Page 13 of Hopeful Hearts

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The first call had been so much harder than Brodie thought it would be, and the subsequent calls had been worse. It devastated Paige to hear the news about her best friend and she barely managed a word over her sobs.

Jayda had been very business-like about the whole thing and Lennon had promised to get to Lani Bay as soon as she could. Callie told him to leave Kate to her, and one by one, they had all agreed they’d fly out for the wedding so the last thing Brodie expected to find on their doorstep when he stopped off to grab some tools for an afternoon job, was a woman with hair the colour of candy floss. It took a few seconds for him to recognize her face because her hair was so different from the photos he’d seen of her.


“Oh, Brodie. I had to come as soon as I found out.”

The next thing he knew, she was flying toward him and wrapping her arms around his neck. The only women Brodie had hugged in the last decade were his nana, his mum and Sophia, but for some reason, he didn’t want to push her away.

Though they were two total strangers, the embrace was a sign of understanding, an appreciation of how much the other was hurting, knowing what Sophia was going through, and he clung to Sophia’s pink haired friend as though if he let go, he might break down. The relief of having her there was overwhelming for him, and he only hoped it would have the same effect on Sophia.

“Did you come in a rocket? It’s not even been a day.” He smiled as they broke apart and he climbed the stairs to the front door.

“Didn’t Paige tell you? She’s friends with the CEO of Parker Airlines. Shiloh went to summer camp with us, too. She agreed to fly us all out here for free as soon as Paige told her what was going on. I’m surprised she didn’t come, too, but she’s got loads going on with the airline to run and all.”

“That’s so nice of her. People have been so good to us.”

“That doesn’t surprise me at all. Sophia is an amazing person and, from what she’s told me about you, you’re not so bad, either.”

“I’m so glad you’re here. She’s going to be so happy to see you. Maybe not at first, because she’s been adamant that no one should find out about what she’s going through. But sometimes you just have to go with what feels right and hope for the best, right?”

“You did the right thing, Brodie. We’re her best friends. Of course, we should be here. Now, tell me you have a spare room because beyond packing this case and catching the first flight I could, I have made zero plans.”

Chuckling, he nodded and gestured towards the winding staircase. “You’re in luck. Although, I don’t know where everyone else is going to stay. I didn’t think about that and Lani Bay isn’t exactly set up for tourists.”

“It’s such a pretty place to be. No wonder Sophia never wanted to leave. I felt like I was being driven into a postcard picture when the Uber dropped me off.”

“It sure is something special,” he agreed and reached to grab her bag for her, but she beat him to it. As Callie climbed the stairs, Brodie followed behind, pointing her in the direction of the guest bedroom that Sophia had lovingly decorated in a chalky blue. She’d been quite the project manager, and he’d had no idea where she was heading with all the starfish lights, she’d had him wire to the wall behind the bed. It wasn't to everyone's taste, but it was typical Sophia. Once she got a vision in her head, it was Brodie’s job to make it a reality, and the room was the perfect example of why they made an extraordinary team.

Callie burst into the room like a breath of fresh air and studied every inch before passing her judgement. “This is stunning. I love it. When will Sophia be home, or does she live in the hospital now?”

“No. She’s out dress shopping with her mum. She has her treatment in the mornings so she can be home by late afternoons, although she’s usually exhausted by then.”

“But at least she gets to come home. It will be like old times. We can have a girls’ night. You don’t mind leaving us to it for a bit, do you? Not that I’m kicking you out of your own home or anything, but it would be so good to have some girls’ time.”

For so long it had just been Sophia, Brodie, their parents and Emmet in this little unstoppable team, it felt strange for him to think about leaving Sophia for an evening to himself. What would he even do?

“Sorry, I’m overstepping. It’s a problem. Ignore me. I can do whatever you want, whatever you think she needs. I’m here for it.”

“Actually, I think a girls’ night could be exactly what she needs and Emmet has been pestering me to go fishing with him for ages. You’ll call if anything goes wrong, won’t you?”

“Of course, I will. Get out of here. God knows you deserve a break. You must have been through hell and back, especially in these last few months. You should have called much sooner than you did.”

“I know but–”

“Brodie, you’re fine. You did what you thought was best and we all know Sophia is a force to be reckoned with when she makes her mind up about something.”

“Will you be alright here? Help yourself to whatever you want, or there’s Coast Cafe in town if you’re hungry.”

“I’ll be fine. I’ll pop into town and grab a bite to eat, then surprise Sophia and her mum when they get back.”

“She’s going to be more than surprised.”

“She will be okay, though. Health-wise I mean. She’s strong enough to handle it?”

It struck him for the first time that although he’d explained her condition to all of her friends, this was new to them all. Dialysis and treatment plans were part of his everyday vocabulary now, but for them, this was going to be as shocking as it was to them when they first found out how bad things were.

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