder squeezed. "Ho-Hey, Dad."

Bella… My sweet girl. I smiled as much as I could, but I could only feel half of my mouth working. My lips were cracked, dry.

"Hey, Bells."

She buried her face in my shoulder, sniffling and sobbing.

"It's all right, baby girl." She stood up and wiped her eyes. Then Renee appeared behind her, lips pressed together, as stoic as I'd ever seen her.

"Charlie." She reached out and took my hand. "God, Charlie, you really scared us."

"Nah, I just wanted to get your attention." I chuckled, but it came out as a grunt. "Looks like it worked."

She covered her mouth with the back of her hand and turned away, hiding her tears. Tears for me? Maybe there's hope yet.

"Hey, thanks for painting my room, Dad. I love it. The purple's perfect."

See—I told you, it's purple. I don't know when she would have seen it, though. Still not entirely sure what day it is.

"Jake helped me move my stuff in, Dad. Last night, after you… Well, after we knew you were going to be ok. Jake's been so worried. We all have." She looked toward her mom.

I'll have to have a talk with him about visiting my daughter's bedroom. My seventeen year old daughter.

"Good, Cygnet." I reached up and patted her hand, flinching at the movement. Ouch. "How 'bout you, Sweetheart?" I addressed my wife. "You movin' back in, too?" Another crooked smile—I was just joking… Well, kind of. Not really.

She shook her head. Narrowed her eyes. "Charlie, stop. I'm getting married. Tomorrow."

Hey—it's Friday. Good to know.


"But I belong with you. You belong with me. You're my Sweet…"

"No Charlie, I'm not. Not anymore… Not ever again."

Ho… They may have fixed my body, but I'm bleeding. Bleeding out…




Thanks to Capricorn75 and VampiresHaveLaws for hosting the Ho Hey Contest and awarding Bleeding Out the "Best Interpretation of Lyrics" title. Go check out all 17 entries. The variety of stories inspired by this song is incredible.

Thanks to BelieveItOrNot for mentioning the contest in her story, Two Weeks, and inspiring me to enter. Her entry, High Maintenance, co-written with Thimbles won first place in the public and judges votes. Congrats to the pair of them!

Please leave me some Charlie love by typing something in the Review box down below. Then go read the other entries in the Ho Hey Contest.



Here are the LYRICS:

"Ho Hey"

by The Lumineers


(Ho!) I've been trying to do it right
(Hey!) I've been living a lonely life
(Ho!) I've been sleeping here instead
(Hey!) I've been sleeping in my bed,
(Ho!) I've been sleeping in my bed


(Ho!) So show me family
(Hey!) All the blood that I would bleed
(Ho!) I don't know where I belong
(Hey!) I don't know where I went wrong
(Ho!) But I can write a song

1, 2, 3
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweet


(Ho!) I don't think you're right for him
(Hey!) Look at what it might have been if you
(Ho!) Took a bus to China Town
(Hey!) I'd be standing on Canal
(Ho!) And Bowery
(Ho!) And she'd be standing next to me

1, 2, 3
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart

Love ‒ we need it now
Let's hope for some
So, we're bleeding out

I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweet

(The last one)