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Author's Chapter Notes:
Alyssa gets the courage to call up Izzy.

Chapter 3


For the life of me I cannot remember, What made us think that we were wise and we'd never compromise...- Freshmen, The Verve Pipe

The phone rang... and rang... and rang. It's going to go to voicemail, Alyssa predicted. I should just hang up and call back later. She was just about to give up when she heard the familiar click of someone picking up on the other line.  "Hello?" she heard Izzy's familiar souther drawl answer.

"Izzy? It's me, Alyssa," she said slowly, realizing that it was to late to change her mind.

       "Alyssa! Oh my God! It's so great to hear your voice!" Izzy exclaimed. "How are you doing?"

       "I'm all right. I just got your e-mail. So you're moving to the Big Apple, huh?"

       "Yea! I'm super excited! Tristan's record company is hooking us up with the cutest little apartment right in SoHo. I'll be right off Fashion Ave. Just think... Armani... Louis Vuitton... Dolce & Gabanna... All within walking distance. My credit card company is going to love me!" she said with a laugh.

       Alyssa had to laugh too, even though her days of shopping at those kind of stores were long gone now. They were buried somewhere along with her relationship with Nick.  It had been nice when Nick would give her his credit card and tell her to "treat herself to something nice," but now that she was on her own, she had been forced to become a much more thrifty shopper and those designer names were no longer part of her wardrobe.

       "Well, I'm not exactly living it up in SoHo, but I got myself a nice little place near Central Park," she continued.

       "You're living in New York City now too?" Izzy asked excitedly. "Since when?"

       "Since like last month? I just moved out into my own place again after I graduated. I've always loved New York City and its easier to get a teaching job out here apparently, so I figured why not?"

       "That's awesome! We're going to be practically neighbors! We'll have to get together when I arrive. It'll be just like old times!"

       Yea, old times, Alyssa thought with a smirk. Nothing can be like old times.  Changing the subject, she asked, "So, when are you guys moving out here?"

       "In like two weeks if you'd believe it. We just found out the beginning of this month, so Tristan and I are completely stressed out with trying to pack everything up for the move," Izzy explained.

       "Wow, that really must be tough," she sympathized.

       "It is! But anyway, how are you? How is everyone? Happy belated birthday by the way."

       "Thanks. I'm doing okay. Trying to get adjusted to life here. My parents are still my parents. Still bugging the hell out of me by calling everyday to invite me home for dinner."

       "And your sisters?"

       "They're good. Meg just recently got married and is living with her husband in New Jersey and Stephanie is living here in the city at NYU. I just was out with her last night actually," she reported.

       "Meg is married? Oh wow! AJ's going to be heartbroken," Izzy predicted.

       Alyssa just shrugged. "I love AJ and all, but he fucked up big time with my sister, but then again I guess he was just going through a lot. It just wasn't meant to be for them." Just like with me and Nick, she added silently.

       "Oh shit! I'm really sorry! I'd love to sit and talk longer, but I just missed a call from the moving company that I have to return right away. The next two weeks are just going to be completely crazy for me, so I'll just give you a call as soon as I get settled in New York and we'll get together okay?" Izzy interrupted.

       "That'll be great," Alyssa agreed, not annoyed in the least bit. She understood completely how busy Izzy must have been. "Talk to you soon."

       "Uh huh, bye!" she said before hanging up.

       Alyssa sighed as she clicked her phone off. In one sense she was super excited to see Izzy again, but on the other hand she wondered if it would be weird. She and Izzy now lived in two completely different worlds. Not only that, but as their conversation about Meg and AJ had reminded her that talk about the guys would only be inevitable.

       Meg and AJ, now that had been an interesting tale, she thought to herself. Stephanie had not been her only sister to show up on unexpectedly on her doorstep in Florida. Meg had done it over a year earlier, totally out of the blue. She had been living with her boyfriend, Josh, at the time who she had been with since she had graduated high school. The pair had headed off to California when Meg was barely 19. At that point Meg ceased any contact with any of the members of the Martinelli family. Until that one day, almost four years later,  when Meg showed up at her apartment covered in bruises. As it turned out, the uncomfortable feeling that Alyssa had always had about Josh turned out to be true.

