Two whole weeks, that’s how long it took before I couldn’t take it anymore, before I begged and pleaded with my father to let me to go back to australia, to get a break from all the drama in school. I know I was running away, from my problems, and I knew I’ll have to face them some time soon.
It wasn’t anything Cameron did - or said - he acted pretty normal around me. He treated me like he treated me every other day. It was the peer preasure I was running away from. The whole school had gotten wind of what had happened with Leo and Daisy and everyone blamed me for their break-up. Everywhere I went glares followed me and no matter how hard I tried to ignore them, there was always that one girl - or sometimes boy - who kept coming up and scolding me to my face. Nobody cared to listen to what had happened that day in the kitchen between me and Leo and I think everyone like having someone to blame for their break-up.
Leo treated me just the same - just like Cameron. Only he was more reserved and smiled very little. He used to always smile and goof around with his friends and I kind of missed that boy.
The worst part, I think, is that Stacey completely stopped talking to me. She found a new group of friends and wouldn’t acknowledge my presence, therefore me, Carly and Mina were the only ones left in our table. This wasn’t the worst part. The worst part is how Stacey believed everyone else over me. Even she didn’t give me chance to explain what had happened that night in the kitchen and why I had been holding Leo’s hand so tightly.
Things only went down from there. A week later Mina stopped coming to school and I had no way of knowing what was wrong with her. None of the cheerleaders are allowing me or Carly to approach Leo and I’m scared of going to his house to see her, in case this got around to Daisy and it intensified their problem.
Even when Daisy got back to School - around the time Mina stopped coming - she wouldn’t talk to Leo, no matter how much he tried to talk you her.
By now, me and Carly didn’t enter the cafeteria, we avoided it like the plague. Therefore there was never a chance for me to talk with either Cameron or Leo - they were seniors and had different classes/schedules - so we never got around to finding out what was wrong with Mina, why she didn’t come to school.
I hated having to leave Carly alone here and go to Australia, but I really needed to spend some time with my grandpa. It was very important to me that I spent more time with him. I hadn’t seen him for almost one and a half year and I miss my grandpa, the one who I used to visit every other week in the elders home. I used to spend so much time there with him, that I knew all the elder people there. I missed my grandpa and I really wanted to see him, the fact that this was an escape from school - for a while - only added more emphasis to my point.
Anyway, me and Carly had reached our lockers when Leo approached us. Cameron anyhow, wasn’t there with him - an unusual occurance as it was usually Cameron who come over to bug me.
“Sydney! Carly!” He called to get our attention. Many kids stopped to watch, pretending to stop to chat with their friends or whatever, but we all knew they we listening in to the drama that was about to unfold.
We waved back, greeting him. “Sit with us for lunch today, I have something important to tell you.” He asked getting straight to the point.
“Hey to you too” I muttered sarcastically under my breath, but he must’ve heard me as he grinned sheepishly. Closing my locker I looked at Carly and she looked at me. I shrugged my shoulder at her, saying that I didn’t mind going into the cafeteria.
“Yeah sure,” Carly agreed slowly, like she was having second thoughts about it. “Is everything okay, Leo? You seem a bit... upset?” She questioned, her brows furrowing with worry, as she too shut her locker.
“I’m fine, I just have a message to pass on to you.” He told sounding tired. Like really, really tired, not to mention worn out. There were bags under his eyes and his laughter was strained. If I wasn’t so alarmed by what he said, I’d have been very worried about him.
My eyes widened with alarm. The last time someone had told that to me in front of my locker - yes, I’m talking about Cameron - things hadn’t exactly ended very well. It’s been two whole weeks and I’m still fighting to deal with it, still coming to terms with it - I still hadn’t given Cameron an answer and for whatever reason, he hadn’t bugged me about it yet.
Seeing my alarmed expression, Leo laughed lightly. Was it just me or did it sound strained? His laugh, I mean.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to confess my underlying love to you.” He said, still laughing.
“Say that a little louder why don’t you? I don’t think everyone heard you saying it.” I grumbled, glaring at him. The bell had just signalled for lunch, not long ago, so almost all the students were still miling about their lockers, dumping in their stuff before going for lunch.
