“It has,” I admitted softly.
“How are you feeling?” Dary asked, dropping her hands as she sat up straight.
She slipped her glasses back on. “What about your chest? Your lungs? Is that what the inhaler is for?” She glanced toward where it sat next to the pile of textbooks.
I nodded. “Yeah. The doc thinks everything will heal fine, but I have to use the inhaler a couple of times a day for the next week or so.”
“What about the arm?” Abbi asked.
Lifting my left arm, I winced. “Should heal fine. Hopefully, I get the cast off in a couple of weeks.”
Abbi stared at my arm. “So...what’s going to happen with volleyball?”
“I don’t know.” I shifted against the pillows. “I haven’t really thought about it.”
“When I broke my arm, I had that cast for, like, six weeks.” Dary frowned. “God, I remember getting poison ivy somehow under my cast that summer. Ugh. It was torture.”
I glanced over at Abbi. She wasn’t looking at my cast anymore but at the foot of the bed. “Are...are you guys okay?”
Abbi laughed, but it was without humor. “I don’t know what that question even means anymore.”
“It’s just...” Dary closed her eyes and shook her head. “Megan was nuts—nuts in the best way. It’s just so weird not having her here, not hearing her voice or seeing her get excited about seeing a cat in a yard or something. It’s just... Nothing is the same.”
“Do you remember the car accident at all?” Abbi asked suddenly.
A tremble coursed through me. “Only a little bit. Like flashes of conversations.”
“Your mom said you had a concussion and that you were having trouble remembering,” Dary said.
“So you don’t remember it all?” Abbi asked again, and my gaze flicked to hers briefly.
“Not much,” I said, and hated myself for it. “But I...I remember that I was going to text you and let you know that...I was leaving.”
“I didn’t get the text.” Abbi lowered her feet to the floor.
“I didn’t get...a chance to send it.”
Dary closed her eyes. “I know you don’t remember, but do you think they...that they suffered?”
Smoothing my hands along the comforter, I let out a shaky breath. “I don’t think so. I don’t think Cody did either.”
“He never woke up,” Abbi stated quietly.
I shook my head, at a loss for what to say as I glanced between them. The lack of Megan was a heavy, tangible presence in the room.
They stayed for a bit, Dary sitting on my bed, Abbi in the computer chair. They talked about school and about Megan—about the songs played at her funeral. They talked about the charges that Keith’s parents could be facing and how he was handling it all. Dary did most of the talking.
I went through the motions, nodding and answering when I needed to, but I wasn’t there, not really. My head was a hundred miles away. It was close to dinner when they got up to leave and Dary hugged me goodbye.
Abbi hugged me just as carefully as Dary did. “I know you need some time, some space,” she said, pressing her forehead against the side of my head. Her voice was low enough so only I heard her. “I know this has been hard for you, but it’s also been hard for us. Don’t forget that. You need us right now.” Her voice cracked, and over her shoulder, I saw Dary bow her head. “We need you right now.”
* * *
I heard the knob turning and I looked over. A shadow was on the other side of the balcony doors. Putting the inhaler aside, my heart skipped a beat. The door opened, and Sebastian came in, closing the door behind him.
Sebastian was dressed for bed, wearing flannel bottoms and a white tank top. He looked good. He always looked good, but I almost didn’t want to acknowledge that. Like I shouldn’t be able to do that anymore.
Like I’d lost that right.
“I didn’t text you,” he said, walking over to the bed and sitting down. “I figured you wouldn’t answer it.”
“Then why did you come over?”
His lips kicked up at the corners. “You know why.”
I raised a brow. Before I could respond, he started moving. Turning sideways, he scooted up the bed and shifted onto his back. We were shoulder to shoulder. Hip to hip. The acute sense of awareness that always accompanied this kind of closeness was there. A shivery wave that rippled over my skin. It didn’t... It didn’t feel right. That aware feeling. Like I shouldn’t feel those things after what had happened. It wasn’t right.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Getting comfortable,” he replied, grinning at me. “I plan on being here awhile.”
My mouth dropped open. “Not sure if you realize this or not, but I tire out really easily right now. Supposed to be resting—”
“Do you remember when you were eleven and had mono?” he asked suddenly.
I frowned. Of course I remembered. The fever had been the worst part for me. I’d felt like my head was going to explode. I was pretty sure I’d caught it from Dary.
“Our parents wanted us to stay away from each other. Dad was afraid I’d catch it and I’d miss Little League practice.” He laughed quietly. “Anyway, you were upset because you were lonely and being all kinds of whiny about it—”
“I wasn’t being whiny,” I argued. “I was stuck in my bedroom by myself for days, and if I wasn’t sleeping, I was bored.”
“You were sick and you didn’t want to be alone.” He paused, waiting for me to look at him. “You wanted me.”
My brows lifted as heat hit my face. Was he on drugs? “I didn’t want you, per se. I just wanted someone—”
“You’ve always wanted me.” He cut me off, his gaze meeting mine. “Not just anyone, but me.”
Lips parting, I could only stare at him for several seconds. The night of the party came back. Us by the pool. Me thinking he was going to kiss me. Us arguing that night. And I thought about the Monday before that night, at the lake. I’d kissed him, but I hadn’t allowed myself to think about any of that, because it didn’t seem fair.
“So, you not wanting me here has nothing to do with you being tired. I know why you don’t. Or at least I think I understand part of it, and we’ll talk about the you-wanting-me part later,” he replied, loosely folding his arms across his chest. “But for right now, I want to know how things went with Abbi and Dary.”
We were going to talk about the me-wanting-him part later? That was a later I was going to make sure I wasn’t around to see.
“I’m not leaving.” He nudged my knee with his. “Get talking.”
After a few moments, I shifted my gaze to the TV. Deep down, I knew I could make him leave. If I told him I really didn’t want him here, he would go. He wouldn’t be happy about it, but he’d leave. But as I stared at the TV, I knew I didn’t want him to leave. I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted my friends.
I wanted him.
“It was good seeing them,” I admitted, voice hoarse. “How did you find out they were here? Were you watching the house?”
“Maybe.” He chuckled again. “No, they told me today at school that they were coming over and forcing their way in if necessary. They’ve really missed you, Lena. This past week has been really hard on them.”
He was quiet for only a moment. “Megan was their friend, too.”
Guilt was a snake twisting up my insides. “I know that, too.”
“I know you do, but something is going on in your head.”
Running my hand over the comforter, feeling like there was so much I wanted to say but didn’t know how to. “There’s a lot of stuff in my head right now.”
“Understandable,” he murmured. “There’s a lot going on in my head right now. It’s weird. Like I’ll wake up thinking about something Cody had said to me. Or some dumbass ignorant thing I said to him.”