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The Leukemia Diaries
A drum roll is a steady beat which bobbles along as we anticipate great happenings. Whether it be a parade or an award ceremony. But I hear that drum roll beating to my walk to my own funeral. No one ever expects to die young. So why should I? I lived a healthy life. President of the gardening club, straight A student, good kid. So why would I ever expect my doctor to tell me I have an overproduction of blood cells that are irregular or “trapped” in an premature phase of the growth development. Confused? So was I. Then he told me the ugly truth I had to live with.
“Valentine, I’m sorry to say but you have chronic leukemia.” I was only sixteen when I was told. So I, Valentine Carmichael, who had long brown hair and blue eyes with a nice smile hid behind pale pink lips and was five feet five inches, had a one in ten chance of surviving. I left the doctor’s office with my mom in a haze. I got into our blue SUV and buckled up. I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I wore my favorite yellow top with jean shorts and flip flops with my hair in a braid down my back. We drove through the town and all I could do was stare out my window. I thought about how many time I had taken everything in front of me for granted. Just the fact that I got to wake up every morning was now something I wanted to treasure. We arrived in front of the mansion we owned. My father was a rich business man and I knew that my parents were going to fight tonight over me. I knew my father would have the very best doctors in the nation treat me. I stepped out of the car and shut my door and stood there. How long did I have before I died?
“Valentine?” My mother called. “Will you come in?” I stood there and considered it.
“I think I’ll go for a walk. I’ll be back later.”
“Mom, just leave me alone.” I turned on my heel away from the blue mansion and walked into the forest surrounding my home. The trees were green and as the wind blew I could hear it giggling at the freedom it possessed. The sun was like a warm hug on my skin and I lost track of time as I walked. The air tasted fresh like nothing city air could ever taste like. Free of pollutants at least here it was. It smelled like pine and flowers and nature. The smell could never be properly described. I stopped walking across the uneven forest floor with fallen logs, flowers around mushrooms and towering trees. I had come to the one place no one could ever bother me. I looked up at the twin tree houses connected only by a bridge that wobbled when someone walked across it. They were basic square houses with windows and doors and decks. Inside there were chairs and bean bags with board games and books. Then a battery operated radio and candles. I moved and put my foot on the first rung of the ladder we had nailed into the one of the trees. When I say ‘we’ I mean my group of friends and I.
My girlfriends Libby, and Mirage then their boyfriends Castiel and Jade; then my boyfriend Nathaniel. Nathaniel had blond hair and golden eyes. Was about five foot seven inches and was the President of the Student Council. Libby had black hair and blue eyes that stood out against her usual black attire and was about five foot six inches. She was also in art club. Her boyfriend Castiel was the same height as Nathaniel, had red hair and green eyes. He was on the basketball team. Mirage was the smallest of our group at five feet four inches and had black hair with gray eyes. She was in the swing choir at school. Jade was in gardening club like me and had short green hair that looked good on him with cute green eyes and was five foot five inches. And with each step I took up the ladder I recalled all the good times we had. Playing ‘Rescue the Princesses’ when we were kids. Our own sleepover in the tree houses. The water balloon fights. The camping trip we just got back from. I pushed up the trap door to the deck and pulled myself up. I stood and closed the trap door with a sigh. I could see for miles around now. The tree houses were at the top of a hill and in the summer with white puffy clouds everything was beautiful. I moved around the tree house slowly letting my hand feel the wood. This was the girl’s tree house. It was been painted with pinks, purples, and yellows. I moved across the bridge and looked at the boy’s tree house with their dark colors like blue, green, and forest green. They made an army fortress. The girls made a palace.
I sighed and moved back to the trap door and let myself down. Once on the forest floor again I moved quietly past the tree houses and towards the small river that was deep enough to swim in. The water was slow like always and laughed playfully over the rocks and sand. I took off my flip flops and waded in to the cooling water. I stopped a knee height and faced down stream. I picked up a pebble out of the water and skipped it down the river. My mouth quirked when I hit five jumps. I was usually a horrible at this.
“Nice throw.” I turned to see Nathaniel walking towards me.
“Hi.” His hands were in his pockets and he wore sandals, tan cargo shorts, a white tank top and blue button down shirt that was open. His face told me everything. Mom had called him.
“So…” He began.
“So…” I answered back. He took off his sandals and joined me in the water. He wrapped his strong arms around me and I leaned into him and we swayed similar to a flower bending in the breeze. “Mom called you, didn’t she?”
“She’s worried about you. She didn’t know if she should leave you alone.”
“So she got the one person I would never turn away to come and be my protector?”
“Your knight in shining armor is always ready to come to the rescue.”
“I’m glad…What did she tell you?”
“Ah,” I nodded. “Does this change anything between us?” His arms tightened in a hug and he kissed my neck gingerly.
“Never. ‘Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful’. Do you remember where that’s from?”
“A Walk to Remember.” I turned around in his arms and hugged him. Finally my true feeling broke free. “Nathaniel, I’m scared. I don’t know what to do.” He tightened his grip on me and moved a soothing hand up and down my back. Behind us the sun was turning orange and commanded the sky to turn pink.
“I’ll be right here for you, Valentine.” He assured me. “Every step of the way.”
“Good.” He moved and tucked a finger beneath my chin to tilt my head up.
“Most people want to be the sun that brightens up your day, but I’d rather be the moon that shines down on you in your darkest hour.” Then he leaned down and touched his gentle lips to mine. After a few minutes we got out of the water and moved to the tree house. We laid down on the girls’ couch and covered up with the fleece blanket to keep us warm and before I knew it I fell asleep knowing I would be safe in Nathaniel’s arms.
