AN: This is another thing that just sorta popped into my head… it's morbid (as is usual for me), and, well… I only like happy endings when someone else is writing it. So don't say I didn't warn you… Everything is mine! REVIEW (please)!

Have you ever wished that you could turn back time? I mean, really change time, go back to a different time in your life and do something in a completely different way than you did. I do… more than anyone knows. You see, no one knows what really happened that year, the year that Lex changed. Everyone knows what happened in the end, but no one knew then, and no one knows now, how much I really knew. That's why no one understands when I say it's my fault… they don't know what I do.

I knew something was wrong, the first day that I came back from my vacation. She wasn't the same, she wasn't Lex anymore. She'd changed, over the summer, in the short month and a half that I'd been gone. Not the usual getting a tan and lose a pound or two change, either. She'd matured over the summer, and lost a lot of weight. She wasn't really fat to start with, but you couldn't tell her that. In just 1 ½ months, she must've lost 20 pounds, easily. For someone who weighed about 140 to start with and was 5'8", that's a lot.

I tried talking to her about it, but she just started talking about how she was just exercising more, and eating better. For a chocolate addict, that's really impressive. When we went places together, she 'wasn't hungry' anymore. She ate, but only if it was offered. She'd always been that way though, sorta shy, so I guess that didn't really strike me as odd, either. But, back to the day that I saw her again, after a month and a half of not seeing her….

Lex? Good Lord, that can't be her! I thought to myself… this girl -woman, I mentally corrected myself- didn't look a thing like how I remembered her. The Lex I remember was tall, not really chubby, but not really thin or muscular, either. Sort of in between the three. But this Lex… this wasn't her. This Lex was stick thin, with her collar bones sticking out. "Hey… how are you?" I asked her, not really sure of how to act around the New Lex.

She laughed. "Really good Leigh, how are you doing?"

I smiled. "Oh, good, I guess. God, Lex, you've really changed over the summer!"

She laughed again, and smiled wider. "Thanks, Leigh! I told you I was trying to lose weight… I haven't lost much, but I'm trying."

"Haven't lost much?" I asked, shocked. Is she out of her mind? "How much have you lost, Lex?"

"Only about 20 pounds… I want to lost about 20 more though."

Twenty more? 100 pounds? She has lost her mind, hasn't she? "Isn't that a little too thin?" I asked tentatively, not knowing how well that comment would be received.

She only laughed again though. "Well aren't you one to talk about too thin, Miss I-weigh-108-and-I'm-a-cheerleader!"

I tried to laugh, but it was sort of hard. "Lex… aren't you going a little overboard? Are you eating?"

I saw the look in her eyes before she covered it up, although she tried not to let me see it at all. She was scared, and I was treading dangerous ground.

"Of course I'm eating, Leigh! God, I'm not that stupid! I'm just exercising more and not ea- being more careful about what I eat."

I caught that slip, too. She tried to cover it up, but I caught it. Being her best friend since 2nd grade -almost 8 years, since we were entering our sophomore year of high school- meant that I caught a lot of stuff about her that others wouldn't think to notice.


"Leigh, just don't, OK? We haven't seen each other in over a month, the last thing I want to talk about with you is my weight."

Then she changed the subject to where her family was taking her for her 16th birthday, which was coming up. Foolishly, I let it go, thinking that maybe I was making the situation seem worse than it was. God, how I wish I could just go back and change even just that one day…

"Damn, there are some hot guys in our high school…" Lex said as she stopped dead in the hallway to stare at yet another cute upperclassman that had caught her eye since school started. We'd only been in school two weeks, and already she'd had five boyfriends, each lasting shorter than the one before him- the last one she'd dumped the first date, leaving him to pay the check for their meal. She said he was 'not her type'. The first two had, apparently, been too possessive, though I saw nothing wrong with their behavior. My boyfriend treated me like that, and we'd been dating for over 7 months when school started, and we were completely in love. The others she gave no explanation as to why she didn't want to continue to date them. Lately, Lex was really doing a lot of spur-of-the-moment things- like skipping lunch to play basketball in the gym with a senior.

"I thought you were interested in Adam?" I asked. I seriously had thought she was interested in the senior that she had gotten into the habit of spending her lunch break with.

"Who?" she asked innocently. At first I thought she was joking, then I realized she was serious.

"Lex, what's with you lately? You've gone through more flings and crushes in the last two weeks than I have in my entire life."

"What are you talking about, Leigh?" she asked me as we got to our lockers.

I shrugged, afraid to make her mad. She'd been so defensive lately… but I couldn't resist. "I was just wondering why you suddenly decided to date every guy in the high school before Homecoming."

