Metastasis | Teen Ink

Metastasis

July 6, 2014
By Ally Galanti, Woolwhich, New Jersey
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Ally Galanti, Woolwhich, New Jersey
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Author's note: I was inspired to write "Metastasis" when I was going through a very hard time in my life. I had a cancer scare and was going through a very hard time with love, family, and discovering who I truly am. This story IS based off of true events and almost all the conversations and events actually happened. Please read "Metastasis" with an open mind. Thank you~ c:

I laid my head on the cold hard surface of the raised children's playground, looking up at the roof that covered the platform. I wished it wasn't there so I could’ve seen the beautiful stars. I often wished I could reach up and grab them and let their glow soak into me. A light, yet bone chilling breeze interrupted my thoughts and swept across the tower of child's play.


I wasn't alone. A blurred out face hovered above me. It was too dark to see. I was scared solid and couldn't shout, or move. I knew it was a man that was above me, maybe even a young boy. I was terrified of him. He pinned down both my arms with an iron grip. I kept trying to focus on his face but it was like looking through a thick fog. I looked down for an escape to find my bare skin. No shirt to be seen and my pants were tangled around my ankles.
"Help!" I croaked, trying to scream, but it only sounded like I was shouting through water. The figure, jamming its way in between my shaking and numb legs, grinned wickedly, spreading ear to ear. I couldn't move, I couldn't escape, I couldn't scream.



I shot up awake in my bed and reached for my phone on the nightstand next to my bed. A thin layer of sweat was ever present on my skin. I quickly dialed the only person I trusted.
"Hey baby." The phone's sleepy voice mumbled. It must have been really early in the morning. I let out a sigh of relief after hearing his voice.
"Sebastian, I had the dream again." I quietly cried as the tears started to tumble down my face, connecting together at my chin.
"It's going to be okay Ali, I'm here for you"

I'd always somehow managed to block the many traumatic or depressing memories from my daily thoughts. The price for forgetting them haunted me in my dreams, where I had nowhere to hide from them. I’d had nightmares almost every night for what felt like months. I'd wake up to my brown curls sticking to the sweat on my neck. I couldn't tell my dreams and real memories apart anymore. When I’d wake up, I'd usually be half in a daze, "Did that actually happen to me or is my mind just being disastrously creative?"


Sebastian was my safe zone. My rock. He had always been there for me for the five years we’d known each other. He was my true love, my best friend.
"Tell me about your dream, love?" He asked in his soothing, melodic voice. Often I’d call Sebastian in the middle of the night about my nightmares and even though he probably dozed off every other minute, I was just glad that he’d picked up the phone. It was comforting to know someone, even if it was just him, would always be here for me..
"It, it was that dream again..with the man..it seemed so.. real."
"It’s okay, Ali, it was just a dream. When I see you tomorrow I'll hold you until you feel better, but I'm really exhausted right now. I'll call you tomorrow, okay? I love you."


Then the phone went silent. I was left alone in the dark again. I think one of my biggest fears was the thought of being alone. I don't think I could put into words just how badly being lonely feels. No one could. If there was no one to care for you, no one to be your ear to listen, how could you go on? My thoughts slowly drifted me to sleep and the darkness of my subconscious swallowed me whole.


Sebi c: - Goodmorning love (Sent 10:36 a.m.)


Sebi c: -love? (Sent 12:05 p.m.)


Sebi c: -Alison I know you're awake, its almost four in the afternoon. (Sent 3:48 p.m.)


Sebi c: -Did something happen? (Sent 5:23 p.m.)


Sebi c: -I'm coming over now Ali. I have to see you. (Sent 6:12p.m.)


I looked down at my buzzing phone and then back up at the doctor. My mom looked exhausted sitting in the small fold out chair in the corner of the small room. She was still in her light blue nurse scrubs and her eyes seemed to droop with exhaustion. The doctor in front of me was scripting fast on her clipboard, stopping every few seconds to bite on the tip on her pen. Her nappy black hair was tied back and she wore cheap perfume that suffocated me and seemed to grab me by the throat and demand my attention.


"Alright, Alison," The doctor, whose name I didn't care to remember said, " It appears we have a bit of a problem." She said in a way that was too cheery to be describing my “problem” to me. I found myself rolling my eyes and looking towards my Mom. This was not the first time I’d heard those words. Since my Mom was a nurse, she understood the majority of what doctors had to say in their big fancy vocabulary. "Alison there is a problem with your..."


Sebi c: - Alison I saw your car at the doctor's office. I'll wait for you at your house. I love you so much. I hope you're okay. (Sent 6:32 p.m.)


"With your critical family history and the confining pain you've been feeling in your right breast, it would be best to get you examined."


I looked to my Mom. I had no intentions of talking to this woman. I just wanted to get home to Sebastian. I was exhausted from my lack of sleep due to my nightmares. My mom and I shared a steady glance before she spoke up,
"Are you suggesting that Alison has breast cancer?" She asked. The doctor took another glance at her clipboard.
"You've already gotten her examined with multiple other doctors?” The doctor read off the clipboard, questioning herself, “Correct?” My mother slightly nodded, looking at me nervously out of the corner of her eye. “Then at this point there’s practically a 90 percent chance of her having a tumor, a sis, or breast cancer. Nothing is definite until we give her a proper ultrasound reading. Would you like to discuss certain offices you can go to for that? There’s one not too far that I highly recommend. I also can put her on a painkiller; opium for the pain for the time being." The doctor said, turning to me and smiling.


I started to slowly lose focus. About five doctors, man and women, had felt me up and inspected my bare chest in the past month. No one knew about these trips. Even Sebastian didn't. I felt guilty for not telling anyone, like there was a weight on my chest - both literally and metaphorically. It was a secret I wasn't ready to share.


Ali - I'm coming home soon. I'm okay, just a physical. The doors unlocked, go in love! (Sent 6:38 p.m.)


I didn't listen to what the doctor, who I now hated, discussed with my Mom. Either way I would have to get surgery, or die. I wasn't even sure what could happen if I had breast cancer. I should of paid attention in health all those years. My mind rushed with all the worst possibilities.


I finally made it home with my Mom in a daze, and I was more than relieved to find Sebastian sitting on my couch looking at his phone. He looked stunning, as usual. Smooth caramel skin, shaggy brown hair, chocolate eyes. He was the whole package. He makes me feel so at ease, like nothing bad could happen to me as long as I was with him. He looked up from his phone with a perfect white toothed smile. He always seemed so happy to see me. His eyes were like the night sky, they were so easy to get lost in.
"Ali!" He exclaimed, jumping up to hug me. "Hi, Mrs. Sheldon!" He yelled over my shoulder. I squeezed him tighter, burying my face into his neck, taking in his scent. He had a musky scent that was so original that I wouldn't be able to detect it on anyone else.
"Sebastian, you smell of greatness." I complimented. He chuckled and pulled away from me and kissed my forehead.


It has been four months since Sebastian and I started dating, even though I’ve known him for five years. Despite this short amount of time, it felt like we've know each other all our lives though and our souls where just waiting to be reunited.


"Sorry I didn't text you."


"It's okay, Ali." He whispered pressing his lips against mine.

My eyes started watering as I fell into Sebastian's arms. I heard my Mom drop her keys in the key holder by the front door, and climb our house stairs to the top. Nuzzling my face into Sebastian’s neck he lifted me a few inches off the ground and plopped us on the couch. My living room consisted of two couches, a big chair, and a bunch of random pictures of handmade art littering the wall with a giant flat screen in the middle of it all.


"Ali, what's wrong? I feel like you’re not telling me something.."



He was right, he always knew when something was wrong. But I couldn't tell him. It was wrong. Not now.
"I just-" I cut myself off as I searched for words to fill the empty void. I squeezed him tightly. "Oh nothing, Love." We laid there on that stiff, uncomfortable couch for awhile, talking of dreams while he hummed the same sweet love song in my ear. His music made everything seem surreal.

I held my breath, looking up at the blooming trees above me. My neighborhood made sure that every house had a pungent tree next to it’s mailbox. The white blooming petals were a beautiful sight that released a intoxicating scent that drove fellow neighbors into their houses.

Dixie tugged at the leash around her neck, slightly dragging me towards the park. Dixie was my companion, my partner in crime, my puppy. My parents have always joked about Dixie and I being littermates, because we did everything together. And I mean everything. When I was younger we’d both drink out of water bowls and would play tug of war with our mouths.

I didn’t seem to have much time to take Dixie on walks as often anymore, and the guilt continued to weigh heavily on me. I was always busy with something, but this time I put my foot down and forced myself to take a break and spend time with the golden fuzz ball.

She liked to walk to the park and run around in the field. A huge old playset stood strong under the clear blue sky. It gave me the creeps. I used to visit it all the time, but now it didn’t seem right. There was an eerie fog hanging over the ominous structure. I steered clear of the area at all costs when I was alone.

I wavered at the the entrance of the park to examine my surroundings once more. I led her to the middle of the field, steering clear of the play set, and I unhooked her leash, setting her free. I sat cross legged in the grass as Dixie flittered around me. The child’s palace was bare this time of year. It was warm beautiful weather but early nights would cause skin crawling winds. Cold enough to bring flu to any child, new to the world.
I allowed myself to relax and lay on the grass. I breathed in the crisp air and felt the sun on my face. Bugs danced around me with only their slight buzzing barely audible. It was a perfect day for a perfect life.
Perfect life.
I took another deep inhale and thought, who’s to know if I’m sick? I haven’t gotten officially tested and gotten the call. I could be fine!
If I did have something wrong with me, how would I tell Sebastian? How would I tell anyone? I wouldn’t even know how to handle myself, how would I handle other people knowing?
“Hey, Sebastian, just wanted to say, I’m dying. Sad, right? Well I gotta go, bye!” I mocked myself. I rolled my eyes, Sebastian would be so upset I didn’t tell him sooner. Maybe I just won’t tell him at all. This is bound to blow over.
A sharp pain pulsed through my chest, serving as a reminder that maybe this wouldn't all blow over.
I placed my hand over my heart and took a deep breath. The pain quivered.
Dixie ran up to my side and plopped down next to me.
“You’re right, Dixie, why should I let such thoughts bother me?” I said as I took a deep breath and tried to confirm my thoughts, “Everything’s going to be fine as long as I have you!” I said in a goofy voice, sitting up and playing with her ears.

Mason and I have only been friends since the beginning of this school year a few months ago. He is a junior and I am a sophomore in high school. We first bumped into each other during the summer. I remember sitting at the park with my friend, Claudia, being bored out of our minds when three guys started walking past us, one of Claudia's ex boyfriends and his friends.

Claudia has practically dated, or tried to date every guy I’ve met.
“Hey, Liam!” She screeched, running over to hug the short blonde kid in the front. A twin of Claudia’s ex stood behind him talking to a tall boy carrying a ukulele.

I pointed towards the instrument as I approached the group. He was tall, tan, and wore thick chunky glasses. His green eyes bore into mine.
“What’s that?” I asked.

“Uh- a ukulele?” The kid replied, giving me a questioning look. I mentally slapped myself in the face. Of course I knew what it was. Geez Alison, get it together.

“Why? I meant.” I said, blushing and looking down at my ring covered fingers.

He smiled and elbowed me, “Makes me look cool, right?”

I rolled my eyes, “Yes, super cool.” I responded sarcastically.
I looked towards Claudia for an escape from these new people. The gross twin started pushing past the kid with the ukulele nonchalantly to get closer to me. I had no intention of making friends either.
“Hi, I’m Mason.” The kid urged, desperate to ease this silence. He strummed at the instrument and a light song rang through the air.
I rolled my eyes again. “Ok.” I looked back to Claudia, tugging on her sleeve.

“And you are?” He asked, looking at me with kind eyes. Why was I giving this kid so much attitude?

“Oh uh, sorry. I’m Alison.”

“Can I call you Ali?”

“No.”
“Oh, sorry..”
The silence weighed on us and I ignored it. I pulled Claudia away from her ex-boy-toy and told her it was time to leave. “But why are we leaving so soon? Come on, Alison, lets have some fun!” She screeched, looking towards the boys, “Lets play truth or dare!” She suggested. And for the third time that day, I rolled my eyes.
We all sat in a circle with our knees touching. Mason on my left, Claudia on the right, Ukelele behind me, and the twins in front of me. I desperately wanted to escape and run home. The park surrounding us was empty and the heavy sun was beating down on us like a drum.
“Claudia, truth or dare?” Her stubby ex boyfriend’s twin asked, giggling and spewing spit everywhere.
“Dare of course!” She screeched, winking towards Liam. My God, could she be any more pathetic?
“Kiss Liam!” His little greasy mouth yelled. “Behind the playground!” I flinched in disgust at the fountain dripping down his chin.
Claudia giggled, “Hehe, come on Liam!” She clawed, grabbing Liam’s hand and running out of sight behind the old rickety play set together. Mason looked towards me and asked, “Truth or dare?”
“Truth.” I replied. I couldn’t take my chances; no way did I want anything to do with this greasy kid or the stranger.
The twin in front of me interrupted Mason before he could say anything, “I DARE YOU TO KISS MASON!”

My face burned red and I shot deadly stares like poisonous arrows towards the giggling freak in front of me, “Excuse me?” I exclaimed, standing up from the ground. Something about this kid had managed to pushed me to my limits. “I’m leaving. Tell Claudia to meet me back at my house.” I hissed, turning my back to the two idiots.

“Wait!” Mason yelled, “Tommy’s just being a moron! You didn’t really have to do it!” I ignored his words and continued my walk back to my house. Something about this park made me tense already and the guys weren’t helping.

I was just glad to escape the suffocating place.

* * * *
I sat with Mason now, many months later at the park where we first met. He played music on his fancy new phone and I laid on my back in the grass looking towards the sky.

