I didn’t know what to do. Calling Dave and telling him what Martin was up to seemed the best idea. But should I risk it? I was really worried about Martin so I’ve decided I’d take the risk. I pushed speed-dial and listened as it rang once then twice then it went on and on – I thought he won’t pick it up, but suddenly I’ve heard a deep female voice.
I hoped Dave’d pick up his own phone, but it was clear that this was not that situation. Now I should act clever, I thought as my stomach – filled with ice-cold fear – sank.
“Hello, I’m Mia Smith, Mr. Gahan’s personal assistant and if it’s possible I’d like to make an appointment for a meeting with Mr. Anton Corbijn.”
“Sure, sure, I’m his wife. My husband is busy right now, but he’ll call you back.”
“Thank you Mrs. Gahan. Have a nice day!”
I hung up and I was breathing even faster. I hoped that Dave’d know that I didn’t call just because I was bored. I was sitting on the bed with closed legs and the worst scenarios were playing in my head when my phone rang.
“What’s wrong?” I’ve heard the familiar baritone.
“Again” I answered and with one hand I started searching for some clothes “He hit the roof. From that e-mail thing. He didn’t even speak to me, but I know that he’ll drink again.”
“Jeez, Mia…” he sighed into the phone “Look, now I can’t…”
“It doesn’t matter, I just wanted you to know. You don’t have to come personally, just call Darren or someone who can come with me to search for Martin.”
“You won’t go anywhere! You’ll stay in bed like nice girls do and will concentrate on your recovery!” he whispered a bit edgy “The boys’ll take care of it unobtrusively. By the way you won’t be able to stop him every time when he wants to drink – don’t you think, Mia? We must let him in some degree or he’ll hate everybody and he’ll lock himself up again. You don’t want to know how he acts when he does that!”
“David, how can you say this? The man whom I love is sad and is poisoning his body! Of course I want to stop him! I go after him, no matter what you say!” I said angrily and hung up.
Cursing and coughing under my nose I’ve got dressed – very warmly. I didn’t know what I was hoping for, but I had to do something! I switched off my phone and slid it into my jeans’ back pocket. After I blew my nose I stepped out onto the corridor and found Martin’s bodyguard, who followed me without a question.
But this time Martin did a great job. He disappeared like a grey donkey in the mist. We were in an unfamiliar city and we didn’t know where to look for him. With some help from the hotel, where they gave us the most popular clubs’ addresses, we searched the city with zero results. But of course it was possible that Mart chose the first smoky pub to drink him to death. I was terribly anxious and the long searching wasn’t good for me – running with Darren from the cold air into the hot pubs then out again… He offered me that he’d take me back to the hotel when bad coughs shook my body time after time from the smoky places and the cold, but I said no every time. I didn’t care about my own health I had just Martin on my mind, so I refused Darren’s questions.
We went on with the smaller clubs and pubs after Darren called a few more people to help. After maybe an hour when we stepped out of another place, his cell rang and he said to me that a colleague had found Mart. By then I felt myself really sick and knew that the sweat was running down on my back, but I didn’t care. We quickly went to the given address and after missing a few streets we arrived at the small pub.
For our biggest surprise Martin was sitting there just one glass of wheat beer in front of him and he wasn’t drunk at all, just careworn. I looked at him, he looked at me and then without walking to him I asked Darren to take me back. He would have done it, but I collapsed – although I was still conscious – and they took me to the hospital. And Darren didn’t let Martin come near to me. A song was playing in my head: “The things you do ain't good for my health…”
It was as if I was looking at the world through a strange shield – concerning my vision and hearing. Somehow I was conscious all along, I knew what they were doing to me. I even felt as they stuck in the infusion and I think I had an oxygen mask too. I very slowly turned my head to the side, eyes half-open, and I’ve heard flatly and saw it too through the glass that Darren was still having a debate with Martin, holding up one hand to stop him from coming in – and to tell the truth I was glad for this in my actual state. The muscleman wasn’t moved from Martin’s threat that he’ll fire him. Then I suddenly started sweltering. Now I didn’t have the oxygen mask. It was as if someone had turned off the lights and the last thing I’ve heard was the piping of a machine.
