Written from a dream and crying while writing... whew. It just got to me. XD
Hope you enjoy it like I did!
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
"Wake up… wakey-wakey…"
Lara scrunched her face against a bright light, feeling a warm hand caressing her face, gently.
"Wake up, my love."
"But I'm still sleepy," she whined to the deep male voice, as it chuckled in amusement.
"No my love, that's not good enough," he reprimanded. "You have to open your eyes now… everybody's waiting…"
Lara shook her head in an attempt to clear her thoughts, wanting to ask the warm voice what it meant, but nothing came out. She painfully peeled her eyes open and was assaulted with the bright light, momentarily leaving her blinded. When the fog on her mind cleared, she saw that she was lying on a hospital bed.
Then all of a sudden, her senses came back into focus in full assault. She groaned in pain and her hand went flying up to her forehead. She needed aspirin.
"Here, drink this."
She let whoever it is assist her tipping the cup back as she drank the life-giving liquid in it.
Lara squinted at the person sitting on the chair beside her bed and was overjoyed.
Her mother came up to hug her and she clung in return. God, how she missed her mother's embrace… her scent… her very essence. Every morning when she was still young, as soon as she came down the stairs to the kitchen, the first thing she smells is not the bacon on the plate, nor the pancakes on a platter, but the lovely sweet scent of her mother.
She pulled back and gazed into her mother's pretty, wrinkled face and smiled.
"How are you?"
Her mother laughed. "I should be the one asking you how you are. You're the one on
"Oh, that's right. Where is dad?"
"Outside… with the others…"
"By others you mean the Kowalski's?"
Her mother nodded. "Sweetie, how are you feeling?"
"I feel fine," then she remembered something. "Mom, I had the nicest dream."
Her mother's face lit up in anticipation. "Do tell."
"I was in a really nice place, like the beaches on Bali that I always wanted to go. I must've fallen asleep on my dream for I wake up to someone who said-…"
"There's my little girl!"
Her tall, silver-haired father came forward to give her a hug then frowned in return.
"You're not so little anymore are ye'?"
Lara giggled. "No dad. I'm definitely older now. But I'll always be your little girl, you know that right?"
"Is she awake? How is she?"
Voices filtered towards her and her room opened wide as several people rushed in at once. Lara's heart lifted at the sight of the number of people who visited her. Well, they have always visited her, but today of all days…
Today was important.
It was the day she's going to have her operation.
Lara knew she's been in the hospital for two weeks now, recovering from an accident where she passed out and was brought to the hospital, only to find out that she has a blood disease and she needed a bone marrow transplant.
Well, according to her parents that is for she couldn't remember anything at all. She only see flashes of light before complete, total darkness. That was what she has always told the doctor who came in to assess her condition.
An aged woman with light blonde hair, hurried forward and sat on the seat, on the other side of her bed.
"Lara, how are you?"
"I'm feeling fine, thank you. How about you?"
"I'm good too."
But Lara saw she didn't look good. She was pretty and wrinkled just like her mother, and she smiled like there was nothing better to do. But Lara could see her jaw set in a grim line and her tired eyes looked more tired than ever. She looked so pale she suit the hospital bed better.
"Aunt Elisa, I'll be fine. I'm ready and besides, Brad has told me everything there is to know in an operation. I kinda feel like I've been in one before," she giggled but the room stiffened involuntarily. She ignored it and looked amongst the familiar faces. "Where is that devil anyway?"
Knowing he has been summoned, a guy with dirty blonde locks and dazzling blue eyes peeked around the doorway, gave her an ice-melting grin before entering her room, carrying a single blue daisy in hand.
"Missed me, already? We've been up all night last night, watching the reruns on Friends. I think I'm going to that operation table with thoughts of Jennifer Aniston's gorgeous ass."
Everybody laughed when Lara reached out and yanked his long nose playfully.
"Not in front of me, my dear man. You know mine is much more delightful than hers."
