Chapter 29 - June 2017
They had found a routine. When Lana hat chemo they scheduled her appointments and appearances for a few days after, because she was always knocked out for a couple of days. It was good that Lana's manager knew about her disease so they somehow managed to work around it. It rarely happened that Lana had to cancel anything, even though it got more difficult to schedule the sessions so that Lana could attend all the conventions she had planned. Except for one event in Puerto Rico she managed to go to all of them. Even to that one convention in Paris. Jen really, really wanted her to cancel that one, but again, there was no way she could talk Lana out of it. Even though Lana could not even get into the shower by herself because she was so exhausted a few days before they would fly over. They even got into a fight because of that, because Lana was frustrated that her body was failing her like that and Jen got that but still, being stubborn would not help it. But then again, after a couple of days she was back on her feet and it was always such a relief for the both of them. And again, Jen was so glad that Bex went to Paris as well. She would keep an eye on Lana.
While she was away Lana's mom did not miss any opportunity to bond with Jen. She drove her to work herself instead of letting her take a cab and even made her lunch for when she had a long day at the theatre. One day when Jen came home she saw that Lana's mom had waited with dinner so they could eat together. She grabbed a plate and silently sat down next to her, not really knowing what to say. It was not the first time that Lana's mom had cooked for her. Normally she would put the food in the fridge because Jen came home super late because of the play, but this time she had waited for her.
»Thank you for the dinner«, Jen said, »it's really good.« She could not really tell what it was, some rice dish with pigeon peas, but it was delicious.
»It's a puerto rican recipe. I got it from my mother-in-law because Lana's dad used to love it, and later on Lana loved it as well«, she explained smiling weakly.
»I should learn it then«, Jen said and tried to lighten the mood but it was not really working. Something was weird.
Suddenly the older woman stopped eating, put the spoon back on the plate and took Jen's hand. »Thank you for everything you do for my daughter. You have no idea how important you are to her.«
Jen always felt super useless because there was nothing she could do to protect Lana from what she had to go through, but apparently she had done something right. Still, basically everyone seemed to think she would leave Lana in a heartbeat and seemed to be impressed that she did not. »She's the love of my life. I would do anything for her.«
»How are you?«, Lana's mother asked after a short moment of silence.
That was actually a good question. Jen's life was so busy at the moment that she barely even had time to process. It was a rollercoaster. Whenever she was with Lana and Lana had a good day so they could forget about her disease for a while, Jen was the happiest. When Lana was laughing Jen's heart was filled with so much joy that it basically healed all the wounds in an instant. But then, when she could not even get out of bed by herself after receiving treatment, Jen found herself sneaking into the bedroom from time to time and checking if Lana was still breathing. She found herself lying next to her at night, unable to sleep, and just… worrying. And sometimes, but only sometimes, she locked herself up in the bathroom to cry a little until she found the strength to remind herself that everything would be just fine and her and Lana would have a long life together. »I don't know«, Jen replied. Suddenly she was not in the mood for eating anymore. Instead, she felt sick and her lips started to tremble. Her chest tightened and she knew there was nothing she could do about it. She was crying. The tears kept coming even thought she tried to dry them as soon as they left her eyes. And for the first time she admitted to herself that she was scared as hell. That she had never been more scared in her entire life.
Lana's mom made her way around the table and offered Jen a hug, which she gladly accepted. Jen kept on sobbing and shivering, not really knowing what was going on with her body. It was almost as if everything she had felt and swallowed down the past months was now slowly making its way to the surface in form of tears.
»It's okay to cry«, Lana's mom assured her. She was still holding her, knowing that Jen could need that.
»I love her so much«, Jen sobbed, »I can't lose her. Really, I- I can't even think about that, I-«
»We won't lose her, she's not going to die.«
»No she's not.« Jen took a deep breath and wiped away the tears. She released herself from the embrace. Lana was in Paris and probably having a lot of fun with her friends. There was zero need to worry about stuff that would never happen. »Sorry I haven't slept much last night.«
»You don't have to be ashamed of your feelings, I'm always here if you need to talk to someone. You're family«, Lana's mom said and started to clean the table.
»Please, let me do that. I'm already not allowed to cook I could at least do the dishes«, Jen said and tried to sound funny. She really felt guilty because Lana's mom did so much for her and there was nothing she could give back.
Lana's mom agreed but ended up helping so they basically did the dishes together. Lana's mom told Jen that she would like to see them both more often while she was showing her pictures from their old family album and Jen offered her to come by anytime.
When Jen went to pick up Lana she immediately knew that something was wrong. Lana was not bubbly at all and when they arrived at home she headed straight to bed. Later on she admitted that her tummy hurt a lot, so Jen brought her some tea and a hot-water bag. When she put it on Lana's stomach Lana grabbed her hand and held it for a few seconds before letting go. »I missed you«, she said with heavy eyelids. Jen had missed her as well, and she was more than glad to have her with her again. And so was Lana's mom, who optimistically made some soup hoping Lana would eat something, which she did not because her stomach hurt too much.
