Chapter Eighty-Six

Lucas let out a soft yawn and sat up slowly, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. His lower back ached slightly as he did so, and he couldn’t help but wince at the pain. I’m getting so damn old… He thought to himself, almost amused as he sat on the edge of the bed, allowing his weary eyes to adjust to the morning light.

1

Not even bothering to put on his glasses, he pulled himself out of bed at last and slowly headed down the stairs. What time is it? Lucas wondered. Mel must have left without me… He shook his head. She could have at least woken me up…

2

As he crossed through the dining room and into the kitchen, Lucas’ eyes fell on the trio of wedding pictures that hung on the wall across from him. As he so often did, Lucas smiled wistfully at the sight of them. Even without his glasses, he could make out his and Mel’s faces easily enough. It was almost surreal to look at those old pictures, and realize just how much things had changed… He was so young back then, and pretty easy on the eyes, if he said so himself…

3

What happened? The old man chuckled softly, his eyes now lingering on his wife’s face beside his. And then there’s Mel… Still just as gorgeous as she was back then. He thought to himself as his smile widened.

It was hard to believe that they’d be celebrating 43 years of marriage in just a few weeks. Where had the time gone? Before too long it’ll be 45… He thought in amazement. And then… Lucas shook his head, not allowing himself to finish the careless thought.

No. He told himself firmly as he fought back the unpleasant twisting sensation that had creeped into his stomach. One day at a time, remember? Lucas turned away and crossed the threshold into the kitchen.

He headed straight for the coffeemaker, just as he did every morning, and found a small notepad lying open beside it.

4

Good Morning, Sleepyhead!

I didn’t want to wake you, so I drove myself. I’ll be back in a few hours. The coffee should be all ready to go, just turn it on!

See you soon.

Love,
M

5

Coffee in hand, Lucas passed by the fridge and opened one of the cabinets above the sink. He rummaged around the many variously-shaped bottles bearing his wife’s name before finally finding the small brown bottle that contained his heart medication. He opened the container and retrieved one of the large blue and white capsules inside, swallowed it with a large swig of his coffee, and returned the pill bottle back to the cabinet.

As he turned away to head back into the dining room and finish his coffee, Lucas’ gaze fell upon the large glass bowl that sat on the corner of the counter. He could not help but sigh at the sight of it. Day after day the fish sat there, swimming endlessly in circles around its tiny bowl. He always tried to avoid looking at it whenever possible, but some days, he could not help it.

6

Lucas hated that fish more than anything. He could not count the number of times he’d considered flushing it down the toilet, or throwing it down the garbage disposal, or frying it up for dinner… Anything to stop it from sitting there day after day, mocking him.

You failed. It seemed to say every time it looked at him with its big, yellow eyes. You let her down.

Lucas turned away, his stomach in knots.

7

A few minutes later, he stood beneath the hot, steady stream of the shower, staring down thoughtfully as he watched the soapy water swirl and disappear down the drain. His mind was very far away as he thought back to how much simpler things had been when he’d first found that fish over five years ago.

8

He’d been so confident, so sure of himself… So foolish.

8b

And Evelyn had been foolish too, for believing in him.

8c

As he stepped out into the sunlight a short while later, his eyes glanced briefly over the hedge toward Evelyn’s grave. He wondered what she could be thinking of right now as she sat alone in the darkness. It was a question he’d thought of often over the past few years, but Lucas was much too afraid to learn the answer. On the nights they would see each other, both he and Evelyn had stopped talking about the fish or the cure entirely. It was simply too painful, too upsetting…

With a heavy sigh, he crossed through the yard to his garden, where he began tending to his plants. Lucas glanced bitterly down at the death flower bush as he passed over it with the watering can.  After all these years it was still growing and thriving, producing more flowers than Lucas knew what to do with. If only that were the case with the angelfish…

9

Lucas had been so naïve to believe he could go back and find more… Like he had some sort of unlimited supply at his disposal. But with each failure, their amount of angelfish meat dwindled more and more. Until finally…

9b

There was only one left.

9c

And without knowing for certain what to do with it, it was simply too risky to try anything else. Not until they were sure.

For a while, Lucas had continued researching and looking desperately for an answer… But then when things got bad with Mel, his search for the recipe had to be put on the back-burner. And that was where it had been sitting for years.

Lucas returned to the house after finishing his gardening and took a seat on the couch, watching some mindless morning talk show on the TV. It was not particularly interesting, and Lucas was far too distracted to pay enough attention anyway.

10

I hope Mel gets back soon… He thought to himself. Lucas could use something to cheer him up right now, and he hoped that seeing her smile would do just that.

