"Asher, you need help, you can't do this on your own."
"Don't. Touch. Me."
"Asher, love, listen. You can't change by yourself. Either I help you, or I get the nurse," he had just gotten out of surgery and I could tell that even though he was heavily medicated, he was hurting everywhere.
"No, just. No. I don't want your help. You'll hurt me," the words stung and I took a step back.
"Ouch. Well...okay, I'll let that pass cause you're hopped up on meds. But, don't you dare take out all of this on me, I'm the one here with you right now. Don't you dare make me feel like the bad guy," I sighed and sat down on the chair beside his bed after pressing the nurse call button and when she made her way into the room, I squeezed his hand gently and went to leave the room.
"Where are you going?" I could hear the apology in his voice.
"I'm gonna go get a drink and something to eat, your mom and dad are downstairs and I'll let them know to come up," I looked back at him.
"Don't leave me..." Asher whimpered quietly and right then and there I knew that there was no way that I could leave him even for ten minutes. I took out my phone and quickly texted his mom, letting her know that he was awake and asking her to bring me something to eat and drink.
"I won't ever leave you," I kissed his forehead and sat back down in my chair.
"I'm sorry," I could see the apology written all over his face and he winced and whimpered as the nurse tried to change him out of his hospital gown as gently as she could before she gave him a quick sponge bath. I was not going to leave the room, not during this.
"I know, it's okay, love," I patted his leg gently over the blanket and got a smile in return.
"When can I go home?" ugh, why did he have to look so sad? I just wanted everything to be okay now.
"Babe, not for a little while, they have to make sure that you're okay and you have to be able to do certain things before you can leave. It's gonna be a couple of days, handsome," I didn't want him to get upset, but he needed to know. There was a knock at the door and we both looked towards it. Seriously? Couldn't we just be left alone for a while, I need to know that everything is going to be okay and that he's not hurting and I need to make sure that he's okay. I need him to be okay.
"Hello, gentlemen," Dr. Kergin walked into the room and smiled at us.
"Hi," Asher said quietly. He looked nervous and I tried to combat this by placing my hand into his. I got a grateful smile from him.
"Asher, we have some amazing news for you. We've gotten all of the tumor out, without any damage to the surrounding area, now we'll just start you on chemo in a couple of weeks so as not to let those cells grow back," the smile on Dr. Kergin's face spread throughout everyone in the room and we were all grinning.
"When do I get to go home, then?" I knew he was going to ask that, I just knew it.
"Well, we have to run a few more tests, you have to be able to walk by yourself and for the most part be able to take care of yourself before you can leave and then we'll make some appointments for chemo and then we'll go from there," he explained to both of us, but mostly to Asher. I mostly just stood there and watched them communicate, I was happy but still really fucking scared.
What would happen if this didn't work? What if Asher didn't make it out of this? What if something went really wrong? What if he died? I visibly gulped and quickly left the room, moving into the attached bathroom where I closed and locked the door. There was no way, no matter what, that I could handle Asher not being alive anymore. He was everything to me and I could NOT live without him. I knew that I had treated him like shit so many times and there was no reason for him to be with me, but I needed him and I knew that I would do everything in my power to keep him there. I would make it to every single appointment and I would sit and keep him company and take care of him, if it was the last thing I did. I had to call my manager still and let her know that I wouldn't be able to do any movies or TV shows or any interviews until all of this was under control and Asher was better. I heard Dr. Kergin leave and it was then that I realized that I was sitting on the floor against the door and there were tears rolling down my cheeks.
"Baby?" his voice was soft from the other side of the door.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, Ash, I'm fine. Please tell me that you are not out of bed right now..."
There was a pause. "Maybe..."
"Get your gorgeous ass back in that bed, right now, mister," I wasn't actually mad, but I really did not want him to hurt himself and I didn't want him to worry about me either.
"Only if you promise to come out of the bathroom," I heard a quiet thump against the door and I deduced that he had sat down on the floor against it, just like I was sitting now.
"I will in a minute, I just...I need a sec."
"You know I'm not leaving, right? I will never not be here for you. I love you, probably more than I should. I refuse to leave you on this world without me. Can you imagine all those little boys and girls who would think that they have a chance just cause I'm not in the picture," I could hear the smile in his voice, but I couldn't stand the topic.
