Chapter Twenty

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Danger. It's all around us. Sometimes we can predict danger. And sometimes it takes us by surprise. But the worst danger of all, is the one we can't get ourselves out of.

Luca’s POV.

The phone call comes at nine am on a beautiful Saturday morning. I have known for a long time something didn’t feel right, but that call cements in. Aria has gone into labour and she’s bleeding. I gently wake Caden and he drives me to the hospital, we don’t even stop to tell his parents. He just dresses and gets his car keys. I don’t know how to feel about the news. I know she’s not doing good, but that’s all I know. It’s all anyone will tell me. People are trying to help. They think it’s better to mollycoddle me than to be upfront and honest. But, the truth is, I’m imagining far worse than they could ever tell me – unless she’s dead. I feel like someone has ripped open my heart and is trying to hurt me all over again. I feel so useless.

Caden stops the car outside the emergency doors and I race inside, knowing he will follow me when he can. I reach the maternity ward and notice everyone waiting outside one of the double doors. Not one of them looks like they’re ready for this. Who could be? I inch closer slowly and mamma and Dante look up, my eyes meet theirs. Mamma nods to the door and I storm in.

Aria is lying on the bed. Her brow slick with sweat, her hair tied back, keeping it from her eyes. She tries to smile when she sees me. But she looks weak. Tired and weak. I kiss her brown and squeeze her hand. It won’t do anything of course, but maybe she can get some strength and comfort from it all. I would like to think this isn’t the end. That someway she won’t die. I’ve had faith since everything went to hell. But she just looks so weak and ill. The energy has been sucked out of her and she’s been reduced to lying in bed all day. She tells me she wants to try a natural birth. She sounds so positive about it all. But when I ask about what the doctors think, she goes quiet and refuses to answer. That in itself is not a good sign. Aria never backs away from something. Especially not when she’s confident like she has been up until this point.

Then it hits me. She’s given up.

We talk a bit. I try to keep her mind off of everything. But we both know how worried the other is. There’s no mistaking the fear in her beautiful eyes. There’s probably no mistaking mine in my eyes either. All we can do now is wait. And waiting has always been one of the hardest things to do. All the fear and worry about my own life has been pushed to the side. Right here, right now, Aria is the important one. Aria, and of course, the baby. I was excited to meet the baby before today. Now, I just want Aria to meet her baby. I want Aria to be the mom she’s been dreaming of becoming. I want it all for her. Not some death sentence.

I need you to be okay. I need things to be okay because I love you. Don’t leave me.

Nurses come and go. All the while, Aria gets weaker and weaker. More and more colour drains from her face. As the minutes pass, she gets less responsive and more lax. It’s worrying, I have to admit. But I can’t allow myself to give up hope. I can’t do it. She’s my sister. And I love her. She’s going to live; she’s going to see her baby. I chant that mantra over and over in my head. It’s something to grasp onto to keep me sane. I need to stay sane for her sake. When she squeezes my hand, I squeeze back, knowing it’s all I can do for her now. I just wish I could get the baby out safely. I murmur words of encouragement to her. Hoping they will help her. She’s not responding, though. I’m worried. Now I’m really worried. There’s no one else in the room now, and she’s sweating more than she was earlier. She looks like she’s dying. I feel the mood of the room tilt and I press the button for the nurse.

One look at Aria and the nurse turns around and walks straight out the door. I stand back when a throng of doctors and nurses surround her, preparing her for a C-section. I’m passed a pair of scrubs and led away. I’m still allowed to be with her, I tell myself. This is good. I keep thinking that. The fact they want me there, I think, is a good thing. Even if logically, I know they are just allowing me because she is somewhat conscious. But it still means a lot to me. I will be able to support Aria, like she has me. This is the moment I can finally do something really good for someone else. Someone I love. Someone who means the absolute world for me.

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