Catherine could not process anymore thoughts or lies for that night. When she reached home, Evelyn Danvers was already asleep and Caleb and the boys took care of her luggage. As for her, she went straight to her room. She look around her bedroom, nothing had changed. It was like when she left it almost 4 years ago. A few boxed presents caught her attention.
A soft knock on her door startled her. "Yes?" she said motioning for the person to come in. Caleb and the boys came in and saw her looking at the boxes. "Nothing has changed." She commented.
"No one dares to come in here." Reid teased as he motioned Caleb. Catherine let out a laugh.
"That's a lot of presents don't you think?" Tyler added.
"Let see shall we." She said as she sat crossed legged in front of the presents. "Merry Christmas, Cal." She said reading the card attached on the present and put the present a side. "Happy 13th birthday, I miss you. Caleb." She reads some more. She just goes through the cards without opening the presents. "Caleb, Caleb, Caleb, these are all from you?" Catherine smiled looking at Caleb who was sitting on her bed. "How many years you kept these?" She questioned.
"As the date you see. 2 maybe 3 years." He answered. "See, I didn't forget." Caleb said. "Look closer." He suggested. "That is not all from me."
"Thought so. There is too many…" she said, as she made a funny face to Caleb. She look some more. "Evie." She said in awe.
"She missed you as much as we all did. She just wouldn't show it." Caleb said. He knows how much his mom loves and misses Catherine. Catherine is her daughter after all, but she somehow would never show it to her. That is something he could not figure out why.
"Well, we all know why that is." Catherine said cynically.
"She does not blame you about what happened to dad." Caleb replied in vain.
"I maybe 6 at the time, but, believe me I know what she thinks of me when she looks at me every time." Catherine said smiling.
"Andy?" Pouge said at last, after being quiet for a while. "Don't you have something to tell him?" Pouge said.
"Oh, he already knows I'm enrolling in Spencer's." Catherine said. Pouge just stared at her. Tyler and Reid look at her questioningly. Pouge had known about it longer than Caleb had, in fact he was the one who decided with Catherine that she should come back to Ipswich.
"Andy? Is there something you're hiding from me?" Caleb asked softly. Catherine hates it when he looks so caringly at her. She feels like she could not lie to him. She could never lie to him.
"Okay, but promise you would not freak out on me or them." Catherine said as she got up slowly and ruffled through her purse for a letter. "Promise me." She said again before handing Caleb the letter as she sat on the bed beside her brother.
"I promise." He said as she handed him the letter. He opened it and read it carefully. It was a prescription medication that Catherine had to take every day following her chemotherapy. "What does this means? You're sick?" He questioned.
"Yes. And I'm dying." She answered calmly.
"No. it can't be." he said as he fought back the tears that threatens to come rolling down his cheek.
"You asked me the reason I came back, right? This is it. I don't want to die alone." Catherine said. Pouge, Reid and Tyler fell silent. They have known about it for a while, but they didn't know it was this advanced.
"You guys know about this?" Caleb turned and questioned the others. Silently they nodded. "And not one of you has the guts to even tell me that my sister is having a fatal illness?" He questioned them with a spiteful tone.
"I made them swear to me not to tell you." Catherine said. Caleb looks at her questioningly. "I wanted to tell you myself." She said. Caleb drew in a deep breath and look at Pouge once again.
"This is why you want me to call her so much." He asked. Pouge just nodded. "What are you being treated for?" He questioned at last.
"Acute myeloid leukemia." Catherine said, uttering each word carefully.
"My god." Was all Caleb could say as he heard the word leukemia. The word he never thought he could hear outside biology class.
"Don't look so terrified, Cal. As far as I'm concern, I'll be graduating with you guys around. So don't worry. Don't believe whatever you read in your books. Human will to survive is stronger than any medicine." Catherine said quoting her father's exact words. She is very
good in playing with words. Besides, she could not bear to see her brother look so scared every time he sees her.
"I'm allowed to be scared, princess. I'm your big brother remember?" he said sweetly as he caresses her hair. Forgetting the other guys was there. He however was brought to reality when a smack landed on his arm
"Caleb," she groaned. "You slipped."
"I'm so sorry." He said with a hint of laughter in his voice.
"Princess? You call her princess?" Reid said smiling from ear to ear, waiting for a time to burst out laughing. "Does that make you the 'Prince'?" He said before he burst out laughing.
"See. I told you not to call me that in front of them. This is what happens." Catherine scolded. Reid was already on the floor still laughing while Pouge and Tyler trying not to laugh. "Pouge, don't you dare, say anything." She warns the struggling man who was trying not to laugh. "Reid! Enough already." She said throwing a small cushion at him.
"Okay. Okay." Reid said sitting back up. "It just sounded funny for some reason." He smiled as he rose and toss the cushion back to her.
"That's because you're an arse Reid Garwin." She said.
"Enough. Watch your words." Caleb said suddenly. They were never allowed to say certain words until they were old enough. Caleb certainly believes that it should stay that way.
"Sorry." Catherine said. "So I guess, I'll see you guys tomorrow? Sorry for disturbing you guys so late." She said.
"We were just sleeping. Not a big deal. And tomorrow's Saturday anyways." Tyler said. Catherine rolled her eyes. Tyler would do anything for her at anytime and give a great reason for doing it or a better reason for neglecting what he was doing before. She always comes first in his book. That's one trait she always adores that this young man have.
It was not too long before they all dozed off in Catherine's room, she woke up beside her brother who had his arm wrapped around her and Pouge who was on the ground beside the bed, while Tyler was on the couch and Reid was where he was last night, in front of the bed. Suddenly everything felt like when she was 6 again. When she was so scared of lightning and Caleb was having a sleep over.
