Reading a newspaper and sipping on coffee, Henry anxious waited out in the lobby with Keith as they awaited the news. Though he tried not to show it, his insides felt tied in knots. Things for Henry have been an uphill battle ever since losing his wife. The thought of losing his son as well….he just couldn't bare it.
"I'm sorry Natalie couldn't be here son." Henry said as he flipped the page.
"I uh….didn't tell her," Keith muttered under her breath. Henry gave him a sharp look but didn't question it. "She had plans with her mom to go prom dress shopping and I didn't want her to be stuck in the hospital with me. I'd rather her spend time with her family and have fun."
Henry smiled behind his paper as he listened to how selfless his son was at times.
"What do you think of this one?" Natalie asked as she walked out of the fitting room with a princess style ball gown. It was peach colored with sequence.
"That's a lot of dress, Natalie." Her mother chuckled.
"It is really hard to walk in. I don't like it." She said as she patted the poof with her hands. "What do you think Cynthia?"
"Eww!" She squirmed. "How about this one?" Cynthia asked grabbing a dress off the rack.
"I'll go and try it on," Natalie said taking it from her hands.
"Whatever dress you get, you need to tell Keith so his tuxedo can coordinate the dress," Her mother pointed out. "You know when I went to prom, they wore powder blue or black tuxes; nothing like these fancy styles." Mrs. Anderson pointed out. "So many years ago." Natalie let out a laugh from the fitting room.
"So…what do you think?" Natalie questioned as she came out the dressing room with a sweet-heart neckline dress. The color was plum and the dress was form fitting but had a slight train in the back.
"I love it!" Cynthia said as she ran and gave Natalie a hug. "I think Keith will too!"
"You think so?" Natalie questioned looking in the three-way mirror. "Mom?"
Mrs. Anderson put her hands together and then put one over her mouth. "Natalie, you look stunning. You are going to take their breath away when you walk through the door. It even matches the jewel in that ring you have on…." Mrs. Anderson gave her a mistrustful look. "Natalie is that a….?"
"No mom, calm down!" Natalie replied still observing herself in the mirror. "It's from Keith. It's a promise ring to be with me for all eternity." Mrs. Anderson let out a sigh of relief.
"You don't like him that much, Mom?" Natalie defended.
"It's not that, Natalie. I just don't' want you to settle down too early is all. You've already given so much of yourself."
At this point, Natalie dissociated herself from Mrs. Anderson's lecture and focused on thoughts of Keith.
"Mr. Zettestrom, they're ready for you." The nurse came out and greeted Keith with a smile. "Second door on the left."
"My favorite," Keith joked. "I just love this place."
"You must be the one Nurse Jewel warned me about. She told me to keep my guard up for your wit."
"She forgot to mention my charm." Keith responded as he took a chair in front of the doctor's desk. "He'll be in a minute, I know. Thanks." Keith tried to not act impatient but truth be told; he was. Inside him, he knew he would get to hear one of two things: he has a fighting chance or a dying breath.
"Mr. Zetterstrom, glad to have you back." Dr. Reddy said as he reached out his hand to Keith.
"Doc." Keith said bluntly.
"I've been reviewing your file and you have made a lot of progress over the years. Your white blood count cells are down and that is good; it shows your body is not fighting infection." The doc flipped through Keith's file. "Your previous surgery went significantly well."
"And? But? I don't know what to ask doc. Cut to the chase." Keith said eagerly.
"Keith, we're going to start you back on chemo and radiation therapy. Though you are making strides in the right direction…" As the doctor continued, Keith sat in disbelief.
"So you're saying I am not in remission?"
"Keith, I would like your father to come in now." Dr. Reddy then pushed a button on his desk to summon Henry. Moments later, Henry entered the room and observed his sons face.
"We'll get through this, Keith." Henry said as he placed his head in my lap. "Am I losing my boy, Dr. Reddy?"
Dr. Reddy removed his glasses and placed them on the desk. "I don't know. Biologically, the cancer has spread to some of his organ. Spiritually, Keith is a fighter. He has the mentality. He has beaten this before."
Henry's eyes flung to the ground as his body turned a pale yellow. He bit his lip to try and keep the tears from coming. "How long?"
"It's a complicated answer."
"How long does my boy have?"
"A few months…a year….maybe two if we're lucky."
Keith slammed his hands on his desk before knocking his chair over and running out of the door. He ran out of the hallway kicking walls as he ran. He had no destination in mind. He kept running.
"Let him go," Dr. Reddy stated as Henry got up to chase after his son.
"Well today was a productive day," Mrs. Anderson said as they pulled into the driveway.
"Yeah it was," Natalie agreed giving her mom a hug. "I'm going to go and see Keith but I'll be back tonight. I love you, mom and Cynthia. Bye!" Natalie waved as she transported herself into her vehicle.
"Be careful!" Mrs. Anderson called after her daughter.
Authors Note: I am sorry for the somewhat gloominess in this chapter. I am afraid it may continue down this path for the next few chapters. I really hope you are enjoying the updates though! I am trying to finish this story before college starts back. I've been reading all the updates and everyone is doing so well! All the "Keith" writers are so talented!