Beautiful Like a Car Crash

For some reason, we all seem to think we're invincible.

Especially when we're young.

I used to think I was invincible.

But then I saw the headlights.

They pierced through me like a murderer's knife through their victim's chest.

They came so fast, and were gone as quickly as they had come.

Beautiful, golden lights.

They illuminated our skin, our eyes, our hair.

We were bathing in a golden light.

And then there was the impact.

Glass shattered.

Metal twisted.

And suddenly, everything was real.

As the glass cut us, we finally realized…

We finally realized we weren't invincible.

And it took a car crash to show us.

"Hurry the fuck up, Lenci!" Gretchen called to me from across the room. Her voice was so clear, but it sounded so far away. People were screaming and running in every direction. Somebody had called the cops on us. We were fucked if we didn't get the hell out there. I stumbled through the crowd in the direction Gretchen's voice had come from. Somewhere near the front of the house…the front door…I had to get there. I was having a hard time keeping my balance. The room was spinning and I was feeling clumsy. I had myself to blame though. I had, had a little too much to drink, and on top of it all, I was high. The funny thing though was that I was actually aware of it. I knew I wasn't sober, and I knew I was high. I always figured once you get too drugged up, you didn't know what the hell was going on. But I knew exactly what was going on, but I just couldn't seem to get a hold of the situation. All I knew was that I needed to get out, and into the car, but my legs wouldn't seem to cooperate. I had almost caught site of the front door, when somebody rammed into me. I'm not sure who it was, but they sent me flying. I felt my feet leave the ground, and my body fly to the right. My head smashed into something hard, and pain shot through my body. I opened my mouth to scream, but nothing came out. I laid there for a moment before I tried to stand up again. I reached my arm out, and caught hold of something sturdy. I think it may have been a coffee table. I'm not sure. I managed to pull myself up to my feet, but my head was spinning. I stumbled to my left a bit, and felt myself begin to fall. This time though, I felt arms wrap around my waist, and pull me upright. I turned my head and saw Xiang out of the corner of my eye. I spun around to face him and stumbled. He put his hands on my shoulders and steadied me. I grinned at him. He frowned back, his dark-brown Chinese eyes filled with concern. "Lenci, you're wasted," he said grimacing. I continued grinning, and pressed my forehead against his. Suddenly, all the screaming and chaos around me ceased. My head stopped spinning, and my eyes locked with his. The figures scrambling to the front door all around us seemed to move in slow motion, like one big blur.

Xiang had been my best friend since I could remember. He had moved here, to New York City about five years ago from Hong Kong. He didn't speak a word of English. I met him when I was in sixth grade. We had art together. The seating chart put me next to him, and well, we became friends. He was a wonderful artist. Whether we were working with paints, charcoal, clay, or just plain pencils, Xiang had never ceased to amaze me. I rarely got any projects done in that class, as I was always watching him work. In time, he gradually began to speak English. And once he spoke it well enough to communicate with me, I began giving him English lessons every day after school in the library. In turn, he taught me quite a bit of Chinese - both Cantonese and Mandarin. And, as time went on, we became closer and closer. I loved Xiang with all my heart. Maybe…just maybe I loved him as more than just a friend…

I could feel his breath on my face. My heart continued to race. I felt him wrap his arms around my waist, and without even thinking, I wrapped my arms around his neck. I nudged his head with my own, a friendly little bump. He returned the gesture, and before I knew it, I was tilting my head, and moving my lips towards his own. My mouth met his, and suddenly, nothing else mattered. Not the sirens screaming in the distance. Not the people running past us. Not Gretchen… waiting out by the car. We stood there like that for a moment, before I slipped my tongue into his mouth. I could feel his chest against mine, his hands on my back, and finally, I felt him kissing me back. It didn't matter that I was completely wasted. I was kissing Xiang, and there was nothing else in the world that mattered.

