Kelly could not focus on anything, all she could think about is what if she had breast cancer and all the risky things she had done over the years, the tanning beds, the sunburns, the implants, she was a mess. She went to the oncologist, who was amazing. He answered all of her questions and told her to come in the next day and they would take some fluid from the mass and test it and take it from there. The oncologist told her, best case it’s a benign and she can have it removed and no one would be the wiser and he said worst case it’s malignant and they remove it and do some radiation. Kelly said she knew it was inappropriate because it was superficial but what about the implant, and he said they have come a long way and when and if they have to remove the mass they will likely switch out the implant. He told Kelly to bring someone with her for the biopsy.
Kelly left and went to her car and cried, she did not know how this happened, you read about it but it was happening to her. She also cried because honestly she did not know one person well enough to ask them to go with her, this is when she really missed Alex and she realized how very alone she was. Kelly called her Mom who said she would be out on the next plane and Kelly said again, let’s wait and see what they see. Her Mom hated that she was alone, her brother Jon also called with the same sentiments. Kelly really did not want to talk about it with anyone. She asked Kristy to go with her and of course Kristy did not hesitate. Kristy felt awful for her boss.
In Cleveland she would have had 80 people lined up to go with her but she was alone in San Francisco. She decided to take it one day at a time. Kristy drove her to the oncologists office and they took her right back to the procedure room and when all was said and done it was done in less than 10 minutes.
The Oncologist said, “see not so bad.” Kelly asked if he could tell anything. He said yes and no but he wanted to wait and see no reason to speculate. He said they would have the results in 24-48 hours. Kelly hoped for less.
Kelly went to work and immersed herself. She did not want to talk about it she just wanted to get through the next 24 hours. She went home and went for a long run and then went home and drank a glass of wine and went to bed. The next day Kelly worked and had a few conference calls, she pretty much forgot that her birthday was just one day away. It was almost when her iphone rang and it was the oncologist, he called himself which she knew was bad. He said he wanted her to come in to discuss the results and she said, “well you have to tell me something.” He said, “it showed some activity and minimal cancer cells, lets talk more when you come in.” Kelly started to cry. He went on to say, “it’s not the best or worst case scenario its somewhere in the middle. We need to remove the mass sooner than later, and test the cells around it as well as your lymph nodes. Because there was not a ton of action for lack of a better word then it was likely we caught it early and you should be able to put all this behind her six months.” Kelly thanked him and he said he was putting his surgery coordinator to schedule the procedure. She was very upset that it was not going to be for two weeks she wanted this thing gone. The next two weeks were going to be agonizing.
Kelly tried to put her best foot forward. She called her Mom and she said she was coming for the procedure and Kelly said she would like that. Her brother John also wanted to come he was a doctor and she actually wanted him there as well. Kelly once again put everything on hold.
Kelly’s birthday fell on a Wednesday, she had very low expectations as really no one knew and once you pass 30 there is nothing to be excited about. She wished she could go to bed and erase this entire year as it just kept getting worse so maybe 33 would be better. She had a ton of action on facebook which made her feel good. Around lunch time Kristy said she had a delivery and brought in a bakery box. Kelly said what did you do and she said nothing, this was dropped at the front desk. Kelly hesitantly opened the box and it was the biggest cupcake she had ever seen. She opened the card thinking it was from her mom. To her surprise it was from Alex.
He wrote, “I know it’s not a jello cake but I hope it will do. I could not let you’re your birthday pass without sending you something sweet. I demand you indulge and don’t share it with anyone. He also wrote, I miss ya Kel and I wish I could be there to sing to you. Have an amazing birthday. Love Alex.”
She got a tear in her eye. Kristy said, “why don’t you call him and tell him, I can almost guarantee he will come to be with you?”
Kelly said, “no, he is not a part of my life right now. Kristy I can’t deal with that right now.”
“Well he would be here for you.”
In a small voice Kelly said, “I don’t know that, he is a very nice guy, he could be in love with someone else by now, he would send this no matter what, he is just a nice guy.” Kelly loved that he remembered her birthday. She wanted to overanalyze it but her head was spinning. She knew she should call to thank him but thought about sending an email.
Actually, Emily one of Alex’s law school friends that she actually liked facebooked her and said they were going out for her birthday and she did not want to hear no for an answer. Kelly welcomed the distraction; she talked with Emily every now and again but was surprised by the invitation. Kelly met up with Emily and her friends at a local bar on the side of town where Alex use to live.
