I woke up and Sam still wasn’t next to me. Slowly, achingly, I checked the flat, but she wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
“Fine. Be like that.” I muttered. The phone rang.
“Cara? Dr. Shappiro here.”
“Anna? Anna I need to talk to you!” I called, closing the door behind me and flipping the key on its ring around my finger. I walked up the stairs and unlocked that door, opened it and called again. “Anna?”
I slipped inside and pulled off my coat. No doubt the lazy sod was still in bed. I was just going to go and wake her up when I spotted a shape, covered in blankets, on the sofa. Why was she sleeping on the sofa? The curtains were still closed so I slipped over to her and poked her.
“Oi, lazy. Get up. I have to talk to you.” The mound of blankets groaned and moved slightly. “Come on. Up!” I poked her again.
I stepped back in shock.
“Sam? What… why are you here?”
She sat up and her head appeared over the sofa, bleary eyed.
“What time is it?”
“Why are you here?” I repeated, remembering my anger from last night and getting pissed because she’d stayed over with Anna instead of coming back home.
“I came to-“
“What is going on?” Anna appeared, switching on a light as she did so. “Cara? What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be resting?” It hit me before Anna realised she’d said what she’d said and tried to backtrack. “I mean-“
“YOU TOLD HER?” I rounded on Sam who was giving Anna a ‘give me break!’ look.
“Cara, don’t be mad I-“
“Don’t be mad? Are you fucking serious right now?” I yelled. “You told my best friend I’m seriously ill before me? You don’t even like each other that much!”
“Wait Cara-“ Anna started.
“Oh don’t even…“ I turned to face her. “She told you, stayed over, and you didn’t even bother to call me? That wasn’t your first reaction? You know what?” I looked at both of them. “I’m out of here. Don’t bother following me.” I hurried over to my coat and heard Sam jump over the back of the sofa.
“Cara I couldn’t think of anyone else to… I was drunk and-“
“Get out of my way Sam.” I said through gritted teeth. She stood between me and the door, sad eyes peering at me in desperation.
“Don’t go. We need to talk.”
“I think you and Anna have done enough talking.”
“Cara, please, I was upset and I wanted someone to talk to who cares about you as much as I do.”
“Sam, so help me, let me through. I don’t want to talk to you right now, I just want to go and…” She was crying now. In front of me. Crying. Anna appeared.
“Cara maybe you should stay and talk to Sam here? I can go and wait in the shop downstairs or..”
“I want to leave.” I muttered softly. Sam bit her lip, wiped a couple of tears away from her cheeks and stepped to the side, flattening herself against the doorframe. I looked at her and decided I couldn’t leave. I was still pissed, but guilt at making her cry was washing over me and I couldn’t combine the two when she was crying there…. “Fine. I’ll stay.” I pouted and dumped my coat, heading over to the sofa.
“I’ll go.” Anna said.
“No. Stay. Might as well now.” I shrugged, sinking in to the sofa and crossing my arms. I was tired again; all these arguments were exhausting me and I knew it was a bad sign. Thank god I was getting treated soon.
Sam appeared and sat down at the other end of the sofa, tentatively. I now saw the tissues that she’d obviously used last night, still looking slightly sodden. She must have cried a hell of a lot.
“Cup of tea?” Anna asked.
“Please.” I replied. Sam nodded and smiled briefly at Anna. Probably more of a ‘thanks for getting her to calm down’ than thanks for the tea. We sat there in silence until Anna appeared, passing the cups of tea to Sam and I before grabbing her own from the kitchen and going to sit in the chair across from me.
“So.” She said, looking at me. “You lied to me.”
I glanced at her.
“And you lied to everyone. Sam, Liam, Ali…”
“Yeah.” I repeated, taking a sip of my tea and swearing because it burnt my lip.
“Why?” Anna asked and her eyes were filling up now. It looked like we’d need more tissues.
“What? Sam didn’t tell you that?” I retorted but the fight had gone out of my voice. I was feeling weighted, like I was in water.
“Come on Cara, that’s not fair.” Anna said as Sam shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She seemed to have lost the ability to speak.
“No what’s not fair is that I didn’t get to tell you myself what’s going on.”
“Okay I admit that it wasn’t fair on you. I am sorry Cara, really I am,” Sam said, reaching out to take my hand. I moved it away from her. “But you can’t blame me for needing to talk to someone. You won’t let me help you in this-“
“-which I think is stupid by the way Cara. I’m getting tested too. No arguments.” Anna added.
“No!” I snapped. “Why do you both have to do this? Can’t you just support me from a non-life threatening place?”
“Oh you know Sam and I. Constantly looking for ways in which to endanger ourselves for you.” Anna said lightly. I would have laughed if I hadn’t been so damn mad. Sam looked like she felt the same way.
“Cara, baby, why are you having such a hard time over this? If it could save your life, if it meant that you and I could continue…” Sam began but I held up my hand.
“If either of you mention it again I’m leaving.”
Sam and Anna exchanged a look, and then shrugged in agreement.
“Ok.” Sam accepted. “Another time.”
I glared. I would not accept that she wanted to give me a kidney. Somehow it just felt… too much? Like, as if this woman hadn’t given me enough she was now going to be a part of me forever. Or at least try to be. What was wrong with that? Was that all this was about? I didn’t even know and now they were staring at me like I was some bomb that might go off any second...
“So do you know when you’ll be going on dialysis yet?” Anna asked.
“The doctor called this morning.” Sam became alert at this, sitting forward intently.
“What did he say?” She asked.
“I have an appointment tomorrow. Apparently a place opened up… I don’t want to even think what that means for whoever it was that dropped out but… I guess I’ll be getting a nice catheter attached sooner than we thought.”
Sam sighed in relief, and settled back against the arm of the sofa, facing me.
"Well that's good news at least."