It was then that I realized I was taken – he had my heart. And then the most awful thing that could have happened did, and before I knew it, I was at his bedside almost every day.

XxX

Waking Up

XxX

The first time I saw him, I mean, really saw him, was under a year ago, was in the hallways of our school – Runemont High. He had been running down the hallway, chasing after a spare Frisbee that had somehow made its way over all of our heads, and he was shouldering his way through the crowd murmuring his "'scue me, pardon me," as he bumped against everyone. A few people laughed at him, but in a good natured way, and others just cursed him out.

Me, I dunno, he just caught my eyes. I guess it was the way that he apologized as he chased after the bright yellow disk, which he did catch, by the way, or maybe it was just the fact that I saw his eyes, for a split second, and felt like I could see into his soul.

It's all a bit cheesy, I know, and maybe a bit cliché, and I'm personally one who hates cliches. But there was something about his eyes. They were so…radiant, so captivating. Pure emerald, and they sparkled with this…love of life, I guess. They matched his smile, his gorgeous smile, the one that told me in an instant that he was a jokester, but not one of the jocks, or at least, not at heart, like a majority of the men at Runemont.

I remember watching him fall, his deep brown hair, almost black, falling sloppily in front of his face as he landed on his rear end in the middle of the hallway, his laugher peeling down the crowded place, the Frisbee in-between his hands.

"I caught it!" he announced, and I fought back a smile, ducking my head for a moment. But then the ball rang, and I scampered off to class.

The second time I saw him, was at the end of the day, tenth period. He was sitting in the back of my bio class – I never realized he had been there before – staring at a splotch on the ceiling, his blue pen jammed in his teeth as he, I assumed, thought of something. I couldn't help but wonder if he was imagining something wonderful. But I had no time to think of anything else, as the teacher shrieking my full name, "Gracie Louise Anderson!" jerked my attention back to the front of the room.

I thought I saw a smirk flit across his face, but I was sure I imagined it. Or…maybe not…seeing as the rest of the class was snickering at me as well. It was at the end of the class that I learned his name, just before the bell rung and we got out of school – Deryck O'Conner.

The third time I saw him that day was after school. I had been talking to my friends when he'd walked by. Unconsciously, my eyes watched his movements, his back, covered in a leather jacket to protect him from the autumn chill. By some chance, he turned his head, and he caught my eyes as they followed him. He smiled at me and raised his hand in greeting, and I felt my cheeks flame. I barely had enough heart to raise my fingers in a halfhearted greeting.

It was then that I knew I was hooked. I sank down, with my friends flitting around me, only to look back up a few moments later to see perhaps the most devastating thing of my life. Derrick had climbed into his car – a blue BMW convertible, and was on his way out of the school parking lot, down the road, obeying the speed limit (unlike most of the students in our school).

I remember standing up, screaming silently, as I watched a young girl of perhaps five, break loose from her mothers hand to chase after her hat, which had blown off her head and landed in the middle of the road, in front of oncoming traffic – in front of Derrick's car. If I had been closer, I'm sure I would have seen his eyes widen in shock as he jerked the steering wheel to the left – right into the path of an oncoming Ford pickup truck.

There was a loud crash as the two vehicles collided, glass shattering everywhere as the car bodies came together with a sickening crunch. I felt hands at my back pushing me forward slightly seconds later, and I started off at a jog to the scene of the crash. It took me a full minute to realize why; for the past few summers, ever since Freshman year, I had been interning at the local hospital, and had been receiving medical training since.

The first car I came across was the red Ford pickup truck. The driver was shaken slightly, and had minor cuts across his face and arms, possibly whiplash, but he waved me away, told me to look after "the kid" as he called him.

Before I knew it, I was at the door of the BMW. Derrick had been thrown forward, slumped across the steering wheel, overtop of the airbag, with blood pouring down his face. I placed my fingers against his neck, and my heart almost stopped – no pulse. The next thing I remember, I somehow had him down on the ground, and was pumping his chest frantically, but gently, and blowing air in his mouth – the closest thing I had ever gotten to a kiss (go figure).

There was then a faint breathing, and a slow, painfully weak heartbeat, but it was there. Then the paramedics were at my side, asking me questions, telling me I saved his life, loading me into the ambulance along with Derrick as they placed an oxygen mask over his face. Later, after he got out of the OR, I found out that he had slipped into a coma – but the doctors were hopeful, which was something rare, at least, I had found with my experience as an intern.

He was on my circuit, in St. Joves, and I saw him every day after that. I changed his sheets, checked his blood pressure, rotated the flowers in his room, once they died, and finding myself familiarizing with his family and friends as they stopped by every now and then to check up on him.

It was just over eight months after the crash, when I finally saw him again. A beautiful summer day, I remember pulling up the shades to let the brilliant sunshine in. That's when I heard it, a groan behind me. My heart stopped again, and I spun around, my dirt blonde hair which was pulled high in a ponytail, slapping against the side of my head.

And there he was. Blinking open his emerald eyes that I – I still cant believe this – had forgotten about. "Where am I?" he muttered, taking me by surprise.

I moved over to the side of his bed and looked down at him. "You're at St. Jove's Hospital," I said softly, pausing before continuing. "You were in a car-crash eight months ago," to the day. "You've been in a coma since." I stopped when I saw him narrow his eyes, as if calculating something. "The doctors say that your memory might be slow in returning if…"

He cut me off, turning his gaze, which had been sweeping around the room, on me. He looked at me for a moment, and then cocked his head slightly, a small smile playing across his lips. "You're Gracie, right?" he asked, and I felt my heart soar as tears poured down my cheeks.

I grabbed one of his hands on an impulse, and squeezed it slightly. "Yeah," I said through my tears. "I'm Gracie."

We've been together ever since.

XxX

Okay, yes, that was cheesy…very cheesy and very cliché, now that I come to think about it, but I hope some of you actually enjoyed it and finished it nonetheless. It was just a random idea that came to me.

Thanks for reading,

-Aria

XxX