Chapter 17

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The expression was true. A watched clock doesn't tick.

I had been sitting in the waiting area outside of the operating theater for almost an hour now. They had taken Grammy in for surgery. Again. 

Danny had gone back to the house to get me some clothes to change into and said that he would pick up dinner for us from the diner along the way. Carter didn't come with us. It wasn't because he didn't want to. It was because Julie stormed out after Danny and dragged him back inside. But I was in no state of mind to think about Julie and Carter.

I was still in my evening gown, sitting on the uncomfortable puce green chair, staring at the stark white wall across from me. I was looking at the clock for so long that the numbers were becoming blurry. I blinked, my dry eyes burning.

I had cried when I first got to the hospital. I cried a lot. But then I got tired and my head started hurting. Danny stayed with me until he was sure I wouldn't start crying again. Now my eyes were dry from the saltiness of the tears and it hurt to blink. 

I turned my attention to the light above the operating theater door. It was currently turned on--a bright red--to signal that there was an operation underway. Once it went out, it meant that the surgery was over. It would mean that I would find out whether or not my grandmother--my only living relative--was alive or not.

I continued to stare at the light as my vision blurred.

What if I had stayed home this evening? What if I was there with her? Would this have happened? I should have taken better care of her. I was too busy doing work for Ryan and fretting over the situation with Julie and Carter that I didn't pay enough attention to Grammy. What was the point in my being back if I wasn't even spending time with her, if I wasn't even taking care of her? 

It was my fault. All of this was my fault.

I felt a sob escape and I buried my face in my hands. With each sob, my shoulders shook until I couldn't control it any more and my whole body was shaking from the violent tears. I couldn't lose Grammy. Not yet. Not when she just found out about Lillian. Not when we had only been reunited for a few months.

The crying bout lasted about another half hour. I had gone back to staring at the clock. My head hurt. I could feel the veins in my temple throbbing. My phone kept going off. I knew it was either Danny or Carter or Ryan calling. Ryan didn't know what happened. He was probably calling to ask why I missed our nightly meetings to go over the work I had done.

It rang again and I finally got tired of listening to the ringtone, so I turned my phone off. I leaned forward and ran a hand over my face, rubbing my temples. 

Waiting was torture.

But lucky for me, I didn't have to wait any longer. When I sat back up, the light above the operating theater door was off. The surgery was over. 

I felt my heart rate increase ten-fold. I could no longer feel the numbing headache that was pulsing through my head. I could hear my heart beating in my ears. I got up shakily and walked forward to meet the surgeon when he walked out. My hands were ice cold and I felt myself pale when I saw the door open. I rushed forward.

What was that expression on his face? Was that regret? Disappointment? Failure? Or was it triumph? It was so hard to tell. The doctor could mask his emotions so well.

Once I reached him, I grabbed his arm. I couldn't bring myself to ask the question, so I pleaded with him with my eyes. He pursed his lips and I braced myself. He put a hand over mine and then looked me in the eye.

He didn't say anything either. Instead, he just shook his head slowly.

And just like that, my world fell into chaotic sadness. 

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