It all happened in a flash. Or at least, it had from Callum's perspective. He woke up laying on the cold concrete forgetting why he was there in the first place. Everything was blurry and his head was throbbing with blunt pain. Until a familiar voice broke through his confusion…
…Ben's voice. Ben's distinctively worried voice.
"Great." Callum thought to himself. What the hell had he gotten himself into this time?
Before he found himself one with the floor, Callum was on his way to meet Ben in the Vic as they had planned that morning. A good night's sleep had put Callum in a good mood, so when he woke up to a text from Ben for lunch, he felt like he was on the moon.
On his way to the Vic, Callum walked past Kathy's Café and paused. He swore he could hear something crashing about in there, which was unusual since he knew the café was closed that day for an unknown reason. Callum began to question who could've been in there and got his answer quicker than he expected.
A tall bloke who looked no older than Callum burst through the doors of the café, having failed to take any money from the place. He made to sprint away from the Square, not realising that Callum Highway was right on his tail.
Callum, of course, had picked up on what the man was doing and gave chase.
"Oi!" Shouted Callum at the lousy thief. But his voice fell on deaf ears.
Callum quickly caught up with the bloke and intended to hold him down on the floor until he was able to call the police. But that wouldn't go quite as planned.
He managed to dodge a swing from the man and in turn, punched him to try and get him down. Unfortunately for Callum, the thief was tougher and more deceptive than he looked. He knew that this guy would report him to the police and so decided his best course of action would be to make his memory a little blurry.
By this point, Lola and Jay could see what was going on as they were just on their way to the Vic as well. They watched as Callum approached the man to try and get him on the floor, witnessing what happened next.
Having being caught off guard, Callum was punched hard in the gut by the man, who was pretending to be affected by the punch to his face. Callum tried to regain his breath but instead felt himself fall to the ground. He remembered feeling dizzy before everything went black.
He had hit the ground. Hard. Quite literally like a sack of potatoes.
"Callum!" Lola shouted in worry after watching her friend be punched and pushed over by the man. She sprinted to where Callum was laying, Jay following her. "You get back here!" She shouted angrily at the man who then disappeared from her sight. Lola then turned her thoughts to Callum who was out cold in front of her.
Jay knelt down and said Callum's name a few times, trying to wake him up. When he didn't get a response, he took out his phone and dialed 999.
"Lo," He started, turning to face Lola who was stood up. "Go and get Ben, I think he's in the Vic. I'll stay with Callum."
Lola gave Jay an understanding nod in response and turned to run to the Vic. Luckily, it wasn't too far away.
While Lola was gone, Jay requested an ambulance and explained the situation to the operator. He placed his hand on Callum's shoulder that wasn't touching the concrete.
Ben looked up from his drink and suddenly became aware that Lola was also in the pub. She looked as if she was frantically searching for something. He had to make fun of her.
"It's alright, Lo. They haven't run out of booze yet."
Lola spun around at Ben's voice and approached the table for two where he was sitting. She tried to speak between her loud breaths.
"What's up with you? You ran a marathon or something?" The way Lola was, she might as well have.
"It's Callum…" Ben's smug little face dropped into worry at that. It must have been something serious given the state Lola was in. He was already getting up when Lola spoke again. "Some bloke threw him to the ground, Jay's with him…" Ben didn't answer her and instead ran for the door, leaving his and the drink he bought for Callum behind. Lola followed him out, much to the confusion of the other punters.
Jay moved away from Callum so Ben could get closer to him. Even at Ben's touch to his shoulder, Callum still didn't stir. He was out cold.
"What happened!?" Ben frantically asked his friends as he tried to assess the damage to his boyfriend's head.
"Some bloke just chucked him to the ground," Answered Jay. "I've rung an ambulance, they're on the way. They said to talk to him but not move him."
Ben was too distracted by the state of his boyfriend to properly pay attention to Jay. He lightly shook Callum's shoulder in the hopes of waking him up.
"Callum? Babe, can you hear me?" Ben got no response and only grew more worried. Callum must have gone down with a hell of a thud. This wouldn't have happened if he had offered to walk with Callum to the Vic and not said to meet him there. Ben could've kicked himself but knew he needed to focus on Callum.
Lola and Jay watched on and exchanged a worried look. Lola then pulled out her phone and started typing on a note app.
