"Kylie! Kylie, wait! Kylie!"
I know what this means. I know what this means. She's not going to live, is she? Is she going to die? What would I do if she died? But she's not going to die--lots of kids get cancer, right? There's treatment--chemo--but what if she dies? She's not going to die. I know what this means but she's not going to die.
I turned. "What, Eric? What do you want?"
His face was ashen. "Kylie, what happened? What did she say? I was in the waiting room--and I saw you come out--"
I couldn't stop the thoughts from coming, brash and blunt and cutting into my mind. "What do you care? You don't even know her! You don't even know me!"
"Kylie...I was with you when you pulled her out of the water. I drove you here. Don't tell me I don't care. It doesn't matter if I know her or not--or you--but I care." Eric's amber eyes flashed as he looked down at me. He brushed a lock of golden-brown hair out of his eyes. It was his hair. It was Rose's hair. It didn't make sense to me. I didn't make sense to myself.
"She has cancer." I spat, and then the real tears came, and before I knew it, I was sobbing into his chest, clutching at his shirt. I felt his hands, warm against my back. "That's why she's been so weak lately. That's why she almost drowned, isn't it?"
"Hey, kid, it's okay," Eric mumbled. "Kylie, please don't cry. Please. It's going to be okay. Everything will be okay. Rose doesn't need your tears right now."
"I have to talk to her," I cried. "The doctors said she could go home now but she has to come back--in a week--"
"She'll be here a long time," Eric said softly. "You'll have to be there for her. She needs you."
I wiped my eyes. "Thank you," I said, and straightened up. The front of his shirt was wet, but he didn't seem to care. "Thank you for bringing me here. It was nice of you. But I think I'm going to go home with Rosie now."
He nodded. "I understand. I'll see you around, Kylie." With a smile and a pat on the shoulder, Eric was gone.
I ran to find Rose's mom.