Suffer Little Children
“Morning.” Robin settled into the chair opposite Gloria’s as a waitress approached. “Just coffee, please.”
Gloria set down her cup. “So?”
Getting right down to business then. Robin braced herself. So much the better.
“I’ve kept my part of our bargain,” Gloria announced.
“Bargain?” Robin’s eyebrows shot up.
“I spoke to Vanessa about the therapy. I managed to be quite convincing. You see, she posted a rant on Facebook yesterday after Amber defaced a library book.” Gloria shrugged. “I seized the opportunity.”
A bitter taste filled Robin’s mouth. Trashed library books, trashed kids on social media. She should be happy Gloria took advantage of the situation, but she wished Ben had persuaded Vanessa.
The woman’s dark eyes fixed on her. “Now, what about your part?”
Robin bristled. She’d made no promises. The waitress appeared with her coffee. Robin didn’t intend to stay long enough to drink it.
“I made a few inquiries yesterday,” she told Gloria. “Formally and informally. I found no new information about Pediatric MATCH. It’s still slated to launch sometime next year.” Robin took a breath. There, I said it. “I’m sorry.”
Gloria shook her head. “Not good enough.”
Robin sat upright. “What?”
“That’s not soon enough. My son’s life is at stake.” Gloria’s eyes bored into Robin’s. “You have kids?”
“A son in college.” Robin didn’t like bringing Sean into the conversation.
“Suppose it were him?” Gloria kept her voice low, and Robin had to lean forward to hear. “What would you do to save him?”
The same question Robin had asked herself yesterday. Anything.
“Or one of Ben’s kids,” Gloria continued without waiting for Robin’s reply. “But that would be different, wouldn’t it?” Her lips twisted in a mocking smile. “Convenient, even.”
Robin sat up and pushed aside her coffee. “I have to go. I’m due at the wrap-up session.” Reminding herself that the unnerving woman had a dying child, she added, “Gloria, if I were in your shoes, I’d be as desperate as you are. Medical research doesn’t always follow the timetable we want, but MATCH will move ahead, and when it expands to include children, it will be safer, on more solid ground.” She hoped she sounded as clear as Will had last night, but either way, she would end the discussion. “I promise I’ll keep my ears open and let you know of any developments.” She pushed her chair back from the table.
“You’ll do more than that, Robin. You’re a very responsible person. I’m counting on you.”
Robin stood, her chair rattling. “Goodbye, Gloria.”
“I’ll be eager to hear what you come up with.” Gloria’s smile widened, revealing her white teeth. “I’ll be in touch.”