Chapter 63 - nightmare

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POV Grayson

*

After Ethan dropped Mao at her apartment, he came right back home. And this is actually going to be the first time in over four weeks, the first time since he left for New-York.

I'm so worried about him and about Mao. They kinda stayed alone at hers or at her father's boat, I barely saw them and I really miss them.
I was talking with Emma this morning and she said the same, she misses Mao a lot. She also said that they needed time to themselves, they needed to be there for each other and that it wasn't against us. Emma said everyone would probably have done the same, and I agree with that. I'm not angry at Ethan for spending that much time with Mao. I know at first I was weird about it, but then I understood. Then I realized that I, myself, would have probably done the same thing.

Also, even if they didn't told us, I think we all know that Mao didn't came back from the hospital because she was feeling better.
I think we all know she is slowly disappearing, leaving us behind. Leaving e behind.

James talks a lot about it.

I think he needs to, in order to not keep that in his heart and let it eat him alive. Because that's something he has a hard time accepting. Even if nobody really accept it.
But James is really not familiar with death or separation. So in a way, he doesn't know how to handle it.

The other day he told me «It's Mao and Ethan, not just Ethan. It's the girls, not just Emma.» And that hit me like a truck.

He was right.

Ethan without Mao was something that sounded wrong. Our squad without the girls sounded wrong as well.

Everything sounded wrong without Mao.

*

When he finally opened the front door and let himself in, it's like Ethan didn't saw me.

He walked right pass me, without a word, without even looking at me. And the worst thing is that I think he haven't done it intentionally. He really didn't saw me.

His mind is somewhere else.

He looked sad. Extremely sad.

And I thinking about it, I can't remember the last time I saw him laugh. Or even smile.

He looked tired and much more thin that two weeks ago. I think he lost at least six pounds, maybe more. Mao told me that she tried to make him eat, sleep and workout at the hospital. But she said he never listened to her, always telling her that he was okay when he was obviously not.

Mao thinks it's her fault. She thinks her cancer is making Ethan sick, as weird as it sounds. And even if I keep telling her that she did nothing wrong, she don't listen. She told me she should have died earlier, before even meeting us. But the truth is, I'm so happy we met. Because even if sometimes it's hard, she's the best thing that ever happened to us.

She's my family, she will always be.

*

"Ethan." I called him before he locked himself in his room, where I knew I would never came out of.

He stopped walking, but stayed still, his back facing me, and didn't turned to look at me.

"Ethan, are you okay ?" I asked, but I obviously already knew the answer.

"Yes." He said.

I shook my head, even if I knew he couldn't see me.

"No." I said.

And I saw him slowly lowered his head, probably closing his eyes as well.

I made my way toward him and put a hand on his shoulder. They were tense and not as broad as they were before.

"You know I'm going to be there for you, right?" I asked him.

He said nothing but gently put his hand over mine, hanging on to me.

And we stayed like that for a long time. I don't exactly know how long, but at that moment I didn't cared. He was there, in front of me, so vulnerable, so broken, and the least I could do was showing him that I was there.

I look at him and even if I can't see his face, I know him by heart.
He is sad. Frustrated. Angry, for sure. Scared.

"It's everywhere..." Ethan whispered suddenly.

I frowned.

"What's everywhere?" I asked him, confused.
"The tumors." He just said. "The tumors, they're everywhere. Her body is like a blooming flower, it's decomposing slowly." He whispered the last part.

I closed my eyes.

No...

I knew it was bad, but deep down I think I was too scared to think about it. I think I refused to think about it.

This is a nightmare.

And it keeps going and going and going.

And it never stops.

"Mentally, how is she doing? Is she afraid?" I asked Ethan.
"She's okay. He said. "She is scared, obviously, but I think she wants to die, a little bit."

I closed my eyes.

I slowly slid my arm around Ethan's neck and hugged him from behind, my forehead pressed on the back of his neck.

Nothing can prepare you for that.

It hurts.

It hurts so bad.

It hurts so bad

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