Disclaimer- I am not Stephenie Meyer or Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan wrote the song 'Baby Please Stop Cryin' in 1978, of which, I got the title from the lyrics.
A/N- this is for Ms. Kathy's Fandom Gives Back author auction request. Yes, I finally got around to it. The muse just wasn't talking to me until now. I just needed Sweet Little Bullet to give me some inspiration and LisaCA707 to beta for me and Bethaboo for her Portland beta help.
Sorry I didn't respond to your reviews! I've been back in school and just way too busy. I'm sick of being unemployed, so I decided to expand my usable work skills and it's eating up all my spare time.
It started slowly; I woke up and there were several hairs on my pillow.
I knew what it meant, but it wasn't anything I wanted to admit to just yet. Whenever Carlisle pulled my hair back while I was puking, he usually came away with a hand full or two of it into his hands. He tried to brush it off before I saw, but I did anyway.
The number of hairs coming out got thicker and thicker, my brush got more matted every time I ran it through my hair. The amount of hair that I had to stick to the wall in the shower grew larger every day.
On a day after chemo, I decided I'd had enough when I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and my sweaty hand came back with half the pony's contents and I could see my scalp through my hair.
I felt a little sick, but I asked Brandi to watch the kids while I located a store and picked out a scarf—a pretty one. When I got home, Carlisle was there.
"It's time," I said, holding up the scarf.
He sighed. "I'm so sad," he said. "I love your hair."
"It looks awful," I admitted. "It'll be one less thing to worry about while I'm sick at least."
"I'm going to miss it. Are you sure you're ready?"
"I've already cried over losing my hair." And I had; I'd had a private mourning session earlier that day.
"You know I'm not going to let you do this alone."
"I love you." It made such a difference having Carlisle's support. I remembered back to when I was first diagnosed and thought I'd be facing treatment alone. Having Carlisle by my side made all the difference.
We carefully put tiny ponytail elastics around my hair so they were close to my scalp, holding small portions of my hair. No more denial. It was time. I really was sick and now I'd truly look the part.
I took off my clothes and the kids watched in the doorway as I got into the bathtub and Carlisle cut the clippers out of the plastic. He put a sheet around my neck and knotted it closed.
"All right," he said, sighing, "here goes."
I felt a quick pang of nausea when he turned the clippers on and they buzzed. I took a deep breath… The chemo was killing all the cells that reproduced quickly, and I might as well get the transition over with.
I felt the clippers buzz softly over my head and my tiny ponytails began to fall off like clouds. Carlisle was holding his breath. "It's all right," I said. "Keep going."
He slowly went over my head and more ponytails fell to the bottom of the bathtub.
"All right, we're all done," he said. I must have looked horrified because he turned me around and said "Hey, it'll grow back."
I climbed out of the tub, taking off the sheet and looked at myself in the mirror. The jaundiced yellow skin went up and up. My ears stuck out. I didn't recognize myself—and I had a bumpy head, too— just like I had feared. I felt ugly very suddenly, like deformed. The knowledge I'd lose my hair didn't lessen the shock of actually having it happen.
I felt tears rush my eyes, but I couldn't cry in front of the kids. I looked so different without it. I'd be fooling myself to not have shaved it off. It was all going to fall out anyway.
"Come here," Carlisle said. He stroked my now bald head. "I told you you'd be beautiful bald."
"You're lying," I mouthed.
"No, I'm not," he said quietly. He leaned down and kissed me. He wiped my tears and I realized how stupid it was to cry right now. It was over. This was what I was now—a cancer patient. The battle was more real now than it had ever been.
Carlisle took the scarf and helped me put it on to cover my head. I could get dressed now. "My turn," he said, taking off his shirt.
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Totally sure. Let's do this."
I put the sheet around his neck. "Here we go," I said. I ran the clippers from the front of his forehead to the middle of his scalp. His blond hair slid down the sheet to join mine on the bathtub floor.
"Me next!" Emmett cried.
"Me too!" Alice said.
"I wanna go!" Edward said.
"Wait a minute," Carlisle said. With each buzz and swipe, I felt strangely better. The kids were all about letting me know when I missed a spot. When Carlisle's head was done, he got out of the tub and I saw his blond locks laying on top of mine. Layered together. Inseparable. A bit of his hair was going to be sent to Locks of Love with mine, no matter how hard I tried to separate it.
