Drew looked so vulnerable asleep. I stroked his hand gently, gazing at his face from my place beside his bed. He had a large bruise on his jaw, and several others all over. Even so, he was as beautiful as ever. I ran my right hand through his hair, tracing a finger over an eyebrow and down his nose and lips. He was pale, so pale.

The sound of the door creaking open startled me, and I snatched my hand back, leaving my left interlocked with his.

"Mom, Dad, Rena," I greeted. They nodded in acknowledgement, looking grim and tired. None offered an explanation as to why Drew had suddenly collapsed in my room just hours before. A charged silence filled the space between us. It was suffocating me; why weren't they saying anything!

"I – what's happened to him? What's wrong?" I blurted, suddenly frustrated. Three pairs of eyes turned to mine, but still they remained silent. "Why won't anybody tell me?" I whispered, tearing. "Please, I want to know." I stared pleadingly at my parents and Rena, and they all averted their eyes from mine.

After a long silence, Rena walked over and placed a hand on my shoulder comfortingly. "Jack, I… Don't worry, alright? He's just asleep, now. And…" she hesitated before continuing slowly, "I think it would be better if you heard about this from Drew himself." A huge lump formed in my throat, making it difficult to breathe. I turned to look at her. "Why? What is it? Is he ill? Does he have cancer? Please, tell me!" I grabbed her hand desperately.

Rena extracted her hand slowly. "No, it's not cancer," she smiled faintly.

"You what?" I grit out exasperatedly. " Andrew – "

I looked up and gasped in shock, all anger dissipated. He looked deathly pale and was panting. His arms, perched on the study table, shook with the effort it took him to remain upright. I leapt up and slung his arm around my shoulder, taking some of his weight. At once, his eyes drifted shut and his legs collapsed.


I half-carried, half-dragged him to my bed, yelling for my dad, who phoned Rena at once.

"Drew, wake up. Please," I begged, shaking him by the shoulders. "You're scaring me, wake up! Please, Drew!"

I leaned back on my heels, terrified. Drew wouldn't wake up, no matter how much I shook him or yelled at him. Panic rose in my chest. Was he ill? Was he dead?

I gasped, bolting upright in my sleeping bag. I blinked a couple of times. It's just a nightmare, Jack. Drew is fine. He's not dead.

He's not dead.

My breathing eased, and I crept out of the sleeping bag placed at the foot of Drew's bed. Sitting in the chair adjacent to his bed, I leaned forward and brushed a wayward lock of hair out of his face, allowing my hand to linger. My throat constricted with tears again, and I gasped in air, trying to hold them in.

Drew, Drew. I'm sorry.

My hand slid down his neck and grasped his shoulder, and I bent forward, burying my head in his chest, where I could hear his heart beat and know for certain he was still alive. I relinquished the hold on my tears. "I'm so sorry, Drew. I'm sorry for doubting you and for kissing Josh and – "

I inhaled sharply as I felt a hand stroke my hair, fingers running through them. I reveled in his touch for a moment before sitting up, a silly grin forming on my face. "Drew?"

"Glad to know you didn't want to kiss Josh," he croaked, cracking a small smile.

Without thinking, I smacked his chest, only realizing what I'd done when he started wheezing.

"Drew? Drew! Are you alright? I'm so sorry, are you alright?" I asked frantically, rubbing his chest in an attempt to ease his discomfort.

Abruptly, he stopped, and I made to remove my hand, but he grabbed it and kept it in the same position. Then I realized he'd fooled me again. "Drew!" I admonished. He'd really scared me for a moment there. He laughed softly, his dark brown eyes locking mine. "I'm sorry," he whispered, rubbing his thumb over the back of my hand.

"No, I'm sorry," I whispered back, smiling, relieved that he was fine. I removed my hand gently. "Here, I'll help you sit up."

I adjusted a couple of pillows, fluffing them and fussing him for a bit until he got annoyed. "Seriously, Jack, I'm fine." He patted the space beside him. "Sit with me."

I scooted into bed with him, resting my head on his shoulder.

"You had a nightmare," he stated simply.

I nodded. "About you."

He jerked his shoulder playfully. "Hey! What's that supposed to mean?"

"I don't mean it that way, you big silly. It was about when…you…" I drifted off, feeling awkward. We sat in silence for a few moments. "Jack?"


"I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way, I really didn't. I wrote you a note and left it in my jeans pocket and forgot to bring it to school and couldn't find it after… I'm sorry," he rambled, gazing into my eyes with what seemed like guilt and nervousness.

"I didn't mean what the flower was supposed to have meant, it was just that I thought it was unique and special and I got it because it reminded me of you," he finished, blushing red when he realized what he had just said.

Let me tell you, absolutely nothing beats seeing a cute guy blush! Drew was so incredibly insanely adorable it made me grin like a Cheshire cat. "You think I'm 'special' and 'unique', don't you?"

I succeeded in making him blush a little more and the Voice gave a little purr of satisfaction.

"I do not," he grumbled, averting his eyes.

"You do!" I threw my head back, laughing maniacally.

"Stop it!"

He tickled me lightly, and we rolled around in bed laughing softly. Tired, we returned to our original positions and sat in companionable silence.


"Yeah?" He placed an arm around my shoulders, holding me closer to his side.

"What happened?"

I could feel the atmosphere change instantly. His arm around me tensed almost imperceptibly before relaxing. "Nothing."

"Don't lie to me."

Was that the extent of his trust toward me, that he wouldn't even tell me what was wrong with him?

He glanced at me, and seemed to read my mind. "Jack, I do trust you, so don't even think that." He struggled with words, finally sighing. "Jack, I promise I'll tell you what's wrong, just not now, alright?" He pulled me onto his lap, ignoring my cry of protest, and gave me a warm hug. "Don't worry yourself, honeybeans, it's not anything serious or life-threatening."

I sensed, disappointedly, that he wanted an end to the discussion and smiled. "Okay, peanut pudding."

He made a face. "What was that, peach tart?"

"Nothing, sugar muffin."

He tweaked my nose, and we laughed our discomfort away.

"Drew?" I asked as we lazed in his bed watching some random movie and eating ice cream.


"You know about Brock's party?" I watched his expression carefully.

A flash of surprise crossed his face. "I do. How did you know about it?"

I hesitated for a moment before deciding to tell him the truth; lies only made things more complicated and always, always came back to bite your ass. It wasn't worth it. "Josh asked me to go with him."

He scowled for a moment – I don't know how he can scowl and still look good, it's really unfair – and glared at nothing in particular before forcing a neutral look on his face. "Have fun," he replied, avoiding my eyes, digging his spoon more forcefully into the bowl.

I nudged him, annoyed. "Stop jumping to conclusions. I never said I agreed. I…" I bit my lip. How would I ask?

Just ask, you fool.

"Would you go with me?"

A/n: Haha, sorry, you're not going to get to know what's wrong with Drew. At least, not just yet.

Yup. Just FYI, I'm not going to update this story unless I have at least 5 reviews for this, because the number of hits I get simply don't tally with the (pathetic) number of reviews. And yes, I have already completed chapter 8.

Review please!