Perfect Family Photo

family

A mother cuddles her baby in the leverage of her arms

Indelible love is planted with each kiss

She’s haggard from lack of sleep,

But a lullaby drifts around the room

A father with his muscular body watches over them

With pride filled eyes he whistles a tune

He has a deep devotion to the infant

And he vows to always be there for her

Feeling protected by the circle of life,

Small lips lactant to a warm breast

Parents sip their macchiato,

And toast to a perfect family photo

#MyRedeemerMyFather

sanderochy

You are my God, my redeemer, my father,
Teach me how you and I can be birds of a feather,
See me through as these struggles take me down to my knees,
Give me your hand, your blessing is my plea,
The burden is heavy for me, lord I can’t climb this tree,
It’s only you that can set me free.
.
.
My redeemer, my father,
You who allow crops and weeds grow together,
You know how they’re trying to put me down like wrestling you can call them
Flair,
See, they left me unsure like truth or dare,
But when I go through pain like Israel before Red Sea,
Lord remind me, always your goodness to see,
Teach me to love you like no other,
Coz you are my God, my redeemer, my father,.
.
My redeemer, my father,
They wanna make me trend like Lupita on Panther,

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Loving Each Other Isn’t Always Easy

easy

 

Loving each other isn’t always easy

Sometimes it’s so hard

But being loved is a two way street

That takes two to do the job

Loving each other isn’t always easy

Struggles cause pain

But together there love is an essence 

They work through

Loving each other isn’t always easy

Fights are a part of life

Making up is the best part

And it makes things right

Loving each other isn’t always easy

Sometimes they loose their way

But they use their heart as a compass

And always find their way

Loving each other isn’t always easy

But loving each other

Is who they are

Mexican Corn Dip

mexican.jpg

This dip is a new take on corn dip. With the added flavor of salsa verde you’ll be dancing around a sombrero in no time. The sausage gives it a smoky flavor which will make your taste buds water.

Cook time: 30 Min  Prep time: 10 Min  Serves: eight

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese(sofened}
12 oz green onion dip
1 c mexican style shredded cheddar jack cheese
1 c diced smoked sausage
1/2 c diced red onion
1 jalapeno peppers(seeded and diced)
3 ears corn cut off cobb
1 bottle verde salsa 7.5 oz

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese and the onion dip.
2. Next add the shredded cheese.
3. Add the sausage.
4. Add the onion and jalapeno pepper, and the corn, Stir to combine
5. Spread into a sprayed round deep dish pie plate and bake for 25 minutes.
6. Pour the salsa verde over the top and bake another 5 minutes.
7. serve with tortilla chips.

Who Will It Be?

question2.jpg

Lives a journey of choices.

Voices plea for her love.

Cords of fear bound her

to realization she has to choose.

One tells her he will  be….

A handkerchief when tears

like sea billows flow.

Her air when she can’t breathe.

The other tells her he will be….

A safe haven from the storms of life.

Glasses to help her find her way.

Deep wounds of decisions

bleed for her to pick.

Heavy heart breaks from the weight.

One tells her he will be….

Pills to take the pain away.

A pillow to lean her head on.

The other tells her he will be….

An alarm clock to keep her going.

A book she can’t put down.

Her soul is darkened,

master problem is in charge.

Bottle of remedies she looks for.

One tells her he will be….

Her sweetness when she needs

a piece of chocolate.

A credit card to keep her happy.

The other tells her he will be….

Her shot full of spirit-booster.

A comedian to keep her laughing.

Personal life is infected

with promises.

She feels like she is connected

by dots, and they’re about to

break apart.

One tells her he will be….

Arms that blanket her from harm.

Her light in the darkness.

The other tells her he will be….

A song she can’t get out of her head.

A life vest that keeps her afloat

when sadness gets her down.

She wonders which one

will make love their home?

Asphalt faces with empty eyes

stare back at her.

Decision made, she turns

and leave in search of

who will be….

Only A Dream

Awesome poem

The Writer Cooks!

holding1I had a dream last night

You appeared, and my heart skipped a beat

We took a walk down our path

Goodbyes fell silent on our lips

Nothing matter at the moment

We were together again

We had yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever

Fragments of love stained our hearts

Like many times we held hands,

and we held on to each other

I smiled at you,

but you didn’t smile back

It was than I realized you were fading

I reached out to grab your hand,

and nothing was there

Your name echoed through my hallow voice

Tears pleaded for you to come back,

but you were only a dream

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Chemo Buddies{ Need advice. Let me know if it’s good or needs work! PLEASE!}

