Page 12 of Hopeful Hearts

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Doctor Gunner eyed her. “More than you, so it seems.”

“I’m trying my best, for Brodie’s sake. But you understand my situation better than anyone. Dialysis isn’t a forever thing. The reality is, I might never get better. Would you do that to someone, Doctor? Promise to spend your entire future with someone when you don’t have one?”

“Sophia, you know you can ask me anything, and I’ll do my best to answer when it comes to your health. But matters of the heart are not my thing. You can trust me on that one.”

“I’ll bet you have all the nurses chasing after you,” she teased.

He arched his brow. “Enjoy your evening, Sophia.”

With that, he disappeared; bringing their awkward exchange to an abrupt halt and leaving her alone with her thoughts.

The dialysis room was empty that morning. Most patients preferred to come in the afternoon so they could crash out afterwards. Sophia had chosen the mornings because they tended to be quieter and there was only so much conversation you could make with a stranger. It also gave her the opportunity to continue to work, at least that had been her thinking when she started the journey. Back when she still had hopes that the dialysis would do more than just keep her alive. Still, she treasured those few hours each evening when she was off the machines and at home. It felt good to have some sense of normality when everything was so far from normal in her life.

“Hello pretty lady, I hope your time is almost up because I have a surprise in store for you.”

Sophia contemplated throttling her mum for a millisecond before mustering a smile to feign excitement. Of course, she pretended not to know what her mum was talking about. There was surely only one thing worse than dying, and that was watching someone you love wither before your eyes. Her mum deserved a break. Maybe this wedding would be good for everyone, not just Brodie.

“You do?”

“I talked to Mrs. Gunner. You know how she’s the best tailor in town?”

“Mum, she’s the only tailor in town,” Sophia pointed out.

“Exactly. So, she’s unquestionably the best, and she’s agreed to design you the dress of your dreams. Whatever you want, she can make it happen. She said it’s been years since there’s been a wedding in Lani Bay and she’s a lot excited about the chance to work with us–I mean you.”

“And she wants to meet me tonight?”

“Sophia, of course she does. We only have a week until your big day. There’s no time to waste. She said she’d set to work creating some designs today and measure you up tonight.”

“Well, we better get a move on, then. I think I’m just about done here, but you knew that.”

“I did. I wanted to get here sooner, but your brother needed to finish up a kitchen for someone.”

“It’s okay, Mum. Not everyone’s worlds have to stop turning just because I’m sick.”

The guilty expression didn’t leave her mum’s furrowed brow, but the excitement hadn’t faded from her eyes, either.

“Why don’t you get the nurse? Let’s see if I’m all done for the day.”

“You are up to this, aren’t you? I can always ask Mrs. Gunner to visit us at home instead.”

“Stop fussing, I’m fine. I have at least a couple of hours before I’ll need a nap, so we have plenty of time.”

Sophia barely finished her sentence before Mel whizzed off to see the nurse. Mel and Robbie had been married forever. Thirty-nine years, to be exact. The kids both knew it because Mel had them both coming up with ideas for their fortieth anniversary since around the thirty-fifth. If anyone should have been an event planner in the family, it was her. Sophia sort of fell into it by accident but maybe the niche was somewhere in their DNA as Susan, Mel's mother, was exactly the same.

This would probably be the last event Sophia planned, so every wedding-ish thought that crossed her mind was bittersweet. Even though she was marrying Brodie for all the right reasons, it still felt so desperately wrong.

“Okay, Bridezilla. Let’s get you out of here,” Mel announced when she reappeared with a nurse a few moments later and they carefully pulled the wires from her hands.

“You’re getting married? Congratulations, that’s wonderful news.”

The nurse passed Sophia a genuine smile, and it was full of so much warmth that she smiled back, involuntarily. One thing that never failed to amaze her was how much the nurses and doctors at Truro Hospital cared about their patients. They always had a kind thought to share and the funniest stories to make her chuckle, even on the worst of days.

“Thank you. Apparently, I’m going dress shopping, but I think the term 'mum-zilla' would be more appropriate.”

“Sophia,” Mel chimed in. “My baby girl is getting married. I’m allowed to be excited.”

“Of course, you are,” the nurse cut in, showing her solidarity. “You go get that zilla on, ladies. Enjoy.”

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