I didn't know a reason not to.
Carlisle got out of the tub and rubbed his head. "Okay, Mister Clean's on duty, who's next?" He grabbed Emmett, who was already in his Underoos. Carlisle came back with a hoop earring of mine and put it on his ear, looping it into his ear canal since he didn't have a piercing. My kids laughed and I had to smile. It was cute.
Emmett volunteered first. He climbed into the bathtub and I shaved his black curls, he grinned and rubbed his head as he got out, just like his dad. Edward and Alice whined for their turns.
Alice was bouncing up and down. "Me next!" she cried. "Me next, Mommy!"
"No," I said. "Little girls shouldn't be bald."
"You're a girl and you're bald," she said.
"My hair's falling out, baby," I said. "Yours isn't. It's different. Come on, Edward, let's do yours."
After we shaved Edward's wild auburn hair, I put the clippers away under the sink. I took the kids to the living room while Carlisle cleaned out the hair from the bathtub and we talked about why Mommy had to cut her hair off. My head felt oddly lighter and colder as we talked.
"I'm sick with a special disease," I told my kids. "Not like when we get fevers or a cold. But if we stick together as a family, I'm not going to be sick for much longer."
"I love you, Momma," Edward said, hugging me.
"I love you, too. I love all of you so much."
"I don't ever want to be apart from you ever again," Edward told me.
I kissed and hugged him and my other two surrounded me.
I quickly figured out that I was going to have to keep a scarf over my naked scalp from here on out just to keep warm. I heard somewhere that in winter, ninety percent of your body heat came out through your head unless you had a hat and covered it. I was going to have to be careful.
"Why can't you cut my hair like yours, Momma?" Alice whined.
"I already told you, sweetheart," I said. "Ballerinas need hair. To put up into a bun."
"No I don't," Alice whined. "I can paint my head so it looks like I've hair!"
"Here," Carlisle said, coming into the room with the tiny ponytails of my hair and he tucked them into a manilla envelope. Well, it would go to somebody who needed it more,now. Hopefully, I wouldn't be fighting this for years. Everyone said that hair grew back pretty quickly after chemo.
"Or, I can wear a thing like yours when I dance!" Alice said, tugging at the ends of the scarf hanging down my back. "And it can be pink!"
"Your hair is so much prettier," I said, kissing her head. "And I won't be bald for too long. It'll grow back. Hopefully soon. Ask God for me to get better."
She kissed me. "I will."
After we cuddled for a while, Carlisle announced we should all put on our shoes and coats. "We're going to the best-kept secret in Portland," he announced. "Get in the car."
After we got into the car, he drove downtown. "Where are we going?" I asked.
"Yay!" the kids cried.
"We need some magic right now," he said. "If it helps you get better."
We pulled into a parking lot on 3rd Avenue and went across the street to a little hole-in-the-wall shop. The sign said "Voodoo Doughnut; the magic is in the hole." When we walked in there were college students slurping coffee and eating odd-colored doughnuts. The walls were crammed full of colorful art and there were even panties for sale stapled to the wall. Tonight's special was scribbled on a chalkboard in bright pink; bacon maple bar. It sounded disgusting to me.
"So, what are we having?" Carlisle asked the kids.
"I want the one that's pink with the bubble gum in the middle!" Alice cried, pointing at the one in the clear case. There was a wrapped piece of Double Bubble in the doughnut hole, the doughnut covered in fine pink sprinkles.
"I want the one with the Captain Crunch on it!" Edward announced.
"I want the scary ghostie one," Emmett said.
I looked at the menu and the names were all pretty risque. I was glad that even though the kids could read, they didn't know what cock-n-balls and maple blazer blunt meant or could mean. "What do you suggest?" I asked Carlisle.
"The Maple Bacon Bar," Carlisle said. "It's just right. A mix of salty and sweet—just right."
"Why don't you get that," I said. "I'll try a bite. I don't think I'm getting anything."
"You gotta get something," Carlisle insisted. "This will make a night this shitty all better. These are magic. We need some magic tonight."
"All right, fine. The Old Dirty Bastard."
"Ooh, Mommy said 'bastard!'" Alice cried. She and the boys started giggling.
"So one Captain my Captain, one Voodoo Doll, one Bacon Maple Bar, a Dubble Bubble, and a ODB. Anything else?" the cashier asked.