                                                                                 CHAPTER ONE
     Jade eased herself up to a sitting position.  Her head felt like a time bomb on its final count to explode.  And as always with the headaches came the nausea.   As soon as her feet hit the cold linoleum Jade had to make a mad dash to the toilet.   Her thoughts eluded her, and fear registered in its place.  As she wandered back to her room, her eyes peered at her laptop.  Contemplation caused her to stall midway, but she mustered up a small amount of courage to move on.  Joint pain, nosebleeds, pale skin, bruising.  She closed her eyes, unable to read the rest.   Jade knew with all her heart she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.    Life as she knew it was about to change, and not for the better.
     Feeling ungratified, she figured the best thing was to get ready for school.  Holding her breath, she pulled out a pair of Levi Jeans, but as usual they were too big.  Instead of changing she put on her Beige Snake Print Belt, and even though she buckled it in the last hole her pants still hung loose.   For the final touches she decided on her Crew Neck Yellow Old Navy Sweater.  The bruises on her flesh burned like fire as the wool rubbed against them.  Jade smudged a little Soft Honey foundation onto her ashen completion.  With shaky hands she swept some Plumberry Glow onto her cheekbones.  The mirror didn’t lie.  The person starring back at her already looked dead.  As sobs gathered in her throat, she grabbed her keys and stormed out.
     “Good morning.”  Faye, her mom flipped a pancake.  “Sit and have some breakfast.”
     “I’m not hungry.”
     “You need to eat something.”  Faye set a platter of bacon on the table.
     “How are my two favorite ladies this morning?” Bradford, Jade’s dad asked.
     Jade gazed at them both with icy eyes.  “I’ve got to go to school.”
     “Bradford, she has eaten nothing.”  Faye swallowed the lump forming in her throat.  “Look at her.  She’s as thin as a rail.”
     “Honey, want you take something with you?” Bradford picked up a banana.  “Please.”  He tossed the piece of fruit to his daughter.
   Jade caught the banana and stared at it as if it was a foreign object.
     “Eat it.”
     With trembling hands Jade peeled the banana and took a bite.   “Happy.”
     Faye handed her a cup of apple juice.  “Drink.”
     The cold liquid hit her stomach causing it to churn.  Jade breathed in a gulp of frosty air.  “I’ve got to go.”
     Her dad opened the car door for her.  “Jade, don’t shut us out.   We’re worried about you, and we know you’re worried too.”  Bradford gave her a soft kiss on the cheek.  “We’ll get answers tomorrow when we see Dr. Bell.”
    Anger ripped through her.  “Neither one of you knows crap.  I know….  Never mind.”  Jade slammed the door, cranked up and sped away.  When she got a ways down the street, she pulled off the road.  She slung opened the door and hung her head out and vomited.   Dizziness over took the haze in her brain, and by the time she got back out on the street spots floated before her eyes.
     Shortage of breath caused her lungs to feel deflated.  Panic slowly edged its way in.  Up ahead she could see the red light.  Jade breathed in a sigh of relief at the chance to stop the car for at least a minute.  She could feel the cold crisp winter breeze hitting her in the face, but it did nothing to help her focus.  The light change from red to green to orange and back to green, but her legs were like lead and wouldn’t move.  Angry people honked their horns behind her.
     A man in grungy overalls tapped on the hood of her car.  “Are you okay? You’re holding up traffic!”  He dug his dirty fingers through his bushy beard.
     The strong stench of the cigar he smoked gagged her.  “I’m okay.”  But she still sat there in a stupor.
     “How about when the light turns green you go?”
     Once again the light changed to green, but her foot would not come off the brake.  Then without warning blood trickled from her nose while the pounding in her head was agonizing.  Jade wanted to scream as panic gripped her insides.
     “Are you having a premonition like on one of the Final Destination movies?”
     Jade’s tires squealed as she pressed the gas and sped away.  Hysteria grew when drops of blood landed on her jeans.   Sizable sobs caused her chest to tighten, and the dizziness blurred her vision.  When West Babylon Senior High School came into a blurry view she cried harder.
     Dust and dead leaves flew into the air as she skidded to a stop.  “God, please I can’t have cancer!”  No amount of pleads would help.  She knew her destiny.    It wasn’t to graduate at the top of her class. Or go to culinary school.  Her destiny was to die with cancer.
     “Are you okay?”  Lola asked.  “What are you doing?”  Lola’s face turned colors when Jade stepped out of her car. “What in the world happened?”
     Embarrassment flamed her face.  “It’s just a nosebleed.  My sinuses are acting up is all.”
     Lola looked skeptical.  “You look awful.  You’re skin has no color.”  She pulled Jade over to the mirror.  “See?”
     “Leave me along.”  Jade proceeded toward the building, wiping her nose.
     “You’ve been sick for some time.  Are you going to the doctor soon?”
     Jade didn’t need a reminder of the doctor’s appointment.  In fact, she just wanted to forget it altogether, but tomorrow at two Doctor Bell would tell her she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  “I’m going tomorrow.  Now, leave me along!”
     Lola stepped in front of her.  “Why are you acting so mean?”
     It took the rest of her strength, but she shoved her best friend to the side and walked away.
*******************************************************************************************************************************
     The football field seemed peaceful this time of the morning.  Devon gazed around the stadium reminiscing of past games.  He could feel the rush of a touchdown, hear the howl of the crowd.  Without stalling further, he pulled the book on bone cancer from his backpack.  Before opening the book he closed his eyes and lived in the moment of one last daydream.  A smile curled his lips as he made the only touchdown he would ever make again.  The one in his mind.
     He flipped through the pages almost chocking as his symptoms came to view.  Bone pain, swelling, weight loss and fatigue.  “No!” His voice echoed.  “No! No! No! No!”  A well of tears threaten to fall.  His hands shook as he slammed the book to.   A blindfold of fear around his heart made him gasp for air.  “No!” He couldn’t help but yell even though it didn’t do any good.  He still had bone cancer.
     “Dude, what are you yelling about?”  Pierre threw his football into the air.
     Donald winked at the cheerleaders as he ambled by.  “Devon, it’s almost time for practice.  You better get your uniform on.”  He turned and ginned at Dana Marie as she pranced by.
     “Donald, how are you?” Dana Marie locked eyes with Donald.
     “I’m good.”
     “See you at the game Friday.”  Dana Marie waved, then headed on to class.
     Jeremy came jogging up.  “You all come on. We have to warm up.  The coach will be here soon.”  He did a few jumping jacks.  “Devon, why aren’t you in…..”
     “I’m not practicing today!”  Devon jumped up.  Pain radiated through his right leg.
     Everyone stared at him as he fell down on his knees.  Nobody moved or spoke.
     “Aaaah!”  Devon rolled onto his side, moaning.  The frown on his face etched the agony he experienced.
     Pierre knelt down.  “Is it your leg?”
     He didn’t want to answer questions.  He wanted to get away from everyone.  Devon wallowed around on the ground.
     “Is he having a seizure?”  Neal asked.
     Finally, Devon got to a standing position.  He looked at his teammates.  “Go play ball, the show is over!”  He furrowed his eyebrows.
      “Dude, when are you going to see a doctor about your leg?”  Jeremy’s expression held concern.
     Pierre laid a hand on Devon’s shoulder.  “We can pray for you.”  He sounded pumped up with the idea.
     “Seriously!  You can keep your prayers.  I am seeing Doctor Bell at two thirty tomorrow!  Prayers will not keep me from getting my………”  Devon glared at each of his friends.  “Just leave me along!”  Then he hobbled toward the building.
     Anger burned his throat as he tried to swallow.  A torrent of emotions  reddened his face.  To make things more wretched, his twin sister, Deon stood by the front door staring right at him.  Instead of going further, he sat down on a bench and buried his face in the palms of his shaky hands.
     Deon ran her fingers through her short Pixie hair cut.  She pursed her lips, not sure of what to say.  A tear trickled down her cheek.  “Are you okay?”
     “If one more person asks me that darn question, I will scream!”
     Kelly Smith sauntered up.  “Devon, are you okay?”
     “Aaaah!”
     A worried expression came over Kelly’s face.  She kneeled down beside him, her chest tightened as she touched him.  “Is there anything I can do?”
     “Yes!”  Peace eluded him.
     Smiling, Kelly leaned in closer bumping Devon’s bad leg.
     He knocked her backwards on impulse, sending Kelly flat of her butt.  Devon bit down on his bottom lip until it bled.  The anger he experienced was the kind he couldn’t control.  “Leave me along!”  He turned to leave with his head down he plowed right into Jade.  Words lodged in his throat as he stared into ocean blue eyes.  Devon held onto Jades arm to keep her steady.
     Jade’s mouth felt dry, and her heart slammed against her chest.  She knew she must look dreadful.  Heat colored her cheeks.   Her head began to spin, and her legs refused to move.
