Page 27 of Hopeful Hearts

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“Yeah,” Brodie lied.

Neither of them said much else the rest of the way there. There was no point when they both knew without words what the other was thinking.

The same thing that was written all over Mr. Randalls’ face when he opened the door to them a short while later.

“Come in, son,” Robbie said, stepping back to welcome them in.

The scent of something delicious lingered in the air and made the place instantly feel like home. Mel was the queen of the slow cooker and renowned for being the family ‘feeder.’ No doubt, a healthy portion of whatever chicken dish she was stewing would make its way to Brodie and Sophia’s place later, in time for when she got home from the hospital.

“What are you both doing here? It’s not often I get a visit from my son and future son-in-law on the same day.”

“I wanted to talk man to man, without Mel around, if that’s alright?”

“Of course, take a seat.”

“I’m good,” Brodie replied as Emmet plopped onto his sofa. The same one he and Sophia must have sat together on as kids and fought over the remote control. Memories of Brodie’s own brothers flooded the forefront of his mind as he watched his brother-in-law.

“We need a better plan,” Brodie began.

“We’re doing everything we can, son. You need to stop beating yourself up about what you can’t change. Sophia wouldn’t want you to, and it’s no good for your own health.”

“I’m fine,” Brodie snapped. “But I nearly lost her last night. I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep watching her get worse.”

“I wish I had the answers for you, but there’s nothing more we can do than what we’re already doing.” Robbie dropped his gaze.

“I can’t do this anymore. I don’t know how you guys are handling everything so well. I’m obviously not made of the same stuff because it’s too fucking much.”

Brodie’s knees buckled, hitting the ground as he covered his face with his arms and broke down. All the pain he’d been holding in poured out of him like an endless sky of rolling thunder. The pain coming and going the same way lightning does. Striking over and over again and he was powerless to stop it, no matter how much Emmet and Robbie tried to calm him down.


“You don’t have to do this, you know.” Sophia watched Callie in awe as she shuffled from one foot to another, trying to hide her nervous energy.

“I know. We all just want to help and it’s only fair that you let us because you’d do exactly the same for us if we were in your position.”

“I don’t think I could stand seeing any of you like this.”

Callie opened her mouth to speak but changed her mind and instead offered a small smile and a squeeze of her hand.

“Are you scared?” Sophia asked.

“Not as scared as you must be. Can we talk about something else? I need the distraction.”

“Sure. Why don’t you tell me how things are really going with all of you staying at Emmet’s? I can’t believe you’re all going to stay for longer. I didn’t expect any of you to do that.”

“Where else in the world would we be?” Callie smiled and Sophia studied the tiny creases that appeared around her dazzling blue eyes when she did.

“I’m not letting you dodge the question.” She narrowed her eyes at her, and Callie’s smile faded.

“It’s so good of him to let us stay at his place, but it’s hard too, you know?”

“I thought things might be awkward between you.”

Callie averted her gaze, staring off into the distance, and Sophia guessed that awkward didn’t cut it by any sense of the word.

“Have you had a chance to speak to each other on your own yet?” She asked.

Callie shook her head, eyes to the ground.