Aiden raced up the stairs as fast as he could, not caring that his breath was running out faster than his legs could carry him. He turned round to find Alison’s locker. There was nothing there.
A tightening in his stomach told his mind the worst possible thing that may have happened. He had to think. What class would she be in right now?
Strolling along the corridors, he remembered that she took Art at this time. The art room was just by the door to head outside into the playground. Keeping his mind focused, he ran there, bursting through the doors.
All of the other students looked up at him for a moment before resuming their projects. He spotted Scarlett in the corner, she was the only one who hadn’t gone back to her painting. She smiled at him as the teacher walked swiftly up to the door.
“Something I can help you with, young man?” she asked.
Aiden sighed. “Sorry to interrupt, but have you seen Alison Montgomery anywhere? I know she takes this class now.”
She shook her head. “I’m afraid not. She hasn’t shown up. If you see her, can you tell her I was asking? She needs to get her projects done.”
Scarlett got up and walked up to the teacher. “Miss, my project’s nearly done.”
“I’ll be over to look in a second, Scarlett.”
The teacher left, heading back to her desk. Scarlett smiled at her and looked at Aiden. “You looking for Alison?”
Aiden glared at her. “Yeah. Seen her around?”
Scarlett put her finger in her lip, pretending to think. “You know, I think I did see her this morning. By her locker. Didn’t know she was one for skipping out on class, although I didn’t catch her in Drama yesterday. Maybe she’s gone on a little rebellious streak. You must be rubbing off on her, lover boy.”
Aiden lowered his voice to a whisper. “I swear, if you’ve done anything to hurt her again.”
“You’ll what? Threaten to race me? Couldn’t beat Chad. Couldn’t beat Alistair. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if I also kicked your ass?”
“If you’re not going to help me, I’m just wasting my time with you as usual. Get back to your finger painting.” Aiden said, turning around.
Scarlett sighed. “Fine. I went to talk to her before class, see if she had any notes. Poor little thing wasn’t looking where she was going. I think she had a bit of an accident.”
Aiden’s heart accelerated, but he didn’t turn around. He headed straight out the door and ran towards the nurses’ office. He feared the worst. It can’t be happening again.
He knocked on the door, eagerly waiting for a response. A quick “Come in” was heard and he walked in, seeing Alison lying down on a bed in the corner. Her ankle looked redder than usual, and she kept it elevated on a table.
The nurse looked at him. “What seems to be the problem? Fall off the climbing frame again?”
Aiden shook his head. “No, I heard my friend was in trouble. Is it okay if I sit with her for a bit?”
The nurse shrugged. “Provided you don’t have class now, I don’t see the harm.”
He nodded and walked over to Alison. She turned to him and slowly opened her eyes. “Hey.” she said.
“What happened to you?” Aiden asked, sitting down next to her.
Her eyes darted around the room. “I had an accident down the stairs. Landed on my ankle.” She took his hand. “Thanks for coming down.”
He sighed. “I should have been here sooner. How bad is it?”
“It’s not broken or anything but I may have to go to the hospital after school to get it checked. I already called Mike. He’s on his way to pick me up.”
Aiden took her hand. “Are you okay?”
She looked to the side and her lips started quivering. “Yeah, I’ll be okay. Don’t worry, Aiden. I’ve handled worse than this.”
“Worse than Scarlett?” Aiden asked.
Alison went stiff as her grip tightened. “Look, please don’t try and start anything with her.”
“I knew it.” Aiden whispered. “She did this, didn’t she?”
“Aiden, please. You can’t confront her about this.”
“You could have ended up way worse than this. I’m not going to sit around waiting till she gets lucky. Let’s make sure she doesn’t hurt you again. Tell someone, a teacher, Mike, anybody. Tell me.”
Alison loosened her grip. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. Trust me, it’s for your own good.”
The nurse walked over to us. “That was your brother on the phone, sweetheart. He’s just drove in now. Let me get you a wheelchair and I’ll take you to him.”
“I can take her there.” Aiden offered. “It’s no big deal.”
The nurse smiled. “That’s okay, Aiden. She’s in good hands with me.”
“I’ll see you after school, okay?” Alison said, reaching out for a hug. Aiden put his arm around her and helped her into the chair. As she was wheeled out, countless thoughts ran through his mind.
I should have been there for her. I could have stopped this. If I had just run faster…or known quicker, she wouldn’t be like this. Why is she so scared to tell me the truth? Is it because I didn’t last night?
Someone was going to answer for this, and it’s not going to be a doctor.