Once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.
Andrew Fiske is nearly born in a taxi.

As the story goes, Katherine decides against her better judgment and doctor's orders to drive herself to the gas station so she can get that dark chocolate bar she's been dreaming about since yesterday night. She does not take into account the pain she will feel on this drive. Only as it becomes debilitating is she forced to veer to the side of the road and a taxi driver, Martin, sees her and parks so that he can help her into his car and drive her to the hospital.

She yells, she curses, at some point she tells Martin that she wishes she had a fly swatter so she can swat him into driving faster and even then it probably wouldn't be enough. She tells him that he needs a haircut badly and she wonders out loud about how his wife lets him out of the house with that mop. She cries, she smacks her hand against the side of the passenger door multiple times, she starts speaking a language that sounds a lot more like gibberish, she gets eerily calm at one point and calls him her guardian angel, she pleads him into letting her drive. He doesn't let her. Thank god.

When they get to the hospital she's wailing and everyone takes immediate notice. Despite all this, she still figures it's the kind of pain that they can give her some meds for and then she can leave.

The doctor comes back into the room. "So. You're having your baby today."

She scoffs. "No, I'm not."

Yes, she is.

With one less appendix he lays on the hospital bed recovering after his surgery.

Andrew remembers vividly that it’s thundering outside. The loud, crackling, can't be ignored kind of thunder. The rain that follows is pit, pit, pattering against the window and it provides a momentary release from the pain and delirum.

Katherine stands right outside his room, arms crossed, talking to the doctor. “How long do you think recovery will take?” She asks, genuine curiosity and concern dripping in her tone.

“It always depends but the surgery went very well. He’ll take the antibiotics for three weeks and then recovery: could be two weeks, could be two months. Depends.”

Her tone starts to change. More severe. “Right. Okay. So there’s no way to know for sure?”

She’s wasting his time. “No way to know for sure.”

“Because he’s an actor, you know, and he’s still filming.”

This gets an uncomfortable smile from the doctor. “The main goal here is to get him walking a little more than he did each day. He can’t do any strenuous work for two weeks at the very least. Appendicitis is no joke. It’s a good thing you came when you did.”

“Right. Yes, absolutely. It’s why we’re so happy about painkillers, right?” She laughs. He doesn’t. “It’s just that all the contracts have been signed, this is a big deal for him. There must be a faster process with this, yes? The exact time limit where he’d be able to get back to normal. So I can know and relay it back to the production teams. We've been emailing.”

"Like I said, best to play it by ear. Have him take the antibiotics, rest, see how he's doing in his recovery. A nurse will be in to check on his bandages in a few hours. Have a good night.”

Katherine goes down the hall in a huff to make some more phone calls.

She's barely been in the room as it is and says even less when she is. The most spirited she seems is when she grabs her charger because, "the reception is better outside and my phone's been blowing up." Also when she instructs him how to lie down, "and don't lean on your side so much."

Andrew keeps his eyes shut tightly and pretends he's sleeping just in case someone comes in. He's heard everything. Before he can help it, and god he wishes he can help it, tears start rolling down his cheeks. The unbearable, loud, aching knot in his chest extends. To his stomach, his throat. A tight and uncomfortable sensation has taken over his system and it overwhelmes his senses completely. He breathes heavier, faster, rougher.

He has never had to truly wonder about the way his mother cares about him. There’s never any time. He’s always on a set and if he’s not on a set he’s practicing his lines and if he’s not practicing his lines he’s at an audition and if he’s not at an audition he’s thinking about his next audition and if he’s not thinking about his next audition he’s thinking about techniques to improve his acting skills so he can always be his best.

Until now.

His eyes jolt everywhere: up to the ceiling, to the ugly abstract painting in front of him - wait, is that supposed to be a horse? are those two girls dancing? is that an alien? - to his tattered up forest green knapsack placed on the chair with all his pins and stickers on it to the machines on his left side to the empty styrofoam cup on the table.

He feels the familiar sense of terror make its way back. He starts sweating, his heart feels like it's drumming in his ears, he gets lightheaded. He turns his head slightly and looks out the window. He tries to focus on the little plant, the rain, the fog. Anything to try and distract himself from the anxiety that has started to manifest physically. He thinks back to a moment a few years ago with one of his tutors.

You know, The guy who came up with this technique is also named Andrew.

Wait really?

Mmhm. Dr. Andrew Weil, So you know it’s meant for you, too. A sign. Here’s how you do it. You take a nice big breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, focus on nothing but breathing it in for 7 seconds, then with a big woosh! sound, exhale for 8 beats.

That sounds kind of lame.

It kind of does now that I hear it back but it works, I promise. it's about focusing your attention on something else. Come on, let’s try it.