She gave me a dirty look, slammed her locker shut and said, "Just because I decided to play the field a little doesn't mean that I'm a slut, Leigh!"

I stared at her retreating back, and then turned to my boyfriend, Mathew. "I didn't say she was a slut…" I said, trying to figure out where I went wrong. He just looked at me in sympathy, and said something about 'that time of the month'. Even then, I knew it was more than that, but why I refused to admit that, to this day I don't know…

The morning after the incident in the hallway, Lex came up to me in the hallway and started telling me about her date with Sean -the cute guy in the hallway from the day before- as if nothing had happened. I wanted to ask her about it, but I was afraid to make her mad again. I didn't want to lose my best friend over who she dates, so I was quiet about it. When I heard her throwing up in the bathroom after actually eating lunch later that day though, I knew I had to say something to her.

"Lex, you need to stop this, now." I was waiting for her when she exited the stall. She looked surprised that I was there; apparently she'd thought she was alone in the bathroom.

"What are you talking about, Leigh?" she asked as she went to the sink to wash her hands. I watched her as she popped a few breath mints into her mouth. Oh my God, it's like she was prepared for throwing up… that wasn't an accident. "Lex, you know damned well what I mean. You need to stop obsessing over your weight- you look great! God, every guy in school but Matt has noticed you, and that's only because I won't let him look at you! Why are you doing this?"

Lex turned to glare at me. "God, some best friend you are, Leigh! You don't even trust me not to try to steal your boyfriend! What the hell kind of person do you think I am?"

Again, I was left staring at her retreating back. It took me a minute to realize that this time she was just changing the subject so she didn't have to answer my question.

When I got out of the bathroom, she was nowhere in sight. I walked back over to our table, and started talking to Matt and a few other friends. I didn't mention Lex's problem; I knew that it would only cause more problems if she knew I was talking about it with other people.

As the weeks passed, Lex only got worse, not better. By the time Homecoming came around, which was mid-October, she couldn't have weighed more than me, and I'm only 5'3", and I'm pretty thin. Lex was 5'8", and getting thinner constantly. She started getting less and less attention from guys… everyone was starting to notice how thin she was getting, but she was so defensive about it that no one would willingly bring it up anymore. Homecoming was almost here, and no one had asked her to go with them. For the life of me, I will never understand why she didn't see that she was too thin for guys to like her. She just seemed determined to lose more weight when she was getting less noticed by guys… as if she was gaining weight, not losing it, and that was keeping guys from noticing her. In the beginning, when she first started losing weight, guys noticed her a lot. But no guy wants to have a girlfriend who was that thin, especially one who is so obviously anorexic. Matt was the one who first made me realize that, and that Lex needed help. Just over a week before Homecoming, Max, Lex, and I were talking in the hallway by our lockers right before lunch, like we did on most days. This day was different though…

Lex was watching Adam walk by (apparently she remembered him), and she said, "Hi Adam," really happily. He just glanced over to her and, God, the look on his face… he was disgusted by how thin she'd gotten. She didn't take it that way though; I knew it when I saw the look on her face.

Before I could say anything to her, she grabbed her books out of her locker and walked off to the library, muttering something about studying for a test.

Matt put his arm around my waist, and softly said, "Leigh, Lex needs help."

I almost started to cry right there. What kind of best friend am I, that it takes my boyfriend to tell me that my best friend is slowly killing herself- and badly needs help?

I knew that I had to talk to her about it. The day of the 'Adam Incident', as I've started to call it, she spent the night at my house, since it was Friday- one week and a day before Homecoming. We were sitting up in my room before supper, and I decided to bring it up. "Lex?" I asked softly, afraid for her to get defensive.

"Yeah?" she answered, flipping through my CD collection.

"We need to talk…" I said.

"Yeah, we do," she said, laughing. "You need to let me burn your new Nelly CD. I didn't know you had it!"

I tried to laugh. "Yeah, sure, you can give it back to me Monday… but seriously, Lex. We need to talk."

She turned around, frowning. "About what?"

I took a deep breath. "Your anorexia."

Her jaw dropped. "What?" she said, when she could finally talk again. "My what?"

I started to cry. "Lex, everyone can see it! Why can't you admit it? You're my best friend, and I don't want you to die!"

She looked surprised. "I… Leigh, I'm not anorexic!"

That only made me cry harder. After a few minutes, when I'd calmed down a little bit, I started talking again. "When was the last time you ate?" I asked.

She frowned again. "Umm… I- lunch."

"Bull shit." I said. Why is she trying to lie to me? "You went to the library for lunch, and I know damned well you didn't eat then, because no food is allowed in there. Don't lie to me, Lex!"

