Two hours had passed as everyone waited anxiously in the waiting room. During that time, Lois had stepped out and gotten changed out of the dress as it was uncomfortable and inappropriate at the time. She had also made phone calls to the caterer and had them cancel the delivery since the reception was now out of the question. Macie and Dodie were having their own hushed discussion about what might have happened at the ceremony.
"How long are these tests going to take?" Dodie asked as she paced nervously with a can of soda in her hands, barely drank from.
Macie watched Dodie as she sat in a chair behind her, "I'm no doctor but I would say the tests could take nearly half a day to complete, depending on the condition."
"Half a day?!" Dodie asked with worry as she stopped in her tracks. Macie reached and grabbed her wrist which pulled Dodie's frantic expression to her.
"I think you should take a seat.. Worrying like this will only put you in a panic. Pull yourself together, Girl!" Macie said with concern as she made Dodie sit in the empty seat next to her.
"I'm just thinking about the last time we actually spent time with Ginger." Dodie said before she took in a shallow breath. "…That was like, forever ago! What if she showed signs like last time and we didn't notice.. like last time! We could have done something if we hadn't been off doing our own things! We are supposed to be best friends forever, Mace!"
"All the what if's in the world is not going to help this situation. Just try to keep your head together… for Mrs. Foutley's sake… Take a deep breath in and center yourself." Macie said calmly as her hand remained loosely gripping Dodie's wrist. Dodie did take that breath but her panic was still evident. "Look.. Her mom has been spending a lot of time with her as they prepared for the wedding.. She is just as shocked as we are. Sometimes these things just happen suddenly without any signs of warning."
"But Ginger is normally so healthy.. Why is this happening to her now? First, the appendix. Now, whatever this is.."
"I do have to admit that the nose bleed was out of the ordinary for her…" Macie said with a soft nod. She felt herself grow a little troubled but she kept up her composure. "But we just simply won't know until the results come. While we wait, I think it will be best if you just try to keep calm and drink your soda."
Dodie just looked at the can in her hand and frowned at it before taking a small sip. "I don't think my stomach can handle anything carbonated right now…" She muttered as she placed it on the end table next to her.
Darren finally joined the rest of the party in the waiting room but he kept himself distant from everyone else but Lois as he stood by her supportively as she was on one her numerous phone calls. There still wasn't any word from Dr. Dave. The last he saw Dr. Dave was when he was delivering the tests to the lab himself, most likely to ensure that the tests get expedited. That was an hour and a half ago.
Simone found herself staring at Darren from across the room as she sat near the Patterson family, as they just got here when they all were ushered to the waiting room. She was sure that when Darren finally came out, he would go straight to his parents… but that clearly wasn't the case. She couldn't help but feel a little shafted by him since this happened and for once she couldn't grasp what was on his mind. Sure, one of his oldest friends suddenly got hospitalized. However, Simone had this feeling that there was something more to it than that and she did not like it one bit.
Another thirty minutes passed by before Dr. Dave finally made his appearance, instantly catching Lois's attention. She had finished her phone calls cancelling all the reception crew a while ago and was now just talking it through with Darren, Carl, and Jonas. She instantly walked up to David and he placed a kiss on her forehead in greeting.
"Did anything show on the tests?" She asked instantly as she braced herself for the worst out of habit. "Is my baby alright?"
Dr. Dave sighed and looked at everyone in the room as they now had abandoned their hushed conversations and had their attention on him. He cleared his throat and nervously gripped his clipboard. "Uh well, um… M-Maybe we should talk in private?" He stammered. "Let's go to my office."
"I'm going with you." Jonas said right away as he stood by Lois's side. Lois and Dr. Dave stared at him for a silent second before he rubbed the back of his neck. "S-She's my daughter too, y'know."
"Yes. Of course. Of course." Dr. Dave said quickly as he placed a hand on Lois's back and looked at Carl. "You too." He said to him. Carl just pursed his lips and joined his family as they walked down the hallway. The party just exchanged worried and anxious glances as they all returned to their conversations. Darren just looked at the hallway they disappeared into and frowned as his worries grew. This couldn't be a good sign.
Lois just stared at her fiancé as she felt herself grow numb from shock of what she just heard. Dr. Dave had furrowed his brows and was trying to stay objective but he was failing to do so. Carl and Jonas just stared at him in confusion.
