The Maple Tree

By: LunaRain

LunaRain: Hey guys! Here's another oneshot romance. It's something I made for our Humanities Class, thought I should post it here. Well, let's begin…

I never understood her words. Everything she said always had a double meaning but I never bothered to comprehend them… Until it was too late…

At the academics office of Big Hill High a teenage boy with raven hair eyes closed was sitting at the chair by the desk bored.

"Mr. Drake Wilson…" The woman at the other side of the table called his attention.

Drake opened one sleepy eye and looked at the woman. Mrs. Carrison as indicated on the name plaque at the table was looking at him with irritation.

"Mr. Wilson, your English grade is quite in danger. I hope your taking it more seriously." Mrs. Carrison said.

"There's nothing I can do." Drake said shrugging. "English and I have low affinity for each other." he said chuckling.

Mrs. Carrison sighed in frustration as she pulled a notepad and flip through it looking for something. "Mr. Wilson please take this matter seriously your future depends on it."

"Alright, alright Mrs. Carrison…" Drake said raising his hands in surrender. "What do I have to do?" he asked.

"I'll have you apply to the Student Tutoring Program. I already have someone assigned to you." Mrs. Carrison said scribbling something on a paper. "Meet your tutor at the maple tree just near the field." She said. "Just show this and your tutor will know what to do, be polite." And with that he was dismissed.

Drake left the office unhappy of his situation, if he doesn't raise his grade from the danger zone, he will be suspended from playing and the game was very important to him. He'll just have to take the tutoring very seriously and hope that it'll help him get the required grade.

Classes flew by and before Drake knew it, the bell had rung signaling dismissal. He hurried out of the class and joined the crowd making their way through the halls.

"Hey, Drake!" Someone from the distance called his attention.

Drake looked around and saw a blonde haired guy waving at him. He walked through the crowd and made his way to the guy.

"Hey dude, come on, and join us. The guys were thinking of hanging out somewhere." The blonde haired guy said.

"Sorry Ryan, but I can't, got tutoring lessons." Drake said disappointed for missing something that seemed to be fun.

Ryan's face twisted unpleasantly and said; "That sucks man. Why do you need tutoring lessons anyway?"

"Well, my grade in English is in the danger zone as Mrs. Carrison put it and if I don't get it out there, I won't be able to play through the finals." Drake said frowning.

"That is quite unlucky." Ryan said patting Drake at the shoulder. "Well, good luck does this mean we won't be able to see you in practice?"

"Maybe…" Drake said. "Better go wouldn't want to get my tutor angry and quit on me." He said and left in a hurry.

Drake made his way to the field and looked for the large tree Mrs. Carrison was talking about. Actually it was easy to spot since it was the only maple tree around. He went closer and saw a glimpse of his tutor. It was a girl but someone he was not familiar with. She was preoccupied with a book and didn't notice him approached.

Drake cleared his throat and she looked up from the book. She had dark brown hair that was curled at the end and her gray eyes looked at his sapphire ones.

"You're my tutor?" Drake asked handing out the paper that was given to him by Mrs. Carrison.

"And you're my supposed to be student." She said. "Please take a seat and we'll begin."

Drake looked around and pointed to where he was standing and said; "You're going to conduct tutoring here?"

"Is there a problem?" She asked.

"Uhh, no, no problem…" Drake said and sat on the grass. "The name's Drake Wilson." He said.

"I know captain of the football team." She said simply.

"I haven't got your name." Drake said.

"Oh, it's Cassandra, Cassandra Stainley." Cassandra said taking out a pen and a notebook out of her backpack. "So where do you want to start?"

"English is my worst subject." Drake said taking out his textbook from the bag.

"I see which part are you in now?" Cassandra asked.

Drake told Cassandra what the trouble was and she began taking notes on the details of his dilemma.

"I can understand since its story comprehension those are not very easy, especially when the words are too deep." Cassandra said fetching something from her backpack. "I'd advise you to keep a dictionary at all times. Let's see…"

And the tutoring began. Cassandra taught Drake how to identify important parts that held significant meaning to the story, explaining its effect to the main character. Time flew by until they were finished.

