Chapter Three Van Crash

The next day was cloudy and it had been raining. Kristen in front of her truck in the student car parking lot, reading a book and listening to her IPod. She was waiting for Robert to show. She had planned to confront him and demand to know what his problem was. They arrived, (Kellan driving the Jeep, Nikki driving the BMW, Ashley driving the Porsche and Jackson on the Ducati), all expect Robert, (he must own the Volvo). Justin, Christian, Michael and Anna were standing with Gregory, next to his van. “Kristen!” called Gregory and threw a piece of lickerish whip at her. It hit her on the shoulder and she looked round. They were looking at her. She smiled and made wrist clapping. They turned away and Kristen looked away. After a few seconds, Kristen looked over at Robert’s family only to see Ashley and Jackson walking up the steps. They were looking at her, but they turned away. Kristen looked away, feeling uneasy. Kristen walked into Biology the next day, her face fell when she saw Robert’s empty seat. The day after that, Kristen was in the cafeteria and she looked other at them. Robert wasn’t there, but Nikki, Ashley and Jackson looked at her. It was like that for the rest of the week.

It was raining as Billy was driving Kristen’s truck back to house. He was parking up, as Kristen came out of the house for school. Kristen wiped some drops of rain off her face as she walked down the steps. She was almost at the truck, when she slipped on a patch of ice and fell onto her bottom. She grunted as Billy got out and hurried over. “You all right?” he asked, as he helped Kristen to her feet. “Yeah, I’m good. Ice doesn’t really help the uncoordinated” replied Kristen. “Yeah. That’s why I had some new tires put on the truck. Old ones were getting pretty bald” said Billy, kicking the closest tire. Kristen looked down at them. “Well, probably be late for dinner. I gotta head down to Mason County. Security guard at the Grisham Mill got killed by some kind of animal” said Billy, walking to the cruiser. “An animal?” asked Kristen puzzled. Billy opened the driver’s side door and turned back to look at her. “You’re not in Phoenix anymore, Kristen” he said. Kristen looked away thoughtful for a second. “Anyway, I figured I’d lend a hand” said Billy. “Be careful” said Kristen. “Always am” said Billy. “And thanks for the tires” said Kristen. “Yeah” said Billy and got in the cruiser. Kristen turned and got into the truck.

The rain had picked up by the time Kristen got to school. There was the sound of thunder now. Today, Kristen’s first lesson of the day was Biology. She walked to class with Justin. Justin was talking about the upcoming dance. “Dance Committee is a chick thing, but I gotta cover it for the paper anyway, and they need a guy to help choose the music, so I need your play list” said Justin, as they walked into Biology and Kristen was hanging up her jacket on coat stand near the door. Kristen turned and looked at him. “Hey, listen, I was wondering, did you have a date to...” said Justin. Before he could finish, Michael came in. “What’s up, Arizona? Huh? How you liking the rain, girl?” asked Michael, shaking his wet cap over Kristen’s head, before hanging it on the coat stand. Kristen shot him a look. “Better get used to it, girl” said Michael, taking off his jacket and hanging it on top of his cap. “Yeah, Michael, hey, you’re real cute, man” said Justin. “Oh, I know...” Michael started to say. “That was really awesome. Why you shooting down my game? Let a playa play” said Justin. “Yeah, ok. What are you playing at, T-Ball?” asked Michael.

Kristen walked passed them, looked towards her table and smiled. Robert was back. He looked up and starred at her. There was a microscope on each table today. Kristen went straight to her seat next to him. Justin and Michael were now at their seats. As she sat down, Kristen shot him and quick look and looked away. Robert looked at her. “Hello” he said. Kristen turned and looked at him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself last week. I’m Robert Simon. You’re Kristen?” he asked. “Yes” replied Kristen, shocked by his politeness. Mr. Morgan began the lesson just then. “Onion root tip cells, that’s what’s on your slides right now. Ok? So, separate and label them into the phases of Mitosis, and the first partners that get it right are gonna win the Golden Onion” he said, picking up the Golden Onion. The other students catcalled. “All right, good” said a boy. “Ladies, first” said Robert, moving the microscope towards Kristen. Kristen looked at him. “You were gone” she said before putting her eye to the eye piece. “Yeah. I was out of town for a couple of days. Personal reasons” said Robert. Kristen looked up at him. “Prophase” said Kristen, moving the microscope back towards Robert. “Do you mind if I look?” asked Robert. Kristen looked at him and then away. Robert moved the microscope closer to him and looked through the eye piece. “It’s Prophase” he said and wrote it down. “Like I said” said Kristen. Robert finished writing and looked at Kristen. “So are you enjoying the rain?” he asked. Kristen looked at him and laughed anxiously. “What?” asked Robert smiling. “You’re asking me about the weather?” asked Kristen with a puzzled look. “Yeah, I... I guess I am” replied Robert. “Well, I don’t really like the rain. Any cold, wet thing, I don’t really...” said Kristen. Robert sniggered and looked down to put another slide on the microscope. “What?” asked Kristen. “Nothing” replied Robert, shaking his head and laughed. He looked through the eye piece. “It’s Anaphase” he said, looking up and then down to write. “You mind if I check?” asked Kristen. “Sure” replied Robert. Kristen moved the microscope towards her and looked through the eye piece. She looked up and at Robert, who was looking at her. “Anaphase” she said. “Like I said” said Robert. Robert looked down to write and smiled to himself. Kristen just looked at him. “If you hate the cold and the rain so much, why’d you move to the wettest place in the continental US?” asked Robert, looking up at her. Kristen looked down. “It’s complicated” she said. “I’m sure I can keep up” said Robert. Kristen looked up at him. “My mom remarried, and...” she began. “So you don’t like the guy, or...” said Robert. “No, that’s not... Ty’s really nice” said Kristen. While she was talking, Kristen couldn’t stop looking at Robert’s eyes. The last time she had since him, his eyes were black, but today they were gold. Robert looked away, pulled the microscope towards him, put another slide on and looked through the eye piece. Kristen kept her eyes on him. “It’s Metaphase. You want to check?” asked Robert, looking up. Kristen shook her head. “I believe you” she said, looking down.

