9. Have a Little Shop

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Hello all, I hope you like this chapter and please do let me know what you think of it! 

I groan as the sound of a new text awakens me with its annoying xylophone sound, also reminding me that I need to get up; because today I am off to meet Ben and his wife Alex. I’m not as nervous as I was with the others, but I’m still pretty scared about meeting him. It just kind of brings it back that these people have a part of my dad in them, something I can never get back.

I roll over and grab my phone to read the text, squinting my eyes at the harsh white light.

‘When are you getting back? Xx’ Cole’s texted.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been speaking to Cole more and more. I’ve found myself just calling him up and talking for half an hour at a time. Yesterday, we spoke for a while about today’s visit, with Cole offering the same words of wisdom he suggested when I was scared about meeting Florence. At first, when Cole randomly texted me, I thought it’d be a one off, but now it’s natural to see a message from him. Dare I say it; I want to say we’re friends now?

‘Why are you up so early?! And I don’t know, this afternoon sometime. I’ll call you on my way back.  Xx’

I place my phone next to me on my pillow, just to catch a few more winks of sleep, but Cole has other ideas.

‘I went to the beach to catch the sunrise. Cool. Good luck today. Bet they’re nice people. Xx’

I pout at his text. I hope so too. I really, really would struggle if I found out Ben was horrible.

‘What if they’re not? Xx.’

I wait anxiously, until he responds. ‘Don’t worry about. Call me if anything worries you. Xx’

After reluctantly getting change, I catch the train, I head over to the restaurant we said we would meet at. Both Ben and his wife, Alex are coming. They asked if I wanted to bring someone, but this really is something I want to do alone. I spot the couple outside of the restaurant and send them a wave before crossing the street to meet them. Ben is a medium build man with mousey blonde hair and light tanned skin. Alex is a petite brunette with glowing skin and dressed immaculately. They’re both in their late twenties and look like working professionals to me.

Alex greets me first and wraps her arms around me tightly and I can feel that she is on the verge of tears, which makes me feel bad. I don’t really know how to comfort her when I can’t even comfort myself. It’s really heart warming that she hugs me for longer than necessary; I like that.

Ben shakes my hand and places his other hand on top of mine and comments, looking straight into my eyes, ‘We are so glad to finally meet you.’

I sit down and order a coke and I don’t know why, but I like that they’re not drinking either, especially seeing as Ben received a liver transplant.

‘How are you doing after the surgery?’ I ask politely as we wait for our food to arrive.

Ben nods and sips his drink. ‘I’m doing good. So much better than before the operation. It’s changed my life completely.’

I twist my lips and nod.

‘Your dad was an amazing man to be an organ donor,’ Ben tells me. ‘If I didn’t have the transplant, chances are, I wouldn’t be here today. It’s just so unfortunate I had to wait for someone’s passing for it to happen. It’s been playing on my mind a lot.’

I dig my nails tightly into my palms and don’t say anything. It’s still too raw, too real to hear someone speak so openly about it. I listen to Ben and Alex talk more about themselves; clearly sensing I really don’t want to talk much more about my dad, which I am grateful for.

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