Road Trip to Nowhere

By RACHEL LORENTZ | Published: February 7, 2010

I slammed the door behind me hoping someone would hear me come in. I stood in the quiet dimly lit hallway, and listened for a sound. Nothing. I walked through the hallway of the crappy house I call home. I looked in my parents small, dim bedroom. My mom and dad were both on computers on opposite sides of the room.

"Mom? Dad?" I coughed out hopelessly. I had already had a pretty crappy day and it was just going to get crappier now that I was attempting to talk to them.

"Go away Ezbeth, We're working." My mom said loudly and sternly. My dad didn't move. Every time they told me to go away or that they didn't have time for me hurt. I kept trying anyway.

"I really need to talk to you guys." I pleaded quietly.

"Oh my God you are the neediest child, What?!" My mom yelled.

"I was just going to ask if you were going to be at my birthday Party tomorrow at that restaurant downtown I'm always at, You and dad?" By the time I finished I was whispering.

"We'll see." She said turning back to the computer.

"Please?" I whispered "It's going to be my only seventeenth birthday."

"Fine if it's that important, fine!"

I smiled to myself and went to my room. I had been planning this day for a long time. I'm a musician, I have been since I was fifteen. I recently got pretty good and was booked at a few bars and restaurants. I told mom and dad, but they didn't really listen. We didn't have a piano, just my old portable keyboard in my room, but that's not loud enough for them to hear. I have been begging them to come to one of my shows for years. They never showed that much interest in my music. That's why I planned that tomorrow, my seventeenth birthday, to be at a restaurant I play at so they can hear me play. I didn't really have a party. Some of the guys that work there that I have known for a while might sing 'Happy Birthday' to me, but that's about it. I don't really have any friends at school, so how can I have a party?

I was so excited. Maybe they will be proud of me! Maybe they'll think I'm great and offer to take me to New York or something! I took out the yellow sun dress I got last year with the birthday money Aunt Rita sent me. I went to my mirror and looked at my reflection. I didn't like what I saw, but did I ever? I had always had plain dark brown, curly hair to my shoulders. I had big green eyes and thin lips with a snowy white complexion. I had always been really short too, really small.

This is probably what I'm going to wear tomorrow. "Ugh" I groaned and lay quietly in my bed. Before I knew it I was asleep in a pleasant dream, excited for what might come tomorrow...

I woke up in the morning with a jump. I was running a little late, but I slept in my dress so I just got up and put on make-up, Which was an odd thing for me. I never wore make-up, but this is a special occasion, so I piled it on. Mascara, Blush, Eyeliner, Lipstick, Foundation, Eye shadow, everything you could possibly imagine. It didn't look bad, but it didn't look like me. I smiled with anticipation and grabbed my jacket and bag and skipped out of my room. I looked throughout the house for mom and dad. They are probably running errands. I checked the time, noon, and left the house to get to the restaurant early to set up. I had to take the public bus because mom and dad took both of the cars.

When I got to the restaurant and got set up with their keyboard, since I couldn't bring mine becuase I took the bus, I sat down at a table to wait for mom and dad.

Thirty minutes went by. Then forty-five. Then an hour. I was finally asked by the manager to start playing if I wanted to get payed full. I started without mom or dad there. Hours went by and I kept waiting for them to show, saving that special song I wrote. I took a thirty minute break every hour and checked in the parking lot for Dad's car. I even went down the street looking in other restaurants in case they got confused. I finally gave up and went back to play my last few songs.

By the time the bus took me home it was dark. I wonder why they didn't show? I wonder. Maybe they had something important come up. I walked into the door trying to keep my make-up from smearing from the tears forming in my eyes.

"I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry." I kept repeating to myself.

Everything looked normal. I walked to Mom and Dad's room. They were both sitting on their computers, working. I stood there for a second.

"Did something important come up?" I barely managed to squeak out.

"No?" Mom said without looking up.

"Nothing? Nothing at all?" I whispered.

"No. Why?"

"Well you didn't show at my party." I said coolly

"Oh that was today?" She said without sounding sorry or bummed out in any way.

"Yea I told you yesterday. Why didn't you come?"

"Your father and I are very busy."

"Too busy for your own daughter's Birthday?" I said my eyes filling with tears

She shrugged. I looked at dad who never quit typing to look up at me.

"I hate you guys." I whispered about to walk away.

"What did you say!?" My dad yelled standing up from the chair so suddenly it startled me.

"I said I HATE YOU GUYS!!!" I yelled at the top of my lungs. My dad reared back and slapped me across the face. I was so surprised I flew back into the wall for balance. I could feel the side of my face swelling up. Dad huffed and stormed out of the room. My eyes filled with tears. I looked over at mom for comfort. She never looked up from the computer. I stormed out of the room.

When I got to my room I didn't know what to do. I was scared he was going to come back into my room and hit me again. I looked in the mirror. You could see a black eye forming.

"Happy Birthday, Ezbeth." I whispered with sarcasm.

I grabbed a backpack and stuffed some clothes into it. I could feel tears streaming down my face. Black tears from all of the make-up. I didn't bother to change my clothes or anything. I slung my backpack over my shoulder, slid out the window,and walked down the hill to the side of our house which lead to the freeway.

When I got to the freeway I had no idea how to hitch hike, but I was going to try. I stuck out my thumb at the many cars passing by on the busy road. Twenty minutes passed and I was afraid no one picked hitch hikers up anymore. About thirty minutes later a colorful van pulled up beside me. It looked like a hippy van! It had pictures of spirits and trees painted artistically all over it. I cocked my head to the side to look at it. The driver rolled down the passenger window beside me. A small guy of about nineteen looked over at me from the drivers seat.

"Need a ride?" He asked in a melodic, High-pitched voice. He looked like a hippy, just like his van. I didn't know what to say.

"Ah, yea." I somehow croaked from behind my sobs. I probably looked crazy with streams make-up down my face and probably a big bruise by now.

"Get in." He said smiling and motioning to the door. I hopped into the passengers seat. We started driving off. Normally I would be freaked out but I liked this guy. I looked over at him.

He reminded me of an elf. He had a small face and big eyes. His hair was long, past his shoulders, and straight and dirty and an odd shiny red. He had the bluest eyes and little ears. He was really small, no taller than 5''4 a couple inches taller than me.. He had on a puffy colorful shirt on with an old brown leathery vest with tassels and jeans. He had a big peace medallion hanging from his neck and a look of compassion in his eyes.