“DON’T WORRY, I’M NOT GOING TO -!” He seriously started to yell - I couldn’t believe he seriously did that - but I quickly pressed my palm to his mouth, my eyes wide with horror.
“Are you out of your mind!?” I seethed, glaring at him, very conscious of all the eyes on the two of us. His yelling had gained us the attention of those few people who hadn’t been paying attention.
Leo started laughing - my hand was still pressed to his mouth so it came out muffled. I removed my hand from his mouth, pouting at him, but I was happy to note that it didn’t sound as strained any more. “Aww... you’re too sweet to be true, sweetheart.” He said playfully, wrapping his arm around my shoulder.
Giving him a sour look, I shoved him off me. He rolled his eyes, but hooked his hand on mine and held his hand out to Carly. Once she took his hand with a chuckle, he led us to the cafeteria. Buying our food, Leo led us to the popular table in the middle of that cafeteria.
Daisy, who is a cheerleader was sitting on the table with the rest of the cheerleaders and the popular crowd, but completly ignored us as we approached the table - though her face hardened quite a lot. The rest of the girl were outright-ly glaring daggers at me.
I shot Carly a worried look, not wanting to add fuel to fire by sitting in the table with Leo, but he had something to say to me and we were friends. I could tell that whatever Leo wanted to say to me was important, and as a good friend I’ll listen to him. Daisy be damned. Couldn’t that girl tell he was haveing a hard time. I mean, yes, I could see she was suffering too. After all she was thinking he cheated on her and maybe her anger isn’t wrong, just in the wrong place.
Leo sat down on their table and Carly sat opposite him, leaving only the space beside Cameron free. If I didn’t know any better I’d say this was done on purpose, but I wasn’t so sure. Rolling my eyes I sat inbetween the two and Leo gave me an innocent look - so this had been done on purpose.
“Sydney! Long time no see!” Tanner, a guy on the football team greeted cheerily, giving me a bright smile.
The guys didn’t seem to mind me being here, but every single girl on the table was giving me death glares. Smilling softly at Tanner, I looked at Leo with a raised an eyebrow.
Leo, instead of telling me what the matter was, was gobling down his food like he never get a chance to eat again.
I poked him in the arm. He swat away my hand and said, “Eat first, I’ll tell you after.”
Narrowing my eyes at him with a pout, I made a big show of taking a bite out of my sandwitch. “Now speak!” I demanded near him.
Cameron outright laughed at my dramatics - making the girls sitting around the table to glare harder at me. Cameron ignored them and I did the same. I caught Carly’s eyes across the and she shook her head at me, but their was a small smile on her lips. I turned back to Leo with an expectant look. He was holding back a smile, but when he looked at my face, he grimmaced and looked back at his food again. Shooting Cameron a ‘what’s-wrong’ look, I asked so near Leo.
“Sydney... you should know that...” he stopped to clear his throat, clearly struggling to find words.
“Maybe you two should finish eating before we go into this.” Cameron came to his friends rescue, which only worried me further. What could be possibly wrong. I looked at Carly to see her expression reflecting mine.
Still, she gave me a look that said I should let Leo say this in his own time. I pouted at her, but did as I was told and ate my food like a good little girl.
Cameron chuckled beside me. When I turned to look at him, found he was already looking at me. I raised an eyebrow up at him in question - I had food in my mouth. “Why Sydney, I’ve never seen you drop a subject just because you’re asked to. This’ll be a record.” He said with a smirk, earning a glare from me.
“Yeah, well. You’ve never seen me drop a subject when it matters.” I answered Cameron all huffyly, sticking my nose in the air for emphasis.
This only caused him to laugh and ruffle my hair. Which in turned made me swat away his hand and try to bring my hair back to the best amount of order without a mirror, shooting him a pouty glare. He took pity on me at this and combed his fingers through my hair and bringing it to a semi-balance normal way - or so I’m hoping it looked like.
Glaring at him one last time, I turned back to Leo, would was grinning at me and Cameron goofily. On fact half of the boys in the table were looking at me and Cameron weird.
I ignored all of them - which wasn’t all that hard you do. “Leo.” I whined poking him in the side.
