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Goodbye Light, Hello Night
“I can’t believe you actually said that to him!” said Gabby, or should I say…my best friend? “What?” I ask as I look at her in disbelief. “It’s not like I meant to!” “But you did, and that’s all that matters.” She said as she crossed her arms and stared at me. I just shook my head and closed my locker. Slipping my backpack on and then walking side by side with her, I was still fuming. “I didn’t know that he was going to actually tell the teacher on me!” “It’s Ty though Crystal, he is SUCH a tattle tale, no matter how old he is.” She sighed and walked in step with me. “We are in high school though! Don’t you think that is pretty pathetic?” Gab grabbed me by my shoulders and made me stare into her eyes. “I don’t think it’s pathetic. In fact, I think that you deserved it!” My eyes went wide, and my mouth dropped open. “How can you say that? I’m your best friend!” “Yes, I am your best friend, and best friends are supposed to look after each other. So I think that this is going to be a good wake up call for you.” I frown because I know she is right, and to end our argument, it was just easier for me to agree with her then try to defend my case. “I will call you once I am done with my detention so then you can come and pick me up, okay? Then we can hang out after that.” Gabby nodded and gave me a quick hug and then a small kiss on the cheek, and then skipped down the hallway and out the front doors. I on the other hand, wasn’t so thrilled like her. I walked into the main office.
As I walked in the secretary, who we gave the nickname of Miss Polka, because she was always wearing something with polka dots told me to have a seat until the principal came out to get me. No matter what she was wearing she would be wearing something with polka dots. One time she wore a polka dot dress, and then threw in some plaid leggings, in was not a pretty sight. Minutes later the principal walked out of his office, and I felt bad for the guy. He was beginning to lose his hair in spots, so he had attempted to cover them up, but it came out as a comb over. He also had sweat marks under his arms and even on his back. “So what have we gotten ourselves into this time?” he asked as he looked down at me. “Well sir…” but before I could go on, he told me to follow him into his office, and so I did.
“Alright, so continue on with your story.” He said as he walked around his desk and sat down with a quiet grunt. “Well, I was in Stats class and I hadn’t quite finish the worksheet we were given, and so I was finishing it up so that I could hand it in and Ty started yelling at me for not getting it done on time, and I simply just told him to shut up. Well, I guess I hurt the baby’s feelings by doing so and so he told Mrs. Lopper about it. Well she told Ty it wasn’t really a big deal since I was basically done with it, but that got Ty mad. Ty walked up to me, grabbed my worksheet, crumpled it up into a ball, and then threw it across the room. I stood up and I guess because I stood up so fast, Ty and Lopper thought I was going to hit him or something, and so that is why I am in here. ‘Cause Ty is too afraid to grow a pair and stand up for himself.” The principal, Mr. Jenkins, just shook his head and sighed. He rubbed his eyes and then sat back in his seat. “Well, what do you think we should do for your punishment?” I looked at him, and I must’ve looked pretty hilarious, because he smiled a bit. “I am just joking Crystal … anyways, I agree with you about Ty, I mean, not the whole ‘grow a pair’ thing but I do think that Ty needs to grow up and needs to learn what is okay to do and what is not okay.” I nodded, “Yeah. So, what are you going to do about me then?” I ask, as I look up at the clock and then back at him. “Well, let’s just say that I gave you a really hard time telling you that what you did was wrong and that I am still thinking of something for your punishment…okay?” I smiled big and nodded, “Yes, sir.” “Alright then,” Mr. Jenkins stood up and walked over to his door, opening it up and motioning with his arm, “now get.” I smile even bigger and walk past him. “Thanks Mr. J!” I said cheerfully as I walked out of the office and into the empty hallway.
I walked down the hallway and out the front doors, where I pulled my cell phone out and texted Gabby to come and pick me up. As I walked a little further away from the school, I noticed the football team practicing for Friday’s big game. “Might as well get some entertainment then sit and do absolutely nothing…” I muttered to myself and walked over to the empty bleachers. I sat down at the bottom of the bleachers and watched them. One player, number 55, stood out from the rest, and I couldn’t quite place a finger on it, until he took off his helmet. I gasped because I realized who it was. It was Jace, a guy that I have known for my entire life it seemed. I wanted to call out his name and wave to him, but kept myself under control. I knew I would embarrass him if I did, and so instead, I grabbed my things and walked back to the road. Luckily though, Gabby pulled up in her old rust-bucket that was handed down to her from her oldest brother who was making it big in the cities.
I climbed into the car and looked at Gabby, “what took you so long?” She looked at me as if I had offended her or something. “It’s not like I was just sitting around for you…waiting for you to call me. I had to finish some things up real quick.” “Well not quick enough!” I frowned at her and then looked ahead. I put my feet up on the dashboard of the car and then turned the music up; did you hear the one about me being a punk? Did you hear the one about me being a drunk? We sang that over and over again, and then of course, as Gabby was driving, I was being my usual self and was head banging to the tune. Gabby laughed at me because I guess I was looking silly, but I didn’t care. We drove up to a stoplight and the light was red so we waited. I still danced and such to the music, and car pulled up next to us. Before I knew it, I heard a low whistling. I stopped and looked up, a large smile still plastered on my face, and then I realized who it was. Jace was looking at us, mostly me, and was chuckling, while his friend in the passenger seat had wanted our numbers.
“You girls seem like you need some fun. Do you guys know Jordan Hutts?” said Jace’s friend as he looked at us. I looked at Gabby, and Gabby looked at me. I shook my head from side to side and then looked back at him. “No…does he go to our school?” Jace’s friend shook his head, “no, he goes to McKenry High. Anyways, he is throwing a party tomorrow after the game, anyone is invited.” I smiled and looked at Gabby, seeing if she was approving it or not. “Maybe we will go…” Gabby finally spoke, “…but it better not be boring.” Jace’s friend smiled at her, and then laughed a bit. “Trust me. Once you go to this party, you are going to want to go to all of his parties.” “That’s your opinion though.” Said Gab as the light turned green, she stepped on the gas and we took off. “Well that was interesting…don’t you think Gabby?” I looked over at her, and noticed her with a straight face. “What’s the matter?” Once I finished though, she put up a hand and said, “Don’t even talk.” I gave her a what-the-hell type of look but she just shook her head and so I faced forward until we arrived at my house. I looked at her, “thanks for the ride…” hoping I would get her to tell me what was wrong, but instead of getting her to tell me what was wrong, she just said, “get out.” So I did what I was told, she backed out of the driveway, and then took off down the road. I just shook my head and headed for the front door.
