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Chapter 7

BLAKE’S POV

Present-day...

So here I am sitting in the departure lounge waiting for my flight to be called, Marcus was relentless in organising my trip for me. No wonder he is an amazing businessman he doesn’t take no for an answer. I brought a carry-on bag as I planned to do some major shopping in New York; I was going to spend some major $ in the shops. Drinking a cocktail at the bar when my phone rings, looking down to find my sister calling.

“Hi, Georgie, how are things?”

All I can hear is crying down the phone.

“Georgie, what’s wrong?” I finally hear her voice.

“Blake, it’s dad, he collapsed, and he is in the hospital.”

Georgie tells me he was admitted to The Royal London Hospital, and that he is in the ICU. Struggling to focus everything is a blur, as quick as my feet carry me I am hightailing it out of the airport and making my way to the hospital. I get out of the taxi and I rush into the ICU department; the nurse explains to me that I will need to wait for the Doctor before we can see him. Walking to the waiting room to see Georgie and her husband, Greg. I look around and don’t see my niece and nephew.

“Where are the kids?” My sister pulls me in for a hug.

“Greg’s mum has them.”

I look at my sister’s face, looking for answers.

“What’s going on, what happened?”

Greg walks over hugging his wife.

“We do not know, they won’t tell us.”

We sit in silence for thirty minutes before a Doctor finally walks into the room.

“The Blair Family? Your father had a fall and hit his head, so we placed him into an induced coma for the swelling. The swelling has gone down, and he is responsive so we are moving him to the oncology ward as he will need further testing.”

I shake my head, trying to wrap my head around the words.

“I am sorry, I don’t understand. Why would he be moved to the oncology ward?”

The doctor looks at us; having been down this road before; we lost our mum to breast cancer when I was 13 and Georgie was 16. We both stare at each other. The doctor not giving us any more information.

“If you would like to see your father, we can allow two visitors at a time.”

Greg stays in the waiting room, he is going to call his mum to make sure my niece and nephew are alright? We walk over to the room our dad is in and go in; he looks at us and I become overcome with emotion. Georgie remains strong and calls him out.

“What aren’t you telling us, dad?”

My dad gives us a sad look.

“Girls take a seat!”

That’s when he drops the bomb on us that a year ago he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 18 months to live. I am crushed. He looks at us both with tears in his eyes. “Girls, I didn’t want to tell you, I wanted to have the best life with my remaining months with you both and I didn’t want this shadowing our time together.” Georgie is angry and struggling. “You should have told us!”

My dad looks at Georgie and me. “We both know you would have put your life on hold moved back home and insisted we tried experimental treatments, honey I am happy with my life, you both have become so grown up, I am so proud of the women you have turned out to be, but its time girls I miss your mum and it’s my time to go join her.”

Georgie is in floods of tears as she struggles with her words. “Dad, you still have time.” My dad is so calm and I am quiet, almost like a ticking time bomb.

“Girls, l know my time is running out, Blake, please say something!” I look at my feet, my bottom lip trembling. I squeeze my hand, willing myself to keep my shit together.

“It all makes sense now, all those Sunday dinners like mum used to do, the trips to the seaside just like we used to do, you spending quality time with us all, you had a bucket list and didn’t tell us.”

My dad takes a hand of each of us and gives a gently squeeze. “I wanted to make sure that I left this world with no regrets.”

I struggle to keep my anger at bay all those months of being lied to yet again, I snap. “When exactly were you planning on telling us?”

I watch my dad get defensive. “When it was the right time, this was my call to make, and I wanted to spare you both, with your mother you both knew from the start and the time was unbearable. You watched as she went through treatment, with a slim chance she would make it, she had no quality of life, so I made the call to enjoy my time with you girls and not put you through all that again.”

Georgie gives our dad a sad smile and sympathises. “I get it, I just wished you didn’t have to go through the last year alone.” Dad looks at Georgie.

“I was never alone you all were with me every day, you were my light on those dark days, spending time with you, with my grandchildren was all I needed. Blake, I know you are struggling with my decision, but I did this to protect you.”

I needed time, and he knew that so he gives me space to process everything. They eventually moved dad to a room in the oncology ward. We are waiting in his room while they are running tests. Eventually, he is brought back and we are trying to remain positive; I stay with dad while Georgie and Greg go to the kids. I fall asleep holding his hand. The next morning Georgie insists I go home and get washed and changed I was not leaving him, Thankfully I have my bag, I can use it to freshen up.

I yell “Fuck!” where is my phone I rip my bag apart, I can’t find it anywhere. Georgie pokes her head into the toilets. The results are back. I quickly grab my stuff and arriving at the room a specialist is standing at the foot of the bed. We all keep quiet as we listen to the specialist talk.

