The following day, Nissa got out of bed, feeling like the living dead. She got dressed and brought her suitcase downstairs. She ate something fast. As she was headed out the door, she saw Sophie pulling into her driveway. Nissa was so shocked to see her.
“Hey! What are you doing here?”
“I figured I’d drop you off. That way you didn’t have to leave your car at the airport.”
“Sophe, thank you! I’m so happy to see you.”
“You know you can always count on me”
“That’s why you’re my best friend.” I loaded my suitcase into her back seat. We made our way to the airport.
“So is your dad excited to see you?”
“Yeah he actually is.”
“That’s really good!”
“I’m going to sit down with both Patsy and him. I need to talk to them about what I read in is yearbook.”
“That’s a great idea. Maybe you can find out why Norma is acting that way with you guys.”
“Yeah. Hopefully.” Just thinking about it made her sad. She really loved Eric and Norma was like a second mother to her. So it was troubling her seeing Norma treat Eric and Nissa like that.
“Are you nervous about flying?”
“I get nervous as soon as I sit in the plane. I’m calm all the way till that moment.”
“Well that’s good. What calms you down at that moment?”
“I think, if Nick does this every other day, why can’t I.” Nick was known for being afraid of flying when he was younger.
“That’s really good.” They arrived at the airport.
“Thank you Soph.” Nissa hugged her goodbye.
“No worries. Have a safe trip. Call or text me when you get there.”
I will, I promise. And thank you again.” Nissa checked in. Half an hour later she boarded the plane. Thank God she was exhausted from not sleeping, because she slept the whole flight. She woke up ten minutes before landing. They landed and as soon as they got to their arrival gate, Nissa grabbed her purse and got off. She went to baggage claim and Jeff was waiting for her. She was so happy to see him after all this time.
“Hey daddy” Nissa hugged him like never before.
“Hi sweetheart” He reciprocated the hug.
“God I missed you.”
“I missed you too. How was your flight?”
“I don’t know” She laughed.
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“I slept through it”
“Oh I see”
“How’s the case going?”
“It’s going well. Better than I anticipated.”
“Well that’s really good! How’s Patsy?”
“She’s beyond excited to see you!”
“Beyond excited huh? Dad, since when do you speak like that?”
“This is what happens when I hang out with you so much.”
“But you haven’t. So you have no reason.”
“Well it must mean that I missed you then.” She couldn’t help but grin. He grabbed her suitcase from the belt. Then they headed to the diner. When they got there, she was going through Lunch Rush Hour. But she made sure that as soon as Nissa walked in, she greeted her.
“Hey my love. How are you?” She squeezed Nissa so hard, she thought her head was gonna pop.
“I’m good. Excited to see you. It’s been what? 2 years?”
“Yes, it’s been a while. Come on let me make you your favorite. Jeff, do you still have time for lunch?”
“Yes, we are on a two hour recess.”
“Oh great! What would you like to eat?”
“How about a grilled chicken wrap, and a vanilla milkshake?”
“Coming right up” she turned to Nissa and gave her another squeeze, then she disappeared into the kitchen.
“How are you and Eric doing?”
“We are good. He wasn’t too happy about this trip.”
“He was upset because I waited till last minute to tell him about it.”
“Were you going to?”
“Yes! I was going to make dinner for us and tell him then, but instead he was an ass about it.”
“That’s too bad. You guys are good for each other.”
“Yeah but we are having an issue with Norma.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, she seems to be upset that we are dating. At first she was fine. But the longer we date the more upset she gets. I don’t get it.”
“It is odd. It is possible that she’s realizing that she’s losing her baby boy. Some mama’s are like that.”
“Could be. We are planning to sit with her and have serious talk with her.”
“That’s an excellent idea. That’s very adult of you. And it’s the only way you can find out what’s going on”
“Yap” Patsy came out of the back.
“Here you go guys.”
“Thank You” Jeff and Nissa said in unison.
“You’re welcome. I better get back. By the way, Nissa I’m closing the diner early because I promised my friend I’d go shopping with her. She’s opening a brand new restaurant. So she needs help with the décor. Do you want to come with us?”
