“Fine,” she pouted. “Sometimes I forget.”
“I think he’ll be fine on the sofa. It looks cosy with all the cushions piled on.”
“You and my dad can always bring it down later on. He needs to be as comfortable as possible. I just don’t know how he’s going to cope living with Mum again.”
“I know what you mean. I love my parents all the world, but the thought of moving back in with them gives me hives.”
“Same. Especially now. Mum is in overdrive and will want to do everything for him. And knowing Emmet, he will hate every minute.”
“We could have him stay with us?” Brodie offered.
Sophia shook her head. “I know you wouldn’t mind it and I’ve already had the same thought, but he’d never accept. He wouldn’t want to intrude on us.”
Brodie fell quiet. He knew Sophia would disagree, but he still felt incredibly guilty about the crash and thinking about the impact on Emmet’s life crushed him.
“There,” Sophia finished plumping a sofa cushion and spun around to face him.
“What do you think?”
“I think you’re amazing,” Brodie said.
Sophia scoured the room to spot any last-minute improvements needed. There were candles lit to scent the place with a peony summer breeze smell and blankets draped over sofa corners, ready to get cosy under. With just a few thoughtful touches, Emmet’s welcome home party was ready just in time.
“I’ll get that,” she grinned when there was a knock at the door. Even though everything took double the time and she moved at a snail's pace, she enjoyed the independence of being able to do things like answer her own front door.
Brodie went to grab a beer from the fridge. It was a hot summer day and after preparing the room with Sophia's supervision; he was already breaking a sweat.
“Come in,” she called out as the room started to fill. Her friends all poured in with arms full of small gifts for Emmet. Daisy balanced a tray of home baked strawberry shortcake with Kate at her side, ready to catch any if they dropped.
“Wow. They look delicious. Did you bake them?” Sophia fussed over her, and Daisy gave an exaggerated nod. “Shall we put them on the coffee table so everyone can taste one? You’re very kind to bake them for us all,” she gushed.
Brodie watched on with admiring eyes. Sophia was so gentle and kind. She would make a great mum and although the doctors talked about her fertility being affected by the treatment, he still secretly had hope for a miracle.
After all, she was walking proof that miracles could happen.
“Everyone get down. I can see the car. They’re almost here,” he yelled when he spotted Sophia’s parent’s driving up the path.
The girls all scrambled to find a hiding place around the room and Brodie slipped behind the patio curtain. Sophia headed to the front door, and he wondered if they were doing the right thing. Emmet hadn’t seen anyone since the crash aside from family and he wasn’t sure if he was in his brother-in-law's shoes, he would be ready to face everyone. But he trusted Sophia, and no one knew Emmet better than she did. Maybe she was right. The welcome home party would definitely take his mind off things, that much was for sure.
“Surprise!” Everyone yelled when the wheelchair rolled into the room a short while later.
“Oh my god,” Emmet’s eyes grew wide, but he didn’t look annoyed.
Sophia let off a party cannon in his direction and confetti rained down on him, making him chuckle.
“Okay, this is excessive,” he laughed.
Brodie wanted to tell him how sorry he was, but it wasn’t the right time. Not when he was smiling and appeared to have momentarily forgotten his situation with the distraction of the party.
“I made you this,” Daisy ran over to pass him a piece of her strawberry shortbread, and Emmet held it to his nose.
“This smells like the tastiest shortbread in the world. Thank you,” he told Daisy, and she nodded, turned away from him and skipped towards Kate, looking ten feet tall.
The party was in full swing when a knock at the door caught Brodie’s attention.
He answered, ready to turn whoever it was away. Today was for family only. Well, family and friends that felt like family to them all.