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.

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9. Daniel

Stay calm. Stay calm. Just stay calm. Count to ten. Take deep breaths. Do whatever it takes for you to not flip out.
I did all of that, but just managed to not go crazy. Firth was deployed to take me home and he tried to keep a conversation going.
“I’m visiting Jackie later today.”
“Cool.”
“I hope she’s improving.”
“Yeah.”
“I’m also planning on running around the hospital in a loin cloth, screaming and beating my chest like Tarzan.”
“Great.” I said absent-mindedly, staring out the window.
“Daniel!” he exclaimed.
“Sorry!” I said defensively.
“I’ve just got a lot on my mind right now.”
“Daniel,” he repeated softly.
“I saw what you did.”
My insides froze and I instantly paled.
“What- break the mirror? Well, yeah. Everyone saw the glass everywhere.”
“That’s not what I mean.” Firth said with a pointed glance at me.
“I saw what else you did.”
I sighed, rubbing my forehead.
“You mean Mia.”
“Well, somebody’s slow today. And I’d hope you didn’t make out with any other of Jackie’s friends, did you?”
“What! No! And I didn’t make out with her either!”
“That’s beside the point. Explain.”
“I don’t know what came over me.” I confessed.
“I was freaking out and she was there-“
I groaned and tugged my hair.
“I can’t believe I kissed her! We hate each other. We always have. I don’t understand-“
“Maybe you’re actually attracted to her and the hatred was just a sham.” Firth said, smirking.
“No, that’s impossible.”
“Daniel, remember when we were in the fifth grade and you “hated” Megan Donnelly?”
I remembered alright. Megan and I were partners on a Social Studies PowerPoint. Our presentation was a complete failure, but I got my first “girlfriend” out of it.
“Oh. My. God. I’m attracted to Mia!”
Firth sighed and shook his head at me.
“Poor you. She’s kind of frightening, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
“Don’t I know it! She’s a black belt in karate, and kung fu master, and she also happens to be my sister’s best friend.”
“So what? I’m dating my best friend’s sister.”
“True.”
He grinned at me, raising his eyebrows.
“Daniel and Mia. Two names I never thought I’d say in the same sentence and for that sentence to be positive!”
“Shut up.”
“But while we’re on the topic, you need to channel that aggression somehow.” He says, blue eyes glinting evilly.
“Maybe we should set you up for some karate lessons with Mia…”

That night, I visited Jackie by myself.
“Hi Jac.” I said glumly, sitting beside her.
“I’ve made a right mess of things now. I freaked out in assembly today, broke a bathroom mirror, and kissed Mia. All in the space of ten minutes.”
I don’t know what I expected. For Jackie to wake up and scream at me for kissing her best friend, I guess. Naturally, she did nothing. I sighed deeply and sat back on my chair.
Suddenly Mia and entered the room. I jumped up and sidled past her.
“Hey.” She said softly.
“Uh- hi.” I replied lamely.
“No change?”
I shook my head and Mia stomped her foot angrily.
“This is awful!”
I looked down and fiddled with my cut hands. Mia snatched them with her own.
“Don’t do that! You’ll just make them worse.”
Too late, I realized we were holding hands. We blushed simultaneously and I took a step back, detaching us.
“Look, Daniel, about today-“
“Mia, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have put you in that position. I was in a pretty bad state and took advantage of your being there.”
“It does take two to tango, Daniel.” Mia said, suddenly cold.
“And, let me tell you this, no one ever takes advantage of me.”
She bumped me with her hip and strode out of the room, leaving me with my comatose sister and my own confused feelings for company.
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