tagRomanceThe Circle of Love

The Circle of Love

byCrossCountryLover©

This story is a work of fiction. All of the characters and events are fictional. This story portrays some graphic sex. If you are in an area where reading this is illegal or you are offended by any of this then please stop reading now.

While the description may have you think that there is some incest in this story, there is none. Also, the erotic scenes don't come quickly and although the story is a little lengthy, I tried to keep it moving and there are erotic scenes, which I believe enhance the message and tone of the story.

One of the things I am thankful for this holiday season is for a great editor in LadyCibelle. Again, her help with this story was wonderful.

My thanks for everyone's support and kind comments regarding my first two stories. Hopefully this one will touch your heart and you will be moved in some way.

This is dedicated to my little cousin Allison.


*

Allison watched as her mother stared out the hospital window on the other side of the waiting room. She could tell by the movement of her shoulders that she was quietly sobbing. She knew she had moved to the other side of the room so she wouldn't hear her softly crying. Her hand was rising to her face every so often to wipe the tears. Her mom was trying to hide the fact that she was not emotionally strong at the moment.

She could see past her momma, out the window, that a light snowstorm had begun, which was a little rare for early November in Columbus. It looked beautiful from the third story window of the Hematology/Oncology Clinic at the Columbus Children's Hospital that she had visited for most of her life and was her second home. She heard the chime of the elevator and smiled when she looked up and saw Jacob exit from the lift. She smiled at him and thought, "He'll cheer her up".

Jacob walked over to the cute little eight year old. Her big blue eyes and smile melted his heart every time he saw them. He could already sense things were not good but he forced a big smile back at her. He ran his hand through her hair as he said, "Hi there, pipsqueak. How's my favorite angel?"

"Hiya J.J.", Allison said perking up. His smile and presence always seem to give her a little more strength. She motioned for him to bend down closer and as he did she whispered in his ear. "Momma's not feeling well though, maybe you can share a smile with her."

"You got it Cap'n", Jacob whispered back and then gave Allison a quick peck on the cheek.

She watched as Jacob crossed the room and gently put a hand on her mom's shoulder.

"Hey Elizabeth", Jacob said softly. "I was just in the neighborhood and thought I would stop by to see how the appointment went."

"Oh, hi Jay", Elizabeth said, sniffing quickly and composing herself. "It was nice of you to stop by after work, you didn't have to. You should be getting home in case the snow gets worse."

"The weather reports just calling for a light dusting." Jacob replied. Just wanted to make sure you and Allison were okay.

"Oh Jacob, it's so hard." Elizabeth sobbed slightly, struggling hard to hold her composure. "The CT Scan confirms that one of the tumors is growing again. All this after the MIBG scan had preliminarily shown a significant improvement in most areas."

It was the one area in the scan that had shown an 'increased uptake' that caused the doctors to schedule another CT Scan for Allison.

"What am I going to tell Allison? Her latest interview with Time Magazine went wonderfully and her Cookie Jar fundraiser is going so well. She has been the happiest I've ever seen her in awhile. She has been so looking forward to this holiday season. Oh god, what am I going to do."

"I'm so sorry to hear that", said Jacob. He had weathered this illness with them for the past several years and this news was a bomb to him too. But he wanted to be strong for the two of them. "Boy, that's tough. But as Allison always says, 'take the time to appreciate what you have'. And you know how tough a little fighter she is."

"Yeah, she's tough. She's trying her best to fight this, but how can I appreciate what I have?" Elizabeth said with an undertone of sarcasm. My only baby is fighting a battle for her life. How could God be so cruel to give her hope and then rip it away?" Elizabeth was starting to lose the emotional battle within her.

"Tell you what", Jacob said touching her hand gently, "I promised Allison I would try to make you smile. Try to give her one and I'll get one of the Candy Stripers to keep her company for a few minutes." Elizabeth turned and tried her best to smile at her angel as Jacob moved back to the wheelchair that Allison was seated in.

"Come on Cap'n. I'll bet you are getting a little tired after today's tests." Jacob said to Allison as he spun her chair out around and out the waiting room door. There's your favorite Candy Striper, Nancy and I'll bet she would love to take you back to your room."