“Do you ever think there are other living species in the galaxy?” I asked. I often wondered about the world, and Mason never knew how to answer, but that didn’t stop my questions.

“Al, I’m not sure. If there is I doubt they’d want to talk to us. Humans are masters of destruction.”

“But, what if-”

“Alison!” He groaned and flopped back next to me. “I have to go soon.” He whispered closing his eyes letting the sun soak him in.

“Don’t, just live with me.” I smiled. Mason was so much fun to be with, half the time we wouldn’t even do anything special, but I loved being with him. “Don’t leave me.” I whispered. I didn’t even realize I said it until he was sitting up gazing at me.
“I would never, Alison.” He replied. His eyes seemed so intent it almost intimidated me and made me look away. Mason stood up and plucked his blue bike off the ground and said, “Except for now, because it’s taco night at my house!” I laughed and replied,

“Alright, that’s a good enough excuse!” He turned his back and paused. He turned towards me as if he was going to say something. I raised my eyebrows, expecting words.

He stood like that for a minute before waving and riding away. I just smiled and shook my head.

I laid in my bed after taking a few “Life Saving” implements, hoping for sleep to drown out my thoughts. It hit me quickly, or maybe I was just seeing things.

I rested under the covers as colors started splashing around me. Colors I’ve never seen before. The door to my room creaked open and I sat up in fear. My hair seemed to float around my head I saw that nothing was there, but I felt so nauseous and shaky. A wave of courage washed over me, “Hello?” It was so out of character for me to be brave. I slowly inched out of bed and tip toed to my door. Fear coursed through my veins like water down a stream.

“Ali!” A distant voice shouted. I peeped my head outside of the doorway. A field of ankle-high grass was in every direction. The moon was the only light, but that was enough. The light brightened the whole field. I stepped onto it. The soggy dirt sunk between my toes and I could feel myself sinking. I kept up a walking pace to stop myself from slipping under this world. My pajama shorts and loose long sleeve top seemed to float around me as if in slow motion. I felt like I was walking through water.

“Ali!” The shout echoed again throughout the endless field. The sky was dark and I could see fainted stars wondering above. A bell in my head rang, I knew that voice from somewhere.
“Hello?” I whispered, my voice shaking. I twisted around, looking in all directions. My hair clung to the sky as I fought to stay above ground.

“Dont call me that!” Another voice shouted; it was my own. I looked around, who was I with? A gust of an unknown specimen frightened me. I was terrified and glued to the spot I was standing in. Where were the voices coming from? The only thing I could see was grass for miles the doorway to my bedroom vanished to. It felt like the voices came from every direction, bouncing off the ground with the breeze.

“Hello?” I said again. “Hello!” I screamed. Silence was my only answer. The mud started to rise around my feet, squishing in between my toes. The cool dirt felt smooth on my skin.
I couldn’t stop my feet from sinking anymore. The mud had swallowed my ankles whole now. The ground shifted around me and my muddy feet and I floated in the middle of a dark hole that opened up below me in the middle of the field. Splotches of mud fell down into the darkness. Gusts of wind held me up, twirling my hair around me, blinding me. “Help!” I screamed. I reached for the ground as the air from the blackened space around me wiped and pulled. I tried screaming again but screaming is no good if you’re alone. The wind stopped and deeper into the hole I fell as the field above me closed with a final thump. Leaving me in complete udder darkness.
I woke up in my bed sweating bullets. I wiped the sweat from my forehead and filled my lungs with fresh air. That dream felt so real, too real for comfort. I lifted up my blankets to cool myself. I noticed small flecks of mud coating my feet. I closed my eyes and made myself comfortable in my bed again. I was just imagining things. All a bad dream.
Ali- Bad dream! :( Help! (Sent 3:46 a.m.)
I took another deep breath and let my eyelids show pictures of Sebastian and Dixie, my two favorite things in the whole world. This made me smile and lose my shaky nerves. Sebastian wouldn’t be awake at this hour, but texting him a simple short message calmed me, allowing myself to finally fall into a deep sleep.

Sebastian was always making time for me, he would at least see me once a weekend, whether was for 3 hours or one, it didn’t matter, he always made an effort to be with me. He was my idea of a perfect boyfriend. Sure, we’ve had our disagreements, but that never changed how we felt about each other. His family was perfect too. They were so accepting of me and were the best people I could imagine. His little sister looked up to me and asked for advice often. His parents always made me feel included and never seized to tell me embarrassing stories of baby Sebastian.
We laid on Sebastian's couch in his living room watching one of our favorite cartoons. We often just laid together and cuddled. We both weren’t needy on the idea of going out every weekend. Cuddling was our idea of fun, we could make anything fun as long as it involved us being together.
I nuzzled my face into Sebastian’s chest while he held me with his eyes closed. He looked so peaceful and I admired his beauty until my phone buzzed on the table, making us both jump. We smiled at each other as I reached for my phone in front of us.
Mason (: - Hey Ali. Whats up? ( Sent 2:45 p.m.)
Ali - With the boyf! (Sent 2:47 p.m.)
Mason (: - Does he still hate me? ( Sent 2:55 p.m.)
I looked up to Sebastian, who was reading over my shoulder.
“I dont hate him! I just don’t like the way he looks at you.” He stated, pouting his lips like an angry child.
I kissed Sebastian’s cheek. “Aww lovely, you feel threatened!” I teased.
“Well, you are mine, Ali. All mine!” He said, tickling my sides and kissing my cheeks.
Sebastian liked to say he wasn’t the jealous type, but every time I brought up a boy, including male cousins, he’d start to act all weird and touchy as if claiming me. It was somewhat sweet.. I wanted Sebastian and he wanted me.
Not going to lie, it got really annoying when it included Mason though. I’ve always been closer with Mason more than Sebastian, sure I could tell either one of them anything but it was always easier talking to a friend than a boyfriend.
Ali - Not really, why would he hate you? (Sent 3:23 p.m.)
Mason (: - Isn’t it obvious? (Sent 3:25 p.m.)
Ali - haha no, what? (Sent 3:28)
I shot a glance towards Sebastian to see if he was still reading over my shoulder. He seemed too engulfed in the cartoon than whatever I was typing. I knew what Mason was going to say, but I didn’t want to believe it.
My stomach knotted in anticipation to receive his text. I didn’t want to see the words, but I couldn’t hide from them..
Mason (: - That I have a tiny crush on you. (Sent 3:31 p.m.)
Yep, there it was. Those deadly eight words that can destroy friendships. I exhaled slowly and anger started to seep through my skin. Why was I angry? I was flattered, but mad. Why did Mason have to say it? He couldn’t just hold in his feelings like every other teenage boy?
Ali - You know I don’t feel the same, Just don’t tell Sebastian that, and it’s okay. (Sent 3:45 p.m.)

I typed those final words, glancing at Sebastian to make sure he didn’t see. I rolled my eyes in annoyance and curled back up into Sebastian’s chest. This is what I wanted, not Mason.

Ali- I’m home alone. (Sent 7:35 p.m.)
Sebi c: - I’ll be right there, Ali. (Sent 7:38 p.m.)

Sebastian and I have been together for five months now and I would not have it any other way. He’s made me more happy than I ever imagined a boy could make me. I opened my front door to let him in and I waved to his mom who was pulling out of the driveway. The minute I closed my front door Sebastian’s hands found their way to my jaw line and he was pulling me in for a kiss.


My parents had gone out for the night for a wedding, Or maybe a date night? Who knows, I don’t pay attention. While my parents were gone I bribed my sister Kora to go out with her friends by scraping up ten dollars so she’d go do something. I wanted this night to be perfect.

Sebastian kissed me ferociously as his hands felt there way down my curvy body. I pulled our hips closer and a small moan escaped my lips in between our tongue’s dance. I blushed in embarrassment and pulled away. His hands remained on my hips.
“Ali, you look really beautiful tonight. It’s going to be hard keeping my hands off of you. You’re my dream girl.” He whispered in my ear, his lips brushing against it, sending a shiver down my spine. I looked down on myself. I was just wearing pajama shorts with cartoon cows on them and a navy long sleeve v-neck I even messily threw my curly locks up into a bun. I gave him a questioning look, knowing I do not look as beautiful as he puts me out to be.

Sebastian was the definition of beauty though. There was no flaw on or in him. He even wore a small birthmark on his left eye that completed his look. He was tall, handsome, funny, what more could anyone ask for? He was more than a dream, he was real, and he was all mine.

I grabbed Sebastian’s hand and lead him up my house’s winding stairs to my bedroom. I didn’t bothering turning on the lights. Sebastian looked at me through the dark room. I could just make out the outline of his divine face. I held my hands on his shoulders and he caressed my hips while backing us up against the wall. He playing with the hem of my shirt.

“Sebastian?”

“hmm?”

Our faces were just centimeters away, our breath was dancing and intermingling in front of us, his smell was suffocating and it seemed to wrap around my whole body, causing me to want to be even closer to him. This is all I wanted, to be this close to Sebastian for forever.

“Sebastian, kiss me.” I whispered as our lips found each others. His hands searched my body and lifted me up. I wrapped my legs around him as he tightly pressed me against the wall. Our kisses were rough and lustful. I moaned and ran my hands through his hair, throwing my head back so he could kiss my neck.

I settled my feet back on the ground and pushed Sebastian onto my bed. He sat up on the edge as I stood in between his legs. His hands crept their way under my shirt. I took it off and slid down my shorts revealing my matching black lace undergarments. He sent me a seductive smile, causing my stomach to flutter as he examined my body. I was insecure about myself, but Sebastian made me feel comfortable and beautiful.

“Do you feel insecure, Ali?” He whispered giving my stomach a kiss. I looked away and blushed. “Here.” He said taking off his shirt and pulling me on top of him. Both of our skin pressing together. He whispered in my ear, “I’ve never seen a girl as beautiful as yourself. I don’t want you to ever feel insecure around me, Ali.” And with that we kissed. There was something different about this time, it was slow and solemn, not lustful. This kiss was filled with love.

Sebastian’s hands scratched up and down my back stopping at my bra. I kissed his neck,
“Do it.” I whispered. With my approval, he unlatched my bra. I sat up, slipping the straps down my arms, tossing it over my head and returning to kiss him. His hands slid over my bare stomach grabbing at my chest.

I choked. Pain. I had forgotten all about it.

I tried to ignore it, grabbing Sebastian’s hands and guiding them away from my chest and under my lace underwear. The pain didn’t go away. I focused on the pleasure and tried to enjoy myself but it was becoming more difficult.

I stopped us by pinning Sebastian down and hugging him.
“Ali, did I hurt you?” Sebastian asked worriedly.
The pain pulsed through my chest impulsively.
“No, not at all. I just want to lay with you.” I lied. Sebastian squeezed me as our bare skin pressed together harder. He rubbed my back as I tickled his neck with my breath.
The pain didn’t stop though. It continued to pulse through my chest. Sebastian and I started to slow our breathing and fall asleep together. I whispered in Sebastian’s ear, “I’m so in love with you, Sebastian.”

I got the call two days after the appointment. They had me go through another Ultrasound Test and yet again I had another stranger hovering over my bare chest rubbing my breast. I felt violated every time I had to go to the doctors. I knew this feeling of violation and awkwardness would never go away. I was very insecure of my body and I didn’t like to display it for anyone but Sebastian.
“Hello, this is Dr. Pam’s office looking for Alison Sheldon?” I sighed. Dr. Pam had been calling me every night to see how I was feeling. She had put me on Narcotic Analgesic, or something like that. “Opioids are medications that mimic the activity of endorphins, substances produced by the body to control pain.” the all too cheery nurse had said to me as she handed me the ugly puke green “starters box” of medication. Even the box disgusted me.

It now sat three feet away from me on my messy white dresser. I had been laying in bed all saturday morning. I was hoping for a call from Sebastian telling me he was awake so we could plan something for the day. I was hoping to tell him all about my doctor trip adventures. He had been acting off lately. Ignoring me and not seeming so eager to talk to me. I wanted to fix this bump in our rollercoaster but in order to do this I needed him to call me.

I felt a rush pump through me as my phone rang and to my disgust it was just the doctors office. The rush instantly faded and left numbness. “Hey, yes I am fine. No I’m not going looney or hallucinating. All good here now I have to g-”


“Alison, this is serious.” The doctor said strictly. I felt like I was just scolded by a teacher like a child. The silence lasted a fly's lifetime before she broke it. “The ‘Lump’ it’s-it’s cancerous. We have already called your mother and she knows the seriousness of it. She recommended I tell you myself. After multiple test we realized how serious our case is. It seems as if the cancer cells have started to spread through your lymph vessels, very rapidly actually, and seem to be trying to compromise your heart.” The line went silent. ‘Trying to compromise your heart.’ rang repetitively in my head. My heart.
“Am I going to die?” I asked it so bluntly and straightforward it shocked even myself.


“I can’t give you a straight answer, I’m sorry. What we can do, is put you on Trastuzumab. That basically attaches itself to the cancer and slows the process and stimulates the immune system. The side effects are a bit wild, but you’ll get to keep your hair. The drug can weaken your heart but hopefully it’ll kill the cancer first! Alison, I promise we’ll do everything we can t-”


The phone slipped out of my shaking finger tips after I quickly jammed my thumb on the ‘End’ button. I couldn’t breathe. My lungs burned and seemed to be closing. My mind went dark and my vision was a blur. As I looked down at my blankets beneath me I noticed my legs shaking. My whole body was shaking. I was a dead man. My brown locks had found their way to the front of my face as I slowly laid myself face down on my bed. Everything was dark. My phone that laid face up on my bed buzzed. I reached over to it without looking so I could throw it across my room in anger, when the name shining brightly on the advanced technology caught my attention.

Sebi c: - Ali, I’m sorry. We were supposed to hang out, but I really don’t feel like it. Sorry. (Sent 3:47 p.m.)