She looked guilty. "OK, so I skip a few meals every now and then, it's not that bad."

"How much do you weigh, Lex?"

She looked at the floor. "Leigh, please."

"Alexandria Calvanti! For God's sake, I'm your best friend!"

"100 pounds, about."

I gasped. Oh my God. "Lex, I am about 5 inches shorter than you and I weigh more than that!" I'd also gained a few pounds since school started, since I wasn't doing cheerleading this year, and I weighed about 112.

That's when Lex started crying. "Leigh, I just want to be pretty, I just want someone to love me like Matt loves you!"

I got up and walked over to her, giving her a hug. "First of all, I love you, you're my best friend, practically my sister, you're over here often enough." She laughed a little at that, but not much. "Second, everyone does love you. We're all worried about you… no one wants anything to happen to you."

"I don't mean everyone loving me, Leigh! I want a guy to love me, like the way that Matt loves you!" she said loudly, trying to get me to understand. I did understand, but I just didn't know what to tell her about it… what are you supposed to tell someone when they say something like that?

I sighed loudly, trying to think of what to say to her. "Lex… you will find a guy that loves you, someday, I promise. Maybe not now, but someday you will. But for right now…" I had a sudden idea, and walked over to my full-length mirror. "Come here."

She saw the mirror, and didn't move. "No."


She sighed, and walked over to the mirror. "Look at us!" I said, forcing her to look in the mirror.

She stared at the mirror for a few minutes, obviously thinking about what she was seeing. I too, was thinking about our reflections. Me; short and athletic-looking, with bright green eyes, freckles, and strawberry blonde hair. Her; tall, so thin that practically all of her bones poked out, with shadows under her brown eyes that no amount of make-up could cover, and light brown hair that had lost any radiance that it used to have.

"What do you see, Lex?" I asked softly, praying that somehow, she would see what I was seeing.

"I…" she paused for a second. "I see someone who looks anorexic." She started to cry more.

I sighed with relief. Well, at least she admits that she looks anorexic… that's a start, right? Before I could say anything, I heard Mom call up the stairs.

"Girls! Supper's ready!" she called. "Lex, I made your fav-or-ite!"

I laughed. Thank God for Mom… I'd asked her to make Lex's favorite, and I knew she would. She too, could see that there was something wrong with Lex.

Lex smiled softly, and wiped her tears away. "I probably better eat, shouldn't I?"

"Damn right!" I said, happy to have Lex back.

Call me naïve, gullible, stupid, anything you want to. I knew that I deserve about every name that you can come up with. But you have to understand, I really thought that she was going to get better. In the next week, she would eat lunch every day. Big, healthy lunches too, not just a salad or a granola bar. (OK, so maybe pizza isn't that healthy, but close enough.)

And old friend of ours, Craig, asked her to Homecoming the next Thursday. He sits with us at lunch, and could see that Lex was eating a lot more than she used to, and he too thought that she was getting better. He'd liked her forever, and before then, he'd thought that she had a date. When he found out that she still didn't have anyone to go with, he got down on one knee, as if he was proposing, and asked her to Homecoming- in front of everyone in the cafeteria. She, of course, said yes, laughing the entire time.

"Remind me to thank Craig later," I whispered into Matt ears as we were watching. He's such a sweetheart, really… always thinking of something like that to do to get everyone to laugh, and to cheer somebody up.

The night of Homecoming, when Matt & I arrived, I could immediately see Lex & Craig out dancing to 'Jump Jive & Wale'. They were actually doing pretty good, considering that they were laughing so hard I didn't know how they could even tell when they were doing.

Lex and I danced to every single fast song that they played, and we got Matt & Craig out when we could. (Which wasn't often, granted, since neither of them are fans of rap or hip-hop, but we tried.) About an hour after we got there, Lex and I were out dancing to some fast song when suddenly, Lex grabbed my arm. I looked over at her, surprised, and I was terrified when I saw that she was pale as a sheet.

"Lex?" I asked, afraid. "What's wrong?"

She was shaking, and said, "Leigh, I- I… the bathroom."

I got the message, and walked with her to the bathroom, standing close enough so that she could grab my arm if she needed to steady herself, but not close enough to look suspicious. Lex had been through enough since school started; I didn't want to attract attention if she was just a little dizzy, which, at the time, was what I thought was what was wrong with her. God, was I ever wrong…

As soon as we got into the bathroom and saw that no one else was in there, she sat down next to one of the sinks, and started taking really deep breathes. "Leigh, I need to tell you something," she said, looking scared.

"What is it?" I asked, feeling as scared as she looked. What's going on? I shrank down next to her, putting my hand on her shoulder to steady her. She looked like she was ready to pass out, and if she did, I didn't want her head to hit one of the sinks.

