"So that's it?" The words sound hollow to her ears and she can see her parents flinch at the tone.
The doctor looks sad when he nods, "I'm sorry to say so. There are some experimental drugs we could try..."
"Well, why didn't you say so in the first place?" Her mother's shoulder sad quickly in relief, she wasn't a woman who liked to admit defeat especially not in the face of a medical issue.
"There's no guarantee with the treatments Sarah," Dr. Brice informs.
"But we could try," Sarah insists, "if there's even a chance that it'll save my daughter then I want to try it."
"I don't," the typically petite blonde looks smaller then usual and her face looks worn and tired. "I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling sick. How much time Dr. Brice?"
"Three to six months," the doctor informs gently, "there's no way to be exact with the time."
"Will she be in pain?"
"David, you're not really suggesting that we go along with this?" Sarah demands, her eyes locked on her husband.
David reaches out and grabs both his daughter and his wife's hands, "this is our daughter's life and ultimately her choice."
"Mom, can we talk about this at home?"
Sarah has tears in her eyes but she nods, "okay."
Dr. Brice allows the three to finish before answering, "there will be some pain. Mostly the headaches that started all of this, but I can prescribe a painkiller for them. And," his eyes stay locked on the girl, just turned eighteen, "there's a good chance of sight loss in the final stages."
She closes her eyes at the this, suddenly imagining what I would be like to be blind. To be blind and knowing that it was a final stage of an illness that would kill her. When she opens her eyes they are swimming with unshed tears, "is there anything else?"
"Anna, "I wish I had better news for you, I've watched how strongly you've fought the last couple of years," Dr. Brice stops, the speech was bordering on unprofessional but there was something about t his spirited girl that had grown on him since she'd become his patient. How often had he found her leading some sort of craft project on the pediatric wing while dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. She'd always been ready and waiting with a smile for anyone, no matter how horribly she must have been feeling.
And once again she offers him that smile, despite her tears, "you tried everything Dr. Brice and I'm eternally grateful to you for that."
Dr. Brice returns the smile, "everyone is going to miss you on this floor, because I'm kicking you out today."
"I'll stop by and see everyone," Anna promises.
"Well, actually," Dr. Brice leans back in his seat, "there was something more I wanted to suggest. We're expected to have a cold winter this year, and you're still recovering from chemo, so my best suggestion would be to go somewhere warm and dry. I know you have a home in California, but if you don't want to go there then go to Hawaii or Bermuda...all I'm saying is that you should be somewhere warm."
Anna glances at her father and he states, "we'll talk about it at home Peanut. Is there anything more we must discuss today Edward?"
"Not today David," Dr. Brice shakes his head as he pulls out a prescription pad. "I'm going to write the prescription for the pain reliever now and once you decide about the move give me a call and I'll see who I can get in contact with."
"Anna, please," Sarah stares at her daughter tearfully, "please talk to Edward about your treatment options."
Anna is settled onto a couch in her aunt and uncle's house with her father in a chair across from her and her mother pacing in between them. She knows this is hard for the, of course it was hard for them it would be hard for any parent to find out that their child was dying. But Anna was her parents entire world, they'd tried for ten years to conceive her and her mom was nearly 45 when she was born. At that point her parents had been married twenty years and they had spent their years afterwards as doctors without borders, but when Sarah was pregnant they'd settled down in Pittsburgh near David's brother. Both taking positions at the same hospital, Sarah as an ER doctor and David as a cardiologist.
It was Sarah who'd wanted to move to California, she had a free spirt and while most 61-year-olds had thoughts of retirement on their mind Sarah was just looking for a new adventure. David and Anna had willingly followed because they both had their own adventurous streaks. David had settled well into a life of retirement and Anna had made new friends. All had been well until Anna had fainted while she was visiting family in Pittsburgh, her parents had immediately flown to Pennsylvania and they had been by her side when she'd been delivered the news that she had a brain tumor.
She returned to Newport, pasted on a smile and let Seth believe that seeing him on a coffee cart kissing Summer had been the reason she was moving back to Pittsburgh. She'd let Summer believe that it was just because she didn't feel like she fit in there. She didn't know what everyone else thought but she knew that no one suspected she was sick and that was fine by her, she didn't want their pity. And so she'd returned and been faced with surgeries, chemo and radiation and that had been most of the last two years of her life, only now to find out that none of it had done anything.
"Anna," David stares expectantly at her.
"I'm sorry Daddy," Anna apologizes, "what were you saying?"
"We won't force you to take this treatment," Sarah's expression looks sad at her husband's words but she nods, "you know we won't. But we'd like you to consider what Edward said about moving back to California."
Anna glances between her parents and she's pretty sure that they've communicated all of this with just a few glances, "can I think about it?"
"Of course," David nods.
Anna stands, "I'm going to take a walk."
"Anna..." Sarah begins to protest.
"I'll bundle up," Anna promises. "I just need to be alone, please?"
David and Sarah's gazes meet and finally Sarah nods, "but take your cell phone, and please don't be gone long."
Within minutes Anna steps outside and is immediately chilled by the wind, a reminder that Dr. Brice was probably right about moving to wear it was warm. "Come on Swifty," Anna whispers to the black lab mix waiting on a leash next to her. He'd been one of the reasons that Anna had given Seth about moving back, but when he'd asked her about it she got so nervous that she began to babble of a list of reasons. Anything to keep Seth from finding out that she was sick, and now her parents and her doctor were asking her to go back so that she could die warm.
With a sob Anna drops to her knees, startled Swifty stops on his leash and returns to Anna's side. Anna buries her face in the dog's soft coat, she couldn't do it. Couldn't care the thought of dying. Of her parents and her friends watching her die. But this was what her parents wanted, she knew that they were grasping on to the hope that California's warmth would keep her with them so much longer. They wanted her to move back to California. She had to give them this because it was them who was going to be left behind. And ultimately she was going to die, so did it really matter where?
A.N. So there's the first chapter of this story that's been eating away at me for years, literally I've had it in there since just after Anna left in the first place. I thought it was all to sudden...but now she's going to back in Newport...here's a little preview of what's to come, she'll run into Seth and the gang fairly quickly, but look for her to keep her secret for as long as humanly possible! And just to be clear, I have every intention of keeping this Seth/Summer & Ryan/Marissa and as much as I love Anna and Seth or Ryan together. If you're looking for a Anna/Ryan story check out my Shades of Gray and Pink, which I promise I'll update at some point. Anyway thanks for reading, please review because I promise they do help me to write!