At six o’clock, I’m lying on my hospital bed, eating the mint chocolate chip ice cream the nurse brought me and trying not to think about Niall or the new pain in my foot—I just got out of surgery a couple of hours ago; it went well, but now my foot hurts like crap—when the door to my room bursts open.
“ALLIE, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?”
I jump and nearly drop my ice cream at the loud voice.
“Sam?” I say, staring at the dark-haired figure standing in the doorway.
“Duh!” Letting the door slam shut behind her, Sam runs across the room and throws her arms around my neck. She’s all warm and sweaty; she must’ve just come from ballet.
“Careful, Sam, I’ve got a cracked skull!” I say, holding my ice cream out of harm’s way; I’m excited about Sam being here and all, but I’m not going to let her ruin my ice cream. I had to do a lot of begging to get the nurse to agree to give me that.
“You’ve got a what?” Sam says, quickly pulling her arms away from me. Her eyes are the widest I’ve ever seen them. “Did you say a cracked skull?”
“Yeah, I did,” I say, taking another bite of ice cream. Man, that’s good stuff, though I probably only think that because I haven’t had anything this sugary since summer started. I figure that what with my near-death experience and not being able to dance in the performance anymore, I should be allowed to finally break that stupid diet. “I’ve got a broken elbow and a shattered foot, too.”
“Holy crap, Allie, what happened?” Sam asks, nervously smoothing the covers on my bed. Then she gasps. “You weren’t in a car accident, were you? Because that nurse who called me said you’d been in an accident, but until just now I didn’t—”
“No, Sam, I wasn’t in a car accident,” I say, sighing.
“Well, then what happened?”
I sigh again, my heart suddenly racing in my chest. I know I’m way overdue to tell Sam everything, but that doesn’t make the moment when I’m finally going to spill my guts to her any easier.
“How long can you stay here?” I ask, swirling what little, half-melted ice cream is left in my bowl around with my spoon.
Sam sits down on the edge of my bed. I scoot over as best as I can to give her a bit more space.
“As long as you need me,” she says.
“Good,” I say. “Because I’ve got a lot to tell you.”
Slowly, in two minute installments because Sam keeps interrupting me with her outraged commentary, I tell my best friend all the things I should have told her years ago—my dad; the years of abuse; Niall finding out; the secret dates that ended up not being so secret; the magazines; Management hating me; the photoshoot; the Laundromat; Niall’s offer to have me come to London with them (Sam has a fit over that); me falling down the stairs and the fight that happened before that; my dad visiting me at the hospital and his threat; and, finally, my painful breakup with Niall. I nearly break down again when I tell her about Niall, but I manage to hold myself together.
By the time I’m finally finished talking, Sam’s livid and sad and indignant all at the same time.
“All this time, and you never told me anything!” she says, pacing the width of the room. About ten minutes into the story she decided she couldn’t sit anymore, and she’s been pacing ever since. “I mean, I’m not mad or anything, I get why you did it, but like I never had a clue that any of this was going on, I can’t believe I was such an idiot, I mean I’ve known you for like ever and I didn’t even—”
“Sam, you’re making my headache come back,” I say, swirling the spoon around in my empty bowl. I ran out of ice cream twenty minutes ago, and I keep hoping the nurse will come in and ask me if I want some more. She hasn’t yet.
“Sorry,” Sam says. She sits down on the edge of my bed again. “I just feel bad.”
“Don’t,” I say. “It’s my fault for not telling you sooner.”
“Well, I still think I was an idiot for not realizing something was up. I mean, looking back, it was so obvious, and if I’d just put the pieces together a little sooner, I could’ve—”
“Keep that up and I’m going to have the nurse kick you out,” I say.
“Fine, fine, I’ll knock it off.” Sam swings her legs up onto the bed, making herself more comfortable. “But what are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know. I mean, I’m stuck here till they release me on Saturday, aren’t I?”
“But after that.”
I shrug, still fiddling with the spoon. “Wait for my foot to heal up. Then go back to ballet and continue life as usual.”
Sam sighs impatiently; the sound is really more like a “huff.” “Allie!” she says.
“You’ve got to be messing with me right now.”
“No, I was being serious.”
“You can’t really be planning on just going back home!” she says. “After everything you’re dad’s done to you lately? You’re sitting in the hospital with a cracked skull!”
“Well, what else am I supposed to do?”
Sam looks at me like I’m the biggest idiot on the face of the planet. “Take Niall’s offer!” she says. “Go to London with him on Sunday! Leave! Get out of here!”
“I can’t do that!” I say, swirling the spoon a bit faster now.
“I just broke up with him, didn’t I? He probably doesn’t want to see me ever again!”
“You didn’t want to break up with him, though.”
“Niall doesn’t know that.”
“So tell him what really happened! Tell him about your dad!”
“Sam, I can’t do that.”
I sigh. “What if my dad found out? He’d kill Niall for sure!”
Sam huffs again. She knows I’m right, though I can tell she doesn’t like it one little bit.
“This is so stupid,” she says. “You’re in love with Niall and he’s in love with you and if you leave with him on Sunday, it’d fix everything, and—”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” I say. Tears burn in my eyes when she says “you’re in love with Niall.” Nothing has ever been truer. But it doesn’t matter, because I broke up with him. It’s absolutely no use feeling that way anymore.
“Sam, it’s over. I killed it, and I can’t fix it, and if I have to hear Niall’s name again I’m going to start crying. I don’t want to talk about him anymore. I don’t want to talk about him ever again. Please, just drop it.”
