Chapter Two Thousand Ninety-Four
4th October 1971
Getting pulled out of class by Kat had been a novelty at first, that was until Sophie had discovered that she really did have a doctor’s appointment. What followed was unexpected, as she was introduced to a new term, Medical Specialist and learned that she had seen one several times in the past, one that specialized in caring for children. Now though, she seemed to have outgrown that this time. What that involved was meeting one of the strangest adults who Sophie had ever met. She was an older woman in a white lab coat with a serious demeanor who had her grey hair pulled back into a tight bun. She strangely seemed to know almost everything about Sophie before she even walked into the room.
“We are here today so that I can get to know you Sophie and get a general picture of your health” The woman who identified herself as Doctor Nora Berg said. “Your foster mother is a very influential woman who happens to have the one who donated the land this building sits on to the University, so the hospital thinks that all of us will be well served if I help her and by extension you.”
Sophie gave her an apprehensive look.
“Even the Prefect of a major city can feel that she is out of her depth when she is worried about a child in her care” Berg said, “She has seen how early neglect can lead to serious problems later like cardiac issues and another one of her other girls having fragile bones. Katherine also overheard two of her former wards talking about how she can be a bit intense over certain issues and wanted someone more objective to help.”
“With what?” Sophie asked.
Berg smiled and Sophie could see that she was thinking about how to answer that question.
“Katherine said you are a bit apprehensive about what the future holds” Berg replied as she placed a thermometer into Sophie’s mouth. “My hope is that we can put your mind at somewhat ease.”
Sophie sat there thinking until Berg took the thermometer from her mouth and wrote the result down on a form that she was filling out. Next came drawing blood, which Berg walked her though. She had endured far worse in the past. Watching as Berg continued to fill out the forms.
Sophie understood that she had said a lot of things to the people around her, Kat, and Ziska mostly. Apparently, Kat had listened. Ziska though, Sophie could only speculate about what was going on with her friend, it felt like there was this sudden divide between them that hadn’t been there before. As much as she was apprehensive about the future, as Berg had put it, the thought of being left behind was actually worse.
“What comes next is that I will continue the examination and that because of your age I will keep it minimally invasive” Berg said, “Katherine told me a great deal about your past Sophie, so if anything makes you feel in the least bit uncomfortable, I will stop immediately. Do you have any questions?”
Sophie thought about that as she felt Doctor Berg open the medical gown that she was wearing, and a cold stethoscope was pressed against her back.
“I need you to take a deep breath for me” Berg said, and Sophie complied before the stethoscope shifted around, “And another.”
The stethoscope was withdrawn, and Berg put a blood pressure cuff around her arm and started pumping it until it became tourniquet tight. It was then as Berg relieved the air pressure, watching the gauge, she wrote down some numbers on the page.
“You said that some of the others have had problems?” Sophie asked, “What about me?”
Berg looked at her for a minute before replying. “We will get a better picture after we get the results of the tests back.”
“When did you learn about Aunt Ilse’s heart problem?” Sophie asked, “She is the one you mentioned who has cardiac issues.”
“Katherine warned me about how you are an extremely smart girl” Berg replied, “And as unfortunate as it might be, Medical Science is not perfect. Some problems need the right circumstances to present themselves. Ilse’s pregnancy put a lot a strain on her heart, and she suffered cardiac arrest as her son was being born. There is a reason why Nikolaus is an only child.”
“Albrecht and Ilse have Ingrid” Sophie said, “She had to be followed around the house to keep her from getting into things.”
“It is wonderful how they opened their home to that child” Berg said, “But Ilse knows that an additional pregnancy would likely end her.”
Sophie paused for a moment. No one had told her any of that. She had just assumed…
“I would say that if you eat right, get exercise, and avoid as many of the stressful situations that Katherine seems to thrive in as you can” Berg said, “Then you should be fine.”
That was when a question occurred to Sophie that was incredibly obvious.
“The periods, when does that start?” Sophie asked.
“I take it that you are still waiting?” Berg asked in reply.
“Yes” Sophie said unsure if she had just said too much.
“It could be tomorrow or a year from now” Berg said with a smile, “Katherine is quite concerned as to how you will take it when that happens. Part of her hope is that you’re seeing me here today would help you not be scared.”
“What if it never does?” Sophie asked, “What if I am some sort of freak?”
“That does happen” Berg replied, “That is rather uncommon, and we would have seen signs of that already.”
“Are you sure?”
“I know a simple test” Berg replied, “Just close your eyes.”
Reluctantly, Sophie did that.
“Now picture the face of the one who you fancy” Berg said.
A face immediately came to mind, totally unbidden.
“Sorry” Sophie replied, “I don’t fancy anyone.”
Even as she said that, Sophie was aware of how her cheeks felt like they were burning. Her blushing just gave her away.
“Just an observation Sophie” Berg said, “I think that you are a perfectly normal young woman.”