I cried heavy tears into my pillow. I've never felt more alone. I needed to talk to someone about this. I needed Sebastian. I felt a strong bolt of pain pulse through my heart. I gasped for air and quickly darted for the painkillers across my room. Fighting with the box for it to reveal its carriers, quickly taking two and swallowing them without water. I sunk to my knees with my back against my short dresser letting out a deep breath and pulling my knees to my chest.
I sobbed. I shouted. I had finally gotten the man of my dreams. I had just started setting myself up for success. Was this all going to be taken away? What awful, inhumane thing did I do to deserve this? A light knock interrupted my thoughts.
“Alison, I hear you heard the news...want me to come in?” My Mom asked through the door. I took a deep breath and concentrated on not letting my voice shake.

“Not right now, Mom. I just want to be alone.”

“Alison, don’t worry, we are here for you. It’s going to be okay.”

I’ve never been close with my Mom. Well at some point I was inside her, but mentally we’ve always butted heads. We were both so stubborn that we could never hold a conversation without a fight. I preferred my Dad’s hospitality over my Mothers. I loved them both dearly but my Dad understood me. He had grown up living a rough home life so anything I could of possibly done that I considered to be “bad” he always had some story making my small world problems seem pointless and not as bad as I made them out to be.

As much as Sebastian’s words had hurt the other night, I was willing to look past it. I embraced Sebastian now as he stood in the doorway of my home. I waved to his Dad who had driven him, over his shoulder. He waved back while pulling out of the driveway in his white SUV he made me smile. I love how accepting Sebastian’s family were. I don’t think I could ever get over their niceness. I owe them so much in return.
“So what do you want to do today, love?” Sebastian asked after he kissed my forehead.
My stomach gurgled with pain. I had been feeling nauseous all day from the pills, but I held it back. I wanted to be with Sebastian today, my longing for Sebastian couldn’t wait.
“I was thinking we could just watch movies and cuddle?” I said. Sebastian hugged me long and pecked my neck. “I would love that, Ali. Want to watch ‘Spirited Away’?”
I smiled, “Watch it for the hundredth time? YES!” I instantly pushed away from him and made a beeline for the couches in the living room, he was close on my trail. I fell on the couch and he landed on top of me, tickling me. We laughed and cuddled on the small couch. Being squished next to him meant everything to me. Sebastian eventually got up and played the disc.
The movie soon came to a close and we sat there in silence. “Ali, what’s up with you? You’re not being very talkative.” We sat cross legged facing each other with our knees touching. I looked down and he pressed our foreheads together.
“It’s just,” I took a breath, “I have..” I stopped.
“What Ali, you have what?” He asked concerned.
Tears swam down my cheeks and pressed together like waves at my chin. I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. He whispered, “Ali, oh my Ali.” He latched his arms around me and pulled me in. I cried into his shoulder,
“Sebastian, you’re going to leave me.”
He backed away from me. “Ali what are you talking about? No I’m not.” He held my shoulders firmly and tried looking me in the eye but I continued to look down. My curls draped my face. I knew my eyes were red and my cheeks were stained scarlet. I didn’t want him to see me like this but I didn’t want to be alone.
Sebastian pulled me back to him. “Ali, I love you so much more than you know. You’re my everything, don’t ever question it. I’ll be with you until the end.”
I broke away from him and looked him in the eye, “Do you really want to be with this,” I motioned towards myself. “for that long? I’m a fucking mess, Sebastian.”
“I love you, Ali.” Sebastian leaned in and kissed my forehead. It made everything seem so much more light hearted.

The painkillers must of really worked considering how quickly I fell asleep. Right on my floor next to my dresser and on top of loads of dirty laundry.

“You really can’t play piano, can you?”

“Well I just started learning it actually I-”

“I don’t want to hear your excuse. You play the same thing every day and it's annoying.” She smacked her gum propping her feet up on the amp that my slow piano tunes danced out of. Claudia is a b****. She was my best friend. In middle school she used to get all the boys, but now everyone just considered her gross and used up. I ignored the sly comments and continued being her friend. What could it hurt? Apparently it could hurt a lot, self esteem wise. She carried her curvy body on her toes and looked down right ridiculous. She held kinky brown hair that some how suited her and complimented her pale skin.
“Alison I’m surprised you’re still dating Sebastian, considering he’s mixed and all. I would never date any colored guy, they’re down right nasty. Everyone talks about you actually. We all know he’s going to leave you because you’re overweight. He always did like me more. Remember that summer I got him to hook up with me instead of you?”
The memories set my brain ablaze.They were the only few I could never leave behind me. Whenever I felt like I had something good going for me, something that was all mine, there's Claudia's lethal words to remind me I'd never be as great as her. I stared out into the music room trying to ignore her disgusting words and usual skanktastic outfit.
Huge drums and chairs cluttered the room. I spent most of my free periods here practicing piano. The two teachers didn’t seem to mind as long as I cleaned up whatever I was doing, whether it was food or pieces of sheet music.
My own best friend betrayed me that summer using Sebastian, and I acted okay with it. Her crude words snapped me back to reality, “Remember how much he loved me?” She was always mocking me, trying to get arise out of me. And that fateful day, I finally snapped. I stood up so fast from the piano I thought my force would knock the whole electronic device over.
“Go f*** yourself, Claudia! No one likes being around you. They’re only your friend because of me!” I shouted pointing my thumb to my chest. “ You’re nothing. Sebastian chose me in the end and he would rather see you dead now. You two hooked up in eighth grade. Two years ago. Get the hell over yourself. Go to hell.” I spat as the anger bubbled and oozed out into words and I instantly regretted it. I didn’t apologize because I finally gained the courage to tell her off after emotionally bruising me for years. I was proud of myself. She popped her gum once more looked at me with that same emotionless expression she always wore,
“Fine, I’ll leave you alone for good now.” She said. With those final words she crossed her arms and left the room. I looked to the left of the band room to one of my best friends, Violet who witnessed the entire situation. She just mouthed, “Damn.”

I woke up in anger and my fist clenched. This was one dream that I knew to be real, more real than the skin on my back. Even though Claudia was a complete witch towards me, she was still my best friend. That night I remember crying into Sebastians shirt as he held me close. Whispering hush things into my ear. I felt so alone, friendless. Even though I had Sebastian there for me, it was sometimes so much easier being with my friend.
My room was dark now and I wondered the time. I searched in the dark for my phone. Had Sebastian called me? I found it a few inches in front of myself. The screen lit up the entire room and practically blinded my poor hazel eyes. No calls or texts from him. My few group chats had blow up my phone but it seemed Sebastian was off the grid tonight. I searched the few social media sites he used and there seemed to be no life. Was he okay? It was only 11:48PM, Should I text him? I pondered the thought for a few minutes and figured it wouldn’t hurt to send him a quick text and he replied almost immediately.

Ali- Hey, Haven’t heard anything from you all day. It’s unlike you. Is everything okay? You aren’t hurt right? I love you. (Sent 11:52)

Sebi c: - Yeah, sorry I’ve been out with friends and you weren't really on my mind. (Sent 11:53 p.m.)

Ali- What’s that supposed to mean? (Sent 11:55 p.m.)

Sebi c: - I don’t know. I’m still with friends and don’t feel like talking. I’ll call you later. (Sent 11:57 p.m.)

Ali- It’s midnight, theres no way your mom would be okay with you and Mitch hanging out! Don’t lie to me. What is going on? Did I do something? You’re being a dick. (Sent 12:01 a.m.)

Sebi c: - I’m not home, I’m out with everyone, and sorry I’m not perfect. (Sent 12:15 a.m.)

Ali- I never said you were. (Sent 12:19 a.m.)

Sebi c: - Okay. Goodnight Alison. (Sent 12:23 a.m.)

I was taken aback by his rude words. What the hell was his problem? I searched my memories. I haven’t done anything that could possibly set him off. Just the other night he was saying how I was his Dream Girl! I kept that thought in mind. It must be nothing.
Then I remembered. I was a ticking time bomb. Death practically would be cradling me in my sleep for the next couple of weeks until I finally would not wake up for good. I've got one foot in the cradle, and one in the grave. I took a deep breath to keep the tears at bay. I needed to tell Sebastian but I couldn’t over the phone. I needed to see him. I looked at his last message again. ‘Goodnight Alison’. Since when did he call me by my full first name? That was a rare occurrence. I took another deep breath and crawled into bed without changing into more comfortable clothes. I didn’t have the energy to move much longer. Before I knew it I was resting in yet, another deep sleep. This time there were no dreams.


I woke the next morning to hushed whispers. Next to my bed on my nightstand stood the ‘Trastuzumab’. The miracle drug that was suppose to make me better. I picked up the box examining its cover. “Side effects include: Fever, chills, weakness, nausea, vomiting, coughing, diarrhea, and headaches.” Great. I thought, just the ideal side effects I wanted. I rolled my eyes. The whisper voices started to grow louder. It had to be my mother and father’s voices. The walls of the house where thin. They had to be in the office right next to my room. I checked the time on my alarm clock, 8:34AM the red animated letters glowed towards me. I slowly slipped out of bed, trying to seize the creaking it tends to make.

I pressed my ear to the thin wall and listened. My mother and father were arguing.

“Anthony, we don’t have the money for this and you know that. We were already broke before, but this, this is going to kill us all.”

“I know, it’s bad but we can’t not pay for her medication, maybe we can up the dose, speed up the process.”

“You know it doesn’t work like that.”

Somewhere in the room next door my father sighed and shuffled some papers. “Maybe we can move, I know she’s a small burden but lets see how much longer this goes on for, longer than a month and we’ll have to do something.”

A burden? I was a burden? What was that suppose to me? Are these small white pills really causing us more debt? “I was ruining our family.” Rang in my head. The thought hurt but in the back of my mind I knew it was true.
“The cancer will compromise your heart.”

I was a dead man. What was the point of taking the pills? I stood anyway from the wall and made my way to the dresser to pick up the other box of pain pills. I examined the outside. It was an ugly green shade.
Causes nausea, hallucination, and a chance of death. Death. I snorted at the thought which lead to full mad hysteria. I fell to my knees laughing. Tears streaming down my cheeks. I held my stomach tight as I fell to my side crying with laughter. I was going mad, completely insane. Bonkers.
I abruptly went silent. Death. I was going to die wasn’t I? I’ve never heard such thing called a heart transplant. Could I even get one? My phone buzzed.
Sebi c: - Good morning. Sorry about last night. (Sent 8:54 a.m.)
I completely forgot, anger coursed through my veins once again. I took a deep breath to calm myself down.
Ali - Can I see you today? (Sent 9:07 a.m.)
Did I want to see him? Was I ready to tell him? No. No I wasn’t, but the thought of being in his comforting arms again would be of help. I needed some normalcy.
Sebi c: - Not today. I’m with my friends again. (Sent 9:10 a.m.)
Ali - Are you really? I really need you right now. (Sent 9:15 a.m.)
Sebi c: - Sorry Ali, maybe next weekend. (Sent 9:18 a.m.)
Ali - Oh ok. (Sent 9:20 a.m.)
I quickly held my mouth shut. Yes, nausea was hitting my hard. I ran to the bathroom just in time and let nausea take over the rest. After I was finished and calmed down I noticed a bucket beneath my bathroom sink, I brought it to my bedroom and plopped it down next to my bed in case this was to ever happen again. I sighed, what else was in store for me?

I sat in my fourth class of the day, but I was far from focused on whatever the teacher was talking about. I was more concerned with how I could fix things with Sebastian.
How could I fix things? He’s been acting so aloof lately. But why? Maybe we could go to the movies. Nothing like a dark room and overpriced greasy food to rekindle a romance, right? Or maybe we could have a picnic? There is a nice forest by my house we could go to be alone. I think I’m ready to tell him about the cancerous demon inside of me. I miss his electric touch.
I could picture Sebastian humming and gazing into the woods. The thought alone gave me butterflies in my stomach.

I tapped my pencil against my notebook, I didn’t even realize the teacher had finished the lesson and allowed us to talk amongst ourselves. Everyone chatted away and chopped their gum obnoxiously. I sat in deep thought. A girl next to me was friends with Sebastian, I turned towards her.

“Hey, Wendy, have you talked to Sebastian recently?” She looked up innocently from her Ipod, her blonde hair glimmering in the window’s gleam. She looked at me puzzled as if processing what I had just said. “He’s been acting kinda weird, do you know anything about why?” I elaborated.

“Oh, he hasn’t told you yet?” She asked. Now I was the puzzled one.

“Told me what? Is he mad at me?”

“No,no!”

“Then what’s the problem?” I asked confusedly.

“I-I don’t know, it’s not my place to tell you. You’ll be fine, I promise.” She replied, seeming to want to drop the topic almost as desperately as I wanted to continue talking about it.

I looked off into the distance, considering what she said. Surely things would be okay. We loved each other! A thought couldn’t stop nagging at my brain though. I had to ask her, but it couldn’t be true. No, I had to ask. I felt like a nail was being slowly pushed into my brain. I focused back on her. Wednesday had returned back to her Ipod.

“Is-” She looked back up at me with her blue eyes, “are we breaking up?”

“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!” She gave me a reassuring smile before returning back to her Ipod. I tapped my pencil against my desk considering all the possibilities.

My eyes welled up with the thought of losing Sebastian. I don’t think I could stomach the idea of losing my best friend. He was my everything. I hated the amount of trust I put into him. I know I shouldn’t do that with anyone because anyone could walk out of my life whenever they wanted. I just cared about him so much. He was worth it.

I remember all the sweet things he’s done for me, it couldn’t be bad! Sebastian was my idea of perfection and I was his dream girl! I smiled, I loved Sebastian so much and I wasn’t afraid to hide my feelings towards him. He was the first guy I could be myself and tell everything to, that had to mean something.

