Jen and William
Jen is an average girl. Then she meets William. When she is in an accident and is paralyzed from the neck down, how will she cope?
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1969 Review this Chapter
Chapter 1 Trash
I walked slowly down the pier, a blanket wrapped around my shoulders. I raised another spoonful of crushed ice to my mouth and let it melt, cooling my dry, sticky mouth. The wind irritated me to no end, blowing right into my face, making me even colder.
As I walked, I noticed a large plastic container stuck under a rock. ‘It’s so sad,’ I thought, ‘that people can just throw their trash out onto the beach without a second thought.’
I walked quickly past the plastic and the boulder that it was trapped under, in a hurry to get back to my car. It was getting colder out here. Of course, it could be the ice that I was eating. Then, for no reason at all, I stopped. I turned back to look where I had come from and I saw the container. If I didn’t pick it up, I was sure that no one would. And how could I chastise others for throwing it there, if I just walked away and left it?
I walked quickly back to the plastic and struggled with the boulder. It was heavy and had settled comfortably down onto the plastic and did not want to come up. I finally was able to pull the boulder up and I bent down to grab the plastic. Not paying attention to what I was doing, I straightened up and headed to where I knew the garbage can set.
I walked with my eyes out over the sea. ‘I’m so sick of this place,’ I thought. ‘It’s beautiful, but I’m sick of it. The wind, the sand, the water, it bores me. I’ve been here too long. It’s time to move on.’
I did not even notice the man that placed himself between me and the garbage can. Lost in my thoughts, I ran straight into him. I started to fall backward, but strong arms caught me. I looked up into golden eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” I apologized. I regained my footing and he let go of me. I rubbed my shoulders where his hands had been and frowned subconsciously. His hands were colder than the cup of ice that I held.
“It’s alright,” he said. My breath caught in my throat at his voice. It was like the sweetest piano, keys running softly over the liquid silk of his voice. I struggled to control myself and looked at him closer.
He looked to be in his early twenties; not much older than me. His hair was dark; not brown as most people’s hair is, but a deep, pure, midnight black. His features looked like they belonged on the face of an angel, but instead were plastered onto the face of a mere mortal. Or perhaps he was an angel. He wore a pair of khaki pants and a navy blue muscle shirt that clearly showed the six-pack that lay underneath. His flip flops were on the ground beside him. He reached down now to pick them up. He’d probably dropped them so that he could catch me.
His strange golden eyes captured my gaze briefly, but he broke the contact after only a moment. His eyes traveled down my arm to the plastic container that I carried. His perfect brows furrowed and he returned his eyes to my face.
“Did you pull that out from under the rock over there?” he asked.
Again, I was lost in the silk of his voice. After a moment I managed to nod and return, “Yes, I did.”
His eyes were surprised but approving. “I’ve lived here a long time, but you are the first person that I have ever met who has bothered to struggle with a heavy rock for a piece of trash that was never theirs to begin with.”
I smiled dumbly; his eyes and voice were dulling my thinking. “Um, thanks.” I cocked my head then added, “I think.”
The man laughed and my heart melted. “You’re welcome. And yes, that was a compliment. What’s your name?” he asked.
“Jennifer. But people call me Jen,” I answered.
He extended his hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Jen. My name is William.”
I took his hand, transferring the plastic into my left hand, and was once again shocked by the intense cold that it emanated. We shook.
“You look cold,” he observed.
He gave me a strange look. He raised one eyebrow and his golden eyes danced. “And yet you eat ice?”
I blushed and looked down at the half empty cup in my left hand. “Yeah. I’m just weird, I guess.”
William chuckled. “Aren’t we all?”
“I bet you’re not weird,” I said. Oops, did I just say that out loud? My blush deepened. I wanted to crawl under a rock and never emerge.
His smile faded. “You can’t even imagine,” he said softly.
I looked at him curiously. I wanted to ask what he meant by that, but the way he stared out at the choppy waters captured my attention entirely. The way the wind played through his hair, the way his eyes stayed, unblinking, on the ocean. The thought slipped out of my mind completely.
“I’m sorry,” he said, snapping out of his reverie. His eyes lingered a moment longer on the waves before his head turned back to look at me. “I’ve kept you too long, please excuse me.”
He offered a parting smile before walking past me. I turned to watch him walk down the pier. His walk was graceful; he seemed almost to be gliding across the wooden planks.