I guess he noticed me looking at him because he smiled and quietly said:

"Lucky." At first I thought he was calling me lucky for being picked up by him, but then I realized it was his name. I smiled and barely managed to keep from laughing at his funny name.

"Ezbeth." I replied to his strange way of introducing. We both laughed for a bit.

"Ah what happened?" He said in the quietest, sweetest voice. He pointed at his eye. I was confused at first, then remembered my own eye.

"Oh, Nothing." I replied trying to hold back sobs. I took a deep breathe.

"Oh I'm sorry." He quietly apologized, almost whispering.

"It's fine." I mumbled feeling bad for making him feel bad.

He reached over and pulled a small handkerchief out of his glove box. He handed it to me smiling then turned his eyes back on the road.

"Do you have somewhere you want me to take you?" He asked.

"Um..." his question made me worry. Where am I going? I took another deep breath "were are you going?''

Lucky shrugged. "I'm just getting away for a while." he stopped at that, but when I gave him a why look he hesitated. "I've been having some issues."

I looked over at him. What kind of issues? but I was too shy to ask.

"So you're going on a road trip?" I asked.

He looked over a me with big eyes. "Yea a road trip to nowhere!" He said in a high-pitched voice as if he were reading the heading of a newspaper article.

I smiled. He was so funny.

"Would you like to accompany me?" He asked giving me a grin, "Looks like we both need some getting away!"

I looked at him for a moment. I had nowhere else to go. Why not? "Sure!" I said getting excited.

"Okay I say we just drive and see where we end up!" He stated with excitement.

"Sounds good!"

Lucky and I talked for hours about nothing at all. We talked about small light subjects that were just fun. We were enjoying each others company more than either of us thought we would.

We drove for a few minutes without talking before Lucky decided to flick the radio on. There was some rock music on the station, but it didn't seem like rock excactly. It was more poppy and happy and....well hippy.

"what kind of music is this?" I asked sort of astonished by the odd sound.

"They just recently named it Psychedelic Rock." He said smiling. "You like it?"

"Yea." I said nodding and bouncing to the rhythm.

"Good, this is the kind of music I play."

"You play music too!" I almost yelled. It made him jump a little and grab the steering wheel tightly.

"Ya" He laughed pointing a thumb to the back of the small van. There was a guitar case sitting there.

"Cool" I said happy we had stuff in common.

"What type of music do you play?" He asked.

"It's kind of piano rock, Indie, Classical Rock stuff." I said not really sure what to call it. Lucky nodded with a smile and brushed his shiny red hair out of his face.

"Groovy." He said. I couldn't help but giggle. This was going to be a fun road trip to nowhere. I looked into the sunset of a nice cool day. It was supposed to get cold tonight. I wonder if Lucky wants me to drive? As all of the thoughts of the eventful day flew through my head I went into a daze and slowly fell asleep.

I woke up confused several hours later. It was pitch black dark except for a small light of a gas station a couple of yards away. It must be at least midnight.I looked around.

"Lucky??" I called. No one was in the van. I heard something that sounded like throwing up. I looked outside snow was on the ground and it was really windy. The temperature must have dropped below zero. I looked down at a blanket laying over me. I smiled at Lucky's compassion. I heard the sounds of gasping and heaving again. I raised my eyebrows and felt something crinkle on my forehead. I put my hand up to it. There was a band-aid. Lucky must have put that on there too. I leaned over to look in the rear view mirror at my eye. I gasped when I saw it. It was big, blue and gross. I could barely open my eye and there was a gash across my forehead, probably from dad's wedding ring.

My thoughts were interrupted again by the throwing up sound. I turned around in my seat and looked behind the car. I saw a small figure leaning over and throwing up everywhere. It had to be Lucky. He looked so helpless and weak out in the snow storm vomiting. Why is he puking anyhow? Is he sick? I waited for a minute. Should I go get him? Right then he wiped his mouth on his sleeve and started walking back toward the van.

"Are you okay?" I whispered with sleepiness when he got in.

"ya" He said nodding. He sounded tired and weak.

"Do you want me to drive?"

Lucky shook his head. "It's okay." He whispered sounding as if he was choking. I didn't know what to say. He looked in no condition to drive. I couldn't force him to pull over though. I leaned back against the door studying him. Is this the 'Issue' He was talking about?

After about five minutes he started shaking. No ordinary shaking though it was like a shudder. Over and over he shook. I offered him my blanket, but he just said:

"I'm not cold."

How could he not be cold? He was shaking so bad he looked as if he were having a seizure.

I waited for a while, but the shaking didn't get any better. Now he was coughing and shaking and in the faint glow of street lights I could see huge chill bumps all over is arms. He was sweating and coughing hard.

After I few minutes I couldn't take it any longer.

"Okay you're really really sick. Let me drive and you can sleep." I said as demanding as I could.

He just weakly shook his head. "Can't sleep." He muffled in a hoarse voice, still shaking and sweating.

"Then we need to go to the doctor or emergency room or something!" I yelled getting really worried about him.

"It happens like this every night!" He almost yelled, but I don't think Lucky can yell. He's too nice.

"You're sick Lucky let me drive!!"

"Fine." He said quietly, slowing down on the empty freeway. It was about two in the morning now and I had gotten enough sleep to drive. As soon as the car stopped I hopped out and we switched.

I threw the van into gear getting used to driving this big hunk of medal.

"Sorry for yelling." I said quietly.

Lucky just nodded in a daze. What is wrong with him?

We drove for an hour or so and I thought Lucky was finally asleep when his shivers subsided. I guess I was wrong because right then he said in a really small, sick sounding voice:

"I'm not really sick you know." I didn't even know how to reply to this statement. He was obviously sick!

"You're very sick Luck." I managed to say in a whisper, feeling really bad for him.

He gently and sickly smiled at me calling him Luck, but it quickly fell into a frown. He shook his head.

"No, It comes along with it." He whispered leaning against the door and sighing in what sounded like pain. It sounded like he was having trouble breathing.

"Along with what?" I said looking over at him. He sighed again and pulled his knees to his chest in a fetal position. I forgot how small he was. He was shaking again, but as if he were cold this time. He pulled the blanket onto himself and took a deep, shaky breath.

"It comes along with quitting." I didn't know what he was talking about and felt like I was meddling if I asked, but now I felt I needed to know if I was going to be driving with this guy any longer.

"Quitting what?"

He looked over at me with exhausted shiny eyes then looked back at the road.

"Heroin." he said as if it were no big deal. Heroin! I heard that stuff was impossible to get over.

