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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7. Six.

When I stopped crying and could start processing what was going on, I was laying in Louis' bed, Louis laying next to me with his eyes closed. I had my head on his chest, his arms around me in a protective way. I couldn't breathe through my nose and my eyes were throbbing to the same beat as my heart. I felt weak and broken. As broken as a person can get.

“Louis?” I whispered.

“Yeah?” He whispered back. I shrugged. “Do you want to talk about it?”

I shrugged again. I did but I didn't know where to begin or what to even say. Talking seemed like an unnecessary effort but an effort that I needed to put forth otherwise my head would surely explode. I sat up and sat against the headrest of Louis' bed, Louis doing the same. I laid my head against his shoulder and shut my eyes. Then I told him what had happened. I had to stop several times because it hurt too much to say certain things but I wanted to tell Louis everything. I wanted him to be the one that I confide everything in. The trust that I felt for Louis was strong and I felt close to him, as if I had known him for years instead of short amount of time.

“He has leukemia,” I told Louis. “And they don't know if it has spread yet.”

“What happens if it hasn't spread?” Louis asked, rubbing his hand across my back.

“Then he has a really good chance of going into remission. His doctor seemed pretty sure that that's the case but I can't help but imagine what would happen if it's not.”

“I don't think you need to worry about that until you know for sure. When will they find out?”

“What time is it now?” I asked.

Louis sat up a bit to look at his alarm clock, “Almost ten.”

“Oh, I hadn't realized that I have been here for that long... Um, they should know by now. They probably found out a couple hours ago.”

“Do you want to call your parents and find out?”

“I don't think that I could talk to them right now. I'm just so angry at them for not telling me.” I sighed and shut my eyes again.

When the room got quiet again, I started thinking about Jared. I remember when I got to see him for the first time, a couple hours after he was born when my dad brought me into my mom's hospital room. 'Come meet your little brother', my dad had said to me when I was sitting in the waiting room with a couple of nurses who were keeping me entertained. I was excited to have a sibling, especially one that was younger than me. I followed my dad to the room, remembering to be extra quiet and careful because, as my mom had told me multiple times, 'newborn babies are very delicate and need to be treated carefully'. I was very careful when I crawled onto my mom's hospital bed, moving slowly as I leaned forward to look at the little face buried in a bundle of blankets. I instantly feel in love with him. His fingers were so tiny, his face so pink and soft, and little lips that were in a pout. I made a vow then to be the best older sister to him. And I like to think that I was. I was there when he said his first word, took his first step, learned how to ride a bike, and went to his first day of school. He would come to me when he was upset or when our parents had yelled at him. He would ask me for homework help. He would trust me with his little elementary school secrets.

But all I can think about is if I was good enough to him.

“Jess?” Louis asked, making me realize that I was crying again. “Are you okay?”

I shrugged. I felt numb and empty. Like I was a chocolate bunny that had no inside, just air that always leaves a disappointed feeling in your gut because there's no filled center. It was a weird feeling, like I was moving without really moving. I felt as if I was stuck on pause while everything else moved in fast forward around me. It made me feel sick to my stomach.

“Do you need to get home? It's almost midnight now,” Louis asked quietly.

“Can I stay here?” I asked, craving to be close to someone right now, someone who I trust with every cell in my body.

“Yeah, of course,” Louis replied. He moved down in his bed, so he was laying on his back, his arms open for me to crawl into. It brought more tears to my eyes, seeing that Louis is being so supportive and caring to me right now. I laid down next to him, my head resting on his chest, listening to the beat of his heart. It calmed me, hearing something so steady and so consistent. It made me feel grounded and eventually helped me fall asleep. It wasn't a peaceful sleep. My brain kept producing the worst dreams, dreams of losing Jared and everything around me falling apart. I woke up every hour or so, startled by some horrifying image that took forever to shake from my brain. It was the worst feeling. And if it wasn't for Louis being there, right next to me, I would have lost my mind. He made me feel safe. He made it easier to get rid of those images, his arms around me helping me see that those were only dreams, nothing real.

And, soon enough, Louis' alarm was going off at seven the next morning.

“Please don't make me go to school,” I said, opening my eyes to plead with Louis.

Louis hesitated before nodding and rolling back into bed with me,

“Are you okay, Jess?” He asked quietly.

“I don't know,” I sighed, shutting my eyes. “It doesn't feel real.”

“Hey, hey. Come here,” Louis opened his arms to me, noticing that I was crying once again.

I felt nothing yet the tears kept coming. I couldn't stop them, and I didn't want to. The act of having tears in my eyes was something to feel, something that gave substance to the situation

I stayed in Louis' room for the next three nights, not moving from my spot on his bed. Sometimes sleeping, sometimes staring at the wall in front of me. I stayed in bed for seventy-two hours, feeling drained physically and mentally. Each time I woke up, I only felt more drained, like a wilting flower that had no hope. It was a dreary existence, for those three days, but Louis was there.

One the fourth day of barely living, I decided to get up. I showered and pulled on clean clothes, a pair of Louis' sweatpants and a shirt. I felt like I was on automatic, like each motion was being done for me. But I was moving. I was getting by.

As I shuffled downstairs, I overheard Louis and his mom talking in the kitchen.

