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I was sitting in a rocking chair on my grandparents' front porch, rocking in it and watching the world go by. I was enjoying the gentle evening breeze and the faint birdsong when the phone in my pocket rang. I pulled it out and looked at the caller I.D. It showed the picture of a teenage girl. She had thick blond hair that just barely touched her shoulders and bright blue eyes. A wide smile split her face, showing white teeth and braces. The name under the picture was Eve.
I answered it with a smile. "Hey, Eve. What's up?"
"Nothing. I just wanted to talk."
As soon as Eve said that, i knew that something was wrong. Eve's voice is normally bright, cheerful, and full of life. But then it thin, weak, and it wavered slightly, the way it does when Eve has been crying.
"Eve?" I asked, my voice full of worry. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." Eve repeated. I just wanted to talk."
I knew that Eve was lying and trying to change the subject, and I decided to go along with it.
"Okay, then what do you want to talk about?"
"My day has been pretty good. I didn't care much for the eight hour car drive, but the rest of the day has been good. We got here about one, and we've had a good time since."
"Good." Eve said.
"Eve, what's wrong?" I asked, my voice gentle.
"Nothing." Eve told me.
"Please stop lying to me." I told her firmly.
Eve didn't reply, so I thought that she was gone.
"My day has been horrible." Eve finally said. "I don't even know where to start. With school, or with home, or with the beach."
"Go in order." I suggested. "Start with school."
"I got attacked." Eve said softly.
"Calm down, Jack." Eve said. "I just got beat up."
I was speechless for several seconds. "What do you mean?" I finally managed to say.
"I have a black eye and a busted lip."
"Okay." I said as I managed to control my anger.
"Home......" Eve's voice trailed off, but I knew what she meant. As amazing as Eve was, her family was not. They ignored Eve whenever possible, so they probably hadn't even asked what was wrong with her. I could hear Eve's breathing pattern change, and realized that she was about to start crying.
"What happened at the beach?" I asked quickly.
"All of my stuff was stolen." Eve whispered. "I was surfing, so all I had left was my bathing suit and surfboard. I lost my keys, my wallet, my phone....." Eve began to cry.
I felt terrible. I wished that I was with Eve, and that I could comfort her. "It's okay, Eve." I said, wishing I could do more.
"No it's not." Eve sobbed. "My world feels like it's collapsing. I just want it to end."
"You won't do anything stupid, right Eve?" I said, my voice laced with fear. "Eve, answer me. You won't do anything stupid, will you?" My voice broke slightly at the end.
"Yes. No. I don't know, Jack." Eve nearly screamed.
"I'll be back in three days." I said in what I hoped was a soothing voice. "Just three days. See you then?"
"Yeah." Eve said. "Bye."
Eve hung up, but I was sure that I heard her whisper, "I hope." I sat in the rocking chair, thinking. I had stopped rocking. "Eve's smart." I murmured to myself. "She wouldn't do anything stupid."
Three days later, I walked up to Eve's front door. I hesitated for a moment, then knocked. Eve's mother opened the door.
"Hi, Jack." She said, smiling. "Did you have fun at your grandparents house?" Eve's mother looks like Eve, just a little bit taller and older.
"Hello. Is Eve here?"
Eve's mother laughed. "She's in her room." Eve's mother stepped out of the way, and I saw her roll her eyes as I walked in and headed up to Eve's room.
I knocked on the door, and heard nothing. "Eve?" I called. "Are you in there?" I heard something rattle, and I pushed the door open in time to see Eve put a small, white bottle to her lips. "Eve!" I yelled. I closed the gap between us in two giant steps and knocked the bottle of pills out of Eve's hand.
"Nick!" She screamed at me as pills in various sizes and colors covered the floor. "Why did you do that?" Tears were streaming down her face. "I needed those! The doctor told me to take them!"
I seized on of the other pills bottles that covered Eve's nightstand. "This is an allergy medicine. You don't have an allergies that this would treat."
I stared into Eve's blue eyes, which were full of tears. "Why?" I asked in a much softer voice. "Why would you try to kill yourself?"
Eve shook her head. She was still standing.
"Did you swallow any?"
Eve shook her head again. I walked over to her and wrapped my arms around her. Eve rested her head on my shoulder and cried. I held her like that for several minutes until she broke free and sat on the edge of her bed. I sat next to her. "You'll be alright, Eve." I told her.
Eve leaned against me. I did nothing, and she grabbed my wrist, then pulled my arm around her shoulders. I put my other arm around her as Eve kept crying. Five minutes later, Eve's head lolled down to my chest, her breathing slowed, and her body went limp in my arms. My breath froze, and I looked down at Eve, my blood icy with terror. Had she swallowed pills?
Eve's hair was covered her face, and I brushed it aside. Eve's face was much more peaceful than it had been before, and her chest slowly rose and fell. I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized that Eve was asleep. I stood up and gently laid Eve out on her bed.
"Jack." She said drowsily just before I left. "Come back. Please."
I went back over to Eve's bed and sat next to her. "You need to sleep." I told her. "Your eyes aren't just black because you got hurt. You haven't been getting enough sleep."
Eve blinked slowly. "What do you think of me now?" She murmured.
"What do you mean?"
"Before I fall asleep. I want to know what you think of me now."
"I think of you the same way." I told her truthfully.
"Then what did you think of me before?"
I swallowed. "You need sleep." I told her again. Eve laughed slightly. "I have enough time to sleep." She murmured.
"I think that you're beautiful." I told her. "And smart and bright and cheerful and full of life. You're one of the most amazing people that I've ever met."
Eve smiled as her eyes closed. "Anything else? She asked.
I brushed some of the hair away from Eve's face. I don't know why I kept doing that. "I think I may love you." I whispered.
"I love you too, Jack." Eve whispered. Her body relaxed as what I thought had been sleep over came her. I leaned forward and gently kissed Eve's forehead. And I decided that I did love Eve.
Two days later, I got the news. I had been too busy to go to Eve's house because we had been helping a friend move. I went to her house and her mother opened the door. When I asked for Eve, she shook her head. "She's gone." Eve's mother whispered. "She died of an overdose two days ago. It must have been just after you left."
I felt dizzy and weak. I leaned against the door frame. "What?" I whispered. "What did she take?"
"She drank an entire bottle of some kind of sleep medicine."
Tears began to leak from my eyes.
"There was a note." Eve's mother added. She left for a second, then returned with a piece of paper, which she handed me. I read it.
Jack, I'm sorry that I did this. I wish that I had waited, because your love was my last hope. I love you. Eve.
I dropped the paper and walked away from Eve's house. I never wanted to go there again. And I never wanted to love again, either. And I never would