Emily's doctor's appointment did not go well as expected. The results came in and it was official. She had cancer. Dr. Nichols, a middle-aged man with thick-rimmed glasses, was the head of the oncology department at George Washington University Hospital. He knew the nature of Emily's job and advised her that along with the treatment, she needed to take it out and lower her stress levels, which was easier said than done.
"Doc, I can't just take time off. I'm the White House Chief of Staff," she said, determined to work around this.
"Well, if you want to even have a chance of fighting this, I suggest that you do," he said taking off his glasses. "Look, I know this is a lot and you're welcome to take the time to look things over," he handed her a brochure on treatment plans. "But it is imperative that we start soon. If you want, I could even set you an appointment a week from now."
Her heart must have stopped at least once and she felt like she couldn't breathe. She tried to open her mouth but nothing came out. She just nodded and left Dr. Nichols' office. Emily headed back to the White House, not sure what to do now. Instead she shut the door of her office and cried, letting out all the tears she held in during the appointment. She couldn't believe that this was really happening, that she was going to have treatment in one week and lose her hair and throw up all the time and lose the chance of ever having kids. This was not the plan. This was not how her life was supposed to go. She was supposed to get married and have kids and have a successful career working for the leader of the free world. Not like this. Not possibly dying before the age of 35.
After an hour of straight crying, Emily cleaned herself up and tried to distract herself with work. It was to no avail as her mind kept going back to how her body was somehow attacking her and there was nothing she could do to make it stop. Seth later stopped by and noticed his friend looking paler and sadder than usual.
"Hey, how did the appointment go?"
"Shut the door."
Seth proceeded to shut the door. Then he sat down next to her on the couch. "What happened?"
"I have it," she said, not being able to bring herself to say the very word.
"Shit," he said. After a pause, "So what happens now?"
"Umm... Dr. Nichols set up an appointment for next week."
"Want me to come with you?"
"No, it's alright."
"Come on, Em. You shouldn't go through this alone," he looked into her eyes. "Alright?"
She nodded. After their conversation, Seth made sure that she was good before he left. On his way out, Aaron walked in. He noticed her puffy eyes and bloodshot eyes again, and was now concerned more than ever.
"Hey," he said watching for any clues in her behavior that could tell him what was wrong.
"Can I just say something? Please? And then I'll get out of your hair," he pleaded. She nodded. "Whatever you're going through, I am here for you. I love you and that's not going to change. So please just tell me what's going on. We've been through a lot together so please."
Emily really wanted to tell him after his little speech but she held herself together. She was trying to protect him, at least that's what she believed. All she could utter out was "I can't." She saw the look of Aaron's face as he slammed the door shut on his way out.
Days went by and before Emily knew it, it had already been almost a week. It was the night before her appointment she was staying later than usual to finish up some paperwork. Kirkman was holding a rally in Florida tomorrow and she had to tell him that she couldn't make it. Of course, she didn't tell him the real reason. Instead she pulled an excuse about wanting to make sure the White House wouldn't burn down while they were gone, not wanting to pull attention away from the campaign. As she walked back towards her office, she found Aaron in her office with his back to her.
"Aaron? What are you doing here?" she asked. He didn't turn around nor give an answer. "Aaron?"
He turned around with her personal phone in his hand and she saw in his eyes that he knew. "I, uh..., was going to give you my report on Syria and your phone started ringing. It went to voicemail and then it rang again. It went to voicemail again and they kept calling. I was worried and I picked it up... It was Dr. Nichols calling to check with you that you were still coming to discuss your treatment plan..."
"Is that why...?" he couldn't bring himself to finish his sentence.
She nodded her head, secretly relieved that he finally knew and that she didn't have to tell him. She took a step in his direction and he pulled her into his arms. Both let out their breaths and tears while standing in the middle of her office, holding each other in the tightest embrace possible.
A/N: I hope y'all enjoyed this chapter. Please review! Thanks!