Part 36

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^^^Maria aka Arya's mother

36. Arya

Cold air chills me to the bone as I stand bend over, hands on my knees. Sam pulls my hair back, brushing it out of my face. Breathing the cold air into my lungs, I can feel my heart beating in my throat. My stomach twists and turns and my head throbs with the memory of what that doctor just told me.

Leena's hand clutching a tissue appears in my line of vision and I gladly take it, wiping my mouth. Once I manage to stand up straight again, I can feel the tension in the air. Both Leena's and Sam's eyes bore into me questioningly. Instead of answering their unspoken questions, I look up at the greying sky. Thunder roars somewhere father off and I remember there being talk of a storm coming before I left for New York. Shaking my head, I wrap my arms around myself. How appropriate.

"Do you want to go home?" Sam asks, rubbing my back. Just at the physical contact, I start getting sick again.

"No..." My voice is thick with emotion and it takes everything inside me not to break down. "I need to stay but..."

"Let me guess," Leena interrupts, hand on her hip. "He's got something to do with it."

Just when the words leave her mouth, it starts to rain; icy rain drops that turn to snow on their way down. I turn towards where Leena is pointing, all the while trying to shield my face from the cold downpour. There Seth's father comes climbing from an expensive looking sleek black car. He is followed by two other men I've never seen before.

He doesn't look around but instead heads straight past us into the hospital. A fury inside me makes me want to run after him. I want to stop him from causing any more pain. My agony must be clear to see as Sam now holds onto my shoulders, pulling me back and Leena stands in front of me, hands on her hips. All of a sudden I'm not just angry at Seth's father, I'm angry at Leena and Sam and the world. I want them to let me go. I need to go!

"Let's go inside," Sam suggests calmly, squeezing my shoulders. "We'll get some food and coffee and talk it through, okay? Make sense of things. You need to calm down."

Despite my weak protests, Sam steers us back into the hospital and I know he's right. I know that the only way to get through this is to stay level-headed and wait for Seth to come back to me but... but I don't want to make sense of things! All I want to do is go back in time and slap myself for not noticing the obvious signs. Seth was unwell the whole time! Ever since his stupid fight with Jackson, I should have realized that his headaches were more than just stress induced. I should have known that with his history of head injuries, he should have been more careful. I should have paid more attention. But no, I always have to be the center of attention, don't I? This is entirely my own fault! Even the fight with Jackson was my fault. If Seth had never met me, then maybe...

Sam waves his hand in front of my face and I notice that we're in the hospital cafeteria. I sit down at one of the tables and put my face in my hands. I feel absolutely disgusting. How is it fair that Seth has to suffer and I get to pretend like everything's okay. If anything, I should be the one being punished. Seth has done nothing wrong!

Maybe I'll get to see Seth again once his father is gone. Knowing the man, he probably won't stay for too long. He probably has more important business to attend to and for once I am thankful for that.

"Would you tell us what happened?" Leena asks carefully, setting down a tray of food and three cups of coffee in front of me.

"He had a stroke."

Leena gasps and Sam leans back in his seat, his hand clasped over his mouth.

"Because of... because of..." I try to get it out but a lump the size of a balled fist forms in my throat. Come on, don't be such a wimp! Get it out!

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