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Too Much Blank Space, Not Enough Vomit - Ch. 7.2

by Bullet

Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and mature content.

Ethan and Leah found him a little later when they got home, passed out in the parking lot, a half-smoked cigarette laying on the pavement beside him. They got him on his feet, putting him into the backseat of the Subaru, before making their way to the nearest emergency room.

"Alcohol poisoning probably," Ethan said to Leah after they settled into the waiting room. He wondered how they had gotten to this point, again. The nurses had taken Rhys to an intake bay, where they were currently working on him.

Leah glanced up at him as Ethan took the seat beside her. "You sound pretty sure of that."

Ethan shrugged. "Been around this block a time or two. This is the second time I've found him in the parking lot. Usually he goes out walking, passes out in the park, or at the Waffle House."


"I can't believe what he pulled at the gallery," Ethan muttered, shaking his head. "But honestly, I don't know if I should even be surprised. It's kind of...well, par for the course for him."

"So now what?" Leah asked, watching him. Ethan sighed.

"They'll pump his stomach. Maybe keep him for observation, maybe not - they've seen him so often, they might just say he's good and send him home."

"I mean, you could have him...I don't know, committed or something."

Ethan arched an eyebrow at her before his eyebrows knit together as he frowned. "I can't do that."

"Maybe it's what he needs," Leah suggested. "You know, send him to a thirty day or ninety day program or something. Or maybe one of those residential places, you know, where they stay for like six months or a year."

"No," Ethan shook his head quickly. "I can't. He needs me."

"No, Ethan, he needs help."

Ethan shook his head. "No. That's not happening. He needs to stay home where I can take care of him."

"On your head be it," she said, getting to her feet. "Getting coffee. Want some?"

He nodded slowly, watching her hips as she walked away. It wouldn't be too much longer until Rhys was done with treatment and taken to his room, where Ethan could go in and tell him off. As much as he loved his little brother and as much as he loved taking care of him, this was starting to get old. t was time for them to start maturing; Ethan wasn't getting any younger, he really liked Leah, and it was time to start thinking about a house and a family and settling down. Rhys was going to have to get his shit together sooner rather than later.

Ethan looked up as a white-coat-clad doctor - Doctor Ernstein, Rhys' psychologist - took Leah's empty seat. She smiled at him gently.

"Hi, Ethan."

"Hi," he said, shifting in his seat to face her better. "What're you...?"

"The ER doctor called me in when she saw my name on Rhys' chart," Doctor Ernstein explained. "I've talked to Rhys a bit. He's still sobering up, but he seems to be doing alright, for the most part. He told me he's taking his meds, but his tox screen - "

"I know," Ethan nodded slowly. "I know, he's a mess."

"Ethan," Dr. Ernstein became more serious. "I think...I think Rhys should be...I think he should be admitted to our psych ward for a few days."

Ethan stared at her. "No."

"Ethan," Ernstein sighed. "He's very clearly quite unstable. He's using cocaine and alcohol at a very unsustainable rate, one that is putting him in a lot of danger. He needs therapy and medications and acute observation."

"Absolutely not," Ethan shook his head violently. "No. No, I won't let him be locked away like some animal. Whatever's wrong with him, we're handling it at home."

"Well," Dr. Ernstein said slowly, "you very clearly aren't handling it."

She stood, walking away just as Leah returned with their coffees. Ethan took his coffee - black, no sugar - and leaned back in his seat, hands wrapped around the paper cup. He just couldn't betray Rhys like that - couldn't abandon him like their mother did.

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641 Reviews

Points: 46598
Reviews: 641

Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:59 am
Panikos wrote a review...

Hiya, LordStar! Another quick one.

This was a good chapter. Switching the POV to Ethan gives us a nice change of pace, especially given that Ethan's goals are a lot more concrete - though still complicated. I love the dilemma that's emerging. I can understand why Ethan would be so reluctant to let Rhys be sectioned, but I also think that there's nothing Ethan can do at this point. He can't spend his whole life keeping Rhys from the brink of destruction. And I don't know if it will help Rhys in the long run.

I would be incredibly interested to see what would happen if Rhys was admitted to a psych ward, both for the experience of seeing Rhys in a new environment and for the impact it would have on his and Ethan's relationship. Seeing Rhys reconcile (or not) with the betrayal could be an interesting development for his character. I'm also really interested to find out what happened with their mother. Their dad is dead, as far as I remember? I wonder if the mother left before or after that happened.

I do wonder if there's more to Ethan's protectiveness of Rhys. Is it just due to whatever happened to their mother, and because he genuinely thinks that Rhys wouldn't manage without him? Or is there a part of him that likes to be responsible for Rhys? I don't know. It just seems odd to me that Ethan is so resistant to the idea of Rhys going onto a ward, even if just for a few days. It's an oddly possessive way to behave - if he's worried about how Rhys would feel about it, you'd think he'd discuss it with him, rather than flat-out refusing on his behalf. Still, without knowing what happened with their mother, it's hard for me to judge Ethan's motivations.

I think that's all the comments I've got for this chapter. It was good to read, and you captured the mix of exhaustion and worry that comes with being a relative of someone with chronic mental health struggles. He plainly cares about his brother, but you can tell it's wearing him down to take responsibility all the time. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of this.

Keep writing!

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760 Reviews

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Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:07 am
ExOmelas wrote a review...

Day 5 here we go!

Nit-picks and nice moments:

Leah glanced up at him as Ethan took the seat beside her. "You sound pretty sure of that."

Does she mean that it could be something stronger? Alcohol poisoning seems like a very strong shout for what's wrong with him, given how he was at the gallery.

"No," Ethan shook his head quickly. "I can't. He needs me."

"No, Ethan, he needs help."

Ethan shook his head. "No. That's not happening. He needs to stay home where I can take care of him."

"On your head be it," she said, getting to her feet. "Getting coffee. Want some?"

Oooh I love this! I can so see this leading to a problem in the future as Ethan maybe has to come to terms with the fact that he can't give Rhys what he needs.

He just couldn't betray Rhys like that - couldn't abandon him like their mother did.

you're not going to get this reference but EASTENDERS DRUMS! Basically, biiiig oof here at the end of the chapter. Excellent cliffhanger.


This may be my favourite chapter yet. I absolutely love this emotional conflict and the addition of the mother line at the end makes Ethan's stubbornness make sense but without explaining away all the mystery. I do wonder what Rhys has to say about this, but I can understand that Dr. Erstein wouldn't have brought it up yet with him still sobering up and coming to. Although, does he get a say? He's a minor, right? Does that mean that Ethan is his carer and gets to make decisions? That could be interesting as well.

I do have a bit of an issue with the way it seems to be accepted that Rhys "needs to get his shit together". It just sounds a bit harsh. Like, the way they're talking about what Rhys "pulled" at the gallery, as if Rhys is a complete asshole - he's clearly upset. I could understand Ethan getting a bit jaded, but I'd have expected Leah to call him out and be like "go easy on him. he's not doing okay at all" or something like that.

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)

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