His voice is shaky, vision blurred, cheeks still wet.

4 - 7 - 8

4 - 7 - 8

4 - 7 - 8

4 - 7 - 8

When they meet again it’s seated across a table after their managers had discussed the idea of a beneficial public partnership which was really just a fancy way of saying hey, Andrew, you need to get your shit together after the havoc you caused getting caught partying while underage. Hey, Naomi, you need to ease up on the mean attitude when you do your interviews because people are starting to catch on. People love seeing young couples thrive. This could make you thrive. Sure, they filmed together but they got on each other’s nerves. He found her rude and annoying, she found him pretentious and awkward. This, however, is a compelling opportunity.

He doesn’t even argue. He takes another look at her and thinks, you know what, I can have fun with this.

She takes another look at him and thinks, you know what, I'll do it for the exposure.

They get little nudges to go to cafes, restaurants, nights out together by their respective management. At some point it isn’t odd anymore, it’s oddly comforting. Forced photo opportunities turn into real photo opportunities as they huddle together. The transaction of goods and services becomes a transaction of good times and servicing memories.

At some point, they test limits.

No, they shove limits down, stomp on them, and make a game of it.

One night at a bar as he’s coming back with their drinks he sees a guy with a hand on her ass whispering in her ear. He doesn’t care if she’s about to push him away, he doesn’t care if she’s yell-whispering back that she’s got a boyfriend, he doesn’t care if this guy is her happily married and very gay best friend.

He sees red. He pushes the drinks in hand on a table and marches over, promptly grabbing her arm and pulling her away with him. She’s giggling. It’s part of their game. Rather, it's their game on a regular night but tonight this infuriates him. He isn’t sure what part of it sets him off. Maybe it’s the mix of drugs and alcohol coursing through his veins, maybe it’s the built up tension from weeks of silently daring each other to one up their last move, maybe it’s just the fact that she moved locations and in the dark atmosphere it was hard to see and that alone was enough to piss him off.

They argue, as they always do. She yells, as she does. He stays as neutral and as calm as possible until eventually he yells back. This is usually the lead-in to the much awaited make out session that happens in less than an hour from now.


She thinks it’s back to neutral territory and leans up to flick a strand of hair away from his face.

He takes a step back and raises his hand to point a finger and make one more statement. He doesn't even get to his point because the piercing look she gives him sobers him up. It's not exhilaration, it's trepidation.

His heart catapults to the ground and he goes pale. A story he's repressed of two people who were older, who should have known better, who shouldn't have let it get that far, now floats in his mind. His hands drop to his sides and he takes a few steps back, looking down on the ground, never at her. He turns and makes his way through the crowd. She calls after him. He doesn't look back.

Andrew where the fuck are you? Everyone is waiting on you. This is not a game. Answer your goddamn phone right now. Call me back. Bye.
voicemail sent @ 3pm. june 2013.

if you haven't already gotten it through your thick fucking skull i am done. with all the cocaine and maggots infiltrating your sorry ass brain who knows if this text will even register and if it doesn't, i don't really give a fuck because i'm gone. it doesn't matter. literally nothing fucking matters. you will never see me again and the only time i'll see your bloated grim reaper geriatric looking face is when i'm on an island living my best life and a vision of you pops in and i think to myself huh you know what i wonder what brian is up to right now? and then in that same thought i'll go, probably getting cuckolded by his 2nd wife being ignored by paramount as usual after his desperado emails and being the most dense motherfucker in any room and even that is gonna be a day too soon. have fun jerking miles teller off or is it ansel elgort these days???? i dunno man, hard to keep up with. you can get the bigger jar of hellmann's instead of the standard but it's still bland ass mayonnaise at the end of the day. i'm disconnecting this # the minute i send this text. fuck you and good fucking riddance you no good absolute sellout piece of shit
text sent @ 3:45pm. june 2013.

Regret from his actions seeps in almost immediately.

He sends furious, frantic, erratic emails.

Some answer, many don't. An email back:

It is so great hearing from you, Andrew! Really is and it's been too long. We have to grab lunch when you're back in the city. Thanks for sending the pictures, they're great. Nostalgia is so real. It really was a great time in Oregon wasn't it? Your interest is really appreciated and I'm excited for it too. The thing is I don't know if it would be the right partnership for me right now. I've got some important things in the works, career-changing things.

I wish you nothing but the best, professionally and personally, but I just can't have any liabilities around in such a high stakes situation. Nothing can go wrong. You understand. You know how I work. Really great hearing from you though, what a great blast from the past. I was serious that you should hit me up the next time you're in LA and we'll do that lunch. On me.
- Jacob