Page 99 of Hopeful Hearts

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“I know, but I can’t ignore this. I’m not saying we have to get together. Neither of us are in any place for a relationship right now and especially not with each other, but Emmet’s been a friend to me over the years and in some ways, he feels like family to me.”

Sophia wanted to scream that she was not family and Emmet didn’t in any way think of her as such, but she knew it wasn’t her place, so she kept quiet for the longest time before drawing a deep breath and letting her own dilemma spill out.

“Well, all I can say is that I’m glad I have a friend just as crazy as me because I'm thinking of leaving.”


When the email came a week later, Sophia was sitting on the swinging chair in their back garden, gazing out at the view and wondering how she could have ever considered leaving her picture-perfect life behind.

Yet, as she read the reply and clicked open the prepaid tickets to Italy, she knew she needed to do this. The last year had taught her that life is too short to spend it trying to make other people happy.

Brodie made her happy. Her life in Lani Bay gave her great joy. But so did travel and work. She needed excitement and adventure. Something to make her life feel like her own again because, at the moment, it felt as though she was wearing someone else's body.

Since she left the hospital, she had tried to battle off the severe imposter syndrome, but nothing could kick the feeling that she needed more. It wasn’t fair to anyone, and she knew it. But she also refused to waste time on guilt and self-doubt. Somehow, she was here and alive with a second chance that not many people in her situation would ever get and she wasn’t about to make decisions based on what might please other people.

“I’m going to Italy,” she said out loud to the empty garden, and she smiled a true smile. Her heart felt light and excited as she typed a reply to the Abrams, accepting their offer and rushed inside to begin to put practicalities in place. She needed travel insurance and to find her passport. All of which she could do without the help of Brodie or Emmet. Even her parents weren’t in on this one. It was the first thing she had done on her own in over a year and it felt so good that she had no doubt in her mind, it was the right decision. Now, she just needed to figure out how to tell Brodie. And then everyone else.

“Something smells good,” he said as he arrived home.

“I knew you’d say that. It’s your favourite”

“You’re too good to me,” Brodie beamed as he kicked off his boots and dropped his tool bags down at his feet.

“You look like you’ve had a busy day.

“I’ve already forgotten about it. New dress?”

“You like?” She twirled around to show it off.

He crossed the space between them in milliseconds. “I love it. It matches your eyes.” He kissed her on the lips twice before taking her face in his hands. “Perfect forest green.”

“What’s gotten into you?” she giggled as he kissed her again.

“You,” he bit down on her lip and she pulled back.

“Let’s eat first. You must be hungry, and I’ll bet you skipped lunch.”


“I knew it. You really have to start taking better care of yourself.”

“Luckily, I don’t have to. I have you to look after me and cook me meals like this one.”

“I wanted to talk to you.”

Any sign of joy fell from Brodie’s features on detecting the seriousness in her tone of voice. “Everything okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine. It’s not about my health.”

Brodie breathed an audible sigh of relief and Sophia tried her best to pluck up the courage to say what she needed to say.

“This isn’t going to be easy to hear. But it’s something I’ve thought about a lot, and I really need you to let me finish before you jump in.”

“What’s this about Sophia?”

She served up his meal, and they both took a seat at the table, but neither one of them touched the food.

“Do you remember the bat-mitzvah I hosted right before I got my diagnosis? The Abrams family?”

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