Character List

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Where's the New Post?!?!?

Hi Dolls,

I know you're all wondering where I am and why I haven't posted this week. I've tried to be consistent from the time this blog commenced but we all know how uncertain life can be sometimes.  My sister-in-law was in a car accident (thankfully she'll be okay) and has been in the hospital since Sunday.  My husband and I have been watching her three kids who are all under the age of 5 while she recuperates. I guess it's preparation of what lies ahead!  Just trying to find a positive:-)  Anyway, I haven't had time to post with the kids taking up most of my free time.  

I've read the comments and I thank the majority of you for the kind words and concern.  It truly does mean a lot to me.  To those who chose to be negative.....life is way too short to complain about something as trivial as a fictional blog written by an amateur like me.  Go outside, take in the spring weather, lend a helping hand or a smile to someone who needs it...make a positive difference.  It will not only make you feel good and happy but will make someone else's day! 

Because I hate setting a schedule and not being able to stick to it, I can't promise when the next post will be.  I'm shooting for maybe Friday but please don't hold me to that.  To those who speculated that I would disappear without a trace....that's so not happening!  I'm too invested in Elisabeth's story to do that.  Plus there's so much more to tell!!  I will be back before you know it.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and being awesome about my inconsistency.

Arianna

Friday, March 27, 2015

Moving Day

Fast Forward - February 27th

We spent the past week packing up our apartment and getting to move into our new place.  Who would have thought that I would have accumulated so much stuff in the few months since I had moved in with Lukas.  I pulled things from the closet and made piles of items I wanted to keep, things to give to charity and things I was unsure of.  Surely they'll come a day when I'll rock those coral Jimmy Choos or that fringy leather skirt that I just had to have right?

For most of the week, Lukas had transported our already packed boxes to the new place.  After work I'd go directly to the apartment and unpack and put things in order.  Then we'd hurry back to Lukas' place to check on Priya, who by the way doing so much better.  Her incision had healed and she was slowly getting back to her old life.  She still had weekly appointments with her doctors and so far she seemed to be on the right path.  She appeared happier than she had been in a long time and was regularly speaking with Dr. Khan either on the phone or via text.  I could tell that she really liked him and was glad that they were formulating some type of friendship.

It was Friday night and I was busy packing our dishes and glassware, carefully wrapping each piece in bubble wrap.  Priya asked if I needed help but I declined.  I knew that the doctors had warned her about lifting things and overexerting herself.  She sat on one of the stools and started talking.  "I really want to thank you and Lukas for letting me stay here."

Did I mention that since Priya's lease was just about over at her existing apartment, we decided that she would rent Lukas' place?  Since the police were worried about Mark potentially returning to her place and causing problems, we wanted to be extra cautious.  Priya's parents had hired a personal assistant who went to Priya's place and helped her retrieve all of her personal items.  They had arranged to donate most of her old furniture to the Salvation Army.  Priya wanted to start over, without any remnants or reminders of her past.

"Lukas and I wanted someone who would take care of this place like their own and I know that you would do that" I replied.

"I was thinking of asking my assistant to move into the other bedroom.  I know my parents are taking care of the rent and all but I don't want to completely burden them when I can split the cost with someone" she shared.

"That's not a bad idea.  There's something I need to tell you" I said facing her.

"What is it?" she asked curiously.

I motioned for her to follow me into the living room and sit in the couch, while I grabbed my purse for the bedroom.  "I don't want you think I left you high and dry when I moved out.  I had no idea what was going on with you and was afraid to send you my portion of the rent."

She interrupted, "Liz that's all in the past.  I'm not mad at you for any of that.  I would've done the same thing if I were in your shoes."

I shook my head.  "No, Priya.  You don't understand.  I thought you were strung out on drugs and didn't want you to spend my rent money on drugs so I started sending my rent checks to Depeka.  She promised that she'd take it into building management and take care of everything since her name was still on the official lease."

Priya's jaw dropped open.  "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" she asked angrily.

"Here are copies of the checks I mailed her."

Priya looked at the documents and shook her head in disbelief.  "I spoke with your parents and told them about this" I started and but she cut me off.

"Depeka must fucking hate me to stoop so low.  I was holding out hope that one day we would be able to reconcile but this is the final nail in the coffin" she said firmly.

 "I'm sorry Priya.  That wasn't my intention telling you this."

"Then what was your intention?" she snapped, rolling her eyes.

I took a deep breath.  "I told your parents what happened and they spoke to Depeka.  Somehow they managed to convince her to refund me the money.  Here's a certified check from Depeka and I want you to have it."

She slowly took the check and stared at it.  A teardrop falling onto the paper.  "Why would she do this to me Elisabeth?  Why?  Why would she turn her back on me when I need her?  I need her so fucking bad.  When I needed my family, she turned her back on me.  Why would she do that me?!?"

I tried to console Priya but eventually decided to let her cry and get out all of her emotions.  There was no point in trying gloss over the situation or telling her everything would be fine because that would be a lie.  I retrieved a bottle of water and Kleenex for Priya.  I blotted the tears from her face and handed her the water.

She took a huge gulp.  "What would you do Elisabeth?"

I shrugged.  "Honestly, I have no clue.  It's easy for me to say I'd react a certain way but until you're in that situation you never really know for sure."

"Part of my wants go over to Depeka's and kick her ass and the other feels sorry that she's such a fucked up, empty person."

"You will not be kicking anyone's ass" I said firmly.  "You have to think of your well being."

She chuckled.  "Thanks Mom."

Finally a little lightness.  We were both startled by a loud knock on the door.  My mind immediately ran to Depeka and I feared that she had come over to cause drama.  I stood and slowly walked towards the door.  "Who is it?" I asked cautiously.

"Open the damn door" the voice on the other ordered.

I pulled opened the door and squealed.  Melissa looked so relaxed and tanned.  I gave her a hug.  'You look so good.  How was your honeymoon?"

"It was so much fun.  Josh and I totally needed to get away from everything for a while and who knows maybe we'll have a honeymoon baby" she gushed.

"That would be awesome" I chirped.

She was taken aback seeing Priya.  "What's going on?  You two having a girls night?" she joked.

I didn't want to bother Melissa during her honeymoon and glossed over Priya's condition not wanting to worry her.  "Um Melissa there's a lot you don't know" I said nervously.

She looked from me to Priya.  "Well I see that the two of you have reconciled.  Now we can all hang out like old times."

"Melissa you're not listening.  There's some things we need to tell you" I said sternly.

For the next hour Priya and I took turns filling her in on everything.  Naturally she stopped us to ask questions or express her shock.  Once she knew everything, she blubbered, "Are you better now?  Do you have any discomfort or anything?  I mean are you okay living here by yourself?  If not, you can come and stay with me and Josh."

Priya took a deep breath.  "The past few weeks have been hard but I am a lot better now.  I appreciate the offer to stay at your place but I'm okay.  Each day I feel stronger and I need to get back to my old life."

I nodded.  "Priya has been doing really well...all things considered.  I wanted to tell you what was going on but I didn't want to ruin your honeymoon."

She waved me off.  "I'm too relaxed to be pissed.  Plus I'm relieved that you're okay Priya."

"I literally thought I would die" Priya shared.

"I can only imagine.  Why didn't you tell me you were adopted?" Melissa asked.

Priya shrugged.  "I couldn't believe it myself and wanted to put things into perspective first.  I didn't expect the situation to escalate and Depeka to screw me over."

"Do you want me to talk to Depeka?" Melissa asked.

Priya shook her head.  "No.  Sometimes you have to eliminate dead weight and negativity from your life to move on and be happy."

-----------

Saturday night Lukas and I were both exhausted but relieved to be in our new place.  Thankfully the new bedroom set we had ordered was delivered earlier in the day.  All we had to do in the bedroom was make up the bed and unpack our clothes.  Nothing that we couldn't handle.  We were sitting on the couch, trying to decide what to order for dinner. After looking at menu after menu, we opted to order pizza.  While we waited for the delivery I took a quick shower.  I changed into leggings and white t-shirt before joining Lukas.

"I can't believe that we're finally here" I said excitedly.

"Me neither.  I was beginning to think the renovations would never end."

Lukas massaged my feet with just the right amount of pressure and I moaned.  "That feels so good."

He let his hands move up my calves, past my thighs and my stomach.  They pushed up my t-shirt and gently moved over my breast, causing me to draw in my breath.  He looked into my eyes as his fingers lightly made circular motions around my right areola.  I arched my back, my hard nipples aching for attention.  Instead Lukas turned his focus to my left areola.  My breathing quickened and my hand tried to guide Lukas' to my nipples.  He winked at me before leaning forward and licking my nipples.  I gasped when he sucked gently on my left and then right nipple.  My hands were in his hair, pulling gently.  He slid up my body and kissed me hard.  We both groaned when his phone rang.  He glanced at it before breathlessly sharing that it was pizza guy.

"Don't go.  I want you not pizza" I moaned.

"Mmmm, I promise I'll make it up to you when I come back."  He kissed me and brushed his fingers between my spread thighs before leaving.  Even though my stomach growled and I was starving, I was kind of annoyed that the damn pizza man had cock blocked me!  The nerve!  I got up and opened a bottle of wine.  I downed one glass quickly before refilling my glass and then a glass for Lukas.

Admittedly the pizza totally hit the spot but I wanted something else.  While Lukas ate I stood up and grabbed the hem of my t-shirt.  I locked my eyes on his as I swayed my hips from side to side, slowly moving my t-shirt higher and higher.  He swallowed hard when I uncovered the underside of my breasts.  I licked my lips and raised my top higher, exposing my breasts.  Lukas tried to touch me but I playfully swatted his hands away.  I pulled off my t-shirt and threw it at Lukas before hooking my hands in the waistband of my leggings.  Painstakingly slowly, I pulled them off and stood naked before him.  Lukas got up and kissed me hard.  My hands between our bodies, pulling down his sweatpants.  I wrapped my fingers around his thick, hard pulsating penis, stroking it slowly.  I pushed him on the couch and straddled him.  I quickly lowered myself and gasped feeling so full.  I moved slowly at first but the Lukas grabbed my hips and started thrusting quickly underneath me.  I threw my head back and screamed out his his name as I came hard.  Lukas nipped my shoulder before moving quicker. I used my muscles (those kegels are totally worth it) with every thrust and in no time he was breathing heavily and cumming hard.  As he tried to catch his breath, I took his face between my hands and kissed him softly.