Once I walked in, I threw my bag down on the ground, slipped my shoes off, walked out into the kitchen, and grabbed myself a bite to eat. I listened to the messages on the message machine, and none of them were for me, just my mom. Now see, my mom works the afternoon shifts, and so when I get home from school, she is already gone. During the morning, when I get up for school, she is sleeping in her closed bedroom. So I am lucky to see my mom at all during the work days, and the story with my dad…well, let’s just say he isn’t in my life anymore. Anyways, once I got some food for myself, I went down the stairs to where my bedroom was. It wasn’t really anything special, I mean, the walls and ceiling were painted black, a little desk in the corner for where I did my homework, a wall covered with bookshelves that were full of books, a dresser on the other, and my bed against the other wall. I didn’t have any pictures or anything of my family or previous pets, but I did have one picture of Gabby and I that we took last summer when we were at her family’s vacation home. I fell backwards onto my bed and I just stared at my ceiling. My mind kept going back to how Jace’s expression was on his face when he watched me dancing/head banging, and I couldn’t quite tell whether he approved or not. My eyes began to droop though, and soon enough, I was out like a light bulb.
I didn’t sleep for long. I was woken up by the sound of footsteps coming from upstairs, and so I had walked up the stairs to find my mom digging through the fridge. “Hey.” I said tiredly and my mom had jumped. Her hand instantly flying up to her heart she turned and looked at me. “Crystal!” she yelled at me and I sighed. “You don’t do that to a person, especially your mother!” she said, still angry from me scaring her. “Well I didn’t mean to.” I honestly said and I leaned up against the wall separating the kitchen from the entry hall. “Well you did, now why are you still up? You’re supposed to be sleeping. It’s a school night you know.” She said, being her strict self. “I know mom…I fell asleep earlier and well, you woke me up.” I shrugged and I looked at the clock, it read 2:17. “Why are you coming home so late? I thought you got off at 12:00.” My mom looked at me, and it seemed like she was debating whether or not she should yell at me for being nosy. Instead she just ignored the question, and told me to go back to bed. “I don’t ever get to see you, and yet, you still send me off.” I say as I begin heading down the stairs, and I knew my mom heard me, because she walked over to the stairs. “Don’t you even DARE say that I try to send you off,” she said as she was trying to defend herself. I stopped at the bottom of the stairs though and look up at her. “You know it’s true though, so don’t even try to pull that complete BS.” I then got sick and tired of arguing with her, and so once she starts yelling at me to ‘watch my language’ I go back into my room, and lock the door.
I stayed in my room for the rest of the night, and I just wished I could go to school already. Soon enough though, a couple of hours of just laying and staring at completely nothing, it was time for me to get up and get ready. I jumped into the shower, got dressed after that, and headed for the bus stop. I didn’t know what was up with Gabby, and so I didn’t even want to try to get a ride from her. It was Friday, and the football team had a game that was home for once. I noticed some kids that I knew from my different classes and tried having conversations with them, and it actually went quite well. I found out who was the next big couple of the school, I found out about some kids getting arrested for vandalizing some stores, and I also found out who was going to the football game and the party afterwards. Just as I finished up my last conversation with a boy whose name was Hanz, the bus had come for us.
Once we all got in the bus and seated, the bus began to drive off for the school. I was in high school, yes, and it was my last year too, and I still rode the bus sometimes. I didn’t find a need to have a car. Anyways, we had arrived at the school and I had stepped down the steps, just in time to see Jace pull up, along with Gabby. I smiled and I was beginning to go towards Gab until she stepped out of her car, and walked over to Jace. I stopped and watched from a distance, hoping that I wouldn’t look too stalker-ish, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My best friend was heading over to my biggest crush since Fifth grade. I wanted to go and ask her what the hell she thought she was doing; but instead, I went and hid behind a pillar that was holding part of the overhang of the roof. I watched them talk for what it seemed like forever, and once they were done, Gabby actually leaned in, kissed him on the cheek, and then walked off. I couldn’t believe her! How dare she do that to me? She knew how I felt about Jace, and yet, she was going behind my back. Some friend she is.
I was so angry and heartbroken; I didn’t even dare go to class and sit next to her. Knowing me, I would probably rip her hair out, and probably do even worse to her. I quickly took off running, passing right by Hanz who was asking what was wrong, I could feel the tears beginning to gather in the corners of my eyes, and I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. I ran as fast as I could to the end of the street, and then kept running. Even though I wasn’t in track or any other sport that inquired running, I was hauling. I got to my house in no time, and I quickly went inside. I was crying, and I was kicking things over, like the chairs and stools in the kitchen, and even pushed some furniture over in the living room. My mom was just about to leave, and then once she saw how angry she was, that only made her speed things up. She didn’t want to deal with me, so instead of asking me what was wrong, she just walked out into the garage, hopped into her car, and drove off. Once I knew she was gone, I began screaming and hollering about pointless things. Also throwing in some cuss words, my anger began to descend. Once all my anger was gone, I just went into the bathroom and locked the door.
I got undressed, turned the radio that I had kept into the bathroom on loudly, slid down into the bathtub, and started the water. Minutes later when the water was as full as it could go, my tense muscles began to relax. Soon enough, my cell phone began to go off, and I had checked to see who it was. Out of all people in the world, it just had to be Gabby. I pressed the button to answer it, but then right away I hung up. Then my phone began to ring again, I did the same exact thing. This happened a few times, until I could literally hear Gabby screaming at me to knock it off. So the last time she called, and she was still yelling at me, I said that I would rather be dead then talk to her. Then that was that, and about a hour later, my doorbell had rung, but I didn’t get up to answer it. Soon enough though, someone was pounding at the bathroom door, screaming at me to let them in. “GO AWAY GABBY!” I yelled and I could feel the anger in me begin to bubble up again. After her pounding had gone silent, I had thought that she just gave up on me and left.
