Posts tagged “uncertainty

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 35

Posted on 07/05/2015

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Before Samina could offer an explanation for her tears, Ezekiel was by her side. Karen inhaled sharply as he grabbing Samina’s hand and tugged her toward the door.

“Hey, where—” Karen’s protest was shut off when the door closed behind them.

Tears streamed down her face and as Ezekiel steered her to the porch, she tugged her hand from his hold and put it behind her, head bowed to hide her tears.

Not even the warmth of Ezekiel’s hands cupping her shoulder, pulling her into his strength could comfort her. Instead, his embrace only unsettled her. With her face pressed to his chest, she could hear his heart thumping hard and fast against her ear.

Samina leaned back and stared up at him. With the porch light beaming a soft halo around his head, half of his angular features was shadowed but she could clearly see the emotions etched on the other half. Worry. Concern. She blinked and started to shift from his arms.

His fingers tightened around her, holding her close. “Are you okay?”

She averted her gaze to his shoulder and nodded mutely.

A thumb caressed the nape of her neck and she shivered. He paused. “You’re cold?” he pulled her even closer.

Samina swallowed hard, trying not to imagine the aloof expression in Topher’s eyes from earlier that night. Tears welled up again, her throat tightening up. Don’t you dare. Samina. Not for him.

Ezekiel inclined his head, his face only inches from hers. Samina stiffened under his silent perusal. His hand swept the back of her head, smoothing her hair back. “Where were you tonight?” he asked gently, his warm breath caressing her face.

She started.

“I called you but it seems you left your phone at home.”

Samina peered up at him, trying to gauge annoyance or anger in his face since it was absent from his tone.

His thumb brushed her ear, sending warm shivers down her spine. One corner of his lips quirked upwards. “You look like Beulah caught doing something wrong.”

Heat spread to her cheeks and she blinked at him.

Ezekiel chuckled, thumb grazing her chin. “Relax… I’m not here to reprimand you.”

Her eyes swept over his face, unconvinced. “Then why are you here?”

He paused and then choked a laugh, dropping his hand. “Why am I here?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. Was he stalling?

“Well…” he finally released her, dragging one hand down the back of his head. “Uh…” Ezekiel moved to the corner of the porch and folded his arms across his chest. Now he was cloaked in shadows, his lean but strong frame a silhouette framed between the porch stands.

Samina wrapped her arms around herself and stared at him, waiting.

“I wanted to know if you’d made your decision.”

She frowned. “About what?”

He chuckled, pushing away from the shadows. There was mirth in his expression but also a resolve she’d never seen before. “About us.” He moved closer.

Samina took a step back.

Ezekiel paused in step, his brow furrowed slightly. “What’s wrong?”

She bit her lip, surprised by her reaction. Wasn’t this what she’d prayed for almost ten years? She’d dreamed this up time and time again; Ezekiel confessing his love for her, pursuing her to be his one and only. So why was she anxious and unsettled now that it was before her?

He closed the gap between them, his arms coming around her again. “I don’t want to rush you.”

The very same words Topher had said to her earlier that month. His voice was so clear in her thoughts, juxtaposed against Ezekiel’s now. Immediately, she thought of the birthday cupcake he presented her at the tea shop and the way his eyes danced with mirth when he teased her…

Ezekiel’s hand rested on the nape of her neck, his thumb pressed lightly on her chin, directing her attention back to him.

Samina blinked at him, rendered speechless by the tenderness in his gaze.

“I’ve been incredibly blind, Sam, and stubborn.” His breath caressed her face, his merely inches from hers.

Her breath caught as he leaned in closer, her pulse jumping with every inch he closed between them.

“All this time, I couldn’t see…” His gaze lowered to her parted lips. “But now I know and I won’t miss it again.” His gaze lifted to her eyes. “Sam, say you’ll give me a chance? Give us a chance?”

Samina couldn’t think clearly with him standing so close, his mouth barely inches from hers, her pulse racing against his hand. “I…”

Then he kissed her. His lips pressed lightly against hers, tentative as if seeking consent. When she gasped lightly against his, Ezekiel inclined his head and deepened the kiss.

At first, Samina stood stiff as a rod until he tilted his mouth against hers, then her eyes fluttered close and she relaxed against him as his arms gathered her close.

Karen and Obadiah were waiting for her as she trudged into the house, lips still tingling from Ezekiel’s fervent kiss. Dazed, she dragged her eyes to the disapproving glare in Karen’s face and the bemused expression on Obadiah’s.

“You okay Sis?” Obadiah drawled, looking pointedly at her.

Karen scowled darker.

Samina’s hands flew to her hair, imagining the tangled mess it was from Ezekiel’s roving fingers. Her face heated.

Karen folded her arms. “What was that?”

“Uh…” Samina was still tongue-tied.

“It’s called a kiss,” Obadiah replied.

Karen glared at him before turning it to Samina. “Why would you kiss Ezekiel?”

Pulling in her bottom lip, Samina started for her room.

“Nu-uh.” Karen hurried to block her path. “Not when we have much to discuss.”

