Summary: Hopefully this will be the last chapter. She says.
Rating and Disclaimer: Same as before.
Distribution: Please ask before taking, but I do like publicity.
A/N & Thank You's: Sorry this has taken longer than normal, but exams have been really really tough. Now I have just the one left so I have more time to tinker on the keyboard. Wait for the influx after they're all done!
*Special Request* Please please please. Anyone who feels an urgent need to help me on the sequel to my story 'Unavoidable Secrets' e-mail me because I can't even think of a title. You will get credit I promise.
"I don't know what to say," Tommy admitted after a few moments of silence. "How are you feeling?"
"Better," Kim said, looking up to meet his eyes. She paused for a moment before saying haltingly, "I think...I think that day I was tired of living. It wasn't living, it was survival, and I honestly wanted to die. I'm sorry that I sent the letter."
"Did you mean what you said in it?" he asked, not leaving her gaze.
"Then don't apologize. You can't help the way you feel about...what's happened."
Kim sighed softly and laid her head back on the pillows. "When did you get it?"
"Tuesday. When did you send it?"
"So you've been in here for over a week?" Tommy asked. The room was barely bigger than a cupboard, and there weren't many of Kim's personal belongings around.
"It's not the first time though, is it?" Her voice was barely more than a whisper, and again Kim returned to the seemingly fascinating pastime of playing with her blanket. "I've been in here for almost two months before now."
Tommy looked at her, and couldn't hold back any longer. Although he had promised not to ask her why she had kept her condition a secret from all her friends, this was too awkward. At least if he knew then maybe they could put the past behind them, and then... who knew?
"Look, I said to myself that I wouldn't say anything, but-" Kim cut him off and said,
"You want to know why I didn't tell you."
Tommy stared at her in amazement. Even after all this time she still knew what he was thinking? He pushed the thought out of his mind, and said, "Well, yeah."
"I guess my mom told you I didn't tell her for three months." Tommy nodded and she continued. "It wasn't just because I wanted to get through this by myself, although that was a pretty big part of it. When I was first diagnosed the doctors told me that they'd caught it in time, and I should be in remission after three months. I already knew when I came down to see you at Christmas, they told me in late November."
"You spent two weeks in Angel Grove and didn't tell anyone?" Tommy asked disbelievingly. "Why the hell didn't you tell me?"
Kim ignored the question, and continued. "After three months went by and they said that all the medication I was on wasn't working as well as they thought it would, I had to tell my mother. And you have no idea how much I wanted to tell you, but I knew where it would lead."
"I don't get you," Tommy said. He could understand why Kim didn't want to tell her mother, who had been in a different continent for most of the time Kim had been in Angel Grove at the Christmas time. But she had spent practically all of her time back in California with him and the others, and as far as he knew none of them suspected a thing.
"I knew that you would give up everything for me, even though I would have wanted you to stay in California. I never doubted for a minute that you loved me, but you had to have a life as well, and I didn't want you wasted here taking care of your invalid girlfriend, who used to be normal once upon a time."
"I wouldn't have been wasted here," Tommy told her quietly. "I would have been taking care of the one person who meant anything to me."
"And in the meantime, the world is destructed because you're not there to save it," Kim almost whispered. She took a long drink of water, whether for a genuine thirst or to buy herself some time Tommy did not know. "I think I was lucky that I wasn't that sick when the whole Murianthius thing happened, otherwise who knows where that would have led."
"You had your chance to tell me then," he reminded her. Kim juts laughed and said,
"You were in the tournament, and the rest fo the time you were surgically attached to Kat. I was not about to be the jealous ex-girlfriend breaking you two up, no matter how much I may have wanted you to."
Tommy had to admit that Kim had a point there. She had only been around once after the tournament, and then she had been almost silent. She had said that she'd see them all the next day, but when they went to the meetingplace in Angel Grove Park she had never turned up. When Jason rang the hotel where they were staying, the receptionist had told him that Kim Hart had checked out three hours ago, and was apprently headed to the airport. "So that's why you left early."
"I wanted to go back to Florida, no matter how much I hated it there it didn't have people who I'd known for ages who didn't know about me. Here people know."
"And...are you going to stay here?" Tommy asked. Sitting in the hospital room, listening to Kim explain away her reasons for silence, he was falling in love with her all over again. No, that was wrong. The feelings he had hidden for so long were finally returning to the surface. He didn't want her to return to her own little world where no-one knew about her illness, he wanted to be near her and help get her better.
"Maybe." Kim knew exactly where Tommy was going with this, and wasn't sure that she disliked it. After all, both letters she had written to him had caused him pain, so now that he knew the truth it might be an idea to go back home. Start her life again...if she got the chance. "I'll have to stay here for a couple months at least while the powers that be get my medication sorted, but after that I should be clear to get my medical records back to Angel Grove."
"And if you're well again..." Tommy struggled to get the words out of his mouth...they'd been a long time coming but he had a feeling they were going to be worth it. "Do you think that we could start again?"
"What about Kat?" Kim said. She didn't like having to say it, but she had meant what she said earlier. The part of a jealous ex-girlfriend did not appeal to her in the slightest.
Tommy was unable to stop a grin from covering his face. "She's been in England for a while, she won a ballet scholarship."
"Okay," Kim said, smiling. "Then I can't make any promises, but as soon as I can I'll be back in Angel Grove, and then we can start trying to work things out."
"Start? I thought that we had worked things out already?" Tommy said. This conversation had been hard enough, did he have to go through more like these?
