The class is in an uproar. Our French teacher just told us that our class will be going to Paris over Spring Break. I am just as excited as everyone else, until I hear who I am roomed with. I, of all people, will be roomed with the one person in this entire school that I cannot stand. I turn around to look at him, and he is just smiling back at me. I know he is just thinking of how he’s going to mess with me. I roll my eyes and look back up to the front. Why me? As far as I know, He’s a boy, and I’m a girl. After class finishes, I walk up to my teacher to ask his about my room assignment.
“You were the only two left and we can’t let you two have your own rooms. I know you two aren’t fond of each other, but that’s how life is.”
“Not fond of each other? You’ve got that right. He bullies me every day and I almost don’t come to school because of him.” It’s true, but I’d rather be at school than at home.
“I’m sorry, Allison, but there’s nothing else I can do. The trip plan has already been to the principal and approved. Maybe you will get to know each other better.”
“Whatever,” I say and walk out to my next class.
When the class lands in France, I sit next to my best friend, Della, on the bus to the hotel.
“Do you want me to punch him when he starts acting like an ass towards you?”
“Sure, but don’t get kicked off of the trip.”
“Okay, I promise. I don’t know what’s worse. Rooming with your worst enemy or with the smelliest person in class.”
“Maybe you can convince her to take a shower everyday while we’re here.”
“I have to do something. If her smell catches onto me… That’s not going to happen.” I laugh at her and the bus stops at the hotel.
I get to the room first, so I claim the bed closest to the balcony. I plop the suitcase on my bed, then step onto the balcony to take in the view. In the distance, I can see the Eiffel Tower and the river beside it. I can see a giant roundabout that is covered with cars. I come back into the room so I can put my clothes away before dinnertime. The door opens and Daniel walks in.
“Hello beautiful. Can I have this bed?” he says as he points to the bed I’ve already claimed.
“Um, I’ve already taken this one, so you can have the other.”
He walks over to my bed, grabs my suitcase, and tosses it onto the other bed. “Looks open now. I think I’ll take it.” He puts his suitcase on my bed.
“I think your suitcase looks better on that bed.” I go to grab his suitcase, but he grabs my hand before I can.
Daniel glares into my eyes. “Don’t touch my stuff. I’m taking this bed, okay? And if you don’t like it, you can go tell Mr. Haven that you want to leave.”
“How much more of an asshole can you possibly be?” I ask.
“You haven’t even scratched the surface, sweetheart.” He walks to the bathroom and slams the door behind him. I unpack, and wait for dinner. When it’s time to eat, I notice that Daniel hasn’t come out of the bathroom yet. I knock on the door to tell him that’s it time for dinner. He doesn’t respond, so I knock again. “I heard you the first time! I’m not hungry.” I just leave him, and join Della at dinner.
As we are eating dinner, asks where Daniel is. I tell her what had happened since we got to the hotel. “I’m gonna knock his face into a freaking wall. Why does he even mess with you when he knows he has to deal with me?” Just to let you know, Della and Daniel are twins, but they stay away from each other at school so no one can tell. She follows me to my room after dinner, and Daniel is sitting out on the balcony. She goes out there and starts yelling at him. He stands up to defend his ground, but she points for him to sit back down, and he does. She yells at him for a couple of minutes, and then returns to the room to me. “That should do it. Tell me if he does anything else, okay?”
“Alright.” I hug her and thank her, and runs off to her room. I get ready for bed, and Daniel comes in.
“If you and my sister weren’t best friends, you would have never come on this trip from all of the shit I could have done to you.”
I turn over in my bed and blast the music on my headphones so I don’t have to hear anything else he has to say.
The class goes sight-seeing the next day, and I stick by Della’s side, and Daniel does nothing to me. On the way back, I ask Della what she told Daniel last night on the balcony.
“I just said that if he messes with you again, I’ll kick you in the nuts and tell mom about the last party.”
