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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11. Mia

OH, I HATE DANIEL BIANCO! He’s vile, and disgusting and completely, utterly sickening! The boy makes me nauseous! Firth was driving us all home one evening and vainly trying to keep a conversation going. Eventually he just groaned.
“Fine, have it your way.”
“Oh, sorry, Firth. Did Mia annoy you? Well, it isn’t surprising. She’s very good at it.”
Guess who said that.
“Shut up, Daniel.” I growled.
“But she’s also very good at something else. I suggest you try it sometime. All you have to do is be emotionally unstable and freak out in a bathroom!” he exclaimed.
“You make me sick!” I shouted at him.
“Are you sure you aren’t just lovesick?”
“Go burn in hell!”
“Darling, if I’m there, you will be too. I’ll bet you’re simply dying to have wicked way with me right now, lusty girl that you are.”
Slap. My hand swung back on its own accord and smacked him across the cheek. The stinging on my palm told me it had been a good hit. Daniel didn’t flinch. He simply shrugged it off and laughed merrily.
“Well, somebody’s feisty today.”
I lunged for him, desperate to harm this despicable human being sitting in front of me. Swiftly, Firth pulled over and killed the engine of his car.
“Both of you get out now.” He said softly.
When Firth gets quiet, it means he’s furious. We hurriedly got out of his car. Once out on the sidewalk, Firth spoke again.
“I want you to settle any differences you have right here. Say whatever you need to say.”
I glanced at Daniel. There was a lot I wanted to say that I didn’t want Firth to hear.
“Oh, don’t worry, dearest. Firth knows.”
“You told him?” I choked out.
“He saw.”
My mouth fell open and Daniel laughed.
“Mia at loss for words. That’s a first.”
“At least I’m not so petty as to make other people feel horrible to make myself feel better!” I shot back.
“It does take two to tango, Mia.” Daniel replied, using my own words against me.
“You can make people feel pretty bad too.”
“You are incorrigible!’ I screamed.
“I hate you!”
“Are you sure about that?” he asked.
“Maybe you feel something a bit more positive than hate for me. It might be lust. Who knows? Maybe some love is even thrown into the mix.”
I gritted my teeth and slowly counted to ten.
“Don’t do that, darling. Your dentist bill will by sky-high.”
Something inside me snapped. I tackled Daniel and sat on his chest, my karate skills taking over. He laughed in my face mockingly.
“If this is all it took to get you straddling me, I would have pissed you off a lot earlier!”
Firth had to cart me away before I could kill him. He scooped me up and dragged me to the car, getting kicked for his pains. He unceremoniously dumped me in the passenger seat and locked the doors. He hopped into the driver’s seat and started the vehicle.
“What about him?” I said
“He can walk. We’re only one street away from his house anyway.” Firth said tensely, eyes on the road.
I grabbed his hand and squeezed it.
“Thanks.” I said softly.
“I needed to get out of there before-“
“Before you committed murder?” Firth asked with a wry smile.
“Basically. I’m sorry you had to choose between him and me. I know you’re his best friend.”
“He shouldn’t treat you like that. I personally believe in chivalry, and he just about broke every one of my rules towards girls just now.”
“And what might they be?” I asked, grinning. Typical Firth.
“Treat them with respect. If a girl wants to be kissed, she’ll let you know. Don’t pull anything until then. That’s a major one.”
I smiled and nestled back into the seat.
“You’re a good guy, Firth.”
He reddened, rubbing the back of his neck.
“I don’t take compliments very well, as you can see.”

As we drove, I turned the conversation back to Daniel.
“Firth, when you got together with Jackie- did it feel like you were betraying Daniel?” I asked hesitantly.
He titled his head, considering my question.
“Honestly? I thought he was going to kill me. I was a little scared telling him, because- she’s his twin sister, you know? Jackie and Daniel have a bond that I can’t begin to understand. But he was actually happy for us. Because we made each other so happy.”
I nodded, taking this in. Firth spoke again.
“I take it you feel guilty?”
I looked at him, eyes pleading.
“I feel like I betrayed her. What do I seem like? Poor Jackie falls into a coma and four days later, I’m kissing her twin brother, whom I supposedly hated for as long as I can remember. It looks like I was waiting for my chance to make my move on him!”
“Mia, Jackie doesn’t know.” Firth said calmly.
“I know that, but I still feel awful.”
“Mia, for now, forget about Daniel. I’ll talk to him. Get him to at least start treating you civilly.”
“He won’t listen to you.”
“I’ll make him listen.” Firth promised grimly.
“If words don’t work, I’m sure getting tackled by a 6 foot, 2 inch, 145 pound guy will.”
“You’d beat Daniel up?” I asked, surprised.
“I’m stronger than I look.” Firth muttered.
I smiled at this and he looked wounded.
“You don’t think I can take him?”
“No! Firth, it’s not that!” I exclaimed hastily.
“You’re just too nice sometimes!”
He shrugs carelessly.
“Consider it a debt repaid, then. You kept Jackie’s spirits up while going through chemo and I always wanted to thank you.”
“I don’t want thanking.”

Firth dropped me home then, repeating his promise to talk with Daniel. I watched him go, his tall form retreating into the night. I never really understood exactly what Jackie loved about Firth so much. I knew he was nice and funny, but I never totally got it.
Jackie loved Firth because he was completely, utterly kind. To the very core. There couldn’t be a bad bone in that boy’s body. He was so caring; people probably took advantage of it. That’s why he was perfect for Jackie. She was a protective person instinctively and Firth practically offered himself up for ridicule and teasing with his compassionate nature. Even if we were just joking around, Jackie would instantly fly to Firth’s defense. He was like a puppy that you just couldn’t help loving.
All of this flashed through my mind as I dragged myself upstairs and into bed. This is going to sound awful, but at that moment, I was wildly envious of Jackie. She had a guy who loved her with his entire being. And she loved him back. They deserved each other in every possible way. And I wanted that in my life. And I knew I would never have it.
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