Chapter Nine

October 6th Morning

It's Monday, and I'm still sick. Mom is staying home with me, after she takes Amy and Ashley to school. She's worried that it's getting worse, but I feel the same. I suppose that's better than getting worse. I'm supposed to call my friends and ask them to get my make-up work, but it wouldn't make a difference.

Carly sighed and looked out the window. Her mother had asked her to rest in the living room so that she wouldn't have to go up and down the stairs all day to take care of her. It was understandable, but her bed was much more comfortable, especially when her stomach was doing back-flips.

In a way, the sight of brightly colored leaves swaying with the breeze, and the cool feeling of a fresh breeze sifting through the screen door helped her to relax. It wasn't until she relaxed her sore muscles and let herself drift to sleep that she noticed how tense she had been.

That was the first day that she allowed herself to sleep almost until it was bedtime, and then to sleep some more, but somewhere in her unconscious mind she knew she was about to get better in so many ways, and that somewhere, he was thinking about her too.

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"Dude," Steven plopped down on the couch next to Mitch, "we need to get sized."

Mitch chocked on his half-swallowed drink.

"What?!" He managed to wheeze in reply.

"Homecoming is in like two weeks," Steven explained. "Amanda wants me to take her. You're coming this year." And he was. Mitch was not going to get out of it this time.

"I don't have a date," Mitch retorted.

"So go stag," Steven suggested.

Mitch snorted at him.

"I don't need people thinking I'm gay."

Steven rolled his eyes. They didn't know the half of it.

"Then ask Carly," Steven told him. "It'll be fun, you really have no idea what you're missing out on."

Mitch mumbled something smart.

"What was that?"

"Nothing…"

"Mitch…"

"You know exactly why that is not going to happen." He repeated quietly. Or at least Steven assumed he was repeating it.

Steven took a sip of his drink and rested his feet on the coffee table.

"Alright, I'll ask her," Steven held up his hand to quiet Mitch's protests. "Hear me out. I know other girls have asked you. Go with one of them, I'll test the waters to see what her plans are and maybe she'll want to join the group. How's that sound?"

"…fine," Mitch pouted. "But I'm not asking anyone. They can come to me."

"Good," He smiled. "Pick someone hot. You want to make her jealous," Steven stood to go upstairs.

"Where are you going?" Mitch asked him.

"I told Amanda I'd stop by tonight," He answered simply.

"It's Sunday!" Mitch looked appalled.

"Yeah. I'm going upstairs so I can call her to let her know I'm not gonna make it."

"You're…disgusting," Mitch replied as he turned back to the T.V.

Steven just laughed at him.

"You'll understand one day. Just wait, Lil Bro, just you wait and see."


Monday morning Mitch's schedule was normal, but not. He woke up at his usual hour, put together his duffel bag, tried several times to wake his brother, packed breakfast…but it felt so…unnatural. Something just wasn't right.

"I'm not so sure I want to go swimming today," Mitch mumbled tiredly to his brother.

Tiredly. Mitch was a morning person. He was never tired like this. Well, almost never.

"Woah!" Mitch should've known he'd make a big deal out of this. "Are you feeling alright? I can call an ambulance if you need me to. Just give me the signal, Little Bro!"

"I'm just really tired," Mitch sat down at the table. He let his duffel bag fall to the floor.

"Seriously," Steven sat across from him.

"Yes, seriously!" Mitch shouted. He'd never really been this irritable either.

"No, that's not what I meant. Do you want me to get mom?" He offered. "You don't look so good."

Mitch barely considered it before he shook his head.

"I'll be okay. I just need to eat something," He stood to get a bowl from one of the cupboards.

"Alright then," Steven stood with him and clapped him on the back. "Breakfast is on me."

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By the time they got to school Steven was getting seriously worried about his brother. Mitch had always been a picky eater, but today was just ridiculous. He'd ordered him a breakfast burrito and a cinnamon roll; two things Mitch loved. Mitch barely even picked at the burrito and looked like he was about to puke when he opened the box for the cinnamon roll. He wasn't much for sweets, but he still loved cinnamon rolls.

"Bro, I can call mom. It's no biggie. Really," Steven offered again when they parked in the school parking lot.

"I'll be fine," Mitch hurried out of the car before Steven could push the issue any further.

Steven didn't bother to stick around to listen to Mitch after that. If Mitch was going to puke all over the hallway he'd just as much not have been there than be all supportive big brother and get puke all over his letterman jacket. Besides that, he was due to meet Amanda on the second floor.