Needless to say, that night we made love in almost every room of our new place.  Lukas and I didn't have sex since Priya moved in and we were both super horny.  The next morning I awoke to Lukas' fingers between my legs teasing me.  I was already wet but also sore. I rolled onto my back and clamped my legs around his hand.  "Mmm, I'm so sore."

"Do you want me to stop?" he asked, brushing his fingers over my wetness ever so gently.

I shook my head and my breath quickened.  "No don't stop" I moaned.  He continued his feathery movements until I couldn't take it anymore and exploded.  I was a little too sore to have sex with him but definitely repaid the favor by giving him a blowjob.  As we laid in bed, my head on his chest we started talking about our wedding.

"My mom was asking if we set a date yet" I shared.

He chuckled, "Sounds like she was talking to my mom."

I giggled.  "Do you have a timeline? I mean I know you said it's up to me but I want your input."

"I'd marry you tomorrow if you'd like.  I know you've dreamed of this big, fancy wedding and I want you to have that.  Do you have a date in mind?"

I smiled.  "Might sound cliche but I'd like to have an early June wedding."

"You mean like 3 months from now June?" Lukas asked.

I shook my head.  "No.  Like next June.  I don't know if I could even get a dress in three months" I replied laughing.

"So next June it is."

"I'd like to get married at this castle on Long Island but it's a bit of pipe dream.  They have like a 2 year waiting list" I shared.

"Never say never, Elisabeth.  Nothing is impossible."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Healing Touch

When I got home from work Tuesday, there was Priya on our couch.  She was covered in a fleecy throw blanket, her head propped up by a fluffy down pillow.  She was deep in sleep and I didn't have the heart to disturb her.  Anthony and Lukas were in the kitchen, speaking quietly.  I joined them and was immediately filled in about Priya's condition.

She was released but the doctor wanted to have a private nurse visit with her at least twice a week for a short period. After that her condition will be reevaluated. "Do we have to contract one of those visiting nurse services?" I asked completely unsure of the process.

"The doctor gave us a list of participating providers" Lukas shared.

I nodded.  "Did the doctors say anything when she was released?"

Anthony chimed in.  "Dr. Khan gave us a diet plan for Priya.  He wants her to ease off greasy, spicy and high calorie foods for while.  On our way here both Lukas and I were worried that the pothole laced roads would make Priya get motion sickness but she was fine.  After we got her settled on the couch, we picked up her medicine and she seems to be doing okay so far."

"I can't thank you enough for taking care of Priya.  You guys are awesome!  I'm sorry I couldn't take off today but I'll be with Priya all day tomorrow" I replied.

Anthony lowered his voice, "Lukas told me about Depeka.  Is she still texting you?"

I shook my head.  "Nope.  But Priya's parents did text me during the day. They're going back to California Thursday afternoon and wanted to visit with Priya.  I didn't know if she'd be up to it today so I told them I'd let them know."

Lukas quickly replied, "If they want to come over, they're welcome to.  It would be good for them to see Priya out of the hospital and in a different environment."

"Are they staying with Depeka?" Anthony asked as I texted Mr. Rao.

"They're staying at a hotel in Midtown.  Apparently they got into a huge argument with Depeka, hence the dramatic texts, and decided they would be better off staying at a hotel.  At least that's what Priya told me when we spoke yesterday" I shared.

Lukas shook his head.  "I'm the last person to judge considering my own screwed up family but I still can't figure out Depeka.  Why she would turn on Priya in two seconds flat is mind boggling?"

I agreed and shared that Priya's parents will be over shortly. I excused myself and headed towards the bedroom.  I put my hair up in a bun and slipped into comfy yoga pants and an off the shoulder pink top.  I ran around the apartment, cleaning before asking Lukas and Anthony to straighten up the kitchen.  They didn't argue or complain but did as I asked.  I was organizing Priya's medication was she mumbled something.

"Elisabeth" she said hoarsely.

"How are you feeling?" I asked gently.

"Better.  What are you doing?"

"Straightening up.  I don't want your parents to think I live like a slob" I kidded.

She smiled.  "My parents are coming here?" she asked.

I nodded.  'Yes they called while you were resting.  They should be here any minute."

"I missed them so much these past few months.  Sometimes you don't realize how much someone means to you until they're no longer there.  I use to lie in bed reminisce about my childhood days with my parents and Depeka. They were always so supportive and loving.  Having them abandon me without any warning killed me."

"Doll, I won't say I completely understand but I do know how important family is.  I also know that your parents love you so much.  When I spoke with your dad on the phone I could tell how concerned and worried he was.  I couldn't be happier that they are back in your life" I shared.

She nodded and opened her mouth to say something when her stomach growled loudly.  She blushed and covered her face, clearly embarrassed.

"Let me get you something to eat and then you can take your medication?" I suggested.

I brought her bad soup, a slice of crispy sourdough bread and a piping hot cup of tea.  She ate slowly and after she was done I made sure she took her medicine.  I retrieved another pillow from our guest room and propped her up.

Shortly after her parents arrived and Lukas, Anthony and I excused ourselves.  We ended up getting dinner at a diner nearby.  As we gorged on french fries, mac and cheese, boneless chicken wings, burgers (I got a turkey burger while the boys opted for hamburgers with bacon and cheese) and milkshakes we chatted.  Between bites I turned to Anthony, "First I'm thrilled that you and Priya are cool now but I have a question."

He chuckled.  "I know what you're thinking and no I am not interested in getting back together with Priya. Before we even dated we were good friends, I'd like to go back to that and hope that Priya feels the same.  Besides you know how I feel about Eleanore.  It's different with her."

I grinned. "That's good to hear.  How does Eleanore feel about you spending so much time with Priya?"

"She understands that I'm being supportive of a friend" Anthony replied quickly.

"Wait...you didn't tell her that you and Priya were together?" I asked and Lukas shot me a stern look.

"No.  We haven't gone into details about our past relationships and I didn't want to screw things up with Eleanore" Anthony answered.

Before I could tell him my thoughts, Lukas interrupted.  "Liz it isn't really fair to grill Anthony like this.  He knows what he's doing and maybe you should back off a little."

I glared at Lukas and then Anthony who seemed to be on the same page with Lukas.  "Me asking one of my best friends about his life is considered "grilling" him?   It's called being a friend Lukas and I really don't appreciate you telling me what to do" I shot back.

Lukas scoffed.  "Elisabeth you need to calm down.  Anthony is clearly uncomfortable with your endless questions and quite frankly what he does in his relationships isn't anyone's business but his."

I rolled my eyes.  "I never said that it's my business. I was only trying to be a good friend."

Anthony interrupted our uncomfortable and awkward exchange.  "Both of you need to stop this shit.  Liz, I agree with Lukas.  I know in your heart you think you're helping me but at times you come off as judgmental.  I'm doing what I think is best for my relationship with Eleanore right now.  Maybe not telling her about my fucked up relationship with Priya will come back and bite me in the ass but that's my problem...not yours."

I clenched my fist and bit my bottom lip to keep from exploding.  I couldn't believe that my male best friend and my fiance were siding against me.  I wanted to storm out of the diner and leave the two by themselves but that would be the immature thing to do and I was trying to turn another leaf and be more mature.  Instead I scarfed down the food in front of me, not paying any attention to either Lukas or Anthony.  I could hear them talking but I was too pissed to give a fuck.  After I was done, I motioned for the check.

Anthony insisted on covering the check and Lukas relented.  Before we went our separate ways, Anthony gave me a hug.  Lukas and I walked in silence back to his place.  I was livid that he chose to scold me in front of Anthony.  We were a block away when Lukas stopped.  "I know you're mad at me and maybe we should talk about it."

"There's nothing to talk about Lukas.  You have a lot of nerve treating me like a child and telling me what I can or can't talk to my friend about."

"You were making him uncomfortably.  Anthony was practically squirming while you interrogated him.  What does it matter to you whether he tells Eleanore about his past?" Lukas argued.

"I want him to be happy but he won't be if his relationship is built on lies."

"Sometimes you have to make mistakes in order to grow and become stronger" Lukas replied quietly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Visiting Hours

After dinner Lukas and I said goodbye to my family and made  a quick stop at the hospital.  I had promised Priya I would visit later and didn't want to disappoint her.  When we got to her room she was sitting on the edge of her bed, with her head on the rolling table tray.  She was speaking but her words were muffled.  "Are you okay Priya?" I asked with concern.

She shook her head from side to side without lifting it from the table.  "I'm going to die" she muttered.

What the hell happened in the five hours since I left I wondered.  I sat next to her, "Stop saying you're going to die.  You're going to live a long, happy life."

"I'm going to die" she cried once again.

"Honey what's the matter?" I inquired gently rubbing her back.

She lifted her head and I was surprised to see her face looking so pale.  "My head is spinning.  I'm in so much pain.  Oh god...." she said, making a dash to the bathroom.

I followed her and found her standing over the since retching and throwing up.  I motioned for Lukas to get a nurse.  As I held her hair back and attempted to be as comforting as possible; reassuring her that she will be fine.

An Asian nurse joined us and I stepped to the side.  She spoke with Priya in a soft tone, cleaned her up and helped her into bed.  "My head" Priya moaned.

"Priya you have to eat.  You're taking very strong medication on an empty stomach.  That's causing you to have these adverse reactions.  I'll talk to the doctor and see if we can give you anything to help with the nausea.  In the meantime, I need you to try to consume some food.  I promise it will make you feel better" the nurse pleaded.

Lukas asked if Priya was on any dietary restriction and nurse replied.  "Right now we are trying to limit her consumption of sodium.  However, she can eat almost anything."