     “I’m so sorry.”  His voice sounded raspy.  The pain made it arduous to speak.
     “No problem.  I’m okay.”  Jade’s legs went weak at the touch of his hand as it moved up her arm.   The tenderness of the bruise as he rubbed it caused her to flinch.
     Concern adorn his eyes.  “Is your arm okay?  Did I grab you too hard?”
     A warmth passed over Jade as she heard the tenderness in his voice and felt it in his touch.  “I’m good.”  She wanted to talk openly with him, but being around Devon made her giddy.  “I’ve got to get to class.”  Her eyes clouded.  “Maybe I’ll see you around.”  Jade said that, hoping he would ask her out.  But he didn’t.
     The glare of the sun blinded his view as he watched his high school crush walk away.  He vowed before the day ended he would get his nerve up and ask her out.  Devon wanted to have at least one date with Jade Douglas before he died.
*****************************************************************************************************************************
     The Rustic Cafe hummed with lots of chatter from hungry customers.   The jukebox in the back played a Patty Loveless song Teach Me How To Say Goodbye.  A rush of tears poured from Faye’s eyes.  Every ounce of her soul ached for her daughter, Jade.   What if she had to say goodbye to her?  A sob spilled out, causing her to hiccup.
     Bradford walked up behind his wife.  “Hey, are you okay?”
     “No, I’m not.   I can’t loose Jade.”  Faye grabbed a napkin from its holder.  She wiped her eyes as more tears threatened to come.
     “We have to keep praying.  Doctor Bell is the best.”
     “Steak Burger up!”  Dan their cook set the burger in the window.
     A woman entered the Rustic.  The way she carried herself made her appear narcissistic.  She set her Felicity Satchel on the counter.  “I need a Macadamia Nut Coffee.”
     “Meatloaf up!”
     A frown curled the woman’s lips.  She glared around the room in discontent.  “Is Elegance opened yet?”
     “What is Elegance?”  Fayed asked, confused.
     “It’s a restaurant.”  She looked appalled.  “Fine dinning is what it will be.”
     “Do I know you?”  Faye asked as she fixed the coffee.
     “I’m Donna Smith.”  A light blinked on in her mind.  “You’re Jade’s mom, right?”
     Faye set the coffee down.  Steam twirled in the air.  “I am.”
     Donna shook her head and furrowed her brows.  “This coffee is terrible.”
     Agitation caused Faye’s worried lines to deepen.  “I’ll fix you another one.”
     “Don’t bother.”  Donna checked her makeup in a small compact mirror.  She pursed her lips.
     Another round of hungry customers entered the cafe.  “You’re Kelly’s mom, right?”
     Donna once again gazed around the Rustic Cafe.  “I am.  How is Jade doing?  Kelly told me she looks anorexic.”  A slow grin outlined her lips.  “Good thing she didn’t get head cheerleader.”
     Anger burned her eyes until one tear rolled down her cheek.  “Tell your daughter she’s not anorexic!” Everyone in the room stopped eating and stared.   Faye leaned against the counter for support.
     Her smile slowly disintegrated.  Donna grabbed her fancy purse and headed to the door.  She turned back toward Faye.  “I hope she gets the help she needs.”  This time she wore an evil smirk.
     “Who was that?”  Bradford asked as he headed to the kitchen.
     “Donna Smith, Kelly’s mom.  Kelly is starting a rumor that Jade is anorexic.”
     His eyes darkened as he mulled over what he was just told.  “Are you serious?”  Bradford looked out the huge glass window.  But Donna had already left.
     “I’m so mad I could scream.”  But more tears and deep sobs came.  “I’m so scared for Jade.”
     Bradford took a moment to embrace his wife.  Then, he whispered a short prayer that only God and the two of them heard.  “She’ll be fine.”  But deep down he wasn’t sure of anything.
     Lola walked into the Rustic Cafe with high hopes to find out what was wrong with Jade.  She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Jade’s parents crying.  “Is Jade dying?”  she blurted out.
     Faye and Bradford wore a shocked facial expression.
     A wave of panic caused Lola to squeeze her eyes shut.  “I’m sorry.”  Tears were seeping out behind her lids.
     “Honey, it’s okay.  Why aren’t you in school?”  Faye handed her a glass of water.
     A soft hiccup slipped through Lola’s puckered lips.  “I’m worried about Jade, so I skipped class to come talk to you.”
     “We‘ll know more tomorrow.” Bradford took Lola’s hand in his.  “Jade is going through a rough time.  I believe she thinks something is wrong with her.”
     “Could it be serious?” Lola held her breath in anticipation.
     Faye tried to swallow the lump in her throat.  “It could be, but were hoping and praying for the best.”
     “I’ll be praying too.”  Lola hugged Jade’s parents and headed back to school feeling even more uncertain about Jade.
*******************************************************************************************************************************
     Elegance had a certain charm, Gail thought as she peered around the dinning room.  She glanced up at the Tilda Chrome Crystal Chandelier. Its glow was beautiful.    The restaurant would open in a matter of hours, and all Gail could do was worry about Devon, her son.  She placed a Gold Acrylic Goblet Candle Holder Flower Ball Stand on an Izzy Sliver Dinning Table.  She glanced at the clock.  Time needed to speed up she thought to herself.  Gail stared up at the light once again, enjoying the peace it brought her.
     Gail’s husband,  Anthony, walked in carrying three Gold Wood Chiavari Chairs.  “The truck is here with the rest of the chairs.”  He placed  them under a table.  As he headed back toward the entrance, he stopped to admire the huge aquarium.   He watched several Lionfish swim about.  The maroon color with the white strips along the body and the fins was fascinating to him.  Watching them somehow relieved some agony he was feeling about Devon.
     “Will Devon be able to cook tonight?” Chef Oliver asked.
     Anthony took hold of Gail’s hand.  “He’s looking forward to it.”
     Gail heaved in a deep breath.  “All that boy talks about is cooking and football.”
     “And Jade.”  Anthony laughed.  “I wish he would get his nerve up and ask her out.”
     Oliver glanced around the room.  “This is looking nice.  I’m can’t wait to cook beside your son tonight.”
     “He really wants to go to culinary school.”  Gail couldn’t hold the tears back.  “I hope it will happen for him.”
     A bout of fear took hold of Anthony’s chest.  His heart pounded against his insides.  Cold air hit him in the face as two men opened the door, lugging in the rest of the chairs.  Anthony breathed in through his nose and out his mouth, but butterflies began to flutter in his stomach.  He wanted to be strong for his family, but he was weakening by the minute.
     Gail took a seat in a chair.  “He’ll be fine.”  But deep down she didn’t believe a word of what she had said.
     “Did I leave my camera here?”  Deon rounded the corner, stopping in her tracts when she saw her mom and dad.  Tears threatened to fall, but she needed to be strong for her parents, and Devon.    “Mom,  Dad, What’s  wrong?”
     Adrenaline pumped through Anthony’s veins.  He wanted to head into the safety of the restroom and cry and stay there until the nightmare ended.   Pressure built up behind his eyes which caused a stress headache.  His eyes flickered past Deon and he fixed them on the Lionfish.   He watched them until a little composure returned.
     Deafening silence made Deon’s breath come in ragged gasps.   She never liked the sound of silence, it made her crazy.  The lack of recognition caused panic to choke her.  “Is it Devon?”  She sounded like someone had a tight grip around her throat.
     “Everything is okay, Deon.”  Her dad pulled her into his arms.   He held her until she calmed down.
     “Your camera is in the waiting area.   How’s Devon doing?”  Gail stood and walked over to her daughter.
     “He’s not good.  Is it bad, his leg?”  Deon held her breath until her chest hurt.
     “We’ll know more when we see Doctor Bell tomorrow.  Your brother is going through a tough time.  He may not can play football, and that means no scholarship.”  Anthony gazed around the room.  “He wants to go to culinary school and he’s depending on that scholarship.”
     Deon stared down at the Earth Green Metallic Epoxy Floor.  “Maybe he injured his leg playing football.”  She could see her father’s flaccid muscles which told Deon that her father believed something was wrong with her brother.
     A cold chill ran down Gail’s spine as she glanced at the clock.  “Maybe I ought to go check on him.”  She was already putting her jacket on when Anthony stopped her.
     “No, we need to give him space.  I’m sure he’s fine.”
     The floor length fountain caught Deon’s eye.  She knew it was childish, but she took some change from her purse and dashed it into the water.  She wished that Devon’s leg would heal.  She stared at the ripples in the water as her money floated to the bottom.  “Please, God help my brother.”  Then she glanced back at her parents with a dreadful sigh, grabbed her camera and headed back to school.
******************************************************************************************************************************
     Jane rubbed her protruding belly as her son moved inside her.  She leaned her head back against the Rochford Chaise Lounge Chair.  A muffled sob threatened to escape, but she swallowed it down.  The cold breeze coming off the pool caused chlorine to burn her eyes.  Even though it was a frosty morning, she loved to lounge by the covered pool and think.  Although, her heart hurt from memories she had no control over.