At the end of the lesson, Mr. Morgan declared Robert and Kristen were the winners. They got the Golden Onion, but Robert gave it to Kristen to keep. Robert decided to walk Kristen to her locker. As they walked, neither of them spoke for a while. “Why didn’t you move with your mother and Ty?” asked Robert. Kristen looked at him. “Well, Ty’s a minor league Baseball player, and he travels a lot, and my mom stayed home with me, but I knew it made her unhappy, so I figured I’ll stay with my dad for a while” replied Kristen. They had reached Kristen’s locker, Kristen leaned against it and looked at Robert. “And now you’re unhappy” said Robert. “No” said Kristen. “I’m sorry, I’m just... I’m just trying to figure you out. You’re very difficult for me to read” said Robert. Kristen looked into his eyes and couldn’t stand it any longer. “Hey, did you get contacts?” she asked. “No” replied Robert. “Your eyes were black the last time I saw you, and now they’re, like, golden brown” said Kristen. “Yeah, I know, it’s the... It’s the fluorescents” said Robert, closing his eyes. He opened his eyes, turned and walked away. Kristen watched him. When he had gone, Kristen turned away and got ready for her next class.

It had stopped raining, by the end of the day. Kristen walked to her truck, listening to her IPod and holding the Golden Onion. When she reached it, she placed her rucksack on the bonnet and looked towards the farther end on the lot, towards the school. Robert was standing next his Volvo, starring at her. His family were also starring at her. Ashley looked at Robert for a split second and then back at Kristen. For a few seconds Kristen and Robert simply stared at each other. Soon, Kristen looked away and started to put the Golden Onion into her rucksack. Just then, Gregory came driving towards the exit, but another car was backing out, as he was coming up to it. The car honked and Gregory’s van skidded on a patch of ice, trying to avoid a crash. Everyone whipped around to see Gregory lose control of his van. Hearing the sound of tires screeching getting closer, Kristen turned around fast and froze in horror, as Gregory’s van came sliding sideways towards her. Out of nowhere, Robert came running up and pulled her to the ground. He crouched down over her and held his hand up. There was a loud thud, as the van collided with Robert’s up raised hand. The back of the van crashed into Kristen’s truck and inside the van, Gregory hit his head on the steering wheel and granted loudly. The van moved an inch away from Robert’s hand and stopped. Kristen couldn’t believe her eyes at what just happened. Both Robert and Kristen were looking at the van. Robert then looked down at Kristen at the same time that Kristen looked up at him, letting out a breath trembling. For a moment they starred at each other. Suddenly, Robert stood up, climbed up in the back of the truck, jumped out and walked away. Kristen looked back at Gregory’s van and starred in horror at the damage. “Kristen!” shouted the students. “Kristen!” shouted someone. Nearly the whole of the junior class was running over. Christian ran around to her, while Michael climbed over, Justin peeked over the back with Anna, Gregory slid over to the passage side and winded the window to look at. “Dial 911!” shouted a girl, as Michael and Christian helped Kristen to her feet. “I already called. They’re gonna send somebody over soon” shouted a boy. Gregory stuck his head out of the open window. There was a cut on his forehead that was bleeding down to his eye. “Kristen, I’m so sorry. I panicked” said Gregory. Kristen removed her headphones from inside her ears and looked around shocked. “Kristen, I got 911 on the phone now” said a girl. The only ones that didn’t rush over were Robert’s family. They just stood where they were looking angry.