"What… what did you say?" Lois finally muttered as she gripped the arms of the chair she was sitting in.
"The tests.. they showed that Ginger's blood platelet count was low.. well, more like below average so I ordered a bone marrow aspiration to be certain and it pointed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia." He struggled to say once more.
"Okay, I didn't understand any of that." Jonas said after a second with confusion written all over his face. Carl just sat back as he started to grow pale and started to stare at the front of Dr. Dave's desk.
"Jonas." Lois said as she looked at him with wide eyes. "Our daughter has cancer…" Jonas just stared at her like she had just slapped him.
"Now Dear, we don't know that for sure." Dr. Dave said hurriedly. "I just need to get a biopsy of Ginger's bone marrow to be certain of the diagnosis. I just need your permission to do the biopsy."
"Oh, cut the crap Dave… You know as much as I do that if the signs in the tests show that it may be cancer there is a sixty percent chance that it is.." Lois said before she covered her eyes with her hands and a long silent moment passed by them.
"Didn't you do that already? The-uh-The bone marrow aspiration thing?" Jonas asked in a nervous stammer.
"An aspiration and a biopsy are different procedures.. We can do the biopsy tonight at the earliest."
She let out a deep, shuttering sigh as she was clearly trying to keep her composure. "Yes, do what you need to do… You have my permission."
"…You know there is still that forty percent chance that it was just a mistake in the lab. Hence, the need for the biopsy." Dr. Dave said calmly. "I suggest that we don't tell the crowd out there until we get the results of the biopsy. Less of a panic if it turns out it isn't AML."
"…I can't go out there right now…" Lois muttered as her voice shook, still hiding her face.
Dr. Dave nodded and took a deep breath, "I'll send them away. Take all the time you need in here."
"Um! I don't think that's a good idea, Dave-o." Carl said suddenly as Dave stood up from his desk. "I-I don't think they will be leaving until they at least see her."
Dave just looked at the floor and sighed with a slight smile, "I suppose a visit wouldn't hurt.. Let's not tell anyone about this though."
"Agreed." Carl said with a deep exhale.
"I'll go see if she's awake. When you're ready, you all can go see her."
Dr. Dave went around from hallway to hallway to Ginger's room so he wouldn't be stopped by the crowd in the waiting room. Once he got to her door, Darren was leaning against the wall with his hands in his pockets. When he noticed Dave walking towards him, he stood on his feet and stared right at him, blocking his path into the room.
"What did the tests show?" He asked right away in a hushed tone.
"Darren.. I know you must be worried." He said with empathy. "But I can't talk about the results with anyone other than immediate family."
"Something is really wrong…" Darren said in a hollow tone as his face hardened into a frown.
"N-Now, I didn't say that."
"No, but you didn't have to." He countered as he observed the doctor's face for a second. "It's written all over your face." His voice cracked slightly. "Look, I know that I'm not family by blood… but Ginger and I, we grew up together! She is my oldest and closest friend.. even though now it doesn't seem like it. I can't really explain it but I know when something is wrong and there is definitely something wrong. I have been so unfair and cruel to her these past few months but I still care about her. So much that it hurts! This waiting around is killing me. Please, can you just tell me?"
His pleading was truly heartbreaking. Dr. Dave has been in this situation many times before but never with someone he has got to know personally and again, it was getting increasingly difficult to remain objective. It was a good thing this case was going to go to a different doctor after the biopsy was done. Medically speaking, he wasn't even supposed to handle this case right now due to conflict of interest, but that didn't stop him before. He drew a deep breath and nodded.
"Alright, but don't tell anyone in the lobby. I would like to do that personally after we do one final test to confirm." He said as he placed a hand on Darren shoulder and sat him down the bench closest to them.
"I'm not even talking to anyone in there right now." Darren said in a low tone as his face went blank with indifference. "Just say it. Whatever it is."
"Well.. The tests pointed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia."
Darren blinked at the ground as he listened carefully, "…I know one of those words mean cancer."
"It's not definite, but yes."
"The last test will confirm this?" He asked.
"Or it may deny it." Dr. Dave said with slight optimism.
