“Mom!” I shout from inside of my bedroom.
A few moments later, my mom appears in the doorway. “What is it now sweetie?” She smirks.
“I keep thinking that I forgot something!” I sigh as I look around my room once more.
“You always feel that way, but you always over pack. You’re only going to be gone for two months. You’ll be back right before college.” My mom says while walking over to me.
“I can’t believe my little girl is going to Europe for her summer break!” My mom begins to tear up and I roll my eyes.
“Mom... Lucy, Callie and Riley will be with me. It’s not like I’m going alone.” I smile.
“Have you heard anything more about-” She begins to say, but I cut her off instantly.
The subject of Mark has been very quiet in this house since Valentine’s Day a few months ago.
I still wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares.
| Flashback to Valentine’s Day |
After Mark left me alone in the park, I decided to head back over to Riley’s house. Once I got inside my car, I started traveling down the road when I noticed a cloud of smoke a few feet ahead. I slowed down and that was when I came upon the most horrific scene I had ever witnessed in my entire life.
A bicycle was lying in the middle of the road, both the tires were bent and the handlebars were almost bent downward. I saw a body lying just a few feet away from the bike, and I instantly started to panic.
I parked my car and got out to run over to the body, and as I did, a few feet ahead of him I saw a black car turned over upside down.
Except... it wasn’t just any black car.
My eyes widened as the smoke became stronger and I immediately pulled out my cell phone to dial 911.
I went over to the man lying on the road to make sure he was still breathing, but I couldn’t find a pulse.
The road was wet, so I guessed all of this was only just an accident.
Without thinking, I ran over toward the car just as a few flames were starting to appear near the back. My heart began beating rapidly against my chest and I knew Mark still had to be in there.
“Mark!” I screamed. I heard nothing but the crackles coming from the flames. I instantly thought about all of those old video games where the cars would eventually explode if they ever caught fire.
Bad timing for my brain to think about that kind of stuff, I know.
“Mark!” I screamed again, “Can you hear me?”
Again, no answer. My hands began to shake as I took another few steps toward the car.
What do I do? Do I try to push the car back over? No, it might injure Mark more than he already might be.
The flames from the back of the car grew, so I knew I had to at least try to get him out and away from the car, just in case it does actually decide to explode. I can’t let him die.
I won’t let him die.
I rolled up the sleeves to my sweater and tied my hair up into a bun. I walked directly up to the car, but instantly began coughing as a small cloud of smoke surrounded me.
I reached upward for the car door and was able to open it, so I pulled with all my might to get it fully open, that way I could access Mark.
I saw him just sitting in his seat, with his arms hanging limp above his head. I saw a small pool of blood down on the roof of the car, and internally began to panic.
I knew he was going to fall as soon as I unbuckled him, so I needed to come up with a way so he didn’t hurt himself.
I ran back over to my car and opened the trunk. By the good grace of God, I had a few thick blankets inside the trunk from when I went over to Riley’s house earlier. I was supposed to spend the night, so I brought extra blankets just in case, as well as an overnight bag and a few other items.
I grabbed the blankets and ran back over to Mark. I laid the blankets down onto the ground right underneath Mark, and I prayed that they were thick enough to help relieve some of the pressure from the fall he was about to endure.
I knew that this would probably hurt him, since I wasn’t sure how many internal injuries he had, but I couldn’t just leave him in the car to wait for the ambulance to get here.
Once the blankets were underneath him and secure, I slowly reached up and unbuckled his seat belt. His body leaned forward a bit, and I made sure I was underneath him so I could help catch him as he came down from the seat.
I unwrapped the seat belt from around him, and in a matter of seconds we were both on the floor on top of the blankets. My butt hurt a bit from catching him on top of me, but I was just happy that I did this without messing up.
I slowly moved my body from underneath his, and laid him down on the blankets. Once he was fully on the blankets, I got up, grabbed two corners, and began pulling.
I pulled him all the way across the empty road and near my car and the poor bicyclist. Just as I finished, I heard the sirens. I let out a breath I had been holding and knelt down in front of mark. I placed his head gently on my lap and softly stroked his brown hair. His eyes were closed and he wasn’t moving, though I could just barely see his chest rising and falling as he struggled to keep breathing.
“Please Mark... just hang on for a little bit longer. They’re almost here.” I whispered down to him.
Before I even realized it, my cheeks were soaked with tears.
“I’m sorry, I should have never rejected you. I should have told you that I am ridiculously in love with you, I’m just scared. I don’t want to do this and it not work out, and then all of this drama have been for nothing. Please, just hang on, for me... for us. We deserve a real chance together.” I softly cried against his forehead, just as the paramedics and fire truck pulled up to the scene of the accident.
Two paramedics came bursting through the back of the ambulance, and I pointed over to the bicyclist on the road who was most likely dead.