I got out of the tub, wrapped myself up with a towel, and then looked through the crack of the door. No one was in sight, and so I had slipped out and began heading toward my bedroom, until I was jumped on from behind. I screamed and could tell it was Gabby. Without thinking, I had turned around, and ran backwards. Having her back hit against the wall, she yelled at me for doing that, but it had loosened her grip. I got her off of me, and then ran for my room. Sadly though, she was right behind me, and so she had gotten into my room too. “What is your fricken problem?” Gabby yelled at me, and I looked at her. “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY F***ING HOUSE!” Her eyes went wide and she looked ticked. “I’m not leaving until you tell me.” She said as she sat down on my bed, and crossed her arms against her chest. “Just leave me alone Gabby, I don’t want to talk to you…in fact; I don’t want to talk to anyone right now.” “Not even Jace?” she asked, and then I stared at her in disbelief. “Don’t you try to pull that crap with me Gabby. I know about you and Jace. Stop trying to hide it.” She looked at me as if I had grown two heads, “what the hell are you talking about?” “I’m talking about how you and Jace were talking in the parking lot, and then you kissed him!” Gabby’s eyes went wide, “yeah I saw you and Jace…” I said as I felt tears starting to build up again. Gabby looked as if she was about to start crying as well, and she shook her head. “Oh no…” she began to say, “…you got it all wrong Crystal. I wasn’t trying to steal him or anything from you. In fact, I was actually thanking him.” I stared at her in disbelief, “you’re lying.” “Honest to god…I was actually trying to help you guys out.” “How can you help us out, if you were kissing him?” Gabby shook her head, “I had already told you. I was thanking him!” I had believed her, and I sighed. “I’m sorry for being so rude to you…I should have known that you would never do that to me.” Gabby smiled in relief and then gave me a big hug. “Now, since we are done with the arguing, we need to go shopping!” I smiled at her and then nodded; I really needed to get my mind off of things.
After I got done getting dressed, we were on the road, heading to the mall. “Alright, so I say we hit up Hot Topic first, and then we can go anywhere else you want,” said Gabby as she pulled into a parking spot. “I don’t really have anywhere else in mind…” “Alright good, because I don’t really feel like going anywhere else.” We got out of her car, and headed into the Mall. We walked into Hot Topic, and Gabby immediately headed off on her own. I on the other hand just took my time. I found some new band shirts that I had wanted to get, and so I found my size and carried them. There wasn’t much else for me to look at, and so I just went ahead and bought them. Once I got done with that, I went over to Gabby, and told her that I would be in JCP looking at some dresses. Once I knew she heard me, I left.
As I walked into JCP, I already saw some cute dresses that would look good on me. I had grabbed my sizes of a few different dresses, and went into the changing room. As I was getting in my first dress, I heard Gabby calling my name. “In here!” I said as I got finished slipping it on. I looked in the mirror, and then walked out to show her. Once Gabby saw me, she whistled at me, pulled out some one dollar bills, and waved them in the air. “Woo-hoo!” she cheered as she then laid the money at my feet. I smiled and laughed, and noticed people were starting to stare. I got embarrassed quickly and blushed a deep red and then went back into the changing room. “Are you going to get that one?” asked Gabby as she leaned against my door. I looked at myself in the mirror once more before I took it off. “I don’t know…I could wear it for tonight for the party…and other important things.” I said as I got changed into my other clothes that I was wearing previously. “Yay!” cheered Gabby as we walked up to the check-out and I bought the dress. “I better not regret this…” I said, looking at her and then grabbed the bag with the receipt. “Oh I’m sure you won’t. Besides, if you don’t wear that dress much, I will make sure I will.” Gabby said as we both laughed and got out of the store and into her car. “So, let’s head back to my place, we can change into the things we are going to wear for tonight, and do each other’s hair so we both look hot.” I laughed at her determined face and we left for her house.
Once we got to her house, we walked inside, “Where’s your parents?” I asked as I looked around. Usually one of them was home with the kids, but neither of them was there. “The twins had a gymnastics tournament tonight, and so they decided that they were going to see if I could be able to handle being alone for a couple of hours.” “Sweet…” I said and I headed into the kitchen and grabbed myself water. “It’s about time that they let you stay by yourself…I mean, you’re a senior! You should have been able to stay by yourself a long time ago.” Gabby nodded, “yeah, I know. They care about what I do though.” She shrugged and got out of her school clothes. Then slipped into her clothes for the night, and I did the same thing. Being in the black dress that I had just bought, I looked at myself and smiled. I’m going to admit, I looked pretty dang good in that dress. Gabby looked at me, and then smiled big. “You look so beautiful!” she said as she walked over to me and then started brushing through my long silky black hair. “I know exactly what I am going to do with your hair.” I just nodded and then found a spot to sit. She kept brushing through my hair though, and then she curled my hair. Leaving some curls in my hair, and her putting my makeup on, I was ready to go. Gabby, who quickly worked on herself, got finished in about 10 minutes. “You ready to go?” she asked me as she looked at me. I looked back at her and then smiled, “hells yeah, so let’s get going.” Then we walked out of her house and climbed into the rust bucket.
We arrived shortly afterwards and went up to the door. We could hear the music loudly as it blasted through the walls of the house, and we both looked at each other smiling. We were going to knock, but someone beat us to the door. Gabby and I didn’t know who it was, but they had invited us on in, and so without thinking twice, we walked in.
The party was crazy. People were dancing everywhere I looked, and I had an urge to go and join them, but I didn’t want to leave Gabby to defend for herself, so I stuck by her side. We were asked if we wanted something to drink dozens of times, and all of the times, we said no. I’m sorry, but if you were at a party where booze would be supplied, would you have someone get you a drink? I think not. Although, Gabby and I were beginning to get thirsty, we drank nothing. Luckily, a friend we knew was there too, and she had asked if we wanted a drink. We trusted her, and so we accepted the drinks she brought back. Gabby and our other friend were hitting it off well, and so I told them that I was going to go dance. Instead of waiting around for their response, I left them and went out onto the dance floor.
Getting out there, my adrenaline began to pump crazily, going along with the beats from the different songs that were playing. I danced for who knows how long, until I felt somebody’s arms wrap around me. I turned around to see who it was, and out of all the people, it had to be Ty. “Let go Ty…” I told him, but he was too drunk to comprehend anything I would say. So, I scratched his arms with my nails until he let go. Now, Ty was a pretty big guy, not fat, but tall. He was pretty built too; I guess he was that way though because he was in football and wrestling. I tried to sneak away from him as he looked at his now scratched arms, but his reflexes were pretty quick, even though he was drunk. He grabbed my arm and brought me up to him, and then his hand began to trace the seams of my dress. As he talked to me, I could smell the alcohol that he was probably downing before he came up to me. Without thinking, I did what my body had told me to do, and that was to slap him so hard, his face would have a hand imprint on it. Once I did that though, he grabbed my hair, and basically began to drag me up the stairs. I was screaming, and people saw me and heard me, but no one did anything. I was searching for Gabby, until I saw her making out with a guy in a corner. I screamed out for her, but she couldn’t hear me over the music. I tried grabbing for anything that I could, but every time I would grab onto something, Ty would just pull even harder on my hair.
