Falling

Jess is just starting her second semester of being a Junior in high school. To start the semester off, she volunteers to show the new kid around the school. Mainly because she gets to skip gym class, but also because she is intrigued by the idea of meeting someone new. Over the first month of school, Jess becomes really close friend with the new student, but who wouldn't become best friends with Louis Tomlinson. He's funny, entertaining, and not to mention cute, but Jess would never admit to thinking that. Louis is always there for Jess, especially when she gets heart shattering news that changes everything.

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10. Nine.

The next morning, I woke up when I felt someone sit down on my bed. I rolled onto my stomach, not wanting to wake up yet, and asked the person for five more minutes. I had promised my mom that I would go back to school today, considering I've missed a lot of school. I felt so tired, though, and the motivation to go back to school had yet to emerge.

When the person next to me started to rub my back, I groaned and opened my eyes.

“Hi, Jess,” Louis said, his face right next to mine.

“Jeez, Louis!” I sat up, pushing him away from me.

Louis smiled at me, looking at me like he was the most innocent person in the world. He batted his eyelashes a little bit, throwing an arm around my shoulder.

“I just wanted to wake up my bestest friend in the whole world for our first day back to school!”

“Okay, one,” I said, knocking his arm off my shoulder. “'Bestest' is not a word. And, two, what if I don't want to go?”

“That's why I'm here-- to make sure you don't ditch me.”

“I hate you,” I glared at him, kicking the covers off my legs. Louis clapped his hands as I stood up, cheering me on as I walked to my bathroom.

“Yeah, Jess! Work it, girl!” He yelled.

“Louis, it is too early in the morning for you to be yelling.”

“It's never too early!” He yelled again.

“I need to invest in earplugs,” I mumbled, leaving a cackling Louis in my room.

Once I had finished showering, and my mind was a little more awake, I realize that I had left Louis alone in my room. I was dried off as fast as I could, threw on my robe, and ran back to my room to see if he had broken anything. When I walked in, Louis was looking at something in his hands. He looked up at me and quickly set it back down, before looking at me with a smirk.

“What did you break?”

“Nothing.”

“Okay,” I narrowed my eyes at him. “What were you looking at?”

“The snow globe that you got from Disney World. But, now I'm looking at you in that robe,” he winked.

“Pervert!” I exclaimed, hitting him in the chest. “Now, get out of my room so I can change.”

“Are you sure I can't stay and watch?”

“Get out of my room before I hit you again, this time in a place that you wouldn't like very much,” I threatened him.

Louis' eyes widened as he slowly backed out of my room and ran down the hall. I giggled at him and went back to getting ready. I didn't feel like wearing anything too fancy, so I settled on a pair of jeans and a sweater. As I looked in the mirror, I groaned at the sight of the dark circled under my eyes. They looked like I slept with mascara on, leaving black smudges under my eyes. Sleep was something on last night's agenda that I wasn't able to cross off. But that's not the only reason that I'm dreading going back to school. I haven't talked to any of my friends, besides Louis, since Jared was diagnosed. I practically blocked them out of my life, ignoring their texts and calls all week.

They probably hate me now.

“Jess?” Louis knocked on my door.

“Come in,” I sighed, leaning against my dresser.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I gave him a small smile.

He smiled back at me and walked over to give me a hug. I shut my eyes at the feeling of being in his arms, smiling to myself as the way my body warmed.

“Are you ready to go?” Louis asked me.

“No,” I mumbled, hugging him tighter.

“Come on,” he said, pulling away from me. “Let's go.”

I scrunched up my node, causing Louis to laugh, but followed him down the stairs anyway.

“Your parents already left, but they told me to tell you to have a good day,” he sat down at the kitchen counter.

I smiled to myself and continued to get my breakfast: a banana and a hot chocolate packet.

“You actually eat that?” Louis looked at me sceptically.

I nodded, and he pretended to throw up. “I told you that at the beginning of the year.”

“Yeah, but I didn't think that you were being serious.”

“Well, I was. You should try it.”

“Ew, no!” He exclaimed in high pitched tone. He cleared his throat. “I mean, no way.”

“I think you're going to have to try it,” I tossed him a banana and a hot chocolate packet. “Go ahead.”

Louis narrowed his eyes at me but picked up the packet of hot chocolate and opened it. He peeled the banana and slowly dipped it in the hot chocolate mix. He looked at me one last time and took a bite.

“I hate to admit it, but this is actually pretty good,” Louis stated.

“I told you,” I winked at him.

While Louis and I ate our breakfast, I thought about how horrible today would be if I didn't have Louis by my side. I would have to go back to school by myself, catch up on schoolwork alone, reenter my life without my best friend to keep me from drowning. I was lucky to have him. I was lucky that he decided to move here, to go to my high school, that my principal allowed me to show him around the school, that he liked me enough to grant me to honor of being so close with him. I like to think that he was a gift sent to me to help me through this time, that it was meant to happen. It was fast, I guess, that I was given Louis as a best friend.

“Are you ready to go?” Louis asked. “We have to see Mr. Zibel.”

“Alright, let's get this over with,” I stood up.