Two Weeks Later…
I had a scare today. The biggest one yet. I was in my family’s state of the art kitchen with chrome appliances, wood counters and cabinets, tiled floors and sun lights. I had been fixing my little sister Emma a bowl of cereal for breakfast when I collapsed onto the floor unable to stand on my own and unresponsive to my little sister’s cries. She was only four and didn’t understand what was happening to me. Luckily she knew how to dial 9-1-1 and they came to rush me to the hospital. I woke up sometime that evening in the dark hospital room when Nathaniel came in. That night I will never forget.
“Hey,” He gripped my hand softly and sat down next to my bed.
“How are you?”
“I don’t know.” He got a serious look on his face.
“Valentine I have to tell you something. But you have to promise to be quiet and listen.” I nodded and squeezed his hand. “Remember the day we first met, in day care? Well ever since then I have watched you grow into a beautiful young lady and I love with all my heart. We’ve shared everything together. And now that you’re fading I don’t want to see your light go out when it burns so brightly in my world. So, I have to tell you. Valentine, I am a vampire.”
“What?” I was shocked. They didn’t exist. “What are you talking about?”
“Valentine, I’m a vampire.” Then I got mad at him.
“How can this be? You grew up with me! You didn’t think that was something that needed to be shared?”
“Shh, you’ll alert the nurses.”
“Answer me Nathaniel Alexander Steel.” He sighed.
“I knew you would be angry and I’m sorry I never told you before but being vampire is a closely guarded secret. I was born like you were like a normal baby and I could’ve stopped aging at any time. Now I talked to my parents and they told me it was your choice.”
“What do you mean?”
“Every vampire gets one turn. I can change one person into a vampire. And I want to change you. I don’t want to have to watch you die. It can only work if you’re willing. So will you let me turn you?”
I went home the next day. I was prepared for Nathaniel to come over and watch me while my parents went out reluctantly. My princess room in shades of pink was filled with scented candles and my canopy bed was lined with my stuffed animals I hardly slept with anymore. My sister was in bed and I went to her room and kissed her good night was tears began forming in my eyes. I would never see her again. I took a shower and made myself look pretty. I dressed in my best silk pajamas and called in Nathaniel. He wore black jeans, black tee shirt and black leather jacket with black shoes. We both knew what was going to happen and how it would affect us and everyone we knew. He sat on my bed beside me and kissed me. His hand caressed my cheek.
“You’re beautiful.” He took off his jacket and his shirt then Nathaniel brushed my hair back from my neck. He told me he would have to drink from me till I was almost dead before I would drink from him. After I drank from him I would fall asleep and to everyone else I would be dead. He promised to get me out of my coffin the night I was buried then we would go off together to his parent’s home in France. I asked if there would be marks on my neck from him and he said they would heal once I took his blood. This was it and I nodded for him to begin. Nathaniel started by kissing my neck so I didn’t even feel it when his fangs punctured my skin. As he drank I thought about the life I would leave behind but soon I couldn’t think at all. Nathaniel laid me down then pulled out a knife and cut a line on his collar bone then supported me while I drank like a mother would to her newborn baby. Then I fell asleep.
The next thing I remember was being lifted out of a mahogany coffin with pink silk lining and I wore a simple floor length white dress. Nathaniel set me on a blanket then returned my grave to an untouched state. As we drove away from my previous life he told me he had written a Will for me. Saying I wanted to be buried instead of cremated and everything I had would go to my sister. I felt sad I would be leavening all our friends and family but I felt hope that I would one day see my sister again. And I felt a happiness that I at least got to spend eternity with Nathaniel. He smiled at me when we stopped at a private airport a state over.
“I have a surprise for you.” His eyes twinkled with glee.
“What?” I heard my voice for the first time and it shocked me how crystal sweet it sounded. I could feel my senses start to become sharper. I could see particles in the air; smell the dirt on Nathaniel and the perfume on me. The taste of the air was much shaper and even with my heightened senses I still couldn’t name how wonderful the air tasted. When Nathaniel touched my hand it was like a shock. Then I focused my energy and I felt the chronic leukemia gone from my body. I smiled and Nathaniel smiled back. I leaned over and kissed him and he chuckled.
“Come on, you’ll want to see this. Then we can kiss.”
“Okay.” I pulled back and he showed me his vampire speed and zoomed around to my side of the car and opened the door. “We have super speed?”
“There are a lot of things we have that I can teach you.” He pulled me out and then cupped my face smiling. He kissed me like he hadn’t seen me for centuries rather than a few nights and I hear hooting and hollering behind us. I pulled back with a gasp and turned around. There were out friends. Castiel and Libby, and Jade with Mirage. They were all smiling.
“Welcome back.” They all said to me. I looked back to Nathaniel.
“We all are supernatural.” He walked us over with a hand around my waist. Everyone hugged me. Then I found out Libby and Castiel were werewolves. Jade was a sprite which was why he was so good with plants and Mirage was an Angel.
“I hate you guys!” I laughed.
“You don’t sound like it.” Libby laughed.
“I have time to be angry later. I’m just happy to see you guys.”
“Come on guys.” Nathaniel said. “We have to get to France and I need to get Valentine acquainted with being a vampire.”
“Yeah you’ll get real acquainted!” Castiel laughed and I blushed. Nathaniel led me onto our private jet then everyone followed. We took off and I stayed in Nathaniel’s arms. I guess eternity wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Washington, District Of Columbia
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