No surely not- no my luck can not be that bad. It just couldn’t- it wasn’t possible was it? I just stared at him while Doctor Murray spoke in my ear, trying to reason with me. But I was in no state to be taking anything in, all I could see was Brad standing in my doorway, with an expression, that caused my breathing to halt.
I just stood there, my eyes glued on the one person that I longed never to know my secret. My head slowly began to get heavy, still, I couldn’t inhale because he was there. Brad was standing there, with a look of fear dancing with rage then throw that in a blender and you’ll see utter and complete raging distress; and that was the expression on his face.
A cold chilling sensation spread across my skin, slowly numbing me and sinking in, to every blood vessel, as the pain of what I was seeing on his became over bearing.
I took a breath in. Just one breath. It was all I could manage.
I begged to whoever was above me to make Brad listen and for a second I thought he did, when I heard the door close- instead, I looked up to see a man more determined than a bull charging for the red flag.
That exactly how I felt right now, a target about to be pierced. Because I knew once he spoke, the words would be thin sharped knives that would pierce my heart and shatter my secret.
Hannah’s eyes were on me, and she was quick to end the phone call. For a few moments she just stared back at me blinking, as if expecting me to disappear. But I didn’t and instead of doing what I knew she wanted, I closed her bedroom door.
I didn’t know what to say, confront her? But while the word was bouncing around my head, I couldn’t form it out loud. ‘cancer’. Hannah had said ‘cancer’. As in..
“Stop looking at me like that.” Her words were as sharp as her crafted manicure nails- slicing through me. “And get out.” Never once had Hannah spoken so rude and direct to me. In fact I didn’t think she had it in her to speak to anyone like that. “You found the door before, so I think you’re capable of locating it again. Maybe this time- actually fuck off.” Again her words were just as sharp- cruel- and I knew what she was doing.
“You aren’t pissing me off, causing me to leave Hannah.” I stood firmly in front of her, though she had taken two steps back from me, putting more distance between us. “You’re…sick.”
A scoff came off her lips. “So?” Crossing her arms. “Didn’t stop you leaving a moment ago, so what’s changed?”
What changed? She’s fucking sick! But regardless I was coming back to her- regardless of whether she was sick or not, I had walked back to her door, ready to beg and confront her with how I felt.
“Leave Brad. You had no problems before.” She threw it in my face again, that I had just walked out on her. “Your job as baby sitter has been successful. I’m going to sleep now. So when Dad comes home, you can tell ya president you made sure his daughter was all tucked up in bed. Now piss off.”
Again I saw another side to Hannah. She was hurting I could see it on her face, behind that guard she had up, behind the front she had up that everything was fine. I had her hurt her and it was killing her right now that I was still here. But if she thought I was leaving- she was wrong.
Did I just directly say what I was thinking? Like what the fuck! How could she have cancer and no one tell me! How the hell could Reaper not tell me! Why the fuck would they keep this a Wilson secret? I thought I was viewed higher in Reaper’s eyes, that this, something as huge as Hannah being sick- I would have been told. Fuck. Did anyone understand how much I loved this woman?
Then it came back to it. She had kept it from me. I couldn’t stop my finger pointing at her. “You’re sick.” I repeated the same words again, she was sick! And not just a cold, but seriously, life threatening sick- and no one thought I had a right to know?
Fuck them all.
I was laying claim. I would not be blocked out of Hannah’s life, not now, not ever- they were going to learn, that when it came to Hannah, I was to know everything.
The sick and twisted fact rolled through my mind. “Your father hit you, knowing you have…”
“Cancer?” She filled in the word, with a smart ass tone. “Come on Brad, it isn’t that scary it’s just a word. Cancer. I have cancer.” She tossed her phone on the bed. “Come on Brad say it out loud, Hannah has cancer.” She had moved towards me with determination I had never seen in her eyes. “Now that pity you are feeling for me, that sorrow, that how can it be possible. You can take all that,” her words twisting and turning sharper and sharper, piercing through me. “and fuck off with it.”
I was speechless, how could she be so fucking cold? First she didn’t tell me, lied about, and now, now she was being a ruthless cold bitch about it- “You didn’t want me to know?” Saying that hurt more than anything. Did she really not think of me high enough to be told about her health? Did she not understand that I spent nearly every spare second worrying how she was, what was she doing. She occupied all my fucking thoughts!
“Leave Brad, before you do something you regret.” Hannah’s words were still firm, and instead of buckling in tears because of what she was facing, she was stronger than I had ever seen her. “I don’t need you, I don’t need them, I don’t need anyone. I can face this on my own.”
A few moments passed, her words running through my mind again. Hold on…wait a second.. “No one else knows do they?” I finally put two and two together. Why she was being so cold and heartless, she wanted me not to care- not because she didn’t want me to know, because she didn’t want anyone to know. “You’ve kept this to yourself.” I couldn’t believe it, even though I was saying it and when she didn’t deny it, I lost it.