The silence was nearly absolute, but from behind my back I’ve heard dull noises. I didn’t care. I was moved by my curiosity. I was paying attention to the thing in front of me – something was calling me, something from I couldn’t break away. I didn’t really want to do so. I felt no pain, everything was so calm, I wasn’t anxious anymore. It was so good to be there! But no, something was still disturbing my peace. The noises from behind got louder. No! I want to stay here! I won’t go back! No! Don’t…
Another electric shock went through my body. I’d have screamed from the shock, but I wasn’t able to do so. I’ve heard that a machine started beeping and the doctor sighed in relief. I was totally woozy. I saw just blurred patches. I knew that there were people around me, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying, I couldn’t see their faces. It was as though I’ve felt a warm hand squeezing my hand desperately. Then darkness again.
Dave hurried to the hospital really nervously. Darren’d called him a few minutes ago, updating him with the news. Martin didn’t dare calling him. Before the news he was trying to reach Mia on her phone to ask where the hell she was, but the cell was turned off. He was sure she was mad at him. In the hotel he quickly shook off Jen telling her that one of his workmates and friends got into the hospital and he has to go. He saw the strange flash in Jen’s eyes, which was there since they’d arrived to Copenhagen. He was sure it was because of the e-mail. But now this was the last thing he wanted to think about. He asked someone to bring him to the hospital and he was already by the reception, where they gave him some instructions where to go. He was raving with fury as he hurried down the half-lit corridors. When he saw the two familiar figures he frowned. Darren was sitting on one of the plastic chairs on the corridor and Martin was standing in front of a window with venetian blinds, his arms folded in front of his chest, worrying expression on his face.
“You bastard!” he stepped to Martin and punched in hard in his immense fury. Martin hadn’t protested, he let Dave rave his fury on him. He started wiping away the running blood from his nose without a word. He didn’t pay attention to the singer and he knew that this’d make him even angrier. He didn’t care. The only and one he cared was Mia and the fact that it was his fault that the girl had a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). It was his fault. Just his fault.
Dave was just hitting the now laying Mart, kneeling next to him until Darren held down his hand steadily “No!” he said just this and Dave looked up at him dazed. Slowly recognition started gleaming in his eyes and when Darren took a few steps backwards, Dave helped Martin up and hugged him. Both of them had tears in their eyes but they were still keeping themselves together.
And Jennifer was standing on the hospital corridor shocked and unseen. She saw everything – the beating and the hugging too. She saw a figure lying in bed and she thought it was better for her to retreat. She thought she’ll pretend – even for herself – that she hasn’t seen anything. Partly she was relieved – if we can say that – when she saw her husband ramping like mad, cuz it seemed her fears were baseless – the two friends has nothing to do with each other… in that meaning she feared. Cuz you won’t strike someone to death if you love him, right? It seemed to her that Dave cut Mart out with his actual girlfriend – it wouldn’t be the first time – and this was the cause of everything. She wasn’t thrilled that her husband screws another woman, but she had to swallow this during their marriage’s long years. It never crossed her mind that sometimes things aren’t what they may seem… She saw this case solved – she had nothing more to do so she drove back to the hotel. No one noticed that she was there too.
“Is there a problem?” a doctor asked as he stepped out of Mia’s room and eyed the three men. Dave had his angry grimace still on his face, Darren was ready to stop him again and Martin was checking his bleeding nose. No one said a word. But the doctor called into the room and a nurse walked out too. “I’m Dr. Nielsen. Please, Asta, take care of Mr. Gore’s injuries!”
The small woman nodded and led Mart to a nearby seat to sit down when he started protesting, saying that he won’t go anywhere far. So the nurse brought the things she needed from a nearby room. Meanwhile Dr. Nielsen and Dave had introduced themselves and the doctor started speaking again.
