Monday, July 1, 2013

Lengths For Love by CS Patra

Chapter 2
From that point on, I visited her whenever I could and stayed as long as possible. She spent most of her time in bed now, so I decided not to do anything big. Whatever vampire-related thing she wanted to do, I would do it without fail. Sometimes all we could afford to do was talk all night. It worked for me. By then, my exams were over and I was ready to help her with anything else.
Yet I didn’t know what was happening with her cancer. I wasn’t sure when she was going to start chemotherapy or if she had even started it. She wasn’t telling me very much about the treatments or the illness. At first, I figured she was just embarrassed by it, but she never felt like bringing it up. Worst of all, I had not heard anything from her family. I had no idea if they even knew she was sick. Who was driving her back and forth from the clinic? Who looked after her at night? Why did no one come around while I was there? To make matters worse, her stress was giving me stress. I would look in the mirror and notice the same skinny black-haired, brown-eyed guy that I had always known. The difference was that he was worn out.
I kept my silence about the whole thing until that night, when we had a date. It was our first date since her exams started. Alexis was feeling well enough to go out. I made my way to her dorm room and found her sitting on the bed again, reading the rest of her book. She was in her pajamas and looked surprised to see me.
“Ian, I had no idea you were coming,” she said.
“Well, of course I’m coming today. You said I could. You ready to go?” I asked.
“It’s a date night, isn’t it? I completely forgot.” She closed her book. “Oh, I’m sorry. I swear I’ll get better at remembering things.”
“Ah, don’t worry about,” I sighed, sitting down with her. “I can wait for you. Is there any place in particular you want to go?”
“Not really,” she admitted. “We should just get pizza and a movie and stay in here. You can always rent ‘Interview With a Vampire’ again.”
“You have the movie, babe. You have every vampire movie ever made.”
She rolled her eyes. “Okay, fine, you choose something.”
“How about that vampire documentary that you taped some time ago?” I suggested. “We don’t have to rent it and we’ll just get them to deliver the pizza here. We’ll have your favorite: mushrooms and red peppers.”
“Delicious. You know what I love, Ian.”
I ordered the pizza while she popped in the movie. For the next hour, it was just the two of us. We sat and ate in silence, not sure how to break the ice between us. Alexis kept looking up at me like she wanted to say something, but no words came out of her mouth. It was as though she was afraid. I decided to give her a little help and see what I could pull from her.
“You know, I wish you didn’t have to go somewhere else for better treatment,” I said. “I don’t see why they can’t do it here.”
“These doctors are good, but they aren’t the best,” she explained. “At this point, I want the best. I want a chance at living. My parents aren’t upset with me going away. I wish they could be here to help me with this, but it’s impossible at this point. Work, money... all that’s getting in the way. It’s going to cost a lot in terms of medical bills and I can’t stand it. I don’t care if I only get one more year or even six months of life. Heck, I’ll take two more months of living. That’s more than enough for me. But so far, no one can predict that much.”
“So you think that if you go away, someone can tell you?” I felt the pit in my stomach getting larger. I did not like where the conversation was headed.
“Ian, remember what you told me back in the day? That you’d go to any length for love?” she began, picking up her plate and dumping it in the trash.
“Um, yeah. What about it?”
That had been a big mistake on my behalf. Not the question to ask. I knew what Alexis knew—there was no way we were going back to the way we were. Even if Alexis had six months left, it would not feel the same. We would not be able to go everywhere we wanted or do everything we had left to do. I could keep hoping and wishing things would change, but I had hoped and wished she would get better, and that didn’t happen.
“There’s not much you can do,” she said, taking my hand and squeezing it. “I want to have hope, Ian. I’m desperate for anything that can take this cancer out of me. I’ve started my chemo, but it hasn’t done much. Sure, I just started, but I don’t feel like it’s going to help no matter how many times I take it. At least not the treatment here. I’ve got to face the fact that I’m dying. However, it doesn’t mean I’m out of options.”
“Not out of options? You mean there’s a cure?”
“Not exactly. But it will fix what was broken.”
I took a step back when I saw her eyes. I knew that look; she got it whenever she was scheming. That look had never been my best friend. One way or another, I was going to get roped into something I would hate. Still, I was curious. She knew that would get to me and I’d want to know everything. Damn, Alexis. I needed to have less weaknesses for her to manipulate.
“Do you remember,” she began, “what you said to me when I first found out I had cancer? Do you remember the promise you made?”
The promise. Oh God, the promise. Still, I held in my disappointment and nodded. “How can I forget? Those words came from my mouth, right?”
“You said you would do anything for me. Come hell or high water, you’d give me anything I wanted.” She nodded to the magazine on the table. “Bring that over and turn to page fourteen. Look at the ad and tell me what you think.”
I took the magazine and started flipping through it. I found a ton of vampire-related items, from clothes to statues to inappropriate-looking objects before getting to the page she wanted me to see. “I knew this was going to bite me in the ass. So what’s the new vampire thing you want?”
“The Vamporium.”
“The who?” I looked at the ad she was pointing to. There was rather nicely drawn house with the words, AUGUSTIN MANSION WELCOMES ALL written underneath. Then underneath that was the following:
From Here to Eternity, You Will Find Where You Belong
I stared at it and at the numbers and emails to reply to. The place was in Vienna, Austria, which was definitely not next door. The drawing of the house was nice and I guessed that the slogan was catchy, but I had no idea what this had to do with anything. This was Alexis’ last request? She wanted to go to this place in Vienna? Unbelievable. It was much more simple than I expected.
“Sure, babe, I can take you,” I said. “Once you get through with your treatment and I can get through this next semester, we can take a trip to Austria and visit this place. It’s not exactly what I think about when I think of Vienna, but okay. I can pay for the trip myself.”
Alexis chuckled. “I don’t want to visit this place, Ian.”
“Oh? Then why show it to me?” I kept reading the line from the ad. From Here to Eternity, You Will Find Where You Belong. Huh. I had to admit that it caught my eye, so kudos to them for that.
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Genre – Supernatural / Romance / Fiction
Rating – PG13
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