Lucas jumped slightly in surprise as his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the front door opening. For a moment, he thought it was his wife, until another familiar voice reached his ears.

“Mom? Dad?” Krystina called out uncertainly.

“In here.” Lucas called back kindly, glancing over his shoulder.

She’d brought the whole family with her. And though it was an unexpected surprise, it was also a welcome one. Lucas smiled warmly as Krysti, Mitch, Alex, and Dani filed into the room.

11

“Papa!” Alex cried happily, practically throwing himself at his grandfather.

Lucas hugged him tightly. “Hey, kiddo!”

Danica’s greeting was much more subdued. “Hi Papa.” She smiled, waving at him over her brother’s shoulder.

Part of Lucas missed the days when she was so energetic and eager to see him, like Alex was now. But another part of him was so happy and proud to see her growing up so quickly. She was already 12 years old, and would be a teenager in just a couple of years. It was still hard to believe sometimes…

“Sorry to drop in like this.” Mitch said to his father-in-law, somewhat apologetically. “We probably should have called first.”

Lucas shook his head. “It’s fine.” He assured them, smiling. “You guys are always welcome, you know that.”

“Did mom have her appointment today?” Krystina asked uncertainly. “We weren’t even sure you guys would be home…”

12

Her father nodded. “I thought I was bringing her, but I guess she decided to go herself.” He shrugged.

“Is she feeling okay?” Danica asked. The young girl’s voice was cheerful, but Lucas could sense the genuine concern beneath her happy tone.

13

Behind him, Lucas heard the familiar creaking of the front door. “Why don’t you ask her yourself?” He said with a smile as Melanie walked into the room.

“Well this is a nice surprise!”

16

“Hey, honey.” Lucas rose to his feet to greet her. “I really could have driven, you know.” He said with a smile as she leaned in to kiss her cheek gently.

“I do know.” Melanie replied kindly. “But you’re always getting up so early for me… It was nice to let you sleep in for once.”

17

Lucas offered up his seat on the couch, which Mel gratefully accepted.

“How are you feeling, mom?” Krystina asked from beside her.

Melanie smiled. “Fit as a fiddle.”

“Are the doctors still makin’ you feel all better, Nana?” Alex asked hopefully.

19

The woman nodded. “They are.” She smiled warmly at her grandson. “Don’t worry.”

20

—————————

A little more than an hour later, Lucas and Melanie sat alone on the couch together, having just said their goodbyes to the rest of the family a few minutes before.

“That was nice.” Mel said, sighing happily.

“It was.” Lucas nodded in agreement before falling into silence for a few moments. “So, uh… Now that we’re alone…” He hesitated. “How did it go today? Is everything really okay? I mean, the doctors seemed so happy when we started this last cycle… Do they wanna try another round yet?”

22

Melanie just shrugged. “They wanna wait it out for a while… I need a little bit of a break every now and then, remember?”

23

Her husband smiled weakly. “Well, you’ve definitely earned one this time…”

Melanie laughed softly, then rose to her feet. “Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m starving. I can help you whip something up for us.” She suggested. “Or I could try making us something, but you know how well that usually ends…”

Lucas’ smile widened slightly. “I’m on it.” He assured her, rising from the couch as well. “But…” He bit his lip. After nearly four years of going through this, he still felt so terrified. “They really think you’re ok? I mean, for now, at least?”

Yes.” Melanie assured him. “You worry too much, honey. I’m good. I’m fine. Okay?” She smiled as she wrapped her arms around him.

Lucas pressed his lips against her neck for a moment, sighing softly. “Okay.”

24

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33 Responses to Chapter Eighty-Six

  1. CitizenErased14 says:

    Shoutout to Rory, who somehow picked up that something was wrong with Mel based on LITERALLY TWO SENTENCES. Are you a mind-reader, woman?! XD (I think ThePlumbob picked up on it too, actually. You guys are very observant…)

    Also… 😥 OMG giving Mel this particular “makeover” was very upsetting for me. Please forgive me, OJenn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jes2G says:

      I think we all did lol. But, I like how you still haven’t actually said that something is wrong (like, coming out and saying exactly), but laid out a clear picture that something is actually wrong through the pictures and descriptions. Nicely done!

      Liked by 2 people

      • CitizenErased14 says:

        Thanks! Yeah, I’ve been avoiding the “C” word at all costs, just because I kind of like having it be more implied… But I think it’s clear enough what’s going on haha (true story, I even did research and have her exact diagnosis and everything haha not that it’ll come up in the story, but for me, I needed to try to be realistic hahaha)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jes2G says:

        Yeah, I don’t think it’s necessary to mention. I love subtleties like this. It’s skillful.