We were at the top of the stairs until someone did actually say something to Ty. I didn’t know what was going on, because my eyes were blurred over with tears. Ty finally did let go, and once I rubbed my eyes clear, of course ruining the makeup I had on, I saw Jace standing in front of Ty. His hands balled into fists. They were exchanging words, and then Ty threw a fist at Jace. I screamed, and finally, the music stopped. Everyone at the party was starting to shout, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Gabby, who FINALLY stopped kissing the guy that I still do not know of to this day, looked up, and then saw me. Her eyes went wide, and then she began pushing through the crowd to get to me. Ty and Jace were now on the floor in front of me, and they were getting closer to the edge of the stairs more and more. I yelled at them, telling them to stop, but they didn’t listen, they kept going. Gabby was halfway up the stairs until Jace and Ty went down the stairs in a big ball of fists. “GABBY!” I screamed, and as she looked up, she screamed, and then was pulled into the fight. The three of them reached the bottom, and all I worried about was Gabby.
I ran down the stairs, and Gabby was still screaming. I reached in, and pulled her out. Her face was bleeding, probably from getting punched by one of the boys, and she was crying loudly. “We need to get out of here…” I told her, and she nodded. We got out of the party actually somewhat quickly, because people moved out of our way as we headed for the door. Some people even asked if we wanted a ride, but we didn’t need one because Gabby drove us. Gabby, being the way that she was, I grabbed the keys from her, and I drove us to my house that night. My mom, being who knows where, didn’t ever care if Gabby had stayed over, because she usually never even knew. I left Gabby in my room and then went to the bathroom. Grabbing some towels and some other things that would be needed to fix her up, I walked back and then began cleaning Gabby up. Making sure that her cuts were cleaned and making sure that they had stopped the bleeding, I gave her some other pajamas of mine, and then got into my own. We were both exhausted, and we didn’t really even talk about the party. Gabby had fallen asleep first, and I didn’t feel tired at all. So, I popped a movie in and I sat back down on my bed next to Gabby, and started to watch it. Soon though, I fell asleep because I guess my buzz from the adrenaline I had just a while ago had worn off. I had many different dreams that night. One of them, replaying the fight, and who it was between, kept playing over and over again. Jace had come to my rescue…Jace was the only one that said to stop…Jace was the only one who did anything…
The next morning I woke up to a major headache. My head throbbing, I looked around, and to my surprise, Gabby was gone. “Gabby?” I asked the empty room, hearing nothing though, I decided it was time for me to get up, and so I slipped out of bed, and began my way up the stairs. Once I hit the second flight of stairs, I could smell the scent of pancakes in the air. I smiled, thinking that it was my mom that was actually making me food, but instead as I reached the top of the stairs, Gabby was humming a song to herself. “Gabby…” I said, scaring her, “…what are you doing?” She turned around and smiled, “well, I am making my best friend in the whole world some breakfast.” She smiled even more at me, probably because I was looking at her like she was high. “Can’t I make you breakfast?” Gabby asked as she grabbed a plate full of pancakes. “Well…I guess you can, I just am curious to why you are making me pancakes.” Right as I said that though, the microwave had gone off and she put a finger up to me as if I should wait to what I was going to say next. She opened the microwave and then I could smell sausage. “What is this for, and don’t give me a complete BS answer either.” Gabby sighed, “Alright, fine. You want to know the truth? I am making this for you, because well first off,” she holds up one finger, “I want to thank you for the other night. Second of all, I know I wasn’t there when you needed me, and so I feel really bad. Third, I was up when your mom had gotten up for work, and well…I don’t see how you can live with her. Fourth, oh my god, I can’t believe that Jace had saved you from Ty. Fifth and lastly, I need to get you energized before we go out today.” By the time she got to the end, she was holding up five fingers. I looked at her and just shook my head, “really? You’re making all of this because…well, mostly because you feel sorry for me?” She nodded, and I grabbed myself a fork. Cutting and scooping up a piece of pancake, I took a bite and then walked over to the table.
Once I was seated, I had remembered that I had forgotten to grab the bottle of syrup, and so I got back up and walked over to the pantry. Pulling it out and then bringing it back to the table, I drowned my pancakes and sausage with it and then smeared it around until absolutely every little spot was covered with sticky goodness. I then began to eat, ignoring that Gabby was watching me eat. “How do they taste?” She asked as she noticed my now dead pancakes from not getting enough oxygen. I shrugged, “they’re good I guess. Why?” I looked up to see her eating her pancakes with nothing but butter. “Well, you killed your pancakes Crystal, are they dry or something? Do they not have enough flavors?” My eyes went wide, not being able to believe that she thought that I had hated her pancakes. “No! They are fine. I didn’t mean to make you think that your pancakes sucked. I do this with everything when I use syrup. I guess I go on syrup frenzies when I get the bottle.” I smile and shrug, and Gabby began to laugh. “I guess I should’ve known…” I nod, “yeah, you should have known. I mean, how many years have we been friends? You think you would have known that about me by now.” After that, we laughed some more, but it soon faded and we ate our pancakes and sausage in silence.
“So why do I need to be energized for today?” I asked Gabby once I finished my plate and was putting it into the sink. She smiled at me, “it’s a surprise!” I look at her, one of my eyebrows raised, but she gave me no clues. I stopped trying though after a while and ended up taking a shower. Getting dressed, Gabby had told me to get into something comfortable. I listened to her, slipping into some sweatpants and a t-shirt, and then went up the stairs. I had grabbed socks of course though before I left my room, and then sat on the ground, slipping my socks on and then my shoes. “Can’t you just tell me what we are going to do?” Gabby who had changed back into her clothes from the other night shook her head. “Nope, but first we need to go to my house so I can change.” I got up off the floor and then we headed out the door. Heading for her house then, I could smell some weird smell that I recognized it to be from the party from the other night. “Whew…you need to get an air freshener in here or something, it smells in here.” Gabby nodded, as if she could smell the weird funky smell too.