“The Miss is now better” he started “But it was close – we nearly lost her, Mr. Gahan. We were fighting for her for more than three minutes. It was hard to bring her back. We can’t say it yet whether her brain’d suffered injuries from the lack of oxygen or not. And it’s hard for her to breathe. The examinations had revealed that her former acute pneumonia with the wet lungs caused a heavy inflammation of the lungs. Her lungs nearly collapsed - this is why she’s on the life supporter machine now.”
The anger slowly faded away from Dave’s face and fright, anxiety and shock took its place as his face got paler and longer.
“If I’m right, Miss Kovacs had spent hours long outside in the city.”
“Yes” Dave groaned out in a hoarse tone as his gaze wandered onto Mia, who was still lying motionless between the beeping machines. It was terrible for him to see those pipes going into her body and the infusion dripping into her arm.
“Well her carelessness nearly caused her own death” he shook his head careworn and followed Dave’s look “She’ll stay here for a while. This isn’t a game anymore, Mr. Gahan. We don’t want to let her go before she’s completely healthy again, or at least the setback’s risk’ll be on the minimum.”
“Sure” he faltered out “Thank you for bringing her back!” he looked at him and shook his hand.
“This is my job, Mr. Gahan. But now if you’ll excuse me…”
“Can I go in?”
The doc frowned “Are you a relative?”
“Boss and friend.”
“Alright, but just for a minute. Mr. Gore can go in too. Our nurse’ll be around.”
The doc nodded and hurried to another patient.
The door had opened. I didn’t get too much from the happenings – I was a piece of shit. There was a tube in my throat and every kind of plastic thing was going in and out of my body. I didn’t want the boys to see me like this. Temporarily I couldn’t even open my eyes cuz I was too weak. But somehow I’ve heard as they came closer. It was them – no doubts. Even in such a weak condition I was able to recognize their scents and presence.
“Do you think she can hear us?” Martin asked quietly. His voice was a bit strange from the tampons in his nose. In my slow-motion brain the question was slowly formed what could’ve happened to him, but I wasn’t sure – maybe just my brain was playing tricks with me changing Martin’s voice in my ears.
“Dunno” I heard Dave’s cold and short answer.
Don’t be mad, Dave, please, I thought but I wasn’t able to do anything else.
“Mia, my dear, please, don’t be mad at me! Everything’s my fault!” I heard Martin’s voice and I think I felt the mattress moving beside me. Probably he went onto his knees and was asking for my forgiveness like that. “I was egoistic and haven’t thought about it that you can come after me! I thought… I thought… no, no… I wasn’t even thinking!” he blamed himself “Cuz you’ve told me that you love me and I… pushed you away. Oh God, you were out there for hours searching for me! You died a few minutes ago just because of me! And it’s such a big luck that the docs could bring you back” he rattled out. His voice was shaky from crying.
What? I was dead? Really? And they took me back? This shocked me.
Dave looked at one of the monitors, which showed my pulse rising from the things Martin just said. He turned back to us with his arms folded in front of his chest – but of course I couldn’t see anything from this.
“Mia, please, forgive me! Forgive me! I didn’t want this! I nearly died too when I’ve heard that machine beeping! I love you, can you hear it? I love you!” he buried his head into the sheet.
Dave stepped closer to the bed “Martin… she can hear us.”
“What? How do you know?”
“Look!” he pointed at the teardrop which slowly slid down on my face.
I think this was too much for Martin. He started weeping. Whether he really did it or it was just my imagination, I don’t know. The drugs the doctors gave me knocked me out. I felt my hands like stones as my left started moving very slowly to search for Martin’s hand on the sheet. I knew that it was somewhere on my bed. I felt myself so miserable and defenseless! So vulnerable! It was as if they pinned me to the bed! Go away, I begged without words. It was like torture that they saw me like this.
I don’t know how long I was groping after his hand until Martin was able to realise what I was doing. Then I felt him taking my hand carefully.
“I’m here, Mia, I’m here!” I heard his voice and I was able to move my finger a bit in his palm “Dave, she really can hear us! Her fingers just moved!” he looked up at him with his teary green eyes.
