Trouble in Paradise?

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Chapter Thirty Eight

I was now living in the hospital at this point. My condition had neither deteriorated nor improved, so I was stuck bored in a hospital bed. My only reprieve had been a short two days where I was enabled to complete my exams for my first and final year of high school. Other than that, I was watching cartoons and eating average food.

Every time those boys came in to see me, I sent them away immediately. I wasn’t ready, and I didn’t want to forgive them yet. I couldn’t. Not after what they had done, how badly they had screwed up. This was going to take time, not a mere few days.

There were officially two weeks left of school now, before we were free to be adults and do, almost, whatever we wanted. Over text, Amber kept me up to date with the latest news of parties and big events. Not that I would be able to attend any though.

My mood had dropped and stayed down low, with my constant thoughts becoming an annoying burden on my mind.

I was bored, lonely and had a lack of the things I unfortunately missed. My idiotic best friends.

So, there I was, eating cereal on an early Saturday morning when Amber came sauntering into my room, holding a packet of almonds and a chocolate bar.

I raised an eyebrow. “What’s the occasion? Cafeteria having a buffet?”

“No, I wish,” she said. “Our finals game is today.” I hadn’t noticed her soccer uniform underneath the black jacket she had been wearing.

“That’s awesome,” I said, struggling to sincerely grin. “You guys better win.”

“Well, I want you to come and support us,” she said.

“Are you dumb?” I asked ludicrously. She threw an almond at me. “I’m in a hospital, they aren’t going to let me wander down the street.”

“That’s why I’ve come up with a master plan! It involves a huge teddy bear, three pairs of sunglasses and a violin.”

“Okay,” I said slowly. “That’s a no. How about we ask permission instead?”

“But I have a second plan! This one has seven lemons, a sombrero and a dild-”

“Hello, Amber!” I heard my mother’s voice as she walked into the room with some more clothes. “How are you?”

“I’m good, how are you?” I almost scoffed at her smooth recover from the odd conversation.

“I’m well,” she said, eyeing my friend with a light hearted suspicion. “What are you guys talking about?”

“School,” I replied.

“Fruit,” Amber unfortunately replied at the same time, making me give her a weird look.

My mother nodded, slightly confused. “Soccer game today?”

“Yep!” Amber said, her eyes lighting up at the opportunity to discuss one of her favourite topics. “We play finals. I was hoping that Stef could be there.”

My mother didn’t look impressed, but she did look thoughtful and hesitant. “I don’t know, I don’t think it’s a good idea. What if she gets sick? Her immune system is weak, so it could-”

“It’s only a few hours,” Amber responded quickly. “A short game, and there’s a quick meet up afterwards. She’d be home in no time, and I will personally take responsibility for all actions conducted between us.”

“What are you, a lawyer?” I asked.

My mother took her sweet time saying yes, with Amber spending twenty minutes trying to convince her. Eventually, she gave in as long as I owe her a favour. My own mother, compromising for favours!

I had some clothes for the game ready, but I had to take a wheelchair. The pre game warm up didn’t start for another four hours, so we had time to kill before then.

“Anything fun to do in this place?” she asked, chewing on an almond.

“No,” I replied surely. “It’s a hospital, not a carnival.”

“Aw man,” she said, pouting. “We could scout for some good looking guys?”

“As I said, we are in a hospital,” I restated. “Doubt you’d find many here.”

“Right,” she said. “Plus you.. are already with him?” She didn’t have to say the name, we both knew who she was talking about.

“Not at the moment,” I responded. “I’m not even friends with them.”

“C’mon,” she said. “That’s horseshit. They fucked up, but you guys are still besties.”

I shrugged with a frown. “I don’t know. I can’t forgive them, not now anyway.”

“And that’s fair enough. But at least order some funny revenge instead of picking and choosing between hate and forgiveness,” she said.

I didn’t answer, really pondering over her words.

Decisions, decisions.

Amber had made a pillow fort in my room, and we still had another hour left until we had to leave. The nurse had gotten requested to bring more pillows around six times, and quite frankly she was very annoyed by the end of it.

I was sitting in it, lying my head on a pillow. One of the two hundred that Amber had demanded, that is.

“That awesome feeling when you realise that you don’t have to pack all of this up,” she said smugly, wearing a toothy grin.

I scoffed. “Pretty accurate.”

“I’m going to knock everything over, and then we leave straight away,” she declared, crawling out of the fort. I followed her, standing up and going to sit down on my bed before I got too dizzy.

She kicked everything over as if we were already at the game, making sure that the entire floor was covered in white pillows. I rolled my eyes and called my mum. She said she would drive us and watch the game to make sure that I was okay. A nurse was also on standby.

Ten minutes later we were in the car, Amber’s legs bouncing with excitement as she gripped her duffel bag. I was a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Would they be at the game?

I shook my head as we pulled up. A lot of people were filing into the gates, either parents or students buying food at the small canteen that was set up for the game.

“Do you wanna sit the team, or stay in the seats?” Amber asked, grabbing out my wheelchair for me. I sat in it, allowing my mum to push me around for the day.

“I’ll stick to the seats if that’s okay,” I said. “It’ll be easier. I’ll come down at halftime.”

“You got it! Okay, I gotta go warm up. Watch me kick ass!” Amber said, grinning and throwing us a thumbs up gesture.

I shook my head with a small smile, my mother starting to push me towards the area where people could watch the game. There were barely any seats, majority of people choosing the grass. My mother picked a good spot, and I just remained in my wheelchair as I watched my former team warm up.

I wasn’t sad, not really. I was hopeful that they would win. I was hurting inside for a whole other reason.

