Trouble in Paradise?

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Chapter Twenty Eight

“Excuse me?” she exclaimed with confusion, her eyebrow seeming to twitch with anger. “Did you just say that to me?” I refrained from pointing out how cliché that sentence was.

“Yes, I did,” I snapped. “And I think you needed to hear it.”

“You can’t just say that! Why would your opinion matter?” Veronica stepped in,

“I just did say it! You’ve been nothing but horrible to not only Blake, but me and many others as well,” I said loudly, grabbing the attention of onlookers. “I may have been harsh on these guys when I first saw them, and I wouldn’t say what I said now, but you are just plain rude to everyone and you think you can always get what you want by stepping all over everyone!” I said all at once without a breath.

“You’re bullies!” I finished, breathing in and out. I didn’t bother to look around to see the reactions.

I turned around and walked away. I heard someone whistle, and then Jordan’s voice. “Everything that she said.” Seconds later, he was walking next to me. Blake suddenly appeared on my right, throwing his arm around me.

I couldn’t help but look back, however my view was obstructed by Xavier and Ethan who walked behind me. Xavier was walking backwards, flipping the bird at the crowd that had formed, while Ethan threw me a thumbs up.

I grinned and kept walking with them.

Skipping to lunch that day, I was sitting them in the cafeteria. And all day I had not stopped hearing about what happened. People even high fived me.

“Damn, you really showed her.” Jordan laughed, having talked non stop about it since it happened. I think I had gotten at least fifty high fives from him already.

“Yeah she did,” Xavier agreed.

My phone beeped, it was a text from my mum. Doctor appointment after school. We’ll be visiting Christen afterwards.

“Who was that?” Blake questioned, seeing me furrow my eyebrows slightly.

“Oh I’m going to the doctor to check up on my-” I stopped myself before I spat out the fact that I had cancer. “cousin. He’s sick. Just the flu.”

Ethan made eye contact with me, mentally assuring me that he wouldn’t say anything. I flickered my gaze back to Blake.

At first, I hadn’t known why I was reluctant to tell anyone. I didn’t have anyone to tell when I was first diagnosed as a child.

But now, I had realised why I didn’t want to tell them.

This was my first and last year of high school. I wanted to spend the year having fun as a high school student. I didn’t want people to look at me as if I was a fragile thing that would break.

Because I wasn’t.

I’m tough. I won’t let any assholes get in my way.

I didn’t want to be the girl with cancer. I wanted to be Stef. I wanted to be me.

*Time Skip*

Mid year exams were finally over, and now for our three week break. I could not have been more relieved.

Christen was out of the hospital and doing better, and now his mother was trying to convince him to go to rehab which he was refusing. I didn’t say anything about it. He’s living back with her now until he can support himself.

Blake had talked me into joining the guys at the ice cream shop. Xavier was driving us there. However, he had somehow taken a wrong turn and was now lost.

“Where did you get your license?” Blake questioned out loud. “The back of a cereal box?”

If Xavier didn’t have to keep his eyes on the road, he would’ve glared at Blake. “Shut up and let me drive.”

After a few minutes of silence, I decided to join in on the fun from the backseat. Jordan was successfully ignoring what was happening, playing some game on his phone, and Ethan sat in the front with a map in his lap, trying to decipher where the hell we were.

“Looks like we’ve gone in multiple circles, let’s try a triangle next!”

Blake and Jordan snickered, and even Ethan cracked a smirk. Xavier pulled the car over and huffed in frustration and annoyance.

“Someone else drive,” he said, unbuckling his seatbelt and opening his car door.

“I’m not,” Ethan quickly declared.

Jordan and Blake looked at each other. After five minutes of them doing rock, paper, scissors, it was decided that Jordan would drive.

He muttered and cursed to himself while getting into the drivers seat. After a good half hour, we were finally back onto the familiar roads.

It had take us an hour to get to a place fifteen minutes away. Sigh.

We walked in, and the fresh cold air really felt relaxing. I sat down immediately, feeling hot, and the boys sat down next to me. Jordan asked us what we wanted, and he went up to get the ice cream that he would definitely drop on his way back to our table.

“Time for some ice cream puns?” Blake asked hopefully.

“No,” Ethan, Xavier and I all replied at the same time.

He rolled his eyes and laid back down in his seat. “No fun.”

Jordan came back with the ice creams, handing them out to everyone.

Within seconds, Blake had spilt his all over the table.

“How does that even happen?" I asked with astonishment.

The woman cleaning the tables across from us looked over, and gave a mean scowl directed at Blake, who only said, “Whoops.”

“Every fucking time, dude,” Ethan said, shaking his head.

“I thought you learned from last time.” Xavier sighed, still eating.

“I’m so offended right now,” Blake whined. “You guys are meant to support me!”

“Well you being offended isn’t a lot,” Jordan pointed out. “You’re offended by lemons."

