Joanna stared at her manicured nails she had recently gotten painted as her hand shook uncontrollably. “…Mrs. Joanna, are you there?” The school nurse asked puzzled. Feeling like she was unable to breath, she was able to mumble a yes. She shook her head and blinked as hard as she could. Panic flooded her heart as she stood up and yelled into the receiver. “Where do I need to go? Did you call an ambulance?” She tried to wait for a response as more questions filled her mind. The nurse instructed her to head to the emergency room. Little Abigail had been rushed to the hospital via ambulance as the call was made to her. Rushing to get her keys, Joanna knocked several items on her desk to the floor, including a glass picture frame that held her Valentine’s picture with Sagar. The frame shattered, startling her even the more. She stepped back, unable to remember where she sat her keys when she had come into the office. Her assistant came running in. “Is everything okay Jo?” By now, Joanna was crying profusely. “My baby…she’s in the hospital.” Stacey ran to console Joanna as she cried even louder. ” I GOTTA GET TO THE HOSPITAL NOW STACEY!!” Her body felt limp as she scanned the desk for her keys. Stacey pulled out her cellphone and made a call. “Yes I need a car sent to Mrs. Magneil’s office right away.” She paused, handing her the designer bag she had on the desk. “Yes, she will be heading to Serenity Hospital. There is an emergency and she can’t wait.” Hanging up, Stacey placed her arms around Joanna’s shoulders and looked her straight in the eyes. “It’s going to be okay. But you have to stay strong for baby girl.” Joanna gave a half smile and nodded yes. Stacey led her out of the office and into the huge foyer that led to the parking lot.

Joanna was grateful for the cool leather as she settled into the sleek Lincoln Continental. In her panic, she had forgotten that Sagar had dropped her off to work this morning, which is why she couldn’t find her keys. Stacey sat across from her, tablet in hand and making phone calls. “Mrs. Magneil will be out of her office this morning, please make sure all appointments are cancelled.” She hang up and dialed another number. “Mrs. Magneil will not be able to make her hair appointment. I will call you back when she is ready to reschedule.” Joanna shook her head. Nothing in life was more important to her than her children. Hair appointments and clients were so insignificant right now. Suddenly, she thought about Sagar. She grabbed her purse and felt around until she could feel the cool smooth glass of her phone. Pulling it out, she dialed his number. It trilled and trilled. No answer. She shook her head and tried and tried again. Nothing. Where was he? She couldn’t even remember the drive to work, let alone anything that he told her he would be doing that morning that would keep him away from his phone. Right now she needed him. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard Stacey’s voice. “We’re here.” She looked up and saw the red Emergency sign above the entrance. She bolted out the door, not even shutting it.

Arriving to the front desk, Joanna tried to keep her composure. She didn’t want to make a scene so she spoke calmly. “Hi, my little girl Abigail Countez is here. She was rushed here from the school. The woman at the desk typed information into the computer. She didn’t look up as she pointed to her left. Rolling her eyes, Joanna rushed down the hall and looked into every room until she could see the pretty pink shoes Abigail wore to school that day. She ran into the room. “Hey baby girl, are you okay?”, she asked as she rubbed her daughter’s hair and smiled. “Yes mommy.” She barely opened her eyes as she spoke. The teacher was sitting in the room with a worried look on her face. “She was having a great day, we went outside to play kickball with the PE department and she fainted in the middle of the game. When I called her name, she didn’t answer so we immediately dialed 911.” As she was speaking, a woman dressed in a white coat entered the room. “Mrs. Magneil?” She asked, looking confused as to which woman was actually the mother. Joanna nodded a yes and stepped closer. “I am Dr. Powell. We have run tests on Abigail, including an EKG and extensive blood work. While it seems that she is not dehydrated, as is sometimes the case when such a random incident happens, there is cause for concern. This is why we would like to keep her overnight as a precaution and to further probe into the cause to possibly find a diagnosis. Joanna’s heart dropped into the pit of her stomach.” WHat do you mean? She felt as if a ton of weight was on her chest. Just then her phone played a familiar tone and she reached into her purse to grab it. “Hey baby.” Sagar’s voice immediately calmed her and she felt a tinge of relief. “Hey,” she said quietly trying to make their conversation as private as possible. The doctor looked away and she spoke again. “I’m at the hospital with Abigail. I tried to call you so that you can meet me. Where are you?” She looked back again to make sure she didn’t have an audience behind her. The doctor was busy writing on a clipboard. “I’m at the airport babe. Puzzled, she made a face then asked, “Where are you going?” He hesitated then stated, “I guess we both are dealing with illness. My mother fell sick this morning and is in a coma. I have to head to LA. Joanna tried to wrap her mind around his words and then heard Abigail cough in the background. “How long will you be gone?” She pressed the phone against her face and imagined how awesome it would be to have her man here with her as she dealt with this situation. “I don’t know,” Sagar mumbled. “I have to go, I will call you with the details once I land.” He hung up quickly. She tried to say I love you, but he had hang up. “Mommy?” Abigail was sitting up in the bed. Joanna grabbed her composure and turned to face her little girl. The doctor sat back and allowed Joanna to sit on the edge of the bed and hug her daughter. “Mommy please don’t be mad at me.” Joanna leaned back and looked her little girl in the face. “I would never be angry with you for being sick.” Abigail looked down at her little 9 year old hands and looked back up at her mother. She bit her bottom lip then looked from the doctor back to Joanna. A single tear fell from her eye. Joanna wiped it away and then leaned in and kissed her cheek. “Baby what’s wrong? Are you hurting?” Abigail looked back to the doctor and she nodded. Joanna stood up, and Abigail grabbed her hand. “What’s going on?….please, no matter what it is, tell me!!” She looked at the doctor sternly but the doctor looked away. Suddenly the teacher walked to the door of the room and allowed two women and gentleman into the room. Joanna was thoroughly confused. “Who are you? What is going on here?” Abigail tugged at her mom’s arm until Joanna looked down into her hazel eyes.”Mommy….please don’t be mad at me.” Joanna sat back down on the bed and looked her daughter into her eyes. “Why would I be mad at you baby? What is going on?” Abigail took a deep breath and then whispered the words no mother ever wanted to hear. “Mr. Sagar has been doing stuff to me.”