*A/N: I know it's shorter than the others and I know it's taken forever. For that I apologize. I'm only halfway through the season, so this isn't a planned story it grows as I write and I don't have much time to write, but I will keep posting I just ask for your patience.
I couldn't imagine a more hellish place than the waiting room of a hospital. Emma's dad, Will, was glad to see us there, but he didn't seem to want to speak. I thought the best way to pass the time would be to read the magazines stacked up on the table, but Dylan held my hand and I didn't want to pull away.
The sound of a rolling suitcase made me look up from the spot on the floor I had been staring at. I had never met the woman who now stood in front of us, but the resemblance was impossible to miss.
"You're Emma's mom," I accused.
"What are you doing here?" Will frowned.
"You told me about this," she replied. She seemed confused and ignored me and Dylan.
Will stood to better confront the woman. "Yeah, so you'd be aware. Not so that you'd come. She's gonna be very fragile when she wakes up and I don't want you here."
"I scraped up the money to come here. I'm not leaving. I can stay if I want to."
Emma never talked about her mother. I don't think she even remembers her. All I knew was that she left and I agreed with her father that she had no right to be her.
"Don't make me throw you out," Will challenged.
I pressed closer to Dylan. I had never seen Will angry before. He was always amiable to Emma and her friends. He was either smiling or worried, but never mad, never mean. Seeing him irate made me nervous.
"You haven't changed," Emma's mom shook her head and found a seat on the far side of the room.
With a sigh, Will sat back down. "Do you think I was a bit harsh?" he asked as she walked away.
I shook my head. "Are you alright?"
He nodded. "I just worry about Emma."
"She's strong," I reminded him.
We all turned to look at the man in the labcoat. After their discussion, Will relayed the information to us: "She made it through. Doctor said it was textbook. We just have to see what the next 24 hours bring."
I was so excited to hear the news that I hugged Will, throwing my arms around his midsection. He chuckled softly and hugged me back. I let Dylan hug me too as we returned to our seats. "So when can we see her?" I asked.
"Soon, I hope," Will answered.
With nothing to do once again, I pulled my phone from my jeans pocket. There were red bubble notifications everywhere. I had ten missed calls; two voicemails. All of them were from my dad. "I'll be right back," I told Dylan, kissing his cheek. I went to the cafeteria where cell phones were technically allowed and listened to the first message.
"Cameron. Where are you? Why aren't you picking up? This is important. I need to talk to you. Now."
It was urgent, but vague and I was thoroughly confused. I played the second hoping for more clarity.
"Please. Please, answer. I'm starting to worry. Call me back. I'm going to send an officer to find you."
I immediately hung up and dialed his number.
"Cameron?" he answered.
"What's wrong? What's the emergency?" I asked.
"I need you to come over. We need to talk," he said.
I groaned. "I can't. I'm in Portland. Emma's having surgery."
"Fuck," he cursed under his breath. "Fine. Come by as soon as you get back; don't go to your place."
He hung up before I could call him out on how ridiculous he sounded.
I followed Cam from the waiting room, probably more worried than she was. I waited outside the cafeteria for her to finish making her calls. She paced as she held the phone to her ear. Something about the way she held herself made her seem like more of an adult than me. She hung up the phone and caught me staring.
Cam didn't seem upset as she walked over and began picking at the collar of my shirt. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"That's what I was going to ask you."
"I don't know," she said. "My dad's being cryptic. He wants me home."
"Should we go?" I asked. I wondered if something could be wrong with my own family. Norma and Romero were often in trouble together.
Cameron leaned into me, putting her head on my chest. "It feels like I met you so long ago," she murmured. "Whatever happened to just smoking on the motel porch?"
"Life," I answered. But she was right, suddenly everything seemed more complicated.
"Life sucks," she sniffed.
"Cam, I never met anyone more equipped to deal with life than you," I told her.
She kissed me, then, soft and quick. "We should go back." She took my hand and I let her lead me down the hall. "You know we'll have to do wedding planning. Did you think about that?"
I laughed at her. "We're not eloping!"
"Worth a shot," she shrugged, smiling and my heart swelled.