I unintentionally scanned the crowd for those damn four attractive faces, not being able to spot them. I almost scolded myself, but instead ended up pushing all thoughts out of my head and focusing on the conversation that my mum was attempting at having.

The game started not long after, a lot of time passing without a score. More people arrived, just bored on a Saturday and keen for the after party that would be so much better if our school won.

Fast forward to half time, the scores still empty for both sides. I had a vague memory of the other team’s school, our apparent nemesis. I told my mum where I was going, and I hopped out of my wheelchair to go and say hi to everyone. I prayed I wouldn’t get lightheaded as I did so.

I was greeted with smiles and hugs, which was actually really nice. I wished them good luck, listened to the pep talk given by the coach, and just chatted away until the final half was set to begin. I made my way back to my seat, taking a breath as I sat down. My head thanked me.

The game was uneventful until, with around ten minutes left, our team kicked a goal and scored a point. People cheered, and I internally high fived my teammates.

My nervous excitement kicked in as I just wanted the game to end so that we could win. I counted down the clock until only seconds were left, and the scores had stayed the game. We were about to win the grand final, and I was over the moon.

One minute left, and I wrung my hands together in more nerves. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted someone looking at me. It dampened my mood, and distracted me from the game.

I saw Ethan looking at me, his eyes piercing into mine. For some reason, my brain could only register how good he looked, like usual. My body reacted, but my mind went numb. I wanted nothing more than to be with or near him, but I listened to my head instead of my heart.

I spotted the other guys close nearby, their attention on some other friends that were there. I tore my gaze away from Ethan’s just in time to hear the signal of the end of the game. We had won, and my mood heightened again.

I rushed down to our team’s bench, the girls all hugging while the coach clapped. They shook hands with the other team, before squealing and screaming again as they walked back to the bench where I was.

Amber was the first to give me a huge hug, me congratulating her profusely before I did so again with the other girls. Parents rushed over to take pictures of the girls with the trophy, and even I was included in some group pictures.

It was about an hour before everything settled down, and Amber started to ramble on about how hyped she was for the party. It was to start in about half an hour, and apparently the whole year level would be there.

My mum drove us back to her place quickly, Amber only now informing me that the party is at her place.

“Dude!” I said. “We only have like fifteen minutes to prepare for a party!”

“So let’s hurry the fuck up!”

I ordered pizzas, poured drinks and set out food while cleaning up the lounge room which had been a mess. Amber’s parents were gone for the week, cliché right? Anyway, she got changed and put some silly decorations up while hooking up her playlist to the stereos. She locked the doors that needed to be locked, and finally met me downstairs with literally three minutes left.

People started to arrive not soon after, ignoring the fashionably late rule, and immediately began drinking themselves to death. I had put my wheelchair in one of Amber’s broom closets, which was locked, so that it would be safe. Amber had begun drinking, but I wasn’t in the mood.

Soon enough, the place was packed. I kept a lazy eye on who was coming in, but I easily missed a few. I didn’t see the boys at all, and eventually I decided that they probably wouldn’t come. I kept myself busy talking with Amber and some of her friends, watching them become drunker and drunker.

The night lasted longer, and things were getting fucking crazy. People were dancing, cough grinding cough cough, and drinking all types of alcohol. I watched on, enjoying the entertainment provided when people get drunk and decide to do stupid things. Amber had been right, most of our year level were here tonight.

A small crowd had formed around Amber, who was keeping them entertained with jokes and whatnot. I decided to stand by, in case she made a fool of herself.

Which was scarily likely at this point.

She spotted me and wrapped her arm around me. “Now this chick is amazing!” she drunkenly yelled to the crowd. “Ya’ll don’t believe all that shit about her, it ain’t true!”

Some people cheered in encouragement, but I think that they were too drunk to keep quiet. I chuckled. “Thanks Amber.”

“Seriously,” she said, standing up with a wobble. “I want all of you to forget what that bitch said about her. Take my word, this girl is an angel.”

People applauded and I snorted, giving a small bow which acted some appreciated humour. I started up a conversation with about a third of the crowd, easily meeting them and starting to befriend them. It made me regret not being able to go to school, these people were awesome to talk to and now I would barely get to know them before we all left to continue our lives elsewhere.

I eventually had to stop Amber from accessing the alcohol, making her publicly declare that she was going on strike. Surprisingly, a lot of people joined in this strike against no opposition.

Amber and I then brought out our A grade dance moves onto the dance floor, the sweaty bodies almost making it not worth it. I got tired quickly, and had to sit down but I continued to watch Amber attempt to twerk on guys. Good lord.

My mind wandered, and I found myself missing him. Jeez, when did I become so infatuated? Probably when he started to charm you.

Damn my teenage brain.

The party died down after a few more hours, and people had either left, were making out or had passed out on the floor. I sat with Amber as she spewed out thoughts even weirder than her sober ones. I took advantage of this and began recording.

Finally, the party was officially over but not without the promise of an even bigger graduation party with everyone planning to attend. Amber made a ‘rock on’ gesture with her hand before passing out on the floor. Finally, people had left except for the team. They had safely passed out on the floor with the knowledge that Amber would let them stay.

I wrote out a sticky note and left it on Amber’s forehead, before I unlocked the closet and grabbed my wheelchair. I took it outside and called my mum. Within minutes she was pulling up, ready to drive me back to the hospital late at night.

Hospitals are fucking scary at night, let me tell you. The dark hallways made me walk a little bit faster. I tried not to think about the amount of people that had died here. Yuck.

We finally made it to my room, having only aroused the suspicions of one nurse. I climbed into bed after changing into a hospital gown. I was shutting my eyes when I noticed a suitcase propped up against the wall. That wasn’t there before.

I decided to let it go, and fall asleep.

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