A.N. Yes, that's right, I'm FINALLY back. *winces, avoiding projectiles* Sorry!!! I hope you still read after my prolonged absence.

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Jamie hurried down the hall, trying to make it to Caitie's locker before she left for class. After missing her at lunch the day before, he'd called her house, but she hadn't been home. And she'd never returned his message. Then, he'd been late for school and missed first period, so he hadn't been able to talk to her since their conversation in the hallway with the rest of the Super Squad.

He was beginning to get a little worried. Her behavior was decidedly un-Caitie like. Rounding the corner, he caught a glimpse of her black figure through the crowd as it disappeared into a classroom.

Damn, he thought, collapsing against the wall for a second. Sighing, he straightened and turned to start down the hall to his own class. What is going on with her? Is she avoiding me?

Feeling a little hurt at the thought, Jamie was so occupied by his thoughts that he didn't notice Val pop up next to him. Morning, Jamie, she chirped.

Jumping, Jamie just barely saved the books he was holding from flying in every direction. Hey, Val, he said through clenched teeth.

You okay? she asked, raising an eyebrow at his edgy behavior. At his questioning look, she gestured at his body. You look kinda... weird.

Weird? Gee, thanks, Val. You're looking lovely this morning yourself.

Sorry, I just meant--

I know, and I'm fine, Val. Really. But we're gonna be late for class if we don't hurry. So, I'll see you later. Hurrying down the hall away from the blonde, Jamie waved over her shoulder, dodging his fellow students.

That was... weird, Val muttered. Since when does Jamie care about being late to class? Pausing at the door to her english class, she watched Jamie's spiky hair bobbing above the crowd. There is definitely something going on with him.



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Lunch was mercilessly slow in arriving. Ten more minutes until freedom, Jamie thought impatiently. Then I can talk to Caitie, and everything will be fine again.

Looking at the clock again, he sighed. Seven more minutes.

Ignoring the teacher droning on about their next essay topics, Jamie's mind turned to what he was going to say to Caitie. She was really starting to worry him.

First, she basically hangs up on me when I'm trying to apologize, telling me she's meeting a friend that I don't know. Not that that bothers me, he told himself swiftly. She can have all the friends she wants. Then, she disappears at lunch, cutting her last few classes, and isn't heard from for the rest of the day. And then she ignores my phone call.

The fact that she didn't return his call worried him more than her disappearing without telling anyone where she was going. She always returned his phone calls. He was the forgetful one, not Caitie. Was she avoiding him?

Three more minutes.

Stifling a groan, Jamie ran a hand through his hair. Caitie wouldn't avoid him. She was too straight forward. If she was angry about something, she'd just come right out and say it. That was one of the traits he loved about her. Her honesty.

Jamie swallowed nervously. Love as in best friend love, he assured himself. It's perfectly natural to love your best friend.

One minute.

Straightening in his seat, Jamie eagerly focused his eyes on the clock. 30 seconds left until freedom was his. He was the first one out of his seat and was out the door almost before the bell had stopped ringing. Practically running down the hall, Jamie spotted her in front of her locker, rummaging inside. Caitie glanced at him as he stepped up next to her.

I'm really sorry about the other night. It won't happen again. The words came out in a rush before she could even say

Caitie frowned at him and turned back to her locker. I'm not mad.

Blinking in surprise, Jamie found himself at a loss for words. But... then... why are you avoiding me?

I'm not avoiding you, Jamie, she said, slamming her locker shut with exasperation. I'm just busy, all right? Look, I gotta go. I'll call you later, okay?

he said with false cheer as she pushed past him and rushed out the door. Where have I heard that before? he asked himself sarcastically, watching the double doors close behind her.

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Bobbi snuck another fry while Caitie wasn't looking. So, did you tell him what's up?

Caitie shook her head and moved her plate out of Bobbi's reach.

Why not? Deprived of Caitie's fries, Bobbi returned to her own chocolate milkshake. I mean, he must have noticed that something's wrong by now. It's been, what, six months? Even Jamie's not that dense.

Caitie sighed. She moved into the hospice about two months ago. And yes, Jamie has noticed something's wrong. The only reason he didn't notice before was the squad. He doesn't see me much anymore. Shrugging, she fiddled with the french fry she was holding. I just feel strange bringing it up out of the blue.

Didn't you ever mention your grandma's forgetfulness this summer?

Nope. He spent nearly every day at the station. Besides, I didn't realize it was anything serious until after school started again.

And then you didn't want to talk about it? Bobbi guessed.

Smiling wryly, Caitie finally popped the fry in her mouth. I didn't even want to think about it. It was just a little too surreal.

