In the beginning of the story we learned that Edward has always been there for you, from childhood up on into adulthood. Do you think your relationship with your brother would have been different if he hadn’t always been there to help you out?
Three months ago, I would have said no, it wouldn’t have been any different. And I say that because three months ago, I never stopped to think that it was my constant relying on him that was driving a wedge between us. I didn’t see the little things here or there that he helped me with, adding up to as much as they did. (And I’m not talking about him helping me with buying my home. I knew that was a big deal. I’m not that ignorant) I just thought that the friendship we’d had as kids had just kind of...faded away as we grew older.
But now I can see that it wasn’t our seven year difference in age, or the fact that I’m the annoying little brother, that drove us apart. I think if he hadn’t helped me, maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long to start growing the fuck up. I’m not blaming him for that, because I asked for help just as often as he gave it, I’m just saying...in some ways, our strained relationship is both of our faults. Same with him and Jasper, and even him and our father. I think all of our relationships would, or could, have been different if he hadn’t helped us all out so much.
What went through your head when you saw the floor give out beneath Edward?
Damn...honestly? Nothing. I saw his face and the second my brain figured out what was about to happen, it’s like it just shut right the hell off, and I’m kind of glad it did. I don’t think I would have been able to move if something hadn’t switched over to like...autopilot or something. If my brain had actually connected the dots that my brother had fallen through the floor, and could possibly be dead, I would have been completely useless in that situation. It didn’t really hit me until we were in the truck heading to the hospital.
There’s one thing about the night of the fire that I’ve always sort of wondered. Was it a conscious decision to save Bella instead of grabbing Edward?
It was never even an option. I never would have gotten to Edward in time to grab a hold of him. If Edward hadn’t yelled at me to grab Bella, I wouldn’t have even gotten to her in time, and she was a few feet ahead of him between us. I had just managed to get a hold of her hand when a huge section of the floor gave out. It all happened in just a few short seconds.
We know you’ve been back at work for a few weeks now, but can you tell us what went through your head the first time you heard the alarm sound?
I don’t think that’s a moment I’ll ever forget. That whole first day back is burned into my brain. I remember walking in and thinking that at any moment, my brother would stroll around the corner and bark at me for being late...because I was. I’d sat in the parking lot for almost fifteen minutes questioning if I could really go back in there or not. Everyone was cool about it, but I think that was worse than if they’d bitched at me.
I ended up throwing my bag in the TV room because I couldn’t handle being upstairs in the sleeping quarters and seeing my brother’s empty bed. No one had slept in it since the night of the accident, he was the last one, and his wristwatch was still on the headboard shelf. The whole morning I found myself steering clear of areas Edward would typically hang out in because every time I walked into one of those rooms, I couldn’t do anything but focus on the fact that he wasn’t there with us.
When the first call of that shift went out, I thought I’d chilled out enough to handle it, but when I went to grab my gear from my locker, and it all came crashing down again. I don’t know if it’s ever been mentioned in the story or not, but my gear locker is right next to Edward’s in the line-up, and when I went to grab my shit, all I saw was the empty space where his turnout gear should have been hanging. The only things left in his locker were his helmet and his boots. I got even more fucked up when I looked away from it and saw that I’d never changed my gear back out. Edward’s old turnout gear was still hanging in my locker, and because holding up the truck so I could go grab my own wasn’t an option, I had to put it on.
If it wasn’t for Alec clapping me on the back, I would have lost my shit right there.
What’s the atmosphere like at the firehouse with Edward’s continued absence?
Tense...that’s about the best I can describe it. Everyone tries to go about business as usual, but the place just feels empty without him. Some of the guys will try to lighten things up once in a while by talking about shit from before the accident, but sometimes they don’t realize that Edward had been a part of a certain call or whatever until they get to that point in the story. Then it just gets uncomfortable as fuck because no one can laugh anymore and it’s like a cloud of gloom fills the entire house for hours afterward. It sucks, but we’re dealing.