We Meet Again
Annabelle approached the middle-aged, kind-looking Dr. Williams who was in charge of gran, scared of what news he would give her.
"Hello doctor, I am Annabelle Carter, granddaughter of Mrs. Ophelia Henderson. I was the one who brought her here. I have informed her other family members. How is gran?" She asked with apprehension.
"Ms. Carter, your grandmother has a hairline fracture in the femoral head of her right hip. It requires immediate surgery within the next 48 hours. Her blood pressure and thyroid and cardiac reports have arrived and we can proceed with the surgery as soon as you complete the formalities at the reception," the doctor informed her.
Annabelle widened her eyes with nervousness. She wished someone from the Henderson family would be here to support her.
"Gran was unconscious after her fall. Has she regained consciousness doctor?" She asked.
"Yes, your grandmother has gained consciousness and has been given medications for her pain. Don't worry, this is quite common in old age and the surgery is safe and will heal her well," Dr. Williams comforted her.
"How long is she required to stay here?" Annabelle asked, fiddling with her fingers out of nervousness.
"Post operation she will be shifted to our in-house rehabilitation unit but we can discuss that later. Please complete the formalities, Ms. Carter. See you then, " saying that Dr Williams turned and left.
Annabelle rushed to the reception and enquired about gran's surgery costs and formalities.
She had no idea why Stefan had not contacted her. She had expected at least someone from the family to appear and stand by gran at this critical time. She knew Martha had contacted Stefan's father Nathaniel Henderson and his second wife, Audrey Henderson, who was Stefanamd Claire's stepmother. Their real mom Miriam had passed away when they were 3 years of age. Stefan's twin sister Claire was married, happily settled in California, and had just given birth to her first baby boy Alexander, 2 months back. So she could not possibly come even if she knew about Gran's condition. Stefan's half brothers Tristan who was 4 years younger and the twins Julian and Adrian who were 6 years younger than Stefan were too busy with their lives. She didn't have their contact numbers. She had met them a few times and had a good friendly relationship with them. Though they loved pulling her legs, yet she was comfortable in their presence.
She heaved a sigh and repeated her question to the busy receptionist.
"Excuse me", she checked her name tag, "Ms. Morgan, please can you tell me what formalities I need to complete so that my grandmother Mrs. Ophelia Henderson admitted in the emergency unit gets to the surgery room on time?" She knew she sounded rude, but she had to get her attention from among the sea of eager people waiting to be attended to.
She took a look at the records on her computer asking for the necessary details and gave a form for her to fill.
"The surgery cost and other hospital charges, ambulance charges have been paid in full ma'am. You only need to fill this form with the patient details and your contact details and sign. "
Annabelle looked at her with disbelief. "Who paid for the expenses?'' she asked.
"Mr. Stefan Henderson cleared all the payments ma'am just 15 minutes back through bank transfer," she informed her.
So, Stefan wasn't here. He heard the voicemail and paid for everything. Yet he did not call or visit gran? Her chest constricted and her mouth went dry. She had not expected Stefan to become so cold towards his grandmother. What would she answer gran if she asked?
She thanked the receptionist and headed towards the emergency unit. Opening gran's door and peeping through, she found gran lying still on the bed waiting for the nurses to prepare her for the surgery. She looked so old, fragile, and helpless.
Annabelle's heart went out to gran who had helped her during her time of need. Sensing the door open gran looked up, their eyes met, silently pleading with each other not to lose hope. She went inside and held gran's hands in her own explaining softly what was going on so that she did not get terrified.
"It's just a hairline fracture, gran. They will fix it and you'll be fine. We can go home then," Anna comforted gran.
"I know dear. I'm strong and I'll go through this. You take care of yourself," said gran, touching Anna's cheek.
"I will, promise, " said Anna with a smile. She was glad that gran was taking it well.
One hour later gran was wheeled into the OT. The surgery would take 2-3 hours, so she sat outside the OT and waited. It was already 12 noon and her rigorous classes along with the stress of the morning had totally exhausted Annabelle both mentally and physically. She still contemplated calling Stefan but didn't have the courage. Ellie had gone home to get her stuff as she needed to stay with gran at the hospital after the surgery. She promised to be back in twenty minutes.
Exhausted, she dozed off thinking about Stefan. She had grown into a confident twenty-one-year-old woman who knew her place and could not afford to waste time over someone whom she could never have. She was not his type and he would never have any feelings for her other than pity. Still, she couldn't move on, her heart refused to listen to reason. It still dreamt of Stefan and hoped for the impossible.
