1 chapter one

MELANIE

"Ow!" I grunted from the pain that shot up my leg as I tripped on my own feet for the second time now. I was running so fast that I kept jamming into things and people. The curses that were directed at me did no good in stopping me from running.

That was not an option. It still felt unreal hearing those words when the hospital had called. It felt like if I shut my eyes and try hard enough, I would awaken from this nightmare. But I knew that would not happen. The hospital had made it very clear that Dad had had a terrible heart attack. Again. I had not waited to hear the doctor finish her statement before I flung the receiver on the floor and embarked on a cross-country race to St. John's.

I pushed the hospital doors apart and sprinted to the reception, still out of breath. The young woman whom I assumed to be the receptionist gave me what appeared to be a pitiful smile spread across her cheek.

I clenched my fists. I hated it when people looked at me like that. I did not like to be pitied. Breathing deeply, I reminded myself that she was the least of my concerns.

I pulled myself up as soon as I found my voice and faced the receptionist.

"Melanie Willow. My father... Thomas Willow..."

Fear gripped me once again. Saying his name reminded me of the call. I said a silent prayer. I'd give anything to know he was okay.

Her eyes quickly cross-examined the laptop in front of her.

"Yes, Melanie, I remember you. The man with the heart....."

She trailed off, clearing her throat when she saw the glare I threw her way. I bit my lip and shook my head to keep from cursing out loud.

"Take a seat while I check—"

"Bitch, you better tell me where my father is right now or so help me God, I'll tear this whole facility down to shreds!" I yelled, my chest pounding.

The room was silenced and I could feel all the eyes trained on me but I didn't care.

"Well, uh, right away." She mumbled, scrolling through the computer in front of her.

"I can see I have your attention now. Good."

"B series, Ward 33," She replied, casting me a frightened gaze.

"Where's the B series?" I asked again, looking around the blue polished room. It was then I realized the marble floors of the hospital were white. I hated hospitals for their ability to look peaceful, serene, but still look like death.

"The door at the end of the hall leads to the—"

I was on my heels, headed to the end of the hall before she could complete her sentence.

"Room 33," I muttered to myself, checking the number tag placed on each door as I raced down the hall.

I came to a stop when my eyes met a bright blue door with the number thirty-three boldly written on it.

Room 33. This was it. I wiped my damp hand on the material of my jeans. I suddenly felt nauseous.

I wanted to reach for the door knob, but my hands refused to cooperate.

It was ironic how I had gone all Usain Bolt in the streets of New York just to make sure that daddy was okay.

Now that I stood right in front of his ward, I could not bring myself to go in.

"Please be okay, Daddy. Please be okay.." I repeated as I shakily reached out for the doorknob.

I didn't want to see him in pain again. The way he groaned in pain all the time, how frail and exhausted he looked lying helplessly in his bed.

So I stood, like the coward I was, eyes fixed on the door, pleading with the universe to perform some miracle so the door opened itself and the wind would take me to him, because I could not move on my own accord.

Let us just say the universe has a strange way of making your most urgent wishes come true.

The door opened, and a tall brown-haired woman in satin trousers and a laboratory coat emerged.

She had to be at least six feet and two inches tall to tower above me. My eyes fell on the tag attached to her lab coat.

"Doctor MacPherson," I read aloud.

She peered at me through her spectacles. "You must be Melanie Willow."

My name seemed to remind me of the reason I was here in the first place.

My chest tightened in fear as I tried to stick my head to look past her tall frame into the room. I really needed to see my father.

"Yes, that's me. How is my dad? Is he... okay..." I trailed off, trying to hold back the tears that threatened to escape.

"Sorry, I'm just really scared.." I apologized, wiping the tears that flowed down my cheeks freely. "He is all I have. He is everything, I just..."

"Hey," The doctor smiled, placing one hand on my shoulders. "It's okay."

I looked up at her and struggled to sniff my tears back in and nodding.

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