Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in anyway with Roswell. (Roswell Quotes is
all mine, however. Come visit me at www.roswellquotes.com.) Shameless, I
know but had to do it. :-)|
Summary: Post JTNY. Liz is getting sick, and her friendships are tested as the gang struggles to help her. No one is getting any sleep as Michael and Isabel start having strange dreams.
Authors Note: This was written before ARC, based on what Max said about not being able to just heal people in LN. As always, your feedback is much appreciated.
|Nancy and Jeff Parker sat quietly in the hard plastic chairs provided in the
waiting room at Roswell Memorial. There were a few other families standing
around waiting there, too. Some people were flipping through magazines.
Still others were reading some novel or another. One man was actually
typing away on his laptop.
They marveled on his apparent concentration. Was it concentration or lack
of concern for the loved one he was supposedly here waiting for news of?|
For some reason, his industriousness was pissing Nancy off, and she was fighting the urge to toss him and his stupid computer out the open window. She figured she needed to have something to focus the helpless anger that had been building in all the time they'd been sitting here, so she distracted herself with plotting the hapless man's death.
Doctors had come and gone as well as scores of nurses and other hospital personnel. Each one was very careful to not make eye contact with anyone sitting in the waiting room. Most of them didn't even look into the room at all, preferring to pass on by, like they were pretending that there weren't a handful of people inside waiting. And waiting and waiting.
Some were waiting for word of a friend or family member's condition. A few were waiting for the appearance of the patient themselves for they get to go home and leave this place behind like an unpleasant memory. Go home and forget the anxiety etched on everyone else's face. What did they care about other people's misery? They were at home. Safe and warm in their own bed, not surrounded by cold strangers and beeping machines in a sterile environment.
The Parkers had been waiting for what seemed like two eternities, when it had actually been only four hours, for some word on their daughter. Their first sign that something was wrong with Liz was when she hadn't come down for breakfast before school. Nancy went into her room to check on her only to find her daughter passed out on the bathroom floor, her head bleeding profusely from where she had apparently cracked it on the edge of the sink as she had fallen. There was blood everywhere, and for one terrifying moment, she'd thought that Liz was dead. The short trip to the hospital in the wake of the screaming ambulance had been the longest one they'd ever under taken, only to have it end here at the waiting room where time had crawled to a stop.
Finally, the door opened and someone stepped into the room. Jeff spotted their family doctor first and jumped to his feet at the sight of the older man. "Doctor," he held his hand out which the other man grasped warmly.
"Jeff, Nancy. Liz is resting quietly. She came to earlier and we had to all but tie her to her bed to keep her in it. She's a feisty one, isn't she?" he said with a smile. "She insisted that I tell you to call the school. She apparently had a test in one of her classes that she's upset at having missed today."
Seeing by the expressions on their faces that they preferred that he cut to the chase he said, "She's pretty weak right now from loss of blood. We had to stitch the gash on her head, but she had no other injury that we could find, so there's good news."
"So, can we take her home, doctor?" Nancy asked.
"I'm sorry, but I want to keep her overnight. Head wounds are not something to fool around with, you know. A concussion could still set in." He took a deep breath and got serious, "Now, Nancy, Jeff, I don't want to alarm you, but there's also something else. Since you said that you thought she'd been feeling unwell for a while now, we took a few x-rays earlier to see if there might be some cause of it, and there's an abnormality on one of them, which frankly has us perplexed. Has Liz..."
"Abnormality? What do you mean, doctor?" Jeff interrupted.
He held up his hand placatingly. "Just hear me out. Has Liz ever been exposed to undue amounts of radiation of some kind?"
"Radiation? No. Doctor, what's this about?" despite his warning, Nancy was getting alarmed.
"You know, does she stand near, a microwave or copier or something similar for long periods of time on a regular basis?" he clarified, in case they weren't thinking of all the possibilities.
"No. Nothing like that."
"Her x-rays are showing some sort of a growth in her abdomen. At first, we thought it might be a cyst, but after a few tests, we're feeling comfortable in ruling that out. Unfortunately, that has us leaning toward a tumor, or some other type of cancerous growth."
Nancy gasped and brought her hand to her mouth, certain she was going to lose the egg salad sandwich that was sitting in her stomach like a ball of lead.
Jeff wasn't much better off. His ears were ringing as he choked out, "Cancer?"
"Oh my god!" Nancy buried her head in his shoulder.
"Now we're not certain about anything yet. We're keeping Liz over night and we're going to run a few tests on her. We'll probably wind up taking a sample of the material to test in the lab. That'll give us a better idea of what we're dealing with. I'm talking a basic in and out procedure, here, nothing to be worried about." He placed his hand comfortingly on each of their shoulders. "Let's concentrate on the positive here. Perhaps it's just a growth that can be removed surgically, with little to no trauma. Liz could be home by the weekend. We'll know more tomorrow after the tests. For now, I'm going to suggest that you both go home and get some rest."
"Can we see her, doctor?"
He paused, weighing the needs of the healthy to the needs of the sick. Finally, he answered, "Ok, but only for a short visit. She'll need plenty of rest for the coming days if we wind up having to operate."
In no time, they were both gathered around a perplexed Liz. "But why can't I leave? I'm telling you guys that I'm fine. I just slipped on the wet floor this morning. Other than a headache, I'm ok. I need to get to school. This is finals week, you know. Mrs. Somet is giving us our study guides today."
