*Thanks for reading. This chapter is really sad but also hopeful I think.*
"I should have known Maxie couldn't keep her trap shut," were Sam's first words when she opened the door and saw him standing there on the doorstep watching her with wide, earnest blue eyes. The very same ones that had haunted her dreams on so many nights in the last two years.
She was angry, at least outwardly. Angry and also confused and happy and sad and disappointed and relieved all at the same time.
"Sam ..." He said her name so reverently that it brought tears to her eyes and she wondered if he could have missed her half as much as she did him.
"Please don't say anything," she said.
"That would be impossible with you standing there in front of me after so long." He smiled at her and the smile warmed some part of her that had been dormant for much too long. She doesn't want to feel the emotions he invokes in her even now but she can't help it either.
"You look tired," he said.
"Is that your way of saying I look horrible?"
"No, just tired. Otherwise you look as beautiful as ever."
"Even with the wig?" She said, fluffing the stiff black mane that didn't quite match her old shade of real hair.
"You always look beautiful," he said and she believed that he meant it. Or she wanted to, anyway.
Sam tried so hard to steel herself against her emotions but her voice came out sounding hoarse and charged with feeling. "Thanks and all but you really shouldn't be here."
"I wanted to be here," Lucky immediately returned.
"Well, as nice as it is to see you, I can't stay and chat. I have an appointment."
"A doctor's appointment?"
"Yeah. Another pointless appointment where they are going to tell me what I already know. That I'm dying and fast."
His eyes looked pained at her words. He had always had the most expressive eyes. "Don't say that. You're a fighter, Sam. I don't believe anything can bring you down."
"If you believe that, Lucky then you don't know me." Her voice was bitter even though she wasn't angry with him. He had done absolutely nothing wrong but she was angry just the same. Mostly at herself for still being affected by those aqua eyes of his.
"I know you're stronger than you ever give yourself credit for. That apparently hasn't changed."
"But everything else has."
"Not as much as you seem to think, Sam."
She watched him curiously. "What do you mean by that?"
What did he mean, indeed.
He only knew that his feelings for her had not changed, had not dimmed or decreased in any way. In fact, seeing her only made them stronger. He had never stopped loving her for a second, never stopped wanting her in his life. He had known he never would which was why he had sought comfort in the bottom of a bottle - because he had hoped that it would dull the aching pain of missing her.
It never had.
But he couldn't say any of that. Not now. Now was not the time or the place. She didn't need or want to be loved by him but that didn't mean he would stop. That he even could. Even if she didn't want him here, she was not going to force him away either. They needed each other. He especially needed her to be okay because he didn't want to live in a world she wasn't in. As long as she was alive, that was all that mattered.
"I just meant ... Look, never mind. Can I drive you to your appointment?"
Sam seemed to think it over for a moment and her eyes clouded with more than a little emotion and indecision before she finally said, "Yeah, I guess so. Then you can see for yourself that there's no reason for you to be hanging around here. You will know that there's no chance for me, for us, so you can leave."
No chance for us. The words echoed in his mind but he didn't want to accept them. He couldn't. He was selfish as hell but he couldn't let her go.
All he said was, "I'm not leaving you, Sam."
Lucky climbed into the driver's seat of her car and watched Sam buckling her seat belt. "Seems pointless, huh?" She said.
"Wearing a seatbelt when I'm going to die anyway."
Lucky shook his head. "Will you just stop that? Please. Just stop it." His voice was almost pleading and he hated the pathetic emotion in it but couldn't hide it either.
Sam said nothing as Lucky pulled out of the parking lot in front of her dilapidated apartment building. "Directions?" he asked pointedly.
"Take a right at the stop sign and then another right and still another one and then you'll see this big building that screams 'hospital'."
Lucky quirked a smile. "Okay."
"Honestly, I could drive to it in my sleep," Sam said, turning and staring out the window.
Lucky just nodded and focused on the road intently to keep from staring at her. He had missed her so much and ached to touch her, to hold her, but thought she would revolt if he tried. Though he could stop the car this minute and pull her into his arms and never let her go.
Sam seemed to feel the charged intensity in the air and turned to watch him for a moment. "So uh, how are you doing?"
"Don't lie to me."
Lucky nodded. She was the one person he could always be truthful with no matter how much it hurt to be honest. "I'm ... coping, in my own way."
"Oh ... How are the boys?"
"Good, last I heard," Lucky said, feeling his face crease into another pained expression.
"Last you heard?"
"Nikolas and Elizabeth took them to Greece for the winter."
"Oh ... I take it you don't get to see them very much."
Lucky shook his head. "No. Elizabeth doesn't want a chronic drunk around the kids."
"Doesn't stop her from being a chronic skank," Sam said.
Lucky's lips twitched in a smile. "Don't make me laugh."
"Oh, jeez sorry," she said, though she didn't sound the least bit sorry.
"It's okay," he said.
"But, Lucky, seriously why are you drinking your life away?" Sam asked.
He looked at her. "I think you know."
Before she could attempt a reply, Lucky noticed the hospital and pulled into its huge parking lot. "We're here," he announced.
They seemed to wait for the doctors an interminably long time before they called Sam back. Lucky watched her questioningly and she finally nodded. "Might as well hear the truth," she said and beckoned him forward.
He was introduced to two male doctors and a female nurse. They seemed professional and brisk but there was caring in all of their eyes and Lucky appreciated it for Sam's sake.
However, he wasn't prepared for the emotion that wracked him when they put up X-rays of her breasts and he saw the huge lumps in both of them. He had to squeeze back tears and he could tell that Sam was trying to do the same.
"So ..." Sam started, glancing away from him. "I take it by your expressions that this is it for me."
"There is always a chance," one of the doctors said. The one with peppered gray hair and a grandfatherly look about him.
"Don't lie to me!" Sam suddenly thundered.
The doctor nodded. "Ms. McCall, in all honesty, your chances don't look as bright as we hoped."
"So I am dying, aren't I?"
"We can continue the chemotherapy and radiation ..."
"No. No!" Sam practically shouted. "I don't want it anymore. I can't ... I can't fight this anymore."
And then before Lucky could stop her, she had shot out of her seat and fled the office.
He finally found her five minutes later sitting on the curb outside the hospital staring vacantly out towards the road ahead.
"Sam," he said softly, reverently.
She didn't turn around and he could tell by the heaving of her shoulders that she was crying. He approached slowly, as he would a wounded animal and then sat down beside her. He expected her to object but she didn't.
They didn't speak for a long time before Sam turned to face him with tear-filled eyes. "So much for being a fighter huh?"
"You still are."
"Yeah right," she said bitterly. "I can tell when I'm beat and Lucky, I'm tired. I'm just so tired of fighting the inevitable."
He immediately reached for her and pulled her into his arms. He expected her to pull away but she didn't as she buried her head in the crook of his neck and they both cried together.