As the nurse exited the room I asked calmly, "Priya...honey...is there anything we get you to eat?"

She closed her eyes and her body trembled.  I pulled the covers over her and glanced at Lukas mouthing, "What do we do?"

He shrugged and stepped outside.  "Priya do you want me to get you some tea and maybe crackers to settle your stomach?  You have to eat something, otherwise you'll keep feeling sick."

Her eyelids fluttered, "I'm afraid to eat.  I've been throwing up since my parents left. You know how I feel?  You know when you go out and you get shit faced drunk and then you get home, lie in bed and the whole world is spinning at an incredible high pace....that's how I'm feeling laying here.  As soon as I lift my head, I have to hurl."

I went to the bathroom and dampened a wash cloth with cold water; I folded it in thirds and placed it on Priya's forehead.  "I know you feel horrible but please try to eat something....anything."

She sighed and cried, "I'm scared to eat."

I was attempting to alleviate her fear when Lukas returned with Dr. Khan who looked even more handsome than before.  He spoke evenly, "Priya.  It's Dr. Khan, I need to speak with you."

She opened her eyes and met his.  "What?" she croaked and immediately blushed.

"The nurses paged and informed me of your condition.  As your doctor, I can only advise what is the best course.  It is up to you, my patient, to follow through.  Taking the medications you are on on an empty stomach is not recommended.  We would like you to start eating to regain your strength and get better.  The ball is in your court.  Do you want to feel better or do you want to deal with the side effects?" he asked gently.

Priya didn't say a word, she just stared at Dr. Khan. He reiterated that she must eat before leaving.  Lukas asked, "Do you want me to get you some chicken noodle soup from down stairs and some crackers?"

"I don't know" she replied hopelessly.  I told him that that was an excellent idea and suggested he bring back some hot tea for Priya as well.

Once the two of us were alone she started sobbing.  "Am I ever going to feel better Elisabeth?"

"You will honey.  It's only been a day since you had the pacemaker.  Give it a little more time."

"Why couldn't I have met Dr. Khan under different circumstances?  I look like shit.  My hair is an oil slick and a fucking mess and I have the hottest doctor taking care of me" she replied pouting.

I frowned.  "Doll, Dr Khan is hot.  Stop worrying about how you look and in engage him in some type of conversation when he visits.  Maybe you could talk to him about medical school or something?  Who knows that can lead to further conversations, a friendship and maybe something more."

"I guess" she replied despondently.

I tried to alleviate her worries to the best of my ability and was relieved when Lukas returned.  Priya was reluctant to eat the chicken noodle soup but I wasn't having that.  I sat on the side of her bed and fed her slowly.  At first she protested but quickly realized that I wasn't going to relent.  It took almost a half hour but she ate all of the soup and nibbled on two crackers.

Visiting hours were coming to a end and I didn't want to risk getting scolded by the nurses.  I took Priya's hand in mine. "Lukas and I are going to head back to the city.  Listen to the doctors and feel better."

She nodded.  Lukas kissed her on her forehead.  "Liz and I will call you tomorrow morning to check up on you."

"Thanks" she answered softly.

"If you need anything, let me know."

As I stood to get up, she squeezed my hand.  "You don't know how much all this means to me."

"Rest and get better.  Okay?" I replied.

"Okay" she replied with a genuine smile.

-------------

Our trip ride back to the city was relatively quiet.  I was exhausted and closed my eyes as Lukas drove through the pothole laden roads.  Dear Mayor DeBlasio, instead of being habitually late to everything and making a spectacle of yourself, how about getting up bright and early and observing what a disaster the city roads have turned into and do something proactive for a change.  Thanks.  I jerked awake as Lukas jumped into a massive pothole.  Thankfully his Range Rover was built for all types of terrain and didn't sustain any damage.

After he parked we walked into our building, saying hello to the doorman on our way in.  "I'm going to miss this place" he said as we took the elevator to our floor.

"It is a gorgeous apartment and you've lived here for years" I replied gently.

"Lot of good memories but you know what we'll make our own memories in our new place."

I got on my tiptoes and kissed him.  "Most definitely.  Plus you're not selling this place.  It'll always be here just in case you get homesick."

He laughed.  "Nah.  I won't get homesick as long as I have you by side."

Once inside our apartment, I proceeded to the bathroom to take a shower.  Hospitals always made me feel dirty....maybe that's because I'm somewhat of a germaphobe.  I closed my eyes, enjoying the hot water cascading down my body.  I felt so relaxed as I dried off and slathered lotion all over my body before slipping into fleecy pajama pants and a tank top.  I know that's so not sexy but New York City was currently having it's coldest February in eighty plus years and I needed to stay warm, even in bed!

I found Lukas mulling around the kitchen.  "What are you doing babe?" I asked.

"Needed a snack.  Want a grilled cheese sandwich?"

With a huge smile, I nodded.  "I haven't had a grilled cheese sandwich in so long."

"You're dad and Ryan are really cool" he said turning his attention back to the stove.

"Did you guys talk about anything interesting?" I asked.

"Nothing out of the ordinary.  You're brother is going through a hard time and both your dad and I were trying to cheer him up."

I smiled, "Aw, that's sweet.  Ryan is a great guy but doesn't quite fully realize how much Tina took advantage of him.  He's on the road to recovery but it'll take time.  I told him that if he ever needs a break and wants to hang out in the city to let me know."

"That's cool.  He can even stay in the guest room" Lukas suggested.

I nodded.  "Totally.  I hope he takes me up on the offer."

As we ate, my phone pinged.  At first I ignored it but then it pinged again.  I looked at my phone and was shocked to see a text from Depeka.

"Who the fuck do you think you are contacting my parents and talking shit about me and family?"

"I'm the last bitch you want to fuck with!!"

I didn't know if I should burst our laughing or roll my eyes at Depeka's text.  She had a lot of nerve texting me when she doesn't have a clue what family values are.  She was the one who turned her back on her sister once she found out that Priya was adopted.  She fabricated stories about Priya trying to find her birth parents and not giving a shit about the parents that raised her.  When I contacted her about Priya's condition, she chose to act aloof and not even tell her family.  How fucking heartless could someone be?  Now she had the chutzpah to text me?  Fucking delusion bitch.

Lukas read the text and shook his head in disgust.  "People like that piss me off.  They are the lowest class of humans."

I agreed.  "She's fucked up for treating Priya like she did.  I don't have time to deal with her shit."

He smiled.  "I'm proud of you.  The Elisabeth I met a year ago would have wasted no time texting something back but you've definitely matured."

I rolled my eyes, "I'm not as drawn to drama as I use to be.  I still can't believe how I acted in that coffee shop when you were with your sister.  I'm surprised you still wanted to see me after that."

He laughed, "Well you grew on me."

I giggled,  "Whatever.  You knew we were meant to be from the moment we met....love at first sight."

"Something like that" he teased.

"I love you."

"I love you more" he said, drawing me near.

My damn phone pinged one more time and I glanced at it.  Fucking Depeka again.  "Why didn't you tell me Priya was having heart surgery?"

"Should I just block her number?" I asked aloud.

Lukas shrugged, "Your call."

"You know Priya was telling me she moved in Mark because she couldn't make rent after I left.  I felt horrible leaving her in a lurch" I shared.

He raised an eyebrow.  "You didn't leave her in a lurch.  You sent your rent checks to Depeka."

My eyes widened.  Holy shit!  He was right.  "I totally forgot about that.  I sent her the checks because I didn't want Priya to use it on drugs. Depeka promised that she'd give to the building manager each month but she obviously lied.  I can't believe she played me like that" I seethed.

"If she can treat her own sister like that, I wouldn't put anything past her" Lukas replied.

I nodded.  "How am I going to get that money back?  Priya deserves it, not that crazy bitch."

"You have two choices.  First is taking her to small claims court but you won't get back the full amount.  I think the maximum you can sue for in New York is $3500 or $5000.  We can look it up later.  Or you can show her parents the checks and see if they can make her repay you."

I was silent for a moment, thinking over what Lukas said.  "Her parents seem to the lesser of the two evils.  I just hope me telling them this doesn't set Depeka off more."

--------------

Sunday morning both Lukas and I were sound asleep when my cell phone rang.  I shot up, reached for it and saw Priya's name.  I answered anxiously.  "Hi Liz.  How are you?" a chirpy Priya said.

"Priya, I'm good.  How are you feeling?"

"So much better.  That chicken soup must have worked wonders" she said with a laugh.

"Doll, I'm so glad.  You sound like a totally different person today."

"I feel better.  I'm not in pain and the doctor says I will more than likely be released Tuesday morning" she shared excitedly.

"That's wonderful news" I replied equally happy.

Lukas rolled onto his side and face me.  I mouthed that Priya was on the phone and he nodded.  "My parents are coming by later and I'll ask mom to help me wash my hair.  I can't take a full shower yet because of the incision.  They don't want me to get it it wet" she explained.

"Or worse case, we can get you dry shampoo.  I've never really tried it but it's suppose to eliminate all of the oil from your hair and make it look fuller."

She laughed, "You're always a step ahead.  Maybe once I look almost normal, Dr, Khan will take notice."

"You never know, doll.  He seems to enjoy coming to check up on you."

"You're so sweet and encouraging" she replied.

"I try" I replied with a laugh.

I heard Priya clear her throat. "Liz, I was calling to ask you a huge favor."

"What is it?" I asked curiously.

"You can say no.  I don't want you to feel obligated or anything.  I was wondering if you could go by our old apartment and make sure that Mark has moved out and maybe get a locksmith to change the locks.  I will call building management and let them know" she explained.

I took a deep breath.  "Um...I don't have a problem doing that but I would feel more comfortable if I could have a police officer go with me.  Are you cool with that?"

"Yes.  I don't want you to put yourself in any danger.  That's actually a great idea."

"Okay.  Lukas and I will go later.  I'll keep you posted once I get all the details" I said.

"Thank you Elisabeth."

"Feel better Priya.  I'll talk to later" I replied cheerfully.

