Love...Hate...What's the difference, really?

Chapter 3

Chapter 2

by: Zoebird
I cringed as the doctor's smooth fingers probed my skull. He raised an eyebrow, easily noticing my discomfort. "Delicate?" he inquired.
I shrugged, covering another wince as he found a bruise. "I'm just a bit sore, that's all," I lied. My head was throbbing agony in time with the beating of my pulse. My ribs ached-some of them were probably broken. And gray dots would swarm across my vision every couple minutes.
But hey, that wasn't too bad for someone who'd just been in a motorcycle accident!
Jason, in the cot next to mine, was much the worse for wear. He had scrapes all over that were still oozing blood, and his leg kept twitching spasmodically. Every time this happened, he clenched his teeth, though his deep blue eyes revealed the extent of his pain, as did his occasional gasps.
I studied him as the doctor went to examine him, thinking how bad it would have been if he hadn't been in front of me...
~The crash~
"Ohmygod, we're gonna die!" I screeched through my stuffy helmet as we raced around the streets. I was clutching on to Jason for dear life, sure that any second I was gonna lose my balance and topple off the back of the bike to be smushed by the next passing car.
My grip tightened, and Jason glanced at me, smirking. He cackled at my panicked expression. "Relax-we're gonna be fine. And loosen your grip or you're gonna choke me," he teased, yelling to be heard over the roaring of the wind.
I relaxed my hold on his waist minutely, petrified by the empty air at my back.
"That's it-pull over, I want off!" I screamed at Jason as we blasted by a car and my thighs came way too close for comfort with the wheels. I was honestly freaking out now.
This was nothing like riding in a car, and now I knew which one I preferred. I shuddered.
Jason shrugged and started to turn around.
Without looking.
Maybe, if he had looked, it would have been different. Maybe we would have seen our potential doom racing toward us in the form of a car that came racing illegally through a red light. Maybe. But Jason was focused on turning, and I was too terrified to look anywhere but straight forward at Jason's shoulders.
But both of our heads snapped around when we heard a screeching sound-the tires protesting as the driver tried to brake.
Both of us saw a green blur collide with the front of the bike, crushing Jason's left leg. He screamed as I heard a sickening ''Snap!''
Then it erupted into chaos. The bike bucked under us, throwing us off. I fell straight down onto the the road, but Jason was propelled back a few feet, and collapsed on the asphalt, crumpled and broken-looking.
I was about to get up and go check on him when the bike collapsed on me, the handles smacking my head hard against the road. I heard a ''Crack!'' and everything went out of focus. Then the bike's weight was on me, crushing my lungs and poking my ribs, making it hard for me to breathe. I felt a sticky wetness at the back of my scalp. The more it grew, the more my awareness faded away.
The last thing I was concious of was a wailing in the distance, before everything went a murky gray.
~The hospital~
The doc started talking, jarring me back to reality. I blinked several times as I focused.
"...shouldn't need stitches, but you're leg will need to be splinted, and you'll need crutches for the next, oh, three weeks or so, I'd wager," he was telling Jason.
"Great," he muttered rolling his eyes and sighing. Dr. Binning chuckled good-naturedly as he turned to me. I braced myself for the worst, but as it turned out, all I needed was my ribs taped up, some pain meds, and an X-ray to determine if my brain was swelling or not.
Sounded simple enough. Jason and I gave parting glances as we were wheeled away in different directions to begin treatment.
As Doc Bin taped me up, I thought about what Jason and I were now. We were no longer enemies, I guess, but we definitely weren't friends, either. So...where did that leave us? I had no clue.
My X-ray took about fifteen minutes, and then I was sent back to the E.R. to wait for the verdict. Jason was already there when I was wheeled in, and he was-surprise, surprise-''reading.'' I don't mean a comic book-oopsie, I meant "graphic novel"(oh, please! they're so comic books, just like the ugly duckling is a swan; changing the title doesn't change what it is-get a clue)-it was a real novel.
Sadly, he saw me come in and stuffed it out of sight before I could catch the title. He was ever so slightly blushing, almost like he was embarrassed to be caught doing something even vaguely intelligent. I wondered why as I pulled my sketch pad and a pencil out. That's how I think-by doodling. It helps me relax and organize my thoughts, so I doodled as I pondered what was wrong with appearing smart.
