by blackrandl1958

Copyright© 2016 by blackrandl1958

Drama Story: What strains will a good marriage overcome? They were about to find out.

Caution: This Drama Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Heterosexual   Fiction   .

I wish to thank my amazing team. PapaKilo14, Hal, Pixel the Cat (I love you, big brother), GeorgeAnderson and Olddave1951. You know I’m a mess and you guys keep anyone else from knowing that. Eliminating things like ghost mothers saves me embarrassment. I love you all. As always, Harddaysknight gives me peer review. Having your mentor and a legend such as HDK analyze and review your story is like having Frank Lloyd Wright go over your architectural plans. Thank you. You’re my guy. Sbrooks103x also gives me a pre-post read and I’m very grateful. My team is the best in the business and I love you all.

Life with Lucas was everything I ever dreamed it would be. Lucas is my husband. We’ve been married for six years. He’s my heart.

I thought I was happy before I met him. I was happy. I was just out of college, healthy, had a good job, and I had just moved into the apartment I’d wanted to live in ever since I moved to Santa Barbara.

I was working on a new microchip for Consolidated Silicon Systems. Chips get smaller and faster every day and this was going to be epic. Lucas was part of the software team we were working with. I thought he was hot the first time I saw him. He had this curly mop of dark brown hair, olive skin and the most amazing hazel eyes I’d ever seen. He was huge, probably six four and very muscular. His arms were massive and he made me hot just looking at him.

I hoped he’d notice me. I’m a little noticeable. My hair is the first thing people usually see. It’s very long, about halfway down the back of my thighs. It’s very light blonde, almost white, and people usually stop and look. The rest of me isn’t bad, either. I have nice boobs, not huge but not little either, and they stand up pretty nicely. I work out a lot. I’m five ten and I weigh 130, so I’m not a small girl. I have blue eyes and pale eyebrows and eyelashes. I hate them so I put mascara on my eyelashes and dye on my eyebrows.

He did notice me, evidently, because after three weeks of working together he asked me to lunch. I cursed inwardly because that was the one day I couldn’t go. I had an appointment with the government contractors for lunch. I asked him if he would give me another chance the next day and he smiled the most beautiful smile I’d ever seen.

“Sin,” he said, that’s me, Sinclair Buckley, “I’d wait a thousand years to take you to lunch.”

I know I blushed. “Thanks, Lucas, but I’ll probably be hungry before then,” I said.

He laughed. “Yeah, me too,” he said. “Lunch tomorrow, it’s a deal.”

He talked to me quite a bit for the rest of the day. He didn’t just look good, he was a fun guy. He was witty and charming and I wanted to get to know him more every minute I talked to him. The next day, he took me to Panera Bread Company and we talked so much we nearly forgot to eat. We were five minutes late when we got back but no one noticed. We went to lunch three times and he asked me to dinner. It was Friday night and he took me to a club. It wasn’t trendy, it was classy, one of those where you had to be a member to get in.

There was a band and a small dance floor and we danced half a dozen times. We sat in comfortable chairs and talked with some of his friends. He introduced me and we had a great time. That was our first date. He took me home afterward and kissed me goodnight. He was a perfect gentleman and I was looking forward to going out with him again.

After three months, we were exclusive, and in another month, we wound up in bed. I’ll have to confess, I wasn’t very experienced. I’d only been with two men before Lucas. I’m not a slut and I need to be very serious about a man to go to bed with him. My first time had been on prom night my senior year of high school with the guy I’d been going out with for two years. I figured out that night that there was no future in that relationship. It was painful, brief and he didn’t give a damn about making me feel good. It was wham, bam, thank you ma’am and he rolled off and went to sleep. I never went out with him again.

The second was my junior year in college and it went on for a while until he offered to share me with his roommate. He went to the dump, too. Lucas was a different breed of cat. This was my dream guy. He sent flowers the night we finally made love. He picked me up, gave me wine, dinner, dancing, and music: all the romance a girl could ask for. By the time we got back to my apartment, I was like a cat in heat. My panties were soaked and my nipples ached. I pulled him inside the door and tried to melt him with kisses.

