Well, it's about damn time.
I could throw out all sorts of excuses for extending my hiatus longer than I'd intended, but mostly it was a combination of writer's block, busy schedules, and sheer laziness. (Emphasis on the laziness.) However, I'm back, and updates will be getting on a fairly regular schedule again from here on out. How does that sound?
Anyway, this chapter's not horribly eventful, but it does tie a lot of things together. For one, we're finally starting to see some of the treatment process for the cancer. We also get to see the rebuilding of Beca's relationships with her parents. The key focus of this fic is not so much the cancer as it is how the cancer - and Beca's subsequent decisions regarding it - affect her relationships with those closest to her. While it's damaged her relationship with Chloe, it's actually helped Beca to get closer to her family.
Just to clarify one thing: Beca's dad was an ass last chapter, yes, but keep in mind that this fic is written from either Beca's or Chloe's POV. And Beca's not going to view Warren in an overly favorable light. Hopefully your opinion of him changes a little after this chapter. Yeah, he's screwed up, but he's really not such a bad guy, I promise.
On a side note, there's a fair bit of throwing up and awkward silences in this chapter, and I'm not entirely sure why.
I am not an expert on cancer. I tried to do my best in regards to the research on chemotherapy (I actually need to go back and correct something said in an earlier chapter), but I've no doubt that I messed up some facts. The drugs named were said to be used for brain cancer, but likely they're just general ones, and not the specifics that would be required in this case. If anybody actually knows the details of this stuff, feel free to let me know.
As always, I hope you enjoy, and thank you so much for sticking with me after all this time!
And Really, It's No Surprise
That Words Now Have More Meaning Such as When and Why and What
The tingling in her palms and the tightness in her chest had only intensified as the minutes of the morning ticked by. This was no seizure, though; just unadulterated fear.
Beca was trying very hard not to be scared, but she was failing spectacularly. She was well aware that the side effects were really not so terrible, and that most of them were unlikely to occur. She was also well aware that this treatment was her only chance at living, and she'd be damned if she didn't try it.
But despite her awareness, she still couldn't stop the sweat growing on her palms as she discreetly wiped them against her pants; nor could she abate the fear that swam in her mind. She'd never been terribly fond of hospitals in the first place, and being strapped to a chair was doing a fairly pisspoor job at changing that.
This was not how she wished her Saturday morning to be spent.
For the moment, nothing much was happening. Beca was sitting in a rather comfortable chair (of which she certainly was not expecting), and her right arm was extended on the arm rest. An electric heat pad was wrapped around it, and though she was told not to move too much, Beca found herself finding it very hard to resist the urge to fidget with the device.
She'd only been in the hospital for about fifteen minutes or so, but already Beca was growing bored and restless, especially as her anxiety for the actual treatment began to ramp up as the minutes ticked past.
It would only take a minute or so more, the doctors had said, before they could finally start administering the drugs. God, was Beca not ready for that.
For the moment, though, Doctor Krebs was doing something called "cannulation"; really, it was just a fancy term for "I'm going to insert this tube into your body and pump you full of drugs". The heat pad was making her veins more visible, or something like that. Most of the terms and procedure flew right over Beca's head.
For god's sake, just because she had cancer did not suddenly mean she wanted to be an oncologist (another word she'd never known before now).
"I think we're ready." Doctor Krebs' voice interrupted Beca's mental tirade, and she glanced warily at the doctor. "Now, I'm going to hook the tube attached to the cannula to this pump right here, which will control the flow of drugs and alert us when the bag runs out."
"You're leaving the room?" Beca asked, somewhat alarmed.
Doctor Krebs smiled calmly. "We won't be here the whole time, that's true. There are other patients in the hospital to attend to, and you won't be needing on-the-clock care – don't worry, there's no danger, and we'll be in and out every hour to check on you and the drugs. Okay?"
Beca nodded, still not entirely comfortable with the idea. "Um, yeah, sure."
"Would you like me to get your mom?"
"Nope I'm good," Beca hastily spluttered. Ever since her mom had told her dad about Beca's cancer, their relationship, which had finally started to patch up, was rocky once more, and Beca most certainly didn't want the awkward silence that would come of her mom being in the room. "Can I listen to my music, though?"
"Yes, of course," Doctor Krebs said. "Do you have it with you?"
"My mp3's in my pocket, and I've got some earbuds in there too." Beca reached down with her left hand and pulled it out, fumbling a bit without the aid of her right. After inserting the earbuds, she kept the music off so she could continue to listen to Doctor Krebs until the medicine started.