----------

It was close to three in the afternoon when Lukas and I headed to my old apartment.  During the cab ride we called the police and let them know the situation and they said they will send a police car over as soon as possible.  Lukas and I waited patiently in the lobby.  It was a good ten minutes before two police officers walked into the building.

We approached them and explained the situation.  The elevator ride was quiet and filled with anxiety.  Once we exited the elevator, I led the way to my old apartment.  I stopped in front of the door and hesitated.  Part of me not wanting to open the door.  My hands were shaking as I slipped the key into the lock.  I turned it slowly and pushed open the door.

I was shocked to see the inside of the apartment in complete disarray. The living room had dirty dishes, empty liquor and beer bottles all over.  The floors had remnants of newspapers and broken glass.  I watched my step as we walked towards the bedroom.  The cops instructed Lukas and I to step back as they opened the door.  My old bedroom was completely empty and surprisingly clean.  The officers opened Priya's bedroom door next.  Sadly, the same couldn't be said about her room.  Clothes was scattered all over, her drawers were pulled out and emptied, everything was scattered.  There were used cigarette butts all over the floors and on the dresser was a clear bag with a white powdery substance inside.  I assumed it was cocaine.  The cops confiscated the bag and started to search the room.

"This Mark fellow, do you two have any additional information about him?" Officer Jones asked.

I shook my head.  "No.  I don't know him at all.  As I mentioned earlier, my former roommate wanted to me to ensure her apartment was in good condition because she will be released from the hospital in a couple days and will be returning here to recuperate."

"I would suggest that your friend not move back here so quickly.  We would like to scout out this apartment for a little while just in case this Mark character returns" Office Jones replied.

I nodded.  "Do you think that it isn't safe for Priya to be here?"

"I can't affirm or deny that.  It would be best for her not to be in this environment."

The cops took pictures and wrote a report before leaving with us.  I thanked the officers.  "Take care of your friend and steer her clear of here for a little while.  We will be in touch and keep you in the loop if we come across any leads or need additional info."

Once they left, I looked at Lukas.  "What the fuck do we do now?  Priya can't come back here.  Where is she going to go?"

"She can stay in our spare room" he replied.

"Are you sure?" I asked not wanting to put Lukas out.

He nodded.  "Yeah.  I mean when Anthony's ex was wreaking havoc she was great with me staying over.  It's the least we could do."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Recovery Time

After having breakfast with my parents, Lukas and Ryan early Saturday morning, I took my mom's car and headed to the hospital.  On my way, I made a quick stop at the mall and picked up a pair of pajamas and slippers for Priya from Victoria's Secret.  I also got her socks, underwear and some toiletries before leaving.  The hospital parking lot was extremely crowded and I drove around for a good fifteen minutes before snagging a spot.  I grabbed my bags and rushed towards the entrance.

As I took the local elevator (it literally stopped on every floor) to the tenth floor, I wondered if Lukas was having a good time with my dad and Ryan.  I was happy that my family had embraced him and genuinely wanted to get to know him better but at the same time I knew how overwhelming they could be at times. Hopefully, they weren't being  or talking about anything super embarrassing!

I approached Priya's room with a huge smile on my face.  "Priya" I chirped as I walked in.  I completely shocked and did a double take when I saw a older couple with her.  The man rose and walked towards me.  He retrieved the shopping bags from my hands and placed them on a chair.  After taking my hands in his he said emotionally, "Elisabeth thank you for telling us about Priya."

I quickly realized that this was no other than Mr. Rao.  "You're welcome, sir.  I'm sorry I didn't reach out to you sooner."

He shook his head and embraced me.  "Nonsense.  Priya has told us how you kept her company here and been her support system.  Words can't express our gratitude."

Mrs. Rao joined us.  She kissed me on both cheeks.  "Priya is very lucky to have you as a friend.  We are lucky that you called and told us about Priya's condition.  It broke my heart to hear that my daughter was laying in a hospital without her family" she said with a quivering voice.

"I'm glad that both of you are here" I replied.  From the corner of my eye I noticed Priya genuinely smiling.  It was the first time in a long time that she seemed content.  I turned my attention to her, "How are you feeling doll?" I asked gently.

She reached out her hand and I squeezed it.  "I'm nauseous from the pain killers but I couldn't be happier.  Thanks to you, I have my parents back."

I shook my head.  "No.  You have your parents back because they love you unconditionally.  I have nothing to do with that."

She smiled and Mrs. Rao cried, "My Priya...my precious Priya.  You will always have your Dad and I.  We love you and we're sorry for everything.  I was hurt when I heard you found out you were adopted."

Priya tried to get a word in but Mrs. Rao wouldn't let her.  "Maybe your Dad and I are selfish.  We didn't want to share you with your birth mother.  What if you liked her better than us?  We always considered you our real daughter and always will.  When Depeka said you were looking for you birth parents, it broke our hearts."

"I never looked for my birth parents.  All I wanted were answers.  You guys are my parents.  I don't care who my "real" parents are" Priya replied.

The tears were flowing steadily now.  "We will always be there for you Priya.  I don't know what's gotten into Depeka but I assure you Mom and I don't approve. She doesn't know we are in New York" Mr. Rao shared.

"We are going to surprise her tomorrow and discuss how disappointed we are with her.  She had no right to mistreat and lie against you.  No reason.  We are very upset with her" Mrs. Rao interjected.

I smiled politely.  "I don't want to interrupt your visit with Priya.  I'll come back later."  As I turned on my heels to leave, I heard Priya call my name.  I stopped in my tracks and faced her.

"Mom, Dad can you give me a minute alone with Elisabeth?" Priya asked.  They quickly exited her room leaving the two of us alone.

I sat in that all too familiar seat by her bedside.  "I wanted to say thank you.  I don't know how you managed to get my parents to come all the way to New York but I appreciate it.  That's the nicest thing anyone has every done for me."

"Don't thank me.  That's what friends do" I replied quickly.

She tried to turn to face me but winced in pain.  "You okay?" I asked and she nodded.

"I'm a little sore from the incision" she answered.  For the first time I saw a white bandage a couple inches below her left shoulder.  Maybe I stared a little too long because she asked if I wanted to see the incision.  I shook my head.

"No.  Is there anything you need?" I inquired, changing the subject.  I stood up and showed her what I had brought for her.  She genuinely thanked me and I gave her small, cautious hug....afraid that I might hurt her.

"I'm going to leave and ask your parents to come back.  They traveled so far to be here."

She nodded.  "Thank you."

--------------

When I got home my mom was in the kitchen cooking.  I ran upstairs and freshened up before joining her.  "Do you need help?" I asked.

"No honey.  Sit and let's talk.  Have you and Lukas decided on a wedding date yet?"

As I settled on one of leather bar stools I replied, "We don't want to have a super long engagement that's for sure.  Once we settle into our new place, we'll start focusing more on the wedding."

"When will that be dear?" she asked.

"Oh my goodness, I totally forgot to tell you!  March 1st!!  I'm so excited mom but at the same time I'm a little scared."

She turned the stove down and turned to face me.  "That's wonderful news.  I don't understand what you're scared of though."

I quickly filled her in about my fear of not being able to measure up to Isabella, who seemed so perfect.  "Honey you can't compare yourself to Lukas' late wife.  If Lukas didn't think the world of you and love you, he wouldn't have asked you spend the rest of your life with him.  Isabella isn't a threat to you.  What she and Lukas had was special and a time that he will always treasure.  You need to respect and accept that.  Don't try to compete with her.  Be you.  That's all that Lukas wants."

My dad, Ryan and Lukas arrived right in time for dinner.  We gathered around the table and were catching up.  Turns out they were to an indoor golfing range and had a wonderful time.  I filled them in about my visit with Priya.

"That's wonderful news.  You did the right thing contacting her parents" my dad reiterated.

"She looked content and at ease having them there.  Her parents were so kind and sweet" I replied.

"It's screwed up that her sister is a complete basket case" Ryan said.

I nodded.  "Totally.  I get that finding out your sister is adopted is life changing but that shouldn't change your love and feeling for her.  I mean this is someone you grew up with and shared so many memories and good times with.  When Depeka was getting married, Priya went out of her way to make everything as perfect as possible.  Where's Depeka's loyalty and heart?"

My mom replied, "Sometimes people are clouded by material things.  They are focused on what they could get and when it's too late they realize that time has past them by.  They would have lost those who were once near and dear to them in their pursuit to fatten their bank accounts."

**** Hi Dolls - Thanks for all the positive comments last week!  You guys are awesome.  I loved doing daily posts but don't know how sustainable that is.  I hate to go back on my word and leave my readers checking for promised posts.  With that said, I will continue to post on Mondays and Thursdays but also aim to post at least two additional posts this week for a total of 4. Which days these will appear is still up in the air.  I'll do my best to keep you in the loop!  Thanks for reading and the wonderful comments:-)"

Friday, March 20, 2015

Waiting Game

That night I had trouble sleeping in childhood bedroom. I tossed and turned and couldn't stop thinking about how emotional Mr. Rao sounded as I filled him about Priya's condition.  I was pissed that Depeka would go to such extremes to keep Priya out of her life.  Seeing her parents would definitely lift Priya's spirits and I hoped they would come and visit.  That would be a huge step towards regaining the loving, healthy relationship they had before Depeka created childish drama.

I watched television and even tried reading but I still couldn't fall asleep.  Though it might sound cliche, it was weird and hard to sleep without Lukas lying next to me.  I was tempted to FaceTime him but realized that it was one in the morning! He'd probably think something horrible happened.  I closed my eyes tightly, trying to clear my mind.

My mind drifted to Anthony.  Seeing him with Priya warmed my heart but also caught me completely off guard.  In a perfect world he'd mention that he was considering visiting Priya but I realized that sometimes you can't predict things.  Priya needed all the support she could get. What the future holds for these two is still unwritten.  In my heart I wanted them to find pure happiness and joy.

I must have dozed off eventually because at six in the morning I was jolted awake by the alarm on my phone.  I groaned and stretched before crawling out of bed.  After showering. I pulled on leggings and an oversized sweater.  Clearly I had to go home and change before work.  My mom made me a bagel with egg whites and cheese which I devoured on our way to the train station.  She gave me a tight hug, whispering how proud she was of me before I walked towards the platform.