Darren hung his head a little, "…I won't tell anyone." He said numbly. Dave could feel the shock and despondency emitting from him, quite similar to Lois's. All he could do was nod and pat him on the shoulder supportively before going into the room alone. Ginger stirred a little with a low groan, pain evident on her face as he checked the vitals displayed on the large monitor overhead and the levels on her IV. He administered a small dose of pain medication to her.
"Aren't you supposed to be getting married?" Ginger asked him in a raspy voice. He looked at her and she had a small smile despite the pain she must be feeling from the aspiration.
"We couldn't do that if you had be sent here, Sweetie." He said knowingly to her with a smile of his own. "You know your mother wouldn't stand to get married without you being beside her."
She laughed a little bit but recoiled in a groan as she tried move, "What happened? …And why is my side sore?"
"You passed out at the ceremony so we rushed you here after your nose stared to bleed a bit. You're sore because we needed to run some tests on you." He explained as he took a seat next to her bed.
"So… What's the verdict this time?" She asked heavily. "Has to be a little more serious than just me skipping breakfast."
"We can't really say until we complete a final test." He said as he looked at his clipboard. "But I'm sure that right now, you would like see your mom and possibly everyone else that is here to see you."
Ginger furrowed her brows at him, "Who else is here?"
Dr. Dave chuckled a little, "Just about half the wedding party."
"Ugh." She muttered and looked at the clock across the room. "…Well I can't really stop them if they stayed here for so long…"
"They are all very concerned. You did pass out pretty randomly."
She gave him a small smirk, "Not too randomly… Mom fainted a few minutes before."
"Yes, but your case is a bit more serious."
"What did the tests show?" Ginger asked as she saw a hint of sadness when he said the word 'serious'.
"Well.. I would really like your mother to be here before telling you."
Ginger perked up in alarm when her door opened as if on cue, her parents walking in with Carl trailing behind them and closing the door once they were inside. "Mom." She said with a frown as she took her hand. "Mom, what is going on?" She asked, clearly confused.
"Did you tell her?" Lois asked Dr. Dave.
He shook his head, "I was waiting for you."
Ginger blinked at the exchange before waving a hand between them, "Hey, Can someone please tell me what is going on? What did the tests show?" She repeated, irritably.
Darren was so deep into shock after he had registered what Dave told him. Cancer. That word filled his every thought. Ginger had cancer…? How was any of this correct? She was always healthy! She barely got sick at all and now she has Leukemia?! Ginger. His Ginger. The smart, creative, opinionated red haired girl from next door… has cancer. Even though it wasn't possible, he had this sick voice in his head that was telling him that this was all his fault. He ruined her. Shattered her life. He thought the appendix thing was bad, that was nothing compared to this.
He didn't realize that he was walking around until he found himself in the lobby near Dodie and Macie. He snapped out of it when Dodie waved her hand in his face. He just blinked at them and pursed his lips together.
"Hey, are you alright?" Dodie asked with an arched eyebrow.
"You look like you just saw a ghost…" Macie added. She winced a little at him. "You didn't, right?"
"A… What? No." He stammered.
"Your blood sugar must be low… I always space out when mine drops a little." She said as she rummaged through her bag, she pulled out a piece of hard candy and offered it to him. "Here. Take it."
He stared at it like it was some foreign object before he took it from her, not wanting to turn her down. "Um.. Thanks." He muttered.
"Did you happen to hear anything about Ginger?" Dodie asked with concern. "Something must be going on if Dr. Dave wanted to speak to Mrs. Foutley in private like that…"
His mind reeled in panic for a second before shaking himself out of it, "Uh no.. nothing. I was just taking a walk. Hospitals make me a little antsy.."
"That's understandable." Macie nodded gently.
"Speaking of which, I'm gotta go get some air.. It's stuffy in here." He said with a shake of his head before he bolted out of the automated sliding doors. He really didn't want to talk to anyone unless it was Ginger. Even if he could talk to her, he wasn't sure as to what he would say or even if she would let him say anything at all. Once he was down the path of the side walk a little ways, he took a deep breath before he crumbled, holding on to the trunk of a tree that he was next to. This couldn't be real. It had to be some kind of nightmare that he would wake up from… right? Darren reached up and pinched his arm, hissing at the pain a second later before rubbing it and looking around him. Nope, this was real alright. "Damn it!" He whispered to himself before slamming his fist into the tree before leaning on it and closing his eyes, trying to keep calm about this.
His peace was interrupted however, "Darren?"