Brad's teasing look turned serious as he sat on her bed. Lara noticed the others have gone, while her parents and Brad's family stayed and chatted with each other.
Brad cleared his throat as he looked at her.
"Lara… do you remember…"
"I do! Yes, I did remember last night—this time. I think I finally got over my short-term memory loss, because I definitely remembered last night."
Among other things about her disease—like her hair thinning gradually, her face looking sallower and her sudden onsets of weakness and dizziness—memory loss was one of its perks. But Brad assured her that it will come to pass soon.
How soon? He never did say.
Brad grinned wickedly. "You do?"
"Yes, I d-…" She stopped and felt her face burn.
Last night was definitely unforgettable. How could she forget?
Last night… he kissed her. And man, was he a damn good kisser!
And she kissed him back, naturally. Lara didn't know why he kissed her for he was practically a stranger to her! They met like two weeks ago and seeing as they need something from one another, they decidedly made friends, anticipating the joint operation together. But that was that!
Brad Kowalski, according to her parents, needed a heart grafting surgery. When she asked him about it, all he said was that his heart had an opening and he needed a cardiac muscle to cover it—her cardiac muscle that is. Lara in turn, needed a bone marrow transplant and there were no other compatible matches than him.
Seeing as they were bound to be in the same operation together, Brad made all effort to ease her worries for the upcoming operation, by introducing her to a lot of stuff that she must've forgotten.
The television (which Lara thought, must be God's gift to mankind), books, poetry, songs, the flowers (her favorite is the daisy and Brad never forgets to bring her one whenever he came to visit her), the children running around (Brad jokingly asked her how many she wanted and she answered boldly by talking about him of their wedding plans) and all the delights of being alive.
Yep. Brad saved her from herself, that is.
When Lara woke up and found out she was going to die if she didn't get a donor, she wanted to quit already and just die. She often had nightmares and she wakes up in the middle of the night thrashing in bed and calling out bloody murder. Her parents were scared of her and her mother never went home a day that she didn't cry. But after a few days stay in the hospital—she met Brad.
Sweet, kind, caring, gentle and oh so damn hot, Brad.
He was her donor, too!
He reprimanded her for giving up so quickly without a fight, and that was how they spent time together—fun, magical, inseparable… They were quite a pair.
Who knows? Maybe if they both survive the operation, she might take him up on his offer to have babies. God knows, she's attracted to the man!
In all her thirty years, she's never felt such incredible pleasure at the mere sight of those broad shoulders, defined pecs and that unmistakable mouthwatering abs.
Ever since the first time she saw him… her heart leapt in joy although she didn't even know him yet. But Lara have always felt like she's known him all her life.
Brad's dazzling blue eyes turned stormy as it locked gazes with her dark brown ones.
"Lara… do you remember anything from before you got in the hospital?"
Lara grinned. They've been at it almost every time he came to visit.
"No my love, I don't remember."
"Then why did you call me that?"
Lara's brows frowned in confusion. "I always call you 'my love'."
She looked at the window as her gaze turned mellow.
"I don't know… I've always enjoyed your company," she looked at him and gave him her sweetest smile. "You always made me laugh and there is no other person in this cold hospital warmer than my family… oh, and yours too!"
Brad smiled and tugged her into his embrace. Lara let her eyes closed to savor the warmth of his embrace. Hugging a guy never felt this good. There was just something about him that made her think and act like a teenager, throw caution to the wind and ride with him to the ends of the earth.
"Are you nervous about the operation?" she ventured to ask.
Lara pulled back and cupped his cheek. "Don't be. I'll be with you all the way. I promise you that."
Brad leaned forward and planted a kiss on her forehead.
"I know you will. I know you."
Lara chose not to reply as she gazed contentedly at his dazzling blue eyes.
Lara stared at him from the other side, looking so beautiful even if she was in an operating gown. He stared into her soulful brown eyes and felt everything around him make sense.
He gave her a smile as he looked into the blinding lights above him, remembering this morning's conversation with the doctor.