We got to her house and as she left me in the car, she ran in, saying that it was going to only take a couple of minutes. I listened to music as I waited, and soon Gabby ran back out. Wearing clothes similar to mine, I didn’t want to start to argue with her though, about how she was always copying what I was wearing, so I just looked out the window. We drove and drove, to the outskirts of town and then we began to approach a building that I couldn’t quite place my finger on. I turned the music down and looked at her. “What are we going to do!?” I asked Gabby one last time, and she smiled. “I told you before, it is a surprise!” and with that, Gabby turned the music back up and we had arrived at the building. I gasped and looked at her, “I can’t believe you!”
Gabby laughed at my expression and then she parked the car. “I thought this would be a great way for you to get your mind off of things and thank Jace for what he did last night.” I just shook my head, not believing that she had actually taken me to Jace’s work, also known as the paintball battlefield or the place where things go down and never reach town. “Gabby, I don’t want to go inside.” “Oh yes you do, I know that face anywhere Crystal. I know you want to go inside and flirt with him, you’re just too embarrassed.” I gasped at Gabby and began to shake my head, “no, no, no. I refuse to go inside! This is pointless Gabby; he is just going to brush my apology off like it was just an annoying fly.” I crossed my arms over my chest and began to pout, my lips even puckering out a bit. “Stop acting like a baby, and let’s go.” She climbed out of her car and then walked over to my door. Ripping it open and pulling me out, even though I tried to hold onto something, it was either get out and go inside or have Gabby pull my pants down from trying to pull me out (and I was NOT going to let that happen). So I muttered some words not appropriate for little ears and then followed her.
We got inside shortly after, and went to the front desk. Gabby, who I hope you have figured out is much chattier then I talked to the deskman. “We need one round of paintball and also we need to talk to someone named Jace? We heard that he worked here and well, I called earlier today to see if he was working and the person on the other line said that he was.” The man just looked at Gabby as if she was pulling a joke on him or something and then nodded. “Alright, well…the round will cost you $5.00 and about talking to Jace…well, he is going to be the one helping you girls suit up so you can just talk to him then.” Then Gabby handed over a $10 and said, “I’m paying for both of us.” Then she grabbed my hand and we headed for the battlefield.
Once we got to where we got our guns and such Jace walked in and then once he saw us he smiled. “Oh hey guys…I didn’t know you guys played paintball.” Gabby smiled, “well, we don’t. We want to try it out though.” Jace smiled and nodded, “I understand. I get a lot of new kids in here all the time.” Gabby looked at me and then Jace, “I bet you do. Well, first of all, Jace…before you help us choose our things I think Crystal has something to say.” Then Gabby took a step back, leaving me in the site of Jace. “I…I uh…I was just wanting to say thanks for last night and everything. That was pretty brave of you for what you did to Ty.” Jace smiled even more, and for a second I could have sworn that he actually blushed. “Well…that was nothing. It wasn’t right for what he tried to do with you, because from what I could tell, you did not want to go with him.” I smiled and nodded, “yeah…he was drunk.” Jace shook his head, “still it was no excuse.” I smiled, falling for Jace even more, and then I looked at the walls where the guns were placed. “So…what gun do you think is the best?” Jace smiled and then walked to the wall, grabbing two guns that looked somewhat like a P90. “This gun is one of my personal favorites.” Jace had said, showing it off like it was a prize. “Does it shoot well?” Gabby had asked finally speaking up and Jace nodded, “well of course it does.” Gabby smiled, “good.” Then she grabbed the one from Jace’s hands and aimed it, which I don’t know who she was trying to impress but it was still funny. “Yes…these will do,” she said as she walked away from the two of us and began putting some armor/bullet vests on. I just laughed and shook my head, then Jace led me to where some more armor was. “Alright so you’re going to need this,” he handed me a torso plate, “this,” then he handed me some pants with protective plates on them, “and of course you can’t forget this,” and finally he handed me my helmet. “Thanks,” I said as I put the things down and began slipping into them. “Oh and here are some gloves,” Jace brought some gloves over to me and I took them from him, “thanks once again.” I said as I smiled up at him and he smiled back. “No problem, just making sure you are well protected.” I smiled up at him, and he returned the smile back and then he began to walk off. “Have fun with the game guys, see you around.” Then he walked out of the room and went somewhere where I do not have a clue.
Gabby and I grabbed our guns and then walked out into the battle zone. “Ready?” I asked as I looked at Gabby, and she nodded back. “Ready,” she said and then she looked off to the distance. “One, Two, Three!” she counted and then took off running. I did the same exact thing except I ran off in a different direction. I got behind a barrel and then looked over it, scouting the place out for Gabby until I heard the sound of a paintball gun shooting. “No!” I screamed as I crouched back down and I heard her laughing. “Not funny Gabby!” “Oh yes it is Crystal!” Then I did a tuck-and-roll behind some more cover and opened fire. After I had used up almost all of my ammo I crawled, looking for Gabby until I heard a click behind me. I turned around slowly and Gabby was standing over me frowning. I quickly brought my gun up and shot my last ball and it hit her right in the belly area. “Hey!” She said as she looked into my eyes, “you are so lucky. I would have had you if I didn’t run out of my ammo.” I began to laugh, “I win!” Then we both began to laugh. “That was so much fun, we need to do this more often.” I nodded, “yeah we do!”
Then we went back to the room where everything was. We got out of our armor and put them in the basket to be washed and he put the guns on the counter. Gabby then grabbed my hand and pulled me out. She waved at the deskman who seemed awfully bored and then led us to her car. I slipped into the passenger and she slipped into the drivers spot and then started up her car. She soon backed up and we were on our way back to town, “I think Jace likes you…the way he was looking at you.” Gabby began to say but I cut her off before she could go any further. “Don’t start Gabby…I mean, I get where you are coming from and all, but I don’t want to hear any of this right now.” Gabby frowned, “well jeez…I was just trying to help.” I looked at Gabby, “don’t start this crap with me Gabby. I’m not in the mood.” Then I turned the music up and closed my eyes.
