The Bucket List ~ An Original Story

Ashley was diagnosed with leukemia, and it's certainly taken a toll on her. Her loyal boyfriend, Henry, found a bucket list she wrote, and wants to help her conquer it before the cancer takes her away.

NOTE: This story will be sad and depressing. If, for some reason, you can't read sad stories or cancer ones, I suggest that you don't read this.

Chapter 1

Finding the List

I pace the cold floor of the room I was being confined to, hospital gown flying up and down with each step, making me feel uncomfortable and exposed. The cool draft of the air conditioning still felt odd on my bald head despite the fact that I’ve been without hair for around six months now. People used to describe my dirty blonde hair as stunning and voluminous, but cancer takes away a lot of things you love; your spirit, your confidence, your hope.

Henry’s late, but I’ve become quite used to it. His band rehearsals frequently ran late, but I wasn’t necessarily angry at him. Music was always a passion of his, and I don’t want to take that away from him, especially since I’d soon be gone from him. It’s just that I feel as if he’s abandoning me for his fourth and probably unsuccessful band when I need him most. I know I’m being selfish, because soon I’ll be abandoning him, but I just want my boyfriend by my side to give me the support that I need.

He finally sprinted through the door, out of breath, and dark hair mildly sweaty.

“I’m so sorry I’m late, babe. Machine Fire and I are just really struggling to get gigs, and I lost track of time while we were contacting bars and venues,” he pants, beads of sweat trickling down his forehead.

“You’re really out of shape, Henry. All you did was run through a hospital, and you act like you just ran three miles,” I teasingly scold, sticking my tongue out playfully.

“It probably was three miles,” he says with a laugh, “You’re on the 15th floor and the elevator is broken. But anyways, I have a surprise for you.”

“Please tell me that it’s candy. I’ve really been craving Swedish Fish, and the gift shop in the lobby doesn’t have any damn candy!”

“No,” he chuckles, “Well, I was visiting your mom, and I-I found your bucket list you wrote when you first got the news on the table, and y-you only have about a mo-month left to live,” he paused to brush away some tears, “so I want to help you do everything on the list. I already got permission from your doctors for you to leave the hospital. Do you want to?” Only a month left to live. I forgot about that for a little, and tears threaten to pour out at the reminder of what’s left of my short life. I love Henry, though, and I’m desperate to get out this hell house.

“Sure, Henry. Did you bring me a change of clothes, though? I don’t want to go out into the world in a hospital gown! My underwear is totally visible,” I say with laugh.

“Of course I did, babe. I don’t want any other guys to see your underwear and get the wrong idea,” he says, chuckling, and tosses me some jeans, an old band t-shirt, and a bra. It’s a bit awkward that he had to get my bra from my house, but it would be even more awkward to go out without one. He sets my Converse down on the bed, not wanting to throw them at me to avoid injuries.

“Could you go into the bathroom or something while I change?” I say awkwardly, not meeting his eyes.

“Oh, uh, yeah. Sorry,” he says, cheeks flushed. I wait until he walks out of the door and change into normal clothes. It feels weird to be out of the gown after I’ve been in it for a few months and the tighter garments don’t feel right. I look in the mirror in my room, face crinkling in disgust at the dark blue spots leukemia left on me. I look unappealing, disgusting, like a zombie. My skin is shade of pale and my eye color faded down a few notches. All my good features from before the damned cancer left me, leaving me with this body.

“Are you done yet, Ashley? Can I come in?” Henry says, knocking on the door. It’s sweet, really, how much he respects me. I’m glad he knocked, though. If he saw how I was looking at myself, he’d give me a boyfriend required pep talk about how I’m beautiful inside and out, and I’m really not in the mood.

“Yep! Come on in,” I say, hiding my depression behind a masked smile. He knows me too well and sees right through it.

“Ashley, are you okay? Is there something on your mind you want to talk about?” he says, voice full of concern.

“No, Henry. I’m fine. Well, not really, but you know what I mean,” I say, avoiding eye contact. Every muscle in my body begs me to let me break down and cry, but I refuse. He’s barely maintaining as it is. I don’t want to be a burden.

“Don’t lie to me. I know you’re not. You can tell me anything,” he says firmly, and I know he won’t give up until I tell him. I wish he didn’t care so much about me. It’ll destroy him once I pass away.

“I just.. I don’t feel pretty,” I whisper, biting my lip. His protective, strong arms wrap around me, and he kisses my head softly.

"Babe, you’re beautiful to me. When I look at you, I don’t see a sick girl with cancer. I see a funny, brave, strong, smart, amazing girl, and that’s as beautiful as it gets to me. I know you don’t see yourself as pretty right now, and I’m not going to force how gorgeous you are down your throat, because I know that you’d hate it. Just know that I and plenty of other people think that you’re completely stunning,” he whispers into my ear, pecking my lips softly once he finishes his speech. It was a bit cliché, but it made my heart melt. I have the best boyfriend in the world.

“Thanks, Henry. You’re the best. Now let’s go defeat the bucket list!” I pipe, fist pumping wildly, and laugh as he joins in with me.

“God, I love your laugh. Now, to the car! First thing to conquer – being in two places at once! I know just how to do that,” he says with a sly smile, tugging me into his silver BMW. This is going to be a wild ride.

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