Page 92 of Hopeful Hearts

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Glancing through the titles, she stared at her laptop sitting at the bottom of the pile and slid it out, making a loud thud.

She half expected Brodie to wake up, but when he didn’t appear, she unfolded the laptop and turned on the screen.

Clicking open the folder named ‘work’, she scrolled through a range of photos from past events she had managed. The pretty logo she’d had professionally designed when she started out and dozens of images of weddings popped up. There were pictures of her with smiling brides and grinning twenty-one-year-olds, celebrating the move to adulthood, moms holding babies at intimate baby showers and the lavish bat-mitzvah she’d taken on.

Looking at the photos was like looking back in time, and she felt as though she was looking back at a different person–this version of herself that she didn’t know anymore.

Happy, carefree and completely unsuspecting of the events which were about to turn her life upside down. She’d give anything to jump into one of the photos and go back to then because even though she knew she was in recovery and a miracle had occurred; she didn't have any one of these emotions in her body anymore. Not deep down.

It wasn’t for a lack of wanting to and there had been flickers of her old self that she’d tried to cling on to. Like laughing with Brodie when his pants set on fire or listening to her friends chat about their futures the other day at the beach. But, in the quiet moments like this one, she felt nothing.

It had been almost a year since she logged into her work emails, but without thinking, her finger hovered over the inbox and she clicked it open. Just to see. She was in no way ready to return to work and she had plenty more reading to do before she could take on another event, yet she felt compelled to begin sorting through the fifteen thousand emails; one by one.

Anything older than four months old, she got rid of straight away, which narrowed the selection down. With each deleted email, Sophia felt like she was taking a bit of control back. One by one, she cleared out the trash, then opened a drop file which she labelled potential, every time she stumbled on a message from a client she recognized.

Her eyelids grew heavy as she continued into the early hours of the morning and she was just about to call it a night when she noticed an email from one month ago titled ‘Urgent, we need you.’

It was the type of heading she would usually delete, but she recognized the sender as the Jewish couple she threw the bat-mitzvah for right before she got her diagnosis.

She scanned the email, then reread it a second time.

Dear Sophia, I’m not sure that you are receiving our emails and whether you are still in business, but I had to try to reach you one last time. My son has recently gotten engaged to an Italian, and we have been through four wedding planners so far. None of them can meet our rather unique needs.

My son is hoping to host a beach wedding in Italy to honour his fiancée’s Italian heritage. My wife and I are concerned that our Jewish traditions will be lost in a modern outdoor ceremony of this nature. As you are aware, money is no object and we would be grateful if you got back to us as soon as possible. The wedding is in six months’ time.

You did such a beautiful job with my daughter’s bat-mitzvah. I am hoping you can somehow bring our two cultures together in the upcoming wedding.

We have a trip planned in September to identify potential ventures and I’d be forever grateful if you could join us. All expenses would be covered.

In anticipation,

Mr and Mrs Abrams.

With trembling fingers, she snapped the laptop closed and stared into space. The email was a month old. She was pretty sure they would have found someone else, seeing as she hadn’t responded and it didn’t matter, anyway. It’s not like she was considering going back to work yet and she needed to start back up gradually, not with a huge commitment like the Abrams wanted. A Jewish wedding on an Italian beach. Where would she even begin to start with that? It was absurd, but something about it had captured her creative imagination and when she shuffled down and pulled a blanket over herself, her mind wandered to sandy beaches and pretty beaded bridal headwear.

Unsure of whether she had gotten any sleep or just been so lost in her thoughts she didn’t realise the night was passing her by, Sophia noticed the light creeping in through the crack in the curtains and tiptoed back upstairs.

Brodie was spread across the bed. His dark mop of hair covered his forehead, and he stirred slightly as she slipped into bed beside him and lifted his arm so she could wrap it back around herself.

He was warm and familiar and she watched him as his dark eyelashes fluttered open and a handsome smile spread across his lips.

“Are you okay?” he whispered.

“I am now,” she murmured back softly and snuggled into him, breathing in his scent of winter spice, sweat and salty sea air.


Mel and Robbie had stayed at Sophia and Brodie’s much later than they should have given Sophia was still in recovery, but Austin’s departure had left them all with a lot to talk about.

Sophia could never have guessed that they had barely had any sleep when they showed up at the hospital the next day to visit Emmet. Sophia was already there, sitting beside Emmet and tossing out all kinds of inappropriate banter in an attempt to lighten the mood.

“Has the doctor done his rounds yet?” Mel asked and Sophia shook her head.

“He’s due any minute,” Emmet said.

“How are you feeling?” Robbie asked.

“Pain wise, not too uncomfortable and other side, like horse shit if you want the truth,” Emmet replied.

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