Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me. One shot.
Adam sighed as he shrugged into his jacket, ad picked up Skeletor's lead. The daily walks were draining his energy, making him feel lifeless. He gave a small smile as the affectionate greyhound bounded towards him, and licked his hand.
"Hey, come on," he said softly.
Skeletor gave an appreciative bark, and obediently trotted after him to the outside world.
Adam paused as he surveyed the neighbourhood. Nothing ever changed. Not the colours of the houses; or the slightly scrubby patches of grass, or the clutter of kids' toys piling up outside. The only thing that had changed was him. A few words from the doctor, and he'd suddenly been transported into a parallel universe of chemotherapy, hospital appointments, constant check ups, and blood tests. Words of "sarcoma", "metastasis", "tumour", once so difficult and arcane, were now comfortable on his tongue. Colleagues who'd never even said hello constantly wanted to know if he was all right. But only via a safe, clinical distance - email, text, twitter.
He swallowed, resentment and anger burning inside. He was under 30. This shouldn't be happening. The rules of his life had changed. He'd gone from being easy going, with a normal life, to a leper. A man whose girlfriend had been caught cheating in public, whose mother wanted to smother him out of existence. He felt guilty. His father's dementia meant his mother had no-one to talk to, and her constant ringing was now just background noise.
He began to walk, Skeletor skittering slightly as he pulled ahead.
He couldn't blame Rachel. She was young, attractive, modern - she wouldn't want to play nursemaid to a sick man. But, he thought bitterly, she could have been honest. No, Adam, I don't want to drive you back after Chemo. No, Adam, I don't want to help you when you're throwing your guts up. No, Adam, I don't want to stand next to this man who is getting frailer and greyer by the day. But the way she'd been found out. Jesus.
His mind drifted, as he thought of Kathy. She was young, inexperienced, and sweet. And couldn't handle him. He felt as though he sometimes let her ramble, but never stopped her in time. He rubbed his forehead. He knew Kyle thought he should try and use his illness to get girls, but he felt uncomfortable, and didn't want to take advantage-
He stopped. And blinked. He'd just collided with someone. He felt a blush spread over his face.
"I'm so sorry, here let me-" he reached his hand out, and she grasped it, gratefully. He helped her to her feet, wincing as the pain shot down his back. She got up, and looked at him. He blushed.
"Thank you," she said. He noticed she was clutching a large portfolio. He blinked.
"Is it damaged?" he asked, hesitantly.
"Oh, no. Its just my team will go crazy if I'm late." She smiled. "But, thank you for helping me up. See you around."
She turned, and began to walk away. He stood, looking after her. Pale skin, long dark hair. Large brown eyes. He decided to take a risk. A risk that he wouldn't have taken when he was healthy, with a full head of dark hair and a face that wasn't a gaunt visage.
"Hey!" he called after her.
She turned. "Yes?"
"I, um, wondered if you'd like to get a coffee?"
She blinked. "Well, yes, sounds good. How about next week?"
He smiled. "Sounds great."
"Cool." She looked at him. "Do you always pick up girls you bump into like this?"
He smiled, a genuine one. "Not always. Sometimes I just let them lie there."
She laughed, and he felt relieved. "Well, I'm glad you didn't tread on me," she quipped. She handed him a piece of paper. "Here's my number."
He looked down, and folded it. "Thank you. I'll be in touch, definitely."
"Of course," she said, smiling. "See you soon." She began to walk off, fingering her lilac neck scarf as she did so.
Adam turned and watched her go. He realised that he might not be meeting her next week. At the present moment in time, he didn't even know if he'd still be here at the weekend. But, he thought, Ariadne was definitely worth getting to next week for.
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