But, almost as soon as our lips had met, he pulled away. "We gotta go…" he whispered in my ear, a note of fear in his voice. I nodded, and he grabbed my hand, and pulled me towards the front door. He stopped dead in his tracks though, when he saw the headlights and blue and red lights flashing outside. "Oh shit…" he said, turning on his heal. He headed for the back door, pulling me along behind him. We watched as the remaining kids locked themselves in rooms and hid in closets. Others were passed out on the floor, too drunk to care. We jumped over the overturned furniture and trash, and made our way out the back door. "HEY!" we head somebody call after us, as we ran out the back door. Not sure if it was a cop or not, we made a dash for the woods that bordered the back yard of the house. "HEY! GET BACK HERE!" the voice called out again, but we didn't stop running. We plunged into the darkness of the woods, and ran like running was going out of style. Once we were far enough away, and we couldn't see the lights of the house or police cars, we stopped. Xiang let go of my hand and leaned against a tree. I dropped to my knees, coughing and sputtering. My head was spinning again, and I couldn't seem to catch my breath. After a minute, Xiang kneeled down in front of me. "You shouldn't drink so much," he murmured, brushing a few strand of light brown hair out of my face, and tucked them behind my ears.

"Or smoke for that matter." I managed to flash him a smile. "I know… I know," I said between coughs. I could feel the heat of the night against my face. My tank top was sticking to my back, and my bangs were matted against my forehead. I took a couple deep breathes, and allowed myself to start breathing normally again. I let myself fall backwards and lie down on the brush-covered ground. I squirmed as a root stuck me in the back, but I managed to get comfortable after a minute. Xiang crawled over and looked down at me. I met his gaze and smiled. He was beautiful - short, jet black hair, and big, deep brown, almost black, Asian eyes, with long, dark eyelashes. He had a beautiful figure too. He was as skinny as a stick, but he was strong. Hell, Xiang was prettier than me. "I hope Gretchen and the others got away," I said, letting out a deep breath. "I'm sure they did," Xiang replied, looking up at the sky. Moonlight peaked through the bare branches of the oak trees, and you could see the stars scattered across the sky. "It's beautiful," I said, squinting up at the sky. My vision was still a little blurred. "Mhm," Xiang said softly. I started to pull myself up to a sitting position, but Xiang stopped me. He placed his hand on my chest, and gently pushed me back down. "Xiang…?" I whispered, confused. He smiled, and I smiled back. "Come here," I murmured, and held out my arms. He grinned and climbed on top of me, and I wrapped my arms around him. He began to kiss me this time, saving me the effort. I could feel him breathing as we laid there. I could feel every single inch of him pressed against me. His body was molded into mine. I wrapped my arms around him and tried to pull him as close to me as I could. He kissed me harder for a moment, then, broke away. He kissed my cheek, then all the way down my neck. I felt goose bumps form on my arms and legs, and hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Suddenly though, we heard footsteps running towards us. Xiang jumped off me and I bolted upright, looking around in every direction, ready to run. A wave of relief washed over me though, when I saw the familiar figure of Gretchen emerge from behind the trees. "I figured you guys might have been back here," she said, out of breath. "The cops almost got us." She said, grimacing, "They where driving after us for awhile, but we managed to lose them." "That's good to hear," I replied, standing up. "They just chased us out of the house." Xiang nodded in agreement. "Well, come on," said Gretchen, turning and looking back in the direction she had come from. "Jeff's parked out on the sidewalk waiting for us. We're only about ten minutes from the road." "We'll catch up with you in a second," said Xiang, glancing at me. "Yeah, alright," replied Gretchen. "We aren't gonna wait all night though," and with that, she ran off towards the road. Xiang turned to me and held out his hand. "Shall we?" he asked, giving me a warm smile. "We shall!" I exclaimed, taking his hand. I was still a bit tipsy on my feet, but I was feeling good enough to walk. We began to walk towards the road, but Xiang suddenly stopped. I turned to look at him, and his lips met mine before I could say anything. I could feel the goose bumps beginning to form all over again as I kissed him back. He pulled away after a moment, and I frowned. "We better get out there," he said, laughing at my expression. I sighed and started walking again. "You know," Xiang said, walking along side me, "I think we should do this more often. Go to wild parties, have someone call the cops, and then run off into the woods at the last minute." I giggled and nodded my head. "I think so too," I said, looking up at the stars.

