From that point on, I visited her whenever I could and stayed as long as possible. She spent most of her time in bed now, so I decided not to do anything big. Whatever vampire-related thing she wanted to do, I would do it without fail. Sometimes all we could afford to do was talk all night. It worked for me. By then, my exams were over and I was ready to help her with anything else.
Yet I didn’t know what was happening with her cancer. I wasn’t sure when she was going to start chemotherapy or if she had even started it. She wasn’t telling me very much about the treatments or the illness. At first, I figured she was just embarrassed by it, but she never felt like bringing it up. Worst of all, I had not heard anything from her family. I had no idea if they even knew she was sick. Who was driving her back and forth from the clinic? Who looked after her at night? Why did no one come around while I was there? To make matters worse, her stress was giving me stress. I would look in the mirror and notice the same skinny black-haired, brown-eyed guy that I had always known. The difference was that he was worn out.
I kept my silence about the whole thing until that night, when we had a date. It was our first date since her exams started. Alexis was feeling well enough to go out. I made my way to her dorm room and found her sitting on the bed again, reading the rest of her book. She was in her pajamas and looked surprised to see me.
“Ian, I had no idea you were coming,” she said.
“Well, of course I’m coming today. You said I could. You ready to go?” I asked.
“It’s a date night, isn’t it? I completely forgot.” She closed her book. “Oh, I’m sorry. I swear I’ll get better at remembering things.”
“Ah, don’t worry about,” I sighed, sitting down with her. “I can wait for you. Is there any place in particular you want to go?”
“Not really,” she admitted. “We should just get pizza and a movie and stay in here. You can always rent ‘Interview With a Vampire’ again.”
“You have the movie, babe. You have every vampire movie ever made.”
She rolled her eyes. “Okay, fine, you choose something.”
“How about that vampire documentary that you taped some time ago?” I suggested. “We don’t have to rent it and we’ll just get them to deliver the pizza here. We’ll have your favorite: mushrooms and red peppers.”
“Delicious. You know what I love, Ian.”
I ordered the pizza while she popped in the movie. For the next hour, it was just the two of us. We sat and ate in silence, not sure how to break the ice between us. Alexis kept looking up at me like she wanted to say something, but no words came out of her mouth. It was as though she was afraid. I decided to give her a little help and see what I could pull from her.
“You know, I wish you didn’t have to go somewhere else for better treatment,” I said. “I don’t see why they can’t do it here.”
“These doctors are good, but they aren’t the best,” she explained. “At this point, I want the best. I want a chance at living. My parents aren’t upset with me going away. I wish they could be here to help me with this, but it’s impossible at this point. Work, money... all that’s getting in the way. It’s going to cost a lot in terms of medical bills and I can’t stand it. I don’t care if I only get one more year or even six months of life. Heck, I’ll take two more months of living. That’s more than enough for me. But so far, no one can predict that much.”
“So you think that if you go away, someone can tell you?” I felt the pit in my stomach getting larger. I did not like where the conversation was headed.
“Ian, remember what you told me back in the day? That you’d go to any length for love?” she began, picking up her plate and dumping it in the trash.
“Um, yeah. What about it?”
That had been a big mistake on my behalf. Not the question to ask. I knew what Alexis knew—there was no way we were going back to the way we were. Even if Alexis had six months left, it would not feel the same. We would not be able to go everywhere we wanted or do everything we had left to do. I could keep hoping and wishing things would change, but I had hoped and wished she would get better, and that didn’t happen.
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Genre – Supernatural / Romance / Fiction
Rating – PG13