I looked over at him and quietly asked, "How long-?"

"A few years." he quickly answered. "I was shootin' up a few times a day until a few weeks ago when I took it over board and did a tad too much. Woke up in a hospital. I realized I was seriously hurting myself. I decided to quit." He was shaking again and I was starting to see it was hard for him to think about it. "This is my second day sober." He was quiet for a few seconds. "I couldn't stand looking at everything that I was so used to looking at when I was loaded, so I hopped in my van and went. I drove for days and every night...this. I don't know why I just keep on doing it. I'm getting sicker and sicker. I can't survive without it Ezzie, I can't! I'm going to die this way!"

When he finished he was almost crying. his voice got higher and higher as he spoke. I was quiet for a minute. He was shaking like crazy and was all sweaty again. He put his head on his knees and let out a few sobs.

"I need it." He said shaking. "I need it!" He was screaming. He started slamming his hand against the door continuously. I reached over and rubbed his back.

"No luck, you said yourself It's not good. You're going to be okay."

"I don't care!" He screamed. "I don't care.'' He yelled over and over. I kept rubbing his back and quietly saying

"Shhhhhh. Shhhhhh." Over and over until his screaming was a whisper. After a while I heard his shallow choppy breaths grow into a deeper heavier ones. I realized he was asleep.

I looked over at him. The beautiful, funny, elfish Lucky I had met just a few hours ago didn't seem to be here any more. He looked sick. He had huge blue bags under his eyes and he even looked like he had lost weight and gotten smaller, which really scared me because he was already so small... His face was sweaty and he was still shaking a little. I grabbed some clothes out of my bag in the back a threw them over him.

About ten minutes into Lucky's nap he jolted up, He looked around startled then went back to sleep. This happened every ten minutes or so until it got faintly light outside. It was about five or so in the morning. Now I knew how he meant he couldn't sleep. It looked like he was going through pure hell. He looked like he was in a better, deeper sleep now though, and I was getting tired. So I decided to stop at a gas station and grab some coffee.

When I got to the gas station I quietly got out of the car. I grabbed the keys and locked Lucky in. I don't know why I did this, After all he's a grown man, but he looked so vulnerable laying there all sick looking, so I locked the doors so nothing could hurt him while I was inside. I took the little money I had in with me.

When I got outside I realized how freezing it was. I folded my arms and hurried into the store. When I got inside I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know how to take care of an addict. He might not be okay. What if it's fatal. What if he doesn't make it?! I was about to break down crying. I hurried to the back isle of the small store. I was filling up a coffee cup when I heard the door open. I thought it could be Lucky but I checked out the window and saw his little self still fast asleep in the car. I smiled at the look of peace on his face.

I continued filling my coffee cup when I heard people talking.

I walked up to the cashier who looked like a nice Iranian guy of about thirty to pay. There was an old guy of about fifty that had a jogging suit on in front of me. He too looked like a hippy with long gray hair and a beard. He looked skinny and sick like Lucky, but much happier.

"Going for a jog this early?" The cashier asked the guy.

"I've been running since three a.m.!" The old guy said smiling and piling packages of chicken noddle soup on the counter.

"Why!?" The cashier asked smiling and laughing.

"Oh I'm quitting cold turkey man, got to sweat all of that shit outta my system." He said with a smile.

"What are you quitting?" The cashier asked piling the soup into a bag.

"The dope man. It'll get the best of you." I almost choked on my coffee I was taking a drink of when I heard this guy say he was quitting heroin too. I wonder if he could help Lucky. I coughed a little from suddenly inhaling. Both the cashier and the old guy jumped when I did so. I guess they didn't notice me before.

"Why hello there little lady." The old guy said smiling at me. I smiled back.

"Hi." I said sweetly.."Do you think you could do me a favor?" It took all of my courage to ask him, but I had to. For Lucky.

"Why sure, what do ya need?" He asked nicely grabbing his bags of soup from the cashier.

"My friend in the car..he's a recovering addict as well... and he's not so well. I don't really know what to do.."

"Oh that little man in the van out there?" He asked. I was surprised he'd seen him.

"Yea." I said.

"What day is he on?" It took me a while to understand his question, but I finally got it.

"Uh, today is three."

"Wow That's the hardest part, I'm surprised he's sleeping!" He said looking out the window at Lucky.

I just smiled. The old guy laughed.

"The best thing to do is keep him hot. Hot blankets and heaters. He needs to sweat it out." I nodded hoping he would go on. "And it's good to run, and eat lots of soup. Here." He said handing me a few packages of his soup. "It's good to take hot baths when he's got the cramps." Cramps? I didn't know he had cramps. "Oh, yea man and if he talks to himself, don't worry he's not insane. It just happens."

I nodded. Good info. "he's okay during the day." I said looking at him through the window and smiling.

"Then that's great. Just make sure he eats. That's really important."

"Okay thank you so much." I said smiling.

"He's lucky to have somebody with him." The old guy smiled.

I don't know if i was just me, but I'm pretty sure he put emphasis on the word lucky. That's just weird I thought as I watched him walk out the door and jog down the street. I felt reassured. Maybe he was my guardian angel, or Lucky's. Maybe Lucky's going to be fine. I looked down at my coffee and the soup he just gave me. I asked if I could have some hot water they use to make their coffee at the gas station and an extra cup. The cashier was so nice he gave me my coffee for free and told me good luck. I thanked him and went back to the van.

When I quietly unlocked the door and got back in with my coffee and the soup, Lucky sat up and yawned. He looked at me with a small smile. The regular Lucky was back. He had a caring look in his eyes again and didn't seem as insane.

"Thanks." He said in his quiet high voice. He smiled at me as if sincerely thankful. "I don't know if I would have made it through yesterday without-"

"You're welcome." I interrupted realizing it was tough for him to think back on what he went through last night. I gave him his soup.

"What's this?" he asked.

"Soup." I stated the obvious.

"I can't eat." He said. "I'll just throw it back up."

"Try you'll at least get something out of it." I replied trying to be positive. He took a slow drink a stopped for a second. I watched him shiver. He was getting chills again. I turned on the heater full blast and pulled out of the gas station. It was a cold cloudy day.

"I can drive." He said sweetly. "You're probably tired." I raised my coffee in the air.

"I've got a few more hours on me!" I said joyfully. "Try to get some sleep."

He just smiled back. "I can't believe I got that much sleep. I don't know if I had slept more that two hours this week besides that. I'm rested."