The bell screamed and echo throughout the room causing everyone to scurry out of the room. We trailed and zig-zagged down the halls searching for our next classes like bugs scurrying to their mounds. I made it to my class and sat in Biology. The room sat in the dark as a video played on the projector in front of us. My head hung in my hands and it felt light as a balloon. "Mrs. Z can I go get a drink?" She nodded and I silently slipped out of the classroom after nervously glancing towards my friend across the room. I didn't feel right. I felt faded and woozy.
I walked down the white hallway. The floor was white with gray speckles. The lockers where gray, the ceiling was white. It was a colorless high school.
I passed the janitor with her silver hair sweeping the hallways. We exchanged nods before I entered the bathroom.
Immediately I walked to a stall and sat on the toilet to calm my head which I held in my palms. My mind was spinning. I took a deep breath. After a few minutes the spinning seemed to slow. I wobbled over to the mirror outside of the stall and held eye contact with myself. I choked, "I'm okay." I said sternly and nodded. I confidently walked out of the bathroom. I leaned over the water fountain and gulped. One, two, three times before turning around.
The speckles in the floor seemed to peal off the floor dancing, and fluttering around. I closed my eyes and held onto the water fountain taking deep breaths. I opened my eyes and the colors overwhelmed me. Twirling around me. "Stop." I mumbled. The janitor a few feet down the hall turned towards me, broom still in hand. I tumbled to the ground. My head hitting the stone surface hard. The world slowly faded around me.
I woke to the janitor hovering over me. She had glimmering silver hair and kind eyes. Her worried expression gave me a shock of panic.
"Honey, are you okay?" I looked up to her confused. The memories hit me. I stood up quickly shooting my hands up in defense,
"Uh, yeah yeah! I'm fine! I’m just dehydrated!" I said turning around an siped at the fountain to prove my point.
When I turned back around the janitor had a questioning glare. She examined me up and down. "I think you should go to the nurse, hun." I slowly started to back up. "No no, no need! Thank you for your concern!" I quickly turned on my heel and sprinted for my classroom. I silently made it back into the room and to my desk. My teacher gave me a questioning look, but didn't call me out. I put my head down and closed my eyes. Was hallucinations just another side effect?

I have always met up with Sebastian at the end of the school day. We would walk half way then split up to get to our buses on time. All week Sebastian had been acting distant and I was hoping this weekend I would see him, and everything would be back to normal.
I walked up to him at the end of the day and linked my arm through his.
“Alison I have to tell you something.”
“I know.” I whispered.
“I want to break up Alison.” I pulled our arms closer together, “Wa-what do you mean? We love each other” People spewed around us as we stood along our school’s wall.
“Alison you are too clingy and I can’t handle you anymore.”
“What? Sebastian lets talk about this! I could- I could stop being so clingy, we can make this work!” I started to ramble. What had just happened. I grabbed his gray shirt and looked down. Tears where pooling in my eyes and I didn’t want him to see my pain. “You said you’d always be there Sebastian.” I whispered.
“Don’t worry you have other people. You have Violet and Mason! I just can’t be with you anymore.”
“Do you just-just not love me anymore?”
“I just lost all feelings for you.”
A few tears escaped my eyes and I needed one last hug. I need his scent. I needed his arms. Sebastian had started to back up, “Can I have at least a hug?” I asked tears starting to slow their way down my cheeks. He gave me a reassuring smile and a small wave, “Bye.” He said before turning around and walking out the school doors.
What had just happened? Did that just happen? Did I just lose Sebastian? Tears poured down my face and I tried to hide it. I didn’t want anyone in these crowded hallways to see me. I pulled a hoodie out of my bookbag and slid it on pulling up the hood. Hiding my face from everyone. I held myself for my bus ride and kept the tears in. I would wait until I was alone to realise all this pain I was experiencing.
I sat on the bus. My expressions numb and my emotions raw. My black sweatshirt shielded very little of my face. The warm weather caused me to roll up the sleeves but I didn’t dare remove it. I wanted to feel isolated in my own way.
I sat alone in the three seater towards the back of the crowded bus. We anxiously waited for the bus to carry off the school property. I wanted to get away from here as quickly as possible. I kept taking deep breaths, pleading for my eyes to stay at bay. I slouched and tucked my knees to me in the seat. I pressed against the window and rested my arm on the silver lining of it. My headphones rested musicless in my ears. I couldn’t bring myself to play music. I felt to weak. I just wanted to close my eyes and escape to the darkness. Let it engulf me whole and swallow my existence.
Two seventh graders that live just a few houses down from mine pushed their way into my seat and pressed their undeveloped bodies against my own, snapping me out of my day dream. Their childish bags practically laid on my lap. I looked out the window to the beautiful world ignoring their ignorance. “Why is she sitting here, this is our assigned seat.” The blonde haired one whisper hissed to the other. I could feel her blue eyes glaring over my body like I was the next fashionable lip gloss on sale.
I sat in silence. I didn’t care what they had to say, I acted oblivious and continued looking out the window. The grass swayed in the slight breeze outside and the sky shined blue. Kids jogged out of the school’s mouth, in hope to not miss their bus. “I know this is our seat. Gosh. Oh my gee.” Her brunette high pitched voiced child whispered back.
I ignored it.
“Look.” One of them whispered. I glanced at where their glares laid to find it was on myself. Both eyes rested on the sliced scars stained on my pale skin like battle wounds. “Wow, she deserves it for sitting in our seat.” The crazed voice one hissed. “She should cut deeper next time.” She said quieter smiling deviously towards her friend.
I couldn’t ignore it this time. My head whipped towards the two instantly. “Get out.” I said. They both gave me questioning looks. Tears started to blur my vision. “Get the f*** out of my seat.” I didn’t waver a word. They both sat there dumbfounded. I raised my fist towards the one next to me, “Get the f*** out of my seat otherwise I’ll f*ing do it.” I hissed. Venom dripping out with every syllable. I shoved their bags onto their laps as the two girls quickly picked up their sequenced purses and fell out of the seat scurrying their way to new empty seats before the bus took off.
I approached my house after leaving my bus, I ran. I ran straight up into my bedroom. Locking the door on the way. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed into my pillows. What had just happened? I looked across my room to wear his old sweatshirt laid. I pulled it to me and smelled it. It barely smelled like him but barely was enough. I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to hear him call me Ali. I wanted Sebastian.
He was everything I wanted in a person. I f*ed it up. Why was I so clingy? I just wanted to see him. To love him at the maximum he deserved. He was my everything.
I hated myself for being so stupid. The things I’ve told him, The things I’ve showed him. I wish I hadn’t. He was just another doctor to me. I shouldn’t have trusted him. I wish I could erase him from my mind.
Maybe I’m better off alone because no one has ever loved me the way I’ve loved them. I have never felt like anyone wants me or needs me at all.

I came down stairs in the morning. No one had woken me up so I figured my parents where letting me take the day off of school. My dad sat in his big arm chair in the living room and I plopped down in the couch opposite him. “Good morning, Al.” He said, looking down at his iPhone.
The sunlight bounced off our bright walls, making everything seem so calm and beautiful. Under the surface I know it wasn’t beautiful. The bright yellow walls used to be painted a hideous dark green. This wall symbolized humans. A beautiful creature but dark and deceiving insides. I hate how much I thought into this.
“Hey, Dad, can I talk to you?” I asked, fidgeting with my thumbs.
“Sure thing.” My Dad said, stuffing his phone in his pocket. I could always easily talk to my dad. He always listened and never judged me.. and never told my mom about all the bad stuff I’ve done. It was comforting!

We sat in silence for a few minutes. I could feel my dads gray eyes boring into me, waiting for me to talk. My dad wasn’t impatience, but he wasn’t patient. The man is a questionable guy. Even after knowing his bald-self for sixteen years, I still felt like I barely knew anything about him.
“Is-is true love a real thing?” I whispered looking down at my hands. I wore a ring on my pinky that curled to my knuckle.
“Well, I must say it is hard, but your mother and I make it work. I think all it takes is the right person. Searching for someone isn’t going to help anyone, then you’d just find someone that you think you love. Luckily you already grow up with people who love you. We,” My dad pointed upstairs to where my mom and Kora slept. “we love you for everything about you. Isn’t that what’s most important? Why do you want to know Al?”
“I just don’t know if I believe in it anymore.”
“Well, not believing in it and feeling it, is two different things. Don’t worry Ali, your family and I love you a great deal.” My dad, said smiling. We met eyes.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right Dad. I love you guys too.” I said, getting up. My Dad thought I was talking about the family.
“Oh, and Al?”
“Hmm?”
“The right person should love you for everything you are. The right person would work like hell for you, they should think the sun shines out of your butt even on your worst days.”
I smiled. I forgot how much I loved talking to my dad. “Thanks dad.” I waved and headed upstairs to retrieve my phone. I was about to do something regrettable and stupid.

Ali - Mason, can we talk? (Sent 11:03 a.m.)

Mason (: - Sure thing (Sent 11:13 a.m.)

Ali - Wouldn’t it be kinda awesome to be friends with benefits? You probably want experience with girls, and I want to get over Sebastian. (Sent 11:15 a.m.)
I felt completely awkward sending that text to Mason and I almost regretted it, but this thought of “Friends with Benefits” had eaten away at my brain. It has been three days since the breakup and I haven’t been able to keep Sebastian off of my mind. Everytime I saw a funny picture or something funny happened, a small part of me says, “Hey, Sebastian would find that funny, lets tell him about it!” Then I realize that I can’t. We arent together anymore.
My stomach was filled with knots. What did I just do? Mason admitted feelings for me, why would I take advantage of them like this?
Mason (: - Are you 100% serious? (Sent 11:16 a.m.)
Ali - Yeah, I am. (Sent 11:20 a.m.)

I instantly regretted that message. I took a deep breath. I’m going to lead him on aren’t I? I just really need Sebastian out of my mind. I would do anything to rip his existence from my memories.
Mason (: - Okay, Lets do it. (Sent 11:23 a.m.)
Ali - Tonight? (Sent 11:26 a.m.)
Mason (: - Yeah, I don’t have work or anything so that works. (11:32 a.m.)

I needed this.

Right?

“Where are you going?” Kora snickered as I almost made it out the doorway undiscovered. My sister and I have never been the perfect “Best friend” couple but we stuck together. We used to sleep in her room on her double bed and stay up all night talking about boys and drama. It was nice always having someone to be there for you. Plus her being a senior and a hot one at that, she always had some really attractive eye candy around the house.
We did have our fights though. Us being so close in age we both had the same “Fashion Sense” and size, which just made us always fight over stealing each others clothes.
Her question had taken me aback though. Do I dare tell her? I took a deep breath and put on my best poker face, “Just out to hang out with everyone.” I knew a few people in my neighborhood that I would occasionally hang out with so I figured this was the most nonchalant excuse. Technically I wasn’t lying either. Mason and I were hanging out...sorta.

Korra just tossed her long wavy mane over her shoulder and looked back down at her phone. “Okay, don’t forget your curfew is 9 on weekdays, I’m going to Tyler’s house. I could pick you up on the way back if you want.” I considered the thought but if she ended up picking me up and seeing that Mason and I were alone, she’d definitely ask questions.

“No, not today. It’s nice out so I’ll just walk home. Thanks though.” She nodded and with her “perfectly formed” self she walked upstairs to get ready for her night. I felt awful for not telling her the full truth. I would eventually, just now didn’t feel like the right time.


I met him at the corner of my street. It had been three days since the break up. Every time I thought of Sebastian my eyes would glaze over and my heart would hurt. I don't know what came over me but I had somehow convinced myself that I had to do this to get over Sebastian. We had already set up guidelines and Mason wasn't that..experienced. So in that case we wouldn't go "wild". I just needed an hour or two not thinking of Sebastian for once.


Mason had admitted to me while I was dating Sebastian that he had feelings for me. Due to the fact that Sebastian’s deep brown eyes were the only ones on my mind, I obviously didn’t return the feelings. I was head over heels for Sebastian. I still was. I shrugged it off and we continued to be friends, but here we were. I was taking advantage of his heart. He swore he didn't feel the same anymore.


He leaned on his dark blue mountain bike at the corner of my street. He had scruffy brown hair, goofy black nerd glasses and wore his usual black sweatpants and navy blue shirt. I wouldn't consider him unattractive, he just was not my type. I've always considered Mason as just a good friend.


I walked over to him looking up at the fading sky. The sun was starting to set and the houses around us started to light up. Mason and I were walking side by side. Talking of silly things. School, girls, boys, Sebastian, animals, the news. We were just wasting time until it was dark enough for us to be out of sight. I guided us through the labyrinth of houses to a field with two huge dirt piles from abandoned construction work sat. A few trees were dispersed through the small field and a main road was in the distance. You could hear the trucks and cars honking and speeding down the road. The last time I was here it was with Sebastian.


It was when we were still dating. Light rain matted Sebastian and my hair down and the sky was full of unanimated clouds that were dull and gloomy, but his smile always made it more lively. There were no cloudy days when I was with Sebastian, his smile made everything better. I haven’t been able to get him off my mind for what feels like an eternity. I remember our time together much more clearly than I'd like to. Our hair was soaked and sticking to our faces and our clothes hung damp on our skin. We were just being stupid teenagers, dancing and screaming in the rain. We climbed the dirt piles and stood at the top. Laying bellies up and looking up at the gray cloudy sky. We would then stand up and have a duel as if we were in some Karate Kid movie. Everything always seemed to end in Sebastian tickling me or a passionate kiss that would make me fall harder. That was all before I found out I was a dead man and before I lost my best friend.


Mason and I sat by one of the scrawny trees, leaning against the back of someone's fence of the neighborhood we just left. We sat their picking at the grass as the silence started to weigh on us. Was I really going to do this?


