60: How to Succeed

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She goes to the theatre on the day she told him she would come. He has the second lead, as a sort of villain. The show is a comedy, which makes her laugh even harder when his character is compared to himself. 

At the end of the show, she meets him outside the room with the rest of the cast. She tells him that she loved it and explains about what's been happening the past year. She purposefully doesn't bring up the cancer. 

"So, um, you emailed me..." he starts. “You said you... have cancer?"

She stares at the floor. "Yeah. They diagnosed me last year."

His face puts on a grim expression and he just nods. "I have regretted not continuing my cancer research many times, and this is one of those times."

She laughs, in a way that makes it sound like she could be crying if no one was looking. "It's not your fault! You're right. There are so many other brilliant people working on it now. It's not like you were the only person who could have cured it." She nudges him jokingly. "So stop blaming yourself!"

He laughs a little and nudges her back. The mood finally lightens as the siblings jokingly fight. 

But, of course, the mood inevitably must become depressed once more.

"If mom could see us now," Jayson laughs. 

"I... I never told you about mom, did I?"

His expression becomes serious. "No, you didn't. What's going on?"

Autumn gets it over with. "She left a note one day. A few days after we found out I had cancer. It basically said she didn't want to watch me suffer, and that she hoped I'd forgive her for doing 'this,' whatever that means. I don't know. But she's not here."

He stares at his shoes. "Oh."

Autumn gets an idea. "Hey, you know, I live alone in our house now. Would you like to move back in? I think I'm the only family member left, and I know who you are. You don't have to hide anymore!"

He meets her eye, and she looks at him expectantly. 

He hesitates. "I... I would love to. Really. But I'm happy here. I have an apartment, in an area where I have a job I can always audition for. Thank you, though." He smiles weakly. 

She tries to make a joke of it. "Aw, I was hoping I would have someone to do all the chores!" she laughs a little. "It's okay. I understand. Just thought I'd offer."

His smile broadens. "Thanks, sis."

She hugs her brother, loving the idea of having one to hug. 

She lets go of him as she remembered something else she came to do. From her bag she pulls a chocolate chip cookie. 

"Oh! I brought you this, because who doesn't love cookies?"

He laughs and takes it from her, patting her head with a prim and proper expression. She giggles. 

After speaking a while longer, she heads home and sits on the couch with a book. She finishes it and then starts the sequel, finishing it and the last book in the series by 2am. 

She closes it, internally fangirling. She logs her progress, noting that she still needs to read 250 books, and she'll have read one thousand.

She sits on the floor and daydreams. 

She doesn't remember falling asleep. 

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