Gordon was looking through some files in his study when his eyes came across a note. He pulled it out from under a heap of files. It was from Stacie.
Just wanted to let you know that I’d be living with my friend on campus for a while. Sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused. Love, Stacie.
Gordon sighed. He picked up his phone and dialed Stacie’s number. Stacie and Betty were walking in town when her phone rang. She took the phone and looked at the caller ID.
“It’s my dad.”
“Awww… I guess he has missed you.”
“I’m sure; I don’t want to answer it now.”
“We’re in town; everywhere is crowded and noisy. Who knows, someone could easily snatch the phone from my ear.”
“Great! You ask your dad to get you a new one.” The phone started ringing again.
“Just answer it and let tell him you’d call him back. Come on, let’s cross,” Betty said. Stacie answered the call. “Hello dad.”
“Stacie, where are you? When are you coming home?”
“Dad, I’m fine; I’m just hanging out with a friend. I’ll be home soon.”
“You mean this evening, right?”
“Stacie, watch out!” Betty screamed. Before Stacie could blink, a fast car had swept her up and thrown her off to the other side of the road. The car screeched to a halt.
“Stacie?” Gordon called out as he stood up. “Stacie, are you all right?”
He didn’t get a reply but could hear a lot of commotion from the other end of the line. After a minute or so of unbearable torture, someone said, “Hello, is this Stacie’s dad?”
“Yes it’s me; tell me what’s happening? Where’s Stacie?”
“Stacie…just had an accident.”
“What? How…how is she?”
“I…don’t know…they are carrying her into a car. I’ve to go. I promise to call you back when I find out where they are taking her.”
“Sure…please don’t hesitate to call me the very second you find that out. I’ll be waiting.”
“Yes please; bye.” The line went dead. Gordon began sweating profusely. He called his wife’s number but it was busy. He called Jason but he didn’t pick up. He called the secretary who informed him that he was in a meeting. As he was pacing to and fro his study, his phone rang. He quickly answered.
“Yes…where are you now?”
“We are on the way to St. Phillips’ private hospital.”
“Fine; I’ll be right there. Can I get your name, miss?”
“I’m Betty, Stacie’s friend.”
“Of course; I’ll meet you there. Bye,” he said hastily and cut the line. He rushed out of the room and called the driver. He drove him to the venue.
Half an hour later, Gordon arrived at the hospital. He rushed inside to the counter.
“I gather a young lady who just suffered an accident has been brought here.”
“You mean, Miss Archer? Yes, she’s in the operating room at the moment.”
“Has she been there for long?”
“Not exactly; about twenty minutes ago.”
“Thanks.” He turned around to look for Betty. He realized that he didn’t even know how she looked like. He noticed a crying lady of about Stacie’s age coming towards him.
“Betty?” She nodded, as she burst into tears. He held her and patted her back.
“She was talking on the phone and…we were crossing the road and she didn’t realize a fast car approaching. It hit her hard and threw her off.”
“Was she bleeding a lot?”
“Yes, she was.”
“She didn’t hurt her head, did she?”
“I’m not really sure.” He led her to a seat and they both sat. Gordon tried calling Susan and Jason again but to no avail. About forty five minutes later, the doctor came out.
“Are you the victim’s father?”
“Yes I am. How’s she doing, doctor?”
“It’s possible that she’d pull through. She lost a lot of blood and thus needs blood urgently.”
“Good; you can take mine,” he quickly offered.
“Sure; follow me.”
“I’ll be right back, okay?” Betty nodded; her eyes still red from crying. As Gordon followed the doctor, his phone rang. He answered it.
“Yes darling; I just saw your missed calls. Is anything the matter?”
“It’s Stacie; she just had a car accident.”
“What? How did that happen? When?”
“About an hour and half ago. I’ve been trying to get to you and Jason the whole time but haven’t succeeded.”
“So where are you now?”
“At St. Phillips’ private hospital.”
“Okay; I’ll be right there.”
“Fine; apparently, she has lost a lot of blood so I’ve to donate some to…”
“What? No don’t, Gordon!”
“Excuse me? It’s Stacie’s life we’re talking about here, woman.”
“I know; could you hold on for a little while? I’ll be right there so we can talk…”
“Sorry; I’ve got to go. See you soon,” Gordon said and cut the line.