"Now that your vein's available, we're going to give you a quick flush of saline. This is just going to keep the vein open for us while you take your pre-meds." Doctor Krebs reached for the trey beside the hanging bag. "We just need you to take these two anti-sickness pills, and some Benadryl. Since it appears you have no allergies to any of the medications we've prescribed, there's no need for anything else." Grabbing a small plastic bag, she handed two white pills, a pink Benadryl, and a glass of water to the seated Beca.
Eyeing them distrustfully, Beca did as she was told and swallowed the medicine, before handing the glass back to Doctor Krebs. "Good," said the doctor. "And now we'll begin the drug administration."
The park was always pleasantly empty on Saturday mornings, a fact Chloe had learned long ago to take advantage of. There was nothing more calming than a light jog through dew-sparkling grass and green boughs overhead. Dawn's early rays filtered through the trees as the steady thump of sneakers on pavement accompanied her.
Even when her thoughts swam in chaos, the park managed to soothe her, and for these precious few moments, Chloe was unburdened and free.
But the moment was fleeting (as most moments are), and Chloe found herself with unwelcome thoughts creeping back into her mind, unwanted tendrils of self-hatred and doubt weaving a net of fear and uncertainty in her mind.
Pausing a moment to catch her breath, Chloe shut her eyes and shook her head, not wanting to think about that one person she was trying very hard not to think about. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and absentmindedly pulled out her phone to check the time.
The phone sat comfortably in her palm, and for a brief moment Chloe forgot herself, and a familiar press on the screen led her to staring at her contacts list, the most prominent name being that one person she was really trying not think about.
That one person who probably hated her, was disgusted with her, felt betrayed by her.
"How could you have feelings for me? We're just friends! Congratulations, you've ruined everything. Everything we ever had together is ruined, and it's all. Your. Fault."
Chloe couldn't tell any more if the voice spitting words at her was Beca's or her own, but it didn't matter, because those words stung all the same. She hastily turned her phone off, shoved it in her pocket, and set off at a much brisker pace than before.
Step. Step. Breathe. Keep jogging. Keep jogging.
Don't think. Don't think. Don't think.
And when at last Chloe reached her house, she found that the exhaustion from the run couldn't hold a candle to the fatigue of her thoughts.
The distinct smell of alcohol woke a drowsy Beca – at some point, she must have dozed off. Wrinkling her nose against the odor (from the excessive use of alcohol swabs in order to wipe the equipment, as explained earlier), she closed her eyes again as a sudden wave of nausea hit her. She gripped the armrest firmly as the wave passed, thankfully without feeling the need to expel all of the contents in her stomach.
Doctor Krebs was watching her as Beca opened her eyes once more and gave the doctor a weak smile. Taking her earbuds out, Beca asked, "How'd it go?"
The doctor grinned. "Wonderfully. We'll have to wait a few days before we start to see the effects, but there were no averse reactions, and everything was administered properly. With luck, in a few days, we should start seeing your tumor reduce. It will only be a little bit, but if we keep working at it, we can get it down to a manageable size, and then surgery will be an option."
"You make it sound as if the situation's not nearly as bad as before."
The grin fell. Doctor Krebs sighed. "Your situation is still grave, so do not mistake my enthusiasm for a sudden change in your condition." Beca grimaced. "However," the doctor continued, "this is the first step to your recovery, and if everything continues as it has, you've got a fighting chance. Just hang in there – we're doing everything we can to fight this tumor."
Beca nodded slowly. She supposed it was a little naïve of her to suddenly think that the chemotherapy had cured her, but she couldn't really be blamed for grasping on to every piece of hope she received, especially as she'd been receiving so little.
"Now," said the doctor, "I'm going to go fetch your mother, and we'll go over your schedule again in more detail. Sit tight here for a moment."
Beca raised an eyebrow as Doctor Krebs motioned to leave the room. "Yeah, I'm not going anywhere," she retorted, and cracked a smile as the doctor laughed on her way out.
For once in her life, Chloe found herself aggravated that her teachers had assigned very little homework. Yes, it was only the first week of school, but couldn't she at least have gotten an essay?
Because, yet again, she found her mind wandering back to thoughts of Beca, and that wouldn't do at all. Her homework had been a good enough distraction, but finishing it took only so long, and now that everything was completed, Chloe stared helplessly at her desk and fought her rising thoughts.
