I woke up to an extremely bewildering feeling of faintness in my head. I slid out of my lavender colored sheets and headed to the bathroom, bringing my makeup with me. My usual routine followed: I washed my face, carefully applied mascara and light eyeliner, and I styled my side bang before placing a thin purple headband in my hair. My hair was a vibrant auburn today, and I groaned in exhaustion before padding back to my room. My hair may have looked good, but every other part of me screamed exhaustion. I packed my school books into my bag and changed into a simple outfit of jeans, a green V neck tee, and flats. Thank goodness Mr. Simpson and the Board decided to get rid of the uniforms. I really hated not being able to express my style anymore. After all, today was the first day of my junior year at Degrassi; I needed to look good. After I finally finished getting ready, I grabbed my green and black tote and school bag, walking down the stairs to the kitchen. My mom smiled at me.
"Good morning, sweetheart. I made you some toast."
I smiled weakly back. "Thank you, Mom." I munched the toast and sipped tea before running back up the stairs to brush my teeth one more time. I tripped over the second to last step and fell on my knee.
"Ouch," I hissed in pain.
"Are you alright, sweetie?" My mom called from the kitchen, appearing in the hallway to check on me.
"Yeah, it's just clumsy old me." I murmured, getting up and scrambling to the bathroom.
I looked just the same in the mirror. Oh, whatever, I thought.
"Bye, Mom!" I called, quickly walking to school.
As I walked down the school hallway looking for my new locker, I felt a pair of arms hug me around the waist from behind. I smiled to myself.
"'Morning, Edwards," Eli murmured in my ear, kissing my temple and nuzzling my neck with his nose.
I croaked out a laugh and turned around, kissing his full pink lips chastely. I hugged him around the waist and he wound his arms around mine, squeezing lightly. I rested my head on his shoulder and he laughed.
"Never better," I whispered, reluctantly pulling away from him.
"Maybe it's just your enthusiasm for math class!" He joked, knowing my distaste for anything but English and Journalism class.
"Yeah, you're right on the dot." I replied sardonically, kissing him again.
He smirked. "Well, if it'll cheer you up, our movie night is tonight. I'll come get you at seven, and we can watch whatever movie you want on my couch."
I rolled my eyes. "Okay, just no horror movies. Please!"
"Why not? You can always jump into my lap when you get scared!" I glared at him, trying not to smile. "Alright, alright, cheesy romantic comedy it is..."
I was about to respond before the bell rang. "Algebra 2 calls," I groaned, leaning in and pecking him on the lips before beginning to walk to class.
What happened next I can't even explain at all. I began walking down the hallway when I started breathing horribly, dropping to my knees in the middle of the floor. A painful headache set in, knocking me off my knees to my back. Lightheadedness set in, and students looked concernedly at me, trying to help me up. My coughing got the better of me, and I eventually had trouble moving at all. The last thing I saw was Eli bending over me, trying to get me to sit up, before I blacked out completely.
I woke up to beeping noises all around me. I looked to my right and saw Eli sitting in a plastic chair by my bed. An IV was in the back of my right hand, and I was wearing a blue hospital gown.
Eli noticed me waking up and grabbed my hand gently, careful not to disrupt the needle. There were actually several needles running through my arms, one of the injected in the crease of my left elbow. I winced at the feeling because ever since I was little I have always been afraid and grossed out by needles.
"How are you feeling?" he asked sweetly, bringing my hand to his lips and kissing it.
"Horrible," I sighed sadly, feeling soreness in my chest.
"Your doctor is going to test you for anemia, and it would be best if you stayed home from school and rested for a few days." He said carefully, knowing that I hate missing work.
"Eli, I can't do that! I'm fine! I'm not going to get behind in my classes! What about newspaper? Katie's going to be so mad if I don't finish that article by the deadline!" I deadpanned, frantically looking around the room.
"Clare," Eli smiled. "Adam has all the same classes as you, except for French and Tech Ed. I'm sure he'll bring you all your assignments and homework."
"Aren't you going to miss me at school?" I joked, stroking his hand which was intertwined with mine with my free hand.
"'Eh, not really."
My brows furrowed in confusion before he finished with, "Only because I'm going to be staying with you and taking care of you!"
I snickered. "I should have known you'd joke around while I lay in a hospital bed,"
"Yeah, well, I guess you know me too well. By the way, the doctor prescribed iron pills for you, and he said you need to eat a lot of calcium and vitamin rich foods over the next few days. They're coming back to take a blood test in about 20 minutes, I think." Eli smirked when I cringed at the thought of yet another needle being shoved into my arm.
"Ugh, needles." I groaned, burrowing deeper into the pillow.
"Don't worry, Clare. I'll be there with you, and you've been through worse. Remember the blood drive at school 2 months ago?" He laughed, causing me to giggle lightly at the memory.
Every summer, Degrassi hosts a Blood Drive for the Red Cross. I met up with Eli there, and we gave blood together. Despite my fear of needles, I rolled up my sleeve and allowed them to take a pint of blood from me. Ten minutes later, I began to feel disgustingly faint, and I had to sit on the little cot in the room, drinking a juice box and eating a cookie, until I could see straight again.
"True," I sighed, not imagining anything worse than the Blood Drive disaster happening to me.
Just then, a doctor approached my room and slipped into the room. "Hello, Clare." He smiled kindly, clicking his pen and pulling out his clipboard. "How are you feeling?"
"I feel a lot better than I did before. I just don't really want to have my blood drawn." I murmured, and Eli stroked my hand with his thumb gently in reassurance.
"I'm sorry, Clare, but we have to check your iron levels. You've been showing severe signs of anemia, and that needs to be treated right away. Take 1 iron pill in the morning daily, prior to eating. You are going to need to stay home from school for a few days just to recover, okay?" He said, scribbling down my prescription and setting it on the table next to my bed.
"Will do, doctor. Thank you," I smiled sweetly at him, sitting up farther in the bed.
Eli gently pushed me back down. "Take it easy, sweetie. I don't want you to pass out again," He added worried, sensing my nervousness about the needle.
It's just my luck that a blond nurse wearing purple scrubs walked in, carrying a tray with a needle, disinfectant, and gauze.
"Hi, honey. I'm just going to take a little blood so we can test your iron levels, okay?" She smiled, setting the tray on the table next to my prescription. "Can you sit up for me and rest your arm on the arm rest, please?"
I complied, and waited for her to get it over with. She cleaned the crease of my left arm, which did not have an IV in it, with a strong smelling disinfectant that made my noise sting. Next, she grabbed the needle and gently pushed it into my arm, drawing the blood. I watched in horror as my blood filled about half of the needle.
Eli squeezed my hand tightly. I clenched my jaw, waiting for the awfulness to just end. When it did and she pulled the needle out, I felt relived. Once she taped the gauze pad to the area, I breathed a sigh of relief.
"Good job, honey. My daughter doesn't like needles either, so I know how you feel." The nurse softly patted my shoulder before grabbing the tray and my blood and walking out of the room.
"That wasn't too bad, was it?" Eli joked, leaning forward and kissing my cheek.
"Bad? It was a walk in the park!" I said sarcastically, patting the bed space beside me. He climbed under the covers with me and cuddled me to sleep.