"I… I lied to you, Leigh. I haven't really been eating this week. After… after lunch every day, during gym, I would just go off into the bathroom when no one else was in there and throw it back up. I… the only meal I've eaten and not thrown up since Sunday was the one I had today, before the dance, at Tim's house, and I didn't even eat much then. I just told him I was excited about the dance… Leigh, I don't feel very well." She said this all a little calmly, but at the last sentence she started shaking again.

Oh my God, what do I do? I thought for a minute, then stood up slowly and said, "Lex, I'm gonna go get someone."

"No!" she said, looking more scared than ever. "God, Leigh, I swear, I'll eat something, just don't tell anyone! I… I really like Craig, Leigh! I don't want to scare him away… I'll go eat a cookie or something, then I'll be OK. I'll start eating a lot more tomorrow, too. I promise! Please, Leigh." Her eyes were begging me not to tell. I sighed.

What am I supposed to do? Tell, and let her hate me forever, or do as she asks? Stupidly, I thought that maybe she would really be OK if she ate something, and that she would eat more later. "OK, Lex. Let's go get something to drink, and you something to eat, and then we'll go dance some more. Craig and Matt are probably wondering where we are."

After watching Lex eat about three cookies and down a glass of punch, I let her go back on the dance floor, where we spent the rest of the dance, except for the time it took for the four of us to get our pictures taken. About ½ hour before the dance was supposed to end, while Tim, Matt, Lex and I were out dancing, Lex grabbed my arm again. This time, she didn't say anything, she just held on as hard as she could for a minute. Craig saw that something was wrong, and held on to her other arm.

"Lex, what's wrong?" he asked urgently, looking at me for an answer when she didn't immediately say anything. "Leigh, what's going on-" he started to say, but Lex collapsed.

A few hours later, Matt, Craig and I were still in the waiting room of the hospital. We'd followed the ambulance to the hospital. Matt drove, of course, since he was the least shook up of the three of us. I could tell that Craig really like Lex, he and was so worried about her. He had been pacing back and forth since we got there, but when the doctor approached us, he sank into the chair next to me, as pale as Lex had been before she collapsed.

"I'm assuming you three are Matthew, Craig, and Leigh, and you're Mr. and Mrs. Calvarti?" the doctor said. Lex's parents had arrived about 20 minutes after we did, looking scared.

"Yes," Lex's dad answered quietly. "That's us. Is-?" he couldn't even finish his sentence.

The doctor sighed, and looked really sympathetic. "I'm sorry, but Alexandria… the chances of her surviving are very slim. We're about to try to tube-feed her, but that's risky, with a case like this."

Mrs. Calvarti started sobbing. "My baby, my baby…" she kept saying, over and over.

I just sat there in shock. My fault, my fault… those words echoed in my head, over and over.

Lex lasted a few days, but only a few. In the end, the doctors said that it was her heart that failed her. The lack of nutrients weakened it, and she couldn't survive. The Calvarti's were almost charged with neglect when the doctors and the courts realized how long Lex had been suffering from the anorexia, but that fell through. Thankfully, too, since they didn't deserve that. It wasn't their fault; I was the one who knew, not them.

Her funeral was a week after Homecoming, the 23rd of October, on a Saturday. I went, but not very willingly. If Matt hadn't been there, holding onto me the entire time, I think I would've collapsed. Mrs. Calvarti did, when they put Lex into the ground. She just fell down, crying, "My baby, my little girl!" Mr. Calvarti couldn't even help her up, he just sank down there next to her and held her, crying with her. I cried throughout the whole thing, and I was still crying when Matt drove me home. He stayed awhile, just holding me as I cried.

To this day, the day of my graduation from high school, and over two years after Lex died, I still have a large copy of the picture of Lex & Craig that was taken at Homecoming. I'll always miss her, and I don't think I will ever quite forgive myself for not helping her.

I'm engaged to Matt, and still friends with Craig. I've moved on with my life, I guess you could say, but that doesn't mean that I will ever forget about Lex. I can't; it's impossible. She was a part of me, my best friend, practically my sister. Craig… well, Craig's trying. He really cared for Lex though, so it's as hard for him as it is for me. Especially seeing me- I just seem to remind him of Lex, so it's not easy for him to see me. He tries really hard not to let that get in the way of our friendship, though. He's trying to get over her, but I know he'll never forget her, either.

If I could go back and change what I did, I would in a heartbeat. I would take her place if I could. But I can't; I can't take her place or change what I did. I guess that some things just aren't meant to be.

AN: Well, what do you think? REVIEW!