--------------
Work was a shit show as expected.  Because layoffs were imminent, many of my colleagues started slacking off.  They didn't see the point in giving their job 100% when they had one foot out the door.  I can't recall the last time we've had a full staff since John's announcement.

As usual Nick was engrossed with responding to his never ending emails.  Once I sat down he turned his attention to me. With a smirk he asked, "Interview?"

I shook my head and replied, "Nope. Went to see a friend in the hospital and ended up spending the night at my parents."

He nodded and asked how my friend was. I relayed that she needed to have a procedure done but didn't share the details. Thankfully Nick didn't push.  "Have you had any job leads?" I asked him.

"Yes but I'm not willing to take a pay cut. I have two kids and one on the way.  I'm the sole breadwinner in my family. I can't jump ship without knowing if I'm at risk."

"You have a lot more responsibility. It totally sucks that there has to be cuts to begin with. Our fixed income desk is doing so much better than our competitors" I replied.

He shook his head. "It's baffling. We bet against oil and reaping the rewards. You'd think management would see that but no they want to follow the trends on the street."

"Hasn't SIB always been the benchmark? We were the company that every other bank wanted to emulate.  Now instead of bucking the trend, we're following blindly."

He slumped back in his super comfy, ergonomic office chair.  "Classic case of the blind leading the blind."

I nodded before changing the subject.  "So how's your wife doing?"

He rubbed his temples as though he had a killer headache. "She's getting close to her due date. It's hard for her to keep up with boys because she's so exhausted all the time.  This pregnancy has been a real test for both of us."

"What do you mean?"

He shrugged. "Don't get me wrong...I love my kids but I never realized how difficult and tiring taking care of them is.  I realize now that I need to appreciate my wife a whole lot more.  I have so much more respect and gratitude towards her."

"Aw. I'm sure she'd love to hear that from you."

With a small smile he said, "I guess I forgot to mention that my wife is super emotional. I'll tell her once her hormones stabilize. If I tell her this now she'll start crying and I hate seeing her cry even if they're happy tears like she calls them."

That night I picked up Chinese food on the way home from work. I had just taken a shower and was lounging on the couch when Lukas got home.  He have me a big hug and kissed me softly before shrugging off his camel colored cashmere coat.  "How was your day?" I asked in a sing songy voice.

"Crazy but I have good news for you!"

I sat up and my eyes widened, "What? Tell me!"

He laughed. "We can officially move into our apartment on March 1."

I squealed before springing up from the sofa and wrapping my arms around him. "I'm so excited."

"And since your birthday is around then I was thinking we could have a house warming slash birthday pre-gaming event at the new place."

"I love that idea!" I exclaimed happily.

During dinner I brought Lukas up to speed with everything.  He seemed shocked that Priya was adopted. "Holy shit. That's life altering news. No wonder she went crazy."

I nodded agreement.  "Did the private detective know this?"

He shook his head. "No. I didn't ask him to explore Priya's past like that."

I thought his answer was weird but wasn't in the mood to argue. I brushed my doubt to the side and gave him a quick recap of my conversation with Mr. Rao.  He remained silent, not showing any type of emotion. I decided to ask, "You're being awfully quiet. Is there a reason why you didn't want me to reach out to her parents?"

He took a big sip of water. "I was thinking how wrong I was. I got carried away by what Aiden said about the drug ring. I didn't want you to call her parents because I was afraid you'd get hurt. Drug cartels, rings....they're no joke.  I'm a complete asshole.  Encouraging you not to call her parents was a bad judgment call."

"You're not an asshole. Everyone makes mistakes....even you!"

-----

Friday morning, Lukas and I visited with Priya before her surgery. We wanted to ensure that she was in good spirits and that she knew she had someone supporting her. Without her family, I imagine she was feeling awfully lonely.  She insisted that she'd be fine and that we were worrying over nothing.

"Liz I'll be awake throughout the entire procedure.  It's not like I'm having open heart surgery!" she rationalized.

"I know but we still wanted to be here."

She smiled. "Thank you.  You're amazing to be here after all I did.   I can't apologize enough."

I grabbed her hand. "No more apologizing. Let's forget about the past and move forward.  You're my friend and I love you.  That's all that matters right now."

She sniffled.  "I love you too."

We embraced and wished her well when the anesthesiologist walked in.  Lukas and I said our goodbyes and wished Priya well before heading to the waiting area.

"Have you heard from her parents today?"

I shook my head.  "Nope. I texted them when we were driving here but I've yet to get a response.  It's driving my freaking nuts. Mr. Rao has been so responsive...him just ignoring me is out of the ordinary."

We waited patiently for Priya's procedure to finish; occupying our time by watching Maury which was being shown in the waiting room. I leaned over towards Lukas and told him that the show had to be scripted.  For some reason it seems unreal that a woman had 13 men tested and none were proven to be the father.

During the commercial breaks I stared at my phone.  Maybe Priya's parents were shitting me and feigned their worry and concern.  I shook my head and whispered to Lukas, "What's the deal with Priya's family? They all seem like nut cases.  None of them care the Priya is here."

"I don't know. You'd think they would have called by now."

"Yes! Actions speak louder than words and right now her parents are saying the right thing but aren't backing those words up" I explained.

He shrugged. "Let's not speculate. We're here for Priya.  That should count for something."

My phone vibrated and looked at it expectantly.  I was a slightly bummed when I saw a text from my mom that invited Lukas and I to dinner when we left the hospital.  I asked Lukas what he thought and he said,"I'm down. I could do with a nice, home cooked meal."

I playfully hit his upper arm. "I cook sometimes!"

He chuckled. "And you do it so well but this is different.  Moms just cook differently."

Oddly enough I knew exactly what he meant.  "Did your mom teach you to cook?" I asked.

"A little.  When Isabella and I were dating we signed up for cooking lessons.  It was fun and I found a new love for cooking."

"Aw that's sweet" I replied.  Silently I worried if I could ever measure up to Isabella.  From everything I've heard about her, it was clear that she brought Lukas happiness and filled his world with love and excitement.  They had made all types of forgettable memories. Could I measure up to the high bar that she set?

I caught the tail end of whatever Lukas was saying and looked at him completely confused. "Sorry I was lost in my thoughts....what were you saying?"

"That I wouldn't be surprised if Anthony and Priya reconnect. Sometimes difficult times bring people together."

I shrugged. "I don't know. I kind of like Eleanor and Anthony together. She brings out a more relaxed, happy side of him. Plus they're on the same page...both want to take things super slow.  I can see Priya and Anthony being friends but that's about it."

"You never know Elisabeth. Would you be pissed if it happened?" he asked.

I answered quickly. "No. If that's what both of them want...no."

------
 It was close to three in the afternoon when Dr, Khan came out to speak with us.  "Priya is doing well and in recovery right now.  We will be moving her to a room shortly and then you can visit her."

"Were there any complications?" I asked.

"No the procedure went as planned.  Priya might have discomfort for a few days but I am positive she will make a complete recovery."

I nodded and Lukas said, "Thank you, Doctor."

With that Dr. Khan shook both of our hands before leaving.  "I think Priya has a crush on him" I shared.

Lukas smiled.  "He seems like a nice guy and he might be able to help Priya get her life back on track."

"They would have such a cute couple and have the most adorable babies!" I squealed.

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves" Lukas exclaimed.

I giggled.  "You're right.  I'm so glad that Priya is in the clear.  I was so worried that something would go wrong."

"I know."

We were talking when I felt a hand on my shoulder.  I turned around and was surprised to see Anthony.  "What are you doing here?" I asked, giving him a quick hug.

"I wanted to make sure Priya is okay.  Any word on her condition?" he asked.

Lukas quickly filled him in and a relaxed, happy look filled Anthony's face. "That's the best news I've heard in a long time."

While  we talked a nurse approached to tell us which room Priya was moved to.  We thanked her before taking the elevator to the tenth floor.  As we searched for her room, Anthony seemed hesitant.  I asked him what was wrong and he replied, "I don't know if I want to see Priya like this."

I told him to do what he felt was right.  There was no point in forcing him.  When we stepped into the room, Priya looked out of it.  Her eyes were half shut and she was attached to all types of machines.  "Hi Priya" I said softly.

She turned her head in our direction and smiled. "How are you feeling?" I asked.

"Okay but tired" she super slowly.

Lukas replied, "Maybe we should let you get some rest."

Both Anthony and I agreed.  "I promise we'll come by tomorrow.  If you need me, call me."

She nodded and I kissed her on the forehead before leaving with Lukas and Anthony.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Diagnosis

Priya's face lit up when she looked at Dr. Khan.  She blushed as she said breathlessly,  "I hope you have good news for me."

"Are you comfortable with me sharing this information with your guest?" he asked, motioning towards me.

"Of course. Elisabeth is one of my closest friends. She's been so supportive and understanding through this process" Priya replied quickly.

He nodded.  "After mulling all of your test results, we've found that you have an irregular heartbeat.  You've had many episodes during your sleep when your heart rate has dropped significantly.  As we've discussed before this is because your heart is functioning at a 20% level."

He paused and Priya asked, "What does that mean?  How do I get better?"

I held her shaking hand as the doctor continued.  "We are recommending a pacemaker.  It's a fairly non evasive surgery and will keep your heart rate consistent.  In the event your heart rate drops below a certain level, the pacemaker will send a shock to your heart."

Priya squeezed my hand. "I was in medical school and hope to return soon. I'm quite familiar with pacemakers and the entire procedure."

"We will like to do one last test before proceeding.  We are anticipating no complications and we would like to schedule you for Friday morning. Do you have any reservations about this?"

Priya shrugged.  "I don't have any reservations but would like time to digest all you've said and do my own research.  In my opinion getting a pacemaker implanted is the last resort.  Are there any medications that I can take to strengthen my heart and make it more efficient?"

