Are You There? Part 11

Hey, guys-
So I feel really bad about making you all wait a long time (again) for the next chapter, so I wanted to try and post it today.
However, I don’t have time to finish it. And I don’t want to make you all wait any longer.
So, I’m going to post an un-finished chapter. It’s longer than usual, but I had wanted to end the chapter in a specific spot. However, since I am posting it early, it’s not reached that specific spot. So this chapter is going to end…awkwardly.
But I thought you guys deserved SOMETHING.
I do feel bad. I’m sorry. ๐Ÿ™ I really just don’t. Have. Time. To. Write. So it takes forever for me to write a good chapter.
But anywho, now you’re prepared for a bad ending to an un-finished chapter. I’ll be posting the finished part soon…or not-so-soon…whenever I can get it done.
I’m ranting again…Just read and enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Hailey sat down in a little brown chair beside Jaime’s bed. Hannah stood beside the chair, and Preston stood directly behind her. Hailey squeezed her fingers, choking back tears as she watched her friend on a hospital bed, wasting away. Her mom had called her, but there wasn’t any sign of her in the little hospital room. Oh, Jaime, is this really the last time I get to see you? Is this how I’m going to remember you? Rian and Dad were different – they died suddenly, when I still remembered them as strong, brave people. But Jaime…now you’re not strong. You’re weak. And you have been brave, but now you’re not even awake to be brave anymore. And to be honest, I don’t think you’re gonna wake up to be brave one last time. A tear splashed on the back of Hailey’s hand.
“We should pray.” Hannah said abruptly. Not resisting the idea, the little group of three stood in a circle, held hands and closed there eyes. Hailey was glad about the closed eyes part, or else Christmas Tree boy would see her blush. Preston! I mean Preston. I really need to stop calling him a Christmas Tree – I’ll say that out loud by accident someday! Then Hannah began to pray.
“Lord, You say where two or more are gathered, You will be in the midst of them. Well…we’re here, and we need You. We know that death is a natural part of life, and…and…” Hannah paused, sniffling, holding back her tears. “God, we’re just not ready to let her go. Please help Jaime, I know you can do it. We all know you can do it.” She paused. “But…Your thoughts are not our thoughts, and Your ways are not our ways. So Your will be done, not our will. Keep us at peace with whatever You decide. Amen.”
“Amen.” Preston and Hailey echoed, opening their eyes. Hannah grabbed a tissue and wiped her face.
By habit, Hailey reached into her purse for her inhaler, but realized her chest wasn’t even tight. She looked down at her hands. She wasn’t squeezing her fingers anymore.
“You OK?” Hannah asked, noticing Hailey inspecting herself.
“Um…yeah. It’s just…” Hailey breathed in deeply, then exhaled slowly. All the anxiety she had felt the past couple of years just fell off of her back like a heavy quilt. She smiled. “I feel…so at peace. I don’t even know. It’s…” She looked at Preston, then at Hannah. “I think it’s because I’ve just surrendered everything to God, and I’m not…I’m not worrying about it anymore. The situation is in His hands, and that’s the best place it could ever be.” The threesome all gathered in a group hug.
Just then, a doctor and some nurses came through the door. Hailey’s head shot up. “Is everything alright?”
The doctor smiled. “We found a match for her blood type. We can perform the operation.”
“Now?” Hailey asked.
He nodded. “I’m afraid she won’t be strong enough if we wait. She’s barely strong enough now. We’re going to prepare her for the operation. You can stay here if you want – we’ll give you updates.” After a little fussing around, the nurses whisked Jaime, pale and thin, out of the room and into the O.R.
Frozen by the sudden event, Hailey stood stock still for about 30 seconds before bursting to life. She laughed and jumped and clapped her hands. She hugged Hannah and Preston tight, and they did a happy dance. Then suddenly, Hailey paused, and without warning, bowed her head.
“God, I…I just want to thank You. Thank You so much. Thank you for finding a blood type for Jaime. Thank You for using her cancer to lead me to You. Thank You for helping me through the tough times when I didn’t even know You. Thank You for using music to lead me to You. And…” Hailey choked on a sob pushing on the back of her throat. Warm rivers trickled down her cheeks. “And…thank You for not giving up on me.” And with that she cried happy tears for the first time in a long time. “You never gave up on me.”
