Dr Jones stared hard at Tunji and then took a deep breath. “I am sorry.”
“Sorry? That’s all you have been saying since Ade got sick. Sorry! I have been sick too, maybe not Cancer, but I have been sick. I have failed school tests. I have failed exams for years and I have been totally neglected. I eat too much because I am sick and tired and maybe it is just an excuse because I like to eat but you don’t even care about my weight. You are just sorry for everything. Maybe you don’t like me because I am not the one who graduated with a first class or got a great job after my post graduate studies, but I have always made efforts. Please see me.” Tunji said and left for the bedroom.
Dr Jones drew his sleeves to check his wristwatch before taking his seat. He didn’t have the luxury of time. Every second, minute, hour, and passing day was priceless to him and his research project. He couldn’t lose Ade and he was too busy to listen to Tunji’s yammering. Maybe Tunji was right that he had neglected him, but his other son ought to be more cooperative. These were nervy days. But still, he had to go and pacify him.
“What are you doing?” Dr Jones asked as he watched Tunji read from a book.
Tunji stayed silent as he focused on his book.
“You are not six anymore, Tunji. You are twenty four. That must count for something. You should understand these things.” Dr Jones started as he walked into the room.
Tunji closed his book and picked up his earphones and plugged them into his ears.
“Here we go again.” Dr Jones muttered under his breath and walked up to his son, yanking the earphones from him. “When I am talking, you listen, boy.”
“Why are you so wicked?” Tunji asked.
Dr Jones was ruffled. “Wicked?”
“You don’t even like me, why?” Tunji asked.
Dr Jones took a deep breath. Tunji had always been the sensitive child. He never really succeeded with getting to his son, his late wife did. And he missed her terribly for this. Ade was the other person who understood Tunji and his drama. He took a seat beside Tunji on the bed and looked away.
“You can’t even look at me. Do I disgust you so much?” Tunji asked.
Dr Jones turned in an instance. “You shut up, okay? I am sick and tired of this, Tunji. What is it? Your Mom died, so what? Your brother is sick and about to die, so what? They were family to me too!” he yelled. “I am not going to put up with all these. Your withdrawals. Your silence. Your…your little tirades and all these, I don’t even understand you.”
“I wish I didn’t like you so much.” Tunji replied.
Dr Jones groaned in confusion. Everything about Tunji disturbed him. He feared his son might be psychologically deranged but he had never blurted it to avoid more trouble, but then he was sceptical. Tunji was always normal with Ade, but never with him. Could the problem be him? Did he really love Ade more than he loved Tunji? But then…who wouldn’t find it easy to love Ade? Ade oozed happiness but Tunji was always gloomy. He seemed the kid with a dark cloud always over his head.
“Since I can’t have your love, can you at least save my brother’s life, so he can stay with me?” Tunji asked.
Dr Jones blinked before putting his arm around his son. “I am sorry for every time I ignored you.”
“It’s not genuine.” He replied and shrugged away his father’s grip. “Where are you on the research?”
Dr Jones shrugged. “I am taking him back to the hospital. We discovered something in his chart showing that the mass isn’t totally spread, so we are thinking of less extensive surgical procedures to remove as much tumour mass as possible.”
“You know Ade is not interested, Dad. You said it yourself, he basically has two weeks. Why do you want to stress him any further?”
“Tunji, we can take out some mass and then apply chemo. If this works well, we are looking at the remission stage.” Dr Jones replied with a smile.
“If!!! What are his chances of surviving the final surgery?” Tunji asked.
Dr Jones took a deep breath. “Fifty-Fifty.”
“You have to be kidding me.” Tunji replied. “So, we are not even sure if he would make it through the knife again?”
“You are never sure with surgeries, we just have to leap!” Dr Jones protested.
Tunji looked away. “Less than two weeks is a certainty, right?”
“Stop being a pessimist. We both have to agree on this, so we can convince Ade to do it.” His father replied.
“I won’t.” Tunji replied.
“Good thing it is a Monday and busy people are busy with their lives and not at the beach.” Yvonne said as they walked through the sands. “I can’t believe I am hanging out with a total stranger.”
Ade laughed. “I should be more worried. I am the faceless personality. If we get carried away by the sea, they’ll recognise you. No one will recognise me.”