Kristen and Gregory were rushed to Forks Hospital for an examination. While they were being checked the door opened and Billy came in, looking worried. He relaxed a little when he saw Kristen. “Kristen. You ok?” he asked coming over to Kristen’s bed. He looked over at Gregory, who was sitting on the bed next to her. “You and I are gonna a talk. You all right?” asked Billy pointing at Gregory before turning back to Kristen. Kristen looked at Billy with a blood pressure cuff on her arm that was being looked at by a nurse. “I’m fine, Dad. Calm down” replied Kristen. They both looked at Gregory. “I’m sorry, Kristen. I tried to stop” said Gregory. “I know. It’s ok” said Kristen. She looked down at her arm just as the cuff was taken off, but Billy kept his eyes on Gregory. “No. It sure as hell is not ok” said Billy. Kristen looked up at him. “Dad, it wasn’t his fault” she said and looked down at her hand. “You could have been killed. You understand that?” asked Billy turning back to her. She looked up at him. “Yes. But I wasn’t, so...” she said. Billy turned back to Gregory. “You can kiss your license goodbye” said Billy, sternly. Before Kristen could see anything, the door opened and a doctor walked in. He was twenty-three with short neat blond hair and the same gold eyes that Robert had. This had to his adoptive father. “I heard the chief’s daughter was here” he said walking towards them. “Dr. Simon” said Billy. “Billy” said Dr. Simon and stop in front of Kristen. “I’ve got this one, Jackie” said Dr. Simon, taking Kristen’s chart from the nurse and she walked away. He looked down at it. “Kristen” he said, looking through it. “Yeah” said Kristen. “Well, Kristen, looks like you took quite a spill. How do you feel?” he asked looking up. “Good” replied Kristen. Dr. Simon pulled a pen-like-torch out of his pocket. “Look here” he said turning it on, holding it up, shining it into Kristen’s eye, with one finger up so Kristen could look at it. “You might experience some post-traumatic stress or disorientation, but your vitals look good” said Dr. Simon, switching hands as he spoke. He turned the torch off and put it back in his pocket. “No signs of any head trauma. I think you’ll be just fine” said Dr. Simon, smiling at Kristen. “I’m so sorry, Kristen. I’m really...” started Gregory. Kristen looked at him while he was talking. Billy pulled the curtain across, giving them some privacy. Kristen looked at Dr. Simon, who was writing on the chart. “You know, it would’ve been a whole lot worse if Robert wasn’t there. He knocked me out of the way” said Kristen. “Robert? Your boy?” asked Billy. “Yeah, it was amazing. I mean, he got to me so fast. He was nowhere near me” said Kristen. “Sounds like you were very lucky” said Dr. Simon. He smiled at Kristen. “Billy” he said and walked away. Kristen got the feeling that he was in on it.

As they walked out of the ward, Billy turned to Kristen. “I gotta go sign some paperwork. You should... You should probably call your mom” he said. Kristen looked at him shocked. “Did you tell her?” she asked. Billy made a face and a hand jester, (he had Kristen’s rucksack over one shoulder and was also holding it). Kristen looked down and groaned. “She’s probably just freaking out” said Kristen, taking her phone out of her pocket. She walked off to find somewhere to call Sarah from. As she came to a corner, she heard a voice. “...fifteen kids that saw what happened”, it was a girl’s voice. Kristen peeked around the corner and saw Robert talking with Dr. Simon and Nikki. Quickly she ducked back around the corner. “What was I supposed to do, then? Let her die?” asked Robert. “This isn’t just about you. It’s about all of us” said Nikki. Kristen peeked around the corner again. “I think we should take this in my office” said Dr. Simon. He had spotted her, Nikki and Robert looked over at her. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” asked Kristen. “Nikki” said Dr. Simon and he and Nikki walked towards the end of the corridor. Robert walked towards Kristen, who had ducked back around the corner and was leaning against the wall. “What?” asked Robert, stopping at the corner. Kristen pushed off the wall and turned to look at him. “How did you get over to me so fast?” asked Kristen. “I was standing right next to you, Kristen” replied Robert. “No. You were next to your car, across the lot” said Kristen. “No, I wasn’t” said Robert smiling. He laughed softly. “Yes, you were” said Kristen, getting angry. “Kristen, you’re... You hit your head. I think you’re confused” said Robert, keeping calm. “I know what I saw” said Kristen. “And what exactly was that?” asked Robert. She starred at him in disbelief. “You... You stopped the van. You pushed it away with your hand” replied Kristen. “Well, nobody’s gonna believe you, so...” said Robert, looked away for a second and looked back at her. “I wasn’t gonna tell anybody. I just need to know the truth” said Kristen. “Can’t you just thank me and get over it?” asked Robert angrily. “Thankyou” replied Kristen quickly. There was a pause. “You’re not gonna let this go, aren’t you?” asked Robert. “No” replied Kristen. “Well, then I hope you enjoy disappointment” said Robert. With that, he turned and walked towards his father and sister. Kristen just stood there in disgust.

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