"There is a huge possibility that the operation won't be a success. You've been through one major surgery earlier and your body won't compensate with the change."
"I don't care. I know she will live through with it. I have great faith in you."
Dr. Sims looked at him pityingly. "I know she'll live… I'm not so sure about you."
"Matthew, we've been friends since college. You've known her. You know me! You know I can't live without her… she's my very life."
With that realization, he slumped down on the seat in front of the desk and pushed his palms against his eyelids, praying for the tears to stop from spilling.
"I can't… I just can't… I love her so much, I can't live without her…," this time he didn't stop the tears from flowing for they came right from the very source of all his guilt and heartache. "This is all my fault… if only… I shouldn't have… oh, God..."
Matthew came around and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Brad, I will do everything… and I mean everything to get her through this."
He stood up and walked to the window, looking out but not seeing anything. "You know what happens, right? If we push you through another operation, your body won't hold out any longer and you will die."
"If I don't do this, SHE will die."
"But Brad, Lara could always have blood transfusions to compensate for the blood loss."
"I don't want her to suffer her whole life. I'm going through the operation and I will stand up from that damn operating table and take her back to the room myself."
"Just do it!"
The note of steel determination in his friend's voice made him whip around to look at him. Brad's blue eyes struck him on the spot as he stood up to face the doctor.
"She's all the life I need…"
Lara's soft voice penetrated through his musings and he turned to his left where Lara laid, her eyes slowly drifting close as her body succumbed to the anesthesia.
"Don't be afraid, my love. You'll get through this, I promise."
"Yes…" her voice turned breathy but she fought it.
She inched her hand slowly under the green blanket and reached out for his hand.
He grasped her hands and interlocked their fingers. Then he realized that she was holding something in her hand. He opened their joint palms and saw a crushed blue daisy.
"Wha-…" Brad heard his voice hitch.
Lara smiled sleepily. "For good luck… Brad?"
"Yes, my love?"
"If we get through this… um, will you marry me?"
She was even blushing so adorably amidst the pallor of her face. Brad couldn't stop the tears from running down his cheeks.
"Lara… can't you remember? I asked you that question first… two months ago."
Lara frowned in confusion but her eyes defied her will and completely closed, just as Brad started to feel the drug kicking into his system too.
"Wait for me, will you…" Lara's whisper was barely audible but he heard it loud and clear.
Brad turned to the light and whispered back as his eyes drifted close… for the last time.
"I will… my love."
I will… my love… always.
Lara felt the darkness slowly melt away as she found herself in a place where she always visited in her dreams… the beach.
The sun was just setting and Lara enjoyed the sound of the waves crashing into the shore, the wind whistling through the tress, the tropical birds calling out their twilight prayers… the warmth of the man lying beside her on the cozy hammock.
Lara looked up into the loving blue eyes of her husband and she snuggled deeper into his warm embrace.
"Brad, my love… you know I love you til' the moon and the sun dies."
"And I will always love you, my love, my Lara, even if there is no more sunset or moonlight."
She grinned up at him. "You are such a poet, did you know that?"
"I know you liked it when I told you one last night when we…"
He purposely let the sentence go as images of their wonderful wedding night flooded her brain.
She blushed as Brad drew her deeper into his embrace, watching the sunset. Lara looked up again and grinned wickedly.
"I want something-…"
Brad suddenly stood up and lifted her off the hammock, heading his way inside their beach house.
"Wait, where are you going?"
Brad looked at her so heatedly, a playful smile lifting the corners of his lips.
"Inside. Where else? I thought you said you wanted something more of last night?"
Lara giggled and struggled to her feet.
"No, I said, I want something."
He frowned in confusion. "You mean me-something or something-something?"
She shook her head and kissed his jaw. "I want ice cream."
He sighed but agreed nonetheless. "Alright. Ice cream it is. Although I am a much better choice than ice cream..."
She giggled all the way to the car and they drove off into the night.
