Pey is finally back. I’m sitting on the couch with Mason watching cartoons when he plops down right beside me.
“You look like your feeling better,” he says and I smile.
If only he knew what was running through my mind right now.
“You missed dinner,” says Nate.
Pey shrugs and Nate rolls his eyes. Any other day I would’ve laughed at that or at least giggled but right now I was trying to make Spongebob seem like the most interesting thing on Earth.
“How was your day?” Pey asks me.
“It was okay” I reply.
He slips his hand into mine and I smile. I was so lucky to have met him. I can’t tell him what I was dreaming about. I can’t imagine how he’s going to react or how he’s going to feel. I have to keep myself from talking in my sleep and the only way to do that is to stop taking those painkillers.
“Where’d you go today?” I ask
“I went to talk to Ms. Leins. Everything’s set now all we need to worry about is getting her there” he says.
I lay my head on his shoulder and squeeze his hand. I was glad he’d found a way to keep his sister close by.
“Everythings going to be okay Pey,” I say and feel him kiss my cheek.
“Aww, quit it with the love, dovey crap you guys,” says Nate.
I smile as Peyton wraps his arms around my waist completely ignoring Nate. I guess we were ruining Spongebob for him. I look down and notice his knuckles are a bit red. I wonder what that’s from.
After a few more episodes of Spongebob, I carry Lexie upstairs.
Nate told me she couldn’t move around much this morning making me worry. Maybe we should up her dosage on those painkillers. I didn’t want her feeling like she couldn’t do anything on her own and in that much pain.
I place her on the bed she looked like she was in pain. I walk over to her dresser and find the painkillers. I take three out and head downstairs to get a glass of water.
“Pey wait” I hear her say before I go down.
“Mhmm?” I say.
“I don’t wanna take those anymore they make me feel funny, I’ll heal on my own, it’s okay,” she says making me look at her funny.
“Lex, you’re obviously in a lot of pain, how funny do they make you feel?” I ask.
She bites her lip “they’ve just been giving me really bad headaches” she says.
I feel like she’s lying but I don’t wanna force her to take them. Then again I don’t want her in any pain.
“Can’t you take anything for the headaches?” I ask.
She bites her lip again. I think she’s lying to me, that’s definitely new and she not making eye contact now.
“probably,” she says.
“Hey, I’m not going to force you to take them if you say they make you feel funny. But I also don’t want you in pain” I say.
“I’ll be okay without them, trust me,” she says and I nod.
I put the pills back in the bottle and take a seat beside her. She gives me a small smile and I kiss her.
“What was that for?” she asks.
“For all your support through this,” I say lifting her onto my lap.
I wrap my arms around her and she intertwines our fingers. She looks at my hand but doesn’t say anything about it. Thank God, I didn’t need her knowing I ran into Tristan. I was keeping him away from her he didn’t even text her now, yeah I knew about that she told me.
“Peyton you know I love you right?” she says taking me out of my thoughts.
“Of course I know,” I say leaving a trail of kisses down her neck.
She carefully turns around and kisses me. I wrap my arms around her waist and kiss her slowly. I wonder why she was asking me that. I know she loves me, she’s never done anything to hurt me. I break the kiss and look at her, why did she bring that up?
“Is everything okay?” I ask.
She nods and tries to kiss me again. I reject her kiss and she looks at me funny.
“Lexie, why’d you say that?” I ask her.
She bites her lip and looks away.
“Tell me what’s going on I won’t be mad I promise,” I say taking her hand in mine.
“Peyton I cant take those painkillers anymore,” she says.
What was it about them that was upsetting her?
“Why? What’s wrong with them?” I ask.
“They make me talk in my sleep, this morning I was calling out for Tristan,” she says looking away.
I let her continue, hoping I wouldn't lose it.
“I think they’re causing me to have strange dreams, I can’t even remember what I was dreaming about, Nate woke me up to tell me I was calling him,” She says playing with her fingers so she doesn’t have to look at me.
I smile, that’s what was bugging her. She was willing to stop taking the pills and be in pain so she wouldn’t upset me. I lift her face up to mine so she can see I’m not upset with her.
“Lex you’re not going to stop taking the painkillers for my sake. I know you love me, you can call out who ever’s name you want. I won’t leave your side, I just want you better” I say to her.
She blushes, I know she loves me. She spoke to me, she let me help her. There’s always been something about her and lately, I figured out what it was.
