"Well, yes," Ernie said with a smile, "that's what friends are for. I think you do a better job of not needing rescued though." He didn't think he could remember a time when Susan had been so caught up in schoolwork and other things, but he could think of two when he had needed help, this year alone.
"That's great about the Cabbages Susan! And I'm glad you enjoyed your birthday. It was all rather thrown together, but it did turn out well." When Susan said that his present was one of the best she had recieved, Ernie smiled brightly, feeling happier about that than he figured he had any real right to, before promising, "I won't tell anyone. I'll keep it in here," he continued, tapping his chest over where his heart was.
But when the conversation turned to him, as he had knew it would, he sighed. "This week was fine. A lot of schoolwork to be done, and Head Boy duties, but it was generally pretty reasonable. Last week was much worse." And now he would have to explain. That was the point.