“Mom? Why are you suddenly giving me the apartment?”
“Your grandmother gave this to me. I’ve been sick my whole life and didn’t have anything else. All I have left is this apartment.”
Fia pushed away Echo’s hand that was holding the file, refusing to accept it.
“Why do you want to give me the apartment all of a sudden? Are you getting lonely living alone out here? I’ll come to visit you more often.”
Echo shook her head before she let out a cough.
“I know my own body best, and it’s deteriorating quickly. I’m worried that I’ll pass on all of a sudden and not settle everything before I go.”
Fia could feel her heart sink as she held her mother in her arms.
“What are you talking about, mom? You’ll live a good, long life. You’ll always stay by my side.”
“My little girl…” Echo patted Fia’s back, just like when she was trying to get Fia to bed when Fia was still little.
“You have your own family now. Don’t keep on thinking about me. Think about Conrad. Also, try to get artificial insemination done as soon as possible. You may still be young, but bearing a child is still going to take its toll on you. Not to mention that carrying a baby conceived through artificial means is very strenuous on your body. The earlier you get it done, the more time you have to recover.
Echo paused as her tone began to fill with worry. “If you get into a quarrel with him in the future and his feelings for you change, you will have somewhere else to go as long as you have this apartment.”
“Mom…” Fia held her mother even tighter as she bit her lips tightly. She was worried that she would start weeping as soon as she opened up, and cause her mother more distress.
Echo was deep in her own thoughts and did not realize that something was wrong with her daughter.
She continued and said, “While this apartment that your grandmother gave me is nothing compared to what the Lawsons have, it can at least provide you with a roof over your head.”
“Then don’t have to give it to me. We can live together later. What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours.”
“Oh, my girl. I…” Cough!
Echo suddenly began to cough intensely.
Fia immediately let go of her mother and patted her on the back. “Mom, why are you coughing so seriously all of a sudden?”
“Maybe I caught a cold. I took some medicine earlier but I haven’t recovered just yet.” Cough! Cough!
“I’ll grab a glass of water for you.” Fia stood up and poured some water for her but all she could hear was her mother’s intense coughing.
When she finally got a glass of water to her mother’s mouth, her face suddenly went all red and she suddenly vomited a mouthful of blood.
“Mom! Are you okay?!”
Echo could not breathe properly and fainted.
Fia held her as she took out her mobile and quickly made a call.
As soon as the call went through, she cried out, “Honey! Come over, quick! It’s my mom, you…”
Fia could hear Esme’s voice from the other end of the line and she could sense the chill in her bones. She was instantly pulled back to reality.
“Who is it?”
She heard the familiar voice of a man. Fia originally wanted to hang up but she grew hopeful and cried out, “Conrad! It’s my mom! Can you-“
“It’s Fia. She’s at my aunt’s and she’s saying that my aunt’s not feeling well…”
“I’m busy. Have her call Silas.”
“Did you hear, Fia? Conrad said…”
Fia did not even bother to wait for Esme to finish before hanging up. She had recovered from her anxiety and calmed down. She then called Emergency.
A man’s firm voice came from the other side. “Hello, this is the Gryphonheart Hospital hotline…”
“Doctor, my mom suddenly fainted after coughing blood,” Fia quickly said.
The person on the other end stopped for a second before saying, “Give me your address. We’ll send an ambulance over now.”
“Alright,” Fia said as she quickly told him the address, her voice trembling.
The doctor then said, “Now, put your mother on the floor by her side. Don’t let her cough stop her from breathing.”
Fia then did as she was told as she began to tear up. “Please, come over quickly. My mom has never coughed out blood and I’m very worried.”
“We’re leaving now. I’ll use my own private phone to call you. This is the hospital’s number.”
She had just hung up when an unknown number called in. She picked it up and it was the same firm voice from before.
“Don’t be nervous. Observe your mother’s pulse and blood pressure. If anything comes up, tell me and I’ll guide you.”
“Alright… Sure. Thank you.”
Fia felt as if she waited for an eternity.
The doctor on the other end did not hang up the entire time.
She held her mother’s hand tightly and only felt somewhat calmer when she heard the voice from the other end.
“You’re so nice to me, Conrad.”
Esme looked at Conrad putting on some medicinal cream on her right hand as she held her head up with her left, as a happy smile widened on her face.
“Fia didn’t do that intentionally. Don’t hate her.”
“I won’t. She’s family.”
Conrad nodded and quickly finished up with the cream.
After he was done and wiping his hands with a wet towel, he then walked over to his mobile and picked it up.
On the other side, Fia looked gloomily at her mother lying on the hospital bed. The ringing of her phone interrupted her thoughts.
When she saw who was calling, she wasn’t that happy about it.
“I was helping Esme with some medicine and couldn’t pick it up, so…”
“It’s fine. Stay with her.”
“Did you call Silas? How’s your mother? Do you want me to…”
“This has nothing to do with you.” Fia cut him off and then hung up. She could not help but cry again.
Just then, a good-looking man in a white coat walked in with a stack of reports.
“You’re Echo Lawson’s relative? Come with me to my office.”
When Jason Evans received the reports, he could have asked a nurse to call Fia to his office.
However, when he remembered how sad she was when she was holding her mother’s hand, he felt his heartstrings being tugged.
Fia tucked her mother in and said, “The weather’s quite hot. Maybe I shouldn’t cover her up to the neck?”
Jason frowned and put down the reports. He walked over to a nearby cupboard and took out a fresh and thinner blanket and helped her change.
“It won’t be hot using this.”
“Thank you, doctor.” Fia’s eyes looked at the reports by the bed, took them, and started flipping.
Jason wanted to stop her but it was too late.
Fia finished reading a few of the reports as her hand began to tremble… And then she began to be visibly shaken.
She looked up and her eyes met with the young doctor’s. She asked with a shaky voice, “The report’s wrong, right?”
Jason gulped and said, “The report’s correct.”
“Impossible… This is impossible…”
Fia swayed and was about to collapse.
Jason quickly helped her up and whispered, “Let’s talk at the office.”
Fia looked at her mother who knew nothing about this and nodded with tears still in her eyes.
“What are you doing? Stand up!” Jason went over to help her up.
She shook her head as she kneeled on the floor.
“Please save my mom! I don’t have anything… She’s the only one I have. Please save her! I’m willing to pay any price… So please…”
Jason held Fia by the waist to help her up before helping her to a chair.
He then squatted down, making sure that her eyes and his were on the same level.
“Saving the sick is the duty of a doctor. I’ll do my best, but your mother’s condition has been dragged on for too long and is too serious. You have to prepare yourself.”