"What are you doing?" Jay asked, confused.
"Writing down as much as I can remember about that guy so the old bill can nab him." Lola said confidently.
"Good idea." Replied Jay.
Ben repeated Callum's name many more times, all of which were futile. He then picked him on the sound of sirens in the distance and looked around to see if he could see the ambulance and became annoyed when he couldn't.
It was then that Callum started to stir. He let out a pained groan which caught the attention of Ben, Jay and Lola. Ben was the first to react.
"Callum!?" Ben spluttered worriedly.
Callum registered that Ben was there through his haze. He could feel the fact that he was on the ground and couldn't quite remember why. He reckoned it would come back to him in a bit, he'd had head injuries before in the army.
He let out another hurt-sounding groan before speaking, laying more or less still.
"Ben?" He uttered, confused but relieved he was there.
"Yeah, it's me, babe. I'm here." Replied Ben, relieved himself that Callum was now responsive, and knew he was by his side.
Callum tried to speak again. "Ugh, what…what happened…" Callum could now feel the pain radiating from his head.
"I think we were kinda hoping you could tell us that." Callum couldn't help but laugh at Ben's remark. Ben was still Ben, always with a witty response. It was just what Callum needed right now in his uncertainty, something that he recognised and loved.
"My head's killing me." He said honestly.
"I know, babe. Don't worry, the ambulance is nearly here." Ben was right, the ambulance was just around the corner. Callum could hear the sirens blaring between his and Ben's conversation.
Jay flagged the ambulance down to where they were standing, Ben watched as a male and female paramedic got out to tend to Callum. He turned back to his boyfriend and saw him gazing at the floor with his pretty eyes…whilst looking pretty out of it. Ben silently thanked God that the ambulance had arrived when it did.
"They're here, Callum." He told him just before the paramedics joined them.
Callum was becoming more lost to his haziness but was able to register that Ben was talking to the paramedics. He was explaining that he had a definite head injury, then Jay chimed in that he'd been punched in the gut as well. Ben initially wasn't aware of this detail and had a face like thunder when he found out. Not at Jay, but at the thought of the guy that did this to Callum.
"Alright," The female paramedic responded to Ben and Jay's explanations. "What's his name?"
"Callum." Ben responded in a heartbeat.
"Okay, Callum?" She tried and succeeded in getting Callum's attention as he nodded to her. "My name's Fee and this is Andy, we're going to help you. Can you tell me what day it is?"
"…Tuesday?" Callum was right but didn't sound convinced that he was. It was good enough for the paramedics and for Ben.
"Very good, I'm just going to take a look at you." Fee then put gloves on and assessed as much of the injured side of Callum's head as she could. Ben was watching her every move.
After several minutes, Fee and Andy decided Callum would be okay to move into the ambulance. But it had to be done gently and slowly. Before they started moving him, Ben stood up and approached Jay and Lola who were still standing at the side, concerned for Callum.
"I'll go with him to the hospital."
"Yeah yeah mate you go, it's fine." Replied Jay, knowing how much Callum meant to Ben.
"Make sure he's alright, yeah?" Lola asked of Ben. He smiled and gave her a nod.
"I will. Could you let Stuart know? He won't be happy if he doesn't find out."
"We'll tell him. You go to Callum." Jay said to his brother. Ben gave a silent 'thank you' to the pair and turned his full attention back to Callum. The paramedics were able to carefully load him into the ambulance with Ben joining in the back, not intending to leave Callum's side for a second.
At the hospital, Callum got his head fully checked over with Ben by his side. Much to Ben and Callum's relief, he wasn't diagnosed with any serious damage. Although he did manage to get a concussion instead. The doctor told Callum that he didn't need to stay in overnight and that the best way to recover was to be at home, preferably relaxing or in bed resting.
About midway through the doctors checking him over, details from the incident started to come back to him. Callum asked Ben to write down everything he could remember for him, which Ben happily obliged to, especially if it helped to catch the guy who did this.
A few hours later, Callum was discharged and told once again by a doctor that he needed to rest. Ben had the full intention of making sure his boyfriend did just that.
Later that evening, Ben and Callum were alone in the Mitchell living room. Jay and Lola wanted to give the pair some space and so had taken Lexi out to the cinema. Callum sat on the sofa in his comfy hoodie reading a card whilst Ben searched the DVD rack.