I remember I woke up to Gabby shaking me crying. “Wha...what’s the matter Gabby?” She was crying and I looked at her, she was staring at me, her eyes were so wide, she looked like she had seen a ghost or something. Something wasn’t right about the picture, because everywhere I looked there were little black dots dancing in my vision. I tried to sit up, but I felt a sharp pain and then I looked down to see blood on me along with broken glass. I looked back at her, and she was covered in blood too. “Gabby?” I said, but I regretted it afterwards because I felt so exhausted, all I wanted to do was sleep and let the little black dots take over. I refused to though, and that’s probably what saved me from the crash. Gabby on the other hand, she was bleeding heavily and all I could do was stare. “I’m sorry…” she said and I began to shake my head, “no…no Gabby, it’s not your fault. Don’t you ever think this was your fault. Stay with me Gabby, please…I don’t want to be alone.” She nodded as if she wanted to but I could tell if I didn’t do anything soon, my best friend, my sister practically would die. “Wait here Gabby…” then I tried to push my door open, but it was stuck. “Come on!” I screamed at it, but the thing would not budge, so I climbed through the window, and man did that hurt! Everything in my body was screaming at me to stop, but I couldn’t.
I had to keep going; I needed to save my friends life. I walked around the car, using the car to help keep me up, I managed to get to the driver’s side which was pushed in, and I just wanted to cry. The person in the other car, well…I looked inside to see if I saw anyone, but I didn’t. The person that had hit us left, leaving Gabby and I to fend for ourselves. “Don’t you worry Gabby…I’m going to get you out.” I walked to her door and tried to pull it open, but the door was bashed in so bad, it was stuck. I reached through the window, and tried to pull Gabby out, but her body was stuck between the door and the steering wheel. “Gabby…I know it’s going to hurt, but you need to help me out…okay?” She nodded again, as if she couldn’t say anything else, and then started moving in her seat, trying to get out. After minutes (what seemed like hours) I had gotten Gabby out and onto the road. I went back to the car and searched the back seat for a blanket I knew she always had. I found it on the ground and carried it back to her. I then sat her up and wrapped her up in it to keep her warm, because her body just seemed freezing. “We’re going to be okay…I promise.” I told her, but knew that we weren’t. I put pressure on her wound and she winced in pain so I stopped. I didn’t want her to go in pain, so I just rocked her back and forth. My own cuts starting to burn more because the glass that was in them were getting deeper.
We sat in silence for what seemed like forever and after a bit, I stopped rocking. “Gabby?” I asked as I then looked down at her, and saw that her eyes were closed. “Gabby!” I said again, this time a little louder, and her eyes had opened up just a tad. “What?” she asked tiredly and I knew that my friend was about to leave me. I tried to hold back the tears, to show her I was not afraid, but I couldn’t help it. “Remember…remember when we were little? And when it rained, we would always run around and paint your brother’s face with mud?” She nodded and smiled, “yeah…I remember. Ha, remember when I would stay at your house, and we would sneak upstairs and always take the cookies your mom made that day?” I smiled and couldn’t help but laugh, “of course I remember that.” Gabby sighed and looked up at me, “that was when your mom was actually pretty cool.” I nodded and sighed with her, “I miss that mom.” Gabby smiled, “I know you do. I can always see it in your eyes when you talk about her.” A little bit after that, Gabby went completely silent, and I didn’t dare look down. I began to rock her again telling her it was going to be okay. When she didn’t say anything though, I looked down for only a second to see her eyes were closed and I could see that her chest wasn’t moving up and down from breathing anymore. I shook Gabby a little hoping she would wake up, but she never did. “Gabby…” I began to cry, like a little girl who had lost her favorite doll, “Please…please don’t leave me. Gabby?” For a moment I could have sworn I felt her squeeze my hand, like she was trying to reassure me, but then I began to think I was going crazy from the blood I had lost. “Gabby!” I screamed, “Wake up Gabby! It’s time to go. Come on…” I said as I stood up, holding her in my arms. She was heavy, I couldn’t deny that, and I knew that I wouldn’t get very far, but I had to try.
I carried her for only about 10 steps until I fell to my knees and began to cry some more. I felt afraid that I would have to leave my friend behind, sadness that my friend was gone forever, and anger that she had left me behind in this ruthless world. I set her down and removed the blanket from her body, and then set it on the ground. I rolled her onto it and then began to pull the blanket. It being much easier than trying to carry her, I was walking in the middle of the road when they had come. An ambulance followed by police cars, they immediately stopped and two paramedics jumped out. They came rushing to me, and I must’ve looked like a zombie (or at least very fragile) because they were very calm and spoke very quietly. Sometimes I could barely hear what they were saying and so most of the time I said, “What?” One of the policemen came to me, and then picked me up. I refused to go with him; I had to stay with Gabby. “No…” I began to squirm in his arms, but my tired body gave up on me. I remember burying my face into his chest, and the smell of his cologne filling my nose. He carried me to the ambulance and set me down on the bed. I also remember how when the one of the paramedics climbed up into the back where I was he began asking me questions about how old we were (talking about Gabby and I) and before I could answer a wave of emotions over took me. He tried to calm me down, but I wouldn’t listen. I just kept crying and somehow between my sobs, I would even laugh a little. The paramedic must’ve guessed that it wasn’t the greatest time to be asking me questions and so he grabbed a needle and filled it up with something. Before I could ask what he was doing, he stuck it into my arm and then I passed out.
I woke up to bright white lights shining down on me and for a second I thought I was dead. As I opened my eyes though and blinked furiously, I could feel my body being embraced by very soft arms. “Mom?” I asked and then once I got my vision I could see that in fact, it was my mom that was holding me. Her mascara was running down her face and she looked as if she hadn’t slept in days. “It’s okay baby…everything is going to be okay.” I was confused at first but then I remembered the crash. I wanted to cry but no tears would come, my mom hugged me and I winced in pain. She quickly let go and took a step back, “sorry,” she had said and I sighed, “it’s okay.” Just as my mom began to inch her way towards me again the doctor had come in, “why hello there sleepy head.” I wanted to scream at him, I wanted to jump out of bed and strangle him for the stupid smile he had on his face, but I stayed in my bed and kept quiet, not wanting to make it any harder for my mom who was almost crying again. The doctor looked at me and then my mom, “has she said anything since she woke up?” The doctor asked my mom and she looked at me and nodded. The doctor smiled and turned back to me, as if he had just realized I was still in the room with them, and then checked one of the IV’s that ran into my arm. “How are you feeling? You need any more pain medication? How about something to eat? I bet you’re hungry.” I swallowed the spit that began to gather in my mouth and then said, “I’m fine. No I don’t need any more pain medication, no I don’t need something to eat, and all I want to do is get out of here.” The doctor frowned at me, probably thinking I was some snotty little brat that was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. My mom though stood up from her chair, “Crystal…” she began to say but I looked at her and she must’ve known what I was trying to do so she looked at the doctor, “I’m sorry…she usually doesn’t act like this. I think she just needs more rest. Thank you for trying though.” My mom gave the doctor one of her ‘fake’ smiles and he must have bought it because he nodded, “well alright then. I will be back in an hour to check on how things are going.” Then with that, he left, trying to walk with at least some pride in his stride. I couldn’t help but laugh a little at him and he probably heard me because I noticed that he kicked up the speed of his walk.
