Even with the news that he'd probably die very painfully, very slowly and very soon, Jake was happy and upbeat as we headed back to cabin six. He didn't say anything but he had a huge grin on his face. Whenever he saw me looking at him he'd try to wipe the smile off his face, but he never succeeded. It makes me wonder how he'd become so good at acting in his later life.
I decided not to question his odd behaviour, and so we both walked in silence back to the cabin. A few people walked past us and waved in greeting. Suzie made to come over to us, but then stopped, looked at her watch, smiled apologetically and hurried away.
Kara, on the other hand, was more sociable. She appeared behind me and flung her arms around me, pulling me away from Jake (whom I'd been continuing to use as a walking stick).
"Mabel! You're okay! I was so worried about you!"
I could barely breathe as I tried to pry her arms from around my neck.
"Kara…stop…dying..." She either didn't hear my quiet pleas for freedom, or chose to ignore them. Luckily, Jake came to the rescue.
"Kara, stop it." He dragged her away and then turned to catch me as I began to lose my balance again.
She smirked. "Why's that Longtil? You afraid that Mabel might abandon you if she gets too many cooler friends?"
Jake looked about to retort but I interrupted him by covering my mouth and pushing him away from me. He managed to dodge out the way as I threw up on the floor right in front of his feet.
"Oh, nice." Kara wrinkled her nose, and then patted me on the back. "Sorry Mabe's, gotta go. Have fun with the puke, Jakey-boy." She hurried away, leaving Jake to half-drag me the rest of the way to cabin six, away from the gathering Earths who were telling him off for killing the plant-life again.
Emily was sat on one of the sofas and appeared to be doing some of her University work. Emily was studying History; a subject that I was interested in but not particularly accomplished at. Luke was, presumably, in his and Jake's bedroom.
Emily looked up as we entered.
"Mabel! Hey, how-? What happened?" She hurried over and helped Jake drag me to my bed which looked warm and inviting, but, in reality, was cold and no doubt hated me for being away for so long.
Jake hurried away to find me some water while Emily helped me change into something that I hadn't been wearing for two weeks.
When Jake returned, I practically threw the water down my throat. He also handed me a small tablet (which was either paracetamol or ibuprofen, but as there's little difference, it doesn't really matter).
After taking the unidentified pain killer and drinking several more glasses of water I settled down in my freezing bed and fell asleep.
By the time I'd woken up, my bed had forgiven me for my absence and was as warm as ever. All the same, I managed to get up without much hassle. My headache from the day before had subsided as had the nausea. I stretched and then headed off to have a long shower before everyone else woke up. Emily still wasn't awake by the time I'd returned and I wasn't particularly surprised. A quick glance at her watch told me that it was only just seven and so not even Jake would be awake yet. Although, depending on the day of the week, the waking up times varied.
As this thought struck me, I suddenly realised that I had no idea what day it was. I knew it had been about two weeks, but that gave me no indication on anything else. The only thing it told me was that I'd missed Christmas, but that didn't bother me.
But no amount of wondering would get me an answer so I instead decided to wait until someone woke up. I settled myself on one of the sofas and would have fallen asleep if it wasn't for Luke's timely appearance.
"You're okay, then?"
It wasn't a question, but I nodded anyway. He looked unsure of what to say next. He settled down on the sofa opposite me and looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable. I looked at him questioningly and he eventually answered.
"I'm glad you're okay, okay? What?" He looked indignantly at my sceptic look. "I am glad you're okay. Mostly because Jake's been acting really weird these past two weeks but also…" He tugged at his sleeve and wouldn't meet my gaze. "Well, I was worried."
I didn't have time to look shocked because at the point Jake appeared.
"You okay now Mabel?" He looked worried, but relaxed slightly when I nodded. "What'cha doing, Luke? You don't usually wait for us in the mornings. Or did you want to try some of that wasabi porridge again?""
Luke's face twitched as though he was recalling an unpleasant memory. He then he got up, scowled and left.
I raised my eyebrow at Jake but, as he started to answer, Emily appeared. She looked at each of us, me sat on the sofa and Jake stood by the door. We both looked back at her and, for a few seconds, everyone was silent.
"You were just making fun of Luke again weren't you?"
Jake nodded, looking guilty.
"It wasn't about the porridge thing again, was it?"
"Maybe." Jake was avoiding her gaze and I suddenly had an insight into a disagreement between an adult and a small child.
After Emily finished lecturing Jake, she turned to me, smiling. "You feeling better?" For the third time, and in answer to the same question, I nodded. I then suddenly remembered why I had been waiting for them.
"Oh yeah. What day is it?"
Jake looked thoughtful for a second, and then turned to Emily. She sighed.
"It's Saturday. Honestly Jake, your head must be so full of fluff that there isn't any room for anything else."
"But my head isn't full of fluff…" He looked confused but then dismissed it. "Anyway, if it's Saturday then I'll have to get ready to go. I kind of can't miss it today. Look after Mabel for me, will you?" He returned to his and Luke's room. Emily smiled, shaking her head.
"He's changed a lot since you've arrived."
I frowned. "So he wasn't insane before I came?"
Emily laughed. "No, he was. But he'd just be insane in general. You're the first person he's really become good friends with. I mean, I've known him for years but he's never been as worried about me as he was for you these past two weeks."
I wasn't really sure what to say. Jake had been a good friend ever since I'd started camp but even so, I hadn't known him very long. I'd never had anyone who was worried about me at Blackhall.
"Then again, Luke seems to have been worrying about you too." She laughed at my look of disbelief. "He locked himself in his room and wouldn't talk to anyone. We don't know what he was doing, but if it can get him to not use the Xbox or Wii for two weeks, then he must have been worried."
I smiled as she turned back into our room. I closed my eyes and reached out my conscious to find the two people who had been most worried about me. Even though I'd done nothing for the two of them they'd already become friends that I trusted and who worried about me. And it was a good thing that I trusted them because I'd soon find myself plunged into many dangerous situations with them as my trusty teammates.
And so, for the first time, I reached into the minds of my teammates and thought two words. Two words I would find myself repeating often in the coming year.