Teens & Young Adult Fiction Friendship

Mary-Ann could not believe her luck in finding a three-bedroom apartment with the utilities included!  Now all she had to do was convince her two best friends - to move into the three-bedroom apartment. They all made a pact to go to the same university.  She could have moved into an on-campus dorm - but she wants to know about the feeling of independence and freedom - from her parents.

"Kate, Steve, please, please!!!" Mary-Ann pleads with her two friends to share the three-bedroom apartment. Kate pipes up and says, "I want the room with the second-best amount of closet space!" Mary-Ann giggles and agrees - that she can have the room with the second-best amount of space. Steve is standing in the hallway - thinking hard about moving in or not. Mary-Ann turns to Steve, sensing that he is not one hundred percent on board yet.  "Steve, I know you wanted the dorm experience - but having our very own space to ourselves - how can you pass this up!?!" Steve finally gives his answer, "Alright -alright, you guys, let's do this!"

The apartment has furnishings, so they only need a few oversized items and some essentials. They each run to their rooms of choice and begin the process of making it their own.  Adding their signature touches.  After getting the apartment set up after a long day, they order from the local Pizza place called "The Campus Slice." The order arrives - they are hungry and ordered enough for an army.  "Lots of leftovers for tomorrow!" Steve chimes in with a smile. Steve is like an old shoe - he acts like a 30-year-old man rather than an 18-year-old. And Mary-Ann and Kate are like his two younger sisters - he wishes he had growing up.

On the first day of classes, the three of them wish to meet up for lunch, but it would be impossible with their class schedules!  "No worries - we will meet up for some leftovers for supper tonight!" Mary-Ann says as she hurries off to her first class of the day. They each run off in opposite directions to start their journeys.

As time passes, Mary-Ann, Kate and Steve - are preoccupied with their studies and barely see each other. Except for the odd supper together and on-campus gatherings.  Mary-Ann is so focused and into her studies, she begins - to rely on things she sees as - giving her a leg up.  The things she sees as - lots and lots of coffee. Steve and Kate seem to be managing well with their course load. Mary-Ann is envious of how well - Steve and Kate are doing - the two of them were the same way throughout high school "organized and steady." 

One day Mary-Ann oversleeps and misses a whole day of classes.  It does not faze her - she rolls over and sleeps the day away. This behaviour becomes a habit - but Mary-Ann manages to hold onto her academic year by - borrowing her class-mates notes and following her Doctor's orders of medication regiment and lots of coffee - to get her over the hurdle. Somehow, someway, she gets by, then one afternoon, her professor takes her aside to ask her if things are alright with her and if she needs any guidance. "No, I am excellent - Professor Ryan - if you are wondering about the term paper - I will have it done by the deadline," Mary-Ann goes on to tell him that sometimes her Lupus flares up, and she needs to take the odd day to rest. Professor Ryan - tells her to take an extra week if she feels she needs it.

Mary-Ann has suffered from Lupus since she was 15 years of age - she tells her professor. Steve and Kate are waiting for Mary-Ann when she gets back to the apartment.  The aroma of freshly baked lasagna and garlic bread fills the apartment. "What's all this?" Mary-Ann cannot believe they went through all this trouble to cook a "real" Home Cooked meal. "Mary-Ann, Steve and I feel a bit guilty for not checking in with you as often as we should have and wanted to catch up with you!" 

"We also want to know if your Lupus is under control - we both know how taxing it was for you in high school," Steve chimes in with a caring and inquiring tone. "Guys - guys, like I told Professor Ryan, I am fine and sometimes - I require the odd day to rest." Steve and Kate rush over to Mary-Ann and give her a huge. They all sit down at the table to enjoy the meal, and you would think things were back to how they were before the start of university - but Mary-Ann knows differently.

It is the mid-way point in the university year, and Mary-Ann's parents decide to make a special visit. "Hey - guys, my parents are coming up for a short visit - you know to check our digs and to drop off a care package!" Steve and Kate - do a "Happy Dance" cause they know her parents will include them in the care package. "When are they arriving?" both Steve and Kate ask eagerly. The day after tomorrow, the 20th. Mary-Ann hopes it will be a quick visit!

