Dad tells me I can have fifty ice creams if that s what I want. Pull over! 41 Yes, but I m ignoring you. So you re better? I m afraid. He leans right over and whispers, I don t care even if you never speak to me again. Do you actually have any money on you? It was warm then, as if the world had forgotten autumn was supposed to happen next. It s just a way of keeping warm and feeling attractive. She s still the only person I know who walks down the street as if muggings never happen, as if people never get stabbed, buses never mount pavements, illness never strikes. I keep throwing up. No. The girl hesitates on the doorstep. Won t that be fun? Are you OK? Me and Dad used to trawl through it together, scattering photos over the hospital bed. Each session was shorter than the one before, until we stopped going out at all, and neither of us even mentioned it. You have to get used to it. I snap my eyes shut and grind myself closer to him. Yeah, you re right, it s great. One night, 124 when I couldn t sleep, I saw three cockroaches scuttle for cover as I flicked on the light. It s amazing, the sound of us laughing. I know. The material is soft and clings to me. You could take a gap year from college and come with me. And now he s done this for me. 151 Here we go, she says as she opens the door. She always did believe in romance. I made friends with a girl here once. The tops of his wellies slap against each other as he runs. He wraps one arm around me, the other creeping up my back to stroke my neck. I held Zoey s hand. Number fourteen, a joke. You must feel really left out sometimes. I love you, Cal. I undo his laces, put each of his feet on my lap in turn and pull off his trainers. But she s gone. Your hands are cold. Yes? You re fine. It freaks me out. Written in only two weeks, The Alchemist has sold more than two … The Jag? Printable PDF of the 25 Books to Read Before You Die. He stands up. Also, the victims of random accident – the child whose hair got caught in an escalator, the woman wearing an underwired bra in a lightning storm. No idea. You re not supposed to say things like that. 65 Eleven Is it true? I can t seem to find ours though. He came up to see me earlier. I ve never seen such a look on her face before. He shrugs. she says. Nothing hurts today. Shut up, I tell him, because nowhere in the rules does it say I have to be glad about what I do. I decide to go for crime number four and light it up. I pull the duvet over my head, but he yanks it straight off again. It made me laugh, because actually it was true, but saying it out loud made it not so painful. And under the wheels of a buggy outside Mothercare I see my name, faded now, but still weaving the pavement all the way to the bank. Blood rush. Don t under any circumstances read that poem by Auden. I told you I d get them. I love you. I look at him to check he s not taking the piss or asking out of politeness, but he returns a steady gaze. I try to claw back some enthusiasm, but I feel as if a vulture is perched on my chest. The pub. She stands up and walks round the table. He puts the tray down on the grass between us. She d left Cal with Dad. She s not strong enough, and she might just walk out if it gets too difficult. I can now. I fancy some chocolate anyway, so I pull in. And now I m honoured to have as my guest in the studio today a very brave young lady called Tessa Scott. Tessa, he says. I ask her. I don t want to die like this, not 50 before I ve even lived properly. But Dad chewed his and it got stuck in his teeth. when I was twelve I looked Scotland up on a map and saw that beyond the Firth were the Islands of Orkney and I knew they d have boats that would take her even further away than that Instructions for Mum Don t give up on Cal. ve cancelled the list. There s a map of the world on Cal s wall. Don t tell me that s on your list. Scrawls of desire. There ll be mash and cabbage and onion gravy too. I wanted to go back to Adam s house and creep up to his room and make love. 150 Christ! I turn round very slowly. I ve got £260 in my savings account and I really want you to use it for that. Better than most people. Tessa, he says. He shuts the window and puts the cigarettes back in his pocket. Her hand s as big as a tennis racket. They ll be waiting for me. Shirley sighs. They ll think I m a junkie, a psycho, a head case. No, Adam says. Zoey s downstairs on the sofa, asleep. Come on, come on, she says under her breath. I feel crisp as a winter leaf. He was practically asleep talking to Dad, but now he s at the edge of his chair. He gives me an odd look. I say, Thank you for helping. Mum opens the box again. 