I WALKED TO my dad's office and took in a breathe before I knocked. It left like deja vu standing in front of a door knocking to explain myself.
"Come in," dad's voice said from the other side of the door.
Slowly, I turned the door knob and opened the office door wide enough before I stepped in and shut it behind me.
"Why are you standing there?" he asked looking over the stack of papers in front of him, "you can sit down Alexis."
Reluctantly, I took a seat in front of him and fiddled with my fingers in my laps. "I'm so sorry dad."
"I'm the one who should be apologising," he said with a sigh and put the papers down. "You're almost eighteen and I need to respect that. I just figured you'd be my little girl for a long time."
My mouth was agape as I stared at this man sitting in front of me. To say I was surprised would be an understatement.
"I know you expected me to be livid and forbid you from seeing Nick but your old man isn't that bad," he joked. "I actually like that boy of yours."
"You mean it?" I asked once the shock and surprise had diminished.
"Of course I mean it. I just couldn't believe my little girl is all grown up," he said. "But I'll learn to get over it soon."
I stood up and hugged him because that was the opposite reaction I expected from him. "I love you dad."
"I love you pumpkin."
I couldn't wipe the goofy smile on my face as I walked through the school hallways on Monday.
"I've never seen you look so elated in like.......forever," Parker commented as he began walking next to me.
"I know and it's weird, but in a totally good way," I responded.
"That's good to hear, you deserve to be happy."
"Thank you Parker."
"You're welcome Vance," he said as he joined the other football players.
I continued to my first class which happened to be Physics. I was so absorbed in what the teacher was saying that I didn't notice when the classroom door opened and Principal Kinsley walked in with Nick tailing behind her.
"Sorry to bother you Mr. Levi, but I would like to have a word with Miss. Vance," she said.
"You're excused Alexis," Mr. Levi said.
I grabbed my things and followed her out of the classroom to her office with Nick.
"What did we do?" I whispered to him.
"Beats me, she pulled me out of my Bio class as well," he said with a shrug. "By the way you look hot wearing my jumper, you should keep it," he whispered then smirked as he saw me flush.
We continued walking in silence until we got to her office and she ushered us in.
"You can take a seat."
Nick and I sat down in the two chairs facing hers. I placed my bag by my feet and folded my hands in my lap as I waited for her to tell us why she had pulled us from our classes.
"I'm sure you are both wondering why I pulled you out of your classes like that," she began and pulled some papers out of the drawer, "but it has come to my attention that you both did very well at the Mathematics decathlon and I would like to properly congratulate the both of you."
I simply smiled but didn't say anything as she continued talking.
"With that out of the way, I want to ask you both if you could be our valedictorian and salutatorian for the class of 2018?" Principal Kinsley asked. "I know it's months before you graduate and I advise you think over it before giving me an answer."
"Why me?" Nick asked.
"Because you're one of our brightest students Nicholas and I know for a fact you're the perfect fit for valedictorian. Your grades and GPA say it all," she answered.
"You are both excused from the rest of the school day. You both do so much and for that you have earned the break."
Nick and I stood up and walked out of her office with me not being able to believe what just happened. First, she pulls us out of class, second, she asks us to be one of the most prestigious people at graduation and then third gives us a free day.
"What do you want to do with this free day?" Nick asked as he slung his hand over my shoulder. "I think I could watch a movie or just eat ice-cream, read a book and lounge around my room in my sweats."
"I haven't really thought about it," I answered truthfully, "maybe I'll just catch up on some series or hang out with James."
"That reminds me, your brother is something else. He wouldn't stop talking about how big Kai's house is and what not," he said sighing. "I don't know how you keep up with him."
"I've got to live with him so I learnt to tolerate his antics," I answered with a laugh.
I felt a sharp jolt of pain right in my lung and had to bend over to catch my breathe.
"What's wrong?" Nick asked worried.
"It's fine, just a headache," I lied as I stood back up and took a deep breathe.
I searched my bag for my medication because mum made sure I always had it on me and if not, then Asher always had a spare with him. Luckily, I found it and popped it open then took two pills and swallowed them with a bottle of water I always kept around.
"What's that?" Nick asked and I nearly forgot he was standing next to me.
"And you're sure you're okay?"
"Yes I'm okay, but could you maybe drop me off at home?"
We walked to the parking lot in silence as Nick kept throwing me concerned looks now and then.
"We're taking your motorcycle right?" I asked.
"Yeah, but we can just use Kai's car instead if that makes you happy," he said. "I don't want anything happening to you on my watch because then your dad will have my head."
I shook my head, "I'll be fine. Let's go," I said and hopped on before I searched the compartment for my helmet and put it on.
Nick followed suit and put his helmet on before he got on the motorcycle.
I wrapped my hands around his mid-section and leant against his back as he put the key in the ignition and revved out of the parking lot.
It didn't take long for us to get to my place considering it was a ten minute drive. I got off and unstrapped the helmet.
"Thanks for the ride," I said as I handed the helmet back and gave him a quick kiss.
"I told you I'd do anything, just say the word," he said. "And you're perfectly sure that you're okay?" he asked again.
I rolled my eyes but answered nevertheless, "yes I'm okay now," which I really was, "and you know I would tell you if I wasn't."
"Okay," he said and pulled me in for a hug. "Take care and call me."
"I will," I said as I pulled back from the hug.
I walked to the front door and turned around to wave him goodbye before unlocked it and stepped into the warm house.
"What are you doing home at this time?" James' voice asked once the door was shut.
I took off my shoes and made my way to the living room where James was sat on the couch with his legs propped on the coffee table, a bowl of popcorn and a remote in his hand.
"Nick and I were granted a free day for all our academic hard work," I said air quoting it as I joined him on the couch and took the bowl of popcorn.
"So why aren't you spending it with him then?"
"I had one of those moments and he had to drop me off home before something worse happened."
James paused the television and fully turned to face me. "Wait what? You experienced pain and you're not at the hospital?"
"No!" I answered as I stuffed my face with buttery popcorn, "and just like I told Nick, I'm fine now so there's no need to make such a big deal out of it."
"How bad was it this time?" he asked instead.
"Very painful actually but I took my meds then and there so the pain is gradually reducing."
"I'm taking you to the hospital," he said and stood up.
"What? No you aren't doing such a thing," I shot, "I told you I'm fine so quit making it such a big deal, will you?"
"Making a big deal?" he scoffed, "you're not on the treatment anymore because you wanted to stop it and I'm trying real hard to accept it. So please forgive me for caring so much and acting like a good brother by insisting you go to hospital to get checked out," he shouted as he glared at me.
I stood there watching him with an unbelievable expression.
"Now put on your shoes and let's go."
"I'm not going back to that place again," I said defiantly. "And you can't make me."
"Don't you dare test me right now Alexis," he seethed. "Put on your damn shoes and let us go before I have to drag you there myself," he said calmly.
"Why do you care so much?" I shouted, "I'm just going to die anyway," I sobbed.
"I care because I love you and I still need you around even though you annoy me to no end," he answered.
"Fine, I will go."