Dave was still looking at me speechless and shocked, thinking about the doctor’s previous words. Then I think he sensed looking at my slowly falling tears that it hurt me that they had to see me like this. He quietly said “Come on, Mart, let her rest. Don’t upset her even more” he looked at the monitor, where he could see that my heart was beating still hard. I could hear the shock in his voice. I thanked silently for God that he let Dave feel what I could feel inside. I heard the door closing behind them and I gave in to my strong medicines and fell into a dreamless, deep sleep.
Dave was standing on the hotel’s balcony deep in his thoughts. He didn’t care that the night was chilly, he was smoking again. Jennifer was sleeping in the master bedroom, just like Rosie in another room of the suite. Jimmy’d stayed in New York by one of his friends.
He couldn’t sit still anymore. He put his pack of cigarette into his pocket and stepped out to the corridor without a word. He knocked at Martin’s door. When there was no answer, he pushed the handle down – the door was open. It was bright in the ‘living room’, he spotted Martin immediately. He was sitting motionless on the sofa, propping his chin in his palms, his eyes glassy. Dave saw that his blonde friend was somewhere else. But he didn’t care. Mia nearly died because of him. The woman who was so important to him! He stepped next to Martin.
“What were you thinking?” he asked quietly, but his cold voice was shaking from his anger. Martin looked up at him slowly, but didn’t answer. His eyes were full of pain. He sighed raggedly and fresh tears appeared in his eyes. So now Dave came too to torture him? Isn’t it enough that he’s torturing himself because Mia’d nearly died? Because of him? But it wasn’t enough for Dave “You nearly killed her. What were you thinking? Who are you to endanger another human being’s life? If she had died then I…” he didn’t finish. Martin knew it well what Dave would have done in that case. After beating the shit out of him, he’d deny that he was the singer of Depeche Mode. This was another stab into Martin’s bleeding heart. Why was he torturing him? Why? He knows he can do it, he knows how much pain he can cause, he knows that he loves him! Both of them! He was looking straight into Dave’s eyes, but now he saw just anger and hate. He bent his head. You’re evil, Dave Gahan, he thought.
Dave sat down opposite him onto the low table and put an unopened bottle of whiskey out of the way. Martin was probably flirting with it earlier, but he didn’t touch it yet.
“Tell me, were a few bottles worth it? Huh?” he looked at him and pulled out his cigarette. He took one between his long fingers and lit it. He felt the smoke in the air and saw the stubs in the ashtray and he knew that Martin had a lot of ciggies already. Martin looked at him with even more pain in his eyes and now his tears were flowing on his pale face. Although Dave was hard on the outside, his heart was beating painfully in his chest as he examined Martin’s face, which was purple on some spots and his nose was swollen from one of his punches. “Answer me, Martin!”
“Dave… don’t torture me! Please…”
“Was it worth it?!” he yelled at him.
“NO!” he screamed back, but bent his head right away as he calmed down. They were sitting there quietly for a few minutes, Dave puffing smoke into the air.
“I hope this was a good lesson. I’d learned where the booze can take you. I’d learned it years ago. Do you remember?” he went on with a calmer voice.
“Do you know what shocked me the most? Not your stupid behaviour that you didn’t give a shit what Mia could feel, or that she can go after you – endangering her own life for you fucking one – but that technically she was dead. For more minutes than me! I was dead only for two minutes, but she was dead for nearly four minutes! Four fucking minutes! Do you know what this could have done to her? Do you know?! When the brain can’t get enough oxygen, after five minutes it surely causes damage. Now we can just hope that she hadn’t suffered permanent damage! It was a near thing for me too… By Mia we have to wait until she comes round. Although it was positive that she reacted to our presence” he drew in the smoke again.
Martin didn’t say a word. He knew that Dave was right. He was simply right. Martin was sad again. If there was be something with Mia… He wouldn’t be able to forget himself.
“Dave, please… forgive me!” he sobbed “I… I’m so…” he couldn’t pull himself together “Don’t leave me, please!” he looked at him begging “I can’t do this alone! Watching what’ll be with Mia. Please, don’t leave me alone!” he begged.
