Authors: Dee J. Stone
Dee J. Stone
Copyright © 2015 Dee J. Stone.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any form without written permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to real life, movies, television, games, or books is entirely coincidental and was not intended by the author.
Titles by Dee J. Stone:
Young Adult Superhero Series
Young Adult Romance:
Young Adult Paranormal:
Email the author at
It’s dark as hell.
I squint in the distance, trying to make out something. Anything. But it’s pitch black. Straining my ears does squat. It’s like I’m buried underground. Except, I can breathe.
I’m sitting on the ground, legs crossed, hands on my knees. “Hello?” I say.
Nothing. Not even a damn breeze. Where the hell am I?
I raise my arms. Reach them out as far as they can go. But all I get is air.
“Hello?” I say again.
A noise behind me. My head whips around. Light shines, blinding me. My eyes tear. I blink a few times, let the tears run down my cheeks. Then I see it—a form running toward me. It moves closer and closer, until I realize what it is. A little kid.
It’s like someone yanks me to my feet with marionette strings. My surroundings change. Colors fly in all different directions, swirling around and around, and then poof. I’m in a meadow that looks like it came out of a kid’s coloring book. The most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen.
The kid is still running toward me. Dark hair swaying behind her like a cape. When she’s only a few feet away, I recognize her. Rosie Posie.
She leaps into my open arms. Her giggles echo off the trees. Music to my ears. I spin us around, first slow and then fast. Faster and faster, until everything around me packs into a tight blur.
“Cruiser!” she shrieks, giggling some more.
“Your legs,” I say. It feels like I got hit with a brick. Rosie is walking. Hell, she’s running. She’s
She bangs her fists on my shoulders. “Do it again!”
I yank her closer to me and squeeze.
“You can walk, Rosie Pose. Shit, you can walk.”
“What are you talking about? And you said a bad word.” She untangles herself from me and lands on the ground. Dances in a circle. Bends down to grab some leaves and throws them in the air. She twirls around as they fall around her like snow.
I just stand there staring at her like a moron.
A familiar voice. The sweetest voice in the whole world. The one I want to hear for the rest of my life.
Turning around, I see her rushing toward me. She’s like an angel running through the grass, her long, shiny black hair blowing behind her in beautiful waves. My T. Rex. She’s got her Sharkettes uniform on, clutching her poms. I see her in slow motion, how she throws them in the air, leaps off the ground, does a twirl, and catches them in her hands.
Then she’s in my arms. Her lips on mine. I soak her in, her warm lips, her taste, the amazing feelings passing through my body. She’s got so much energy, so much passion, that we crash to the ground. Our lips don’t leave one another. Like they need to be in constant contact every few seconds or else we’ll die.
When we pull apart, I gaze into my girl’s face. See her big, beautiful expressive blue eyes. “She can walk, Lex,” I say.
“Rosie.” I nod at the little girl spinning around, arms spread out, face titled to the sun.
Lex’s eyebrows get all creased. “Of course she can walk. Why shouldn’t she?” She taps one of the poms on my nose. “Come.” She grabs my arm and hauls me to my feet. Then she takes Rosie’s hand. We dance around in the meadow. We laugh. We fall to the ground and roll over each other.
I can’t remember the last time I was this happy.
A shadow above my head. I look up and see an anvil hanging above me. It sways in the wind. Stares down at me with a menacing expression.
It plummets toward me.
I tighten my fingers around Cruiser’s hand. His skin is rough and warm, and so familiar. So comforting. I lean forward to gently brush my lips across his knuckles. He doesn’t stir.
My heart hurts as my eyes sweep across his body, from the top of his head, down his face that is black and blue and covered in bruises, down the arm that’s in a cast, supported by a sling. Tears gather in my eyes. “Oh, Cruiser,” I whisper.
Mrs. Dalton shifts on the chair against the wall. Her elbow rests on the armrest, her head drooping toward her chest. Cruiser’s Dad sits in the adjacent chair, his eyes shut tight. From the way his chest rises and falls, I can tell he’s really awake. I don’t know if he’s gotten an ounce of sleep these past two days.
As for me…I haven’t left Cruiser’s side, except for school. Coach Lewis has been on my case, demanding I stop skipping practice because our dance meet is coming up next week. But how can I possibly think about dance when my Cruiser is lying in a hospital bed all battered up?
I don’t get it. I don’t get any of it. Why was Cruiser attacked? The police claim they caught the guys who did this to him, something about surveillance cameras around the area. There weren’t any cameras where the attack took place, but the police were able to reconstruct what happened. The guys knocked their car into Cruiser’s motorcycle, throwing him into the street. A few minutes later, they fled the area. A man found Cruiser, all bloodied up, a little while later. He was out cold. Mrs. Dalton called us the next morning.
Jake Tyler was one of the guys who attacked him. But he’s not talking. We have no idea what instigated all of this, if it was random or not—though, I’m almost positive it wasn’t random because of what went down in the school backyard two weeks ago. We won’t have answers until Cruiser wakes up.
