In this excerpt from Chapter Two of How to Save a Life, Ariel is confronted by Jett, and tries to run from her past at the changing point of her life.
Everyone was walking around with cups in their hands full of alcohol. A large crack of thunder filled the void in the air, and the rain started.
This was going to be a long night, I thought to myself.
I swirled around, and slightly lost my balance.
“I have the strangest feeling you’re avoiding me, but that couldn’t be true, not after the night we had.”
He smiled wide, and in my sober state, I wondered how I could possibly find comfort in him? I knew Jett. He was manipulative, and controlling—not to mention he slept with more girls than I knew.
“What did you give me?” I asked.
He stepped toward me, “why, do you want more?”
I shook my head, and crossed my arms, “no.”
“It was a sedative,” he said.
I glanced around, ripping apart my bottom lip.
“We didn’t—did we?” I asked, hesitantly.
He shook his head, “ugh no,” he said, cocking up one side of his lip, into a crooked grin. “but we did mess around.”
I swallowed hard, and shook my head. I was instantly relieved, and yet, disturbed. The fact that I did anything at all with Jett was wrong. He was with Naomi. That night flashed into my mind—the one that took place so long ago.
His voice played inside my head. I needed to go home. I couldn’t stand to be here any longer.
In the brink, I saw Tucker—alone. I ran over and he looked down at me, scrunching his brows together.
“Can you take me home?” I asked.
He nodded, “sure.”
His voice was deep, and pain filled, but the selfish, torn girl inside of me didn’t care. I didn’t love him, it would’ve been wrong to prolong the inevitable. I looked at Tucker, as we drove down the beach. The rain was coming down heavier now, and the pain inside of me was building. After what happened, all those years ago, being close to someone was a constant struggle. In a single night he took away my ability to enjoy closeness. And suddenly, I found myself healing, the way I should have to begin with, only it was it Jett. I didn’t want that.
The traffic slowed, and the brake lights consumed my vision. In the mirror, I could see an ambulance coming from behind us. As we approached the accident, the cars in front of us were being detoured down a side road. There was a man in a bright orange raincoat, with reflective strips down the center, walking by with a flashlight. I rolled the window down as he approached us.
“What happened?” I shouted, through the pouring rain.
He walked toward the car, and wiped the moisture away from his eyes.
“There was an accident a block out, a car flipped over, and went right into the light pole,” he said, hollering, “the power is out for three blocks.”
My stomach tightened, instantly. We weren’t too far from my house. Tucker leaned over, between me, and the window.
“What kind of car?”
“A black Mazda, I think,” he said.
In an instant, I was out of the car.
Tucker wasn’t too far behind.
The rain was pouring down, soaking my clothes entirely.
“You can’t be over here, miss,” the officer said, screaming through the rain.
I pushed through the people, and toward the car. It was on its side. The roof was crushed in, and the drivers’ side was completely gone. Dangling from the mirror was the metal I won last year for cheerleading. I ran my hands through my hair frantically.
“Ariel!” Tucker screamed.
I looked left, he was on a gurney. I ran over, and as the medics strapped him into it, I threw myself on his chest. The rain came down, soaking me more as held him. The noise surrounding us was drifting. I wiped my fingers over his face, measuring the space between his eyes.
“If we don’t get him to the hospital now he’s going to die,” the medic said to Tucker.
He reached out, and pulled me from him, grabbing my body as I collapsed. The rain crawled down my face, and into my gaping mouth, as I cried. Cop cars, ambulances, and people surrounded the scene. It was pure chaos. The red and blue lights flickered across my face. I closed my eyes and felt the wet cement under me. This had to be a dream. I looked up at Tucker; the water was rolling down his face, drenching his body.
“There’s been an accident,” he said into the phone.
This is my first time doing a ‘teaser Tuesday’. Thougts…comments…?
Stay tuned for more details of HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Angela Francis