I continued to hold Mark in my lap until one of the paramedics came over and instructed me to very carefully move and place Mark’s head down onto the blankets.
I did as instructed, and the paramedic placed a neck brace on Mark to keep him from moving around too much. The paramedic looked at the car and seen the door pulled open.
“Did you get him from the car all by yourself?” He asked with wide eyes, most likely not believing it.
“Y-yes.” I mumbled, “I had to.”
“Were you here when the accident happened?” He asked me.
“No, I drove up the road and saw it. I came from the park a couple minutes down the road.”
“Do you know this gentleman?” He asked while looking down at a motionless Mark.
“Y-yes.” I cried. “His name is Mark Chase. His mother is in the rehab center just outside of town so I don’t know who else to call for him.” I wiped my eyes.
“Don’t worry, we will contact his mother and go from there. Thank you for your cooperation and thank you for removing him from the vehicle.” The paramedic smiled. “We will do everything we can to save your friend.”
After that, the water works began again. Save? As in... he could die?
“Don’t worry Miss. I promise everything will be alright.” He smiled again, and that kind of made me feel better. I looked over at Mark’s bruised and cut face once more, before the paramedic lifted him onto the gurney with the help of his partner.
“H-how’s the other guy?” I warily asked, even though I may have already known the answer.
“I’m afraid there is nothing more we can do for him. He wasn’t wearing a helmet and from the impact of how he hit the road...” The paramedic began explaining, but I only nodded in understanding, causing him to cease from finishing.
“We are going to take him to the hospital now, thank you so much for being so brave!” The paramedic smiled once more, while pulling me in for a quick side-hug. “I’m sure your friend here will really appreciate it!”
| End of Flashback |
Well, he certainly did not appreciate it.
I found out that Mark was placed into a medically induced coma for about three weeks before he finally woke up. He suffered a minor neck sprain and a couple of rib fractures. When he eventually woke up, he only asked for his mom.
Connor and the rest of the gang has tried to go and visit him, but he doesn’t allow any of them to go into his room. Especially, me. I’ve tried numerous times to visit Mark, but he tells his nurse to make sure that I’m not allowed in his room. She apologizes every time I go in to see Mark, but she has to keep her word to her patient. His nurse, Rose, and I got along for the small amount of time that I was actually in Mark’s room.
While he was in the coma, I went to sit with him every single day after school. I would talk to him about school, and about all of us and what’s new in our lives. I told him about the prom and graduation.
The principal allowed Connor to walk down the aisle with Mark’s picture, in memory of him since he wasn’t able to be at graduation. Despite all of the classes Mark skipped, he managed to barely pass 12th grade with a 2.0 GPA. It isn’t much, but at least he has his diploma.
He almost wasn’t going to be able to graduate, since he couldn’t take any of his final semester exams, but the principal and his teachers worked out a deal.
However, the day I went to the hospital to find Mark awake, I had no idea what I would be walking into. He literally threw a plastic cup at my head and then forced me to leave. I kept pleading for him to just listen to what I have to say, but he wouldn’t.
I know he blames me for what happened to him. He probably hates me.
I hate me. I’ve been beating myself up over what happened, and with my friends failed attempts to make me feel better, I still can’t stop thinking about that day.
Seeing his car upside down on the road. Seeing the dead bicyclist. It’s too much to deal with at times.
My mom begged me to see a therapist, but I declined the offer. Talking about what happened is definitely not something I want to do. In fact, I would much rather just forget about it altogether.
Lucy got an extra check from her mother’s insurance company, so we decided to have one last trip together before we all go to college. The four of us leave in the morning. I’ve been home all day long packing everything I can possibly think of, and then some.
“Well, it’s almost time for dinner sweetie.” My mom says, snapping me out of my never-ending thoughts.
“I’ll be right down.”
Once my mom left my bedroom, I walked over to my balcony and pulled the doors open. I sometimes wish I could just go back to when Mark used to climb up and casually stroll through these doors. I hope that he has time over the summer to really think about everything.
He can’t possibly ignore me forever. I mean, we are still from the same town. We are bound to run into each at some point in the future. Unless he moves far away for college, and stays there.
I try not to think about stuff like that.
Connor and Marissa are still an item. They went to prom together and honestly, Connor looked really happy. As much as I can’t stand Marissa after everything that’s happened between us, I’m glad she can be there for Connor when I wasn’t.
Callie and Red actually broke up right before prom. I didn’t get all of the details, but they both planned on going away to college far away from each other, so they didn’t want to hold each other back from life, I guess. It made me really sad, because they were honestly such a great couple... but at least they are still friends.
I on the other hand, am honestly surprised that I managed to build my relationships back up with everyone. Minus Mark, of course. Connor and I have talked here and there, but it will never be as it used to be.
Lucy and I have grown closer than ever, and I am determined to not let anything get in the way of our newfound friendship. Riley fits right in with all of us, and the four of us have been inseparable ever since February.