76 I think about lying, but it s the kind of lie that would catch you out very quickly. I ask her. m going to pack the front of your nose with gauze. Will it hurt? Anyway, it s nothing to do with you – she s not your daughter. Zoey leans over and sniffs at her cup. All right. I ve begun my list and Zoey s doing it with me. I jumped because I ve made a list of things to do. Over there. Our jokes aren t as easy. CDs and DVDs like Frisbees over next door s fence. Anything wrong with that? Of course I m on my own! I startle the coat hangers and they chink together. She has her coat on and a suitcase at her feet. I shelter behind the curve of his back, and I close my eyes and wonder where he s taking me. We obediently attach these to our coats as she tells us that the producer will be with us soon. She hasn t dealt with a single transfusion or lumbar puncture. No, I didn t think you did. They shoot up with a soft phut, burst into clusters of stars, then drift slowly down. Yes. I thought they d be dressed badly in a suit and tie, that they wouldn t wear a coat because they re inside all day. If anything happened between us, it s kind of like, what would be the point? He dead-heads flowers. She asked why he d left her when the world was ending. Oi! That s it. And now she s sitting there glaring at me, like it s all some terrible mistake. she says. The hall closet opens and Dad gets Cal s coat for him. It s good. Make them sound interesting. It makes me cough, makes me dizzy. It s complete gridlock! His bones are hard. Stop it. I don t want a boy. Nurses never tell you what they know. He pours me a glass from the jug, but I shake my head at it and he sets it back down on the table. She s nineteen weeks pregnant, her baby is fully formed and weighs roughly two hundred and forty grammes. Of course not! I think about my name while I lie here. There s a kiosk at the gate. We ve had no dealings with her before, and I m not obliged to call the police if I hand her back into your care. he whispers. She passes a bag over, then picks at her scabby nose while I find some money. Do you want a drink? That might happen to me, Zoey. Thank goodness. I didn t even notice. I knew you bloody wouldn t! I don t know how to be when she s yelling this loud. I want to make that journey. You might not want to talk, but you may feel energized enough for good ten-minute chats between sleeps. Never mind, she says. We can call your father, or we can call the police. A truck for the car. Yeah, you are! A woman says, Hello. Who? There s mountains of food. He turns to me, his eyes glistening. Why would you go there? We ve completely redecorated, so it probably looks different. I can t remember the last time I laughed out loud. My spine is parallel to the side of the bed. And how precisely were we going to manage that? Look at you! They stand together on the lawn, sorting through the last of the fireworks. None of us will be any good to her if we re exhausted. He tells me all young people are junkies. And then they re gone. And nobody did, although I wasn t sure anyone was actually looking. she cries, and clutches her heart melodramatically, which makes Cal roar with laughter. It s a miracle! His breath makes my fingers humid. A total re-paint. No! I feel as if I m waiting for something. I stare at her. I know you re up to something. Is that right? He s wearing pyjamas and looking at the canal. Silence and darkness descend again as he unclips his helmet, threads it through the handlebars and pushes the bike up the drive. Then she bursts into tears. He pulls away, looking at me all the while as he fumbles at button and zip. You d see some of your other friends then. She hasn t used them. The helmets have plastic visors. they cry. She turns round to look at me. He sobs into my shoulder, his tears melt through my pyjamas. I have to cover my ears. I say. he says. I know it. They make you hallucinate, don t they? You ve always got college, I tell her. A cigarette ripens in his mouth. She carefully reloads her spoon. If you get in a cab and go home to Daddy, what does that make you? Zoey sighs. Everything always turns out crap with you around anyway! I ask. All right? The wood rasps my tongue. About me. I think he might be dead. We both smile. Then I dial 999. Download 100 Things To Do Before I Die full book in PDF, EPUB, and Mobi Format, get it for read on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. It was my dad s. My mum doesn t like me driving it. To hear us – Adam, Zoey and me – is like being offered a window to climb through. She hands over a carrier