Chapter Thirty-Five

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I drop my hood and scan the large room with my eyes. I'm soaking wet and curse my past self from this morning for wearing leggings and no jeans and for deciding that there was no point in putting on a jacket and that a hoodie would be fine. Screw you, morning version of me.

But being here is better than going back to my tiny flat that isn't even big enough for one person. Why did I move? I have no clue. A lot of the times, teenagers complain to their parents because they decide to move because it rips them away from their friends and the life they've gotten used to. I've done this to myself. I've dragged myself away from that familiar world because I couldn't handle it anymore. I should have at least moved in with somebody, I can't live by my own. I've never tried that and I never should've tried. But here I am, standing in the door with a huge bag of now probably soaked clothes hanging off my shoulder, only to see that all washing machines are taken. If only I could afford my own one or if I only I had someone living with me again so I wouldn't have to afford it on my own...

The day has been shit so far but at least I have only doubted if being a teacher is really the right thing for me twice earlier today. I bite my lip and sit down between the washing machines to wait until someone is done which looks like it could still take another two hours. I sigh and take out my phone, only to see that there are no more messages.

"Hey, sorry, my laundry's almost done if you want my machine." I look up to see a very pretty guy standing over me. "Are you an angel?" I ask and get up. "If you say so." He laughs and leads me over to the machine he's using. He runs his fingers through his glorious, messy hair and gives me a winning smile. I laugh too, completely surprised by myself. I'm not used to pretty guys talking to me. "I see by your laundry that you like Johnny Cash." I look at him in disbelief for a moment. I would have expected him to just tell me the machine is free and then leave, not to be charming and make small talk. But I luckily find the way back to my voice quite quickly. "Adore him. And that shirt you're referring to is my favourite." He grins. The machine next to him dings and he unloads all the laundry into a bright blue basket. Then he puts it down on the machine and goes through it before pulling the same shirt a few sizes smaller out of his wet clothes. I grin at the match of shirts. "Coincidence." "Or fate?" he asks and leans back with a mysterious-looking face. I laugh again.

I stuff my clothes into the machine and turn it on. "Well, thanks again for the heads up on the machine" I say, expecting him to leave. "Hey, are you gonna wait here for your laundry or do you want to go for a burger or something?" he asks. I raise my eyebrows, now I really cannot believe this is happening. There has to be a catch, guys are not like this, they just aren't. I mean, not that I'm attracted to him, not wanting to get my hopes up, I generally just know that guys aren't like that. At least they aren't to me. "I actually got some food for the wait before coming here" I explain and take the brown McDonald's paper bag out of my handbag. I open it and hold the red package up to him. "Fries?" He takes a handful and snatches a paper tissue from the bag as well before jumping up on the washing machine and looking at me. "I'll wait with you so we can talk about Johnny for a little bit." I laugh. "That's really nice. I'm Beverly, by the way. But call me Bev." He reaches out for my hand and shakes it. "Nice to meet you, Bev. I'm Daley."

I look through the glass wall to Daley's hospital room. There is no way that he's not going to make it, I don't give a fuck what the doctors say. That would make no sense because what would I be without Daley? I would be back in my tiny flat that's too tiny for one person, even for a skinny one. I would be under the impression that every single person on Earth who is not a fat girl herself or my mother judges big girls like me. I would not be confident enough to talk to strangers, I would not be confident enough to stand in front of a group of mid-puberty teens daily.

Helen is sobbing beside me. "Bev, what if he's going to die?" she cries. "He's not going to die" I say, delivering the statement as a fact even though the doctor said earlier that Daley may not make it through the night. If he dies though, which is not going to happen, and I ever find that driver who wasn't even human enough to stop and check on Daley who he had run over, it's not going to be a pleasant experience for him. Not. At. All.

I don't cry. It would be like giving up. He's not dead and he's not going to die. But I don't even think I'd cry if he was dead. It would be an understatement of my feelings. I would be in such a shock and I would feel so empty that I think there would be no tears to cry. I would not know how to go on. Daley is such a big part of my life, so important that crying would just not cut it so why cry at all? And people would think that I'm not sad at all but I would be the saddest out of everybody. Nobody knows me like Daley does and nobody knows Daley like I do.

I don't cry but I have that feeling in my stomach, that strong pain that comes along when you're afraid or when you know something bad is going on. And it won't go away until things gets better. I want to run into the room and I want to wake him up and I want to hug him and tell him that everything is going to be fine. After all, he isn't just my room mate, he's my best friend, he's like my brother.

Him not being there is something I cannot imagine because nobody has changed my life like he has. After high school, I moved to the city to study and become a teacher. And I had this wrong perception on the world, I was always in my awful apartment and I never knew what to do and I was under the impression that everyone would hate me, no matter what I did except lose weight and act like every other big city chick. And then Daley just came along and offered me the washing machine he had been using, casually restoring my faith in humanity. And from then on, I feel like barely anything could scare me and it was all different. I may be the teacher but Daley taught me my most important life lesson. Not only did I learn from him that skinny and hot people are insecure too because after knowing him for a while I found out that he had to build up courage to talk to me and find his first friend in me too but also, Daley was the first person to show me that it doesn't matter who you are in high school.


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