"Presently we have you on many medications to stabilize you but we feel this is a short term solution. The pacemaker will be a long term solution.  I understand wanting to think this through. I will come back tomorrow afternoon to further discuss this matter with you" Dr. Khan replied with a pleasant smile.

Our eyes followed him as he walked towards the door.  He even looked good from behind! Priya must have felt the same way. "He's so hot. I hate that he has to see me when I look so gross."

"Your gross is better than most people's best" I replied.

"You're sweet. I know you're trying to make me feel better and I appreciate it.  Maybe by the time I get out of here, I could charm him and make him fall for me" she replied giggling.

I nodded.  "I hope you're not using the hot doctor as a diversion.  You have a major decision to make."

"I know I have no other choice but to get a pacemaker if I want to live a long life. Now I'm like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.  I'm going to go through with the procedure. Honestly, I would have agreed on the spot but I wanted to do more research."

I looked at her apprehensively.  "I need you to keep me posted and let me know when you'll do this procedure.  I want to be here to show my support."

She waved me off.  "Elisabeth you really don't have to.  The procedure is very common and I'll be awake the entire time. You don't have to take time off for me.

"I know I don't have to...I want to."

Realizing that I wasn't going to budge, she agreed. I was teasing Priya about Dr. Khan when my phone buzzed.  I looked at my phone and saw a text from Ryan.  "Hanging out by Starbucks with Anthony.  Let us know when you're ready or if there's any word on Priya."

"It's only brother.  He's waiting for me in the lobby with Anthony" I shared.

She smiled when I mentioned Anthony's name.  "I'm grateful that he came to visit.  We talked through our issues.  I told him everything I told you, sans all the extra details.  Men aren't into so many details; they just tune you out when you start telling them stories filled with fluff."

I giggled, "That's so true. Sometimes I swear I've seen Lukas' eyes get that glazy look when I'm telling him a long story."

"So are you going to tell me how he proposed and show me that huge rock?!?" she squealed.

I stuck my left hand out and grinned from ear to ear as she checked my ring.  I quickly filled her in on all the details before a nurse came in.  "Ladies, I know you're having a nice visit but visiting hours are over.  I'll give you a moment to say your goodbyes."

I hugged Priya.  "Call or text me if need anything and I mean anything.  It doesn't matter what time it is or anything."

She hugged me back.  "Thanks Elisabeth."

--------

Instead of going back to the city as I planned, I ended up at my parent's house.  My mom had surely outdone herself making lamb chops with roasted potatoes, sauteed broccolini with garlic and olive oil, penne pasta with cherry tomatoes, basil and olive oil and tons of garlic and of course home made chocolate mousse for dinner.

While Ryan and I ate (mom and dad were starving and couldn't wait any long) I filled them in on Priya's predicament. After I was done my mom said, "It's very disappointing to say the least that parents would treat their child like that.  I don't care if it's their biological or adopted child...that shouldn't matter.  How could they know their daughter is in the hospital and not even call her?"

"That's just it.  I don't know if Depeka told them. Priya was telling me that Depeka turned them against her.  If what she's saying is true then why would she even tell them about Priya's condition. Hell she didn't even ask me for any details about Priya...all she say is 'keep me posted'.  That totally pisses me off" I ranted.

My mom gave me a stern look.  "You need to call her parents and let them know what's going on.  I'm sure that they would want to know if something was wrong with Priya."

"I never really spoke with them.  Do you think it'll be okay for me to text them?" I asked.

Dad interrupted, "Texting is considered informal.  How about you text them, introduce yourself and ask them to call you when they have a free moment."

I did just as my dad said and waited patiently for a response.  I jumped when my phone rang moments later.  I didn't even check the caller ID before I answered.  It was Lukas.  He was wondering where I was.  I started rambling, "I totally lost track of time.  After visiting Priya I stopped by my parent's house for dinner."

He interrupted, "That's cool.  I wanted to make sure you're okay since I didn't hear from you."

"I'm sorry about that.  I'll check the train schedule and let you know when I'll be home" I replied.

My mom tugged the phone out of my hand and started making small talk with Lukas.  I was surprised when she said, "Lukas maybe it'll be best if Elisabeth spends the night here tonight.  I don't want her taking the train so late and getting home after midnight."

I'm guessing Lukas agreed with my mom.  "I'll make sure she gets the train bright and early tomorrow" my mom chirped before hanging up.

"Mom you know I don't have appropriate work clothes here" I pouted.

She rolled her eyes, "Honey tomorrow morning you can go to your apartment and change before work."

"I guess" I replied flatly.

While we caught up, I nervously glanced at my phone.  Almost an hour had passed since I texted Priya's parents.  I was beginning to lose hope and think that they were just as heartless and callous as Depeka when my phone vibrated loudly on the island.  I glanced in the direction of the phone apprehensively.  "What me to see who texted you?" Ryan asked gently.

I nodded and he replied, "It's your friend's dad."

"What did he write?" I inquired.

"Hello Elisabeth.  What do you need to discuss?" 

I sighed loudly and quickly wrote.  "It's about Priya....she's in the hospital."  I hit send and waiting impatiently for a response.  Thankfully I didn't have to wait long.

"I will call you in 15 minutes when I get home to discuss.  Is Priya okay?"

"Not really.  I'd rather discuss over the phone.  I'll be waiting for your call" I replied.

--------

I started pacing around my parent's kitchen waiting for Priya's dad - Mr. Rao - to call.  With each minute I became increasingly nervous.  What if he didn't care about Priya's condition?  What if he felt me reaching out to him was an inconvenience and too intrusive?  After learning that her parents more or less disowned her because of Depeka I did not know what to expect.

My phone rang loudly, captivating all of our attention.  My heart was beating loudly against my chest as I answered the phone.  I could barely get 'hello' out before Mr. Rao started talking fast.  "What is this that you said about Priya being in the hospital?  Is it serious?  Does she need me and her mom to come to NYC?  Please tell me what's going on" he pleaded.

This clearly didn't sound like the heartless man that cut Priya out of his life.  He sounded like a worried and concerned parent.  "I'm sorry to startle you Mr. Rao.  I thought Depeka would have filled you in about everything."

"Depeka?  I spoke with her earlier and she insisted that Priya was doing well.  In fact, she told me that they had lunch together.  I was shocked to see you message.  Please tell me what happened to my Priya" he begged.

I took a deep breath.  "Um...Priya's been in the hospital since Saturday night.  She passed out at Melissa's wedding and was taken by ambulance to the closest hospital.  At first it was touch and go because we didn't know what was happening" I explained.

He grew impatient, "Please.  I don't need extra details.  Tell me what's wrong with Priya."

"After a slew of tests they doctors found that her heart isn't functioning as efficiently as it should.  They have recommended a pacemaker and I think Priya is going to go that route.  I'm sorry to be the one to tell you all of this.  If I had known Depeka didn't tell you, I would have reached out to you."

"How were you suppose to know dear?  Our family dynamic has taken a huge blow recently.  I love Priya with all of my heart and I am saddened to hear of her condition.  It breaks my heart to know that she was laying in a hospital without the love of her family" he replied emotionally.

"It's not too late.  You can still come see Priya before her procedure or even after.  Having you there will definitely lift her spirits" I said.

"I will do my best.  Please don't tell her that you spoke with me, I wouldn't want to upset her more."

I immediately agreed.  "I know this a lot to digest" I said quietly.

"Depeka knew since Saturday?" he asked sadly.

"Yes, I texted her and told her everything" I replied.

He muttered something under his breath before saying. "Elisabeth, please keep me posted of Priya's condition.  I will break the news to my wife and we will do our best to come to NYC as soon as possible."

"I will sir."

"One more thing Elisabeth.  Since Depeka is too caught up in her own life to care about her sister, you don't have to keep her in the loop.  Please call or text me with any updates...it doesn't matter what time of day" he requested.

I agreed before ending our phone call.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Heart to Heart

Ryan had no idea why I rushed out of the hospital room but he followed me without a word.  We were standing by the nurses station in silence with me trying to make sense of what I'd just seen and Ryan attempting to read my mind.  I knew Priya needed support and in my heart I was genuinely happy that Anthony had extended an olive branch to her.  However, I was disappointed that Anthony didn't mention wanting to see Priya.  In all of our actual conversations and texts he made it seem as though he wasn't interested in reconnecting with her.

I realized that Ryan was staring at me, waiting for me to say something and smiled uncomfortably.  "I was just caught off guard seeing Anthony here and felt awkward barging in on such a tender moment."

I could sense that Ryan was putting the pieces together. It wasn't long before he had an "ah-ha" moment.  "So that's the woman that you broke Anthony's heart. That one you were telling mom about at Christmas?"

I couldn't remember what I said two days ago, much less what I said to mom during Christmas.  Instead of denying, I agreed, "They had a really good relationship for a while. I don't know what happened but in an instant everything changed."

He nodded. "I can relate to that. Even though everyone was convinced otherwise I thought I had a picture perfect marriage.  I guess the saying love is blind is true."

Before I could even respond, Anthony was standing before us.  "I know you're wondering what I'm doing here and why I didn't tell you.  The thought of Priya being alone and helpless kept gnawing at me. I had to visit and make peace with her."

I totally understood that.  "I just didn't want to interrupt."

"Priya was singing your praises. She appreciates all you've done for her."

"Is she doing better?" I asked.

He shrugged. "Her doctor was suppose to come by with results."

"So it's more or less a waiting game?" I asked.

Anthony didn't even hear my question, he was too busy shaking brother's hand and clapping him on the back.  They spoke excitedly about college basketball.  Both of them big time Duke fans. For a moment it seemed like we were transported to a carefree sports bar.  An older nurse with salt and pepper hair and oversized glasses scolded the boys.  "Gentlemen you are disturbing our patients.  This is a hospital not a frat house.  If you don't tone it down I will have no other choice than to ask that you leave."

Holding back laughter both Anthony and Ryan apologized.  Once the nurse's back was turned they giggled like naughty school boys.  I gave them a stern look and they mumbled something under their breaths before regaining their composure.

I rolled my eyes, dismissing them.  "I'm going to visit with Priya."

