Chapter Seven

Nearly three days later Bo had not heard a single word from Oscar.

While the realist (and perhaps optimistic) side of his mind told him that it was because of the fact that Oscar was not only working on a musical, but also a single dad, the smallest part of his mind chanted that it was because he didn’t care to continue pursuing any form of relationship with the man.

This was, quite obviously, not true.

Rather, Oscar must just be busy, and forgetful of their plan to meet today for ice cream for Jessamine.

And so Dr. Jones busied himself with other aspects of his life, despite the constantly shouting voice that told him he was being abandoned, once again.

The first of his tasks was the necessary cleaning of his leg, which he had been putting off for quite some time. The limb could be easily taken apart, and just had to be wiped down as well as oil applied to the joints. The process took all of an hour, but it was all of an hour that Bo would rather be doing literally anything else.

Music played throughout the entire process, ranging from Broadway to Old Pop to Elton John and then back around to various friends of his who had released their own albums. All of which brought the question of whether or not he would write his debut album to the front of his mind.

Bradley had genuinely thought about it for a long time, and had even begun scribbling down the lyrics for a half a dozen or so songs that could potentially see the light of day. It was a slow process, and he was able to answer the question when asked of him as a ‘someday soon’ rather than a ‘maybe in the future’.

The question was mostly directed from his old co-star, and the only one he really kept close contact with. Afterall, when you kiss someone every night of the week (and twice on Saturdays) for not one show, but two shows, with nearly three years in between the two it is very common for them to stick around. The odds of this specifically happening are slim, but Bo wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lydia Nine became his best friend within weeks of their first show together. Her roles in his life on stage as his love interest led to a rather odd moment off stage in most situations. She played both Katherine Pulitzer and Elphaba, in Newsies and Wicked respectively, and Lydia did it wonderfully.

Their time together in Newsies was full of early morning coffee runs and late night dinners after the show. Both Lydia and Bo made a goal of becoming comfortable with each other to the point where their romance on stage looked genuine. Though, they may have taken it just a step too far, as nearly every major Broadway news magazine stipulated that the two were dating onstage and offstage, though they could not be more wrong.

Bo was, as previously mentioned, gay, and at the same time he wasn’t Lydia’s type. She preferred the big men, with the big muscles and the facial hair. It was a good type to have.

Lydia was the first to leave Newsies, just as Bo celebrated ten months of being with the show. He was sad to see her go, but at the same time, every person was different when it came to their roles in shows. Bradley tends to not leave a role until after a year has passed, but Lydia loves to jump from show to show with no care about how she left the show.

They kept easy contact, weekly coffee dates and once a month movie nights. Bo didn’t want to lose a friendship so fantastic as the one he had with Lydia, the biggest plus side being the fact that she used to live just a few subway stops from his previous address.

The role of Fiyero had been offered to Bradley just after he turned twenty-four. He had accepted it almost immediately, and promised that he was honored in receiving it. The part that he held back from the casting directors was that the role of Prince Fiyero Tiggular, Captain of the Guard of Emerald City, was one of his dream roles ever since he had first seen it when he was just barely seventeen.

It was just a week into Wicked’s opening in 2003, Bo was currently in the role of Danny Zuko in Grease and found himself with a night off in a week and with nothing to do. The ticket had been offered to him by the then casting director, and to his immense surprise he had been put in the front row seat of the theatre.

To see both Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenowith in the roles that nearly put the pair of them on the map was something that he’d never expected, and yet when they stepped out on stage and started for the first time, Bo could distinctly remember tears in his eyes.

After the show was over, he was just about to start on his way out, wanting to get an early start to the next morning, an usher for the show came down to the front and escorted him backstage.

The story was one that he had fallen in love with immediately. Afterall, playing a prince in a story that did not originally have a happy ending was right up his alley. The original book by Gregory Maguire sits on his shelf now, with its worn spine and peeling pages. It is well loved, each page stamped with character notes that then translated beautifully onstage. Bradley wanted to do the role justice, and in the end he turned the role of Fiyero into his own, presenting a character that was much to sure of himself and almost a complete and utter jackass, only to have him immediately turn around and be revealed as someone too afraid of disappointing the family that he had to share his own point of view on the world.

That is until Fiyero meets Elphaba.

Bo was given two weeks to learn his entire part in the show, and then Adam DeShagne signed off and Doctor Bradley Oliver Jones stood on the stage to sing his heart out in a role that almost seemed built for him. The image forever seared into his mind of him in Fiyero’s tunic, dancing through life with no legitimate concern of getting everyone to fall in love with him at the forefront of his mind.

Lydia joined the cast just over three weeks later, taking up the gauntlet of Elphaba as if her only goal in life was to tear down every negative opinion that people had against a person of color taking over the role.

