Chapter 40

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Lauren’s POV

My throat was on fire. My eyes were burning. My knees were jittery and every other part of my body felt sore while shaking. This wasn’t me. I felt betrayed by my own body. For the past month I had tried so incredibly hard to keep a positive mindset and sustain a normal life as best as I could. But I was constantly reminded that I wasn’t my old self anymore. I couldn’t even walk around the city for a couple of blocks without feeling overly exhausted. Not to mention that I couldn’t eat properly because everything made me nauseous. There had been a time where I had been able to try and eat anything.

Today I had barely eaten anything but here I was, bent over the kitchen sink, vomiting endlessly. The meds were taken a toll on me physically and also mentally. It got harder and harder to keep up my good spirits when I saw people around me losing the same battle. Even if I had met Adam only once, I had felt a connection to him. We were similar and his outlook on things had given me hope. Learning that he died last week was upsetting beyond belief. My instinct was to give up as well when I was confronted with such heartbreak while already being fragile. Why would I go through the entire struggle of chemotherapy when I wouldn’t make it anyway?

The frustration and hopelessness I felt reached a boiling point. Unfortunately, I had a tendency of directing my anger at the people who deserved it the least. The woman still holding my hair and stroking my back comfortingly was the last person I wanted to hurt. But just a few minutes ago I had yelled at her for no good reason other than my own fear. Sometimes I genuinely wondered why Camila even stayed with me. She could have done so much better. Maybe she even deserved better. But I was selfish; and as long as she would bear with me, I had to ensure to make things right.

I took a couple of very deep breaths when I had stopped regurgitating the bile fluid that etched my esophagus. My hand slowly reached for the faucet and let the fresh water run. Rinsing out my mouth as best as I could, I unbent carefully and felt my knees still shaking. I looked to my side and met the warm brown eyes examining me full of concern.

My guilty conscious was eating at me already and a part of me regretted letting her know how scared I was of not surviving. Another part of me was relieved to have voiced my greatest angst. As much as I wanted to live a normal life, of course I could never fully forget that I was battling a potentially life-threatening illness. I tried by sustaining as much energy as possible and putting on a brave face but I wasn’t as strong as I let people believe a lot of the time.

Camila’s eyes were also a little puffy but probably not as bad as mine. I hated seeing her cry. The fact that I was responsible for it so often was only making things worse. She lifted her hand from my hair and tenderly stroked my cheek. I couldn’t help myself but close my eyes at the soft contact of her warm fingers.

“Come on, you should get some rest”, Camila breathed obviously worried and I couldn’t blame her after my little breakdown.

“I’d rather take a bath actually”, I said quietly. It would be relaxing and cleansing at the same time. I felt a little nasty after my throwing up session.

“Alright”, the brown-eyed woman whispered and continued rubbing my back before I saw a little smile reappearing on her face. “Can I join you?”, she asked and bit her lower lip subtly.

I felt my own lips forming a gentle smile at her question because that sounded like something she would have asked before I got sick. Maybe she felt bad after I had accused her of being my nurse instead of my fiancée but I felt myself nodding instantly. I craved that sort of intimacy even when I was also a little scared of what she might think. The fear of her not finding me attractive anymore was something I battled with for the past weeks when Camila had become rather distant on a physical level.

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