School was abnormally interesting for Andrianne that day. Riley and his brother had ganged up against her and Nadim and tease them relentlessly at that morning’s assembly. Then in math class and also when she was waiting for her brother to pick her up. By the time she reached home, Andrianne’s face was still a slight blush of scarlet.
In the car ride home, Chris was unusually quiet. Andrianne needed to not ask him why. “Chris, I’m sorry I told Aunt Paige first about Nadim.” Andrianne said quietly as she looked at her brother’s straight face.
“It’s not about that Andy. I’m happy you are close to them.” Chris forced a little smile on his face. Andrianne just stared down at her hands not knowing what else to say to her brother. “It’s not about that. Honest.” Chris said as he glanced at his little sister.
“Then what is it?” Andrianne asked. Her tone was concerned yet there was a little poignant tone was mixed in it. “Is it me?” Andrianne asked.
“No, Andy. It’s not you. It’s me. I’m scared to lose you. I’m scared that whatever we are doing now will change the future in terms we could not think of. What if I changed it too much by coming here itself?” Chris said.
“Chris, you are not that complicated to read, you know.” Andrianne said softly. “I know it’s not about that.” She said.
“You’re growing up and I feel that you do not need me anymore. I feel that, I don’t know. It’s like when you are little I am sure I can protect you against anything. Now you are all grown up and independent.” Chris said stopping in his words, hoping that he have not said too much or too hurtful to Andrianne.
“You will always be my big brother and you will always be my protector. No one in the world can change that. Oh, god Chris, you’re so silly. I’m going to be your little sister forever even if when I am 70.“Andrianne said smiling at her brother.
“So you’re really going on a date tonight?” Chris asked his little sister.
“It’s in an hour. Yes, and I won’t be out too late. Tomorrow’s a school day remember.“Andrianne smiled.
“Since when does my sister become so responsible?” Chris said as he ruffled his little sister’s hair. “I want the one who cries at night for missing her big brother.” Chris said as he opened the door and got out of the car.
“Well, people grow up. And they stop crying over their brothers who left and make do with anything they can. But I will always share my bed with you.” Andrianne said as she wrapped her arms around her big brother. Chris just laughed at her notion.
“Can I stalk you on your date?” Chris smiled down at Andrianne and a quick playful punch landed on his stomach. “Okay, you are definitely getting stronger. What did Ryan feed you when I was gone?” He teased.
“Potato, potato, potato and more potato.” Andrianne said as she stuck her tongue out at Chris. “You can stalk me if you want to; I mean it’ll not be more than just a friend and friend meet.” Andrianne giggled. “You really want to stalk us?”
“No. Not unless I want to sleep in peace tonight.” Chris said as they entered their room. “And I guess the kids that go to your school can be trusted.” He smiled as he sat on the bed with his eyes closed. “You really should consider changing in the bathroom you know.” Chris said.
“I’m in the closet, Chris. You can open your eyes.” Andrianne replied. Her voice was a little distant and muffled. “So what’d you think?” She said as she came out with the lavender dress. Chris was awe stroked. “Is it that bad?” Andrianne asked.
“You’re very pretty, Andrianne.” Chris said softly. Andrianne neared her brother. “You’re my pretty little sister.” Chris said as she sat down beside him. Gently he tucked her hair behind her ears and kissed her forehead. “Get me a brush.” Chris asked as Andrianne hand him the brush and turn to face opposite him. Chris brushed her hair gently and tied her hair up with a white ribbon she always used to tie her hair up.
“One day you’re going to miss brushing my hair.” Andrianne said quietly. Chris smiled at his sister gently knowing what her words meant.
“Andrianne you friend’s here.” Piper called from the foyer. Her voice shocked the two siblings from their trance. “Andrianne.” Piper called again when she did not hear any reply from her future daughter.
“Coming.” Andrianne called back. “Just a sec.” Andrianne quickly walked towards the front door where Nadim was. “Hi.” She greeted him nervously. “Sorry to keep you waiting.” Andrianne apologized as she waved goodbye to both her mother and elder brother.
