Silently Falling

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•Chapter Forty-One•

N I C K

I HAD BEEN dreading this moment ever since I knew it was a possibility. I didn't want anything to happen to Leah, she was the only sibling I had left after Kayla passed and she was all mum had. But more importantly, I did not want to have to lose Alexis after I just got her.

I had spent a huge amount of time researching SCD and how to treat it but each time it always led to a negative finding. The older you are, the more riskier it is to have a successful bone marrow transplant. The odds were against her and that, that just broke me because I loved her. And to make matters worse, I didn't tell her I loved her when she said it to me.

Sighing, I opened the door Dr. Dave had pointed me to and saw mum sat next to Leah who was stretched out on the small hospital bed.

"Hey!"

"Hey!" Leah smiled, "how's your girlfriend holding up?" she asked.

My mum rolled her eyes at her statement. "Stop trying to rail your brother up," she chastised her.

"Gee I'm sorry. But there's no need to be harsh to the patient," Leah exclaimed raising her hands up.

I leaned by the door with my hands crossed over my chest and legs crossed as well.

"There's nothing wrong with you, so stop trying to milk it dear sweet sister of mine," I spoke coolly.

"I'm going to give your girlfriend my bone marrow, the least you could do is be nice to me for a change."

"I am being nice to you. I just think you trying to milk it is selfish and childish," I replied with a nonchalant shrug. "It's not like you're going to die or anything is remotely going to happen to you."

"But I could."

"Nope!"

"You're an arsehole," she said as she puffed her cheeks out in annoyance.

"Watch your language young lady," mum scolded. "He is your elder brother and you will show him respect. Am I clear?" she asked calmly. "And you," said looking directly at me, "you will be nice to your sister. Do we understand each other?"

I nodded my head and mum turned to glare at Leah. "Am I understood?"

Leah nodded her head and I smiled because I knew I could always trust my mum to have my back each time Leah and I argued. Which is a lot.

"Good. I'll go check on Alexis and see how she's holding up."

Mum stood up and smoothed down her skirt before she grabbed her bag and headed to the door where I was stood. Before she could leave, I wrapped my hands around her wrist.

"Can I talk to you first?" I asked.

"Of course honey, you can always talk to me about anything," she responded. "What is it?"

I closed the door as we stood in the long hospital corridor. "Alexis told me a while back that she loves me and I didn't say it back," I sighed and ran a frustrated hand over my face. "And to make things worse, I went out and poured my heart to her about how much I love Hayley and always will. I totally messed up, I'm such a fool," I tugged on my hair hard.

"Nick listen to me, you are not in any way obligated to say it back to her if you don't feel the same way," mum answered. "But why would you do that? I'm sure that just broke the poor girl's heart," she shook her head in a disapproving manner.

I ran a hand through my hair once more. "But that's the thing, I do love her. I've loved her for some time now," I breathed. "I just don't know how to say it to her because I'm afraid if I do and then I lose her, I wouldn't know what to do with my life mum," I confessed. "I'm afraid it will hurt more than losing Hayley felt because I love Alexis with everything in me."

"And I know it was a stupid thing to do, but she asked me about her and I don't know, I just said what came to mind."

My mum wrapped her hands around me and pulled me in for a hug. "You need to let her know how you really feel before she goes into that operating room," she whispered in my ear. "God only knows what will happen in it and you'll have to live with the fact that you never once let her know how you really feel about her," she said and pulled back but kept her hands on my shoulders.

"Do you think she hates me?" I sniffed.

"I don't think she hates you. You made a mistake and you need to man up, apologise and confess your undying love for her," she smiled as she patted my back and walked away.

I stood there staring in the direction mum went, the direction that Alexis was-my Alexis. I grabbed my phone and texted Kai letting him know that she was about to have her surgery and that I needed both him and Jake by my side before I slipped it back in my pocket and joined Leah.

"How are doing?" I asked her honestly as I took the seat by her bedside.

"I'm scared out of my mind honestly," Leah admitted. "Though I'm not scared for me but for Alexis. I can see how you look at her and how much you you've changed ever since you met her."

"I've not changed much," I replied nonchalantly.

Leah rolled her eyes, "yes you have. You let me in your room and you even let me use your laptop. You never once let me touch it because it was of precious value," she responded and laughed. "You're so whipped bro."

"Shut up!" I said but there was a ghost of a smile on my face.

