Page 62 of Hopeful Hearts

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“Would any sane man be about to give up his kidney if he didn’t give a shit about the person he was giving it to?”

“I wish I could have been there for you more over the years. It must have been so hard feeling like you had no one.”

Austin frowned and looked away to take in a deep breath.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that you can’t change the past, so there’s no point dwelling on it,” he sighed out.

“But there’s so much that’s still unsaid. Did you talk to Mum and Dad, yet?”

He shook his head. “Not yet. I’m not sure I will, either. Like I said, no point dwelling on the past. Best to keep things moving forward.”

“What if the past keeps you from doing exactly that? What if you need to take a step back in order to change the future? What if–”

“There you go again with a million questions.”

“You must have questions, too. Of your own, I mean. Isn’t that why you’ve come to see me?”

“No. I just wanted to tell you that it wasn’t about you. I didn’t want you thinking it was your fault when I left again.”

“You’re already thinking about leaving? You can’t go without at least giving things a chance with Mum and Dad. What about Emmet? He’s your brother. He’s going to have so much to talk to you about when he gets back.”

“Where is he?”

“I’m not sure. He’s on his way back to the bay with Brodie.”

“Are you close? You and Emmet, I mean.”

“Closer than close,” Sophia admitted. Not wanting to hurt Austin’s feelings, but needing to be honest with him.

Austin acknowledged her answer with a curt nod.

“You should talk to him,” she coaxed. “I’ll bet you two have got loads in common.”

“You’ve always had a cute way of looking at the world, Soph. I’m glad all this hasn’t taken that away from you, but I’m not going to just press the reset button and become part of a family that didn’t want me in the first place.

“I am fully aware that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, Austin, and I’m not, for one minute, saying that it’s going to be easy. But we’re your family and whether you like it or not, that counts for something.

“I know this isn't what you want to hear, but as far as I’m concerned, I don’t have a family.”

“What about a partner? Do you have one? And friends, tell me about them. I want to know you, Austin. You might not want to acknowledge me as your sister and that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t stop you from being my brother. You’ve always been family, but now I know you’re truly my brother, then I will live in hope that one day you’ll be able to accept me as a sister.”


“Why what?”

“Why does it bother you? You have a brother, in Emmet. You have a family who adores you, from what I can tell you don’t need me around, Little Soph. I’m bad news.”

“You don’t seem like bad news to me. In fact, you’re the opposite of bad news. As soon as you saw I was ill, you got me to a hospital, and you agreed to go through with a transplant, despite only being back in my life for a few hours.”

“I’m not back in your life, Soph. You need to get that straight in your head before tomorrow. Once the transplant is done and I’m able to get gone, I’m getting out of here.”

Sophia’s jaw tensed up. “You can’t just leave town. Even if you don’t want to know Mum and Dad, Emmet and I deserve a shot.”

Austin shuffled on the spot, unable to meet her searching gaze.

“Promise me you won’t go without saying goodbye. I don’t think I could stand it.”

“I don’t make promises.”

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