I'm in the middle of an English lecture, it's almost done, when Junie calls me the next day. I promised I'd answer whenever she called and I still feel terrible about forgetting about her yesterday. I get up and scoot past everybody, whispering a sorry to Ed on my way out. He looks a bit confused but carries on teaching as I leave.
"Hey, Junie." I say, sitting down on a little wall. "You okay?"
"I'm stressed out." she sighs. "I had such a good day today at school and I get home and Mum and Dad won't even look at each other. I don't even know what's wrong with them or why they're arguing but I wish they'd just split up to be honest."
I've never heard her so angry. I've never really heard her angry at all. I can just see her pacing around her room right now, red in the face. Junie has never been stressed in her life. I can't help but worry about Mum and Dad too. Just because I'm eighteen and at university now, that doesn't mean it wouldn't affect me if they got a divorce. It's like they're completely different people now that they're arguing and it scares me. It sounds like it's pretty serious and I can't even imagine what has made them argue like this. I don't let it show to Junie though. I'm the big sister, I'm there to make everything okay.
"You don't really want them to split up." I say.
"I do." she says, definitely. "It's awful here. I try to sleep at my friends' house as often as I can but I'm too scared to ask them to be honest. Whenever I speak to them, they just snap at me."
"I'm so sorry, Junie." I say as people start leaving the lecture. "Just hang in there, try and stay in your room as much as possible, read and watch movies and stuff."
"I am." she says. "It'd be better if you were still here."
Ed comes out of the lecture hall amongst other students. He pauses next to me and says "my house in five minutes" before walking away again. He looks concerned for me.
"I'll come and visit really soon." I promise. "We can go out all the time and get you out of the house. Yeah?"
"Yeah." she says, sounding calmer than she did at the start of the conversation. "Thanks. I have to go for dinner now. Bye, Dais."
"Bye. Call whenever." I remind her and she hangs up the phone.
I wander over to Ed's house, trying to figure out what to do for Junie. She always had this happy life and it's unfair that whatever problems my parents are having are making her so unhappy. I feel so helpless right now. I hate that she's unhappy and that there's not even anything I can really do about it.
Ed opens the door and I step inside, shutting it behind me before hugging him for a long time. He sighs, hugging me back, resting his chin on my hair. I am so thankful to have him right now.
"What's the matter?" he asks, softly.
I sit down in the living room with him and explain everything. He doesn't reply, he just sits there and listens but in the best way. I just know he's listening to me.
"I have no idea what to do." I say at the end of my rant, looking at him.
"You should definitely go and visit her." he says. "I'll send you with some stuff to revise, you won't miss out on anything."
"Are you sure?" I ask, nibbling my lip. "I don't want to miss out on too much."
"You won't." he promises.
So the following weekend, after I've organised everything with my parents, Ed drops me off at the train station and hugs me goodbye.
"I'll miss you." he says. My heart aches. I think it's in a good way.
"I'll be back in a couple of days." I sling my bag over my shoulder. "Call if you need anything."
He chuckles. "What would I need?"
I laugh too, shaking my head. "I don't know. I'm just being nice."
"Well you call if you need anything too." he kisses my cheek and I get on the train.