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[Chapter 15]

“So, where are you going next?” asks Madison.

“Seattle to play some more soccer. The team just stopped by Boston to practice and play a pick up game against the under-20 team,” says Landon.

“Did you win?” asks Madison.

“Of course. 4-0. It was fun; reminds me of how I was when I was with the under-20 team,” says Landon.

“You’re still 20. Aren’t you allowed to play for the under-20 team?” asks Madison.

“I think, but with everything, it’s a lot of teams to be a part of,” says Landon, “Hey, do you want to go visit the team? I mean you’ll recognize some of them. Cannon and Taylor are there. We’re staying like 20 minutes from UMass, since it’s closer to Hartford Airport. I mean if you don’t mind staying out or you don’t have class tomorrow.”

“I’m off on Fridays. But, yeah it sounds fun. What do you guys do in the hotel?” asks Madison.

“Nothing,” laughs Landon, “You would be like the first girl they see in this state, since coach has closed practices.”

Landon and Madison take a taxi to the hotel where they meet up with the rest of the national team.

“Guys, Landon is back!” yells Joe Cannon.

“Hey. Look who I brought,” says Landon.

“Madison!” says Joe as he gives her a hug.

“How’s it going? You getting enough shots?” asks Madison.

“I block my fair share, which is almost all,” says Joe, “So how’s school?”

“Work, as usual. But I get to watch sports for homework. So it’s all good,” says Madison, “So what are you guys up to?”

“Just about to watch some football, want to join?” asks Joe.

“I guess,” says Madison as she walks over to Taylor Twellman.

“Hey Madison,” says Taylor.

“Hey, Eric says hi,” laughs Madison.

“How’s he doing?” asks Taylor.

“He’s hanging in there. I think out of all of us, he’s ready to graduate and move into the stadium,” says Madison.

“Good to know. I’ll have to make fun of him about that,” laughs Taylor.

“He gave me the Revolution bathroom set, wallpaper included for Christmas,” laughs Madison.

“Crazy kid. So why didn’t you bring him over?” asks Taylor.

“He’s hanging out with Carly. But I’ll let him know that we missed him,” says Madison.

“So what’s the deal with you and Landon?” asks Taylor.

“Nothing, why?” asks Madison.

“He’s been staring at us talking the entire time,” says Taylor.

“Well, I’d better get going. It’s getting late. Oh by the way, the Bucs are going to win!” says Madison.

“Um, wrong Madison. The Rams are going to win,” laughs Taylor.

Madison walks over to Landon and says, “Hey, I’d better get going. It’s getting late and I’d better leave you guys to watch the game.”

“Hey, your parents wanted me to give you something,” says Landon.

“My parents?” says a puzzled Madison, “Did something happen?”

“I don’t know. They were in Redlands for a day and they found out I was going to Boston. So they asked me to stop by and give you this letter. It’s in my room, I’d better go get it,” says Landon as he walks to his room.

“I hope nothing bad is happening,” says Madison, “They were in Redlands?”

“Here. You’d better sit down,” says Landon.

“Ok, here it goes,” says Madison as she sits on the bed to read the letter.

“Dear Madison. It’s mom and dad. We miss you. By the time you get this letter, we will be on the airplane on the way to Australia. We’ve taken time off to go and take care of your cousin Cassie. She has cancer and your aunt and uncle are having trouble with paying her medical bills. So we’re going there to take care of her. She’s dying, Maddie. We don’t know how much time she has left or how long we’ll be there. Give us a call when you read this, so we know that you’re ok. 790-356-2495. Love Mom and Dad.

“I’m so sorry to hear that,” says Landon.

“Cassie and I were so close. We were all so close. I haven’t seen her since we were 2 years old. We kept in touch through emails ever since. I guess that’s why we lost touch. She’s dying, why does this have to happen to her? Why?” cries Madison.

“I don’t know. Do you want to call your parents?” asks Landon.

“I don’t know. I’m trying to understand what’s happening. This is the first time they’ve taken time off work and it’s not for me. But I can’t be jealous. Cassie is a good girl and she deserves all the meds she can get. I guess I just have to stay strong,” says Madison as she hugs Landon.

“I’m here if you want to talk. Madison, I don’t know what to say,” says Landon.

“Thanks, for bringing the message. I’d better get going,” says Madison as tears fall down her eyes.

“Madison, wait. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone. Don’t leave. You shouldn’t go back in this shape,” says Landon.

“Thanks Landon. Am I a horrible person for being jealous, that my parents, both of them went to Australia to take care of Cassie? And I never knew and here I was bitching to her about stuff and I just wish we could talk some more,” cries Madison.

“Stop thinking about your parents, think about Cassie and how scared she must be. She needs all the family she can get. I mean most of your family is in Redlands. I’m here for you. I’ll always be here for you. You’re not alone,” says Landon as he hugs Madison.

“So what’s next?” asks Madison.

“Take it a day at a time. Call your parents,” says Landon.

“I’m not ready to,” says Madison, “I’ll call them tomorrow.”

Dear Diary,

Thank god that Landon was there last night. I think I would have gotten more depressed. Good thing we had closure in our relationship. He got me to open up and talk about things I would never come out and say, even with my parents. I’ll be praying for Cassie. Anyways, so after our talk, I just spent the night at the hotel and fell asleep in Landon’s arms. It felt so right till I woke up the next morning, realizing that I’m relying so much on Landon. It’s not fair to the both of us. I mean I don’t want to give him the wrong impression or anything.


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