Title: Live Like You Were Dyin' - Part 1 of ?
Author: AtticusFinchFan
Rating: (I reckon) T
Summary: based on the song of the same name by Tim McGraw
Notes: I want you to help me. Criticism is welcome, but the kind of criticism that will help me improve, not the kind of criticism that will help me sink deeper into my teenage depression…ok? Thanks.

Live Like You Were Dyin'

This was not how Bo imagined the final year of his life, sitting on a couch, in the middle of a dark living room, with a myriad of empty Budweiser cans. His wife, son, and daughter's pictures and a whole bunch of positive test results in front of him. Though, he couldn't have imagined that his life would end in his 40's, with a daughter still in high school. He knew life had been going too well, something was bound to come along and knock it down a couple notches and something did; a tumour. On his left lung, a completely inoperable tumour. It figured. Years of doing death defying stunts in a car, breaking a countless amount of laws and limits along the way, along with those few months on the NASCAR circuit, and the thing that finally strikes ya down isn't even man made. It isn't quick, and it can't be lost. It figured.

"Dad," all the lights in the living room suddenly switched on. Bo didn't know whether to groan or cry. He shifted in his seat and began to rub his eyes furiously.

"Ya, Jess?" his voice was kind of slurred from all the alcohol he'd consumed.

"Do ya want some coffer or somethin' 'fore I hit the sack?"

He shook his head slightly then turned his head in Jessica's general direction, "No, sweetheart, I'm fine."

"You'll have one helluva fine hangover tomorrow, dad."

Bo tried to laugh, but ended up choking back a sob instead, "I know, sweetheart." He nodded, "I know," then got an idea, "C'mere, Jess." He gestured towards the spot beside him.

Jessica covered the space between her and the couch in 4 steps, thanks to her stork like 5'9" frame. She sat gingerly, staring at her father, with a nervous smile.

Bo could tell she was scared, and that there was nothing to he could to alleviate those fears. A dull ache broke out, right behind his lung on his left side. He smiled slightly, hoping he could hide the pain behind it. "You look like your mama, sweetheart, so much." He leaned forward and cupped Jessica's cheek in his trembling hand. He could tell it was taking all Jessica had not to appear wanting or scared by leaning into his touch. The ache grew stronger.

"I know, dad, ya tell me all the time."

"'cause it's true," his slurring increased as he fought back tears. He smiled slightly again, "Ya finish highschool next year."

He watched as Jessica bit her lip, "I know,"

"Your Uncle Luke and Aunt Daisy will be there with their families."

She nodded, but didn't speak as tears sprang to her eyes. The ache grew and grew, until it was all he could hear, feel and see. "I gotta go to bed now, dad."

Jessica got up from the couch like a bat out of hell. Bo's hand, which had once cupped his daughter's baby soft skin, fell to the couch like a stone hitting water. His eyes locked on Jessica's.

"I'll see ya tomorrow."

She leaned forward to kiss his forehead.

"I love you, dad."

The sob Bo had been fighting to hold back broke fourth suddenly, as he grabbed Jessica around the waist and pulled her towards him. He hugged her as best he could, for all he was worth. "I'm sorry, Jess, I'm so sorry." He buried his in her stomach and cried as hard as he could, "Daddy's so sorry."

"I know," Jessica shushed him as she rubbed his back in circles. She had finally allowed the tears to fall, "I know." "But there's nothin' to be sorry for. You're still here," she brushed away the tears with her right hand as her left continued to rub her father's back, "You're still my daddy, an' ya always be."

"You're mama, Jesse; Robbie," Bo cried, "'gone too."

"Mama and Robbie left because it was their time." Jessica reasoned, sounding frighteningly adult like, "They were needed elsewhere, like you will be dad. I know that." She bent down to hug his neck then laid her head on the top of his head, "But not right now, ok?" Bo nodded and Jessica pulled back, "'while I'm sleepin' ya better not even think 'bout leavin' early 'cause I'll bring ya back ta life jist ta kill ya again, ya hear?"

Bo laughed and rubbed his eyes, "Yes ma'am,"

"Good," Jessica answered back, "Now, I gotta git. You'd better soon too. I'm not taken care of a man with a hangover on the first day of my summer break, hear?"

Bo nodded, "10-4," then laughed and smacked her behind, "Now git!"

