The next few weeks went by at the blink of an eye.
Eric and I were better than ever and Layla was still my number one best friend. We felt like we ruled the school, in a way. Every day as we walked the halls, all the other students just gazed at us, wondering where the three of us came from.
Of course, I had been going to that school for a while now, it’s just that nobody seemed to notice me until I started spending time with Eric and Layla. I didn’t care though. I’m so happy to finally feel like I belong somewhere, and that people other than my mom and brother care about me.
Can you keep a secret?
I’ve spent the night at Layla and Eric’s house probably every other weekend, and well, I’ve never used the guest room. Or Layla’s room, for that matter.
Insert seductive wink.
I know what you’re thinking, but let’s keep our minds out of the gutter. Nothing had happened past kissing and cuddling. I never knew how wonderful it could feel to sleep beside someone and feel their warmth as it consumes your entire body throughout the night. His arms were never gone from my waist and his breath was always slightly beating against my neck. Whenever he presses me against his chest, I would feel his heartbeat, and it was the most amazing way to fall asleep.
I had never met someone before in my entire life, who understood me the way that Eric Daines had. Well, besides Layla of course.
Layla and I had also grown closer. We tell each other everything and we’re always together, apart from my alone time with Eric. I try my best to include them both in my lives as much as possible, so the other doesn’t feel left out. It’s a hard task, but so worth it. These two have changed my life in ways I could never repay. Without them, I would be nothing still.
I never want to feel like nothing ever again.
“Babe, I told you, I don’t eat tomatoes.” Eric said as he scrunched his nose upward in disgust.
Grocery shopping with your boyfriend was definitely an adventure. Rachel gave us a list and told us to be back at their place in an hour. I love my relationship with his mom. She reminds me so much of my own mom that it’s almost scary.
“You’re so picky, Daines!” I rolled my eyes. I put the tomatoes in the cart anyway, because they were on his mother’s list. I wasn’t about to get yelled at for my boyfriend, no matter how cute he was.
“Ah, but that’s one of the many reasons why you like me so much, Collins.” He batted his eyes girlishly, and skipped to the next aisle.
Sigh, I do like him that much.
In fact, I may even lo-, wait, what am I saying?
“Do you really need a forty pack of Welch’s gummies?” I glared slightly as he tossed them into the cart with a huge smile on his face, nodding excessively.
“I swear, sometimes you’re such a child.” I laughed as he kissed my forehead in return.
“Wanna put me in time out later?” He wiggled his eyebrows and winked, causing my face to turn slightly pink.
“Shut up, we’re in public!” I tried to say in a hushed tone. He knew I wasn’t big on PDA, and he always did whatever he could to purposely make me uncomfortable in public, playfully, of course. He wasn’t an asshole about it.
He’s so sweet, I know. Sarcasm.
“Relax, no one heard us. Take a chill pill.” He laughed, and I couldn’t help but burst with laughter myself in reference to my anxiety medication. He does take it seriously, but if we couldn’t laugh at our hardships, what could we laugh at? I liked to believe that keeping a little bit of laughter in a world full of hardship, could eventually result in a better place to live.
I’m still on my medication, but it’s actually gotten a little better. I haven’t taken it nearly as much as I used to, but I still kept it with me just for emergencies. I can thank Eric and Layla for that. Not only have they broken me out of my shell, but they’ve also given me a sense of confidence that I never even knew I had.
Layla took me to the hair salon one fine Saturday, and totally changed my look. I still had brown hair, but it was darker and more vibrant. I also got my hair cut in layers, with a little extra side-bang action. After that, she took me shopping with her and thanks to her wonderful father and his credit card, I basically got a completely new wardrobe. Of course, I didn’t let her pay for everything. It was Layla’s birthday and her dad let us go out and do whatever we wanted together. Sometimes, I’m very envious of her and her relationship with Larry. It must be nice to have a dad that does anything for you. I wouldn’t know what that’s like.