“Of course, that would be fun. Besides, I need to see the brave soul that actually tolerates you.” Nissa laughed.
“You’re so mean. And for that, you don’t get VIP at this diner anymore.” She shot Nissa the evilest look in the world. She couldn’t help but continue laughing. She couldn’t be serious any longer. She busted out laughing.
“Alright then it’s settled. I’ll pick you up at the apartment at 6.”
“OK” Nissa grinned. Jeff had to get back to court so he dropped Nissa off at the apartment and headed to court. She went up the stairs to her room. Patsy had a two story- 3 bedroom apartment in the nicer area of Dallas. Ever since she was a little girl, she had had a room for Nissa. Her doors were always open for her. She always made Nissa feel like she was home! And Nissa loved her for that. She picked up her phone and texted Sophie.
Nissa: Hey You! I got in about an hour and a half ago. Dad picked me up and we had lunch at Patsy’s.
She answered back.
Sophie: OK. Good, I’m glad you made it safe. How was the flight?
Nissa: I was so tired, that I actually slept through it. LOL
Sophie: LOL well that’s good to hear. Hey, I’ll text you later. I’m getting ready to go out with Joel. Say hi to your dad and Patsy. I love you!
Nissa: I will. Love you too.
She then texted Nick.
Nissa: Hey, how are you? I just wanted to let you know that I made it safe. Hope you’re having a good day.
She then unpacked a little. Then she laid down to rest. She fell asleep. When she woke up, Patsy was in the kitchen calling her name.
“Nissa? Are you ready?” She hollered. Luckily all Nissa had to do was fix her hair and put on her flip-flops.
“Yes I am” She answered as she walked down the stairs. “So where are we going?”
“My friend Carmen is opening a Puerto Rican restaurant. She pretty much has the décor, but she wants to see what kind of deals she can get for appliances, tables, etc.”
“Oh that makes sense!”
“She’s a good friend. I think you will like her.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting her.” As soon as they got on the road, she got a text from Nick.
Nick: Hey you, I’m glad you made it safe. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I was at a meeting. Just got out.
Nissa: Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to jump up and answer. What kind of meeting?
Nick: Possible future projects!
Nissa: Really? That’s exciting.
Nick: What you up to?
Nissa: Going out with Patsy and her friend.
Nick: That sounds fun. Where are you headed?
Nissa: Patsy’s friend is opening a restaurant. We are going furniture shopping.
Nick: Oh Ok. If you want you can text me later.
Nissa: Ok that’s fine. Or maybe you can call me instead.
Nissa couldn’t believe that she texted him that. Normally she was too shy and she definitely didn’t have the balls to do such a thing.
Nick: Oh I’d love that.
Nissa: Alright! Talk to you later.
Nick: Bye Sweet thing
Nissa giggled. Patsy took her eyes off the road and looked at her like she was insane.
“What’s so funny?”
“Oh?” Nissa knew she was dying to ask her who it was.
“It’s Nick Carter”
“Whaaaat? That blonde boy you like so much from BSB?”
“The one and only!”
“What’s going on there?”
“Nothing! Absolutely nothing!”</p?
“That giggle did not sound like absolutely nothing.”
“Well to be honest…I’m smitten with him. But the fact that I’m with Eric, is keeping me in check.”
“That’s good. But how does Nick feel about it? About you?”
“I think that he’s not interested in me like that.”
“That’s good. Does Eric know about him?”
“He knows that I talk to him.”
“How is he taking it?”
“He seems to be jealous a little, but other than that he’s fine with it”
“Nissa, please be careful.”
“Because, Nick is a musician. All they do is destroy what they come in contact with. And what if Eric is your one? You don’t want to mess that up.”
“Look I get it. But there’s nothing going on between Nick and I”
“I’m just saying this because I care about you. And I’d hate to see you get hurt.”
“I know and I appreciate it. But I’m ok.
“Good” They got to Patsy’s friend’s restaurant. “We’re Here”
“Wow, so far it looks great.”
