Always You

By: Belle Brooks


AUSTRALIA

Cover design by Marisa at Cover Me Darling.

Editing and Proofreading by Karen Harper and Emily A. Lawrence Formatting by Max Effect





For:

Natalya and Jakarra.

I love you both more than all the stars freckling the night sky.





Sisters for life xx





A NOTE TO THE READER

This book has been written using UK English and contains euphemisms and slang words that form part of the Australian spoken word, which is the basis of this book’s writing style.

Please remember that the words are not misspelled. They are slang terms and form part of everyday, Australian vernacular.





Sterile white walls encase a long hallway as I enter through glass doors that read Wellington Medical Centre. The smell of disinfectant mixed with latex causes a strange sense of doom to drop heavily into the pit of my stomach. Each step echoes loudly, the sound bouncing from left to right, causing me to automatically change my stride to that of a tip-toe.

“Doctor Brown,” is muttered from my suddenly tense throat as I look down at the piece of pink paper now damp from my perspiring hands. “Suite Five B.”

“Yes, Doctor Taylor. I’m doing it now.” I startle at the sweet-sounding voice of another, one which instantly removes the solitude of my journey in this unfamiliar place.

“Hello, can I help you?” she asks, stepping out from behind me.

Twisting slightly, I immediately notice her pressed pale blue shirt and navy skirt, quickly concluding this lady works here.

“Umm. Yes. I’m May Connors and I’m looking for Doctor Brown’s rooms, Suite Five B.” My eyes dart back to the paper before rebounding to hers. The colour of ocean waves, heavy with sunlight, gleams brightly, offering me automatic comfort.

“Hi, May, I’m Sister Fraya. How about I walk with you to Doctor Brown’s rooms? Would you like me to do so?”

“Very much.” The corners of my lips tug upwards and I’m relieved I’m no longer alone.

“Are you new to the centre?”

“Yes, I am,” I reply as we walk in unison.

“Well, you weren’t far from his suite. Only a few more doors and you would have found it all on your own.” Her smile fills with kindness when she stops to eye me.

“Thanks,” I mumble, wrapping my hand around the metal door handle.

“You’re welcome.”

A sudden chill courses through my bones as I pull the heavy door open and stand a toe inside a professionally presented reception area. A tall counter is in my line of sight as the door nudges me forwards with its closing. Quickly, I shift my attention to a vase of brightly coloured flowers, but divert them again when I hear an unexpected cough.

I’m not the only patient here. I hope it’s not going to take too long.

“Hi, I’m May Connors. I’m here for my appointment at eleven a.m. with Dr. Brown.” My arms lie slumped across the countertop after I finally work up the courage to approach.

“Yes, May,” the receptionist replies, staring deep into the computer screen before her. Long fingers click against a mouse cupped in her hand. “May, can you fill out these documents, please?” She stands, handing over a plastic clipboard with paper secured to it. Sliding a pair of glasses up onto her head that is covered in springy brown curls, she finally directs her attention to me.

“Can I get a pen, please?”

“Of course.” She smiles, with lips stained a dark pink.

“Thanks.”

The seat is well cushioned as I plonk into it. Placing my bag on the floor, I begin filling out the documents. Name, address, phone number, email address, and medical insurance details are the first questions I complete. Next is a list of boxes requiring a tick for any conditions of which I may have knowledge. I feel blessed when my pen never meets the paper. You healthy thing, you. Go, May.

I’m concentrating so hard on the last part of the form, that at first I don’t hear them call my name. A tap on my shoulder gets my attention.

“The doctor is ready for you,” the receptionist who supplied the forms says. She’s no longer behind her desk, but standing beside me. When did that happen?

“Oh. Okay.” I’m rattled as I pass over the clipboard and her warm fingers brush mine. Her accidental touch seems to lessen some of the nerves flipping in the pit of my stomach, and although it was only for a moment, I kind of hope she will clasp my hand and shelter me. She doesn’t.