16 December 2006
Chapter 1

As promised, Wendy showed up at Dan and Karen’s home at 10 AM to help with the Living Liver donor day program. She, Dan, Karen, Vicky, Britney, and Abby helped to load up the Hummer and the Maxima. Brad was bringing his keyboard, acoustic guitar and amplifier to play and sing songs plus provide background music. He brought along several song books and had downloaded Christmas songs for his keyboard to play.

One of Brad’s conditions for the day was that Abby has to also sing several songs. Dan made sure to bring the tripod and digital video camera to record the day’s events. Amber and her friend Scott were going to help out too but she was more interested in spending the time in bed trying to convert Scott straight.

Britney did a fantastic job putting together a slide show concerning Live Liver donations and everything was now in place for the big day at the Mall. Abby and Her friends set up several display posters which highlighted the results of organ transplants but in particular, livers. The hours allowed by the mall owners were from noon to four. The large mall area was set up for a fashion show so Brad was able to use the raised platform as his stage.

The group gathered as a team setting up tables and chairs for an anticipated crowd. Mrs. Chandler said that Eric could be at the mall from 1 to 3 pm. Karen had arranged for six of her nursing students to volunteer their time to help out taking blood samples and filling out applications.

Everyone wore a white T-shirt stamped with the words, ‘Eric’s Endeavour, Living Liver Donor Campaign, ‘ and his smiling picture. The shirts matched the large banner the girls had made that hung predominantly behind Brad. The more help the easier it would be and Brad easily accepted the offer from Jake and Tiffany. Brad couldn’t take his eyes off his Abby and yet fully clothed in her T-shirt and form fitting jeans, she was perfect to him.

While Brad set up his musical equipment, several others handed out fliers of the planned event. Posters had been set up displaying the event plus it was announced at school and on the local radio stations. Several businesses donated coffee, drinks, doughnuts and pizza and several prizes as a fundraising raffle.

Brad tested his sound system he was able to borrow from his friends with the group, ‘Dissension, ‘ then started Christmas music playing from his keyboard. A few people, curious about the scene sat on a chair or asked questions. Brad exhaled nervously and looking at his watch, he had thirty minutes to spare.

Dan had set up the tripod and camera to record the event for prosperity. He had Brad play a few chords on his keyboard and recorded several seconds. He played back the video making sure the music and scene recorded well. Brad smiled from his dad’s thumbs up.

“Everyone is invited back home for Pizza and KFC after the day is over!” Karen announced to everyone.

On a previous visit to the mall for planning Eric’s big day, Brad looked in several jewelry stores. Though he and Abby will have only known each other just over a month, they are boyfriend, girlfriend and he wanted to buy her something nice for Christmas. He noticed a distinctive necklace in a jewelry display case. It was a gold shaped heart constructed of lightning bolts and a larger bolt of lightning, representing an arrow, pierced the heart.

Brad mentioned to his mom that he wanted to buy a necklace as a gift for Abby and snuck her away from the others to the store without her noticing. “You think Abby would wear it for me?” he wondered pointing to it.

“Brad, Abby loves you so much, she’d wear fossilized shit around her neck for you,” she kidded and they laughed, “However, sixty-five dollars and ninety-nine cents are quite steep as a gift for a new friendship, even if it is for Abby.”

“Abby is worth every penny, she’s my girlfriend and as she’s has already said numerous times, my future wife,” he beamed proudly as the saleswoman joined them.

“This necklace is an odd design for a gift. If I don’t sell them soon, I’ll have to really lower the price,” the clerk mentioned trying to make a sale.

“Can you put it on sale now and I’ll buy one?” he asked.

“I’ll ask the Duty Manager,” Brad watched her walk to the other woman and chat. She returned, smiling, “It’s on sale for twenty-five percent off. The price is now forty-nine dollars and fifty cents.”

“Sold!” he said quickly. Brad had Karen hide Abby’s gift in the glovebox of her car.

Brad returned to the mall area as Abby and the others arrived from distributing Eric’s fliers. “I can’t believe that this really going to happen,” he commented to her looking at more people gathering around.

“Hi, Dan what’s going on here?” Coach Frank Stanton asked approaching Dan. He explained Brad and his friend’s purpose of bringing the subject of organ donorship to the public but more importantly to find a suitable liver donor for his young friend, Eric Chandler.

Brad noticed Coach Stanton talking to his dad and joined them. “We’re hoping a lot of shoppers will stop by for a coffee and doughnut and consider going on the donors list for organ transplants. Far too many people die, waiting for a life-saving transplant. I’m already on the Living Liver Donor list should the need ever arise.”

“That’s very gracious of you, Brad. I’ll call Dale Corbett, he’s the Falcons Captain. I’ll ask him to gather a few players to come over wearing their sweaters to help out.”