She wiped her cheeks and plopped into the chair. She felt heavy and exhausted, but her heart felt lighter than air. She curled up and went to sleep.
Her short nap was interrupted when she felt a small tap on her shoulder. She opened her eyes and saw her mom. “How are you doing, honey?”
Hailey sat up and stretched. “Great. You heard the good news?”
Mom smiled. “Yes! Isn’t it wonderful? I wonder who the donor is.” Mom helped Hailey from the chair.
“They didn’t say.” Hailey shrugged, then walked over to where Hannah was leaning up against the wall, texting someone. “Bye,” she hugged her.
“Bye Hailey! See you tomorrow,” she hugged her back.
“Where’s Chri- I mean, uh, Preston?” Hailey asked. See? You almost said it out loud! Stop calling him Christmas Tree.
“Oh, he had to go home. He said to tell you to text him about tomorrow’s plans.”
Hailey remembered the bonfire thing. “Oh, yeah. Sure. I’ll see you tomorrow then. Text me as soon as you hear news about Jaime!”
Hannah smiled. “I will.”
Hailey walked out of the room, following her mother. They went down the hall and to the elevator. Hailey’s stomach seemed to jump to her throat when she felt the small enclosure drop, then lurch to a halt. She ran out of the doors as soon as they opened, forgetting she was still in her heels from church that morning. “Stupid elevators.” She followed her mom to the parking lot, and she looked up at the sky. She hadn’t realized how late it was – stars, like glitter, decorated the inky black sky. A perfectly round moon shone, like a swan swimming in a lake of darkness. Hailey giggled at her sudden dramatic thoughts, and skipped the rest of the way to the car. As soon as she sat down, her mom handed her a paper bag, winking. “I bought you Taco Bell.”
Hungrily, Hailey attacked both of her 7 layer burritos. She had forgotten how hungry she was until she’d smelled food.
“Mom, stop!” She shouted abruptly.
Mom pulled over to the side of the road, slamming on the brakes. “What?”
Sheepishly, Hailey smiled and lowered her head. “I left my car in the church parking lot.”
Mom shook her head, turning the car around. “Don’t scare me like that!” They reached the church and Hailey climbed in her own car, then followed her mom home. She felt so…happy, to be able to just come home, to the porch and her couch and mom and bed and food…knowing that, for once, she was going to wake up and everything would be alright…
Feeling happy, full, and exhausted, she stumbled into the house and collapsed on her bed. She felt her mom pull a light blanket over her and kiss her on her cheek before exiting the room, closing the door. That was the last thing Hailey remembered before she began to sleep. No dreams or nightmares, just a silent rest from the chaotic world she lived in.
The next morning Hailey awoke bright and cheerful, fully rested for the first time in months. Quickly she grabbed her phone, remembering she hadn’t texted Preston last night.
Me: Good morning! Hannah said to text you about the bonfire this evening?
Almost immediately a reply came.
Preston: Yes! I just wanted to know what you were planning on wearing?
Hailey frowned. A bit of an odd question, for a guy…
Me: Uh idk, I was thinking of my peach flannel with a scarf, and then black leggings and grey sneakers. Why?
Preston: No reason, just curious.
Two seconds passed before he texted again.
Preston: Although maybe you would want to wear jeans instead of leggings?
Hailey shrugged. Me: OK and you’re picking me up when?
A few minutes later her phone buzzed with his reply. Preston: Probably around 5:40 ish.
Me: Okie doke. C u then
Hailey didn’t get a reply, but she figured him being a guy and all he wouldn’t just text for the sake of texting. She walked into her kitchen and pulled out her favorite cereal growing up – Fruit Loops. She hadn’t had them in forever. Munching on the sweet cereal, she texted Hannah.
Me: How’s Jaime?
Hannah: She’s doing great! When she returned from the operation last night she was asleep of course, so I went home and they said they would tell me when she was ready for visitors.