     Larry, her husband sashayed toward her wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.  The hairs on his arms stood straight up.  Goose bumps popped up on his still moist skin.  “Aren’t you cold?”  His teeth chattered as he talked.
     The frown etched on her face deepened when she thought about Jade as a baby.  Jane sniffed the air, her baby scent filling her nostrils.  Jade had Chubby cheeks, and her beautiful little smile that lit up her whole face.  All reality vanished as more memories inundated her mind.  A few moans slithered between Jane’s pale lips.
     Wrinkles gathered beneath Larry’s eyelids as he stared at his wife.   Jane flinched when his cold body touched her.  “Jane, are you okay?”
     Nothing.  She stared at him like he was transparent.
     A wave of panic made Larry’s pulse quicken.  He looked into Jane’s eyes. They were glassy.  “What is wrong? Talk to me, sweetie.”  He placed a shaky hand on her baby bump.  “I love you!” Fear sounded in his voice.
     Nausea came out of nowhere.  Jane gagged, sat straight up, then flopped back onto her chair.  Sweat beaded up on her forehead even though it was a chilly morning.  “Jade, please, don’t hate me.”  Sobs finally broke loose and she cried until her chest was tight and her throat raw.
     “What is wrong?”  Larry knelt down onto the deck.  By now he felt like he had icicles all over him.  His towel even felt stiff; frozen from the wintery chill.  “Is it the baby?”
     Jane tried to form words but her voice appeared muted.  All she could do was stare with her mouth wide opened.
     “I’m calling an ambulance!”   Larry made it halfway to the door when she screamed.  He turned and ran back to her almost loosing his towel.   He took her in his arms and held her until she had calmed down.  “What is this all about?”
     Tears stung her face as she stared at Larry with blurry vision.  She swung her feet to the side of her chair and rocked back and forth until she got to a standing position.  Jane’s mood made everything out of sync.  The Pergola leaned forward when Jane put her full body weight against it.
     Larry let out a loud gasp.  He ran over to her and steadied her on her feet.  “I haven’t fixed that yet!  I plan on working out here and have it ready for a spring flower garden.  Just like you wanted.”   Larry shivered.  “Let’s go in where it’s warm to talk.”
     Jane stepped back from his touch.  “Why did you leave me?”
     Confusion settled in his mouth, leaving him unable to speak.  He rubbed his hands across his freezing arms.  “What are you talking about?” But no sooner than the question came out, the reality of her question sunk in.    “You’re talking about twelve years ago when I left for Caltech?”  He thought leaving her was behind them, but obviously it still weighed on Jane’s mind.
     “If you had only stayed things might have turned out differently.”  Jane waddled back toward Larry and stood in front of him.   Larry looked both confused and upset.  “But your dream was to become an architect.  Was being away from us worth it?”
     Larry’s eyes flattened.   A sharp arrow pierced him right in his heart, and not from cupid.  It came right from his wife.  “I don’t understand why you are bringing this up again.”  He heaved in a ragged breath.  Suddenly, he felt bone tried.   He let out a braying moan.   “I love you, and I’m sorry you’re still hurting over my actions! And who is us? I left you to go to school.  Who else did I leave?”
     The clinking whistle of the wind hummed loudly in her ears.  Jane cornered your eyes at Larry.  “I meant me!  Why are you putting words in my mouth?”  She waved her hands in front of her.
     Larry could not decipher her expression.   “I told you I would be back for you!”  The words came out like a falsetto explosion.   Larry never showed much emotion, but in this moment he cried.  “Why didn’t you come with me? I asked you too.”
     This conversation had gotten way too serious.  If she didn’t stop herself, things were fixing to come crashing down around her.   “Larry, I’m sorry.  I don’t no what got into me.  I forgive you, I did that a long time ago.”  A small cramp  griped her midsection.   She took in an unsteady breath.   “I think I might go lie down a while.”
     As Jane walked passed the large corner window another cramp gripped her.  She leaned into the window, peering out at the creek in their backyard.   She loved the view from this weird window Larry had designed.  The corner window allowed a panoramic view which stretched in front of the home and wrapped around it from all sides.  Larry had said a simple window would not do.  Jane let out a slight giggle at the memory.
     Searing concern hit Larry once again.  “Are you okay?”
     “I’m just tried suddenly.”  She massaged her back as she walked to their large master bedroom.  The small nook area caught her attention.   Jane stepped up to the Sancerre Twin Daybed. She drew the curtain to for privacy.  This small part of their room was her oasis.  A small piece of heaven.
     “Honey, wouldn’t you be more comfortable on the bed?”
     No answer
     On tip toes Larry crept up to the small bed.  Jane lay curled in a ball sound to sleep.  Every so often she moaned like she was in pain.  He watched her sleep for a few minutes, hoping she was just restless, but she cringed and rolled over.  Larry contemplated whether he should wake her, or call an ambulance.   He went into the walk-in closet and retrieved his Dusty Gray John Blair Accent- Stripe Jogging suit.  He would have to work from home today. Leaving his wife in her frame of mind was out of the question.
     Just as he entered his quaint office the phone rung.  He had an eerie feeling something bad had happened.  Larry’s voice quivered as he spoke, “Hello.”
     Silence.
     “Is anyone there?”  His hand began to tremble.
     Boisterous wailing  came through the earpiece, making him jump off the floor.  When he landed, he stumped his big toe.  “Darn it!”  Pain sheeted up his foot.
     “It’s me, Faye.”  She tried to calm down.  She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue.  The lump in her throat lodged deeper and she couldn’t swallow.    She needed to talk to Jane and let her know about Jade.
     Larry sat down in his Leather Conference chair.   “Faye, is something wrong?”
     “Jade is sick.  She has been for a while.  We took her to the doctor a few weeks ago.”  Faye swallowed hard.  “They are sending her to a specialist.  Her appointment is tomorrow at 2:00.”
     This news would devastate Jane.  Larry gazed out the window at the frosty haze.  “What are her symptoms?”
     “At first she kept a cold or a stomach bug.  But now she is loosing weight, bruising, nosebleeds.  She’s always tried.”
     This did not sound good to Larry at all.  Worried lines adorned his forehead.  Jade had a special place in his heart.  When he had returned home from school Jane had a sister.  Jade was five years old when they had met.  A smile spread across Larry’s lips.  She was a beautiful child and had turned into a beautiful young woman.
     A sudden crash from the other room sent Larry running.  When he entered the bedroom, his world began to spin.  Jane laid on her side clutching her stomach.  She had no color to her face, and she had thrown up on the bed and floor.
     “My head!” Jane screamed.
     “Faye, I have to go!”  He immediately called an ambulance.  Then he knelt on the floor beside the bed.
     “My head!” she screamed again, then she clutched her stomach.
     “Helps on the way.  Please hang on.”  Larry held onto Jane’s hand as she went limp and passed out.  In the distance he heard the siren.   He bowed his head to pray, but cried instead.
******************************************************************************************************************************
     Jade took her lunch out to the picnic area.  She took a bite of her pepperoni pizza.  The taste made her gag, so she pushed the tray away.  Two picnic tables down Devon Armstrong sat staring into space with a grim expression on his pain streaked face.  Inconspicuously  Jade studied his amber eyes.   Vaporize breath bubbled around his head from the frigid air.  A flock of brown curls framed his features and resembled the color of autumn leaves.
     Tears of despondency ran down Jade’s cheeks.  If only she could have one date with Devon.  That dream died the minute she knew without a doubt she had cancer.  A sense of dread bedded up in her soul, making her shoulders slump.
     “Are you okay?”
     Jade gazed into those amber eyes belonging to Devon and shock took over.  Her body went on pause while every thought scattered in her.   She squeezed her eyes, hoping no more tears would escape.  Words fell silent on her lips.
     Devon starred at her for a minute, then took a seat beside her.  “You seem upset.”
     Jade relished the tenderest of his voice, and she wanted to share her fears.  But she wouldn’t utter a word about her disease.  “I’m just having a bad day.”  Her hand brushed up against his arm and she held her breath.  Jade bit her fingernails until one bled.   She turned her head and looked upward to the cloudy sky.  Each cloud smothered out the warmth of the sun.  She wished she could float away over the horizon and never return.
     Out of no where Devon yelped.  Then he grabbed his leg.  Jade or Devon spoke.  Ten seconds passed, and the pain finally ebbed away.  Devon peered out of half-closed eyes, afraid Jade had left.  A huge sigh of relief slid out his opened mouth to see her still sitting there.  “I, huh, wanted to know if you would be my date tonight?”
     Excitement soared through Jade’s body.  Did she dare say yes?  A relationship with Devon couldn’t last.  But she needed something good to hang onto right now.  “Yes.”
