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Chapter 14

I lay in the thin bed motionless. Within minutes doctors would be standing over me splitting my skin. Obviously, my fear showed.

"Calm down, Nick," Kevin told me, "it'll all be over soon."

"And it won't hurt a bit," Brian assured me.

I took a deep breath and gazed at the four faces before me. "Thank you. All of you, for everything."

Howie squeezed my shoulder. "Not a problem."

"Just don't make a habit of this," AJ laughed.

I, too, laughed regretting it as I clutched my stomach.

Dr.Layne's eyes were barely visible through his surgrical mask. "Are you ready, Mr.Carter?"

"I---" I returned my view to my friends. "Yes, I'm ready."

Together we all said a quick prayer, then I was rolled into the hall. All I could think of were memories. How Brian and Howie put me at ease, the maturity Kevin taught me, laughter AJ gave me, love I received from my parents and the fun my siblings brought me. What if I never lived to thank them?

Chapter 15