“Mason?” I asked.


“Hmm?” He replied, still looking towards the sky.


“Is this weird? What we are doing?” I questioned - both him and myself.


“I don't know..” He trailed.


“I just don't want you to fall for me.”


“Ali I -”


"Don't call me that!" I shouted louder than I meant. Only Sebastian was allowed to call me that. I couldn't stand the thought of Mason using his nickname for me. I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone else using it. It was his, just like I used to be. I looked down and hugged my knees to my chest.
"Sorry." I whispered. Mason nodded and adjusted his glasses on his nose. I could feel his green eyes piercing into me, but I refused to give in and look at him. I picked at the grass.
"Alison," Mason said delicately, "maybe being friends is just easier." He made it sound like I would be the one getting hurt rather than him. No, it was too late for me. My heart was already shattered into thousands of little pieces. I'm a puzzle that no one wanted to take the effort to put together. I stood up, I couldn’t take this anymore. I had to get out. I honestly had no idea what time it was but I just needed to escape. Tears choked my throat and the setting was bringing back to much memories.


Mason stood up and picked up his bike that he laid to the side of him. We both exchange sly smiles.

Silence danced around us with the wind.
"Oh, f*** it." Mason said dropping his bike. What happened next has been replayed within my mind hundreds of times. He cupped my face and smashed our lips together. He smelled just like Sebastian. I pulled Mason closer to me, holding his neck and lower back. This felt just like kissing Sebastian and I needed to hold on to this feeling for longer. Mason guided us to the ground, stopping to lay his chunky black rimmed glasses on the ground besides us. He laid on top of me in between my legs. My heart started to feel heavier and heavier. Our tongues intertwined and danced together just like Sebastian and I’s had, but I knew in the back of my mind that this wasn't Sebastian and I had to stop but it felt so real. Sebastian. No, I couldn’t. I shoved Mason off of me and got up quickly,


"Alison, wait! Come back down here." Mason pleaded. I shook my head,
"You have to go, Mason. Come on." I replied, pulling my phone out of my sweatpant pockets almost hoping, praying to see a text or a call from my true love. "Don't get feelings for me." I said sternly, looking into the distance. I could hear his shuffling around in the dark for his glasses.
"Alison I'm sorry- oh,damn my glasses broke." He said. Great, I broke the kid’s heart and his glasses. I sighed and replied,
"Mason, we have to go." My voice cracked and I realized that tears had started to form in my eyes. Mason must of stood up during my gaze and he pressed his lips against mine once more and then kissed my cheek.
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow Alison. Be careful getting home." He said as he hopped on his bike and rode away with a wave and a big grin.


What have I done? Why did I do this? I started walking back towards the development of houses and the tears came so fast I didn’t even bother to put up an effort to stop them. "Oh f***." I kept whispering over and over. This kid had feelings for me and there was no denying it. You don't just kiss your friends with benefits on the cheek. Right? I choked down all thoughts about Mason. I couldn't stop thinking of Sebastian. I missed him so much it hurt me physically and mentally. I needed to hear his voice.


On the walk home I passed a park. I haven't been to it since the past summer, but I couldn't go home like this. I walked into the entry and made my way up the stairs to the main platform of the abandon play set. This place was familiar. I looked around. There was a dark blue roof that covered the main platform I stood on, and a giant dark blue tube slide that connected to the ground below. I sat and leaned against the small iron poles holding the old play set together. The memories hit me like a ton of bricks.


This place was familiar because it held a huge memory I had chosen to suppress. Tears were still pouring down my face and I didn't even care to swipe them away. All those reoccurring nightmares I had been having about a mysterious man weren't actually nightmares, but the hard reality. And that "Mystery Man" was my ex boyfriend. The blurred face suddenly became clear and the crystal blue eyes burned my brain.


I dialed Sebastian's number. It couldn't be too late, Sebastian should be awake.


"Hmm, hello? Ali?" He asked sleepily.


"Sebi-" My voice cracked.


"Ali, are you crying? Where are you?" He replied, sounding concerned.


"I did something awful and I-I lied to you. Oh Sebastian the dream, the dream is true and-an-” I stammered, “I did something awful!"


"What happened?" He asked dully.


I explained everything that happened between Mason and I. I couldn't stop myself. Something about Sebastian's voice opened the flood gate to my heart and once I started talking I couldn't stop.
"Sebastian, I just don't know what to do. I haven’t slept in days! Your face flashes behind my eyelids everytime I close my eyes, and I thought if I stayed awake long enough the image would fade and maybe the pain would too because I don’t want to want you, but this only makes me fall harder!” Tears gushed down my face, “Sebastian, I have cancer too,and no one kno-" I stopped. Did I just tell him I had cancer? My heart was making its way up my throat. The phone was silent. The silence felt like ages before he finally broke it.


"Where are you?"


"I'm at the park where," tears started making their way down my face, "where my nightmares take place."


"Alison, I'm sorry."


"Sorry? Why would you b-"


"We can't talk anymore. This is wrong. I am not your boyfriend."


"But, you're my friend. My best friend."


"Goodnight, Alison."

The phone line went silent.


I lost it. He managed to break me with five simple words. I am not your boyfriend. I had taken advantage of one of my only friends and I just had my last conversation with Sebastian. Last conversation with Sebastian. I laid on top of the platform for hours. I laid there so long that my eyes couldn't form tears anymore. The sun started to come up over the horizon and it dimmed the world. The outline of everything became more clear. I picked myself up. My head pulsed from all the memory bullets of Sebastian that I had been thinking of all night. people are just poison, making each other feel numb, broken, and unfixable.

I wasn’t even sure anymore if I was more upset over losing Sebastian or over the fact that he probably never loved me in the first place.

Nausea hit me quickly this time. I leaned over the platform and let my insides tumble out. They did say the pills had a side effect of nauseousness, or was my body deteriorating? At this moment I didn’t care to think into it. I just wanted to be home.


I checked my phone to see no missed calls from my parents. They must have not even realized I was gone. I took a deep breath and looked towards the rising sun. What was I to do? Why am I even upset over this? I was a dead man anyway. Even if everyone I've hurt could forgive me and I could get Sebastian back I was just going to die in a few months anyway. There was no point of me even living anymore. I could just save my family the medical bills and get rid of myself alone.

Since I told Sebastian, I had to tell Mason. Usually Mason was the first to know everything but not this time. I had asked to meet Mason at the field we were once at before. I blushed from the memory of kissing Mason.

“Mason,


Go to the field tonight okay? I have stuff I have to tell you now. You can show up or not. I’ll be waiting.”

I scribbled in a note earlier. As I walked past him in the hall we made awkward eye contact. I quickly scurried to him, jamming the note in his hoodies pocket. I ran off afterwards. My nerves where a mess. I was unsure if Mason and I were even friends or not. I still considered him one.
I was unsure if he read it or not, but I had a feeling in my gut that he’d show up.
The sun started to set and stars glowed above me. I hugged my knees to my chest and leaned against someone’s house fence. The minutes slowly ticked by. It was 8:32PM by the time Mason showed up.

Mason’s eyes looked conflicted. He quickly hopped off his blue bike and started walking towards me panting. I sat in silence waiting for his arrival. I expected him to plop himself down next to me, but instead he stood at the base of my feet looking down at me. It was almost too dark to see his expression. Almost. He looked mad. Outraged.

“Sorry, I came from work.”

“Oh.”

We held eye contact in silence. Our stare like a battle. Whoever looked away first was weakest.

“Ali, what do you want?”

“I- I just..” My voice trailed off and I looked towards my feet.

“Well, spit it out!” Mason blurted. His words were so forceful and cruel. My eyes started to blur and I could feel the tears welling up inside of me, preparing for a total downpour. I kept my eyes facing down in embarrassment.

“Sorry, Alison. I just have a lot on my plate” He said dropping his bike, sitting down next to me, hugging his knees.

“Mason, I have cancer.” I whispered, gripping my knees.

We sat in silence. I didn’t dare look at him. I didn’t want to see the poor, pathetic face I often saw people giving towards poor people, or towards orphans trying to collect spare change. He was probably giving me the face. I’ve really come to dread it. The face that says “Oh, you poor thing.” I felt more and more pathetic each time I saw it from my family. I felt like the one puppy in the window that no one wanted. I didn’t notice tears were making their way down my face until Mason wiped one away, returning back to his scrunched position next to me.

“What kind?” His words were soothing and calm, as if we were just making small talk about work or school.

“Breast cancer.” I whispered gripping my knees tightly. I could feel the blood draining out of my pain fingers.

“Don’t worry, there are cures for that. Right?”

“No,” I shook my head letting my hair fall in front of my face. “not this time.” I croaked taking deep breaths.

Mason stood up. “It’s getting late.” He held out his hand to help me up. I took it and let him aid me.

“Mason?”

“Hm?”

“Are we… good? Friends?”

Mason looked up from the ground. The world was dark, but his glare shone through, slicing the air. “Alison, I don’t want to talk about that right now.”

“You’re no better than Sebastian. Whenever he was mad he suddenly ‘doesn’t want to talk.’” I mumbled, looking away from him.

Mason picked up his bike, “Don’t ever compare me to that asshole. He never deserved you.” I was taken aback by his sudden anger.

“Mason, I need you. You’re my friend, don’t leave me too.” I tried changing the subject off of Sebastian. I couldn’t bring myself to fully say his name without a knot forming in my stomach.

“Alison, I- I need to be alone. To think. Okay? Is that alright?” Mason almost sounded sincere but I didn’t trust it. He’d leave me just like Sebastian did. Everyone always left me. No one truly wanted to get to know me, to stick around with me. Sooner or later they’d get tired of me.

I threw my hands up in defeat. “It’s your life, Mason. Do whatever the f*** you want with it.” I said out of anger, looking up towards the sky, choking back tears,

“Goodnight Al.” Mason said. He hopped on his bike and left, without another word spoken.

I took a deep breath and slowly made my way back to the ground. The grass felt so soft on my hands. I laid back and let the tears spew. I didn’t hold back. I wasn’t even sure why I was crying anymore. I was sick of crying but I could help it. I gasped for air and screamed. I was acting childish and couldn’t hold back. I ripped at my hair squeezing my eyes shut. I was mad at Sebastian. I was mad at Mason. I was mad at the world! I didn’t care what happened to me anymore, who cares if I died? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

I couldn’t think straight anymore and I needed to get home. I don’t know what I was thinking anymore. I stood up and made my way, staggering like a drunken sailor. I let the tears stain my cheeks like wine on a white dress. I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted out of this foolish game called life.

I stumbled into the door. I didn’t know of the time and I didn’t care. I walked straight into the bathroom by our front door and splashed some water on my face. I tied back my hair into a bun, some curls escaped and shaped my face. I didn’t bother fixing it. I looked into the mirror. Thankfully I didn’t wear any makeup at all otherwise it would be stained to my cheeks. I took a deep breath and leaned towards the mirror, examining myself. I slowly pulled down the top hem of my shirt to reveal the top of my breast. Dark blue veins where bold and stringing across my chest. I ran my finger tip along my skin. It didn’t hurt badly, it was like touching a bruise. If only it looked like one instead of this monstrous blue mess.
I heard someone shuffle in the living room a few feet away but no voice followed. I pulled back up my shirt and walked out of the bathroom to inspect the living room. My mom sat on one of the fluffy couches and my dad sat opposite of her in his big chair. Once I entered the room they both sat up and gave me their attention.
My mom’s eyes were sagging with her usual exhaustion and her brown hair hung flat to her head. My dad sat with a cleanly shaved head and trimmed goatee, but his properness didn’t fool me, he looked equally as tired.
“What? Did something happen?” I asked looking between both of them.
“Um, Al, you might want to take a seat.”
“No, no. Just tell me what happened.”
My mom sighed and they both shared a glance. A tiny battle was held in there stares, I could practically hear them say, “No, you say it.”, “No, you say it.” I couldn’t wait for the suspense to die down.
“Just tell me.” I scolded.
“I decided, well we-” My mom said motioning to my dad. “that you can..” She looked towards my dad for help.
“You can no longer stay here.” He finished
A knot formed in my throat. “What? What did I do?” My voice shaked. I had no one. Where would I even go?
“No, it’s just, you are too much.” My mom said, smiling and trying to lower the tension.
“Are you serious right now? Dad,” I looked towards him for saving. “is this seriously happening? What the hell?”
They both looked at me, “It’s okay! You can stay with your grandma and-”
“Are you f*ing kidding me?” My eyes darted between both of them. “Why? What could possibly be such a good reason for this!?”
My parents looked at each other. My mom opened her mouth as if going to say something but my dad cut her off, “You’re dying, Al. Do you really think this family wants to see you go through that? We want to remember the good times of you, not the times when you were sick.”
I was speechless. Tears didn’t even reach my eyes, my brain went blank. The front door swung open and Kora came strolling in, a small bag hanging at her hips. She looked wide eyed at me. “Is- are you… okay with this?” I looked back at my parents.
“Tomorrow your mom, Kora and I are going out, Grandma will come by to pick you up late tomorrow. Pack want you want, we can send the rest over.”
“What, no.” I whispered. They ignored me and stood up. My mom walked to me opening her arms for a hug. “It’s okay Alison. We are going to miss you.”
“No!” I shouted backing up. “No!” I said again turning and running for the stairs. Once I was safe in my room I locked the door and leaned against it. I sunk to the floor replaying everything that happened today.
“No one will ever love you.” Rang in the back of my head. I pulled my knees to my chest. Tears didn’t appear. I guess they were all used up now. You have reached the limit. You’ve been sad to much and we gave you more than enough tears. Sorry.
I looked across my room, the ugly green box layed there. Stupid pills, ruining everything. In my mind I knew it was no one’s fault for what was happening but I needed the satisfaction of blaming someone.
A realization hit me, I haven’t taken them in the past few days. I stood up and quickly grabbed the box. I stopped myself before I pulled the pills out. I looked at myself through the mirror that hung above the dresser.
I looked wild. The hair that shaped my face was in a frizzy mess. My cheeks stained red from earlier. I pulled down the top of my shirt again. The blue veined breast was disgusting. I would hate to watch someone go through this too. I breathed. I wouldn’t take my pills, as badly as it would hurt, I couldn’t. I needed to escape this misery.
I adjusted my shirt and put the box down. No one loved me anymore. Not Sebastian, not Mason, not my family. I was repulsive and unlovable. I’m the gum on the bottom of other people’s shoes.
I looked around my room. Should I start packing? I decided against it and crawled into bed. I pulled the covers over my head, I was exhausted. I was a kicked puppy and just wanted to be loved. I just wanted to be loved.

