Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 28 | Forever

| Mark’s POV |

Once I hung up the call with Naveah, I began walking back to my car. I slowly sat inside and shut the door. I placed my hands on either side of the steering wheel, and then suddenly, I let out the loudest scream I think I’ve ever heard before in my entire life.

I continued to scream, and scream, and scream, until I had nothing left inside of me.

How am I supposed to get through this? What am I supposed to do now? How am I going to help my mom? I promised her that I would do whatever it takes to help her, and now I can’t even keep that promise.

How did my life go from one extreme to the next? One minute I’m undeniably happy with Naveah, going to school and seeing my friends, and the next I’m sitting beside my mom’s hospital bed.

It just doesn’t make sense.

I yank my phone from my pocket again, dialing the number to Dr. Bennett.

“Hello, this is Dr. Bennett.”

“Hi, Dr. Bennett. It’s Mark Chase.” I manage to say.

“Oh, Mark, yes. Is there something I can help you with?” He asks, not sensing the defeat that’s prominent in my voice.

“Actually, I don’t think there’s anything you can do.” I sigh.

“Why not? Did something happen with your father?”

“Let’s just say, he’s no help at all. It was a mistake to come here.”

I’m frowning, but Dr. Bennett can’t see it.

“Oh, Mark, I’m so sorry about that. Let me check with the nurses to see if UNOS has any update. Your mother isn’t doing too well, its best we remain positive and continue reaching out to UNOS. At this stage, there’s just nothing left for us to do, but wait.” Dr. Bennett explains.

“Y-Yeah, okay. Sounds great.”

It didn’t even register that those words came out of my mouth. I felt numb all over. It’s almost as if my soul is floating around my body, witnessing everything that I’m doing, but unable to make the connection.

It’s a scary feeling. Very scary.

“Are you alright Mark? Where are you? Are you at home?” Dr. Bennett asks.

“No, I uh, haven’t left his apartment complex yet.”

“Maybe you should just sit for a few minutes before you start driving anywhere. Just take a minute to collect yourself, to breathe.”

Breathe. Breathing sounds so easy, yet I can’t seem to catch a solid breath.

“Will do Dr. Bennett.” I manage to say, “I’ll see you at the hospital later tonight.”

“Alright Mark, take care of yourself. See you then.” Dr. Bennett says, his voice sounding sad to my ears.

I end the call and decide to text Naveah. It’s going to be a while before I head back to her place.

I just need time.

| Naveah’s POV |

Mark: I’ll be a while. I just need time. I can’t even drive right now, it’s like my hands aren’t connected to my body anymore. Sorry, that sounds weird. Turns out mom is getting worse, so I guess I need to start preparing for the end. I’ll see you later. Love you.

Mark’s text sends shivers down my spine. Where is he going? What is he doing? Why can’t he come back now instead of later?

So many questions swarm through my head, but I try to remain calm.

Mark’s dad is zero help, so now his mom is probably going to die.

“I feel like I should be doing something.” I sigh, leaning back onto the couch.

“You’re doing everything that you can. Unfortunately this is something that Mark needs to deal with on his own. There’s nothing that any of us can do.” Lucy reassures.

Callie is in my room, packing up her things. She leaves to go back to New York tomorrow morning, and I honestly wish she could stay longer. I need all of my friends.

Red has been spending time with Connor, but he says he’ll stop by to see us one more time before he leaves tomorrow as well. He has to go back to Tennessee in order to appease work.

“I can’t even imagine how Mark is feeling right now. I pray UNOS can find his mom a liver soon.” Riley frowns. She was angry at us for leaving her here, because she said she wanted to be there for Mark.

We told her that she was too drunk to go anywhere, and that we thought it would be best for her to sleep it off at home. She agreed, but is still in a mood.

With thoughts storming through my brain, I suddenly stand up.

“I can’t do this, I can’t just sit here and do nothing.” I shake my head, walking over toward the front door, grabbing my bag in the process.

“Where are you going? You should stay here for when Mark gets back!” Lucy says, her eyes widening at my sudden outburst.

“No, I need to go. I’ll be back. If Mark shows up, tell him that I’ll call him.” I demand, my left foot already out of the front door.

“What do we tell him? Where are you going?” Callie begs for an answer as she comes rushing from my bedroom, probably having heard that I was leaving.