The doctors said it won’t be too long. His body’s been through a lot and needs rest, not to mention he’s been given a load of pain meds. Thankfully, he hasn’t sustained major injuries, just internal bleeding, broken ribs, a broken arm, and cuts and scrapes.
Every part of me, every cell, every organ, every blood vessel, is filled with fear, pain, worry. Why did this happen? Cruiser’s been keeping so many secrets from me. I knew he would get hurt, I just
it. And I know this has to do with Rey.
Cruiser’s twin brother hardly visits. He hasn’t said a word to me since the attack. I’ve never seen his eyes so hollow before. It’s like something inside him died. It’s only been two days, but Rey has gotten so skinny. I’m worried about him, too.
Mrs. Dalton shifts again. Her eyes flutter open, and when she sees me, she forces a smile. “Lex, you’re still here.”
“I want to be here when he wakes up.” My thumb softly rubs over his knuckles.
She glances at her watch. “It’s late. You should go home. It’ll probably be some time before he wakes up.”
Normally, the nurse would have kicked me out because I’m not family. But I think she saw the love I have for him in my eyes and decided to give me a break. I want to tell him how much he means to me and how sorry I am for what happened between us. If I hadn’t broken up with him, he wouldn’t have been on the other side of town. Jake and his friends wouldn’t have attacked him. He would be in my arms. I’d be kissing him and telling him how much I love him.
“I’ll give you a lift,” Mr. Dalton offers. I guess I was right—he wasn’t sleeping.
My eyes lower to my lap. I don’t want to leave Cruiser. Ever. When I first walked into the room and saw how broken he was, I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t breathe, my chest ached, and Mom had to support me because I was sure to collapse. I couldn’t believe the sight in front of me, that my Cruiser was lying in the bed, his body beat up. I thought he wasn’t going to make it. I don’t know how I could live on if he was gone. But he is going to live, and when he wakes up, I want to be the first person he sees. I want him to look into my eyes and understand that he and I are forever. That nothing, absolutely nothing, can stand in our way. Not our pasts, not the fear of the future. Nothing.
Assuming it’s something he wants, too.
Mrs. Dalton gets up and gently rubs my shoulder. “It’s not good to stay in here all day, honey. Go live your life. Cruiser’s not going anywhere. He’ll be here when you get back.”
Fresh tears pool in my eyes. She’s right—I have put my life on pause since the attack. I’ve pushed away school, dance, even my family and friends. It’s because of the guilt eating away at me. I hurt him, in more than one way. And now that he’s lying here all broken…I shut my eyes, causing the tears to slide down my cheeks. I feel like the most horrible person on the planet.
“Maybe I’ll just stretch my legs for a few minutes,” I tell her.
She nods. “But if he’s not up in an hour, we’re taking you home.”
I have no choice but to agree. As much as I want to stay with him for the rest of my life, I need to go home. I haven’t eaten anything since lunch—if picking at my plate at school counts as eating—and I need to take a shower. And even though dance is the farthest thing from my mind, I can’t let my teammates down. We need to kick ass at the next meet so we can move one step closer to nationals. Like Mrs. Dalton said, life goes on. Though I don’t want to move on with my life without Cruiser. He needs to know that.
Cruiser’s mom takes my seat and his hand as I leave the room. There is so much activity out here, people and computers and beeping. And ugh, the smell. I really hate hospitals. Ever since my little sister’s accident, it’s hard for me to step foot in here. It reminds me of the heartache my family went through, all because of me. Because I was busy making out with Cruiser instead of keeping an eye on Rosie. It’s because of me that she ran into the street and got hit by a car. It’s because of me that she may never walk again.
I always seem to hurt the people I love most.
I shake my head. I can’t think about this right now. I can’t take it.
As I pass through the hallway, my eyes catch sight of a guy sitting near the elevators, his back pressed to the wall. Rey. He’s staring at the space in front of him, his hands clenching and unclenching on his lap. He looks so…defeated.
After taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, I make my way toward him and slide down next to him. His eyes trek to mine for a second before returning to the spot he was staring at. I remain still for a few minutes before slowly taking hold of his hand. I expect him to shove me away, to get up and storm out. But he doesn’t. His hand grips mine, so tight it hurts. But I don’t say anything, I just grip his, too.
“He was going to see you.” His voice is so low I almost miss his words.
“What?” I ask, my heart rate picking up.
Rey’s focus is still on that spot. “He said he gave up on the most important person in his life.” His eyes move to mine. “He was coming to see you because he didn’t want to give up on you.”
Tears enter my eyes and spill down my cheeks so fast I couldn’t stop them if I tried. Cruiser was going to see me? To make things right between us. He got hurt because of
“He loves you.” Rey’s eyes are back on their old spot. “Really loves you.” He laughs softly to himself. “More than I could have.”
The tears are so strong and never ending. I’m a mess. Rey lets me cry on his shoulder. “It’s going to be okay,” he says. But there’s something in his voice, something I can’t explain exactly. It’s as though he’s trying to convince himself that everything will be all right. That he’s not only talking about Cruiser, but himself, too.
I put my arms around him and hold him.