“Lucas, I think I’m in love with you,” I told him. “Take me to bed and make love to me.”

“Are you sure, Sin?” he asked me. “I don’t want to screw this up. I think I’m in love with you, too, and I’m not pushing you into anything.”

I pulled up my dress and pushed his hand between my thighs. He had to feel that heat and moisture. “Does that feel like you’re pushing me?” I asked.

He laughed. “No, I guess not.” I had my hair up in a messy bun and he pulled my dress up and over my head, then stepped back to look at me. “God, you’re hot, Sin,” he breathed. “I think you fit your name.”

I pulled the pins out of my hair, and it cascaded down as I led him to my bed. He began stripping off his clothes and he was being too slow. I helped him. When he was down to his boxers, he scooped me up like a baby and laid me gently in the center of the bed. His eyes were burning coals, devouring me, and I was so hot I felt lightheaded. He climbed up onto the bed, straddling my legs, and his body covered me. His lips were hot and wet against mine. He was a fantastic kisser. I’ve been slobbered on by enough mouth breathers over the years to know. He was gentle but insistent, his lips crushing mine as his tongue slipped into my mouth. It was a long passionate kiss, scalding me and driving me wild with wanting him. His hands slipped under me and I felt him fumbling with the clasp of my bra. I arched my back, giving him access, and he slipped it off, baring my breasts. My nipples were achingly hard, throbbing and craving his touch. His mouth left mine and I wanted it back. It did other things, nibbling down my neck with a tantalizing slowness, making me shiver as he reached the little hollow of my collarbone. He teased me with his tongue and lips, circling my nipples, just grazing my areolae. I groaned in frustration and tangled my fingers in his hair, forcing his lips onto my nipple.

He sucked it in and sparks flashed through my body. This was what I had been waiting for. All my life I had been waiting for this moment, this man. This was right. He tormented me with his lips, his fingers, his tongue in my sex, driving me over the top, again and again, until he moved up to sink inside me. He felt huge and I groaned out my ecstasy, giving tongue to my pleasure. I cherished my fulfillment, his great weight on me and in me until the night rang with our voices and we slept, twined together, one heart, one soul.

We made love at least once during the week, and on the weekends, we hardly left my apartment. He had a nice place over an art store and we spent a lot of time there, too. We had been making love for nine months when he told me we were going out the next Friday. He told me this was going to be special and that I should dress for a formal occasion. He rang the doorbell and I answered. It was unusual because he normally just used his key and came in. His jaw dropped when he saw me. I had on a midnight blue dress he had never seen before. It was off one shoulder, had an open back and a slit up one side that went dangerously high. I had on stockings and you could see the lace at the top when I moved just right.

“Oh, my God, Sin,” he gasped. “You look absolutely gorgeous!”

“Thank you, Sir,” I said. “You look very nice, too.” He had on a black tux with a purple shirt and a matching bow tie. He offered me his arm and we went out. A limo was parked at the curb and it whisked us off to dinner. It was delicious, but I was nervous and had trouble enjoying it, because it felt like everyone was staring at me. The limo was still waiting when we finished dinner and we went to a play. It was a farce and we had a blast. We were among the last ones out and we stood in the deserted lobby for a minute. He finally turned me around to face him and I noticed he had pulled on white gloves. He knelt on the floor of the theatre lobby and opened a velvet box. There was a ring inside with a huge sapphire in it, surrounded by four small diamonds.

“Sinclair, will you marry me?” he asked.

It was the happiest moment of my life. We got married on April 20. We had a large wedding. My father gave me away and his mother was sitting there crying tears of happiness during the whole ceremony. Lucas’s father had abandoned them when Lucas was nine. Lilly had divorced him and they’d never heard from him again. She had never remarried.

We started our married life with a trip to Mexico. My Dad had lived there for years and he stayed in my apartment while we stayed in his villa for our honeymoon in Monterrey. It was beautiful; we stayed for two weeks.