     “Awesome!  My parents are opening Elegance, and I will cook tonight.  I love cooking!”  Devon knew he was babbling, but he had adrenalin running in his veins.
     A bright smile spread across Jade’s pale lips.  “I love to cook, too!  I want to go to culinary school.  I hope to go to Le Cordon Bleu.”  Her smile faded, knowing all her dreams would die right along with her.  “My parents own the Rustic Cafe.”
     “I called my mom and dad and they said I can have you as my dinner guest.”  Devon realized his pain had ebbed away.  Being with Jade had a healing effect.  But deep down he knew one date had to be enough.  Because the fact remained that he would die, and he refused to drag Jade into his nightmare. He wished he had gotten his courage up sooner and asked her out.  But did it matter?  Devon still knew he would have had to break her heart and let her go.  He couldn’t bring her down with him.    “Will around seven be okay?”
     What am I doing? Jade asked herself.  This is not a good idea.  A tear almost slid down, but she stopped it.  Jade didn’t want to die without having at least one date with Devon.  There was one thing she wished she had done, and that was to have asked Devon out before she knew she was dying.  Nothing matter now, except this one date.  “Seven sounds good.”
     “I‘ve got to get to class,” Devon said, as he stood.
     “I need to get to track, too.”  Jade stood.  Her head pounded and her vision blurred.  She went down like the Titanic.  A burst of pain made her joints ache.  Heat warmed her body from the agony and the embarrassment.  Even though her mind was in turmoil, she had to cover up her mortification.  She sucked in cold air, which wasn’t a good idea.  Her chest tightened and burned like fire, but she proceeded on.  Jade sat up and did the best fake laugh she could muster up.
     Devon appeared dumbfounded.  His eyes were as huge as saucers.  “Are you okay?”
     “I tripped.”
     He took Jade by the hand and pulled her to her feet.  He knew he shouldn’t do it, but he pulled her into his arms.  Devon held her, then he kissed her, something he had wanted to do for a long time.  He knew if he was to drop died this minute he would die happy.  But deep down he wanted more time.  More of Jade.
     Pink rose in the warmth of her cheeks.  Her heart fluttered as his hand moved to the small of her back.  God, if I die this minute at least I got kissed by Devon Armstrong, Jade thought.  But deep in her heart she wanted more time.  More of Devon.
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     Lola looked at Jade as she jogged in place.  “You can’t run today.”  Her voice had an urgent tone.
     A soft chortle slipped through Jade’s lips.  “Yes, I’m planning on it.  I am part of the track team.”
     “You’re not in any shape to run.”
     “Watch me!”  Jade took off toward the track.  She’d only made it a few feet when her nose started bleeding.  Suddenly, she couldn’t catch her breath.  Darkness over took her and she fell to the ground, landing flat on her face.
     Lola screamed.  She ran to Jade and rolled her over.  “Jade, are you okay?”
     “Gross!”  Kelly Smith exclaimed.  “She is weird.  Devon will never like her.”
     Tina Mae knelt down on the ground.  “What’s wrong with her?”
     The coach pulled out his cell phone.  “We need an ambulance at……..”
     Out of the blue Jade sat up and slapped the phone out of the coach’s hand.  Blood streamed into her mouth.  “I’m fine!”  She rolled around on the cold ground until she stood on her feet.   Her eyes clouded.  For a few seconds she stared at the gathering crowd.    “What’s wrong? Haven’t you seen blood before?”  Jade let out a small weak chuckle.
     Coach Adam eased to the ground to retrieve his phone.  His disheveled brownish hair stuck straight up on the top, and his unshaved skin gave him a rugged look.  His expression appeared to be pure shock.
     Hands fisted on her hips Lola opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
     A shiver ran down Jade’s arms.  Rain drops began to fall.  “Listen, I’m fine.  It’s my sinuses.”  She wanted them to believe what she was saying, but from the looks of their faces they thought she had lost it.
     “Your mom is on her way.”  Coach Adam took her by the arm.
     Jade flinched, then she stepped back.
     “Is your arm hurt?”  Coach Adam looked her up and down.
     Jade had come to the point she needed to get away from everyone.  She staggered toward her car.
     “She’s drunk!” Kelly smirked.  “She just wants attention!”
     Just as Jade got to the parking lot, her mother pulled in.  Jade shuddered. “Who called you!”  Tears welled up at her eyelids, but she refused to allow them to fall.
     Faye looked her daughter in the eyes.  “Don’t talk to me like that.  Get in the car.”  She didn’t know how much more she could take.  Jade being sick and now Jane was in the hospital and may lose the baby.  Faye and Bradford decided it would be best to tell Jade when they knew more.
     Jade glowered at her mother as if she spoke a foreign language.  “I have my car,” She said a little calmer.
     “You’re not in any shape to drive.”  Faye leaned against the car for support.  A light mist began to fall, and the wind had picked up.      “get in.  You need not get wet.”
     “I’m not a child, Mother.  I can drive myself home.”
     Faye looked shocked.  Home.  No, you’re going to the hospital.”  A large lump had formed in her throat.  Faye coughed and swallowed, but nothing helped.
     Jade took a few steps back.  “I will see the doctor tomorrow.  He can tell me I’m dying then.”
     The horrified look on her mom’s face made Jade soften a little.  “Can I go?  Devon has asked me out and I need to get home.”
     A warm smile lit up Faye’s face.  “It’s about time.  I’m so excited for you, but I think you need to get checked out by a doctor first.”
     All strength had left, and her patience was slipping away too.  “Mom, I’m fine.”  Jade gasped for a breath of air.  Panic began to make her head hurt worse.  She rubbed her eyes.  “I’m leaving!”
     Faye stepped in front of the car door.
     “Fine, I’ll walk!”  Jade staggered toward the street.
     “I’ll drive her home.”  Lola took Jade by the arm and lead her back to the car.
     Jade feeling defeated got into the car.  She tossed the keys to Lola.  “Get me out of here!”  She no longer could keep the tears from coming.  “I said get me out of here!”
     “Try to get her to open up to you.”  Faye watched until Jade and Lola disappeared down the busy street.
*******************************************************************************************************************************
     Despair etched the lines around Devon’s mouth which curved into a frown.  He glared  down at his leg.  The flesh was red and puffy, but what worried him was the lump just beneath the surface. It appeared larger today than yesterday.
     Donald jogged toward him.  “Do you need a ride?”
     “I have my truck.”  Devon heaved himself up and climbed into his truck.
     “Are you able to drive?  I mean, with your leg the way it is.”
     “I can manage.”  He hated to be rude, but he didn’t need smothering.
     “Did you see what happened on the track?”  Pierre asked.  He climbed into the back of Donald’s old ford pickup.  He didn’t give anybody time to answer.  “Jade passed out.”
     “What?  Is she Okay?”  Devon’s face heated with alarm.
     “She left with Lola.”  Pierre shrugged his shoulders.
     Devon sped down East Neck Road.  Many thoughts weighted heavily on his mind.  He wondered if Jade would cancel their date?  He hoped not.   What had happened? He knew she didn’t look well.  A stampede of fear flooded him, causing his heart to slam against his chest.  He rolled the window down and took a deep breath.  Salt air waffled up his nose.  He slowed his truck down and looked out at the monstrous waves.  He could hear the live music coming from the Cedar Beach Hut.  Maybe I’ll bring Jade here one day for Lobster Feast, he thought to himself.  A deep yearning caused an ache like he had never experienced before.
     He knew he shouldn’t, but he pulled into a parking space, got out and hobbled toward the sandy beach.  The sun setting over the horizon lit the sky with hues of yellow and orange.  Devon heard a cry, it startled him when he realized it was him crying.  Not able to stand the pain any longer, he fell to the sand.   Once the tears broke free, the sobs racked his weary body.  “God, don’t let me have bone cancer.”
     “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
    The verse came from Jeremiah 29:11.  Devon wondered if God was speaking to him.  A great shudder overtook him.  His eyes bled with agony.  Groans escaped his lips through the suppressed sound of sniffling.   “God, is that you?”
     Nothing but the distant caws of seagulls lingered in the misty breeze.  The pain had intensified in his leg, but he walked down the beach hoping to find some kind of serenity.  He hadn’t gone very far when he heard voices.  Devon squinted through the twilight.
     “Lola, I don’t want to talk about it.”
     Unexpected excitement knocked at his heart.  “Jade, are you okay?  I was so worried about you.”  Devon walked a little closer.  He could tell Jade appeared upset, but he didn’t want to be nosey or pushy.
     “Devon, I’m fine.   About to go home and get ready for our date.”  She loved how that sounded. Mostly she loved how the word date rolled off her lips.
     Relief showed in Devon’s expression.  Their date was still on.   Excitement  exploded like a blinding whiteness.  It made him stagger.  It made him feel alive for the time being.  “Are you sure you’re up to it?”   Suddenly, his leg felt as if a thousand needles were being shot into the inflamed nerves.   Devon cringed.