“It seemed to have worked, for now. I wonder if it will be any different when we get back to the room.” When we do get back to the room, Daniel goes straight to the bathroom. After a couple of hours, I have to take a shower, so I knock on the door and ask him to come out so I can shower. I wait for about thirty minutes, twenty-eight minutes too long, and go to Della’s room to use their shower. She lets me in, and when I get into the shower, she sneaks off to my room to talk to Daniel.
“Danny, I gotta talk to you.”
He swings the door open and lets her in. “Don’t call me that. That’s only for our house.”
“Sorry, your fucking majesty,” she says as she sits on his bed. “I just wanna know what’s going on and why you’re hiding in the damn bathroom for two and a half hours.”
“I have to take my pills, and they are making me feel weird, like I wanna throw up, but I can’t. I just don’t wanna sit out there and feel miserable and look at Allison and have her get Mr. Haven. I know she will figure out there’s something wrong with me and she will get him.”
“Oh, well I can get her to come to my room every night and you can lay out here.”
“It won’t make much of a difference, but whatever floats your boat.”
“I have to get back to my room so she doesn’t think anything’s up. See you later.” They hug each other and Della gets back to the room thirty seconds before I get out of the bathroom. “Was that a nice shower?”
“I guess. The water was clear and warm, and I used some soap to make me smell better.” We laugh and I ask her why she asked.
“I don’t know, I like the showers here better than my house, and I was wondering if you did too I guess.”
“Yeah I like them. So, what’s up with your brother and staying in the bathroom for so long? Can he just not stand me or does he have a love for toilets?”
“He probably has kidney stones.” I laugh at the thought of his pain. I thank her for letting me use her shower and head back to my room so I can sleep. He’s on his (my old) bed, but not asleep, just staring at the ceiling. I ask him what’s up, but he doesn’t respond, so I lie on my bed and keep talking.
“I wish they had a skylight so I can look at the stars in my bed. That would make this one less crappy if they did. I wonder what we are doing tomorrow. I hope we get to go shopping sometime.”
“I’m trying to concentrate.”
I sit up on my elbow and ask, “On what?”
“My toes. I need to wiggle them.”
“So I know I’m not handicapped.” He moves his toes and smiles.
“I’m guessing you’re not handicapped today. Why are you checking, anyways?”
“You don’t need to know, and I don’t need to tell you.”
“Okay. I wasn’t pushing you to tell me, like I would really care. I was just wondering.” He rolls over in his bed and we don’t speak for the rest of the night.
I wake up before he does, and I go to the bathroom to get ready. I forget to lock the bathroom door, and Daniel walks in. He doesn’t see anything except for my back, which is full of scars. “What in the hell happened to you?”
“Nothing to your concern. Now get the fuck out.” The rest of the day whenever I glanced at Daniel, he was always looking back at me. At dinner, I sit with Della, as usual, and Daniel and his friend Zack sit two tables away from us. The only reason why I noticed is because Amanda was sitting to the table in between us and handed me a note. It read: “Meet me in the room ASAP. Daniel.” I go to Della’s room instead so I can tell her about this morning.
“Why did he even ask you that? Doesn’t he have enough common sense to not ask? Apparently not. I’m sorry that he doesn’t have manners.”
“It’s okay. I just told him to never talk about it.” I say bye to her and head to my room. Fortunately, he’s on the balcony, so I sneak into the bathroom to take a shower and clear my head. In the middle of my shower, I hear a knock on the door. Another knock on the door, and I yell for Daniel to get it. A couple minutes pass, and there’s a knock on the door again. I get out of the shower to get the door. It’s Della, and she asks where Daniel is. I point to the balcony and get back into the shower. When I get out, Della is sitting on my bed.
“I told him to think before he opens his mouth and that our mom said hi, since he lost his phone. I was waiting for you to ask how you are with your dad.”
