Chapter 1

"Tommy, I think it's time you called some friends or family," The doctor closed the office door behind Tommy as the two men walked into the office.

"Is it really that bad already," Tommy asked fearfully.

"We're looking at about a year. Could be a bit more, could be a bit less."

"I don't really have any family left," Tommy mused to himself.

"Then call your friends," The doctor suggested gently. "You gotta tell someone. I really don't recommend trying to go down this road alone."

"Yeah, yeah sure," Tommy smiled thinly.

"I'm serious Tommy," The doctor could see through the bullshit.

"I'll think about it," Tommy agreed. "I know who I need to tell, I just don't know what they'll say."

"If you want to bring your friend in and have some help with explaining, you can feel free to."

"Okay, so what should I expect now," Tommy leaned forward, trying to get off the touchy subject.

"You'll probably feel pretty tired even after a full night's sleep. There'll be a loss of appetite and when you do eat you'll notice you may feel bloated. The nausea will also be quite a bit more frequent, maybe even some vomiting."

"Sounds like a regular party." Tommy mused.

"There may also be some achiness and pain."

"Is there anything I can take or do to ease the symptoms?" Tommy asked.

"You can still try chemotherapy and radiation, but if you want to do that we need to start immediately, as in today."

"No," Tommy interrupted.

"It is tough, but it really can help."

"I said no," Tommy replied shortly that left little room for argument.

"There is a clinical trial of a treatment pill," The doctor advised.

"Yeah," Tommy looked back up at the doctor.

"To be honest, I'm not crazy about it. They're asking participants to pay," The doctor shook his head. "Two thousand a pop and they don't even know what side effects there might be."

"What's the pill do," Tommy asked.

"It's a drug called glimetriptylpril."

"You're gonna have to write that one down for me," Tommy laughed, interrupting.

"Basically, it is like swallowing poison," The doctor continued. "It gets into the blood stream, targets and kills cancer cells…well that's the goal anyways."

"How long has it been out? Are there any success stories?"

"It's been in testing for about three months now. It's really too soon to tell."

"Can I try a month and see what happens," Tommy asked.

"I don't like it, but we can see," The doctor frowned. "You'll take one pill today, and the second in two weeks. I want you to check in with me on weeks two and four."

"Fair enough," Tommy nodded. "If the pill doesn't work, what else can I do?"

"There really isn't any other treatment," The doctor explained.

"How about just to take the edge off,"' Tommy asked.

"Tylenol might help, but not much, and after a while even that won't help. I really wish you'd reconsider chem…"

"Okay, let's go get this pill thing started," Tommy interrupted. "And don't you bring chemotherapy up with me again Doc."

"Follow me to the pharmacy lab and we'll get you started. I won't mention it again, but I really want you to call or write your friends. Let them know, get some support."

Tommy didn't call or write anyone that night. In fact it wasn't for another six months before he could bring himself to do so. It was the afternoon that he spent on his bathroom floor that finally persuaded him.

That night, Tommy was sitting in his desk. His hands were shaking and that was pissing him off. Tommy DeVito wasn't scared of anything. He'd face the world head on with 110% and if someone had a problem with that, well then fuck them. For the third time in the last hour he snatched up the phone and this time hurriedly dialed before he lost his nerve again.

"Hello," A gruff voice on the other end asked. Oh shit, Tommy did quick math, it was after eleven in Nashville.

"Bob, it's Tommy, did I wake ya?" Tommy asked nervously.

"Nah, was just getting ready to head to bed. What's up Tommy, it's a little late for a chat."

"I was wondering if you could come out here for a couple days," Tommy asked. "I've got some stuff I want to talk to you about. It's really important, and we can't do it over the phone."

"That sounds a little fishy Tommy," Bob started. "What about Nick and Frankie?"

"Yeah, I gotta talk to them too," Tommy replied. "I swear, I'm not trying to pull anything, I just really need you to come out here. Just a day or two. Please."

The other end of the phone was silent for a while before Bob sighed heavily. "I'll be there by the end of the week. Tommy, I swear to God, you better not be settin' me up."

"I told you I swear," Tommy snapped.

"Oh well forgive me for not trusting you completely," Bob scoffed.

"Thanks Bob, for uh agreeing to come," Tommy choked out quickly as the shaking came back. He felt his stomach starting to turn.

"Yeah, I'll see you Friday. Good night."

Tommy hung up and quickly made it back to the bathroom just in time to finish emptying his aching stomach.