Shaky and pale, Kevin slowly exited the doctor’s office.
He’d been feeling tired and nauseated the past few months, but he had attributed it to tour-tiredness. But with the tour over and the symptoms persisted, this time with fevers he couldn’t shake, breathing difficulties and huge bruises that started to appear all over his body.
Blood had been drawn, and a few tests, x-rays and a biopsy had been taken a couple of weeks ago and now he had an answer as to why he was like this.
It was...it was...he couldn’t even think of the word.
Taking a deep breath, Kevin finally whispered the word aloud. “Cancer.”
What was he going to tell his family? What was he going to tell Mike?
The doctor’s office wanted to start chemotherapy treatments right away, but Kevin needed a day or so to get things organized on his end before starting all of this.
Hands shaking as he slowly slid behind the wheel of his vehicle, Kevin felt tears starting to prickle the corner of his eyes and then big shuddering sobs escaped from him as he broke.
Slamming his hands on the steering wheel as he hunched over, tears dripping down his cheeks, Kevin poured out his grief and rage. After a few minutes he tried to settle down and sucked in big gulps of air.
Okay, he could do this. Wiping his face free of tears, he slid his key into the ignition. Kevin turned the car on and pulled out of the parking lot.
He made it home in record time.
No one would be there.
It was just him and his dog; Danielle and him had split up and divorced two years ago. He had met Mike a year ago and they were happy with what time they could get together.
Mike was the guitarist for The Academy Is..., and while Kevin had come out to his family and friends, Mike had not.
Kevin was still a secret to Mike’s friends and family, which was fine with Kevin. He understood that Mike wasn’t ready to ‘come out’ yet; he wouldn’t pressure Mike. But right now, all he wanted was Mike.
Pulling out his cell phone, he texted a quick message to Mike.
i wish i could just hug u right now
Placing his cell on the nightstand, Kevin collapsed onto his bed on top of the covers and whistled for his dog Riley. The yorkie jumped up onto the bed, and Kevin pulled him close and buried his face into the fur.
He didn’t know what to do.
His cell rumbled on his nightstand, picking it up, he smiled softly at the response. i wish i could just hug u right now too
Sighing, he placed it back on the table and curled in close to Riley.
Most of what was discussed in the doctor’s office made Kevin’s head hurt—what kind of treatments could be taken, chemotherapy and side effects.
His cancer even had a name—chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
It often appeared in men much older than him, age fifty. He was one of the rare ones where it appeared early in his age. He had had it for a while, the tests told the doctor, but they had caught it early enough, which apparently was good. But it still scared him.
His doctor even said that it was treatable and his cancer (his cancer!) had a very good chance in going into remission. They just had to find a suitable blood marrow donor and beat the cancer back with chemotherapy.
Easy peasy, apparently. Kevin thought and choked back a sob as he petted Riley.
The doctor could pretty it up as much as he liked with statistics and facts and how Kevin had a good chance, but the fact was—he had ‘The Big C’.
And all he wanted right now was his family and Mike. Especially Mike.
As he breathed deeply, Kevin gave Riley one last scratch near his ears and sat up on the edge of his bed. Shuddering, Kevin ran his hands through his face and then his hair. He paused with a small fistful of hair caught in his fingers. Was he going to lose his hair?
That was a silly thought. Here he was—sick—and he was thinking about his hair.
Shaking his head, Kevin grabbed his cell and pressed the contact number to phone his Mom. He had to tell them. He had to tell his family. But he didn’t know how to tell him.
A tear tracked down his cheek as his Mom answered the phone.
“Hey Mom,” Kevin’s voice cracked. “Yeah, I just got back from the doctor’s office. I need to call a family meeting.” He paused at his Mom asking a question, shaking his head before realizing she couldn’t see him. “No, Mom. It’s not good.”
He’d tell his family at the family meeting tonight and then he’d tell Mike when he was in later this week.
The Academy Is... was in town this week for some recording, and Mike said he’d be able to slip away to meet up. Kevin could last that long; he could be strong for that long.
Kevin sat perched at the end of the couch in his family home, near the armrest, hands clasped in front of him with his head bowed. He just shared his big news with the family, and right now, it was silent.