Dave stabbed his cigarette with a serious face, puffed the smoke into the air and looked straight into his crying friend’s eyes. His eyes softened a little.
“Don’t be afraid Mart, I won’t leave you, I won’t leave you alone, but I wanted you to feel the weight of this. To feel how much you’d have lost if… if she died. Then I would have gone. Forever. Then our relationship was over, my feelings… for you, our friendship, everything, you know it, right? I love you too. I know that I fell in love with Mia. For a long while. It would have fucking hurt, if we lost her because of our stupid things.”
“Our stupid things?”
“Yes” he folded his hands on his lap “I made mistakes too.”
“I let her go after you cuz I couldn’t leave Jen and Rosie there. If they hadn’t been here, I would have kept her from running around sick.”
“I know exactly what you’d do if Mia…” he sighed then with a nervous move he wiped his tears away “Look, I don’t expect you to look over me, to be my nanny because of my stupid things. You have a family Dave. I’ll try everything to control myself – I promise this here looking straight into your eyes. I haven’t even touched the whiskey yet, you can see. I haven’t drunk anything. This case shocked me.”
“But until when… It doesn’t matter, let it go. I don’t want you to hate me because of this” he shook his head then stood up to walk to the window, putting his hands into his pockets.
“I won’t hate you, but right now I can’t offer more than this.”
Dave heard Martin carefully walking next to him, looking up at him. “Alright. It’s your conscience, your body” he answered quietly, watching the nightly city. Outside the cold wind was blowing sharply.
“I know Dave that you’d stopped drinking years ago and I appreciate that you tolerated me even when sometimes I wasn’t in too nice situations. This lesson from today was good. I feel it.”
“Then maybe you should spill the whiskey into the sink so that it won’t tempt you if I go” he noted.
Without a word Martin turned around, grabbed the bottle and went to the bathroom with it. Dave turned a bit so he could see through the open door as he poured even the last drop into the basin. In the mirror he saw Martin’s grimace – it was meant probably for the whiskey. Then he came back to him and stopped in front of him, lifting his sad green gaze onto him.
“How does it feel?”
“It’s better” Blondie answered.
A faint smile appeared on Dave’s face and it seemed as if a little pride flashed in his eyes. “Alright” he hugged Martin suddenly.
And Martin nuzzled to him with all of his heart’s bitterness. He put his head onto Dave’s chest and he was just listening to his heartbeats “Dave, once… once there was a time when I thought I’d lost you. I love Mia, I really do. But… you must know that… I… I love you more” he said the end of his sentence barely audible “I’d do anything for you. Hold me back, help me, maybe… maybe I can succeed…”
The blonde musician was nuzzling to him as if his life was depending on it. For him Dave was now like a gulp of air. He needed just him now, to feel that he stands by his side. No one could understand this as well as he. He was just holding him softly, never wanting to let him go. He wanted to bury himself into his scent, into the feeling as the other’s arms were around his back and waist, as Dave’s breath was softly tickling his nape, moving a few curly tufts. No, he never wanted letting him go.
The things Martin said hit Dave hard and he whispered his reassuring answers too. He didn’t know how long they had been standing there hugging. He felt that both of them started calming down. Finally he took Martin’s injured face into his hands and looked into his eyes “You’re crazy, Gore” and then he put a featherlike kiss onto his lips and gently broke free from the hug “Now I have to go. Go to bed and have a nice sleep. Tomorrow evening we must do the concert without Mia too” he said heading for the door.
Martin was staring at the spot where Dave’d disappeared after closing the door behind him. Then finally Curly stumbled towards his bedroom. But of course he couldn’t sleep, he was just tossing and turning and the day’s events were running around his head. Prize-winner jerk, you’d take the prize on the cattle-sale, he thought. He was lucky that Dave was still standing by his side even after this. He knew that Dave loves him too, but he won’t love him as much as he does love Dave. He didn’t mind, the main point was to have Dave and Mia by his side…
“Jeez, Mia, kitty!” his heart sank “You were able to… to come after me no matter that you were this sick…”