     Confusion laid heavily on Jade.  “I’m up to it.”  She hesitated.   “Unless, you’re not?”
     “No, I can’t wait!”
     “I need this date.”  Jade turn her back, afraid Devon would see the tears.   Once she was sure she had her emotions in control, she faced him.
     “I’ll see you at seven.”
     “See you then.”  Jade watched Devon as he headed back down the beach.  “Take me home, Lola.”  She sucked in the cold winter air, trying to ward off another headache.   She vowed right then she would enjoy the night and live like she had forever.   But deep in her subconscious death was waiting.
*******************************************************************************************************************************
     Layla, Jade’s Boxer jumped around tangling Faye in her leash.  “Stop, or you will take us both down.”  Layla looked at her with sad eyes, then she howled.  “I know Jade hasn’t paid you much attention lately.”   Faye looked toward the huge lake, wondering if Bradford had caught any fish.  Next she looked toward the street, praying Lola and Jade would pull into the driveway.  She stood there a few seconds and was about to head inside when the two girls showed up.  Relief flooded her pounding heart.
     “Mom, you didn’t have to stand in the cold waiting on me!”  Jade yelled.   She leaned against the car for support.  Every joint in her body was protesting, not to mention the rhythm of the drums beating against her skull.  “I didn’t drive, did I?  Stop treating me like a child.”  Jade looked at Lola.  “Give me my keys.”
     Even though it was a crisp evening, sweat beaded on Lola’s forehead.  She looked at Faye and handed her the keys.  “Sorry, but I agree with your mom.  You can’t drive.”
     “Give me my keys!”  Jade turned a shade of white.  She clutched her throat as if she was choking.
     “Jade!”  Faye grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her.   “Breathe!”
     Bradford came running around the corner.  He set a bucket of Largemouth Bass down on the ground.  “What’s wrong?”  His eyes were wide with fear.
     “Jade can’t catch her breath!” Faye screamed as she shook her daughter again.
     “She’s having a panic attack.”  Bradford ran into the house and came back out with a brown paper bag.  “Breathe into this bag,” he ordered.
     All eyes were on the bag as Jade’s oxygen inflated it.  They watched as it  increased and then decreased.
     “I’ve got to go get ready.”   She glared at her mom and dad.   “Can I please have my keys?”
     “No, if you want to go on this date one of us will drive you.    Period.”  Bradford looked Jade straight in the eyes.  He took her by the shoulders and squeezed them.  “You just had a panic attack, you also passed out at school.  Sweetie, I’m glad you get to go out tonight.”  Bradford smiled.  “I hope it’s with this Devon person.”
     A sad smile curled Jade’s lips.  “It is.”
     “Me or your mother will drive you, but your keys are ours until you’re well again.”
     This appeared to be going nowhere, and time was dwindling away.  “Fine.”
     “Lola, let me drive you home,”  Faye offered
     “I think I’ll walk.  Jade, have fun tonight.  I want to hear all about it tomorrow.”  Lola waved, then headed down the drive, wishing she lived miles away instead of a block away.  She had nothing to go home to, and right now not even a friend to talk to.
*****************************************************************************************************************************
     Overwhelmed with activity, Jade barely had the strength to shower.  As she peered into her closet, she tried to be optimistic, but she already knew she had nothing to wear.  Her Denim Dress hung loose and fell off her shoulders.  It resembled a giant garbage bag.   She was about to try on her black Old Navy Dress when someone knocked at the door.
     “Jade, a package just arrived for you.  It’s from Devon.”
     With sweaty palms Jade turned the knob and opened the door.  She hung her head, and her lips remained in a pout.  “Thanks.”  Then she slammed the door to.
     Her skin tingled with excitement.  She ripped the paper off the box and opened the lid, revealing a Burgundy V Neck Elegant Lace Slim Dress.  She slipped the dress on; it fit like a glove.  She actually felt beautiful.  Next she blew dry her air and then pulled it back into a low chignon.  For her makeup she left it natural.  Jade applied a small amount of tinted moisturizer, and a shade of blush called Aglow.  She chose a Cappuccino color lipstick, which made her lips look fuller.  To finish it up she added a touch of a Neutral eyeshadow to her hooded eyes.  She gazed into the floor-length mirror and to her surprise she appeared human.   A gasp slowly seeped through her pursed lips.  Also in the box laid a pair of Chunky Low Heel Lace-up Round Toe Pumps.  Now she glowed with confidence.
     Exhausted, but then again a surge of exhilaration gave her the engery to walk down the stairs.  “I’m ready.”  Her voice, barely a whisper.  Jade took a deep breath and tried again.  “I’m ready.”  This time she spoke loud and clear.
     “You look stunning.”  Her dad kissed her on the cheek.
     “Jade, you’re beautiful.”  Faye grabbed the car keys.
     Humiliation caused her cheeks to warm.  She opened her mouth to protest, but decided not to waste her breath.  Jade stalked off to the car, leaving her mother behind.
*******************************************************************************************************************************
     The parking lot was a madhouse at Elegance, it was bustling with activity.    Everyone seemed to be in a chaotic rhythm, chatting in anticipation about the new restaurant.  For a few minutes Jade stared, overwhelmed.  Excited.  Scared, and so much more.
     “Have fun.”  Faye smiled.
     “Thanks,” she mumbled.  Jade got out of the car and kept her back to her mom.  The light headiness grew worse as she walked toward the door.  She hoped her mom didn’t notice.  She glared back, and to her surprise her mom had already driven away.
     “A-a-a-are y-y-yo-you J-J-Jade?”
     Jade looked at the stranger with a warm smile.  His sandy blonde hair laid tousled about.  His eyes had a depth of shyness, but his smile was contagious.     “Yes, I’m Jade.”
     I’m M-M-Mi-Mic-Michael.  F-f-fo-fol-follow me.”
     Inside Elegance everything seemed calmer.  The atmosphere had an ambient to it.  Jade could smell the food wafting through the dinning area.  Her stomach growled, and she had forgotten what it felt like to be hungry.  Hope surged her to trudge on.
     “What are you doing here?”  Kelly asked, fisting her hands on her hips.  She tossed her jet black hair.
     The kitchen door opened and Devon surfaced.  He looked handsome in his Double Breasted Chef Coat.  “Wow, you look beautiful.”   His entire set of teeth shine in a double-decker smile.
     “Thank you.”  Kelly slipped her arm around his waist.
     “You look nice too, but I’m talking to Jade.”   Devon took Jade by the hand and leaned into her, kissing her on the cheek.     As he breathed in he unintentionally smelled Jade’s hair; it smelt like a spring day.    “Michael, will you show Jade to our table?   I will go bring out our appetizer.”
     Michael pulled out Jade’s chair.  “I-I-I h-ho-hop-hope y-y-you ha-ha-hav-have a  nice ti-ti-time.”
     “Thank you.”
     Devon set two plates on the table.  “This is Scallop Sashimi with Myer Lemon Confit.”
     The crunch of the compressed apple put the dish over the top.  Jade loved the crunch and the delicate flavor of the lemon.  The only thing she feared was her stomach protesting, but to her astonishment it wanted more.  “This is delicious!”
     “The toasted buckwheat kernels add so much to this dish.”  Devon put the last bit in his mouth.  He chewed the food, enjoying the fact didn’t get nauseated.    “How about I go get the salad?”
     “I can’t wait.”
     Jade closed her eyes and enjoyed the classical music playing.    The homophonic melody relaxed her.  She hoped before the night ended Devon would ask her to dance.
     Being with Jade this moment was a dream come true.  Devon stood watching her.  Even though she seemed frail, she was the most beautiful girl there tonight.  “I have our salads.   Lamb Salad with Fregola.”
     It tasted ambrosial.  The onions were sweet and the capers gave the salad a nice salty flavor.  Devon plated food like it was an art.  “I love it,” Jade said between bites.   She racked the last bit of arugula and lamb onto her fork and savored the last bite.
     Michael came out with the main course.  “C-c-can I g-g-ge-get  y-you a-a-a-an-any t-t-thing el-else?”  He kept his eyes on the floor.
    “Thanks, Michael, that will be all for now.”
     “He’s very nice.”  Jade watched Michael as he walked away.     “He seems insecure.”
     “He’s my cousin, and he is insecure.  He has had a rough time growing up because of his speech problem.”  Devon stretched his leg out, moaning as a sharp pain sheeted up the bone.
     Concern shadowed Jade, but she didn’t know whether to ask him about his leg.
     Devon saw her concern.  “I hurt my leg playing football,” he lied.   “For the main course we have Island Duck with Mulberry Mustard.”   He quickly changed the subject.
     The succulent taste of the bird melted in Jade’s mouth.  “I’m stuffed.”
     No sooner than she had gotten that out of her mouth, Micael brought out dessert.  “E-en-en-enjoy.”
     “This is a Passionberry Crème brûlée.”
     Jade was glad he made one dessert to share.  Devon scooped some creamy dessert onto his fork, and fed it to her.  He watched her with delight as she licked her lips.