Me: Oh how wonderful!! ๐Ÿ˜€
Hannah: I know. God is so good, isn’t He? ๐Ÿ™‚
Hailey paused, soaking in the comment. God is so good. Me: He really is. Thanks so much for…everything.
Hannah: You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‰ <3
After the cereal was gone (as well as a bagel with cream cheese), Hailey caught up on some homework. She was surprised at how fast the time had gone. Was it really only a few days ago when I woke up from a coma in the hospital, and only two days ago when
I tried to commit suicide, ending up learning about God instead? And now here I am, going to church and praying, and Jaime’s OK and…I kind of have a date. She smiled as she looked at her Algebra 2. “God works in mysterious ways.”
By the time homework was finished, she began to get ready. She slipped on her skinny jeans and her peach flannel shirt, followed by a pair of socks and grey converse (matching the stripes on her flannel shirt) and a grey infinity scarf. Then she curled her brown hair into loose ringlets down her back, and did her make up. She wasn’t sure what to wear to a bonfire, but she figured light make up would do the trick. A natural smokey eye and some mascara highlighted her grey eyes, and a bit of blush brought some life to her tired, pale cheeks. A little lipstick, a squirt of her favorite grapefruit perfume, and a denim hairbow completed her look. It was 5:40 on the dot, and Hailey grabbed her purse before sitting on the couch, waiting for Preston.
Two minutes later, there was a knock on the door. She jumped up and opened it.
Preston was on her front porch. A grey polo shirt matched her scarf and converse, and his dark jeans and black converse looked nice. His green, Christmas tree eyes had that sparkle, and his hair was combed but neatly ruffled. Hailey had a sudden urge to just reach up and touch a particular little group of hair hanging by his eyes, but she mustered enough self-control to keep her hands to herself.
Hailey blinked and cleared her throat. “Uh, Preston, hey!”
He nodded and did his cute sideways smile. “Are you ready?”
Hailey stepped out the door, locking it behind her. “Yeah.” She climbed in his car, the sleek black Mustang. Preston pulled out of the driveway and drove out of the street and onto the main road.
“You look nice,” he glanced her way.
“Thank you,” her head ducked a bit.
There was some awkward silence between them before Preston spoke up. “So…whenever I meet someone new, I play 20 questions to get to know them better.”
“You’re gonna ask me 20 questions?” Hailey’s eyebrows wrinkled. That sounded like a lot.
ย He laughed. “Well,maybe not 20, but I ask a question and you ask a question and…we go back and forth.”
Hailey nodded. “That sounds like a good way to get to know someone. You first.”
Preston bit his lip. Hailey smiled. He looks so cute when he does that. “What’s your favorite color?”
Her nose wrinkled. “You mean I have to choose one?” They laughed. “I have two favorites I guess. I like peach…y’know, a coral orange pink-ish color…and I also like blue. Very light blue and a deep, rich, royal blue. And I like putting grey or silver with other colors. And pastel purple.”
Preston shook his head. “I thought you said you had two favorites, not ten.”
“Didn’t you learn how to count? I listed four colors. Or six, if you count the two different shades of blue and both grey and silver.”
“Didn’t you learn how to count? You said you had two favorites.”
Hailey smirked. “I guess that’s what you get for asking a girl what her favorite color is.”
Preston shook his head. “I guess. OK, ask me something.”
“Um…” Hailey guessed that she shouldn’t ask him what his favorite color was, since he just asked her. “What’s your favorite food?”
He reached up and scratched his head, ruffling his brown hair. “Can you give me a category?”
“Well…what’s your favorite category?”
“Hm….” He was silent for a while. “I guess in the long run I’ll either choose breakfast food or some sort of dessert.”
“Well…do you eat any desserts for breakfast?” Yeah, let’s compromise here, Hailey giggled. Preston was fun to talk too.
Preston snapped his fingers. “Cinnamon rolls! Yep. That’s my favorite food. A good cinnamon roll will always win.”
“No way! Cinnamon rolls are my favorite, too!” Hailey’s mouth watered at the thought of the treat.