She didn’t say a word.
“You fucking selfish little brat!” I ripped into her. “How dare you keep this from me, from your family! How the hell could you be so fucking selfish!”
“Lower your voice!” She hissed at me, her eyes going to her door. “It’s my health. My life.”
“And I’m fucking positive that if you died it would impact all our lives!” Didn’t she see that? Then what she all said to Reaper the night of the BBQ made sense. Her not being around. Him having to face a world without her. Her going to an early grave.
She wasn’t starving herself to death- she had… she was facing….cancer. I thought I had my head wrapped around the situation before, I thought I had some grips on what was happening but now everything she said at that BBQ along with the fact she had cancer, just…fucking hurt and for the first time in my life since I was kid I was tearing up.
“You’ve got cancer.” I repeated it again, this time, it was slowly sinking in, sinking in deeply….so deep right to my core, soaking my every blood vessel with grief and panic.
I don’t know when it happened or when she closed the gap between us. “Please Brad stop.” The pain clear in her voice. “I can’t handle seeing you upset. Please. Please leave.” She was pleading with me to leave her when she was facing cancer- alone.
She was always strong, it was one of the qualities I admired so much about her. But this sort of strength that she was showing, was incredible and unbelievable.
“How…how bad? What stage?” I was panicking and I needed to fix this. The clubs medical contacts were running through the back of my mind. We would get her the best treatment. A whole team of specialists.
Then the deep bruise on her cheek, down her jaw and the tiredness in her eyes- fuck she was running on nothing.
“Brad, you can go.” Hannah was exhausted I could hear it in her voice, but I wasn’t leaving her. “What are you doing!?”
I found what I was looking for. “Strip.” I gestured for her, giving her the option to do it herself. I was gripping the hoodie I gave her in one hand and I knew she slept in it. “Now Hannah.”
She was alarmed and when she didn’t automatically do it, I wanted so badly to just tell her off but instead I turned and gave her privacy. “Please.” I added. Trying my best not to bite down her throat.
“I can’t wear that.” She muttered, and I wanted to turn around but I had heard her clothes drop to the ground.
“Then pick something else sweetheart, I just want you comfortable.”
“That’s the point nothing is comfortable. Everything is tight.”
She was tiny, what did she mean tight? Then it dawned on me. Her breasts. I had noticed how she had more cleavage than normal. Without over thinking about it, I pulled my hoodie off and extended my hand back behind me in her direction.
Her fingers brushed my hand when she took it, and I felt like such a fucking dickhead for being a typical bloke and for just checking out her cleavage.
I slowly turned around and she looked so uncertain. “You can’t tell anyone.” Her eyes dropped to the ground. “I’m not ready to and I don’t expect you to stand by me. To be honest you were the last person I wanted to know.”
That was a low blow. “Because you don’t want me in your life?” I just put what she was saying to her actions.
Her eyes snapped up, wide. “No because I didn’t want you standing by me because I’m some sick cancer statistic.”
I moved towards her before she took another breath. Cupping her face, forcing her to look up at me. “I’ll stand by you in your brightest moment and in your darkest moment. And I want to be beside you, because I love you.” My lips brushed hers. “Now we are going to bed, and tomorrow, you are answering all my questions.”
“You’re staying? Here?”
She didn’t realise that as of now, I was never leaving her side. I forced a smile, even though I had never felt sicker. “We are going to increase our movie nights, and our sleepovers.” And I was going to have a very long list of excuses of why Hannah and I were going to be together from now on.
All night I laid still, listening to her breathing. I couldn’t bring myself to sleep in her bed, just couldn’t run the risk, so I laid on her couch. And by risk, I meant me keeping my hands off her. I just wanted to hold her and somehow ease her worries.
The morning couldn’t come quickly enough. Watching her stir in the bed, I threw the blanket back and got up- going to her bedside.
She inhaled sharply waking up and opening her eyes. “Morning.” She smiled, a real smile at me. As if seeing me on the morning of her birthday was everything she had wanted.
I brushed my lips on hers. “Happy birthday baby girl.”
Her smile got wider, when there was a knock on her bedroom door. I helped her pull the blankets back, in which she gave me a direct, ‘I can do it myself look.’
She got up and opened the bedroom door, just as I got on my feet.
“You won’t believe what Dad got me!” Eve squealed and popped her head in. “Hi Brad.”
“Morning.” And I ran my hand through my hair, and then quickly added. “Happy birthday Eve.”
“Thanks.” She grinned.
“I’ll be down in a minute okay Eve?” Hannah said and then closed her bedroom door, making a beeline for her ensuite.
I heard the shower turn on and knew now I had to wait longer to have the conversation with her, because her family was going to want to spend the morning with her.