Samina slanted a warning glare to her younger sister. “No we don’t. Move.”

Karen’s jaw tightened, eyes narrowed. “No.”

Brows lifted. “No?” Samina moved one step closer, almost nose to nose with Karen.

Karen didn’t back down. “You heard me.”

“What’s the big deal? Sam’s a grown person and can date whoever she wants.”

Samina dipped her head in acknowledgment, offering a smile to her ally of a brother.

“How ridiculous!” Karen scoffed, stepping away. “Why would she date him?”

“Why not?” Obadiah tossed back.

Samina frowned, disturbed by Karen’s disdain. “…Why not?”

“You mean besides the fact that he’s a widower and a father of two…?”

Obadiah rolled his eyes. “So because he was married before, he’s off limits? Is he a monk?”

Samina’s lips twitched a smile. Maybe having Obadiah around wasn’t such a bad idea.

Karen waved him off and looked pointedly at Samina. “Then what about Topher?”

Samina stiffened.

“Who’s Topher?”

Karen heaved an exasperated sigh. “You don’t know anything. Topher’s this really handsome, tall guy who likes Sam.”

Obadiah shrugged. “Big deal. He wasn’t the one snogging her on the porch.”

Face heated, Samina coughed against her shoulder.

Karen scowled. “Obviously, she was confused.”

“Who confuses kissing someone?” Obadiah shook his head. “Obviously, she doesn’t like this Topher guy so—”

“I do like him!”

Both siblings turned at Samina’s outburst and her face burst into flames.

“Wait a minute…” Obadiah frowned. “You like both guys?”

Samina grimaced at the censure in his tone. Her teenage brother who’d been caught fooling around in the backseat of their father’s car was now judging her. Unbelievable!

“Well duh,” Karen tossed back, a strange smile on her face.

Mortified, Samina spun on her heels, hurrying to her bedroom. “This conversation is over. Goodnight!”

“No it’s not, Samina.” Karen’s stern reply slowed her steps. “Wanna tell us why St. Jude’s hospital called you about a post-operation check in?”

Dread slithered down her spine and Samina froze at the door. She’d been caught.

<<Chapter 34 || Chapter 36>>

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 14

Posted on 25/03/2015

kent

Samina gaped at the doctor, unsure of what she heard. “W-what? Please, could you repeat that?”

Dr. Felicia Halliday regarded her with sympathy. “It’s just a first diagnosis. We’ll need to schedule an MRI immediately.”

She shook her head, her eyes welling up with tears. “No. It can’t be.”

“It’s too early to say, Samina.” Dr. Halliday’s brow wrinkled pensively. “An MRI results could verify my suspicions.”

Samina closed her eyes, fighting nausea and dizziness. “Verify what, that I have a pituitary disease?” She squeezed her fingers in her palms.

Dr. Halliday paused. She too hadn’t anticipated such a troubling diagnosis from a simple woman’s exam. But Samina complained of frequent lapses in memory, tingling in her limbs and an overwhelming sense of malaise. The symptoms were all too familiar, from a few patients who didn’t discover they had tumors until it was too late.

Samina shook her head in disbelief. First her job and now this, all before her 30th birthday.

“Don’t panic,” Dr. Halliday’s voice broke through Samina’s frantic thoughts. “I will recommend you to an endocrinologist here on staff.” She scribbled on a notepad and tore out the sheet of paper. “In fact, I’ll personally come with you when the appointments are made.”

Samina leaned back when the doctor extended the note. “Please, wait. I–” she summoned a breath and closed her eyes. Everything was moving too fast.

“I know this is tough to take in.” Dr. Halliday watched Samina slowly release her breath. “But we need to determine what this is before it becomes too serious and too late to treat.”

Her body quivered. Samina licked her dry lips and opened her eyes. “What if it is… a tumor, like you said?” Her stomach flipped over. “What if…”

Dr. Halliday sighed. “Let’s cross that bridge once we get there.” She extended the note. “First we visit the endocrinologist. Okay?”

Tongue-tied, Samina blindly reached for the offered note.

Minutes later, she stared listlessly at Dr. Halliday’s script on the paper, replaying her recommendation for the days following. Exercise, a good diet and meditation to eliminate all forms of stress.

She smiled bitterly. Even though she did Pilates twice a day and ate only veggies, there was nothing she could do to eliminate stress. Samina released a breath and pressed the button on the elevator panel.

The elevator slowed and a bell sounded as the doors slid open. Samina stiffened as her eyes fell on the man standing on the other side of the elevator.

Topher Chance.

His solemn gray-green eyes settled on her face and she quickly averted her gaze. As he entered the elevator, she pocketed the note and focused her eyes forward.

They rode the elevator in silence, although Samina could feel the weight of his eyes on her. She made no attempt to speak with him and neither did he.

Once the door slid open on the ground level, Topher shifted to allow Samina passage. In silence, Samina stepped around him and hurried across the lobby. Pausing at the sliding doors, she glanced over her shoulder to search for Topher.

He was nowhere to be found in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city hospital.

Samina’s eyes welled with tears as the realization of her condition hit her like a ton of bricks. She swiftly turned away and hurried out to the parking lot.

