Chapter 3

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After school, I cursed the freezing air of New York, and started on the familiar path. Since mom took on a second job now, and we only have one car, she couldn't drive me there when it gets too cold anymore.

Today, the walk seemed longer then usual because of the weather, but it still felt the same way it had everyday the past three years. It's dreary, lonely, and just... sad. But as I walk through the shiny doors, and the all-too familiar smell of bleach and sick people filled my nostrils, I knew I must plaster a smile on my face.

For Maddie.

"Hey Dani. You okay?" Marsha, the lady at the front desk, asked me with warm eyes and a sad smile.

"Yeah, fine I guess."

"Well, go on in. She loves seeing you. She really does."

"I know."

The elevator beeps one, two, three times.

I take the same 18 steps down the hall.

Room 306.

I always have to do this before I go in. I have to count to ten. I have to know that she isn't getting better. That she won't look how she used to. But I have to be strong.

"Dani?"

I push open the clean white door of her hospital room and let myself in. Immediately, her eyes light up their beautiful grayish-blue that I was always jealous of.

"Hey, little squirt. How are you feeling?"

"I'm okay."

"That's good."

"Ca-can you come lay down with me?"

"Of course!" I gently lift the blanket up and ease myself down onto the bed, careful not to harm her tiny, pale, fragile frame.

Maddie lifts her small fingers up slowly and starts gently tugging at my hairband that had held my sloppy bun up the whole day. Not sure I know what she is doing, I quickly untangle my hairband so that she doesn't have to struggle to do it herself.

She smiles a small smile, barely helping to light up her pale skin and starts running her hands through my messy hair. I can't even feel it, her touch is so light. But then, she looks me straight in the eyes with those gorgeous eyes of hers and I watch a single tear fall from her left eye.

"I want my hair back," Maddie whispers so quietly that I would have missed it if we weren't so close and face to face.

She's been through too much. She's eleven years old, my baby sister, and she's gone through things that no one should ever have to go through.

Maddie was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia when she was eight years old. About a week after her ninth birthday, four months after she was diagnosed and the chemo started, her hair started falling out. At first, it was just small clumps of red hair that would fall out everytime she brushed it.

She's been strong. When the doctors came back with those awful news, eight-year-old Madison Anne shed no tears. But when her beautiful red velvet hair had completely disappeared, she broke down. She was always so proud of that hair.

Looking into Maddie's tear-filled eyes, then back down at my own now waist-long red hair, I know what I have to do.

-AUTHORS NOTE-
Sorry, this was a really short chapter. But it had really big, surprising news! So, were you expecting this about Maddie? What did you think? Comment and let me know who you should play Dani, Maddie, Haley, and Tyler. Please go ahead and point out any mistakes! Thanks for reading!

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