Forever & Always
Author's note: Another book inspired me to write this book. In the book a boy and a girl are best friends, but I... Show full author's note »
A True Friend, Or Maybe More...My eyelids opened and I was in the hospital. I lifted my head off the soft squishy pillow underneath me, and looked about the room. The bedside table was covered in flowers and wrapped gift boxes. One of the tags said “From Carter, your best friend.” As I looked to the right the windows white and fluffy curtains had been pulled aside and the sunshine was shining through. I heard a knock on the door. Then Mr. Henderson walked into the room.
“Hello Annabelle, how are you feeling?” Mr. Henderson asked.
“I’ve been better,”
“Yeah, I bet sweet heart,” Mr. Henderson said with a chuckle. “Have you looked at your presents and cards yet?”
“No, not yet, I just woke up,” I said. “But I will now.”
“Alright I will leave you to your business then, you are sure you are feeling okay?” Mr. Henderson said as he headed toward the doorway.
“Yes, just sore is all, I’ll be fine, thank you,” I said as I waved goodbye hoping and waiting for him to close the door and hear it click in the latch. I leaned over the side of my bed and lightly lifted off the table the present that was labeled “From Carter, your best friend.”
The present was wrapped in orange and red-my favorite colors as Carter would know. There was a red bow tied around the package. I gently unraveled the ribbon and opened the lid on the small box. Inside was something beautiful and valuable. I pulled the chain out of the foam and looked at the locket in great interest. It was shaped as a heart and was able to be opened. I carefully cracked open the locket and inside was a message:
This locket is a treasure that forever belongs to Annabelle Marie Smith; may your life be as special as the adventures we have had together. Forever and Always.
Thank you for everything Annie,
Your best friend Carter
I stared at the message as a tear fell off my cheek. I closed the locket and looked at the front of it again. There was a beautiful and detailed cursive A on the heart shaped cover. It was an unusually large locket, most likely because Carter had to fit all those words into it. But it also was a small font. I lifted my blonde curls off my neck and tied it up high with a hair band I had handy on me. I gently clipped the necklace around my neck and let it hang down.
“Hey curly cu,” Carter said from over by the doorway.
“Hey! What are you doing here?” I yelled back in extreme excitement.
“Just thought I’d drop in and say hey,”
“Well ya did! And I couldn’t be more happy to see you!” I said back as I reached out to hug him. He leaned in and hugged me back. I held onto him for as long as I could. I never wanted to let go. After we released each other he looked me in the eye and said, “You did great, ya know with the surgery and all.”
“Okay….thanks I guess! Of course I did good; I was knocked out the whole time!”
“Did you open your present yet?” Carter asked.
“Yes I did, thank you so much! I love it!” I reached over to hug him again as many more tears ran down my cheeks.
“Now promise me that you won’t go running off like that again!”
I leaned back away from him with a smile on my face. “I can’t promise you that, but you can promise me something…”
“What...” Carter said with curiosity.
“Promise me that you’ll go with me next time! Promise me Carter, please!”
“Okay fine,” Carter said back to me.
I smiled back at him and there was an awkward silence in the room for a few seconds. All of a sudden the smile on my face dropped to a frown.
“Oh, umm Toto is at home, resting. Your mother is taking care of him. Your dad is on his way here right now to tell you how everyone is doing.”
“No, Carter where is he, he has to be okay! I have to leave here, please!”
“Stop! Annabelle please, you have to calm down! Annabelle….”
Carter kept yelling at me to relax as he put his arms around me. He started pushing me back towards my pillow. His hands were cold and felt good against my overheated body.
“Annabelle, he is okay, he’s fine. Really he is doing great,” Carter said as he slowly released my arms.
“Okay, alright then,” I said as I caught my breath again. We were looking in each other’s eyes. He slowly took a breath as if relieved to see me lie back down and relax. His eyes moved closer. They grew even more magical then every time before that we had been together. My best friend had the most touching blue eyes. He leaned closer and our noses touched. Our lips came within centimeters of touching and locking. Then the bedroom door opened as Daddy stood in the doorway with a slight grin of disbelief on his face.
“Uh, uh hello sir,” Carter mumbled as he stood up straight. “I will leave you two to chatting alright, good day sir,” Carter waved goodbye and walked out of the room.
“Hi, Daddy,” I said to him. He sat down on the bed next to me.
“Hey pal, how are you feeling?”
“Uh, good, better I guess.”
“That great sweetheart. So how’s Carter?”
“Ummm he’s good too.”
“Yeah it seemed like it,” Daddy said with some sarcasm. “Well I’ll leave you to resting then.”
“Okay. Thanks Daddy, love you.” Daddy walked out of the room and closed the door. Well that was a relief! I wonder why he didn’t yell and come close to punching Carter! That was definitely the most unexpected thing Daddy could have done! Maybe he has finally realized that I’m not a child anymore, unlike Miranda. Then suddenly the only thing I could see was the inside of my eyelids.
“Good morning Annabelle,” Nurse Eve said. “How are feeling?”
“Fine, thank you,” I replied. “Just tired from all the visitors.”
Well I can assure you that you will be in the comfort of your home in no time,” Nurse Eve said with a smile. “Today is the day you can go home, your parents are waiting in the lobby. Now would you like me to tell you about your conditions?”
