I shouldn't be alive, but I am. I shouldn't be sitting in a hospital room with hardly a scratch while my best friend is about to be buried, but I am. I shouldn't have let him save me, but I did. And now he's dead, and I'm not. It doesn't make sense, right? Well believe me when I say I wish I could take his place. I wish I could make everything okay, and bring him back, but I just can't.
I've lost the person who means most to me and there isn't a thing I can do. Nobody should ever have to deal with this pain, but I couldn't keep it from creeping up on me. It was like the ache got into my blood and started to pump through my whole body. It wasn't just my heart hurting. My whole body was pulsing with guilt.
Jacen Dawson was absolutely perfect. Not just according to me. Everybody saw him that way. He was incredibly close to his mother and father and was definitely not ashamed to let anybody know it. Going into his senior year, he was a star quarterback with plenty of colleges lining up to give him a full ride scholarship. And I can't forget his 4.0 GPA. That's only because Jace wouldn't let me forget it. He'd bring it up almost every day. His solid 4.0 compared to my 3.8, he's so smart and I'm so dumb, of course. What are best friends for, right?
I smirked to myself, and then felt my smile falter. God, I miss him. So much.
Last but definitely not least, he was gorgeous. And I mean gorgeous. He had that windblown black hair that made most girls melt. One look with his green and brown specked eyes would make the girls weak in the knees. Not to mention his amazingly cut body. The good thing about Jace was he didn't act like he was hot. I mean, of course he knew. He just wasn't the type to show it.
I shook my head and bit my lip, trying to remember how to breathe. I looked over to my left and noticed a nightstand next to my bed. A few pictures were sitting there next to a glass of water. I grabbed the glass and chugged it down, just realizing how thirsty I was. After that, I picked up the first picture. My heart sank into my stomach as I stared at Jace's face.
We had a tradition we'd been following for about 8 years. Every weekend, we would get together and watch scary movies until the sun came up. In this picture, the two of us were passed out on the living room floor, junk food wrappers and soda cans scattered around us. I flipped the picture over and looked at the date. When it was taken, I was 15 and he was 16, so only about two years ago.
I bit my lip again and set the picture down, grabbing the second one. In this one, it was a shot of the two of us, faces squished to the camera. My hazel eyes were stinging with tears from laughing so hard. I'm ridiculously ticklish, which of course, Jacen knew. One of his favorite hobbies was to attack me when I least expected it and tickle me until I cried. Jacen found it to be a picture perfect moment.
The sudden realization that there would be no more weekend sleepovers and no more of Jacen's tickling torture made my breath catch. I set the pictures down and dropped my head into my hands. For some reason, the tears just wouldn't come. I figured I was in shock. I mean, a few tears had leaked through, but the big breakthrough was still coming, I could feel it. With my head lowered, I pieced the memory of that night back together in my head.
Jacen had just picked me up from my house. We were headed back to his place for our weekend movie night. He was acting really weird for some reason, but I let it slide. I noticed he had his hair styled a little differently.
"Jace, why is your hair like that? You never do that. And why aren't you talking?" I asked, eyeing him. Yep, something was definitely off. Usually he talks so much I have to tune him out.
"What's with the 20 questions? Can't I change things up a bit?" He asked.
"That was three questions, not twenty." I said, raising an eyebrow. "But you are acting really strange." He simply shrugged and I rolled my eyes.
"Fine. Don't tell your best friend in the entire world what you're up to. Anyways, what movies do you have planned for tonight?"
"Secret." Jace said, reaching over and turning up the radio.
I turned the radio back down and glared at him with fake intensity. "Jacen Michael Dawson. You do not turn the radio up on me! Stop being a pain and tell me the movies." I said, sticking my tongue out at him.
"Victoria, drop it. Please?" He questioned, looking at me with his classic look. The "I think I'm a character from Twilight and can look at people and make them do whatever I want" look always worked on me.
"Jace. Don't Edward Cullen me. It's creepy." I muttered. He looked over at me, slightly confused and more than a little shocked, but then just as quickly dropped it.
