Status: Ongoing

Boston Garden High School

Angering the Bear

Patrice received a text from Zdeno's wife. "Z okay, might have broken neck' and another one that said 'carry on babysitting Elliz for us.'
"Oh my god!" He shouted. "Z!" He called Tatiana immediately.
"Hello?" She asked.
"What's happening?"
"Nothing much. Zdeno is lying in a hospital bed now awaiting tests and x-rays."
"Is he alright?"
"Like I said, the doctors think he's broken his neck. If he has, he'll spend a few days in hospital and come back home."
"And if he's not?"
"Then he'll stay overnight and come home tomorrow."
"So he's conscious then?"
"Fully. Don't worry about that."
"And he can... Move?"
"He's squeezing my hand right now so I'd say yes."
"Is that Bergy?" Patrice heard anger voice down the phone. "I gotta talk to him!" Tatiana held the phone to Zdeno. "Bergy!" Patrice heard more clearer.
"Z! Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I'm strapped to an uncomfortable plastic board with an uncomfortable plastic neck brace on, but Tatiana's here, so I'm fine."
"Aww. Hey Z, just to let you know, if Tatiana hasn't told you already, I'm looking after Elliz."
"Appreciate it, Bergy."
Patrice arrived at work the next morning to find Brad, Milan and Tuukka talking enthusiastically about last night's Red Sox loss to the Orioles
"So it was like... Whomp! And Big Papi hit a home run! Still, not good enough to beat the O's but..." Milan stopped talking and noticed Patrice. "Hey Bergy."
"Hey Looch. How's it going?" He asked.
"Good. What... What's with the pre-schooler?" Milan pointed to Zdeno's young daughter Elliz who hid behind Patrice's leg.
"I'm looking after her."
"Does Z know?" Tuukka asked.
"Z told me to."
"Did he change his mind about taking his kid to the Royals game tomorrow?" Brad asked.
"I guess." Patrice shrugged. "I'll tell you what happened later, guys but Z's not coming to work for a while." He held his hand out for Elliz. "Come on." Elliz took his hand and they walked into the school and to the teacher's lounge together. They walked into the teacher's lounge and all the teachers in there had quizzical looks on their faces seeing Patrice walk in with Zdeno's daughter.
"What's going on, Bergy? You kidnapped Z's kid?" Daniel asked.
"Oh Dan, no. No I didn't. Guys, for those who don't know, this is Zdeno's daughter Elliz. I'm looking after her because she's five. Still too young for school. And I don't know how to contact her childcare. Does anyone have first period free?" Patrice asked and three hands of Loui, Johnny and Torey went up. "Great. Johnny, Elliz knows you, so can you look after her?" Johnny smiled and nodded.
"I'm free second period, Bergy." Tuukka said. "If you want me to look after her."
"That'd be great, Tuke. Thanks." Patrice smiled. "We'll sort out third and fourth period during lunch period. Where's Krech?"
"At home, recovering after yesterday." Adam said. "That WAS pretty funny."
"Don't I know it!" Patrice laughed. The bell rang and Patrice handed Elliz over to Johnny.
"So what happened?" Milan asked as he, Dennis and Patrice walked through the halls. Both Milan's and Dennis' classrooms were near Patrice's in the languages block.
"Yeah Bergy. Why isn't Z here?" Dennis added.
"I spent all night at theirs-mostly because Steph threw me out-but someone had to look after Elliz."
"No, Z." Dennis said impatiently.
"I'm getting to that!" Patrice said frustratedly. "Z's wife, Tatiana, she spent all night at the hospital with Z. He crashed his car and broke his neck."
Milan and Dennis gasped in shock. "You're joking?!" Dennis said clasping his hand over his mouth. Patrice shook his head.
"No, I'm not."
"Is he gonna... Is she... Will... Are..." Milan stuttered
"If you're asking if Z's paralyzed, the answer's no." Milan and David sighed in relief.
"So apart from the break, he's gonna be okay?" Dennis asked.
"Sure looks that way." Patrice said, opening the door to his classroom.
"I hope so." Dennis said to Milan, who nodded in agreement.
That recess, news spread around the staff like wild fire that Zdeno broke his neck. Unfortunately, bits were added on like, he'll have to give up teaching, he's paralyzed, he's in a coma, he has serious head injuries, he's brain damaged to finally he's on his death bed to he may have even died by now.
