The next day my mother informed me I had the flu.
Once again, I took numerous days off school, feeling more and more as if I were in a soap opera that kept going wrong.
Confined to my bed, there was no school, no internet and no Cayden to apologize to.
The days passed in a blur as I drifted in and out of consciousness, remembering nothing of time. There were points when I felt at my lowest, suddenly sobbing over the boys who had barged into my life. Like the heroine of the novel I had read not too long ago, ‘I Know You’, I had, greedily, wished to be surrounded by romance, and had got kisses and love-messages by the bucketful. As I sobbed, then, I realised that Cayden had never really said his praise (nor had Drew, but that no longer mattered to me) and I vowed, when I was better, to admit everything, hoping solemnly that Cayden would too. I could push Drew out my mind, five more weeks and he would slink off back to his gloomy life, but Cayden seemed the direly important one now. My mind was set. Still, there was something sad in thinking about watching Drew leave my life until some twist of fate spun us together again.
The last thing I remember thinking, as I lay, mostly-conscious, at the end of my recovery, was that I had been a tad dramatic about...well, everything, especially since there seemed, now, to be a simple answer.
Alas, putting words into practise was not as easy as I had tried to make it sound.
It turned out that my illness had left me bed-ridden right into the morning, or afternoon, of Wednesday, and my mother insisted I stay and be 'pampered' for longer. So, it was finally Thursday when I returned, bewildered, back into school.
Everywhere seemed so much quieter to that which I had remembered. Everybody seemed subdued; and not even just up there in my mind.
"Hey, Annabelle," said Sarah that morning in form-time. "How are you?"
"I'm better," I nodded, swallowing rather nervously, "thanks."
I even found the time to be polite to my form tutor!
"Here, Annabelle," she drawled, marching over, "you'll need to gather up the work you've missed from the last couple of days. What I've just placed on your desk is a list of the teachers who told me to tell you to see them soon."
I looked down at the silly piece of paper, half-blank.
Then I smiled to myself.
When I got home, the day having moved quickly in a slow, calm way, I was met with steaming soup (two bowls) and a dinner that my mother had tried her best to prepare nicely. It turned out she did actually care about me.
Later, after I had finished dinner and watched some more TV- more than usual- I even politely asked my mother whether I could go online. When she nodded, I tried my best not to race up the stairs. My head was still rather dizzy, but at least my thoughts were burning right.
He was online in all respects; I first popped onto my social-network profile, unused for over a week, but less bare now, and I was able to see that that one of my friends had been 'active' a mere five minutes ago.
Hey guys, I'm back! ;) I typed hastily as my status.
I could tell that I was still hesitant at what I was about to do then, as I quickly logged off before I could see if Cayden had typed a reply to my vague status. I opened up the messenger box and, sure as sure, there he was, not waiting, but sitting obediently, as if he had no on else to converse with.
Cayden must have been thinking the same, for, as I was typing a welcome message to him, his came up, half as long:
Cayden Rachet: Poppy! Where have you been?
Poppy Brant: Oh, ‘hi’ to you too.
Cayden Rachet: What happened last time?
Poppy Brant: I was ill… I’ve missed loads of school and stuff.
Unlike normal, we seemed not to be able to have our conversation where we bounced ideas off each other. Now, all our words seemed stilted, and my heart rose up in my chest, saddened that my task was going to be made all the harder.
Cayden Rachet: Okay, I hope you’re better now.
Poppy Brant: We need to talk.
Cayden Rachet: We need to talk.
I laughed, despite knowing that he couldn’t hear me.
Poppy Brant: Sorry… I didn’t realise we could still be ‘in sync’ like that.
Cayden Rachet: Yeah. Anyway, you go first. My thoughts can wait for months to come. What was it that you wanted?
Poppy Brant: Oh, I was just thinking, you know, in passing. And since the mishap the other day, I thought something needed to be done. I guess that’s what you thought too.
Poppy Brant: Can I have your number?