"Hey," He smiled as he approached her.

"Hey yourself," She stepped forward and pulled herself close to him.

Steven kissed her tenderly. He was more than aware of the jealous looks that they were both getting.

"Did you miss me last night?" He asked in her ear, resting his hands on her hips.

"Did I miss you?" She pulled him back for another kiss. "How could I not miss you? Especially at night."

"Hmm…" Steven moaned at her while she pulled him down for another kiss. "I just don't know. You must've missed me a lot, huh?"

She giggled and pulled him down again. God, he'd missed having a girl.

"Mr. Brown," Steven felt a hand much larger then Amanda's on his shoulder.

The couple turned to see, of all people, Mr. Richards standing before them.

"Neither time nor place, Mr. Brown. Miss Larkin," He informed them sternly. Steven turned to kiss Amanda goodbye, but Mr. Richards cleared his throat loudly.

Steven sighed just as loudly and rolled his eyes and the old man.

"I'll see you at lunch, okay?" Steven said to her.

"Oh?" Mr. Richards interjected. "Will she be joining you in detention?"

Steven scowled at him.

"I'll see you later baby," Amanda kissed his cheek and walked away.

"To class, Mr. Brown," Mr. Richards pointed to his classroom just across the hall. Steven glared hard at him. One day he was going to snap, and he be dammed if that old man wasn't going to be in his way.

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Mitch had never missed a day since he started high school. He'd also never fallen asleep in class. Ever. In fact, he'd never even wanted to before. But oh, Mr. Richard's dirty linoleum floor looked so inviting.

He was struggling to keep pace with the lesson, and he'd barely taken notes, but he only half-cared. He could figure it out later, right? He sure hoped so, because there was no figuring it out now.

"Mitch!" Someone was elbowing him in the side.

He shot up quickly; he'd laid his head down on his desk and drifted off. He glanced around lamely to see if anyone else noticed. Or, rather, to see if Mr. Richards had noticed. He didn't seem to, but one could never be too sure with him.

"Thanks," he mumbled. The classmate murmured a quiet "your welcome" before they both fell back into near-silence.

He made it through most of class in a dazed blur. He would doze off at times that felt like they stretched on forever and ever as his thoughts dragged on. He couldn't concentrate on any one thing. He started with the overpowering urge to sleep, faded into considering just how badly his stomach actually felt, and whether or not it was from sickness or hunger. Eventually his thoughts made it back to Calculus, and to the realization that his pencil was still in his hand. Calculus brought him to Carly, who was not perched in her usual spot in the desk just to his right. Where was she? He missed her.

He missed her. That was the last thing he thought before being brought rudely back into full consciousness.


Steven already knew before it started to happen that he was going to have to take his brother home. He didn't want to for, well, for a lot of reasons. One reason being that he really didn't want to have to take care of him. The other being that the only way Mitch was going to go home is if he was puking or dead and no one wanted to clean up either of those messes, least of all Steven. Or smell it. Or get in their car.

Still, even though he saw it coming form hours away, somehow Steven was still surprised when Mitch made a beeline for the trashcan and went half-crawling out the classroom door.

Steven stood from his desk to go to his brother in the hallway.

"Mr. Brown please sit…"

"Bite me, Professor," Steven retorted as he followed his brother's path.

"I'm okay," Mitch croaked when he heard the door open.

"Yeah," Steven swore he saw Mitch flinch when he heard his voice. "That's why you're sitting in the all with your head in a trash can. I do that all the time."

For a moment the only sound was that of Mitch's labored breathing and weak gagging.

"I'm taking you home," Steven informed him.

Mitch didn't say anything for a while. Steven wasn't sure if he was trying to form an argument or if he'd simply passed out.

"Okay."

Steven nodded and walked back into the classroom. This was going to be a shitty day.


Hey! So I know I kinda missed the whole next day thing. Sorry about that. Some stuff came up and it just didn't happen…

Anyway, I did take into consideration the review about the really short scene changes. I've made note of it in my notebook and I will go back and see if I can't add some things into that. I'm sure there's a lot I can add, but it may have to wait until I finish the story because I'm not sure what information in needed and which information is excessive. Because of where I originally wanted it to go and where it is now going, there's actually a lot of excess information in some of the chapters right now.

Again, thank you to everyone who has been reading, and I'd really like to see your reviews! RnR love!