Married life was everything I imagined it would be. I heard my girlfriends at work talk about their lives but they didn’t resemble mine in any way. They talked about cheating on their husbands, going out and getting high, picking up strange men in bars, how exciting their lives were. I just quit hanging out with them. They invited me to “girls’” nights and out for drinks after work. I had one thought, going home to my man. If I wanted a night out, Lucas was very happy to provide that for me. If I wanted to go out for a drink, he was glad to go with me. Those women were either married to anal orifices or they were said orifices themselves.

Our sex life was amazing. Lucas was an amazingly inventive lover. He was always horny and he took me wherever he found me, whenever the mood seized him. I had trouble keeping clothes on around the house because he was always taking them off. I had to go around picking up my clothes constantly from the random places he discarded them. He could almost make me cum just by looking at me. When he was actually inside me, it was the closest thing to heaven I ever hoped to find.

I think the man worshipped me. All I had to do was mention something I liked and he tried to make it happen. Once, when a guy wouldn’t stop hitting on me at the gym, I mentioned it to Lucas. He went with me the next time. The douche bag was there, working out on the bench.

Lucas walked up and stood by him until he finished his set. “Hey dude, you don’t mind if I squeeze in a set, do you?” he asked.

The guy really didn’t want to get up, you could tell by the expression on his face. He had been doing sets of three by five with 185. For those who don’t lift, that’s three sets of five repetitions for each set, using one plate (45lbs) and one 25 on each side, with the bar weighing 45 lbs.

Lucas loaded four plates on and squeezed out five reps with 405. He sat up and blew for a minute. “Hey baby,” he called me over to where they were working. He introduced me as his wife and I could see the guy getting nervous.

“Sin works out here all the time,” Lucas told him. “You ever see anyone bothering her, you let me know, okay?”

Dude never spoke to me again. I don’t think he even looked at me. Lucas and I started working out a lot together after that. He had belonged to a different gym, but he joined mine and we ran on the treadmill side by side. He ran a bit faster than I did and always finished a few minutes before me. He would go get paper towels and disinfectant spray to wipe the machines down. When I shut down my machine he would step up onto the belt, press me up against the front and hold me in his arms. It made me insanely horny and some of the guys he lifted with never failed to make some whoop and whistle. They were envious and we ignored them.

After a year, we felt like we were financially secure and emotionally stable enough to think about children. I wanted two kids and he wanted three. I wanted to have them early so we would be able to enjoy them for a long time. My parents were older when they had me and my mom passed when I was nineteen. Dad was still in good shape, but I wanted our kids to have both parents for a long time.

He was my best friend and I was his. We argued and fussed the same as other people but we promised each other the first week we were married that we’d never go to sleep angry at each other. We never did. We made love two and three times a day after we decided to have a baby.

Eleven months later, Jonathon was born. He was a perfect little baby. He had Lucas’s skin and my hair. The joy we felt when we held that little bundle of perfection was like nothing I’d ever experienced in my life, and I knew Lucas felt the same way. I was hardly ever away from him. My job was now such that I could mostly work from home. If I needed to go in for some reason, Lucas could stay home that day. His mother came over and got Jonathon every Friday evening and kept him overnight so we could have a date night.

Jonathon went through the normal stages of childhood until he was three and a half. I was taking on more of a workload and we were beginning to talk about having child number two. I had a meeting I had to attend in Austin, Texas, and Lucas and Jonathon took me to the airport. I was gone for four days, and they called me every night and talked to me.

“Mommy, I think mine head is broked,” Jonathon told me on the phone.

I was coming home the next evening and I couldn’t wait to see him. “Daddy probably did it,” I told him. “Why do you say your head is broken, baby?”

“It hurts,” he said. “Thomas has a broked leg and he said it hurt. That’s why I think mine head is broked.”