I sit on the bed beside her. “He’s a lot better than he was two months ago when he would give me these reminders that my mother died. He thinks it’s my fault because she was coming to my softball game when that stupid truck ran into her. Sometimes I think it was, because I begged her to come, but I know it was just fate. My dad just can’t see that. I’m just glad that he has a big case at his office for the past two weeks. And we’re here for a week, so that’s three weeks that he hasn’t hit me. It feels really nice, but it’s going to hurt worse when it starts back up.”
“I’m glad that it hasn’t been happening. And I’m glad you’re not blaming yourself for your mother’s death anymore.” She tells me goodnight and goes to her room. I lie on my bed and put music on. I close my eyes, and not too long later, there’s a tapping on my forehead. I open my eyes and Daniel is standing above me.
“What?” I ask.
“I’m sorry about this morning. This is weird for me to be apologizing, so I won’t be mad if you go into shock,” which I almost do, “but I was concerned about what happened. It didn’t sound like it, I know, but I was. Could you tell me what happened to your back?”
“Probably not because I don’t like you and I don’t like to talk about it anyways.”
“Okay, and don’t forget to lock the bathroom door.”
“Okay, I guess.” I roll over in my bed and wait for him to fall asleep so I can go out onto the balcony peacefully. When I get out there, it’s chilly, so I come back inside for a blanket. I hit something, so I try to rush out without being seen, which doesn’t work. He doesn’t get up, which was nice of him, but he asks what I’m doing. “Fresh air,” I briefly explain. He goes back to bed, and I go outside. I lean against the railing and think about my mother. I recall the memories of our Christmases, baking cookies, and playing softball together. A tear escapes from my eye, and I don’t stop it. I cry for the lost bonding with my mom. She won’t be able to help me with homework, watch me walk down the aisle, or watch her grandkids grow up.
Mr. Haven finally takes us to go shopping so we can buy souvenirs and other fancy items. Della and I get matching shirts that say, “Paris Bitch.” I get something for the house. It’s a small cookie jar that we can put change in, and when it fills up, we can go out and do something fun together. I also buy myself a couple of t-shirts, a necklace, and fake pearl earring that remind me of my mom. We get back from dinner, and Della comes up to my room with me. We end up on the balcony because Daniel and Zack take over the room.
“Do you think my dad and brother will like the idea of keeping change in the cookie jar?” I ask Della.
“I think it sounds brilliant, but I don’t really know them, so I couldn’t tell you.”
“I just hope my dad doesn’t think I wasted my money and hit me for it. And then break it.”
“Don’t show it to him right away. I could keep it at my house and keep it safe if you want. I’ll make sure nothing happens to it.”
“How could I ever live without you?”
“You wouldn’t live.” This is true because she has saved me so many times from her brother, my dad, and me. She tells me goodnight and heads off to her room. I stay on the balcony until one in the morning, and finally get tired enough to fall asleep.
Another fun day of sight-seeing is in store for us. At least we get to be on a bus instead of walking everywhere. I feel like my legs are going to fall off if we walk any farther.
We get back to the room when the day is over, and Daniel goes straight to the bathroom. ‘Am I really that hard to be around?’ I ask myself. After a while, I hear a big thud come from the bathroom. I knock on the door and ask Daniel if he’s okay. He doesn’t respond, so I knock again. The door is unlocked, so I crack the door open and see Daniel lying face-down on the floor. I nudge him and ask him if he’s okay. He still doesn’t respond, so I check for a heartbeat and breathing. He has both, so I call Della and tell her to come up to our room. When she gets to the room, we get Daniel on the bed and she calls their mother. I ask Della what’s going on and she tells me that it’s the pills that he’s taking. Their mother says that he will be alright, but shouldn’t take them anymore. We wait for Daniel to wake up by talking about things.
An hour passes, and he finally comes to. “How in the hell did I get to my bed? I thought I was in the bathroom,” he said more to himself than us.
Della tells him, “We put you on the bed because Allison found you on the floor unconscious. Mom said for you to stop taking those pills and that you will have to go to the doctor when we get back.”