“Just tell Mark that I love him, okay?” I smile, the three of them looking at me as if I’ve grown a second head.

I shut the door once I’m outside, and immediately head for the car. I get inside and buckle up, speeding out of the driveway.

I can’t just do nothing.

| Mark’s POV |

After I stopped and had something to eat, I got back into my car and drove to a nearby park.

I slowly turn off the ignition, and get out of the car.

I walk over toward an empty picnic table and sit on top of it, my feet resting on the bench seat.

I pull out the brand new pack of cigarettes that are resting inside of my pocket. I bought them when I stopped to get gas, before I stopped to eat.

I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but before I have time to think about it, a single cigarette is resting in between my lips. I bring the brand new lighter to the end of the cigarette, engulfing the tip into the flame.

I inhale, the smooth smoke coating my lungs. I slowly let my breath go, my face suddenly covered in a cloud of smoke. It tastes so good, like I never stopped.

I continue to inhale, and exhale, before the cigarette is just a butt. I toss the butt onto the grass below the picnic table, watching it slowly burn out.

Is that how it’s going to be while I watch my mom die? Am I going to be forced to watch her slowly burn out, until she’s nothing but a cloud of smoke, slowly leaving the earth and rising up into the sky?

I shake my head of my thoughts.

She can’t die, not like this. It’s too soon. She still has a long time before she’s supposed to be anywhere near death. She’s only in her late thirties. She’s too young to die, especially this brutally.

It’s not even death that bothers me so much. It’s the fact that it’s a slow death. It won’t kill her all at once, she’ll be in pain while she dies, while her liver slowly fails, as it’s slowly failing now.

I instantly feel anger. This isn’t supposed to happen to us. My mom is sober right now. She’s supposed to get healthier, not sicker.

Another tear escapes my eye, before my phone starts ringing.

I yank my phone from my pocket, my stomach dropping.

Seeing that it isn’t the hospital, I feel a small bit of relief, before I answer the call. Why is Lucy calling me?


“Mark? Where are you? You need to come home now.”

“What’s going on?” I immediately stand up from the picnic table, already beginning to rush back to my car.

“I have no idea, but Naveah left about an hour and a half ago, and wouldn’t tell us where she was going. All she said was to tell you that she loves you. It kind of freaked us out.” Lucy explains as calmly as she can, “We waited, but eventually we just couldn’t wait anymore. We’re worried. She won’t answer her phone.”

“Alright, I’m on my way now, just stay at the apartment in case she comes back.” I instruct, waiting for Lucy to agree, before ending the call.

I buckle up once more, turning the key in the ignition. I press Naveah’s contact picture, and then I press the call option. The phone rings a few times, before it goes to voicemail.

Damn her.

“Baby, what’s going on? Where are you? Lucy and the others are worried. Please call me back, love you.”

I end the call and shove my phone back into my pocket. The only place that I can think of that she would be, is maybe the hospital.

I decide to drive there first, just to be on the safe side. Maybe she went to visit with my mom? Either way, I needed to check up on my mom regardless. I haven’t seen her since earlier this morning when I left.

I make it to the hospital in about twenty minutes, thanks to traffic. I lock my car up, before rushing inside of the hospital’s main lobby.

I see the familiar woman from the ER, currently working the desk to the main lobby.

“Don’t you work in the ER?” I ask as soon as she looks up at me.

“I’ve been picking up extra shifts. How are you?” She asks, eyeing me.

“Did my girlfriend come here by any chance? I can’t seem to find her, and she isn’t answering her phone.”

“Um, well, I think you should just wait over there.” The woman points to the waiting area, flashing me a sincere smile.

“What’s going on? Is she here? Did something happen to her?” I demand answers, my stomach flipping inside of my stomach.

“I’m not supposed to say anything, Sir.” The woman gives me an apologetic look.

“I don’t give a shit what you’re supposed to do, if she’s here, you need to tell me!” I shout, causing her eyes to widen.

“Mark.” I hear from behind the desk. I look up and see Dr. Bennett.

“Dr. Bennett, is Naveah here?” I leave the desk and walk around it, confronting Dr. Bennett face to face.

“She is.” He nods.

“Seriously?” I glance behind me to the woman again, shooting her a glare. She immediately turns away from me, putting her head down while she types on her computer.

