Chapter 1- My body
“Mia, Mr. Polanski confirmed on the phone, I can come with you tonight at the club,” My friend Rizza told me on the line.
I heaved an intense breath, “Okay, thank you, girl. I shall message you tonight. I needed to go to the hospital first.” I answered back, looking at the clothes I was folding before Rizza called.
“Perfect, see you and… you got to think twice babe… but no matter what…I love you,” she said before hanging up the call.
I dropped the shirt that I was holding before sitting down on the bed. Heaving another deep breath, I closed my eyes. ‘you got to think twice, babe,’ those words rang in my head.
I got to think twice. I was about to entangle myself in a mess. It wasn’t that I wanted, but I had to. Life was on the line if I didn’t do this. My friend Rizza suggested borrowing money from Mr. Polanski, a well-known underground club owner here in California.
He owned about twenty party clubs that weren’t just ordinary clubs but people in different social classes and society patronized. He was rumored running a prostitution den, but no one could actually prove it.
A not-so-old man in his fifties who came from a European race was involved in a secretive mob group in West Los Angeles, but apparently, the latter was another rumor.
The money that I would be needed was for my older sister Jennifer, who was recently diagnosed with Kidney or renal failure. Jen was my life. It was only her and me in this world. No mom that we knew of and just a dad who died in a horrific accident five years ago when I was fifteen and Jen was eighteen.
Jen had been staying in the hospital for the last two months, luckily she had health insurance, but It wasn’t enough. The doctor said she needed a kidney transplant as soon as possible. Her health coverage didn’t approve to pay for the operation for some absurd reason, which meant we have to produce money amounting to 300,000 US dollars.
We have no resources or funds for that enormous amount of money. Jen was a freelance columnist and part-time editor at one of the publishing houses in the city. And me? I was a struggling actress, been doing extra or cameo roles in some television series in Hollywood.
My friend Rizza introduced me to one of the staff and crew working in television when I was a teenager. I’ve been doing it for three years since I finished High school. I opted to enter acting school to enhance my skills in front and behind the camera. I hadn’t landed any prominent roles, just small ones enough for me to earn a few hundred dollars in a day’s work.
Although I was becoming a part of the acting group and went to production school, I mainly wanted to be a part of behind the scene production. My main job on the production set was as a wardrobe assistant and part-time makeup artist. It was the nearest job I got after spending my ass for two years in drama school.
‘Ding’ I heard my phone ring, sending me back to reality. I looked at my phone. It was from Rizza.
Babe, fifty-grand was too much, Mr. Polanski told me, but he said he could make some arrangements for you… I know you are aware of what It meant”
I clutched my old iPhone tightly. My eyes glistened. I was going to loan about fifty grand for Jen’s operation. The hospital agreed to a down payment of the total cost of her surgery. I had no choice but to agree with what Mr. Polanski meant possibly.
I typed, ‘Okay, thank you. I shall see you soon,’ and sent it right away. There’s no turning back. It was about Jen’s life versus my life. Jen was my life. If she didn’t make it, I would be nothing. Jen was my support after our Father died. She worked her ass for me to send to the school. She did everything for me, and I will do anything for her.
I checked my time, and It’s already half-past one. It’s Saturday, and I could see the sun from my room’s window was bright and shining outside. I stood up and continued packing the shirts and clothes that I would bring to the hospital.
Once I was done, I prepped myself up and organized the clothes that I would need tonight.
Jen was lying in her hospital bed, and her eyes were closed, but I knew she wasn’t sleeping. I arrived about five minutes ago and just watched her silently. Her pale skin, like mine, was paler and yellowish. The same shade of dark hair that we shared was getting lesser and dry. I couldn’t help but feel blue seeing her in that condition. She was energetic and healthier, but too much dedication to her work costed her health.
“Hey…” I whispered, brushing Jen’s arm. Jen stirred up, and her eyes widen soon as she saw me.
“Oh, Hi, my baby,” she mumbled, trying to get up and give me a hug.
“Careful,” I said as I help her to sit on her bed. She then hugged me, and I hugged her tightly.
Her Dialysis treatment was keeping her alive and well. She could actually go home and visit the hospital for her treatment, but since I was working full time, I couldn’t take the risk of leaving her alone at home.
