So…here’s comes Episode 4! Thanks so much for supporting me this far! I’ll keep doing my best, and keep you interested!
I do apologise for one thing though: so far, it’s just been my web-serial that I’ve been publishing. But I finally get back into some normal routine next week, expect some more rants, and more reviews on books, music, and things that influence me — I’m even considering vlogging….!
Oh! Also, if you’re interested to learn more about me, you can check out my ‘life-story’ (whatever this means!) by clicking here.
So far, what do you guys think? Please leave a comment about who your favourite character is, and what things you think I’m missing.
Loving the feedback I’m getting, so thank you so much!
If you haven’t already, check out the earlier episodes below:
Now, onto Episode 4! Enjoy!
~ THE RED THREAD ~
“Updates?” Dr Yeates asked us abruptly.
“I…um…” I started opening up my notes quickly.
“Um…” Emilia was also looking through hers.
“Um…anaemia. Haemoglobin count of four-point-three.”
“Okay. Get Dr Siobhan to order him two bags of blood. That’ll perk him up,” Dr Yeates turned to the nurses who were also listening in.
“Done already. They should be ready in the next half-hour or so,” Emilia corrected her. Dr Yeates raised her right eyebrow, partly surprised and, hopefully, partly impressed.
“Jamaal is neutropenic,” I told her. Dr Yeates started writing everything down.
“Okay then.” Dr Yeates turned to the nurses: “Can we begin phase-one antibiotics? That would explain the vomiting and lack of appetite.”
“Prescribed and confirmed by Dr Siobhan,” I told her. “Pharmacy said that they would get it ready within the hour.” Dr Yeates raised her eyebrow again.
“Any other symptoms?”
“Just the vomiting, diarrhoea, and pain up and down his legs,” I informed her.
“Okay, well…that’s probably…”
“The steroids,” Emilia interrupted. “We assured his mother that would be the case, and told her to continue giving the gabapentin as advised.” Dr Yeates was either becoming more frustrated at us, or was thoroughly impressed…I couldn’t tell which.
“How much longer of the course of dexamethasone does he have left?”
“Two and a half weeks, before you advised weaning him off to see what the effects were,” I confirmed.
“Until the neural pain ceases,” Emilia piped in.
“Anything else?” Dr Yeates asked. There was silence from both of us.
“Dr Yeates!” someone suddenly called. We all turned to notice Siobhan appear, as bubbly and energetic as usual, and interrupt the interrogation. “Jamaal’s mother wants to talk to you.” Dr Yeates sighed, and then turned back to us.
“Well done. Keep up the good work,” she congratulated us. Dr Yeates then turned to Emilia. “And thank you for the CD. I’m not sure that Japanese music is really my taste, but I’ll have a listen,” Dr Yeates told Emilia, who just smiled sincerely in response, as our boss made her way with Siobhan, the ward registrar, along with the nurse back to Jamaal’s room.
I glanced at Emilia: “What?!”
“You gave her a CD?!”
“You told me to burn that Shota Shimizu song!”
“I did not! I was being sarcastic!”
“Oooh…” Emilia tilted her head obliviously. “Oh well. She might like it!”
And so began the Monday morning of our fourth week on the job in the paediatric oncology ward. What a blast…
Dr Yeates, our boss, was a stern woman coming on sixty, still sturdy and strict, but was one of the best doctors that had come into the ward, whilst Siobhan was the complete opposite: still professional, yet a massive flirt. She worked mainly with the haematology department until Dr Yeates insisted she come to work for paediatrics, where she would be less of an annoyance, and more of a help to the younger children. Well, until…
By lunch, both Emilia and I were exhausted, but were finally able to clock out to visit the hospital cafeteria before attending a seminar. As we went to collect our things from behind the reception, where Siobhan was sat, playing around with her computer, two familiar faces walked into the ward through the main sliding doors.
“No way!” Emilia suddenly cried out, catching the attention of Siobhan, who immediately looked up and stood to duty.
“They’re so attractive, aren’t they? Don’t worry. I’ll tend to them!” Siobhan declared. And within seconds, there Siobhan went, to deal with both Yue, dressed in his token scarf, long beige coat, and skinny jeans (except now he had dyed his hair from jet-black to a deep amber colour) and Tristan, in his standard jeans, long-sleeved black shirt, holding his coat over his crossed arms, arguably just as attractive. Both of them, despite Siobhan suddenly jolt at them, nonchalantly walked into the ward. Yue then noticed Emilia and me standing behind the reception desk, and dragged Tristan to us as Siobhan followed them.
“What are you doing here?” Emilia shot at them. Yue just laughed.
“Hey! Long time!”
“Since this morning?” I commented with a smile. Yue just winked at me. Eugh, seriously? This was getting old. I could only smile back politely as I collected my bag. Still, even I was curious.
