Lindsay was lying across the emergency room of the Grady Memorial Hospital seats while using her dad's lap as a pillow when the Doctor came. She had closed her eyes and drifted off into a dreamless sleep as he had stroked her hair. She loved the feel of his hands curling strands of hair around his fingers as he absent-mindedly hummed a song quietly. She fell asleep to the rhythm of his breathes, her face showing her peacefulness.
She felt him move slightly as he held his hand up, trying not to move much. “That's me, I can't get up.”
“My name is Doctor Jones Miller. I've been given Lindsay's case.” Footsteps approached them and she heard a slight shift on the seat across from them. Jones looked through the pieces of paper on his clipboard. “I know you have had these questions numerous times before but I need to ask them. How long has she had these headaches for?”
His fingers stopped briefly as he thought. “Roughly six years ago. It's only recently that they've actually affected her like this. Some days she can't even get up.”
He nodded. “And has she had any sickness, lose of sight or changes in personality?”
Scott thought for a moment. “She hasn't had any of those things. She doesn't pay attention in school, I thought it was the start of a teenage rebellion but now, now I think its more.”
He took a pen out of his doctor's coat and clicked it. “I think we should schedule a M.R.I scan.” He looked at the panic on Scott's face. “Oh, don't worry. From the results today, it's nothing serious. I just want to make sure that it is.”
“What will this mean for Lindsay? Will she be OK?”
He smiled at Scott, offering reassurance in his pearly white smile. “Lindsay is a fighter, she'll be fine.”
At that moment, Lindsay yawned. Her dad smiled down at her. “Hey there, kiddo. How are you feeling?”
She sat up straight and rubbed her eyes. “Like I could eat a full pizza.”
Scott ruffled her hair. “We'll go for a McDonald's on the way home. We need to pick Leah up too.” Lindsay nodded and looked at the doctor. Scott noticed this. “This is your doctor, Jones Miller.”
A slight smirk crossed over her face. “Really?” Jones nodded and Lindsay raised an eyebrow. “Doctor – Doctor Jones?” She sniggered slightly.
He rolled his eyes. “That's not the first time I've heard that. In fact, I got it all through Med School.” He smiled at her. “Lindsay, I'm prescribing you some drugs. You must promise me that you will take them everyday. Can you do that?”
She nodded. “Will it make them go away?”
He clicked his pen and put it back into his pocket. “I'm very certain that they will. I will see you next week for the scan.”
He stood up and handed a slip of paper to her father. With a nod of the head, he walked off back down the corridor. Scott and Lindsay stood up at the same time and he put his arm around her shoulders. “Let's go.”
The drive back through Atlanta was a long and silent one. Lindsay had fallen asleep again in the passenger seat and Scott was tapping his thumbs on the steering wheel as he turned down another street. They were driving out to Scottdale to pick Leah up. He received a phone call from Laura while Lindsay was being seen to. Apparently, Russell her new boyfriend was ill and Leah was too much of a distraction while he was trying to sleep. He rolled his eyes as he pulled off North Clarendon Avenue and into Stanley Drive. He paused to take a deep breath before shutting off the engine and exiting quietly. He left Lindsay sleeping as he walked up the drive to Laura's house. He self consciously flattened his hair as he knocked. He shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot as he waited.
Two minutes later, Leah appeared at the door with a huge grin on her face. He grinned back and hugged her. “Hey, Lee. Where's your mum?”
She shrugged. “Where's Lindsay?”
He frowned. “In the car. What do you mean you don't know? Is she not in?”
She shook her head. “Nope, she left with Russell about an hour ago. I've been myself since.”
Scott felt anger at his ex wife as he stared at his little girl, his ten year old child. “Lee, you're ten. You shouldn't be left alone.”
She looked up at him. “Daddy, I'm hungry. Can we go for some food?”
He sighed and decided to let his anger go. It wouldn't do any good to kick off in front of her. He would phone her later to give her an earful. “Sure, baby. Is McDonald's OK? I said to Lindsay that we would go there.”
Her childish smile spread into her features as she grabbed her bag. “Can I get a Big Mac?”
