I feel like throwing up for some reason. I feel sick all of a sudden. All these things happening right now are way too much to take at once. Jackson joining school, Tracy in the hospital, Rebecca being the bitch she is and Jackson again. Urgh!
How could he do this? After all it’s just been like four days of him being here. I didn’t think of he would be so low. But, whatever. It’s not like we are dating...
′So why are you feeling so betrayed then?′ asks my subconscious mind.
Gah! What bad memories I have this mind. ′I don’t know. I really don’t.′
“Haley! What’s wrong?” Kale sits by my side.
“Hey Kale.” I give him a sad smile. He sometimes always knows when I’m upset or angry even.
“Disclose the name of the ass who has made by pretty best friend upset, right now.”
“It’s nothing really, it’s just.... I’m just... just worried about Tracy that’s all. They’re saying its a hard chance this time, not sure if she’ll live. I don’t know if I can live with that. It’s Tracy we are talking about.” I try not to cry.
“Hey, come here.” He engulfs me in a tight hug.
“Stay strong alright. I know you love her but would she like it if you cried? No, right? C’mon let’s get you to class, babe.” He whispers in my hair.
“Thank you, Kale. You somehow always manage to brighten me up.” I say and get up.
“Anytime, babe. Hey, wanna bunk? We have lunch right after this.”
I think that’s just what I need.
“Yeah, why not. I need a break from all this.”
“C’mon then. The bleachers it is!”
Bleachers. How I love this place. Whenever Kale and I decide on bunking class or just chatting either during lunch or after school or practice, we sit on the bleachers and talk. Just talk. It’s our place.
“So how’s it going with Jess?” I ask him as we sit.
“Jess, is just being her cute little self as usual. I am planning on asking her out this weekend finally, when we meet for the final touch ups for our project.” He tells me.
“You really like her like her?”
“Yes.” I see a blush creep his face.
“Aww, you are so into her. You are blushing dude.”
“Shut up.” His cheeks turn darker.
“Ahaa, Kale is blushing!” I clap my hands and tease him more.
He’s just so cute right now. As I’m teasing him more his cheeks are turning more crimson.
“Kale and Jess are sitting on a tree....”
“Stop it. That is so kiddish of you.” He says.
“Mehh..” I stick my tongue out to him.
“Enough of me. Now it’s your turn. What about you?”
“Me? What about me?” I ask him confused.
“Haley.” He says in a monotone.
“Well. There’s no one.”
“Hales..” He seems to be serious all of a sudden.
“You like Jackson, don’t you?” He asks me and catches me off guard.
“I can see it, you always blush when he is around. And c’mon let’s face it, you have never ever, I repeat never EVER blushed looking at a guy since Zach.”
“I do? I don’t know. I have never felt it.” I tell him honestly, not putting much though on Zach. If I do, I’ll break all the more.
“Yeah, I have witnessed it a couple of times now.”
“I don’t know, Kale. Maybe I did, but I surely don’t anymore.” I tell him remembering the events from earlier today.
“Why? You did? What does that mean? Has something happened between you two?”
“Yes, I did like him a little. I have never felt like this for anyone since Zach. You know that. Jackson... he makes me happy. I know I have known him for not even more than a week but still, when he is around, I forget all my worries for some reason unknown.”
“But, I don’t think it matters you know. Like I thought he did like me back a little, but I don’t know. He is just so confusing and after hearing everything from today morning, I guess my feelings are fading away already...”
“What happened?” he asks me.
And so, I tell him everything in full detail, not leaving any emotion I felt, any feelings I had at that time or any thoughts that were going through my mind.
“Wow, so she just said that, winked at him and took off? And he didn’t say anything to her? Shocking.”
“I know right.”
“Hales, you know what. In my opinion, you should just listen to him once. Maybe he has an explanation, maybe it was Rebecca who was just making you jealous or anything like that....”
“No, Kale. I could see it in his eyes. He knew what she was talking about. His eyes held guilt. guilt that was very much visible to the naked eye. I just I don’t know if I even want to see his face.”
“No, Hales. I know it’s all the other things happening plus this which is making you take such a stupid decision. What does your heart say?”
“Really? You wanna know what my heart says? It says that I should punch him in the face.”
“Hahaha, you can if his explanation is not good enough. But, no offense, I’m just gonna tell you the truth...it’s not like you both are dating or anything, then why does he even need to give you an explanation in the first place, right?” He says slowly testing the water.
In the back of my mind I know he is right. Jackson doesn’t owe me any explanation at all. But still, I want one. But then. I don’t want to hear his pathetic excuse either.
“It’s okay to be confused. You don’t realize it but many a time’s when we both are alone you tend to speak your thoughts aloud, and you just did it again. Whatever you decide. I know will be the best. Okay?”
“Jackson seems to be a good guy, Hales. At least give him a chance. He is new, he needs a good friend and you can surely be a great friend or more, you know what I mean?” He winks.
“And one more thing, do not make a choice that you will regret, Haley. Rather regret the things you do than the things you don’t.”
Kale has gone so deep with this, but he is right. I think I should listen to Jackson once. But at the same time I also think I shouldn’t.
“Hey, c’mon. The bell just rang.”
“Oh..yeah, yeah. Let’s go.”
