2018

This was the most excruciating pain Joe had felt yet. Doubled over in his hospital bed, he clutched the plastic kidney dish the nurse had given him, and gagged as acid tasting vomit projected from his sore throat, and spraying downward. It was humiliating, as well as gross, and uncomfortable. His stomach lurched, gurgling, as he gagged as hated that another mouthful of vomit came up. Fearing the kidney dish might overflow, he tried to slow himself down, but Nancy, his daytime nurse came over and just like a magician, switched the dishes smoothly without even hesitating. Holding a fresh empty dish, Joe blinked up at Nancy, eyes watering with pure exhaustion. He had been raised to be polite, and wanted to thank her, but another awful wave of nausea spun around him, as he leaned down, gave. a dry heave, before enough splatter of vomit came up. Feeling as if he had voided everything, he sat there, slightly hunched over the dish before finally Nancy's comforting hand patted on his back of the T-shirt he was wearing.

Nancy, along with several other nurses had been looking after Joe for the past few months. Some had worked downstairs at the clinic, others like Nancy worked up here and reminded him much like his mother. All ranging from their early twenties, to being middle aged. All beyond comforting, sweet, and there for him despite how embarrassing times like this were. Still, every night he prayed thanking God for all of these wonderful doctors, nurses, and orderlies that had been taking such great care of him.

He knew it wasn't always the easiest way to get through bad days like this, but prayer had honestly helped him from spiraling into a deep dark depression knowing very well that by this time next year...he would be gone.

He had made peace with these facts but he knew his loved ones were struggling with this. At age twenty-three when he was supposed to have his whole life ahead of him, he had been sat down a few months ago and Dr. Green, his doctor who had been treating him since the very beginning had simply sighed, and without tiptoeing around it, he simply sighed, shook his head and said the treatments hadn't worked. That the cancer had spread, and even if they tried another course of treatment, it might buy him an extra month or two tops. Joe remembered vividly this morning. How he sat back speechless, feeling as if somebody had thrown a bucket of ice cold water over him. He remembered the shouts right beside, and how quickly things became heated as shouts, cries, and even accusing swears being shouted before finally Joe hung his head down, before gathering the person sitting beside him in his arms, squeezing him tight, feeling the struggles against his arms as they swore, trying their hardest to pull away, before finally they gave up, and began sobbing against him.

This was a sad harsh reality that despite the treatments, medication, and prayers simply didn't mean anything. He was dying. Now here he was, his once signature dreads cut off once his hair had begun to thin at the beginning of his treatments. Now his hair was cut short, the style wavy, and thinning. He still remembered when Sam and Blaine visited shortly after he had that done, and how amusing their stunned expressions were by their widening eyes. Blaine reassured him that it looked wonderful. That it looked clean and healthy. Sam meanwhile, honest and naive as always, just kept staring that it looked different.

No in a bad way...just different. Nancy handed him a small paper cup of water.

"Rinse and spit honey."

She said as he took the paper cup and swooshed the water in, before spitting in the same plastic dish that Nancy took away, before handing him a small lifesaver mint. These are truly been a huge help. A horrible side affect to his treatment were developing painful sores in the inside of his mouth. He found himself constantly sucking on these mints to settle his stomach, and usually they helped with his breath after he threw up countless times. Smiling gratefully at Nancy he thanked her before popping the mint in his mouth.

"You're wife just got in, you wanna see her?"

Nancy asked as she took care of the plastic dish he just gave her. Smiling weakly, he nodded.

"Yeah...that would be great."

Nancy smiled leaving the room. Sitting there, Joe sighed, reaching over to the side table and took a sip of water. He figured he might chew on some ice chips to try and settle his stomach. Pressing the button on the hospital bed to go into a sitting position. Just then, his wife of the past five years walked in. She was slightly flushed, her blond nearly white hair styled in a loose messy ponytail, showing her beautiful clear face. She wore light jeans, and a button down white blouse, her giant bag thrown over her shoulder as she hurried in. Instantly the second she saw him, she raised an eyebrow.

"What's wrong?!"

She hurried over, dumping her massive bag into a chair that sat on one side of the hospital bed as she hurried over, closely staring at him with suspicious eyes. Faintly he could spell her perfume, peaches. It was her signature scent, and it drove him absolutely wild. Today with the thin sunlight spilling in through the hospital window, she looks absolutely stunning. After all this time being with her, she still made his heart hammer in his chest like the first time he laid eyes on her all those years ago back at school. Joe tried to fake a smile and shrug, hoping the mint he had in his mouth was masking the smell of vomit. Still, his wife narrowed her eyes, closely staring at him before she reached and felt his forehead.

"You feel warm..."

"I'm fine, how was traffic?"

He tried to switch the subject, before she sighed, looking displeased before she sat herself down on the edge of his bed.

"Were you unable to keep breakfast down? I can get you a protein shake..."

Joe smirked and shook his head.

"I'm fine baby, honest. Now Rachel texted me, she said she's going to be visiting next week and wants to get together with you..."

His wife's eyes went down to Joe's lips.

"Joe..."

Before he could say another word, his wife leaned down and wiped his lips with her thin finger, the sunlight catching her diamond ring, sending small rays of light against their faces as she sighed, brow wrinkling as she brought up her hand and stared down.

Blood. It wasn't a lot, but enough. It usually happened when he strained himself after throwing up, or when the sores in his mouth were flaring up. He saw her staring at it, and instantly his heart broke. He hated being the reason why she looked like this. It was the same heartbroken devastated look he saw in her eyes when the doctor announced that he was in fact dying, and now all they could do was make sure he was comfortable. The same look whenever he had bad days, and she seemed absolutely terrified.

The same look in her eyes when they lost their little boy less than two years ago.

"Quinn...it's nothing..."

Quinn continued staring down at the blood, before she sighed, grabbing a tissue from the same table that held his water, and wiped the blood away. Joe knowing he needed to think fast, sat up straighter, before shrugging.

"Probably just a sore in my mouth, just gotta drink some water..."

He reached and took his cup, sipping it. Quinn closely watched him, before he put the cup down, and loudly smacked his lips to get her to smile.

"See? All better."

He stared at her, before Quinn cracked a small smile, something she seemed to be doing less and less of lately. Smiling himself, he lifted her tiny hand, and kissed her knuckles, making her giggle. It was bad enough she had lost a child all ready at this age, but even worse he would make her a widow by the end of the year.

Together in silence, they continued staring at each other as thin sunlight continued to drift in through the window.