Patrice shook his head over the rumors and tried to explain they weren't true, but most weren't having any of it.
By lunch period, things were no better as some of the staff held a vigil for Zdeno. Elliz questioned why people were doing this for her father. Upon hearing the news, Marc took Elliz and Patrice to his art room and let Elliz draw and paint pictures.
"I really appreciate this, Savvy."
"She really doesn't need to hear what they're saying about her dad."
"I know. It's just not fair. Who spread it? Seidy or Looch?"
"Maybe neither of them did, Bergy. Maybe someone overheard."
"I can't see that happening. One of them had to have."
Marc sighed. "You don't know that, Bergy."
"I don't, but I don't see what else could have happened."
Elliz ran up to Patrice holding a picture. "I did a rainbow!" She squealed giving the painting to Patrice. She ran off and began painting another picture.
"She's adorable." Marc said, smiling.
"Yeah, I know." Patrice smiled.
"Who's been spreading around rumors that I'm on my deathbed?" A voice roared from outside the staff lounge. Everyone held their breath. Zdeno opened the staff lounge door and walked inside.
"Z!" Tuukka smiled awkwardly with a red face. "How are you?"
"I'm fine, Tuukka. So fine, that you can see I'm ALIVE." Zdeno didn't seem angry, he seemed annoyed.
"Who told you?" Greg asked.
"I had a text from a certain... Dennis Seidenberg." Zdeno said, narrowing his eyes. "He said everyone's spreading around that I'm a) paralyzed, b) comatose, c) on my deathbed and d) DEAD. As you can see, I'm neither of those things."
"We heard you had a broken neck..." Milan said.
"If I did, I would be wearing a neck brace." Zdeno said. Everyone avoided eye contact with Zdeno.
"You kind of are..." Daniel said, earning him a glare from Zdeno.
"No, I'm not." Zdeno said. "This is an ice pack and this is a strap. I have an ice pack strapped to my neck-it's NOT a neck brace."
"Well Bergy said..." Milan was interrupted.
"I told him I MAY have a broken neck-so he's the one who started this." Zdeno said thoughtfully. "Where is he?"
"In the art room w-with Savvy and Elliz." Daniel said, fearfully.
"Elliz?" Zdeno's eyes opened wide.
"Yeah, Bergy said he couldn't find childcare and said you asked him to look after her." Daniel said flinching
"I did." Zdeno said.
"So... Everything's okay?" Tuukka asked.
"No!" Zdeno roared and left the room.
"What do we do?" Jordan asked.
"Tell Bergy!" Greg said urgently.
"I got him first!" Tuukka shouted. "Hello?"
"Tuke?" Patrice asked.
"Yeah. It's Tuke. Looch, Seidy, Soupy, Dan and Jordan are here too. And the others, but you need to listen. Z is here..."
"What?!" Patrice shouted.
"Yeah and he's angry at you, man. He thinks you spread those rumors about him being dead."
"But I didn't..."
"I know you didn't, but he's coming for you."
"You better hide, dude!" Milan shouted as Tuukka hung up.
"Well, that went well." Tuukka said.
"Patrice Bergeron!" Zdeno yelled, as he burst through the art room door.
"What the hell, Z?" Marc shouted. "Do you want to give me a migraine? Shut the damn door, will ya?" Zdeno sheepishly closed the door. "Thank you."
"Sorry, Savvy. I just heard that Patrice would be here..."
"Bergy's here. He's right under my desk. With your daughter." Zdeno bent down and looked under Marc's desk. Patrice gave a sheepish wave.
"Bergeron." Zdeno said in a warning tone.
"Hi Z! Your neck's better?" Patrice said climbing out from Marc's desk with a sheepish grin. "I knew you'd be fine, you're a tough guy. I mean, you're a cryer, but you're... Physically... Tough..." Patrice said, trailing off.
"Bergeron." Zdeno said in that same warning tone.
"I didn't spread the rumors, Z. Why would I? Your kid's here, she'd hear everything!"
"If you didn't, then who did?"
"I only told Looch and Seidy about your neck problem. THEY must have spread it." Patrice said. "I like your neck brace?" Patrice flinched.
"It's NOT a neck brace! It's an ice pack!" Zdeno growled. "I got whiplash."
"Then shouldn't you be wearing a neck brace?" Zdeno huffed and picked his daughter up. "Uh, you shouldn't be doing that." Patrice said.
"Who's going to stop me? The whiplash police?" Zdeno raised an eyebrow and then walked out of the room leaving Patrice shaking his head.
♠ ♠ ♠
Z's okay! A little banged up but okay all the same.