“You’re joking right, Kev?” Nick asked incredulously.
Shaking his head no, Kevin hunched in further into himself. “The doctor said he caught it early enough that it has a very good chance of going into remission.”
“What kind of chance?” Mr. Jonas asked, subdued.
“About eighty percent,” Kevin recited. “I haven’t had much of a chance to do any kind of research. I just got the news today.”
Mrs. Jonas came up and sat beside Kevin, pulling him into a hug. “Have you told Mike yet, sweetie?”
“No,” Kevin whispered as he leaned into his Mom. “I was going to wait until I saw him in person later this week. I couldn’t tell him over the phone.” He bit back a sob. “It didn’t feel right.”
“W-w-when,” Joe stammered, then swallowed and tried again. “When do you start chemo?”
“They wanted me to start today, but I needed a day to tell all of you,” Kevin said, wringing his hands. “So I said I would start tomorrow.”
“You should’ve started today, Kevin,” Mr. Jonas admonished, a hand on Frankie’s shoulder.
“What difference would’ve it had made, Dad?” Kevin exploded as he stood up out of his Mom’s hug. “Today? Tomorrow? I’ll still have cancer! I just wanted one day!” And then to his horror, tears started to trail down his cheeks as he tried to bit back the choking sobs that threatened to erupt from his throat. Joe and Nick came up beside Kevin and embraced him in a tight hug.
They whispered words of comfort as they stroked his back and arms.
Slowly getting control of himself, Kevin leaned against his brothers. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean— I didn’t mean to—”
“Kevin,” Nick said firmly and Kevin found himself looking into Nick’s face. “It’s okay, big bro.” A forced laugh escaped from Nick’s lips. “I think if anyone deserves to break down a little bit right now, it’s you.”
Kevin let his own laugh escape from his lips as he felt Nick and Joe hug him harder. His Mom and Dad joined them a few seconds later as Frankie wormed his way in between legs and hugged Kevin around the waist.
“We’re here for you, Kevin,” Frankie promised.
Kevin started chemotherapy the next day. The medicine felt like it was burning his veins away as it coursed through him. Attacking the cancerous cells that threatened his life.
He was essentially poisoning himself to get better.
And his entire family was here to see him do this, making him feel loved and blessed that he had his family’s support in all of this.
The nurse smiled at him as she removed the IV, pressured the wound with a cotton ball and taped it up. “All done sweetie.”
Kevin tried to muster up a smile at the nurse, but it felt forced and fake. The chemotherapy would be administered in cycles where a treatment period would be followed by a break period. The purpose of this kind of treatment was to achieve a complete remission.
Complete remission—he could only hope and pray. His faith right now was kind of shaky, though.
God never gave anyone more than they could handle, but right now, it felt like too much.
He will have about eight weeks of treatments followed by his break period, where the hospital staff will test his blood count and see how it is. In the meantime, his family will look at the option of donating marrow to him and how it can help him out.
They will all undergo some type of testing to see if their marrow is viable enough to help him. There are better chances in finding healthy marrow in family members. If there are no matches, the hospital will look at their donor pool and see if anyone there is a match for him.
Bundled up, hats and sunglasses on, the family herded him out of the hospital and into two separate vehicles—Nick, Joe and Kevin in one vehicle and Mr. and Mrs. Jonas with Frankie in the other. They pulled out of the hospital and headed towards Kevin’s home.
Kevin wanted to do this in his own home, and his brothers were going to move in for a bit. His mom and dad wanted him to move back to their home, but if he was going to be sick and get better, he needed it somewhere he felt comfortable and safe.
His parent’s house—he didn’t feel that comfort or that safety there anymore. It wasn’t home.
Sighing as the car pulled up to the gated community, Kevin heard Nick entering in the code and just stared as the scenery passed them by. The car paused in front of his house, and he got out.
He felt tired and out of place in his own body.
“You doing alright there, Kevin?” Joe asked as he and Nick flanked Kevin.
“Just tired,” Kevin mumbled. “Going to go take a nap.”
“Okay, Kev,” Nick agreed and hugged Kevin. “Just get some rest big bro.”
Smiling softly, Kevin returned the hug and then reluctantly let go to head into the house.