“Mark, calm down. It’s alright.” Dr. Bennett says, trying his best to soothe me.

“Can somebody please just tell me what’s going on?” I sigh, losing my patience.

“Naveah is fine, in fact, she’s just coming out of anesthesia.” Dr. Bennett states with a small smile.

“Anesthesia? What do you mean? Is she hurt? What the hell happened?” My eyes widen, my nervous system completely shot after the night and the day that I’ve had.

“Mark... Did Naveah talk to you at all today?” Dr. Bennett asks.

“No, I mean yeah, earlier. I told her about my dad and she told me to come home. She said that it wasn’t over yet.” I try to locate the conversation we had in my memory, pieces of it finally coming together.

Dr. Bennett nods. “Well, she was right.”

“What does that mean? Can you stop beating around the bush for five seconds and tell me what’s happening to my damn girlfriend?” I shout again, the volume of my voice rising.

“Mark, Naveah tested her blood two hours ago.” Dr. Bennett begins explaining.

My eyebrows furrow, but then, they immediately go straight as my eyes widen.

“She what?”

“She came in crying, saying that there must be something more she can do for you, I tried to explain that there wasn’t... until she told me that she wanted me to test her blood.”

I begin shaking my head, “No, why would she do that?”

“She was a match, Mark. She matched your mother’s blood. We ran her blood to make sure that she was completely sober, and she was. Her liver is still healthy, and she promised to stop drinking for a while in order to do this successfully. She didn’t want there to be any complications after her surgery, so she’s not risking it by drinking for a long while.” Dr. Bennett explains.

My head is still shaking as I process his words.

“Mark-“, Dr. Bennett gently places his hands on either sides of my shoulders, causing me to look at him in the eyes, “Naveah just saved your mother’s life.”

Tears are clouding my vision as I stare back at Dr. Bennett, his words unable to process in my brain. Naveah saved my mother’s life? Naveah gave my mother part of her liver? Why the fuck would she do that? She could’ve been seriously hurt by this.

“Are you okay Mark?” Dr. Bennett asks, snapping me back to reality.

“Where is she? Take me to her, please.” I beg.

Dr. Bennett smiles, before turning around and heading behind the double-doors. I follow him, my mind still a complete mess.

We walk down numerous hallways, before we stop outside of a room.

“She’s in there, go ahead.” Dr. Bennett says, stepping to the side. “She’s still a little groggy, but that should clear up soon.”

I slowly push the door open, my feet dragging me inside. I see her lying on the hospital bed, her chest slowly rising and falling.

She looks breathtaking.

I slowly walk over to the side of her bed, sitting down onto the wooden chair, careful not to nudge her bed.

I reach my hand over, placing it on top of hers.

Her body stirs a bit, her eyebrows furrowing in discomfort. Her eyes slowly open, the deep brown orbs staring back at me.

“Mark?” She says, her voice a little hoarse. I reach over and grab the cup of water resting on her bedside table. I hold the drink in front of her face, the straw just beside her lips. She takes a drink, before lying her head back against the pillow.

“I can’t believe you did this. Why didn’t you tell me?” I frown, reaching my free hand over to run my fingers through her soft hair.

“I didn’t want you to change my mind.” She says only above a whisper.

“This is a big deal, Nave. I was never going to ask you to do this, not once.” I shake my head, leaning down to kiss the top of her hand.

“I know you weren’t, that’s why I didn’t tell you. You and your mom finally have another chance to reconcile your differences, and I wasn’t going to let her die when I knew I could’ve done something to help. I only came here to test my blood, I was going to talk to you about it once I got the results, but as soon as the nurse told me that I was a match, I just couldn’t control myself. I said yes.” She explains calmly, squeezing my hand for comfort.

“You are fucking amazing, do you know that? God, I love you so fucking much, you don’t even have the slightest clue how much.” I frown again, leaning over the side of her bed to kiss her.

“I do.” She nods, once I pull away from her, “I do know how much, because that’s exactly how much that I love you.”

I kiss her again, tears falling from my eyes.

I can’t believe that she would do this for me, for my mom. She’s hardly spent any time with my mom, yet she risked her own life, just to save hers. That’s definitely not something that I take lightly. I owe this girl my entire life, and that’s exactly what I’m going to give to her. She has my entire life, she has me.


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