His dad had been on the news, where they showed the pictures of soldiers and asked for a moment of silence. I feel my smile slip from my eyes, my lips, and fall completely off my face. I know the look he sees in my eyes is probably the same pity-filled expression I saw in his seconds ago.
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I just remembered. Now I made his smile fall off his face. I should've kept my mouth shut. He glances again at the chair holding my heart. The virus caused myocarditis. It's a pump. Sends my blood through my veins and throughout my body. He makes a face, even rubs his chest as if feeling empathetic pain.
The hesitant footsteps easing down the hall pull my gaze from his. Mom stops at the door. Her pinched maternal concern locks on me. She's worried I'm mad about his being here. It's odd that I'm not. The only person from my old life I've allowed to be close to "Dying Leah" is Brandy. And the only reason I allowed it was because she wouldn't go away. Both Mom and Dad have been pushing me to get out some. There was even mention of my going back to school. I nixed that idea really fast.
I want to graduate, but facing my peers while carrying my heart Unh, uhh. Not doing it. I have good reasons too. In seventh grade, Shelly Black had leukemia. She came to school bald, wearing a scarf. Everyone tried not to show her how difficult it was to see her that way. She wasn't even my close friend. But my heart hurt for her. I'd rather be alone than put people through that.
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Then I look at the dark- haired hottie sitting across from me and wonder if that's what he feels now. Then again, he chose to come here. He's asking me questions and seems interested in my answers. And it feels good talking to him. Like I'm a normal high school kid talking to a friend. An extremely hot friend. I'm still not going back to school, but why not take advantage of this? I wait for him to answer.
He declines with a thank-you. Mom leaves, and we dive into algebra. We spend the next twenty minutes reading examples; then I do problems for him to check and see if I understand. It's not really awkward, but it's tougher than it is with Ms. I can't concentrate on math, because I'm concentrating on him. About which twin he is. I recheck my answers before I push him the notebook. While he's reviewing my problems, I'm studying him.
The shape of his lips. The cut of his jaw. The slight five o'clock shadow that tells me he's shaving. I rub my index fingers against my thumbs and peer up at him through my lashes. His smile reflects the same emotion. He pushes the notebook back. And I'm feeling greedier than ever. I want my forty-five minutes. I used to be able to tell you and your brother apart. But now You don't know who I am? His posture's crooked. One shoulder is higher than the other.
Didn't Matt used to sit like that? It's as if my answer matters. As if I need to be careful what I say.
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Matt's hair was a little curlier. A lot of girls, bolder than I, would play with his curls. I always wished I had the guts to do it. But I was gutless. The bravest thing I ever did in school was start a book club. My gaze shifts away from his hair. I'm scared to answer, but that would be awkward. Eric's more outspoken.
The pencil slows down. I swear my heart speeds up like my old one would have. Buff and outspoken or thin and quiet. I said less buff and quieter. He laughs and that sound is like magic, less rusty, more melting. I'm sure he's Matt. Eric didn't have the same effect on me. Maybe I imagined it, but I could swear that Matt actually I don't think I hit Eric's radar. He had too many cheerleaders falling all over him.
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Not that Matt didn't have the girls flashing him smiles and playing with his curls. He just didn't seem like it went to his head as much. Sometimes, it even looked like it embarrassed him. My backpack beeps, shattering that comfortable silence that we'd finally found.
The dreaded chirp lets me know that I have less than thirty minutes of battery life left. Panic flashes in Matt eyes. Or is he Eric? I shake my head. I look toward the hall to make sure Mom isn't around. So far, the truth has worked with him, and I decide not to waver from my approach. The odds aren't great. I have it. If it was a kidney, I'd give you one.
I hate thinking about a transplant. Not just because I don't think it'll happen, but because someone having to die to give me life is all kinds of wrong. And that's what my parents and even Brandy are doing. Sitting around hoping someone will die. That's even worse than wishing warts on someone.
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