Rob went first, of course, to talk to Cynthia. He’d teasingly dropped his coat on the groggily-stretching Jakob and followed the nurse through her door, right after she’d said they could come through now.
“I guess we’re taking turns?” Jakob questioned Wil. She shrugged, matching his expression in terms of confusion, though not in bleariness.
They both knew Rob was always one to move first and speak long after spoken to. Wil wondered sometimes if she were adopted, like Jakob, until the infrequent moments her father met her eyes. It was then she saw her own elliptical hazels, shrouded by bushy blond brows instead of her finer dark ones.
Jakob yawned, then stopped in surprise when the nurse opened the door again.
“You may all come back,” She smiled. “The assistant heard ‘children,’ and automatically assumed you were younger.”
The Winters young adults gathered up coats and backpack (and decoded note) and stood. They came forward past the couches and chairs.
“I’m sorry,” Nurse continued pleasantly. She talked as they walked down the hall together. “She’s new here, and a bit uptight. Y’all know how important it is to keep things clean, so we’re not letting children 12 and under back here.” Wil wondered if this woman ever changed expression. Perhaps at night.
She also wondered how Nurse could talk and grin at the same time; a perplexing enough study that Wil walked into the sink of the washing area. Jakob snickered, then shrugged out of his imitation-down coat and pushed his sleeves back.
Wil tried to pull her scarf and coat off with an air of casual elegance, ignoring him and her subsequent blushing.
Nurse, of course, beamed at them both.
They cleaned hands meticulously, then went farther down the hall to Cynthia’s room. The smell of sterility and oxygen permeated the air. The sounds of soft-walking and whispering combined with an occasional chart-paper flutter and muted machine beep.
No matter how often she attended, Wil would always hate the hospital symphony.
Continued from Twenty.