Chapter four - The brief, pretty confusing, slightly revealing, eight meeting.
Penny’s explanation had thrown Percy off. He had expected something slightly different, less serious. Penny was dying, had been dying for a while now, and she never told him. He could have helped her; he could have been at her doctor’s appointments or he could have babysat Molly and Lucy so Penny could rest for a moment. But he also knew, and understood, why she never said anything. Penny had always been strong, had fought for everything she had, and she never asked for the help of another. However, now Percy only had one more month with Penny, at least according to the doctors estimates. Only about a month left and then Penny would most likely be dead. It also meant Percy would have Molly and Lucy under his care in less than a month. Babysitting was one thing, but actually taking care of them on his own and not being able to give them back to Penny afterwards, was something else entirely.
Percy had spent the remainder of the Saturday discussing Penny’s wishes concerning her children. Penny had also given Percy a list of how she wanted her funeral. He hadn’t dared look at it just yet, he would do that when he was ready. And he certainly wasn’t ready right now. He had only just found out about her terminal illness. He wasn’t ready to lose her just yet, they were both still so young and yet, she was dying and he couldn’t help her, he couldn’t save her. Percy had never felt any more useless.
Percy had noticed that while he and Penny were discussing everything, Oliver kept looking at them every so often. Percy had a feeling it might be because Oliver had noticed the atmosphere around them. Oliver might have just picked up the fact that the news wasn’t good, at all.
It also explained why he hesitated in front of the door of ‘Wood’s Coffee’. Could he enter the place where he got such horrible news? He knew that if he didn’t enter the shop he would have to search for a new coffee place and there was another thing; he knew he would be avoiding the issue, an issue that couldn’t be avoided. He couldn't do anything for Penny than be there for her, so not going into 'Wood's Coffee' was avoiding the issue. Percy took a deep breath and pushed the door open.
Percy was greeted with the smell of coffee and freshly baked muffins. It made him smile, even if it was just a small smile, but that smile disappeared when he saw the booth he had been seated in with Penny when she gave him the news. Percy sighed and walked up to the register, surprised to see that there were no other costumers. Oliver was walking out of the kitchen at that moment and smiled brightly at Percy.
“Percy, good morning. One regular take-away coffee, coming up.” Oliver winked at him and Percy smiled, feeling relieved. Oliver didn’t treat him differently because he overheard something. Percy should have expected that as Oliver wasn’t fazed by the fact that Percy was homosexual. “So, how did the conversation with your friend go? I hope it wasn’t too bad. Although you don’t have to tell me, of course.” Oliver didn’t look up while he was preparing Percy’s coffee.
“No, I suppose I can tell you. Penny told me she’s terminally ill. She - she has only one more month to live and I – I just don’t know what to do to help her. But I probably shouldn’t bother you with this.” Percy smiled weakly and grabbed the coffee that was given to him by Oliver.
“No, it’s alright. I might not know you all too well, but you’re always welcome to tell me whatever’s on your mind. Besides, Lee likes you and that’s a pretty good indication as to your likeability. And I’m terribly sorry to hear that, Percy. I hope you have a lovely last month with your friend, Penny, I really hope that’s the case. Good luck, Percy, and have a nice day. Enjoy your coffee!”
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