Sam had made me go to bed. She lay next to me, reading Jane Eyre to me until my eyes began to flutter and I lay my head on her shoulder to sleep. Then she put the book down and kissed my forehead. And that was the last thing I remembered before morning.
"I'm not going to class. Not till she's found."
"Yes you are."
"I won't concentrate."
"You're not missing out on learning just because Anna has disappeared. Besides, I need to go home and change, so I'm walking you there myself. Come on."
I sulked all the way there, but Sam had a point. She was bloody annoying, but she had a point. She even waited till I'd walked in to the lecture before she left. An after an hour of learning about Victorian novels and the supernatural, when I walked out, she was there, freshly dressed, and waiting for me. I earned a wolf whistle from one of the boys when I kissed her, and we both threw him a look to kill or possibly maim, and then marched out of the building. I quickened the pace as we got closer, anxious to get back in case Anna returned. I ran upstairs when we arrived, but found the room as it had been; no Anna.
Sam handed me a cup of tea as I slunk down the stairs.
"Not there? Cara, the police are looking. And we don't know yet whether there's anything to worry about. Calm down sweet."
I opened my mouth to retort that it wasn't her best friend that was missing, and that she didn't know how I felt, but never got the words out. The front door opened, and a slightly bedraggled Anna walked through the door.
"Hi." She said, a small smile twitching on her face as she did so.
"Anna!" I yelled, rushing over to her and pulling her in to a hug before anxiously checking her for injuries or marks. "What happened? Where were you?"
"I just, went for a walk, to think. I fell asleep and this woman took me in for the night. She was really nice."
"Without your phone? Anna, seriously, we've been worried sick! We've called the police..."
"You called the police?"
"You were missing for a whole day!"
"Yes but... Oh I'm sorry. You must have been really worried." A tear broke out of the corner of her eye and I rushed to hug her again.
"No no, it's ok."
"No it's not." Sam's voice muttered behind me. I turned round, questioning her. I felt Anna staring at her too. "What? Don't look at me like that Cara. She's had us all worried sick, the police got involved, you got messed around, and then she turns up and says 'hi'? I'm sorry Anna, you must be going through some things right now, but you really need to sort yourself out. You're hurting people when you act like this."
"I didn't mean to hurt anyone..." Anna said, lip trembling.
"Sam, you can't speak to her like that..."
"Cara she's not a child. She's an adult. She needs to hear it, else she'll never act like one." I stared at her, angrily. But the problem was, I wasn't angry with her. I was angry because she was right. And Sam knew it. "I'll be in the kitchen if you need me." She said.
When she'd left I turned and saw Anna wiping tears away.
"That was uncalled for." Anna muttered. "I'm going through so much, and Leanne's coming over so I'm already worried about that," Here she hiccuped, tears falling again, "And then Sam jumps down my throat! That was horrible."
"No, it was nasty."
"Anna, I think she has a point. I'm sorry to say it, and you know I'll always be here for you. I'm your best friend. But she is right. You were stupid today. Yesterday. Whatever. The point is, you didn't think about other people. I know you're upset but... you were stupid."
"How can you say that...?" Her lip trembled.
"Don't start crying again. I'm serious. She's right. You do need to grow up a little."
"I am grown up."
"No you're not Anna. You really aren't."
"Well I'm sorry that I'm not little miss perfect with her grown up girlfriend and her band and her grades. I'm sorry that I needed some time alone."
"Don't start Anna. You should have left a note. You had us all worried sick."
"It's not my fault!"
"It never is." I shook my head. "I'm sorry Anna. I love you. I do. But Sam is right."
"Why are you taking her side? Does she own you or something?"
"I'm not taking her side. And no she doesn't own me. But she is right about this. Because I can't keep going through all of this, every time you have a problem in a relationship. I can't. It's never been this bad before, but if it keeps getting worse you're going to drive me over the edge. I've never been more worried in my life Anna, and I don't need that stress. It was a stupid thing to do. Just... just think before you act next time ok?"
She didn't reply or make any sign that she'd paid any attention to what I'd said, other than to stare at me through wet eyes. I cupped the side of her face in my hand for a moment and wiped a tear away with my thumb, then let my hand fall and turned to join Sam in the kitchen. It was the hardest thing I'd ever had to do; to say those words to Anna's face.
Sam was standing by the sink when I walked in, leaning on the worksurface and staring in to her tea. She looked up at me, unsmiling.
"You heard everything?" I asked.
"Yes. You did right."
"Why do I feel so horrible then?"
"The best things to do are sometimes the hardest. I think it was brave of you to do it."
"I think it was horrible of me."
"But if it helps her..."
"It might make her worse..."
"If it does it's her own fault. This is her wake up call."
"I don't... oh, I ought to call the police; tell them she's back."
"I already did. It's ok. They just want to come over and check on her. They said it will be some time this afternoon."
"I just hope Leanne's coming with good news for her. If it's bad, I doubt she'll pull herself up."
"She will. Especially with you there to help. Of course I won't be able to. I think I just ruined any chances of us getting along."
"She really liked you. She'll get over what you said. It's me saying it I think she'll have a hard time with." I crossed my arms across my chest and hugged it close. I felt like crying. All the worry and stress suddenly flooded over me and I felt hot and drowned and headachey. I blinked a couple of time, aware that tears were forming.
"Sweetheart. She's your best friend. She has to forgive you. It was for her own personal growth. And for the good of everyone who cares for her." Sam pulled me to her and I let my arms wrap around her instead of myself.
"I hope so." I whispered as I breathed her in. "God I hope so."