Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and mature content.
A man’s voice came on the other end, “Yes, hello. Is this Katie Sunderland?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Alright, Katie, I am Dr. Adams and I am the one taking care of your mother, Marie Sunderland. I have news but I think you should come to the hospital so we can speak here, face to face.”
No. Oh God, no.
The tone in his voice let me know exactly what he had to say. Mom was going to die. Maybe she was already gone.
I didn’t trust my voice so my reply came as barely a whisper, “Ok. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“I’ll see you then.”
I hung up the phone and forced myself to keep the tears contained. I took one last glance in the mirror and sighed. My life has been so ruined.
I walked down the stairs slowly and into the kitchen where everyone was waiting for me. It looked like they were having some sort of discussion but I was too tired to feel curious about what exactly. I did feel Nathan’s raging emotions though. I could feel them racing to every emotion out there. I felt anger, sadness, excitement, worry, and last of all, concern.
I frowned. What was going on in that boy’s head? What were they talking about to make him feel like this?
I shook my curiosity away and said, “A Dr. Adams called and I’m supposed to go to the hospital. Can someone give me a lift?”
Austin nodded and took my hand in his own. A couple of years ago, I would have swooned at the gesture but now I just felt oddly comforted.
He led me outside and opened the car door for me just like Nathan had the night before.
Just as we were pulling out of the driveway, Nathan came running out and jumped into the backseat.
“I’m coming too.”
I smiled at his kindness.
My smile died as I felt his emotions pulse through me again. He was worried and scared. Not of the situation that my mom might die but of something else. It had something to do with me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what.
We drove to the hospital in silence. I was thankful for that. I had too much pride to cry again even though I was sure a whole lot of tears were coming my way.
When we pulled into the hospital, Nathan got out with me while Austin went to find a place to park. Nathan put his hand on my shoulder and I let him lead me through the front doors of the dreaded building.
I felt a new wave of dread wash over me as I stepped into the air conditioned building. A man, dressed in all white, was waiting for us by the door. When he caught sight of us, he started to walk over.
“Katie, I presume.” His voice was deep and thick with an Australian accent. If I wasn’t too occupied with the fact that my mom was dying, I would have checked him out a bit more thoroughly.
“Yes?” My voice was small and I hated how weak I was right now. I was supposed to hold my head high and take this as another course of life, right?
Grief isn’t a weakness, Katie.
I pushed Zander’s comment aside as the man continued to speak, “I’m Dr. Adams assistant. You can call me Alex. I came down to bring you to his office. This way please.”
He took my arm which made Nathan withdraw his own hand from my shoulder. I didn’t want Alex to comfort me. I wanted Nate.
The fact that Alex came down personally to escort me to Dr. Adams office scared me. Was it really that bad? Was Mom gone?
We walked in silence until we got to the office. Alex opened the door for me and let Nathan step inside with me. He didn’t follow us inside though and shut the door once we were seated and comfortable.
Nathan and I sat in two chairs that were right in front of a large desk filled with papers. There was a large window behind the desk that overlooked the town. Light streamed in from the window, filling the room with golden sunlight.
That sunlight gave me hope.
The door opened behind us and we stood up to greet who I guessed was Dr. Adams. His sandy blonde hair was messy but more in an attractive way. It stood up a bit as if he had run his hand through it several times.
“Hello there. Have a seat,” he said as he made his way behind the desk, “Before I get into the details, I’m just going to let you know that your mom is going to make it. She is sleeping now after surgery but she should wake up.”
He smiled widely as he spoke but I could only feel relief. A smile in return seemed like too much of an effort right now.
I was surprised when Nathan didn’t seem too pleased with the news. He showed no outward signs of being disappointed but I could feel his anxiety about the situation. What was going on with him?
“Oh, thank God. How long will she have to stay here?” I asked. Now that I knew she was fine, I had to think about the expenses this was going to have. Between the stay in the hospital and Dad’s funeral, the expenses were going to be heavy duty.
Dr. Adams’ reply wasn’t really what I wanted to hear as he said, “That hasn’t quite been determined yet. The knife wound was deep and it did damage her organs. I would say at least a week, maybe more depending on her recovery rate.”
I nodded my head and asked, “Will she have any long term problems because of this?”
The doctor bit his lip as he answered, “More than likely. I don’t know what exactly what yet but she will probably have a hard time. Kind of like when you break a bone and it gets cold. You can really feel it then, right?”
I didn’t like that. Mom already had enough problems with her health. This wouldn’t do her any good.
“Where will you be staying?” Dr. Adams asked.
It was Nathan that answered the question, “Katie will be staying with us until Mrs. Sunderland gets better.”
“And you are?” The doctor asked.
“Oh, sorry,” Nathan stood up and shook the doctor’s hand as he said, “I’m Nathan Borden. I’m a friend of Katie’s. I have discussed it with my mom already and she’s alright with it.”
A friend? That’s the first time I’ve heard him say that in years.
Dr. Adams nodded his head, “Okay. That should be fine if you’re alright with it, Katie?”
“Yeah, that’d be great.” I forced a smile on my face as I spoke.
“Ok, well, I’ll have someone call you as soon as she wakes up then.” Dr. Adams spoke as he rose from his seat and shook Nathan’s hand.
We left the room and called Austin to pick us up at the front door. We found him waiting for us exactly where we left him.
I smiled as he rolled down his window and asked, “How is she?”
“She’ll live.” I said, a smile plastered widely on my face.
He sighed in relief and said, “Oh thank God! I wouldn’t want to have to adopt you!”
I laughed. It felt like an age since I’d last laughed. So much had happened. I thanked God silently that she would live. My life would go back to being normal…going to school every day and only having to worry about what James thought of me.
Of course, I still had a slight Zander problem but I would take that as it came. If I could.