“Yeah wait till we get done. It’s gonna look amazing!” Patsy and Nissa got out of the car and greeted Carmen. Patsy was right! She was super sweet. They spent 4 hours shopping around for deals. And with Patsy there, Carmen was hooked up with some pretty neat deals. They dropped Carmen at her house. Then they headed home. Patsy and Nissa decided that they weren’t hungry. So they decided to skip dinner. Jeff was hard at work. Nissa went up to her room and texted Nick.
Nissa: We are finally home. It was a productive day for Patsy’s friend, Carmen.
Nick: Really? That’s good news. Did you have fun?
Nissa: Yes I did. You know that Patsy gave me ‘The Talk’?
Nick: That’s good. And what talk?
Nissa: Can I call you?
She dialed realizing what she was about to do. The line rang. And when he answered…she froze.
“Hello? Nissa? I know you’re there. I can hear you breathing.” Nissa finally snapped out of it!
“It’s ok. I thought we were past this point.”
“Psssshh, as long as I’m your fan, we will never be past this point.”
“You do make an excellent point. And as long as you don’t turn into what you like to call a ‘Crazy’, we will be alright.”
“You’re good with that. So anyway, Patsy gave me the ‘Don’t play with fire or you’ll get burned’ talk.”
“Wait? What? Are you playing with fire?”
“In her eyes, talking with you IS playing with fire.”
“Wow…Um OK? We are just friends. Right?”
“Yeah, but do you want to know the truth?”
“Yes. I mean I want us to be honest with each other.”
“Ok here goes…” Nissa thought about it and realized that she didn’t want to tell him yet. “I think she thinks that because I giggle everytime I get a text from you.” He laughed. “What’s so funny?”
“That’s not playing with fire.”
“I know. I guess that’s what she sees.”
“Yeah. Do you miss Eric?”
“I do. But I guess he’s mad at me for the trip.”
“I think that’s wrong.”
“And why do you think that?”
“Well because I would want my girl to travel. That’s how you enjoy life. Going out there and seeing what the world has to offer! And who am I to stop her!”
“That’s really sweet”
“Whether it’s with or without me, I want her to do it.”
“You’re great! You know that?”
“I’ve been told that” he laughed.
“I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I met you.”
“Oh I Know. Hey I was thinking…”
“Uh oh, It’s really dangerous when you think.” She interrupted.
“Ha Ha very funny! Is there any room in your very busy schedule for a date?”
“A date? With who?”
“Me, goofy ass.”
“But you’re in Malibu and I’m in Texas!”
“So? I could fly in tomorrow morning and come back the morning after. That is if you have room in your jet setting life for me.”
“I don’t have anything planned for tomorrow. So yes, I can pencil you in. I can’t wait to see you!”
“Well I’m gonna let you go. I have to call Eric before he goes to bed.”
“OK baby girl. Hope you have a good night. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“OK. Text or call me when you get to DFW.”
“I will. Good night”
“Good Night.” She hung up with him and dialed Eric.
“Hello baby, How are you?”
“I’m good and you?” She was extremely surprised to hear him all cheery.
“I’m good. Working hard and missing you like crazy.”
“I’ve missed you too.”
“What have you been up to?”
“Hanging with Patsy. Had lunch with dad earlier. Then he went back to court. Haven’t seen him since.”
“Must be a very stressful case, huh?”
“No he says it’s been very easy.”
“Well that’s good.” There was some silence. He was the first one to break it.“There’s something I have to tell you.”
“Oh yeah? I hope it’s really good.”
“It is for me, but I don’t know how you will take it.”
“Um Ok? I’m nervous now!”
“I got promoted at work.”
“That’s really good!”
“The problem is I’d be working 12+ hours.”
“That’s a long shift.”
“I’ll be a supervisor if I take the job.”
“What do you mean if you take the job?”
“Well I wanted to talk to you about it first.”
“Look Eric, you don’t have to talk to me about these things.”
“So I have your blessing?”
“YES! Do you get a raise?”
