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168 32 ~ Emily I couldn’t stop thinking about hives. Sitting at the kitchen table, in the eye of Zoe and Anna’s stormy argument about the birthday party and balloons and life’s not fair, my mind was stuck fast on hives. I hadn’t actually seen Pippa’s hives, but I could picture them. After her shower, they blossomed like mutant scarlet cauliflower on her ankle, itching fiercely. Once she slipped a sock next to her skin, they slowly faded. When Anna explained to Zoe about balloons and latex allergy and anaphylaxis, when Zoe wept about missing the first birthday party she had ever been invited to outside of her family, that’s when I knew how to outsmart Pippa’s house arrest. So it barely registered when Anna dragged our wailing child from the kitchen and carried her to her bedroom, promising that they would do something special on Saturday, just the two of them. I barely noticed the swish and clunk of Sam washing the dishes. I even forgot that I hadn’t actually come to a decision yet about whether or not to help Pippa. I forgot all my promises. To Nan and Gina, to maintain a professional distance with Pippa Glenning and her oddly shaped family. To Anna, to think long and hard about actions that might be right, but had consequences I had never been willing to consider, had never wanted to face. To my other patients, to give them the care they needed, before someone else had a relapse. I forgot that Sam had backed out on trying to help Pippa escape house arrest. Regretfully, he said, because he really liked Pippa. But it was just too dangerous. I even forgot about Zoe, who would dearly miss me if I weren’t around. “You okay?” Sam held a dishtowel and an upside down glass, which dribbled rinse water in a splotchy zigzag down the front of his jeans. “I’m fine, but you’re leaking.” I pointed at his pants. “When Anna comes back, would you tell her I’m going out? Ellen Meeropol ~ 169 “Out where?” I hesitated a moment. “To see Pippa.” “You’re not going to . . .” “This is none of your business.” “I’m the guy who tried to help, remember? I’m on your side. I like Pippa.” “Sorry, Sam. Just tell Anna, okay?” Sam nodded. “Okay. I was wondering though. I can’t imagine where in the park they can find a place that is private enough, remote enough, for their ceremonies.” I scrutinized his face, but it was relaxed and open. He’d never find their sacred dingle. I didn’t think I could find it again, by myself. Still, better not say too much. “I don’t know exactly where it was. There were rhododendrons.” The car stalled twice in the icy night. How would Pippa react when I showed up? I had never been there in the evening, when her family was home. I had never ever visited a patient without an appointment. But I was certain about what I was going to do. ...


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MARC Record
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