Next Tuesday. That would be one full week, and then she'd confront Beca again. But for now, the last thing she wanted was to dwell on what happened this past week.
Booting up her computer, Chloe began to idly scroll through her Facebook page. A notification in the corner caught her eye, and she clicked on it. The page opened to show that she'd been invited to some party this evening.
About to press the decline button, Chloe paused. Normally, she wasn't one for outlandish parties, but perhaps this was just the distraction she needed.
Another moment passed, and Chloe clicked the 'Accept' button and leaned back in her chair. Looked like she now had plans for the night.
Stretching her arms and standing up, she walked to her closet and began to sift through her clothes to find something appropriate.
"So, we'll continue with bi-weekly chemotherapy appointments, and on Monday, we'll start administering the radiation treatments. Those will be every afternoon, Monday through Friday. Any questions?"
Beca blinked rapidly in an effort to keep herself awake after the long explanation over various things that she was pretty sure were important. At least her mom paid attention. Yay for moms.
"No questions, thank you. For now, I'll just concentrate on getting Beca home and letting her get some rest. I'm sure you're exhausted, aren't you Beca?" Her mom turned towards her daughter.
Nodding slowly, Beca yawned. "Yeah, I'm beat. Let's go home."
As Beca walked out the door, she caught her mind quietly asking something about "side effects" or whatever. But Beca wasn't terribly worried. They couldn't be that bad, surely.
FUCK, SHE WAS WRONG. SHE WAS SO WRONG ABOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS.
As she heaved once more into the toilet, Beca's head began to pound with a sudden raging headache. Of fucking course. The headache wasn't even related to the chemo, it was just her body deciding "Hey! We know you're suffering from the side effects of your recovery, so we'll kick your cancer into gear as well, and make it double the fun!"
"Fuuuuuck," she moaned, and retched again. Her wig lay discarded to her right, to keep it clean, and for once, she was glad she didn't have to worry about her hair getting in the way.
A timid knock sounded on the door, and the voice of Beca's mom drifted through. "Do you need any help in there?"
"No, I'm doing just dandy," Beca retorted scathingly.
The doorknob twisted as her mom stepped inside and knelt down by her daughter. Her hands began to rub Beca's shoulders as another wave of nausea hit Beca. Another heave, and another.
At last, Beca was certain that all of the contents of her stomach had been expelled, and her mom offered her a paper towel. Smiling weakly, Beca took the towel and wiped off her mouth, then stood up with the support of her mom.
"I'll be right back," Beca's mom said, disappearing for a moment only to return with a full of glass of water. "Rinse and spit, and then I'll get you a glass just for drinking."
Her mom continued to rub her shoulders as Beca swished the water around in her mouth, thankful at last to be rid of the foul taste. Once everything was gone, her mom was true to her word and brought her another cup of water just for drinking. Beca gratefully accepted and began to sip, throat parched after its ordeal.
They both walked out into the living room and sat down on the couch, each at opposite ends. A few moments of awkward silence passed before Beca swallowed her water and let out a loud exhale. Her mom turned in surprise, and Beca bit her lip and steeled her nerves. "I'm sorry," she blurted out.
Beca's mom tilted her head. "For throwing up? That's a normal side effect, there's nothing to apologize for."
"No, no, no." Beca shook her head quickly. "For the other day. For blowing up at you and Dad. I shouldn't have done that – well, at least not to you. I still kinda think he deserved it."
A small smile graced the face of Beca's mom. "No, you're right, he did." Beca snorted in surprise. "But you don't need to apologize to me. I haven't been the greatest parent for a few years now, and I deserved that."
"No," Beca whispered quietly, then raised her voice. "No, you didn't. You didn't deserve that. I was angry at Dad, and I kind of retaliated at you as well. And don't sell yourself short on the parenting thing."
"But Beca, I haven't been here for you. After the divorce, things got distant between us, and I never did anything to fix it."
"Then I'd say we're both at fault here." Beca quirked a half-smile.
But her mom was less accepting of that statement. "No, the distance is not your fault. I failed you as a parent, and I'm still failing you as a parent, but do you think maybe we could try and change that?"
The couch sank beneath Beca's weight as she shifted and moved onto the middle cushion. She wrapped one arm around her mom and pulled her into an awkward, yet intensely gratifying, hug. Her mom's arms circled around her and held her there, and Beca's muffled voice answered, "Yeah, I think I'd like that."
The ground reverberated with the dull pounding of blasting bass as the night air vibrated from music played far too loud. All doors and windows of the house were shut, but the sound leaking through was by no means faint, and Chloe almost turned around right then and there; the last thing she needed was a headache on top of the rest of her troubles.