“I forgot that you both worked here…this is super awkward…” he chuckled.
“Why? Bumping into us at work?” I asked Yue, before turning at Tristan, who seemed as if he was waiting to say something.
“Hey,” Tristan greeted me.
“Hey…?” I greeted him back, slightly confused.
“So, why oncology?” he abruptly asked.
“Gosh, don’t dive into the question immediately!” Yue commented, then turning to me. “Sorry Mei. I apologise for my friend’s curtness,” he said with a slight bow, before offering a solution: “I’ll make it up to you, if you’d like?” he said, winking as he bit his lip.
“Hey! Back off!” Siobhan glanced at me. “Stop flirting with Yue! He’s gonna be mine!” Yue looked at her confusedly.
“Doctor…I have a girlfriend,” Yue told her.
“Hasn’t stopped me before…” Siobhan informed us all with a smirk.
“Ignore her,” Tristan suddenly said. “Why oncology?” he persisted. What was with him? Why wasn’t he directing that same curtness at Emilia?
“I…” I looked at Emilia, who returned sympathetic eyes. She’d deal with him later…I sighed. “My younger brother was diagnosed with leukaemia a while back. He’s in remission now, but the effects are still on going. That’s why I wanted to go into it further: to understand it, and hopefully help people who were in my brother’s position,” I told him, despite his abruptness. Emilia held me from the side.
“And wherever Mei goes, I’ll go! Because I gave our boss a CD that is going to change her life, so we’re gonna be here forever! So there!” Emilia stuck her tongue at them both, before turning away and picking up her bag. “Come on, Mei. Let’s luncheon.” She began to strut out of the ward.
“So much sass from a woman who wears such ridiculous pyjamas,” Yue commented. I just rolled my eyes.
“At any rate, why are you both here? It can’t be to bother us, surely?” I asked.
“Ah! No…! Not at all…actually…” Yue started, but couldn’t get the words out.
“We’re visiting someone we know; a good friend of ours, who’s gonna die soon. We said we’d come,” Tristan interrupted, again quite abruptly. I turned to Yue for confirmation, despite my surprise from how calm Tristan was about this patient. Yue just sighed.
“Insensitively put…but yes, that is precisely why we’re here,” Yue affirmed.
“Your friend is in oncology?” I asked.
“Yes,” Tristan quickly answered.
“Paediatrics or adult?”
“Which one do you work in again?” Yue asked instead.
“Paediatrics,” I answered.
“Ah, okay. Yah, he’s in adult oncology…because, well, our friend isn’t a child…so…” Yue answered quickly. At this, Siobhan looked at me and said that I should leave for lunch, and then turned her attention to her previous objects of flirtation.
“Do you both wanna follow me? I’ll accompany you over there,” Siobhan asked them both, guiding them further into the adjacent adult oncology ward.
And like that, she disappeared with Tristan and Yue. But before they did, Yue looked my way, and our gazes crossed the moment that I zipped up my bag. He tried to smile, but hesitated and continued to follow Siobhan. I could feel it: Yue and Tristan were bound to this person far more closely than they were showing. The moment that they left, Tristan became quiet and sombre, and Yue’s eyes seemed to be hiding any sign of pain. But I had seen those eyes before: from my family, my brother, Emilia…in the mirror. These eyes had been softened to hope when Hiro, my younger brother, had finally gone into remission. But both Yue’s and Tristan’s eyes said otherwise: whoever their friend was, the end was imminent. I could only posit as much.
– – – – –
“And?” Emilia asked as I sat down at one of the fluorescent yellow tables in the cafeteria.
“And what?” I asked back
“What did they want?”
“They said that they were going to see a friend of theirs who is currently in adult oncology.”
“Severe?” I didn’t answer, but I suppose that silence was enough. “How tragic…”
“Emilia! Mei! Yoohoo!” we both heard a tweeting voice behind me, coming from the door of the cafeteria. There strutted in Siobhan, with a massive grin. She came and sat down at our table. “My gosh, finally managed to escape Dr Yeates! That woman!” she complained, opening up her packed lunch. “Oh, by the way, your friends are so attractive!”
“Really? I don’t think so,” Emilia sighed.
“You definitely have a thing for Yue,” Siobhan asserted, biting into her sandwich. Emilia glanced at her in shock.
“Are you being serious?! That narcissistic…!” She couldn’t even complete the insult as she tightened her fist. “How could you say that?!”
“Your eyes were on him, not Tristan, who I think is far more attractive!” Siobhan grinned. “So attractive, but so distant…it’s a shame…” she sighed. “Oh well…”
“What do you know about them, then?” Emilia asked.
“Not as much as you both probably,” she replied.
