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Brielle has always been a tad bit peculiar, strange. She is twenty-eight years old and has been dancing ballet forever. However, during a routine check, something shows up. Something that isn't good. More tests are done, and the doctors can only tell her one thing; cancer. It's in her blood and her lungs, a consequence to the years of smoking that her parents went through starting the day she was born.

Her cancer doesn't only bring her morning sickness, hair loss, it also brings her friends. Old friends she used to be in contact with, but also new ones, Anthony. Anthony, a young boy visiting his sister in the hospital, the person who becomes one of her best friends in the year she has been battling at that time. The two of them get involved, knowing the risks damn well, but they fight. The harder they fight for their relationship, the more she gets confronted with her illness, that seems to be everywhere.

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1. Prologue ||

Tell her she is all that's beautiful
Tell her everything's my fault
Tell her this is not what I had planned
Tell I am moving on

Tell her love will come around, someday

 

Noon had fallen over Rosewood, the sun barely peeking through the thick clouds. Brielle wished that she could be out there, instead of in the hospital for her usual checkup, but she had no choice. Whether she wanted to or not, she had to stay healthy in order to dance, and not going for regular check-ups, meant not dancing. Hell.

                She had no reason to be anxious about it; it was a routine check, but she still felt the stirring of something in her mind. She had been feeling faint past couple of days, a little bit nauseous, and she was sure that she had been dropping weight, but she was sure that it had been nothing, had reassured herself that it had been nothing. She always danced better when she was on the low end of the scale.

                “This is probably nothing,” she sighed to herself as her doctor, Annabeth Lee, peeked her head through the office door and ushered her in. “This is nothing.”

                Dr. Lee smiled at her before letting her in.

                "Hello Brielle," she said, smiling, as she sat down on the chair that was standing in front of her. "How are you doing today?"

                "I'm doing well," Brielle said, smiling. "I came for my annual checkup?"

                "That's right, you had that scheduled," the doctor said. "Let's see if something is wrong with you. Take off your clothing, and step in front of the measuring tape please."

                Her doctor knew that Brielle didn’t like the measuring and weighing, she had never liked it, not even as a kid. Her parents had always found it a little puzzling, but they didn’t know how Brielle hated the way her ribs shone through her skin when she stretched out her arms, or during the stretches at ballet class.

                During ballet rehearsals, or shows, she hadn’t been so afraid of it. During ballet, the gentle way of ribs showing though the leotard was a gift, a blessing. It proved to the others, but also to yourself, that you were as light as a feather, weightless.

                She stayed silent as she stepped in front of the measuring tape and tried to make herself appear as small as she could. Most people wanted to be taller, but she wasn’t one of them, the wicked people.

                In the background, a song was playing. Brielle couldn’t really recognize it, so she focused on that as she stepped away from the measuring tape and was guided to the scale. She didn’t know what to expect this time. Last time, now months ago, she had been 127lbs, and dr. Lee hadn’t been too happy about that. She had always been on the low end of the scale, but she knew that it had been very low for her length.

                When she looked down at the numbers passing by, she couldn’t help but wonder how low it was, and how it wasn’t going up fast enough. Usually, the numbers went by faster, and ended higher. The needle took a stop at 110lbs, but took a final rest on 119lbs. Brielle breathed in sharp, partial shock, partial disgust. Did she really weigh that little?

                The doc frowned when she saw her weight, but didn’t say anything at that moment. She noted something down and gave Brielle a hard look. Brielle knew that Dr. Lee wasn’t happy with how much she weighed, she had never been happy about it.

                When she was younger, she had always been skinny, even as a baby, she had never put on much fat. By the time she was six months old, she could still fit in her newborn stuff, and by the time she was one year old, most nine month clothing fit her. Her mother had always blamed it on being premature and the whole family being quite thin. Brielle had never really cared  about it too much.

                When she was ten however, she was measuring 145 centimeters, and weighed 66lbs, officially placing her in the underweight category. Her parents explained to Dr. Lee that she ate enough, but did ballet, didn't want to be average but skinny. The doctor eased down, but still required regular weigh-ins. Only when she noticed that Brielle gained weight as I grew, she was happy. This time though, she sighed.

                "How old are you now?" she asked her, allowing her to get her clothing back on. While she dressed, she said that I had turned twenty-eight two weeks ago. "You are underweight again. This time severely." Her face turned harsh, her mostly kind features actually angry. "What have you been doing?"

                "Nothing different," Brielle said. "I'm still just dancing ballet, doing my regular exercises and eating healthy.”

