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"So?  What's the word?" Marlena asked as Bo escorted Kim into the house.  Behind her, Caroline, Jeannie and Andrew were waiting expectantly for the answer.

"What do you think?" Bo said.  "We're talking about my blood here."

Kim shook her head.  "The doctor said he has enough cells for the surgery.  So tomorrow it is."  Marlena could detect that Kim was nervous, but it was probably a good thing the transplant would be so soon.  Otherwise, Kim would probably spend all of her time getting worked up about everything that might go wrong.

"That's great, Mom," Jeannie said.

Kim took a deep breath.  "I guess it is."

"Oh, Kimmie."  Caroline stepped forward and gave Kim a hug.  "It's wonderful.  I just know it's all going to turn out fine.  You're going to get better."

"Thanks, Mama," Kim said.  She glanced around and looked at Jeannie.  "Hey, where's Shivaughn?"

Jeannie laughed slightly and looked at Andrew, who blushed.  After a moment, he said, "I think she's lying down.  She spent five hours before she finally managed to stand up on the surfboard and--"

"And she can barely move now, thanks to Andy."  Jeannie finished the sentence for him.

"Hey, don't blame me," Andrew said.  "She's the one who bleedin' refused to give up."

Kim glanced at Bo.  "You sure there's not some unknown line of Bradys living in the deep South?  She sure sounds like she'd fit in."

"Don't ask me," Bo said.  "I've never been to Mississippi.  New Orleans, yes, but not Mississippi."

Marlena stepped forward.  "You look like you're tired.  How about we go upstairs and you can tell me what to pack for the hospital?"

"I guess we'd better do that.  Doc says I'll be there at least two weeks."  Kim let Marlena take her arm and they climbed the stairs, while Andrew and Jeannie continued their debate below.  "Did I say it was nice having the kids here?" Kim joked.

"I know you love it," Marlena replied as they reached Kim's room.  "But you look pretty exhausted."

Kim smiled.  "It's amazing how tired you can get just sitting and talking, but I'm glad I could spend some time with Bo."  She sat down on the bed, while Marlena began opening drawers.  She pulled out the clothes that Kim pointed out, and pretty soon had a good-sized pile to fit into Kim's suitcase.  Once the clothes were packed, Marlena sat down on the edge of the bed next to Kim.

"I can tell you're worried," Marlena said.

"It's kind of hard not to be.  Who knows what will happen tomorrow?  Maybe something goes wrong during the surgery.  Or maybe the transplant doesn't work."

"Or maybe it does work."  Marlena rolled her eyes.  "Try to be positive."

"I know," Kim said.  "It's just hard not to worry.  I think about Andrew and Jeannie--"

"And yourself," Marlena added.  "It's okay to worry about yourself, Kim."

Kim sighed and nodded slightly.  "I guess you're right.  Mainly, I've always worried about other people.  When it came to me, it never seemed important enough."

Marlena smiled.  "Well . . . you're important enough, and everyone downstairs feels that way.  We wouldn't be here if we didn't."

"Have I mentioned how much I appreciate your being here?" Kim asked.

"Not for a couple of days."

"Then I'm going to say it today -- and every day for the next few weeks."  Kim fell silent for a moment.  "You've always been a great friend.  From the first days I came home from Europe, you've always been there for me."

Marlena remembered when Kim had returned to Salem.  At first, she was so alienated from her family.  It was only later that Marlena learned it was because Kim had been abused and that she was trying to hide her past as a call girl.  Marlena was one of the first people Kim told about that past, and it had helped form the bond that continued even now.  And Marlena had called on Kim plenty of times for help, such as when she thought Roman had died and when she lost her memory of the time when everyone thought she was dead.  Marlena smiled.  "I seem to recall you returning the favor plenty of times.  Now why don't you lie down and I'll get you a bite to eat.  You can still eat?"

Kim nodded.  "I've got another hour or two before I can't."

"Good.  I think Caroline's spent all day in the kitchen preparing enough food to feed an army."

"Andrew will appreciate that," Kim joked.  At the mention of Andrew, Marlena hesitated slightly.  Kim must have noticed something.  "What?  Is there something wrong with Andrew?"

"No," Marlena lied.  She had promised John she would not mention Andrew's ISA connections to Kim, but it was hard for her.  Ever since the incident with Phillip, Marlena had been troubled by Andrew's behavior.  It wasn't really anything that Andrew had done since then.  In fact, for all intents and purposes, Andrew had been perfectly fine -- like he had never nearly killed Phillip at all.  And now he was he was getting close to Jeannie's friend.  Marlena just could not set aside her worries.  Andrew's type of behavior could not be bottled up and isolated like he seemed to think.

"Marlena?"  Kim's eyes narrowed.  "Is there something I should know?"

"No, of course not.  Everything's fine."  Marlena smiled.  "Let me go fix you a plate.  I'll be back in a few minutes."