When they had found out how sick she was, they'd remained optimistic that she would get better quickly, but as time passed, it became clear that this was not to be the case. Cyran wished he'd pushed her to go visit the doctor sooner, that he hadn't ignored her symptoms just because she herself had, that he'd been able to find a cure. It crucified him that he was a scientist that had discovered cures for hundreds of illnesses, but that the cure he needed the most remained elusive. Claire stirred in her sleep, for a few seconds she grimaced in pain, but the moment passed and slowly her features relaxed. Mentally, she was still the same person, but physically, the body before him was less than a shadow of it's former self.
Her bright eyes, whilst still retaining their fierce determination, had lost their sparkle. Her soft supple curves, were now just flesh that hung on bones. Her peach skin, no longer luminous and warm, possessed a greyish tint and was too sensitive to touch, and her fiery red hair was gone. Washed down the drain as Cyran had climbed into the bath with her, fully clothed and held her while her quivering body had released heart wrenching cries. All of these were the unwanted side effects of the numerous pills and treatments she was receiving. She said she felt like an alien inhabiting somebody else's body, he didn't know how to respond other than to tell her that she was his alien and that she made a damn beautiful one.
Cyran noticed that at first she would study their wedding pictures down to the last detail and compare herself. As time passed, she did it less and less, and now she didn't look at all. Cyran had studied them too, but for a different reason. He was scrutinizing them because he wanted to pinpoint the exact moment this awful thing had infiltrated her body. They had been so blissfully happy and so oblivious to what was going on, if only he'd . . . Suddenly he couldn't breathe, his chest felt like it was about to burst. He abruptly turned and walked into the bathroom. The door had barely shut before he slid down it, eyes shut tightly, tears running down his face, biting his fist as he tried to stifle the painful sobs that wracked his body.
He didn't want to admit how bad things had gotten, but he'd become so desperate he'd done something he was sure Claire would never forgive him for. He'd called her mother. Claire had said little about the woman and from the curt conversation he'd had with her, he knew why. She was vile but she was coming to see Claire, or so she said. And then there was their friends, and Kaci. Claire hadn't wanted to tell anyone, let alone Kaci. Cyran had begged her to tell Bessie and Buster and reluctantly she had. She'd avoided their friends as much as she could but eventually it had proved impossible, Nancy and Molly had pushed aside their differences long enough to ambush Claire and Cyran's home, pushing past an exhausted Cyran to see Claire.
Of course, they were completely shocked by their friends failing health and countless tears and "I love you's", followed. Nancy told Geoffrey and he had called Cyran immediately. Cyran couldn't fault their friends, when the shit hit the fan, and in epic proportions, they hadn't run. Bessie, Nancy and Molly had each come over regularly to take care of Claire or even just sit with her and give a reluctant Cyran a break while the men took him out or just generally tried to take his mind off of things. He was glad they were there, but all he wanted was for his fragile wife to be well again.
He heard Claire stirring in the living room. Standing up, he quickly wiped his eyes on his sleeves as he tried to disguise that he'd been crying. When he walked back into the living room, she was still lying down with her eyes closed, too tired to sit up on her own, but it was time for her medication. As he helped a fragile Claire sit up, Kaci crossed his mind again. He knew they were going to have to tell her at some point, Nancy and Geoffrey had promised not to tell Malcolm and Molly promised the same with Sandi but Cyran knew they couldn't keep this from Kaci forever. She would be coming back home soon for spring break and would no doubt wonder why she hadn't seen or actually spoken to her mother in over a month. He wasn't sure how much longer they could hide this from her and time didn't appear to be on their side.