“Wait, Gordon, wait!” The line went dead. She sighed.
“This can’t be happening. After all I’ve done to prevent this, it had to happen anyway, huh? The truth always has a funny way of showing its ugly head,” Susan said to herself. She took her bag and rushed to her car. She drove off.
In the car, Susan was wondering, how am I going to resolve this if it blows up? If only he would pick up his phone, I could stall him…
Susan took her phone and dialed Gordon’s number again but he didn’t pick up. She sighed deeply.
“Could you please step a bit harder on the accelerator? I need to get to the hospital in the next minute!” she commanded the driver.
“Mr. Archer, I’m sorry but your blood type cannot help your daughter.”
“Why not? Do I have any serious infection?”
“No; that’s not it. It baffles me that your blood and that of your daughter are incompatible but I’m afraid it is.”
“What do you mean by that, doctor?” The doctor stared at Gordon.
When Susan arrived at the hospital, she was directed to the office of the doctor-in-charge. When she entered the office, she noticed the doctor subconsciously flinch. Gordon looked devastated. She swallowed.
“Doctor, I’m Stacie’s mother…”
“Could you please give us a moment, doctor?”
“Sure; you can talk as long as you want. Excuse me,” he said and left them alone.
“Gordon, what’s wrong?” He took a sheet of paper that was in front of him and handed it to her. She hesitated before taking it from him. She glanced at him one more time before taking a look at the sheet of paper.
“What is this? What does it mean?”
“Susan, who’s Stacie?”
“What do you mean, who’s Stacie? She’s our daughter!”
“Is she? Then why is this telling me something different?”
“What are you talking about? This is a technical mistake. The one responsible for this reckless behavior should be sued and stripped of his license to practice.”
Gordon stood up to face his wife.
“Stop your mumblings and tell me the truth, Susan.”
“What do you mean, Gordon? Stacie’s is our daughter for crying out loud!”
“She’s definitely yours but certainly not mine.”
“Because of what this stupid paper says? Come on, Gordon!”
“Tell me the truth, Susan!” He reached out to hold Susan when he suddenly clutched at his chest.
“Gordon, are you okay?” He sank back into the chair with widened eyes full of pain and fright.
“Gordon, talk to me. What is it?”
“Oh no…doctor!” She rushed outside and called the doctor. He rushed in with some nurses who rushed him to a ward. Susan sighed.
“Please…not now.” Gordon’s phone rang. Susan looked at it and saw that it was Jason.
She answered it. “Hi son.”
“Mum? Why are you with dad’s phone? I just realized that he has been trying to call me. What’s up, mum?”
“It’s Stacie, Jay. She suffered a car accident about 2 hours ago.”
“What?” Jason exclaimed in full shock. His heart began beating wildly.
“I also missed your father’s call. I found out not too long ago. I’m at the hospital now.”
“Okay; I’ll be there in a jiffy.”
“And son…there’s something else.”
“What is it, mum?”
“Your father…just suffered a heart attack.”
“He what? And what triggered it?”
“After what I just told you, are you really asking me that?”
“So how’s Stacie’s doing?”
“She’s still undergoing an operation.”
“Okay; I’ll be right there, mum. Which hospital?”
“All right, I’ll be right there.” He hung up and rushed out of his office.
He entered the hospital, panting. As he looked around, he noticed his mum pacing. He rushed to her. Susan hugged her son tightly. When she let go, Jason asked, “Any news of Stacie?”
“They are trying to stabilize his condition.”
“I don’t get it; did he get the attack when he heard the news or when he got here?”
“Does it really matter where and when it happened?” Susan snapped, ending the subject. Jason fell silent. The doctor came out.
“Mrs. Archer,” he called out. They walked to him.
“How’s my girl doing?”
“We’ve tried to stabilize her; she still needs blood though.”
“Really? Then let me…”
“No; we’ll find blood elsewhere,” Susan said sharply, holding Jason’s arm. Jason looked at her mum in shock. The doctor gave her a cynical look.
“Mum…what are you doing?”
“Do you want your son to suffer a heart attack too?” The doctor asked sharply.