       She had been shocked when out of nowhere Meg and AJ seemed to instantly hit it off together. It was so subtle how it happened. One day they barely knew each other, and the next they couldn't keep their hands off one another. The attraction totally bewildered Alyssa. AJ was one of her best guy friends, but she didn't think that him and Meg would ever be a potential couple. Besides she thought Meg would've sworn of men for at least a while after Josh.

       And then the unthinkable happened. The blow that without a doubt was the hardest ordeal ever placed on Alyssa's family. She could still vividly remember the details of that night, the longest night she had ever lived...


       The whistle of the tea pot on the stove, interrupted Alyssa's thoughts. Grabbing herself a mug from the cabinet, she prepared herself her cup of tea and sat down with it at the kitchen table, smoothing out her soft, purple, kimono robe as she sat down. 2:30am and she was sitting there with her cup of tea. There was no way that she could fall asleep just then. Every time she closed her eyes, she could not help, but think back on the events of the last few hours with an exuberant grin.

       Just as she began to replay the entire night in her head for about the five hundredth time, she heard her front door begin to open. Panic immediately seized her. Who would be trying to get in at this hour? Her eyes quickly fluttered between the front door and the hallway leading to her bedroom trying to judge if she had enough time to run and wake Nick up.

       Her worries momentarily subsided when she saw that it was only Meg, but then she remembered that Meg was supposed to be in New York with AJ for the weekend. "What are you doing home?" she immediately asked.

       "What are you doing up?" Meg retorted. Realizing that Alyssa was not going to let it go she sighed. "AJ and I had a fight," she admitted as she sat down across from her at the kitchen table.  It was at that moment that Alyssa realized that Meg looked frighteningly pale.

       "About what?" Alyssa asked. It had to have been pretty bad for Meg to hop on the first plane back to Florida. She was surprised that Meg and Nick hadn't bumped into each other at the airport.

       "Remember a few days ago I said I haven't been feeling very well? Well, I'm still not feeling so great and AJ got mad because I didn't want to do anything, but stay and rest in the hotel room. He said if I was that bad off than maybe I should go see a doctor or something and he just pissed me off so much I was like screw you and headed right to the airport," Meg explained.

       Alyssa eyes filled with concern. "Meg, maybe you SHOULD see a doctor. You shouldn't have stomach pains like this for this long. Maybe you're better off at least getting it checked out."

       Meg just rolled her eyes. "Alyssa. It's probably just a gas pocket or something, or maybe I'm getting a stomach flu."

       "Those are two totally different things," she pointed out. "What if you have appendicitis and your appendix winds up bursting? You could die from that you know?"

       "Would you just get off my back! I don't need this shit from you either!" Meg exploded as she stood up from the kitchen table with the intent to storm to her room. All of a sudden the room started to spin and knees buckled out from under her.

       "Meg!" Alyssa cried as she rushed towards her sisters side. She  had just completely passed out. Something was definitely wrong.

       Alyssa knelt over her sisters body helplessly for a moment or two.
Should I call an ambulance or just wake Nick up? she wondered to herself. She couldn't think right now, she was so panicked. First wake Nick up, a rational voice finally spoke to her through all the chaos.

       Bursting into the bedroom she immediately began shouting, "Nick, you have to wake up! It's Meg! She passed out and we have to get her to the hospital NOW!"


Then there had been the waiting... And waiting... And waiting. Alyssa remembered feeling as if she had been waiting years instead of hours for some kind of answer about her sisters health. There were tests, all kinds of tests. Blood tests, X-rays, sonograms... And then finally she received some sort of news.


       Alyssa was just returning from the hospital cafe with what felt like her tenth cup of coffee that night. Beside her Nick was gripping her hand tightly. The pair was completely silent. No words were needed at this point, as it was evident that Alyssa was terrified that something was going to happen to her sister.