He closed the door and walked her back to the car. “Maybe, we'll see.” He helped her into the car and strapped her in. She smiled at him as he got into the driver's seat and reversed down the drive. “Daddy, can we listen to music?”
“Not just now, baby. Lindsay is sleeping.”
“Wake her up then.”
He shook his head. “She's extremely tired. Just let her rest.”
Lindsay slept through their whole conversation as she leaned her head against the window. The gentle purr of the engine lulled her into a deep sleep that didn't seem to let her go. She slept the entire way to McDonald's.
“Hey, kiddo. Rise and shine, food time.”
She opened her eyes to see a hazy outline of her father. “Where are we?” Her voice sounded gritty as her throat was dry.
“McDonald's. You know, the beautiful land of burgers and chips.” He winked at her and unbuckled her seat belt. “Come on, your old dad is starving and so is Leah.”
She rubbed her eyes. “Leah? Where is she?”
He helped her out of the car. “She's inside reading the menu but we both now what she'll get. A chi-”
“A chicken nugget meal.” She finished his sentence. “It's a real shame that they don't do pizza. That would gain them a profit or two.”
Scott raised his eyebrow at her. “A profit? You're thirteen, what do you know about profits?”
She laughed. “Not a thing. Now move your butt, I'm hungry too.”
They sat in for the next hour, talking about their food. Random things like what they would watch tonight and if they should go play baseball at the park tomorrow. Lindsay's detention even surfaced at one point. “I know dad, I'm trying.”
He placed his hand on his shoulder as Leah tucked into her ice cream. “I know you are. I know, just keep on trying. You can be better.” He looked at both of his daughter's. “You both have so much potential. I'm so proud of you guys, both of you.”
Leah licked her spoon and grinned and Lindsay leaned her head against his shoulder. She could sit like this forever. Just the three of them, having fun and not caring about the outside world. She laughed as her dad tried to balance a spoon on his nose and tears streamed down her face when Leah got up to show them her attempt at the running man. None of them cared that people were staring as Scott got up to attempt it. She watched with a smile on her face as they sat back down.
“So, what's on the agenda for school on Monday?” Scott asked as he placed a fry in his mouth.
Leah piped up. “We are learning our times tables.” She frowned. “I can't remember the eight times table though. It's hard.”
Lindsay smiled at her little sister. “Don't worry about it, Leah.” She leaned forward with her arms folded, leaning on the table. “Wanna know a secret?”
Scott raised an eyebrow at Lindsay as Leah grinned. “Yeah.”
“I didn't learn the times tables till last year. I found it hard too. Don't worry about it, you're smart. You'll get it eventually.”
A shout erupted from the booth across the restaurant, Lindsay looked over and rolled her eyes, football fans. “Say that to my face!”
One of the guys, must be about nineteen, smirked at his friend. “Fine, I will. Falcons suck!”
Leah giggled quietly. “Well they do.”
Scott pretended to be hurt. “Oi you, midget. The Falcons are brilliant. They were my childhood team. I grew up watching them play.”
Lindsay shrugged. “I don't like football. I prefer soccer, at least I can play that.”
He ruffled her hair slightly. “That's right, I nearly forgot that. Lindsay Mason, number seven for the varsity team.”
She grinned. “I would love to play varsity when I'm older.”
“You better play, you're the best on the school team right now. How many goals have you scored in the past three games?”
Lindsay flexed her hand slightly. “I've scored seven, dad.”
Leah's eyebrows raised at the number. “I wish I could play like you.”
Lindsay placed her hand over Leah's. “I'll teach you.”
Scott sat up properly in his seat. “We'll take a ball to the park tomorrow. We'll have a kick about, how does that sound?”
Lindsay smiled then hugged him. “I love you, dad.”
“I love you too, Lindsay.” He hugged her back and pulled Leah in and kissed her forehead. “Leah, I love you too.”
Lindsay leaned forward to drink her Pepsi from the straw. She let her eyes wander around the restaurant as her dad chatted with Leah. She made sure not to stare as she looked at a mid-twenties couple cuddling in the corner, an elderly man eating a big mac by himself and then there was a man that looked slightly younger than her dad. He had shades on and his muscles flexed as he turned a page in the paper he was reading.
She had the strangest feeling that he was watching her.