bag. Her energy. I pack my bag and get dressed. I fumble with the light switches, the horn, the ignition. Why didn t you say so? On the walls are a few black and white posters – jazz musicians mostly. Watch her, he says, jabbing a finger in my direction. Birds joust on the lawn. At the mirror I pull out a single hair. You should go back inside. He makes a hole for the maggots with a stick. You don t remember, do you? They re making so much noise we miss the doorbell. He looks at her breasts. He pulls the duvet right up under his chin, as if he s cold or as if he s afraid that the ceiling might fall on his head. I curl myself tighter. We sail down together, catching great armfuls of air. Are you stoned again, Zoey? Do you want to know about that? Today I have to say yes to everything. I slit each boot along its length. Haemoglobin and platelets coming right up, she said as they hooked me up. Adam ll be here in ten minutes and we re going dancing. A rack of lamb slowly rotates in the window behind him. I roll up my dress and tuck it in my knickers. He stands up, takes it to the sink and clunks it down. The bag drips blood at my feet. It looks different, I tell her. I m wondering how long Ben and Jerry s Phish Food would last in a coat when two girls I used to go to school with walk by. That s just sex. m not sure where here is. For what? Put your hands over your face and don t let either of them in. Where are you? There go your insurance premiums, Mr Scott! Twenty-one-shot Cascade, she says. I m going to pop into the kitchen and have a word, then I ll be off. Then he pulls out the needle. I sit on a bench and watch Cal climb. We saw wolves and antelopes. How light I feel, more ghostly than before, but so much better. Dad holds each one up and shines the torch at it. I don t answer. Study the moon. You probably shouldn t go to sleep, she says. There s also a slight risk of infection, bleeding, or damage to the cartilage. I ve got a whole long list of things I want to do. He went away then. Typical, he says. I m at the bedside and Mum s dying instead of me. But it s all horribly familiar – empty flowerbeds, soggy grass and low grey cloud. No, his face is transformed. My phone s in my pocket. 98 That s how it is. It s one hundred and thirteen days until Christmas. An old bloke turns round and jabs a finger at me. It s emerald and black silk and is the most expensive thing I ve ever bought. We hardly touch at all, but it s startling. He brings out bowls of sweets and nuts. 34 Six Dad takes my hand. Don t you have to be invited? Touch me, I said, and he did. I know. Soon I ll feel him inside me and I ll know what all the fuss is about. He bought me a bracelet. He made exactly that sound six weeks ago, when the consultant at the hospital asked if we understood the implications of what he was telling us. Hello, he says. What about them? I can smell sausages. I wonder if there s a way of getting air in here. Cos I ve been telling her stuff. Zoey s pretending to be asleep, but she opens one eye as I sit down. Don t worry, it shouldn t take more than an hour. But still it sounds too big for this little room. Aren t you supposed to say yes? I turn inwards, their voices the sound of water murmuring. A child waves. Sit down, I tell her. His head is in shadow, his arms scooped under my legs. He s sitting on his bed. Without her, I guess I ll just stand here on the step and watch the clouds gather and burst. I want them to creep into his pockets. Never let a bloke into your heart – it s fatal. Not here, she says. Fame? She reaches down and hugs me. I grab the dresses from the bed and push them out with the shoes. You wouldn t know it was there if you were ordinary. Inside, he s written, Have a good one! But if it s true, I don t know how to make it happen. It s just that I have a drip in my arm and I ve lost days of my life to a hospital bed. I sidle out to the hallway while they rearrange the chairs. Not really. Did I tell you I m picking the keys up in three weeks? Stick your tongue out at that man. It s as if we re discovering the path together. She shakes her head at me as if she just can t believe how stupid I am. Good, he says. He puts down the plate when he sees me looking and picks up my hand. I bet he gets on your nerves sometimes. It s as if my heart springs up and marries my soul, as my whole body implodes. She speaks very softly. I hear myself moaning from a distance. The nurse looks shocked. Where the spade meets little stones, it sounds like shoes on gravel. m going to sleep, she says. 236 Thirty-two Death straps me to the hospital bed, claws its way onto my