Brad and Lara chatted and laughed while they traversed the dark highway to the village, were the stores opened until late in the night. They were busily laughing as Brad drove on that they didn't notice a buck crossing the highway. Lara saw it, pointing it out and Brad swerved to avoid it. The car collided with a ten-wheeler logging truck, sending the car crashing into a tree.
Lara came about and saw blood trickle down her eye. Brad was hanging upside down on his seat, face and clothes splattered with blood as the horns continued blaring and the headlights of the truck blinding her eyes, before she completely lost consciousness.
Wait for me… will you…
I will die without you… but I WILL die for you.
"Wake up… wakey-wakey… Wake up, Lara."
"Brad?" Lara called out into the intense brightness.
"My love, it is time to open your eyes now," his voice was full of humor and warmth and Lara held on to its last vestiges.
"It's time to wake up Lara… you must live…" the voice was getting fainter and fainter but hard and insistent, and Lara struggled to keep the voice. "You must live…"
"Brad, don't go!"
"I love you…"
"No don't leave me… I need you! BRAD!"
Lara sat bolt upright, feeling the name she called out linger in her lips. She looked around at her bright, white room and saw as several people gathered around, looking at her.
"Lara you're awake!"
Her mother stood up and crushed her in a bone-breaking embrace, shoulders shaking as she let worried tears flow. Her father stood behind her, clutching her hand as tears filled his eyes.
"What happened? Where's Brad?" She heard her voice sounding hoarse with un-use.
Everyone in the room stiffened and Lara saw Mrs. Kowalski sobbing in the corner in her husband's embrace. Brad's younger sister was there too, staring out the window and lost in thought.
Lara turned to look at her father. "Do you know how Brad is, daddy?"
Her father wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt but he didn't answer her question. "We thought you weren't going to wake up. You've been asleep for two days without movement… we thought you too…"
"What 'too'," Lara looked at all the grim faces surrounding her and felt tears itching at the back of her eyelids.
"Where's Brad? Why isn't he here? Please, dammit answer me! Where is my husband?"
Her mother looked at her in surprise. "You remember?"
Lara broke into a pained smile as she looked at them all.
This was her family! Why did she ever forget them? And Brad… dear Brad… was her husband! They were married two months ago and they honeymooned on her favorite beach in Bora. She missed her husband so much. All this time!
He was with her… all this time!
She can't wait to see him again and declare that she finally remembers. No wonder he kept on asking every time they met. He was trying to know if her memory was back. And now it was!
Her mother looked away just as Mr. and Mrs. Kowalski approached her bed and gave her a wry smile.
"Oh, mom… dad…" she said, feeling the address fit perfectly with them. They reached for her other hand and Lara closed her eyes in happiness.
She tried to stand up but Mrs. Kowalski pushed her back in bed.
"Where's Brad? I can't wait to see how he is! We've been to the operation together, right? Why didn't he tell me? Why did he have to hide the truth from me? I now remember! We were on our honeymoon. It is not yet over, is it?"
Everyone looked away and Lara's heart dropped to the pit of her stomach. Everyone looked so sad and suddenly she knew that something was wrong. Terribly wrong…
She looked at her sister-in-law standing by the window.
"Stella, where is your brother. Did something happen? He's always making fun of me that I am so going to kill him-…"
"You don't have to do that."
Mr. Kowalski answered just as Stella burst into a wave of tears, clutching a soaked handkerchief in one hand.
"W-What do you mean… Tell me, where Brad is right now! I need to speak to him!"
"He's dead, Lara."
At that simple response, Lara felt the awkward smile slid away from her face, and her heart started pounding erratically in her chest.
Mrs. Kowalski's eyes filled with tears and Lara looked at her blindly through the stream of tears clouding her eyes. She stared at her parent's faces but they also stared at her pityingly.
"Y-You're joking, come on!" Lara swallowed a wave of nausea as she continued to hope. "I-I just heard him calling me! His voice was the one I heard calling me to wake up, that's why I opened my eyes! I heard him!"
