Sometimes, Nate plays a video on the television in Charles' room. It shows Charles beaming in the backseat of the car while their dad speeds down the highway. Charles sings "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis.
I don't care what they say
I'm in love with you
They try to pull me away ...
The video was shot on a trip to Los Angeles. Charles had been invited on a Make-A-Wish-Foundation vacation to see Beyonce -- his crush -- in concert in Arizona. But Charles traded the chance to meet the singer for a family vacation to Los Angeles. They shopped in Hollywood, dined on soul food at Aunt Kizzy's, played at Universal Studios and ran around Venice Beach.
There were no hospital stays, no chemotherapy. Everyone was just able to feel free.
"It was the best trip," Nate says simply.
Even in this hospice room, memories from that trip bring smiles. Mom, Dad, Aunt Janice Mays, Nate and Trayshaun share laughs over how silly Charles was. Trayshaun leans in so close to Charles, it looks as if the boys will kiss.
The two hold hands. But as Charles gasps for breath, he lets go of his brother's hand and reaches for his mother's.
"Ohhh, you wanna go to the old lady's side," Trayshaun teases.
He picks up a tube near the top of the bed and suctions his brother's mouth. "Am I annoying you?"
An audible grunt comes from Charles. "Uh-huh," he says.
"Did you hear him?" Forest says.
It's 10:10 p.m., a long day nears its end.
"We're staying up all night," Trayshaun says, "because we're some party animals."
As he lifts Charles to make him more comfortable, he discovers that Charles has urinated in bed, one of those things that happen when your body is failing. "Come on, Nate, we need to change him."
As everyone begins to leave, Charles' breathing grows louder, more labored. His moans echo through the room and down the hall.
Tremica pulls her son close.
"Don't you leave me, baby," she says. "Not now, baby. Not now."
Charles slipped out of the house and ran.