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. I swerved quickly, but apparently too quick as the vehicle skidded sideways. My hands suddenly released on the steering wheel as the wheels left the pavement, my car flipping down the embankment. I couldn’t tell you how many times we ended up flipping, but every time it hurt worse – at least I had enough sense to have buckled myself in. But the seatbelt was cutting into my skin tightly, and I was narrowly missing bonking my head on the ceiling of the car. I clung to my seat, eyes shut tightly. And then, we came to a jerking halt. It took me a moment to register that fact that I was in pain – a lot of pain, but I nearly screamed when I looked to my left. A thick tree branch was sticking out of the back of my seat, inches from where it could have impaled me. And then I realized we were upside down, because the blood was beginning to rush to my head. “V-Vanessa.” I choked out, glancing over. She wasn’t responding, slumped against the seat. It was then I realized she had a thick branch sticking out of her abdomen. “No!” I screamed, and struggled to get free of pinning seatbelt, but it was stuck. “Abigail!” I froze at the voice, only reacting when I heard the crunching of footsteps and Nicolas’s face appeared around the side of the car, appearing in my window – or where it had been. The glass was shattered, lying on the ground outside. I wondered for a moment why his face was upside down, and then I remember that I was the one upside down, not him. Some blood was rushing to my head, the rest of it bleeding out the long gash in my leg. There was a horrible screech of metal before the driver’s side door completely ripped off and his cold hands were at my waist, snapping the seatbelt off with ease. Among my confusion, I was sure I heard another set of footsteps. My thoughts were confirmed when I heard a female voice speak out from somewhere on the other side of the totaled car. “Do you want me to get her body?” Nicolas mumbled something in return, but I couldn’t hear, are I was slowly slipping into a state of unconsciousness, that I was struggling to fight off. “Vanessa!” I shouted as Nicolas wrapped his arms around me and slid me out of the car through the hole that had been my door. He lifted me up into his arms, and a familiar feeling crept over me. It felt as if we were flying, like in my dream. Then I was laying on the back seat of some car – it had the brand new car smell. Nicolas got in the driver’s seat. “Hang in there Abigail.” He whispered, before I finally gave up the fight with the blackness and let myself succumb to it. XXX White lights, men and women in lab coats, and Logan’s and Nicolas’s face floated up above whenever I could flutter my eyes open for half a second. “Abigail, can you hear me?”
I forced my eyes open at the voice, blinking several times, as my vision was blurry. A kind looking face came into view, looking down at me. Shaggy black hair fell into his eyes, and for a moment, I thought I was Nicolas. Then his green eyes came into view, and his features were much different. “Excellent, you’re awake.” He smiled, glanced down at the chart in his hands. I was lying on a hard hospital bed in a small room – the only light came from the sun shining through the window. By the window, Nicolas stood, facing away from me. Behind the apparent doctor, Logan was dozing in a chair; Claire curled up in his lap, asleep as well. “How are you feeling?” I blinked at him. Really? “Like a semi-truck hit me, then backed up over me again.” I stated. “Where’s Vanessa?” “Well, your vitals are all normal, so that’s good. We’ve kept you under sedatives to keep you relaxed, so its all right if you feel tired.” He said, obvious attempting to ignore my question. I frowned. “Let me see Vanessa.” I said as he looked at the charts. The last time I had seen her, she had been a broken body with a tree sticking out of her. But the doctor just flashed a simple smile before leaving the room. I growled, reaching up to attempt to calm my aching head. Out of the corner of my eye, Nicolas adjusted his position, turning to face me. “You know he’s only trying to help.” He commented, approaching the bed with the small hint of a smile. “I hate doctors – nice or not.” I replied dryly. He let out a soft laugh. “Obviously.” “How’s Vanessa?” I asked. He again shifted, this time nervously. Hesitating, he sighed. “She died. The doctors did everything they could to save her, but the branch had pierced her lungs and she died.” My throat ran dry, and I faintly heard the heart monitor I was attached to increase its beeping as my palms became sweaty. If only I had paid attention to the roar. If only I hadn’t tuned her out. “You’re lucky, you know. You only have a fractured wrist, a slight concussion, and a few cuts and bruises.” He continued. “I don’t feel lucky.” “Don’t blame yourself, Abigail.” Nicolas said, resting his hands along the bed railing. I could practically see him reading my thoughts. “Its not your fault.” “Yes it is.” I argued, turning my head away from him to hide the tears springing to my eyes. I couldn’t believe my best friend was dead. I felt numb, but that was probably from the codine, and it was probably the reason the full reality hadn’t settled in on me yet. “There was a guy standing in the middle of the road – I could have stopped and gone around him.” His pale hand reached over and gently brushed hair from my face, which sent the heart monitor beeping faster. “If you would have stopped that car, that guy would have killed you.” He whispered so quietly, that I barely registered that he said it. “Calm down and get some sleep.”