We talked for a few hours and turned the radio up super loud and sang the songs we knew. This was the most fun I had had in a long time. I felt like somebody cared about me, and I had someone to care about. Like a big brother I had always wanted. I was in the middle of these wonderful thoughts when I drove up onto an overpass that ran above another highway. It was pretty tall. Lucky and I were singing and dancing when out of the corner of my eye I caught site of a person standing on the overpass rails.

"Oh my God!" I yelled slamming on the brakes. Luck must have seen it too because as soon as the car came to a partial stop he was out the door running towards the guy. The guy was just about to jump off the overpass when Lucky grabbed him by the back of his baggy jacket and slung him to the ground. By then I had got there and was impressed by Lucky's strength when he was so sick. He was way small and was able to grab that big black dude and sling him to the floor. The guy struggled to get up. When he did he ran back to the railing. Lucky grabbed him and slung him to the floor again. This time getting on top of him trying to hold him down. The guy just picked Lucky up and sat him aside. He was too short and small to take on this guy, So I went in to help. I tackled him while Lucky got back up and tackled him too.

"What do you think you're doing!?" I yelled. The guy had tears in his eyes and was swearing at us.

"Let me go, Let me die." He flung both of us off of him and got back up and ran toward the rails again.

"No!" Lucky yelled. "Give this a second thought man!" Lucky was trying to hold the guy back. I came in and helped throw him to the ground. The guy huddled into a ball on the ground and sobbed. His whole body shaking from crying. Lucky and I were appalled. What's wrong with him?

"They're gone!" He yelled. "They're gone and it's all my fault." He let out a stream of curse words as we stood and watched. We didn't really know what to do.

"Who's gone? What are you talking about man?" Lucky asked trying to get the guy to stand. He managed to get him to somewhat stand, but the guy was in so much agony he could barely keep his balance. He was leaning against Lucky. It looked as if they were both going to go tumbling to the ground any minute. The skinny, but tall black guy was putting almost all of his weight on little Lucky. I ran over to help balance the guy.

"Leila, she's gone. Nina too. Gone. They're both gone!" He yelled in despair.

Lucky and I gave each other looks that said, 'what is his guy talking about'. We looked around at the busy overpass. We walked the stranger over to the van and sat him down, letting him lean against it for support. When the big guy sat down the sudden loss of so much weight threw Lucky off balance. As he wobbled around trying not to fall he jokingly asked:

"Play football in high school, man?"

The guy didn't so much as look up at us. He was too busy looking at his knees and wiping tears away.

"Are you going to be okay?" I asked quietly. He didn't answer. He just sat there against the van.

"Why did you save me, I have nothing to live for now." He said quietly, but sounded almost a little angry at Lucky.

"C'mon man, everyone has something to live for." Lucky said looking down on the guy. If anyone should know it would be Luck. the guy just shook his head. It was silent for a while. All three of us just listened to the sounds of cars driving passed us on the other side of the van.

"Do you have anywhere to stay?" Lucky interrupted the silence.

The guy just continued looking down. He sighed.

"I don't want to go back home." He spoke sadly. Tears forming in his eyes once again.

"Do you want to come with us?" Lucky asked quietly. "We're on a road trip." The guy stopped sobbing for a second and looked up at us with tears in his eyes. He barely managed to stand with one hand on the van. Lucky tensed at him as if to catch him if he ran for the railing again.

"Where are you goin'?" He asked in a sad voice. Lucky just shrugged.

"Nowhere." He answered honestly. the guy gave us a confused look.

"Okay." He said quietly.

We all looked at each other for a second. The guy had a weird look on his face when he actually looked at the colorful van. The same look I had. he got into the back seat. I got back into the driver's seat and pulled away from the scene. It was quiet for a little while. Nobody really talked, we where all in our own thoughts. I was thinking about the big black guy in the back seat. He looked like a hip-hop rapper dude. He had sagging jeans and a big t-shirt and jacket on and a hat. Lucky was probably thinking about a fix because he was shaking. I handed him his cup of soup from the holder and he silently sipped it. I had no idea what the guy in the back was thinking. He was probably weirded out by the hippy van. Or maybe he's crazy. Not many sane people try to jump off overpasses.

Lucky turned around in his seat to face the guy. he was kind of buff, but still pretty slender and super tall. He looked about twenty two.

"Lucky." Lucky said quietly and held his hand out in the same kind of introduction he gave me when we first met a day ago. The guy looked at his hand for a moment then shook it.

"Jay-Con." He said in a deep rap sounding voice with lots of pride, but it quickly vanished. Lucky pointed at him.

"I've heard that name before. You're famous or something" He stated. Jay-Con just looked down at his shoes. Tears were appearing in his eyes.

"What happened man?" Lucky asked him softly after a long pause.

Jay-Con grabbed the top of his hat and looked up at the ceiling.

"I don't want to think about it." he whispered almost to himself.

I felt like that was a good time to speak.

"My name is Ezbeth." I loudly said looking in the rear view mirror to see him. He gave me a confused look.

"I call her Ezzie." Lucky said laughing. "It's a little less strange." He gave me a cute look that made me smile. Wow I never thought of my name as strange before. I guess it is a bit out of the ordinary. I never really noticed Lucky calling me Ezzie before either. I guess he can call me that since I already call him Luck.

"Yea well then his name isn't Lucky it's Luck." I said trying to get back at him. Lucky smiled at me.

"Well then!" He said in an exasperated voice with a big smile. "Let's introduce ourselves again!" He looked at Jay-Con. "I'm Luck and this is Ezzie. Nice to meet you.....JAY!" He laughed at his new nickname he gave Jay-Con. For the first time I seen a smile out of Jay too. We all leaned back in out seats and smiled at our new names. Lucky could get a smile out of anyone. Even someone who tried to kill themselves five minutes before.

"So you're a rapper?" Lucky asked Jay.

He just nodded his head as an answer. "Not anymore." Jay said looking at the ground.

"Why not?" Lucky asked surprised. "Aren't you like a famous millionaire rapper?"

"Rapping killed my wife and daughter!" He yelled angrily. It made me and Luck jump. Jay took a deep breath and leaned back trying to cool off. Is that who Leila and Nina was that he was yelling about earlier?