“Well, tell Daddy,” I told him. “He’ll give you some Tylenol. It will feel better then.” We went on to talk about other things and I had forgotten all about it by the time I landed at the airport. He came running and threw himself into my arms as soon as I came out of the gate. I held him and Lucas came to give me a kiss.

I put him down and we went to get my luggage. I noticed he was walking funny. “Why are you walking like that, honey?” I asked him. He had his head turned a little to one side.

“So I can see good,” he said. I knelt down in front of him.

I looked in his eyes and I noticed that one of his pupils was huge, dilated much larger than the other. “Lucas, has Jonathon hit his head?” I asked.

“Not that I know of, why?” he asked.

“Look at his eyes,” I said. I held my hand up over the normal eye. “Can you see anything, baby?”

“No, just grey,” he said. I did the other eye.

“How about now?” I asked.

“Yes, I see Mommy!” he hugged me.

“Lucas, we need to take him to the emergency room,” I told him. We grabbed my bags and drove straight to the hospital. They did a bunch of tests and scans and sent us home. In the middle of the morning, the hospital called and asked who his pediatrician was. I gave them the name and number and in about twenty minutes, Chris’s office called and told us to come in right away.

She met us immediately and took us to a meeting room. I’ve known Chris and her husband Ricky ever since I was in the fifth grade. She sat us down and showed us a bunch of test results and scan pictures.

“Sinclair, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Jonathon has a brain tumor,” she said. My world came crashing down. “I’m afraid it’s a Glioblastoma. That’s the worst kind of brain cancer he could have. I’m going to refer you to a pediatric oncologist. He’ll be able to discuss treatment options and prognosis with you. I want you to go straight there when you leave here. He’ll be waiting for you. He’ll probably want to hospitalize Jonathon and begin treatments right away.”

My mind was numb. It felt like a mental fog had settled over me and I could hear Chris speaking but couldn’t actually process what she was saying. My conscious mind rejected it and it only registered subconsciously, casting a pall over everything in my life that had been good.

I looked over at Lucas. He had been leaning against the wall and I saw this powerful giant of a man, slumped to the floor, his face buried in his hands, weeping uncontrollably. That shocked me. I couldn’t imagine Lucas like that, but there he was. I ran to him and pulled his hands away, kneeling in front of him. I pulled his head to my breast and held him.

“Lucas, we’re going to be okay,” I told him. “We’re going to take care of him. We just have to have faith. We don’t know enough yet to know what to think.”

He looked at me and the pain in his eyes tore at my heart. “He has brain cancer, Sin. Our baby has brain cancer. What are we going to do?”

“We’re going to do everything,” I said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes. We’re going to fight until there’s nothing left to fight with. If the worst happens, we’re going to thank God for every day we got to have him in our lives. Lucas, get up and take care of your son and your wife. You can’t go to pieces like this. I need you to be my rock. Jonathon needs you. I love you and I know you’re hurting, but we’re depending on you. Lucas, you’re the best and strongest man I’ve ever known. It’s going to be hard as hell, but I know you can do this for us. I believe in you.”

I could see the resolve forming in his eyes. Slowly his demeanor changed and he was in control. “I’m sorry, Sin,” he told me. “I’m okay now. God, you’re strong! I love you so much, baby. You can count on me from now on.”

I kissed his forehead and we stood up. Chris hugged us and gave us the doctor’s name and information. We picked up Jonathon from his Gramma’s house and drove to the oncologist’s office. His name was Blanco and his office was across the street from the hospital. I disliked the man the minute I saw him. He was small, dark, supercilious, and spoke with a French accent. He didn’t spare so much as a glance for our beautiful son. He stolidly examined the tests in front of him, looked up, and broke our hearts.

“Mr. and Mrs. Davis, I’m afraid that there are very few treatment options at this point,” he said. “We will admit him to the hospital right away. I’ll schedule him for surgery in the morning. We’ll remove most of the tumor but there is no way for us to get it all. Then we’ll give him radiation treatments and chemotherapy, but that will only slow the tumor’s growth.”

“How much will you be able to slow it?” Lucas asked.

