Dr Granger looked at this confused, frightened sixteen-year-old slumped over in her chair in front of him. Normally he would take this opportunity to say some words of strength, something hopeful, even if the real hope was miniscule. But not for Bianca, she was going to die. She had to die.
“I will need to talk with your father.” Dr Granger stated. Fear shot through Bianca’s big black eyes, pain and regret followed the fear. Dr Granger knew Bianca wasn’t strong enough no matter what she said.
“I want to be here.” She said in a monotone voice barely louder than a whisper.
“No. No you don’t.” Dr Granger had seen parents react to this kind of news before, it was not something Bianca needed to witness. Her father, Miguel, would be expecting some diagnosis after all the medical tests he’d paid for. It was time for him to know. “I promised you I would take care of things. You need to trust me.”
After exiting the office, Bianca sat waiting while Dr Granger explained her diagnosis with her father. She expected to hear shouting, crying, maybe even gunshots, but all she heard was the bubbling of the fish tank and Dr Granger’s assistant shuffling papers on her desk. Bianca wondered what it would be like working as an assistant, she’d never find out. Her father and Dr Granger talked for a very long time.
A brief bumping sound announced there was life in the office. Dr Granger opened the door with a troubled look on his face but Bianca’s father appeared quietly confident, like he always did. Her mind went haywire. What did this mean? Didn’t he care? Why wasn’t he upset?
“When Dr Lynam arrives, have him contact the office, I will be able to discuss Bianca’s diagnosis with him. We’ll begin the traditional treatment tomorrow.” Dr Granger flashed a look at Bianca. He desperately wanted to fill her in but Miguel was intimidatingly determined to be in charge. The best he could do would be to make Bianca’s appointment quickly. “Maria,” Dr Granger called to his assistant, “can we squeeze Bianca in at 9 am tomorrow for her first treatment?”
“Doctor, you are completely booked for the next three days. The soonest would be Monday at 3 pm.” Maria stated emphatically.
“Maria,” Dr Granger was speaking in his authoritative tone, “please make an appointment for Bianca for 9 am tomorrow. I will make it work.” He glared at Maria to get the point across.
“How long will the appointment be for, Dr Granger?” Maria asked.
“As long as it takes.” With that Dr Granger silently dismissed Maria by turning his back to her. “Miguel, as long as 9 am is okay with you, I would like Bianca here then to begin treatment.”
“Marcos can drive me Dad.” Bianca offered.
“Very well then.” Agreed Miguel.
Bianca fidgeted and listened to some dietary advice Dr Granger was imparting to Miguel. She wondered if it was going to be necessary, after all she wouldn’t survive. She was angry about her father’s composure. Did he even care? As they were leaving, Dr Granger barked instructions at Maria as to what she needed to have ready for the morning’s appointment.
The ride home was lonely for Bianca, her father had just been told she was dying and all he could do was talk on the phone. Her contempt for him grew. The journey felt much longer than normal. She stared at nothing out the window trying to block her father from her thoughts.
“We’re going to beat this.” Miguel offered in an unusually soft tone as the limousine pulled into their compound. Bianca didn’t even know he’d gotten off the phone. “Bianca,” Miguel had never sounded as soft and caring as he did in that moment, “we’re going to beat this. I promise you.” He put his hand on her knee and squeezed it like he would when she was 6 years old, back when her mother was still alive. Back when Bianca still loved her father.
As soon as the car stopped, Miguel switched roles from caring father to boss. He leapt out of the sleek black limo and started barking orders. Apparently they would be having a guest, or guests. Bianca wasn’t sure why he needed the stables ready, there were dozens of spare rooms in the house. Without spending too much energy thinking about it, Bianca went to her room to be able to process all that had happened that day. She didn’t bother doing her homework, after all, she was dying, what would be the point?