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As he listened to the second phone call from his mother, Greg Jenkins noted the increased tremor in her voice.

“Samantha still hasn’t arrived. And she’s still not answering her phone. I’m so worried. Should I call the hospitals? What—”

“Whoa. Slow down, Mum. Don’t stress out. Remember what the doctor said. Don’t worry about Sam. We all know how bad she is with time. She’d be late for her own funeral.” Greg laughed, hoping to ease his mother’s tension.

“Yes, but—”

“Please, Mum, I’m sure you’re worrying unnecessarily. Sam has—”

“Gregory, dear, I wish you wouldn’t call her that. Sam’s a boy’s name.”

“Okay, Mum.” He started again, using the name Sam herself loathed. “Samantha’s a big girl now. I’m sure she’s all right, but just to put your mind at rest I’ll go and check on her. She’s probably so wrapped up in her new man she’s forgotten she was supposed to visit you this weekend.” He laughed again.

“What new man?” The pitch of her voice rose.

Greg could almost see her gripping the phone in both hands as she waited for her eldest child to answer. Silently berating himself for opening his big mouth, he wrestled with what he could say without digging himself into a bigger hole.

“Gregory?”

“Sorry, Mum, there’s someone at the door. I’ll have to go, but I promise I’ll get Sam… Samantha to phone you as soon as I can. Now don’t get all worked up. There’s nothing to worry about, you’ll see. Bye, Mum.”

He hung up, sucked in a deep breath and slowly released it. There was no one at the door but at short notice, it was the only thing he could think of to get out of what would’ve been the inevitable interrogation. His sister needed her butt kicked for letting down their mother like that. Sam, of all people, knew how over-protective their mother was, more so since Sam divorced her no-hoper of a husband and moved to Melbourne.

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