“Any updates yet?” Ezekiel asked over the phone that evening. He frowned when Sheena sighed over the phone. “Mom, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, it’s nothing…”

He raised a brow. “Mom.”

Sheena sniffed. “It’s not looking good for your dad’s aunt, Zeke. The doctors say there’s not much time left. Your dad’s a mess.”

“What’s the plan?”

“I don’t know.”

His brow furrowed. “You’re not going?”

“Zeke,” she said, fatigue dulling her voice. “You know we both can’t go.”

“You were close to Aunt Neve. You should go too.”

Sheena sniffed at tears. “I would like to be there but there’s no luck with a babysitter.”

Teeth clenched, Ezekiel turned to face his desk and scanned the messy, disorganized pile of scattered blueprints.  “What about Sam?”

“Samina?”

“Uh-hmm…” Ezekiel ignored the protest in his head that bringing up Samina was a bad idea.

His mother hesitated briefly before responding. “She’s not picking up her phone.”

Ezekiel’s lips pursed. Was Samina purposely avoiding him and his family? He shook his head, dispelling the thought. Samina was much too kind for that petty behavior. “Maybe she’s busy…” he mumbled, more for himself than for his mother.

“I’ll try again later. Anyway, I need to go.”

Ezekiel leaned back in his chair. “Hey Mom, if you can, please go with Dad. He’ll need you there. Even if I have to come—”

“Nonsense,” Sheena scoffed. “You just focus on your work.”

Ezekiel rolled his eyes.

“Thanks for calling, my dear.”

“Love you. Mom.” As a wave of despair washed over him, he rubbed the bridge of his nose.

In the shadows of her room, Samina sat on the floor by her bed with her duvet cover draped over her shoulder. She stared listlessly at the carpet, replaying Dr. Halliday’s diagnosis.

“It might just be a hormonal imbalance. Or a pituitary tumor.” 

Her body trembled and she slanted her gaze to the ceiling. “Is losing my life part of your plan too?” her voice quivered. She pulled the duvet covers tighter around her.

The phone she thought she’d misplaced vibrated under her bed. Samina breathed out a tremulous sigh and retrieved the phone. Her eyes widened at Ada’s name flashing on the screen and reluctantly clicked the green button to answer. “Hello…?”

“You, Samina Wells,” Ada answered in a stern voice. “Have a lot of explaining to do.”

“I’m sorry.” Samina’s lips trembled, aware that she’d forgotten something important. Again.

“Look, if you don’t want to do it, tell me.” Ada snorted. “It’s not like I’m forcing you to be my maid-of-honor. What gives with this irresponsibility?”

Samina clenched her jaw, forcing herself not to snap back at Ada. After all, she had no idea what a terrible day it was for her.

“Is it too much to ask my maid-of-honor to help with the invitations? Do I have to beg you and my fiancé to help me out?”

Samina sat frozen, the tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Are you even listening to me, Samina?” Ada seethed in frustration. “Everyone thinks this is a joke and now even my best friend has decided to take a break from being my best friend.”

Something snapped in her and Samina sat up. “Now wait a minute. Ada…”

“So now you can talk? Go ahead.” Ada jeered. “Do you know how many times have you skipped out on me this week alone?”

Samina summoned a staying breath, her temple throbbing fiercely. There was no reasoning with Ada when she was belligerent. “Let’s talk tomorrow. I’m too tired for your nonsense this evening.”

“Are you kidding—” the rest of Ada’s blustering cut off when Samina disconnected the call.

Clutching the phone, the tears fell unrestrained down her cheeks. Ada’s blistering words felt like a stinging slap on the face.  Ada’s accusation of her being irresponsible bruised her more than she thought possible after almost ten years of friendship.

Her phone rang again and provoked to righteous anger, Samina lifted the phone back to her ear. “For the last time, we’ll talk tomorrow. Leave me alone!”

The deafening static on the other end made her pause and she peered at the screen. Inhaling sharply, she pulled the phone back to her ear. “Aunt Sheena…”

“Um…” Sheena floundered.

Chagrined, Samina bit her bottom lip. “I’m sorry, I-I thought you were someone else.” She grimaced, replaying her snappy tone.

“It’s okay, ” Sheena said wearily. “I’m sorry for calling so late, dear.”

Samina frowned at the older woman’s stilted tone. “Is everything okay?”

“Oh, Sammie dear…” Sheena sighed. “I know we already discussed this and I really respect your decision, but I really, really need your help.”

An hour later, Samina paused at dropping a folded shirt into the duffel bag on her mattress.

Perching on the edge of the bed, she placed the shirt on her lap. “What am I doing?”

She’d already promised Karen that she would refuse the offer to babysit Ezekiel’s girls. She’d made up her mind to move on, leaving Ezekiel and his family to solve their own problems. So why had she offered to watch the girls while Aunty Sheena accompanied her husband to Abbeville?

With a groan, Samina fell back into the mattress and slung a hand over her face. “What am I going to do now?”

<<Chapter 13 || Chapter 15>>

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