Chapter Twenty Five
When I was younger, I had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. Basically, my leukaemia affected the white blood cells in my body and weakened my immune system. After many cycles of chemo and rest periods, I was given the all clear years later after sitting on my ass at home for all that time.
And now, I’ve relapsed. Doc explained that some of the bad cells must’ve survived, and now I would be forced through the agonising process of chemo once more.
After the breaking of the news, I zoned out completely for the rest of the day. My parents came home, and we numbly ate dinner before I slowly walked back upstairs for the night. I didn’t know what to say.
My heart felt heavy with frustration and fear, fear that I might lose the battle this time.
My treatment was to start as soon as possible, with each period of chemo ending with a rest before it begun again.
Tossing and turning felt like a chore as I squirmed in bed, forever uncomfortable. My mind would not rest, and it kept going back to the same bad thoughts.
It seemed like two minutes after I fell asleep I was waking up in the morning for school. I got ready and gathered my things, before saying a quick and morbid goodbye to my parents. The bus was a blur, and before I knew it I was at school.
My mood was sour, and I was drained. This was not going to be a good day.
I wasn’t greeted by the usual hug from Blake today, him frowning when he saw me.
“What’s wrong, S?” He was still frowning, and he pulled me aside before I answered.
I couldn’t bring myself to say it. Not here, not now. It was too fresh, too raw. So I simply smiled and replied with, “Nothing.”
His usual smile returned, and he walked me to my locker. I briefly wondered where his girlfriend was, but then I realised I should be grateful that she wasn’t present at the moment.
Xavier, Jordan and Ethan walked over, chatting about something that I wasn’t listening to. I bit my lip and zoned out, staring into the distance.
Someone waved their hand in front of my face. “Stef?” Xavier asked, wearing an amused smile. “You okay?”
“Yeah. I’m all good,” I said, waving nonchalantly. “How you been?”
Weeks passed, and I had noticed that I had been a little distant from everyone. The four guys weren’t around as much anymore, and my lunch times were spent reading in the library.
Ethan didn’t bring over his sisters anymore. I hadn’t spoken to him since he kindly warned me not to tell anyone about his mother.
Mid year exams were looming as well, and I spent all my time reading and studying for those. There was no way I was going to risk failing one of my most important exams.
This made it extremely hard to play soccer. Time was the enemy. And due to my condition, I was significantly weaker than I should’ve been. Meaning, I couldn’t run for twenty minutes without getting tired. I hadn’t been to the most recent games, but I heard, from Amber, that we were doing a bit better.
So there I was, about to open a fresh pint of Neapolitan ice cream. I had a spoon, and a blanket with Netflix loaded up.
I picked a movie, and yanked open the ice cream. I was about to dig my spoon into the delicious creaminess when the door rang.
My eye twitched as I grumbled. I dragged myself onto my feet and marched to the door, determined to send whoever it was on their way. But when I opened the door to Ethan and Xavier, I just stood there with a stupid look on my face in my Captain America pajamas.
“You do know that I have a phone, right?” I asked slowly. “You don’t have to show up at my doorstep all the time. Speaking of which, how did yo-?”
“No time to explain,” Xavier interjected was quickly. “It’s an emergency.”
“What? What happened?” I said, not really panicking. It was probably a stupid trick.
“Blake’s in trouble,” Ethan replied. “We don’t know what to do. He won’t say anything to us.”
“Do you know why?”
“Belle broke up with him,” Xavier said, a scowl appearing on his face. “Really publicly too. It was at lunch today, in front of everyone. She humiliated him.”
I immediately understood what was going on. “One moment please.”
I left the door open as I ran back to the couch, gathering up the ice cream and an extra spoon. I grabbed some blankets, barely able to contain everything in my hands, and I ran back to the door, piling everything into Ethan’s hands.
I ran back upstairs to get my phone, laptop and wallet. I went back to the door. “Let’s go. But we need to make a little stop first.”
We all got into the car, and we drove to the nearest store still open. I grabbed my wallet and ran inside, picking up a cheap teddy bear and an extra pint of ice cream.
We then headed to Blake’s house. I hadn’t seen his family before, but I guessed that they were on holiday. When we entered the house, there were hundreds of pictures of a couple standing in front of statues and attractions all in different countries.
I recognised the place from when they had brought me here. I saw the kitchen, and remembered the batter war that we had. I remembered the part where we had slid down the stairs on mattresses. I smiled at the memories.
I had all the stuff I had brought and the things that I had bought. We went upstairs, and Jordan was standing outside of the door.
We could hear Blake’s sobs from the hall, and it broke my heart.
I gathered the blankets, ice cream, laptop and teddy bear that I had brought, and I moved past Jordan. I knocked on the door. “Blake? It’s Stef, can I come in?”
There was no answer, just more sobs. I opened the door and walked in.
The room was dark, and Blake was lying on his double bed with his head in the pillow. Tissues were littered around the bed.
He turned then, his eyes red and bloodshot from crying. Tears had dried up on his pink cheeks.
He didn’t say anything, so I just put everything down. I walked over to him and gave him the biggest hug that I could muster, his arms wrapping tightly around me while he buried his face in my neck.
I didn’t say anything, I didn’t need to. He was heartbroken. He needed someone to help him. When we finally let go, I wiped his tears away.
“You’re going to make me cry,” I smiled sadly, my voice cracking a little bit. “And I never cry.”
He wore a weak smile, a hurt one. I grabbed the blankets and wrapped them around him, gathering the ice cream and spoon and setting them down. I powered on the laptop, and snuggled in the blankets with him.
I handed him the teddy bear, which he started hugging straight away.
And without saying a single word, we are ice cream and watched action movies in an attempt to fix his broken heart. We hugged, and snuggled, but not in a sexual way. It was only as best friends could do, a way a comfort.
Ethan, Xavier and Jordan watched on from the hallway, none of them protesting or saying a word. They quietly shut the door, but they didn’t leave. They waited there all night.
And I stayed with Blake the whole night, doing everything I possibly could to make him feel better. He needed a friend and, that night, that friend was me.