San Diego had proven far more hospitable compared to Los Angeles, the tall sky scrapers right next to the water and all the modern architecture had inspired me. I joined a local school, where I made up a story about my family and was easily transferred. I had tried to stay well away from making any friends but a friendly girl had taken me under her wing and so I did have someone to sit next to at lunch. Her name was Lily, and she was helplessly tidy; she regularly commanded I take showers after doing sports in school; this was somewhat helpful for my cover story because I had a place and a reason to take a shower, and thus stay clean. Her bedroom was spotless; each possession had its own place and she would be able to tell if something was so little as an inch away from its position. She often instructed I pay a visit to the bathroom and wash my hands and face, whenever I appeared in school slightly muddy. I didn't mind her tidiness though, it was somewhat endearing.
"Hey Sarah?" Lily asked picking out her baloney sandwich, I was beginning to think she had a small case of OCD, the crusts had been neatly chopped off and none of the sandwich contents could be spotted falling out the sandwich.
"Yeah?" I asked watching her eat, I couldn't afford to eat lunch but after Lily had voiced her suspicions of my anorexia she usually brought a granola bar or something of that sort for me to munch on.
"Do you want to come by my house this evening? My cousins are coming over and I haven't seen them in forever and I think it's going to be kinda awkward,"
"Why?" I asked opening the packet of Oreos she handed to me,
"Well one of the boys is my age and he's from LA, the last time I saw him we were ten,"
"And...?" I asked still not getting it,
"Well he'll be all old now; I don't know how to entertain a sixteen or seventeen year-old guy!"
"Just shove him in front of an Xbox," I smiled,
"No can do, it's broken! Please," she begged, I smiled; it wasn't like I had anything better to do,
"Sure, why not?"
"Want to borrow my cell and run it past your parents?" she asked,
"I'm sure it'll be okay,"
"Ring your mom!" she demanded,
"No, Mum's at home in Houston," I explained, "she's bust looking after Grandpa,"
"Fine, but I'll see you tonight yeah?!" she smiled standing up and wiping away her crumbs with a cloth she carried in her lunch bag, "I've got to go to the library," she explained running off.
I knocked on the door of Lily's house, I had only been twice before but I enjoyed coming. It was big enough to impress even the likes of me - having spent my life looking at houses in 90210 - but wasn't as showy or flashy as the houses in LA. Lily opened the door and beamed at me,
"Perfect timing!" she said pulling me through the door, "they've just arrived," she pulled me into the sitting room and sat me on a sofa, the doorbell rang. "I'll get it!" she yelled up the stairs, "Stay." I waited on the sofa and heard voices of the family arriving, "you can go through into the sitting room," I heard Lily say. I looked up to see her sixteen year-old cousin,
"Caleb?" I asked, standing straight up,
"Sarah?" Caleb took three steps towards me and grabbed my shoulders, "what are you doing here?" he asked,
"I live here now..." I said slowly watching the rest of the family come in,
"Wow, you really are sneaky!" Caleb dropped his arm and took a step back, "but you know, the way you left practically killed him,"
"What do you mean?" I asked concerned, "He's better off without me,"
"Who is? What's happening guys?" Lily asked stepping forward, neither of us answered, "Do you two know each other?" she asked,
"No," I muttered,
"Yes," Caleb told her, "she dated my best friend,"
"We never really dated..." I muttered,
"Sarah, you use to live in LA?" Lily asked,
"Yeah, sort of," I muttered,
"You said you came from Houston,"
"She lied; she lies about everything," Caleb spat,
"I was always nice to you Caleb! I would have even said we were friends!" I said tears building up,
"So would I... until you left Josh," I narrowed my eyes at him,
"You lied to me Sarah..." Lily muttered sadly, "I think you should leave." I exhaled slowly and pushed past Caleb and the rest of his family. I ran out the house and into the street, a taxi rounded the bend and without a second thought I hailed it and jumped in,
Two days later I was back to where I started, back at the beginning, as if the past two months were a mere blip in my life. I had gone straight to Josh's house to apologize and set the record straight, but when I had arrived the house was empty. I'd waited all afternoon and then Josh's mum had come home, she explained that Josh was sleeping at Caleb's and that she thought it best not to go and find it. ‘You've done enough to hurt my son young lady.' The following day I spied Josh and Caleb go to school, waiting outside for the end of the day I noticed an ambulance rush passed, Caleb was standing in the back window. I looked around school for Josh, I wanted to talk to him without Caleb, but was soon informed that Josh had been in the ambulance. I ran to the hospital without stopping, inside I found his warm and moments later I pushed past the curtain and looked at the skeleton in the hospital bed. I looked away, he didn't look human and it made me sick.
"I'm so sorry," I whispered, "I had no idea...I-I never meant to hurt you!" Every instinct in my body was telling me to run, run far away to a place where I couldn't affect Josh, where I couldn't hurt him.
"I'm sorry too Sarah and I wish that would fix it all and just make this go away. How can I trust you now? I gave you a second chance and you did the same thing all over again. You know each time you do this and I put my trust in you the risk gets bigger. It almost killed me this time. How can I take that risk again?" His words stung and I felt my eyes well up, the beat of my heart sped up and deep inside I felt empty. I knew I had hurt him, but the realization had just hit me, I had hurt him bad.
He was practically non-existent under his hospital gown, his eyes were sallow and his lips the palest of pinks, he was just inches away from the grave. I couldn't do this to him again, I couldn't look at him without remember what I had done, I was a horrible, nasty, spiteful girl and I had to leave.
"I guess..." I began, but footsteps sounded and the curtain was thrown open, Caleb glared at me as if I were about to kill Josh, I wanted to throw up.
"Sarah," Josh whispered, his voice was so quiet, "it's okay. It's going to take a long while for me to be able to trust you again. But I forgive you," I swallowed the bile in my mouth, I felt a huge burden lift off my shoulders and my eyes spilled over with tears. I began to sway as my head was spinning, Caleb took a step forward and I cringed away, he must be so mad right now. Instead he led me to the chair by Josh's bed, sat me down and pushed my head onto Josh. My head stopped spinning as Josh's arms wrapped around my body, despite the situation, he was my comforter. His arms constricted around me as if he thought that I might perhaps suddenly disappear, but there was no chance in that. Because, Joshua, I am never going to leave you. I resolved, I kissed his hand and closed my eyes. I'd never really had a home, but I realized I didn't need one, my home was in Josh.