Mom was almost back to her normal self. Apparently sleeping for 13 hours straight fixed most ailments.

I couldn't help but watch her like a hawk though. There were still some things that were off. How she could be acting perfectly normal one second but then get weak and almost faint in the middle of doing the dishes. How she could start slurring her words halfway through an eloquent conversation and still manage to finish the sentence with her speech unaffected.

There were a lot of shared concerned looks between my father and I during that week (even dad had foregone rationalizing the whole thing), but my mother dismissed our apprehension with laughter, claiming that she should really start getting some more sleep. And that she should finally start eating healthier. And exercise. Plus, take some extra vitamins.

Her excuses nauseated me, because I knew deep down in the core of my being that something was very wrong. Something that could not be fixed by adding some magnesium and vitamin D to her diet.

My mother's mysterious condition scattered my thoughts, made me unfocused and on edge. Hence, the week passed in a blur, where I barely registered Sean's attempts at making eye contact or Max's gaze following me down the corridor. Even Maria faded into the background, but I wasn't sure she even noticed. After all, Alex had returned from his family trip and they had a lot of catching up to do.

That's how I found myself in my room on Friday evening, staring at my opened wardrobe, wondering what to pack for the camping trip which I really didn't want to attend. It wasn't that I didn't want to spend time with dad. Because I did.

The truth was; I didn't want to leave mom alone.

The camping adventure was an annual thing with the aim of getting fathers to spend more time with their daughters. I probably spent more time with my dad than most girls my age (considering that I didn't only share his blood but also his workplace), but my dad nevertheless loved this camping expedition.

I think it was mostly because he could hang out with the other fathers, telling stories in front of a campfire while sizzling sausages over the embers.

But I could tell that my dad wasn't feeling that much up to the camping trip this year either, even though he was putting on a happy face. Dad wouldn't straight out tell me, but it was a no-brainer that he was really worried about his wife's irregular and on-and-off deteriorating condition.

I pulled out a thick sweatshirt and sighed. Let's get the packing over with.

*****

"So, you and Sean Carter, huh?" Emma asked me.

I bent down to pick up a stick for the fire and sighed mentally. We'd only been on the campsite for two hours and already I was hating all this socializing. But mostly, I hated to not be able to just hang with my friends. Maria's father abandoned her and her mother when Maria was four, so being fatherless disqualified Maria from this trip. And Alex - well, Alex was a boy. This was merely for girls and their fathers.

Which meant that I was stuck gathering material for the campfire with Emma Kingston and Pamela Troy. Basically, I was stuck gathering material with the gossip mill of Roswell High.

"Not really," I said evasively.

"Lisa saw you two kissing at Joe's Diner," Pam pointed out.

I forced myself not to glare at the blonde and instead bent to retrieve another stick off the ground. "She did, huh?"

"Come on, don't be all mysterious," Emma said. "Give us something."

"I heard that she's also dating Max Evans," Pam said, suddenly referring to me as if I was no longer present.

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