Page 65 of Hopeful Hearts

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She nodded in response.

He reached out and held her hand. Although he was the youngest, he’d always taken care of her like he was the oldest. That’s just how things were between them. She was always piling advice on to him, wanted or not, and he took care of her. Not in the same way, but he was there for her. An unspoken agreement that whatever happened, he would always be there to pick up the pieces and even now, it was him offering out reassurance.

Sophia couldn’t. She was shell-shocked and in denial.

Still under the influence of heavy medication, she wished that the whole thing was some diabolical dream that would end any minute.

Instead, she sat with her brother for almost an hour and watched as nurses and doctors kept coming and going to take his statistics and attempted to make him more comfortable.

It wasn’t right. She was the patient. Hospitals and medicine were her life, not his. Emmet was the one with the funny stories to make her sides ache with laughter in place of pain. He was always encouraging her to get outside and make the most of the day.

Building fires, diving off cliff edges and hiking with no planned end destination. What was he supposed to do now?

“What have they said, exactly?”

“That it could have been a lot worse. Basically, my legs are crushed. They’ve operated on one of the bigger injuries in my thigh tendon and said it’s going to be awhile before I can walk again.”

“But you will, right? You will be able to get back to normal?”

“Yeah. It’s going to take work, but the doctor assured me none of the damage is permanent.”

“Thank god,” Sophia exhaled. “Are you in pain?” She asked.

“Not as much as I was before the meds kicked in,” he replied. “My legs are throbbing but I feel pretty numb in myself. It’s hard to explain.”

“You don’t have to,” she squeezed his hand back. “We’re going to get through this, you know. If I can survive kidney failure, then you can definitely get through this.”

“You think?” He studied her face.

“You know I wouldn't lie to you. Truth, always.”

“I know.”

“I’m so proud of you two,” Mel said as she dabbed her cheeks with the cuff of her sweater.

“I’ll second that,” Robbie chimed in.

“Do you mind if I have some time on my own for a bit?” Emmet asked.

“Oh honey, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Mel exchanged a look with Robbie and glared at him when he stood up to leave.

“We’ll be right outside,” he told his son.

Mel kissed Emmet on the forehead and refused to speak to Robbie for making her leave her son.

“I’m going to take Sophia back to her room. Mel, maybe you can give Brodie a call and see where he is?”

Mel nodded, following them back toward the elevator.


Robbie helped Sophia back into bed and collapsed into the bedside chair looking mentally and physically exhausted. It was the same for Sophia, yet still she couldn’t settle.

“What about Austin? Is he alright?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Please tell me you’ve been to see him.”

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