She did it brilliantly, lighting up the marquee lights as if it were her theatre.

Bradley couldn’t have felt more proud, and displayed this many times throughout their mutual run. From kisses on the cheek at the end of the night, to gifts of flowers in her dressing room, he was sure to make Lydia fully aware of how wonderful she was.

Bo’s accident came just over four months after Lydia joined, it had of course thrown a quite literal wrench in all of his plans. Both Lydia and Amelia hated the fact that he rode a motorcycle, and when he laid in that hospital bed with phantom pains and agonizing headaches he wished he had listened.

Lydia stuck around.

She pushed those just seeking interviews and headlines for their newspapers away, and started to urge him to move. Encouragement and heartfelt wishes coming from her lips as she wanted more than anything for him to get back onto the stage. It was something he needed to hear, and despite this, Bo had given up hope just as he reached month four after the injury.

The exact knowledge that his doctors provided on what his recovery would look like just barely pushing him over the edge.

It took three months for Bo to be able to acknowledge exactly what he would go through to get back on his feet, or foot in his case in being an amputee.

The court date was announced, and Lydia, as promised, was by his side at the court date. 

Bo did not cry.

He looked at the man who took away his career, his ability to walk, and sat proud. Back straight in a wheelchair that he had already gotten used to using, the seat of the chair decorated with fairy lights, a mini pride flag tapped to it as well. Lydia encouraged him to testify. In her words (from a law degree she didn’t fully complete) a victim’s testimony does much to change the juror's minds.

Bo did as she said, and even faked a tear or two, his mind much to numb to actually feel any other emotion than anger and fear of what was to become of his life.

Lydia did not abandon him, and Bo was thankful in every way he could be.

But she was back on Broadway now, performing in the role she had left for just over a year and a half to help Bo recover. Every night she wore the same bracelet, an old fraying knot bracelet, one that Bradley had made and gifted to her after their shared time in Newsies.

“The bracelet is a symbol.” She promised after Bo expressed his concern about it messing up the aesthetic of the costume she was wearing. “We were supposed to do this together, and this way you’ll be on stage with me every night.”

Her words brought a genuine tear to Bo’s eyes, and he goes once a month to see her on stage to share his love for the theatre with her. Lydia was quite a beacon of hope in his life.

And to see the way her face lit up when he first stood on his own two feet, the shape of the prosthetic just similar enough to his leg to provide a steady two feet. Lydia cried quite a bit and planted big sloppy kisses on his cheeks in a way of saying congratulations. Her performance that night was just the smallest bit more emotional.

Bradley was rather happy with how the entire process had turned out, despite the long and seemingly continuous process.

He felt as though he were one of those success stories that were nearly complete, all that he had to do was to return to life as relatively normal and be a completed story. The sudden realization that he had not gone back to work at Bellevue and the cause behind that joined the pleasant thoughts in his mind.

It was all formed as passing thought, the events from a few days ago suddenly peaked into his mind, and he found himself shaking his head repeatedly.

Not of that, not of that.” He repeated the words as if they were a mantra, wanting to think of anything other than the woman who claimed to be a help to those that needed and was nothing more than a person serving her own self interest.

Not of that.” Bo nodded in finality, shrugging his shoulders up to his ears and not caring as his head clicked repeatedly to the sound. The action was a comfort, a way for his mind to release the tension in both his mind and body. Bradley’s hands shook repeatedly in front of him, side to side to side, the action bringing a sort of physical stimulus that was rather pleasant in the front of his mind.

Bradley took up his cane again, pushing himself to his feet before almost immediately tipping over. Despite the fact that he had just been cleaning his prosthetic leg and had not put it back on again, he had forgotten this fact. His mind convinced him that, for just a moment, he still had a leg and he had made a poor attempt at putting weight onto that leg.

Bo shook his head, a smile coming onto his face despite everything, his own mind being able to trick himself into thinking he was still in possession of a limb that no longer existed was almost a wonder to him.

His phone started to buzz, Bo’s well trained ears able to hear it through the many rooms of the apartment. He hurried through, grabbing at it and lifting it to his ears without really thinking to check who was calling.

“Hello?” A wave of excitement passed over him as he recognized the voice that spoke to him as Oscar’s.

Bo, I am so sorry that I didn’t call you until now, we had” Oscar’s voice paused, “we had a bit of a rough start this morning.

Bo shrugged despite the fact that Oscar couldn’t see it. “That’s alright, it gave me the chance to finish up some things I’d been meaning to do.”