"Don't, baby..." I moved away from the door a bit and started to turn the knob. "I'm gonna open the door so you might wanna move." I heard him get up and move away from the door and when I opened the door, I saw a sorry sight of him leaning against the wall with his head wrapped up in gauze. He looked like he was having troubles staying standing so I quickly moved to his side. "Come on, let's get you back into bed."
"Okay," he had lost some weight lately so it was easy for me to stoop down and scoop him up into my arms bridal style. He honestly weighed nothing and it took everything in my power to put him back into the bed. Letting him go, even if it was just to lay in bed, broke my heart. I wanted him in my life and I wanted him to be safe and happy. "Alex?" he sounded so fragile and in pain.
"Yes, my love?" he didn't have time to reply to me before beeps started sounding from many of the machines around his bedside. I watched as his eyes rolled into the back of his head and I couldn't do anything. I held his hand tightly and waited for the doctors and nurses that I could hear running down the hallway. Time stood still while I could do nothing but stand there and watch him, doctors pushing myself out of the way and eventually out of the room. Beth and Channing were sitting in the waiting room while I had been in the room with Asher and now as I came closer to them, they could see the scared look on my face.
Black surrounded me everywhere I looked.
What's going on?
Where's the doctors? Where's the hospital?
Why am I surrounded by blackness?
"Alex!" I called out, as loudly as I could, towards the figure that I took to be my husband.
"Hi, baby," he came closer to me and I could hardly see him. He looked like he was see-through, washed out, a mirage.
"What's wrong with you? Why do you look like that?" I pushed my hand towards him and it went right through. "Alex?" I started crying, I couldn't handle it. There was no way that this was real life. If it was, he'd be much firmer, I'd be able to hug him. I want my baby back.
"Babe, you need to wake up, you need to come back to us."
"What do you mean? I'm right here!"
"I know baby, but this isn't where you're meant to be. Wake up, honey. Come back to us."
"What's wrong with me?" I was shaking and scared, I didn't want to be like this anymore, I wanted to be home. I wanted to be with him, I wanted to be able to hug him and kiss him and love him.
"Baby, you're slipping away. Come back to us. Beth and Channing miss you, not as much as I do. We miss you baby, you need to come back. Please...Jake is asking for you, the doctors don't know what to do. Wake up, my love, wake up."
"I am awake! I'M RIGHT HERE!" I was screaming at him. I needed him to know that I was awake and I was right here and that I loved him.
"I love you baby, please...come back," Alex's voice started to fade from me and soon his already faint body was fading away from me.
"NO! Don't leave me!"
"Wake up, baby, I'm not going anywhere."
I blinked and when I started to open my eyes again, really bright lights attacked my eyes. The groan that left my lips couldn't be helped.
"Baby!" Alex was right beside me and he was bright and live and vivid. When I reached my hand out to touch his cheek, it felt heavy, but his skin was smooth except for the hair that had grown and started to take over his jawline.
"Mmmmh..." I kept groaning, my mouth couldn't form words.
"I love you," Alex kept repeating to me. And I kept feeling his lips against my cheeks, nose, lips, forehead. All over my face.
"I love you," I whispered back, my throat was really dry and I really needed water.
"Need water, my love?" I could only nod to his question and I hoped that he would hurry. I watched him as he filled a small cup with water and put a straw into the cup. "Here, baby."
I hurriedly took sips of the water and it slid down my throat like water straight from the lakes of Eden. Nothing had ever tasted as good as this water.
"Dad?!" Jake came running into the room and started to launch himself at me, before realizing what he was doing and slowing down to come to the side of the bed gently.
"Hey, handsome. Alex, can you help me sit up please?" he agreed and pressed the button on the remote, slowly moving me into a sitting position. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. I'm gonna go grab some dinner. Jake, did you want anything?"
"Whatever is fine, Alex," Jake slowly moved to sit on the bed then laid himself down and placed his head on my chest once Alex had left.
"What's the matter, babes?" I asked quietly while I stroked his hair. So silky and smooth, how did he get it like that? "What shampoo do you use?"