"That's so sweet of Lexi to make this, she didn't have to." Callum said as he clutched Lexi's 'Get better soon!' card that she handmade for him.
"You know my Lex, she adores you." Ben replied, eyes still searching the DVD rack. "I know someone else that does too." He turned and smiled at Callum, who happily returned it.
Ben turned back to the DVDs. "I know it's here somewhere."
Callum became curious. "Whatcha looking for?"
"A film for us to watch, I thought that would be obvious."
"Oh yeah, silly me. It must be the dizziness."
Ben looked up at Callum with a concerned face. "You still feeling dizzy?"
"A little. It'll pass." Callum mused, remembering the doctor's words.
"The doctor did say to get plenty of rest, babe. And I'm more than happy to play your doctor for a while." Ben said with a grin.
Callum laughed at that. "Oh God, what am I in for?"
"A film, with me. Then you need to go to bed." Ben had it all planned out. He was doing what he thought was best for Callum. "I've made popcorn and everything." Ben then went to fetch the popcorn from the kitchen and sat down next to Callum on the sofa once he'd returned.
"Not sure about doctor, but you'd make a good nurse." Callum stated sarcastically with a smile gracing his lips.
"We'll see about that." Ben chuckled.
"I think you forgot to put the DVD in, Ben."
"Oh, whoops, hold on a sec." Ben stood up again to grab the DVD he had left on the floor by the rack. Callum watched him go and then had a thought.
"I hope it's not got any coppers in it."
Ben found himself looking up at Callum again from the same spot. "Why's that?
"Pretty sure real ones don't get knocked down as easily as I did." Callum answered. He couldn't lie, he was annoyed with himself from today. What kind of potential policeman gets his arse kicked by a thief that was about his size? He felt so stupid.
Ben realised exactly what Callum was thinking and wouldn't allow his boyfriend to think of himself as 'stupid'. He had to let him know that he was the farthest thing from it.
"You were caught off guard, babe. Plus, anyone else would've ignored him. But not you."
"I almost wish I did."
"But that's not the Callum Highway I know. The Callum I know and love would've given chase, which is exactly what you did."
Callum was lost for words at Ben's until finally, he found them again. "You think so?"
Ben was just inserting the DVD when he replied. "I know so." He then re-joined Callum on the sofa and reached for the remote.
Callum watched in amusement as Ben couldn't find the right setting for DVDs. He then had another thought and shared it with his boyfriend.
"I just don't see how I can be anyone's hero if that happens again." He uttered in complete honesty.
Ben paused what he was doing and looked at Callum fondly, knowing exactly what he was going to say next.
"Well, put it this way. You're still my hero." Ben replied, not realising the heart eyes he was making at his boyfriend. He then pressed a gentle kiss to Callum's forehead.
Callum felt a huge weight lifted off his shoulders at both Ben's words and the kiss. He knew that this is what true love felt like and he was really living in it. He was too damn lucky to be with Ben. He decided to try and forget about the whole thing and focus on his cozy night with the man he loved. Callum smiled at Ben with the same fondness that Ben had given him earlier.
"I wonder if this film will have as many cheesy lines as you do." Callum mentioned sarcastically.
"I thought you were a fan of my cheesy lines?" Asked Ben in a voice that pretended to be hurt by his comment.
"I never said I wasn't," Callum responded and leaned forward to capture Ben in a kiss. Ben very happily reciprocated despite not expecting it and was mindful of his boyfriend's injured head. "Thank you." Callum said between the kiss, meaning it. "For everything."
Ben spoke just as the pair were finishing their kiss. "You're welcome, and I mean that."
Callum chuckled and Ben started up the film, the pair then adjusted themselves to their comfortable positions.
The couple sat there for most of the night, Ben was curled up to Callum despite him being the uninjured one. Callum didn't care, he loved it this way. Both of them were more exhausted than they'd realised from that day and fell asleep before the film could finish, must to the amusement of Lola, Jay and Lexi who decided to leave them in peace once they got home.
It had been an eventful day and yet, Callum couldn't have wished for a better ending. Ben was there and he had told him something that Callum would never forget.
He was a hero to somebody after all.