When I walked in the room, Priya was watching Modern Family.  I cleared my throat to get her attention.  "Elisabeth! I'm so happy you're here" she said genuinely.

I gave her a quick hug before occupying the seat by her bedside.  "I was worried about you. How are you feeling?"

"I guess I have a better understanding of everything because I was in medical school. That doesn't mean I'm not scared out of my mind though. Sometimes I just lay here and reflect on how much I screwed up.  What if I don't have time to fix things?" she asked.

"Priya you're young and seemingly healthy.  Whatever it is...we will get through it together."

With a small smile she said, "I appreciate that.  I feel there's so much I need to tell you."

I reclined against the seat, "Such as?"

She took a deep breath,  "To begin with, I wanted Anthony to go with my California because I wanted to prove myself to my 'family'.  At that point they didn't give a shit what I did with my life and I was struggling to hold on to them."

I wrinkled my forehead, trying understand what she was saying but couldn't.  "I thought you and your parents were cool.  I remember when your sister got married, they were instrumental in getting your grandmother to stop pestering you about marriage."

"At that point they were but I found out something that changed everything" she said so quietly that I had to lean forward to hear her.

I felt as though I were pulling teeth but didn't want to appear pushy.  "What did you find out?" I asked as patiently as I could.

"I was adopted.  Everyone that I thought was my family are mere strangers.  They knew, every one of them, that I wasn't their blood relative.  No one said anything.  When I confronted them, all hell broke loose with both my parent's crying and apologizing profusely.  They were so hurt and I didn't know how to make it better.  I turned to Depeka and at first she was supportive but then she turned on me.  She started whispering in mom and dad's ears.  She kept telling them I was looking for my biological parents and wasting their money on this.  I guess they were so hurt and that made them believe her.  They ended up cutting me off financially and the phone calls and texts became less and less."

The tears flowed freely from Priya's hurt face.  I brushed them away with my thumb.  "How did you find out you were adopted?"

At this point Priya was bawling and I was afraid that all of this stress would be detrimental to her already fragile condition.  I rubbed her back softly, allowing her to continue at her own pace.  "One of my medical school friends - Kim - was digging into her past. She wanted to know who her ancestors were.  Anyway she shared with me how much she had learned and I was intrigued.  I wanted to find out about my family too.  Mind you, I had no clue I was adopted."

I nodded, "So what you started researching you family history you found out you were adopted?"

"I met with a genealogist.  I gave him all the information I had and then he started doing his own research.  A week into it, he called and asked how come I didn't tell him I was adopted.  I was completely blindsided.  There was so way I could have adopted...I refused to believe him.  He insisted he had proof but I couldn't accept the truth.  I told him I needed time.  That's when you guys started wondering why I was never around.  I was at the library, meeting with other genealogists.  I'm sorry for lying and saying I was overwhelmed with medical school."

"So that's where you were?" I asked.

"Yes.  I was trying to get to the bottom of things.  There's something I need to tell you" she said guiltily.

"What is it?"

She turned her head away from me.  "I kind of dropped out of med school in the summer.  It was only suppose to be for the semester.  I wanted to take time off to focus on me and enjoy life before getting engulfed in what is known as the most difficult year of medical school.  I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want to deal with judgement.  This was my decision and I didn't want to hear what anyone thought of it."

"Okay.  What were you doing instead of going to school?"

"I was exploring the city, taking yoga classes, hanging out at the museums and libraries around the city, I was engulfing myself in culture while struggling with my own family history" she shared.

"I wish you would have told me" I said gently.

She glanced in my direction.  "My own sister...well I guess she isn't my sister...Depeka turned on me when I told her I was adopted.  At first she was so sweet.  Offering to help me dig up more info.  Once we were 100% sure it was true she went to our parents and told them how I was looking for my birth parents and using their money to do so."

Hearing about Priya's troubles was heartbreaking.  I could not imagine how I'd react if I were in her situations. "I always thought you and Depeka was so tight."

She scoffed, "You and me both. Once she realized we weren't related by blood, she went for the jugular.  She didn't want me getting any of her 'inheritance' or what's rightfully hers.  I don't how she convinced our parents....well I guess they are her parents only....her parents to see things her way.  They didn't disown me completely.  They became distant and unwilling to help me.  Before Thanksgiving they told me I didn't have to make an effort and show up.  This is kind of embarrassing" she said, covering her cheeks with her hands.

"Honey, don't be embarrassed.  I'm not here to judge you. I want to help you" I said softly.

As her eyes welled up with tears she shared, "That's why I wanted Anthony to go with me to California.  So that everyone could see that I wasn't this screw up.  That I was capable of being loved and that I was worthy to be a part of their family."

I embraced her.  "You are worthy of being loved.  What your parents and Depeka did...how they treated you is unfathomable and completely wrong.  Your parents adopted and loved you unconditionally all these years.  I'm baffled at the complete 180 in their behavior and Depeka's greediness.  I won't tell you everything will fall into place and go back to how they are but I'm hoping one day you'll be able to have a heart to heart at least with your parents."

She sighed, "I hope so.  I love my parents and I'm so sad by all this."

"I don't mean to be intrusive and I'll totally understand if you aren't comfy answering my questions.  When you were growing up did you have any inkling you were adopted?"

She shook her head. "Everyone was so kind to me. No one made mention of me being adopted.  I was raised in a seemingly normal family. My parents supported my dreams and were so encouraging. They cheered me on every step of the way. They were so loving. Even Depeka was a good older sister. She was always there for me. I never expected her to stab me in the back when I told her I found out I was adopted."

"I'm sorry that you had to go through this on your own."

"The worse part was when my parents cut me off financially, you moved out. I had to move Mark in to stay afloat" she relied despondently.

I was overcome with guilt and felt partially responsible for her demise but needed more details.  "How did you meet Mark?"

"I knew him in college. He use to supply us with ecstasy.  I was down and out, searching for a job...any job when I literally ran into him."

I started putting the pieces together, recalling that night at Eleven Madison when I saw Priya with those two men.  "So what did you do for him?" I asked anxiously.

"I was a pawn.  Basically I'd get dressed up and go out to dinner with his clients.  I'd entice them and convince them to partner with Mark."

"What type of business did he have?" I inquired.

"He was a drug dealer with contacts throughout NYC.  I'm not proud of what I did but at that point in time, I felt that I had no other choice."

I nodded.  "Were you dating him?"

She shook her head.  "No.  I did drugs with him to ease the pain and to forget about how much I was hurting.  In my moments of weakness, I did have sex with him.  This might sound insane but he made me feel loved."

"Has he come to see you?" I asked, pressing on.

"Nope.  That night at the wedding, I told broke off our business relationship and told him he needed to move out.  Seeing how happy all of you were made me realize how badly I was screwing up.  I needed to get back on my feet and I was determined to do so on my own" she shared.

"That's a step in the right direction" I said with a smile.

"Yeah, I guess."

I was pouring her a glass of water when a doctor in his 30's walked in.  He had almond shaped, dark brown eyes with super long eyelashes, caramel skin and a perfect smile.  He was tall and even in his scrubs you could tell that he worked out.  "Hello ladies, I'm Dr. Khan and one of the senior cardiologists here.  I wanted to discuss you results with you Priya."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Visiting Hours

Three days later after work, I took the Long Island Railroad to visit Priya.  After seeing her in such dire straits and the doctors rolling her away for more tests, I was upset and uneasy.  I didn't know what was going on or why her vitals had dropped rapidly.  I was scared and concerned.  Also, pissed that her family seemed to not care.

After test after test, it was determined that Lukas was absolutely correct....Priya's heart was not functioning as efficiently as it should.  It was working at only a 20% rate whereas a healthy heart functions between a 55% to 70% rate.  Priya was so young and the prospect of having open heart surgery scared her.  Thankfully when the doctors did further tests, they found that she didn't have any blockages and did not require such an invasive procedure.

Lukas was great.  Sharing his story with Priya.  Reassuring her that it's okay to be scared.  Assuring her that any type of heart ailment can be treated and prolong life.  She was apprehensive as anyone would be in her situation.  She feared that her diagnosis would lead to life altering changes; that she would not be able to go out and have fun anymore.  She was terrified at the prospect of having to spend the remainder of her life locked inside her apartment.  

Lukas listened to her fears and said genuinely, "I won't lie and say that your life will go back to normal.  At first, it will be different.  You'll be reluctant to engage in the same activities you once enjoyed.  However, with time you'll become stronger and start venturing out more.  With moderation you can still enjoy going out and enjoying your life.  It will take time for you to feel comfortable though.  At least that was my experience."

She asked, "Did it hurt when you came out of surgery?"

He nodded, "You will be in pain.  But with therapy and the support of your loved ones you'll get through it.  I remember hiding in my room until one day my friends dragged me out to the bar. They told me that I was letting life pass me by and looking back they were right.  I'm glad they were there for me and that I was able to get back into a normal lifestyle."

The fear in Priya's eyes was unmistakable.  She didn't know what was going to happen next and it scared her.  It saddened and broke my heart that Priya didn't have a strong support system.  Shit..she didn't have anyone.  Depeka had more or less been avoiding my texts and when she did respond it was always a flippant, "Keep my posted."  It made me want to shake some sense into her.  Priya was her sister not some stranger.  How she could be so uncaring and heartless boggled my mind.

As the train pulled into my station, I gathered my things and headed towards the door.  Once outside in the bone chilling cold, I scanned the parking lot for my mom.  I spotted her car and proceeded slowly over the slick walkway, not wanting to fall flat on my ass.  I opened the car door and did a double take.  I was expecting my mom and was totally surprised that my brother Ryan was there instead.

After a quick hug I asked where mom was.  "She's at home making a five course meal."

I couldn't help but feel a sense of warmness and comfort.  "But I told her that I couldn't stay long."

"Liz, you know damn well that mom wouldn't let you go back to the city without coming to the house for dinner."

He had me there.  "I guess."

"Why's your friend in the hospital?" he asked.

I shrugged.  "She overdosed and passed out at Melissa's wedding.  They did a shitload of tests and she has some heart issue too.  I feel really bad for her."