Still, the whole point of coming here in the first place was to relax –
- and she sighed as she took a step towards the door. She was here, so she might as well head in. What was the harm?
Opening the front door, she winced as the previously muffled wall of sound hit her full-on. A writhing mass of teenage bodies greeted her sight as she stepped inside. A mesh of flailing limbs and drunken children was hardly an ideal image, but Chloe ignored it, skirting around the furniture-cleared, student-filled living room and making a beeline for the (hopefully) quieter kitchen.
A few greetings were called out as she passed, and she smiled and nodded and pretended like this was a great idea and clearly the best thing she could be doing on a Saturday night.
Warm memories of slightly burnt popcorn, hot chocolate, and Youtube music videos flooded her mind, and Chloe shook her head. The entire purpose of tonight was to forget. All she wanted was a moment of respite, a moment not filled with self-loathing and turmoil and sheer confusion.
Slipping into the kitchen, Chloe reached out absentmindedly to grab one of the waiting plastic red cups. She took a sip as she wandered back into the living room, and wrinkled her nose as the taste of alcohol washed over her tongue. Grimacing, she pulled the cup away from her lips, and held it at arms-length, studying it thoughtfully. She'd tried alcohol before, certainly, but not in such a wild, uncontrolled environment.
In the back of her mind, she knew that this was a stupid idea, but her entire purpose tonight was to loosen up and forget.
Eh. What the hell.
With a shrug, Chloe dipped her head and downed the cup, the alcohol burning her throat as it made its way down.
Once the cup was empty, she set it down on a dresser, grinning as she felt a pleasant buzz start to worm its way into her thoughts.
Perhaps one more wouldn't hurt.
Beca wrapped the blankets closer around her as she shifted to get more comfortable. Her mom's laugh still echoed in the air after a silly story she'd told her about the time Chloe and Beca had to fend off a ferocious puppy to keep their picnic lunch safe from harm.
Sighing contently, Beca yawned. It was only nine or so at night, but despite an afternoon nap, she'd been feeling fatigued all day long, and she figured it was about time to hit the sack.
Beca's mom caught on as well, and she stood up to leave. As she reached the door, she paused, and looked back at Beca. "You know…maybe you should give your father another chance."
Beca frowned. "Mom!"
"Just…try it, please. You gave me another chance, and I'm so grateful for it. Maybe all he needs is a second chance too." Her mom's were soft and pleading, and Beca huffed.
"Fine," she agreed reluctantly, "but at least make sure I get something out of meeting with him."
Laughing, Beca's mom suggested, "Will ice cream do?"
"Ice cream will do just fine."
As Beca's mom flicked the lights off, she said a soft "Good night" and padded away.
"G'night," Beca called out in response, before snuggling deeper into her comforter. It had been a long and hard day, and she had a feeling that it was only going to get harder as time passed, but for now, at the very least, she had something good to cling onto.
For the first time in weeks, Beca found herself drifting off with a smile on her face.
Chloe wasn't entirely sure if the room was spinning, or if she was spinning, or both, but overall it was quite fun. She laughed as her partner spun her around, and gripped his sides to steady herself. "You're a very good dancer," she slurred, beaming at Joe…Josh…Jackson….Something like that.
He laughed and replied in a voice nearly as intoxicated, "You're a verrry good dancer too!" He lifted her hands and twisted her around, placing his own hands on her waist as he started to grind against her.
Giggling, she began to move with him, rolling her hips against his, the friction sending an extra jolt of energy to the already hyped Chloe. Her vision blurred into a wash of bright colors and thriving teenagers. Drunken shouts and laughs could be heard even over the roaring music, which consisted of some mix of Kanye songs. Chloe almost shook her head at how pathetic the mix was in comparison to what Beca could come up with.
Beca Beca Beca, why Beca, why are you ignoring me? Why can't you like me back? It's not like I can heeelp it! All I want is you! All I want is Beca Beca Beca. Her eyes glazed over as her mind swirled with drunken thoughts of her love for Beca, and really, why didn't Beca like her back?
"I'm pretty, right?" she asked Joey.
"Yes, you're so pretty!" he answered, still dancing to the beat of the inferior music mix.
"I'm dateable, right?"
"Uh huh, very dateable." Joshua spun her around to face him as the music ended, and they tittered as the song turned to a slower one.
