Chapter 56 - the beginning of the end

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POV Ethan

Two days later


When Mao is not feeling okay, I always know it. She can't hide it from me, it's like a super power that I have.

Even before I knew she had leukemia, I knew something was up with her, I had no idea what or how bad it really was, but I definitely knew she wasn't healthy.
She was too pale, too weak, she is a terrible liar and to be honest, I don't think she was trying her hardest to hide it from me or from anybody.

Sometimes you unconsciously want something and your body make sure it's noticeable, and sometimes you can't do anything about it.

It's like survival instinct.

And today, Mao was not feeling good at all. She threw up last night and couldn't get out of bed this morning. She is freezing, her skin is cold, she is not hungry or thirsty, she has no strength and I have never seen her this pale.
I know I always say that, but the more time pass, the more her complexion is becoming glassy.
This morning I had to help her take a shower, eat, take her medicine and everything. She was like a rag doll, her body was so sore that I had to carry her everywhere, she couldn't move by herself.

It's worse everyday, but today is the worst she has ever been.
Her pain killers doesn't work anymore, the pain is too much for her to handle. Her weak body is numb and she even cry without even noticing it.

It's horrible to watch, that's something I wish I would have never had seen. I'm not tough enough mentally to handle that, I'm not prepared... I thought I was but it was the biggest lie.

I am scared. I am so scared. But it's not the time to be weak. I have to keep my head up and handle the situation, I have to keep moving for her and make everything in my power to make her feel better and make her live the longest.

I'm not ready for her to leave. Not now, not today, not in Jersey.

Grayson knows, I called him earlier, asking him what I should do.
I needed to hear his voice, hear him say that is gonna be okay, that I got this, that I can do it.
I needed to know if he had the same plane as me, even if I knew he would. I still needed to hear it. Be sure I wasn't making a big mistake.

Gray was with Emma and they both agreed that I need to leave and bring Mao back to LA so she can go to the hospital her doctors are at. They think it's better this way because the doctors from the New York hospital don't know what's going on anymore. Her health changed a lot in a year and right now, Mao needs the better care she can find.

Gray, Emma and I, we don't want to take any risks. And even if Mao would have not agreed to this plan, she is unable to take decisions for herself now.
I obviously called her father and he said that I took the right decision, he said that if we manage to be in LA tomorrow it would be better and that he would meet us at the hospital.
I know he was trying to stay calm to not worry me more, he knew I was all alone in the other side of the country to take care of his daughter so he needed to make sure I would not mess anything up.

I'm so stressed. I have too many things to think about right now, the plane tickets, the ride to the hospital, keeping Mao awake, the six hour long flight that she has to handle, everything.


The next morning, after saying goodbye to my parents and after my dad dropped us at the airport, everything slowed down.

I spent the night planning everything, Cameron helped me finding a flight and I called Mao's father and asked him to call the hospital and let them know what was going on.

I didn't slept at all that night, too focused on checking if Mao was still breathing.
It's what I'm the most scared of. Waking up one morning and realize that Mao died while I was sleeping, that she passed and I didn't do anything to try to save her.

I would never forgive myself.

That's why I barely sleep lately. I'm so scared. All the time.

I'm scared to leave her, knowing that there's a lot of things she can't do alone anymore.

I'm scared to forget to hold her, catch in the moment, knowing she might fall at any second.

That's why I'm right next to her, ready to catch her.

This morning, Mao was able to walk by herself but still couldn't carry anything.

She didn't say anything when I told her we were leaving, I think she knew it was really really bad this time. She knew she couldn't stay in Jersey longer and that I needed to take care of her.

Once in the plane, she felt asleep right away, something she usually never does.
I was scared that she would not wake up, but I couldn't keep her awake indefinitely, she had to rest, her body was too weak at this moment.


"Are you okay, honey ?" I heard someone ask me.

I turned my heard to the right and it was the old lady that was sat next to me.
She had grey hair and small grey eyes surrounded with small wrinkles. Weirdly I found this very relaxing.
It was calm and neutral, it reminded me of the grey sky Mao is obsessed with. It reminded me of the opaque water and the light wind Mao loved. 
It reminded me of the calm that I had once in my life. The calm I want for the future and the calm I'm scared to never have.

"I'm- I'm okay." I lied.

But my voice cracked.

She smiled at me, understanding that this was serious and that I was scared.
She noticed Mao next to me and noticed our intertwined fingers. And, in a way, but I don't really know how, I think she understood what was going on.

"It's a beautiful girl you have next to you." She told me softly.

I closed my eyes.

"It's going to be okay." She said and squeezed my free hand in hers.

I squeezed her hands back, almost holding on to her, as if I was trying to stop myself from falling.

Her hands were very warm and her skin was a little rough because of age, but still comforting.

This simple act meant so much to me. She had absolutely no idea who I was, but she knew I needed support, she was there when nobody else was. And I am forever grateful for that.

"Let time do its job." She said, softly. "Life is too short to be sad or scared, kid. People leave when they have to, they stay when they can, it's not up to nobody."


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