Sympathy washes over me, and I peer through the glass into the cafeteria to where Ryan is. He has a lazy grin on him, propping an elbow on the table holding a fry and talking to Brendon.
Brendon calls me right after the bell rings and my heart stops. Those tests.
Brendon's silent for a moment, making me stop and lean against the bricks outside the school. I just go through all the possibilities and it hits me. No, no, it can't be that bad.
“Can you come over?”
My legs refuse to hold myself up any longer. I end up kneeling on the ground. I feel like I got hit by a bus. “What is it.” I say it in a monotone voice, not questioningly.
“I'll tell you, just get over here.”
He hangs up.
Brendon Urie, who claimed to me when we were thirteen that we were "true-blue bffs", just hung up on me.
I make my way to his house going at least twelve miles over the speed limit. Nobody else is over. “Wasn't Ryan with you?” I ask, barging in and seeing Brendon standing on the steps.
“His dad needed him, and I wasn't gonna tell him.”
I pause. “Why? Is it that bad?” Brendon just looks at the floor, like this is the biggest lie he's ever told. He motions me upstairs, and I follow into his room and sit on his bed.
“I don't want to tell Ryan because I don't want to scare him away,” Brendon mutters, “I think... I kind of like him, y'know?”
“I think he likes you too,”
“Really?” Brendon almost smiles.
“Brendon,” I urge, wanting to know.
“Tumor, in my brain.” His eyes meet mine, and it's my turn to break contact.
I don't move.
“Cancer?” I choke out, voice cracking. My eyes threaten to water, but I do my best to hold it back. My best friend has a brain tumor. My best friend might have cancer. My best friend might not live 'till he's twenty. True-Blue.
“They're still analyzing it so we don't know. But it's there.” Brendon starts to cry, and I grab his hand soothingly. He holds onto it tightly.
“Somewhere accessible. They're getting it out in a few days.”
I practically growl, “And you didn't tell Ryan? He does care about you. He came with you- how-h-how did he not find out?”
“He wasn't in the room.” We sit in silence. I don't want to ask anymore questions. “I couldn't cry in front of him, I couldn't be scared. Jon- I'm terrified.”
I wish I could be as clueless as Ryan.
“Hey,” I say, “it's okay. We can tell him, both of us okay? He won't be mad.”
“I lied right to his face,” Brendon protests, “I'm surprised that you're not mad at me.”
“It's not an easy thing.” I say, “We'll talk to Ryan tomorrow, is that okay?”
“Okay.” Brendon is quiet for a few more moments. “I'm going to a therapist, you know.”
I study him, “Yeah, it'll probably be good for you.”
“The other day when they said it could be something serious, I asked why God, if he is even up there, couldn't just kill me right away instead of taking this route. Mom overheard.” Brendon stares at his hands, “I never saw myself living past eighteen anyway.”
I scold him, “Don't talk like that, you aren't going to die. I'm not going to let you die.”
Brendon laughs with no humor, “Maybe I want to.”
My heart throbs in my head.
I walk in to the house finding my father going through my mom's things. Her death has been the hardest on him. It's been a few months, but even if he walks near his room he can't help but walk inside and stay there a while. I come in here probably once a week. I miss her, too. Enough that I have to hold my posture a little harder and clench my jaw. “Dad,” I call from the door frame.
“I- Ryan,” He settles. “I'm, sorry I called.” I kneel beside him and pick up the things he took out of the boxes. Her pink sweater is still in my father's lap, he rubs it with his thumbs.
I swallow hard, my throat suddenly dry and hurting. The necklace around my neck all of the sudden weighs a hundred pounds.
“The necklace, Ryan, can I see it?” I don't take it off, but hold up the single pearl. He holds his hand up, and a shy away.
“I never take it off,” I recoil.
He just nods, “Sorry.”
“I'll make some dinner, well, an oven pizza. I can't cook.” His father can't either.
While he preheats the oven, he can't help but want to just run back over to Brendon's. He's hiding what he has from him. But he said he'd be fine. He doesn't seem like that much of a liar.
Unless. It's bad enough he has to lie.
I tap my fingers on the counter top. I need to calm down. So I text Spencer.
“Whats going on?” Spencer replies.
“Making dinner. Well. Waiting to put the pizza in. You?”
“Ha, nice. Hw.”
“So how's you and Jon? You guys bfs yet?”
“Idk. I rly want to be. I know he likes me. We've kissed u know.”
“Then what are you waiting for?” I wait for his respond, the oven going off. I slip the pizza in but forget to take the cardboard off the bottom. “Fuck,” is the only word I say until I retrieve the pizza again and put it in. Spencer responded during my fiasco.
