Thanks for the Memories A Novel Chapter One "Blood transfusion," Dr. Fields announces from the podium of a lecture hall in Trinity College's Arts Building, "is the process of transferring blood or blood-based products from one person into the circulatory system of another. Blood transfusions may treat medical conditions such as massive blood loss due to trauma, surgery, shock, and where the red-cell-producing mechanism fails. "Here are the facts. Three thousand donations are needed in Ireland every week. Only three percent of the Irish population are donors, providing blood for a population of almost four million. One in four people will need a transfusion at some point. Take a look around the room now." Five hundred heads turn left, right, and around. Uncomfortable sniggers break the silence. Dr. Fields elevates her voice over the disruption. "At least one hundred and fifty people in this room will need a blood transfusion at some stage in their lives." That silences them. A hand is raised. "Yes?" "How much blood does a patient need?" "How long is a piece of string, dumb-ass?" a voice from the back mocks, and a scrunched ball of paper flies at the head of the young male inquirer. "It's a very good question." She frowns into the darkness, unable to see the students through the light of the projector. "Who asked that?" "Mr. Dover," someone calls from the other side of the room. "I'm sure Mr. Dover can answer for himself. What's your first name?" "Ben," he responds, sounding dejected. Laughter erupts. Dr. Fields sighs. "Ben, thank you for your question--and to the rest of you, there is no such thing as a stupid question. This is what Blood for Life Week is all about. It's about asking all the questions you want, learning all you need to know about blood transfusions before you possibly donate today, tomorrow, the remaining days of this week on campus, or maybe regularly in your future." The main door opens, and light streams into the dark lecture hall. Justin Hitchcock enters, the concentration on his face illuminated by the white light of the projector. Under one arm are multiple piles of folders, each one slipping by the second. A knee shoots up to hoist them back in place. His right hand carries both an overstuffed briefcase and a dangerously balanced Styrofoam cup of coffee. He slowly lowers his hovering foot down to the floor, as though performing a tai chi move, and a relieved smile creeps onto his face as calm is restored. Somebody sniggers, and the balancing act is once again compromised. Hold it, Justin. Move your eyes away from the cup and assess the situation. Woman on podium, five hundred kids. All staring at you. Say something. Something intelligent. "I'm confused," he announces to the darkness, behind which he senses some sort of life-form. There are twitters in the room, and he feels all eyes on him as he moves back toward the door to check the number. Don't spill the coffee. Don't spill the damn coffee. He opens the door, allowing shafts of light to sneak in again, and the students in its line shade their eyes. Twitter, twitter, nothing funnier than a lost man. Laden down with items, he manages to hold the door open with his leg. He looks back to the number on the outside of the door and then back to his sheet, the sheet that, if he doesn't grab it that very second, will float to the ground. He makes a move to grab it. Wrong hand. Styrofoam cup of coffee falls to the ground. Closely followed by sheet of paper. Damn it! There they go again, twitter, twitter. Nothing funnier than a lost man who has spilled his coffee and dropped his schedule. "Can I help you?" The lecturer steps down from the podium. Justin brings his entire body back into the classroom, and darkness resumes. "Well, it says here . . . well, it said there"--he nods his head toward the sodden sheet on the ground--"that I have a class here now." "Enrollment for international students is in the exam hall." He frowns. "No, I--" "I'm sorry." She comes closer. "I thought I heard an American accent." She picks up the Styrofoam cup and throws it into the bin, over which a sign reads "No Drinks Allowed." "Ah . . . oh . . . sorry about that." "Graduate students are next door." She adds in a whisper, "Trust me, you don't want to join this class." Justin clears his throat and corrects his posture, tucking the folders tighter under his arm. "Actually, I'm lecturing the History of Art and Architecture class." "You're lecturing?" "Guest lecturing. Believe it or not." He blows his hair up from his sticky forehead. A haircut, remember to get a haircut. There they go again, twitter, twitter. A lost lecturer who's spilled his coffee, dropped his schedule, is about to lose his folders, and needs a haircut. Definitely nothing funnier. "Professor Hitchcock?" "That's me." He feels the folders slipping from under his arm. "Oh, I'm so sorry," she whispers. "I didn't know . . ." She catches a folder for him. "I'm Dr. Sarah Fields from the IBTS. The faculty told me that I could have a half hour with the students before your lecture, your permission pending, of course." "Oh, well, nobody informed me of that, but that's no problemo." Problemo? He shakes his head at himself and makes for the door. Starbucks, here I come. "Professor Hitchcock?" He stops at the door. "Yes." "Would you like to join us?" I most certainly would not. There's a cappuccino and cinnamon muffin with my name on them. No. Just say no. "Um . . . nn-es." Nes? "I mean yes." Twitter, twitter, twitter. Lecturer caught out. Forced into doing something he clearly didn't want to do by attractive young woman in white coat claiming to be a doctor of an unfamiliar initialized organization. "Great. Welcome." She places the folders back under his arm and returns to the podium to address the students. Thanks for the Memories A Novel . Copyright Â© by Cecelia Ahern . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern, Cecelia Ahern All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.