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Point of retreat, p.25

  Point of Retreat, p.25

   part  #2 of  Slammed Series

Point of Retreat
 


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  "You okay?" I ask Eddie. She just nods.

  I walk over to Lake and give her a quick peck on the cheek as she unlocks her door. "I'll follow you guys in case she gets sick again and you have to pull over."

  "Thanks, Babe," she says, unlocking the doors for everyone else. She turns around and gives me a hug before climbing into her car.

  "The boys are staying at my house tonight," I whisper in her ear. "After they fall asleep, I'm coming over. Wear your ugly shirt, okay?"

  She smiles. "I can't. You stole it, remember?"

  "Oh yeah," I whisper. "In that case…I guess you just shouldn't wear one at all." I wink at her and walk back to my car.

  "She okay?" Gavin asks when I get back inside the car.

  "I guess so," I say. "You want to go ride with them?"

  Gavin shakes his head and sighs. "She doesn't want me to. She's still mad at me."

  I feel bad. I hate that Lake and I just made up right in front of them. "She'll come around," I say as I pull out of the parking lot.

  "Why do you two even bother with girls?" Kel asks. "Both of you have been miserable for days. It's pathetic."

  "Someday you'll see, Kel," Gavin says. "You'll see."

  He's right. Making up with Lake later tonight will make this entire week of hell worth every second. Deep down I know it'll happen tonight. We're both way beyond the point of retreat. I suddenly become nervous at the thought.

  "Kel, you want to stay at my house tonight?" I try to act casual with my plan to corral the boys at my place. I feel like Kel can see right through me, even though I know he can't.

  "Sure," he says. "But it's a school night and Lake takes us to school on Fridays. Why doesn't Caulder just stay with me?"

  I didn't think about that. I guess Lake could just sneak over to my house after they fall asleep at her house. "Whichever," I say. "Doesn't really matter where."

  Gavin laughs. "I see what you're up to," he whispers.

  I just smile.

  ***

  We're about half-way home when the snow begins to fall pretty heavily. Luckily, Lake is a pretty cautious driver. I'm still following behind her even though I would normally drive about ten miles an hour faster than this. It's a good thing Eddie isn't driving though; we'd all be in trouble.

  "Gavin, you awake?" He's staring out the window and hasn't said much since we left Detroit. I can't tell if he's lost in thought or passed out.

  He grumbles a response, informing me that he's still awake.

  "Have you and Eddie talked since you left my house the other night?"

  He stretches in his seat and yawns, then puts his hands behind his head and leans back. "Not yet. I worked a double shift yesterday. We were both in school all day today and didn't even see each other until tonight, but we were with Layken. I pulled her aside earlier and told her I wanted to talk to her later. I have a feeling she thinks it's bad. She hasn't said much to me since then."

  "Well, she'll be-"

  "Will!" Gavin yells. My first instinct is to slam on the breaks, but I'm not sure why I'm slamming on the breaks. I glance at Gavin and his eyes are glued to the oncoming traffic in the lanes to the left of us. I turn my head and see it just as the truck crosses the median and hits the car in front of us.

  Lake's car.

  Part Two

  Thursday, January 26th, 2012

  Chapter Twelve

  I open my eyes, but don't hear anything right away. It's cold, though. I feel wind. And glass. Glass is on my shirt. Then I hear Caulder.

  "Will!" he screams.

  I turn around. Caulder and Kel both look fine, but they're panicking and trying to get out of their seat belts. Kel looks terrified. He's crying and yanking on the car door.

  "Kel, don't get out of the car. Stay in the backseat." My hand goes up to my eye and I pull my fingers back and there's blood on them.

  I'm not sure what just happened. We must have been hit. Or we ran off the road. The back windshield is busted out and there's glass all over the car. The boys don't look cut anywhere. I look at Gavin and he's swinging his door open. He tries to jump out of the car but he's stuck in his seatbelt. He's frantic, trying to unlatch. I reach over and push the button, releasing his seatbelt for him. He trips as he lunges out of the car, but catches himself with his hands and pushes himself back up and runs. What is he running from? My eyes follow him as he runs around the car next to us. He's gone. I can't see him. I lean my head back into the headrest and close my eyes. What the hell just happened?

  "Lake!" I yell as soon as it hits me. I swing open the car door and get hung up in the seatbelt just like Gavin did. When I free myself, I run. I don't know where I'm running to. It's dark, it's snowing and there are cars everywhere. Headlights everywhere.

  "Sir, are you okay? You need to sit down, you're hurt." A man grabs my arm and tries to pull me aside but I yank my arm away from him and keep running. There are pieces of glass and metal all over the highway. My eyes dart from one side of the road to the other, but I can't make anything out. I glance back to my car and to the space in front of us where Lake's car should be. My eyes follow the broken glass to the median on the right of the highway. I see it. Her car.

