The doctor came over as Sam sat back down.
“Miss Gramms. If you’re feeling better you may go now. The machine is being sent your house. No it’s all in the package we’ve put together for you but there are numbers you can call if you need help, we have a dedicated team that…” I faded out, watching his lips move as though I was listening, but really, I was thinking it over. The machine. I’d gone through the process; they’d shown me… it wasn’t so complex really. Sam had been there, memorising each detail. I looked at her now, fixed on everything the doctor said. She really was there for me, supporting me no matter what.
“Cara?” Sam was looking at me.
“Did you hear what the doctor just said?”
“Oh, of course. Sorry… I was processing. Thank you.”
The doctor smiled, nodded and disappeared.
“You weren’t listening were you?” Sam frowned.
“No. Were you?”
“Cara, you have to take this seriously…” Sam frowned, taking my hand.
“Look, can we just go? I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to watch crappy t.v and get in to a relationship with the sofa.”
“Am I not enough?” She asked, a small smirk on her face which did not entirely cover the unhappiness in her eyes.
I sighed, freed my legs from the bed and stood up.
“Of course you are. Come on, take me home?”
She stood, taking my head in her hands and kissing my forehead gently.
“Okay.” She went to sort my release out with the desk and I closed the curtains to get changed. I was glad I’d been wearing a baggy top; it wouldn’t irritate the skin where I’d been cut open. I closed my eyes and sighed. The first step. Tonight, the first round on my own with the machine…
“Cara?” I opened my eyes to find the curtain had been drawn back.
“Liam?” I turned and found everyone there… well, the band, Ali and Sam I mean. “What..?”
“Sam called me earlier, told us if we wanted checking… we’re here to get checked.”
“Yeah, course you idiot.” He went to hug me but Sam stopped him. “Oh, yeah, course. Catheter.”
“We were just going but-“
“-You go. It’s alright. You’ll need your rest.”
“Okay well… thanks. Thanks a bunch.”
“Hey, no problem.”
They were all grinning at me, brave smiles, like they were terrified. Terrified for me, or because they might be a match? I couldn’t tell. Sam reached her hand forward.
“Come on gorgeous. Let’s get you home.”
I took her hand and followed her, escorted by everyone.
“Good luck!” Sam clapped Liam and Jak on the backs before we left. I smiled and waved gently, trying to make sure I didn’t really move. I was a bit worried in case anything happened.
“Sam, I need to change the bag before bed!” I called from the bedroom.
“I’m just making your mum a tea!” She called. “The bags are under the bed.”
I just finished attaching the other bag when my phone rang.
“Cara? Dr. Shappiro.”
“Hi. I should probably save your number huh?”
“Yes.” He chuckled. “Everything getting on alright?”
“Yes, everything’s fine. Mood swings sometimes but I was told that was to be expected.”
“Good. Now I probably shouldn’t be doing this but I thought you’d be thrilled with the news. You’ll be notified officially of course but, I wanted you to know two of your friends are compatible with you.”
“Two?” I said, suddenly feeling dizzy. Part of me had wanted none of them to be, another part of me… to not have to be on a catheter… it had been a week and a half and I hated it. Most people were on for longer so I understood that this was excellent but still… “Who?”
“Your friend Ali and…”
I heard him say it. Heard him say both their names.
“Cara? Still there?”
“Yeah… wow that’s amazing.” I choked. “I can’t wait to tell them.”
“Oh they’ll get their official letters informing them, but I thought you would like to tell them.”
“Thank you. I would.”
“Alright then, I shall hopefully see you soon for a consultation about an operation?” I could hear him smiling.
“Yeah. Great. See you doctor.”
I hung up and stared down at my phone. It was happening. Oh god.
“Cara… hey, you okay?” I looked up to see Sam standing in the doorway.
“Yeah sure. Just a moment of… I don’t know.”
“Hey, it’ll be great. We should be hearing soon about whether everyone is compatible… and if not your mother still has to be checked and there’s more of a chance with her-“
“-I know Sam.” I cut her off deadpan. “I’ve got a leaflet, I don’t need you repeating it.”
“Cara I’m only trying to help. You keep getting at me and I don’t see… never mind. Shall I take your mum back to the hotel or do you think you’re up for a bit more conversation?”
“I don’t really feel like talking.”
She nodded and got up, smiling sadly at me, and then went out of the room. Ten minutes later, while I lay in bed, the machine on now, starting its work, my mum popped her head in.
“Oh good girl you’ve got it all set up.”
“Yes mother, I’ve been setting it up since I got it.” I rolled my eyes.
“Sam’s taking me to the hotel. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Bye sweetie.” She disappeared and Sam stuck her head in. I turned my head away to look at the machine, frowning. I saw her pause, her lips droop, and then she disappeared. The door slammed.
God. This was it. This couldn’t happen. I couldn’t accept that soon I might be getting rid of the sound of this damned thing because of one damn word… one damned thing.
No, no no.