I do not own SLiDE.
When Tammy leaves Luke's house, she is absolutely furious. She just can't be around them right now. They're all there, joking about how life is short, and how it should be lived to the fullest because 'who knows when it will end?' and they just have no idea. None at all. Driving while intoxicated is living life to the fullest? Getting no sleep, not studying for a test that has the potential to make or destroy the rest of their lives, and surviving off energy drinks is living life to the fullest? And okay, yeah, she enjoyed stealing the Tom the Fireman, and many of the other pranks they've pulled, but this is just taking it too far. She can't be around their idiocy any longer. Not when she has a life-changing test in five hours, and she has to pick Noni up from the airport in eight hours, and she hasn't been able to look her mother in the eyes for two weeks.
When Tammy heard about Noni, her heart stopped. Just, literally stopped. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't think, she wasn't anything. It took Noni's mother screaming her name, and her mother hearing it from the living room to snap Tammy out of it. She just handed the phone to her mother, and numbly walked out of the house. She didn't return until the next day.
Scarlett was the one who found her. Of all people, Scarlett. But she didn't push, and she didn't make her talk about it. She just put an arm around her, and led her away from the bridge overlooking the fake beach. She took her back to her room, and pushed her into the shower gently. When Tammy had emerged, there had been a clean set of clothes waiting for her. And when Tammy came into the room, Scarlett had just pointed to the bed, and allowed her to sleep. And when she woke up the next morning, Scarlett had simply taken her home.
When Tammy walked into her house, her mother had swept her into what had to have been the tightest hug of her life. Tammy just held on, and prayed that whatever news her mother had on Noni wouldn't completely break her. And it hadn't. Noni's mother had told Tammy's that California was poisoning Noni, and Tammy's mother had said that Noni was the only thing that kept Australia from killing Tammy completely. Tammy couldn't have told you how it happened if you asked her, but Noni was going to come and live with Tammy. The major catch, though, was that Noni and Tammy had to go to separate therapy once a week, and attend a support group weekly. Tammy agreed in a heartbeat.
Of course, Tammy's mother had to ask just how many things her daughter had been keeping from her. Tammy had had to come clean, and now, Tammy can't bear to think of much she has hurt her mother.
Tammy is in the middle of her first therapy appointment when she receives the first call. It is when she gets out, and sees that she has eleven missed calls, that she feels the first inkling of worry. She answers the twelfth call.
"What is it?"
"Oh, so now you pick up the phone?" Scarlett snaps.
Tammy feels her temper rise. "I was busy, and if this isn't important, I'm hanging up in ten, nine, eight…" she begins the countdown.
Scarlett's next sentence makes her blood run cold. "Luke had a fit. We're at the hospital."
"Which one?" Tammy chokes out. 'Oh God, not again, not again. Please, not again.'
"St. Mary's." Scarlett replies, and Tammy sighs in relief.
St. Mary's is one block from where she is now.
"I'll be there in five."
When Tammy enters the hospital, it is madness, and it instantly transports her to the night when her mother kicked her father out, and brought her straight to the hospital. Tammy hates hospitals, but she shoves it aside, and forces herself to concentrate on why she is here. 'Luke. You're here for Luke.'
The curly haired blonde turns and sees Eva and Scarlett supporting Luke between them, with Ed just ahead of them. When the nurse asks for the discharge papers, Tammy feels a split second of worry that quickly changes to shock when Ed, Ed of all people, tells the nurse to shove off, and allows them to get away.
Tammy leaves the test center with Luke and Scarlett, but quickly veers from the two.
"Tams!" Luke calls. "Where you going?"
Scarlett looks at her, and must see something that brings her back to the night when she found her by the bridge, and lays a hand on Luke's shoulder. He looks back at her questioningly.
"Go do what you need to do, Tams. We'll be at Luke's when you're finished."
Tammy lives two hours from the airport, and when she arrives, she learns that Noni's flight is due an hour early. Her phone chimes, and she picks up.
"Tams?" Noni's voice is tired, but she sounds happier than Tammy has heard her in a long time. "Are you almost here? Sorry I didn't tell you about the flight coming in early, but I wanted to surprise you. Then I realized I'd be here for an hour, and I obviously didn't quite think it through."
Tammy laughs. "I'm here, Noni. Hang on, I hear an echo. Where are you?"
"I'm by the luggage belt."
Tammy turns around quickly, and spots a girl with long dark hair, wearing a pair of jean shorts and a leather jacket. She hangs up her phone.
"Hello? Hello? Tammy?" Noni questions.
"Noni!" Tammy calls, and Noni whirls around.
"Tammy!" She squeals, and bolts into Tammy's arms. "I missed you!"
Tammy laughs. "I missed you, too. This is what happens when one is in the hospital with no phone. You miss your best friend."
Noni pouts. "No fair, bringing that up as soon as you see me."
Tammy shrugs. "I'm your best friend. I can bring it up whenever."
Noni shoves Tammy teasingly. "Whatever. Help me with my bags."
"Hey, so listen…" Tammy hesitates.
Noni rolls her eyes. "You haven't been hesitant with me in five years, Tam, don't start now."
Tammy sighs. "My friends and I just took our final exam today, and they wanted me to come back once I finished with what I had to do, and-"
"Go hang out with your friends, Tam. I'm living with you for Christ's sake. It's not like I won't see you."
"Actually, I was wondering if you wanted to come with me. I mean, I know you're shy around people you don't know, but I kind of need you close right now, and if I don't show up, they'll just come to mine, so I thought you could come with me, and get meeting them out of the way, do it on your own terms, you know, and oh my God, I'm rambling."
"You are", Noni observes amusedly, "and alright. Just, can we get a move on? My arms are killing me." She sighs dramatically.
When Tammy enters Luke's house, it is with a shy and hesitant Noni behind her.
"Are you sure this is alright?"
"Noni. I'm Luke's friend, and I am welcome here. You are my friend, and I want you here. Therefore, it's alright."
"Tam", Eva approaches her. "Who's the stray?"
"This is Noni." Tammy pulls the shy Noni forward. "She's my best friend. It's cool that she's here, right?"
"Cool with me", Eva shrugs. "You should check with Luke."
As if called by his name, Luke appears.
"Hey, Tams." He grins. "Who's your friend?"
"This is Noni. Can she hang with us?"
"'Course. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine", Luke says as he extends an arm around Noni. Her flinch is so slight that no one who isn't looking for it sees.
Well, almost everyone. Eva's eyes narrow slightly at the girl's reaction, but she shrugs it off.
"Welcome to the island of misfit toys, Noni."
I couldn't find anywhere else to end it. I hope you guys like. And please, please, please, if you love me, REVIEW. It's nice to know that one's work is appreciated. I'll get to the harder stuff in a bit. Until then, I hope you enjoy.