Jessicaa nodded then smiled and started towards her room. She turned on a dime when her dad called her back. "Ya…?"

"Thank you, sweetheart,"

She smiled, "No one else is here to knock sense into ya, it's dirty work, but someone's gotta do it."

Bo laughed out right, "Git ta bed, Miss Priss." Jessica nodded and turned around, "Love ya,"

"Ditto," Jessica called back.

Bo waited till he saw the light switch off in her room before smiling and shaking his head at the irony. Sometimes Jessica was too much like her namesake for comfort, and she was only 17. He only wished he was half as smart as her when he was 17.

Just as Bo got up to go to bed there was a knock at the front door. He turned to it and stared, "Wha'" he then turned his attention to the clock above the fire place across from the couch, "Who in their right mind would be visitin' at 4 am?"

He stomped across the living room like a possessed man and sung open the front door as soon as he was 3 steps away from it, ready to give whoever was behind it a piece of his mind. But all he could do was stare when he realized who had knocked, "Luke," he swallowed hard.

"Hey cousin," Luke greeted, "'hope I didn't wake you or Jesse up."

Bo looked down at himself, skuzzy pair of old jeans and an old flannel shirt. Nope. Definitely not bedroom wear. "Ah, no…no, but I was headed that way."

"Can ya stay up a bit longer?"

"Ah, ya, ya sure," Bo stepped back to let Luke in, "C'mon in."

Luke quickly side stepped the doorway and stepped into the hall, "Thanks," He then turned around to face Bo.

Bo noticed the odd melancholy look on his cousins' face and inquired, "What's up?" he closed the door quickly then turned back to Luke before much time had passed.

Luke swallowed hard then bowed his head, all of sudden too nervous to stare his cousin in the face. "How bad is it, Bo?"

-Bad! - Bo almost laughed, but bit his tongue, -bad doesn't even begin to describe it. - "It's bad, cousin, extremely bad."

Bo watched as Luke swallowed hard twice almost simultaneously, and then closed his eyes. Luke had never been one to show a lot of emotion, even before he went into the Marines, so to witness his cousins' apparent emotional barrier being breached was huge!

"So you're…" he swallowed hard once more, and cleared his throat loudly, "So you're leavin'?" he raised his head. Bo actually had to bite his lower lip to keep it from dropping at the sight of tears in his cousins' eyes.

"'fraid so, buddy," Bo smiled sadly, "The doctor said it's inoperable, that it covers over 70 of my lung." He put his hand over his left side.

Luke's eyes grew wide as a tear started tracing down his cheek. If Bo hadn't have been drunk, he was sure he would have faint from shock a long time ago. Even with the alcohol dulling his senses, he still felt a dangerous amount of shock travel through his system at the apparent amount of pain the news was causing his cousin. This was hitting him harder than Uncle Jesse's death 8 years ago. "How long did they give ya?" his voice dropped a considerable amount, till it was just above a whisper.

"5 months ta a year,"

"5 months," Luke blinked, "Wow,"

Bo laughed, "Ya, you're tellin' me,"

Luke's head sudden shot up, "What about Daisy? Does she know?"

Bo shook his head slightly, "I figured I'd tell her tomorrow. I've had and felt enough shock and grief today." He smiled sadly.

"Right," Luke lowered his head again, "Sorry,"

Bo couldn't stand seeing the "kicked puppy" look in Lukes usually strong and steady face. So he held out his arms, "C'mon, buddy,"

Luke almost immediately took his invitation and threw himself at Bo so hard, it left Bo breathless for a bit. Bo wrapped his arms around his cousin just as Luke shuddered violently.

The two men stood silently wrapped tightly in each others arms for a good 5 or 6 minutes before Luke squeezed Bo even harder and whispered in his ear, "I love you cousin," then hit his back twice and pushed Bo away.

Bo swallowed then nodded, "Ditto," he smiled then coughed, "Do you wanna sleep over? There's more than enough room."

"Ah, ya, ya…" Luke hesitated, "I, ah…I told Debbie I'd probably be stayin'. I have an overnight bag in the car. I'll go get it and head to bed. Ya don't have to wait up."

"K," Bo nodded and turned on a dime, headed for the stairs, "Just lock the door when ya come back in."

"Will do," Luke nodded and headed for the door again.