A light chuckled passed on the other side of the phone and Bradley found himself smiling as well. “Jessamine woke up with a stomach bug, and she insisted all day that I call you to see if you would still come to visit. But please don’t feel obligated-

“I’d love to come, is she still, you know, getting sick?” Bo’s immune system had lost a lot of its kick because of the loss of his limb, though he couldn’t explain why. He was often wracked with a cold himself, and had the flu last winter.

No, I was finally able to get her to eat some crackers, and after she took a nap she woke up much better and hungry. No fever either.” Oscar’s voice was genuine, and overall his words came as reassurance.

Bo nodded, deciding then and there that he would feel comfortable enough with Oscar’s promise to come and join the father daughter duo for a night of, what would be assumed, movies, soup, and simple foods. “Should I pick up anything?” The image of when his sister was sick in his mind as he thought of what he had done to make his sister feel better. “I’ll bring some ingredients and make dinner?”

It was an offer that he had planned on going through anyway, but the idea of showing up with food to make without consulting the patriarch of the household was one that he didn’t particularly like.

Honestly,” A sigh passed over the line, a soft and tired sounding one, “that would be great.”

Bo promised that he would be there within the hour, and asked for Oscar to text the address to his apartment. Oscar was greatly thankful, muttering it multiple times as he worked on typing up the address. The promise of Jessamine being excited prompted Bo to move just a bit faster.

Once the call ended, Bo looked to the false limb and frowned. He had woken up in unimaginable pain, and the thought of putting the leg on in the first place had nearly sent him overboard.

He sighed a heavy sigh. “For Jessamine.” The fear of scaring Jessamine with his missing limb was just enough for him to actually work up the nerve to cross the room and pull the limb on. A hiss passed through Bo’s teeth in response to the tightness of the socket around what was left of his thigh.

He stood, taking a moment to let himself grow accustomed to the limb once again.

I’m so sure I have what I need.” The words were muttered to himself as Bo made his way back into the kitchen. The statement was true of course, as he had been planning to make chicken noodle soup for himself on the nights where he didn’t feel particularly obligated to make something difficult.

It was much more tempting to leave his leg once he packed his backpack full of all of the ingredients, as well as a box of brownie mix just in case Jessamine was feeling up for it. The backpack distributed the weight evenly enough and left both his hands free to hold other things, he pushed away the idea of leaving it behind.

Bo paused at the door, glancing over his shoulder and surveying his apartment. The strangest feeling that he was forgetting something passed through his mind, he shook it off before he nodded in finality and turned to leave the apartment.

Bo kept his cane in hand, as he felt much too unsteady without it, though it was just beyond his thinking to realize what he would do with it once he arrived at Oscar’s.

He started down the hall and into the elevator, breathing steadily as he got much too excited about spending more time with both Oscar and Jessamine, his right hand began to flap beside his side, his right leg following suit in bouncing up and down on his toes. Bo hurried off of the elevator, trying to take deep enough breaths to calm himself down.

Bradley’s mind automatically supplied the directions to him, a left at the end of the block, a right after four more.

All in all, it was a rather pleasant walk. The number of cars passing by slowly dwindled down, nearly to the point where Bo felt comfortable to take his time crossing the crosswalks. It was a long walk, probably much more than it usually would have taken him. Though given how he woke up this morning, and the amount of pain that he was in just simply leaning a bit on his cane was a large tell that if not for the gift of time spent with Oscar at the other end of the walk, he would not have been able to make the trip.

Bradley reached the address that Oscar had given him forty-five minutes after the phone call, pleased in himself for the time that he made. He paused, looking up at the apartment building.

It was nearly old fashioned looking, the classic red brick with a bit of white forming a sort of decorative pattern up the front of it. Massive fire escapes went all the way up, spanning all five stories, and looked in surprisingly good condition given the apparent age of the building. It was a rather homey looking place, perfectly fitting the entire feeling he was getting off of both father and daughter.

Bradley walked up to the front door, scanning along the buzzer names for just a moment before smiling brightly.

“OSM.” Bradley muttered, thinking of the contact name he had for the man in his phone. The sound of the buzz was rather jarring, and as Bo waited for the usual click of the door he leaned heavily on his cane, readjusting the backpack on his back as he did.

The door beside him clicked loudly, and he grunted as he pulled it open, the hinges protesting rather loudly as he did.

He was accepted into a small lobby, an open staircase to his left and a small elevator off to his right. Bo started before it, though in a normal case he would have not chosen the elevator, the remembrance of how awful the morning had been was something that prompted him to choose the elevator.

That is, until he realized that the elevator was, in fact, out of order and he would have to take the stairs anyways.

Bo paused dramatically, before spinning on his false heel and starting up the stairs.

It was three total flights, and under normal circumstances, Bo wouldn’t have had as much of an issue with it. Though given the events of today and the past few days he was not surprised at all when it took him nearly fifteen minutes to make it all the way up.

