Page 76 of Hopeful Hearts

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“We’re past the forty-eight-hour window for a thrombotic event to occur, which is great. All the signs are looking excellent, Sophia. I told you I was due a miracle.” He smirked.

Sophia thanked her lucky stars. Firstly, for the fact that she had a doctor that cared as much as he did and secondly because she was getting better.

“It still hasn’t sunk in.”

“You’ve been through a major trauma. If you would like to be referred to see a councillor, I can see to this.”

Sophia bit the inside of her cheek in response.

“You don’t have to decide here and now. It’s just something to think about and the hospital chapel is always open if you ever need a quiet place to think, although I doubt you struggle for that in a place like Lani Bay.”

“Thanks Doctor. I’ll think about it.”

“Good. Anything else you want to know?”

Sophia thought for a second. There was so much that was uncertain, but she knew it wasn’t Doctor Gunner who held all the answers to her questions. “What’s next, I guess?”

“You go home.”

“And just wait it out?”

“You’re not waiting for anything anymore. You’ve done more than your fair share of waiting and it’s probably the worst thing you could do. The operation is done, Sophia. You are officially in the healing process. The best advice I can give you is to keep up your immune suppressants and live your life and think about your health as little as you need to.”

Sophia’s eyes widened. For almost the last year of her life, her health had consumed her every waking thought. It was her focus. Her energy was used up on fighting the fight. The worry had kept her awake at night, invaded her dreams and prevented her from being fully present in almost every moment of her life. Now she was supposed to focus on living and she had no idea how to go about such an abstract reality.

“I’ve emailed you your weekly appointment schedule and you’ll need to continue to avoid big crowds. Keep your risk of infection in mind as we’ve discussed but close friends and family contact is fine. No heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for at least two weeks. You have my direct line. Use it if you need to. I trust you to use your judgement and I know that husband of yours will have you back here the second there’s anything to be concerned about.”

“So, no more daily appointments?”

“Like I said, you have my number. Use it if you need to and I’ll see you in a couple of days. Take it easy, but please, have some fun. You’ll make sure of it, won’t you?” He pointed a finger at Callie and winked as he snapped his notebook closed and left them to it.

Callie squeezed her hand, and she sat there shell-shocked for a good few minutes after he left the room.

“Are you okay to wait? I’m going to pop in on Emmet and see if there’s anything Mum and Dad need before we go.”

“Of course. I’ll wait outside if that’s what you think is best.”

Sophia nodded. This wasn’t about Callie’s feelings; it was about her brother and he wouldn’t want her seeing him before he was ready to face the world. This was one of the times when she wished Callie had any ounce of awareness about Emmet’s feelings for her back when she broke his heart. The one she didn’t know he’d given to her.

When she came back to the bay, Sophia suspected that her friend did have an inkling, but this morning’s talk closed down that idea. There wasn’t a chance in the world she’d have tried to kiss Austin if she had any modicum of feelings for Emmet.

They made their way downstairs and Sophia slipped inside the room where her brother lay dosed up on pain medication.

Callie paced the corridor outside until her friend returned with a furrowed brow and blank expression.

“He wants you to come in.”

“He does?” Her voice flew out high pitched, and she fidgeted and smoothed her hair.

Sophia nodded. “He caught a glimpse of you when I walked in and said he wants to see someone he’s not related to for a change.”

“I won't stay long,” she promised.

“It doesn’t feel right, me being able to go home and him still being stuck in here. Anyway, hopefully, you’ll be able to cheer him up. It’s more than any of us can do.”

“I’ll do my best.”

Sophia found a bench and lowered herself into it, her arm wrapped around her waist like a protective shield for her healing wound.

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