Life is Better with You

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More Than Myself

Charlotte’s POV

I have never been one to willingly accept help from others, which is ironic in a way because I always tell my patients that is exactly what they need to do to make them better.

Growing up, everyone always thought of me as the weird kid. Never asking for birthday presents or making a Christmas wish list. I always had what I needed and didn’t want anything else. What made me happy was giving something to someone else and watching their face light up with excitement. I didn’t think that was weird at all.

I want to be the one to take care of others, taking care of everyone else is all I know, now it may end up being the other way around. I will do whatever it takes though to avoid that situation. There isn’t enough time in the day for me to be sick and run two different facilities, plus spend time with Levi.

“Hold still Miss Thomas, you must not move at all until we are finished here”, The nurse instructs me.

I let my eye lids close and my mind drift to the part of my thoughts that are consumed with Levi.

“We are ready to begin Miss Thomas”, the nurse’s voice sounds like a soft whisper as my head floats high into the clouds where I can dream.

As I lay here, I can picture the way Levi’s dreamy eyes make my heart flutter just by looking at them. I think about the amusing ways he makes me laugh, the way his lips caress mine and how his fingers know just where to touch me. I have never felt this kind of love and acceptance, he makes me feel free to be me.

The instant I feel my body getting restless on the exam table, I start to visualize the moments when Levi can stand on his own a little longer, or walk a little farther, and it’s so gratifying that I forget about everything else around me.

Three mornings a week I sneak out of my rehab building and make the agonizing trek to the hospital for external-beam radiation therapy. Usually, I inform Levi that I have meetings at the hospital, and so far, he has believed me.

I am going to need to tell Nate soon. He’s already questioning my more frequent absences, and he is my second hand when I’m gone for long periods at a time. Side effects of the radiation treatments will be difficult to hide from him too.

My first week of treatments were easy. Just lie still on the table for 15 minutes while the beam of radiation does its work. The second week was when the nausea and vomiting kicked in. I told everyone it was the flu, which they didn’t question seeing as though I looked like and felt like I had the flu. It was hard to keep with the facade the third week when I continued to rush to the bathroom to vomit at random times during the day, so I blamed it on food poisoning. I know Nate no longer believes my stories at this point; it’s only fair that I tell him today.

Luckily for me I haven’t had any other side effects such as losing my hair and the nausea and vomiting have now ceased.

I realize how unfair it is to keep this from Levi, the one person I absolutely love. It is because I love him so much that I must hold myself together with gracefulness, long enough for him to walk again on his own, so I can let him go back to England. I’m not going to be the one to hold him back. After all he’s been through and overcome, he deserves every opportunity to return to his home, his friends, and his acting career. That was his goal before he fell in love with me and I am not going to take that away from him.

If Levi knows that I’m sick, he will drop everything for me. He will push his goals aside and focus on me instead of himself. He has been quickly progressing and is so close to the end of his program, I just can’t tell him.

He will probably be disappointed and angry with me when he finally does find out, but with any luck, he will find himself content at home when the news hits him.

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