The day arrives, and Mary-Ann's parents have brought enough "care package goodies" to last the three of them for a while. After everyone is up to speed with campus life and progress, Kate and Steve decide to step out for a few hours - to give Mary-Ann time to spend with her parents - Margret and Tim. "Honey, how are you feeling - are the pills working - since the adjustment in the dosage?" Mary-Ann's mother, Margret, gets right to the point. "Mom - I think they need to be adjusted a little - I am a bit more tired than normal." Her father states, "Doctor Fin did say this change may cause some drowsiness or sleep disturbances." Margret puts her arms around Mary-Ann, "Don't worry, honey, your father and I will get you sorted out - with Doctor Fin." 

Her parents no sooner arrived, and they were leaving - saying their goodbyes.  Mary-Ann had a long conversation with her Doctor. He explained how her medication for Depression and Anxiety would be changed - the usual drill, what to expect with side effects, and how long they usually last. When she picks up the new prescription, Mary-Ann asked if Doctor Fin could include all of this information.  Mary-Ann's parents question her again before they finally leave, "Are you sure you want to continue with this lie of having "lupus" instead of letting people know you have a "mental illness?" Mary-Ann tells her parents, "Yes, Mom and Dad, I cannot let this get out - it could hurt my ongoing scholarship or worse!" 

Mary-Ann has left for morning classes - but Steve and Kate do not have classes until the afternoon. Both of them are still in their pyjamas lounging around until their first afternoon classes. "Steve do you have any extra notepad paper and pens - I need to pick some up this week," Kate asks Steve as she goes through the desk in the living room.  Steve replies, "No, but I think Mary-Ann just picked a whole bunch of stuff up the other day - when she went to the pharmacy - I am sure she wouldn't mind if you borrowed a few things." 

Kate pauses for a moment - and agrees with Steve - she will reimburse her tonight. Kate pushes the door to Mary-Ann's room open and immediately sees the shopping bag full of school supplies. She reaches into the bag and takes out a notepad and a few writing pens. Kate starts to write Mary-Ann a note letting her know about borrowing the notepad and pens. As Kate leaves the room, she stops to place the message on her bedside table and notices a prescription. It catches her eye because the prescription is for Zoloft and Wellbutrin.  Kate is in shock, and her mind starts racing how Mary-Ann can handle university - when she is dealing with - Lupus and now a mental illness!

In the evening, Kate has decided to make a nice meal to discuss some things with Mary-Ann - she is very concerned about her well-being. "Wow, it smells great, Kate!" Steve yells from his bedroom. Mary-Ann seconds that, "Yes, Kate, it smells wonderful and cannot believe you made dessert as well!" The oven's timer goes off, and dinner is ready! Everyone sits down to supper. As Mary-Ann gets up to clear the dishes, Kate says, "Mary-Ann sit, sit, let's have dessert and some coffee. I need to talk to you about something." Mary-Ann and Steve look at Kate, both surprised at how serious her tone and body language appear. "I hope I am not in trouble!" Mary-Ann says jokingly - while looking in Steve's direction.

"Of course not!" Kate says quickly - trying to reassure her. I happened to be in your bedroom this morning - I was looking for a notepad and some pens - Steve mentioned that you had just bought some and probably wouldn't mind if I borrowed some." Mary-Ann looks at her with a grin and says, "No, silly, I have always told if you need anything, just check in my desk - you know that!" Kate looks down for a minute, then says, "Well - I did borrow a notepad and some pens, but as I was leaving your bedroom, I happened to see a prescription, a prescription for antidepressants."  Steve finally looks up from his large piece of black forest cake in shock.  "Mary-Ann, please don't be mad at me, but Steve and I, we care about you and want to be there for you if you need us for anything!" 

"Kate is right; she and I care about you and know having lupus has held you back a little, but you are strong and have not let it stop you from anything!" Steve rushes over and hugs Mary-Ann so tight she thinks she may stop breathing.  Mary-Ann gestures for both of them to sit down on the sofa. "I have a confession to make…I have never had Lupus or suffered from it." Kate and Steve are sitting on the sofa and look confused and lost. "Wait a minute - you mean that you lied about having lupus all through high school?" Kate asks in disbelief. "Now the reason why I lied about having lupus was to cover up the real truth - I have… a mental illness," tears start to stream down Mary-Ann's face slowly.  Kate rushes over to Mary-Ann and grabs her by the shoulders, "You, listen here, my friend I love you like the sister I never had - and if you think this realization/truth - changes the way Steve and I feel about you - this could not be further from the truth!"  

August 15, 2021 18:03

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