Louis greets me at the school gates with a warm smile. I feel awkward because everyone is staring at us, but the twinkle of joy in his eyes draws me closer. The warmth of his palm meets mine and I'm instantly in paradise as we walk to the classroom. Before we go in, he lets go. I can understand why he does- we'd never hear the end of it if we walked in together.
I enter first and he follows a few seconds after. I feel so sly- it's like we're Romeo and Juliet. But that means I will die, and so will he. The thought is so creepy.
Harry doesn't look at me. I think she's angry that I lied.
"Harry..." I whisper.
"Shut up," she says. "I don't talk to dopplegangers."
I want to cry, but I won't in front of everyone else. I don't want to get Harry into trouble either.
Later, during lunch, I spot Harry and Daniel talking. I stop and stare. Is this really what I think it is? Wait... Daniel tilts his head, and she copies. He strokes her chin, and comes closer. No....no, this is not happening...this is not real! Yes, it is happening. It has happened. They have kissed. I rush over, ready to give Harry the yelling of her life, but then, as I come closer, I realise she's crying.
"Harriet.." Daniel whispers. "Don't cry. I'll miss her too- we all will. There's not even a definite chance she'll die anyway."
"Harry, I'm here," I say.
Harry looks up that me, her face pink with tears. "You idiot. Not telling me you were going to die."
We all laugh.
"Sorry for stealing your crush," she says.
"Don't mention it," I say, smiling.
I squeeze her tight. She's such a great friend; I can't bear to leave her.
"Umm... Did you say...." Daniel begins.
I laugh. "I used to have a crush on you, but I'm with Louis Payne now."
"You are?!" Harry yelled, looking gobsmacked. "You never told me!"
"Only since yesterday," I say. "We haven't kissed yet. Which is annoying, because it's the only thing I haven't done yet on my list."
"You made a list?" Daniel says, raising an eyebrow in curiosity.
"Yeah, it's tasks to do before I.." I begin, but the bell cuts me off. Thank the Lord!
"Okay, it's Tech now," Daniel says. "I'm not in your Tech class so...see you later?"
"See ya!" both Harry and I yell in unison before bursting into fits of giggles.
I'm on top of the world. Everything is just so perfect. I'm back with Harry, my crush is now my friend and I have a lover. Could it get any better than this? No... wait, it can only get worse. What if the doctor's calculations were wrong and I die now? What if Harry suddenly starts crying? What if Louis comes up and dumps me because I told Harry and Daniel we are together? What if...
"Hey," Harry says. "You look worried. Stop it!"
During Technology, I get a message from reception.
"Read it," Miss Dew, the teacher, says, handing it to me.
I open it with shaky hands and read it. What it says makes me nearly jump out of my skin. I feel like I might throw up.
"Hannah?" Harry whispers. "What does it say?"
I hand it to her, and she yelps as she reads it. I take it from her and double-check if I read it right. Yes, I did read it right. It's there in big, black letters:
"Early leave confirmed for Hannah James. Pick up: Steve James. Reason: Matt James in hospital..."
Mum is waiting for me and Steve in the hospital reception.
"Mum!" I yell. "What happened?"
"Calm down," Mum says gently. "He sprained his ankle, that's all."
"Thank the Lord," I mutter under my breath.
"He's just getting a cast put on him," she says.
"Then why did you bring me over if it's only that?" I ask.
"Well, he wanted to see you," she says. "Anyway, we thought it would be nice for you to come home early today..."
Matt comes hobbling towards me on crutches.
"Hi, Matt!" I cry. "How is it?"
"It still hurts a bit," he says. "The crutches are cool though."
I smile. "Yes, just like you, little guy."
I think I can sense Mum and Steve's grin shining on my back.
That night, we have pizza and watch a movie. Mat and I aren't in bed until ten, and I have this weird dream where I'm flying with Louis, passing Matt, Daniel and Harry on the way, and we soar higher and higher until we are heard of no more.