His heavenly laugh filled my senses and I couldn't help the smile that developed across my face. "I don't know, whatever you buy me. And, I missed you. You were gone for a long time..." he was hesitating and I felt really bad.
"How long was I out for?"
"Like...almost a week."
"Yeah, it's been six days. You scared the crap out of us. Don't do that anymore," he pouted up at me.
"Alright, I'll try not to," I held his small body closer to mine. "How is school?"
"Really? You're asking about school right now?" he got a nod in response. "Okay, fine, it's going okay, not great. I've had a hard time focusing lately. And Angel and I broke up."
"What happened?" I asked gently, holding him tight to my body.
"She couldn't handle that I spent most of my time here, and she couldn't handle that I was focused more on you and helping here and making sure you were okay, than I was on her and our relationship. I guess it was mostly my fault, but I mean...you're family, I had to be here, I had to make sure that you were going to be okay. Alex hasn't left unless someone else was here, so I made sure that I was here as often as I could be so that he could go and get food and shower and stuff," he looked away.
"Thank you," I kissed the top of his head. "Where's Beth and Chan?"
"They left just after I got here, something about needing to fix Beth's craving."
Alex walked in with some food shortly after and he looked like he had had a shower. Before he could do anything else, he walked over and pressed a gentle kiss to my lips. How did I ever get this man to be my husband?
"Hey, Jake, mind taking a walk real quick? Go down to the cafeteria, or the gift shop or something. I wanna talk to Alex for a bit," I rubbed my hand down his arm gently and then slowly back up before he stood from the bed after hugging me. What a great young man he's become. He's handsome and kind and generous, I lucked out on the kid front. As soon as Jake was out of the room, Alex sat his beautiful ass on the edge of the bed, I immediately moved over, closer to the other side so there was more space. "Lay with me."
There was no hesitation, he quickly laid down and let me wrap my arms around him tightly while he laid his head on my chest. He looked exhausted, like he hadn't slept for months.
"Baby, my love, take a nap, I'll be here when you wake up."
"I...but...you might not be, last time you slipped away while I was right here, what if I'm not here next time," his grip tightened on me and I felt the muscles in his arms flex.
"I'm not going anywhere. I promise you," I slid my fingers through his beautifully soft, blonde hair. I knew just how to relax him, and I started singing to him quietly while I continued to run my fingers through his hair and rubbing his scalp gently.
Your hand fits in mine
Like it's made just for me
But bear this in mind
It was meant to be
And I'm joining up the dots with the freckles on your cheeks
And it all makes sense to me
I know you've never loved
The crinkles by your eyes
When you smile
You've never loved
Your stomach or your thighs,
The dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine
But I'll love them endlessly
I continued to sing to him and hold him against me until I could feel his breathing slow and even out, his grip loosened on me just slightly while he fell deep into a slumber. I rubbed his back slowly, bringing my hand up under his baggy shirt so my fingers could trail over his bare skin. I quickly joined him in slumber.
2 Weeks Later
"Asher! Let's go, we have to get there for your first appointment," Alex was hollering from the front room while I was still upstairs, making sure I had everything I needed for the four hour appointment.
"I'll be down in a minute, don't worry!" I hurried to grab my bag and a book before running down the stairs. Well...as close to running as I could do with a bandage still on my head and my full balance not yet restored.
"Finally, let's go," man, he was impatient.
"Hold your horses, would ya?" I smiled and kissed his cheek. "Let's go, love."
We made our way out of the house and to the car. I still wasn't allowed to drive yet, so it was up to Alex to get us there.
"Wait!" I turned to see Jake running to catch up to us. "I want to come with you."
"Alright, come on then," I smiled and pulled him to me in a side hug and then released him so he could get in the backseat while I slid into the passenger seat.
"Why does it take four hours?" Jake asked quietly, checking his backpack for something.
"Uh, well, it takes a long time for all the medicine to come into my body and then they have to make sure that I'll be okay and that I won't react too badly to it. Why did you wanna come? You can't come into the room, honey," I turned in my seat slowly so as not to make myself too dizzy with the movements of the car and then turning at the same time.