"How could rapping kill someone?" I asked immediately wishing I didn't ask. He still looked mad, but surprisingly he quietly said:

"I was at a concert when I should have been at home with my dear Nina." He was looking down. His eyes were glazed over as if he were thinking back. "It was late and my daughter Nina was sick. She had a high fever. Leila and I were going to wait till morning to take her to the doctor, so Leila said it was fine to go to my concert." He looked angry again. Fire was in his eyes. "So I went." He said with fury. "Nina got more sick so Leila loaded her up to take her to the doctor that night after I had left." He was quiet. A single tear trailed down his left cheek. "They got hit by a drunk driver on the way." He said in a deep voice that gave me and Lucky chills. "Nina, she was only seven. Leila so young and beautiful. Why?" He was sobbing by now his hands folded over his eyes. "Why couldn't it have been me?"

Lucky and I looked at each other. I was crying for him. I don't know if I had ever seen anyone in such despair in my entire life. He had lost everything. No wonder he was trying to jump.

I kept my eyes on the road. It was about noon now. I had been driving for a while and was starting to get sleepy. Lucky could tell I was getting drowsy.

"Do you want me to drive, Ezzie? You're getting tired." I yawned and looked over at him.

"How did you know?" I asked.

"You swerving off of the road." He laughed. I just covered another yawn and pulled over. We both got out and switched. When I got into the passenger seat and looked into the back at Jay he was sound asleep with tear stains on his cheeks. I smiled at the look of peace on his face too. I was thinking about his sad story when I slowly drifted into unconsciousness.

I woke up around five. The sun was getting low. I could hear the low voices of Jay and Lucky talking about something. I was too tired to listen. I closed my eyes again thinking I should go ahead and switch with Lucky before he starts getting sick. As the thought ran through my mind I slowly fell asleep again.

I woke up hours later to the sounds of screaming.

"What's wrong with you man!?" Jay was yelling. He sounded terrified. He was leaning into the front seat and was shaking Lucky. The car was swerving on the partially busy road. It was dark by now and I could hear cars honking at us from behind.

"Get back!" I yelled at Jay.I shook my head to help me wake up and pushed him into the back seat and took hold of the wheel.

"The breaks Luck!" I yelled. Lucky had his head against the steering wheel and was breathing so hard he sounded like a vacuum cleaner. He was shaking hard too.

"My legs!" he yelled in agony. He was grabbing them with his hands. I saw tears pouring out of his eyes. We were going way too fast now. I could hear Jay yelling in the back seat. I managed to lift my leg up and throw my foot against Lucky's on the break. The car came to a sudden stop. Cars honked from behind and swerved around us. It had to be dangerous sitting in the middle of the highway like this.

I was trying to get Lucky out of the seat and into the back so I could drive the car to the side of the busy road. It seemed almost impossible. Although Lucky was short and skinny I had just woke up and could barely keep hold of him. He was still hunched over screaming in agony. Before I knew it Jay had grabbed Luck by the shirt and hoisted him into the back. He was in a ball all huddled up, shaking and sweating. I quickly got into the front seat and drove to the side of the road. as soon as I had stopped the car I crawled into the crowded back seat and held him in my arms.

"Lucky what's wrong!?" I yelled.

"My legs!" He yelled again his face cringing in pain. He was hot all over and was so sweaty. It suddenly occured to me what the old guy had said at the gas station about the cramps . I looked up at Jay's confused and worried face.

"Drive us to the nearest hotel." I said as calmly as I could. When he just sat there in shock I yelled "Quick!"

He got out of the van and went around to the drivers seat. We were speeding to the nearest town to look for a hotel of some sort. I couldn't take my eyes off of poor Lucky. He looked so small and helpless. He was breathing hard and shaking harder than before. He was crying out in pain. We finally pulled up to a hotel. It had at least twelve stories and seemed like it might be a little expensive, but I doesn't matter we just need to get Lucky in there now.

"Go get a room, fast." I said to Jay. He was out of the van before I even finished my sentence.

"I'm going to throw up." Lucky kept saying. I managed to get him out of the van and into the parking lot before he started puking everywhere. After he threw up as much as a human could possibly throw up and just sat there and kept making the sounds as if he were throwing up air. It sounded painful. I was glad I made him eat that soup so he had at least a little something. After ten minutes or so he quit and was really dizzy. I managed to catch him before he fell to the concrete. I was worried that I was going to have to go in the hotel to get a room myself when Jay came running.

"How are we going to get him in?" He asked out of breath.

"The back." I said as calmly as possible. I picked him up. He almost weighed nothing. I carried him around back of the hotel. He was shaking and yelling things.

"Please I need a fix. PLEASE!" He was yelling at the top of his lungs. He continued begging and was grabbing my hair and face. "I need one. I'm going to die! I'm going to die! You want that dont' you. you won't give me one because you want me to die!!" He seemed really angry. The bones in his neck were sticking out and the veins on his forehead were bright blue.

What he was saying was starting to scare me, but I entered the back door and got into the elevator with him still in my arms and Jay behind me quickly. Jay seemed more terrified than me. He was asking me what was wrong with him and if he was going to die. Questions I couldn't exactly answer. When we made it down the everlasting hallway to the room with Luck still yelling and screaming. I was so tired I felt I was about to pass out. I shook it off. Lucky was yelling at himself now, which was worse than him yelling at me. I tried to ignore the scary things he was saying as I opened the door to the hotel room's bathroom and turned on the shower full blast as hot as it got. I threw Lucky into it, clothes and all, and held onto him trying to keep him from falling. He quit grabbing his legs and his whole body relaxed. He was breathing short breaths still though and was shivering from being cold as if he had a fever. He had giant chill bumps on his arms.

After a few minutes I took him out and lay him on the carpeted floor outside of the bathroom. I threw towels over him and tried to make him as warm as possible. He was still talking to himself except quieter now. He was breathing a little more steadily and looked half unconscious. His eyes were drooping and it sounded as though he was singing to himself.

I looked up at Jay who was standing over Lucky with tears in his eyes. It was clear he was just as attached to Luck as I was. Lucky was like that. As soon as you meet him it seems like you've known him your whole life. He had a gift of bringing people together.

Suddenly everything was silent. Luck stopped talking to himself and looked completely knocked out. I sunk down to my knees and layed my head over his wet chest to hear his breathing. It was small and shallow, but still there.

"On the bed?" Jay asked quietly.

"Yea." I whispered using a towel to gently wipe water from his face. I stood up as Jay leaned down and picked Lucky up in his arms. It scared me at first when I saw that Lucky's head flopped back and his arms dangled. I guess he really was knocked out. I pulled back the covers of the bed closest to the heating vent. There were only two beds, but it didn't really matter. I wasn't going to get much sleep. Jay layed Lucky's small wet figure down in the bed and I covered him up with bundles of blankets.

