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.


8. Mia

Firth and Daniel looked exhausted at school on Monday.
“You look like you got no sleep.” I remarked as I straightened Daniel’s tie of his uniform.
“We didn’t.” Daniel said grimly.
“Darling Firth had me up at 3 A.M visiting Jackie.”
Firth blushed hotly.
“Shut up, Daniel.” He said wearily.
“You wanted to see her as badly as I did.”
Daniel yawned, making no attempt to cover it.
“Well, I’m going to fall asleep during morning assembly at this rate.”
“I’d offer you some coffee.” I said.
“If I wasn’t convinced you’d blow up the school if I gave you caffeine.”
He lunged for my cup and took a huge gulp. Then he swore vehemently as the hot liquid burned his mouth, causing me and Firth to crack up.

Daniel didn’t fall asleep during the morning assembly, but he came pretty close. I zoned most of it out. Honestly, how many times do we have to be told to support the annual school Bake Sale? And how wonderfully the lacrosse team did at their tournament over the week end? My ears only pricked up when our principal, Mr. Jameson, mentioned Jackie.
“And we are all praying for Jackie Bianco.” He intoned.
“Miss. Bianco fell into a coma on Friday evening. We offer our deepest condolences to her family.”
Everyone turned to look at us. Five hundred eyes paused on me and Firth and came to rest on Daniel. He glared defiantly back at them, arms folded over his chest.
“What?” he exclaimed loudly.
“She’s not dead! You’re all acting like we’re at her funeral!”
Daniel whirled around and sprinted out of the room. I glanced at Firth and then ran out myself, fervently hoping that Daniel hadn’t destroyed something yet.
Daniel was in the boy’s restroom. Never a big follower of rules and honestly not caring at that point, I entered. Daniel was in the corner of the room, rocking back and forth. A mirror was in pieces on the ground beside him and with a pang of horror; I stared at Daniel’s hands. They were bright red with blood and the knuckles were horribly swollen.
Picking my way through the broken glass, I stood over him.
“Whoever you are, GET THE HELL OUT!” Daniel screamed, clawing at his hair with his ruined hands.
“It’s me.” I said softly.
His head shot up, cheeks damp with tears.
“You go too.” He muttered.
“And leave you surrounded by glass in your present mental state? Forget about it.”
I sat beside him. He hastily tried to wipe his eyes, leaving trails of blood on his cheeks.
“Here, let me.” I said, gently wiping his face with my sleeve.
“Don’t do that!” he protested.
“You’ll ruin your uniform.”
“You think I care about these old rags?” I asked sarcastically, wiping more.
He slumped and let me clean him up.
“Now, Daniel.” I said.
“You’ve got to do better than that.”
His mouth fell open in outrage.
“I’m doing the best I can!”
“By vandalizing school property?”I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“All those people out there,” I continued, pointing back into the assemble hall.
“Are pitying you. Oh look, poor Daniel. His twin sister is in a coma. And you can’t let that happen. You need to go out there with a smile on your face and pretend nothing’s wrong. Because all that forced sympathy, that false compassion from people who don’t even know Jackie will rankle away at you until you hate everyone and can’t even recognize yourself.”
I put my arm around him and he leaned into my side, burying his head in the crook of my neck. I was shocked by his intimacy but decided not to comment. He obviously needed comfort badly.
“I- can’t- I-“he stammered, shoulders shaking.
“I don’t know how to deal with this. I wish it was me. I’d die for Jackie!”
I turned my head so we were forehead to forehead.
“Daniel, look at me.” I said gently.
“You are a strong person. If anyone can do this, you can. You need to be strong for Jackie.”
His blue eyes met my green ones.
“Thank you.” He breathed.
Unconsciously, I felt myself lean forward. This was all wrong; completely and utterly wrong! Daniel was Jackie’s twin brother. We hated each other with a fiery passion. I never, ever felt anything but loathing for him.
Our lips met, hesitant and inquisitive. The kiss was an exploration, and I felt my head spin. What possessed me to kiss my best friend’s emotionally unstable brother I’ll never know. He was attractive, I won’t lie. Plenty of girls in our grade had crushes on him. But I never joined their ranks. He was Daniel! Untouchable.
I was suddenly hit with what I was doing. Kissing Daniel. I pulled back and looked at him. My own shock at what we’d just done was reflected in his eyes. Firth’s voice appeared in the hallway outside of the restroom. Quick as a wink, Daniel was on his feet, helping me up as if nothing had happened.
“We’re coming, Firth.” He called.
“Now, let’s see what we can do about my hands.”
I followed him, feeling wracked with guilt. Was I a horrible best friend?
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