     “You must come to the Rustic and let me cook for you.  It’s not as fancy as this,” Jade said with her arms stretched out.    “But I can fix a mean stuffed steak burger with secret sauce you’ll love!”
     A soft murmur slipped through Devon’s lips.  “I would love that.”  He stood and walked around to Jade.    “Can I have this dance?”
     Her heart fluttered as Devon lead her to the dance floor.  Jade laid her head against his shoulder, and Devon had his hand firmly but gently on the small of her back.   They moved together almost as one person.  Their bodies danced slowly to the elegant music.    Jade’s face turned a shade of pink as Devon kissed her; it was passionate and took her by surprise.
     The scent of Jade enveloped him.  Gazing at the beauty before him, Devon’s chest became tight, and his breathing rapid.  He twirled her around and back into his arms.  He knew with his whole heart she was the one, and finally he was holding her in his arms.  They were together at last.
     “Son, you need to get some rest.  You know you have that appointment tomorrow.”  Devon’s dad stood with his hand on his son’s shoulder.
     Jade cringed as her mom and dad walked toward her.
     “This is my mom and dad.   Anthony and Gail Armstrong.”
     “And this is my mom and dad.  Bradford and Faye Douglas.”
     “Nice to meet you.  We have heard quiet a bit about Devon.”  Bradford held out his hand for a handshake.
     Jade cleared her throat and rolled her eyes.
     “Devon has had a crush on this pretty girl for a while now.”  Anthony smiled.
     “Dad,”  Devon whimpered.
     “We’ll wait in the car.  Don’t be too long.”  Faye took Bradford by the hand and they headed out the door.
     “Son, you need to say your goodbyes.”
     Devon held onto Jade as they entered the waiting area.  “I had a great time tonight.”
     “Me too.”  Jade looked into clouded eyes.
     More than anything Devon wanted to share his fears, but his fears kept him silent.  He caressed her cheek with his lips, then kissed her as if this was the last time.  “I’ll see you tomorrow at school.”
     Breathlessly Jade smiled, but it didn’t quiet reach her face.  “See you tomorrow.”
     Devon headed back toward the kitchen, while Jade headed out to her car.  Both dreaded the reality they were about to face.
*******************************************************************************************************************************
      That night Jade fought nightmares about death.  A restful sleep seemed unlikely, so around five she dressed, and went in search for her keys.  She knew she was being headstrong, but she wanted to keep a little dignity.  Her parents had no right to treat her like a child.  Deep down she felt some guilt, but not enough to keep her from doing what she wanted; drive herself to school.
     “Where would I be if I were keys?”  Jade’s eyes scanned the living room.  She smiled as she spotted her keys hanging out of her mother’s purse.
     The morning air was breezy and cold.  As quiet as she could, Jade got into her car and cranked it.  The dark made it hard for her to see where she was going, but she decided not to cut the lights on until she was a good piece down Argyle Avenue.   The fog appeared to be thick; it hung like a blanket covering the horizon.  She couldn’t see even a mile in front of her.  Panic seeped into her beating chest.   Jade turned onto Trolly Line road and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the school.
     Her head spun as she stood up.   Her temples pulsated like a beating drum.   Out of blurry eyes she saw Devon hobbling toward. Pain creased his face.  Then the unthinkable happened.  Blood poured from her nose.  Jade couldn’t hold the tears back.
     Devon, stunned at first, but then he took action.  He held her a minute.  Concerned flushed his skin when he saw all the blood.   “I’ll get you to the nurse’s station.”
     “No!”  Jade knew she looked hideous.  A crimson stain was up and down her purple blouse, and her hands and upper lip wore the same color.   “Please, don’t make a fuss over me.”  She felt awkward and mortified.
     An idea came to Devon.  “I know what we need.”  He held her once more and whispered in her ear.   “We need a day off from school.”   He gave her a brief smile.  “Let me call Deon.  She always has extra clothes in her car.”
     Devon lead Jade to a nearby bench.  While they waited for Deon, the silence  seemed unbearable.  Ten minutes passed and finally Deon came rushing around the corner with several blouses.
     Jade hung her head, heated with embarrassment.  “I’m having some sinus issues.”
     Deon smiled.  She fingered the camera that hung around her neck.  “I have lemon chiffon, tangerine orange and iridescent blue.”
     The colors were vibrant.  Jade wasn’t sure what color to pick.  She looked down at her bloody hands.  “Thanks for doing this for me.”
     “No problem.”  Deon gave her a warm smile.  “I think the iridescent blue will bring out the color of your eyes.”
     “Take the blue, it’s your color.”  Devon stood.  “I’ll wait for you while you go change.”
     While in the bathroom Jade’s nose bled some more, and she also threw up.  With shaky hands she washed herself up and changed her blouse.  Her heart was racing and she felt aflame.  She could still feel Devon’s tender embrace.  That could be why I can’t breathe, and flushed.  She told herself.
     Devon took her by the hand.  “Let’s go to the park.”
     “I really need to get away for a while.”  Jade took in a gulp of cold air.
     “Do you want me to drive?”
     “I’ll follow in my car.  I have to be back here around one.  I have a 2:00 appointment.”
     “That sounds good.  I have a 2:30 appointment to take care of some things.”
     Jade cranked her car and pulled out behind Devon.   A mistake was in the making when she agreed to go with him.  She was dragging him into a dreadful nightmare.  Insensitive, self absorbed  stamped on her heart made her feel awful.  All she wanted was a day of normalcy.
     Devon kept a vigilant eye on Jade in his rear-view mirror.  As he drove, his conscience began to bother him.  Should we be going out? Can I tell her the truth?  But he knew if he told her that he had Osteosarcoma she would pity him.  Having these few hours would be better than nothing.
     The lake at the Belmont State Park came into view.  A honey-comb pale yellow sun filtered through fluffy clouds.  Thunder echoed over the horizon.  A light mist fell, but not enough to cancel their plans.  If they had to, they would take cover under a pavilion.
     “Want to walk down by the lake?”  Devon held Jade’s hand as he watched a couple out on a pedal boat.  They were having so much fun.  He couldn’t help but smile.   He looked up at Jade and his heart fluttered.  She didn’t look well. “Are you okay?”
     She wanted to spill everything.  Tell him that she had lymphoblastic Leukemia.  But Jade didn’t want his pity; she wanted him.  “Why do you ask?”
     “You don’t look well, and the nosebleeds.”
     Jade took a seat on a bench and watched the ducks move about rhythmically in the lake.  “I told you it was sinus problems.”
     Devon sat down, then stood as a sharp pain pierced his leg.  Both knees buckled sending him to the ground.
     At first Jade looked stunned, then she knelt down beside him.  “What about you?”
    “What about me?”
     “Are you okay?  You look pale yourself.”
     “It’s a football injury.  I’m fine.”
     Jade stood, and Devon did the same.  He pulled her close and kissed her.  It was a sensual kiss that left her breathless.  His face was so close that she could smell the minty toothpaste he had used.  Her pulse quickened as he kissed her one more time before pulling away.
     “I can’t do this.”  They both said at the same time.
     They stared at each other for a moment.  Jade finally turned and ran to her car.  Tears glazed her eyes and slid down her cheeks as she blinked.   She clamped her hand over her mouth to muffle out the agony.  Her hand trembled as she cranked the car.  Spots floated before her eyes, blood streamed down her chin, and dripped onto Deon’s blouse. Fear gripped her the minute she pressed the gas.  Jade saw the other car, but her legs felt like lead, she couldn’t stop. Tires screeched on the blacktop, but nothing kept her from flipping her car several times. Pain pulsated in her ribs, and her head.   Eventually she blacked out and let the peaceful darkness take over.
****************************************************************************************************************************
     Devon hobbled down the trails as anger boiled inside of him.  The same Bible verse came out of nowhere. “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, say the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  He believed the verse came from Jeremiah 29:11.  But he really didn’t care.  God wouldn’t let him have cancer.  But he knew he had cancer.
     A cold hard rain began to fall.  It felt like thousands of needles hitting him in the face.  He knew he should turn back, but he trudged forward.  Up ahead he saw a bridge.  Devon knew it was stupid, but he did it anyway.  He  hoisted himself up on the railing.   Rain now came down in sheets, blinding him.  He balanced himself, carefully putting one foot in front of the other.   He would have made it to the other side but his leg cramped up and he plunged into the murky water below.   His leg hurt badly, and he struggled to stay above the water.  Devon went under again.  Numbness caused his limbs to feel lifeless.  As he went under again,  he gulped in cold air and water, choking him.   His eyes closed and he drifted into unconsciousness.  Deep down he prayed he would die.