“Sure, yes please,” I said with a nervous feeling in my gut.
“Well, to begin, as you may know, your foot and ankle is broken and you would normally be on crutches, but since you just received a minor surgical procedure, you cannot walk normally, for at least a few weeks. You know while you recover. So, in that case we can provide you with this wheelchair. Another thing you should know is that your surgery went great. I’m sure Dr. Henderson or Dr. Charles told you that,” Nurse Eve instructed. “Lastly, when you bathe or shower, just simply put this pre-made bag over your leg, a slip if that makes more sense, here you go,” Nurse Eve handed me a box with a picture of the slip on the front. I laid it on the side of the hospital bed. “Now let’s get you into this wheelchair!”
Nurse Eve helped me hobble across the room to the wheelchair. I plopped myself down in the chair and Nurse Eve put the ‘slip box’ into the basket under my chair. She wheeled me out of the room as I watched what was going on around me. Another patient was being wheeled into the room that would have been next to mine. There were three other nurses sitting behind the desk answering phone calls, and two other doctors standing at computers in the right corner looking at x-rays. We entered the elevator and I did the honor of pressing the button that said “LOBBY”.
“So Annabelle, that fancy young man, Carter I believe is his name, is a fine fellow I reckon,” Nurse Eve blurted out. “You two look so perfect! How long have you two been together?”
“NO, NO! Carter and I are not together! We are simply just friends! Yes, just friends. And we have been FRIENDS for ten years,” I shouted quickly after her incorrect statement.
“Oh, I am terribly sorry! But if you don’t mind, you two do look like a couple,” Nurse Eve said again. “Kids these days, trying to hide their real feelings for someone! Crazy I tell you! Crazy. What grade are you in now darling?”
“I am a sophomore,” I replied as I was starting to get more and more frustrated by the minute.
“Oh, so you’re…15?” Nurse Eve said politely.
“Yes, 15 years old on June 12,” I said making sure she understood this time.
“Oh so you’ve been 15 for about three months now, haven’t you. Have you figured out the true meaning of being a teenager yet?”
“I’m not sure. I guess not if I don’t know what it is.”
The elevator doors opened slowly as Nurse Eve wheeled me out. I tried to find the placement for my hands on the wheels but Nurse Eve was rolling me so fast I couldn’t catch them. So much for looking independent.
“My baby!!” Mamma yelled out for the world to hear.
“Mother!” I shouted across the room with my arms open so she could hug me. She flung her arms into mine and squeezed me tight.
“Hi their Pal,” Daddy said as he patted my hair and kissed my forehead.
“Hey Daddy,” I said with delight to see him again.
“Let’s go Annabelle we need to get you back home. It’s getting late anyway! Come along.”
Finally someone was giving me the chance to try and wheel myself! I put my arms on the wheels and rolled. There was one small problem: I wasn’t moving. I don’t have enough strength.
“Here let me wheel you,” Mamma said.
Mamma wheeled me to the parking lot. I hobbled to the car and sat in the seat that leaned back farther than usual. Like a bed perhaps. I stayed there as I glanced toward the window and saw Mamma and Poppa talking about something. Miranda sat in the seat next to me and didn’t say a word. Mamma hopped in the passenger seat and Daddy sat in the driver’s seat as he fumbled for his seat belt.
The car pulled out of the parking lot and onto the quiet rode. I guess I forgot what the town looked like after being cooped up in there like a chicken for a full week. The next thing I knew we pulled into the driveway of our house and everyone was getting out of the car. Mom whirled around the corner and she helped me out of the car. She grabbed my wheelchair and I plopped down into it. I tried to wheel myself again but it still wasn’t working.
“Here, I’ll push Annabelle Mamma, you just carry the bags,” Miranda said in her sweet little girl voice.
“Awww thanks sweetie,” Mamma replied.
Miranda was such a suck up. I can’t stand her. Well apparently I was supposed to miss her while I was gone, but why would I? I enjoyed my relaxation time without her! You know recovery. It was six o’ clock already and we stopped at Chipotle for dinner. Miranda still had her vegetarian taco in her hand while she was pushing me into the house. All I could smell was disgusting beans and rice. Ewww! How could she live on a diet that consists of practically NOTHING!!! I mean she eats maybe only breakfast and dinner every day and her breakfast includes broccoli with ranch and beans. And her dinner includes bread, beans, and rice. Sometimes fruit. I can’t stand the way she eats too! She divides her plate into quadrants and chews each bite carefully twenty times so that it is “suitable for swallowing.” Oh and don’t let me forget what she packs for lunch at school! She eats carrot sticks and strawberry milk. My mother thinks she has health problems. The doctor at school evaluates what she brings to lunch. She ate fine and normal until Lauren died. Now it’s all about appearance.
I was tired already. The mash potatoes were soooo good at the hospital! Now I have to go back to Mamma’s cooking.
“Annabelle, honey, would you like some homemade meatloaf? It’s fresh and juicy! I bet you’re still starving, that hospital food must have been awful! Come in here and have a decent meal!”
“NO THANKS!!! I’m perfectly fine actually, full to be exact! I am going upstairs now!” I replied as I motioned father to come help me.
“Oh I can help you honey and I’ll bring some noodle soup!” Mamma said quickly before Daddy had a chance of taking one step forward.