“Seriously? How can you even think of us dying like that?” Yvonne asked.
Ade smiled. “I am not afraid of dying that way. In fact, it is much better than I have.”
Yvonne stared at him. “Now you are creeping me out.”
“Okay, let’s get back to the reason we are here. I asked you a question and you never said anything.” He replied.
Yvonne smiled. “I replied. I said, let us go to the beach.”
“And here we are. How is that a definite response to ‘are you happy with yourself’ ?” Ade asked.
She shrugged. “Let’s just say I am making myself happy the best way I can.”
“Hmmm…I hope I am not serving as an amusement.” Ade said as he helped himself to the ground. He was beginning to get moist.
Yvonne smiled. “Of course, you are.” She replied, taking her seat beside her. “I am finding you a very nice person already.”
“I am nice.” He replied as he felt his forehead.
She shrugged. “Aren’t we all?”
Ade took a deep breath and laid back facing the sun. “Why isn’t it just so easy?”
“What isn’t easy?” she asked as she looked through her bag for her phone. “Unh?” she called back when she didn’t get any response.
She then turned to Ade and chuckled. “You can’t be sleeping, are you?” she asked. She smiled as she stared at his face. Ade was good looking. Good physique and appearance, also with a witty sense of humour. Won’t be bad for a one night stand.
She tugged Ade a little. “Hey…”
Yvonne was confused. She was just talking to this guy, right? She looked around her and no one was in sight. She placed her head on his chest. He was still breathing…but he was burning hot and sweating too. Her heart started to race fast. What could be happening? She grabbed her purse and looked around her. It might be wiser for her to run. She didn’t really know the man, she couldn’t afford a scandal.
She took a deep breath and rose to her feet. She took two steps forward and then stopped to stare at Ade. He had not moved. She saw a coastguard approaching them and called out. “Help!”
The coast guard ran down to meet her. “Yvonne Laoye!!!” he screamed in admiration.
“That guy over there…he’s in trouble.” She said as she hurried back to Ade with the coastguard.
Ade looked pale. The coastguard stared at Yvonne. “Did he drown?”
“No. He just passed out.” She replied.
The coastguard paged for support. “We need an ambulance here.”
“What have I gotten myself into?” Yvonne thought as she stared at a pale Ade.
Dr Jones knew he had nothing else to discuss with Tunji. “This is six pm and your brother isn’t back.”
“I told you he went to the movies. He must have decided to see some other movies.” Tunji replied lazily as he sipped his juice.
“Is that why he won’t answer his phone?” Dr Jones asked, rising to his feet.
Tunji sighed. He was tired of his Old Man already. He knew he’d never see the man again after the inevitable.
Dr Jones’ phone rang. “Excuse me.” He said to Tunji and stepped aside.
“Take all the time in the world.” Tunji muttered.
Dr Jones returned to him looking confused. “Your brother has been rushed to the hospital.”
“Let’s go.” Dr Jones replied.
Yvonne stared at her manager who had tried to manage a smile in her direction. The situation wasn’t exciting anyone and the presence of ‘fans’ in the hospital only made her feel a lot worse as she would have gotten more social media buzz at the end of the day.
“I think we should leave, Yvonne.” Charles, her manager started. “You have been here for quite some time already and his family is here too.”
Yvonne took a deep breath. “But I’ll like to know what’s going on.”
“Yvonne, the doctors are on top of this situation. One of the Nurses I spoke to said his father is a doctor in this hospital. So, he is their patient.”
“Then, why don’t you ask the Nurse what is wrong with him.” Yvonne suggested.
Charles blinked. “I already did and it’s hospital policy not to discuss patients.”
Yvonne sighed. “I guess we can go…it’s been a long day, much more than I bargained for.”
“I know…I’ll drop you at home.” Charles offered, standing up.
Yvonne nodded as she rose to her feet. She bowed her head and hurried out of the hospital with her manager.
Yvonne stretched her hand from underneath the blanket and slammed the alarm off. She took a deep breath and slipped into the sweatshirt that dangled at the edge of her bed. She stood before the giant mirror and stared at herself. “One day gone” she said to herself and moved over to the drawer and pulled out her gun. She took a good look at it and wasn’t sure about her two-week ultimatum. Was her life meant to change within the space of thirteen days now? She stared at one of her stick-on notes that read “Why put off to later what you can do now?” she didn’t know where she had dubbed the quote from, but it was true. Why couldn’t she just put the gun to her head and pull the trigger now?