“I believe we can get him six months,” Blanco said.

I couldn’t believe my ears. “How long if we do nothing?” I asked.

“Maybe three months,” he said. “Glioblastoma is a very aggressive cancer.”

“So you’re telling me you’re going to cut open my son’s head, butcher him, burn him with radiation, and poison him with chemicals so that he can live a miserable life for three more months?” I asked. I was almost frantic.

“You’re not being reasonable,” he said. “This is the standard treatment protocol.” I was about to stand up and tell this smug doctor in very clear words what being reasonable was all about when Lucas’s strong hand on my forearm calmed me.

“What’s the non-standard protocol?” Lucas asked.

“I’m afraid this is the only option I can give you,” Blanco said. “I’ll start the paperwork to have him admitted right away.”

“Could you give us a moment alone with Jonathon?” I asked. “We need to talk in private.”

“Of course,” he said. He showed us to a conference room and went out, shutting the door.

“Lucas, there’s no way I’m going to let that man do those things to Jonathon,” I said. “If he were telling us we had a fifty-fifty chance or something, I’d be all over it. He’s going to make our baby’s last months on earth a living hell. Let’s take him home, get on our computers and find something that offers us some hope. I don’t care if it’s juice from a bug’s ass, water from a spring or faith healers. This guy can’t think of anything but torturing our baby for nothing.”

“I’m with you,” he said. “I’ve heard about treatments in other countries that aren’t approved here. Anything would be better than this. Let’s get out of here.”

I picked Jonathon up and we left. I don’t know how long it took them to realize we were gone, but Chris called me about an hour later.

“Sin, what are you doing?” she asked.

“They told us that Jonathon has six months to live if we allow them to butcher him, burn his brain and poison him,” I told her. “Then after all that torment he’s going to die anyway. We won’t put him through that, Chris. We’d rather see him just quietly slip away.”

“I understand,” Chris said. “I don’t think Dr. Blanco does. He’ll probably call child services. Sinclair, you didn’t hear this from me. If you say you did I’ll deny it to your face. I’ve heard of a clinic in Mexico that is using a new therapy; they’re reporting a lot of success with juvenile glioblastoma. It isn’t approved here and probably never will be. I don’t know the name of the place but you can find it on the internet. Check it out. I wouldn’t stay at home if I were you. Child services will try to either force you to take Jonathon to the hospital or try to take him away from you. Go home, pack up and go somewhere they can’t find you and give me a call.”

That’s exactly what we did. We packed up our stuff in Lucas’s truck and in two hours, we were on our way to New Mexico. Brock, my father, owned several thousand acres with a house south of Columbus. On the way, we stopped at a motel in Deming.

We got settled in, got food and we were on our computers. It took some digging but we found the place Chris had told us about. A German doctor named Zerigski had been doing cancer research in Texas. He had isolated some compounds and done a lot of clinical trials. About two years into the trials, the FDA had shut him down. According to his data, he had been curing people, especially children, with brain tumors that oncologists had given up on.

I had a healthy skepticism about snake oil salesmen, but we had to try something. I wasn’t about to let my child die without a fight. There were two more places that sounded promising. All three were in Mexico and I knew we needed to check them out.

Jonathon didn’t seem to be any worse when we drove down to the ranch the next day. Lucas called my father and he caught a plane to El Paso that night. I called Lilly, Lucas’s mom, and told her what was going on. She was nearly hysterical and she insisted on driving down to be with us.

In bed that night Lucas and I had a long talk. “Lucas, I’m so afraid,” I told him. “Please, no matter what happens, don’t stop loving me. I’ll always love you. Help me fight for our baby.”

“I’ll love you until the day I die,” he promised. “We’re going to get through this, Sin. You just hang in there. We’re in this together, and we’ll make it through. Brock will be here tomorrow. So will Mom. We’ll call the clinics and make appointments and get started beating this thing.”