She was selfless, she was always trying to make things better and when things went wrong she took herself out of the situation. She didn’t have any bad intentions she was pure, that’s why I want to protect her so much. I don't want to let this girl out of my life.
I kiss her and place her on the bed. I go downstairs and get that glass of water from before. I see Nate almost asleep watching Spongebob.
“Good night dude,” I say waking him up a bit.
He waves and I laugh, I bring the glass of water up to Lexie’s room and take the pills out. She’s on top of the bed hugging the bear I gave her. But now I feel like giving her something more. I hand her the pills and water. She kisses me on the cheek.
“You think I could sleep here tonight?” I ask her.
“You still worried about Hailey?” she asks me.
“Well yeah, a bit but I actually just miss the teddy bear,” I say smiling.
She giggles at this.
“Yeah right, but of course you can,” she says patting the space beside her.
I lay down and wrap my arms around her.
“I kind of missed you too,” I say and she laughs.
“Good night I love you,” she says leaving a kiss on my cheek.
“I love you too, don’t ever leave me,” I say.
Ms. Leins home was nice, her dog was nice too. I didn’t want to come here but I rather here than some faraway place where they can like probe me like aliens do to people.
Lexie didn’t come on the day I moved, thank god! I didn’t want to see her Peyton had me read the book she gave me on the way here. The car ride wasn’t too long, the book didn’t seem too bad either. When I got there I lady maybe in her 50s came to the door, her dog walked out too. I’ve never seen a husky that was so little, maybe it was a baby still.
Getting Hailey to go was easier than I thought it would.
I guess she knew it was there or some faraway place where she wouldn’t be near me. I hadn’t talked to her about what she did to Lexie yet but I planned to before I left. I took Nates car and drove her to Ms.Leins place. She didn’t want my mom or dad to drop her off, just me. I didn’t ask Lexie to come because I knew it would make her angry and Lex uncomfortable.
She was quiet for the car ride, I gave her the book Lex had brought her to read. She hadn’t paid any attention to it, it was still up in the tree house laying on the floor. I picked it up before we left. When we arrived Ms.Leins came to the door and Mr.Tinnie came with her. I saw Hailey look at the dog kind of funny. I hope she wasn’t afraid of dogs, I don’t remember her ever being around one. Plus Mr.Tinnie was really sweet from what Lex had told me and he wasn’t growing anymore. As we walked to the front porch, Mr.Tinnie came to me and I bent over to pet him.
Hailey hid behind my back.
“Mr.Tinnies friendly Hailey, he’s like you in a way,” I say.
“How,” she asks.
“Well you see Mr. Tinnie won’t be growing anymore, he’s stuck like this,” I say.
Hailey walks from behind me and bends down to pet him. They were similar, both sweet and in situations, they didn’t deserve or could do anything about. Knowing Hailey, she figured that out. I grabbed her bag from the trunk and took her hand.
“You must be Hailey,” said Ms.Leins with a smile.
“You can get her settled in Peyton, I was just finishing some cookies,” she says.
I nod and take Hailey to her new room, it used to be Lexie’s old room but I rather she not know that. She looks around and then at me.
“There’s a balcony you can sit at and watch the sunrise,” I say not knowing what to say.
“I don’t like her,” she says.
“Ms.Leins? She’s a sweetheart” I say frowning at her.
“No, not her. Your girlfriend” she says.
Wow straight to it, I guess. No more pink elephant in the room, great.
“Hailey you don’t have to like her, you’re not dating her, I am. You’re not allowed to hate her because she figured you out either, she makes me happy. Doesn’t that matter to you? Even a little bit?” I ask.
The side of her mouth twitches and I know she’s about to cry. I hadn’t seen her cry in years. Thats how I knew she wasnt fully gone.
“Hailey, hey,” I say taking her in my arms.
“Please don’t forget about me here, I feel like some dangerous animal” she mumbled making my eyes water.
“You’re not. You’re Hailey, my sister my precious little sister through thick and thin. I’ll visit as often as I can okay?” I say and she nods.
I wipe her tears away and let her unpack. I walk back to Ms.Leins kitchen and help her with the cookies.
“Is she going to be okay?” she asks me and I nod.
“And you?” she says.
I guess she saw my eyes. I nod.
“I just wish it wasn’t her, why her?” I ask.
“Oh honey, you can’t dwell on that right now all you can do is be there for her, she’ll appreciate it more than you know, trust me,” she says.
I don’t know what got into me I walked over and hugged Ms.Leins. She laughs.