"Just two decaf coffees and three skim milks," I said.
"We just shaved my head," I said, indicating my headscarf. "Cancer."
"Oh… well, in that case, they're on the house!"
"Cool!" Emmett cried.
"Thanks," Carlisle said.
"Kids, can we all tell the nice lady thank you?"
"Thank you!" they chorused.
She put them all in a pink confection box and we sat down at a booth and gazed at all the art while the kids dug into their sugary treats. Carlisle was like a little kid moaning and groaning at each bite while I took a bite of mine. It was rich and tasty, but my nausea cancelled it out. I sighed and put it down. "Here," Carlisle said, offering a bite of his Maple-Bacon concoction. "Try it."
I took a bite and understood why he was so crazy about it. At this point, I was so nauseated from the richness of the food, I was certain I was going to get diarrhea before we got home. The kids were already covered in chocolate and sprinkles somehow and they weren't even done with their doughnuts. I knew they were going to be hyped up for a few more hours. I figured it would be best if we let them burn out first, before going home.
After we took the kids outside to run around and scream in the night air (disturbing all the people trying to enjoy the evening), they burned out and we got them into the car and went home. After a bath where we washed all three at once, I realized how much easier it was to wash the boys when I didn't have to mess with shampoo.
I kissed them all good-night and read them a book. "And we're all going to go to bed, now," I said. "See you in the morning."
We tucked Alice into her bed in her room and turned out the lights.
I was officially exhausted- I had lost so much today in my attempt to survive. Carlisle told me to go to bed and he'd finish cleaning up. I dozed off and woke up to him getting into the bed beside me.
He kissed me on the forehead.
"Good night, Love."
I was woken up by the sound of little feet running through the room.
"It's nothing," Carlisle muttered sleepily. "I think Edward's sleepwalking again."
I rolled over in bed and tried to get to sleep. When he didn't wet the bed, he was usually sleepwalking into closets and taking a piss. I hated that. Hopefully, my shoes weren't going to be filled with pee in the morning.
I felt Carlisle roll over in the bed. "What's going on?" I muttered.
"Stay here. I'll check on them."
Right as I closed my eyes again, I heard Carlisle yelp. "Emmett!" he yelled. I knew it was something bad. I hopped out of the bed and went to the kid's bathroom.
The site that greeted me almost buckled my knees.
"Alice!" I cried.
They all three were standing in the bathroom with the clippers and Alice sitting in the bathtub in her underwear—a bald streak up her head. I burst into tears seeing my only daughter with her hair messed up so badly.
"We told you Alice can't shave her head!" Carlisle cried. I saw his hand go up in the air and land on Edward's rear with a clap. He squealed and clutched his butt, surprised more than anything. "What have you done to your poor sister's head?" He smacked Emmett on the butt too, and then grabbed Alice, who screamed in the tiny room, the sound echoing off the walls, almost bursting my eardrums. All the kids were crying, more in tears of shock than anything. Carlisle never hit the children—ever.
"My baby!" I sobbed. "Your hair!"
"What made you do this?" Carlisle shouted.
"Everybody was cutting their hair!" Alice sobbed. "But not meee!"
"We told you no!" I cried.
"Why am I so different?" Alice blubbered. "Why couldn't I?"
It all made sense. Alice felt left out, being the only one not shaving her head. But my beautiful baby—her hair! Her beautiful black locks that I loved to braid and put into ponytails and to curl!
"What were you thinking?" I sobbed.
"I was going to take the hair and put it in my bed and tell you it fell out while I was sleeeppiiiing," she sobbed. "I'm sorry, Mommy! I just want to look like yoooouuuu!"
"We might as well finish it off," Carlisle said. "We can't have her going around with a reverse mohawk."
"But my baby!" I sobbed. "Her hair!"
"It's messed up anyway," Carlisle said, shrugging, picking up the clippers. Alice's sobs stopped and she lit up. "We'll never be able to cover it up." Alice grinned and climbed back into the tub. Sighing, Carlisle shaved her head, while she got a shit-eating grin on her face.
"She looks like a little boy," I sniffled.
"I'll wear pink dresses," Alice offered.
"We could always pierce her ears," Carlisle said. "Lots of moms do that when their daughters don't grow hair very quickly when they're babies."
