“In the morning?” Her face crumbled. “When were you going to tell me?”
“I just fucking found out.”
“But…” She swallowed hard and nodded. “Okay. Have a safe ride home.”
And she just turned and left me there. No goodbye. No ‘I love you’. Nothing. Turning, I punched my fist through the nearest wall. The tequila kept the pain away and I fell onto the bed with tears in my eyes for the first time since I was a boy.
I paced. For hours and hours I paced.
My heart and head were at war with each other. Only problem was that I was more inclined to believe my heart when it came to Spider. But was I blinded by my feelings for him? Was I in so deep that I couldn’t accept what was right in front of my face?
Around four I gave up on the arguing and told my brain to shut the fuck up. I left my room and quietly made my way back to Spider’s. If he was leaving me in a few hours, then I had to make sure he knew that I loved him and would miss him. I needed one last kiss. Something, anything.
Tapping on the door I heard a raspy, “Come in.”
Opening the door I turned on the light and nearly vomited. Two girls were spread out on the bed beside Spider. They were in bras and panties while he was still as naked as I had left him earlier. Topaz lifted her head and blinked a few times to clear the sleep from her vision. “Oh, hey Willa. You need something?”
I glanced from her to the other chick now wide awake on the other side of Spider, who was out for the count. “No…” I whispered. “No, I don’t need anything.”
Somehow I kept it together until I was back in my room. Once I was safely inside, I lost it. Nothing was safe from my destruction as I threw things until the room was completely trashed. Then I started packing. I didn’t bother with the toiletries in the bathroom. Just tossed clean clothes in with the dirty and zipped up the case. I called a cab as I was going down the stairs.
In the chapel I found a piece of paper and wrote Duke a quick note, telling him that something had come up with my mother and I would call him. Sometime. Not anytime soon though. I didn’t want to deal with anything biker-related for a very long time.
“You leaving, girl?”
sp; I nearly jumped at the sound of Cletus’s voice coming out of the dark. Turning, I found him at his usual seat at the bar. He had a cup of coffee in front of him while he smoked a cigar. I knew he must have seen everything, like he always tended to do when it came to the compound. There was no use in lying to him. “I can’t stay here.”
He nodded. “Understandable.”
“Tasha won,” I muttered.
Cletus shrugged his thin shoulders. “Yep. I guess she did.”
His confirmation only made me hurt worse. “See you around, Cletus.”
“Doubt it, girl. Take care of yourself.” He picked up his mug and took a long swallow, making me wonder if there was more than just coffee inside. “Tell your momma I said hello.”
Swallowing a sob, I nodded and nearly ran out of the compound. The trip home wasn’t fun. I cried on the flight home until I was sick. The flight attendants kept asking me if I was okay and I finally told them I had broken up with my boyfriend. They accepted that and left me alone except to bring me cups of coffee and chocolate bars.
My mother wasn’t expecting me and I hadn’t bothered to call her in the past three days or so. The last time I had talked to her she was having some trouble with the chemo treatments and wanted to be left alone. When the cab pulled to a stop in front of the little three-bedroom house just outside Seattle I breathed a small sigh of relief. It was then that I realized I was such a momma’s girl, but I didn’t give a shit right then. I needed my mother’s arms around me or I was going to fall apart.
Using my key I walked into the house. “Mom?” Her car was still in the driveway so I knew she was home. “Mom, I’m home.”
When I didn’t get an immediate reply my gut started hurting all over again. The kitchen, which was where she normally would have been at this time of the morning, was empty and there was no coffee in the pot or any breakfast dishes in the sink. I called out her name again and after a brief moment thought I heard a moan.
Running to the back of the house where our bedrooms were I opened her door and found her lying on the floor between her bathroom and the bed. When I had left six weeks ago my mother was at least ten pounds overweight. Now she was nothing but a bag of bones. She didn’t look like the same woman at all. Her eyes were shrunk back into her head, her face was lined with strain and sickness, her eyes and skin yellow with jaundice.
“M-m-mom?” I couldn’t help the wobble in my voice as I crouched down beside her. “What… what happened?”
“Willa…” She was gasping for air and I turned her onto her back. How had she gotten this bad over six weeks? It didn’t seem right to me. “I’m so happy you’re home… Something I need to tell you.”
I didn’t try to hide my tears as I held her. She was ice cold and I wondered how long she had been on the floor. “Don’t speak, Momma. I need to call an ambulance.” I already had my cellphone out, 911 already dialed and was about to hit send when my mother’s thin finger grabbed the phone from my hand.
“Willa… No.” She shook her head and I noticed her hair was thinner, brittle and dry. “I have to tell you…the truth.” She sucked in a few lungful’s of air, her lips trembling. “I wasn’t honest with you. This…it’s not just breast cancer. It had…already spread by the….time the doctors…found it. My liver. My lungs.”