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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18. Seventeen.

“Hey, Louis,” I said as we stopped at our lockers after school.

“Yeah?” He asked, pulling me closer to him.

“I'm claiming you for the whole day Thursday,” I stated.

“What are you planning on doing to me?” He wiggled his eyebrows at me.

“You're nasty,” I laughed, smacking him on the stomach. “I just mean that I have plans for us.”

“What do you have planned?”

“If I told you, I would have to kill you.”

“I like secrets,” Louis smiled at me.

“Good. This is a huge secret, and I'm not going to tell you until the time comes,” I told him.

“You're fun,” Louis smiled. “Okay. So, here are my car keys. Please don't hurt my baby.”

“I won't,” I told him.

“You're going to have to pinkie promise that you won't crash my car,” Louis held his pinkie out to me.

I scoffed but wrapped my pinkie around his anyway. We shook and Louis pulled me to his lips.

“You better go. You don't want to be late and get another detention,” I warned him.

“Don't remind me,” he groaned. “I hate Kyle.”

“I mean, you didn't have to flip him off.”

“I couldn't let him be a jerk to you.”

“But--”

“He needed to learn to shut up. Someone was bound to snap at him someday, better me than someone else, considering I didn't lay a hand on him.”

“You don't need to defend me, Louis. I can take care of myself.”

“I defend you because I want to protect you. I care about you. A lot.”

With each word that left his mouth, he took a step closer to me. By the time his sentence was over, he had my back pressed against a locker, his chest pressed to mine.

“Louis,” I breathed.

He was taller than me. It was obvious when he stood this close to me. He had to lean over to be eye to eye with me, his lips ghosting over mine.

“Just go with it,” he whispered.

He leaned forward, my breath catching the back of my throat as he closed to gap between us, the atmosphere around us heating up instantly.

“No,” I said after a second. “You have to go to detention.”

Louis didn't back away. “Are you sure?”

“Not really, but I don't want you to get in trouble again,” I pushed him by his shoulders.

“Fine,” he hung his head, then looked back at me with a smile. “What are you going to do while I'm stuck here for the next two hours?”

“Cry because I'll miss you so much,” I said. “And crash your car.”

“Okay, Ms. Sarcasm. What are you're real plans?”

“I think I'm going to go see Jared.”

“Tell him I said hi. I wish I could go with you,” he said as we approached the classroom. “I need you to kiss me one last time, so I don't go insane.”

I happily obliged, pressing my lips to his.

“Mr. Tomlinson, I suggest you some into my classroom now, unless you would like to add another day onto your detention,” Mrs. Brey called into the hall.

I jumped away, my cheeks burning red.

“Bye,” I smiled at him.

“Don't forget to pick me up in two hours,” Louis told me as I walked away.

“I won't,” I said back to him, blowing him a kiss.

Louis caught it in his hand and held it to his heart, giving me a wink before walking into the classroom.

As I walked to Louis' car, I thought about Jared. It had been a couple days since I last saw him, plus my parents have been out of town, so he hasn't seen anyone for a while. I hate the thought of him sitting in his hospital bed without anyone there to keep him company. I'm sure his nurse, Laura, is there to entertain him, but I don't think that's enough. Going from seeing your family everyday to only seeing them for a couple hours has to be hard. At the same time that I feel so bad for him, I also have so much respect for him. It takes a lot of strength to go through everything, the treatment, the scariness of the unknown, the loneliness, but still be able to greet anyone with a huge smile every time I see him.

And that is exactly how he greeted me today.

“Jess!” He exclaimed as I entered his room.

“Hey, buddy,” I greeted him. “How are you feeling?”

“It hurts to move sometimes,” he replied.

I sat down on the bed next to him and looked at his sick face. He looked pale, a look on him that I'm beginning to get used to, with the ever growing dark circles under his eyes. He looked exhausted, in pain, and sick. Yet he still managed to smile.

“How is Louis?” Jared asked.

“He's really good. He's my boyfriend now,” I smiled at him.

“Finally!” He said loudly, causing him to go into a coughing fit.

I frowned and handed him the cup of water sitting on the table next to him.

“Are you guys going to get married?” He asked once his coughing subsided.

“I don't think we will anytime soon,” I laughed.

Jared remained serious.

“I want you to get married before I die,” he said quietly, looking down at his hands. “I want to be around for that. I don't want to die, Jess. I don't want to miss anything.”

I didn't know what to say. Jared has never said anything of that extreme before. To say that it hurt would be an understatement; it hurt so deeply that I felt as if I couldn't breathe. I felt pressure on my chest, a numbness creeping throughout my body. My head was spinning.