Nick and Joe watched in concern as their parents pulled up with Frankie.
“This is all kinds of messed up, Nick,” Joe groused as he ran a hand through his hair.
“I know,” Nick agreed. “Just, why? Why him?”
Joe wordlessly pulled Nick into a hug and then the two followed their parents and Frankie into the house.
Mike was frustrated.
He was supposed to have been sneaking away to go see Kevin a couple of days ago, but recording ran a bit longer than anticipated and William had a sudden inspiration on a song that had been plaguing the band for a while now.
And while Mike understood inspiration just happened and you had to go with the flow, it interrupted his time with Kevin.
When he managed to get away a couple days ago to phone and let Kevin know of the delay, he felt that there was something missing. Kevin’s voice sounded forced and fake. It sounded wrong to Mike and he wanted to get over there right away to sooth whatever issue was making Kevin sound like that.
Angrily kicking his guitar case shut, instrument put away, Mike could only sigh out his frustration as they finished recording for the day.
“Michael!” William cried out as he draped his body over Mike. “Why so glum, chum?”
“Get off,” Mike growled out and pushed William off of him.
William hit the floor with a thud and turned wounded fake hurt eyes at Mike.
“Quit faking, Bill,” Mike said and offered a hand to help his lead singer up.
“Oh Michael! You do love me!” William grinned as he took the offered limb and let himself be hauled upwards.
“Do not,” Mike mumbled and let William drape over him.
“Now Mike, you know I am not a stupid man, but why did you think you could get away with this?”
Stiffening, Mike considered punching William in the junk and running away. “Get away with what?”
“Why, with whatever little bunny you have stashed away here in the glorious city of Angels?”
Mike could feel the grin against his cheek.
“There’s a taxi waiting outside for you to give directions to. Sisky packed you a bag for a couple of days and it’s waiting in the trunk of the taxi.” Mike felt himself being turned around so William was leaning his forehead against the top of Mike’s head. “Now, go see your young lady friend, the one you’ve been hiding the past year and we expect to see you in two days times, fresh and ready for more recording.”
Leaning into William a little bit, he nodded and pulled William into a quick hug. “Thanks.”
“You’ve been smiling more and grumping less this past year, Michael,” William said gently and pulled away. “I don’t know why you haven’t introduced her to us yet, but I’m sure there’s a good reason.”
“Yeah, there is,” Mike said softly. A good reason, like her being a him, and how Mike was bisexual, but the guys thought he was straight.
“All right, well when you can, we definitely want to meet her,” William grinned at Mike, tapping Mike’s nose. “Now, go visit your lady love and come back to us in a better mood.”
Mike chuckled and bid William goodbye as he headed for the main doors that led out of the recording studio and to the taxi that the others had gotten for him.
Sliding into the back seat of the taxi, he asked if his bag was in the trunk and once assured it was, he fired off the address to Kevin’s gated community.
The taxi rumbled as it pulled away from the recording studio and Mike pulled out his cell phone to fire off a quick text to Kevin to let him know he was on his way—finally!
2 days of freedom finally on my way 2 c u
Breathing a sigh of relief, Mike relaxed into the backseat of the taxi and watched the scenery pass him by.
His phone buzzed in his hand and he glanced down at the screen. A soft smile graced his face.
cant wait 2 c u 2 <3
In no time at all, the taxi pulled up in front of the gated community where Kevin’s house was nestled behind the iron and stone gate that stood ominously. Tossing a handful of cash at the taxi driver and telling him to keep the change, Mike got out of the taxi and pulled his bag out of the trunk that popped open.
Walking up to the front doors, Mike entered in the code he had memorized and watched as the doors opened. It took him twenty minutes to reach the two-story house with a pool in the back that Kevin called home.
His pace quickened to the front door of the house as he dug out his own key. Pushing it into the lock, he was about to turn it when the doorknob turned on its own and the door opened.
A greeting almost escaped from Mike’s lips, thinking it was Kevin opening the door when he realized it was Joe.
“Joe?” Mike asked confused. “What are you doing here?”
“Hey Mike,” Joe greeted Mike and grabbed the bag. “Let me get that for you. Kevin’s waiting for you upstairs.”
Confused, Mike walked into the house and saw that Nick was here as well. “What’s going on, guys?”