After pausing for a significant time to rest his leg at the top of the stairs he made the rather quick decision to not care about tucking his cane away, as he was almost entirely sure that he would not be able to do the rest of the night without said cane.

“Three twenty-two, three twenty-three,” Bo muttered the names aloud as he passed them, finding it much easier to keep himself grounded on his task as he went. “Three twenty-nine.”

Bo paused for a moment, looking down at himself in a way that just let him double check that he was entirely put together and that his foot was facing the proper way. He reached up, knocking three times and pulling a smile onto his face.

Mr. Bo!” The voice of Jessamine came through the door, her voice high pitched and excited. Bo smiled fondly, just barely recognizing the pattering on the other side of the door as little feet coming to let him in.

The door swung open rather aggressively, and as Bo braced himself for the little girl, immediately glad that he did, she threw herself onto him in a form of a flopping hug. He wrapped his right arm around her shoulders, holding her up slightly as she became nearly dead weight in his arm.

When she pulled away there was a bright smile on her face, and Bo could only assume that his was just as wide.

“Come on come on come on!” Jessamine started to grab his left hand before pausing. She looked him up and down, noticing the addition to his clothing and yet holding back from saying something against it. She seemed almost confused, and Bradley couldn’t blame her.

Bo’s smile falters ever so slightly, “Here.” He offered her the other hand, and watched as she took her time in grabbing it. Bo followed behind, smiling as a little dog came running up to them, immediately taking after jumping up both of Bradley’s legs, trying his best to get his attention.

“That’s Dedos.” Jessamine’s voice was smiling as she paused to pick up Dedos and give him a kiss on the top of his head. The dog immediately calmed down in Jessamine’s arms, as if all he wanted was to be held by the little girl. “Daddy!” The shout was rather jarring, and Bo found himself almost jumping out of his skin the second she turned to find her dad. “He was just here.”

Bradley followed just a few feet behind Jessamine, taking his time to look around the rather homey apartment with a faint smile on his face.

Pictures lined the hallway, little Jessamine with a woman that Bradley could only assume was her mom. She was a beautiful woman, and much of her could be seen in Jessamine’s face.

There was a consistent theme throughout all of the photos, the psychologist in Bo, once again, wanted to analyze it. The way that Jessamine avoided looking directly at the camera, and how fidgety she always appeared. It was something he had seen in his past while going through his own diagnosis. He almost felt the need to say something, but he held back, taking instead to focus on the man in the photographs.

Whenever both the woman and Oscar appeared in photographs they were not very affectionate, it seemed as though they were just very close friends. The idea that he had on what their relationship was was something that he had already inferred about, though it was subject to change depending on the story that Oscar told.

“Bowie.”

It was not a nickname he had heard before, and the smile that was brought to his face as soon as he heard it was obscenely large.

Oscar’s voice was almost breathy as he spoke, and when Bradley turned he could see why. His hair was all flat on one side of his head, his eyes rather tired looking. Oscar had just woken up, and in a moment of confidence that Bradley did not know he had, he stepped forward, moving his fingers through Oscar’s hair and fixing the large flatted pieces.

He did not think about how homey the action was, how natural it was for him to feel comfortable in engaging in touch with the man. Oscar’s hair was very soft, and did wonders for grounding him to the Torres home.

“There,” Bo’s voice was just above a whisper as he finished, shuffling back on his feet and leaning heavily on his cane. He watched as Oscar took a moment to seemingly reboot.

Oscar’s cheeks were bright red, and he took a deep breath before speaking, “Hi.” He sounded rather breathy when he spoke despite the breath, and it was then that Jessamine decided to speak up.

“Why are your cheeks all red daddy?” She then scurried off with no prompting, leaving a rather odd silence in the air as the pair tried to get a hold of themselves.

Oscar’s eyes dulled for just a moment as he looked down to see the cane that Bradley had in his hand, the smile fading ever so slightly. The look terrified Bo for just a moment, as if the cane had been too drastic of a change for Oscar to be able to handle.

“Sorry, I would have-” Bradley paused, his grip tightening on the handle of the cane, “It wasn’t a great last few days for me either.” It was all that he could bring himself to say, and when he looked back up at Oscar, he noticed the softest of smiles on his face.

“It’s okay,” Oscar held out his elbow, and despite the fact that Bo didn’t really need help to walk through the apartment, he took the elbow anyways. “Well to the Torres residence, featuring a wall of books, three containers of toys, and a grand piano.”

Oscar spoke in a light and joking tone, motioning dramatically to the space around him, as if presenting all of it to Doctor Jones.

Bo smiled brightly, looking at Oscar from over his shoulder, “I love it.”

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