Cilantro Meatball Tacos & Lime Cilantro Sauce

tacos.jpg

The tacos are great for a party. The meatballs are delicious on their on, but add them to a tortilla and top with tomato,onion and radishes with the sauce makes your taste buds dance.

Cook time: 10 Min  Prep time: 35 Min  Serves: Eight

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
2 shallots
1/3 c fresh chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno peppers(seeded)
1 Tbsp laFina chili & lime seasoning
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 c Panko bread crumbs
large egg
1 medium tomato diced
1/2 c diced radishes
1/2 c diced red onion
CILANTRO LIME SAUCE
two 5.3 oz Greek yogurt
1 shallots, diced
1 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp laFina chili & lime seasoning
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1 pkg mini mission street taco white corn tortillas

Directions

1. In a food processor add your beef.
2. Cut one shallot in half and add to the food processor.
3. Add 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro.
4. Cut the jalapeno pepper in half. Take out the seeds, Add the pepper to the food processor.
5. Roll meat into 24 balls. Cook in a skillet over medium-low heat until no longer pink.
6. In a medium bowl add the yogurt. Add one tablespoon cilantro. Add the diced shallot.
7. Add the lime juice and the salt and pepper. Add the teaspoon LaFina Chili & Lime Seasoning.
8. Mix to combine. Chill 20 minutes.
9. Cut the tomato up and add to a small bowl, Add 1/2 cup diced red onion. Stir together and set aside.
10. Add the diced radishes to a small bowl, set aside
11. Warm your tortillas.
12. On a tortilla add three meatballs. Top with some sauce, Add some tomato and red onion. Top it off with some radish.