“I don't want to die, Jess. I'm not ready,” Jared continued to cry.

I managed to move my body so I was cradling Jared in my arms. I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was falling into a deep, never ending hole. Nothing felt real.

“I'm sorry that I'm going to leave you,” Jared cried harder.

“Stop saying that!” I yelled, wiping the tears from my eyes.

Jared jumped at the sound of my loud voice. We were silent, but the weight of all that was said still laid heavy on my shoulders and on my chest.

I held Jared in my arms until he fell asleep. I looked down at my little brother, his face red from crying tears that he shouldn't have to cry. He shouldn't have to say those words. He shouldn't have to worry about dying. He shouldn't have to carry the weight of a possible death on his little shoulders.

The thought of Jared dying is a horrible one, but one that has crossed my mind too many times. I have thought about what my house will be like when he's no longer around. I have imagined what my parents will be like, how John will feel, what holidays will be like, what it will be like when it's his birthday. I have thought about the little things, too, like how everything will remind me of him and how I won't be able to handle doing normal things without the thought of my dead little brother popping into my head. Like pudding and how it's his favorite after school snack. And I have thought about selfish things, too, like how weird it will be to have to tell people I only have one brother instead of two. Most I have thought about how strange things will be without him, like how strange it will be to have an empty spot at the dinner table and how strange it will be to walk past his room everyday and how strange it will be to only pick up John after school. I've made myself sick with thoughts about Jared dying and hearing him talk about it only made it more realistic.

At 6:00 pm, I realized that I left my phone in my car and that Louis was waiting for me to pick him up at the high school. I moved slowly, careful so I wouldn't wake up Jared, kissing him on the head as I left the room. I couldn't process a single thought, but I knew that I needed to get Louis. I couldn't find my phone once I got to his car. It wouldn't have surprised me if it was right in front of me. I drove until I got to the school and saw Louis sitting on the curb, his head in his hand. When I pulled up next to him, he stood up with a worried look on his face. I got out of the drivers seat.

“Is everything okay? Did something happen?” He asked as he approached me.

I fell to my knees in front of him, a sob falling from my lips. Louis was at my side in a second, holding me against his chest. I clutched his shirt in my hands, holding him close to me, desperate for his touch.

“Is Jared okay?” His voice wavered.

“He.. He told me.. He...” I couldn't finish a sentence.

“Tell me later. Try to breathe,” Louis said, picking me up and carrying me to his car.

He placed me in the passenger seat and drove me back to his house. I cried the whole way there. Crying because of Jared, crying because I was sick of crying. Louis carried me up to his room when we arrived at his house and held me close to him as we laid on his bed. He held me until I was ready to talk.

“Jared,” I started quietly. “He told me that he doesn't want to die. He doesn't want to leave.”

“Oh, Jess,” Louis cooed.

“Then, he told me that he was sorry that he's going to die.”

When I looked up at Louis, he was crying, too. “It's going to be okay.”

I wish I could agree with you, but I don't think it will.”

You can't think like that, Jess. You have to stay positive. You have to stay strong.”

I'm trying so hard,” I cried.

I know you are,” Louis kissed to top of my head. “But you can't give up hope. You have to believe that everything will turn out okay.”

I only nodded, not having the strength to say anything. I tried my hardest to think positive, but nothing good was coming to my head. It didn't matter how hard I tried to think of something, anything, it wasn't going to happen. The bad things in my life out weighed the good, making it useless to think of something positive. Bad thoughts are the only thing that came to mind. They stayed there, taking root in my thoughts.

I can't think of a single positive thing,” I frowned.

I know that it may seem like there is nothing to make you smile, that there is nothing that can ever make you happy again. But that's not true. Things always get better, there is always a brighter side to every situation. You are turning seventeen soon, and you are almost done with your junior year of high school. You don't live on the street and you have food and drink. There things might not seem important in the grand scheme of things, but they are something to be happy about, because some people don't have those things. And Jared hasn't died yet, and the doctors haven't given up on him. He is still under treatment, meaning there is still the chance that he can be cured. You still have your parents and John, and they will always love you and they will always be there for you. You have Abigail, Jenna, Hannah, Bentley, and Garret, who love you like a sister. They are there for you, too. And you have me, and you always will. I'm here for you until the end of time.”

“I am happy for those things, but it's so hard to try to be happy right now,” I sighed.

“I know, but I want you think about all those things when you feel like there is nothing better in life. If it help, write everything down, so you can look back at it later to remind you of everything you have to be grateful for. I hate seeing you said, because someone with such a beautiful smile should never frown.”

“You make a little bit of the pain go away,” I told Louis, closing my eyes in hopes of making my headache and heartache go away. 

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