Andrea flew to the counter at reception. "We're here to see Jack Testa," she said, out of breathing from running.
"Oh, my goodness!" the nurse behind the counter squealed. "It's Andrea Sparks!"
"Right now, I'm Andrea Testa, Jack Testa's granddaughter." Her face was firm. All of this fangirling could wait until later. "My mom, Karen Testa-Hix, is with him, and some other family members. They are expecting us."
"Yes, of course." The nurse's smile faded, and Andrea felt bad for hurting her feelings, but she was in a hurry. "Room 207. Wait—are you Case Meyer?"
Not answering, they rushed off to the elevator. Andrea tapped her foot nervously. They seemed to be going so slowly! Case took her hand and reminded her to breathe. The doors opened, and she rushed out, almost plowing into a doctor. "Excuse us," Case said. Andrea didn't wait for him.
Her mom spotted her first, standing with her arms open. Andrea rushed into them, suddenly a five-year-old girl again. "You're home," Karen said, smoothing her hair.
Andrea looked up. "How is he?"
"He's okay for now. The doctor just left. They're considering ordering some more tests. Another specialist is checking him now so we can't go in."
Andrea didn't like the sound of that. She wanted to see Grandpa Jack right now. She glanced around and realized she needed to be more polite. Her step-dad was standing behind her mom now. She hugged him. "Hi, Dad," she said. It had seemed weird to call him that at first after twenty years of not knowing her dad, who had left when she was three, but Tim Hix was a good man and she loved him.
"Hi, honey," he said, giving her a squeeze. "We're glad you're here."
"Thanks to Case." She introduced him, and her mother's smile lit up the waiting area.
"It is a real pleasure to meet you. My goodness, you're even more handsome in person."
"Mom!" Andrea couldn't believe her ears. Tim only chuckled.
"Are you going to stay for Christmas? We'd love to have you." Karen continued to gush over Case.
Andrea realized she'd never asked him. It just seemed weird. She hardly knew him. Although, the thought of him leaving soon made her want to cry again.
"Uh... I was planning on spending it with my folks, but I guess that depends on the weather."
"You can stay at our house as long as you'd like. It's plenty big enough." Her mom batted her eyelashes at him, and Andrea wanted to hide her face. Cringy!
Approaching footsteps kept her from shaking her mother. She turned to see her sister Leslie and a man she assumed had to be her new boyfriend, Brent, coming over with coffee cups.
As soon as Brent saw Andrea, his eyes widened. He handed his coffee to Leslie without looking at her. A slosh hit Leslie's white sweater. Her mouth dropped open, and she jumped back, but it was too late. She was stained. Brent didn't notice as he quickly closed the gap between himself and Andrea.
"Well, there she is! The legend in person! Oh, wow! It's so great to finally meet you!" He hugged her like they were old friends, and Andrea immediately felt uncomfortable. She felt bad for her sister; she didn't like this guy. He smelled of cheap cologne and didn't even seem to care that he'd ruined Leslie's sweater.
Case stepped over to help her poor sister by taking the coffees so she could wipe at her sweater with one wrinkled napkin. She stormed off to go and find more. Brent finally let Andrea go.
"It's, uh, nice to meet you, too," she said, stepping away.
Case set the coffees on a small table. "Hi. I'm Case Meyer. Andrea's good friend." He held out his hand, and Brent looked at it for a moment before shaking it.
She appreciated Case's efforts to set this guy straight. "What do you do?" Brent asked Case, like he'd never heard of him.
"I drive cars."
"Oh. Interesting." Brent seemed unimpressed, like he hadn't caught on that Case wasn't a limo or Uber driver.
"What do you do?" Case asked Brent, a knowing smile on his face.
"I am a student right now, but I'll graduate in the spring with my degree in acting."
Suddenly, Andrea put two and two together. This guy was no good. She just knew it. Leslie was coming back down the hall, the stain apparent on her sweater. Her sister looked upset. Andrea hugged her, but she was stiff, like it was Andrea's fault Brent was a jerk.
"Leslie, this is Case."
"We met. He helped me. With the coffee." She eyed Brent.
"Oh, you spilled? Dang!"
"Me?" Leslie said angrily, but just then the specialist came out. Andrea turned and looked at him expectantly.
The doctor had a grim look on his face. Andrea felt her heart stop beating.
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