                "Your weight tells a different story," she said again, looking at the notes she made last time Brielle had been there. "Last time you had gained a little bit of weight, 60 kg. Now a dramatic turn isn't it." Brielle only nodded, she knew that she had lost a lot of weight, her clothing no longer fit her, and even her ballet leotard had become a little loose around her body.

                "I don't have any appetite," she said eventually, after the doc kept staring at her. "I want to eat, but I can't. It doesn’t taste appealing.” Dr. Lee frowned, sighed, and continued her exam as regular.

                When dr. Lee was drawing blood however, Brielle could smell the blood in her nose, and a few seconds later, a warm fluid was oozing down her mouth; she could taste the blood on her lips, again.

                As if it was a usual thing, she sighed, and took a handkerchief from her pocket to stop the blood from flowing all over her clothing; she still had ballet classes in an hour and wanted to be presentable.

                "Brielle," dr. Lee said after a while, when the syringe was filled with her dark blood. "Do you have those often?"

                Brielle nodded, sitting upright as her handkerchief turned darker and darker red and her hands too were stained with blood. She could taste it in her mouth, swallowed the blood, even though she knew that she shouldn't do it.

                "Every day almost," she said, "but I have been training hard for our new show, so I figured it was stress or my cold that caused it." The doc frowned, but nodded.

                "I'm afraid it may be something more than that." Her heart skipped a beat. "But I can't be sure until the blood work is done. I'll call you as soon as I know more, okay?"

                She nodded, taking a clean handkerchief from her pocket, and putting it to her nose. It had almost stopped bleeding, that she knew, she could feel that.

                "Thanks doc."

                                              

Two weeks passed and Brielle couldn't get it off her mind. Every time the nosebleed came back, she found a new bruise, or when she dropped to 110lbs and couldn't get a bite down her throat. When the phone eventually rang, she was relieved, but scared. The doctor told her the news, what the tests had showed in fifteen minutes, and her heart dropped to the floor.

                "Wait, you aren't serious, are you?" she asked the doctor, but deep inside, she knew it was true; this was indeed something more than they had thought, way more. She could already feel it in her bones, the way they had been starting to ache complaining. The nosebleeds and their more frequent showing, and then the dizziness each time she tried to make a pirouette.

                "I'm afraid I am Brielle," Doctor Lee said. "What we are seeing in your blood isn't a joke. You'll have to come back for more testing, but from what I have seen, we are afraid that it is indeed what I already feared."

                "What?"

                "I don't want to tell you yet, because if I am wrong, I will have caused you a lot of fear without a good reason," the doctor said. "However, I would like you to come in to have the levels in your bone marrow checked ASAP. When do you think that you could come in?"

                "I am free all the time," Brielle said, "as soon as possible." She was scared now, especially because of what the doc said, but she managed to pull herself together, or rather, keep herself together as the fear flew through her veins.

                "I have a spot this Friday, is that okay with you?”

                “Yes,” Brielle said, taking a mental note to bail out of ballet practice for the appointment. “I will be there.”

 

                "Cancer." The doctor's face tightened as she told Brielle the news, “Leukemia to be precise.”  Brielle looked at her hands, trying not to cry. "It looks like we got to it early, but my main concern is that you are so low on weight."

                Brielle had actually gained a little, after her ballet instructor too had told her that she needed to gain weight in order not to scare everybody around her. She had agreed to try, and gained four kilogram, which was still not enough, but 119lbs was better than 105lbs. "Before treatment, I would like you to be admitted to the hospital for further testing." Her hand came down on her shoulder, soft and gentle. "Talk to your family, get some support. You can't deal with it alone."

                Brielle nodded, escaping the doctor's office and running off. She didn’t want to run, sure that the doctor should give her more info before she went to madness, craziness.

 

 

She had driven for a while when she put the car at the side of the road, and put her hands to her face and allow her tears to stream down her face.

                "Fuck you cancer! Fuck you!" she yelled at the dashboard, furiously hitting the dashboard over and over again. Tears streamed down her face, her heart crumbling like a biscuit. She knew that it was so selfish to think that it had been her to get sick, of course it had to be her, not her boyfriend, not some random stranger on the block that did nothing with his or her life, no, it had to be her. She knew that it was selfish, but she thought it, every fiber in her body hating herself for the thought.

                She didn’t even bother stopping the blood from flowing from her nose. It had been her price to pay. She deserved it. One drip of blood landed on her trousers, as if it was an answer from her own body. Be careful what you wish for, because I will fuck you Brielle.

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