Heat creeps up my neck as I think about one of the sex machines August put me on. Just sat me on it like I was riding a motorcycle, except there was an opening over which my crotch was positioned and a huge dildo under it that operated on electricity. August put me on it, set it to medium intensity, and watched it work its magic on me. That all he did was sit in a chair in the corner of the room and watch me get fucked by a dildo while other people in the club watched was so damn sexy. I must be getting more confident because I didn’t even blush while screaming out my orgasm while on complete display for everyone.

Blinking, I reorient myself, staring at the bags in my trunk. I feel a little guilty because now is not the time to be thinking about it.

I should be thinking about the fact that today is Sam’s tenth birthday. While we were fairly confident he would be celebrating his birthday within the confines of the hospital, we weren’t quite sure how well he would be feeling, which would dictate the type of celebration we would be bringing to him. But every day that passes, Sam continues to improve. He’s had no infections or setbacks. He’s getting stronger every day.

Which means, I’m going to be faced with a little boy who is probably bouncing off the walls. To say he’s ready to be released would be an understatement, and I’m hoping that day comes soon. My fear is that the longer he’s here, the more he’ll start to revert the other way and slide into depression.

I grab the bags that contain his presents and decorations. August is bringing the cake, which he was having specially made by a baker who had been recommended to him. My dad also asked me to pick up a few things for Sam from him, shopping not being one of his strong suits. He’s up in the room keeping Sam company while August and I run our birthday errands.

With my arms loaded, I manage to get the trunk shut and the car locked. I move across the parking lot and into the patient entrance. The lobby receptionist, Judy, waves. “Hey, Leighton.”

“Hey, Judy,” I call.

“You need me to get someone to help you with all that stuff?”

I shake my head. “I’m good. Sam’s birthday is today.”

Judy breaks into a wide smile. “Oh, that’s wonderful. I’ll be up to wish him a happy birthday later.”

Beaming, I move toward the elevators. That’s what happens when a child is in the hospital for a month. The parents get to know the people who work there. When the patient is a child, I’ve realized most go out of their way to get to know them. I can’t even begin to count the number of people I’ve met who aren’t even directly related to patient care who have gone out of their way to introduce themselves to Sam just because they know he’s been there for a long time.

Reaching Sam’s room, I set the bags down just inside the doorway. We don’t have to wear the isolation gowns anymore since he’s doing so well.

Immediately, I spot his pediatric oncologist and the leader of the transplant team, Dr. Hunt, standing by his bed. My dad is in a chair on the other side, and they’re all laughing about something.

Dr. Hunt turns to give me a bright smile. “I stopped by since I heard it was Sam’s birthday.”

My dad stands from where he was sitting and offers me the chair, but I refuse it with a smile.

“It was nice of you to come by,” I tell the doctor.

Dr. Hunt glances between me and Sam. “I actually have a birthday present for you.”

“Is it Legos?” Sam asks, taking a wild guess.

Chuckling, Dr. Hunt shakes his head. “Not something as simple as that. How about if I were to tell you that I’m going to let you go home in a couple of days?”

Letting out a war cry of enthusiasm, Sam bounds up to his knees on the bed. “That’s awesome.”

“A couple of days?” I ask for clarification.

Dr. Hunt nods. “His blood levels are consistently rising every day. Assuming they continue to do so over the next two days, it’ll be safe to release him to go home.”

“So by Sunday?” Sam asks. He turns excited eyes on me. “That means I could be home in time to watch football with Dad and Grandpa in Dad’s man cave.”

I laugh. Why that’s so important I have no clue since he watches football on Sundays at the hospital. But I guess he has some idea in mind that relaxing at home with the men in the man cave while watching football is a big deal.

At that moment, August walks in, carrying the cake in his hands. “Did I hear someone say football?”

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