"Going to take a little more to get momma to smile, huh." Said Allison. Jacob was always surprised at how intuitive this little 8-year-old girl was. "Things don't look good, do they?"

Jacob stuttered for a moment, not know what to say. "I'm... er... well, you know... uhm... your mom... She cares for you so much and wants the best for you. She's just a little tired right now."

"I know J.J." Allison said as she gave a little smile. "I'm not really that tired, but I'll go with Nancy. Besides, she always gives the best wheelchair rides. I like it when she spins me around." Then she turned slightly to look up at him with her big blue eyes. "Promise you will help momma to feel better."

"I promise", said Jacob not looking into Allison's eyes. He wasn't sure it was a promise he could keep.

"Promise what?" Elizabeth asked as she approached and caught the tail end of the conversation.

"Uhmm.. er... I promised to make her a special Thanksgiving dessert." Jacob finally got his little fib out. "As long as Allison keeps smiling." He gave Allison a little wink.

"No problem!" Allison tried to straighten up in her chair as she put on as big a smile as she could, winking back at Jacob. "Mom, why don't you and Jacob go get a cup of coffee together? I'll be fine with Nancy. Just behave yourselves!" She called out to them then burst into a giggle.

Jacob and Elizabeth had to giggle themselves but it was also tough to fight back the tears that had been welling up as they watched Nancy wheel her into the elevator.

****************

At just 1 ½ years old, Allison had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a tumor that impacts 1 out of every 100,000 children. Kids show little signs of the cancer and only after Elizabeth had rushed her to the hospital because Allison's stomach seemed bloated and having stomach pains did they discover she had the disease. Of course, Elizabeth was devastated. Her husband had been killed a year earlier serving in Afghanistan and Elizabeth had still not even recovered from that. Immediately, Allison was put into the hospital and a battery of tests and treatments began. The tests showed that the tumors had spread to several places in her body already. The worst one being near her abdomen. It was a rough time as the treatments took its toll on Allison's little body.

But one thing everyone seem to notice, from the doctors, to the nurses to the Candy Stripers, was Allison's resilient attitude. While only 2 years old at the time, they were amazed at her ability to smile through the adversity. She would joke with the staff and make them smile. Her bright and sunny disposition was contagious.

By age five, the various treatments continued. Allison became a fixture at the Columbus Children's Hospital. Being a little older now, one of her favorite thing to do was to bake some cookies with her momma and bring them in for the staff. They especially loved the chocolate chip, snicker doodle and peanut butter ones.

Then one day while walking through the hospital lobby, a nice man saw the cellophane bag of cookies she was carrying. "Boy, those look so yummy!" The nice man said.

"They are for the people who take care of me." Said little Allison with her ever-present smile. "But I will share one with you, 'cause you look like a nice man."

"Oh, I couldn't do that." Said the nice man. "That would take away cookies from your friends."

"There's plenty to go around." Said Allison, her bonnet, which she wore to keep her bald- head covered, slightly falling off.

The man saw that she was a cancer patient and knew this is where they came to be treated. "I tell you what." He began to make his deal. "I will buy a cookie from you for, let's see, $10. If you promise me you will donate that money towards the research for a cure for children's cancer. Is that a deal?"

"Wow, a whole $10!" Exclaimed Allison. "For just one cookie?"

"That's the deal, Cap'n!" Said the nice man. "Take it or leave it."

"You got yourself a deal, mister!" Shouted Allison.

Elizabeth had watched the whole thing and smiled at the man. "That's so very nice of you. Thank you very much."

"Well, I couldn't help but be charmed by two pretty ladies." He said smiling at her. "I couldn't resist her smile. My name is Jacob Jensen by the way. My friends call me J.J. or Jay for short."

Jacob noticed Elizabeth was a very attractive woman; about 5' 6" tall and very fit. Not overly skinny or overweight. One of those women you would say was average, but with lots of curves. She had dark brown hair and hazel eyes. It was those eyes though, which showed the hurt: The proverbial windows to the soul. He also noticed the wedding ring on her finger and was a little disappointed such a pretty lady was not available.

"Very infectious smile, isn't it? I'm Elizabeth and the little baker is Allison." Elizabeth said trying to smile herself.

