I let my body sink deeper into the sheets as my body felt at rest. I don't remember a lot of last night but fragments came back to me slowly. After Mother tucked me in, I recall waking up every once in a while to rake up everything that happened to be in my stomach into a garbage can nearby. It seemed that my body, mind, and emotions have been through a rough trial, but now I was finally at rest. The only thing that still was wounded was my brain that happened to be pounding.
"Bella?" I hear my sister's tone beside me. Turning around, I find her awake and waiting for me. She smoothed my tossed hair with a smile. "How are you?"
"I think I'm okay." I murmur. "Where is Mother?"
"She stayed up all night, in case you needed anything." Izzy explained. "She has been talking to Marco too."
"Wait, he's here?" I ask, far too abruptly.
"Yeah, he wanted to make sure you were alright." She confirms. I felt my heart grow warm at just the thought of him, but then my mind rushes to the hospital where I saw a whole other side of the fearless Latino boy I had fallen for.
"I think Mother really likes him," She beams confidently.
"Mother likes who?" Mother curiously peaks into the door before letting herself in.
"Marco." I respond just to make sure the assumption was true.
"I do indeed," She comes and joins us on the giant bed, settling herself in between Izzy and I. "He was the one who found you and carried you inside. He was also the one who instructed me on how to help you last night. Did you know he wants to be a doctor?"
"Yes, I do," I let my memories fade back to the beach so long ago.
"Such great goals for such a great boy." She pats my arm.
"So you approve?" I anxiously ask Mother.
"I do." She gives me a hug which didn't feel fake or distant or put on just for show. It felt genuine and full of the love she never granted me in the years before. I have never felt so close to her. "Anyone want pancakes? I actually decided to cook this morning."
"Oh! Me!" Izzy raised her hand high just like a little school girl.
"Alright! What about you, Char?" Mother turns to ask.
"In a second. Can you send Marco first?" I was too lazy to raise and retrieve him myself.
"Of course," Izzy gets up and they leave the room. It was quiet for a few minutes before Marco appeared in the doorway. He still wore a part of his serving tux. The bow tie was undone and dangling around his neck. The coat was removed and his shirt was unbuttoned, a bit from a night of sleeping on the couch.
"Hey," I hear his low and careful tone.
"Hi," Was all I could get out in a breathless tone.
"How are you feeling?" His eyes were soft and inviting, I almost drowned in them.
"Better. I have a bit of a headache, but it will pass," I reassure him. Marco walks around the mile long bed and takes a seat next to my legs. He picks up my hand that was lying by my side, just to play with my fingers as he laced ours together.
"Do you remember a whole lot from last night?"
"The important things. Like the fight my mother and I had, me running away, you finding me, and our trip to the hospital." I stop there to watch his reaction. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"I didn't know how you would react. I didn't want to scare you away especially when you were going to be leaving soon," His eyes wonder to the window.
"Can I meet Ray?" I carefully observe his facial expression.
"I would love for you to meet Ray," His smile makes me feel so much better about asking.
"Kids! You're pancakes are getting cold!" Mother called from the other room. We got up to join her along with some medicine for me.
Later that afternoon, when I was feeling better, Marco took me to let me meet his brother. Felix, Diego, and Dia all came and joined at dinner time where we had a picnic outside to watch the stars. Ray was so precious and it was hard to believe anything was wrong with him. But, Marco tried to make him feel as normal as he possibly could.
Mother started working normal hours to be with Izzy and I. She really got a hang of the Mother's role. Her and I attended therapy sessions to work through all the problems that have existed over the years. I finally started returning my father's phone calls and tell him about the Zoo, beach, museum, and other fun places Mother and I had visited together.
Izzy went back to Milan but didn't go out of touch. We would talk over the phone almost every day and she never disobeyed Tiffany again. It did help, however, when Tiffany gave her vacation days to visit Mother, Father, and I. Izzy kept embracing me to go to college in the fall and so I gave in.
UCLA accepted my application even if it was extremely late. Thank goodness I wouldn't be going by myself. I had my extremely hot boyfriend to assist me to classes. He originally got in but didn't think he would go, due to financial issues. However, Mother would not have any excuses to turn down a great college. She hired him as an assistant to help keep her financial records, record appointments and so much more. When he realized this job paid at least five times more an hour than what he was getting, he quit the resort and started saving up.
With the new-found money, he was able to help pay off the medical bills faster for Ray. With the option for new treatment due to more money, Ray's chances were looking up. It got so good that Ray even got to go home and spend some afternoon time at school with his friends. Once a week, Marco and I would go have a night full of great food and lots of laughs with Ray and their mother who, Marco says, fell in love with me, even if I were a rich white girl.
"Are you nervous?" I ask Marco while we walk into the doctor's office, hand in hand with his mother and brother walking ahead.
"Every time I walk into this building I am." He takes a deep breath. I squeeze his hand. A few minutes later we are all crammed into a small room awaiting the news that could build or break us. The doctor came in with a manila folder that he quickly flipped open.
"You're ready, Ray?" He asks the little boy who looked too much like his brother.
"More than ready." He quickly answers.
"Ray, I'm here to tell you that..." The doctor paused making all our hearts leap. "There is no sign of cancer left in your body. You are officially cancer-free."
And so the crying began.
We squeezed Ray and kissed his cheek while the doctor explained how the rest of his checkups would go. I finally let my heart rest. Later that night, Marco and I sat in my dorm listening to music and I finally spoke,
"Are you relieved?"
"Because of your brother?"
"Because everyone that I care about and love is in my life now. Because they will be in my life for a long time. Because for so long I thought this love wasn't available for me, but you proved that to be wrong and I couldn't ever be more thankful for that," he beams at me before leaning over to kiss me.
Spohie: Hope you understand more now.
Anne: I'm glad you like the last chapter. Hope you like the end!
Thanks for reading!