“What?” I turn to him.
And the next thing I know is, I am engulfed in a bear hug.
“I love you, okay? You’re the best, so I won’t push you anymore.” Kale says and hugs me tighter.
“I love you too Kale, thanks for this. I really needed it. You are the best best friend anyone can have.”
“Better than Sam?” He asks.
“For now, yes.”
He hugs me all-the-more tightly. “I think I can live with that.”
“Can’t breathe.” I smile and say to him.
“Let’s go.” He finally let goes of me.
We walk to the cafeteria and spot our group. Sam, Ryan, Jess, I see Jackson sitting there as well. Max and Sarah are no where to be seen.
Oh, how am I going to face him?
“Hey you guys, where were both of you? You are ten minutes late.” Sam greats us first.
“Hey, we were talking...” I smile sheepishly knowing well that she will get pissed that I didn’t tell her first.
“Bleachers?” Ryan asks.
“Yeah, obvi.” We both say together.
“Bleachers?” Jackson asks.
Kale knowing well enough, that I won’t answer him says. “Yea, it’s kinda like our place.”
“We’ll go and get our food..” I say and pull Kale from his arm.
“You’ve been working out, haven’t you?” I ask him.
“Kinda,,how did you..?”
“I can feel the biceps.” I tell him.
Soon after getting our lunch, I am seated diagonal to Jackson. Luckily I have Sam and Kale on either side of me, so I am not getting distracted much..
“Shoot, I gotta run. I forgot we have to go to the computer lab. I’ll see you guys later.” Jessica takes one last bite of her sandwich and heads for the door,
“Freak, even we have to go.” Ryan says looking at Sam.
“We do? Oh yea, we so do...” Sam says winking at him and pulls him up.
“Let’s go, bye people.” She shouts and walks away with him.
Wow. Now this is awkward. It’s just Kale, Jackson and me.
“Yea?” I answer still thinking of how awkward this situation is right now.
“Can we talk, please?” I realize it was Jackson who called me.
Should I say yes? Kale’s words come to my mind.
‘Do not make a choice that you will regret, Haley.’
‘Jackson seems to be a good guy.’
‘You both aren’t dating or anything, then why does he even need to give you an explanation in the first place...’
‘Rather regret the things you do than the things you don’t.’
‘Give him a chance. He needs a good friend.’
Give him a chance. I should give him a chance.
I look at Kale and see confusion in his eyes as well. He too doesn’t know what choice I’ll make. Then my head turns to Jackson, his expression is shouting please-just-give-me-one-chance-I-will-explain-everything-to-you.
Looking at his face I don’t even realize when I say ‘okay’ to him agreeing to listen to his explanation.
“I think you should go out and talk this in private...” Kale says.
“Yeah.. right. Let’s go?” Jackson is as surprised as I am.
‘You made the right choice.’ Kale mouths to me.
I just smile and start walking.
I can’t believe Haley would agree to talk so easily. I just hope she understands everything. I don’t want to ruin my friendship which didn’t start long enough to break.
“Okay, so Haley...all this started with the English project partners thing...”
I tell her everything from the start, how I didn’t want to be partnered with Rebecca in the first place. How we then decided to go to the ice cream parlour as the project needed us to know each other, how her friend, Carly, came out of no where and asked her for some Layla girl’s party. And then they invited me also, and after that how very little I remember of the party.
And finally I tell her how I woke up in the morning, having no memory from the night before and how I got that call from the unknown number and this being the reason for me arriving late to school and hence all this leading to Rebecca passing the comment and winking at me and vanishing into thin air.
“I am so sorry, I don’t even know what all must be going on in your mind when you saw that whole thing. I even went to her and asked her about what had actually happened last night, but the only thing she said was, that when she and I had danced on her favourite song, she had a lot of fun. So still the caller thingy is unknown.” I rant to her.
When I look at her, I find her smiling.
“Why are you smiling?” I ask her.
“Why are you smiling?” He asks me.
“Because now I know that you aren’t actually a jerk and it’s the bitch’s fault. Thank you for telling me. I feel more better now. Really I had a lot of weird thoughts in my mind when I saw what I saw in the morning.... but everything is cool now.” I grin
And he grins to me looking straight in my eyes.
“Thank you for actually listening to me with all that patience.” He says.
“I guess I had to listen to the whole thing, it was interesting, now that I think about it.” I tell him.
“Yeah, I kind of...”
“We bunked a period..” I say out of no where.
“It was worth it.” he gives me a small smile.
“Haley! Haley!” Someone calls for me and interrupts us.
I turn to see Nick running towards us.
‘What’s up with him?’ I think.
“Hales, we need to go. Now. I’ll tell you everything later.” He says gasping for air.
“Okay. But what happened?” I’m a little worried now.
“Mum called, Hay. Tracy. She is really very critical. She maybe taking her last breaths right now.” As Nick says those words I feel my world crumbling down into tiny pieces.
“This can’t be happening. No. Please...plea...just please tell me it’s a nightmare. Please.” I start crying.
“Hey, c’mon we have to go. Now.”
“Yea, I’ll back you’ll up. Go leave.” Jackson says from behind me.
And with that we rush to the car, the only question in my mind, ‘Will I get to see Tracy once more before she dies?’