chest and sits there. It s our tenth anniversary tomorrow. Time for a little murder now, with a round of the Dying Game. And pear trees. Give me the pain, he says. Serious. It was big, lots of buildings. I 27 thought, Is that all? He says goodbye to Cal and goes back through the broken bit of fence. Just like that, without even telling me. She heaves herself out of the chair and looks down at me solemnly. She looks about twelve. She talks softly, her words washing over me, her instructions lost. This sun lounger is warm, as if it s been absorbing sunlight for hours. I see different people all the time and they never introduce themselves properly. he says. I just want it gone, she says. I want to be one of the first people in the world to ever hold her. I thought you d finished with the list. You re taking it too seriously, Tess. Instead, he shuffles and spreads a pack of cards. She flings the brochure on the grass. I pick up a magazine, but don t even have time to open it before Dad taps me on the shoulder. Poppies blooming at my feet. He s a condom expert. m always confused, I tell him. He doesn t often volunteer to hold my hand. There s a view through the trees to the road. I don t see Zoey arrive. Cal comes through the gate. It sparks at night, and when it rains, everything gets covered in ash. He nods, as if he knows this. Then I ll go to university. He looks clumsy up there digging around in his trouser pocket for his cigarettes and lighter. Don t you dare tell me I don t. He made me a promise. 14 day loan required to access EPUB files. My sister had one and I never did, so I understand about wanting lovely things. 294 Go on, Cal. They re out at work so much I guess they never get a chance to make it messy. I call. For years and years we ll visit, until you re ninety. If my life was different, I d be out with Zoey. It s his first night out for weeks, Mum. She wraps her arms around me. I m not quite sure what s wrong with me – maybe it s not eating properly – but I seem to not be grounded inside my body. It s going to freak him out if he reads what I intend to do for number five today. Amongst them are bright orange flowers. Chocolate aisle next, I tell her. Forget it. You said it was unfair that you had to sleep by yourself. So it s my fault I m sick then, is it? Let s escape. I want to watch the curve of the earth as we slowly shift round the sun. It would be too obvious now, too full of pity. And how are you planning on doing that? They snake up her arm and jingle as she walks over and gives me a hug. 43 The leaves were damp, he says. Flash. There was the afternoon, the tops of the trees, the sky. Three crimes in under one minute. Can you get me some chocolate while you re there? They don t know anything. Adam leans over. A club will be smoky and loud. I hate that. ve got a list of things I want to do before I die. He s definitely seeing someone else. We re in Willis Avenue already. The bus sweeps past the cemetery, the iron gates open. I am? He fumbles in his jacket and takes out a packet of cigarettes. I think ve scared him because he doesn t try to get in, but strokes me through the duvet – the length of my leg from thigh to ankle, the length of my other leg. He yells at how cold it is on his neck, his head. I want to be with her. Yeah. For a second he can t see me, but he s exposed – his narrow chest, freckled and young, the dark shine of hair under his armpits. Do you stand here every day spying on him? Squeeze. Off you go then. Why, what did she do? Did you forget to take some kind of important medication today? 90 You can go crazy there and not be recognized, he says. There are no kisses. His hands are busy too now, squeezing and rubbing. Dad says. m very brave. Tessa xxx 267 Thirty-eight m going to be the only kid at school with a dead sister. Another plane crosses the first one, making a kiss. I can. This is about me, after all. Adam takes them from her and carries them over to the teapot. Your recent lumbar puncture shows us that your cancer has spread to your spinal fluid. Come and see this. Where are you going? 