“You look pretty.” Nadim commented as they walked slowly down the street.
“Well. Thank you.” Andrianne smile, blushing a little on her cheek. “Where are we going?” She asked.
“At first I thought of taking you to my uncle’s restaurant. But I think it’ll be better if we could catch the sunset in the park then, I send you home. We can get some ice cream on our way there.” Nadim suggested. Andrianne nodded in agreement. Her heavy shoulders felt a tonne lighter when she heard no food was going to be involved in their first date.
“Nadim, I have something to tell you.” Andrianne said quietly as they reached the park bench. Nadim just looked straight into her eyes. He saw the glimpse of sadness and hope in her eyes. “When I told the teachers I was sick and Mr. Smith told them what I had, I lied to the class when I said I had stomach flu.” Andrianne started.
“Andy, Riley told me.” Nadim said cutting Andrianne’s long and winding story. “So what if you have migraine, it doesn’t mean there is no cure at all.” Nadim said enthusiastically.
“There is none.” Andrianne mumbled softly as her eyes avoided his.
“But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to ask you to be my girlfriend.” Nadim said and Andrianne stared at him in shocked.
“Nadim, I’m ten. And you’re twelve. What’s there to rush?” Andrianne asked. “I mean…” Andrianne’s voice trailed.
“Andy, its fine if you don’t want to. I’d understand.” Nadim replied.
“I don’t mean that. I like you too, but then I’m sick, I don’t want you to be hurt when I am gone later.” Andrianne said. Nadim looked at her questioningly. “What exactly did Riley said about me?” Andrianne questioned.
“He told me that you have a crippling headache that you could not get out of bed.” Nadim answered.
“Riley told you partly of the truth.” Andrianne said smiling and looking straight ahead instead of at the boy next to her. “I have brain tumor.” Andrianne revealed. “I have had brain tumor for more than a year. But I don’t want anyone to know about it. I don’t want people to pity me.” She said. Her voice was covered with sadness.
“Andy, really I didn’t know. Even if I do, I would still want to ask you out.” Nadim smiled.
“Why?” Andrianne asked naively.
“Because you are the first person to see me other than just a jock. Other than just a quarterback.” Nadim said. “You first know me as me.” Andrianne just smiled at him. “If I ask you to be my girlfriend, would you say yes?” He asked her. Andrianne just nodded as a response. “Would you Andy?” He asked again.
“Yes, Nadim, I will.” Andrianne said as her cheek turns pink.
“Just the answer I wanted to hear.” Nadim flashed a victorious smile.
“With one condition.” Andrianne said quickly as the smile faded form Nadim’s face. “We have to honor and promise our ourselves that even with having a relationship; nothing will interfere with our studies.” Andrianne smiled.
“Easy enough.” Nadim smirked. “What kind of man do you think I am? Of course studies come first, and I promise you I would not do anything stupid. Not to you.” Nadim promised. Andrianne smiled. It was their first official date and they watched the sunset together from the park bench, letting the orange light of dusk bathe them both.
The sky starts to turn darker when Nadim started to walk Andrianne back home. “Don’t tell Riley about the tumor.” Andrianne said suddenly. Nadim just nodded.
“Don’t tell him that I asked you to be my girlfriend either.” Nadim smiled guiltily. “I told him you are just a friend. And his brother too, in that matter.” He said. Andrianne just nodded.
The two new couples walked hand in hand towards the Halliwell Manor. As they reached the curb to the house, their hands part. “I don’t think a goodbye kiss is appropriate yet.” Nadim said quietly. Andrianne just nodded. Instead, he took Andrianne’s hand and kissed the back of it before Andrianne walked in and rang the door bell.
Nadim waited until Andrianne was safely inside, then he continued walking towards his road. With a smile plastered on his face, Nadim happily walked home. Andrianne would be in his dreams tonight and the nights to come. To Andrianne, Nadim would be her substance for a daydream but nothing more.