“Come on Daines, we have to get to the checkout line. Rachel will kill us if we’re late.” His mom was hosting a fancy dinner party later, and we had agreed to help out.
“You’re right, follow me.”
We zipped down the aisle and just as we were about to make the next turn, our cart smashed into someone else’s.
“Crap, I am so sor-“, but I couldn’t even finish my sentence. My eyes came face to face with his as I stopped dead in my tracks. Eric shot me a weird look, trying to figure out what was wrong, but my face was emotionless.
“Cecilia?” He stepped a foot closer, but I immediately took a step back. I yanked the car keys from Eric’s pocket and started walking out of the store as tears began to form in my eyes. Eric stood there shocked for a moment, and as I was making my way toward the exit, I just barely caught the start of their conversation.
“Who are you and how do you know her?” Eric asked who he thought was a stranger.
“I’m sorry for the trouble, I gotta go. Please, tell her I’m sorry.” With that, the man took his cart and stepped around Eric, making his way to the nearest checkout line.
Eric must’ve grabbed our cart and brought it to a separate line. He must’ve checked out quickly and hurried out to his car. He opened the trunk and placed all of the groceries inside, as I watched from the rear-view mirror.
Once he got inside the car, he looked over at me with worried eyes. I was leaning against the window with my hood up and my earbuds in. I told him to take me home, and then said nothing for the rest of the ride.
After he dropped me off, I walked inside and looked for Brody.
“Brody? Are you home?” He must’ve heard the shakiness in my voice as he came out of his bedroom.
In the last few weeks, we’ve somewhat started to get along. It still wasn’t how it used to be before, but we were slowly reaching that point again.
“What’s wrong Cecil?” He saw my face and instantly knew something was wrong. It took me a few seconds to catch my breath, but then I started feeling light headed. I tried to reach for my bag, but it was then that I realized I had left it in Eric’s car. I started to panic as I reached for my phone.
Brody could tell that I needed to take my medication, so he started looking through the kitchen to see if I had a spare bottle anywhere.
My breathing was getting worse and I started to feel my chest tighten. With shaky fingers, I tried to dial for Eric, but as soon as I hit the call button, everything went dark.
Brody ran out from the kitchen hearing the loud thud and screamed. He pulled out his phone, called “911”, not realizing my phone lying next to me with Eric frantically yelling.
After he hung up with the 911 operator, he finally saw my phone and picked it up.
“Brody! What happened? Where’s Cecilia? Is she okay?”
I was going in and out of consciousness, so I caught most of their conversation in my hazy state.
Brody informed him of what was happening and told Eric to meet us at the hospital. Next, he called our mom who told Brody to stay with me until we got to the hospital, and that she would make sure I was alright.
The ambulance arrived a few minutes later, and two paramedics darted inside our home. Brody was crying at this point, and one of the paramedics gave him a hug, reassuring him that I was going to be fine. Brody told him what medication I was on and that I had a panic attack and didn’t have my medication bottle with me.
They placed me on the gurney and strapped me down. The whole ride to the hospital, I kept coming to and then passing out again. They put a machine on me to help with my breathing and then started an IV. Brody was sitting next to me with his hand in mine the entire ride to the hospital.
When we got to the hospital, Eric and Layla were already there waiting. Brody quickly ran up to them and they both hugged him tightly. The doctor told them to wait in the waiting room, and that he would be back out with an update shortly. A few minutes after that, my mom showed up because Brody made sure that the ambulance brought me to the hospital she works at.
I woke up briefly and saw nothing but bright lights and nurses swarming my bed, including my mom.
“Cecilia, can you hear me?” One of the nurses said while manually pumping the air machine. My mom was too busy working trying to get me to respond. I could see tears building in her eyes.
“Yes.” I replied softly, “I can hear you.”
The medication the nurses gave me helped to wake me up and to calm down my rapidly beating heart, as well as my anxiety. They helped bring my blood-pressure down and finally placed me in a room to stay overnight for observation. After a few hours I told them I could go home, but my mom insisted that I stayed, so I did.
Talk about a dramatic evening.