My hand started flying over the page, my eyes unfocused and not paying attention to the patterns the graphite was tracing on the blank sheet of paper. I only focused when Jason asked what I was drawing.
I blinked rapidly, then glanced at him, meeting his curious gaze as he tried to see what I had sketched out. I glanced down too. As soon as I did, I slammed the sketchpad shut, hiding my picture/doodle/drawing or ''whatever'' from view. I felt heat rise and knew my face was beet red. I sighed, wondering why my hand had produced ''that'' particular image. I would have to think about it later...
Jason drew my focus back to him by repeating his question. "So what were you drawing?"
I glanced at him, then looked away because I'm a rotten liar. "Oh, nothing much," I said airily, trying to sound carefree; even to my own ears, it sounded forced, fake. "Just a random doodle."
"What did it look like?" he probed.
"Why do you care?" I retorted, not wanting to admit what my subconcious had exposed. He shrugged, although his eyes were intense as they dissected my expression. I swallowed nervously.
"I don't know...maybe because you're hiding it," he suggested, a wicked gleam in his eyes. "Makes me think it might be something naughty, and we all know that would peak any guy's curiosity."
My face burned even worse. "No, I don't draw ''that'' sort of thing. It's just... um, personal," I said, hoping that would divert him from the subject. When it seemed that wouldn't work, as he opened his mouth, I beat him to it. "So what were you reading when I came in? You seemed to be trying to hide it," I taunted, knowing my eyes held a wicked gleam of their own.
His cheeks turned pink again. "Oh, just a, um, book, for my, uh, english class," he stuttered.
"I'm so sure. Then why hide it?" I asked.
"Because...it's-" He broke off, seeming uncomfortable.
And suddenly it clicked for me: he's the bad boy with a towering reputation-how would it look if he was caught actually doing an assignment? He would look like a geek, a nerd, like any other loser, and people would torment him about it endlessly, and he didn't want that. And I could actually empathize with that-wasn't it what we all wanted? To fit in, be accepted? Maybe his way of fitting in was by being the bad boy.
"Hey, I'm just teasing you," I said softly. "You don't have to tell me-if you want, I'll just drop it," I offered. It would be a wrench, I admitted to myself, giving up finding out more about why he seemed to think the only way he could be accepted was as a delinquent, but there are some things people just don't want to talk about, I guess.
He looked puzzled, relieved. "You would? Cuz I would really appreciate that," he said, his eyes pleading silently for me not to ask why. I sighed internally, but nodded in acquiescence to him. He smiled in acute relief, clearly thanking me. I rolled my eyes but gave a tiny smile back. I couldn't help it-''you'' try resisting the full blaze of his genuine smile. I stared intently at that smile, committing it to memory so I could sketch it out later.
At this point, you're probably wondering: Why would she want to sketch out his smile? And that's a great question. Let me know if you figure out the answer, cuz I got no clue. I sighed heavily.
At that point, a nurse bustled around the corner with my results. "There're no signs of swelling, so you're free to go, but the doctor says to come back if you feel dizzy or nauseous, and to take some Tylenol for the pain." She smiled kindly at me, patting my ankle gently. I nodded politely at her, and she bustled to help the next invalid.
I glanced at Jason, then got up slowly. "So...I guess I'll-see you around, then?" I said, making it a question as I started to leave.
He had turned into the distant bad boy(dbb) again. "Of course," he replied coolly. "We're in geometry together."
"Right..." I couldn't define, even to myself, why his sudden coolness bothered me, so I left without saying anything else. Fled is more like it, actually. I forced myself to walk out of the room, but as soon as I was out of the room, I was running down the hall, my bruised ribs and head throbbing sharply with each ''thump'' of my heart, each breath I drew. Still I ran; I kept going until I reached a phone. I dialed my home, praying....
"Hello? This is the Collin residence-how may we help you?" said a refined, crisp voice on the other end of the line. I breathed out as relief seeped through me.
"Dad," I said, speaking without a pause, so he couldn't break in. "I'm at St. John's Hospital, and I need you to come pick me up. I'll be waiting out front. Bye!" I hung up as I heard him drawing a breath to start ranting with. Then I sagged against the walll.
Thank God dad answered, not mom. It'll make things so much easier if mom didn't know...
Finally, I straightened from my slouch-lean position. ''It's time,'' I thought, ''to go home and face the music.''

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