“I don't know, Lou... Won't her parents be upset?” Johannah asked.

“They already know she's here! Just call them again and tell them it will only be a couple more days. Please, mom?” I heard Louis beg.

As his mom gave in and agreed to what Louis had said, I entered the kitchen. Louis' mom was kissing him on the head, causing Louis to blush when he saw me walk in, pushing his mom away from him. I gave them both a small smile and leaned against the counter.

“I'm so sorry to hear about your brother, Jess,” Louis' mom said, hugging me. “You're welcome to stay as long as you need, dear.”

“Thank you,” I smiled. I sighed as she left the kitchen, sitting next to Louis on top of the counter.

“How are you feeling, Jess?” Louis asked.

“I don't know. It still doesn't feel like this is actually happening, kind of like I'm going to wake up at any moment. I just want my head to stop spinning. And then I feel so much hate. I hate my parents for keeping me in the dark. I hate them for letting this happen. I hate the world for moving on and spinning even though this is happening.”

“That's a lot of hate for such a small person,” Louis teased.

“I can't help it,” I shrugged.

“You know what we should do? We should watch movies, I bet that will take your mind off thing, even if it's only momentary.”

“Okay, I like the sound of that.”

“How much popcorn do you want me to make?” Louis asked, sliding off the counter and opening the pantry door.

“Make the whole box,” I shrugged. “I'm going to go pick out some movies.” I tried to smile but it felt forced, fake, almost plastic to even try.

I went up to Louis' room and sat down on the floor, in front of his tv stand that held his movie collection. I picked out ten movies and sat back on his bed to wait. I looked around his room while I waited, looking at the things he had on his shelves and hanging on his wall. While I was looking, I noticed a sweatshirt, well, a pile of sweatshirts, sitting on his desk chair. I stood up and put one on, falling back onto Louis' bed, surrounded by the warmth and comfort of the soft cloth that still smelled like Louis.

“Did you steal my hoodie?” Louis asked as he walked into him room, carrying several bags of popcorn in his arms.

“Yeah.”

“Okay then,” he laughed, dropping the popcorn bags onto his bed. I grabbed one and laid back. Louis did the same, laying next to me and nudging me with him shoulder. I looked at him and moved closer, so I could rest against his side.

“So,” Louis said, putting his arm around me. “What do you want to watch first?”

~~~

“I'm so full of popcorn, I think I might explode,” Louis groaned, throwing an empty bag of popcorn onto the floor.

“Shh, this is the best part,” I put my hand over his mouth. We were on our third movie, and in all honesty, not moving was perfect.
When the movie was over and the credits were rolling, Louis rolled over onto his stomach and stared at me. “Why do you like that part so much?”

“It's entertaining how stupid it is,” I looked at him.

“What's stupid about it? It was pretty good, a cute, happy ending for everyone.”

“That's exactly the point. They've been friends for, like, ever. She would have figured out sooner that her best friend was in love with her. And if he actually loved her, don't you think he would have told her sooner, instead of letting her go through all that heartbreak? Plus, if she weren't so dramatic, then he wouldn't have had to run all the way to the airport, all the way through security, just to be stopped at the gate and told he can't go any further. But, for some reason, he's so in love, that he keeps running anyway, with security chasing after him, and stops her just in time. He tells her he loves her, and then they kiss, while security does nothing to stop it.”

“What's your point?” Louis asked, his lips twitching into a smile.

“It's so unrealistic! Security obviously would have tasered him.”

“You're ridiculous,” Louis burst out laughing. I grabbed a handful of popcorn and threw it at him, smiling as I watched him laugh. “Are you feeling any better?:

“A little, I guess,” I leaned against him.

“You'll probably feel better when you see your family again,” Louis said.

“Is that your way of telling me that you want me to leave?” I asked, sitting up.

“What? No, no no, that's no where near what I meant. I just--”

“Louis, I was kidding,” I smiled at him.

Louis crawled over to me and laid down on top of me. He wrapped his arms and legs around me, holding me really close to him. “I never want you to leave.”

“I can't breathe,” I smiled, pushing Louis away from me.

“Hey, guess what,” he moved off of me, laying down with head on my stomach instead. “You get to meet my dad, today. You know, since you've finally decided to get up and not sleep all day.”

“Harsh, man. Excuse me for being tired.”

“You are excused,” he said, tapping me on the head. When he smiled at me, I shoved him away from me and onto the floor. “What was that for?!” He exclaimed from the ground.

“I don't know. You deserved it.”

“I did not.”

“Yes, you did.”

“You're such a bully!” He said, standing up and pointing at me.

“I am not!” I argued, standing up as well.

“Bully!” He yelled, running around his room and repeatedly yelling 'bully' at me. When I charged at him, his eyes got big and he darted from his room. I chased him down the stairs and into the living room, where he continued to run around the room while I watched him.

Until he tripped and fell, letting out a very high pitched scream on the way down.

“What kind of noise was that?”

“Sometimes men make high pitched noises, too. Especially when they are being bullied by their house guests.”

“I don't see any men around here.”

“I'll have you know that I have chest hair.”

“Good for you, Louis,” I said, patting him on the head.

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