“They’re so good. Especially the kind in those cans-“
Hailey finished his sentence. “-that you get to whack on the side of the counter, and it pops open? I know, those are so fun. And delicious.” She closed her eyes and smiled happily. “The fluffy dough, the sharp tasting, ooey gooey cinnamon sugar stuff, the sweet icing…”
“Stop it,” Preston whined, “they aren’t having cinnamon rolls at the bonfire.”
Hailey clicked her tongue. “Such a pity.” She nodded. “Mhm, a cinnamon roll is the way to my heart. Hand me a good, hot, sticky one and I’ll love you as long as I live.”
He laughed. “I’m guessing that’s how you ended up with your boyfriend?”
Hailey’s smile disappeared. “Uh…I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“Oh.” Preston’s eyebrows raised. He sounded more pleased and surprised than disappointed or confused. “So you’re single, then.”
“Single as a Pringle.” Hailey held onto the armrest of her seat as the mustang made a sharp turn. “Uh…your turn.”
“OK…well…uh…do you have any pets?”
Hailey shook her head. “Not at the moment, but I had a kitten once. I loved her to death. Cats are my favorite animals, by the way. But then, one day, she…” Hailey paused. It had been a long time since she had thought about Nugget. “I was taking out the trash, and it was kind of a large bag so I had the door wide open. She ran outside, and I threw down the garbage bag and ran after her. The neighbors were coming home, and next thing I knew she was…their car had…” She shook her head and looked down. Only 12 years old and her first pet had been run over by a car.
“Oh.” Preston turned onto a long gravel driveway. “I’m sorry.”
“Thanks.” Hailey rubbed her pinkie finger.
“What was her name?”
“Nugget.” Hailey smiled at the memory.
“Nugget? Strange name for a cat. Please do tell,” Preston looked over at her and smiled his special smile. Hailey’s cheeks felt warm.
“Well, she was tiny and fluffy, and all white except for a small orange patch on her nose. It looked exactly like a chicken nugget.” Hailey laughed. “I want another cat. I haven’t really thought about it until now…”
“Well, Christmas is coming up. You should ask for one.” Preston turned the car onto a patch of grass. “Your turn.”
“Hm…when’s your birthday?”
“December 25, actually.” He chuckled. “It’s kind of annoying, really. People always hand me one present instead of two, and say, ‘It’s your birthday and your Christmas gift in one!’” He parked the car.
Hailey gave a small gasp. “You really are like a Christmas tree!” Oh, no. I finally did it. I said it out loud. And he heard it, too.
Preston laughed. “A Christmas tree?” He opened the car door and walked around to the other side, and before Hailey could unbuckle her seatbelt he opened the door for her. She clicked the red button and the brown seat belt slid into its rightful place. She stepped out of the black mustang.
“Well, when I first met you I noticed your green eyes and your brown hair, and you’re kind of tall, and you just kinda remind me of a Christmas tree.” She left out the part about the sparkle in his eyes, like the star on top of the tree.
“Hm. Nobody’s ever told me that before.” He closed the door and walked towards a brick house. Several other teens were in the front yard, gathering sticks and shredding paper, setting it all in a big stone fire pit.
“Hello, welcome!” Hailey saw pastor James waving his hand. He was setting some food on a picnic table. Hannah walked out of the house with a tray of cupcakes.
“Can I help?” Hailey asked when she reached the tall, auburn-haired girl.
Hannah huffed and placed her hands on her hips, looking around. “Uh…it seems like you could help with something, but I really don’t know what…we have enough sticks to replenish the disappearing rain forests…we have enough paper…I don’t know. I guess you could help me carry out the rest of the food, but there’s really not that much.” Hannah called to pastor James. “Hey Dad, did you want me to bring out the corn chips or the tortilla chips?”
Pastor James exaggerated looking thoughtful. “Bring out both. Some kids like corn and some like tortilla.”
“Alright.” Hannah walked inside the house, with Hailey and Preston following her. “Preston, you carry the chips. Hailey, you can take out this-” She picked up a large basket with a bunch of nacho fixings and placed it in Hailey’s waiting arms.
“OK.” Hailey felt good knowing she could help in someway. “I didn’t know pastor James was your dad.” She walked out the front door and towards the picnic table, weighted down with food.