He let put a big sigh that seemed to come from the solemn of his feet and slumped his shoulders. He buried his head iron his hands and said, “Mina is in the hospital, she’s dying of cancer.” At least that is what it felt like he had said.
“What?” I asked in a what-did-you-just-say? way, because I was positive I had heard him wrong. Mina had been perfectly fine when I last saw her - week ago, so how could she get cancer on the slam of a week? That’s not possible, is it?
Leo looked at me wearily, but when he noticed that I really hadn’t understood him, he slumped his shoulders even more and slumped an inch down his seat. Then cleared his throat and started to speak.
“Mina’s in the hospital, dying of cancer.” He informed us.
The whole table went silent as they stared at Leo in shook - and some people who had known beforehand, sympathy and worry.
I too stared at Leo too, my mind not processing his word. Then when it finally did, I shook my head - hard. “What?” I asked again cluelessly. In the same I didn’t understand way I had asked before.
Leo looked at me with a helpless look, which made me lean back slightly - with shock more than anything.
“Sydney,” Carly started but I didn’t let her finish.
“No! That’s impossible. She’s too young to dye!” I exclaimed, looking at Leo horrified.
Cameron’s hand touched my shoulder - I was still leaning away from Leo. “Sydney, why would we lie to you about something like this? We love her as much as you do.” He soothed me softly, catching me on what I was about to accuse Leo of before I actually did it.
I tilted my head back, looking at him with teary eyes. “But Cameron,” I started, unable to finish.
“I know, Sydney, I know.” I muttered, hugging me from behind and patting my head softly.
My vision was going blurry and I knew tears were falling out of my eyes, but I didn’t try very hard to keep them in. Wiping my eyes, I sat up and wrapped my arms around Leo. “Sorry Lee, for making it harder for you to say.” I whispered an apology into his ear. I knew, through experience how hard it is to say that someone you love is going to die.
“Yeah,it’s okay Sydney.” He said in reply to my apology, returning my hug. “At least you care enough about her.” He said with a wry smile.
“Of course I care about her. She’s my friend... a very good friend.” I added the last part as an afterthought, almost like a reassurance I knew he needed. I wanted him to know that we weren’t going to run for the hills - screaming - just because Mina has cancer. I wanted him to know that me and Carly would stick with her through thick and thin and not walk away till we run out of time.
“Thankyou Sydney.” He murmured, only for me to hear, squeezing me tightly. It hurt - he was much stronger than me - but I had no place to complaint. If the only thing I could give him was comfort like this - Daisy can go to hell for all I cared - I’d give it to him.
“Leo, is she in hospital?” I asked him softly. I didn’t want to ask or but I needed to know. I need to know how much longer I had with her to be a good friend. To be there for her in this time of need. Be the good friend she thinks I am.
Leo only answer was to nod his head into my shoulder and I finally looked at Carly. Her eyes were red indeed, but unlike me she hadn’t been crying. She was more stronger than me when it come to feelings - emotions. Even physically, she was the stronger of the two of us.
“Would it be fine if we come see her?” She questioned Leo softly. She was sitting across the table to offer him comfort, though I knew she really wanted to.
“I’m sure Mina would love that.” He finally looked up to give Carly a greatful smile. Then he grimmanced at the table and added, “If she is awake and sane enough to recognise you that is.”
He should have found it strange that me and Carly immediately understood what he meant - that Mina was too drugged out to feel her suffering, much less recognise anyone. Thankfully no one questioned why we weren’t freaking out with Leo’s ‘sane’ comment. I didn’t want anyone to know it was my constant state of being drugged out (in a medical way) that didn’t make us question what Leo had meant.
Carly asked all the detalis while I sat beside Leo, leaning against his arm and in a state of shock. I was still processing everything, when the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. It was Cameron lightly patting my arm that aroused me from my state of shock and look up at him. He gave me a tight, sad smile and took Leo’s tray - along with his - to the dumbsters.
Taking in a deep breath and promising Leo that I’d have Nick drop us of at the hospital, me and Carly gave one last reassuring hug to Leo before making it back to our lockers and then to class.