Page 46 of Hopeful Hearts

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“What are you talking about? Of course, we know how much you love us. You’re our best friend.” Callie looked offended.

“I know and I love you all, too. That’s why it’s going to be hard to tell you this.”

“Tell us what?” Paige demanded. Her tone was suddenly cold and business-like.

Paige always knew when there was something more going on. Like a sniffer dog, her instincts and gut feelings were never far wrong. It was one of things Sophia loved about her.

“Brodie isn’t really working late. He’s gone off this morning and I haven’t heard from him since.”

“Oh sweetie, did you guys’ fight?” Kate asked.

“It’s no surprise when you are both under so much pressure.” Lennon soothed.

“It wasn’t so much a fight as him not agreeing with me. There’s no easy way to say this. I’ve been thinking about stopping my treatment.”

“And just giving up?” Paige glared at her.

“She’s probably all over the place with everything that’s been going on and then the wedding on top of that.” Jayda rationalised.

“But she can’t seriously just stop her treatment, can she?” Callie asked.

“Guys, I am here.” Sophia eyed her friends one by one. The look of sadness on their faces almost reduced her to tears, but she refused to give in to her emotions. She wanted to explain. Needed them to understand how low she was feeling.

“What would happen if you stopped?” Paige asked.

Sophia rolled her lips between her teeth, then puffed out her cheeks. Unable to find the words to explain the unimaginable.

“Then he has every right to be mad at you. You can’t just decide something like that.” Paige shook her head but didn’t meet Sophia’s eyes.

“Paige is right, Sophia,” Lennon insisted. “So is Brodie. You can’t just stop taking your meds, you need to stay focused on getting better.”

“I know. Like, right now when I’m with all of you or when I’m with Brodie; I know that. It’s just sometimes I get these niggling thoughts in my head that I’m making everyone else suffer, too. I hate being the reason everyone is sad all the time.”

“Just so you know, we would never let you stop. Even if it was what you wanted,” Callie passed her a determined stare.

“What kind of friends would we be if we did?” Jayda asked.

Kate moved to drape an arm over Sophia’s shoulder. “We can’t let you give up on yourself.”

“I love you all so much.”

“And we love you,” Callie replied.

“You’re saying you don’t want to be the reason we’re all sad but we’re not actually sad,” Lennon pointed out.

“Yeah, being here all together again has been one of the best things to happen to me in ages,” Jayda smiled.

“I’ll second that,” Paige added.

“I know what you’re saying and I’m not sad all the time, either. How could I be? Whenever I close my eyes and breathe, all I see is happiness. Love. I’ve been loved in so many ways by Brodie. My family. All of you. How could I feel anything but pure joy?”

“I think it's only natural to be up and down,” Kate reasoned.

“Brodie said that. It’s crazy. One minute I’m feeling full of hope and the next I’m fighting just to stay awake through the day long enough to see Brodie arrive home from work, and when he does, I have no energy. Time’s running out and I want to spend however long I have left with the people I love around me, not feeling too tired to feel anything because of a treatment that’s effectively doing nothing for me.”

“But they could still find a match,” Callie insisted.

“Maybe. There’s so many people waiting for a donor and the likelihood of someone coming forward for me is miniscule.”

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