Emily knew they were not together anymore but still asked how Alex was, Kelly said “from what I can tell he is doing OK.” Emily said she had been meaning to email him for a while now. They drank many martinis and had a great girl’s night. Kelly did not mention her breast cancer scare she wanted to quite frankly forget about it. She thanked the girls and told them that was just what she needed. Emily said they needed to do it more often and Kelly agreed. When she got home she was still in a good mood from the martinis and she thought that would be a good time to call Alex and thank him.
Kelly called pretty late maybe midnight she could tell she woke him up.
“I am sorry, I did not mean to wake you up.”
“Oh, no its OK happy birthday Kel.”
“Thanks for my crazy big cupcake!”
Finally waking up a little, he said, “was it good?”
“Yes, I am enjoying some at this very moment.”
“Did you go out tonight?”
“Yes is it that obvious?”
Alex said, “Well, most people are not as awake as you at this hour.”
“Guess who I went out with?”
“Well that is random, right?” Alex said with surprise in his tone.
“She pops up every once in a while and she saw on facebook that it was my birthday and insisted we go out.”
“Well, she is a fun girl, I am sure you had fun.”
“You can say that again. She asked how you are. I told her I thought you were doing OK. Was I lying, how are you?”
“No, I am holding my own. I have come to love my job it’s just DC I hate.”
“Spring will be here soon, you will be OK,” Kelly said trying to sound positive.
“Hold on,” Alex said in a strained voice.
Kelly could tell he was having a spasm. She waited a minute and said, “Are you alright?”
Alex said with a sharp tone, “it’s part of the deal, I am fine.”
They talked about nothing for about a half of an hour. When he asked what she was up to she said you know same old, she said the Boston merger was over finally and it should be approved any day now.
Alex asked, “Kel what’s up you sound down for a girl who just turned what 21?”
“Don’t I wish, I am fine, just lost my enthusiasm today.” She tried to keep things light and asked about his family. He said they were all well and they were coming out in a couple weeks.
Out of nowhere Kelly said, “I miss you Alex. I know I am not supposed to say that but I do.”
“It’s Ok I miss you too,” Alex said with a sigh.
“Are you dating?” After a short pause Kelly said “Seriously don’t answer that, it’s none of my business.”
“So I won’t ask you that even though I want to,” Alex replied, sounding sad.
Kelly quickly said “OK so we both can just know that we want to know but we are not going to know.”
"Kelly, you are nuts, maybe even certifiable.”
While laughing Kelly said, “you are probably right.”
“Alex, I wish I could go over to your place and crawl into bed with you right now.”
“You would be more than welcome Kelly you know that right?”
“Oh Alex why am I doing this, I am sorry.”
“Don’t apologize, that is the first time you have let your guard down even just a little since I messed all this up.”
Kelly said, “about that.”
Alex interrupted her and said, “are you going to yell at me again?”
“God, no, I just wonder sometimes if we were not doing the same thing to each other, you did not want me to leave you but on the opposite I made you leave so that it would seem like it was my decision. Maybe I was afraid you would not choose me."
“I told you I would stay,” Alex quickly replied.
“Alex, do you wish I had told you to stay. Don’t answer that.”
Alex went to reply and Kelly stopped him saying, “don’t answer it because it does not matter, we can’t change it so we should not talk about what ifs.”
Kelly went on to say, “my boss said I need to take more risks in my own life.”
Alex said, “I could see that.”
“I better get to bed, this has been great Alex.”
“Thanks for calling Kelly.”
“No thank you for remembering my birthday, it means a lot.
Alex knew what he wanted to say, so he just said it, “I love you Kel.”
Kelly responded with, “I wish I didn’t but I do love you.”
They hung up. He thought something was different with her, but he liked her honesty and he forgot how easy she was to talk to as long as you played by her rules of course. He actually was taking a girl from work to a basketball game that weekend; he had decided to try to move on.
Kelly hung up and fell right asleep. In the morning she realized she had made an ass of herself, and sent him a text saying, “sorry I was probably a tad out of line last night.”
He texted back, “no need to apologize that was the best conversation I have had in 9 months. “
She texted back “cute.” As she was aware that they broke up 9 months ago almost to the day.
Alex texted again “I am always here if you ever want to talk.”
Kelly replied “thanks and we will talk soon.”
She was glad they talked and that she let her guard down. God she missed him, now more than ever. Kelly did not want to tell him because he would do the good guy thing and if they were to ever get back together it had to be for different reasons.