“Alright. And thanks for calling Della, Allison.”
“Sure thing,” I reply. Della leaves so we can go to bed, but we don’t.
“I know you probably don’t care, but I feel like I should tell you about my pills. They are for a disease I have, well, actually its cancer. You can’t tell anyone else about this. I don’t want people being sorry for me. I hate that.”
“Wow. Thanks for telling me. It’s weird because we hate each other. What kind of cancer do you have?”
“I’m not sure what the scientific name is, but it has to do with my nervous system. That’s why I was wiggling my toes the other night. I can’t feel the top of my right arm, so if you ever touch me there and I don’t flinch, that’s why.”
I test his arm out, and he doesn’t move a muscle. “So, I suppose you want me to tell you something about myself.”
“Only if you want to. I-I was wondering about your scars on your back ever since that morning. But you don’t have to tell me about it.”
I felt a trusting feeling from Daniel. “My mother died a couple of months ago while on her way to see my softball game. A truck ran a stoplight and ran into her. My dad blames me for her death, and tends to show me how much he hates me by beating me when he gets drunk. He’s turned my brother on me, and I’m sure the rest of my family hates me too. And you can’t tell anyone about my life because I hate people feeling sorry for me too.”
“That’s a lot worse than I imagined. If you don’t know, I have a heart, but I don’t like to show it.” He looks down at his hands and wipes a tear from his eye but makes it look like he’s just rubbing it. “Can I give you a hug? I really need one, too.”
I sit on his bed and we wrap our arms around each other, and we don’t let go for what seems like forever. I tell him, “this is nice and all, but I’m about to fall asleep. Can we pick this up tomorrow?”
“Sure. And Allison?”
“Tonight has changed my views on a lot of things.”
“Me too. Goodnight.”
The next day, we have a day off from being with the class. Della, Daniel, Zack, and I all hang out. We walk around for a bit and end up at a park. And play some soccer with some locals. Della and I play on the same team against the boys and have a great time. Last night’s conversation was a little awkward for me, but I think it helped changed the views of Daniel and I. We eat dinner together and get ice cream afterwards. That night we set off paper lanterns off of our balcony and watched them float away. When Della and Zack leave, Daniel and I talked some more about our lives. Our best memory of our favorite people, of school, and our worst memory of all. We found out we shared our favorite color, food, childhood cartoon, and all-time movie. We got the grand idea to build a fort in between our beds and I brought my mattress from my bed on the floor and we sleep in the fort that night. We have a blast, and feel that this is the end of a feud, and the start of a wonderful friendship.
By the end of the trip, Daniel and I are inseparable. Our classmates were curious, but never said anything, which I was glad for. If I were them, I would be baffled too. When we get back from the trip, my boyfriend, Harry, is waiting for me. I run to him and he asks how my trip was. I tell him it’s a pretty long story, so I’ll tell him later. Daniel waves goodbye to me and I wave back. “What was that about?”
“Like I said, it’s a long story. Let’s go.”
When we get to my house, no one is home. Harry helps me with laundry and dishes and sweeping. I tell him every detail of my trip, except for Daniel having cancer. I tell him Daniel had to take pills for diarrheal problems. He laughs at that, but stops when I tell him about Daniel passing out. I told him that Daniel knows about my dad and about my mom dying. When we finish with my chores, we sit on the couch and watch Finding Nemo. I ask him what he did while I was gone.
“Oh, I just, err, played football with the boys and hung out with them mostly. Nothing to exciting.”
We snuggle up and watch the movie, and my family comes home.
“Your home, good. There are dishes that need to be done,” my dad tells me.
“I just finished with them and I swept and I’m doing laundry. Is there anything else that needs to be done?”
“No. Well, you could go pull weeds out of the flower garden that was your mother’s. It’s what she loved the most. Go pull weeds and stop being a freeloader.”
“Harry, do you want to come pull weeds with me?”