She wouldn’t be impatient. She would plan the suicide perfectly. There would be notes everywhere in the house for the police to find the clues they needed about her death and why she decided to take her own life. She placed the gun in the drawer, pulled out her journal and took her seat on the bed. She added some more notes to it. This time it was about Ade. She didn’t understand why someone she had not spent a long time with had so much hold on her, but she wouldn’t be bothered. She would write what came to mind.
Yvonne’s phone buzzed. She tapped on the screen and the Celeb gist popped up. YVONNE LAOYE AND LOVER SPOTTED AT THE MALL, BEACH AND FINALLY THE HOSPITAL…WHAT DON’T WE KNOW? She hissed as six other news headers had the same information.
“These gossip bloggers are lazy.” She said and closed her journal.
Her phone rang. CHARLES. “Yes, Charles. Good morning.” Yvonne said hastily as she made her way to the bathroom.
“I don’t need to ask if you have seen the papers, right?” Charles said from the other end of the line.
“What are they heading at? They want a story, give it to them.” Yvonne replied as she ran the tap. “Look, Charles, do I have any commitments today?” she asked.
“No. But, I am thinking of the photo-shoot for your birthday party.” He replied. “By the way, what surprise did you say you have for the public on your birthday?”
“Wait for it. Two weeks is really close.” She replied with a smile. “Anyway, put off the photo-shoot. I am going to the hospital.”
Yvonne turned off the tap. “Yes, Charles. I am going to the hospital.” She replied.
“This is not good for publicity. We need to distance you from this guy before we start having pressure with the fans.” He said.
She nodded. “I am handling this.” She replied and hung up.
“How do you feel?” Dr Jones asked Ade as he drew the curtains back.
Ade chuckled. “Numb.”
“You are going to be in surgery soon.”
Ade blinked. “Why?”
“We can cut, Ade. We can still cut.” He replied with some optimism. “Surgery is tomorrow.”
“I don’t want it.” Ade said as he looked around.
Dr Jones blinked. “This is really not your call.” He said.
“Why not?!” Ade groaned.
Dr Jones placed his hand on Ade’s shoulder. “Ade, we can cut. We can make it. You can have Chemo. And finally, you can make it to remission.”
“Can…Can…Can. There is nothing like ‘will’, Dad.” Ade replied.
Dr Jones sighed. “Wrong choice of words.”
“No. Those are honest words.” Ade replied. “Anyway, I am not ready to be subjected to an experiment in the last stage of my dying days. I have made peace with myself, I suggest you do same and allow me go in peace.” He said.
Dr Jones drew his chair closer to him. “Look, Ade, I am not asking your permission. It’s not like we need you to be awake.”
“Dad, what is this? Why are you trying to give me false hopes and force me to do Chemo again?” Ade asked.
Dr Jones stared at him. “Ade, we discovered a channel in your system through which we can cut. I need you to be optimistic about this, Son.”
“I don’t want to die on the table.” Ade replied.
“Ade, if you die on the table, you died fighting and giving yourself another chance, it is not so bad.” His father replied.
Ade smiled. “I have planned to die at home. Run my podcast and die. Is that too hard for you to understand?”
“Yes. It is harder when I believe you have a chance of having another shot at life, and I mean, life!” he replied.
Tunji poked his head in and joined them. “Hey, bro!”
“Hey…how are you, man?” Ade asked.
Tunji smiled as he took his seat beside him. “I am doing well, and you?”
“I am trying to die in peace but our old man won’t let me.” Ade replied with a grin.
Tunji laughed along.
Dr Jones clenched his teeth as he rose to his feet. Why was Ade making light of a situation that had hurt him since the day he was diagnosed with Cancer?
“I am going to be in my office. Call me if you need anything.” Dr Jones said and stepped out.
Tunji watched their father leave and then turned to Ade. “So, I saw the Yvonne Laoye here yesterday. How did you ever meet her?”
“She was here?” Ade asked with a smile.
Tunji frowned. “I thought I just established that.”
Ade smiled. “It is a very long story, but a very beautiful one too.”