It seemed like it had been longer than ten minutes, before we began to hear the all-too familiar blaring music of Jeff's car. As we emerged from the forest, we saw Jeff's Ford Explorer parked on the sidewalk, windows rolled down, the radio blaring an unrecognizable rock song. The car, though t had three rows of seats, was packed. As Xiang and I neared the SUV, I could see the silhouettes of Gretchen, Jeff, Andy, Samantha, Elijah, Karin, and…ugh, Nadie was there too. Jeff was in the driver's seat, and Gretchen and Andy where all squished in next to him. Elijah, Samantha, and Karin where in the middle row of seats - all bobbing their heads to the music. And then, there was Nadie, sitting by herself in the last row of seats. Nadie had moved here from Russia about two years ago, and she had always been after Xiang. She tried to use the fact that they were both foreigners to get close to him. Xiang, though, just found her flat out annoying. As we neared the car, the door back door facing us swung open, and Xiang and I climbed inside. We had no choice but to sit in the back with Nadie. "Finally! We thought you guys had gotten lost or something!" said Gretchen, staring at us through the driver's mirror. "They probably stopped a couple times along the way to fuck each other," joked Andy, a bit too loudly. His words were slurred – he was drunk, big time. "Oh, shut up," said Jeff flatly, as he pulled off onto the road. Andy continued to giggle and sway back and forth. Elijah, who was sitting behind him, smacked him in the back of the head. "What the fuck?!" exclaimed Andy, as he jerked forward in his seat. "Calm the fuck down," said Jeff, sounding irritable. "I'm fucking trying to drive." Andy shut up after that. Drunk or not, he knew better than to mess with Jeff. Jeff was the oldest out of all of us. He was going on nineteen. I had known Jeff for about two years now, and I considered him my big brother. He was always looking out for me. Everybody else in the car was either sixteen or seventeen, so Jeff's word was law. The car continued to stay silent as we turned onto the highway. I could feel Xiang brushing against my left side as the car drove along. I rested my head against the window and shut my eyes. "Why don't you come back to my house?" I heard Nadie whisper in her thick, Russian accent. "My parents are out of town… we'd have the place to ourselves…" I opened my left eye and watched as Nadie's hand began to snake up the inside of Xiang's thigh. "Oh, fuck no." I said, sitting upright. I grabbed Nadie's wrist and shoved her arm back at her. "WHAT THE THE FUCK, LENCI?! YOU BITCH!" she screeched, practically jumping over Xiang to get at me. Jeff slammed on the breaks, and Nadie started to claw at me. I started swinging blindly, and Xiang tried to pull us apart. "YOU FUCKING THINK HE'S YOURS?! YOU LITTLE WHORE! YOU BETTER FUCK OFF!" she screamed in my face. Before I could open my mouth, the car door on Nadie's side swung open, and Jeff yanked her out of the car. "WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?!" he yelled in her face. I saw Nadie wince. "Come on!" he said, clearly pissed off, and shoved Nadie into the second row of seats. She practically landed in Karin's lap. "Fuck you," she spat at me. I simply smiled, turned to Xiang and licked his cheek. "Fucking slut…" she murmured and spun back around. "Now," said Jeff, "Can I please continue driving?" "Of course," I said somewhat of a smart-ass tone. Jeff rolled his eyes and pulled back onto the highway. I wrapped my left leg around Xiang's right leg, and leaned my head onto his shoulder. He slid down and laid down on the seat, and I climbed over his legs and laid down on top of him. He wrapped his arms around me, and I snuggled into him. We were a good hour or so away from home, or rather, "Gretchen's house" where my parents thought I would be spending the night. I had a feeling though that we would all be crashing at Jeff's place – and I was looking forward to a night alone with Xiang. It was only a bit after 10:00, so we would have plenty of time to spend with each other. I shifted my weight around, and I felt Xiang kiss the top of my head. I smiled to myself and closed my eyes, and allowed the hum of the car to lull me to sleep.