"Isn't she too young to have heart issues?"

I shook my head.  "Lukas had heart surgery when he was twenty.  It's not common but it does happen."

"I had no idea" he replied quickly.

"It's okay.  How are you doing?" I asked, wanting to changing the subject.

"A little better.  Some days all I can think about is Tina, how much I miss her and want to be with her.  Others days I'm angry and pissed that I allowed Tina to treat my family and I like she did.  Overall I'm a mess" he replied with a chuckle.

I nodded, "I think that's normal.  When Jason and I broke up, some days all I wanted to do was call or text him.  I was so depressed and didn't even want to go outside.  Thankfully, I had Melissa and Britney.  They were so awesome, dragging me out and being uber supportive."

Just mentioning Britney's name brought back such awesome memories.  Maybe I was being selfish and too rigid cutting ties with her?  She was there for me unconditionally through my time of need. Maybe I needed to extend an olive branch to her?  We wouldn't go back to being super close but at least she'd know that I was in her corner.  I was jolted from by thoughts by Ryan saying, "It's not easy.  Mom suggested I visit a therapist and I'm strongly considering it."

"That's a good idea. It will do you a world of good and get you back on the right track."

As he pulled into the hospital parking lot he confided, "I'm scared about not finding love again and having a family of my own."

With a sympathetic look I replied, "Ryan, right now you need to focus on moving on and getting your life back on track.  You're a great guy and I'm not only saying that because you're my brother.  You need to find a woman that will love and appreciate you, just as much as you love and appreciate her.  Once you fully move on from the 'Tina' chapter of your life, everything will fall into place."

"Thanks, Liz."

I smiled, "Listen, I know there aren't too many hot spots around here.  If you ever need a night on the town or want to go to a bar or something, text me.  I want to be there for you."

"It's such a pain in the ass to go to the city and then take the drunk train back home."

"Lukas and I have a guest room in our new place or you can sleep on the couch" I said cheerfully.

As we walked into the hospital, Ryan said that he was going to get Starbucks and wait for me.  I didn't know what was happening with Priya and couldn't bear the thought of visiting alone.  "How about I get you coffee and you come with me?" I suggested timidly.

He studied my face for a moment before agreeing.  We took the elevator to Priya's floor and followed the directions to her room in the Cardiac Unit.  I paused and took a deep breath before entering her room.

I was shocked when I walked in and found Anthony by her side.  They were talking and laughing, just like old times.  They were too caught up with each other to notice I was there.  I turned around quickly and rushed out.  I was so embarrassed, feeling that I walked in on a private moment between the two of them.

I had spoken to Anthony earlier in the day.  He had been extremely concerned about Priya's condition. I recalled how scared he was when I told him about  her heart.  "She has so much more living left" he said sadly.

We didn't discuss Priya and Anthony's issues or past relationship.  We didn't ever discuss her drug usage.  All of those issues seemed secondary.  Our main priority was being there for Priya and supporting her.  I couldn't believe that Anthony would not tell me he was considering visiting Priya.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hard to Explain

Priya sat up in her hospital bed and took a sip of water.  The color was finally returning to her face and she was starting to eat again.  She had overdosed on a concoction of amphetamines and cocaine. The doctors had to pump her stomach to resuscitate her.  I didn't know how she'd react to see both Lukas and I at the entrance to her room.

The past twelve hours were extremely difficult, as Priya wasn't moved into a room until mid-day Sunday.  Lukas and I were becoming increasingly antsy sitting there in the waiting room.  We were both uneasy, tired and hungry.  Plus we were very uncomfortable.  I was still in my bridesmaid dress and heels from the wedding and Lukas in his tux.  He was gracious enough to loan me his jacket to wear because I was freezing.

We made a quick coffee run before returning to the waiting room.  I shifted uncomfortably in my seat.  "These chairs are so hard.  My butt hurts."

"I'll rub it for you later" he teased.

I sipped my coffee.  "Why isn't Depeka reaching out to us?  I know that a lot of roads are closed because of all the snow but you'd think she'd at least ask how Priya is doing."

"I've given up on trying to figure out that family's dynamic. We shouldn't have to force Depeka to give a shit about her own sister."

"It's just really weird.  If my brother were in the hospital, I'd be checking up on him nonstop.  The radio silence and Depeka's carefree attitude is really throwing me off.  Do you think we should reach out to Priya's parents?  I'm almost positive I have their contact info in my phone."

Lukas shrugged.  "I think that's Depeka's responsibility.  You don't even know her parents.  What are you going to say to them?"

"I'll text Depeka and ask if she contacted her parents."

He nodded, "Okay.  And if she didn't we'll figure out the best way to approach them."

We were still waiting for Depeka to text back when a doctor came out to tell us that Priya was being moved to a private room.  "How is she?" I asked, concerned.

"She's stable right now.  We would like to keep her here for a couple days for observation."

"Why did she pass out?" Lukas inquired.

"She had a concoction of all types of drugs in her system.  We are running further tests to get the specifics.  We pumped her stomach and have hooked her up to an IV" the doctor shared.

I took a deep breath and let the air out slowly.  "Can we see her?"

The doctor nodded, "Yes, you may both go up and visit.  Please do not say or do anything to stress her out.  Her blood pressure has been incredibly low and we are monitoring that as well."

"Low blood pressure?" Lukas asked.

"Yes.  Her pulse and heart rate have both been below normal levels.  She's hooked up to a monitor that will allow us to monitor her vitals and alert us if they drop below a certain level' he replied.

Lukas frowned.  "Is it possible that she has a heart ailment that's causing her blood pressure to be low?  Maybe her blood is not being pumped effectively throughout her body?"

"We are not ruling out any possibilities.  That's mainly why we will be monitoring her closely for the next few days.  She's on the cardiac floor.  We wanted to ensure that in the event of an emergency we have the proper staff in place to assist her."

"So Doctor, this episode that she had, do you think it was due to the drugs or to her blood pressure being super low?" I asked.

"In my opinion it was a combination of both factors" he replied.

-----------

It was as though I was frozen.  Unsure if I was doing the right thing.  Would my presence only cause Priya more stress?  She had been through so much already.  Lukas hand was on my lower back guiding me gently into the room.  Priya's head titled towards the entrance and her face lit up.  A smile enveloped her face.  Upon reaching her I squeezed her outstretched hand.

"How are you doing?" I asked quietly.

"All things considered, not too bad" she replied evenly.

I nodded, "You really scared me, well as of us, for a minute there.  We didn't know what to think and honestly the mere thought of losing you was too much to bear."

"I've made mistakes and done things I'm not proud of.  Being here, realizing how I ruined Melissa's wedding has been a major wakeup call" she said apologetically as tears streaked down her cheeks.  She looked down at her hands, clearly embarrassed.

I have this tendency to want to make everyone happy and fix their problems.  Sometimes I say things that might be construed as unrealistic.  I realized this at Melissa's wedding when I was trying to make her feel better.  She totally called me out and made me see that sometimes trying to be super positive and making situations seems not as important as they really are, can come off as insincere and annoying.  In this instance, I had no idea what to say to Priya.  Even though I wanted to believe her every word she spoke, I was unsure if she had something up her sleeve.

I glanced at Lukas who had not said a word thus far.  He could sense that I was struggling and said, "Priya, this most important thing at the moment is making sure you are in perfect health."

She nodded but didn't make eye contact with either of us.  She wiped her cheek with the back of her hand and sniffled.  "I don't know what I did to deserve both of you still wanting to be here by my side.  Elisabeth, I've been nothing but a bitch to you.  I can't tell you how much my actions have been eating me up inside.  There have been so many days when I wanted to call you and apologize but I didn't."

"Why didn't you?" I thought.  It was as though she could read my mind.  She continued, "That day when you came to the apartment, I was glad to see you.  I wanted to throw my arms around you and tell you just that but I couldn't.  My life was was so fucked up and I was ashamed that you saw me like that.  Elisabeth, even on your worst day you're well put together.  I was stoned out of my mind and wasn't thinking straight."

I took a deep breath, digesting her words.  "Priya I appreciate and accept your apology.  Let't not focus on the past right now.  How are you feeling?"

She shrugged, "I don't know.  Physically I'm exhausted and in pain and very sore from my fall.  Emotionally, I'm a wreck.  I'm filled with guilt and remorse.  I'm angry at myself, at Mark, at my family....shit the whole fucking world screwed me over."

Lukas and I exchanged knowing looks before I asked gently, "What do you mean that the whole world screwed you over?"

Fresh tears filled her eyes while laughed bitterly.  "You wouldn't understand.  I don't even think I do."

I pulled a chair closer to her bed and sat down.  As I rubbed her arm I said, "I'm here if you want to talk about it.  Maybe I'll surprise you and understand more than you think.  I won't push but know that if you need me, I will be there for you."

She nodded, staring up at the ceiling.  "Thanks.  After all I've said and done, I can't believe you're here."

"Everyone makes mistakes" I replied quickly.

All of sudden the machines Priya was hooked up to started beeping.  The sound seemingly getting louder and louder.  The color quickly drained from Priya's face.  I asked her if she was okay but she struggled to even speak.  Though it felt like an eternity, it was probably less than a thirty seconds.  The doctors rushed in and gathered around Priya's bed.  A female Asian doctor started firing question after question while another doctor took blood from Priya.  I don't if I mentioned this before but I am extremely skirmish when it comes to seeing blood.

Lukas and I stepped back away from Priya as the doctors spoke.  We tried to ask questions but the doctors were engrossed in whatever was happening to Priya.  The monitors starting beeping again and without a word, Priya was rolled out of the room. We tried to follow but were shut out.  Here we were, in the hospital feeling all types of helpless.

**** Happy Monday Dolls!  I'll keep this short.  This week I'm going to try something totally different.  I've found that I'm able to write during my commute on my iPhone but the posts won't be super long.  That's why this week, I will be posting each day (Monday through Friday) to see how achievable this is and also how my readers react.  I'd love to hear your thoughts:-)  Have a great Monday and an excellent week! ****