"I'll have Maria pick it up for you, but you are staying here."
"Mom, this is... this is totally ridiculous... I'm fine. Why can't I just go home?" Liz was getting worried. She sensed that there was something they weren't telling her.
Nancy saw the look of determination on her daughter's face and nearly crumbled. Cancer. What if Liz had cancer? She couldn't bear the thought of losing her beautiful, intelligent daughter. Not before she'd really had a chance to live. It just wasn't fair. Tears welled up and rolled down her face.
Liz couldn't believe what she was reading on her mother's face. "Mom?" Her voice was shaky. "Mom... what is it? What's wrong?" She looked to her dad, and was nearly paralyzed by the look on his face. "Dad? What's going on?"
Jeff sat gingerly on the side of her bed and took her cold hand in his much larger, warmer one. "Liz, honey. The doctors want to keep you overnight. They want to run a few tests on you."
"Why?" Her question came out as a soft whisper. She was already dreading the answer.
"They said that there was something odd about one of your x-rays. Now they're sure it's probably nothing, but they just..."
"What dad? What did they see?" Liz interrupted, wanting him to get to the point.
It was her mom that answered. "They found something near your stomach, honey. A growth." Nancy reached out and placed her own hand on Liz's torso, exactly two inches below her ribs. Liz's eyes widened in sudden realization. She almost didn't hear the rest of what Nancy was saying about it probably being nothing, but they wanted to run a few more tests. The only thing that came through clearly was, "...take a sample. Then they'll know for sure what it is."
Jeff squeezed her hand reassuringly, but Liz paid no attention to it. She had to get her hands on those x-rays and then she had to get out of here. She was afraid that she could guess what the growth was composed of and she couldn't let anyone else find out. Her eyes focused on her parents' worried faces as her mind was quickly putting together a plan. "Mom, do you think it would be ok if I called Maria? I really need some stuff from school. If she can bring it by after school, then I'll have something to do tonight other than worry about being here by myself."
Nancy looked in amazement at her daughter. She was taking the news a lot better than she was and Jeff had. That's young people for you, she thought. "Sure honey. That'll be ok." She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and handed it to Liz.
Hands shaking lightly, Liz quickly dialed. The phone rang once, twice. She had to prevent herself from showing the anxiety that was coursing through her. Please, please, pick up, she prayed. On the third ring, she heard a click.
"Maria!" Liz all but shouted. "Maria, it's Liz."
"Liz? Where are you babe? I was getting worried." Maria was sitting in the quad. Lunch was almost over and she'd been just about to call the CrashDown to check on her friend.
"Yeah, well, me, too. Listen, Maria. I need you to do me a huge favor. I'm in the hospital..."
"What!?" Maria's screech could be heard by everyone in the room. Liz had already taken the phone away from her ear in anticipation of her friend's reaction, but still winced in sympathy.
"Maria. Maria! I'm fine, I just fell in the bathroom and had to get a few stitches. I need you to do something for me, ok. They're keeping me overnight. They want to do a few tests. Can you bring me all the stuff I need to write that report on Czechoslovakia ? This place reminds me way too much of the hospital Max was in last summer. I need something to do."
"Liz what are you talking about?"
"Maria, please. Just do it. You know which three books I need, right? And could you bring me a sweater, too? This hospital gown is way too drafty."
"Liz are you asking what I think you're asking, because if you are..."
"Maria," Liz cut her off. "The sooner you get here, the better. The walls are way too white as it is, and the longer I sit here, the whiter they're getting. You know what I mean?" Liz asked, trying to make her tone light, hoping her parents don't pick up on the double meaning. "I'll go crazy in here. I need something to take my mind off of the forced captivity. Can you do that for me?"
Maria's mind was swimming. "Yeah. Yeah babe. I'll be there with all of the Czechoslovakian stuff you can stand."
"Thanks, Maria. I'm at Roswell Memorial, room..." here she looked at her dad. Jeff mouthed the number and she repeated it into the phone: "254. See ya soon, ok?"
"I'm on my way." Maria reassured her.
They hung up. "Thanks mom. That'll help the night to pass quicker," Liz said as she handed the phone back.
Nancy leaned forward to kiss her daughter's cheek. "We should get going. Try to get some rest, 'k?"
"Oh, I will. I promise." Liz faked a yawn as she scooted further down in the bed. Each of her parents took a turn kissing her forehead before taking their leave.
Liz ran a hand across her flat tummy. If there was a 'growth' in there, she was afraid she knew what it was. At the end of the summer, when the body of Agent Pierce had been dug up, Nasedo had told them of a substance called Cadmium-X, which is an isotope of Cadmium. It was created as a result of Max and the others using their powers, and is not indigenous to this planet in any form. How stupid could she be? Even as Max was explaining the whole thing to her, it never occurred to her that Max's healing of her could have contained the same alien side effect that marked the death of Agent Pierce.
She had to get out of the hospital before anyone came to do any tests on her. If her suspicion was right, then identification of the substance causing the growth put not only herself at risk, but the others as well. She needed to get her hands on the x-rays the doctor had taken, and she needed to get out of here, not necessarily in that order.
|Part 7 | Index | Part 9|
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