“They’re weird, okay!”

The lady came over to clean Blake’s mess, not offering a free complimentary ice cream to his great disappointment. We left soon after that, since the staff were scowling at us every ten seconds.

“Let’s go to my place!” Blake said. “There’s more food there.”

None of us objected, so we hopped back into the car and let Jordan drive us to Blake’s place. No one was home when we walked in, and Xavier immediately headed for Blake’s fridge.

Ethan went upstairs to have a shower, and I was left with Jordan and Blake at the table.

“Reckon you did well on your exams?” I asked them.

Jordan clicked his tongue. “Good on some, not on others. I know I’ll graduate,” he said.

“I, uh...” Blake scratched his head. “I don’t think I did well.”

“That’s understandable,” I told him, remembering his dyslexia problem.

“English always gets me,” Blake explained. “Xavier, get the fuck out of my fridge before I kill you.”

“You probably did well,” Jordan noted. “You study a lot.”

I shrugged. “Don’t have anything else to do. Not like I have many friends.”

“But you have us!” Blake exclaimed, grinning. “We are the best friends you could ever want. And we think you’re pretty awesome too.”

I smiled at him. Blake went to go and kill Xavier, his words not mine, which led to them wrestling on the floor.

“He’s right, you know,” Jordan said, directing his words at me only while watching them wrestle on the carpet. “It’s usually only us four. Has been for years. We don’t have any other close friends. Or, we didn’t. Not until you came along.”

“I’d like to think of you guys as my best friends,” I admitted, fiddling with the sleeve of my jacket.

“We all consider you a best friend,” he reassured me, and I grinned at him to which he returned the gesture.

Xavier won the wrestling match.

Blake got up, holding his fists in the air. “Round 2, outside.”

Xavier held his hands up, as if he had nothing to lose. “I’ll beat your ass.”

Jordan rolled his eyes. “I better supervise. You coming? It’s funny to watch, and a video recording would be fantastic.”

I chuckled. “Sure. I’m using the bathroom first though.”

I got up and started to head upstairs. Just as I was heading to the bathroom, the door opening and a very semi-naked Ethan walked out, only a towel around his waist.

Thankfully, he didn’t see me so I had time to duck into another room before he did.

And may I say, holy shit.

That boy had some damn good looking abs on him. And the V line. Oh god. Save me Lord.

I almost sighed as I waited for him to go past. He went into Blake’s room, no doubt to get changed. Meanwhile me, acting like a fourteen year old who had never seen a shirtless guy before.

But damn. Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.

Okay... time to shut up now.

I quickly went to the bathroom, and I was relieved to find that Ethan had gone back downstairs. My cheeks were a deep red colour, and I needed some time to calm down before I faced them.

Xavier and Blake were wrestling outside, Jordan acting as the supervisor. I stood next to Ethan and pulled out my phone and begun to record.

It was hilariously stupid, but we watched them fight for a while. Xavier eventually won again, making Blake pout and complain about how it wasn’t fair. Xavier did a less than awkward victory dance that I hoped to never see again.

“Xavier, go inside and grab us some drinks, yeah?” Jordan asked. “We did cheer you on.”

Xavier nodded and went inside. Jordan pulled us all into a huddle, and I gave him a confused look.

“It’s Xavier’s birthday next week, and we are going to plan the biggest and most epic surprise party ever." He sounded like a coach.

“We will talk more about this later,” he said as Xavier opened the door just as we sprung back out of our huddle. “What drinks do you guys want?”

“We will just come in and get them,” Blake told him. We all began walking back in.

Ethan walked next to me. Suddenly, he leaned down and whispered into my ear, “I know you saw me come out of the shower.” He winked and walked back inside. My cheeks were on fire.

Later on, as we were all being dropped back home, Ethan got a call from the hospital. Since the number must’ve been in his contacts, I saw the caller ID. He answered the call just as he was getting out of the car, shooting me an apologetic look as he did so.

I could see the worry lines on his forehead as he headed inside his small, yet warm looking home. That’s the closest I had ever been to going inside.

When I got home, my parents were sitting in the lounge room watching some television show.

I stepped in front of the TV, demanding attention. My dad laughed as he took his glasses off. “You need something?” he joked.

“I need a shitload of money for a friend. I promise that I will never ask for anything ever again, and I will be forever grateful if I could use it to help someone,” I said all in one go.

“How much money, exactly?” My mother asked in a skeptical tone.

“Over $65,000.”

My dad choked on his saliva while my mum blinked with her jaw dropped.

“That is a hell of a lot of money,” my dad said. “Why would you ever need that much?”

So I explained to them why I needed it all, and slowly they looked like they were changing their minds.

“Your father and I will have to talk about this first,” my mum said, looking towards my dad who nodded in agreement.

“Okay, that’s better than a straight up no,” I replied, quickly hugging them both before I went upstairs and to bed with a small smile on my face.

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