“Mom, I want to go home…” I said after she shut the door and turned around to look at me. “I know you do hun, but I just want to make sure you’re going to be okay…because I don’t know what I would do without you.” Her voice began to break at the end and I couldn’t help but feel some sadness in my heart. “Mom…don’t start, I’m fine. See?” I sat up and threw my legs over the side of the bed and then stepped down so that I was standing. My legs began to get weak though and so I sat back down, “yeah…you’re fine alright.” She said as she put her hands on her hips and then sighed. “I’m so sorry you had to go through that…the policeman told me everything.” I closed my eyes and began to rock back and forth a little, just as I did when I was holding Gabby’s body in my arms. “Gabby’s parents came here earlier to see you, but you were passed out of course.” My eyes shot open and looked at her, “Gabby’s parents came? They know about the crash?” My mom bit her bottom lip, thinking that she had hit a nerve of mine or something, but then nodded, “yes they were here and yes they know about the crash. Poor Charlotte (Gabby’s mom), she looked like she was going to break down and cry at any moment. Even Roger (Gabby’s dad) looked like he was about to break down and cry.” I felt a large lump grow in my throat and I swallowed more spit that was in my mouth, hoping the lump would go away. “Has anyone else come to see me?” My mom shook her head though, “no…they haven’t opened visitation hours up for you yet.” “Wait…if they haven’t opened visitation hours up for me yet, then how could Gabby’s parents come and see me?” My mom sighed and rubbed her temples as if she was beginning to have a migraine, “it’s complicated Crystal. I just told them a little white lie saying that they were your second family.” I smiled at my mom, proud that she had lied for me, “did they say if they were coming back?” She nodded though, “yes…they are coming back…they said they would be here around 7:00 PM.” I sighed and looked at the clock; it was only 3:30 in the afternoon, “only 3.5 hours left.” I mentioned and my mom nodded, “yup…” Our conversation had basically ended then, and that was basically how our relationship was. Every once in a while my mom would ask me if I needed any pain medication or something among those lines and every time she did I said no. As I laid there in my bed I had fallen asleep again, and I knew that when I woke up…I had some explaining to do.
As my eyes slowly opened, I knew that I wasn’t alone. When I got my vision officially back, I saw my mom…and Gabby’s parents. I swallowed the spit that was built up again in my mouth and I whispered a quiet “hello.” Right when I did that, Charlotte came over and gave me a big hug. “Hey sweetie…” she whispered back and brushed some hair out of my face, “how are you feeling?” She asked and I shrugged, which hurt like hell, but I wasn’t going to say anything. “I’m okay…how about you? You doin’ okay?” Right when I said that though, I could see tears start to fall from her eyes. “I miss my baby girl…” she began to mumble, and then was soon embraced by Roger. He buried his face into her hair and kept whispering comforting things to her. “I’m sorry…” I began to say, “it’s all my fault…I should have tried harder to keep her alive…” Gabby’s parents though, along with my mother, started to comfort me instead, saying that I couldn’t have done anything more other then make sure she went peacefully. I began to cry though and said “no” to everything they said. I felt like crap and all I wanted to do was crawl under a rock and die. Everything they said to me, I denied. I was not about to let Gabby’s death be put on some ‘it happened for a reason’ thing. No, Gabby’s death had to have someone to blame, and it just happened to be me. When they kept trying to say it wasn’t my fault, my mind did wander off and it did remember how the accident was caused. “Did they find the person that hit Gabby and I?” I asked and then they all stopped talking and looked at each other. “Crystal…there wasn’t anyone else at the scene. It was just you two…” my mom began to explain, and I was very confused, “her car…Gabby’s I mean…it was completely flipped when they found you. They said that Gabby rolled the car.” I began to shake my head though, “no…no they lied to you. There was another person…they hit us. They killed Gabby…they almost killed me!” I began to scream, and soon nurses followed by my doctor came rushing in. “Crystal…Crystal it’s okay…you just need to slow your breathing. You need to calm down Crystal.” Then they put something in the IV that was keeping me hydrated and that made me even more furious. “THEY ARE LYING TO YOU!” I screamed over and over again, and then began to feel tired. I knew that they were trying to put me to sleep, but I didn’t want to go down without a fight. “You have to believe me! There was someone else there! I saw it with my own eyes…” I began to sob, trying to figure out if my mind was playing a trick on me, nothing came to mind though. “It’s okay Crystal.” My mom said, trying to comfort me before I went into complete darkness. I shook my head, “no…it’s not. You guys are playing mean tricks on me! You guys are lying to me.” Then Charlotte said with a harsh tone, “the police report said that the music was blasting when they found the car…they said that there was only one way the car could have been rolled like it was…someone had to of taken control of the steering wheel.” Then I felt as if I had been shot. Did they think I was guilty? Before I fell asleep, I could see Roger and my mom turning to Charlotte, saying that they weren’t supposed to tell me…not when I was this fragile. Then I fell asleep, my entire body…especially my heart…was full of pain and sadness.
I woke up in my hospital bed again, and by now I was getting used to it. I looked around to see my mom sleeping in the chair in the corner, and Gabby’s parents were gone. I closed my eyes to hide them from the bright lights that hung above me and I tried to focus on what had happened earlier that day. I was confused of what happened, but then remembered that Charlotte was blaming me for Gabby’s death. Could it be true? Was I really the cause of the accident? I couldn’t get myself to process it. Instead, I had just thought about seeing the other car that was there. I remembered feeling the cold steel under my hands. I remember I used it to keep me from falling down, but why were our parents saying that it was a lie? My whole body began to ache again, and I must’ve whimpered because soon enough my mom was brushing the hair from my face. “You okay baby?” She asked and I nodded. She must have known that I was in pain because she had pushed a button on the phone and soon I heard my mom’s voice say, “Hi…this is room 37. I was wondering if you could give my daughter some more pain meds … she’s in pain again.” The nurse answered back, “I will have a nurse bring some right now.” Then minutes later I heard my door open and my mom whispering to someone. I opened my eyes and my mom just looked at me. I wasn’t going to say anything until the nurse was gone, and I figured that was what my mom was doing because she didn’t say anything either.