“Jamie is outside to get some coffee. Did you see him?” Jen said.
Jamie was our childhood friend and Jen’s boyfriend for eight long years. They were teenage lovers since seventeen. He was such a nice guy, and he loved my sister so much that I treated him as my older brother.
“No, I didn’t, but I brought his newly washed clothes. All his office and casual clothes are on that bag,” I told Jen, pointing at the big bag on the couch.
“Thank you, love. He would be happy again to know that,” Jen said, smiling at me,
“Oh, I know. I am grateful for Jamie’s here with us.” I said as I arranged the flowers I bought for Jen at the table,
“Yes, without him, I’d be down and scared. I wished I would be healed soon. Jamie told me about the loan he was going to ask for from his company. I know how big the money we are needing, but I promise, once I am okay and healthy, I will do anything for you,” Jen said.
I smilingly looked at Jen, walking towards her before holding her hand.
“Don’t think anything about paying us back. You are not asking us for a favor. We are doing this to you because we love you. We will get over this, Yes?” I said, assuring her,
Jen looked at me in the eye, and her blue orbs glistened. “I love you, Mia Elisa,” she said,
My eyes gleamed in tears, knowing what I was about to embroil myself was for her to survive and give her another chance in life.
“I love you too, Jennifer Louise,” I said, hugging and kissing her forehead,
“I love you three!”
I heard said the voices coming from behind us. Jen and I both turned our heads and saw Jamie at the door holding two coffee cups and a paper bag,
“Hey, Mia belle!” Jamie greeted me.
He walked towards me and handed me a coffee. I smiled and took one cup before I hugged his six-foot-four inches’ tall, lean body back. I was looking small at my five-foot-five inches’ flat height.
I broke the hug, and Jamie walked around on the other side of Jen’s bed, giving her a peck on the lips.
“I saw you at the entrance carrying a massive bag, so I thought of buying your favorite caramel macchiato from Starbucks,” he said, “And I brought your fresh cranberry juice,” he added, looking at Jen.
“Thank you, honey,” Jen said, taking out the pressed juice from the bag.
“So, how is your new television series going?” Jamie asked, looking at me.
It was a new cameo in a popular TV series.
I giggled, “It was good. I died peacefully on the scene.”
It was an act for two episodes as the mistress of the protagonists killed brutally in the scene. I suffered real bruises and scratches from that terrible scene. The director enjoyed and was satisfied with my acting, though. Fortunate I was, I earned a few hundred dollars from them.
Jamie and Jen chuckled. They knew me.
“I so want to watch that, Mia. Although it was only acting, it would pain me still,” Jen declared, sipping her juice.
“Oh, God, please don’t watch it then, Jen,” I said worriedly.
Jen looked at me, “I’m just pulling out your leg, of course, I want to see how my little sister’s acting, finally not just a passerby or a waitress,”
“I would love to see that too,” Jamie agreed, drinking his ice coffee.
“Whatever, guys, You would see how bad it was,” I said as I ate the leftover apple.
“Oh, Mia, do you have any plans tonight?” Jamie asked me.
I was taken aback by his questions. I do. ‘I do have a big plan tonight, and you won’t like it,’ I inwardly said.
“Yeah, I heard from Rizza there was a club opening tonight, and I wanted to part-time. It’s going to be busy, and they needed an extra hand. I am after the tips since it a high-class party bar” I half told the truth. The bar was opening, but I wasn’t going to work as a waitress. I will sell myself for Jen.
Jen glared at me. “You okay with that? You’ve been working a lot lately. It would be best if you rest,” she said worriedly.
“I’m fine, Jen, I…I’ll be okay. We need to save funds for your new kidneys. How I wish I am a compatible donor, I would’ve given one of my pairs to you,” I said.
Jamie, his brother Jay and I tested as prospective kidney donors, but we weren’t compatible with Jen’s blood type and tissue. Although the chance was big to get someone for her, the money was needed to prosper the operation.
“I know, young lady, I just want you to know that you’re human too, don’t follow what I did, forgetting my own body, and now I am facing the consequences,” Jen said sadly. She still blamed herself for what happened.
“I will, old lady,” I teasingly said, “I will care and be responsible for my own body.” I sadly added.