“Sure,” Harry answers, so we go outside. As we are pulling the weeds, he leans over to me and says, “You’re a freeloader, huh?”
“Sure am. But I don’t want anything happening tonight, so I’m just going to do what he says.”
We pull weeds the rest of the afternoon and after Harry leaves, I vacuum and dust. My dad doesn’t get drunk tonight, so he’s not in the mood to hit me. I’m glad it’s just hitting and doing tons of chores. I just pray to God every night that it doesn’t get any worse.
Daniel has been too my house almost every night these last two weeks. I finally get permission to go to his and Della’s house, when Harry shows up at my door.
“Do you have time to talk, because I really need to talk to you.”
“Um, I was just on my way to Daniel and Della’s house, but they can wait. What’s up?” I ask as I lead him to the couch.
“I need to tell you what I really did while you were gone. I went to a party in a town about thirty miles away, and I got wasted. I met this girl, and I cheated on you. Allison, I knew I was doing it, and I don’t know why I thought it was okay, because I know it wasn’t. I don’t deserve you, and you deserve so much better than me. SO, I’m breaking up with you so you can have a happier future. And don’t tell me that you want to be with me, because you don’t need me. I don’t deserve you and I know that, so I’m just going to go now.” I sit there baffled from what had just happened. My eyes fill up with tears, and I run to Daniel and Della’s house. Daniel opens the door and I run into him and bury my face in his chest. He wraps his arms around me and leads me to the couch by Della.
Della asks me what’s going on, and I tell her what Harry said.
“He doesn’t deserve you if that’s what he did while you were gone. He’s just a piece of trash that blew itself out of your life. I’m glad he at least told you now instead of keeping it a secret and not telling you.”
“Me too, but I just can’t believe it even happened.”
“I’m sorry, but I’ll be right back. I have to go get my dog from the vet now or he will have to stay overnight.”
“It’s okay. I don’t want Chummy to stay at the vet for any longer.”
Daniel lets me cry for a little longer while he comforts me. “Even before our friendship, I knew Harry wasn’t a good guy, but we weren’t friends then so I didn’t tell you about him. I’m sorry for that.”
“It’s not like I would’ve listened to you back then if you did tell me. We hated each other, so don’t beat yourself up for this.”
“I never hated you. I just picked on you for whatever reasons. I don’t really remember why I started.” He knows, but he won’t tell her. “But thanks. There is something I want to say, though.”
“What is it Danny-bear?”
“Um, I’m glad he’s gone.” He wanted to tell her more, but just stopped there. He wanted to tell her why he started picking on her in fifth grade and still did until the trip. He has always had a crush on her, but now that he really knows her, he’s fallen in love.
Daniel gets up and grabs some tissues, two spoons, and some ice cream. “They say chick flicks and ice cream soothe a break-up.” He puts on The Notebook and we eat ice cream together. I fall asleep in the middle of the movie, and he wakes me when it is over.
“Thanks for everything. I have to go home, but I’ll text you later tonight. Or do you want to Skype?”
“I think Skype sounds fun. Della, are you joining us?”
She responds, “Sure. Sounds like fun!”
I have been hanging out with Della and Daniel more than ever these past couple months. I’m still a little baffled from Daniel and I being worst enemies to best friends. Some people have asked me if we are dating, but I tell them no, we are just best friends. As I’m doing my homework one night, I’m thinking about if Daniel and I got together, and how it would happen. I think of the worst case scenario, then the best case scenario. I like the way the best came out, and wish that I can find someone that would give me that. I slap myself on the forehead for being an idiot and put my shoes and jacket on. I run as fast as I can to Daniel’s house to tell him my epiphany. I knock on the door a little too loudly for eleven at night, but it’s kind of important.
He opens the door and asks, “Allison? What are you doing here? I thought you had a lot of homework.”
“I need to tell you someth….” I look behind him and notice Becky was sitting on the couch. “Am I interrupting something here?”
