Falling

Jess is just starting her second semester of being a Junior in high school. To start the semester off, she volunteers to show the new kid around the school. Mainly because she gets to skip gym class, but also because she is intrigued by the idea of meeting someone new. Over the first month of school, Jess becomes really close friend with the new student, but who wouldn't become best friends with Louis Tomlinson. He's funny, entertaining, and not to mention cute, but Jess would never admit to thinking that. Louis is always there for Jess, especially when she gets heart shattering news that changes everything.

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6. Five.

“Jess.”

“Hmm.”

“I need you to wake up.”

“Mhm.”

“Now, please.”

“What?” I croaked, slightly opening my eyes to see my mom standing in front of my bed.

“I need you to get up and watch John while we take Jared to the doctor,” she told me, sitting next to me.

“Is he okay?” I asked, sitting up.

“Yeah, it's probably just the flu or something,” she told me, not quite making eye contact.

“Okay... Just let me know what the doctor says,” I said, my voice shaking. I don't like it when one of my brothers gets sick. I always get paranoid that something is wrong and the thought of something happening to on of them makes me sick to my stomach.

“Everything is fine, Jess. Please don't worry about it,” my mom consoled me, pulling me into a hug.

“I can't help it. Just please call me.”

“Okay, sweetie. I will,” she kissed the top of my head and left me alone in my room.

I couldn't help but not believe my mom when she said that everything's okay. Something about the way that she kept avoiding eye contact and was being really vague with what she was saying made me feel uneasy. But, as someone who overthinks almost everything, I was probably just making this much bigger than it really is.

I sighed as I climbed out my bed and walked down the hall to John's room.

“Hey, buddy,” I said to him. He was sitting on the floor in front of his bed, playing a video game. It reminded me of Louis. “Mom and dad are taking Jared to the doctor, so it's just going to be you and me for a couple hours.”

“Is he okay?”

“Yeah, he's fine.”

“Then why does he need to go to the doctor?” John paused the game to look at me.

“Well, the doctor can give him medicine to make him feel better faster.”

“Oh,” he paused. “Do you want to watch me play?”

“Actually, I was thinking of having Louis over. Is that okay?”

“Yeah! I want to show him my video games.”

To My Fav Brit: Hi.

From My Fav Brit: Sup?

To My Fav Brit: Watching John.

From My Fav Brit: Where's everyone else?

To My Fav Brit: Jared's sick so my parents are taking him to the doctor.

From My Fav Brit: Oh. I hope he's okay.

To My Fav Brit: Me, too.

To My Fav Brit: Do you want to come over? John wants you to play video games with him.

From My Fav Brit: I'll be there in five minutes.

“He'll be here in five minutes,” I told John, standing up. “Do you want a snack?”

“Yeah!” John stood up and put his little hands on my shoulders. I bent down to let him jump onto my back and took off for the kitchen. I set John down in front of the cabinet and told him to grab something to eat, while I went to my room to change out of my pajamas. I heard the doorbell ring as I was putting my hair into a ponytail and came downstairs to see that John already let Louis in, something he knows he's not supposed to do when our parents aren't home.

“And then, I beat that level so I unlocked this power that lets you use two different weapons at once. Then, I beat the next level, which means I'm almost at the boss level,” I heard John telling Louis and I walked to the living room.

“Hi,” he smiled at me as I sat down next to him.

“Hey. Thanks for coming over,” I yawned.

“Tired?” He chuckled.

“Yeah. I didn't sleep very well last night. I hope you don't mind watching John, I think I'm going to take a nap.”

“Of course I don't mind,” he turned towards John. “You're going to teach me how to play your new game, right?

“Can we do that now, Jessi?” John asked, bouncing up and down in his seat.

“Yeah, can we do that now Jessi?” Louis copied John's actions.

“Go ahead,” I laughed, watching John take Louis' hand and drag him upstairs and to his room.

I grabbed myself a snack from the kitchen before I made my way back to John's room, walking in to see John showing Louis his video games.

“This is my controller but you can use this one,” John handed him the controller.

They took a seat on the ground against the end of John's bed. I took my spot next to Louis, laying down and resting my head on his lap. As I listened to John explain the game to Louis, though I'm sure he already knew how to play it, I fell asleep. Louis' thighs made a really great pillow.

I woke up when I felt someone poking at my cheek.

“What?” I yawned, sitting up.

“Your phone is going off. I also have to go home and you're kind of restricting that,” Louis told me, handing me the ringing device. I giggled and sat up, taking the phone from his hands.

It was my dad.

“Hello?” My voice was shaking.

“Jess,” my dad said quietly. He didn't sound like someone who's son only has the flu.

“Yeah?” I could feel tears coming to my eyes.

“Can you come down to the hospital on 86th street?” My heart stopped.

“Yeah, yeah... Is everything okay?”

“Just... Just come down here.” He hung up.

“Jess? Are you okay?” Louis asked once I finally pulled the phone away from my ear.

“I-I need to go meet my parents. Um. Can you drop John off next door before you leave?” I stood up.

“Yeah, it's not a problem,” he stood up, too. As I walked past him, he grabbed my arm and pulled my close to him. I closed my eyes as I let Louis hold me against him, bitting my tongue to keep myself from crying. “It's going to be okay,” he whispered in my ear.

I nodded, taking a deep breath and pulling away. He smiled at me and nodded. “John,” I said, turning to him. “I have to go meet mom and dad at the doctors office. Louis is going to take you next door on his way out.” I turned back to Louis. “When you drop him off, let them know that it's an emergency and that my parents will be back home in a few hours.”

“Okay,” Louis nodded.

