The day I found out my little brother had lung cancer was the day I died inside. I was mad at the world. I hated the fact that my eleven year old brother had cancer. And I blamed my mother's boyfriend for it.
It was my mother's fault for finding her new boyfriend, Cade, who happened to be a heavy smoker. My brother got cancer at the age of eleven because he was a passive smoker.
That day I screamed a lot at my mother and Cade, blaming them. Greg was my only light and love of this dark household and they were taking him away from me. My full love is with Greg and Greg alone. Now it's shattered and I don't think I'll find the courage to love someone again.
Greg had to undergo a lot of treatments and chemo. When he started to lose his hair, I started to cry heavily. I didn't speak to my mom or Cade the day I found out my little brother was dying.
"Laila. You look tired," Greg said, looking up at me from where he lay against the pillows. I smiled widely and reached over and poked his nose.
"Nah, Greggy boy. I'm never tired. You know that, don't you?" I asked, grinning at him. I looked at him and tried to ignore the amount of wires taped to his arms, focusing solely on his wide brown eyes.
Greg frowned at me. "No you don't. You always look tired these days. Like a panda."
"Are you trying to say I'm fat?" I asked in mock horror. Greg laughed.
"Yes! Yes, I am!"
"Oh, you will get it!" I said, reaching over and tickling him. He laughed and tried to squirm away, tugging dangerously at the wires. I stopped tickling him and settled back down into my chair. Greg lay gasping, for a few minutes longer than a normal person. I watched him anxiously, twisting my fingers. Greg looked back up at me and smiled widely.
"Laila, I want some ice cream." He said. Pausing, I looked at the door and back at him, raising my eye brow.
"Are you allowed to eat ice cream?" I asked. Greg shrugged and his face fell. He looked away and I saw the sadness in his eyes. My heart broke.
"I know. We won't tell anyone you had an ice cream. Okay? It's our little secret!" I whispered, the only way to keep pain out of my voice. Greg turned to me, smiling brightly.
"What type do you want? Bucket or cone?" I asked, standing up and reaching for my purse. Greg thought about it for a minute.
"Bucket! Chocolate," he said. He smiled and looked so sweet that I took out my digital camera and snapped a picture of him. He just laughed, used to my obsession with photography.
I hurried out of the St. Brian's hospital and into the nearest candy shop. I tried to go through all the sweets there and be fast at the same time so I can spend more time with Greg. After a hasted but careful choosing, I bought all his favorite sweets and hurried out of the store. Thanks to my scurrying and not paying attention to where I was going, I bumped into a hard figure and fell down, spilling my shopping contents everywhere.
"Oh shit. Hey, I'm sorry. Are you okay?" asked a deep, masculine voice. I didn't bother looking up or answering the guy, instead just hurriedly picked up everything. The guy bent down and helped me pick up the stuff, catching everything I'd missed. I straightened, about to dash off when the guy caught my arm and spun me around to face him. Impatiently, I glared at him but was taken aback by how handsome he was.
He had hazel eyes with a mass of blond hair and high cheek bones and straight nose. Gorgeous guy. Too bad I don't have time to spend with him.
"Are you okay? I'm sorry I knocked you down." He said, frowning slightly. I tugged my arm out of his grasp, feeling shocked by the sparks ignited when he touched me but he just caught it again.
"What? No it's okay. I'm fine. Can you let go of me?" I asked, trying to pull away. The guy finally let go after staring intently into my eyes. I looked away, trying to ignore the butterflies in my tummy and hurried towards the hospital. Just as I reached the door, I wanted to internally kick myself for forgetting Greg's bucket ice cream, thanks to that spark guy. I spun around so fast, I nearly tripped and ran all the way to the nearest ice-cream truck. I ordered a medium bucket size, chocolate ice cream, paid the guy and dashed off again. Once I reached the third floor, I ran out of the elevator and was turning a corner when I bumped into someone and falling down again. The contents of my shopping back fell everywhere and my bucket ice cream rolled away from me.
"Ouch." I groaned, rubbing my head. Looking over to see if the other unfortunate person was okay, I was more than shocked to find out that it was the same guy I bumped into earlier. He was on the floor as well and was rubbing his forehead. He shook his head slightly and looked at me. I saw those beautiful hazel eyes widen in surprise and then he smiled.
"Hey again, stranger."