Slowly she moved her sore body, trying not to wake anyone up and she crept to the bathroom. She splashed the cold water on her face then she look into the mirror at her pale
reflection. Her sickly reflection seems to tell her, no matter how much she wants to believe what she said yesterday, her time is ticking and fast. She sighs before going back in to her room.
"I thought I was dreaming." A voice said. A voice she knew too well. "Then I woke up on the floor in your room. Then I know that it was not a dream." Pouge said in a whispery voice. Among all of them he is the only morning person, unlike her grumpy older brother.
"It was certainly not." Catherine said. "Wake up, Stinky." Catherine whispered in Caleb's ear. She has not called him that in so long; she almost forgot he had a nickname.
"Tell me I'm dreaming." He said groggily with his eyes still close.
"Not a chance." She said. "Be careful of your words though, Pouge, Tyler and Reid are here." She reminded.
"Hmm…" Caleb groaned and pulled her closer to him. "Good morning, princess." He whispered as he kissed her forehead. She smiled, blushing a little as Pouge smiled at her. "Get ready. We'll go out for breakfast." He said as he rubs his weary eyes.
Catherine walks in to her closet and rummaged through her packed suit case for a t-shirt to change into. Most of which are short sleeves and sleeveless. She looks through the other bags and found a decent three-quarter sleeve t-shirt. She is still unwilling for Caleb and the rest look at her needle poked arm. The t-shirt covered most part of her chest so that it also covers her central venous catheter.
She took a small cushion and threw it to Tyler who was still fast asleep on the couch, in a fetal position, as soon as she got out of her closet. He woke up in shock and threw back the pillow to Catherine and hit her near her chest. As the cushion hits her she step aback as a massive jolt of pain courses through her body.
"Ahwww…" Catherine groaned.
"Oh god. I'm sorry, Andy." Tyler said quickly getting up.
"It's fine. Really." Catherine said grimacing a little. "Just don't let Caleb or Pouge know. They'll probably kill you." Catherine said in a low voice.
"Where are those two?" he asked as he sat up on the couch.
"Down stairs waiting for us." Catherine shrugged as she went and sat beside Tyler and watch Reid sleep. But it did not last long when Tyler threw the cushion to wake him up.
"Why'd you do that?" Catherine asked.
"It's about time he wakes up." Tyler said as he heads for the bathroom.
"Morning princess." Reid teased as he opened his eyes. Catherine's pale face went red, as she blushed. She thought they might have forgotten all about it but Reid did not.
"Don't call me that." She scolded. Reid just made a face at her. He laughed as he rubs his eyes and sat up. "Stop laughing. You actually slept laughing yesterday." Catherine said.
"It is quite funny actually." He said.
"He's my brother. He gets to call me what ever the hell he wants." Catherine said as she stuck her tongue out to him.
"Still funny." Reid said.
"Do you have to annoy me every time, Reid? And your comment about my accent, it was dumb… I've always had it." Catherine said.
"And letting Caleb know I've been visiting you in London? Never in a million years." He replied. Tyler let out a small laugh as he emerged from the bathroom.
"Your turn." He said as he tosses Reid a towel.
"What's so funny, Baby Boy?" Reid asked as he got up and walk towards the bathroom.
"There is never a second that you two don't bicker with each other. It's funny that you two aren't a couple." Tyler said as Reid snapped his back with the towel. "Aww…"
"It a wonder that you two aren't. Since both of you are so similar." Reid said back.
"Because he is my best friend." Catherine replied as she half-hug Tyler with her right arm. Reid just rolled his eyes as he disappears into the bathroom. Tyler sat back on the couch as he motioned her to sit next to him.
"This sound serious." Catherine said jokingly.
"It is." Tyler said. "I know none of them, maybe except Pouge. But I need to know. Truthfully. How long do you have. And what are your options from now on?" Tyler asked.
"Less than 5 months." Catherine admitted. "There's always the bone marrow transplant, and there is always chemo." She said. As she stared blankly at his face hoping for an honest answer from a person that she trust to hold on to her secret and a person that she could even consider as her brother. Tyler just sat there and weighs the options. "Ty, seriously. I would not go for either any more. I'd rather die. Than to see you guys see me suffer." Catherine said.
"Andy, look. I'm not trying to be sided in these things but, really. He loves you more than anything in this world. I love you. Could you even reconsider it if it could make you better?"
Tyler asked. Catherine looks up at him. Staring in his pleading eyes, she feels like she owes them the benefit of the doubt.
"What if it could not make me better?" She reasoned. It was not like they (except Caleb) have not seen what she had been through. Tyler could not think of an excuse to give her. He could not tell her false hope; he cannot bear to see her hurt more than she already is.
"Fine." He sighs.
"Did Caleb ask you to ask me?" She asked. Caleb knows her only weakness is Tyler. Also he knows that she cannot say no to Tyler.
"Pouge did." Tyler admitted. "And Reid." He continued. "We need you to be fine again like you used to be." He said desperately.
"I can never be fine again. You were there when the doctor told Pouge. Remember?" she said smiling. Tyler just nodded.
"But who knows, maybe, just maybe you can get better. Pouge and I, we have the same blood type. We have the same blood type. Marrow transplant does not sound so bad. It will hurt but we'll be here." Tyler reasoned. Not that he never asked her before, just that, she have a stronger reason before that she could never use it now. Yet he wondered sometime how two siblings can be so different biologically.
"5 months is a long time, Ty." She answered back.