The Ones Left Waiting

You know when someone gets sick? Isn't everyone's first thought automatically about them? Worrying about them, wondering if they're okay? Of course, this is how it should be. But sometimes we forget the people closest to the patient: their best friend, their boyfriend, their brother? How does it affect them?

Jackie Bianco has a brain tumor. She has mere months to live, unless a miracle occurs. But this is not her story. This is the story of Daniel, her twin brother, who needs his calm sister to keep him under control. This is the story of Mia, her best friend, who is like a lost soul without her partner in crime. And this is the story of Firth, the love of Jackie's life, who will surely die without her.

This is the story of the people sitting in the waiting room, the people with nothing left to do but worry. The ones left waiting for news, good or bad.


3. Daniel

After the party, I approached Mia in the hallway.
“This is going to take some getting used to.” I said, ruffling her shorn hair.
“I don’t need you to like it.” She retorted curtly.
I stopped joking.
“Seriously, that meant a lot to her. And to me. So I want to thank you.”
I stuck out my hand and she shook it.
“You’re welcome.”
I turned to go. At the last second, I turned back around.
“You know, you look really hot with your hair like that.”
Then I ran away before she could kill me.

Firth stayed in my room that night. We laid in comfortable silence until I spoke,
“You really do love her, huh?”
“I really do.” He said quietly.
“Good. Because if you were just leading her on because she’s sick, I would have to kill you.”
“I’d expect nothing less.”
I glanced down at him. With his pitch black hair, he practically blended in with the darkness of the room. He’s the exact opposite of me. I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and have a decent tan. Firth, however, has dark blue eyes, is as pale as a ghost, and the aforementioned black hair. We’re complete opposites in personality too. Firth is a very laid-back, calm, and gentle person. Whereas I’m- well- I’m not that at all. It‘s amazing that we’re best friends, but there you have it. Ever since the first day of kindergarten, in fact. He was a tall boy that was frightened of practically everything, especially other people. I was drawn to this quiet guy that never, ever got in trouble.
So, there we were, thirteen years later. He glanced up at me and raised an eyebrow.
“What?” he asked curiously.
“Liar.” He said with a grin.
“Look- I’m happy you’re with Jackie. That’s all.”
He smiled and whacked me with his pillow.
“Aww Daniel. You’re making me blush.” He joked.
I laughed and whacked him straight back.

When I woke up the next morning, Firth was gone. With Jackie, no doubt. I shrugged on a shirt and headed downstairs.
Jackie and Firth were in the kitchen, unsuccessfully trying to make pancakes. Batter covered the counter and some even made it onto the wall. But I knew my parents wouldn’t care. Ever since Jackie got sick, they stopped bothering about petty things like messes and concentrated on making sure Jackie was enjoying herself.
And she was. Her wig was askew on her head, Firth’s pendant was around her neck and my scarf was wound around her waist. She was giggling uncontrollably and I felt my throat constrict. She reminded me so much of the healthy girl she used to be, vibrant and full of life.
Jackie caught sight of me and smirked mischievously.
“Daniel.” She called in a sing-song voice.

She tossed a misshapen pancake in my direction. I caught it with mouth and bowed.
“Bravo!” Jackie cried.
But the cheerful mood didn’t last long. Jackie brought up going to the hospital and getting more information about the operation.
“I don’t think it’s safe.” I said uneasily.
“I want to do it.” Jackie said, jaw set in the same determined way I’d seen so many times growing up.
“But Jackie,” I explained,
“I’ve done some research. You have a butterfly tumor, which is most often inoperable. If they decided to operate, your chances of survival aren’t very good. You- You could die on the table, or fall into a coma. A million things could go wrong!”
“Daniel, consider this. If I don’t have this operation, what happens? I die in three months. I might as well take my best shot. This could actually be an easier way. At least it would be quick and painless.”
In the heat of our discussion, I didn’t notice Firth getting increasingly angrier and angrier as more words were exchanged. Upon hearing Jackie’s last statement, he snapped.
“Don’t talk like that, Jackie!” he exclaimed, standing up from the table.
“You can’t say things like that.”
“It’s the truth, Firth.” Jackie said softly, reaching for his hand.
Firth flinched away, out of her reach.
“You don’t have to say it though!”
“Firth-“Jackie said imploringly.
Firth shot her a look and his stony blue eyes made Jackie gasp softly.
“I’ve got to go.” He said coldly, reaching for his jacket.
“Thank you for having me to stay.”
Firth strode out and Jackie hurried after him, tears coursing down her cheeks.
Mia came down the stairs.
“What’s with all the shouting?” she asked, blearily rubbing her eyes.
Jackie clung to the doorframe, shoulders shaking, and Mia stared at me, bewildered,
“What the hell happened?”
I didn’t answer. Naturally, I wanted to kill Firth. He might be my oldest friend, but when it came to Jackie, I’d whack him into Timbuktu.
Which is what I planned on doing. I ran to the front door and pulled it open.
“Don’t!” Jackie said, holding me back.
“Don’t hurt him!”
I deflated and shut the door.
“Come on Jackie.” I wheedled.
“He deserves it!”
She shook her head tiredly.
“Don’t bother, Daniel. Please.’
I wriggled out of her grasp and headed back to the kitchen. Grabbing a stray pancake, I threw it on a plate and prepared to start another day.
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