"Ms. Martinelli?" a nurse stopped them on their way to the waiting area. "We've been looking for you. Dr. Shapiro has some news about your sister's test results. Let me page him for you."

       Alyssa nodded her head weakly. "Thank you," she answered as the nurse disappeared. Turning back towards Nick she squeezed his hand tightly. "Why do I all of a sudden feel like I'm going to be sick?"

       Nick wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer to him. "No matter what they tell you babe Meg will get through it. She's been through so much as it is," he tried to assure her as he stroked her hair.

       "I know, but I just have a horrible feeling about all this. I'm really scared that it's going to be bad news," she confessed as she buried her head in his chest.

       Nick wasn't sure how to respond, so he just continued to hold her until the doctor finally approached the two of them. "Well, I have the results of Meg's tests," he announced as he approached.

       "And?" Alyssa asked, her body trembling like a leaf.

       "We found a growth on her left ovary, which obviously has been what has been causing her stomach pains. Now as far as we know the tumor can easily be removed, but we're going to have to remove the whole ovary as well."

       "Tumor?" she dumbly asked in disbelief. "But doesn't that mean cancer?"

       "Not necessarily. Not all tumors are cancerous. Once we remove it we'll run a biopsy on it to see if it is in fact cancerous. If it's not she should be perfectly fine. If it is... Well we'll take it from there."

       Alyssa sank back down on the nearest couch in total shock. "Wow... I was thinking bad news, but not cancer," she muttered.

       "I know that this is probably a shock to you, but try to think positively. The operation should go pretty smoothly with a low risk of complications," the doctor explained. "I would still advise though that you might want to call any close family members who would like to be present. Again, I'm very sorry, but she's in good hands." With that said he walked away and disappeared down the hall.

       It wasn't until he was completely out of sight that Alyssa completely broke down in tears in the safe comfort of Nick's arms.


       There had been the phone call to her parents. Probably one of the hardest calls she ever had to make. They had flown down almost immediately leaving Stephanie at home to wait by the phone for news. It wasn't the most ideal situation, Alyssa had envisioned for them to first meet Nick, but thankfully they had seemed impressed with the way in which he had refused to leave Alyssa's side. And then there was more waiting and this time the wait was even more excruciating.

       The minute Alyssa first saw the doctor approach them after the whole surgery was over, she could tell it was bad news just by the pitying look in his eyes. Then he confirmed her worst fears. Cancer. It was the scariest word that she had ever known.

After the prognosis, everything was a blur. After much talk and discussion, Alyssa's parents decided that it would probably be best for Meg to return to New York with them to receive cancer treatment. Grudgingly, Meg agreed not wanting to be a burden on her younger sister.

       And through all this AJ never once came to visit Meg. Perhaps he had been too scared to face a relationship with a girl who had cancer. Or maybe he just felt weird and was unsure of how to act. It wasn't like they were super serious or anything. Whatever the reason, after Meg returned to New York the two never spoke again. Meg was obviously very hurt and depressed by his abandonment when she needed him most, but she was never aware with the impact her illness had on AJ. Alyssa had noticed that after Meg got sick that was when AJ began to party harder and drink heavier. Within a year he was in rehab.

       Alyssa sighed. God, we were all just so fucked up, she realized.

       Upon returning to New York, Meg fought long an hard battle against cancer. She'd had to have both her ovaries removed and several rounds of chemo. When Alyssa had went to visit her family in New York she barely recognized her sister. Everyday she lived in the fear of getting that phone call that Meg had passed away. But Meg hadn't given up. After almost two long hard years, the cancer had finally went into remission. She'd been healthy for close to three years now, and even though every day she lived healthy meant less of a chance of it returning, Alyssa still feared of history repeating itself.

       And that was just one of the many things that Nick and I were dealing with, she reminded herself. All of a sudden she realized how far off on a tangent she had strayed, and refocused herself on her future meeting with Izzy. She was sure that their conversation would drift towards the guys and ultimately Nick. She had loosely followed their careers, but hearing about them on a personal level would be quite different. She just hoped that she was prepared enough to handle that.