“What?” Susan lost guard for a moment and let go of Jason’s arm. Jason kept looking at his mum like he didn’t even know her.
“Mum, are you all right?”
“Yes…yes, I am.” She glanced at the doctor who took a moment to eye her before turning his attention to Jason.
“Follow me, gentleman,” he said and turned around. Jason looked at his mother for the last time before following the doctor. Susan collapsed into the seat and sighed as emotions rushed into her. Tears filled her eyes.
This can’t be happening. I can’t lose everything now…not now…not now when I’m almost close to…oh no…
Some minutes passed before Jason came to his mum and sat by her. Betty walked to them.
“Oh Betty, I totally forgot you are here,” Susan said.
“It’s okay; any news of Stacie?”
“Not yet but I’m sure she’ll be okay. Why don’t you go home, dear? We’ll call you when we hear anything.”
“Yeah, I think it’s better if you go home. Thanks for bringing her here. We promise to keep you updated.”
“Okay; this is Stacie’s phone.” She gave it to Jason.
“Thanks; go home and have some rest, okay?”
“Let me escort you,” Jason offered and went with Stacie.
“So what happened before the accident?” Jason asked.
“We were walking in town when she got a call from your dad. So…we were about to cross the road and because she was distracted, she didn’t notice a fast approaching car. I tried to warn her but it was too late.”
“So my dad was on the line when the accident occurred.”
“Yes; I even spoke to him before getting Stacie to the hospital.”
“You did? You mean…he was okay? He didn’t get an attack?”
“What attack? I was with him waiting for the doctor when the doctor asked for blood for Stacie. He offered to donate some blood and followed the doctor. I haven’t seen him since. Is he all right?”
“Yes he is; don’t worry.” Jason stopped a taxi driver.
“Where are you headed to?”
“I’m going back to campus.”
Jason talked to the driver for a few moments. He turned to Betty and told her to sit inside. He took a note from his wallet and handed it to the driver.
“Thank you, Jason,” Betty said gratefully.
“Don’t mention it; take care,” he said as he waved at her. The driver took off. Jason went back into the hospital and sat beside his mother.
“How did it go?” Susan asked quietly.
“It’s okay. I hope Stacie is out of danger by now.”
“Yes, me too.”
“Mum, what caused dad’s attack?”
“I thought I told you…”
“I know what you told me, mum. Now I want to know the truth. Because Betty told me dad was with her and he was okay. So what happened?”
“How am I supposed to know? I’m sure the stress overwhelmed him or something.”
“Fine; when the doctor mentioned about me too getting a heart attack, what was that about?”
“I don’t know; maybe he wanted to sound sarcastic.”
“Seriously, mum? Why would a doctor play such games in a time of emergency?”
“I don’t know, Jason! Honestly, I’m not in a very talky mood right now. I think I’d go home.”
“Before you see dad and Stacie?”
“If they are going to keep long on them, that is.”
The doctor came out. Jason got up.
“Your dad is out of danger now.”
“So we can see him?”
“Yes, of course. Stacie’s also out of surgery and is resting. You may see her but please be quiet and let the visit be brief. She needs to relax as much as possible.”
Jason and his mum went to see Stacie. She was unconscious. Jason took her hand and kissed it. He ran his hand through her hair. He forced a smile.
“Hey, get well soon, okay? There are so many things I need to tell you. I know you’re strong and that you’ll come out of this stronger. I believe in you and I love you, sis,” he said and leaned forward to place a kiss on her forehead. Susan’s hand was trembling as she reached out and touched Stacie’s hand. Tears ran onto her cheeks.
“Please get well soon and come home, sweetheart. Seeing you here in this condition breaks my heart. I know I should be strong for you and I’m going to but please get well soon, okay?” She kissed her hand.
They left to Gordon’s ward. When they entered, Susan hesitated when she saw her husband on the hospital bed. Jason went to stand by the bed side.
“I’m sorry dad; I’m going to take care of your company. Get well soon, okay?” He patted his shoulder lightly. He turned to find his mum still gazing at his father, trembling.
“Mum?” She slowly met his eyes.
“Can we leave now?”
“Sure.” They went to see the doctor and then left the hospital.
In the car, Susan was quiet. Jason was worried that something was wrong. He just didn’t know what it was but he knew it.