  I break out in a run until I reach the car. Gavin is on the passenger side. He's pulling Eddie out of the car so I run around to help him. Her eyes are closed but she winces when I pull on her arm. She's okay. I glance inside the car but Lake's not there. Her driver's side door is wide open. A sense of relief washes over me when I realize she must be okay if she's able to walk away. My eyes dart to the backseat and I see Kiersten. As soon as Eddie is lying on the ground, I climb into the backseat and shake Kiersten.

  "Kiersten," I say. She doesn't respond. She's got blood on her, but I'm not sure where it's coming from. "Kiersten!" I yell. She still doesn't respond. I take her wrist and hold it between my fingers. Gavin climbs into the backseat with me and sees me checking her pulse. He looks at me with terror in his eyes.

  "She's got a pulse," I say. "Help me get her out." He unbuckles her seatbelt as I put my hands underneath her arms and pull her over the front seat. Gavin climbs out first and grabs her legs and helps me pull her out of the car. We lay her next to Eddie. Next to an ever-growing crowd of concerned bystanders. I glance at all of them, but none of them are Lake.

  "Where the hell did she go?" I stand up and look around. "Stay with them," I tell Gavin. "I need to find Lake. She's probably looking for Kel."

  Gavin nods.

  I walk around several vehicles and pass the truck that hit them. What's left of the truck, anyway. There are several people surrounding it, talking to the driver inside, telling him to wait for help before he gets out. I'm in the middle of the highway, calling her name. Where did she go? I run back to my car and Kel and Caulder are both still inside.

  "Is she okay?" Kel asks. "Is Layken okay?" He's crying.

  "Yeah, I think so. She walked away…I just can't find her. You guys stay here, I'll be right back."

  I finally hear sirens as I'm making my way back to Lake's car. When the emergency vehicles come closer, their flashing lights illuminate all the chaos…almost emphasizing it. I look at Gavin. He's hovering over Kiersten checking her pulse again. The sound of the sirens fade as I watch everyone around me move in slow motion.

  All I can hear is the sound of my own breath.

  An ambulance pulls up beside me and the lights slowly make their way in a circle…as if their job as lights is to display the perimeter of the damage. I follow along with my eyes as one of the red lights slowly illuminates across my car, then the car next to mine, then over the top of Lake's car, then on top of the truck that hit them, then across Lake lying in the snow. Lake! As soon as the red light circles further, it's dark and I don't see her anymore. I run.

  I try to scream her name, but nothing comes out. There are people in my way, but I just shove past them. I keep running and running, but it feels like the distance between us keeps getting further and further away.

&nb
sp; "Will!" I hear Gavin yell. He's off the ground and running after me.

  When I finally reach her, she's just lying there in the snow with her eyes closed. There's blood on her head. So much blood. I tear off my jacket and throw it in the snow and remove my shirt. I begin wiping the blood off of her face with it, trying desperately to find her injuries.

  "Lake! No, no, no. Lake, no." I touch her face with my hand, trying to gain some sort of reaction out of her. It’s cold. She's so cold. As soon as I put my hands under her shoulders to pull her into my lap, someone pulls me back. Paramedics swarm her as I'm being pulled away from her. I can't see her anymore. I can't see her.

  "Will!" Gavin yells. He's in my face. He's shaking me. "Will! We need to get to the hospital. They'll take her there. We need to go."

  He's trying to push me away from her. I can't speak, so I shake my head and push him out of my way. I start to run back to them. Back to her. He pulls me back again. "Will, don't! Let them help her."

  I turn around and shove him, then run back to her. They're moving her onto a gurney when I skid to a stop in the snow right next to her. "Lake!"

  One of the paramedics pushes me back as the others lift her up and carry her to the ambulance. "I need in there!" I yell. "Let me in there!" The paramedic won't let me by as they shut the doors and tap on the glass. The ambulance pulls away. As soon as its lights fade into the distance, I fall to my knees.

  I can't breathe.

  I can't breathe.

  I still can't breathe.

  Thursday, January 26th, 2012.

  Chapter Thirteen

  When I open my eyes, I immediately have to close them again. It's so bright. I'm shaking. My whole body is shaking. Actually, it's not my body that's shaking at all. It's whatever I'm lying on that's shaking.

  "Will? Are you okay?"

  I hear Caulder's voice. I open my eyes and see him sitting next to me. We're in an ambulance. He's crying. I try to sit up to hug him, but someone pushes me back down.

  "Be still, Sir. You've got a pretty bad gash I'm working on here."

  I look at the person talking to me. It's the paramedic that was holding me back. "Is she okay?" I feel myself succumb to the panic again. "Where is she? Is she okay?"

  He puts his hand on my shoulder to hold me still and places gauze over my eye. "I wish I knew something…but I don't. I’m sorry. I just know I need to get this injury of yours closed. We'll get more information when we get there."

  I look around the ambulance but I don't see Kel. "Where's Kel?"

  "They put him and Gavin in the other ambulance to check on them. They said we would see them at the hospital," Caulder says.

  I lay my head back, close my eyes and pray.

  ***

  As soon as the ambulance doors open and they pull me out, I jump off
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