He looked to his left to see Simone coming close to him with a look of worry. Of course, she would follow him after running out of the building like he did. He sighed deeply, "Not right now, Simone."
"If not now, then when?" She asked with concern. "You haven't talked since we got here.. I know what happened was troubling but—"
"Troubling?" Darren asked with an unbelieving glare as he narrowed his eyes at her, completing a scowl that he never truly shown anyone. "Troubling?! You have no clue how serious this may become. It has the potential to be life threatening for Ginger, just to put it in perspective."
She stared at him for a few seconds as something clicked in her brain, "Do you know something that we don't?"
"What? No! I know nothing about it but I do know that this isn't normal. Not for her…" His temper faltered and his scowl fell as he stared at the hospital doors behind Simone. He soon saw Dodie emerging from the doors and looking around before catching sight of him and waving him over with a look of urgency. He bolted for the doors like his life depended on it to find Dr. Dave had gathered everyone into one section of the room and had them all sit down.
"So, what did the tests show?" Dodie asked Dave with a look of worry, Macie holding onto her arm.
Dr. Dave looked at Darren when he joined the group and gave him a calm look of trust before sitting on the arm of a chair next to him. "It's hard to explain but we have one test we need to do before we are certain about the diagnosis. The earliest we can do this test is later tonight so I'm certain that you all would be more comfortable waiting the day out at home and you all can come back tomorrow morning when I will have the last say in what is going on with Ginger."
Dodie and Macie exchanged looks before looking back up at Dr. Dave. "Can we at least go see her before we leave?" Macie asked softly.
"I'm afraid that isn't possible right now." He answered with a slight frown. "The tension within the family isn't something you all should get into right now. I'm sure things will calm down a bit after tonight and then you will be free to see her." He stood up to his feet and shoved his hands into the pockets of his lab coat. "It's the best I can offer right now. I do hope you understand."
Everyone muttered and nodded their heads, most of them looking slightly dejected. "Please take care of our best friend, Dr. Dave." Dodie said softly before ending in a high pitched whimper. Macie pat her shoulder but Dodie turned and walked out of the hospital with her parents and brother behind her. Dave just stood there with a slight frown of sympathy as he watched the families break apart and head in the same direction until all that was left was Darren and his family accompanied by Simone. Dr. Dave was about to turn and leave but Darren rushed up to him and motioned him to step away further from his family. Dave sighed a little and nodded and they ducked away in a hallway.
"Dr. Dave, I just want to see her for just a minute." Darren whispered before he could get another word out.
"I know you must be worried, son, but I don't think Ginger is in the mood for any visitors right now. Not even her best friends." Dave explained softly.
"She's my family." Darren sighed and looked at him with a pleading expression.
"I understand." He said softly as he placed a hand on his arm. "To tell you the truth, I would love to let you in for a few minutes but Ginger has told me specifically that she just wants to be alone right now. Her family is waiting in my office until she's ready to see anyone." Of course she wants to be alone. This is a hard pill to swallow and Darren understood that fully. He looked down at his feet and he swore he was about to crumble. "I'll tell you what, though.." Dr. Dave said as he hunched down to get him to look at him. "Do me a favor and go home, get washed up…" He dug into his pants pocket and retrieved a key from his key hook and pressed it into Darren's hand. Darren looked at it with confusion. "And go to our new place to grab Ginger's diary.. She's been asking for it. Then you can just give it to her yourself? Maybe?" Dave smiled a little and winked at him. This was a good plan. Darren smiled a little and nodded softly as he pocketed the key. Dave patted his arm, "Good guy. See you sometime soon then… maybe." He grinned before turning around and walking down the hallway, leaving Darren to just stare at his back. He grasped the key in his pocket and rushed out into the waiting room.
"Ready to go, Champ?" His father asked seriously as Simone rubbed his back softly.
"I bet you're SUPER tired from all this hospital stuff, bro.. I know I am." Will said as he rubbed the back of his neck and looked around at the place wearily.
"Yeah.. I guess." He said softly as he ran he hand over his head. "It's been a long day."
"It sure has, baby…" His mother said sorrowfully as she hugged him tightly. "We'll come back first thing in the morning, I promise."
"Yeah, sure." He sighed as he led the way out of the hospital and into the parking lot, still grasping the key in his pocket.