“I’m feeling so much better. In fact, I was about to give you a call!”
“Are you in any pain? Is everything okay?”
“I’m alright! You don’t have to worry about me.” Vivian’s anxiety touched Rachel’s heart as she stroked her daughter’s cheek affectionately. “I wanted to ask you to help with the discharge procedures. I’ve been in the hospital for so long that I’m going nuts.”
“Wait a minute!” Vivian was slightly agitated when she heard her mother’s intentions. However, she quickly restrained herself to avoid drawing any suspicion. “But Mom, you’re not completely healed yet! I think you should stay in for a bit longer until the doctors say that you can leave.”
“But I’m just fine! I think I can be discharged right now!” Rachel was definitely not eager to stay in the hospital anymore.
Vivian bit her lip and tried to coax her mother again. “It’s just for a while longer, Mom. Please don’t make me worry, okay?”
With that, Rachel had no choice but to agree.
After that, Vivian stayed a while longer to keep Rachel company. Rachel was certainly happy to have her, as their chats drew cheerful laughter despite her condition. However, Vivian’s emotions threatened to overwhelm her as time passed. With a hastily formed excuse of being busy with work, Vivian decided to take her leave.
“Of course, darling. Don’t let me keep you.”
“Well, I’ll be off then!” With a smile and a wave, Vivian left the room. She was thankful that she left then, for the tears had started pricking her eyes and blurring her vision.
Soon after, Rachel put a hand over her mouth to stop herself from crying out as she ran towards a more private place away from the ward. On the bench, Vivian buried her face in her knees and cried to her heart’s content, even though some strangers were starting to give her weird looks.
Back in the study, silence fell as the shock of Mark’s actions settled in. The elder Mr. Norton shot a glance at Finnick but could not find the words to comfort the furious man.
The silence was broken by the sound of Finnick’s cell phone. He fished it out of his pocket and checked the caller ID to find that it was Vivian calling.
He recalled the bout of awkwardness between himself and Vivian this morning but picked up immediately on the third ring.
As soon as the call connected, Finnick heard Vivian’s sobbing coming from the other end of the line.
In a panic, Finnick hurriedly asked her what was wrong. “Please don’t cry, Vivian. Is everything okay? What happened?”
“I-It’s… my m-mother…” Vivian was sobbing and could not speak coherently.
“Vivian, calm down and tell me everything. Slowly.” Finnick was just as anxious as she was but had to maintain his composure if he wanted to get anything out of her. “What happened?”
Vivian took a deep breath before she spoke. “My mother is diagnosed with leukemia. What am I going to do, Finnick?”
It was not too long ago that Vivian found out that she wasn’t Harvey’s biological daughter. In other words, Rachel was the only relative she had. Why did God have to be so cruel and inflict this upon me now?
Apart from Finnick, Vivian had nobody else to turn to. Granted, she was still angry at him over what happened this morning. But Vivian realized how much she truly needed him and desperately wanted to see him right away. Rachel aside, he was the closest companion she had.
Finnick, on the other hand, was shocked to the core at Vivian’s words. “Alright, Vivian. Tell me where you are now, and I’ll come to get you right away.”
“A-at the h-hospital. Please hurry, F-Finnick. Won’t y-you?”
“It’s okay, don’t cry. I’m here for you. And I’ll be with you soon.” Finnick tried whatever he could to soothe her through the phone. “Stay where you are. I’m on my way.”
Once Vivian gave him a response, Finnick hung up.
Finnick took a deep breath and stood up urgently. There was no hiding the nervousness in his voice. “Grandpa, I need to go to the hospital right away. I’ll drop by later when I have the time.”
The elder Mr. Norton had overheard Vivian’s loud sobs. “What on earth happened? I’ve never heard her cry like that!”