“Idk, rly. Wbu and Brendon? U guys like each other right?”
My phones screen flickers, the battery dying. “Yeah.”
I text him again. “Gotta go, phone's dying.”
I'm scared to like him due to him being sick. I don't know what he has. If it's something lethal I don't know if I can deal with another loss. I can't.
Lunch goes slow for a bit, Ryan and Brendon talk about anything but Brendon being sick. Anyone could see that Ryan's trying not to bring it up. Brendon's knee bounces up and down.
Spencer arrives. “Hey,” he greets, placing a hand on the back of my neck and rubbing there. I lean into the touch.
“Mm, nice to see you.”
“You're quite tense,” He mentions, pushing his thumb into a stiff part. I hiss, my back aching a bit until his touch feels good.
Brendon scoffs, “Okay, enough.”
“Sorry,” Me and him say, one after the other.
“I, um, wanna talk to you, Jon. Wanna go to the quarry?” My head shoots up to look at him. Ryan smiles to himself. Brendon just looks at us.
“Sure,” I reply easily, following him. “What's up?” He motions to sit next to him on the bench.
“This is crazy,” He says, “Everything's crazy right now, I know Brendon's sick. Ryan told me.”
I just stare at him. He's looking at my shoulder, eyes traveling upwards till he reaches my eyes. “It's hard on him. He has a lot going on.”
Spencer takes in a deep breath. “How are you doing, though?”
I pause. I've never really thought about it. Last night I didn't sleep much, the bags under my eyes probably making obvious. If I said I was fine I'd sound like an asshole, and I'd be lying anyway. “I've known him since I was, like, six.” I reflect. Spencer rubs a hand on my back, distracting me before I start again. “We'd go to the park and hang off the bars and climb the swing set. One time he fell from the bars, and he got a concussion. He was, like, hysteric, so was I. He pinkie promised me when we were seven years old that nothing bad like that is ever gonna happen to him again,”
Tears form in my eyes. I look down at my lap, “and here we are.”
Spencer moves his hand and pushes some hair out of the way from my face.
“Hey,” he soothes, “Brendon's a badass, whatever it is he can push through.”
I think of all the famous people that haven't survived cancer. They seemed invincible. “He'd- maybe.”
Spencer is careful and hesitant, “What does he have?”
I don't want to say it. Spencer is a straight line to Ryan. I say it anyway.
“A brain tumor.”
Spencer has to bite his tongue to keep himself quiet. “You're fucking with me. Cancer?”
“Why the hell would I fuck with you?” I sound like a snitch, words biting off my tongue. Spencer takes his hand off my shoulder. “He doesn't know yet. Or at least hasn't told me.”
“We can't tell Ryan,” Spencer blurts. “We really can't. It will hurt him a lot.”
Ryan doesn't strike me as the weak type, but when you mix in his new attraction to Brendon and a tumor I guess so. If Spencer and I- especially me, can handle it, he should be able to also. “Why?”
“It's a sensitive subject,” Spencer counters stubbornly.
“Like I care about sensitive-fucking-subjects,” I say. “Can you just tell me?”
Spencer furrows his eyebrows. “I know this is hard on you, and I deserve it for the way I was earlier. But can you please stop being so bitchy?” He sounds angry, but still pleading. I nod.
“Sorry,” I mouth and reach for Spencer's hand. I feel alone even surrounded by people. It feels like I'm the only one feeling this much intense pain and Ryan doesn't even have to feel it yet.
“Ryan's mom died a few months ago,” Spencer says. “By brain cancer.”
Oh. Ouch. “He's been basically taking care of his father, because he's depressed. Ryan's been... well, he's fine when he's distracted.”
I wouldn't have guessed. “That girl necklace he wears all the time-”
“It was his mom's. She gave it to him before she died.”
“He was there when she died.” Spencer's voice cracks. I can tell he had a connection with her also.
Sympathy washes over me, and I peer through the glass into the cafeteria to where Ryan is. He has a lazy grin on him, propping an elbow on the table holding a fry and talking to Brendon. He looks okay, like a normal teenager that just wants to get out of here.
“Wow,” I repeat, I look at him. His eyes are watering, like he just snapped. “Spencer,” It's my turn to console him. His blue eyes pierce through me. I don't know what to say. The only thing to fill words was to kiss him. I hover over his lips for a moment, my thumb brushing away a tear.
A simple gesture didn't do enough. We spend the rest of lunch in silence.
A/N I'm making myself sad.