Sam doesn’t say anything for a few seconds.
“Sorry,” she mumbles.
I sigh, finally putting the empty ice cream bowl on the nightstand.
“I didn’t mean to snap,” I say. “I just—I don’t like thinking about him. I try not to, most of the time. I think that’s the only way I’ll ever get over him.”
Sam stares at me. Hard. “Do you really want to get over him?” she asks.
“Yes,” I say, much too quickly.
She raises her eyebrows. “No you don’t,” she says. “You love him.”
“Well, that doesn’t matter anymore. I broke up with him.”
“I still say you could just—”
“Sam, do you think could go find the nurse and ask her if I could have some more ice cream?” I interrupt.
She raises her eyebrows at me, but doesn’t argue. She slides off the bed and picks up my empty ice cream bowl off the nightstand.
“Sure,” she says. “I’ll be back in a minute, alright?”
Sam walks out of the room, leaving me alone with nothing to distract me from my thoughts of Niall.
It’s nearly eleven p.m. when there’s suddenly a rather loud knock at our hotel room door.
“I’ve got it,” Liam calls. He, Louis, Zayn, and Harry are in the living room watching some insanely loud action movie; I’ve got my guitar and I’m working on my big plan for the concert on Saturday. I locked myself in the bathroom because the acoustics are better—and because it’s the only place where I can’t really hear the explosions and gunfire coming from the movie the boys are watching.
I strum the guitar a few times, humming under my breath to myself. I’ve been working on the re-write of these lyrics for an hour now and I still can’t get them right. I can’t help it, though. I need them to be perfect.
“Yeah yeah yeah yeah I’m 18, and I wish you’d still be mine….”
There’s a knock at the bathroom door. I drop the guitar, irritated at the interruption.
“What?” I say, trying to keep the annoyance in my voice to a minimum.
“Door’s for you,” Liam says.
I roll my eyes and start to pick up the guitar again. “Tell them I’m asleep.”
“I can hear you,” says a girl’s voice irritably.
I frown and put my guitar down again. I stand up and unlock the bathroom door. I find myself looking at Liam and a girl with dark hair who I’m sure I’ve never met, but somehow looks strangely familiar.
“Please tell me you’ve got a plan to get Allie back,” she says the second I’ve opened the door.
I raise my eyebrows at her. “Erm, who are you, exactly?”
“I’m Sam, I’m Allie’s—”
“—best friend,” I finish, remembering the picture I saw on Allie’s nightstand. “Allie talked about you.”
“Sure. But answer the question. Do you have a plan to get Allie back or not?”
“I’m working on something, yeah,” I say, taken aback by her bluntness. “Why?”
She sighs, looking relieved. “Good. Because she’s still totally in love with you.”
I stand up a little straighter, my heart lifting. “She is?”
“Oh, crap, yes. She wouldn’t have broken up with you in the first place if it weren’t for her dad.”
“Her dad?” I say quickly, my original suspicions confirmed. “What did he do?”
Sam sighs. “He said he’d kill you if Allie didn’t break up with you.”
My hands clench. “He what?”
“Yeah, I know. And Allie’s too scared to tell you the truth because she’s afraid her dad will find out.”
“But doesn’t she know you’re here telling me this?”
“Ha. No way. I didn’t even ask her what hotel you were staying out because I knew she’d be suspicious. I had to do some major Twitter stalking to figure out where you guys were, and then I had to knock on every single freaking door in this entire hotel to find you. So really, it’s kind of a miracle I’m standing here telling you this at all.”
I raise my eyebrows. “I don’t know if I should be flattered or creeped out,” I say.
Sam rolls her eyes. “That’s not the point. Look, Allie’s being stubborn as usual and she won’t leave for London with you even though she knows it’s what’s best for her. So you’ve got to convince her to go. You’re the only one she’ll listen to.”
I bite my lip. That’s a lot of pressure. “Do you think she’ll come to our concert on Saturday?”
Sam shakes her head, and my stomach sinks. “She just had surgery on her foot. I don’t think she’ll be up for a concert. She’s trying to forget you, anyway. She thinks that’ll make her feel better.”
“Well, my plan is happening at the concert.”
Sam folds her arms. “Well, Allie isn’t going to be at the concert.”
I sigh, thinking it over. A fat lot of good my plan’ll do if Allie won’t even be at the concert to see it….
The solution comes suddenly and simply to me.
“How about this,” I say. “Fans have always got their phones and cameras and stuff, right?”
“Right,” says Sam slowly.
“They’ll film the whole concert. I’ll just find a video of it and send it to you. All you have to do is make sure Allie sees the video.”
“And this video will convince her to go with you?”
I hope so. I need it to. “I don’t know for sure, but I think it will.”
Sam nods. “Fine.”
“You have to do something else, too.”
I go to my suitcase and dig out a thin manila envelope. I pull out a slip of paper from the envelope and hand it to Sam.
“That’s Allie’s plane ticket,” I say. “If all goes well, she’ll need it.”
Sam nods, reading over the piece of paper.
“The flight leaves on Sunday at 3,” I say. “Can you make sure she gets to the airport by then? You know, drive her there, whatever she needs?”
Sam looks up from the paper, a slow smile spreading across her face.
“Hey, if your plan is really as good as you think it is,” she says, “she’ll drive herself, broken foot and all.”
I laugh, but inside, I’m thinking, Please let this work. Please.
This is getting veryyyyyy interesting. I am going to crunch the rest of the story in the next few chapters. Any ideas?