"He should be warm." I whispered walking over to the thermostat and turning the heater on. Jay nodded and reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

"I'm going for a smoke, want to come?" I looked over at Lucky wondering if I should leave him alone. "He won't be waking up for a while." Jay said soothingly, seeing the pained expression in my eyes.

"Kay" I whispered. I didn't usually smoke, but a cigarette sounded really good right now. I walked out of the room and down the hall to the stairs with Jay. Once we were out in the cool night air I felt better, and once I inhaled the smoke a few times I felt calmer.

"So, what just happened in there??" Jay asked looking at me with soft eyes. I sighed and looked up at the night sky. It had to be really late by now.

"Luck is just getting over a really nasty addiction." I said calmly. "He's going to be alright though." I whispered trying to convince Jay and myself. Thankfully that was enough information for Jay. I don't know if I had it in me to say all of the things that Luck had been through in the past couple of days aloud. I sighed. It was a beautiful night out. The skies were cloudy again as if it were going to rain. I was consumed in happy thoughts. I was thinking about how Lucky was going to be better i a few days time. Life was good.

"What happened to your eye?" Jay asked pulling me out of my pleasant thoughts. My eye? What was he talking about? I lifted my hand up to my eye and touched it. There was a sharp sting. What was wrong with it?

Suddenly it all came back to me. All of the painful memories of what had happened at home that night not long ago. It seemed like forever since I had been standing there in my room, wih my yellow sundress on, getting ready for my birthday party. Everything came pouring back so fast it made me feel dizzy. Dad hitting me. His ring cutting me. Walking down the freeway. I had forgotten all about everything. I felt tears forming in my eyes. My face got hot.

"Sorry." Jay said quietly. It was silent for a while. A half hour went bye and I was still deep in thought. It got later and later. Fewer and fewer cars passed us on the road at the front of the hotel until there was none at all.

It was quiet out. There wasn't even the sounds of crickets like there used to be at my house. Just the faint sound of wind in the trees. I could tell Jay was still in deep thought so I didn't bother talking. I was perfectly content with silence for now. I leaned back in my chair and took another cigarette out of Jays box and lit it with his lighter. I took a few deep breathes of the sweet smoke and smiled at how tranquil everything felt.

Suddenly I heard a distant noise. It sounded almost like a pig, but it couldn't be a pig. As it got closer and closer I could tell what it was. It was a terrible sounding cough. It got louder and louder. It sounded like it was coming from the road. Along with the coughing came light footsteps. I couldn't see anything, It was way too dark out. I glanced over at Jay and he gave me a confused look.

"Who's there?" I spoke boldly in a loud voice. It was quiet for a moment. The footsteps stopped and so did the coughing. I sat perfectly still, squinting, trying to see into the dark. There came another loud cough. It was a really sick sounding cough.

"Hello?" Jay called out. Whoever was standing there in the road wasn't well. They coughed again and again. Every time whoever it was tried to answer us they had another coughing attack.

"Umm are you okay?" I yelled getting up from my chair and starting to walk out in the darkness to find the person. Jay grabbed me by the arm.

"What are you doing you don't know who's out there!" He whispered hastily in my ear. He shoved me behind him and started slowly walking out towards the road. I stayed behind just to make him happy.

"Hello?" He repeated. "Who's there?"

"Shit, man what do you want?" Came the rough, agitated voice of a man from twenty feet or so down the road.

"Why are you walking down the street in the middle of the night?" Jay asked. I could see a dark, slim figure now. The stranger walked closer into the dim light of the hotel sign. I still couldn't make out his features though.

"I got no where else to be man." The guy shot back at him. He looked up at the sky "Besides it's about to be morning."

I looked up at the sky that was turning a dark purple now. My stomach felt gross like it always does when I stay up until the morning time. There was a short silence.

"So you always walk down empty highways at night?" Jay said sarcastically.

"Naw look man I'm just trying to find some place to stay-." He said breaking off and coughing wildly for a minute or two. "And it's dawn." He barely managed to add.

"Are you okay?" I asked feeling sorry for him.

"Ya." He said His voice sounding softer. he looking over at me. I still couldn't really see him and I definitely didn't believe he was alright.

"Why don't you come inside? You'll just get more sick walking around out here-" Jay cut me off by lightly slapping me in the stomach tiring to get me to shut up. Why won't Jay just be friendlier? He obviously didn't want this guy to come in, but he sounds sick. I can't just let him die out here in the cold or something.

There was a short silence.

"Really? Man, That would be-" He had another coughing break down. "Great." He managed to finish in a hoarse voice. Jay was about to say something when I reached out and grabbed the dark figure's arm and Jay's baggy shirt sleeve and pulled them back toward the hotel. I still didn't get a good glimpse of the stranger but his arm was thin and bony.

When we got to the back door of the hotel I opened it and walked in and over to the elevator. It opened instantly and we all piled in. It was bright and I managed to get a look at the strange guy.

He was tall. He looked skinny. He was pale and had dark circle under his bright green eyes. He looked about twenty. His dirty black hair shined in the bright elevator light. He had on a pair of ripped jean and a T-shirt with some rock band on it. He had an over sized jacket on and a back pack. He looked like one of those rocker guys.

I continued looking him over when he glanced at me. I quickly looked away.

When he looked away I looked him over again. He had a sad puppy dog look to him. He must be one of those hard core metal dudes.

"So, are you in a rock band or somethin'." I said trying to make small talk. The elevator ride seemed to be lasting forever. I was starting to get anxious about Lucky being alone for so long.

He slowly turned his head to look at me.

"It's called grunge." He said in a soft voice "I got kicked out." He said looking away again and at the floor. I was about to ask why when the doors to the elevator swung open and we all stepped out and started down the long hallway to the room.

"So what's your name?" Jay asked in a voice covered in sarcasm.

The guy cocked his head toward Jay but didn't look at him. "The name's Bryon." He said returning the sarcasm.

I was only half listening to them. I was to worried about Luck. He's been alone for a really long time. When we almost reached the door I looked to the new guy Bryon and whispered:

''My friends really sick in there, so we have to keep it quiet." He gave me a beautiful smile back that would make any other girl weak in the knees, but I needed to get to Lucky.

I turned and opened the door. I quickly walked across the room and to the bed. Lucky was laying there in a heap of blankets, breathing shallowly. I slowly moved my hand across his burning hot face. He must have a fever.

"Can I smoke in here?" Bryon whispered. I looked over. Jay lay across the floor beside the other bed and bryon was sitting against the wall.

