“So, I get a double lung transplant.”

“If it were only that simple, I would have already scheduled the surgery.”

He sighed deeply again, watching me carefully. Instead of stalling or simply being a bother, I could tell that he was simply gathering his thoughts.

It didn’t make it any easier to hear.

“There are no matches in our system to your genetics. Unfortunately, your immune system is over-reactive from the condition. Your body is openly hostile to the options. It will automatically reject virtually any lung we can find you…even if we could find a partial match, the anti-rejection drugs would destroy your standard of living. It’s possible that a partial match transplant and years of experimental therapy could extend your time, but it would be… Painful.”

“I can’t accept that, Doctor,” I told him calmly.

“I am…very sorry to hear that,” Doctor Greene paused. “Then I’m afraid that the likelihood of us finding a suitable lung in time – two lungs in time – is simply impossible.”

“Then you called me here to waste my time?” I stood up furiously, hands on my hips as I stared out at the skyline. “Doc, I already knew that I was dying. Do you have any fucking idea of how little of that I have left?”

“You pay me to provide options at any cost. I’ve provided one. A partial match transplant might buy you a few years of time. It may be years of excruciating pain and every breath will be difficult, but time brings possibilities. You will remain bedridden, but drugs can reduce the pain. Medicine will advance in the time you gain. New therapies are on the horizon that could potentially improve your quality of life. Perhaps a second donor with a genetic match will miraculously appear. Without this risk there is no hope. I respect how little time you have left. According to the revisions we received with the latest results,” the doctor calmly but sadly waved to the folder on his desk, “you have, if we are being optimistic, less than three weeks.”

I took a deep breath, angry at the way it failed to fill my lungs the way it might have a few short years ago. I could sense their impending failure.

“I’ve taken the liberty of putting you on the transplant list.”


“Thank you, Doctor.”

Part Three

Chapter 18


Just like that, Cole Andrews left.

I thought that we had something the night before. Sure, maybe I was overreacting a little bit, but it had been the first time I’d had sex in over five years, so I considered myself up for a little indignation at how dismissive he had been.

Did I want a nice, relaxing morning-after?

Yeah. Of course I did. After all, we’d just consummated this sham of a marriage!

Cole had never said a word about having some pressing matter in the morning. I fell asleep to mental pictures of being woken with breakfast in bed – he said he was an ace in the kitchen, after all – and of snuggling together and enjoying our own intimate company for the remainder of the day. Maybe I’d take the reigns this time. I’d show him what pleasure truly could be…

At least, that was the plan until he rushed out on some business trip or something. I didn’t really want to come along with him when he was dashing off to wherever the hell he was going, but I wanted to save a little of the magic from the previous night. Foolishly, I thought that showing some interest in joining him on his trip would demonstrate that I cared.

And then, he wouldn’t tell me a thing about what he was doing! I mean, what the hell was up with that?

I rose from the bedding furiously, leaving my clothes where they remained on the bed. My fresh garments were still in the suitcases, sitting in the guestroom that he had given me for my trip, and I walked naked across the house towards it.

In my fury, I hadn’t heard the maid working in the kitchen, and accidentally padded straight out in front of her.



She was covering her eyes as I ducked back the way I’d come, additional indignation thrown onto the fire. I quickly, quietly darted back towards the room, tossing my clothes back on and heading back out that way. When I crossed around the kitchen this time, I was performing another walk of shame, thanks to one Cole Andrews – and this time, there was actual sex involved in the proceedings.

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