Page 28 of Hopeful Hearts

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“Is it weird seeing him again after all this time?”

“You’re really not going to let this drop, are you?”

“He’s my brother,” Sophia replied. “And you’re one of my best friends.”

She paused for a moment, mulling over her response. Callie had always been one of those girls who wore their heart on their sleeve, her facial expressions betraying her long before she gave any verbal response, and today was no different. Still, despite seeing the flicker of pain in her eyes, Sophia chose not to say anything else. She would tell her in her own time. Callie never could keep a secret for too long.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I knew our paths would cross again at some point, but never like this and never in a thousand years did I think that I’d be moving in with him.”

“Temporarily,” Sophia pointed out. “And that’s a lie, because I remember a time when you were thinking of moving in with him. That night on the boat when you were picturing your life together. Telling me what it would look like and asking me to help you make a choice.”

“What boat. I don’t remember that at all.”

“That doesn’t surprise me. We’d both had one too many tequilas, as I remember.”

“You always were a bad influence where tequila is involved.” She smiled, but the sadness remained in her eyes as they aligned with Sophia’s.

“At least you won’t have that problem anymore. And hopefully everything else has gotten easier?”

“I thought it had, but seeing Emmet again. God, what the hell is wrong with me? I was so sure of what I wanted.”

“Yes, I remember. That was what you said back then, too. I think it went something like; 'Your brother is every woman’s kind of perfect except mine'.”

“I wasn’t wrong,” Callie mumbled.

“He’s special, alright. You both know how much I would have loved to see you two together. You were the real deal that summer. Everyone could see that. But I also saw Emmet when we got back home. It’s not my place to share anything about his life since that summer and if he wants to tell you, I’m sure he will do that himself, but I am his big sister and it is my job to look out for him.”

“I know,” she murmured.

“Don’t break his heart again, Callie. Don’t start something you have no intentions of seeing through. Emmet has enough heartache right now without another heartbreak.”


“Forget it. I’ve said too much already.”

“Was there someone else after me?”

“No. He meant everything he said to you that summer.”

Callie gulped down on air and looked away, but not before Sophia could see her eyes brimming with tears and her stomach clenched. As much as Sophia loved her best friend, what she put her brother through was excruciating. He had been completely enchanted by her. Callie was that type of girl. Infectious, opinionated, and she never held back on anything. It’s why all five friends adored her. But, a woman like that holds a power even she doesn’t understand, and she had gotten under Emmets’ skin. Sophia would never share that with her and he’d deny it if anyone asked, but it was pretty obvious to those who knew him as well that Callie was still there. Maybe not as much as she once was, but Sophia knew that seeing her again must be torture for him. She just wasn’t so sure of why it seemed to torment Callie, too.

Callie knew precisely what she wanted, and it wasn’t her brother. He was too settled. Too good. Too kind. All the qualities Sophia had sought and found in Brodie, without ever fully understanding why Callie wanted the opposite.

The bad-boys won out for some women, but never for Sophia.

Both women jumped, snapped from their thoughts, by the nurse entering the room and grinning at Callie. “Okay, we’re ready for you now.”

Callie nodded and blinked away a tear that was threatening to fall. “Ready as I’ll ever be,” she forced a smile and Sophia did the same.

“I’ll wait here until you get back,” Sophia reassured her as Callie followed the nurse out into the corridor.

For once, she was the one sitting in the waiting room and it felt good to get a few moments to herself. Since she got sick and especially since she'd had that fever, Sophia had someone at her side twenty-four hours a day. Of course, she appreciated it. She understood that some people as sick as her had no one and she couldn’t imagine going through such an unthinkable journey by herself. But being so loved could be stifling at times, and she missed the days when she could just breathe with her own uninterrupted thoughts.

It’s a strange position to be in. Trying to fix everyone’s problems when she wasn’t going to be around to see the outcome. Really, it shouldn’t even matter to Sophia whether Callie found the love of a lifetime she deserved or whether Emmet would ever get over her, but it did. It all still mattered because Sophia knew that even though her life was coming to an end, the lives of the people she loved were only just getting started and somehow, she had to find peace with that.


“Emmet, you get going. I’ll call you later, son.”

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