"I'm sorry. Would you prefer me take my shirt off and get a spray tan?" Jacen asked, smirking at me.
"Oh, god. Neither, please." I said, looking at him warily.
"Then trust me. The movies will be pleasant." He said. I smiled and rolled my eyes, which was my usually reaction when it came to Jacen.
Blinding lights suddenly appeared in my vision, and before I had time to realize what they were, I felt the car swerving and Jacen's breaks started to squeal as he slammed his foot on the pedal. Something, which I'm now guessing was the other car, clipped the front end of Jace's car, which made us spin uncontrollably a few times. I felt the car being lifted into the air. Jacen wrapped his arms around me and squeezed me really tightly. He shouted for me to hold on to something. Just as I did what he said, the car slammed to the ground, making me bite down on my lip really hard. I cried out in pain as I started to taste blood.
"Shit, that was scary. Are you okay?" Jacen asked. I nodded and looked down at him. He had somehow unbuckled his seatbelt while we were in the air and pushed himself halfway in my seat to protect me.
"Jace, you saved my life." I said, my eyes watering. "I love you so much!" I pulled him into a hug. When I pulled back, more bright lights appeared in my vision. I heard a deafening scream, which I now know was my own.
Apparently, those other lights were another car. It hit us head on and I was slammed into the back of my seat. My head banged painfully on the headrest and the front of the car caved in. I groaned as I closed my eyes, trying to stop the nausea from taking over. My head was throbbing and I thought I was going to puke. "Jace, are you good?" I asked him, poking his side.
He didn't move and I shook him softly. "Jacen." Once again, he didn't respond.
"Jacen!" I yelled, shaking him hard. Nothing.
"Jacen Dawson you open your eyes right now. This isn't funny. Wake up. Jace, come on. Oh God. Jace. Open your eyes! Please! Oh no. No no!" I kept talking, getting more hysterical by the second.
"Help!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. I screamed some more things after that, but I'm not sure what I was saying. I must have been pretty loud because in a matter of seconds I was surrounded by worried bystanders.
In the distance, I could hear faint sirens. "Do something!" I yelled to the people around us. "Why won't anybody help? Somebody save him!" I sobbed to the crowd. I must have blacked out, because the next thing I remember is being placed in an ambulance while Jace was being placed in one right next to me. "Jacen." I said weakly, trying to lift my arms.
"Sweetheart, don't move. You don't want to hurt yourself any further." A kind female voice said to me. No. This isn't happening.
Then everything went black again.
I opened my eyes to have my senses all being assaulted at once. A bright light was practically blinding me. My first thought was 'Shit, I'm dead'. And then the smell of chemicals hit me, nearly making me gag. An annoying beeping noise wouldn't stop, my mouth was incredibly dry, and my whole body was sore. Where the hell am I? When I was finally able to see again, I looked around the room. All white walls, a green curtain, a heart monitor... I'm in a hospital. What is going on?!
I tried to call out to someone, but I couldn't find my voice at first. "Mom?" I finally managed to call loudly. Almost instantly, my mother burst through the door, followed by my father.
"Victoria! Oh my poor baby! I'm so happy you're okay!" My mother cried, engulfing me in a hug. She looked exhausted, and dark circles were underneath her eyes. "Lance, get a doctor." My mother instructed my father before turning back to me.
"Ah, mom!" I cried as she squeezed me tighter. "I'm sore."
"Oh, sorry!" She said, untangling herself from me.
"It's okay. So, what am I doing in the hospital?" I asked.
"You don't remember?" She asked, looking at me with wide eyes.
"That's normal." A young man said, walking into the room. "I'm Dr. James. You have minor injuries, really. I'm going to assume that you're sore?"
"Definitely." I replied.
"Figured. You'll be good as new in no time." He said, reaching over to check my vitals.
"As for how you ended up here, don't try to strain your memory. You'll only make it worse. I've got to go check on a surgery now. I'll be back soon to check on you." He said, excusing himself from the room.
"Since I'm apparently not allowed to think about how I got here, could you just tell me?" I asked my mother. She opened her mouth to reply just as my father reentered the room. His eyes were rimmed red and he looked completely wrecked.