“Thanks a lot, Coach, that’s really appreciated,” Brad offered his hand.

Frank waited for Brad to join the others. “Dan, I’ll let you in on a little secret. We’re scouting Brad as a possible for drafting in June but I imagine a number of other teams are also. Have him concentrate on his skating and body strength, including the offseason. Speed and endurance are the key to making the OHL.”

“Thanks for the info, Frank. I’ll put it to good use,” and they shook hands.

Karen came over to join them offering Frank a coffee, “I’d sooner have something else hot from you,” he thought with a polite smile. The white T-shirt and tight jeans couldn’t hide her fabulous figure.

“Congratulations on your engagement, when’s the big day?” he asked.

“This month, the 31st,” she beamed holding Dan’s hand.

“So have you thought about my offer to join our coaching staff?” Frank asked, sipping his coffee.

“Yes we have and I gladly accept your offer. I had fun giving instruction to Brad and I’m excited to do what I can to help the other players too,” Dan smiled to his love.

“Excellent, Dan! You have a lot of hockey knowledge to bring to our team. You’ll instruct all the players on improving their skills. The kids are a lot bigger and faster than when we played junior. You won’t have to actually coach during a game but I’m tempted to see how you’d coach during one. Can you come by for our next practice? We’ll get you a Falcons track suit, new gloves, skates, and sticks.”

“How much will Dan be paid?” Karen asked.

“This new for us too, employing a skills coach. A full season will be 30,000 dollars so you’ll receive 15,000 for the last half of this season.”

“Wow, that much! Getting paid to do what I love doing, thanks, Frank!” they shook hands again and Karen pressed at tit to Frank’s arm as she gave him a thank you kiss on the cheek.

“Okay Brad, it’s time to start our day for Eric,” Karen mentioned finding him talking with his friends.

“I sure hope we can find Eric a donor.”

“I hope so too. Let me know when Britney’s parents arrive so I can talk to them.”

“I will Mom,” and he kissed her then Abby and made sure that she would sing several songs too.

Brad counted about twenty people seated and about a dozen more standing waiting to hear some live music. He sat comfortably at his keyboard and once the next recorded song ended, made several adjustments. He had a song list prepared to help keep the people entertained and hopefully applying to become an organ donor.

He played several chords then the magic of his keyboard came alive. The sound of organ, piano, bass, guitar and drums filled the air. The sudden outburst of music drew everyone’s attention especially Abby’s and he continued to play.

He soon had to tone down the volume a little so people could talk. If you closed your eyes, you’d think a live four or five piece band was performing. He was hoping the sound of live Christmas music would draw curious shoppers to their part of the mall.

It was 12:10 pm. Brad motioned his mom onto the stage, handing her a microphone.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Karen Miller, Director of Nursing at Quinte Community College School of Nursing. I have been granted permission by the Living Liver Donor Foundation of Ontario to oversee today’s activities.”

“As you can see from the giant banner behind me, we are gathered here for a very worthy cause. And surprise, we are not after any donations, just your interest, your blood, and signature,” she smiled, which drew several laughs.

“Though, a large water jug is on display for any of your kind donations towards organ transplants. And for you hockey fans we’ll have several members of the Belleville Falcons joining us, later on, to sign autographs and pose for pictures.”

“A sweet young boy, named Eric Chandler, is in need of a liver transplant and what makes his situation more urgent, is he has a rare blood type, AB negative. Though other blood types would be usable it would be easier on his young body if the same blood type matched his. Eric Chandler will be here in person between 1 and 3 pm so please, stop by to meet this incredibly brave young man.”

“Although today is mainly for Eric, it is also a day to highlight the importance of becoming an organ donor. Far too many people of all ages die needlessly waiting for that one life saving or life enhancing gift. Registering as a donor isn’t restricted to only adults. I notice there are many teenagers and younger children here today. You can make your wishes known to your parents, that should the worst happen, your organs are put to good use.”

“As you can see, Eric has an army of supporters and they’re proof that not all teenagers are self-centered. We’re hoping one of you has his blood type or knows someone who does. I would like to tell you a few facts about our liver.”

Karen went on to explain several notes about the liver and the other organs a person can donate. She further mentioned how much of the human body can be used to save a person’s life or improve their quality of life.

Karen mentioned about the process of taking a blood sample and filling out the registration form or taking the information and discussing organ donating with family and friends. She then thanked Eric’s supporters and those who had attended and handed the microphone to Brad.

“Good afternoon, everyone, I’m Brad Miller, one of Eric’s many friends. Along with me, we are his army and I’d like to acknowledge everyone,” He then went on to introduce everyone there to help Eric. He wanted to ensure that it wasn’t just him that helped to organize today’s event.