“Oh, I thought I had told you…I guess not. But yeah, he is.” Hannah smiled and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear after placing some Styrofoam cups on the table. “C’mon, I wanna show you something. You come too, Preston.”
He laughed. “I’m coming.”
Hailey set the nacho fixings on the table and followed Hannah back inside the house, followed by Preston. Hannah led them upstairs and into what looked like her bedroom. The walls were a very light green, and one wall was painted with chalkboard paint so that the entire wall was a giant chalkboard. Bible verses and song lyrics were written all over the chalkboard. On one side of the room was a bed and dresser, and on the other side was a mirror and a desk and chair, along with a violin and paper strewn everywhere. Upon inspection Hailey noticed that the paper was actually music sheets.
“So…I’ve began to write my own music,” Hannah picked up her violin and a small pile of papers. “and I want to hear what you guys think.” Hailey couldn’t help but notice that Hannah looked really nervous. Her hands were shaking, and her breathing was uneven. And when she walked and moved around, she seemed really tense.
“Are you OK?” She asked.
Hannah was silent for a moment. “I’ll stay up here for hours, practicing and writing and performing…for myself…but I hardly ever perform for other people. I hate having all the attention on me, and-“
Hailey suddenly had an idea. “Then the attention won’t be completely on you.” She grabbed Preston by his shirt and drug him over to Hannah’s dresser. “Preston and I are just gonna look at your dresser, and…” she picked up the first thing she saw, “this…stuffed frog, and you just play whenever you’re ready.”
“OK.” Hannah replied. Hailey patiently pretended to be busy with the stuff on Hannah’s dresser.
In seconds, beautiful music flooded the room. The song started out with low notes, deep and rich and full. It reminded Hailey of an elephant for some reason. When she first saw an elephant at the zoo in 1st grade.
Then the notes suddenly became high and playful and trilling, like birds or kids on the playground. And then the low and the high blended together. It was like all the notes had been put in a washing machine, and they were being stirred around in a calming rhythm.
All too soon the song came to a close with a flurry off high notes, and ending on one final low note. Hailey spun around and clapped. “That was absolutely beautiful, Hannah! How did you ever…why…wow. You are gonna be famous one day, I know you will.”
Hannah blushed deeply, cradling her precious instrument. “Thanks. It took two months to get the song just right.”
“You should play at church sometime.” Hailey suggested. She couldn’t help but notice out of the corner of her eye that Preston had actually become quite interested in the stuffed frog, poking its black beady eyes and fingering its little toes.
“Oh, no, I could never do that. I’d die of fright.” Hannah hastily put her violin back in its case, then led the group out of the room. “I think the bonfire’s ready.”
“OK.” Hailey began to walk out of the room, then walked back over to the dresser where Preston had placed a tiny hat on the frog’s head. “Which is more interesting? The bonfire, or the stuffed frog?”
He laughed and threw the frog back onto the dresser, hurrying out of the room. “The bonfire, definitely.”
“I’m begging you,” Hannah commented as they went outside, “You guys have to eat all this food. My dad bought way too much getting ready for this thing, and I don’t want to keep any of it.”
After two hot dogs, a plate of nachos, a cupcake and a cup of hot chocolate, Hailey had to admit that she was absolutely stuffed. Pastor James led everyone in a group of capture the flag, and by the end of the game it was dark out and they played flashlight hide-and-seek. Then everyone gathered around the roaring fire for worship. It was similar to Sabbath school. They sang songs and shared Bible verses, and Pastor James read a story from a book. A true story, about some missionaries in Africa or something like that.
Yeah…that’s the end of the un-finished chapter.
But hopefully you still liked it?
Comment thoughts please! I really, really, really love it when y’all tell me your reactions and thoughts etc. and it makes me smile to read your comments. ( and to be honest I’m not smiling a whole lot lately – pray for me guys <3 )
I’m going through something tough…I might post something about it in the discussion board soon.
Off topic again! Oh my goodness!
Whatever. Hope you enjoyed this bad-ending story, comment and like, pray, look for my post in the discussion board, love you guys, bye.

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Are You There? Part 11

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