A/N: I have no experience with cancer and am just going based off of research. I hope you enjoy this chapter. Thank you so much for the reviews, favorites, and follows!
"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will."
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Emily helps walk Naomi's weak body to the car and drives back to the hotel. When they get there, Emily hands Naomi a glass of water and gives her a drop of her oil. Naomi lies down in bed, curling around Emily's body, and sleep comes instantly.
Meanwhile, Emily is wide awake. Struggling to pull herself from the relaxing warmth of Naomi's body, she leans up and kisses her forehead. She pulls her body from the bed and pads over to the small table and sits down. Her hands grasp the only book Naomi brought with her on the trip, Jane Eyre.
Emily continues reading, having started the book the day after the first night she picked it up. She can see a bit of Naomi in the book, and finds herself becoming thoroughly invested in the material, while also feeling closer to Naomi somehow.
The black sky pours its silent gloom through the window. Emily gets up to shut the curtains, taking a break from her book. Naomi is making groaning sounds and Emily turns to face her girlfriend. "Naoms?"
Emily rushes over to find Naomi awake and pale; when Emily reaches her side and goes to press her hand against Naomi's arm, Naomi vomits. Emily's looks down at her now soiled clothes and wraps her arm around her shoulder, after which Naomi throws up again on the floor.
Emily stands up and darts into the bathroom, pulling out a small trashcan and putting it on the side of the bed in which Naomi can continue vomiting. She curls her legs up as if in pain as she dry heaves into the trashcan, throwing up bile after having thrown up the remaining of her dinner.
"What can I do?" Emily asks desperately, rubbing between Naomi's shoulder blades.
Naomi pants and then dry heaves again, unable to answer Emily's question.
Emily grabs her phone from her pocket and punches in Effy's number, frantically pressing the phone to her ear. Effy answers on the first ring.
"Tell me you're coming home and that's why you're calling me at this hour," is the first thing out of Effy's mouth.
"I don't know if she can travel like this. She can't stop throwing up."
Effy curses under her breath. "Take her to the hospital, Emily."
Emily is breathing hard and her heart pounds against her chest. "Naomi, we need to get to the hospital."
Naomi raises her hand and shakes her head furiously as she throws up into the trashcan.
Effy knows without Emily having to tell her. "You need to press her on it. She needs to go. Put me on speakerphone."
"Naom, you need help. If you can't stop puking, they can give you something. I don't know. Some drugs. Please listen to me."
"No," Naomi chokes out with her head in the trashcan.
Emily gathers Naomi's hair with one hand and holds the phone with the other. "I'm sorry," she says, to Naomi and Effy, both. "I'm sorry if I was selfish. This is my fault. I wanted some time away from everything with you, but I can't escape this," Emily's voice breaks as tears well up in her eyes, "I know we can't. I'm sorry. I'm here. I won't run anymore. I'm here."
After one last dry heave, Emily cleans Naomi's mouth with a tissue and Naomi lies back on the bed, curled up in the fetal position, her face as pale as a ghost.
"Emily, get her to a hospital," Effy repeats.
"I can't! Fuck."
"Then call a fucking ambulance."
"I don't need the hospital, Effy," Naomi says weakly. "I'm fine."
"Like hell," Effy retorts.
"I just need to sleep, and then I'll be fine." Naomi's voice grows groggy. "This...has happened."
"Effy, I'll call you back when I figure out what to do," Emily says, and she can practically hear Effy's eye roll. "Bye." She clicks the phone call off.
Emily pulls off her vomited-on shirt and stuffs it into a bag where they put their dirty clothes. She climbs into bed with Naomi with Naomi's back against her and wraps her arm around her.
"Can I ask for something?"
Emily nods against her back. "Anything."
"I could really use a joint." Naomi laughs.
"Are you fucking kidding me? That's going to make you sicker."
"No...it won't. It'll make me feel better. Please. No spliff. Just a joint." She closes her eyes, hopeful.
Emily looks back and forth between Naomi and the sack of weed sitting against the table and relents, sitting up in bed and rolling a joint.
"It's just the chemo," Naomi says. "And Em. It's not your fault."
A tear slides down Emily's face as she presses the joint to Naomi's lips and Emily lights it for her. Naomi takes a long inhale and exhales, coughing violently.
"Naomi..." Emily says worriedly.
"I'm okay," Naomi says when the coughing dies down. "Emily. It's not your fault, and you're anything but selfish. I've had such a good time with you. And you gave that to me. Thank you."
Tears continue to roll down Emily's face and she presses her lips against Naomi's, kissing her gently. Naomi offers the joint to Emily and Emily takes it, taking a long drag before blowing out a cloud of smoke. She hands it back to Naomi. "Does that make you feel good?"
"Yes. It relaxes me, helps the nausea," Naomi answers, closing her eyes.
Emily runs her fingers through Naomi's hair, a sense of dread shooting through her when the hair falls out in her hand. She leans down and presses a kiss to Naomi's forehead. "I love you so much. If you need to go to hospital - tell me - please," she cries.
"No, Em," Naomi murmurs quietly. "It's a side effect, okay? I just need rest is all. I promise."
"We're leaving in the morning," Emily asserts.
"Let's stay. I know what I said, but I want to stay. I want to keep moving."
"Absolutely not," Emily says, dumbfounded. "We're going home as soon as possible. Don't argue with me."
Naomi grasps Emily's hand. Remembers when Emily had finally told her about her dream, in tears. "We're not through yet," Naomi whispers.
"No, we're not," Emily says, tears in her eyes. "We're just... taking a break. Then we can travel more, see more things, anything you like."
Naomi blinks slowly. "I'm not through yet."
"I know." Emily cries as she kisses Naomi's face. "You're gonna beat this. I know it."
"Fuck cancer," Naomi murmurs so quietly before she drifts off to sleep.
"Fuck cancer," Emily repeats to herself.
Naomi's got a blanket draped around her as she rests her head back against the headrest of the car, the seat dropped back a bit to allow her to lie down. She's feeling a little better since getting some sleep but the nausea still bothers her.
Emily's driving on the Havant Bypass towards Canary Wharf, London while Naomi puffs on a joint. It makes Emily slightly nervous, but Naomi assures her it makes her feel better, and who would Emily be to deprive her of that?
The sky is a dark blue, maybe an hour before the sun comes up. Naomi gazes out the window as the trees roll by with Passion Pit playing over the radio. They have an hour and a half remaining of their drive.
Emily has put her camera back in the case, put it away into her purse.
"Emily, why don't we go for a little detour?" Naomi turns towards her, her face pale. Emily glances over with a worried expression on her face.
"Yeah. When we make it to Leatherhead. I've always wanted to see the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty," Naomi says sarcastically, doing quotes with her fingers.
"No, Naomi... We can't."
"We can too."
Emily's eyes fill with tears. She curses silently, wipes them away furiously. "No." She presses her hand hard against Naomi's hand. "No, we can't. I'm - I'm sorry," she realizes the anger she's let slip her lips, "can I get us some food?"
Naomi's face softens and she rubs her hand gently along Emily's. "Cheese biscuit, yeah?"
Emily laughs and cries at the same time. "Yes. What will you have?"
"The same." Naomi is gazing at her lovingly, wanting to comfort her, take her into her arms, reassure her... everything's okay. "You're going to turn into cheese," Naomi just whispers with a smile on her face.
Emily squeezes her hand and smiles. "I know. I love you."
"I love you, too."