"I wanna make sure you're okay," Jake was looking down at his lap and playing with his fingers. I reached back to put my hand on both of his.
"Thank you," I whispered softly and squeezed his hands gently. I looked over to Alex who had a sad smile on his face and his eyes looked a little glossy. "We'll all be okay, together."
Alex replied with a nod and Jake squeezed my hand tightly.
"What did you bring to keep you busy?" Jake asked me.
"Uhh, I brought a book, my phone and my tablet. What about you?"
"Homework, tablet, phone," he shrugged and I smiled at him.
"Homework for what classes? How's English now that I'm not there?" I smiled and shifted to sit forward in my seat again.
"It sucks, the person they have filling your job is an idiot," Jake pouted. A laugh bubbled out of me and I couldn't stop.
"Oh god, I hope you don't say that to his or her face."
"No, I wouldn't ever, but he doesn't even know how to teach and he's completely flabbergasted by us joking around. He's just dumb," he laughed along with me as we pulled up to the hospital building.
"Well, hopefully soon I'll be back in my position and you won't have to worry about that, okay?" I said as we all got out of the car and started making our way up to the front door. Alex was hanging back and I turned to walk back to him. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," he said quietly and he had to know that I didn't believe that for even a second.
"Yeah, sure. Now are you gonna tell me what's really wrong?"
"I'm scared for you. I'm scared for Jake. I'm scared for all of us. I can't do this without you and it scares me to think that there's a chance it might happen," he took a deep breath and looked down. Oh my poor, handsome man.
"I'm not going anywhere, you have me forever. You think you can't do this without me? I don't even want to think about doing all of this and handling of this without you around. I love you, Alex. I'm not going anywhere, I promise," I kissed his cheek gently. "Come on, we need to go in."
I took his hand in mine and we make our way into the hospital, I pulled Jake into my side and we walked up to the reception desk.
"Hi, I'm Asher Lenox-Pettyfer, I have an appointment at one for chemo-therapy," I told her quietly, holding Alex's hand tighter. I had to release his hand when she handed me a bunch of papers.
"Just fill these out, bring them back up here and I'll lead you on back. Unfortunately, these two will have to stay in the waiting room until you're done and we can go over the safety and precautionary measures, alright?" the receptionist told us.
"Thanks," I took the papers and the pen that she handed me and headed over to the waiting area. We took the three available chairs that were in a row together and I sat and started to fill out the forms. Alex kept looking over my shoulder and helping me fill them out while Jake started working on his homework.
I finished the papers quickly and stood up, I kissed the top of Jake's head, "I love you," I whispered to him and gave him a hug and then hugged Alex tightly and kissed him lovingly.
"I love you so much, make me proud," Alex whispered in my ear and hugged me again.
"I love you too, I'll see you two later," I squeezed Jake's shoulder gently as I went back up to the desk and then into a room where I was hooked up to a few machines. They put a stint into my chest for later treatments. I was wearing one of those stupid mask things and waiting patiently for them to get the treatment started and that's when the doctor came in.
"Good afternoon, Asher, how are you doing today?" Dr. Kergin said politely.
"Hi, I'm okay, nervous but I'm okay. Just excited to get things started."
"So, here's how this is going to work, okay?" I nodded. "We're going to do twelve cycles. The Monday, we'll do the treatment and the you'll have three weeks of rest and then we'll start the cycle all over again. Each treatment will be four hours. You'll likely lose all of your body hair and you'll be tired and sluggish and you will likely feel very sick, do you understand all of that?"
"Yeah, I think I've got it. As long as it makes me better in the end," I whispered and laid back, getting comfy on the bed.
"So, during this four hours, you're allowed water and juice, but nothing to eat unfortunately, just press the button if you need anything. A nurse will be in a couple times every hour to check on you. All you need to do is relax," he pressed the button and I felt a cold sensation start to spread through my arm. I started to read and play games on my phone and tablet to pass the time.
"Alex?" Jake asked quietly.
"I know this is something that Dad usually helps me with, but I need help with my homework," he frowned a bit but moved into the seat next to me.
"I'll try, I'm not that great at the `school' thing, but I'll see what I can do. What are you working on?"
"Math, I don't get it,"
"K, what are you supposed to do?"