“We can’t visit our brother?” Nick voiced the question aloud, but the tone of voice sounded wrong to Mike. Almost as wrong as Kevin sounded when they managed to talk a couple of days ago.
“What’s wrong?” Mike asked immediately.
“Look, Mike, just go upstairs and talk to Kevin first,” Joe said gently. “He’ll explain everything.”
Glancing at the two, both looking at him with concern, Mike nearly raced up the stairs and to Kevin’s bedroom. “Kevin!”
Kevin was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking small and young.
Crouching down in front of Kevin, Mike gently lifted Kevin’s face up with his fingers and looked into his boyfriend’s eyes. “Hey you.”
Kevin gave a watery smile. “Hey.” He gently kissed Mike on the cheek then peppered Mike’s face with little kisses before settling his forehead on Mike’s shoulder and breathing in a steady rhythm.
Hands came up and stroked Kevin’s back in a comforting manner. “You okay? You’re not breaking up with me, are you?” He joked.
Startled, Kevin sat up, eyes wide. “NO! No I’m not breaking up with you, but after I tell you what’s going on I’m not sure you’ll still want to be with me.”
Mike brought his hands up to Kevin’s face and brought him forward kissing Kevin on the lips, deeply and fully. “Whatever you tell me, I’ll still want to be with you, Kev.”
Tears prickled Kevin’s eyes before he took a deep breath and spoke. “I’m sick.”
“Okay,” Mike said slowly. “What kind of sickness?”
Kevin mumbled something Mike couldn’t hear and moved his hands to Kevin’s shoulders. “What was that, babe? I couldn’t hear you.”
“I said I have cancer.”
Stilling, Mike knew his hands were tightening on Kevin’s shoulders but all he could hear was cancercancercancercancer.
Shaking his head, Mike let go of Kevin’s shoulders. “Sorry, just, did you go to the doctor? Are they sure about this?”
“Yes, the doctor was very sure,” Kevin nodded.
“What kind of cancer?”
“It’s called chronic lymphocytic leukemia,” Kevin explained. “My family is being tested to see if their bone marrow matches mine, to be donors, and I was hoping you would too.”
“Of course, babe! You know I will,” Mike said, kissing Kevin on the cheek and then a thought occurred to him. “How long have you known you’ve been sick?”
“Almost a couple of weeks,” Kevin said softly. “But I’ve been tired and sick the past couple of months and then there were bruises before that.”
Mike remembered seeing the bruises while they were intimate, but he attributed it to Kevin being a bit clumsy. “Two weeks and you’re only telling me now?”
Kevin looked hurt. “I couldn’t tell you something this important over the phone. It wasn’t right.”
Any angry retort that Mike might’ve said died on his tongue as he really looked at how sad and hurt Kevin looked. He pushed down the urge to punch something and pulled Kevin into a hug. “Okay, I understand why you didn’t tell me until now.” He didn’t like it, but he understood.
Sagging into the hug, Kevin soaked up all the warmth and love that Mike was giving him.
“Have you started chemo yet?”
Kevin nodded against Mike’s chest. “A day after I got the news.” Then he stiffened; a queasy feeling in his stomach. Kevin broke away from Mike’s hold and sprinted to his in-suite bathroom and fell forward in front of the toilet as he threw up his breakfast.
A hand rubbed circles on his back as he continued to heave. Taking a couple of deep breaths as he finished, Kevin spat out the leftover bile in his mouth and reached up to flush the toilet.
Slowly getting to his feet, Kevin leaned backwards into the hand that had never left his back.
Kevin nodded against Mike’s chest. “Side effects of the chemo.”
“All right,” Mike said. “How about you rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth, and we’ll go lie down on the bed. Get some rest.” He ran a hand through Kevin’s hair.
“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,” Kevin agreed sleepily. “The chemo has been making me extra sleepy.”
Mike smiled softly at Kevin. “I’ll go get the bed ready.”
Mike padded out of the bathroom and went to go turn the bed covers down when he realized he was holding something in his hand. Glancing down, Mike felt his stomach flip as he saw he was holding a small clump of curly hair—Kevin’s hair.