“Thank you, thank you for being here, for keeping Lexie safe, for keeping my sister and I close, really thank you,” I say as a tear falls down my face.
“She’ll be fine, I promise,” she says and I nod.
“Hailey, I’m leaving,” I say and get no response.
“Hailey?” I say as I walk into her room.
She’s not here. Where could she have gone?
I walk to the balcony and see her on a bean bag chair petting Mr.Tinnie, they looked so peaceful together.
I walk over and hug her goodbye.
"I’ll be back soon I promise,” I say and she nods and goes back to petting Mr.Tinnie.
I ran into Lexie’s friend a few weeks ago at the mall. I was trying to figure out what I wanted on my hot dog when I heard something get thrown into the fountain. I didn’t get splashed but the sound was pretty loud. A girls bookbag had been thrown in by some mean girls. I felt bad I walked over and got it out for her.
She thanked me and when I looked at her face I realized I’d seen her before. She was the girl who visited Lexie when she was in the hospital.
“Hi,” she said shyly.
“Hey, you’re Lexies friend right?” I ask.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
She nods again.
“Who threw your bag in here?” I ask and she averts my eyes.
“Its okay, I should get going,” she says.
Before she did I asked her for her number, just in case she ever needs anything or Lexie if she couldnt get a hold of Lexie.
Hey Peyton, over here” I say from beneath the dirt bike. I was fixing it up in the backyard
“You’re not cold man?” he says walking over
“Nah, you live out here long enough and you get used to it, let me ask you something,” I say.
“Yeah what’s up?” he asks.
“Lexie’s friend, the one from the hospital, green hair, remember her?” I ask as nonchalantly as possible.
“Yeah, her names Becca I think Lex said she likes to be called Becks, what about her?” he asks handing me the wrench I was stretching but failing to reach.
“What’s up with her?” I ask and that idiot automatically smiles.
“She’s nice. I think Layla and Brooke were bothering her the other day. I don’t know, ask Lexie she can tell you more” he says smiling, he looked like an evil elf at this point.
“Kay thanks,” I say and he walks away making heart outlines with his fingers.
“Pey, babe stop worrying about it, she’s going to be okay” I hear Lexie say.
I knock on the door after hearing Peyton mumble something.
Come in says, Lexie.
She’s sitting against the back of the bed and her legs wrapped around Peyton’s waist.
“Peyton out, I need to talk to Lexie,” I say.
He crosses his arm in protest and I throw a pillow at his head. Lexie laughs and pushes him up to get up. I take a seat not too far from Lexie and laugh as Peyton slams the door.
“Okay now that you’ve gotten rid of my boyfriend what can I help you with?” she asks.
“Your friend, the one with the green hair,” I say
“Yeah Becks, I heard you ran into her, how did that go? I don’t see her much anymore” she says with a small frown.
“You don’t? How come?” I ask curiously.
“Well we used to eat lunch together a lot but lately I don’t see her in the halls and especially not at lunch, I figured I must’ve said something wrong and she was avoiding me,” she said.
“Do you think someone may be bullying her?” I ask.
Lexie’s eyes get a faraway look and she nods.
“When I met her, Layla and Brooke were messing with her. In the girl’s bathroom, she just stood there and said nothing so I helped her out. Shes got two older brothers but I doubt they know anything about it otherwise something would’ve been done about it already and there’s something else too” she says.
“Yes?” I ask.
“Nate, when I say she used to eat lunch with me, I meant she just sat there with me and talked with me. I’ve never actually seen her eat anything, she always says she’s not hungry. That may have something to do with what they said to her in the bathroom but apparently she’s always been very skinny” she says making me frown.
“Thanks, Lexie, that helps me a lot,” I say and get up to leave.
“Hey, why the sudden interest?” She asks me and I shrug my shoulders.
I went to my room and texted Becks, I need to find out whats going on. Lexie said shes always been skinny but she didn’t look skinny to me so she must be eating but why avoid Lexie all of a sudden?
✉✉✉✉✉✉ Text Message Start ✉✉✉✉✉✉✉
Nate: Hey, its Nate can u talk right now?
Becca: Nows fine, whats up?
Nate: Is everything okay? I mean Lexie told me she hasn’t seen you around lately
Becca: Everythings fine
Nate: Do you mind hanging out with me sometime then?
Becca: Um sure, that sounds okay, when did you have in mind?
Nate: Hows later on today?
Becca: Sure, um where?
Nate: Do you know where the town used to have carnivals like maybe 5 years ago?
