Chapter   Eleven

The months passed and Karen continued with her treatment. Finally, the doctors told her she was getting some results and they thought with a few more months of treatment, the cancer would be gone. Karen went straight to her dad's house and told him the news. They both hugged each other and cried for the longest time. Later on that night, they went out to celebrate with dinner.

Karen never told anyone what she'd been going through except Eryka and she made her promise not to tell Howie, whom she was still dating. Eryka was disappointed when Karen told her that she'd broken it off with Kevin, but understood why when she was told the reason. Eryka was really scared when she found out her best friend had cancer and was overjoyed with the good news. She also went out to dinner with Karen and her father.

One day, Karen and her father spent the day together, just going places and talking about what's been going on with them. When they went to a bookstore in the mall, William saw a book on the Backstreet Boys in front of the store.

"Whatever happened to the guy you were dating?" he asked.

"Who? Kevin?" Karen asked, even though she knew that's who William was talking about.

"Yeah. What happened to him? I thought you guys were dating?"

"We were, but not anymore."

"Why not?"

"Dad, I don't really want to talk about it...."

"Uh oh. Did he do something wrong?"

"No, it had nothing to do with him."

"Then what happened?" Still Karen said nothing. "Come on, Karen. Talk to me."

Karen sighed. "When I found out I had cancer, I told Kevin we shouldn't see each other anymore."

"Now why in the world would you do that?"

"Because," Karen said, frustrated. "I couldn't put him through something like this again, so I ended it. I didn't think there was anything else I could do."

"So Kevin has been through this before?"

"Yes. His father died of cancer when he was nineteen. Dad, it was really hard on him and I didn't want to do that to him again."

"Your mother's death was really hard on me, yet you told me."

"That's different. You're my father. It was hard enough telling you I have the same cancer mom did. Once I told you, I didn't have the courage to tell Kevin."

William looked at his daughter. He could tell she was miserable without Kevin. "You care about him a lot, don't you?"

"I haven't even known him that long. How could I feel this way about him?"

"You've known him for almost a year. There's one thing you have to understand about love...."

"Love? Who said anything about love?"

"Karen, you're my only daughter. I know you and your emotions. I watched you grow up, I've seen you struggle with love, I've seen you get your heart broken. And if there's one thing I know, it's you aren't given a choice on who you fall in love with and it doesn't matter how long you've known the person. All that matters is that you don't lose the chance to tell that person how you feel 'cause you never know. They just might be feeling the same thing."

"Dad, it's too late for me and Kevin. I stopped seeing him almost two months ago. You might think there's something that can be done, but I'm not seeing it."

Karen gave William an end-of-discussion look. They walked around the mall a little bit more, then Karen dropped her dad off at home. She promised to come over later in the week. Karen had an interview with Barbara Walters to go to. After that, she went to the beach, thinking about what her dad said about love. As she thought about it more, she knew her father was right. She did love Kevin. It happened so fast, she didn't realize it. Tears came down her face as she thought about what she'd done. Soon, Karen was sobbing openly since there was nobody around. So she thought....

%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Kevin was once again in LA, walking along the beach, late at night, after another interview. Only this time he was thinking about Karen and what went wrong between them. Kevin knew there was something Karen hadn't told him and that the reason she gave him when she broke if off with him was not the real reason. He just didn't know what the actual reason was.

Kevin had come to realize that he'd fallen in love with Karen and that's why he knew he should do something to bring them back together. He just didn't know what he could do to make that happen. Right now, he felt powerless. All Kevin knew for sure was that he loved Karen, and if he didn't do something soon, she would never know how much. Then something else took Kevin's attention away from his thoughts.

Kevin stopped walking and listened carefully. No, it couldn't be, he thought as he took a few more steps forward. Then he knew what it was he was hearing. Kevin's mind took him back to the last time he walked on this beach, when he heard a woman crying, her sobs full of pain and grief. Kevin quietly walked closer to the sound. It's her. This time I'm gonna find out who it is.

He hurriedly walked toward the direction the crying was coming from. As he got closer, the crying got louder. Soon he saw the shape of a woman sitting down in the sand, staring out into the ocean. Kevin got closer and stopped when he recognized the person sitting there. The long black hair gave her away.

"Karen?"

Karen looked up behind her and saw Kevin. She wiped the tears away as fast as she could and stood up.

"What are you doing here?" she asked him.

"I came here after an interview," Kevin told her. "I needed to think and the beach is one of the best places to do that. What are you doing here?"

"I was interviewed by Barbara Walters for '20/20'," said Karen. "They were doing a story on my parents, so, of course, they wanted to interview their only daughter."

"Is that why you were crying? Memories of your mother?"

"No." Karen took a couple of deep breaths. "I was thinking about you. And how much I missed you. And.... how much I love you."

Kevin stood in place for a few minutes, not saying anything. He couldn't believe what he'd just heard.

"Did you just say you love me?" Kevin wanted to make sure he didn't hear wrong.

"Yes. I didn't realize it until later today, after I had a long talk with my dad, of all people."

"I've been thinking about you, too. That's why I came down here. In my interview, they asked me about you, and I didn't really know what to say, so the other guys answered for me. But at that moment, I came to realize that I had fallen in love with you."

"You fell in love with me?"

"Yeah. What's there not to love about you? You're a sweet, caring, honest, beautiful, young woman." Kevin touched her cheek gently. "I love everything about you. I've never felt this strongly about any one before. I love you."

"I love you, too."

Kevin looked in her eyes, then leaned down and kissed Karen. They kissed for the longest time and parted feeling like they found the other halves of themselves again. Karen was the one who spoke first.

"Kevin, there's something I have to tell you," she started. "The reason why I told you we couldn't...."

"It doesn't matter," Kevin said. "We together again. That's all I care about."

"But..."

"No 'buts'. Let's just enjoy and celebrate this moment."

Karen wanted so bad to tell Kevin about why she broke if off with him in the first place, but after seeing him so happy again, she didn't have the heart to tell him. She lost the courage. They just went to Karen's place to celebrate their reunion.


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