Mrs. Kowalski couldn't contain her tears and she sobbed in the seat beside her bed.
She looked at all their faces and saw the truth etched in the way their shoulders sank, the shadows bordering their eyes and the severity of the lines of their faces.
Her mother clutched her hand in hers, silent tears forming on her eyes.
"When you two had that accident, Brad was the one who suffered the most. He went through a severe operation and it helped him but it also proved fatal to his body. You on the other hand went through transfusions but you were dying due to excessive loss of blood. Then the doctor found out that you have bone marrow leukemia. Your brain lost blood on the accident that rendered you to have a temporary amnesia. You needed an immediate bone marrow transplant and there was no other compatible donor for you except Brad."
Lara felt tears fall down her cheeks as the realization of what happened finally caught up with her.
"Brad knew his body couldn't last long and won't definitely stand another major operation after having just gone through one. But he… but he…"
"He chose to let you live and he chose to die instead." Mrs. Kowalski continued as she gazed at Lara with a painful smile on her face.
Then the whole things finally made sense into her muddled brain. He was gone. He left her.
Lara was looking blindly at them. "I told him to wait for me…"
"He did, sweetie. He died yesterday when he came here in your room without the nurse knowing. He… he pulled off all his lines and held your hand… and…," her mother sobbed softly.
Lara felt the tears blur her eyes as she looked down at her clutched fist.
When she opened them, she saw a beautiful blue daisy, crushed and a day aged in dampness.
Brad knew her favorite flower was the daisy and he also used it to court her. The church where they were married was filled with blue daisies, even her hair was pinned up with a brooch shaped like the flower.
"I can't let you go… you are my life…"
Lara remembered his voice, whispered in one of her dreams and she held the withered flower closer to her chest, throat constricted so much she couldn't speak, her heart breaking into pieces and swelling in return, as she let herself be lost in the sadness and despair clawing at her insides.
He said he needed an operation for there was a hole in his heart, in need of a part of hers to fill it up… That man!
Lara realized what he meant and was struck anew with how much Brad sacrificed for her, even if he knew he was exchanging his life in return.
Lara curled to one side and wracked heavy tears into the pillow. She clung to the flower as she felt her body turn warm. Right now, the blood that flows through her heart and into her system—giving her life—was Brad's blood.
His very essence was life to her parched system.
The man she married and swore before the Lord to love until the day she died, was forever gone in her life, but he will forever be with her, in her heart… a part of her.
He gave up his life to give her one.
The room was silent except for Lara's pained sobbing when the doctor knocked and went in.
Lara accepted her friend's hug as he smiled at her awkwardly.
"Lara… Brad wanted you to live and he didn't want it any other way. I… I tried to stop him."
"He is stubborn, you know." She gave him a smile as her heart swelled in joy. "I love him so much… and I miss him too. I can't believe I forgot him, I'm such an idiot!"
Lara looked away and let tears of regret flow freely down her cheeks.
If only she hadn't forgotten who he was… how important Brad was in her life, they could've found another way to cure Lara's sickness and Brad would still be alive. She would've talked some sense into him. Now that he's gone, she was all alone.
Her mother stood up and kissed her forehead, staring deep into her soul.
"No, Lara. Your brain chose to forget him, but your heart surely didn't."
"Oh, mom… I feel so alone and helpless without him. How can I live to know he died for me-…"
"Brad died for his family, Lara." Matthew stared at them all with a compassionate smile. "I have good news."
"What is it, Matthew?" Mr. Kowalski asked as everyone turned to stare at the doctor.
He gazed at Lara and handed her a long white envelope.
Lara's hands shook as she opened it and gazed at the ultrasound result that brought her heart leaping in joy. Her breathing hitched as she brought a hand to her mouth, a fresh new wave of tears bursting out.
Matthew beamed at her. "Congratulations… You're going to be a mother."
This was the life that only Brad's love could give. Brad has given her life… not only for her… but also for their son.
For his family.