We made love and it was sweet and sad and life affirming. Holding my man and feeling his power and his love just drove me over the edge and I forgot about everything but the weight of his love, on me and in me. I came over and over until I heard him moan and felt him cum, the hot cream soothing my pussy. We fell asleep, physically and emotionally exhausted.

We spent the next morning on the phone, making our financial arrangements and appointments at the clinic. We each received calls from Blanco’s office and late in the afternoon, family services called. We didn’t answer but they left messages saying we should call them right away. We picked Dad up at the airport and by the time we got home, Lilly was there. I had always called her Mom and that wasn’t about to change now.

They fussed over Jonathon and walked in circles around each other like strange cats. They had never really gotten along. I don’t know why not. They were both amazing people. After a couple of hours of that, I had enough. “Mom, Dad, could I speak to you for a minute?” I asked them.

I took them into the kitchen and got us all coffee. We sat at the kitchen table and I read them the riot act. “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you two,” I said. “It’s going to stop, now! There’s a little boy in there that’s going to die if the people that love him don’t do something about it. Do you love your grandson or not? Do you love Lucas and me? If you’re going to act like a couple of elementary school kids, it’s going to break my heart. Settle this and let’s get to work.” I couldn’t help it. I burst out in tears.

They were both horrified and they jumped up and came around to comfort me. They couldn’t stop apologizing to me and each other. They promised that they were going to be the absolute rocks that I could depend on and that they would do anything for us. They hugged each other and me and apologized again.

Over the next three days, they were perfect grandparents and parents. They worked as hard as Lucas and I to get things ready for a trip to Mexico.

Family services kept calling and we kept not answering. We were packed and ready to go by Saturday night. We planned to leave Sunday morning and arrive at Zerigski’s clinic Monday morning. Saturday night the house phone rang and Dad answered it. He talked for a while and his face went white. After he hung up, he came and sat down.

“Lucas, that was the sheriff,” he said. “They know you’re here. He was just giving me a heads up. He said they tracked you through your cell phones and they’re coming in the morning to take Jonathon. What are we going to do?”

“We’re going to leave now,” Lucas said. “How long do you think it will take to get to the border?”

“Two hours to Antelope Wells,” Dad said. “That’s the better road, and that’s where I’d send you, except you’d be in the US longer and they’d have more time to get the word out. Instead, I’m going to say Puerto Palomas. It’s only twenty minutes. The road is going to be hell until you get to Los Trios, but it gets you out of danger quicker. I think you should leave now. Get down a couple of miles from the border and wait until after daylight. You’d look suspicious trying to cross at night.”

“Aren’t you coming?” Lucas asked. “It sounds like you’re not coming.”

“I’ll stay here,” Dad said. “I’ll make them think we’re all still here. You call me when you’re across and I’ll let them in. That way they won’t be notifying the Border Patrol until you’re safely across.”

Lilly looked at Dad with tears in her eyes. “Brock, I’ve misjudged you,” she said. “You’re a hell of a man, a hell of a father and a hell of a grandfather. I’m staying with you.”

We all did our best to talk her out of that, but she was adamant. She told us we were just wasting time and we should be getting on the road. I knew that once Lilly got going there was no changing her mind, so I just started packing. We were gone by 3 AM, and we found a little dirt road a few miles north of the border, just out of sight of the crossing. We drove along it until we were out of sight from the highway and parked. Jonathon had never woken up and Lucas and I tried to get some sleep. I know I dozed, off and on, and I hoped he had, too.

I had the alarm set on my cell phone and it went off at seven. We struggled to get alert. We got out of the car and stretched, walking a bit, and I told Lucas I needed to pee. He did, too, and he stayed by the car while I went off the road a bit. I came back and he used the “facilities,” as he called them. We got back in the car and headed south.

All our passports were in order and we crossed with only a cursory once over from the guards. The guards on the Mexican side asked us a few questions, but they didn’t hold us once we told them we were going to the clinic for cancer treatments. I speak fluent Spanish and Lucas can muddle along. I lied a bit and told them the treatments were for me, but they didn’t question it.