"I don't care." I whispered turning my attention back to Luck.

He stirred in his blankets and barely opened his eyes.

"Ezzie?" He said in a barely audible voice.

"Hey, how are ya feelin' buddy?" I asked smiling at him.

"Much better." he said louder sitting up shakily.

"Maybe you should stay lying down." I said quietly.

"I think I'm going to be sick." He said calmly walking to the bathroom. He smiled and waved when he passed by Bryon who was digging in his back pack for a lighter.

Lucky closed the bathroom door and I could hear sounds of throwing up.

"Is he alright in there?" Bryon asked lighting his cigarette and taking his first puff.

"He should be okay." I said sitting on the bed and sighing.

"Good." He said giving me the same irresistible smile. I smiled back and took a deep breath. I was puzzled by the smell of Bryon's cigarette. It smelled like vinegar instead of nicotene. I was about to ask him what kind it was when Lucky opened the bathroom door and started walking back to the bed.

He stopped midway getting a pained look in his face. I thought maybe he was going to get sick again. He started shaking violently again. I got up to go try to stable him when he turned and tackled Bryon. At first I was in shock. Did he not like him or something? Then I realized he was trying to get the cigarette from him.

Jay must have thought quicker than me because he was over there trying to pull Lucky off of him. Lucky somehow got the cigarette and was sucking on it violently. Then it occurred to me. That wasn't a regular cigarette. I jumped up and ran over to Lucky who was in a ball on the ground. I grabbed the so called 'cigarette' out of his hands and ran over to the window and threw it out. Lucky jumped up and attempted jumping out of the window. I caught him by his legs and pulled him back inside.

He was flailing his arms and legs at me and was screaming bloody murder. I tried to keep him pinned to the ground. He was yelling and crying.

"Shhhhhh." I repeated over and over trying to calm him. Over Lucky's yelling I could hear Jay doing some yelling of his own.

"What did you do man!?" He yelled at Bryon. Bryon looked surprised and shocked.

"Man, what did I do? What's wrong with your friend!" Bryon said calmly back.

"What were you smoking?" Jay asked I could see fire in his eyes.

"It was nothin'." Bryon said back looking down at the ground.

"What was in it!" Jay yelled grabbing Bryon by the front of the jacket.

"It was just some smack man, no harm done." He said raising his hands in the air innocently.

"No harm done! He's trying to quit! You can't come around smoking that stuff near quitters!"

"Hey man, I didn't know he was trying to quit. Is that why he's so sick?'' Bryon asked, trying to change the subject. Jay shook his head and released him, shoving him back a little bit.

"Ya, that's why he's so sick." Jay said in a quieter voice turning and walking to where me and Lucky were sitting on the floor. Lucky had quit shaking and was sitting up. What worried me was the blank expression in his face. He was staring off into nowhere and wouldn't answer me.

"Luck...Lucky!" I kept repeating, but he just sat there. I couldn't tell whether he was shocked or got enough heroin into his system to have some effect on him. Jay got on one knee and got close to him.

"Are you okay there little buddy?'' he asked. No reply. So he picked him up and put him back into the bed. I covered him up with blankets and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"He's going to be fine." Bryon said from behind me. I forgot he was there. I turned to look at him.

"Quitting cold turkey is rarely fatal." He said trying to be reassuring. I took a deep breath.

"I don't know what I'd do without Luck." I whispered.

"Okay buddy, OUT." Jay said to Bryon angrily.

"It wasn't like I new he was quitting!" He yelled back in his own defense.

Jay walked across the room and opened the door

"OUT." He said. Bryon obeyed. I don't know who wouldn't do what a huge, tall, intimidating black guy says. I smiled at Jay's protectiveness. The poor guy has been through hell in the past few days.

I turned my attention back to Lucky, who had closed his eyes. He was breathing heavily.

"He has to be alright." I whispered to myself. I layed down next to him.

"You'll be okay." I whispered, stroking his long, shiny, red hair. At that moment I realized I really cared for Lucky. It seemed amazing to me that I had only known him for a few days in my life, but I felt closer and more loved by him than anyone I had ever met.

I thought to myself of the good times we had shared, All three of us. I wondered how long it could last. Were will we all go when it's over? Jay has no family, what if he tries to kill himself again? Lucky's sick, what if he never gets over his addiction? I foolishly ran away from home, the only place I had. The only place I really never felt I belonged. I decided I regret nothing. I do not regret running away. I don't regret helping Jay. I DEFINETLY don't regret meeting Lucky. Were would Lucky be right now if Jay and I weren't here to help him.

I had always found the saying, 'The future is unknown and frightening,' very interesting, but know I know that the future isn't as scary to think about than 'what could have's' and 'what if's'. Those were the scariest of all.

I woke the next morning to the sound of a beautiful voice.

"Wake up sunshine." It said. I opened my eyes to see Lucky on his knees beside the bed. He looked really great for being so sick last night.

"We have to be out of the hotel by two or we have to pay again and we don't got that kind of cash." He said smiling.

"Lucky?" I said. I was still half unconscious and felt a little hung over even though I didn't drink.

"Yep it's me." He said patting me on the head. "Come on you can sleep in the van." He said picking me up like a baby and carrying me out the door. I was surprised at first. How can he pick me up when he's so weak and sick? Then I realized I hadn't eaten in days, but I still weight at least a hundred pounds. Although I am a couple inches shorter than him. Wer're a pair of short people.

"That's Okay, I can walk." I laughed. He smiled and put me down when we got into the elevator.

"Were's Jay?" I asked as Lucky pushed the 'ground level' button on the elevator panel.

"He's warming up the van." He said. "I think he wants to drive."

When the elevator door opened Lucky looked at me and held a hand out.

"May I have this dance?" he said laughing.

"Sure?" I said not knowing what he was doing exactly. He took my hand and we both did a poor imitation of the tango out the hotel doors. We got a few strange looks, but we didn't care. We both laughed and danced all the way to the van.

When we got to the van we opened the back sliding doors to find Jay laying across the back seat, dead asleep.

"So much for him driving." Laughed Lucky.

"I'll drive." I said volunteering.

"It's cool I will." He said dancing over to the drivers seat.

"Well, It's your van." I said yawning and getting into the passengers seat.

When we all got in and on the road again we 'cranked some tunes' as Luck says it and partied out.

When a song neither of us liked came on he turned it down.

"You look like you feel a lot better." I said smiling.