“Mr Blair, we have your results from the tests we ran and I am afraid the news isn’t good, the tests show that the cancer has aggressively spread to other areas of your body.” My dad takes both mine and Georgie’s hand and gives us a little reassuring squeeze. He looks at the doctor and asks.

“Ok, so how much time do I have?” The doctor gives us that look, the same look that we got when we were told about mum. The look that told us to brace for the worse. “I know the original prognosis gave you 18 months, but Mr Blair, we are now talking a matter of weeks. We see from your notes that at this time you requested to be moved into a hospice. So we will be releasing you into their care.”

Letting go of my dad’s hand, I walk out into the hall, falling to the ground and sobbing hard, so hard I couldn’t breathe. I feel someone wrap their arms around me! I hear Charlie’s voice.

“Come here, hun.”

I battle with the words through my sobs, “How did you know I was here? I can’t find my phone!” Charlie wipes away my tears.

“Georgie called me first thing this morning, she said it was too late to call last night. Said you would need some support.”

I grip my friend’s hug as my life depends on it. “Oh, Charlie, I can’t do this again.”

Charlie pulls me in tighter.

“Sweetie, you can and you will, you are the strongest person I know.” I laugh through my tears.

“I think you give me too much credit Charlie, I need a favour, I need to borrow your phone.” Charlie nods “Yeah, of course, anything you need.” Charlie unlocks her phone and I find Instagram opening the app and finding his profile I send him a message.

Mark, I am so sorry I lost my phone; I have a family emergency and I can’t come to New York. Please forgive me, I will explain everything, but it’s not a good time right now. Blake xo.

I hand Charlie her phone back and look at her. “I never told Mark I wasn’t coming. With everything with my dad, I forgot about him. If he replies, can you let me know what he says?”

Charlie smiles at me “Of course hun, he will understand given the circumstances. Now when was the last time you ate?”

MARK’S POV

Nicole just stared at me when I told her about the baby news, I didn’t know what else to say and apparently neither did she. Nicole just said one word. “Ok.”

I repeat back to her, unsure I heard her correctly “Ok?”

Nicole pouts at me. “Look, I don’t know what else to say right now Mark, you’re a great guy but...” again I can’t help but repeat her.

“But what?”

Nicole moves away before giving me her brutal truth. “But this is a lot to take in, I’m not ready to be someone’s what.. stepmom? I don’t even want children of my own for christ’s sake.”

I get defensive and yell at her. “I am not asking you to do that, but it might not even be mine and this conversation is invalid.”

Nicole sits down, crossing her legs. “Yeah, but it might be and then what... we are already busy you add a baby into the mix there is no hope.”

I look at her, trying to work out what’s going on in her head. “Why do I feel you’re breaking up with me?”

Nicole sighs, “I’m not breaking up I just think until you find out we should maybe go on a break.”

I go into shock. “Are you serious right now?”

She speaks so coldly. “Mark, I just need time to work this all out. I wasn’t looking for anything serious when we met. We wanted to take it slow.”

I look at her, stating the obvious. “Think about how I feel I might have a baby with someone who broke my heart, I am going to have to deal with her for years if this baby is mine.”

We sit in silence before Nicole stands up, grabbing her bag.

“Look, I am going to go, I will call you later.”

I can’t believe this is happening right now. I watch as she walks out of my office never looking back, yeah she is never calling me tonight. That was her piss poor attempt at breaking up with me. I wasn’t prepared to chase after her; I had enough going on with the baby bomb, I couldn’t tell the boys either and I’m shocked Marcus has said nothing considering he and Justin still speak but Marcus knew something.

Justin went to stay with his parents for a while, and if he knew about the impending paternity drama, he never let on. The boys and I are waiting in the arrivals area for Blake to arrive I am so excited about seeing her we got flowers, balloons and a banner. Blakes flight should have landed 30 minutes ago and according to the board, it has landed. We are standing about for what feels like a lifetime as people keep coming through the doors. Marcus shrugs at me “Maybe she got caught up in security?”

Maybe this is fate, maybe Blake and I are never supposed to meet. Maybe we will always live life’s parallel to each other, never actually intertwining. I look at my phone nothing. I try to call her, but nothing. We wait for just over two hours then the sinking feeling sets in, she’s not coming, and she has changed her mind. Feeling the lowest I have felt since Blake called off our wedding the boys take me home, they all try to reassure me, something has happened that she just wouldn’t show up without a good reason, but with all the shit going on in my life, nothing would surprise me anymore.

