He stood in the shadows, watching and waiting to see how things turned out.
She was joking and apparently in good spirits, but he could sense her fear.
He knew her so well.
It was different this time and he knew he had to be there for her.
The professionals were excellent, putting her mind at rest.
She listened attentively, asked questions and let them do what had to be done without making a fuss. He was so proud.
Left alone, he spied the first tear, but kept to the shadows, not wanting to scare her.
Her face was pale and she felt sick, so she asked for a glass of water. It was cooling on her lips and soothed her throat.
She lay her head back, but the angle was uncomfortable, as was turning on her side, or shuffling up the bed.
She sipped her water, closed her eyes, then popped them open again, trying to focus.
He stepped back, unsure if she had seen him.
Later, she was moved upstairs to another waiting area. He silently followed.
She was eventually called and staggered into the consulting room.
He listened and waited, continually watching.
Back in the waiting room, she sat and rested her head on her hand, propping her elbow on the arm rest to keep it elevated.
Twice she asked for more water, but her colour was returning.
She slept, in and out of dreams, all the while him keeping watch and waiting.
Hours passed until she was called again. This time, she was more steady on her feet, more coherent, more aware of her surroundings.
He felt the crisis had passed and knew he was no longer needed.
She sat and stared at the spot where he was standing. Her smile said it all.
She knew he was there, and that they would meet again when her true time came.
But not yet.
She slept, dreams of her Dad, the man she saw in the shadows keeping vigil.