Hey guys! So, it's taken me a lot longer than expected to write this chapter; I've been in a bit of a rut lately, lacking inspiration and self-esteem about this fic and my writing in general; kinda sucky...
Anyways, this chapter hasn't really come along as planned; I'm actually dividing it into two parts. After writing this part, I realized it was getting pretty long in comparison to my other chapters, so I'm going to continue this plotline with a Part 2 that I'll start writing ASAP! Unfortunately, I don't know if you guys will find this chapter very compelling, it's pretty much just a lead up to Part 2, so that is why I'm going to try to get the next part up very soon...
Before I sign off, THANK YOU guys for all of the support I've been receiving. Every review I've gotten has completely made my day; from critiques to compliments, I wholly appreciate them all! Thanks again and enjoy Part 1 of this chapter! :)
Present-day, a Sunday night.
Eliza glanced over at the clock, glowing dimly on the bedside table. It read 11:30 PM. Exhausted, she looked over at Angie in bed next to her, sleeping peacefully. She had had trouble falling asleep ever since her diagnosis two weeks ago, so Eliza had been staying with her each night until she could sleep.
Getting up from the bed, Eliza gently kissed her daughter on her forehead before leaving the room and silently shutting the door behind her. She walked down the dark hallway towards her and Alexander's room, peeking into Philip's room along the way. With his nightlight faintly illuminating the room, Eliza saw her son lying still, snuggled up under his duvet; it was now November and the nights had begun to feel cooler and cooler.
Closing his door, Eliza proceeded to her room, enveloped in darkness. She walked past her sleeping husband into the bathroom, quickly washing her face, brushing her teeth, and weaving her long dark hair into a single braid.
Then she made her way into the bedroom, climbing under the soft sheets of the bed, feeling Alex wrap his arms around her as she laid down. He mustered a groggy "G'night babe, I love you" and Eliza grinned, replying with an "I love you too". Placing her hand atop Alexander's, Eliza let her eyes fall shut, quickly drifting off to sleep.
The next morning, Eliza and Alexander awoke to the sound of their alarm clock. It was very early, the sun had yet to filter through the thin curtains. Eliza drowsily snoozed the alarm; she was anything but a morning person. On school mornings, Alexander usually would wake up Angie, then make breakfast and coffee, letting Eliza sleep in a few minutes more. But this morning, she knew she had to get up.
Alex, always wide awake in the morning, whispered an encouraging "Honey, it's time to get up" to his wife. Eliza knew she must, but it wasn't just the fatigue keeping her in bed.
Two weeks ago, their world was turned upside down, but life somehow managed to proceed as normal. Alexander still went to work, Angie still went to school, Philip to preschool. It was like a dark storm cloud looming over them; they knew the clouds would soon open up, pouring down harsh rain, but for now, it was just the thunder, warning of imminent demise.
Today though, was the start of Angie's first chemotherapy treatment, and Eliza knew that no one in their household wanted to take on today. But she knew they must, so she grudgingly swung her legs over the side of the bed, getting up and going into the bathroom.
While Alex pulled his long hair back into a tame ponytail at his sink, Eliza splashed cold water on her face to wake up at her own. After toweling her face off, she felt Alex's hands on her shoulders, his face coming around to kiss her on the cheek.
"I'll go and get Angie up, how about you start the coffee?" Eliza suggested, resting her hand on Alex's cheek.
"Of course" Alex responded, going in for another kiss, this time on the lips. They both knew this early morning affection was a front. The kisses and tenderness were both their ways of staying strong, pretending like their worlds weren't falling apart.
As Alexander headed downstairs, Eliza walked to Angie's room, opening her door and turning on the lights. Angie groaned, pulling the covers over her head, the light hurting her eyes. Walking over, Eliza sat on the edge of her bed, gently pulling the comforter down. "Come on Angie, it's time to get up. We can't be late, love" Eliza murmured, caressing Angie's hair.
Angie, sitting up, tiredly rubbed her eyes and then looked at her mother with fear in her eyes.
"I'm scared, Mom, really scared," Angie said in a small voice.
"I know, I know Angie" Eliza replied, tenderly embracing her daughter. "This is a scary time. But this is the first step towards getting you better, and you are so brave and strong Angie. You can do this, I know you can, my sweet girl".
Angie, a little more relieved from her mother's words, sat still in Eliza's arms for a few moments more before getting up from the bed.
"Angie, how about you make your bed and get dressed and then come on downstairs for some breakfast, ok?" asked Eliza, heading out the bedroom door.
"Got it" Angie affirmed, pulling the comforter tightly over her sheets. Before long, she was all ready, grabbing the duffel bag that she and Eliza packed just a few days earlier. She would have to spend three weeks in the hospital, the longest that she'd ever been away from home.
Taking a deep breath from the doorway, Angie took a last look at her room before flipping the light switch and heading downstairs.
Going into the kitchen, Angie set her bag down and made her way over to the island where Alexander stood, sipping his coffee.
"Hey bug," greeted Alexander, using the affectionate nickname he had for his daughter. He slid a bowl of oatmeal towards her. Angie swirled the spoon around the bowl, obviously reluctant to eat.
"Come on Angie, you've got to get some food in you" Alex pleaded while pouring himself another cup of coffee.
"I'm too nervous; I've got butterflies in my stomach," Angie uttered quietly, staring down into the bowl.
"Oh bug, I know, and that's ok. But you've got to eat, so just eat half of it for me, please".
Slowly but surely, Angie got through her breakfast, and before long, Eliza entered the kitchen with her purse and keys in hand.
"Angie, we should get going. Do you have your bag?"
"Yup, right here" Angie responded, picking up the duffel.
Alexander, trying to hide the fear and sadness in his face, wrapped Angie into a tight hug, hearing her whisper a tiny "I love you" to him.
"I love you too, bug" Alex replied, letting her go from his embrace. "I have to take Philip to preschool this morning, but I'll meet you and Mom at the hospital later".
"Sounds good," said Angie, mustering up a half-hearted grin.
"Speak of the devil," Alexander chuckled, hearing little feet pitter-pattering down the stairs. Philip, always an early riser, rushed into the kitchen and seeing his family, toddled around, happily hugging each of them around the legs. Eliza picked him up, and he laid his head on her shoulder, inevitably still a little groggy.
"Pip, remember when Daddy and I told you that Angie is going to have to stay at the hospital for a little while?"
"Uh-huh," Philip nodded in response.
"Well, Angie and I are about to leave now, so give your sister a big hug. You'll be able to visit her soon, but it will probably be a couple of days."
Letting Philip down, he grasped Angie tightly. She lifted him up, pressing a kiss on his cheek.
"Bye-bye Angie!" Philip happily babbled, grinning toothily at his sister as he hugged her.
"Bye-bye Pip. I'll see you soon, ok?" Angie replied, hugging her little brother back before setting him down.
Opening the door to the garage, Eliza and Angie got into the car, promptly driving off towards the hospital. At that moment, all of the family, except Pip, maybe, had fear and anxiety stricken in their hearts over what their future would hold.
Thanks for reading; I hope to have Part 2 up soon!