Once the nurse was gone my mom sat back down in her chair and sighed. “Mom…what was Charlotte talking about?” My mom shifted in her chair. She should have known this was going to come up sooner or later, so I don’t see why she seemed so angry to answer it. “Your story doesn’t add up with the police report…that’s all.” I shook my head, “well the car was there…I know it was because I saw it. I even felt it for God’s sake!” I said as I threw my hands up in the air, I let them drop immediately though because it shot pain throughout my arms and along my body. “That wasn’t very smart…” my mom commented and I shot her a look. She sighed again frustrated, “honey…are you sure that you saw another car hit you?” I began to think, “Well…I didn’t actually witness it, which was only because I was sleeping. Mom, do you really believe Charlotte over me? Your own daughter?” She gasped, “I would never believe someone over you baby…unless they were right. Which I hate to break it to you, but Charlotte is correct. I saw the police report myself, and I read it all by myself.” I shook my head, “that is a lie!” My mom covered her ears, “can you stop with all the screaming and yelling? You’re making my headache worse.” I was angry…no, I was pissed…that my mom was not believing me. “You are so inconsiderate. Do you know that? You are selfish! I’m the one laying here in a hospital bed, probably with broken bones somewhere and you keep complaining about your head hurting. I hate to break it to YOU mom…but I think mine is a little more serious than yours.” I was so disappointed with her at that moment I just couldn’t stop shaking my head at her. My mom got fed up by it though and stood up. “It seems as if we need a little break from each other. You should be able to have visitors now so I will go and get them. I will be in the little lunchroom they have for family members and such, so if you need anything I will be there.” Then she walked out of the room and for once I was alone.
I looked around, noticing the little things that I had not noticed before and then in a matter of seconds in came a crowd of classmates. Most of them were people that I would talk to every now and then, and others came to just see how I was feeling. I was sure that after I got out I would have a lot of people wanting to hang out with me…only because they probably felt sorry for me. We all talked to each other and I didn’t go into details about what had happened other than the fact that we got in a crash and I made it and Gabby didn’t. Most of them brought little gifts like a bouquet of flowers, a stuffed little elephant, a stuffed little bear that was holding a heart, movies, books, magazines, and balloons. I guess I just hadn’t figured out how many people actually really cared about me, because it looked like most of them (especially the girls) had been crying. Maybe they were crying about the loss of Gabby…maybe they were crying because I was still alive…I don’t know. About 10 minutes later though, another person walked in. I couldn’t exactly see who it was, due to the crowd of kids, but they eventually made their way up to the front and I couldn’t believe who it was. Yup, you guessed it…Jace.
He smiled right when he saw me, and then gave me a hug. “Hey…” he said as he brushed some hair out of my face. “Hey…” I whispered back and then I remembered that there were a lot of kids still in my room. I blushed a little as I looked away and noticed everyone staring at us. Jace cleared his throat once he remembered that we were not alone and took a step back. “I came by earlier…but they told me that you weren’t ready to see visitors.” I looked at him, and many things were going through my head. “Did you wait to visit me the entire day?” I asked and when he nodded I couldn’t help but smile. “You didn’t have to…” but before I could continue Jace put his hand up, “stop…” I closed my mouth and obeyed. “I know I didn’t have to…but I wanted to.” That made the butterflies in my stomach flutter and I felt my face go hot. I must’ve been blushing because he smiled even bigger and I looked for an escape. “Excuse me…” I said and slipped out of bed. “I need to go to the bathroom real quick.” Then I made my way over to the restroom and closed the door. I began to walk but something had caught me and I couldn’t really move anymore unless I pulled. Well, I wasn’t really thinking at that time, and so I pulled. Sharp pains ran through my arms and I looked down to see what was wrong. My IVs and needles were lying on the ground, covered in blood, and then I remembered about having them in my arms. I was in pain and my arms kept bleeding, and surprisingly I didn’t cry. I only opened up the door and tried to cover my arms so that they couldn’t see them and ran over to the remote. The buttons were worn off mostly, so I had a hard time figuring out what button I had to push. I began to push all of them, until finally; I had found the right one.
Seconds later two nurses came rushing in and one came over to me, while the other one was getting all of the kids out. I could hear gasping going throughout the crowd, and I couldn’t help but look at Jace. His face said everything…he was worried sick about me. He tried to talk to the nurse into letting him stay with me, but she didn’t listen. She just physically pushed him out the door and closed the door in his face. I was a little angry that the nurse had done it so harshly, but knew it was probably for the best. The nurse had me sit on the bed and the two of them began to work on my arms. They had covered my arms in bandages, and told me it was best if I had my mom help me go to the bathroom from now on. I was embarrassed, and they must’ve been able to tell because the nicer nurse rested her hand on my shoulder. “Don’t you worry hun, it happens all the time.” Those words made me feel somewhat better, and I nodded. “Okay…” I said as I smiled and then she took my hand, and slipped the needles into my hands. I winced, and the only thing I could think about was how my arms and hands were going to look after I got out of the hospital. When people would see me, they would probably think that I was in an abusive relationship or something among those lines. That made me smile even more and when the nurses left I sighed. I was alone again in the very plain room.
My legs itched to be walked on, so I got up, remembered the little cart holding IVs and such and walked out of my room. I looked to the left, and then the right, to see if I saw anyone recognizable. I didn’t though and so I began to walk down the hallway, heading towards the cafeteria. Once I arrived, I saw my mom sitting at a table, but she was with someone else. In fact, if I really looked closely enough, I could’ve sworn that I could see her holding hands with the stranger. I was curious so I began to walk towards them. Weaving through the groups of tables until I reached their backs, I tapped my mom on the shoulder and she turned around. Right when she saw me though, she jumped and held her hand up to her heart. She let go of the stranger’s hand and stood up. “How was visitation?” My mom asked me and I shrugged. “It was alright…I accidentally pulled my needles out though trying to go to the bathroom, but don’t worry…I’m all fixed up again.” My mom smiled and shook her head, “of course…the moment I leave you end up hurting yourself again.” I knew she was trying hard to be honestly nice…so I let that one slide. I could see the stranger’s shoulders tense up even more so I looked at my mom. “You going to introduce us?” I asked, and my mom’s eyes widened. “I…I guess so…” She bit her bottom lip and the stranger stood up and turned around.