“To be completely honest with you, Hannah and I got married recently,” Fabian confessed. He remained watchful, however, of the Youngs’ facial expressions. His revelation had, unsurprisingly, provoked looks of displeasure on their faces.
It was Jason who had the most exaggerated reaction. Jason had settled down on the sofa next to Fabian with a glass of water in hand. He had just taken a sip when Fabian delivered the news. The resulting spray from Jason’s mouth doused the entire sofa as he reeled in shock from the news.
Good god! It can’t be… can it? Fabian, isn’t that rather outrageous, even for you? How could you and Hannah get married behind her own parents’ backs? And for you to deliver the news so coolly to them! Incredible! Simply incredible! Jason gaped at Fabian in disbelief.
The Youngs stared at Fabian as if in a daze. Hendrick’s grip on his glass of water had tightened so much his knuckles had turned white. Of the manifold possibilities that had presented themselves to Hendrick, Hannah’s marriage to Fabian had not been amongst them.
“When did this happen?” Hendrick said roughly. His face had turned a dark shade of purple, and his voice quivered with barely suppressed rage.
“Approximately two months ago,” Fabian replied, still very much at ease.
“Why didn’t you tell us then?” Hendrick demanded. It took almost every ounce of his self-control to remain civil towards this young man before him. Even though it was no secret that Hannah wasn’t his own flesh and blood, Hendrick nonetheless cared for her as his own.
If this fellow dares bully my daughter, I’ll never forgive him! So what if he’s a big shot in his company? I’m not afraid of him! Hendrick thought defiantly.
“It had to be done urgently,” Fabian replied, with a glimmer of resignation in his eyes.
“Did Hannah tell either of you when we began dating?” Fabian enquired, fixing his gaze on Hendrick.
Hendrick shook his head. He gestured for Fabian to continue, daring Fabian to produce a satisfying explanation.
“All right. I think Hannah hasn’t told the two of you about her surgery either, I suppose,” Fabian continued evenly.
“What surgery?” Hendrick asked. Each statement of Fabian’s seemed to further confound rather than enlighten them.
“I thought so,” Fabian muttered to himself. He turned to his briefcase and fished out a stack of documents, which he then handed over to Hendrick.
“Two months before we got married, Hannah’s classmate Matilda got into an accident and was sent to the ER. Matilda was in urgent need of a transfusion, but the blood bank was out of her blood type. Matilda’s husband contacted Hannah, knowing that Matilda and Hannah shared the same blood type. He pleaded with Hannah to save Matilda. Hannah couldn’t turn down such a request, of course. However, Matilda had already lost too much blood. A second donor couldn’t be found within such short notice, so Hannah bravely volunteered. After Hannah had donated half a quart of blood, she turned as white as a sheet. Fearful of the risk to Hannah’s life, I begged her not to continue. Hannah, however, obstinately insisted on carrying on with the blood transfusion and donating the entire quart of blood as was required,” Fabian said.
He paused to take a deep breath as if summoning all his strength to continue with the rest of his tale. Meeting the Youngs’ gazes levelly, Fabian continued, “The doctor was concerned about who would take responsibility if the worst somehow happened to Hannah and asked for consent from her family members. Hannah didn’t want to worry you both and was afraid that you’d disapprove anyway. We thus immediately signed marriage papers there and then, and I gave consent to the blood transfusion. That’s also the reason why I opposed Hannah’s bone marrow transplant. It’s also why I opted for a switch in hospitals.”
Fabian concluded his lengthy speech with a huge sigh, looking rather deflated. He felt a wave of relief, frustration, and despair crash over him all at once.
Jason, meanwhile, was incredulous. Good Heavens! Who would’ve thought that Fabian and Hannah would have had such an incredible backstory to their relationship? If I ever meet my future wife under circumstances half as exciting as this, I’d be bragging about it all the time!
The Youngs looked shell-shocked. Hendrick stretched out a shaky hand to receive the documents from Fabian and peered at them. The date, the hospital’s letterhead, as well as Fabian’s signature were all there exactly as he had said.