I looked around my bedroom the next day. The light blue and yellow walls glimmered back. The colors made the room seem bright and happy but an odd eerie feeling held over me. I crawled out of my bed and sat on the scruffy pink carpet by the window. I looked out. The trees swayed in the wind and the sun slowly started to set and cast shadows of blue and pink over the houses. I could slightly see the parks peak over the trees. It's dark blue shimmering self used to feel so big, and now it just looked like another kids toy from afar. I had laid in bed all day, emotionally exhausted and I was ready to move.
I stood up and slipped on my sneakers. I walked down the houses stairs meeting Dixie at the bottom. At the sight of me with sneakers on, she jumped up, thumping her tail on the cold walls. "No walk today." I said strictly, causing her to plump back down to the wood floor with a groan.
Without telling anyone, I pushed the door open and walked outside. The small street lights lit up the development homes. The dim lights casted small shadows of their own. I made my way down the winding roads glancing at every shadow casting over me. They cheered me on. Applauding and sending their warrior off to war.
I found myself at the entrance of the demon. I step foot onto the abandoned playground. I looked up at it's towering presence. It seemed so much older now than it did in my memories. The colorful paint is chipping away and the slides seemed to sag. I made my way up the plastic stairs and a bone chilling breeze lifted my hair around my head. I stopped before I made it onto the main platform. Darkened shadows danced around the child's ground. Taunting me, begging me to finish what I started. "Do it, Alison. What are you so afraid of?"
I clenched my fist and planted my foot firmly on the main area. Courage flowed through my bloodstream. The blue peak hovered above me. The red plastic below seemed to stretch. I sunk to my knees and ran my hand over the familiar surface of the platform. Memories pumped through my head.
I remember it almost clearly now. I had denied a man for sex. He didn't like the word "no." I soon found myself pleading for him to stop and crying for help. I had bruises for weeks. Scars of pain printed on my skin. I hadn't told a soul where I was going, but I wish I had.
Claudia and I used to sneak out of my house all the time. We usually would meet up with my current boyfriend at the time, Andrew Wellson.
I had barely known him but the spark was instant. He had took my hand and lead me to the school’s auditorium where he sang me a beautiful original song about how amazing I was. I couldn't say no. Over the next few weeks we seemed to grow very fond of each other. I couldn't stop thinking about Sebastian at the time but Andrew helped me almost forget.
Andrew's mom grounded him after months of bad grades. That didn't stop us though. We'd sneak out to see each other. I would make Claudia come with me, I didn't want to be completely alone with Andrew just yet.
One night was different. We longed for each others company. We planned to met alone. I was nervous but excited. I wasn't used to not having my best friend at my side.
I met him at the playground. He ran up to me, spun me around, brought me to the playground, held me down, tickled me. His shirt went somewhere, my shirt went somewhere. Screams were echoing, dogs barking, wind blowing, cold air suffocating my lungs, my lungs expanding with exhaustion, help.
I don't remember making it home that night, but I remember waking up in my own bed. Andrew moved that summer to Florida. Never to speak to me again. I wasn't sure if I was heartbroken or more relieved of not having to live in fear of him.
I sat now with my back to the playgrounds interior. "What am I doing?" I closed my eyes. A few tears escaped down my face. I could feel my face flame up scarlet red. I shook my head and tried to slow my breathing.
I opened my eyes to find a face looking at me. I knew it wasn't real. It was the face from the dream. The blurred blue eyed ghost. I stayed strong, staring dead into the core of it. I wasn't afraid to face him anymore. I stood up inches away from the growing mist. It tangled around my ankles. "I'm not afraid of you." My voice shook. The ominous mist grew up to my knees now. "I said, I'm not afraid of you!" I sounded more confident but not convincing. The mists blue eyes grew closer. Examining my appearance. The shadows taunted me, laughing. "Sure, sure." The laughed sarcastically. There laughs grew louder and louder. The wind whipped at my hair. Tugging me in every direction. I stood strong with my feet planted down. "STOP IT!" I screamed. "I am not afraid of you Andrew!" I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment and when I opened them, everything was gone. No shadows, no blue eyes.
The sun made his disappearance over the trees. I was left surrounded by stars now. The wind had died down to a slow breeze. My heart felt like a weight was lifted. I took a breath and furiously wiped the tears away. I made my way down to the entrance of the park. I hesitated, but didn't look back.

The pretty white pain pills laid in their package on my cluttered dresser still. It must have been a week since I’ve taken them. “Two every meal.” The nurse had said. Ha. What a joke. Everything had fallen apart for me in a simple month. Lost my best friend, twice. Lost the love of my life, my rock, and my family didn’t love me.

My room was dimmed with the setting sun, shadows danced along the walls. Kora had knocked on my door earlier to ask how I was doing. I didn’t respond. I wanted to be left alone as long as I could. I had laid in bed all day not moving. Thoughts of the good times with my family and Sebastian played through my mind. Why? was all I could think. Why did this happen to me? I was a good person.

Ali - Mason, I’m sorry. (Sent 8:37 p.m.)

Ali - Sebastian, I’m sorry. (Sent 8:38 p.m.)
My breathing slowed. My life was a joke, a soap opera, it was as if some girl living in New Jersey with her new shiny laptop was thinking of every possible way she could make my life harder. Everything would be so much easier if I just disappeared.

Disappeared.
Yeah, disappearing would be nice.

My thoughts started to jumble together. My vision was blurring. Is this what “compromising my heart” meant? A sharp pain was continuously pulsing through my chest. My breathing slowed as I closed my eyes. It was so painful but so painless at the same time. I felt as if someone laid me in a pit of flames then set me in a bath of ice. I leaned over my bed and puked the contents of my stomach into the bucket I had laid their previously in the week.

Pulsing pain.

The back of my eyelids danced with colors. Pictures of my family flown by as if a video was playing, but being fast forward. A movie of my entire life was playing right before my eyes. Mom, Dad, kora, Dixie, Mason, Violet, Sebastian...
The video paused right on Sebastian’s face. Behind him where trees. Tons and tons of trees. He stood like a God. The video paned away to me, standing in the middle of a railroad bridge and he was calling for me to come back to him. This was one of my favorite memories. I stood in the middle of the tracks with my hands above my head feeling like the Queen of the World. I shouted and laughed until I looked down to see how high up I was. A small stream ran below me and I looked towards Sebastian who remanded on land. The ground seemed so far away and I could see it all in between each track. The sun was setting fast and it would be dark soon. The dim pink glow surrounded us.
“Ali come back! Don’t fall!”
“Sebastian-Sebi I’m scared.”
Sebastian slowly inched towards me on the railroads track. He never admitted it, but I knew he was afraid of heights.
“Ali I’m coming for you, don’t move.”
I looked down at the stream running below us, I was so scared. I never realized how badly I was afraid of heights. My legs began to shake and I was getting dizzy.
“Sebastian, hurry!” I looked up to find us face to face, Sebastian pulling his arms around me.
“Ali, I would never let you fall.” My heart fluttered. Sebastian guided us back to the ground and looked at me. The world slowed.
“I love you Ali. I really do, and nothing could change that.” He whispered pulling me close to him and guiding us back to the ground.”
That was the first day Sebastian told me he loved me.
With that finally memory I felt myself floating into darkness and I knew this is exactly what “Compromising my heart” felt like. I was disappearing into a dark abyss. I would never see my family again. I would never see my friends again. I would never see Sebastian again. I was gone. For what I have done, and for what I have failed to do, I’m sorry.

Beep..

What was that noise?

Beep..

A dim glow shone in front of me. I reached for it. It has been dark for so long. The light appeared only seconds at a time. If this is what dying is like then I hated it. I felt stiff, like I haven’t moved in ages. I reached and reached for the light. It started to fade. No. I needed that light. Something was in that light that I had to grab. The light disappeared. Where did it go? I suddenly felt so alone. I never realized how alone I felt without the light until it faded. I hated being alone.

Beep Beep Beep

What was that noise? It was driving me mad! I wanted it to stop! The small glow was in the distance again. Growing. I ignored it, the noise held my attention.

Beep..

Stop.

Beep..

Please, stop.

Beeeeeeeep

STOP! The light swallowed me whole and before I knew it I was looking up at a bright light held by a man with a mouth mask. The man backed away with a small flashlight in his hands. His eyes widened as if I shocked him. He tapped a short nurse to the left of him and they both looked at me in shock. The short scrawny nurse quickly ran out into the hall.

Where the hell was I? I sat up on my elbows and instantly regretted it. Some wires taped to my arms unplugged and made an ear piercing screech. The doctor ran to my side and pushed me back down taping the wires back to my arms. The doctor was young and handsome. He had green eyes, just like Mason.

Mason.

My family! Where was I? Where are they?

“Please, my family.” I croaked. What was wrong with my voice? It was so dry and crackled. The handsome doctor pulled down his mask and smiled.
“Hello Alison. Your parents will be here any second. They’ve been in the waiting room for the past month! You should be really proud to have such a supporting family.”

The past month.

The doctor sense my worry, and smiled. “Yes, a month. When you came in to the hospital we got you just in time, maybe even a little later.” He trailed off and looked towards the door as if expecting anyone. “Well, I’ll let your family explain. Okay?” He stepped to the side as my mother and father rushed in the room.

“Alison, we were so worried!”

“Alison, I can’t believe you woke up!”

“Alison, how do you feel?”

“Alison!”

“Alison!”

I look towards the handsome doctor searching for some saving from my family.

“Uh, Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon, since Alison hasn’t talked over a month I’m sure she doesn’t want to answer many questions.”

“Oh, my Alison I’m so sorry! I’m sorry for trying to make you leave! I’m so sorry.” My mom cried running to the side of my bed and holding my hand. My dad walked towards the doctor discussing some matter, while my mom smiled towards me. Someone was missing.

“Kora?” My parents looked at me in shock. Probably over my hoarse voice. The doctor spoke up before my parents could. “I think she had to work honey. Mom, dad, you guys haven’t eaten yet how about you two go to the cafeteria and let Alison rest!” He said smiling towards me.

My parents left with a nod and the doctor and I were alone. “Well we never got to officially meet. I’m Doctor Smith. Call me Henry though. Doctor Smith sounds so official!” He smiled, and I too smiled after a month of stillness. My cheeks felt stiff and my lips were dry and cracked.

I decided I liked this doctor. He seemed like he actually cared about my health and wasn’t just in it for the money. I calmed down and looked at all the machinery attached to me.

“What happened to me?” I whispered.

“My brother,” I mean, “your friend Mason brought you here and-”

“Mason’s your brother?” I said louder than I should have.

“Yes, he panicked and didn’t know which hospital to bring you to so he rushed here. Luckily he had just gotten his license a day earlier. You really lucked out Alison. Actually, Mason stayed here with you all night until your parents got here and been spractically visiting since.”

“Mason..saved me?” My eyes started to water. I didn’t lose my friend. He’s been there all along shadowing me. “How did he know? How did he find me?”

“Alison you need rest,” He smiled. “just be thankful for advancement in technology.” Henry winked and pointed to the old phone on the wall. The curly wire hung off of it and dangled freely. I completely forgot, I had texted Mason beforehand! He pointed towards a wire with a red button attached to it hanging behind my head. “Press that if you need me.” With a wave Henry left.

That’s right. I texted Mason and Sebastian.

Sebastian.

Where was Sebastian? I closed my eyes. Letting the darkness calm me.

“Alison?”

My eyes opened in shock. Mason. Mason was standing at the foot of the hospital bed.
“Hey Alison.” Tears filled my eyes, but I kept them at bay. Swinging open my arms, “Come here!” Mason smiled and hugged me back.
“Oh Mason, I owe you my life.” Mason backed away looking me in the eyes.
My mom came rushing in, “Oh, hi, Mason! Good to see you again!” My mom enthusiastically said before waving towards me, “ Ali, I just wanted to hug you one last time. Your father and I are going to our hotel across the way, okay?” She said, throwing her arms around me tightly. I looked away in disgust. She wasn’t forgiven for kicking me out yet. “We’ll be over in the morning to check on you!” My mom rushed to my side squeezing me again quickly and kissing my cheek. I didn’t dare hold eye contact with her and she sensed the tension and backed up. “Watch over her, Mason!” She said before waving and leaving.

Mason and I were alone. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I just looked down at my hands and rubbed my knuckles. What to say? What to say? I could feel my cheeks reddening with embarrassment over my loss of words.

