Twenty Nine

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April

I tell Aden everything. At first it's hard to get out but once the words start flowing it's impossible to stop them. Aden listens to every part, never once stoping to interrupt.

At several points I start to tear up but he squeezes my hand and I find it easier to keep going. I don't know if it's ever been this easy to talk to someone who wasn't my family.

"I'm sorry, April" Aden says at then end of the story.

I look over at him and I see in his eyes that he means it.

"You don't have to be sorry. It's not like you did anything. I know that after what Jamal did to you-"

"That doesn't matter." Aden says, "He's your brother and your allowed to worry about him while still being friends with me."

I look at Aden again. Our eyes lock and I feel deep need to be closer to him. I hug him again. I hold onto him because he feels so right in my arms. If I could I would never let go but that would be creepy.

I pull away instantly missing the warmth of his skin against mine.

"How is it possible that your this amazing and no one else seems to notice it." I say.

Aden reaches over and brushes my hair back. I remember the time Jamal had done the same thing. With Jamal it felt awkward and wrong but Aden made the movement seem so natural.

Aden thumb caresses my cheek and I want to lean into his hand.

"I was just wondering the same thing." Aden whispered looking into my eyes.

My eyes drop to his soft pink lips. I look back up at his eyes and feel my heart skip a beat.

No.

I pull back from him. This isn't right. Now isn't the time to be having these types of feelings. My brother is in a hospital bed fighting for his life. After all Aden is just here to help me because he's worried about his friend. I don't want to mess up this friendship by doing something stupid just because I'm emotional.

"Are you okay?" Aden asked sensing the change.

"Yeah, I'm fine just-"

My stomach growled coming up with an excuse for me. My hands quickly covered it as I looked away with embarrassment.

"Are you hungry?" Aden asked.

"My mind has been so focused on other thing food didn't seem important. Now it seems my stomach is punishing me for neglecting it."

Aden chuckled. "Well why don't you ride with me and we'll pick up something to eat."

I bit my lip and looked at the door. The call about Jamal could come at anytime.

"Bring your cellphone. If anything happens I'll turn the car around and drive you straight to the hospital. Besides it'll probably be good for you to step out and get some air." Aden said.

I still hesitated.

"Plus you kind of owe me for the cancelled lunch." Aden added.

I almost forgot that we'd made plans for lunch. I felt bad thinking about Aden siting all alone again at lunch. Maybe Regina sat with him. For some reason that thought is just as unsettling.

"Alright but some place close." I say.

Aden smiles and stands up. He holds out his hand for me. I take it and stand up with him. He still holds on to my hand even after I'm up.

He leads me down stairs. I stop to tell my parents I'm going to get food and to call me if anything happens. I ask if anyone wants anything but they all say no. Grief and worry has ebbed their appetite away.

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