Part 3

"Welcome again, Jared," said Maria's mother. She looked very tired.

"Am I of bother right now?" I asked worriedly.

"Ah no, it's just been that Maria doesn't want to leave her room," replied her mother. "She'll get over it soon, I know."

Get over what? I nodded and tightly held a paper-wrapped package. I tried to keep it dry by hiding it under my vest which worked fairly well. "I just got something for Maria so I bet it'll make her feel better," I said.

I went into her room and saw her covered in many layers of blankets. "What do you want?" she asked.

I handed the package in front of her. "I got this for you because I'm sure yo'll like it."

Maria took the packed and slowly unwrapped it. "You suck at wrapping presents," she blurted.

"Just open it," I ordered.

Inside was a brown box. She looked a bit shocked and her gentle fingers slowly opened the latch. "A music box," she said calmly.

"Yeah, you said you wanted one, so when I brought you back home, I hurried to get one for you," I said trying not to blush in front of her.

"I want to confess something," Maria said in a quiet voice, barely able for me to hear.

"That you're scared of thunder? I kind of knew that judging from how you reacted yesterday."

"Well, that and that I'm not sick."

I remembered when Maria said that while glaring at me. "What did you mean by that? I wanted to ask you," I said interested.

"It's just like what I just said. I'm not sick."

It was that simple.

"I...I just wanted you to come and always visit me, Jared. It was all a lie. I have been cured at least a year ago, but I didn't want to tell you because---"

I hugged Maria as tight as I could. I heard her trying to hold her tears and whispering again and again, I'm sorry. "It's okay Maria. I'm really happy you're alright!" I said smiling. "Smile again! Don't tell me that you kept that secret in place of your laughs and cheers."

Maria wiped her teary eyes on the blankets and sniffled. "Will you still come and visit me?"

"Of course, we're been together since forever, right?"

The End

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