I instantly shook my head. “How did you find the wreck so fast?” I suddenly asked. “I was right behind you. Didn’t you notice?” “No.” I stated. I knew for a fact there had been no car behind me. I was dead positive – something was up. But he obviously wasn’t going to admit it. “Who was the woman you were with?” “What?” “I heard a woman’s voice asking if you wanted them to get…get the…get Vanessa.” I whispered, struggling with the words. “Oh, that.” He said quietly. “She’s my aunt.” “Your aunt?” “Yes, it’s who I’m staying with. The doctor that just came in? That’s her son – my cousin Peter.” “What about your parents?” “I think you should get some sleep. You’re starting to ramble.” He said suddenly instead of answering my question. I frowned, but the medication I was on was beginning to make me sleepy. Sighing, I winced as I attempted to roll over on my side. “Two cracked ribs.” He said, having apparently forgotten to mention that earlier. I groaned and pulled the blankets up over my head. It was only a few hours later when I woke up – the medication apparently wasn’t working as well as it should have. “Abby!” Before I could even wake up all the way, Claire was scrambling up onto the bed, her arms wrapping around my neck. I winced, hard. “H-Hey Claire.” I yawned, blinking again. Logan flashed a smile from where he sat in the chair still, this time sipping on something – I suspected coffee- in a Styrofoam cup with the hospital’s name written across it. Claire settled herself on the bed between my legs and the railing, which seemed to be a better place then her previous position on my chest and ribs. “How you feeling kiddo?” Logan asked, leaning over to move hair from my eyes. I gave a shrug and winced at the action. “I’ve been better.” I mumbled. He smiled for a moment, and then a pained expression came over his face. “Your friend, Vanessa –.” “I know.” I cut him off quietly. I didn’t need to hear it again. He sighed and rubbed my forehead. “I’m sorry honey.” “Its fine.” I muttered, knowing full and well that it wasn’t. He looked like he wanted to say something, but at that moment, the same doctor from before came in. “Hello Abigail. How are you feeling today?” He asked in a cheery voice. “Fine.” I shrugged. He took the stethoscope from around his neck and listened to my heartbeat for a moment. “So you’re Nicolas’s cousin?” I asked after a moment as he checked the machines I was hooked up to. He glanced at me with a small smile. “Yes. But I’m only working here at the hospital as a temporary job – they’re trying to find someone else since they fired the last guy.”
“Well, it seems I owe your cousin a lot for saving my niece.” Logan said to the doctor, who laughed. “He’s always been a hero.” Peter said, replacing his pen in his pocket. “Everything checks out okay, but we want to keep you a few more days just to make sure you’re all right.” He said, more to me than to Logan, but he glanced at Logan to make sure this was all right – he nodded. “Oh, and I’ll see what I can do about getting you something to eat. You must be starving.” He added before leaving the room. I hadn’t really noticed I was hungry until he mentioned it. My stomach felt as though it were trying to eat my kidneys, with a low grumbling noise. And then in came my hero, Nicolas, through the door. Carrying McDonalds. He must have seen the look on my face, because he laughed and placed one of the bags he carried on my lap, handing two over to Logan – one for him and one for Claire. I noticed he hadn’t gotten any for himself, and I frowned. “Not hungry?” I asked and he shook his head. “I already ate.” He said, watching me unwrap the hamburger he had gotten me. He was definitely my hero. “I thought you weren’t allowed to bring in outside food?” Logan inquired, watching me devour my food. Nicolas shrugged. “Its easier when your cousin is a doctor.” I pointed out, offering Nicolas a fry, which he politely declined. After a bit, Logan took Claire out of the room, muttering something about ‘bathroom’ and ‘coffee’, leaving me alone with Nicolas again. I wondered if we could continue our earlier discussion, or do something to where I could at least find out more about him. “You never told me about your parents.” I started. He didn’t look at me, but returned to his place by the window, staring out into the sun’s dying rays. At first I thought he wasn’t going to answer so I thought of changing the subject, but before I could, he whispered something so soft I could barely hear it. “They’re dead.” “I’m sorry.” I said instantly. Death seemed to be the theme most recently. But at least he wasn’t alone – my parents were dead too. “Don’t apologize – its not your fault they’re dead.” He said with a small shrug, turning his head a fraction of an inch to look sideways at me. “Well still. I’m sorry they’re dead.” “Its fine.” By the tone of his voice, I could tell he wanted a subject change. So I tried to think of something different. “Can I try something?” I asked suddenly, the words slipping from my mouth before I could stop them. “Go for it.” He replied. “Come here then.” I ordered. He was hesitant, but moved to stand beside my bed. Reaching over, I took his hand, like I had the day we had – attempted – to dance together. Instantly my fingertips began to tingle again, the feeling traveling up my arm. I gasped sharply, eyes shutting -
- And when I opened them, I was standing once again under the big maple tree that I had been under last time the dream or flash or whatever it was had happened, still wearing the lacy gown. Nicolas was there too, holding my hand, a gentle smile on his face. He didn’t say anything, but pulled me into his arms, almost protectively, kissing my forehead. It was weird, but I felt safer than anything right then. I moved my hand away from his and reached to touch his face, but then – - Then I was back lying in the hospital bed, my hand reaching out into open air toward Nicolas, who instantly backed away to the opposite end of the room, an almost angry look on his face. “Don’t do that again.” He hissed so quietly that I barely heard him, his hands clenching against the windowsill so tight, that even his knuckles stood out paler than the rest of his skin, which was a first. “S-Sorry.” I stumbled over my words. Stupid, I mentally said to myself, frowning. It was weird that the dream, or flash, or whatever happened every time I touched him. And only when I touched him. I could touch Logan or Claire or anyone else, I reckoned, and I wouldn’t have a problem. “Its all right. But I think I should be getting back home – its my turn to make dinner.” He said with one of those gentle smirks of his before he quickly left the room. Something was definitely wrong with him.
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