I nodded back, looked at both of them, and then rushed out of the room, grabbed my bag and got into my car. My hands were shaking as I drove to 86th street, probably speeding, probably cutting people off, probably driving recklessly. All I could think about was all of the horrible possibilities that could have caused the need for Jared to be in the hospital. It made me want to throw up.

When I got to the hospital, I ran inside and say my dad sitting in a chair in the lobby. He stood up when he saw me walk in and meet me halfway.

“What's happening?” I asked nervously. My dad looked ghastly: pale, eyes red, hair ungroomed and out of place.

“It's Jared. He's sicker than we thought,” he said, choking on the word sick.

When you're about to start crying, there's always a tug on your lips and a lump clogs your throat. The tug feels as if someone has attached hooks to both sides and is repeatedly pulling them down. Your chins wobbles, your nose scrunches, your cheeks turn red. And the rock in your throat doesn't help. It doesn't move; it sits there and makes it hard to breathe and hard to talk. It sits there and makes you feel worse. The whole process of beginning to cry is worse than actually crying-- the words that hit you hard enough to cause the process are still fresh in your mind. You know what's about to come and you know it's not going to be pleasant, the anticipation of the impending breakdown hurts, it stings, it rakes through your whole body and feels like being shoved into a pool, landing fat on your stomach.

Then my dad was leading me down the hall.

Then I felt his cold hand be placed on mine.

Then I saw my dad in a state that no longer look human.

Then I looked into his eyes and saw nothing but sadness and nothing but pain.

Then I looked away and felt the lump in my throat.

Then I felt my lip tremble.

Then we came to a door.

Then I entered the room alone, feeling as if I was entering a shrinking box.

Then the doctor started talking.

“Hi,” he smiled a professional smile at me. “You must be Jared's older sister.”

I nodded, I think.

“What's your name?” He asked kindly.

“Jess,” I mumbled.

“Well, Jess, how old are you?”

“Almost seventeen.”

“That's fun. Do you like high school?”

“What's wrong with my brother?” I asked, my lip wobbling again.

The doctor exhaled loudly through his nose. “Well, first things first. My name is Dr. Swanson. I'm one of the pediatric oncologists at this hospital, meaning I specialize in pediatric cancer,”

The room started to spin.

“This isn't the first time that I have seen your brother,” Dr. Swanson continued. “Your parents brought him to his pediatrician a last week and his symptoms brought up some red flags, so they came to me later that same day. I did my exam, took note of his symptoms, like, vomiting, difficulty walking at times, severe migraines, seizures, then decided to take a blood sample. With examining that sample, more red flags were raised and we moved on to a procedure known as a bone marrow aspiration, meaning we took a sample of Jared's bone marrow and did more tests on it. Those results took about a week to get back, which is why your parents brought Jared back in today. The bone marrow aspiration pretty much guaranteed his diagnosis but to be sure, we took a CT scan. Those results shows that Jared does, in fact, have acute lymphocytic leukemia.

“This type of cancer affects the white blood cells and the bone marrow. The word 'acute' means that the cancer can progress and spread very quickly, if not treated right away. As we speak, Jared is undergoing another form of CT scan known as a PET scan to see if the cancer has spread to any other parts of his body, like, the liver, the central nervous system, or the lymph nodes. We won't know those results for a couple more hours but we are hopeful that it hasn't spread to any other part of the body. The good news is that some types of ALL, the abbreviation for this cancer, respond well to treatment and can often be cured. We are still running several tests with Jared to know the specifics of his case but once we know more, we can determine the best treatment options and what the outlook will be.

“At this point, there is no point in worrying until we know more. Jared will be kept in the hospital for the time being, for monitoring and testing purposes. Your parents will be informed immediately once we know the exact prognosis and we will be available 24/7 if any questions or concerns arise. I don't want you to freak out, Jess. Eighty in ten acute leukemia patients go into remission, meaning there are no more signs of cancer in the body. I don't want to get your hopes too high but we are remaining positive at this point. This is all so overwhelming for you and your family, I can't imagine what must be going through your mind right now. If you want, I can give you some pamphlets for family support groups or more information about ALL.”

“Um...” I breathed, a nauseating, dizzy feeling washing over me. My ears were ringing. Nothing felt real. I abruptly stood up from my seat, the chair falling over behind me. “I have to go.” I left the room, stumbling over my feet, my body working hard to keep me from falling over as I ran down the hall.

“You lied to me!” I yelled at my dad as I found him in the lobby. “You said he had the flu!”

“Jess, you don't understand,” he walked towards me.

“No! You don't understand!” I yelled louder. “You knew about this for a week and you didn't tell me! How could you keep this from me!”

“You're too young to—”

“I'm not to young to know that my brother is dying!” I screamed. A wave of hurt washed over his face, his eyes moving to the ground as I screamed at him. “You should have told me! How could you not tell me! I hate you! I HATE you!” I yelled, turning my back on my dad and running out of the hospital.

A million things were going through my mind, my brain running through everything the doctor had told me as I drove away. It was too much, it was overbearing, it was maddening. I felt like I was losing my mind, like I was going to throw up, like I was going to drive off the road. My whole body was shaking as I drove, too out of it to cry and too out of it to feel any part of my body. I felt blank, like someone had erased every emotion, every thought, every little thing out of my mind. My head like static, like my brain was spinning inside of my skull. The road in front of me was out of focus; I couldn't focus my eyes on one single thing.

Then I was at Louis' house.

Then I was knocking on the door.

Then I was was crying.

Then I could hardly breathe.

Then I was on the ground.

Then I was in Louis' arms.

 

a/n: dang guys i did so much research about leukemia i feel like i could be a pediatric oncologist now lol 

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