It was not helping that she had chemotherapy the next day. In fact, it made everything a million times worse. Chemotherapy was really taking its toll on Lana's body. She was in a lot of pain basically all the time and afterwards she was so exhausted that she barely even made it to the car without a wheelchair. And Jen was suffering with her. The people around her seemed to notice that and it was difficult to stay calm because all she wanted was to be left alone. It was just a couple of bad days, everything would be fine.
One day Jen went grocery shopping with Lana's mom and when they came back a man in a suit was leaving the house. Jen put some of the bags on the kitchen counter and eyed her fiancée who was sitting at the table, her hands wrapped around a cup of tea. She was definitely still sleepy, but she was awake and apparently managed to walk downstairs, which was a good sign. Yesterday Jen got her to eat some soup which apparently had made her stronger again.
»Who was that man?«, Jen asked and greeted her with a kiss. That was the first time she talked to her today. When she left Lana had still been asleep and she was convinced she would not get up today at all.
»Oh, no one. He got the wrong address.« She slowly walked over to the kitchen and leaned against the counter. »I think I'm gonna try and eat something other than soup today«, she said and smiled weakly.
Jen got that she was trying but it also broke her heart to see that her eyes told a different story. They were glassy and looked exhausted and eyed the food they bought rather suspiciously. Jen knew she would pass out before dinner was even remotely ready, but that did not stop her from encouraging her. So she pulled her closer and gave her a kiss. »Well then you might be happy to hear that your mom is gonna teach me how to make this rice dish you like so much. Then I can make it for you when we're back home.« There were only a few shows left and then they could go back to LA, even though Jen was a little bit worried to deal with all that without any help. While she was touching Lana's skinny arms and hands she realized that she was super cold even though she was wearing a pullover. Jen wondered why she was not freezing. »You're cold, do you need a blanket?«
»No, I'm good.« Lana put the back of her hand on Jen's cheek. »You look tired.«
Jen got what Lana was implying, she had noticed it as well. Lana was not the only one who was fading, Jen was fading too. She struggled with admitting that to herself, but there was no point in denying it any longer. Whenever Jen looked in a mirror she was shocked by how pale she was and how weirdly defined her cheekbones were. »I'm fine, Baby.«
»Are you not feeling well?« She was worried.
Lana's eyes were so glassy and Jen could tell how much effort it costed her to keep them open at all. There was no way Jen would ever tell her how much this affected her as well. Maybe later when everything was over. »No, I'm fine, really.«
»You have to take care of yourself as long as I can't do it, promise?« Her voice was a little raspy and it did not really sound like a demand.
»Promise«, Jen assured her and tried to smile as wide as she could to show that she really was fine when in reality she was not fine at all. A part of her felt bad that she was lying to her, but the other part knew that it was the right thing to do.
»I wanna be there for you and support you but I'm always so tired.« Lana started to play with Jen's hair and god she loved that.
»Hey, I know, it's okay. You're the most supportive person I know. And we have a long life ahead of us where we can be there for each other.«
Lana did not answer. Instead she smiled weakly again and Jen ignored it and pressed her lips against her temple as she embraced her in a tight hug.
»When are we going back home?«, Lana mumbled not wanting to let go. And Jen kept holding her tight.
»Next week is my last show. Then we can go back if you want to.« Jen had to remind herself that she would not be alone with all this back in LA. Bex would be there and if the other people from the cast knew they would be there for her as well. If things got even worse Jen would convince Lana to tell at least Ginny and Josh about it.
»Yes, I wanna go home.«
It would be better for her. It was warmer there and maybe Lana's body would start to warm up as well. Her body being that cold increased the risk of her catching a cold, which would be a disaster in her condition. »Okay.«
»I think I'm going back upstairs and sleep a little. Can you wake me up when dinner's ready?«
She tried to pull away but Jen grabbed her arm. »Of course, let me bring you upstairs.«
»Don't apologize, it's okay. I want you to sleep so you'll be better soon.« The fact that Lana even felt the need to apologize for something she had absolutely no control over hurt Jen again, but she also knew that there was not much she could do about that. Lana was Lana.
When Jen closed the door to the bedroom door after Lana fell asleep, her body started to shiver and shake uncontrollably. Her stomach was clenching and her knees got so weak that she could not hold herself upright anymore. She lowered herself onto the floor, leaning against the closed door. And then she started crying. Silently at first, but soon she was crying so hard that everyone in this house could hear her. Everyone but Lana of course, as she was dead asleep.
Deena came rushing upstairs, apparently she had come over as well. »Jen? What happened?«, she asked, trying to help her up but Jen was fighting her helping hands.
She just wanted to be left alone and she had absolutely no strength to get up right now. Deena sat down next to her and tried to comfort her without actually knowing how. »Is Lana okay?«, she asked and Jen only managed to nod.
»I think she h-has given up«, Jen sobbed and as soon as she said the words out loud she felt another amount of tears making there way into her eyes and down her cheeks.