        Liked by 2 people

      • CitizenErased14 says:

        Thanks! 🙂

        Like

    • kaffepigen says:

      Without having read further than this, I think i know what is wrong with Mel 😦 I hope she gets better soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. O'jenn says:

    #TeamMel is here and rooting for Mel double time! *hugs* She is a tough cookie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I’m so glad you’re still positive and you don’t hate me XD All I could think last night when I was screenshotting/writing this was “Oh no… Jenn is going to flip out and hate me” Haha

      Like

  3. theplumbob says:

    I didn’t pay too much attention when you first mentioned Mel wasn’t feeling well in the chapter where Lucas caught the angel fish, but since it was mentioned again in the very next chapter, there seemed to be something fishy about it (forgive the pun, I couldn’t help myself).

    You know, I think this chapter could very well work as a short story on it’s own, if the stuff about Ev was left out. It’s really good at showing the fleeting nature of life, and the moments that matter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thank you! (Well, I’m going to take that last comment as a compliment haha). I enjoyed writing this chapter, but the part where I had Lucas look at the wedding pictures made me oddly emotional… But it works very well for that theme you mentioned — life is fleeting, what moments matter, etc. 🙂

      And yes, I did mention the “Mel’s not feeling good” thing twice on purpose (but it surprised me when people actually did pick up on it, so yay! haha). And then I dropped a lot of hints throughout this chapter to try to “ease” people into it… I didn’t wanna drop a bombshell like this without any warning haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theplumbob says:

        It was meant to be a compliment haha! I really liked the chapter, in spite of it being quite bittersweet, because it does seem really strong on it’s own, not just as a part of this story.

        Not too happy that Lucas is on heart medication, but I guess it is to be expected, with his dad’s medical history. I’m going to hope that thanks to the doctors having the family medical history, they were able to catch Lucas’s heart problems early – fingers crossed. I mean, Damien was about the age Lucas is now when he died, wasn’t he?

        Liked by 1 person

      • CitizenErased14 says:

        Damien was four years older than Lucas is now when he died, so it was close! And yes, unfortunately Lucas inherited not only his father’s good looks, but his heart trouble too! 😦

        Now, if we want to get really technical (since I made the “mistake” of mentioning concrete dates), this story is currently taking place in the year 2063 LOL So I guess we can hope medical science is a lot better and Mel and Lucas will both be fine 😉

        (It’s times like this where that silly “into the future” EP would be useful for me in TS4… Even if I could throw in a futuristic-looking TV or computer in the background… but alas, it’s like they’re living in a timeless world where it’s forever 2015 hahaha)

        Sorry, tangent 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  4. julyvee94 says:

    Poor Mel 😦 they need the recipie! I bet you are a totally cruel writer and Ev will be revived when or after Lucas dies *shudders*

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lol I love how you set that up!!! Leading into it without actually saying…*claps*

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ninjapigsims says:

    I just want to give them all a huge hug! It’s fantastic that this family has stayed so close and have always kept each other’s best interests in the front of their minds throughout all these years. It’s great to see Danica and Alex grow too.

    I’m worried about Evelyn! :/ I hope that she’s not too downhearted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. thebookthief24 says:

    I KNEW IT.
    I KNEW YOU WOULD FIND NEW AND CREATIVE WAYS TO TORTURE US.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. So… My mind is running like crazy. Does Mel die, Lucas finds a cure to bring back a ghost, but he has to choose between Mel and Ev?! :/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Virtualee says:

    ah man, Mel!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. simz4ever says:

    I just realised what’s wrong with Mel… At first, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s one interesting makeover…’ I totally get it now! Poor Ev… I feel like they’re not even trying anymore! If she is brought back after Lucas dies, I’m going to be very sad. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      It’s true that they’ve kinda stopped trying, for two reasons: one, they only have one more chance to try to make it, so they can’t actually TRY, they need to search for a recipe first! And also, with Mel’s illness, Lucas is kind of distracted… Which equals putting the search on hold 😦 Thanks for reading and commenting!!!!

      Like

  11. Simslover163 says:

    Poor Mel! I saw her head shaved and that gave me a sign of something! Also, wow, Lucas is growing up! Definitely got the looks of his father!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. lovesstorms says:

    Yeah, well, she’s not dead at least. It could be worse, but for now, we’re good. I just hope she truly does continue getting better. But, sadly, life is fleeting, so the question is who will die first? And when will they discover the secret of the angelfish and the death flower?

    Liked by 1 person

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