Four weeks. It had been four whole weeks now. But the moment the distraction of work was done with she was back to wanting to cry. It was only for Lola's sake that she hadn't allowed herself to totally lose the plot, and indeed, it was only because of Lola that she still managed to raise the odd smile. As she made her way out to the car park, the street lights reflecting harshly against the wet tarmac and hurting her eyes, she almost succumbed to the tears she'd been suppressing so well. But not quite. As she finally managed to find her keys in the depths of her bag her mobile began to ring and she delved back into her bag, rummaging around and eventually retrieving it just as she arrived at her car.
"Hello?" she sighed. The minute she heard the voice at the other end, her keys smashed to the floor.
"Oh my God, how are you? Is everything ok? How are you doing?" she babbled, worry and happiness rushing over her at once, stumbling over each other and tripping up over her tongue as she spoke. There were tears in her eyes again then but somehow she kept them at bay still, swallowing them down and biting her lip.
"Never been better, I promise. Now, how are you holding up?"
"Badly…is everything…I mean…" she stammered.
"Everything's ok. Now come on, you were saying about you?"
"I'm fine, I'm fine," she dismissed.
"Ok, I'm not fine. Or...I've not been fine. But I'm much better now, I'm much better for hearing your voice…how come you couldn't call?"
"You know what Singaporeans are like for rules. I think they might have refused me the surgery if they thought I was using a mobile anywhere near the hospital."
"So where are you now?" Caroline asked, desperate to know where he was, even more desperate to know how soon she could see him again.
"Outside? Outside where?"
"And everything's...everything's ok?"
"How many times, everything's fine," he said with a soft chuckle and she could just picture the soft smile on his lips.
"When will I get my proof though?" she demanded, hoping to mask her desperation with banter.
"That this is really happening."
"Oh, proof. Well I don't know, Caroline. Why don't you see what happens if you just...turn round." Her brow furrowed. Turn around? She didn't even want to think he could mean…she scolded herself for even thinking it, she shouldn't get her hopes up like that. Biting her lip, she took a deep breath and turned. Nothing could have prepared her for the sight she saw. There, leaning against a pillar just outside the doors, stood Mac. Just as bright and alive as he always was, but somehow more so. Before she even had time to think her feet were moving and she ran towards him, not knowing how long it took her to remember hang up but knowing it took her far too long to reach him. She flung herself on him, relief filling every inch of her as his arms wrapped around her firmly. There was no holding back her tears now. One hand was pressed reassuringly into her back, the other was buried in her hair. She stayed pressed close to his chest, listening to his heartbeat, letting it slowly persuade her that he was here. That he was ok. Better than ok. None of the 'risks' had taken him away from her, he was here and he was hers. No doubts, no uncertainties, no gnawing fears. He was hers, not just for now but for a long time to come.
She looked up at him, letting him crush his lips against hers gently. She savoured the kiss, committing it to memory as the moment she knew that everything really was going to be ok.
"I missed you," she murmured against his lips.
"Worth it though," he whispered back and she smiled up at him as he tentatively brushed the tears from the corners of her eyes.
"Worth it if I get to keep you," she nodded and he kissed her gently, briefly, once more.
"Come on trouble, let's go and get Lola."
"Oh she's going to be so happy to see you."
"Happy as you?"
"Almost. But you'll think she's cuter."
"Oh, I don't know, you're not so bad."
"Can we have a take away tonight?"
"Well now you're just taking liberties!"
"Ok then, just this once."