Riley managed to snag some extra money from her dad for the trip, and I told Callie that I had her covered as far as extra money goes. The four of us are in for the time of our lives and it all starts tomorrow morning at the airport!
I pulled out my passport from my desk drawer and placed it into the pocket of my suitcase.
I already have my travel clothes out and waiting for me after my shower in the morning.
I am so ready for this, and I think the four of us really need it after the eventful and insane year we’ve had.
Once college starts, everything changes.
I hope Lucy and I get accepted into the same school. I know Callie won’t be joining me, as she applied to some fancy arts school in New York. She’s really excited about it. I never knew how much of a talent she had for dancing. I suppose she’s kind of kept it on a back burner until recently.
Riley may or may not be going to the same school as me, if we both get in together. She told me if we do, she wants us to get an apartment together and I happily accepted the offer.
The next morning, my mom wakes me up with a nice steaming cup of coffee.
“Are you ready for your trip?” My mom smiles wide.
“Yes actually.” I nod. “I think this trip will be good for me. For all of us.” I smile.
“I’m so glad at the progress you’ve made.”
My mom was worried for a while after the accident with Mark. I became very depressed, very fast and she wasn’t sure how to help me. I was in a rut for a couple of weeks, and by the great Jaws of Life (and Lucy, Callie and Riley) I was finally able to stop the self-pity.
“Thanks mom, me too.” I smile.
A few moments later, there’s a knock on the door, followed by a sigh and then it eventually opens on its own.
“We can’t just barge in!”
“What if her parents are in the living room... like, naked?”
“We don’t know what they do..”
“AHEM!” I cough loudly as both my mom and I walk over into the living room with amused looks on our faces.
“Oh, uh, hello! Good morning! We uh, brought donuts!” Riley smiles sheepishly.
My mom rolls her eyes, but still takes the donuts and brings them into the kitchen.
“Really Rie? Both my parents naked?” I raise an eyebrow.
Her cheeks go a little read as Callie and Lucy laugh.
“Well, how was I supposed to know!” She whines.
“Let’s just go eat some of those donuts before you say anything else inappropriate.” I laugh, and the three of them follow me into the kitchen.
After we eat our breakfast, we all pile into my mom’s car and head for the airport after loading the back of the car up with all of our luggage.
My mom hugs us each, me a whole lot longer than the rest, and then finally leaves once our bags have been checked.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this!” Riley squeals as we take our seats on the plane. We each managed to get first class tickets, might I add.
“I know right! I’ve never been in first class!” Lucy smiles wide.
“Um, Luc... you’ve never been on a plane period.” I say and she sends me a glare.
I make the kissy face at her and laugh before turning to Callie.
“So, you and Red still talk?”
“Yeah, here and there... but it isn’t how it used to be. I’m sad we had to break up, but I know that if we’re really meant to be, we will reconnect somewhere down the line.” She slightly shrugs. “Besides, I’m ready for some hot European boys!” She smirks.
“Yes! Bring on the hotties!” Riley chimes into our conversation.
“I, for one, am happily spoken for.” Lucy smiles while leaning over her seat towards us.
“Yeah, yeah... you love Dean... big whoop!” Riley rolls her eyes. “That just means more hotties for us.” She looks to both Callie and me.
We all laugh and the flight attendant walks around with glasses of champagne.
“Hello, Miss? We would like a glass of your finest champagne!” Riley says loudly while waving her hand in the air.
“Do you four have I.D’s?” The flight attendant asks with a raised eyebrow.
“Uh.. can’t you just pretend that you saw ’em?” Riley smiles sheepishly.
The flight attendant reaches underneath her tray and pulls out four glasses of sparkling apple juice.
“Our finest brew.” She smirks.
Riley huffs but takes a glass anyway then slouches back into her seat.
The rest of us take a glass and thank the attendant before each of us takes a sip.
“Not bad for apple juice.” Riley shrugs. “Almost makes me feel older.”
“And yet... it’s still only apple juice.” Lucy laughs after finishing her entire glass in a couple of gulps.
After we all have our drinks, we lean back into our seats and get comfortable.
My seat is closest to the window, so I peer out and soon my mind becomes filled with those haunting thoughts again.
If only we wouldn’t have gone behind everyone’s back. If only we would have been honest and upfront about all of our feelings for each other. If only he didn’t drive off angry and during the rain that horrible Valentine’s Day. Things could have, and should have been, so much different.
We could be together right now. We could be happy. We could just... be.
I’m not sure what the future may hold for Mark and I... but I do know that I will never again, in my entire life, sneak around or lie like I did with Mark.
I never want to be that person again.
I mean let’s face it; we’re not the immaculate deceivers we thought we were.
In fact, nothing is ever immaculate.
*** There is a sequel to this book! It is called Troubled Sincerity! Please go give that book a read! ***
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