“You look so much better now, Alison.” I blushed as Mason backed away. “You’re probably starved, right?” He said. “Oh, pizza right? Tell me that’s still your favorite food?” The thought of pizza made my mouth water. Its been so long. Mason didn’t wait for me to reply and dialed the number.
“Mason?”
“Hmm? hold on, Ali.”
Ali.
I held my breath. I hated that name. Mason put in our order and looked towards me sitting on the edge of the bed. It creaked under his weight. He looked handsome. Wait, did I just think that? Well it wasn’t a lie. Mason had a certain glow to him. His hair had gotten shaggy and brushed, his thick rimmed glasses seemed to suit him. He wore a gray shirt and baggy jeans. He looked more laid back than usual. He must have found a girl. No way Mason could change so quickly for no reason. Mason hated change. I was happy for him, but there was some other emotion mixed in. Jealousy? Why would I be jealous? I’ve never had feelings for Mason before.
“What were you saying Alison?”
“Thank you, Mason.” I whispered looking down. I couldn’t hold eye contact with him. Something about his penetrating look made me look away.
“Don’t thank me. I was just being a good friend. Anyone would have done it.”
Anyone would of done it.
Sebastian didn’t. Sebastian probably didn’t even answer the text. I didn’t care to know. We were done. His harsh words echoed in the back of my mind. “I’m not your boyfriend.” I don’t think I could bare to see his face again.
“Can I make it up to you somehow?”
Silence.
“Alison, do you realize how close to death you were?” Mason’s face reddened. His eyes bore into mine. My cheeks burned with red fire.
I was taken aback by his sudden strength in character. I looked at him, speechless. What was I to say?
“Ali, I held you in my hands. You were lifeless. Not even warm. How could you be so selfish? Your family needs you! Do you know how much hell everyone has gone through the past month?” Mason rubbed his hands through his hair out of frustration. “How could you do this to me? To be honest I feel quite privileged to have been the one to save you. You’re worth it, but did you not consider anyone else?” Mason looked down and took a deep breath. His voice calmed down, “Alison when I found you, I experienced emotions I didn’t even know were humanly possible. Alison, I’m- I’m” He stood up, looking like he was ready to make a big announcement. “I’m going to check for the pizza guy, he said he’d drop it off at the lobby.” Mason blurted. standing up abruptly and quickly sped out the door.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I owed Mason my life but I was so full of rage towards him. How could he come in here talking to me like that? A small part of me knew he was right but I didn’t want him to be. I cupped my cheeks in my hands and took another deep breath.
Mason appeared in the doorway moments later holding the warm greasy box of cheesy gorgeousness, he sat on the edge of the bed again. I felt tension in the air but I ignored it. I handed him the remote to the cheap granny TV that was attached to the wall in front of us.
I propped myself up on my elbows slowly to be gracious to all the machinery attached to me. Mason looked steadily at the wires with sorrow filled eyes. I blushed and looked away towards the two windows that were placed a few feet from my bed. I could feel the cold radiating off the thick glass. Mason looked away in embarrassment.
“I’m sorry Ali, it’s just more wires than there were last time I was here. I’m worried about you.” I didn't know what to say. Mason handed me a paper plate with cheesy goodness. “Cheers for-” Mason yelled looking towards me, “for-” I interrupted him, “Friendship!” We both exchanged smiles before gorging on our food. It felt normal. I felt normal.
Mason and I laughed and talked like old times! He told me all about the drama that was happening at school. Apparently Claudia had a crazy pregnancy scare and asked Mason’s brothers for help and it turns out it was just a “Food Baby”. Whatever that means. Henry came in a few times to scold Mason for letting me eat “unhealthy” food and keeping me up late. Even though I said it was fine, Henry told Mason he had thirty minutes to leave otherwise he would get security. We just laughed and chucked our pizza crust at him.
“Alison, I’m really glad I came tonight.”
“I am too, Mason. It feels really good to have someone be here for me.”
We held eye contact, silence coated us.
“Uh, Alison I need t-to go.” Mason stammered as he stood up to leave. He looked conflicted and it pained me to see him like this. He obviously had something on his mind that he’s been chasing circles around all night. Wait. Pained me to see him like this? Was I falling for Mason? This is the second time I’ve questioned myself tonight. Mason placed our empty pizza box on my nightstand and stood up.
“I’m really glad I got to see yo-”
He was interrupted by a knock on the open door. I jumped, and looked towards the doorway. I couldn’t see who stood there at my angle, but Mason could. His face was filled with disgust and made me uneasy. Sebastian took a few steps into the room locking eyes with Mason. The idyllic mood suddenly was washed away with my giddy filled brain. The sight of Sebastian suddenly made my stomach knot up.
“What are you doing here?” Sebastian asked sternly. His eyes were drooped and darkened from what seemed to be lack of sleep. “I thought I told you to stay away.”
“What am I doing here? What are you doing here? I doubt she wants to see you.

Mason looked towards me on the hospital bed. I must have looked so weak. Sebastian noticed me for the first time tonight. “Ali, you’re awake?” Sebastian's voice softened and he dropped to my bed side, opposite of the windows, grabbing my hand. My eyes darted between Mason and Sebastian. Mason’s face was so filled with disgust. He looked at me as if pleading me to send him away.

I rested my hand on Sebastians cheek. Looking him dead in the eyes, “Mason can you give us a moment?” I whispered, never breaking eye contact. Mason looked towards his feet, “Are you sure Ali? I don’t want him to hurt you again.”

“Don’t call her Ali, Mason.” Sebastian said standing up exchanging glares with Mason. Mason lifted his hands up in surrender and pointed towards me,
“If you need anything, I’ll be right outside those doors.”Mason looked towards Sebastian, “just in case anything happens.” And with those final words Mason left. Sebastian and I were alone.

I felt numb as soon as Mason took his first step out of sight. A musky scent filled the air. This was Sebastians scent. His distinct beautiful unique scent. I have been longing for it ever since that day.. The day he left me.

“How are you, Ali?” Sebastian asked worriedly, kneeling by my bedside again.

“I’ve been better.” I said motioning towards all the wires attached to my arms. What was he doing here? His heavenly face made me stumble over my words and my mind grew drowsy.

“Ali, I’m sorry things ended the way they did. I still love you. This past month has been so hard, Ali.” Sebastian kissed my forehead. “I love you, Ali.” I was shocked at his choice of words, but somehow I expected them.

“Sebastian, I-” I searched for words but I couldn’t do it. All I have wanted was for Sebastian to come back to me, but something didn’t feel right. “Mason!”

Mason ran back into the room and grabbed Sebastian by the front of his shirt slamming him into the wall, their backs were towards me.
“What did you say to her? What the f*** did you say to her!?”
Sebastian threw his hands up but that didn’t stop Mason. Mason held Sebastian there for what felt like forever. Sebastian was by far bulkier and taller than Mason but that didn’t seem to intimidate him.
“Put him down, Mason.” I commanded. Mason didn’t break eye contact with Sebastian. “Alison, are you sure?” I didn’t need to answer for Mason to know what I wanted. Mason dropped Sebastian and backed away to the end of my bed. “Mason,” I said, “can you show Sebastian the exit? I can’t-I can’t do this right now.” I croaked as I ran my hands through my hair.
“Ali!” Sebastian cried, “Don’t you love me?” Mason started pushing Sebastian back towards the door, and for once,Sebastian didn’t resist. “Ali please, don’t you love me?”
“Yes, Sebastian. I do.”
Mason stopped pushing Sebastian and they both turned towards me, “What?” They both said together. I took a deep breath, the machine next to me started to beep rapidly. Henry came rushing in.
“Guys, what did you do? Her heart rate is thumping off the charts. Get out!”
“No!” I said strictly, “Just give me five more minutes.” I took another deep breath. “Sebastian, breathing hurts when I think of you, and then my blood boils to the point where my anger turns to sadness then I am back in my room sitting there just thinking about you, and everything becomes painful again.” The machine started to beat faster. “I love you, but I can’t keep falling into your traps. It’s time we ended the cycle. I just can’t-” A pulse of pain shot through my chest. “Ow!” I yelled, grabbing at my chest.
“Everyone out! Henry ordered. “Nurse! I need two!” As I held my chest I felt no lump. No, I felt multiple small lumps. Stitches. My right breast was gone. I looked towards Henry and saw Sebastian had left the room and Mason stayed yelling at one of the nurses to let him stay.
Everything seemed to stand still. Henry was ordering me to relax my arms so he could inject more poison in my system. I refused and called out for help.
“Let me go!” I yelled. I yanked my arm out of the Doctor’s strong grip. “Leave me alone!” One of the nurses held me down by my shoulders, stretching my stitches, I shouted in agony. “Henry, please.” I whispered looking him in the eyes as he injected the fluids into my arm. Everything seemed to fade. My energy drained from my body. I looked towards Mason but he wasn’t in the room anymore. I was alone with the nurses and Henry. I hated being alone. I wanted my parents. I longed for a familiar face.
Everything around me darkened and my body relaxed. I tried to keep my eyes open but I couldn’t anymore. I slowly let myself return into the darkness once more.

I woke up groggy. Where was I? The cream colored walls around me slightly glowed from the morning sun. I was still in the hospital. The memories flowed back to me and hit me all at once, like a flood. I looked towards the doorway and instead noticed Sebastian sleeping on a cushioned fold out chair in one of the back corners his arms were crossed and his head hung towards the floor. He looked so peaceful. Where was Mason? My family? I looked towards the window to find Mason sleeping just like Sebastian. Mason was right next to me, his cheek resting on the bed. I ran my hand along his jawline.
I guess we were back to being the way we were before. I didn’t mind it at all, nor did I want to ask him. I hope things would fall back into place. I needed normalcy.
I closed my eyes to let the draft air soak me in. When I opened them I found a young face looking at me. Tubes circling her head, connecting to her nose. I yelped in fright of the sudden appearance. The little girl that must of been around ten years old, put her delicate hand on top of my mouth instantly. She was bald and pale. I must be on the child’s care unit floor.
“Shh! Don’t wake the boys!” She whispered loudly pointing towards them.
We examined the room, no one stirred. The little girl looked at me, her eyes were a mix of brown and red fire. “I’m Lilith!” She said falling onto my chest and swinging her arms around my neck.
“Oh, uh, hello there. I’m Alison.” I replied, hugging her back.
“I know who you are! I watched last night as those boys fought over you.”
I blushed in embarrassment and looked around the room at the scattered bodies. Lilith sat up and looked at me, “You look just like my mom!” She smiled ear to ear. I returned the smile, “Well I hope I get to meet her one day!”
Lilith grimaced. Her eyes narrowed. “She’s not alive anymore, neither of my parents.”
I looked away, “Oh I’m sorry,” I looked away from her fire eyes. “who watches over you then?”
“No one! I’m a big girl!” Lilith looked out towards the hallway. “Someones coming! I should go.” The small child hopped off my hospital bed, her hospital gown flowing around her.
“Lilith will I see you again? I don’t want you wandering around alone!”
Lilith shrugged. “I get transferred today. Will you be my friend though?” Her eyes filled with hope and her pale skin reflected just how sick she must of been. She was being transferred which meant her case was getting more serious. Who knows how much longer she had.
I nodded, “Lilith, let’s be best friends okay?” Lilith screamed with happiness and hopped back up onto my bed and squeezed me. My heart monitor beeped with excitement. “Doctor Henry said when the machine beeps faster it means you’re really happy. “
“Lilith, I am really happy!”
“I’m not.” She whispered, cuddling into my side.
“Why?”
“I’m going to die.”
Her strong words shook me. “Lilith why would you say such a thing?”
“Everyone talks about it, I hear the nurses in the hallway saying, “Oh that poor thing. Even lost her mama and papa.” Lilith looked down. Tears seemed to cloak her eyes. I put my arm around her and pulled her close to me.
“Don’t listen to them.” I looked around the room. ‘Get Well’ cards and gifts littered the floor. In the back corner of the room sat a table with gift bags on it, behind them all stood a Lilith sized brown teddy bear. “Hey Lilith, can you grab me that?” Her eyes widened, she jumped up and scurried to it and returned dragging it behind her. I helped her bring the teddy bear onto the bed then pulled her up afterwards. Lilith sat cross legged in front of me, with the bear in between us.
“What should we name it?”
Lilith looked off in deep thought. “How about Leo?” She said smiling at me.
“I was thinking more on the lines of Snuggles.. Why Leo?”
“That was one of my first friends name.”
I smiled, “In that case, I like that name a lot. Hey, Lilith how about you keep Leo for yourself?”
“WHAT?” She screeched. Mason shuffled to my side and Lilith cupped her hands to her mouth. “Really?” She whispered. “He’s mine?”
I nodded, “I don’t think I could be there for Leo as much as you can. Leo can keep you company so you wont have to be lonely ever again.”
The small girl smiled ear to ear and squeezed the brown bear. She nuzzled her face into it’s thick fur. “Thank you so much Ali!”
Lilith squirmed off of the bed dragging Leo with her. “I can’t wait to show Henry! Thank you so much!” She skipped out of the room with a huge smile. Her absence made me sad but I’m glad I brightened her day.
Now how early was it? I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, relaxing my head against the pillows. I heard someone stir at the doorway. I peeped one eye open was it Lilith? No, Kora leaned against the wall smiling towards the boys.
“Hey, Slut!” She said with a smile, dropping herself on the floor next to my bed. I quickly removed my hand from Mason. “Looks like you get all the men nowadays, huh?” She winked. I giggled and shook my head.
“Hey Kora, how’s Mom and Dad?”
“Oh you know, being parents, loving the days off from work! They were really worried about you Al.”
“Can we talk about something else?” I asked, placing a hand on my chest.
“How’s having one boob? That must be an interesting feeling.” Kora asked laughing and motioning towards my chest.
I laughed along, “I haven’t tried walking yet, I’ll probably be all unbalanced and waddle like a penguin.”
We laughed together and it felt good to have my sister here. She was always sarcastic and dumb. She knew just how to cheer me up.
All the noise we’ve been making made Mason’s head pop up. Mason sat back in his chair and smiled at us. Kora and I exchanged looks and she nodded and strolled out of the room making sure to not trip on Sebastian’s feet.
“Good Morning, Alison!” Mason said standing up and heading for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“Well I’m sure you don’t want to eat hospital food, I’ll come back with waffles for all of us!”
“All of us? Even-” I raised an eyebrow nodding towards Sebastian.
Mason smiled and nodded before disappearing out the door.
I looked towards Sebastian. He was slightly snoring. The same snore I’ve heard many times before. I almost longed for his touch.
“Sebastian?” I whispered.
We used to take naps almost every time we were together. I’d whisper everything I felt in his ear and I’d never have to worry about him hearing me. He was always a heavy sleeper. I’d whisper my true feelings. It always felt nice to get it off my chest. I took a deep breath.
“Sebastian,” I whispered. “I do love you, I really do. I don’t know why. You’re really a dreadful human. You’re so incapable of caring for another person.” I took another deep breath as tears glazed over my eyes. I looked up towards the ceiling. “Sebastian, we have to stop going in circles. This is not okay, you’re just going to keep hurting me. It’s going to be really hard getting over you but,” Tears streaked down my cheeks. “we need to completely be done. I’m sorry.”
Silence surrounded us.
“Is that really how you feel Ali?” His voice shocked me.
“I-uh, you are awake?”
“I’ve been awake since Kora came in.” He whispered. He looked up and I could see the hurt in his eyes. Sebastian stood up. “Ali, is that really how you feel?” Sebastian walked next to me in my bed and scratching the back of his neck. “Ali, I love you.”
“I know Sebastian, I love you too.”
Something dropped in the doorway, but I couldn’t see because Sebastian blocked my view. I pushed him back to see Mason. A bag rested at his feet. He stood shocked.
“Mason, I-I can explain.”
“Don’t. I’ve seen all the movies. This never ends well Alison. I thought you were different. I really did. Here,” He kicked the bag labeled “The Best Waffles Around” towards us, “enjoy your f*ing breakfast.”
“Mason!” I yelled as he walked out of the room. My monitor beeped faster. I looked towards Sebastian. Sebastian kept a steady glance on the doorway, he seemed self conflicted. “I’ll talk to him.” Sebastian whispered. Clenching his jaw, he walked out of the room.

