Sirens wail in the distance—how did they get here so
quickly? Before I know it, there are three cop cars and an ambulance. Red and white lights flash, and I blink to focus my eyes.
Griffin is talking to another driver, but I’m not listening to what they’re saying. I’m scanning the surroundings, watching people look onward with surprised, horrified faces. My vision has stopped blurring, but it still feels like a bowling ball is thrashing around in my head.
Despite the pain, my brain doesn’t cease its endless stream of horrible thoughts. How do someone’s brakes suddenly stop working? Was this some freak accident? Or was it on purpose?
I don’t know, but we’re both still breathing, and I repeat that to myself in my head. Over and over, willing it to calm my nerves. It doesn’t. No surprise there.
“Quinn.” Griffin leans in the driver’s side door. “Are you sure you’re not hurt? I think you should go to the hospital.” As if on cue, I hear sirens in the distance, slowly growing louder. “No,” I croak, surprised by how dry my throat is. “No ambulances. No hospitals. I’m fine.” Nothing more than a fierce case of whiplash. I’ll have a headache for days,
most likely. But I’m not worried about anything else. “You have to. They need to make sure you’re okay.” He punctuates each word slowly, delicately, like it’s the most important thing he could ever say. His face is pale, his jaw
hardened, and his eyes now sad. I nod. Bad idea, because oh, my head. “Okay.” “All right, hang tight, okay?” Yeah, sure. Where else am I supposed to go?
But I do wish all these people would get back in their cars and move on. I don’t like their staring, even if it is with concern. Can’t they see by now that no one is seriously hurt? Show’s over, people.
I twist my head slowly to find Griffin talking to a short, bulky guy, the owner of the truck that slammed into us. His hands wave frantically around then go to his chest. Next to them is an officer, jotting down notes on a pad of paper.
I look down at my lap and shut my eyes again, willing the pounding to disappear. But it doesn’t. My phone pings from inside my purse on the floor, and I consider leaning forward to get it, but I don’t want to move my head in that direction, because I really might be sick. Whoever it is can wait. Grandma Ruth is working, and she hates the whole texting thing, so I doubt it’s her.
Time passes slowly once they usher me into the ambulance. A man with a gentle smile takes my blood pressure and asks questions about what I remember. I take deep breaths until I calm down enough that my fingers aren’t clenched together and my heart rate isn’t skyrocketing. He asks me if I’m hurt or bleeding anyway. I tell him no. I’m fine. He gives me a reassuring smile as he taps on some kind of tablet. I sit there for what feels like hours.
Once I’m done being examined, Griffin gets checked out, too. They make me sign a statement saying I refuse the trip to the hospital. The cop asks me if I can write out a statement about the accident, and though I don’t want to use my fingers, I agree. When the cops and paramedics are finally done with me, I lean against Griffin’s truck, shutting my eyes again and rubbing my temples.
Eventually Griffin comes over to me and gently lays
a hand on my wrist. “The tow truck should be here any minute. Then the cop is going to drive us home.”
“Oh, goody,” I mutter. “Can’t we walk? It’s not that far.”
He shakes his head, looking defeated. “Trust me, I don’t want to ever see the inside of a cop car again, but it’s easier to accept the offer. Plus, you look pretty pale. I’m not sure you could walk that far.”
I glare at him. “You’re pale, too, just FYI. And I can walk. Those medics cleared me. The vehicle was the only thing seriously damaged.” Thankfully, the truck was hit on the back end, catching the edge of the bumper.
He grabs both of my hands between his. “But you could’ve been hurt. And I’m really, really sorry. I swear I don’t—”
“Stop apologizing. It wasn’t your fault.” I swallow, gripping his hands a bit tighter, only now realizing they’d been shaking. “And we’re okay, so...it’s all okay.” For now, anyway. I suck in a breath and try out a smile that feels all kinds of wrong.
“I’ll make this up to you.” “Uh-huh. And there go all your bonus points.” His responding smile is weak, but it’s better than nothing.
“Yeah, I’ll make up for those somehow, too. Eventually.” He leans closer and lays the gentlest kiss against my cheek before pulling away, taking his warm hands from
mine. While I wait in the police car, I turn that one word over
in my head. Eventually. Eventually...
Eventually, everything ends.