Chapter 15

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F I F T E E N

GRUMBLING ANGRY FOR Ryder shutting off the lights, I stumbled my way to the front door of the school and stormed out.

Any and all respect for that boy was quickly plummeting it's way down the drain.

Even if he did get me out of detention, and apologize to me—in a way—just for the sake of his friend, and helped me calm down after the necklace situation.

Okay, maybe I still had a little respect deep, deep down inside. But, barely.

I sighed, giving up any anger I had towards him at the moment. I needed to focus on what to do, and where to go next. I pulled my phone from my pocket and dialed the nearest hospital. Three rings later and a woman from the front desk picked up. I immediately heard the sigh she breathed out before saying, "Yes?"

Well, that was some welcoming. "Is this St. Jude Memorial Hospital?"

"Yeah." I heard what sounded like the popping of a bubble. Gum, maybe? "What do you want?"

"When do your visiting hours end?"

Another pop. "Eight."

I pulled the phone from my mouth and tried my hardest not to scream in frustration. When I brought it back, I said with fake sweetness, "I'm also looking for the room of a patient. Tyler Luck?"

There was shuffling on the other end and a few more pops before, "Yeah, we got 'em. Room 208."

I didn't bother thanking the woman before hanging up. Bitch.

With a sigh, I started my walk to the hospital.

I hadn't really seen Jay since he cornered me in class, but that didn't stop me from worrying about him. The image of his pale and sunken cheeks was haunting my mind since I'd seen him, and I worried what the others looked like. It was obvious Jay wasn't eating enough, or worrying very much about his personal hygiene—not that I blamed him. I'd be the same way if I'd stayed there night after night.

By the time I actually made it to the hospital, I had less than an hour to really visit with Tyler. Even still, I wasn't willing to pass up the opportunity to see him. I made my way to the front desk, taking in the appearance of the receptionist: graying hair up in a bun, peach colored blouse, and glasses low on her nose as she stared hard at the computer screen. I couldn't see whether she was wearing pants or a skirt because of the desk, but I was just going to assume the latter. If it wasn't for the comforting smile she sent me when she noticed me, I would've thought she could pass as a grouchy librarian.

Thank god she wasn't the woman from the phone.

"Hey, sweetheart. What do you need?" Her eyes were a pretty caramel color, and the softness in them made me wish even more that I had a grandmother I could compare her to. I shook the thought from my mind and focused on the task at hand.

I smiled back at the woman, surprised by her lack of judgement toward me. The surprise was soon swept away as I remembered that I looked more like a nun than, well, me. "I'm here to see Tyler Luck. Room 208?"

      "What's your relation?"

      I hesitated. From what I'd seen in movies, you typically had to be related to the patient to visit them. I wasn't sure if that was the case here, but it's better to be safe than sorry. "Sister."

The woman nodded, then turned in her chair to point down the long hallway. "Just down that hall and to the left."

"Thank you."

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