Just in that brief moment, a quick expression, and Jacob could sense the hurt she had buried underneath. He wanted to help. He turned to Elizabeth and said, "I tell you what, I have some friends who would also love some wonderful cookies. I bet if you made them real good, they would pay... say... two dollars each for the cookies, if you would donate the money also."

"That would be super fantastic!" Exclaimed Allison. "I'll be back on Tuesday for my next treatment, four in the afternoon. Momma told me the schedule."

"I'll be here and I'll take a dozen cookies." Smiled Jacob giving her a ten-dollar bill for today's cookie. Allison gave him a chocolate chip cookie and he took a bite. "Yum! If I had known these tasted this good I would have offered a hundred dollars per cookie. You should have asked for more!"

Allison giggled as the thanked him. "See you Tuesday she called out as she entered the elevator."

That Tuesday, Jacob was back waiting in the lobby at 3:45p. Allison gave him another big smile when she entered the lobby and recognized him. She had two bags of cookies and she held out one. "Hi J.J.! I brought you your cookies. Did you get the money?" She asked quizzically.

"When I told them how good the cookies were, my co-workers were happy to donate the money. Here you are! Twenty-four big ones plus a one dollar tip makes twenty-five." Jacob said laying out the money on her lap.

"Yippee! And here you go! Thirteen cookies. Momma says that's a baker's dozen. But I hope you eat the extra one yourself." Allison said again giggling. "This is fun. Can we keep doing this? I bet I could raise a million dollars!"

And at that moment Allison's Cookie Jar fundraiser to find a cure for children's cancer was born. Jacob would meet them at the hospital or even pick up the cookies from their house, always with a handful of donation dollars for Allison's Cookie Jar. Being the owner of a deli/restaurant, Jacob then talked to a bakery that supplied his shop with bread and desserts and they agreed to add a dozen cookies to each day's order for free. He had his printer make him a sign with Allison's picture, a brief description of her fundraiser and instructions that they could take a cookie if they left two-dollars in the jar. He displayed it on the counter and was surprised when they sold out every day. His produce vendor noticed the sign one day and offered to include some cookies in their delivery three times a week.

Soon they were collecting over two dozen cookies worth of donations every day. Many days he would even find a little extra in the jar. Allison was always so happy when he would stop by at their house or when she had to stay at the hospital, always bringing the donation money.

Then other stores near Jacob's also started putting out a jar and a box of cookies and asking for donations too. Everyday one or two of them would stop by his shop for a cup of coffee and drop off an envelop with donations in it. Jacob was just amazed at how generous everyone was at how quickly this fundraiser was gaining momentum.

Then one day the local news station came in wanting to do an interview with him. "No way, uh, uh", Jacob told them. "The real story is this little girl", he said pointing to her picture on the sign. Meet me at the Columbus Children's hospital this afternoon and that's where you will find your interview.

After they left, Jacob quickly called Elizabeth and Allison and got their permission to be interviewed. Elizabeth was hesitant but Allison jumped on it right away, sensing it would bring in more money towards her million-dollar goal.

The news crew showed up and Allison's smile and giggles were on everyone's TV on the evening news. "We want to raise a million dollars!" Allison exclaimed in the interview, her blue eyes sparkling.

Immediately, Jacob's shop was inundated with calls on how they could set up a cookie jar. Schools, restaurants, community centers, firehouses, shopping malls, and even the city's visitor center all wanted to know how to set one up. Then the local newspaper also wanted an interview and a tremendous momentum began to grow.

He called Elizabeth for some help and she dove in. She got more signs made up. Went to a local craft store and bought out their supply of cookie jars. She went to her sister's daughter's girl scout troop where they painted them all and soon jars started popping up all over town.

Elizabeth and Jacob began to spend more and more time together working on this project in their little spare time. They found they enjoyed each other's company and soon became good friends. But with all the whirlwind of activity, both of them working and taking care of Allison, neither had time to nurture anything else between the two of them.

************

"What did she mean behave ourselves?" Elizabeth asked Jacob suspecting something was up. "And what about these promises?"

"Let's go somewhere quiet." Jacob gently said holding out his arm for her to take.

There had been little physical contact between the two over the past three years. A touch of the hand here, a hug there, a quick peck on the cheek between friends. But today Elizabeth found comfort in taking his arm. She held it tightly as he led her to a vacant conference room. This one also had a sofa as to make the patients and family comfortable when the doctors sometimes had to deliver painful news.