"Yeah. Hi." I said, getting to my knees and scrambling around,
grabbing my dropped things and looking like a blushing fool. "Are
you okay? I'm so sorry. I wasn't paying attention."
"Naw, it's all cool." He said, helping me again. He picked up the tub of ice cream and chuckled. "Are you having a sneak night? Or are you comforting a broken hearted friend?"
I blinked at him, pausing in surprise. I smiled slightly and dumped the things into the bag before straightening.
"No. This is for….a sick person." I said. The guy stood up and handed me the tub. I tried to take it from him but he wouldn't release it.
"Ah, really? That's nice. I'm Jerry, by the way." He said, winking at me. Still struggling to take the tub out of his grasp, I answered his questioning pause.
"I'm Laila." Finally Jerry released the tub. I took it and started to walk off again.
"By the way! I think you're beautiful!" He called at my retreating back. I froze. No guy has ever said that to me before. I turned and blushed, smiling anyways.
"Thanks, but I'm not interested! Bye." I called, turning and hurrying to Greg's room.
We then had a few hours of brother - sister time where we watched a movie, played games and just relaxed. Throughout the whole event, I spent majority of my time taking pictures of Greg. When it was time for me to leave, I wanted to break down and cry. Instead, I put on a brave face and smiled even though saying good bye to my little brother killed me.
The next day at the hospital, my mother and Cade visited Greg. I was sitting down next to him and holding his hand while Greg was busy laughing at a joke I told him. When he saw my mother and Cade, he smiled. I nodded once in their direction, never taking my eyes off our entwined fingers. I didn't want to deal with them at all.
"Laila? Sweetie?" My mom asked softly, putting a hand on my shoulder. I shrugged it off and pulled my chair away from her. There was silence. From the corner of my eye, I noticed my mother's hand shaking in mid air from where my shoulder had been. Though it stung me to treat her like this, it hurt even more that she and Cade were the reason Greg was sick and dying.
"G-Greg? How're you doing, baby?" My mother asked in a shaking voice. Greg squeezed my hand gently and then proceeded to answer her.
"I'm fine, mom. Hi Cade," he said cheerfully.
"Hey, little man." Cade's voice broke. Well, good for him. I heard from Greg who heard from mom that Cade had quit smoking the day he heard Greg had cancer. I couldn't understand why my mom wasn't mad at him. Wasn't he the one who was taking her son away from her?
Angry, I couldn't stand their chatter. I stood up, kissed Greg's forehead and turned to go. Greg reached out and grabbed my sleeve before I left his side.
"Where're you going, Lala?" He asked. My heart hurt just thinking that Greg will never call me by that nickname anymore.
"I'm just going to go for a bit of fresh air. I'll be back, okay?" I said, touching his cheek for a moment. When I left the room, I could feel both Cade's and my mother's eyes on me but I didn't look at them.
I walked out of the hospital and bought myself some hot coffee to calm my nerves. As I walked back into the hospital, I hit the stairs and was on my way to the door leading to the third floor when I heard a wail.
"No! I want to see him! He's sick and I miss him!" It was girl. A young girl maybe. Curious, I turned around and saw a pretty girl with blond hair and hazel eyes rush up the stairs.
"Oi! Kelley! Come back! He might have visitors!" a deeper, male voice called up. I heard a heavy thumping on the stairs and quickly back away from the door as the little blond girl, Kelley, opened it and ran in. I heard heavy breathing and knew that her chaser must've reached the top on the stairs by now. Turning around, I paused and smiled in welcome, butterflies in my tummy.
"Why. We meet yet again, Laila," Jerry said, grinning at me. I chuckled.
"Yes, we do."
"Have you by any chance….?"
"Seen your little sister, Kelley? Yeah. She just ran out," I said, opening the door and exiting as well. I heard Jerry follow closely behind me.
"So, who're you visiting?" I asked, conversationally as we stood outside the staircase door looking left and right for Kelley, but damn. That girl was fast; she was nowhere in sight.
"Kelley wanted to meet her friend….do you know where room 7…0…"Jerry paused, trying to remember the room number. I laughed. I took his arm and led him towards the doors starting with 70…
"I don't remember the door number. Maybe 706?" he said, unsure. I smiled.
"I can take you there, my brother's room is right next door." I paused, realizing that I had accidently said 'my brother'.
