"Morning." Sam whispered in my ear, kissing it.
"Morning," I replied, then felt the sinking in my stomach as I realised what day it was. Time for my appointment.
"I made you breakfast." She said.
"Thought that was my job." I smiled, turning over in bed to face her.
"You were so down yesterday, I thought you could do with some cheering up." She placed a tray on my lap as I sat up. "Tea, toast, jam."
"You're an angel."
"Since I met you, maybe."
"Do you miss Samantha?"
"Huh... oh." She smiled. "No. Samantha was me when I couldn't be me."
"She still appears sometimes though doesn't she?"
"If you're referring to when I broke your door, then yes."
"I thought maybe your... some of your bedroom antics might be her too."
She smirked and kissed me, stealing a piece of toast and jam in the process.
"No baby. That's all me." She winked and then bit in to the toast, getting up to finish getting ready. I smiled at her retreating figure but felt the shivers of dread rippling across my body. After the changes I'd felt this week I was concerned that today could only bring bad news. Unbeknown to Sam I'd spent most of yesterday on the toilet, either throwing up or using it. I'd eaten barely anything. And I'd had to clean properly to cover up the smell.
"What are you doing today?" Sam asked as she returned.
"Not much. Might go dancing. Or for a walk."
"Not seeing Anna?"
"Um... no, I don't think so."
"Has something happened with you two?" She asked, peering at me anxiously in the mirror while she tied her hair out of the way. I shook my head.
"Just giving her some space to get organised and ready in." It was a lie. Suddenly Anna didn't seem willing to spend time with me. I thought she might be distancing herself to prepare for the trip, but I couldn't tell. I wondered if I'd done anything wrong. Apart from siding with Megan. They'd made up; it couldn't be that.
"Well make sure you see her lots before she goes. You'll regret it if you don't."
"I will. Besides I'll see her this weekend."
"Oh yeah?" Sam asked curiously and I mentally hit myself.
"Yeah, Sunday. We mentioned something about getting together. Of course I'm taking you for dinner on Saturday so I couldn't do anything that day."
"Cara, I told you I don't want you paying for-"
"No arguments." I chided, lifting the tray from my lap, putting it down and going over to her. I wrapped my arms around her and kissed her cheek, then looked in to the mirror at her face. "It's my treat." She pursed her lips so I tapped her bum gently.
"Hey!" She protested.
"Behave yourself." I grinned smugly.
"Thought I was the fifty shades one."
"That's not fifty shades. Fifty shades is paddles and caning and stuff." I shuddered. "This is just me." I repeated her earlier words with satisfaction.
She grinned but then her smile was replaced with a frown.
"Are you sure everything is ok?"
"Why wouldn't it be?" I asked, turning away from her.
"You've been distracted..."
"Sam, I get distracted sometimes. Can you just leave it?"
"Sorry." She whispered. I heard her stand, pick up her blazer and then she was next to me. "See you later." She kissed my cheek and disappeared from the room. I looked over my shoulder and sighed. She knew there was something wrong. I was trying to cover it up but she knew. She'd seen the way I was yesterday; I barely had the energy to get up in the morning. After I'd thrown up everything, I hadn't managed to do much else but clean the bathroom, so for the first time since I'd moved in, I'd ordered take out for both of us. She came home to Indian, which I ate little of. I pretended I'd eaten a big lunch so wasn't hungry. I knew I was hurting her, but I couldn't let her know. Surely this was better? To let her have her birthday not knowing...
"Miss Gramms if you could just take a seat in the waiting room, Dr. Shappiro will be out soon."
"Thank you." I said and went to sit. I curled my feet up on to the seat and hooked my arms around my legs. But even that was effort and I settled for leaving them on the floor, snuggling as warmly as I could in to Sam's sweatshirt. I'd borrowed it so I could at least pretend she was hear with me.
I glanced up in shock and saw Kate there.
"Kate, what are you doing here?"
"I work here, remember? What are you doing here?"
"I- I've got an appointment." I'd forgotten she worked here and seeing her made me realise how precarious all of this was.
"Nothing serious I hope? Who're you seeing?"
"Dr. Shappiro." She stopped and stared at me.
"Cara... why are you seeing a kidney specialist?"
"Guess no one else was free?" I tried but she wasn't having it.
"Cara, you can tell me. What's wrong?" I broke down. Told her everything, making her swear to not tell anyone before or at the party on Saturday. She sat there and held my hand while I sobbed it out, and then gave me a hug. "Honey, you shouldn't be going through this on your own."
"I don't want to ruin everyone's lives."
"Cara, you have to tell them."
"I will. Just after... after..."
"What?" She asked, arm still around me. "After the party? Or after Anna's gone? Trust me you don't want her going without her knowing. She won't forgive you if you do."
I bit my lip and nodded.
"After the party. I will. I just want... I just want it to be perfect for her."
"I know. Don't worry. I won't say anything. I promise."
"Thank you." I said, just as Dr. Shappiro appeared.
"Do you want me to come?" She asked.
I nodded and she helped me up, and walked me to the office behind the Dr. with her arm around my shoulders.
"The test should be back on Friday or Saturday. I'll let you know as soon as I do." The doctor said.
"Thank you." I muttered. I felt numb to everything now. I'd cried it out, with someone this time, and now that my blood had been taken I felt fuzzy and drained.
"Your breathing seems better at any rate."
"It comes and goes." I replied dozily.
"Come on Cara. You can have a lie down before you go home." Kate murmured. "Thank you Doctor."
She steered me up and out of the door.
"Don't worry." She murmured as she helped me lie down on the sofa. "You can call me to talk about the results every time if you need too."
"What if it shows I'm stage five...?" I asked.
"Then we'll get you straight on whatever course is best for you. And start looking for a kidney. Have you thought that maybe your friends or family...?"
"What?" I started. "No... they can't..."
"Ok, ok, don't get stressed. It doesn't have to be like that. I'll let you rest for an hour, then I'll come and get you ok?"
"Thank you." I replied, and then slipped in to a sleep. I felt like it was barely a minute before she was waking me up and walking me to a taxi.
"Go home. Finish planning the party. Relax. And don't forget I'm here if you need to talk."
"Thank you." I said before the taxi pulled away and I rolled up the window. Home. Only a few more days until the party. I could do it.
"Everything is ready." Lexi said down the phone. "And you should see the painting you asked Myra to do Cara, it's beautiful."
"Thank god." I heard the door go. "Oh, Sam's back. Got to go."
"See ya!" Lexi yelled as I took the phone away from my ear and hung up.
"Cara?" Sam called, coming down the corridor.
"In here." I pulled the pan of pasta from the stove and piled it in to two bowls. "Dinner is served."
"Thank god, the day I've had." She collapsed on the sofa and I put the pasta in front of her. "You're a star."
"God yes." She went off on a rant about the shipping company making a mess of the order and that she'd had to be on the phone all day to get to the bottom of it. I nodded and sympathised, but my mind was elsewhere, dreading the return of the results and what they would bring.