He sat her on the sofa and sat beside her. They sat close but not touching just slightly facing each other. He could tell she was all bottled up. "How are you doing through all of this?" Jacob asked.

"Oh Jacob, it's just so much." She let out with a sigh as tears began to form again in the corner of her eyes. "Her red blood count is starting to worry the doctors even though her ANC is almost back to normal. Still they want to go to a transfusion every 10 days. Although she tolerated the new chemo pretty well with the oral Temador and oral Irintotecan, it has definitely hit her counts. Unfortunately, it also looks like her belly is starting to fill back up with fluids as it looks like the tumor there is growing again." Elizabeth started to choke up and remembered how nice Jacob's arm had felt. She reached over and took his hand.

With that Jacob reached an arm around her and pulled her close. She buried her head on his shoulder and he could smell the sweet fragrance of her hair.

"She's getting nauseous again and the doctor is giving her Zofran." Elizabeth said starting to sob. "It's just so much for one little girl."

"And for this big girl too?" Asked Jacob putting his hand under her chin and raising her head up so he could look in her eyes. They were red and swollen but Jacob still thought she looked beautiful.

"Oh Jay..." Elizabeth sobbed again burying her head back on his chest. "And you're such a dear friend. What would I have done without you?"

"Not blamed me for you 'thinking' you are not eating well because there are cookies around all the time." Jacob tried to interject a little humor to cheer her up.

"I'll always blame you for that!" Elizabeth blurted out between sobs, a chuckle came out too and it made Jacob happy to know he succeeded a little.

But then she looked down again. "Oh, what will I do if I lose my Ally? My angel. She's so young; so innocent. She deserves better. And I miss Frank too. You know, my husband. Why couldn't he be here to help me through this? But he's gone. I have to accept that. And poor Allison didn't even know get to know him. It's not fair! It's not fair! It's just god dam not fair!" Elizabeth yelled and then she lost it. The catharsis that had been building for years finally came flooding out as she buried her face in Jacob's sweater. She cried and pounded her fists into his chest and he just let her release. She cried for over 30 minutes until she finally exhausted herself. Jacob stroked her hair and held her tight and in her exhaustion she fell asleep.

***********

Two hours later, she awoke with a start not realizing where she was. She looked around the conference room and it began to come back to her. She hadn't let out her emotions like that since she first heard Allison had come down with her disease. She had vowed to be strong and to show Ally how to fight this nasty villain. She then looked up at Jacob who had also fallen asleep, sitting up on the sofa, his arm still around her.

"He's been so good to us", she thought brushing a lock of his curvy brown hair that had fallen into his face. For the first time, she noticed how really handsome he was. A little over six feet tall and fit from being on his feet all day at the shop. Blue-grayish eyes, strong cheek bones and a handsome smile. He looked wise even for only being in his early 30's. He always seemed to know what to say to her and Allison. "I guess I haven't appreciated having you in my life enough", she thought to herself remembering his reminder of Allison's words. "I just haven't had the time or the strength. Until now I've not been able to release Allison's father. But Jacob's been like a father to her. He's so good to us."

Jacob stirred as he felt Elizabeth put her head back on his shoulder. She looked back up at him as she felt him stir. "Uhmm.. hi there...", Jacob said not sure if Elizabeth was mad that his arm was around her. He relaxed when she gave him a little hug.

"Hi sleepy... guess I bored you to sleep, huh?" Elizabeth joked.

"Yup, all that talk about red and white blood count will do it every time", Jacob smiled causing Elizabeth to smile back.

"Oh jeez, nine o'clock. I better get home." Jacob said noticing the time on the clock on the wall. "I have to open the shop in the morning. We're closed this Thursday though. Thanksgiving, you know. Mind if I bring that dessert I promised Allison?"

"We would love that." Elizabeth said. "I'm going to sleep here tonight" Elizabeth was glad they had parent's beds in the rooms to stay so they could be close to their children. Elizabeth used it many times. She had learned to always have a change of clothes and toiletries handy.

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byCrossCountryLover© 38 comments/ 77429 views/ 54 favorites

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