»What do you mean?«, Deena asked worriedly.
»There was a lawyer or something who visited her today. She didn't wanna tell me who it was but I think it was a lawyer because he looked like one and I- I don't want her to think about death, like… she must be so afraid but she doesn't show and I can't help her and-« There was nothing that could have stopped Jen from having a total breakdown. She was a mess. She had been a mess for a while now, on the inside at least, but now there was no way she could hide it from the outside world any longer.
Deena wrapped her arms around the blonde woman. She seemed relieved that this was not new information to her. »I know who that was. She told me.«
»Who?« Jen sat herself up and wiped away the tears to see more clearly.
»It was indeed a lawyer because she wants to get a divorce as soon as possible. She said she doesn't wanna spend the rest of her life being married to the wrong person.« Deena nodded at Jen, showing that she agreed with Lana's actions.
»The rest of her life, god, she's not dying. She's not dying. She's not gonna die.« Jen wished everyone would stop thinking that because she knew everyone was thinking that because even herself was thinking that but she really did not want to because it was ridiculous because life without Lana was unimaginable.
Deena looked at her and Jen could tell that she was in pain because she could not say the words out loud either.
»She can't die, I'm nothing without her.« Now Jen was weeping bitterly again. Her eyes were burning and her face was super red.
»It's just a precaution, you know. Because of heritage and stuff like that just in case she dies. She just wants to make sure that everything's safe.« Deena said silently and somehow her voice managed to calm Jen down at least a little bit.
»Oh god I don't want her to think about all that. H-How can I help her?« She really had no idea what she was supposed to do.
»You're already doing everything you can. Lana has hope, she believes that she'll get better, but she also wanna be prepared for the other possible outcome. That's reasonable, don't you think?«
Jen nodded because of course Deena was right. »I just wish she would've talked to me about it. I could've handled it.«
»Yes. For her.« With Lana's eyes looking for support and a shoulder to cry own Jen would have kept it together.
»Well, now you know. You should talk to her tomorrow.«
Yes, she would have a conversation about death with her girlfriend tomorrow, so there was room for positive thoughts only afterwards.
Jen did not wake Lana for dinner as she was sleeping so peacefully. She put some of the food in the fridge in case Lana got hungry later. She did not.
The next day was super chaotic at the theatre. Lana was asleep as usual when Jen left and she hoped to get to talk to her after work. Two of the actors were sick and they had to call in their back ups quite last minute. Jen felt insecure because she could not really concentrate and it showed as she messed up her lines, which was not that big of a deal as everyone was quite good at improv. However, Matthew stopped by her changing room asking her if everything was fine between her and her girlfriend. Jen could not really tell if he was serious or if he was mocking her so she kept quiet and hoped he would leave again. Also, this day she was so unlucky that she did not even catch a cab for her way home, so she had to take the subway. New York was such a busy town and she could not wait to be back home. She got off at the nearest station and walked along the street to the house, when red and blue lights caught her attention. Her heart stopped for a minute and she ended up running the last few meters because the ambulance was standing right in front of the house where Lana's family was living in. She was more awake than ever, panic and adrenaline was rushing through her blood.
Deena was walking towards her, holding her arms before Jen could reach the ambulance. »What happened?«, Jen asked, her mouth dry.
»We tried to call you but you didn't pick up and-«
»Let me see her!«, Jen screamed.
»You don't wanna see this, believe me, it's bad, she started vomiting blood-«
»I don't fucking care, I wanna see. her. Let. me. see. her!« Jen screamed even louder and eventually Deena let go of her arm, so she rushed towards the ambulance and teared open the doors right before they started the engine. Lana was laying on the ambulance cot, holding a soaking wet, red tissue against her nose that was bleeding uncontrollably. Her mother was sitting next to her, making room for Jen when she entered the vehicle.
»Excuse me, Miss-«, one of the paramedics looked like he was about to kick her out.
»That's my fiancée, please let me stay«, she blubbered without caring how crowded the ambulance was.
Lana's mom nodded, so the paramedics had to give in. »Sit down, please.«
Jen did as she was told. »Heeey Baby, what happened?«, she said and grabbed Lana's free hand as the vehicle started moving.
»I wasn't feeling well«, Lana mumbled underneath the tissue.
»Is it your tummy? Are you in pain?« There was no need for Jen to ask, though. She could tell by looking at her face and her panicky eyes.
Lana nodded. »And my nose started bleeding suddenly.«
Jen placed a hand on Lana's stomach and started stroking it gently with her thumb. Not that this was helping, but she had to do something. Anything. »It's okay, they'll make you all better at the hospital.« Her voice was shaking and she tried so hard to believe what she was saying.
»I don't wanna stay there.« She sounded desperate, scared to death. Not something Jen experienced every day.
»If you have to stay there I'll stay there with you. You're not alone. I won't leave your side.«
It did not take long until Lana started to vomit again and the amount of blood was almost too much for Jen to handle. Lana was small and tiny and Jen was sure there was not that much blood left to keep her body going.