Ever since the Squip Squad (term coined by Rich of course) started hanging out on a daily basis, Jeremy noticed something about his closest friend (besides Michael, who was now Jeremy’s boyfriend) Christine. Every time a friend was feeling sick or upset or anything was wrong, Christine was always the first one to step up and notice. Jeremy got sick often and even when Michael doesn’t notice at first, Christine does. She flutters around everybody, trying to make sure all of her friends are as happy as she is. Unfortunately, because of this, whenever she is upset or sick, she tries to hide it. She doesn’t want anyone taking care of her because that’s her job. Of course, there are always exceptions.
Jeremy and Michael were hanging out at Michael’s house, watching their favorite movies on Netflix. Jeremy glanced at his phone for a second and a realization hit him.
Michael turned to him. “What is it?”
Jeremy swallowed. “Today is October 5th.”
Michael’s nose scrunched up. “So? What’s the importance of that date?”
Jeremy was about to lecture him when he remembered. “Right, she wouldn’t have told you. She only told me because I found her crying…”
Michael grew concerned. “What’s up?”
Jeremy sighed. “Today is the anniversary of Cameron Canigula’s death. Cameron was Christine’s older brother. He died in a car accident three years ago. Today is always hard for her but she doesn’t want anyone to really know. She hides all of the emotion in until she explodes, and that’s how I found her one time last year.” He pinched the bridge of his nose, thinking about how much pain she must be in. “She’s not going to reach out to us. We should go over.”
Michael nodded. “Definitely. Call the others?”
Jeremy nodded. “Yes. I’ll call Brooke, Chloe and Jenna if you get Rich and Jake.”
The two guys called their friends and everyone, of course, agreed to meet up and go to Christine’s. They met at their frozen yogurt place, Pinkberry, and grabbed some for Christine. Jeremy also ordered her a hot chocolate.
He knew everything about Christine Canigula from all the years of pining and watching her. But now, he knew her as his best friend and he wanted to take care of her, even if she didn’t want the attention.
They got to Christine’s house and Jeremy knocked. Mrs. Canigula answered the door, her cheeks flushed.
“Why hello, kids. What can I do for you?”
Jeremy stepped up. “Christine told me about…Cameron. We wanted to check up on her.”
Mrs. Canigula’s façade fell and she released a held breath. “She needs you. She’s in her room.”
The squad walked in with Jeremy leading, knowing exactly where Christine’s room was. Before he barged in, he cracked the door open and saw her on the bed. Her cheeks were tear stained and she was ruffling through a shoe box. She wiped a tear off her cheek and sniffled as she held a picture. Jeremy’s heart ached for his friend. He gently knocked and pushed the door open. Christine’s eyes widened as she wiped away her tears.
“Jeremy? What are you doing here?”
He tilted his head and gave a sweet smile. “Hey, Chrissy. I remember you telling me that today was a hard day for you. Because of…your brother.”
Christine’s breath got caught in her throat. “Y-you r-remembered?”
Jeremy nodded and walked in, joining her on her bed. He wanted the rest of the group to wait outside the room until he was sure she comfortable with them coming in. Jeremy wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close, planting a delicate kiss on her forehead. She leaned into his embrace. He felt her hold her breath and then release a string of sobs. Jeremy held her tight and whispered soothing messages to her.
“It’s okay, Chrissy, I’m here. You don’t have to be alone today, never again.”
She tried to catch her breath as the sobs kept coming. “I d-didn’t w-want to w-worry an-anyone.”
Jeremy pressed his cheek against her hair. “We’re always here for you, for each other. Never forget that.”
Christine took a shuddering breath and nodded. “You’re right, Jeremy. I should’ve called you…or someone.” She chuckled. “Brooke always knows how to calm my nerves. And Michael always makes me laugh.” She sniffled and snuggled closer to Jeremy. “Rich and Jake always know exactly what to say, in any situation. And Chloe and Jenna can make me feel like the most important girl in the world.” She paused and Jeremy ruffled her hair. “I wish they were here,” she whispered.
Jeremy grinned and motioned at Michael to let the others in. “Well I have good news for you, Chrissy. Look up.”
She slowly raised her head and saw all of her friends in her room. Her heart leaped and she couldn’t contain the smile that reached across her face.
“You all came? For me?” she asked timidly.
Brooke sat on the bed and took her hands. “Of course we did! We love you.”
Everyone sat on the bed, surrounding Christine with love and affection. She looked up at Jeremy and smiled.
“Thank you, Jeremy. You’re my best friend, you know that?”
He nodded and pressed another kiss on her forehead. “I know.”