"Daddy?" I called to him. "What's wrong?"
He looked at me and his face blanked for a second before returning to its saddened expression.
"Baby, there's no easy way to tell you this." My father said, pulling at his hair. "You were in a car accident. A bad one."
Jacen's face floated into my mind as I remembered the car ride. "Where's Jacen? Why isn't he here?" I asked, my voice getting louder.
"He didn't make it, baby girl." Dad said, coming to me and grabbing my hand.
"What do you mean? Did he not make it here to see me? Is he at home or something?" I asked, confused.
Sobs leaked through the door of my room and I looked through the window out of curiosity. Jace's mother was collapsed on his father.
He was clinging to her, trying to hold her up, but he was falling himself. Mrs. Dawson was sobbing loudly while Mr. Dawson had quiet streams of tears running down his face.
"They're crying over the car right?" I asked, my heart sinking. "Tell me this is about the car!" I shouted, panic rising in my chest. I felt like I was going to be sick.
"Sweetheart. They aren't crying over the car. It's Jace." He said, grabbing my face.
"What do you mean? You aren't making any sense!" I practically shouted over my pounding heart.
"Victoria, Jacen isn't here anymore. He passed away, baby." My mother said, tears welling in her eyes.
"That's not funny." I retorted. My parents just stared sympathetically.
"No no no that's not true. You're lying!" I screamed after the words hit me like a ton of bricks. Deep inside I knew it was true, but I wasn't allowing myself to admit it.
"Get out of my room! Just get out!" I yelled. My mother and father shared a glance before kissing me on the forehead and exiting the room.
As soon as the door closed, I leaned over the side of my bed and emptied my stomach into the trash can.
When I woke up, I was in this hospital room, with pictures on my nightstand of my dead best friend.
I felt disgusting. I desperately needed a shower, and a few bottles of mouthwash. My long brown hair felt dirty and my body was bruised.
I pulled myself out of my thoughts just as the young doctor from earlier entered my room.
"Glad to see you awake, Miss Mitchell." He said to me casually. "Still feeling any pain?"
'Just the gaping hole in my heart keeping me from breathing and feeling any emotion' I thought to myself. "I'm still sore and I have a bit of a headache, but that's it." I said instead.
"Well, soreness is completely expected. The headache is also expected. You've had a rough day Miss Mitchell. I'll have a nurse get you some pain medication." Dr. James said.
I tried to pull myself together enough to ask the question burning in my brain. Spitting it out before I could change my mind, I asked, "How did Jacen die?"
He eyed me cautiously before saying, "Victoria, I'm not sure now is a good time to talk about this. You are under a lot of stress and we don't need to add to that. Maybe you should rest first."
"Dr. James, I'm going to find out eventually. I would rather just hear it from you." I said, softly.
He sighed, his face contorting into a mournful look. "I'm not sure how much you remember, but Jacen was not seat belted and his entire upper torso was basically on your lap. When the second car hit Mr. Dawson's head on, the car was smashed inward. That pinned his body between you and the dashboard." He stopped and I sucked in a deep breath, but gave him an expectant look.
"He received multiple injuries to his brain and his lungs suffered massive damage. His lungs collapsed and he suffocated before he made it to the hospital. Victoria, the angle the car hit surely would have critically injured if not killed you. It is because of Jacen that you will be able to walk and talk right now. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm going to find a nurse now to get you some pain medication." He said, exiting the room.
I sat in stunned silence wondering why he did that. He would have survived, not me. Things never happen the way they should.
Sad? Yes? Vote and Comment please!
Song: Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne
"I miss you. I miss you so bad. I don't forget you. Oh, it's so sad. I hope you can hear me. I remember it clearly. The day you slipped away was the day I found it won't be the same."
"I didn't get around to kiss you goodbye on the hand. I wish that I could see you again. I know that I can't."
"I had my wake up. Won't you wake up? I keep asking why. I can't take it. It wasn't fake. It happened, you passed by. Now you're gone. There you go. Somewhere I can't bring you back."