“I hope my voice doesn’t scare everyone away as I sing a few songs over the next several hours. But fear not, I have my beautiful girlfriend, Abby Kendall to soothe your ears with her lovely voice,” he motioned with his hand and she blushed at the attention. Brad and Abby had practiced their duets and hoped they played well.

“This first song was written and sung by Rob Thomas called, ‘New York City Christmas.’ I hope he doesn’t mind if I changed a few words to suit this great area of Ontario that we live in.”

He began the intro of piano that blended to the soulful notes of an electric guitar. Brad hadn’t begun to sing yet Abby’s eyes gleamed with love and pride for her man. Several girls in the crowd used their cellphones to record Brad singing and planned on uploading it onto YouTube.

Call on your Angels, come down to the city

Crowd around the big tree, all you strangers who know me

Bring your compassion, your understanding

Lord, how we need it on this Trenton City Christmas

Yeah, I’m sending you a Merry Belleville Christmas

And a prayer for peace on earth within our time

Hear the sidewalk Angels echo, “Hallelujah”

We understand them, now more than ever

So call on your angels, you’re beaten and broken

It’s time that we mended so they don’t fade with the season

Let our mercy be the gifts we lay from Brighton to Quiteway

And celebrate each and every day of this Trenton, Belleville City Christmas

Yeah, I’m sending you a Merry Trenton, Belleville Christmas

And a prayer for peace on earth within our time

Hear the sidewalk angels echo, “Hallelujah”

We understand them, now more than ever

Merry Trenton, Belleville Christmas

Call on your Angels, come down to the city

Let’s crowd around the big tree, all you strangers you know me

Bring your compassion, bring your forgiveness

Lord, how we need it on this Trenton City Christmas

Yeah, I’m sending you a Merry Bellville Christmas

And a prayer for peace on earth, it’s not too late

Yeah, the sidewalk Angels echo, “Hallelujah”

We understand them, we hear them say

Merry Christmas, ah yeah, yes, a Trenton, Belleville City Christmas

Merry Trenton, Belleville Christmas

Everyone erupted in appreciative applause for him. “Thank you very much.” He followed with several well known Christmas songs that most sang along to.

Karen and her staff were busy with the first wave of people interested in registering as an organ donor.

Brad spoke after the third song. “I’m sure you’ve heard enough of my voice and would like to hear from someone who can actually sing. I give you the love of my life, Abby Kendall,” He led an appreciative round of applause for her and she smiled shyly as she walked up the few steps onto the stage. He handed her the second mic and she touched his shoulder.

“I’m so nervous,” she said turning to face the crowd.

“Please, if you’ve just arrived, please read the information on the reason we are here today. We’re here for Eric Chandler and the thousands like him, thank you,” Brad smiled to her and began playing.

A Marshmallow World, music by Peter DeRose, lyrics by Carl Sigman.

It’s a marshmallow world in the winter

When the snow comes to cover the ground

It’s the time for play, it’s a whipped cream day

I wait for it the whole year around

Brad was instantly captivated by Abby’s voice. This was the first time she sang using a sound system and her voice sent shivers of pride and excitement throughout his body. Her clear, crisp voice also caused others in the area to pause and listen.

Now those marshmallow clouds being friendly

In the arms of the evergreen trees

And the sun is red like a pumpkin head

It’s shining so your nose won’t freeze

Oh, the world is your snowball, see how it grows

That’s how it grows whenever it snows

The world is your snowball just for our soul

So get up and roll it along

It’s a yum yummy world, made for sweethearts

Take a walk with your favorite guy (she looks at Brad)

It’s a sugar date, what if spring is late

In winter it’s a marshmallow world

It’s a marshmallow world in the winter

When the snow comes to cover the ground

It’s the time for play, it’s a whipped cream day

I wait for it the whole year around

Those marshmallow clouds being friendly

In the arms of the evergreen trees

And the sun is red like a pumpkin head

It’s shining so your nose won’t freeze

Oh, the world is your snowball, see how it grows

That’s how it grows whenever it snows

The world is your snowball just for our soul

You better get up and roll it along

Oh, it’s a yum yummy world, made for sweethearts

Take a walk with your favorite guy

It’s a sugar date, what if spring is late

In winter it’s a marshmallow world

It’s a marshmallow world

It’s a snow covered world

It’s yum, yummy world

It’s a marshmallow world

Everyone broke out in thunderous applause for Abby. Scott was as proud as could be hearing his daughter’s singing. She handed the mic to Brad and went off the stage to the congratulations of her friends.

“We’ll definitely have her up singing later on!” Brad announced. “Don’t you think with a voice a sweet like hers, she should try out for Canadian idol?” he applauded and everyone agreed with more applause. Abby blushed from the unexpected recognition, yet loved Brad for thinking of her singing talent.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / mt/ft / Teenagers / Fiction /