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Authors: P. J. Belden

Fighting To Stay

BOOK: Fighting To Stay
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Fighting to Stay

P. J. Belden

 

 

© P. J. Belden, 2015

 

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

 

© P. J. Belden, 2015

 

All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to an online ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without permission from the author.

Warning
: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights and livelihood is appreciated.

 

In loving memory of my mother-in-law, Donna Belden, who lost her battle to breast cancer Dec. 31, 2014. As well as to my husband and sister-in-law who have lost so much in such a short period of time. I love you both so much.

In honor of my mother-in-law (and all those suffering or have suffered from this merciless disease), the proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

 

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Epilogue

Available Now

About Author P. J. Belden

 

 

Many years ago, a boy walks into my life and suddenly I
could not
breathe. No, I mean
literally
—no airflow in my lungs! He fell into me and knocked the breath out of my lungs. Though I cried, something changed in me that day. At age seven though, I didn’t understand love or even know to feel that way about boys.

Garrett Hepner crashed into me that day. Little did I know that he also crashed into my heart as well. Garrett was good friends with my older brother Josh. Being that Josh played the 'protective brother' role, there was a definite, ‘you can look, but don’t touch’ type of thing going on. However, over time, he became
my
best friend. We did
everything
together.

The strain of loving him, and never being able to tell him, was growing harder and harder to ignore. No matter how much my heart wanted to scream at him that I love him and wanted to be with only him, I couldn’t. Losing him as a friend would kill me.

My brother and sister would constantly tell me to just tell him, but I couldn’t risk the possibility of rejection. My heart aches as a memory of us together filters in.

“Dee, come here. I need your help,” Garrett calls breaking me from my thoughts.

Heading out to the living room of my apartment, I find him messing with the radio.

“What… did you forget how to read?” I joke.

“No, I need you to dance with me,” he smiles as he stands up.

“Why,” I scrunch my face up to hide the blush.

“Because I need you to tell me how I do,” he says matter-of-factly as he gathers me in his arms.

My heart stutters in my chest. Desperately, I try to keep calm. Being this close to him, feeling his arms around me…
I must be dreaming
.

He pulls me tighter against him and sighs. The song
What Hurts the Most
by
Rascal Flatts
starts playing. The more the lyrics play on the harder it is to keep the tears at bay. It was like he was trying to tell me something, I just didn’t know what or even if he was.

His arms tighten around me and I move both my arms around his neck and bury my face. There is no doubt now, I know he can feel my tears. Still we sway back and forth to a song that continues to rip me to shreds.

When the song ends, we continue to hold each other and sway to the silence in the room. I wasn’t moving. Holding him like this… I’m memorizing every single second.

“Why are you crying, Dee?” He whispers after a moment.

“I feel like you’re trying to tell me something and I’m praying it’s not goodbye,” I blubber as I pull back and meet his eyes.

His look was intense and almost pleading. “I’ll never be able to say goodbye to you, Dee. Never,” he whispers as he cups my face in his hands, wiping my tears away with his thumbs.

His head lowers slightly and my heart is screaming for him to kiss me, to feel the same way I do. But he only kisses my check.

He meant it. He could never say goodbye to me. After that day, he just up and left. When he left, he took my heart with him. I never wanted it back.

Falling in love with your best friend is a recipe for disaster. I would make one all over again if it meant I had that time back with Garrett.

 

Two years later…

Closing my eyes, I try to make my brain accept what I’ve just been told. Shaking my head, but I still cannot clear the words from my mind. They keep playing on repeat in my head. Like a never-ending loop of, ‘
We’ve found a lump on your breast. The blood tests indicate an elevation in your white blood cells. The blood marker tests have diagnosed the breast cancer and determined it has not moved to other parts of the body. We need to do a biopsy to see if it is cancerous or not. There is always that chance of a false positive.

I am not even sure if I even understand what the TRU-QUANT and CA 27.29 tests are, but I do know it means that this biopsy will probably come back as positive. Ugh! I feel—lost right now!

“Me? Breast Cancer? At my age?”

“I know this comes at quite a shock to you, Ms. Bryner. Considering your age and health, it is the last thing I expected to find. However, we have found it and we need to act now. Waiting could be dangerous,” Dr. Garrett Hepner states.

“But…” My voice breaks off. “But I’m only twenty-five.”

Dr. Garrett reaches forward placing his hand over mine. “I know. We used to be best friends. I wish I could tell you this is just some rude and mean joke, but it isn’t. I am sorry, but it’s not. We need to get you scheduled for a biopsy now. It may not be cancer. It could be benign. However, this is the next step we
have
to take. We will get this checked, without knowing it can be disastrous. We need answers. Okay?”

Nodding my head, I glance at my once best friend as he tries to reassure me that it could be nothing. His dark hair and bright green eyes stare at me with such compassion and it kills me more. We’ve not seen each other in about two years and here he is acting like my best friend again, as if no time at all has passed.

Straightening my back and squaring my shoulders, “Okay, schedule it then. It’s probably nothing anyway.”

Forcing a smile on my face, I push all negative thoughts to the back of my mind. There is no way I am going to play the ‘why me’ card. I’m not going to let something like this stop me. Life is mine and it will be mine until
I choose
to let it go. I have so much more life to live—to make my mark on the world.

BOOK: Fighting To Stay
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