"Oh, no, I'm not taking her to the mall just to show off this haircut."
"I like my haircut, Mommy," she said, rubbing her head.
"Edward's pediatrician pierces ears," Carlisle said. "He numbs the earlobes so it doesn't hurt so much."
"Well… we've got to do something," I said. "Alice, how do you feel about getting your ears pierced?"
Alice grinned. "Yes! I want my ears pierced!"
"Okay then, I'll make some phone calls and do it tomorrow," I said.
"Kids, I'm sorry about spanking you," Carlisle said. "But when we tell you 'no', we mean 'no' for a reason and you disobeyed us. Let's make a new rule tonight. Only grown-ups are allowed to cut hair."
"Good rule. Do we all agree?" I asked, dusting hair of Alice's shoulders.
"Yes ma'am," my kids chorused.
"Okay, good," Carlisle said, picking up Alice's hair from the bathtub. "Let's all go to bed now."
We tucked the kids in bed and turned off the lights.
"I'm the worst father in the world," Carlisle moaned, climbing into bed with me. "I can't believe I just spanked all three of them. I always said I'd never hit my kids."
"Me either," I said. "But those little shits deserved it tonight, going behind our backs and deliberately disobeying us."
"This is just the beginning," he muttered. "And I'm afraid Emmett will be bigger than me before I know it."
"Hey now, no fat jokes about my son."
"I wasn't making fat jokes! He's a tall kid!"
I sighed. "He is."
"We'll laugh about this someday. Good night."
The next day, I took Alice to Dr. Mostel to get her ears pierced. "You're going to get to wear pretty earrings now," I said.
"Yay!" Alice cried. I put a pink hat on her just in case anybody wondered. I put on my own headscarf. "Momma, I wanna wear a head thingy today."
I put one on her, but ten minutes later, she had it off and was asking me to put it back on for her. This went on for a while before I decided Alice couldn't handle wearing a scarf and put the hat back on her and she pouted.
At the doctor's office, people stared at us in horror and sympathy. "Both of you have cancer?" a lady asked me.
"No, just me. My daughter just found my clippers and decided to give herself a haircut," I said.
Her face softened. "How sweet!"
"It's not that sweet when she does it behind your back."
Alice just grinned.
Finally they called us in. "I like this doctor!" Alice cried.
She wasn't going to like him in a few minutes.
We waited until the doctor came into the room. "Hi, I'm Dr. Mostel," he said. He saw Alice's shaved head and his expression fell. "What happened here?"
"She saw her brothers, father and me shaving our heads," I said. "And she stole the clippers and had one of her brothers give her a haircut."
"What kind of cancer do you have, Ms um…" he looked at the chart. "Evanson?"
"Cervical," I said. "I thought we'd get her ears pierced so people would know she's a girl, despite her bald head."
"All right," he said. He asked a few questions to make sure Alice didn't have any allergies or blood disorders. Then, he let Alice choose her studs. She chose some with pretty pink stones.
The nurse came in and prepped her ears, putting a numbing gel on her earlobes and chilled them down before disinfecting them. Dr. Mostel got out a pair of disinfected needles and drew dots on her ears. "Is this even enough?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.
He picked up the needle and Alice's eyes got wide. "This shouldn't hurt," he said. "Just trust me, Alice." Alice began to scream before he even got the needle near her. "Alice, I haven't even touched the needle to you, yet." She whimpered. "You're not even going to feel this! I swear!"
Alice sobbed loudly and he went ahead and pierced her left ear. "Momma! No! I'll never cut my hair again!"
"Alice, I'm done," he said. "This ear is done."
Alice's sobs stopped and looked at him, surprised. "It is?"
"Yes, let me get the other one."
She was quiet and compliant as he did her other ear. The earrings gleamed on her little ears. "You look very nice," I told Alice. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"
She nodded and the nurse handed her a mirror. She smiled as she saw her earrings, wiping her eyes. She primped for a moment. "I like it, Momma."
"I thought you would," I said. "Can you say thank you to Dr. Mostel?"
"Thank you Dr. Mostel."
Dr. Mostel gave me directions on how to care for Alice's ears and what to look out for. We'd have to leave them in for six weeks before changing them.
"Momma, are you going to wear earrings?" Alice asked as we left the Dr.'s office.
"That's a great idea," I said. "Let's go earring shopping!"