"Here I'll give you this as practice and I'll see you tomorrow." Cassandra said smiling as she packed her things.

"Thanks I can understand them a little better now." Drake said standing up. "Although I still need a few improvements…"

"You'll get the hang of it don't worry." Cassandra said.

And they walked off to the gates in silence. Drake felt sort of awkward, and broke the silence.

"So, what grade are you in?" Drake asked.

"We're just about the same grade." Cassandra said looking at him.

"We are?" Drake asked in astonishment. She didn't look like a junior he'd actually thought she was a senior.

"Yeah, we share the same English class actually." Cassandra said.

"Oh, how come I never noticed?" Drake said scratching his head.

"Because you're always goofing around at the back…" Cassandra offered giggling.

"I wasn't goofing I was just bored of the lecture." Drake explained.

"And do something else to pass time?" Cassandra said.

They both bordered the bus, still at it with the questions about their selves birth dates, favorite food and everything else. Then it became a routine, Drake would meet up with Cassandra at the big tree to have his tutoring lessons. His buddies at the football team would then urge him to skip his tutoring lessons for football practice but he would always decline. It became a habit and everyone from the team including the cheerleaders noticed it.

As Drake was about to head to the usual place he noticed from a far distance. The cheerleaders talking to Cassandra or more like harassing her. He made his way on to them.

"So why don't you just quit tutoring him. We are expecting him to play you know." One of them said.

"Yeah…" The others chorused and they all left in the opposite direction Drake was coming from.

Drake reached Cassandra and looked at her expression she wasn't going to cry, from her expression she was more like having a headache. She was holding her forehead.

"Cassandra, are you feeling alright?" Drake asked alarmed as he went over to her and held her to keep her from falling.

Raspy breath came out from her and nodded saying; "Migraine… Let me just calm down for a while…" She leaned at the tree and sat down.

After a few moments she did calmed down.

"Maybe I should take you to the infirmary." Drake suggested.

"No, no need to. I was just frightened, I mean bombarded by girls." Cassandra said.

Cassandra stared upwards at the leaves of the tree that were slowly little by little falling. "This tree doesn't have much leaf left. It is fall after all." Cassandra said holding a leaf that had just landed. "When the last leaf on this tree falls, it will then be the end."

Drake looked at her carefully; he didn't get what she was trying to say. Perhaps another analysis… "Sorry but I don't think I get it. Did it come from a book?"

"Don't worry; it's something you better not understand." Crystal said.

"I'm sorry Cassandra. I'm going to tell them to back off." Drake said standing up.

"No, no please don't, no more trouble." Cassandra said clutching his arm and stood with its support. "Besides I was going to tell you to stop coming here."

"What?" Drake said surprised.

"I mean I heard from Mr. Nelson that your grades are doing well now. So we can stop the tutoring now." Cassandra said.

"Okay, but I'll still come." Drake said.

"No, you don't have to anymore." Cassandra said. "You should just focus more on the game. You've missed quite a lot and the final's just a week away."

"But Cassandra we…" Drake said but was cut off by her.

"We're just together for the tutoring lessons. Nothing more… There's no more reason for you to come here. Life is like a falling leaf; once it falls off from its branch it can never be returned. Good luck on your game and advance happy birthday." Then just like that she left with him staring at her retreating back.

And that was the last time Drake saw Cassandra. Even though she told him to stop going at the maple tree, he still went but never saw her. She never showed up in her class in English anymore either.

It was morning of the day of the game and Drake was at the maple tree by now it had but one single leaf hanging. He had always wondered why Cassandra was sitting here all alone.

He looked at the last leaf as it came off of its branch and made its way down. He caught it and twirls it around his fingers. He didn't know why but he held the leaf in his hand careful not to destroy it and walked back to his house to get ready for the game.

When he was about to enter the field he heard the cheerleaders gossiping.

"Hey have you heard. Cassandra actually transferred out of school."

