| 2 Weeks Later |
Only 2 weeks from that day, Janine’s condition deteriorated rapidly. Even though the cancer had not spread to other organs, it was eating away at her lungs, leaving her struggling for every breath. Addison was called, who in turn called Jiselle and AJ. While the other kids went to the hospital to see Janine, AJ went to his fathers house and knocked on the door. The maid opened it and AJ strolled in. At 19 years old, AJ was an Oxford student double majoring in History and Archaeology, enjoying his vacation at home in New York. In slacks, canvas shoes, white t-shirt, and a button-down left open, he gave a nod to the maid and put a hand in his pocket to jingle his car keys while he went to his fathers office. AJ opened the office door, seeing his father with his new wife, “father … Nameless,” he greeted them while the wife was on his lap.
“AJ … My name is …”
“Nameless …” He told her but gave her a charming smile, then wiped it away to look at Antonio, “my mother is dying and it’s your fault.”
Antonio leaned back, “she isn’t dying. She has 2 more weeks in …”
“My mother is dying.” He paused and swallowed, “she needs a double lung transplant in the next 2 months or she’s gone.”
Antonio stared at his son, then shooe’d his wife away. Once she left, he stood, “how did this happen?”
“The doctor says it’s just one of those things. Some people are that unlucky. I believe all of the stress you’ve put her through came back to bite her. No, that isn’t a scientific theory but seeing first-hand how things have been around her since birth, I have no doubt that’s what happened.”
“What do you think I should do? What can I do? Since you have all the answers …”
“You have unlimited resources. You find a way. Because if my mother dies … You won’t make it to her funeral.”
Antonio immediately laughed, “threatening your own father?”
“No. I’m threatening the man who treated his wife like a second class citizen. The same man who treated the children he adopted like step children. The same man who treated his biological children as if they were leeches.” Holding his arm up, he pointed a finger at Antonio, “you did this to her. You fix it, or my brother and I are going to rain hell down on you.”
“I could have you thrown in jail for the threat alone.”
“But you wont,” he turned to leave, “because I’m right.”
| 1 Month Later |
With Morphine in her drip, Janine teetered on Euphoria and plain old sleep. Her worsening condition was visibly getting the best of her. Due to the chemo and radiation, she’d lost massive amounts of weight as well as her hair. Janine was down to 80 pounds, bald, weak, but her eyes hadn’t lost their sparkle. With the window open, she watched the clouds for a bit, then looked to the mirror opposite her bed and re-positioned the scarf on her head that Lucky brought her from Chinatown. She hadn’t been able to speak in a week as it took too much energy that she didn’t have. So, she’d been reduced to writing or using hand signals. Feeling as good as she could feel, but not wanting any company, she turned her head away from the door as someone walked in.
Standing at the entrance, quiet with curiosity playing across his face was Maddox Ames. He had just finished seeing his ex-wife Sasha who had a fall and was getting surgery on her ankle and knee. He was dressed in a pair of slacks with a sweater and blazer. "Janine..." He said quietly.
She'd just closed her eyes when she heard her name but didn't respond right away. She wasn't in the mood to be visited by anyone, especially another doctor that Antonio had begun to smother her with. Eyes still closed, she held up a hand as if to they'll them to go away.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but," he paused, "I was walking by from visitingsomeone and saw your name on the door. Janine Hines ... I dated a girl in high school by that same name and I was hoping ..." He crossed his arms, I was hoping to catch up with an old friend.
Janine opened her eyes, then looked in his direction. She smirked, then gave him a thumbs up as she tried to sit herself up. Then she waved and picked up her dry erase board and marker from under her pillow.
He walked closer pulling a chair that was near him up to the bed. "Long time no see, huh?" He smiled, "what happened sweetheart?" He motioned to the machines she was hooked up to. Maddox was much more mature than he was ages ago. Even though he'd grown famous singing talents he'd become more humble with age as well as more handsome.
With the board, she wrote, 'lung cancer. Dying. 2 months.' Janine held it up to show him, then took a tissue and erased it, 'my daughter is a fan.'
Maddox's heart broke, "what?" He placed a hand on hers, "what is it you need?" He pauses, "that's sweet, I can sign anything or meet her."
Smiling, 'be here in 30.' She erased it, 'need lung trans x2.'
"Damn ... And the goddamn doctors are sitting with their thumbs up their assess? Ridiculous." He shook his head and then looked to her and kissed her temple, "you still look beautiful ..." Sitting back, he knew that had to make her feel better, "how old is your daughter?
She grinned, using too much energy to stop from laughing. 'Don't want pity. I'm fine.' And under that, she wrote, '16.'
"Well you can't die girl..." He smiled, "she's Antonio's right? You two still together?"
Janine nodded, then held up her left hand and tapped her empty ring finger. Right after, she held up the other hand and counted off 5.
"5 kids? That's amazing. Can't believe you have that many kids with Antonio."
Smiling again, she wrote, '2 w/ Antonio. Divorced 5 yrs.'
"Ohhh my fault ... Two kids. Nice. I got married but never had kids. I'm divorced now."
She frowned and wrote. 'Sorry. Why divorce? Miss me?' Smiling, 'joking.'
"She cheated on me with my best friend." He sighed, "said I put my career before her, didn't want kids and its bull shit. I would love to have a big family right now. For a man at 42 with everything, I have nothing."