"It's so obvious how whipped you are," she teased and playfully shoved my shoulder, "it's cute and adorable."

"I'm going to go now," I said as I stood up. "You're annoying me to no end."

"But you love me and that's all that matters," she shouted as I closed the door.

After that, I went back to Alexis' room where Asher, Kai and Jake were stood outside.

"Hey!" Jake said when he saw me approaching.

"Hey! Is there anyone in their with her?" I asked.

"She's with her parents and James at the moment," Asher answered," though she requested to see you as soon as you came."

I nodded and knocked on the door and waited for a 'come in' before I slowly opened it and stepped inside. James was sat at the edge of her bed and her parents stood next to her near the large window that overlooked the main garden.

"She wants to talk to you," James said as he stood up with bloodshot eyes and patted my shoulder. "Don't hurt her."

"Mum, dad let's leave them alone."

Mr. Vance and Kate smiled at me as they existed the room and left us alone. Alexis didn't look at me as she continued staring outside. I walked over to her and just stood there in silence rocking back and forth on the heels of my boots. She was dressed in one of those ridiculous hospital gowns with a cloth wrapped around her head so people wouldn't see that she'd lost her hair.

"I love you and I need you to know how much before I go into that operating room," she spoke, finally breaking the unbearable silence. "You don't have to say it back to me because I know you still love her."

My heart broke at how broken she sounded as she said her. I grabbed her small frail hands into mine and gazed into her brown eyes. They had a bit of blue specks surrounding the brown making them that much more intriguing.

"Alexis Erin Vance I love you, God only knows how much I do," I said and to say she was shocked would be an understatement. Her mouth hung open as her eyes widened.

"I knew I was in love with you when I saw you in Math class and you offered me your notebook to copy from. Cheesy I know, but it's true," I continued. "You were the only one who wasn't gnawing or swooning over me like I was a piece of fresh meat and I really appreciated it even though I never told you."

My confidence was growing with each word that I uttered. "And when Mr. Finn asked us to participate in the decathlon, I readily agreed because it was the only way for me to have alone time with you. The more time I spent with you, the more I fell hard and the more scared I got because I knew you were hiding something, something big and I didn't want to put myself through heartbreak once again."

Tears were rolling down her face as I poured my heart to her and I didn't know if it was a good or bad thing but I continued talking nonetheless.

"It was really the little things that you did that always drew me in each time I tried to distance myself from you. But when we went to Starbucks and we actually talked, I wanted to know more about you so I took you to my favourite place. But then that day-at the decathlon I decided to push every negative thought to the back of my mind and I asked you on an official date which turned out to be the best damn time of my life," I finished speaking and anxiously waited for her to say anything, something.

Alexis was full on crying and my heart broke. Did I say something wrong again? I always find ways to be a dumbarse and ruin everything, don't I?

I sighed and dropped her hands as I began heading for the door. Her small frail hands wrapped around me and pulled me into a hug as she sobbed on my chest.

"Why didn't you tell me all this time?" she asked as she wiped her nose with her ridiculous hospital gown.

"I was scared I would lose you and I didn't want to face the same heartbreak I went through a year ago," I admitted sheepishly as I held her tighter in my arms, afraid if I let go then I would never be able to hold her in my arms ever again.

She pulled away and smacked me hard on my chest. I winced and rubbed the spot she hit.

"You're an idiot you know. I thought you didn't love me especially when you told me how much you were still in love with Hayley."

"I'm sorry I was a dick. I'm not really good at expressing how I really feel or emotions at all," I apologised. "And I do love her and always will, but not in the way you're thinking. She was someone important to me and I owe most of who I am today to her," I said.

"You're a fool but I still love you regardless," she said sternly.

"I love you Alexis Vance," I whispered softly.

Alexis rolled her beautiful eyes before she attached her lips to mine and cut off anything I wanted to say. I immediately responded and tentatively held her face in my hands as her hands found their way to my hair and she pulled and tugged making a moan erupt through me.

It wasn't like any of the kisses we had shared. This one was more passionate than the rest and a fire ignited within me at her touch making me want her even more than I initially did.

"The sur-" we pulled apart and saw Sara standing there looking flushed and embarrassed. "I'm so sorry, I-" she rumbled as she looked anyway but at us.

Alexis and I laughed and I pecked her before I fully pulled away from her.

"I'll leave you," I said, "and I'll see you later beautiful," I winked at Sara who blushed like crazy as I existed the room.

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