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C - Cry
Lucy's head rested on Felicia's shoulder. They had long since faded into a companionable silence. They were very dear friends and didn't need to fill every second with words to be able to understand the other.
A knock suddenly sounded at the door, breaking through the quiet in the room. Lucy jumped in spite of herself, immediately swiping a hand across her wet face. "If that's Kevin, I don't want him to see me like this," Lucy said. "I don't want anyone to see me like this."
Felicia gently squeezed her friend's arm. "Lucy, they'll understand. You've been through hell and everyone just wants to be there for you. Remember, Kevin said he didn't want you to grieve alone."
"I know. But right now, I can't stand for the whole world to see me like this, looking like this …. Well, this huge, open gaping sore."
Another knock sounded at the door, interrupting Felicia's words. "Lucy, are you in there? It's Serena," a little voice came from the other side.
Lucy looked at Felicia in a panic. "Oh I can't let that little sweetpea see me looking like a wreck. It'll scare her."
Felicia seemed to comprehend Lucy's urgency now and opened her handbag. She located a packet of tissues and a tube of lipgloss. As she dabbed away Lucy's tears and helped her apply a thin sheen of rouge, Serena called again. "Lucy?"
"Coming, sweetheart!" Lucy said. She looked at Felicia. "Do I still look like a mess?"
"No, you look fine. Although I don't think you should have to put on a face for anyone."
"For Serena, I do. She's so young. I don't want to upset her. She's been through too much already." Lucy stood on impossibly wobbly legs and teetered towards the door. She took a long, deep breath before pulling open the door and offering Serena her best attempt at a smile.
Serena stood there, clutching a huge bouquet of flowers in one arm and a paper sack in the other. "Hey, Lucy," Serena said.
"Hi, there," Lucy replied. "Are those for me?"
"Yep. The flowers are from Daddy and this -" she held up the bag - "Is from me."
"Oh how incredibly sweet," Lucy said, genuinely touched. "Why don't you come inside and meet my best friend in the whole wide world, Felicia Jones?"
"Okay," Serena said agreeably. She offered Lucy the flowers and Lucy accepted them gratefully, for a moment burying her nose in the soft petals and inhaling the fragrant scent. She set the bouquet on the bed and beckoned Serena over to Felicia.
"Hello there, Serena," Felicia said, offering Serena her hand.
"Hello," Serena said, shaking Felicia's outstretched hand vigorously with her free one.
Felicia smiled. "Gee, you've grown up fast. I can remember when you were just a little baby resting in Lucy's arms -" She broke off when she saw Lucy's expression. "Anyway, you look so much like your dad."
"Yeah, but he says I'm cuter," Serena said with a little giggle.
"That you are," Felicia agreed. "Look, I think I'm going to go and let you and Lucy have some time to catch up." She moved to Lucy and offered her a gentle hug. "You call me if you need anything. Anything at all."
"I promise," Lucy said. She hugged Felicia in return and then waved as Felicia disappeared out the door.
Lucy and Serena moved to sit on the bed side by side. "Thanks for coming to visit me. Seeing your cute little smile is such good medicine." Serena smiled wider. "Anyway, what's in the bag?" Lucy asked, trying to sound excited about the possibilities.
Serena held the bag out to Lucy. "See for yourself."
Lucy took the bag, her eyes going wide when she saw what was inside. She pulled it out. "Oh, Serena, this is your dirty kitty," she said, examining the plush cat that had seen much better days. It had once been snow white but was now dusted with gray splotches. It was also missing patches of fur and a few plastic whiskers.
"I want you to have it," Serena said. "For keeps."
"Oh no, I can't take this. You've had it since you were a baby and it makes you so happy."
"I know it does, but right now you need it more than I do." Lucy clutched the toy to her chest. It was fur was coarse in some places but she hardly noticed. "When you get sad all you need to do is pick the kitty up and hold it real tight and you will be cheered up right away."
"Serena, are you sure you really want to give me this?"
Serena nodded. "Uh huh. It always cheered me up when I was sad. Daddy says the person who gave it to me loved me very much and wanted me to be a happy little girl."
A lump rose up in Lucy's throat. She had given the kitty to Serena after she was born. "You're right, Serena, the person who gave you that loved you more than the stars and the moon." She leaned in and gave Serena a soft hug just as the door opened and Kevin appeared with Scott and Dr. Jake Marshak. Kevin was pushing a wheelchair and trying his best to smile encouragingly.
"Your chariot awaits," Kevin said.
Dr. Marshak moved to Lucy and offered her the discharge papers. "Just sign on the dotted line and you can go."
Lucy took the pen from his hand and scrawled her name. Jake looked between her and Kevin. "Can I say something?"
"What is it, Jake?" Kevin asked, almost warily, Lucy thought.
"You know, to me, a miscarriage was just another medical thing … until last night… When I saw you two together… Well, I just hope when my fiancee and I go through our own hard times that we can help each other out and be as connected as the two of you are."
Lucy didn't know how to reply. She just set the pen down and looked over at Kevin, offering him a grateful look. Kevin really was her champion, her rock. She vowed never to take his love; or his stalwart constancy, for granted.
Still clutching the dirty kitty in her arms, Lucy started to stand. Kevin and Scott immediately moved towards her but she shook her head. "I can do it," she said quietly.
"Lucy, can I push your wheelchair?" Serena asked.
"Sure, sweetpea, I'd like that," Lucy said. She squeezed the cat to her as she settled into the wheelchair. Kevin picked up the bouquet of flowers for her and followed after the others. Lucy couldn't wait to get the hell out of here.
Lucy looked up at Scott as Serena pushed her down the long stretch of hallway. "Thank you for the lovely flowers," she said. "And for bringing Serena to see me. It means a lot."
Scott stuffed his hand in the pockets of his denim jeans. "Yeah, of course."
"Which way are we going?" Serena asked.
"Straight ahead to the elevators," Kevin answered.
They reached the bank of elevators and hit the button to go down. In less than a minute the double doors had sluiced open and Lucy sunk down in her chair when she spotted a woman holding a pink-faced little infant in her arms, staring at the baby adoringly as she sat in her own wheelchair.
"Your baby is beautiful," Lucy said as an intern rolled the woman and newborn past Lucy and her little group.
The woman glanced at Lucy, murmuring a happy "thank you!" Lucy clutched the dirty kitty tighter to her. Kevin tried to catch her eye but she couldn't bear to return his look. Right then it was all she could do not to burst into hysterical sobs all over again.