The sound of dishes clinking and bodies rustling filled the room as Aubrey sat down at the table. Her little brother, Davis, was plowing into his overflowing bowl of lucky charms, his strawberry blonde hair unkempt.
“Hi, Davie.” He glanced up at her with his periwinkle eyes, though he didn’t offer a word, his mouth still in motion.
“Ok.” She muttered grabbing her own breakfast,
“Good morning honey.” The greeting came from her father who sat at the front of the table reading the morning’s paper.
“Good morning.” She offered softly,
“By the way you’re starting Chemotherapy on Monday.” The words were flung casually into the air, making Aubrey drop her spoon, the sound reverberating in the sudden silence of the room.
Her father eyed her over the wall of newspaper, gaging her reaction.
“That’s...fine.” Aubrey started, “The sooner the better, I guess.” She extended steadily,
“You’re going to do great. Everything’s going to be ok.” Aubrey merely nodded,
“Have you signed up for the team yet?” She glanced at her father as he spoke, setting his newspaper aside and offering his undivided attention.
“What?” She asked,
“Have you signed up for the team yet?” He repeated slowly,
“You don’t honestly believe Mom would let me do it, do you?”
“Don’t worry about your mother.”
“But what about the Chemo? How will I race?” Her heart was beating fast now,
“But I’m sick, don’t you get it? Sick people don’t ride.” Davis was starring now, his eyes alight with curiosity,
“You’re right. But my daughter does. My sweet little Aubrey rides because it’s what she loves. And she would never let anything stop her from getting on her bike and riding, not even if she was sick.” His hazel eyes were glistening now, his voice thick.
Aubrey picked her words carefully, “What are you saying?”
“Everything’s going to be ok and I want you to ride this season. Even if you’re sick.”
Davis’s eyes widened, “Abby. Are you sick?”
Her words caught in her throat when she saw her brothers concerned and wide eyes, “Y-yes Davie. I’m very sick. But don’t you worry, Big Abby’s going to ride just like she always does.”
He didn’t say anything for a moment, soaking in her words. Suddenly he grinned,
Startled by his son’s enthusiasm he hesitated, “Yes?”
“I want to be like Abby when I grow up.”
This cracked a smile, and he mussed his son’s hair, offering a slight chuckle.
Aubrey’s Dad spoke as they parked the car, “Ok, it’s just a practice, all you have to do is get from start to finish.”
“Got it.” She nodded determinedly,
“This is just like any other practice, treat it just like any other practice.” He instructed,
“Ok.” Was all she could say,
“You’ve got this.” He encouraged, offering her a luminous smile.
“No problem Hon.”
And with that she’d unhooked her bike and dialed in, standing beside her teammates, she breathed in anticipation.
“Hey Aubrey.” The voice came from a tall blonde, her features were ruff and met Aubrey’s gaze with piercing blue eyes.
“Hey Hailey.” She offered a genuine smile,
“I haven’t seen you around in a while.” Hailey commented,
“Yeah, man, Where have you been? We’ve missed you around here.” Carter jumped in. Carter was a ginger whose face was an explosion of freckles, he had a friendly smile that complemented his gentle green eyes.
“Oh, you know. Family. Travelling. Thought I’d take a break.” Aubrey fought to keep her smile up,
Hailey eyed her, “You’re looking a little pale.”
Aubrey’s smile crumpled, “Probably not getting enough sun, you know.”
Hailey’s eyes never left Aubrey’s, “Hmm.” She mumbled, “Are you-”
“Ok, guys.” The voice came from a man in a blue and yellow jersey that hugged a sturdy frame, his skin a solid tan, and melting brown eyes that scanned Aubrey and her teammates.
“Today’s just more of fun ride, all about endurance. Just make it to the end.” He glanced over the group of kids and bikes, “Ok, guys. Go out and have fun!”
The humid air was filled with sound of wheels turning and dirt flying before Aubrey could even process it.
Carter grinned at her, “Come on slowpoke.”
Aubrey’s cheeks burned, “Hey! I’m not slow.”
His grin only grew as he mounted his Santacruz, “Uhuh, prove it.”
And she did. Aubrey glided over the ruff trail, floating over rocks, easily passing Carter. A grin painted her face as she enjoyed the feeling of being ahead, the rest of the world speeding by in an obscure blur of brown and green. Her eyes were fixed on the trail and there was no where she would rather be.
Abruptly her pleasure was ripped away.
It came sudden and unexpected, a sharp pain that stabbed at her sides, shooting ripples of fatigue down her legs. Weighting her legs as she struggled to pedal, she heaved a forced breath, something was pushing down on her chest. Her throat burned, she couldn’t breathe.
Carter passed her, laughter bubbling from his lips. Unaware of what was happening.
Something hot and sticky trickled from Aubrey’s nose catching her skin on fire, she jerked her head to the side in surprise, her gaze falling away from the trail. Her bike followed her lead, she panicked slamming on her breaks. The world turned as she endod, her head slamming into the ground in front of her bike and her bike soaring over her.
The world spun as Aubrey tried to stand, her whole body ached, and something was ringing. She took a few deep breaths before the world began to still, her gaze falling on Carter who was gaping anxiously at her.
“Are you ok?” The words leaked with concern,
“Yeah.” Aubrey managed to say,
Carter eyed her, “Are you sure? Aubrey, your arms and legs are all bruised, your nose is bleeding. And you’re telling me you’re ok?”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine.” Aubrey waved dismissively at him, retrieving her bike from the dirt. Pushing it back to the trail, she mounted. “Let’s go.”
“Oh, no you don’t. Something’s wrong and I’m not letting you ride the rest of the trail.” Carter retorted,
She sighed, “Carter, I’m fine.”
He merely offered a pointed look, “Carter let’s go. This practice is about endurance, so we need to keep going.”
“You’re not ok though.” He remarked,
“I won’t deny that Carter, but it doesn’t matter. I just want to ride.” Aubrey pushed forward before he could respond, forcing her thoughts beyond the doubts that were beginning to push their way into her conscience.
Author Notes: Sorry, this isn't very good guys. But I think the last part will better. But, here you go.