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Second Chance

The Meeting

A few days later, Brian pulled his sleek black Mercedes into the last spot at the very end of the same restaurant he had taken Emily on their first date. It was hard to believe it had been over twelve years ago. As hard as he had fallen for her back then, he seemed to fall more deeply in love with her each year. That feeling only magnified when times got rough for them, and they truly had their fair share of those valleys. It just seemed the North Carolina born woman was always so calm and collected in hard times. That is why he ached for her all the more through all of this.

With a sigh, he exited the vehicle and hit the lock button on the small key fob on the way inside. He wasn't sure he was ready for this, but at this point he didn't have much of a choice without coming off as a jerk. Despite what many might think, he was not that way. He was a businessman when he had to be, and that is sort of the mode he walked in with. It was the only way he knew to keep his composure.

"Brian Haner Jr. Party of two, " he told the hostess who simply nodded and beckoned him to follow. Calloused hands rubbed together out of nervous habit. He still wasn't sure what this was all about. Many would assume that because he was famous, the man wanted to take advantage of that. While that may be the case, that wasn't the feeling he got. Curiosity was a large factor that drew him to agree to see him in the midst of all that was on his plate.

When the older man saw him approaching, he stood to greet him with a firm but warm handshake. The guitarist settled in and small talk ensued. He found his company to be easy to be around and was comforted by his warm personality. Almost reminded him of his dad, without the corny jokes every ninety seconds. Though he just wanted to be given the reason behind this meeting, he felt it best to just leave it be for the time being, and decided to let the Hispanic man begin when he was ready. That time came as their waiter served the main course.

"Mr. Haner, I am sure that you are wondering why I have tried so desperately to get ahold of you."

"You definitely have me curious, yes. And please call me Brian, James. May I call you James, or would you prefer Mr. Martinez?"

"James is just fine with me. " he paused a brief moment to sip his water before locking eyes with the guitarist. "Brian, I understand that you are a musician of some kind and life has treated you well. I haven't had time to catch up on what's new in twenty some years, so I do not know. One of my coworkers looked you up on the web, I believe." deeply creased hands that had obviously done no ewe than their fair share of hard work brought the crisp maroon napkin up to dab his lips. "Rest assured, I did not reach out to you to ask for money. "

Anyone could say that, sure, but Brian tended to believe him. If that was what he wanted, he could have asked over the phone. The tone of his voice and the heaviness in his eyes told the chocolate eyed man this was something much more serious. "Okay, so what is it I can help you with? It sounded pretty dire over the phone."

"Indeed it is, Brian. It is my son."

"Your son? The one your wife was delivering when we met, or...?"

"That is the one. Our other three are all girls. We have been praying for a boy for years, " the shorter man smiled faintly, but looked away a moment, seemingly to keep his emotions in check. "He is very sick. Very, very sick. We've nearly lost him three times since he was born."

His heart lurched instantly at the words. He knew that feeling far took well. An apology immediately blurted through his lips. "I'm so sorry, James. What's wrong with him?"

"We don't know everything yet. It started with what we were told was just a shadow on the ultrasound screen. A week later we went in for a follow up and they ended up sending us straight to the hospital where she went into emergency surgery. That's when I met you."

Over the next twenty minutes the Avenged man listened to the man across from him pour his heart out. There wasn't much he could say, and he certainly didn't know how he was going to be able to help. What he did know was he felt this man's anguish and it was a heavy burden to bear.


"I'm home, " he called out into the overly large home. "Baby?"

Removing his shoes, he stepped out of them and dropped his keys on the tiled sofa table next to the garage door. He trudged upstairs to find his wife asleep in their king sized bed, and he was glad in a way. She needed the sleep, yes, but after the afternoon he'd just had, nothing sounded better than crawling in bed next to his bride. James's words kept replaying in his mind. His brain hurt, as did his head, back, and even his legs. Pretty much everything ached in some form or another, and that quickly took precedence over sleep. Briefly, anyway. He wasted no time popping some aspirin before carefully easing himself down into the cozy sheets next to the blue eyed woman that had his heart wholly and completely.

"Love you, baby," he whispered and pressed a small kiss to her forehead.

She rolled over and snuggled her smaller frame into him in her slumber, mumbling as she did so.

Dark lashes fell to meet his cheeks and it wasn't long before the same sweet sleep that captivated his wife took him over. And what a beautiful feeling it was.