Alex took his date to a basketball game. She was cute, petite with brown hair and she was very different from Kelly. He noticed her staring a lot, which did not bother him he was use to it. They had stopped at a sports bar for a quick bite before the game he told her if she had questions to ask. For whatever reason nothing was going smoothly, there was no room on the subway so that was annoying and cumbersome, getting in to the bar was an issue, she was shy so he had no idea what she was thinking. The game was good she did like basketball which was a plus, they had a nice time, but he could tell this was not what he was looking for and probably not what she was looking for either.
He went home wondering why things even early on were so easy with Kelly. She had a way of making everything OK and nothing fazed her. Alex wished he could get over her and move on with someone else, but it took how long to find her, he was going to very old if he had to wait that long again.
Kelly still had a week to wait around till her surgery, her Mom and brother were coming in the day before. It was bad timing for both of them but they would be there no matter what. Kelly just kept trudging through; Kristy was very worried about her it took everything she had not to call Alex. She knew if she did Kelly would definitely fire her and probably kill her, Kelly was a private person. Kristy prayed it will all work out.
Kelly called Kristy into her office one day in a panic. Kristy said “what’s a matter?” Kelly read her an email from Alex’s mom. His mom sent a cheery note asking how she was and that Alex told her that she was staying in San Francisco and if she were younger she would do the same as she loved the bay area. Then she said, I am not sure if you know but we are going to DC in a couple weeks to see Alex speak on Disability rights. She wanted to let her know that Alex was getting an award for his advocacy efforts and achievements. It was a surprise so she hoped she would keep it but she wanted Kelly to know in case she wanted to come for the ceremony as she knew Alex had often referred to her as his biggest fan. If she wanted to go she was to let her know as she would send her the necessary details. At the end Grace said, “Kelly sometimes us girls have to take matters into our own hands, the entire family is hoping you will decide to join us.” It was signed, “love, Grace.”
With panic in her voice Kelly said, “Kristy what is that about?”
Kristy said, “well you have a college degree, his parents love you and like the rest of us want you guys back together. Kelly you have not seen him in like 10 months, maybe its time.”
Kelly quickly said, “well how am I going to do that.” The ceremony was just a week after her surgery.
“Kelly, that surgery is no big deal, you will be in and out in about in like two days, it might do you good to get out of here for a few days.”
Kelly said still sounding panicked, “so what I show up and say what.”
Kristy said, “you say congratulations and that you are happy for him.”
“Kristy too much time as passed.”
Kristy interrupted her and said, “She said oh god so much time has passed.”
“Kelly if you love him and have any desire to give it another shot then go, you have nothing to lose if it blows up in your face then you write him off forever.”
Kelly took a deep cleansing breath and said “I just don’t know I need to think about it.”
“Let me make the arrangements.”
Kelly said, “I just don’t know.”
Kristy took a sharp tone and said, “well he is your friend and he is being recognized, I bet you being there would shock him and make him very happy.” She wanted to mull over it for a day or two. The distraction from her surgery was actually nice.
A few days passed and she replied to Grace by saying she was going to do everything she could to make it, as she would be in New York on business that week and hoped she could sneak out early and fly into see the ceremony and that she was very glad she thought of her, as Kelly was very happy for Alex and could not think of a more deserving person. Signing it, Love Kelly.
Kelly reluctantly told Kristy that she was going to be in New York that week to finalize the merger and then she could fly in to DC. Kelly said to Kristy, “I purposefully left it open s0 I could cancel at the last minute without a problem.” Kristy said, “wimp,” and laughed.
Kelly for the first time in a long time had something to look forward to. She knew no matter what Alex would be happy to see her as she really wanted to see him. Her oncologist had given her a prescription for an antidepressant as he said he knew this had to be very hard on her. Kelly did not fill it at first, but she thought she would give it a try; she really wanted to shake this overwhelming sadness.
Now all Kelly had to do was get through this surgery. Her mom and brother came in the day before and took her out to dinner then night before. Kelly was nervous but felt better having them there. Before she went to bed that night, she logged on to facebook and wrote, “big day tomorrow wish me luck.” The only people that knew were her close girlfriends, Kristy and family. Lindsay being her emotional friend wrote “I love you Kelly, I am there in spirit.” The other girls wrote good luck and everyone else wrote “what’s up?”
Alex wrote on her wall, “What did I miss?” He wondered what was going on, but figured it was work related but Lindsay’s response was weird.