"Better? I feel great!!" He said, so enthusiastically that he took both of his hands off the wheel and the van swerved. I laughed at him.

I was quiet for a moment.

"Thanks." He said more quietly.

"Thanks for what?" I said puzzled.

"For being there for me. I never really had anybody like you. If you weren't here I would be back at home shooting up right now." He said looking at me with the most beautiful pair of blue eyes.

I just smiled at him.

"I should be the one thanking you." I whispered.

"Why is that? You've been taking care of me for days." He said, looking at me with a 'what-the-heck' expression.

"Because if it wasn't for you picking me up that day, I might still be at home." I almost yelled. Saying the word 'home' out loud brought back memories and emotions I didn't want brought back.

There was an awkward silence.

"Is that what happend to your eye?" Lucky said in the quietest voice possible. He kept his eyes on the road now.

I looked into the setting sun in front of us. I nodded and sniffled trying to keep back tears.

Lucky looked over at me then back at Jay. He pulled the van over to the side of the empty road. By the time the car stopped I was sobbing heavily.

Lucky hugged me and I didn't hesitate to bury my face into his bright yellow hippy shirt.

Minutes went by. Lucky continued holding me tight. I continued sobbing. Jay continued sleeping.

When I felt I couldn't cry anymore. It was dark. I leaned back from Lucky's embrace and looked at him. He looked sad too. I looked down at his shirt. Half of it was soaking wet. He looked down at it and laughed. I laughed too.

Lucky put the van into drive and we were off again. A few minutes went by and nobody talked. I fell asleep in those few minutes.

I woke a few hours later with the sun barely peeking up from the ground. I looked around. We were in some kind of city. I looked over and was surprised to see Jay driving. Lucky must have switched with him. He was asleep in the back. Then I realized Lucky didn't get sick last night! Or did he?

"Was Lucky sick last night?" I asked. Jay looked over at me with a smile on his face.

"He threw up a little, but that's all." He said. I smiled.

"Good." I said. "It's about time he starts getting better."

We drove along for a while longer.

"We need gas." Jay said taking an exit off of the highway we were on. Soon we pulled into a gas station. Jay got out of the van and slammed the door and went inside to pay. Thank God he was paying too because me and Luck have NO money. I was enjoying the quiet and was pretty tired. It was still pretty early.

"Is he getting gas?" Lucky asked from the back.

"Ya, How do you feel?" I asked.

"A lot better." He said giving me a smile.

When Jay was walking back to the van we saw him stop and reach into his pocket and pull out a phone.

"Hello?" We could see his lips form. I looked at Lucky who seemed just as puzzled as me.

Jay said some more things to the person on the phone that we couldn't understand.

"Who do you think he's talking to?" I asked.

"I don't know, but it can't be good for him. He's already depressed enough without anybody he knows talking to him about what happened."

I agreed. Jay hung the phone up and took the gas pump out of the van and got back in.

"Who was that on the phone?" I asked him. He hesitated and didn't say anything.

"Who was it?'' Lucky pried some more.

"It was my Grandma." Jay mumbled. It was silent.

"What did she say?" I asked.

"She wants to see me, make sure I'm okay." he said

"Were does she live?" Lucky asked.

"Not far from here." He replied. "Is it okay if I drive up there. She wants me to stay with her."

"Sure." Said Lucky.

Jay threw the car into gear and we were off to wherever his grandma lives from here.

Hours past and it was now late afternoon. We were on some windy road in a forest. We hadn't passed another car for miles. You could look to either side of you, or behind, or in front, and all you would see is pine trees. We passed miles and miles of them. Their scent filled the van through the heater. I was enjoying myself.

"So were does she live?" I asked.

"Just a few miles up here." He said.

We drove a few more miles and sure enough, we came to a small, cute house. It sort of looked like a grandma house.

We stopped kind of far from the house. Lucky and I got out and stood by the van. Jay stood and looked at us for a second.

"Well, this is it." He said. I couldn't help but cry a little. He grabbed in a strong embrace. After he gave me a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek he bent down to hug Luck. He wrote his number on my hand and told me to call him whenever.

After we all hugged and said goodbye Jay started walking to the house. Me and Lucky leaned against the van and watched as his Grandma opened the door. We couldn't see them very well from the distance, but we could hear his grandmother yell "Jamie!! I've missed you darlin'. You had me worried to death." We watched as he hugged her and walked into the house.

I looked over at Lucky and smiled. He looked sad. I nudged him with my elbow and said:

"It's just you and me again." he smiled and we got back into van. We drove for a few minutes in silence. I looked at the pine trees. They were so pretty I want to go touch them. Maybe I could get a pine cone.

"Hey Luck. Do you want to get a pine cone?" I asked.

He looked over at me and smiled mischievously, and pulled the van over in the pine needle filled grass beside the road. We both jumped out and ran into the forest giggling like little girls. I grabbed a pine cone and threw them at Lucky's back.

"Hey!" He yelled playfully throwing one back at me. I smiled as we tossed them back and forth at each other. A few minutes into the small pine cone war I accidentally threw one too hard and hit Lucky square in the middle of the face.

"Ow." He said bending over and rubbing his eye. I ran over to him.

"Oh my God! Are you okay?" I asked leaning over to see if I could see his eye. Right when I did he took his hand off of his eye and grabbed me. He pulled me close and kissed me. At first I was shocked, but then I realized he really did love me. So I kissed him back.

The kiss lasted for what seemed hours. Neither of us wanted it to ever end. It was getting dark. I felt so safe being held in Lucky's arms, his lips caressing mine. I felt him rubbing my back. His hands slowly slid up my shirt as we fell to the ground. He leaned back from kissing me as we lay in the pine needles. He smiled.

"Your eye was never really hurt!" I laughed at him accusingly. He smiled and stroked my hair.

"You have the most beautiful green eyes." He said. He kissed me again and again.

I woke the next morning on the forest floor in Lucky's arms. He was already awake, or maybe he never did go to sleep, and he was staring into my sleepy eyes. He stroked the hair out my face, much the same way I did when he seemed so small and sick. I realized I was really cold. I shivered and he held me tighter.

After a few minutes we both got up and brushed the pine needles off of our clothes and out of our hair on the way to the van. When we got in Lucky gave me a look. I couldn't really tell what it meant, but whatever that look was supposed to say it made me feel loved. I laughed gently and brushed a stray pine needle out of his bright red hair. He smiled at me and put the van in to drive. As we pulled away I asked:

"Were to now?" Lucky softly replied with a grin and love filled eyes:


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