I dropped down on my knees...pretty hard, but Justin was there to cushion some of the pain. Strange as it sounds, I didn't cry. I didn't throw punches or curse God...I just sat there.
"Grace, are you ok?"
Justin's voice shattered me back into reality, and I stood back up and turned away from the building. I began walking back to my car.
"Babe, where are you going?" Justin's footsteps echoed against the concrete as he ran to catch up with me. "Grace, where are you going?"
I turned to face him and said, "Back to the car. We're at the wrong place." I tried to walk again but Justin grabbed my arm, gently, and turned me back towards him.
He had an expression of worry on his face and said, "Baby, we are at the right place...I promise you."
I shook free of his grip and had a blank smile on my face when I said, "Nope. Justin, you made a mistake. There's...there's..." I began sobbing and fell down on the ground again.
Justin knelt down and wrapped his arms around me. I, gladly, cried into his hug and began shaking my head.
"There's no way Matt can be in there! He would've told me if he had..."
I couldn't finish my sentence. Justin ran his hand up and down my hair saying, "Grace, baby, calm down...take some deep breaths."
When I had finished sobbing and I had calmed down, I stood up with Justin still holding me in his arms. "I know he can't be in there, Justin."
He simply said, "It won't hurt to check."
I've always hated hospitals. Although, this wasn't necessarily a hospital...more like a clinic, but it still had that hospital feeling. Justin sat next to me with his arm loosely wrapped around my shoulders. It was like he was making sure it was ok to do that.
It seemed like an eternity by the time the nurse called us to the desk. I quickly jumped up and made my way to the front. However, when I got there...I froze.
"What can I do for you, Ma'am?"
I wasn't sure how to ask her if Matt was there or not. My lips tried to form the words but they wouldn't come out. Finally, Justin stood beside me and said, "We were wondering if you could tell us if Matthew Baxter is a patient here?"
The nurse had a smug look on her face and asked, "Are you family?"
I was about to shake my head when Justin spoke up and said, "She's his step-sister. She just got back from her dad's and heard he was in here."
While the nurse looked up something on the computer, I glanced at Justin. He simply winked at me and placed his hand in mine.
"There's no sister on his file. But I guess that's because you're not blood-related. He's in room 22B."
I gave the nurse a thankful smile and then began walking towards the sliding doors on the right of the office. Justin began following me, but the nurse hollered, "Excuse me. I'm sorry, she can go in there but you can't since you're of no relation."
Turning back to Justin, I began crying again. "I can't go in there by myself..."
He leaned forward and gently kissed me on the forehead. "Gracie, you're tough. You can do this...I'll be right out here, waiting."
"You will?" I asked curiously. He chuckled and said, "Of course! You're my ride home."
I half-heartedly laughed and said, "Oh yeah...I forgot."
He smiled and moved his eyes in the direction of the doors. "Now go see your friend."
After riding the elevador to level B, I stepped off and began shivering. It was freezing up there! So, I hugged myself and quietly began walking down the long corridor.
The hallway had rooms on the left and right...I passed by several older people who looked ghostly and sick. I closed my eyes and prayed to God that Matt didn't look like that.
Finally, I reached room 22...but the door was closed. I leaned my face towards the door and heard voices behind it. I gently knocked on the door and waited..."
It took several minutes but, finally, the door swung open. Helen looked back at me with her lovely eyes...only they had shock in them.
I immediately wished I hadn't came. She seemed angry that I had found her son and I began studdering. "I...I'm...s...sorry, Helen."
Scared, I started backing away from the door but I heard Matthew's sweet voice coming from behind her. "Mom? Who's at the door?"
Knowing she couldn't hide me from him, she moved aside and let me in. I, timidly, walked through the doorway and stood in front of a hospital bed.
"Gracie? How in the world did you find me?!" Matt's face didn't look angry, however...more surprised.
I smiled widely. "Your dad gave me the address of this place andI drove out to see you!"
"That explains it! I'm going to kill your father, Matthew." Helen still sounded upset and I didn't understand why.
Matt rolled his eyes and asked, "Mom...can you give me and Gracie some time alone?"
She crossed her arms and said, "I guess. I'll be in the cafeteria."
When she walked out of the room, Matt focused his gaze on me and asked, "So my dad gave me up?" he pressed a button on the side of his bed and started, slowly, sitting up.
"Y..yes. I went over to your house and begged your parents to tell me where you are." I sat down in a chair beside his bed and watched for a sign of anger.
He took my hand and held it in between his. "Are you mad?" I asked quitely.
Chuckling, he said, "No silly! I'm glad you found me...I missed you alot."
Tears streaked my cheeks and Matt gently rubbed his thumb across them, removing the stains. I replied, "I missed you too, Matt! Like, you do not realize how much I missed you."
He grinned and said, "Aw...I bet I do! We were inseparable." I nodded in agreement and intertwined our hands.
I sat there in silence with him until he asked, "What's with the silence, Gracie?"
He kept his eyes locked on me as I stood up. "Is there room in the bed for me?"
"Yeah...come here." I slipped my shoes off, while Matt carefully scooted over. Being gentle, I climbed into the bed and let Matt wrap his arm around me and that's how we sat: so close there was no space in between.
I rested my head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat...it wasn't as fast as it use to be. "Matt, what do you have?"
He sighed and tried to gather together the explanation. "I have lung cancer."
I accidently let out a gasp and couldn't hold in my tears anymore. I began crying right in front of Matt. He pulled closer to him, practically on top of him and said, "Gracie, it's only stage 2...but I'll have to start chemo."
"Why did this have to happen to you?!" My crying had calmed down a bit, but my face was a mess.
He looked down at me and grinned. "You look terrible, baby-girl."
I somewhat giggled and asked, "How can you be laughing and happy at a time like this?" He handed me a tissue and cupped my face with his hands.
"I wasn't to begin with...but now...now that you know I'm here, nothing can bring me down."
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