Page 59 of Hopeful Hearts

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Jayda began to shuffle the pillows to prop Sophia up on.

“I’ll grab us some chairs,” Lennon offered and set about grabbing chairs from the corridor and bringing them into the room.

One by one, they wriggled into place around Sophia’s bedside and tried to make the situation feel more normal.

“What’s Austin like? Is it weird finding out that he’s your brother after always thinking he was your uncle?” Callie asked.

“The whole thing is just a shock. I feel like I’ve stepped into the twilight zone. He just showed up out of nowhere. One minute I’m thinking we have a burglar, then he’s telling me all of this stuff I had no idea about. The next thing I know, I’m on my way to the hospital. I must have scared him half to death.”

“Well, whatever you did, he obviously cares about you enough to go through with the transplant,” Lennon pointed out.

“Thank God,” Paige added.

“I wish we’d have gotten more time to talk. Things got pretty heated. He blames my parents for giving up on him, but he obviously doesn’t know them like I do. If they gave him up, it must have been the hardest thing for them. You know how much they love kids.”

“I thought that. They are doing such a great job with Daisy. Honestly, I hardly know myself at the moment. Since I got here, I’ve had more free time than in the three years since she was born,” Kate said.

“Who usually has her for you?”

“Basically, no one.”

“I would have thought your mum would be over the moon. It’s their first grandchild. Isn’t that supposed to make old people go all goo-gah?” Lennon asked.

“Not my folks. You know how they are. The business always comes first. And don’t forget, James and I didn’t get married, so in their eyes, I should never have gotten pregnant in the first place.”

“Do people really still think like that? Seriously, that sucks,” Paige passed Kate an empathetic look.

“You should make the most of the break. My parents will lap up every minute. It’s the perfect distraction for them. Especially Mum.” Sophia patted Kate's hand.

“How’s your mum doing? Is she over the moon?” Callie asked.

“She just can’t believe it. None of us can. We’ve been waiting so long for a miracle and now it’s happening. It's like a dream.”

“Soon this will all be a dream and you’ll be lying on a beach somewhere, soaking up the sun,” Jayda squeezed her hand.

“I really hope so,” Sophia sighed dreamily.

“Do you want us to stay here tonight?” Lennon offered.

“No. Not that I don’t love having you around, but I think I need some time to just process this. I don’t feel like my mind has caught up with what’s about to happen yet.”

“Totally understandable,” Kate smiled. “It’s such a major operation. We can’t imagine how you’re feeling, but I’ll tell you one thing. We’re all so proud of you, Sophia. You’re handling this like a total bad-arse.”

“I don’t know about that, but thanks, Kate. I’m so lucky to have you all here. I keep thinking about Austin. He literally has no one in his corner and this is a huge deal for him, too.”

“Do you want one of us to check in on him?” Paige asked.

“Would you mind? That would be great if you could. He might want to just vent about things. I don’t even know where he’s staying. He’s due here first thing in the morning, but he was so sure he wasn’t going to go through with the transplant that I keep freaking out in case he doesn’t show up.”

Callie tried to hide the look of sheer panic that washed over her at the thought of a no show. “He’ll show up. If I have to drag him here in the morning, I will do it.”

Paige laughed. “No one says no to Callie, to be fair.”

“I think Doctor Gunner might have some hesitation if he turns up here bound and gagged. Giving body parts away is kind of a voluntary thing,” Sophia chuckled.

“Can you imagine?” Paige grinned.

“But seriously, he’ll be here. He signed the papers so he must have his reasons for wanting to go through with it,” Lennon reasoned.

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