When we got far enough south to hit highway 2, I got enough signal to send Lilly a text, telling her we were safe. She texted back and told us that they were surrounded by the sheriff’s department and family services, but they were going to let them in. We didn’t hear from them for two days. When we did, they said they had been arrested and questioned. They were charged with interfering with police officers, but Dad thought the charges were going to be dropped. As soon as they could get back to the ranch and get packed, they were going to join us. Their passports hadn’t been taken, so they could travel.

The clinic was in a beautiful desert location, and I thought that if nothing else, the whole bucolic setting would be good for us all. We had a day to enjoy it before the treatments started. My poor son couldn’t understand why he was being stuck with needles. That was hard on Lucas and me, too.

If you have never been in the situation, it is nearly impossible to describe. There lay the dearest treasure of my heart, tiny in his hospital bed, surrounded by nurses, crying out his pain and there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it.

“Mommy, they’re hurting me! Make them stop!” That cry tore at my heart and left it bleeding and broken on that clinic floor. There was no respite, no relief, no lessening of anxiety in sight. I knelt at his bedside and the only thing that kept me from breaking down was that I had to be strong for my baby.

“I know, Jonathon,” I tried to comfort him. “You’re very sick and the doctors need to give you this medicine to make you better. I have to let them give you these shots so you can get better. It will all be over in a minute.” The words tore at my throat and I felt as if I were about to collapse.

Four-year-old boys do not understand the idea of enduring pain now, so that there will be life later. It is impossible to make them understand. All we could do was show our love and concern, consoling ourselves with thoughts of the alternative.

Lilly and Dad arrived shortly after his treatments started and they stayed the entire time. I don’t think we could have gotten through the ordeal without their support. By the end of the first month, Lucas and I had changed in ways neither of us could have imagined. Both of us became irritable and on edge. The slightest thing set us off and we were at each other’s throats. Lilly and Dad played referee until they were disgusted with both of us. They read us the riot act several times.

“Both of you need to get your heads out of your asses and act like decent people,” Lilly told us. “There’s a little boy in there that needs his parents acting like humans instead of Doberman Pinschers.”

We both promised to do better, apologized and it lasted about two days. I was constantly exhausted, and I’m sure Lucas felt the same way. It made us extremely irritable and we got on each other’s nerves in ways that were hard to imagine. We walked around like stray dogs with their hair bristling. Our resolution to never go to bed angry at each other was forgotten.

We never made love. One of us was always too irritated with the other for intimacy, or we were exhausted and only wanted to sleep. After three months, we were hardly civil to each other. Jonathon’s prognosis grew better by the day, while the prognosis for Lucas and me grew worse. I seriously believe that had it not been for Jonathon, one or the other of us would have left. I think, in some twisted way, each of us blamed the other for our predicament. It wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t right, and we both knew it, but we couldn’t seem to do anything about it.

I thought Lucas should spend more time with Jonathon. Lucas thought I should spend more time with Lucas. I knew he wasn’t neglectful, but it seemed to me like every time there was a crisis, I was there, and he wasn’t. As for spending more time with him, I was rapidly beginning to get angry at the sight of him. I came to believe that your child’s serious illness or death has one of two effects. Either you pull together, stand together and come out stronger than ever, or you crumble under the strain. I had never believed that we would be people who would crumble. Believe me, I tried and I know Lucas did, too. We would seem like we were working together well, and then one of us would do something that would set the other one off and we were at each other’s throats again.

That’s when Dr. Melissa Hardy entered the picture. She wasn’t one of Jonathon’s doctors, she specialized in breast cancer, but she often stopped by to see him. She was very kind and Jonathon loved her. I think it was partly because she never stuck him with needles, but I think he could tell that she genuinely cared about him. From time to time, I would come to his room to find her reading to him or putting together a puzzle or something. I I grew very fond of her myself. I knew Lucas confided in her and they had become close, as well.

It was a shock to me when she showed up at the cottage on the grounds where we were living. I had offered her a cup of coffee and we were sitting on the patio in the morning sun. I could tell she had something she wanted to talk to me about, but she was having trouble getting to it. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer.