“No. Becky was just getting ready to leave. Bye Becky.” She grabs her stuff and gives me the stink eye the whole time. “There’s something I need to tell you. Becky came over and we decided to start dating.”
“Since when have you had feelings for her? I didn’t even know that you looked at each other.”
“We have been talking for a while now, but I know you don’t like her, so I didn’t say anything to you about her.”
“Alright, but don’t let her get between us, okay?”
“See you at school.” I shut the door behind me so I don’t have to hear his voice anymore. I walk home slowly, and let the tears fall from my face. I take the long way and stop by the park in between our houses. I don’t get home until two in the morning, and when I do, my dad is waiting for me and fueled with alcohol.
“Where in the hell have you been? It’s two fucking o’clock in the morning!”
“I went to Daniel’s house for a bit and then went on a walk. I apologize for taking so long.”
“There’s no sorry left for you to give. The last one went when your mom died. You know I fucking hate you for that.”
“I know,” I say softly. He slaps me across the face and throws my body against the wall. He gets the fire poker and hits me with it on every part of my body. I don’t cry, because I’ve already as much as I could. He takes me to the top of the stairs, dragging me by my hair. He then positions me to kick me in the gut and make me fly down the stairs. He decides that’s enough punishment for tonight, and he goes to bed to pass out. I don’t move, and I lay there the rest of the night. When the sunlight hits my face, I get up to get ready for school. I get to my bedroom when my brother walks by to go to the bathroom.
“You know you deserve everything he does to you, right?”
“Yes, I know. And you don’t have to tell me every time he does.”
“Just making sure.”
I would leave my house, but I have nowhere to go. Secretly, everyone in my family dislikes me because everyone loved mom and dad is great at persuasion. I don’t want to go to Daniel and Della’s house because their parents don’t know my situation and I don’t want to be a burden to them. If I left, I would go very far away and never come back. That’s what I plan on doing when I graduate high school this year. I feel more alone than ever. Daniel has a girlfriend now and I haven’t talked to Della in forever and whenever I text her, she never answers me.
No one looks in my direction at school the next day, which is good because I can’t move too much without pain shooting throughout my body. Daniel spends most of the day with Becky, and I know what she’s doing, and it’s working. In the next two weeks, he has only called me twice and we only hung out for like thirty minutes at the park before he had to go on a date with Becky. I congratulate her and her efforts to suck up my life even more.
One night I text Della and she finally answers me. “Hey! What’s up?”
“Bored out of my mind and missing you like crazy. Time to talk?”
“Sure. The park?”
“Yeah. See ya there.”
I meet her there and tell about Daniel and how I feel about him. She grins and in her head she’s thinking about what all Daniel has told her about me. I also tell her about the night Daniel and Becky got together and what my dad did that night. Her eyes fill with tears. “God, I’m so sorry. I’m a horrible friend. I’ve been super busy with chemistry projects and homework and practice. Why didn’t I ever text you back?”
“I knew you were busy, so I didn’t expect anything right away, but I would have loved to of heard from you. Promise to never do that again, okay?”
“Promise.” We do our pinky finger handshake and salute each other. We talk for a while longer before I have to go home to avoid my dad. As the days pass, Daniel and mine’s friendship deteriorates. I haven’t heard or seen from him in at least a month, and it’s getting close to summertime. I was planning on going with his family to Myrtle Beach, but I don’t want to if we aren’t going to be friends anymore. It will be just awkward. It’s killing me to not be able to talk to him. I finally decide that it’s time to give up on him wanting to be friends with me.
As I’m studying for finals in the living room on Friday night, there’s a knock on the door, and Daniel is standing at my doorstep.
“Finally decided to give a fuck and come see me?”
“What? I know it’s been a while since we last talked, but I need to talk to you right now.”
“Well, I don’t think you need me because you haven’t given the time of the day to call or text me or even come to my house, so you can just go now.”
But Allison, Becky broke up with me and I really need to talk to someone right now. Please let me come in.”
