The ward of castoria, p.27
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       The Ward of Castoria, p.27

           Robin Silverglate
 

  *****

  The next day was filled with more tensions for Bryn. At school, Kayla’s mean streak was back in full force. It was as if she was trying to make up for lost time. Even her father seemed in sad spirits when Bryn visited him after school.

  “Is everything okay, Dad?” she asked.

  He shuffled the papers on his desk and let out a sigh. “I’m just feeling a little overwhelmed again with work since Beck left.”

  The most frustrating part of the day, however, was that Nicole still had not answered any of her text messages. There was probably a good explanation for her behavior and Nicole would clarify everything at work. However, when her boss told her Nicole had called in sick, Bryn had reached her limit of patience. She had a hard time concentrating on the coffee and the customers and it was made worse since she had to do double the amount of work with Nicole’s absence.

  Her father picked her up from the Coffee Grinder to walk her home as usual. She confided in him how worried she was about Nicole. He found it strange as well, but did not feel that there was anything that could be done about it right now. After dinner, Bryn decided to text her one more time. She was in the middle of typing the text when her cell phone rang. She let out a sigh of relief when she saw Nicole’s name on her phone. Bryn almost answered the phone with an accusation, but then remembered Nicole was probably still really sad, so she decided to just stick with a simple, “Hello.”

  “Hey,” said Nicole in a happy voice.

  “Hi. I’ve been so worried.”

  “Yeah. I’m sorry about that. We’ve been really busy the past couple days.”

  “What’s going on with Ryan? How’s he feeling?”

  “He’s actually pretty bored right now,” confessed Nicole. “Mom won’t let him out of bed.”

  “Is he feeling sick?”

  “Nope,” said Nicole lightly. “He’s cured.”

  What? She got the distinct impression Ryan had leukemia. One simply doesn’t get cured of leukemia in just two days. She wondered if Nicole was in a state of denial. She did not believe her, so she asked, “What about the tests that were done last week? I thought the news was bad.”

  Nicole was quiet for a moment and then said, “I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. I was just relieved that the news wasn’t as bad as it could have been.”

  Bryn thought about how hard Nicole was crying after the movie and still was in doubt. No one cries that much over hearing good news but it was not her place to question her friend in this matter. Instead she simply asked, “Well, what does Ryan have?”

  “I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s nothing serious,” she said a little too quickly. “The doctor made him go to the hospital for a couple days in order to do the treatment. He seems to be fine now.”

  Bryn was upset that she had spent the past few days being unnecessarily anxious. “Why didn’t you let me know he was fine? I was so worried.”

  “I’m sorry. Mom and I were with him at the hospital the whole time. I guess I lost track of the real world.”

  Bryn privately thought she did not lose touch with all of reality because she made sure to call in sick for work. How hard would it have been to text her at least? “Didn’t you see all my texts?”

  “I accidentally left my cell phone at home,” said Nicole. “We got home a few minutes ago and I just now saw all your texts. I’m so sorry you were worried about us.”

  “That’s all right,” said Bryn reluctantly. “I’m really glad Ryan is feeling better.”

  “Thanks. Me too,” said Nicole. “Hey, do you want to come over to my house tomorrow after school? Mom said that since our girls night out was cut short, you could come over and stay for dinner if you want.”

  “That sounds great,” said Bryn. “I’ll be over as soon as I’m done at school.”

  They soon ended their conversation and Bryn was left to think over the strange turn of events. While she was happy Ryan was fine, she questioned how quickly he had recovered. Everything seemed to be slightly fishy. First of all, Nicole never forgot her cell phone. That thing was practically attached to her hand. Secondly, she was almost certain Nicole had said Ryan had leukemia and that was never cured in such a short time. Finally, Nicole couldn’t even remember the name of her brother’s illness even though she had been at the hospital with him the entire time. The only thing that made Bryn believe Nicole’s story was she had been invited over. She knew her mother never would have let her come over if Ryan really was sick. Bryn was glad she would at least get to see for herself how healthy Ryan was tomorrow.

 
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