“Melissa,” I told her, “I know you have something you want to tell me. Why don’t you just get it off your chest?”

She laughed. “I’m that obvious, huh?” She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear in what I had come to recognize as a nervous gesture.

“I’ve gotten to know you a little,” I said.

“Okay, I’ll just tell you,” she said. “Sinclair, what are you planning to do about you and Lucas?”

“I guess I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.

“Are you going to divorce him?” she asked.

That pissed me off. “My first inclination is to tell you that isn’t any of your business,” I said. “You’re pushing your spoon in here where it isn’t at all welcome. I’d ask you to leave and never speak to me about this again, but something tells me that this isn’t idle curiosity, is it?”

“No, it’s not,” she said. She took a deep breath and exploded a bomb in my face. “I think I’m falling for your husband. God, I feel like such a miserable bitch. Here you are in all this pain and stress and I come to you with this. Please let me try to explain. Please, Sinclair?”

I wanted to scratch her eyes out, but I got a grip on my emotions. “I don’t think I’m going to like this, but go ahead. I guess I need to hear it.”

“Okay,” she said. “I never intended for any of this to happen. You know I love your son. That’s how it started. I would go in to see him and Lucas would be there alone while you were resting or eating or something. It was easy to see he was hurting, just as you are. I told him if he needed someone to talk to, I would be glad to listen. You know I made you that offer, too.”

I nodded. She had told me, several times, that she would give me a shoulder to cry on. “Go on,” I said.

“You probably know you’re stronger than Lucas,” she said. “You never took me up on that offer. He did. At first it was all about Jonathon. He told me how worried he was, you both were. How you’d come to this place, how afraid he was. Then he began to open up about you. He told me about the strain this was putting on the two of you. He said you hardly speak and when you do, it’s usually to snap at one another. From that it progressed to him telling me intimate details. You don’t need me to go into those. You know. One day we were in the chapel and he broke down. He was afraid he was losing you, that you didn’t love him anymore. He was crying and I just thought I’d hug him and give him some comfort.”

She took a deep breath and I could see that she was struggling for words. “So, you hugged him, and...”

“Well, it went beyond a hug,” she said. “Before I realized what was happening, we were kissing. I was on fire and he had his hand in my blouse and I was tearing his shirt off and...” Tears streamed down her cheeks; she couldn’t go on.

It was difficult for me to contain my emotions. She was just as obviously having trouble with hers. “Why are you telling me this?” I managed to get out.

“Because I have to,” she said. There was a catch in her voice and I could tell she was torn up inside. “Sinclair, I can’t tell you how much I despise myself right now,” she sobbed. “I am everything I hate in other people. Here you are, fighting for the life of your son. You’re in such pain and anguish of soul and I’m like a vulture, swooping in to feed off the carcass. You have to believe me. I never, ever, wanted any of this to happen. I didn’t set out to seduce your husband. I never, in my wildest imagination, thought anything like this could happen. I’ve heard thousands of lectures about getting involved with patients and I thought I was fireproof. Well, guess what, I’m not. I’m as bad as the worst of them. I’m so very, very sorry. Can you ever forgive me, Sinclair?”

I sat for a moment, lost in thought. “Do you love him?” I asked. “Does he love you?”

“I have no idea,” she said. “I can’t love him in this situation. It would be inhuman. I can’t think of anything I could do that would be more cruel to the two, no, the three of you. I think in another life, or if you intend to divorce him, yes, I could love him. That’s why I asked you the question. That’s why I came to you. I couldn’t live with myself another moment if I didn’t.” She paused. Anguish was plain in her eyes. “What ... what are you going to do?”

“I have no idea,” I said. “Does Lucas know that you intended to talk to me?”

“No,” she shook her head. “I didn’t tell him. This is between you and me.”

I nodded. “Well, I suppose the first thing I need to do is speak with Lucas,” I told her. “After that, I’ll let you know.”

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