Becca: Yeah I used to go all the time, there?
Nate: Yeah I hear they built something there with a bunch of stores but there’s an ice cream parlor not too far, sounds good?
Becca: Yeah sounds fine
Nate: Okay hows 2 sound?
Becca: That’s fine see u there
✉✉✉✉✉✉ Text Message End ✉✉✉✉✉✉✉
I took a shower and put on a red plaid shirt, blue jeans, and boots. An hour later I hoped in my car and drove until I reached where the carnival used to be held. The town had moved it because they wanted to use the space to build something. I guess they thought a mall was better than a carnival.
I’m a bit early so I find a parking space and take a seat by the benches, there was a park right across lucky me. I don’t remember that being here though, there were little kids on swings and on the seesaw. They were pretty loud too but well you give kids a park and things happen. I watched a little girl scrape her knee while playing and her I’m guessing older brother trying to calm her down although he was probably only a year or two older than her so he couldn’t do much.
“Hey,” said a familiar face stepping in front of me.
“Hi Becca,” I say and she sits beside me.
I take in her appearance, she had freckles across her cheeks and nose and big brown eyes. She kind of reminded me of a chipmunk. Her face was kind of chubby so when she smiled her cheeks stood out. She didn’t look like she wasn’t eating, she looked pretty healthy actually.
“Have you been here long?” she asks me.
“Nah, I just got her a few minutes ago,” I say
“Time flies watching kids huh?” she asked making me laugh.
“Hey I am not a predator,” I say and she laughs.
“I wasn’t saying you were,” she says still giggling.
“Come on let’s go eat ice cream, just in case any parents heard me say I’m, not a predator,” I say.
“We should run then,” she says making me laugh.
We walk a bit over to the ice cream parlor and it looks really nice. It has a relaxed atmosphere and girls roller skating as waitresses. I don’t think that’s safe. We take a seat beside a window she sits beside me and looks out the window.
“It didn’t look like this before,” I say.
“No it definitely didn’t, I preferred it all woodsy like with random animals appearing,” She says.
I pick up the menu and try to make up my mind.
“Order anything you want by the way,” I say and she tries to debate but I stare her down.
It was pretty funny she just rolled her eyes at me. A girl skates over to take our orders and her eyes widen when sees Becca.
“No way it really is true Becca Anderson pregnant already, sheesh I thought one of the cheerleaders would get pregnant but it really was you, and you don’t even know who it belongs to,” she says and Becca protectively covers her belly and looks out the window.
I scowl at her and the girl skates away. Becca keeps looking out the window.
“Becca, we’re not eating here, come on?” I say getting up.
She follows behind me without a word. I get in my car with Becca in the passenger seat and drive almost completely out of the city and stop when I see what I was looking for. There’s an old dinner and I for a fact know they serve ice cream here.
We take a seat in a corner booth and she still won’t look at me.
“Becca, please look at me, its okay I’m not judging you,” I say and she looks up a bit.
“What she said, it’s not true,” she says.
“What isn’t true?” I ask.
“I do know who it belongs to, my parents are making me keep it, they said it’d be a lesson for me,” she says getting teary eyed.
I wrap my arm around her and she looks back down at the table.
“Whos is it?” I ask
"Carter McKenzie,” she says and I know exactly who that is.
“From the football team?” I ask and she nods.
“We were dating for a while, we didn’t let anyone know, I don’t think he wanted anyone to know. When I told him I was pregnant he told me he wanted nothing to do with me. My brothers won’t even look at me now” she said drying tears falling down her face.
“Becca, how old are you?” I ask.
“I’m 18 almost 19, I know I can do what I want but my parents won’t pay for an abortion and by the time I save up that much money it’ll be too late,” she said sadly.
Our ice cream came and I saw her eat it like she hadn’t eaten in days, must be the pregnancy.
“Becca promise me something?” I ask and she looks at me funny.
“Promise me you’ll eat like this after we go get you an abortion?” I ask and she looks at me like I’m crazy.
“Nate, no I can’t let you do that for me,” she says and I stare at her.
“Let me do something right for once, you’re too young and it’ll be even harder without him. I won’t tell anyone I promise, no one will know the difference anyway, it’ll just look like you gained weight, please Becca?” I ask.
She looks at me with tears in her eyes “thank you, Nate, thank you so much, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to repay you” she says.
I pull her in for a hug and feel her tears on my shirt. “You’ll eat” I whisper in her ear