“Hmm…what isn’t beautiful with you?” Tunji asked as he tapped on his phone. “Anyway, they are calling you Yvonne’s lover.”
Ade’s eyes popped as he sat up. “Really? Why?”
“I don’t know. They say you guys were at the mall and then at the beach and then the hospital. A column suggests that you passed out in a moment of ecstasy and were rushed down here.” Tunji said with a laugh.
Ade smiled. “That’s nice! I have become famous.”
“Good thing is, they don’t know your name yet.” Tunji replied. “But it won’t be long.”
Ade sighed. “I don’t think she’ll ever come back. I can’t even remember how I got here.”
The door opened and Yvonne stepped in with a bouquet of flowers.
Ade smiled. “Really? Are those for my funeral? They certainly look nice.”
Yvonne shrugged as she dropped the flowers by his bedside. “So, I am not sure if flowers are appropriate for guys, and I am sorry if it’s spooky, but I had no idea of what else to get you.”
“Normal people buy beverages.” Ade replied with a smile.
Yvonne scoffed. “Are you suggesting that I am abnormal?”
“A little.” He replied,
Tunji cleared his throat.
“Oh…meet my brother, Tunji Jones.” Ade introduced.
Tunji stretched his hand to her. “I am honoured to meet you, Yvonne Laoye.”
Yvonne curtsied. “The pleasure is mine.”
“I’ll just leave you two.” Tunji said and stepped out of the room.
Yvonne took her seat. “So, tell me, how fast did my fortunes change? I met you, we went to the beach and you passed out on me? Who does that?”
“Let’s just say I was dumbfounded by your awesomeness.” Ade replied with a smile.
Yvonne chuckled. “The only thing stopping me from hitting you is the fact that you are in that bed.”
“Oh, really? I am not scared.” He replied.
She smiled. “What did the doctors say is wrong with you?”
Ade took a deep breath.
“What? Are you trying to be so macho about your little fainting spell?” she asked with a smile.
Ade blinked. He didn’t know how to say it without drawing pity from Yvonne. He watched as her eyes scanned the room.
“You aren’t talking. Are you trying to pass out on me again?” she asked and cast a glance at him. “That’s just to be sure you are still alive.” She said with a smile.
Ade took a deep breath.
Yvonne turned to the side table and stared at a drug bottle. Ade sighed as he saw it. Yvonne turned to him. “Cytoxan?” she asked as her voice broke.
Ade nodded. “Yeah…you found me out!” he said, raising his hands in surrender.
“Oh my God!” Yvonne gasped.
Ade cleared his throat. “You don’t have to feel sorry for me, you know? I…I don’t even feel sorry for myself.” He said with a laugh. Yvonne was silent. Ade swallowed. “Okay, that didn’t go well.” He added.
Yvonne took a deep breath. “So…have you…err…like have you done Chemo?”
“Been there…done that.” Ade said with a cocky smile.
Yvonne blinked. “I am really sorry.”
“It’s nothing, really. I’ll be gone in no time.” He replied with a smile.
“Are you excited about dying?” she asked.
Ade took a deep breath. “I don’t think anybody really wants to die, but I think when you stop having a reason to live, you lose hope.”
“And you have no reason to live?” she asked. “You have family. That’s enough.”
Ade nodded. “I know, but when all your family does is fight for you to live and forget that they have a life, I think it’s worthless.”
“No!” Yvonne replied sharply. “They are fighting because you are good enough.” She protested.
“I don’t know your story and maybe I never will, but, if you have a good reason to stay, you should be optimistic.”
“Yvonne, this is cancer.” He replied.
She nodded. “Don’t I know that? I know the drug, or rather, I lost both folks to Cancer.”
“Oh…I am so sorry.” Ade said.
Yvonne smiled. “It’s nothing. Right?”
Ade felt the cynicism in her tone. “I am sorry.”
“Look, Ade, like I said, I really don’t know your story and I can’t ask too much of you because I know what Cancer is, but maybe you could stay as optimistic as you can about it.” She said as she picked her bag and then the flowers. “They are not for your funeral.” She said. “Yvonne.” Ade called.
She turned and stared at him. “What?”
“I am going to try.” He said.
She nodded. “You better do if you can, some of us don’t have a choice. We have lost it all.” She said and walked out.
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