Stefan entered through the door and strode towards her. His bright blue eyes, soft curly brown hair, grown a little since she last saw him, tall muscular body, muscles bulging from his thin white shirt, his silk tie loosely hanging around his neck, black slacks hugging his lean muscular legs, all reminded her how much she had missed him. She could feel his eyes full of emotions staring intensely at her after having missed each other for so long. He came closer and sat down close to her, his eyes never leaving her face. His hand rose up to softly caress her cheek.
"Stefan, " she murmured sleepily.
She turned restlessly in her sleep.
Rosy", he whispered kissing my forehead softly.
She stirred in her sleep, his voice sounded so real. She opened her eyes from her dream of Stefan only to find his face inches away from hers. She rubbed her eyes, and all sleepiness left her, only the realization that Stefan was here with her and sitting with her.
"W - when did you come?" She stammered nervously, pinching herself to confirm whether she was dreaming or really here with her.
A fleeting emotion passed over his face which she didn't recognize before he turned cold, serious, and emotionless like always. "It's been 10 minutes, " he answered.
"How have you been Rosy?" he asked scanning her face as if memorizing her features.
Annabelle's throat constricted at his question. After four years of treating her like she didn't exist, ignoring her very existence, he had the nerve to ask her how she was doing? All her resolve to keep control over her emotions faded away, and she felt her blood boil, as anger dominated her feelings.
Annabelle is not my type...
There is nothing between me and Annabelle and there never can be..
His words came back fresh to her memory and she swore that she would stay away from him forever.
"I'm good,'' she said trying to control her feelings and the hurt which felt raw and fresh although she thought she had buried them long ago. Checking her watch she saw it was 1:30 already.
"What about you?" She asked with a poker face knowing well that he must be happy with his family.
"I'm alive. How long will the surgery continue?" He changed the topic.
"Another hour or so, I guess, " she answered, looking down at her feet. The tension between them was too much to bear, she thought as she fidgeted with her hands.
"I'll get you some coffee," he offered and got up to leave for the cafeteria.
"No, thanks, I'm heading that way, I can get it myself," she declined his offer.
Stefan nodded, slightly taken aback, but regained his composure and led the way to the hospital cafeteria awkwardly. Annabelle followed, she was exhausted and hungry after her hectic class schedules and all the running around since morning. Her black lycra pants and red tank top clung to her like a second skin, her long hair although tied in a messy bun, had loosened and a few strands had escaped. She knew she looked a mess and she needed a shower badly, but she couldn't leave gran at the OT.
They got coffee and sandwiches and sat opposite each other at a corner table overlooking the small fountains surrounded by flower bushes near the main entrance. There were a few people occupying some of the tables, otherwise, the cafeteria was quiet.
"So, how's your family? Your wife and child?" Annabelle asked hiding her bitterness. She had never wanted to confront him about his remarks four years back, but now she couldn't think of anything else to say to Stefan.
"My daughter Arielle is currently vacationing with my dad and Audrey at our Florida resort". Stefan answered with a sparkle in his eyes at the mention of his daughter's name. He must be loving her so much, thought Annabelle. "Dad received Martha's call. He was thinking of hurrying back but I promised to update him if the need arose," he said, sipping his coffee.
"Yeah, I had a word with gran before the surgery. She's taking it well. It's a hairline fracture and she'd be fine in a month's time. Uncle Nathaniel could come anytime later, " said Annabelle, and Stefan agreed.
"This is Arielle's first outing. I didn't want to bother them. They needed this break," Stefan told her, munching his food.
When he did not mention his wife, Annabelle asked, "Your wife too accompanied them? She never met gran?"
Stefan's jaw clenched, his eyes turned cold and distant. "We have separated and divorced four years ago,'' was all he said as he got up and threw the rest of his food uneaten into the trash bin.
"I'm going to the OT lobby," he announced and left. She nodded puzzled at the news. Stefan divorced his wife four years ago? She did not know. So many questions arose in her mind, but she did not have the courage to ask Stefan.
It felt good to know that he was at least single. Her heart started hoping more than it ever did before. She didn't know whether he remembered those few days of magic that they had experienced four years back. It was her only memory of him which she'd cherish for the rest of her life. Maybe it didn't mean a thing to him. He had so much on his plate to deal with than remember an orphan girl, seven years younger than him.
She got up and went back to the OT. She would avoid the sore topic of his marriage if it pisses him off so much, she thought.
So they met again after 4 years. He is divorced and available. Do you think they have a chance together now?
Find out what happens to Stefan and Annabelle as they face what their destiny has in store for them.
In real life, I don't curse or use abusive language much, so my female lead character is different from others maybe.
I'm not judgmental. It's just that I was brought up in an orthodox, conservative family, going to an all girl's convent school, now living with my in-laws who are also conservative and orthodox in their beliefs.
Some of my thoughts and beliefs are reflected here. Hope you give this book a chance.