Bobbi was silent for a minute as she watched Caitie carefully, trying to gauge how the goth would react to her next question. Don't you think you'd feel better if you told Val and Jamie? I mean, they're your best friends.

Caitie admitted, not meeting Bobbi's eyes. But they're so busy. I don't want them to be worrying about me on top of everything else. You don't know Val, if she found out about my grandma, she'd want to spend the night every night and she'd try to make my family dinner, as if my mother suddenly lost the ability to cook. She'd seriously resemble a blonde hurricane. She smiled when Bobbi laughed. I'm serious. She'd run herself ragged just trying to make me feel better.

Sounds like a good friend, Bobbi said, still smiling at the image Caitie had presented.

The best. Glancing at her watch, she blinked in surprise. It's already five. I need to get home. I have this huge essay due next week and I haven't even started looking through my sources.

Don't worry about the check. I'll get it, you go on ahead, Bobbi said, pulling Caitie's unfinished fries towards her.

Caitie frowned. I can't let you do that.

No worries, you can get it next time, she said with a grin. Caitie laughed and waved as she ran out the door.

If someone had told her a week ago that she and Bobbi would become friends, she would have died laughing. Now, she was just grateful that she'd run into Bobbi in the hospital that day. It was nice to have someone to talk to.

But she still missed Jamie and Val.



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Jamie climbed out of the rig, and groaned at the sight of Brooke in the doorway. Please, not right now, Brooke. I promise, I'll do my paperwork tomorrow. I swear. Just let me go home and sleep. Please.

Tyler snickered as he jumped down next to Jamie. Begging becomes you, Waite.

Shut up, Tyler, Jamie muttered.

Brooke just raised her eyebrow at the dark-haired boy and held up a stack of papers. That's what you said last time, Jamie. And when did I get that paperwork? She paused a moment as if waiting for an answer, but cut him off as he opened his mouth. A week later! A week, Jamie. That's just unacceptable. Do it tonight. Before he could respond, she shoved the papers at his chest, looking smug when he caught them reflexively.

Watching as the young girl spun on her heel and flounced off into the station, Jamie shook his head. She's going to be the death of me, he complained, to no one in particular.

Just think, I have to live with her, Val joked, coming up next to him with the first aid bag. It's your turn to restock the bag. With that, she dropped her load at his feet and, clapping him on the shoulder, walked away.

His disbelieving stare swung between the bag and the sheaf of papers he held. It must be genetic, he muttered.

Hank asked, coming up behind him with an identical stack of papers.

Jamie sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. Setting the papers aside for the moment, he lugged the bag over to the supply room. A few minutes later, Jamie heard Tyler and Hank yell goodnight, and he responded, still stuffing supplies into the bag.

Val's head popped around the door moments later. You still in here?

Jamie grunted in response, and Val came over to sit next to him. You leaving soon? he asked, glancing at her. She nodded and remained silent, obviously thinking something over carefully.

What, Val? Jamie prodded, smiling at her surprised expression.

That obvious, huh? she asked with a wry smile. Sorry. I just... I'm a little worried.

A frown settled over Jamie's features, knitting his dark brows together. About what?

Have you noticed anything strange about Caitie lately? she asked after a moment's hesitation.

Momentarily forgetting the supplies, Jamie leaned against the wall, facing the blonde. You noticed, too, huh?

Val nodded, her blue eyes dark. She's been really quiet lately, and you know Caitie, quiet' is not one of her usual qualities. Jamie snorted and Val smiled before continuing. I haven't been able to spend much time with her lately. I feel kinda out of touch with her life, you know?

I know what you mean. Every time I say I'll call or we'll hang out, I end up getting delayed here and the plans get scrapped, he said. I get the feeling she's not exactly happy about it, either, but she won't talk to me.

Yeah. I tried calling her the other day when I had a spare moment, but she wasn't home and she never called me back. Val tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and sighed.

The same thing happened with me, Jamie admitted, running a hand through his hair. And that's really weird. She always returns my phone calls. I'm usually the one who... well, you know.

Val nodded sheepishly, then screwed her eyebrows together. I just can't shake the feeling she's keeping something from me.

Nodding in agreement, Jamie leaned his head back against the wall. The two teens sat in silence for a few minutes longer before Val quietly stood and walked away. Sighing, Jamie finished replenishing the bag and completed his paperwork. Then, he roared home on his motorcycle, not ever bothering to drive past Caitie's, knowing she wouldn't be awake.


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A.N. Hope you like this chapter! Review and let me know if you want me to continue!