Dr. Gabe Adler has had a crush on Chase, his best friend's brother, since forever. But after one, sweet encounter Chase turned Gabe away and they haven't spoken for years.
Then a midnight call from his best friend Dylan sends Gabe to the hospital. Chase had been shot in the line of duty and, with no family nearby, Gabe is the only one Dylan can trust to look out for his brother.
Gabe checks on Chase and realizes his injuries are even worse than expected. After Chase pulls through an emergency operation, he wakes up to Gabe watching over him. Will he kick Gabe out of his life again? Or can they make a new start?
"Yeah um, I'm Dr. Gabe Adler. I'm not on shift but I'm going to meet with Dr. Manning in a few moments to see what the game plan is," he said, shaking the chief's hand and clearing his throat. "I know you're not family, but from what I have learned you're as close as family at the station. I'm not going to sugar coat anything; both bullets are logged in his sternum with one right by his heart ... he's lost a substantial amount of blood."
"Dr. Adler, you wanted to see me?" Dr. Manning was a very capable doctor and very calm, cool, and collected in the ER. He wasn't as pompous as some other doctors who tended to get their feathers all in a bunch when one suggested a consult.
"Yeah, I -- ah, this is Chief Johnson. I was asked by the family to come down and check on Chase Bradley. Chief, give us a moment, please? I will be right back." With a nod of his head Gabe gestured for Dr. Manning to go into the consultation room. The consultation room was overly bright, with yellow walls and floors, a coffee machine with perpetually cold coffee on a bench, four very uncomfortable chairs, and a small table in-between. Gabe didn't agree with the decorating principles hospitals used. In his opinion they shouldn't attempt to go for cheery and bright, they should rather go with subtle and calm. His brain thought of weird shit when he was tired.
"Dr. Manning, I --"
Holding up his hand, the doctor gestured to a seat. "I know you're Chase Bradley's brother's best friend. Chase was coherent for a small moment and he asked for Dylan and then asked for you."
"What do you mean asked for me?" Gabe was flustered by this information.
"He said 'I need you to call my brother Dylan, he's my next of kin. If you can't get him, find Dr. Gabe Alder, he's my brother's best friend.' Dr. Manning looking at Gabe in concern. "Then his BP skyrocketed and he lost consciousness."
"Me, Dylan, and Chase mostly grew up together. Chase is ..." Gabe cleared his throat and continued, "Anyways, I read the file; he was shot twice, fell down a set of stairs, has multiple contusions and two broken ribs." Gabe was trying hard not to let his feelings show, but he was dying inside to think Chase, the man he loved, was fighting for his life.
"Well, as you know, we are prepping him for surgery. Our hope is to get both bullets out, repair the damage, and get the internal bleeding under control. I'm hoping there'll be no need for multiple surgeries."
Gabe registered the words 'multiple surgeries' and had to sit, not only because of his long and stressful shift the night before, but because he was here, Dylan was not, Chase was fighting for his life, and there was little he could do about it.
As Gabe ran scenarios in his head, Dr. Manning squeezed his shoulder and said, "Look, I can talk with the chief if you want. I was going to ask you to scrub in but you look dead on your feet and it might be a conflict, being so close to the family." Sighing, Dr. Manning got up, stretching his neck side to side. "I know you're worried."
"I can do it," Gabe pleaded. "Just let me observe. I will be there if something goes wrong. Please." Dr. Manning looked as though he would decline so Gabe gave it one more try. "I need to be."
Dr. Manning raised his hand up to stop further arguments. He knew Gabe was one of the best surgeons at Brigham. He would be an asset in the OR.
"Does he know you're in love with him?" Dr. Manning asked quietly.
Dr. Manning's brow quirked.
"Anymore," Gabe finished.
"I never really was, at least it doesn't feel like that now. I don't know it was a high school crush that crashed and burned before it could go anywhere. I haven't seen Chase in a few years, even though we both never left town. I just need to be there, as his friend and for his family's sake."