"I'm getting a cat."
Once my room is cleaned I move to the living room, dusting and vacuuming until I am satisfied with it. My mom stays out of my way, watching my actions from a distance. I don’t talk to her, avoiding the questions I know she wants to ask. I just can’t answer them, not yet…not with the kind of answers she wants to hear.
Around five my mother and I sit down at the island to have dinner. It’s nothing special just noodles covered in pasta sauce, and Texas toast. I nibble at my bread after consuming all the noodles. I almost ask my mom if I can go back over to the Way’s house but decide against it. For some reason she seems to be against me being with Amber. I still haven’t figured it out.
“Are you gonna spend the night again?” my mom asks as she cleans up the dinner dishes.
“I was planning on it,” I reply figuring it’s best to just tell the truth.
“Tomorrow is Monday.”
“I wasn’t planning on going to school. Amber needs me to be with her.”
My mother nods, continuing to dry a bowl I’m positive is free of wetness, “You can skip school on Monday but Tuesday you must go.”
Nodding I finish putting away the dried dishes before going back up to my room. I don’t know when I’ll go over, probably sometime after mom goes to sleep so that she won’t ask questions. Why am I so afraid of that? The answers simple, if I voice that Amber isn’t alright it makes it true…it makes everything seem so much more real than it does right now.
By eight I can’t wait anymore. I sneak down the stairs, skipping over the two that squeak and crawl on my hands and knees to the back door hoping my mom doesn't decide to get up off the couch to refill her coffee cup. Once I’m at the back door I reach up, turn the nob and slip out feeling very much like a ninja.
Climbing up onto the roof with the aid of the trash cans I pull Amber’s window open with the toe of my Converse. From the inside I can hear movement and then I see Amber’s eye looking up at me.
Smiling I put my foot on the ledge waiting till the red head moves before entering her room all the way. It’s nice to see that she’s up and not just sleeping. Maybe she feels a little better. Then again I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
Scattered around the floor is empty juice boxes and hardly eaten oatmeal bowls. Why won’t she eat?
“How are you feeling?” I ask kicking off my shoes before curling up under the covers with Amber.
She snuggles up against my chest, drawing patterns out on the palm of my hand with her pinkie finger. For a long while she doesn’t say anything just plays with my fingers. I notice the bandages that I put on last night no longer cover the cuts on Amber’s arm. Tiny pink lines are visible. I wonder what she’d do if I kissed them.
Deciding to take a chance I gently take hold of her arm, bending my head down, laying my lips onto the pink marks. As she pulls her arm away I can see the small smile. It’s genuine and that’s a start.
“I’m much better now that you’re here,” Amber says going back to playing with my hand. “I’m getting a cat.”
Her comment confuses me, “Why are you getting a cat?”
“Both Aunt Donna and my mother are convinced it’ll help with the healing process. I don’t wanna have to take care of an animal…I want to sleep,” Amber responds, her head lying on my chest.
“Then sleep,” I answer gently stroking her hair. Her hand moves to lie on the side of my neck causing my breath to catch.
I want to tell her how I feel. I want to lean over and gently whisper how much I lover her in her ear...to kiss those soft, pink lips but I know it’s not the right time. Amber needs to heal; she needs to get better before I say anything. Right now she needs me to be the best friend who is there to comfort her, not the guy who is in love with her.
“Will you be here when I wake up?” Amber questions.
“Yes, my mom isn’t making me go to school tomorrow,” I answer, feeling her body relax a little.
“Goodnight Frank,” she whispers her head still resting comfortably on my chest.
For almost three hours I sit there, silking Amber’s hair listening to her steady breathing, lavishing in the feeling of her tiny body pressed up against mine. I think back to that fateful Thursday. I did hear a scream. It was Amber’s. I could have saved her from this. Instead I staid with Devlin, passing it off as nothing…I feel like such an idiot.
A few tears race down my face but I wipe them away not wanting Amber to wake up and see how upset I am. It’s my job to stay strong for her, to protect her. Sighing, I close my eyes, letting the troubles of the day fade away for a few hours.
Note: What do you think? I know, I know, Frank still hasn't told Amber his feeling but it will come all in good time. There are quite a few other events that need to take place before hand. :) Oh, and thanks to everyone who is reading/reviewing this story. You have no idea what your reviews mean to me.