Herve paused and then said, ’The Doctor has to authorise the move. The nurse said Ric had been assessed with either kidney stones or appendicitis.’
He sighed and ran his hand through his hair.
Sara said, ‘thank you.’ She went on, ‘It’s been awful seeing him sick.’
Herve paced as Sara went to see Ric.
Finally a female appeared and she introduced herself explaining she was a Doctor. She asked Ric some questions and pressed his stomach.
She wrote on a piece of paper and attached it to a clipboard and said, ‘Ok he is getting transferred. He needs surgery.’
She spoke into a device and said, ‘wait transport is coming now.’
Then she was gone.
Ten days had passed since Ric’s unexpected collapse and Sara’s long-held dream to finish a marathon was dashed in the closing stages of the race.
Forced to choose between Ric, or winning, she chose Ric as abandoning him on the side of the road with unexplained abdominal pain was shocking to her. She did though, at the time, ask herself could she sprint across the line and then run back?
Not knowing the answer and with Ric’s sudden collapse, she chose instead to stay at his side. In that second, Sara knew she could not abandon him. As well, Gayle too, was uppermost in her mind. She never did discover if Gayle knew she and Ric were travelling and running together. Sara did not know if she could face Gayle and be party to his unexpected death in a foreign land, a flirtatious and playful jaunt that neither predicted would turn so horrible. Her love for him had welled up as she had watched in horror, as he lay on the road, his head brushing against its sharp surface, peppered with debris, violently spewing. She knew she could not abandon him despite her strong desire to sprint across the FINISH line.
By his side again, this time 35,000ft in the air, flying towards Australia, she knew she had made the right decision. Thanks to Herve, Ric’s emergency surgery had saved his life. Sara was thankful to Steele and Herve. Herve’s advocacy saw Ric get the treatment he needed as bad timing saw resources at the hospital stretched. It did her no good thinking about what might have happened if otherwise. She looked over at Ric who was sleeping. She tilted her chair back, willing the plane to fly faster as she drifted off to not only pass the time but to also forget.
They had just landed. Smiling widely, Ric looked over at Sara and squeezed her hand. They had been through a lot.
Steele had wanted to fly to Marseille and escort Sara back to Turkey. She had insisted, though on travelling with Ric so as to deliver him safely back to Gayle.
Sara was torn about letting him go. She felt they had played and played hard, risked a lot and luckily the dice, the one time when it really mattered had rolled high numbers.
She was paying a debt to Ric and Gayle, not to mention to Steele and Herve. Without their intervention, Sara thought, Ric would have died.
She was seeing the final leg of their journey through and its end had arrived. Disembarking, Sara knew Ric would soon see Gayle.
With the moment almost upon them, they continued as if it was nothing more than a brief farewell akin to friends briefly separating. As they approached the escalators, Sara knew this was it.
As she touched Ric’s arm, he looked at her and said, ‘Sara, I love you, always will.’
They were oblivious to the throngs of people around them, as Ric pressed his lips to hers and their velvety caresses were all that mattered. After denying this moment since their first meeting, they savoured its sweetness. As quickly as he had initiated it, Ric pulled away.
Separated by travellers, Sara tracked him as he moved towards baggage claims, surrounded by people waiting for loved ones and friends. Camouflaging herself amongst the crowds, she gasped as she recognised Gayle. She looked on as Gayle surged towards Ric embracing him while others swarmed around. As if sensing something of his ordeal, they formed a human shield, seeking to protect him from further threats and Ric disappeared into their arms.
The arrivals lounge swelled as travellers grabbed their baggage and moved away. With all the commotion, Sara lost sight of Ric and he did not look back to find her.
Sara got jostled in the crowd, however she moved away from the throng to hear her phone beeping. Picking it up, she discovered a message from Steele. She read it and burst into tears as its contents revealed to her that Steele had booked her a ticket to Turkey departing at NOON. She quickly composed herself astounded at this news but also thrilled that she soon would be joining Steele again, embarking on an exciting journey with him. She did not look back as she collected her luggage, making her way to check-in.