"You gave up on me," Ana whispered through her tears. "You gave up on me for two whole days."
"But i'm back." I hoped that that tiny fact would relieve her pain even just a little bit.
She bit her lip. "But you gave up. You just abandoned me. No warning, just *poof* and you were gone. Why would you do that?"
"I don't know."
"You were making so much progress. You were starting to see ribs without raising your arms; you were starting to see hip-bones poking through. Your stomach was flatter than it had ever been before. Then you just gave up! I don't understand you at all." Ana was yelling now, but her tears still flowed down over her pronounced cheekbones.
"Neither do i," i muttered. "Please just forgive me. Give me a second chance. You saw how far i made it this time, and next time i'll make it even farther. Don't leave me, Ana."
"But you left me."
"I came back!"
Ana put a hand on my shoulder. Her eyes pierced into mine. "Maybe it's you whom i should be begging not to leave me," she said bitterly. "You need me, Jo."
I nodded. I knew the truth of that statement. "I won't leave you again, Ana, i swear it. I'll fast all day today and then i'll restart the ABC tomorrow. And i won't even fail anymore."
"I've heard that before." Her hand clamped down hard on my shoulder, making me cringe. "You'd better see to it that it's true this time."
I bit my lip to keep from crying out at the strength of her embrace. "I will," i said.
"Good." She released me, her eyes flashing. "I'll be around. I'm always watching you." Then she walked away, leaving me to nurse the bruise on my shoulder, the dark reminder of what happened when things went terribly wrong between me and my dangerous friend. I loved her all the same, and this time, i told myself, i would not fail her.