“Yes. From $15 per hour to $20 per hour”
“That’s really good! Go for it!”
“Thank you, babe.”
“I want you to know that I’m no one to come between you and a better opportunity.”
“Gee you’re making me feel bad about how I’ve been acting lately.”
“You had every right to be upset.”
“No. It’s not fair for you that I want you to stay here. Any other man would want the love of their life to experience life. And do whatever she wants.”
“Thank you. But I too was wrong. I should’ve told you.”
“It’s alright baby. We are past that. So what do you have planned for tomorrow?”
“Nick is flying out here…”
“As in Nick Carter?” Nissa could sense that he got upset at that.
“And what is the reason for him to come down?”
“We didn’t have anything planned so he decided to come down.”
“Nissa, I don’t like that.”
“Because it seems like he’s stepping into my territory.”
“No he’s not!” She yelled at him.
“We are just friends!”
“Look, I trust you. Him? Not so much.”
“Ok then. Nothing is happening between us. We are just going to hang out.”
“Alright. But if I lose you to him, I’m gonna find him and I’m gonna tear apart that pretty boy face of his.”
“It’s not gonna happen!” I was getting so pissed off at Eric for that. “Look you’re getting me so mad, I’m going to bed.”
“Fine,I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“I love you.”
“Me too. Bye” She hung up with him. She then heard Jeff’s voice downstairs. She was headed down the stairs when she realized that Jeff and Patsy were talking. So she stopped. She didn’t mean to eavesdrop but she couldn’t help it.
“Patsy, I can’t tell her. I don’t think she’s going to take it well.” Nissa heard him tell Patsy.
“If you don’t tell her, she’s going to resent you for it.”
“I’m not ready to tell her either.”
“Jeff, it’s not fair to her. You owe it to Nissa. She needs to prepare herself.” At that moment Nissa popped into the kitchen.
“Tell me what?” Patsy and Jeff looked at each other. Patsy looked at Jeff with the ‘YOU NEED TO TELL HER!’ look.
“Sweetheart, we need to talk.”
“About what daddy?”
“Well darling. The reason I’m in Texas is not because of a case.” Nissa was confused.
“Really? Then why have you been down here this long?”
“I’ve been going through treatment”
“What for?” She was getting really concerned.
“I have prostate cancer.”
“What? But why?”
“I’ve had it for about 6 years but since I have been so busy at the firm, I hadn’t had a chance to get the treatment done.”
“Has the treatment helped?”
“That’s the thing sweetheart. Since I started so late in getting it done, it’s too late.”
“What do you mean, it’s too late?” She started crying. Nissa couldn’t hold on to that lump in her throat anymore.
“The treatment slowed it down but it has spread so much that the doctors can’t do anything else.” She hugged him. Nissa didn’t know what else to do or what to say. You could tell Patsy was just as heartbroken as her. Nissa gathered all her courage to ask him the dreaded question.
“Does this mean you’re gonna die?”
“Daddy, why didn’t you tell me?” SHe was sobbing so hard, she couldn’t breathe.
“Because I thought I could get the treatment done and get well without alarming you.”
“How long do you have?”
“He said I could last up to a year if I continue the treatment.”
“Are you going to?”
“Sweetheart, for the past 3 years I’ve been fighting something that is not going away. It’s too advanced to even try. I just want it to end.”
“Daddy you can’t leave me. You’re my best friend.”
“Honey, going through treatment makes me weak and I just want to enjoy what’s left of my life without being tired, and sick to my stomach.” Nissa thought about what he said. He was right. The least he could do is finish without all the side effects of cancer treatment.
“You’re right daddy. It’s about you, not me. Thank you for telling me.”
“You know I was thinking, what if you and I go to all of your mom’s favorite places?”
“I’d love that!”
“Good, then we need to go home and pack for a long trip.”
“OK when are we going back?”
“The day after tomorrow.”
“OK daddy” Nissa went up to her room and cried herself to sleep. She had lost her mom and life without her…well it was just lonely and sad. She couldn’t imagine her life without her dad.