Finding it hard to believe any of it, I feel my life is spiralling and the one person to ground me has possibly let me down. I watch the city turn tonight and still nothing radio silence. I sit on my sofa with my hand clutching my phone. Eventually, I fall asleep. I wake up around three am to my phone vibrating and pinging at me. I see a notification CharlieBee has sent you a message. My heart is going a mile a minute. Has something happened to Blake? I shake as I open the message.

Mark, I am so sorry I lost my phone; I have a family emergency and I can’t come to New York. Please forgive me, I will explain everything, but it’s not a good time right now. Blake xo.

I look at the clock, it’s 8 am UK time. I reply immediately.

Blake, I was so worried; I hope you’re ok. Do you need anything? Of course, I forgive you; I understand completely. Love always, Mark xo.

As I hit send I realised that I used the word love, what the hell it was on complete autopilot. I wait and the message goes unseen, after a few hours the sun is rising over Manhatten, I clutch my phone and drink a lukewarm cup of coffee I have been holding onto. My phone pings, I have another message from Charlies Instagram account.

Hi Mark, Charlie here give me a call when you can the number is...

I dial Charlie’s number, and she answers within the first ring. “Mark, sorry I know it’s early.” I hear the sadness in her voice.

“Don’t worry what’s going?” There is a quiet pause before Charlie breaks, telling me everything. “Blake’s a mess, she needs you, her dad..... he is dying its cancer, he’s only got a few weeks. He kept it from them both he has known for a year.”

My heart breaks for her. “I can’t believe this Blake told me her mum died when she was a teen of breast cancer this is going to crush her.”

There is nothing but Silence until Charlie finally speaks up. “Blake told you about her mum? She doesn’t tell anyone about her mum.” Silence again I call out her name.

“Charlie ...” I can hear her crying and her words come out a muffle.

“Blake needs you, Mark. If she told you about her mum, that’s a big deal she doesn’t let just anyone in,” I tell Charlie what happened. “Blake opened up to me the day it would have been her mum’s birthday, I didn’t know that she doesn’t talk about her mum?”

Charlie just speaks what’s on her mind. “You two don’t see it, you’re completely blind. One of these days you both are going to wake up and see what’s been in front of you.”

Between Charlie and Scott, they are convinced that Blake and I have feelings for each other, we can only ever just be friends the distance it’s too much. I can’t focus right now on that, I know what I need to do and I don’t have time to waste. “Charlie, leave it with me I will see what I can do.”

Charlie lets me go, “Bye Mark.”

Grabbing my laptop I pull up flights to London, without hesitation, I book myself on a flight for later that day. Getting my suitcase out and start putting in clothes I do not know how long I’m planning on being in London for. I grab my phone and call Marcus.

“He... Hello?” I hear his sleepy voice. “Jesus Mark, do you know what time it is?”

I get to the point. “Yeah sorry about that but something urgent has come up, I am going to London and I don’t know how long for.” Marcus wakes up brave and quick.

“What the fuck happened?”

I sigh, “Long story short, Blakes dad is dying, and she needs me. That’s why she never made it he never told them and well, the news broke yesterday.”

I can hear Marcus get out of bed. “FUCKING HELL, what do you need?”

I pack my case and explain. “I have a flight booked I leave in a few hours, I need somewhere to stay.” Marcus stops me.

“Say no more I got myself an apartment since I am spending more time in London this weather, I am coming over with the keys.” I feel a relief that my friend doesn’t hesitate to help. “Thank you so much, Marcus, you are a lifesaver.”

I hear his voice again “Anything else?”

I try to make sure I have everything sorted this is so last minute I can’t think straight.

“Yeah, actually can you tell Scott he is in charge for the next few weeks he knows how to run the place.”

Marcus laughs, “Will do no problem at all. Tell Blake I was asking for her and give her a big hug from me.”

A few hours later, I am sitting on the flight bouncing my legs. This is going to be the longest flight ever, but I need to see her. Maybe I should have told her I was coming, but realistically there’s no time. It’s too late my arse is in this seat about to fly 3500 miles to be with her. The flight was as expected as long as fuck, but now I am in a cab making my way to the hospital thankfully when I landed I called Charlie. She near shit herself when I told her where I was. When she said Blake needed me, I don’t know how Charlie thought I was doing that the whole way in New York.

I stop off in the gift shop, picking her up a bunch of flowers. She once told me Gerbera’s were her favourite. So with a bunch of flowers in my hand along with my suitcase, I make my way up into the ward Charlie told me I would find her. My world comes to a standstill when I see her messy hair, tear-stained cheeks, wearing leggings, converses and the baggiest jumper. She is standing talking to someone in the hall as I make my way over. The other girl spots me and gives me a curious stare. I call her name.

“Blake?”

She takes one look at me and bursts into tears, scooping her in my arms. I whisper in her ear.

“I am here now, I will always be here for you.”

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