Quickly tossing the hair into a nearby trash bin, Mike pulled the bed covers back and changed into a pair of sweat pants and tried not to cry. He needed to be strong at the moment for Kevin.
Mike laid down on the bed and smiled as Kevin came out and changed into his own pair of sweats. They were long past any type of discomfort that nakedness might show to them.
Watching lazily as Kevin crawled under the covers and curled up close to him, Mike pulled the blanket over top of them and wrapped his arms around Kevin.
“Hey, love you, babe,” Mike said to Kevin with a smile.
Kevin smiled back. “Love you too.”
It was a few hours later and Mike was still awake. Kevin was curled up around him and finally sleeping. Brushing a hand through Kevin’s hair, Mike was careful not to let his fingers get tangled and grab any more clumps of hair. He still had yet to tell Kevin what happened earlier.
Slowly untangling himself from Kevin’s arms, who made an unhappy noise at the lost of warmth, Mike grabbed one of his pillows and placed it in Kevin’s arms. Kevin snuggled into it, soft snuffling sounds escaping from his nose and lips.
After taking care of business in the bathroom, Mike headed down to the kitchen in search of something to eat and drink. What he finds instead is Nick and Joe eating.
“He finally told you?” Nick asked Mike.
Mike nodded. Not trusting his own voice, he might start breaking things if he spoke.
Joe and Nick exchanged a look before heading over to Mike and pulling him into a quick hug.
“Thanks, munchkins,” Mike lightly joked and gave them a quick hug back.
“Where’s Kevin?” Nick asked as he went back to his sandwich.
“Asleep upstairs,” Mike answered. “He was throwing up a bit earlier.”
Joe nodded, sighing. “Yeah, side effects of the chemo.”
“What are the other side effects?” Mike asked. “Kevin didn’t go much into this, and I didn’t want to push him when it took so much to tell me.”
“Loss of appetite, vomiting, loss of hair, tiredness and weakness,” Nick explained as he ticked a finger off for each symptom. “There’s more, but those are the most common ones we were told.”
“Shit,” Mike sighed as he ran a hand through his short hair. “He doesn’t deserve this.”
“No, he doesn’t,” Nick agreed.
A crash from upstairs had them startled out of their melancholy mood as the trio raced upstairs. They dashed into Kevin’s room and approached the bathroom. They saw the oldest Jonas brother sitting on the ground amongst the broken remains of the mirror, a clump of hair clutched in his bloodied hand.
“I just went to brush my hair,” Kevin said slowly and he held his hand up with the hair clutched in it. “And it fell out and then something broke.”
Something in Mike splintered, but he wrapped it up and tossed it to the darkest corner of his mind as he carefully stepped forward. Kevin’s hand was a mess. “Let’s get you cleaned up, babe.”
Kevin glanced down and finally noticed his hand was bloody. A soft noise of surprise escaped from his lips. “Oh!” And then the pain hit. “Ow.”
“Joe, go grab the first aid kit; Nick, go grab a broom and dust pan to clean this glass up,” Mike ordered the two as they ran back downstairs. Hauling Kevin up, Mike snagged a towel and brought Kevin over to the edge of the bed.
Mike dabbed at the cuts, looking at Kevin in concern. “Babe?”
“Sorry, I’m just—sorry,” Kevin apologized as he ducked his head. “I didn’t mean to break the mirror, it just kind of hit me all at once and then—”
“The mirror looked at you funny, and you decided to punch its lights out?” Mike joked lightly.
Kevin chuckled. “Yeah, something like that.”
“All right,” Mike said and pulled Kevin into a hug. “How about next time you let me punch the mirror out?”
Joe and Nick returned quickly, breaking off as Nick went to go clean up the glass shards in the bathroom and Joe brought the first aid kit over to Mike and Kevin.
Mike and Joe pulled out gauze, tweezers and Neosporin to clean the cuts up. Glass was carefully picked out with the tweezers, the Neosporin was applied all over the cuts and then the gauze was used to wrap up Kevin’s hand with care.
Nick soon returned, his task completed as he looked over in concern.
Looking up, Kevin offered a shy smile to his younger brother. “I’m all right, Nick.”
An eyebrow was raised. Kevin raised his own eyebrow in return.
The matter was settled.
END PART 1.