"Yeah, like where I'm gonna live, whether I can go back to school or not?" Kim said, enjoying the relieved look that came over his face. "Why, what did you think I meant?"
"You know perfectly well what I thought you meant," Tommy said, taking one of her alarmingly fragile hands in his. "However, there is still the issue of what to tell the others, about you and about us."
"Yeah, I was kinda hoping to avoid that issue as well," Kim grimaced. "Do you want to tell them for me? I don't know when I'll get a chance to be back in Cali, and they do deserve to know as soon as possible."
"Great! I get to tell them." Tommy said. "This had better be worth it, Hart."
"Oh it will, just wait until I'm not throwing up every hour on the hour and then you'll get a reward." Kim said. "You have no idea how much I want to reward you right now, but there is the slight issue of our respective mothers gossiping to my doctor outside the door, plus it's five to two and I feel sick."
"Thanks for sharing."
"No secrets from now on," Kim said, the frivolous look in her eyes replaced by a serious one. "I don't want to have to give you up again."
Their conversation was interrupted by Caroline, Janice and Dr Rutland making their way into the room.
"Okay, family only please, and it's five to two so get Kim a bucket." Dr Rutland said.
"Thanks for the sensitivity there," Kim said. "How long are you guys staying in Florida?"
"We fly back tomorrow," Janice said. "I have to work Monday and Tommy's off racing with his uncle."
Kim's eyes widened, but she said nothing as suddenly she went green and reached for the bucket her mother was holding out to her. Janice and Tommy said their goodbyes quickly and made a sharp exit.
"So, what happened?" Janice asked curiously.
"She's going to come back to Angel Grove as soon as she's well enough." Tommy told his mother. "We're going to try and work things out."
"That's fantastic!" Janice said. "Well I'm sure that we can drop by tomorrow before we head to the airport but Caroline said Kim would probably be too tired for us to come back today."
But when Caroline phoned Janice the next morning, she said,
"Kim's had an awful night, she hardly slept at all. The medication is making her throw up even more than she has been. She feels really bad about not getting to say goodbye to you and Tommy, but the doctors have made it family only today. Could you please tell Tommy that Kim's writing a letter to him right now and she's getting me to post it for her as soon as she's done and we can find a stamp."
So the two Olivers had to fly home without seeing Kim again. The flight home was almost as silent as the one that they had taken across, Tommy worried about how Kim had suddenly become worse, and Janice asleep.
(Two months later)
From what I've heard I've written the two worst letters you've ever had to read, and the best, so I thought I'd make this the second best. Who knows, this may even overtake the one you got from me two days after you arrived home.
I'm a lot better than I have been over the last couple of weeks, the rash I had has gone down and I'm sleeping well again you'll be pleased to know. This means you won't be getting any more calls at 5 am because I get confused about the time difference and think it's only 10 pm there.
Even though I'm better, I'm still lazy and can't be bothered to write a letter to the rest of the guys hanging about in Angel Grove. Please tell them thanks for the flowers that I got on Thursday, it cheered me up a lot.
My mom went home yesterday, the doctors said that there was no need for her anymore. My dad and Jordan are still here, but they are leaving as soon as...
I GO HOME!!! Yea, my medical records are winging their way across the continent as I write, and I should be free from here in about a week. I just need maybe another week to finish what Dad and Jordan haven't done in my apartment (read:everything) and then I'll be back in California, and this time I don't intend to leave.
I just want to tell you thank you for everything you've done for me in the past two months, and I still feel so guilty that I never got a chance to say goodbye when you and your mom left to go home. (I don't think you'd have liked to see me throw up, but the thought is there.) You've always been just a phone call away whenever I feel depressed or lonely, and I really feel as though I don't deserve it after what I did to you over the last two years. I must be the luckiest girl in the world to have someone like you watching over me every day.
AAHH!!! Ego Kim has been so busy moping and bragging about her cuurent predicaments she forgot to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS on placing in the latest race. I knew you could do it!!
And now I have to go, because Jordan is going to go and post this for me in the reception mailbox. So, I'll hopefully see you in about two weeks, and then we can start moving on with our lives.
Tommy folded up the letter and smiled. It definitely ranked up there as the best letter he'd had from Kim, and not only because she was coming home.
During the two weeks when the doctors had feared she was coming out of remission, Tommy had threatened to quit his racing career to go back to Florida and see her. It had taken a two hour phone call from Kim at 3 am to persuade him to take his anger out on the road, and it had resulted in him placing third in the Stone Canyon Classic.
Today he had the day off from racing, and he hadn't gotten up til 2pm. Since then he had just been lazing around, trying to work out when Kim would be home and how many hours/minutes/seconds it would eb till she arrived.
His daydreamings were rudely interrupted by an insistent knocking on the door, followed by someone leaning on the doorbell for what seemed like an age. Mumbling something under his breath, Tommy got up from his comfortable seat on the couch, walked to the front door and opened it.
"Aren't you going to let me in?" Kim said, leaning on the doorjamb. A car behind her pulled away, and she turned to wave as it did so.
"I-- What...the letter?" Tommy finally managed to sputter out as he reached over to give Kim a hug that nearly cracked her ribs wide open.
"I wrote it the day before we left...good surprise or nasty surprise?"
"Nasty surprise. Go away and come back in two weeks," Tommy said, and then gave her a long kiss. "I thought you said there weren't going to be any more secrets in this relationship?"
"I have to keep you on your toes somehow, don't I?"
A/N: Yay, finished!!!!