“Goodbye Daniel.” I slam the door as hard as I can so he can take the hint that I’m pissed and that he can’t just pop back into my life whenever he feels like it. I cry and finish my homework, and then I do the dishes and clean the house and stay up all night. My family is vacationing at my Grandma’s house this weekend, and I clearly wasn’t invited. I cleaned to keep my mind off of Daniel and everything else that has happened in my life. Daniel comes by again on Saturday night, but I just slam the door in his face and he doesn’t get a word in.
I get up early Sunday morning with tons of thoughts in my head, so I decide to take a walk to shake it all off. I open the door, and almost step on Daniel, who is sleeping on my steps. “Daniel? What in the hell are you doing out here?” He doesn’t respond, so I nudge him with my foot to wake up. I realize I hit him on his right arm, so I try again on his leg. He still doesn’t wake up, so I kneel and hear for breathing and a pulse. His breathing is light, and still has a pulse. I call Della and tell her. She and their mom come immediately and we get him in the car. I ask them if they know what’s going on.
“I have no clue. The last time this happened was on the French trip. Della and her mom look at each other, and I know what they are thinking. He started to take those stupid pills again. We get to the hospital, and the doctor checks him out.
“His nervous system is failing more rapidly than we thought it was going to. Did he start back up on those pills? And when and what was the last thing he said he couldn’t feel anymore?”
Della responds, “We think so, and the last thing he told was his heart, but I don’t think it was from the cancer.”
“He told me the last thing that he stopped feeling was the tips of his fingers about two days ago.”
“Okay. We have to keep him here overnight for observation and I think we will have to do surgery sooner than later.” The doctor lets us have some time with Daniel. I sit by him the rest of the day, until I have to go home to help my family with their baggage and do their laundry and cook them dinner. After school the next day, I go and visit Daniel. He’s awake, which makes me thankful.
“Hey. I feel like an asshole for the other night. We are best friends and nothing should change that, even if we haven’t spoken in a month.”
“I’m the idiot for not responding to you and letting Becky tear us apart.”
“Now you know why I hate her. She did the same thing to Della and I back in middle school, but friends instead of dating.” He smiles at my joke, and takes my hand.
“This incident has shown me that I may not have much time left. I need to tell you something that I’ve wanted to tell you since fifth grade. I have always had a crush on you since then, but on the Paris trip, we got to know each other better, and I fell in love with you. I don’t know how life would’ve turned out if we didn’t room together. Mr. Haven is my new favorite teacher.”
I laugh about what he said about Mr. Haven. “I finally realized that I love you when I came over that one night unexpectedly when you and Becky got together. I was thinking how our peers thought we were dating, and I imagined what it would be like. I told myself I wanted something like that, and I knew you would be able to do that. I just feel really stupid for not knowing it earlier.”
“You’re not stupid, and you know that.”
“Yeah, I know, but not realizing it sooner would have helped.”
“I want you to move in with us. Della and I slipped to our parents about what you have to go through, and they want you to come live with us. They know that you deserve a happier place to live, and they want to give it to you. They have a lawyer, just in case your dad wants to keep you. I don’t think he will when he finds out my parents know what he does to you.”
My eyes fill up with tears as his family walks in. “So, what do you think? Do you want to come live with us?” their dad asks.
“Yes! And I’ll do the dishes and whatever else for you.”
“That’s not necessary. You’ve already done more cleaning in your seventeen years than I have done in my whole life,” their mother says.
“I love you guys!” We have a group hug around Daniel. I move into their house that night. When we got to my house, my dad was furious with what he was told, but let me go so no one else can find out what all he does to me. Daniel gets out of the hospital a week later, and he is cancer-free. The family has a celebration to us, including Zack. Daniel and I are stronger than ever. My life is actually going good, for once. I get accepted to the university of our state, with a full ride scholarship for softball, and I decide to major in archeology. Daniel and Della get accepted there too, and we get an apartment together.