Jerry was quiet as we walked. He reached out and slung his arm around my shoulders. Too surprised to move away, I looked into his eyes…which were suddenly so close to my face.
"I'm sorry. Your brother…?"
"He has lung cancer. Passive smoker," I explained. Jerry squeezed my shoulder sympathetically.
"Kelley's friend also has lung cancer." He said. In silence, we walked on until we reached room 706. Just as we were about to knock, we heard Kelley's high voice in the room next door. Greg's room. In surprise, I hurriedly opened the door and saw Kelley sitting on the chair I usually sat on and holding Greg's hand. She smiled at me and stuck her tongue out at Jerry. Greg wrinkled his nose at me.
"Is he your new boyfriend?" he asked. I realized with a jolt that Jerry's arm was still around me. Blushing, I pulled away from Jerry. My mother and Cade's eyes shot to me and Jerry as Greg spoke.
"It can't be. Jerry likes the clumsy girl." Kelley said, frowning. Confused, I looked at Jerry. If he had a girl friend, he better not do stuff like this. Jerry blushed, looking utterly adorable.
"Clumsy girl? No way. Lala is prettier than any girl her age." Greg said, shaking his head. I felt a swell of pride and adoration rise for the little boy. I felt Kelley assess me.
"Yeah, she might be." Kelley narrowed her eyes for a moment and then grinned brightly. "Jerry! Is this the very pretty girl who bumped into you twice yesterday?"
I blushed and I had a feeling Jerry was blushing too.
"Well, what do you know? Laila and Jerry are dating!" Greg said in a loud voice. If only. But my heart couldn't take it. I haven't got any love to spare….if Greg goes, I might not love again.
"No! No, no, no! We're not dating!" I said, trying to contradict them. From the corner of my eye I saw Jerry's face drop a little.
Jerry and Kelley stayed longer than necessary and introduced themselves to Cade and my mother. While the kids chatted, Jerry and I got on like house on fire. We even exchanged phone numbers. Before they left, Jerry pulled me to the side wanting to talk to me privately.
"Listen, Laila, if you need someone to talk to, I'm here for you. Got it?"
I nodded, touched by his remark. I thought I'd never have to call him because Greg was going to get better.
Boy, was I wrong.
Greg didn't get better. He got sicker and sicker every day. He had fainted a few times and was on the edge of life. I couldn't bear to lose him and I didn't dare believe the horrible truth. Greg was dying and there was nothing I could do about it. Once Greg started showing signs of getting sicker, I called Jerry, unable to contain it anymore. He came over immediately and was the shoulder I cried on. I realized I fell in love with Jerry as time flew by and Greg got worse every day. I hated myself. I was busy falling in love while by dearest brother was dying. Jerry confessed to me in front of Greg who was so happy he started laughing and couldn't stop grinning. When I told Jerry that my feelings were mutual, Greg was over the top. A few days after that, it seemed as though Greg was recovering.
The night Jerry had I had our first kiss, Greg died.
I was more than depressed. I wouldn't leave my room and spent majority of my time crying. The next day, Jerry came to visit me. His eyes were red, he had been crying. We sat in silence, just holding each other. Finally Jerry reached into his pocket as gave me a letter. I looked at him in confusion.
"Kelley said that it was from Greg. She said that he told her to give this to you after he died."
I leaned up and kissed Jerry lightly on the lips and then turned to my letter. I opened it carefully and pulled out the paper in the envelope. When I saw Greg's neat scrawl and silly doodles, I started crying again.
Ever since I read that letter, I've been happier. I no longer cut myself off from the world. I let myself love again, giving all my love to Jerry. Kelley had a letter especially addressed to her as well. She never showed a sad face and no matter how many times Jerry asked her what Greg put in her letter, Kelly refused to tell him. Life went on. Greg was always with me. In time I managed to forgive my mother and my new father, Cade. That's right. My mother and Cade got married and were thinking about getting a few more kids, given that my mom was still young and healthy. Years later, Jerry proposed to me and I accepted. Now, in our house, a collage of Greg hung on the wall so that we never forgot him. Kelley also grew up and gotten her first boyfriend. She said that her first love was the best. After a lot of nagging from both me and Jerry, Kelley caved in and told us that she had loved Greg since she met him and in his letter, he had shown that he also loved her. Even though they were 'just friends', their love for one another was sweet and pure. Just like Greg.