By the time Ellie turned twelve years old, she didn't have any friends that were girls. This caused for some teasing and since she was Phil's best friend, he was teased as well. They didn't care because what did they need other children for when they had each other to play with?
"Phil!" Ellie ran down the hallway of their school toward him. She was waving a new book in her hand as she slid to a stop in front of him. Squealing happily she said, "I got it! Mom found it at a thrift store!"
"What is it?" Phil took the book from her and opened the cover. "No way! You got his autograph?"
"It was already in the book so I didn't get it but it's there." Ellie was grinning ear to ear.
"It's his actual autograph." Phil was in awe.
"I know!" Ellie said excitedly. "Come on. Mom's here to pick us up."
Phil pulled his backpack on his shoulder and followed Ellie outside, his eyes glued to the autograph of his favorite hero in this random book. They piled in the backseat of Ellie's mom's van and buckled their seat belts. The pair were so immersed in fawning over the signature that they didn't even hear the squealing of brakes until it was too late. Ellie remembered feeling her head smack against Phil's, which hurt really bad, before she felt tired.
When she woke up, Ellie was in a hospital room and her head ached. It took some effort to sit up but when she managed to, she saw Phil in the bed next to hers with a white bandage wrapped around his head. Ellie's throat and mouth were dry, causing her to croak when she tried to talk. "Phil? Are you okay?"
"My head hurts." Phil said, his voice hoarse as well. "Are you okay?"
"I guess so." Ellie said. She couldn't see the scar that was forming along the left side of her face but Phil could see it. It looked angry and red. "Where's my mom?"
"I dunno." Phil said. "I just woke up."
Mrs. Coulson had been at the hospital shortly after she received the phone call about the accident. While the doctor expected both Phil and Ellie to make a full recovery, Mrs. Johnson hadn't been as lucky. She had passed away on the scene of the accident. Mrs. Coulson took a deep breath before entering the children's hospital room and sat between the beds.
"How are you feeling?" She asked them.
"My head hurts." Phil complained as Ellie said, "My throat hurts."
Mrs. Coulson gave them both some water and told Phil to lay back on his pillows. Ellie didn't want to rest, she wanted her mother.
"Mrs. Coulson?" Ellie asked. "Where's my mom?"
"Ellie, sweetheart, I'm afraid that your mother had been hurt really badly in the accident." Mrs. Coulson said, keeping the quiver out of her voice.
"Where is she?" Ellie asked, afraid of the answer.
"She didn't make it, honey." Mrs. Coulson cleared her throat. "I'm so sorry, Ellie."
"No. You're wrong." Ellie said, her eyes filling with tears. "You're lying to me."
"I wish I was." Mrs. Coulson said, her chin trembling. She covered Ellie's hand with her own and tried to comfort her.
"My mom's dead?" Ellie let the tears fall now. "Really?"
Mrs. Coulson nodded sadly and took the crying girl in her arms. "Don't worry honey. We'll take care of you."
When the day of the funeral came, Ellie and Phil were sitting in the front row silently. Ellie had cried so much the last few days she thought she'd never cry again but when she saw the casket holding her mother, silent tears fell down her cheeks. Phil took her hand in his and squeezed it once, letting her know that he was there. Her other family members had come to pay their respects, aunts and uncles and cousins, but they barely knew Ellie. They offered murmured apologies as they passed her while she sat in her chair. Through the funeral and the ride to the cemetery, Phil didn't release her hand.
It started raining when they arrived at the cemetery. It wasn't the warm rain either. It was cold and freezing, causing Ellie to shiver. Phil relinquished her hand long enough to pull off his coat and slip it around Ellie's shoulders, then he took her hand again. Mrs. Coulson and Phil stayed with Ellie at the grave site until she was ready to leave.
"What's going to happen to me?" Ellie asked, looking up at Mrs. Coulson.
"You're going to come live with Phil and I." Mrs. Coulson said.
The process of moving Ellie's belongings to the Coulson home didn't take long. It had only been her and her mother for a very long time. Her father had abandoned them when Ellie was a baby but Mrs. Johnson had done her best to provide for Ellie. As she settled into her new room across the hall from Phil's, Ellie caught a glimpse of her face in the mirror. The ugly scar cut across her left cheek and nose made her angry.
"I'm ugly." Ellie told her reflection.
"I don't think you're ugly." Phil said as he entered her room.
"You have to say that." Ellie said, sitting on her bed.
"No I don't." Phil said simply. They stared at each other for a long few seconds before Phil spoke again. "Do you want to play heroes?"
They hadn't played that game in several years and Ellie shook her head. Phil wasn't going to take no for an answer though. "Come on. You can be Cap."
By the time Ellie and Phil went back to school, every one of their classmates had heard about the accident. She wasn't ready for the sympathetic stares or the hushed whispers as she passed people in the hall but she could handle it. What she wasn't ready for was a comment about her scar as she sat in the library doing her homework.
"What happened to you?" The most popular girl and bully in school, Ashley, said. "Your face is all messed up. That's hideous."
"I was in an accident." Ellie said, swallowing the lump in her throat.
"If that happened to my face, I'd want to die." Ashley said matter of factly.
"Leave me alone." Ellie said. She looked back at her schoolwork as she felt her face flush.
"I think it's interesting." Seth, the boy Ashley had a crush on, said. He had been sitting at the table opposite of Ellie.
"I'd rather be pretty than interesting." Ashley said.
"I think she's pretty." Seth countered. He flashed a smile at Ellie, who blushed more, and turned back to his own work. Ashley huffed and left the library, grumbling to herself.
"Thanks." Ellie said to Seth.
"No problem." Seth said.
Phil had entered the library and claimed the seat next to Ellie. "Guess what I have?"
"Cooties?" Ellie guessed.
"Ha. You're very funny." Phil said. "But no. Mom got us tickets to the special early show of the new Spiderman movie."
"Are you serious?" Ellie felt happy for the first time in two weeks. "That's awesome."
"I knew that'd make you happy." Phil smiled at her. "I have to meet my tutor but I'll see you at home?"
"You know I'll be there." Ellie smiled back, the movement seemed almost foreign after the accident. She was lucky to have a best friend like Phil.
A/N: Thank you for the two reviews I have received. I do hope that you all continue to find this story interesting. Thank you for reading and feel free to drop a review on your way out. xo