Chloe sighed as she moved her feet and narrowly avoided bumping into other partygoers. "I jus' don't understand," she admitted, pouting very obviously.
"What's wrong, babe?" Jason asked, leaning in.
She gave him her best doe eyes. "The person I like doesn't like me back."
"Oh no, that sucks so much."
"I know, right?" Chloe rested her head on his shoulder. "I just don't get it."
"If it helps, I think you're very hot," John said, his face incredibly serious as he nodded along with his statement. "Very hot. I'd totally date you."
"Well thank you!" Chloe smiled brightly. "But you're not who I want. No one here is. Why can't I have the person I want?"
Jacob stepped towards Chloe and bent down until his lips were brushing her cheek. "Maybe I can substitute for one night?"
Pulling back, she mulled it over. Her thoughts were still hazy, and he was clearly as drunk as she was, but she was so beyond the point of caring. She stretched her neck out and smashed her lips to his.
He met her back just as forcefully, and their dancing was left forgotten as they greedily captured each other's lips in a heated kiss.
A heated kiss which was suddenly interrupted by a hand on her collar as Chloe was jerked backwards. Stumbling, she turned to face a livid Aubrey. "Hey Aubs, I didn't know you were coming tonight!" Chloe greeted, eyes reflecting her stupor.
"Yeah, well, I wasn't planning on it," Aubrey said snippily, continuing to yank Chloe by her collar as she dragged her through the crowd.
Chloe whined as Aubrey dragged her away. "Noooo, I was having fun!"
"You won't be having fun in the morning," Aubrey mumbled under her breath, finally reaching the front door and shoving Chloe into the cool night air. They quickly crossed the yard, and Aubrey opened her car door, grabbed Chloe, and forced the whining girl inside.
After shutting the door, she made her way to the driver's seat, revved the engine, and began to drive. Chloe pouted at this. "I don't get why you're making me leave."
Aubrey took one hand off the wheel to pinch her nose. "Chloe, you shouldn't have been there. That was stupid and reckless, okay?"
"I was just havin' some fuuuun!" Chloe drawled.
Eye twitching in anger, Aubrey said through gritted teeth, "Oh yeah, drunken makeout sessions. Always fun. Great idea, Chloe. Just brilliant."
"You don't approve," Chloe said with a pout. "Wasn't doin' any harm."
"And what if more had happened, huh?"
"Nothin' else was gonna happen. I was verrry careful!"
Chloe smacked into the window as Aubrey turned sharply into a parking lot off the side of the road. After she turned the car off, she looked straight at Chloe. "No. You were not careful. Dammit Chloe, you could have gotten hurt!"
"Johnny wouldn't have done that!" Chloe protested.
Aubrey stared in disbelief. "Okay, one, that was Jake. Two, he was just as drunk as you are, and probably paying just as much attention. Chloe, that was beyond stupid. Of all the dumbass ways for you to cope – "
"I wasn' coping! I was just de-stressing!"
Running a hand through her hair, Aubrey closed her eyes and exhaled softly. "Look, we're going back to my place. I'll call your parents and tell them you're sleeping over, and I'll get some Advil ready, because you're sure as hell going to need it in the morning. Does that sound okay?"
Chloe crossed her arms. "Fine. But you're still a meanie."
"Oh, you'll be singing a different tune in the morning," Aubrey muttered as she started the car once more.
Oh god she was dying.
Chloe was dying and everything hurt.
Groaning, she rolled over and for a brief, cartoony moment, had the realization that she'd rolled over onto air, before she hit the ground with a thud. She groaned even louder and opened bleary eyes to see a smirking Aubrey standing over her.
Chloe groaned a third time and squinted against the lights of the house. "Too bright," she moaned.
"It's noon. Get used to it." Aubrey rolled her eyes as Chloe yet again groaned. Aubrey reached down and yanked Chloe to her feet, ignoring the noises of protest.
As Chloe attempted to stand without help, her stomach retaliated, and Chloe could almost feel her face going green. "Bathroom," she squeaked out, unable to move on her own.
"Bowl," Aubrey retorted, and shoved said object towards Chloe. The normally graceful redhead wobbled in place, but took the object and proceeded to complete the morning ritual of those with hangovers.
When at last everything was done, Aubrey sat Chloe back on the couch (where she must have crashed last night) and handed her a glass of water and an Advil. "Drink up. I'd bet money you need this right now."
"And you'd be right," Chloe grumbled, tossing the pill in her mouth followed by a gulp of water. "What happened last night? There was the party, and…oh. The party."
