“Are you sure you’re going to be okay here, Ash?”Luke questioned as they headed to the front door. Ashton the only one without bags for their trip home for the Christmas holiday.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” he questioned, tone coming off colder than really necessary as Luke brushed it off knowing it wasn’t anything personal. He was supposed to be going home with his girlfriend over the holiday to meet her family, but caught her in bed with another guy just two days prior. Way too late to purchase a plane ticket home to Australia.
“You can always take my ticket,” Luke said smiling softly, gesture being appreciated by Ashton, but not taken as he shook his head.
Tom: It was so good of you to come. Sonia smiles weakly. She and Tom are sitting at a corner table in the hospital cafeteria, sipping bitter and anaemic coffees that have an aftertaste redolent of boiled dirt. Tom asked her if she would prefer to go to his rooms to talk but they are on the other side of the hospital in another wing, so Sonia said no no no the cafeteria would be fine, and also the thought of being alone with Tom fills her with apprehension. She steals a look at him over the rim of her coffee mug. He seems older and sadder than when she last saw him, deep lines between his eyes. Sonia: Who’s looking after Lilah while you’re here? Tom: Gen’s mother. She’s staying with us until Gen gets better. Sonia: Do you get along with her? Tom: Yes. She adores me. I saved her daughter’s life, after all. Tom smiles at his coffee, his eyes still sad. Sonia is confused. Sonia: I thought you said it was a man walking his dog who pulled Gen out of the lake- Tom: That’s right. It was. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Gen never told you how we met? Sonia: No. I don’t think so. Tom: That’s not surprising. She’ gets embarrassed talking about it. Anyway, she came to me 5 years ago because she had a very aggressive and malignant tumour the size of a baseball in the lower left lobe of her brain. Sonia: Oh my God. You’re telling me that Gen had brain cancer? Tom: That’s right. The type of tumour she had is about the worst type you can get. She probably had two months to live, three months tops. I’d never operated on anyone with that type of tumour who’d survived. But something told me Gen was going to make it. And of course she did. I couldn’t let her get away after that. She was too rare and special. Sonia: I- I don’t know what to say. I had no idea. Oh, Tom. Tom is sitting completely still, staring at his coffee. After a few moments he takes a deep breath. Tom: I’m sorry. It’s been a very emotional couple of days. Hey, did I tell you how well you’re looking? I almost didn’t recognise you with that beautiful new haircut. It really suits you. Sonia: Thank you, Tom. How lovely of you to notice.