"So sudden..?"

"I mean who cares she's just a nobody anyway. She doesn't even have any friends."

Drake felt anger seeping in. 'So, she transferred without even telling me. Very nice…' he thought. With that hatred in mind he entered the field trying to forget about her.

It was the night of Drake's party everyone was having fun. Ryan wasn't anywhere and the team kept on contacting him.

"Drake, something came in from the mail this morning." Drake's mother said.

"Whose it from..?" Drake asked.

"It's from Cassandra." His mother said handing over the package.

Drake stared at it. After having no sign and nothing from her, she makes her self known at his birthday. He looked at it and saw that it was dated three weeks back. Now that was odd. Why would she have a package delivered in three weeks when she was just with him two weeks ago?

He went outside and sat in the corner deaf to the loud sound of the music. He opened the package. It was a scrap book, in front were words in italic: Living Life to the Fullest

Inside was a bunch of quotes about the wonders of life. Drake was flipping from page to page skimming through it until a stationary envelope fell off from the pages. He looked at it then picked it up. The front says: Drake

Drake carefully opened it and read the letter it contained.

Dear Drake,

By the time you are reading this, I may no longer be around. Happy birthday, oh and congratulations on winning. Even though I've written these two weeks in advance I know you are going to win. You'll always be the champion for me. I wish you all the happiness and more years to come. Don't waste it okay.

I wish I could've given this to you personally. I'm sorry if I never told you…



Drake looked at it then at the scrap book. He slipped the letter and envelope inside the scrap book and walked back inside looking at the address of the sender on the package.

"Hey Drake, Ryan's here now and he was looking for you." One of his team mates said.

Ryan rushed to Drake when he saw him. "Drake I gotta talk to you." He pulled Drake out of the house.

"What about..?" Drake said.

"It's about Cassandra." Ryan said.

"What about her?" Drake asked. "I just happen to receive a package from her and a letter. She says she wished she could've given it to me personally. She never even showed up at the game." He said waving the scrap book for Ryan to see.

"There was no way she could." Ryan said raking his hair backwards.

"What do you mean?" Drake said brows arched looking at Ryan.

"I went to her neighborhood to invite her. I know you've been out of sorts this past few days, I wanted to help but…" Ryan said. "When I reached her home her folks where no longer there. Their neighbor said they left about a few days ago."

"How come I thought she transferred much earlier than that?" Drake said. "I wish she would've been here. I'm not mad at her anymore for not telling me, she was actually apologizing to me in the letter about it."

"Drake there was no way Cassandra could be here right now even if you wanted to," Ryan said hoarsely. "She's gone…"

"Yeah I know she transferred before the game, without even telling me." Drake said dry.

"No, Drake…" Ryan said then was silent. He closed his eyes and said; "Cassandra's gone permanently."

Drake looked at him confused then it hit him. "What?"

"Her neighbor who was also her doctor said that she had brain stupor and it has always been acting up and that they knew she could die anytime soon. They didn't actually expect her to live this long." Ryan said. "It all made sense. Why she was always alone and she never bothered to befriend anyone. She wasn't expecting to stay long. Drake!"

But Drake had run off heading to the place he had last seen her. Suddenly the things she had said that day came back to him.

"This tree doesn't have much leaf left. It is fall after all."

"When the last leaf on this tree falls, it will then be the end."

Then some of the content of the letter made sense;

By the time you are reading this, I may no longer be around.

I wish you all the happiness and more years to come. Don't waste it okay.

I wish I could've given this to you personally.

Drake had reached the maple tree, the leaves all gone. He fell down on his knees clutching the trunk of the tree, tears falling in his eyes as the last entry of the letter replayed itself over and over in his head that he was somehow hearing her voice.

I'm sorry if I never told you…

The End

LunaRain: So, what do you guys think of my first Romance Tragic Story. Hope you liked it. If you think the illness Cassandra had that caused her death is quite unreasonable, then I'm open for any other illness that can cause her death but cannot be detected easily, thanks. Review please until then…