"Yeah," Aubrey said, giving Chloe an 'honestly-what-were-you-doing' look. "The party."
Chloe grimaced and held her head. "How bad was it?"
Shrugging, Aubrey pursed her lips. "I don't know, because I wasn't stupid enough to go. But I do know that when I found you, you were liplocked with Jake from freshman biology, and you were so drunk I couldn't tell if it was just alcohol, or if you'd somehow gotten a concussion."
Chloe closed her eyes and scrunched her face. "I'm sorry," she murmured, flashes of the previous night starting to come back to her. Damn, what had she been thinking?
Aubrey sighed, and sat down next to Chloe on the couch. "Look, don't apologize. It wasn't your best idea, but it's over, and I understand why you did it. It's been a pretty shitty week, let's be honest here. I might very well have done the same if I was in your position."
Chloe scoffed. "You'd never have done what I did!"
"You're right, I wouldn't have," Aubrey said with a smirk. "But still. You're hurting, and you just wanted the pain to go away. I know that feeling."
Chloe glanced around the empty house and hung her head. "Yeah. You do, and I'm sorry I'm shoving all my problems on you when you've got your own stuff to worry about."
A hand cupped Chloe's chin, and you found herself looking into Aubrey's eyes. "Hey, chin up. My stuff is my stuff, and it's not so bad. Mom's taking Monday off, and Dad's coming back next week. Right now, I want to help you solve your problems. I hate seeing you hurt like this. So don't worry about me, Chlo, and focus on yourself. Promise me."
"Fine." Chloe smiled slightly, and wondered how she'd ever managed to find such an amazing friend. "I promise."
The awkward silence was almost more than Beca could bear. After yesterday's chemo, it was if all of the energy in her body had been sucked away. And yeah, ice cream was good and all, but sitting next to her dad on a park bench in total silence?
Not so fun.
Nibbling at her cone, Beca glanced over out of the corner of her eye and noticed her dad picking away at his ice cream with a spoon. Well, if they had one thing in common, it was their complete obstinacy in apologizing.
The day was warm, but the comforting shade of towering oaks made the park a good refuge from the summer heat. Dogs barked in the distance, and the laughs of children on the nearby playground provided a strangely comforting background noise.
As Beca watched, one little girl slid down the slide and into the waiting arms of a jubilant young man, who caught her and lifted her high in the air. Her laughter could be heard even from where she was sitting.
Sighing, Beca turned to her own father, and decided that maybe, it was about time she grew up.
They both stared at each other, having uttered the same words at the exact same time. A bit flustered, Beca's dad coughed into his sleeve. "Um, well, you can go first," he offered.
Beca shook her head. "No, how about you go?"
"Uh, yes," he agreed. Another awkward moment of silence seemed ready to settle, before he cleared his throat and began to speak once again. "I…I have a lot to apologize for. For being a terrible father, for never being there, and for my behavior Wednesday night. I guess…I guess I always thought of you as the little, quiet Beca I knew when I left. And I missed so much since then, and I'm sorry. I missed your entire time in high school, your birthdays, your first crush, and you. You've grown up since I last saw you. And I guess it was just hard for me to accept that you weren't the same girl I used to know. That I couldn't recognize you anymore."
He looked at her, eyes intense. "But I'm so, so proud of who you are now. Even in the last couple of days, I've seen that you're stronger than I've ever been. And I know you've been dealt a bad lot in life, and I know it's hard, but I have never seen anyone stand strong in the face of danger like you have. I let my anger get the best of me on Wednesday, and I can't take back what I said, but I want you to know, even if it doesn't mean anything, that I'm just so proud of the woman you've become."
Beca was stunned, and it showed clearly on her face. Blinking back a few tears, she smiled, and buried her face in his shoulder. "I've missed you," she whispered. "And I'm not sorry for the things I said, because you needed to hear that. But I am sorry for the way I said them, and for not realizing that maybe you had changed, just like I did."
"Thank you," he murmured, and his voice trembled with emotion.
A thought entered Beca's head, and she pulled away. Biting her lip, she pulled out her mp3 player. "I haven't had cancer all this time, you know."
Beca's dad laughed in disbelief at the strange comment. "No, no I imagine not."
"So, you know, I actually did some stuff."
He raised an eyebrow. "Such as?"
Beca offered one of her earbuds to her dad. "Want to hear one of the mixes I've made?"
As tears pricked at his eyes, his voice broke as he replied, "I think – I think I'd like that very much."