"Well, I need to find the value of x but they don't give me enough information," he furrows his brow and stares intensely at the page.
"This is definitely something for your dad to help you with but, I'll do what I can."
So we sat there for an hour, going through his math problems, slowly getting each one until it got easier and then he didn't need my help at all and he quickly got through the rest of that set of homework, moving on to the other stuff until he was all finished. When I looked up at the clock next, I noticed that it would only be about another hour until Asher was done and we could go home.
By this point, Jake had fallen asleep on my shoulder and I was just about to fall asleep too until a text coming through distracted me.
Baby, I love you.
Hi babe, I love you too. How's it going in there?
Are you doing okay though? Nothing's going wrong right, like...you're okay?
Honey, I'm fine. Tired, but fine.
No throwing up or anything?
No, but let's talk about something else. I need you to distract me.
What would you like to talk about?
Anything, just not about this. Tell me what we're gonna do tonight?
Well, once we get you home, I'm gonna cook us some dinner, what do you think? Maybe spaghetti? Or maybe chicken and rice?
Alex, we both know that you can't cook. We'll just end up ordering in, babe. Let's just order in and watch a movie?
That sounds great babe. **I sent him a picture of Jake and I, with Jake sleeping on my shoulder.
Hahaha! Awh! Man, he must be really tired. Poor thing. You can take him home if you want. I can catch a cab back or something?
Are you fucking crazy? I'm not leaving. Plus, you're almost done.
Dr. Kergin walked in with a nurse and I smiled at them both.
"Still feeling okay?" he asked while the nurse, Julie, started to unhook things.
"A little bit woozy and tired, but I feel okay," I said quietly.
"You should be fine," they finished unhooking me. "Keep your meals light and try not to eat too much, you might throw up tonight so be careful, okay? Try not to have too many people come over and visit, we can't let you get sick, make sure everyone washes their hands all the time. Hygiene is your friend, okay?"
I nodded and slowly started to get up off the bed. Alex showed up in the door of the room and I smiled, I took a step and got extremely dizzy so I sat back down on the bed.
"Come on, handsome," Alex looped his arm under my arms and around my waist. He helped me up and we slowly walked a little ways until Julie brought in a wheel chair.
"Here, take a seat," she said and Alex helped me into the chair and he slowly pushed me down the hallway. Jake was soon beside us with my stuff and his stuff with him.
"Thank you," I said to him as Alex pushed me to the elevator and then out of the elevator and to the door.
"You two wait here, I'm gonna pull the car up," he told us as he put the brakes on my chair and went to get the car.
"Hi, dad," Jake finally said and hugged me tightly.
"Hi," I hugged back the best I could, I felt a little weak and very, very tired.
"Just tired, baby, just tired," I patted his back gently as he pulled away and stood up.
We saw Alex pull up and Jake undid the brakes and pushed me out to the car where he opened the passenger seat and helped me up and into the Range Rover. Then he got into the back and we made our way home.
"Alex, remind me to call Beth when we get home, k?" I asked him and settled down into my seat for the thirty minute drive.
"K, I will, now, take a nap sweetness, I'll wake you up when we get home," I felt his fingers drag through my hair and then I fell asleep quickly.
I woke up slowly, my eyes dragging open just enough to realize that Alex had me bridal style and was carrying me up the steps into our house. I reached up to wrap my arms loosely around his neck and released them when he placed me on the couch.
"Hungry?" he asked quietly, his lips up close against my ear.
"No," I groaned and curled into a ball on the couch. "I don't feel good."
"I know, sweetness," Alex sat beside me on the couch and ran his fingers through my hair, rubbing my scalp gently.
"You guys should order food, and eat though," I stopped his hand and kissed his palm gently before lacing my fingers through his.
"We will, just rest, my love, we'll order you some soup or something."
"Okay," I muttered as I closed my eyes fully, resting into the softness of our couch.
"Dad...?" Jake spoke quietly.
"Are you okay?" he sat on the couch with his back resting against my knees.
"I'll be fine, lay with me?" I reached for him and he laid down slowly, letting me pull him into my arms. I quickly fell asleep, holding him close to me, cuddling the son that fit right into this weird family.