Sebastian was going to beat up Mason. I had to stop this! I haven’t walked in a month! I swung my feet over the side of my bed pushing back the covers. I grabbed the one machine that all the wires where hooked up to. I took a deep breath and placed my feet on the floor. I stood up leaning on the machine. My legs caved underneath me and I tumbled to the floor. I held the machine and pulled myself up again. I used all my arm strength to hold myself up. My legs felt like jelly. I kept moving. Pushing myself. I struggled but I made it to the doorway. I leaned my back against the wall and held the machine.

I heard hushed whispered and I slowed my breathing to listen. It was Sebastian and Mason.

“Mason, she doesn’t want me!”

“I just walked in on her saying she loved you! You can’t even convince me otherwise. I just heard it for myself.”

“No! You’re not listening to me!”

A loud bang shook the walls. Sebastian had punched the wall. That was so like him. He never knew how to handle his frustration and he often would take his anger out in violence.

My legs started to grow weak and started shaking. If I fell, I would either fall out into the hallway and blow my cover, or I would fall back and risk smacking my head on the end of my bed, great.

“Mason, we are done! We won’t even be back together. I can give you my word on that, OKAY?”

“I am so sick of yo-”

Oh s***, my legs gave out. I pushed my weight towards the hallway, bringing the machine down with me. We landed with a crash and the wires attached to my arms got ripped out causing the machine to beep like crazy. “Ow, ow!” I yelled. Mason ran to my side attaching the wires back to my arms. “Alison what are you doing out of bed?” Mason said sternly wrapping an arm around my shoulder to lift me up. Sebastian lifted up the machine. Luckily the hallway was clear of all nurses and we returned to the room unnoticed.

Mason helped me lay back down in the bed and returned back to his chair next to me. Sebastian leaned in the doorway, examining us. Mason looked towards Sebastian. Sebastian nodded and looked at me.
“Ali, I hope you can return home soon. Feel better.” He said walking over and kissing my forehead. That will be the last time I would feel Sebastian’s lips against my skin. I no longer felt that electric shock.He reached the doorway and turned around, “You never made me happy anyway.” He said, clenching his jaw. His eyes seemed glazed, as if tears were on the brink of falling.
“Goodbye Sebastian.” I whispered. Mason and I both watched Sebastian leave.

“I’m sorry Alison.” Mason said picking up the bag of waffles. “I’m sorry everyone’s treating you poorly, I’m sorry I- I over reacted and I-” He returned back to his chair. “Alison I feel like such a-” Mason leaned over me to pull up my blanket. “a-a jerk!”
“Mason” I whispered resting a hand on his cheek. I didn’t realize how close our faces were until he turned to lock eyes, we were inches away.
“Yes Alison?” I smiled.
“Mason, kiss me.” Mason smiled.
“You don’t need to ask me twice.” Mason whispered pressing his lips against mine. This felt right. Mason felt right. I chose the right man.
The machine attached to me started screeching it’s obnoxious call, causing Mason to back away from me smiling. My face bloomed with a scarlet red out of embarrassment.
“You have no idea how long I’ve craved that.” I smiled and pointed towards the waffle bag.
“Feed me, peasant!” I said sarcastically as Mason reached for the bag and climbed onto the bed with me.

It has been two weeks of being stuck inside of this white hospital prison. The doctors had me doing hormone therapy to reduce the risk of the cancer reappearing. It has all been a blur. All that was On my mind was Lilith and Mason. The guy who saved my life and the child that made me smile. I owed them everything.
Mason had been visiting me every day, sometimes even staying the night if the nurse “didn’t see anything”. I haven't heard back from Sebastian since he stormed out. I was grateful. I don't think I could handle seeing him again.
Since I had missed a month of school my parents decided to homeschool me the rest of the school year. I knew they were just kissing up to me to mend the broken bonds. I wasn't buying it, but after their begging I caved in.
Mason now sat on the end of my bed with a handful of cards and I, with mine.
"You know you're going to lose!" He said grinning at his cards.
"Phst, yeah okay. You have to let me win because I'm a girrrrl." I smirked leaning in and sticking out my Tongue at him. All in one swift moment he dropped his cards and had the back of my neck in his hand. He pulled our faces together and we kissed. It was sweet and short. To short. I longed for him more, but wouldn't dare push it.
Mason and I were on weird grounds. We kissed. A lot. But we weren't official.
Mason picked up his cards smiling. I looked down and blushed. "So where were we?" He said winking. I just shook my head and laughed.
"Mason, they said I can leave tomorrow. Isn't that exciting?"
Mason looked away from me and out the window lost in thought.
"What? What is it?"
"I just," he sighed. "I was so sure you weren't going to make it out that the thought of you actually being able to sleep in your own bed is, refreshing! I'm really happy for you Alison."
I smiled, "Thank you Mason." The phone in his pocket started vibrating.
"Hello? Yeah, ok. I’ll be right down!” He looked towards me, “Don't go anywhere!" Mason said standing up abruptly and shoving his phone back in his jean pocket. "I'll be right back! Just-uh, don't fall asleep or something!"
I rolled my eyes, Mason was always up to games. I picked up the disheveled cards and packed them back into their small box. Mason still wasn’t back yet and my eyes grew dreary. I slipped under the covers. I wore the full hospital clothes and fuzzy socks that made me feel so warm and cozy.
Over the weeks I have made the hospital room my own. My own pillows and blankets littered the bed. My drawings and other people's “Get Well” cards were pinned to the walls, a box of randomly selected books and other knick-knacks littered the box. I closed my eyes and smiled at the thought of going home tomorrow. I missed my nice memory foam bed and my dog. They forbid animals in the hospital and Dixie was way too fat to sneak in. Trust me, I asked Kora to try.
"Oh no, Alison! Wake up!"
My eyes shot open. Mason stood at the side of my bed leaning over me. A small flat box rested in one hand and a small tissue paper roll was in the other. "I swear I was just resting my eyes!" He smiled and I allowed him to scoot in next to me under the covers. Resting the flat box on my lap. The heat radiated through the box onto my lap.
"No way... Is this-"
"Pizza?" Mason said smiling at me.
"You're the best boyfriend ev- I mean" I quickly opened the box to hide my embarrassing slip.
I looked down at the steamy goodness. "So what do you say?" Mason asked looking at me wide eye. I was confused by his question. "What are you.." I looked at the box again. The inside of the lid read in messy sharpie, "Alison will you be my girlfriend?" I grinned ear to ear. I rest my head on masons shoulders.
"Masonnn!" I said in a high goofy voice. That was one of the most creative sweetest things someone has done for me.
"So Al, will you be mine?" I nuzzled my face into his neck and whispered, "Yes Mason. Of course." He pulled out the tissue paper roll and rested it on my chest.
"What's this?" I asked pushing the pizza box back a few inches and picked up the roll.
"Open it." He said nudging me.
I sat up and started to unwrap the roll. A single red rose laid in the center. I smiled and brought it to my nose and smelled it. "This is beautiful, thank you mason."
"Read the card." He said sternly
I pulled the card off of the roses green steam and inspected it.
"Alison, you're so strong. Stay tough. -Claudia"
I took a deep breath and looked at the card. Inspecting every curve in every letter. Why? Why would she even bother?
I looked up to Mason, "How did you even get this?"
"I saw Claudia in the lobby downstairs. I didn't want her to come up uninvited and risk hurting you again."
Mason laid his hand on top of the mine that was holding the Rose. I gulped, "Good. I can't be around her anymore." I laid back into Mason and closed my eyes. His smell was so comforting I wanted to swim in it. Drown in his intoxicating scent.

My parents arrived the next morning before Mason did.
"Ready to go Al?" My dad asked picking up my box of books. A bag of ‘Get Well’ cards were in my mom's hand and I held my blanket and pillow.
"You guys can go down to the car, I need a moment."
My mom looked at me worried, "Are you feeling light headed? Should I call the nurse?”
I groaned, "Mom, just leave. Okay? Ill be right down."
With that she nodded and they both left the room. The room looked unfamiliar without all my tokens littering the walls. The beige cream walls reflected the sunlight. I looked out the window, I hadn't been outside in almost two months. The day was beautiful as if welcoming me back into the world. I pushed the window and it opened a small crack. A light breeze tickled my face. There was a small court yard below my window. In the field sat a nurse in all white and a small child with what looked like a buzz cut. Both of their backs were to me. Next to the child sat a huge brown teddy bear. “Lilith?” A familiar face looked up the two stories towards me. She looked so full of life. Her cheeks full of color. I could feel her happiness radiating through my skin. The small child waved rapidly up towards me. She then proceeded to point towards Leo and give a thumbs up. I smiled and a small happy tear slid down my cheek. The nurse rushed Lilith back inside for lunchtime and we both gave each other a final wave before she disappeared with the big teddy bear in tow behind her. I closed my eyes and smiled. Letting the fresh air soak me in. Lilith was alive and looked to be getting better! It was such a relief.
"How did I know you'd be doing that?"
I turned around and Mason leaned in the doorway smiling. He glowed. He wore his navy blue shirt and black jeans that clung tight in all the right places. "Hey, Love. I told your parents to go and said I'd drive you home."
I smiled. If only I could I'd be attached at the hip with Mason. I returned back to looking out the window. We were two stories up and the ground below was sprinkled with roads and trees. Mason came up behind me holding my waist and rested his head on my shoulder. I squeezed the pillow and blanket in my hands.
"I can't believe I'm finally leaving." I whispered putting my free hand on Mason's cheek. I closed my eyes as another sweet breeze rolled in. It smelled like strawberries.
"It's different seeing you in normal clothes. I like it." Mason whispered back swaying our hips in sync slowly.
I wore gray sweatpants and a baggy faded sweater that had to be at least five years old. The cancer was gone but my immune system would still be weak so I had to protect myself with a month or two more of pills and warm clothes. I didn't mind though. I just wanted to be home.
"So shall we?" Mason asked backing away and putting out his hand. I took it and smiled. "Stairs?" He asked as we reached the elevator and stair exits at the end of the hall. We both looked down at my fuzzy slippers. I had refused to wear normal shoes. I wanted to be comfortable! He smiled and guided me into the elevator. "I don't need you tripping over those things or sliding and breaking a foot now." Mason said winking at me. The doors slowly slid shut behind us.

I squeezed Mason's hand. I was nervous to make my arrival outside. I hadn't felt the sun on my skin in what feels like forever. Mason guided us through the lobby and stopped us before we made it through the door.
"Alison."
"Yes?"
"Give me your shoes?"
"Wa-? Why would I-"
"Just trust me!" Mason said, smiling. I slipped off my fuzzy slippers and handed them to him. My bare feet were vulnerable against the familiar cold surface of the hospital.
"And the blankets?"
I smiled and handed my luggage to him. Mason squeezed my hand and pushed the door open. I stepped out of the doors onto a small slab of concrete. I looked towards Mason. Mason nodded and I stepped into the grass releasing his hand. The dirt sunk between my toes and the grass tickled my ankles. I smiled and bent down to run my hands over the green sea. Before I knew it I was laughing.
This wasn't a fake laugh either. This was a real, tear rolling laugh. I laid in the grass laughing and Mason joined my side. We both looked at each other and started laughing. I pulled our heads together, our foreheads touching as we giggled like children and stared into each others eyes as tears streamed down both our faces. We didn't care who saw us. I was freed. I was free to live and love, free to actually accomplish something in my life. I had hope. Hope was all I needed.

Acknowledgements

A big thanks to my editor and friend; Rachael. YOUR GRAMMAR PROBABLY ISN'T THAT GREAT BUT AT LEAST IT’S BETTER THAN MINE. More thank yous to all the people that helped shape my life enough for me to be inspired to write about it. Special thanks goes out to the real Sebastian. Thanks for being such a tool! xoxo



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