7. The Wild West

I waited in my bed for a good ten minutes before giving up and proceeding into the hallway after them.

They are nowhere to be found so I instead wander around the hospital.

Well, the cancer wing at least.

This place is crowded too. Just like the waiting room. As I walk, I see patients in gowns waddling about with IV drips. Some are in wheelchairs being pushed by doctors. Some are lying in beds parked in the hallway.

I want to go back down to the waiting room. I want to see how many of those kids are still waiting.

I haven't seen a single one of them around here, which I guess is good. It means they don't have cancer at least.

The thought of cancer reminds me of my brain tumor and I wonder, Am I talking to myself?

"Yes," a voice says from behind me. "It's quite amusing actually."

I whip around to face the speaker and notice that I am in an empty hallway. It's slightly dark and very long.

How is it empty?

"I was wondering the same thing when I discovered it. Such a large thing could at least hold the patient beds they just park in the already crowded hallways." He looks back at the rest of the hall and I scowl at him.

It's just the tumor talking.

Yeah well this tumor can suck it, cause I would really like to keep certain thoughts in my head.

The boy laughs at what was meant to be kept in my head and I scowl again.

I'm getting tired of this.

He has golden brown hair that's just one shade darker than it should be and bright blue eyes. He's tall and fit- must be athletic. In a simpler word-- he's hot. H-O-T, hot.

That wasn't out loud was it?

"Yes it was," he laughs again. "But thank you for the compliment. Three times in a row."

Man, I could listen to him talk all day.

I'd marry that voice if it never stopped speaking.

I'd have it read me bedtime stories, wake me up in the morning, I'd even become a therapist just so I could listen to it speak it's beautiful words of wisdom!

Stop it! You're thinking out loud again!

The boy just laughs.

"Well are you gonna say something? Voluntary?"

He pauses for a second and then smiles.

Then I recognize him.

"Hold up-" I start, "Weren't you in the waiting room with me?"

He smiles. "Yes, and as I recall, you were flopping all over those chairs before you came and sat next to me."

Jeez, jerk much? I don't even care if he heard that one.

"It's not like I could help it!" I defend myself.

"No let me guess- you couldn't move, couldn't speak, couldn't eat or drink. You were nothing."

My words exactly.

"How did you know?"

"Same thing happened to me." He shrugs and begins examining his hands.

I take a minute before continuing.

"So what's your damage?"

"Hmm?" He looks up at me.

"What's wrong with you?"


I roll my eyes and knock my hand in my head. It hurts and I groan.

He understands though, and pats his leg.

"Tumor?" I guess.

He nods.


He nods again, staying silent and looking down at the ground.

"That's me as well. Stage four metastatic melanoma with tumors in my brain."

"Bone cancer. Compromised both my legs before packing up its cancery bags of sickness and Settling in my liver and kidneys."

"Are they gonna amputate or try and work around them? What are they going to about your organs?"

"I don't know. I think my parents would like to amputate but- I'd like to try to save it at least once."

"What about cadaver bones?"

"Excuse me?"

"Cadaver bones. You know when they take out the cancerous part of the bone and replace it with a cadaver."

"No, I don- how do you know all this? Your like a mini doctor."

I push the thought of my parents out of my head and change the topic.

"What's your name?" I ask instead.

The transition could have been smoother, I'll admit but right now I don't care.

"West. And yours?" He smiles at me.

God, I love his smile.

Out loud, I remind myself.



"Umm, yes it is. I was born with it I think I would know-"

"I want your full name. The whole shabang." He looks at me seriously.

"Ashtyn Lucille Lively. Happy?"

"No. I still have cancer."

I laugh and he just grins at me.

"So what's yours?"

"Weston James Carter. Happy?"

"Are you kidding me? I'm in the Wild West. How could I not be?"

This time he laughs, throwing his head back as he does.

"Wow," he says, rubbing the back of his head. "That is so perfect, you can't even imagine."

After that we both sit against the wall talking about nothing and everything. It was so perfect. My tumor leaked a few more embarrassing compliments to him but he was just so comfortable that I didn't even care. He made it so easy to myself that I never wanted to leave.

But I knew I had to.

"West!" I exclaim, grabbing his arm.

"What?" He looks shocked, playing along.

"We can't let them find this place!" I stand up, trying my hardest not to laugh.

"No! That would be worse than the time that Betty Ross sold up skirt photos of her cat for more fabric!" He runs in front of me and squats down as I crack up.

"We must go to the Castle!"

"Castles in the Wild West?" I pause to question.

"Castles! They are our only escape!"

I go with it and jump on his back.

He puts one fist out like Superman and roars before sprinting into the crowded hallway.

He's so into our fantasy that I can't help but laugh the whole time.

"Where's you room?" He whispers like he's trying to keep it a secret from our imaginations.

"264. End of the hall on the right," I whisper back. I try not to think of anything else because I don't want to spoil it.

Soon we are standing outside the door of my room and inside I can see Derek sitting there worried and my oncologist standing in the corner with the same expression.

"Inside we see the apes, waiting to take us out first chance they get," West whispers in my ear. "We cannot let that happen. We must use our advantage of the element of surprise!" And he runs in the room screaming "surprise" at the top of his lungs. He flings me on the bed and I land on the pillows. Then he flops down beside me laughing.

Derek clears his throat and I sit up still giggling.

"I see your having fun," he says smirking.

I know what's on his mind but it's not at all like that.

Were just friends, if I can even call him that yet.

"It would be an honor to call you my friend," West says, sitting up now too. He turns to my brother, "I'm West."

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