Chapter 26 - Lost and Found
Luca was a fast driver on any regular day, but on the day he was supposed to save his missing girl friend, fast was an understatement. The address the police had given him was clutched tightly in his hand, the words marred by thousands of little crinkle lines. But that didn't matter, because he had memorized it. From the moment the address left the man's lips, he had it memorized. Nothing was going to stop him from finding Aida, especially not this.
From the back seat, Addi groaned, obviously not agreeing with his super fast pace. "I love Aida and all, but we're not going to be much help if we die in a car accident!" she shouted to him, but her words never reached him, they were ripped away by the wind that rushed through the convertible. When Addi had lent him her car, she had expected to drive, and maintain the law while doing so. However, after nearly thirty seconds of her driving, Luca had demanded they pull over and switch. Now, they were surely breaking every driving law out there. No granny was safe with Luca on the road.
At the wheel, Luca bit his lip, trying to keep from speeding anymore. His foot itched to press the gas pedal just a little harder, to inch just a few miles past the already 14 above the limit. Oh, God, why was this happening? Another bout of anger struck him, and it took nearly all his restraint to not press the pedal to the floor.
The first thing to alert her that something was wrong was the far off sound of sirens. She'd been sleeping, or trying to, huddled into herself, trying her hardest to forget what was happening. At first, she'd thought the sirens were headed somewhere else, maybe a fire. Then, they'd gotten louder, and they didn't fade away. They stayed there. Loud, and obnoxious. Annoying, even.
Several seconds later, and it dawned on her, they weren't leaving. Maybe, she dared to hope, they were there for her. Would this nightmare end? Was it over?
Pounding on the doors sounded from above. Voices shouting. Screaming, even. There was thudding, like a body hitting the ground, more noise, muffled voices. Footsteps, rushed, hurried. Thumping. And then, light. It was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen in her entire life. It was hope, love, joy, everything bundled up into one ray of light.
There was a flurry of movement, blurred faces. A blanket was wrapped around her, she was shuffled from the dark basement. An ambulance waited for her outside of the bar. She let whoever it was that retrieved her from her dungeon guide her into the vehicle. Maybe, if she weren't so numb, she thought to herself, she'd enjoy the ambulance more, what with its stacks of machinery and flashing lights.
One thought, the only clear one since the ball, flickered through her head. Where was Luca?
Why the hell was the speed limit so slow? And why did Addi have to kick him out of the driver's seat? He would have tried to reclaim it, but an Addi that was mad was scarier than anything and everything. Because when she got even, man did she get even.
A buzzing in his pocket drew him from his cranky thoughts. "What?" he nearly snapped into his phone.
A moment of voices from the other end, and he nodded and said goodbye. "They found her," he told Addi, "and they're taking her to the hospital, that one near that place with the creepy old guy".
She spared him a glance, "thanks, any other vague information you want to give me?"
From the backseat, Jace leaned forward, pushing his face between his exploding sister and the boyfriend, "I know that place," he poked Luca's cheek, "and the guy's not creepy, he's my best friend."
Luca shoved the offending finger away, "I know, and that's why he's creepy," he grumbled under his breath.
An eternity later, Addi pulled into the hospital. She'd barely stopped the car before Luca was leaping from the it, leaving the door wide open. He was inside the automatic doors in ten seconds, asking the receptionist where Aida was. The room number was out of her mouth, and he was gone.
He raced down the halls, running and remembering being told not to do precisely that back in elementary school. As he ran, he glanced at the room numbers, counting both out loud and in his head, neither of which was quiet. A number, the number, flashed by, and he skidded to a stop. He stood there for a moment, collecting himself, and preparing for the worse.
With a gulp, he pushed open the door.
"That's a safety violation!" Addi screeched at Luca's disappearing figure. She doubted he would have heard her, he was too far gone, both mentally and physically. A moment later and she was after him, locking her car with her keys over her shoulder.
By the time Addi reached the lobby, Luca was no longer there. She mentally cursed him, then sent a prayer to any god that her best friend was okay.
"Hey," Aida squeaked as Luca rushed forward and buried her in his arms. He clutched her head into his neck, inhaling her scent, breathing her in. She was safe.
"Don't you ever do that to me again," he mumbled into her blonde hair. Her arms came up to wrap around him. Slowly, she relaxed into his hug.
They sat there for a moment, just holding each other, trying to forget the recent events that so plagued their minds for days. Drawing back, slowly and never once releasing his hold on her, Luca searched her face for something. Finding it, he leaned forward again, and brushed his lips softly against her own. The kiss was over before it began, and all too soon he had pulled back. He rested his forehead on her's, content with just being with her.
"I think that I just might like-like you, Aidalynn," Luca murmured through a smile.
Her face reflected his for a moment, "I second that notion, only, from me to you."
A chuckle sounded from Luca, "and to think, none of this would have happened had I not almost hit you with my car."
Bad news, I don't think there's going to be an epilogue (fluff I can not write, that hug and half-kiss nearly killed me).
Good news, I'm thinking (stress on the thinking), on maybe re-writing Cinderaida. And boy do I mean re-write. I'm talking name changes (especially Luca and Aida), setting, and backstories. Should I do this, Luca won't be Italian, but French. Why? Because I know French, I know the culture (and Italian I do not), so it's be easier and sound much more realistic.
To my reviewers out there, and all of you that watched this story (and stuck with me through my year or so gap), I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys are awesome! And also the reason I finished this (which was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, besides the math homework I'm supposed to be doing right now). I love you!