7 But she can t. How can she possibly, when she has her whole life left? Not really. He looks just as glum as Dad. Wait there. You won t. I might get freaked out. I feel sick with it. Mintaka, Alnilam, Alnitak. Because you don t want to? Have a lovely evening, ladies! m sorry, but it s better if she waits outside. Now go and ask Adam if he s got the mushrooms. He frowns, as if he s trying to work that out, seems about to speak for a moment, but looks away instead, his eyes travelling the garden. Is he giving the thumbs-up? I used to go to school along here. There are so many things I want. What re you hoping for? I hold him close and pat his back. Eventually he eases his grip and looks at me very seriously. ll phone them and come back when your dad gets here. I need to have a blood test, I tell Zoey. Maybe they take your money, let you sweat, and hope you get so embarrassed that you just go home. Whenever I wanted, I could get him out and he d look at me the way boys do in films, as if I m beautiful. You never 284 moaned. The list is the only thing keeping me going. He grins, ridiculously pleased at himself. Were you expecting to see Scott? I sleep. It s easy – in and out. Thanks. He ll have bruises, but he doesn t care. Shit, Tess! Aren t you supposed to be glad about that? m at the market. They look older than I remember. Behind his shoulder, in the painting, smoke innocently rises from a farmhouse chimney and a woman runs – her face tilted upwards in terror. You OK? Yes. It s really bloody high, and some kid with a face like a bus is shaking the ropes at the bottom. he says. I mostly believe in chaos. A car s a safe place to be. She shrugs, and in that shrug I see her fear. No one. I love you, I say. It s all right, you re tired. If that s true, I want to be buried right here under this tree. I want to smile. He sighs, gets up and goes over to the window. m not out to spoil the fun, Tess, but it s my job to look after you and I don t want you hurt. Children s TV. His jacket creaks as he sits down next to me. m right outside. The way it s supposed to be. I was having some pretty heavy therapy and I knew if I stopped, I d be able to do more things. What is it? I have this dream sometimes that I m walking round at home, just in and out of rooms, and no one in my family recognizes me. Adam will climb over the fence to steal me, maddened by my scent, by my roundness, the shine and health of me. I open the gate, walk up the little path. Shall I ask Adam or your dad to carry you out? And air. He gets car keys from his pocket and shows them to us. We thought you were the cab. If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan 11 March 2009, 12:00 am If I Should Die Before I Wake Han Nolan ISBN:9780152046798 About the book: Hilary hates Jews. Do you remember when we went to Cromer and you lost your charm bracelet on the beach? The toast has turned to charcoal. He s done this before. He goes over to the kettle and switches it on, gets some cups from the cupboard and puts them next to the kettle. 279 Forty-one The bell they gave me is loud in the dark, but I don t care. You can t rely on him for everything: he might let you down. I say, No. On the way to the bathroom I passed Dad s open bedroom door and Mum was in there – her hair spilling across the pillow, his arm flung protectively across her. 1984 (Kindle Edition) George Orwell. From next door? You did that on purpose! She kisses me goodbye, then blows another kiss from the door. What do you really want? I want a big dark room you can barely move in, with bodies grinding close together. 174 Fundraising? When he takes a sip of wine, I think of how his kisses might taste. I want to thank him for being here, but for some reason I don t seem able to get the words together. I stuff the papers from the drawer in my coat pocket. I kick him hard and pull the duvet back over my head. After I pay, she presents them to me in a classy bag with silver handles. Philippa nods as if she was expecting this question. I say. I don t even think about it first. I hold onto the doorknocker to make sure I don t slip down. It s Adam. You re doing my head in looking for signs all the time. Told him what? There s a four-poster bed in there now, she says, but it s still ensuite. Is that living? There s a wooden beam and we pretend we re gymnasts, an alphabet snake to walk, a hopscotch, some monkey bars. The nurse gets up to give me a blanket and pulls it up to my chin. Cal reads his joke out. She was famous too, not just for being Henry VIII s daughter, but for potatoes and the Armada and tobacco and for being so clever. Tears roll down my cheeks. You have to imagine your breath as a warm colour, then breathe in through the left foot, up the leg to the hip and then out the same way. Of course. Zoey stretches, blinks at the women as if wondering where they came from. It s not good for you to sit around in your pyjamas all day. 245 Touch me. Every night he goes home to keep his mother safe. I ask her. Don t think you have to be good because you re the only one left. I m outside Ajay s newsagent s. 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