Louis walked to my side, putting his arm over my shoulder and followed me as I went to get my backpack. He kissed the side of my head as we left my house, smiling at me before opening the passenger side of his car for me.

“Let's do this!” Louis cheered.

I rolled my eyes but smiled at how enthusiastic Louis is at everything in his life. What a person to look up to. If I could be half as optimistic as Louis is, I might not feel as if I'm walking through quick sand with each step I take.

Going back to school makes me anxious for more than one reason. It's not only because I haven't seen my friends in so long, but also because I don't want people's sympathy. I hate when people look at you as if you're the only person in the world to ever be sad. It's a look that makes me feel small, like I can easily be stepped on. I don't want people to talk to me in that condescending voice, the one people use when they say 'I'm sorry for your loss'. The only time people use that voice is when they are silently thankful that you're the one who lost someone, not them. It's the people who hardly acknowledge your existence but want to seem like genuine people.

I know that most people are trying to be nice, but it just bothers me. If I wanted people to feel sorry for me, I would talk about him being sick all the time. I would use this as an excuse to get attention. Attention is the last thing that I want, and need, right now. I don't want to be constantly reminded of the pain that my brother must be going through and the impending death that will follow his treatment. When people say that they are 'sorry' for what's happening, it's only a reminder that it's actually happening. It's a reminder that when I come home, he won't be there.

I don't want to go back to school because I don't want to talk about what happened. I don't want to explain why I've been absent, I don't want to receive looks of pity from people that I hardly know, I don't want to be whispered about.

“Jess,” Louis said, knocking me out of my thoughts. “We've been sitting here for, like, five minutes.”

“Oh,” I hadn't even noticed that we had parked. “Sorry.”

I unbuckled and got out of Louis' car as he chuckled at me. I grabbed my bag out of the backseat and looked at Louis with my eyebrows knitted together. He came over to my side and placed his hand on my arm. When I looked up at him, he gave me a reassuring nod. I instantly threw my arms around him, holding him close to me. His arms came around me in the most comforting way, and I felt a lot better about going inside.

“You'll be okay, Jess,” Louis told me.

“What if I won't be?”

“Then I'll be right there with you.”

~~~

“Welcome back, Louis and Jess,” Mr. Zibel greeted us as we entered his office. I gave him a small smile while Louis and I said down in the two chairs in front of Mr. Zibel's desk. “Jess, your mom filled me in on what has been going on regarding your absence. So, I just want to let you know that your family is in my thoughts while you're going through this rough time.

“Um, thank you,” I said quietly. Louis reached over and patted my knee. I sighed and intertwined my fingers with his, giving his hand a squeeze. I didn't let go of his hand for the rest of the meeting.

“So, I have the work here that you have missed. I also have to work that you will be assigned today and tomorrow, so I though that you two could work on all your stuff in the conference room right down the hall. You can finish all your classwork, then get right back into class next week on Monday. Do you think that two days in school and the weekend will be enough?”

We nodded.

“Good,” he smiled. “I thought it would be better than just sending you home with all the work, since you have the same classes and can help each other if you need it. Plus, you in the building if you need to go see a teacher for help.”

“Sounds good,” Louis said.

“If you'll follow me, you can get started,” Mr. Zibel stood up and gestured for us to follow him down the hall. I stood up and walked with Louis, my hand still clutching his. Mr. Zibel opened the door to the conference room and went back down the hall to get our work.

“Well, at least we get to sit in a small room together for eight straight hours, two days in a row, doing nothing by schoolwork,” Louis said, poking me in the side. “There's nothing I love more than sitting in a room with my favorite person, staring at paper, and writing until my hand cramps. But as long as it's with my best friend...” he said, wrapping his arms around me and hugging me. “It's all okay!”

“Okay. Okay. Okay! Louis, you're squeezing all my insides out!” I laughed, while he squeezed me tighter and lifted me off the ground, spinning me around the room.

“I can't wait to be trapped in here for hours and hours and hours! I just love homework time with my Jessi-poo!”

“You're an idiot!” I laughed, as he kept spinning me around the room. I was starting to get really dizzy, but Louis was making me laugh, and that made me feel better than before.

“You know how I love it when you talk social studies to me.”

“Well, it looks like you two sure are excited about schoolwork,” Mr. Zibel said as he walked back into the room. Louis immediately stopped spinning me, dropping me back on to my feet so fast that I almost fell over. I straightened out my clothes as I bit my lip to keep myself from laughing. I know it wasn't that funny, but I couldn't help but laugh at Louis' face; his entire face was red. When Mr. Zibel started laughing, Louis looked even more mortified, causing me to burst out laughing.

“Anyway,” Mr. Zibel cleared his throat with a smile. “I have your homework here, so you can get started anytime now. Enjoy yourself, Louis.” Mr. Zibel said, placing the papers and textbooks on the table. I was still giggling when he left the room.

“It wasn't that funny,” Louis said to me.

“It kind of was,” I said, wiping the tears from my eyes. I giggled as Louis while he pouted like a child, his arms crossed over his chest. I sat down in a chair and patted the seat next to me to get him to sit down. “Come on, don't be a child. Did you know that George Washington was the first president?”

Louis cracked a smile, and groaned. “Oh, I really do love it when you talk social studies to me.”

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