I savored every second I spent with my friends, paying attention to every tiny detail for when I had to recall all my happy moments. Cramming a lifetime into a couple of months was going to be harder than I thought.
Mum picked me up after school since her work had given her as much time off as she needed, not that I was the one who needed caring for. Her eyes were red and puffy, she wore no make-up and she was dressed in un- matching garments.
"Dad's coming home tonight." She reminded me.
"Really?" I couldn't help the slight hint of hope in my voice; my father was like my hero and I loved him to bits.
"Yes. He's anxious about you. I haven't yet told him about your treatment refusal."
"It wasn't a refusal, it was a matter of perspective."
"Not to us it isn't, you're not giving us an ounce of hope."
"What? I'm the one who has to die and your complaining that I'm not giving you hope? And what do I get by way of hope? Nothing. I'm going to die and that's the end of it, of me! I'm sorry if I'm not worrying about your problems, but I've got problems of my own that you are not a part of!"
She bit her lip and I sunk down in the car seat. I hadn't meant to shout, but that was just like her, not caring about me. Disgust had flooded me and it had to be vented, not that there was time in my short life for a mental breakdown if I had kept it in. Swerving to avoid an oncoming car, we entered the final part of our journey where i leapt out of the car. The first thing I saw was that Dad's car was not there, just the empty patch of grass. Deflated, I unlocked the door and went inside.
My bedroom was painfully familiar. I didn't want stuff I was comfortable with, I wanted to be lying on a bed of nails because I was so worried about Heidi and what she would so when she found out about Alice. Trying to stave off the boredom and restlessness until dad came home, I picked up my bible, brought with book tokens I had won as part of a prize, and flipped to my favourite gospel: John. I wished Jesus was beside me, so he could heal me and I wouldn't have to die to save Alice. But I would be meeting him soon enough. Believe it or not, that thought was actually comforting.
It was dark by the time headlights swept across my room and the delightful sound of dad's BMW as it roared up the drive. As he threw the door open, I was running down the stairs. I was at the bottom as he stood in the front door.
Shock, love and anguish poured from his eyes as we locked eyes with each other.
"Daddy!" I cried and ran forward. He dropped his tie, jacket and briefcase on the floor with a clatter. He threw his arms around me, lifting me clean off the ground, as I jumped on him. Now we were both crying, oblivious to mum looking on enviously from the kitchen, she never could grasp why I was so attached to dad.
Daddy's arms. The place a girl will always fit. I certainly felt safe in the impenetrable fortress of daddy's arms.
"Alli, my little Alli!" I suddenly felt seven all over again.
"Daddy, daddy." I cried, not having called him that for so many years.
"I'm quitting work, I'm going to spend all my time with you." He promised.
"What about money?" I shook my head. I wanted so much for dad to be able to stay with me, but we couldn't afford it.
"Who cares? You are far more important to us. We won't loose you." I coughed and let go.
"Actually, dad. You will loose me in the end. If I'm going to go, I might as well go as naturally as I can. I will try a few sessions of chemo, but that's it. I'm sorry daddy, but I can't take anymore." I knew dad wouldn't have hysterics like mum did, he would leave it up to me.
"Are you sure? It could give you a few more more months?"
"Positive, I don't want to spend my whole time ill when I could be busy enjoying life as healthy as I can be."
"Well it's your choice."
He brought me into a giant bear hug on the sofa and I felt his hot tears seep through my hair.
"I love you daddy." I whispered.
"I love you too, Alli. No matter what you choose to do."