“No, as in who are they visiting?” I asked.
“Visiting?” She paused. “Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say. After all, you both are students, right?” She took another bite of her sandwich. “I’m not sure that it would good to say, especially if they haven’t told you themselves.”
“All I can say is that the person is very close to them,” Siobhan did reveal. “At any rate, you should probably get used to seeing them and greeting them nicely. They’ll be back frequently.”
“So, their friend doesn’t have much time left?” But she didn’t answer at all. Even this was weird for Siobhan, who was normally so open and bubbly.
“Oh well. Happens in Oncology. You just need to get used to it. Be glad that you’re not working in adult oncology…” she acknowledged.
At that, Siobhan quickly changed the topic, and directed loads of questions at Emilia about her unspoken love for Yue, which she fervently denied. Siobhan finally turned to me.
“How’s your brother, Mei?” she asked quite concerned. “He’s in remission now, right?”
“A year and a half in. Despite the medication, I think at the moment the recovery is much more psychological than it is physical.”
“Gosh, having A.L.L. is really not a walk in the park, especially for kids of his age.”
“That’s what the doctors always said. Being sixteen and being forced into hospital obviously makes things so difficult,” I told her. I really didn’t want to recall the memories. “Anyway, that’s all really. Not much else to say…” She smiled, and then turned her attention back to Emilia.
“So, you gonna tell Yue?” she persisted with a laugh. And within minutes, she left back for the ward, leaving us to go to our seminar. How surreal. She knew something about Tristan and Yue that we didn’t. Just that in itself…well, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it entirely.
– – – – –
The next day, both Emilia and I met up with Yue for lunch in town, after his seminars for the day, and he was absolutely normal. Well, ‘normal’ as Yue could be. We both waited for him outside the café, and he finally showed up, running up the street. Emilia just watched him and then glanced at her watch, unamused that he was already six and a half minutes late, complaining that she had better things to do than spend an hour eating lunch with someone so annoying. Since meeting in Covent Garden that day, their relationship had become a lot more of a love-hate thing: Emilia hating, and Yue loving that the fact that Emilia hated him. I just stood back and spectated, but of course, immediately the first topic of conversation ended up being:
“Where’s Tristan?” Emilia asked, quite concerned.
“He had another lecture,” Yue told us, as he checked the menu. “Besides, he was gonna ditch me and eat with his Delilah.”
“Just like you ditched him for your girlfriend, leaving him to cause havoc at our place?” Emilia complained. Yue just laughed, finally removing his scarf. He sat in the seat facing against the café window, so that the sun shone brightly against his back, and hair. “By the way, I don’t know how I feel about your hair colour yet.”
“It’s an Asian thing. You wouldn’t understand. Right, Mei?” he looked at me with a smile. “You like my hair?” He seemed better than yesterday. Maybe he was another side to him than I gave credit.
“I do,” I confirmed. “Very K-Pop starry,” I chuckled.
“Precisely the look I was going for,” he smiled again. “Okay, I want this sandwich, with fries, and do you think that they do these?…excuse me! I think we’re ready to order!”
“Wait! I haven’t decided yet!” Emilia told him.
I left them to argue it out, and just sat and watched how…normal everything was. Were people this strong that they could hide away something so life-changing like the imminent death of a friend? Or was I just so weak…?
Suddenly, out of nowhere, my ringtone began to blast out of my bag, making Emilia jump and Yue laugh in response. I quickly pulled it, and checked who was calling: Mum. What was she doing calling in the middle of the afternoon? Wasn’t she at work?
“Mei?! Is he with you?!”
“Hiro! He’s gone missing!” she blurted out, totally panicked. I paused for a second.
“Hiro? Hold on, Mum. What’s happened?”
“We came back from hospital early this morning, and when we came back, I said I would drop him off, but he said that he’d take the bus, so that I could go straight to work, maybe thinking that he wanted to clear his head. I called the school and told him that he’d be coming within the next hour. But then, they called me before lunch, and asked if he was still coming…and that he hadn’t shown up. Then I tried calling his mobile, but he hasn’t been answering it at all, and now it’s already been three hours. I really hope that he hasn’t fainted anywhere or that something bad has happened to him!”
“Mum, calm down,” I tried to console her, looking at Emilia, who was also slightly concerned from the look on my face. “Three hours isn’t that long. He might have just wanted to skip today. Look, I’ll call him too, and if you don’t hear from him tonight, then let me know. We’ll go from there. Until then, just tell the school to let you know if they hear from him.”
“Okay then…” But that definitely didn’t console her. There was very little I could do from here…and besides, I knew that Hiro was sensible enough not to disappear if he was feeling too weak. “If you hear anything, call me immediately!”
“Of course,” and that, I cut the line. What was going on?