Ben couldn't stop redialling and listening to the messages Callum had sent him. All of it kept him calm when he felt he couldn't be in the hospital. It kept him company when the visiting hours weren't available and he needed someone to listen to. There wasn't anything more he could have wished for anyway if it wasn't going to be Callum in person. The man never did anything by halves despite the nickname people had coined for him. All that kept revolving in his head were Tange's words.
He deserved to be happy but Ben Mitchell had never made anyone better and he knew it. He destroyed so many people and left them behind. He couldn't do that to the older man. Not to Callum. Yet...there was some part of him that didn't want to let go. Didn't want to let himself sabotage another chance. There weren't many second chances for him left.
And he had promised Tange. Promised them he'd make better choices and not running. He had people rooting for him now. Ben counted to ten before redialling the voicemail number and letting Callum Highway's voice flicker back into life.
“God I don't even know if this is the right thing to do. Jase and the others say it'd help. And I'll be honest....you leaving all those calls for me, they helped. So maybe they'll help you too. Sorry for being the reason I scared you and also I know you'd be kicking me for saying that....although you're not really here right now - “
“I don't want to say it but I think I'll feel better if I say it loud. I'm worried about you. We're still waiting for you out here. And I mean...we've been doing a lot of growing together lately, so much I don't want to without you. I mean, I know I can do it on my own – I wouldn't have gotten through life if I couldnt' – but it's just nicer to have someone there with you as you do. That probably don't make any sense. Haven't been making much of that lately. I just – yeah two secs Jase! - never mind. Don't worry about it”
“You don't know how scared I was to be me for years on end. Even with a new support system around me. Worried I'd be missing out on something or someone. Then Whit told me to come down here and I did. Whitney and I are a whole story for another day but I will tell you. Some point. Once we're done sorting all this out first. Cos after I came down here, some Mitchell came down here and showed off to me and I fell hard. Didn't I? I met someone who was brighter than the sun and all I wanted to do was stand next to it and who cared if I burnt a little there? Still do”
“This ain't funny now. Just come back to me. Come back to us. There's so much here for you”
“I can feel everyone's eyes on me. I mean I cared a lot less then I would have years ago although it's...still a bit weird. I'm not something in a forensics class. What's the problem? I've just been trying to settle myself with crosswords but believe it or not, I'm not actually as good as it as you are. Prefer those anagrams. Oh the nurse is here to do your bloods and stuff, best go”
“Who even invented this show? I love a bit of reality TV but sometimes I swear it goes too off the rails. I can't keep on with this, I have to change it to one of those musicals ya like. That's if they're even on here. Maybe once you're out of the woods, we can celebrate at the Vic or something. Just us finding a way...to...just....be. God that sounds stupid but I know it's not. We need recovery and comfort and one of those ways is surround yourself with some good people. Or at least....to a certain extent. Oh hi Tange, when'd you get in? No I'm fine - “
“I love you. It sounds stupid considering I yelled it to you before everything happened but I do. Maybe I've loved you for longer than I thought. You can sit there and tell me I don't and I should find someone else because you don't deserve me. But you do. You're it for me Ben and you do deserve me. To a certain extent. You've made me so much happier, stronger and there ain't no one else I want to continue this life with. And yeah, maybe sometimes I think you're a little gobby, a little bit too late in letting yourself rest and a few other things I couldn't get into. But then if I erased all that? You wouldn't be everything I love then, would ya? I ain't looking for anything or anyone to change ya. You ain't going no-where. Nor am I. That's a promise”
“You ain't going no-where”
“Stuart's been calling me and acting all funny. As if he wasn't thinking I was already. Mick and Linda keep trying to pop round to make sure I'm resting. Tange and Jase keep popping by and just doing their usual check-in's. For a minute I'd have thought you'd have woken to their extremely loud rendition of Party in the USA. God I just never thought I'd have this. Friends, Stuart, the Carters you, a real and genuine family I could call my own. So....come back and be a family again Ben”
“I keep holding your hand and then I get upset when you don't squeeze it back. I know you will though. Ben Mitchell's made of strong stuff”
“I just want to help fix this. I just want to get you some help. I wanna be standing by your side no matter where you are. If you'd let me. I've been waiting for someone like you and I'm not ready to let that slip away. Especially not like this. And look I know you don't care for the footy scores but I ain't yet and maybe I can, I dunno, bore you into wakefulness”
“Me and you, we're a team. We can work through this. I don't blame you. You weren't the ones who did this. I don't blame you. You're going to get through this. I believe in you”
“I love you, I miss you and I need you to come back to us. You and me? We're going to be a success story”
"Mick said....well he rang us. Said you'd woken up. A couple hours ago actually. Don't know how I'm going to end up speaking to you without a phone between us but also for other reasons probably. After all I've been protected by you not being awake and not having to spare any feelings. Even if Tange had talked to you already. But I guess I have to face up to this sometime. I sent these for a reason. I've waited too long for you to wake up and just not see you. So I guess I'll see you soon. I'm here waiting. Whenever you're ready”