The wind shifted suddenly, blowing my hair toward William and obstructing my view of him. I took hold of it firmly and pushed it roughly behind my ears so that I could see William again. I saw him stiffen suddenly. He turned and began to walk back in my direction, a grim set to his dark black eyes. I was confused, hadn’t his eyes been golden only a moment ago?
William was closer now and he seemed to be getting anxious. Suddenly he was right beside me. I felt his uneven breath on my neck and I shivered. What was happening? Why wasn’t I pulling away from him?
His lips met my throat and he opened his mouth slightly. I could feel his teeth graze the delicate skin at my throat and I shivered slightly, a small whimper escaping me.
William stiffened and pulled himself away from my neck with an enormous amount of effort, it seemed. He stared at me for a moment, wide eyed, before he began to back away.
“No,” he whispered. Then he yelled as he ran back to his car, “Damn it!”
I stared after him, confused. What on Earth just happened? His Mercedes pulled out of the parking lot quickly and sped off down the road silently. I followed suit, walking to my own Kia Optima and plopping down on the driver’s seat. I realized vaguely that I still had the plastic container in my hand. ‘I’ll throw it away when I get home,’I decided.
I drove down the road at a much slower pace than William had driven away at, but I was still going fifteen miles above the speed limit. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going, instead looking out over the water. ‘This is the weirdest day I think I have ever had…’
I heard the sharp squeal of brakes and saw the flash of headlights in the fading light of dusk. The impact of the other car hit the driver’s side – my side – and my car flipped once, twice, three times, landing on its back on the side of the road. It was trapped, crushed by the other car, a big Ford truck, against the cement wall between the road and the beach.
At first, the only thing I felt was shock. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. This was the kind of thing that you saw in the movies or on the news, and it was always happening to someone else. It couldn’t be me this time. It was too unreal. Then I started to feel the pain. It flared down my back and through my arms and legs, an intense wave of agony like I had never experienced. I had never felt anywhere near to its equivalent. I wanted to scream, but just then the airbags exploded, blocking my mouth. I couldn’t draw a breath, it was in my way. I couldn’t breathe! I began to panic, trying to thrash my limbs, but they refused to obey me. I wasn’t going to make it. I was going to die here. I could hear the screams of the people who were gathered around the accident, but I could not see them. They would never get to me in time. My lungs were running out of air quickly and I was unable to draw in more.
A pair of strong arms appeared suddenly in my vision. They didn’t bother to unbuckle the seatbelt, but pulled it off of me, ripping it in half. I was dragged from the car, screaming in agony. The crowd parted and someone called 911.
“Stand back!” the arms shouted. “It’s okay, I’m a doctor!”
I hadn’t even realized that I had closed my eyes, but I opened them now to see the face of my rescuer hovering worriedly over me. Golden eyes stared down at me. I squeezed my eyes shut again. It was William.
“It’s going to be alright,” he assured me confidently. “You’re going to be okay.”
I opened my eyes again to see what he was doing. I saw him feeling his way down my abdomen, then down my legs, but I didn’t feel a thing. My breathing started to quicken and I wanted to scream again.
“I can’t feel anything,” I told him, my voice rising, on the edge of panic.
He looked back at me, concern evident in his eyes. “Does it hurt?”
I tried to nod, but it caused another wave of pain, so I answered, “Yes. Oh my gosh, I’ve never felt this much pain in my entire life.”
The ambulance sirens sounded in the distance and I sighed gratefully. As they pulled up I tried to tell myself that I was going to be okay. William had said that I would. I wanted to believe him, but I just didn’t know that I could.
“I’m Dr. Taylor,” William told the men in the ambulance. “I think she’s had damage to her spine. She can’t feel anything below the neck. She says she’s in a lot of pain, though.”
The men nodded. Two of them loaded me onto a stretcher while a third went to talk to the man who had been driving the truck.
“I’m fine,” he assured them. “Just make sure she’s okay.”
William got into the back of the ambulance with me and assisted the two technicians as they stuck needles in my arms. It was eerie; I could see the wires and needles, but I couldn’t feel them as they punctured my skin.
I was silent as we drove quickly to the hospital. The doors opened again and I was carried in the stretcher into the emergency unit of the hospital. Doctors and nurses surrounded me in a bustle. William was caught up by his colleagues who asked him questions about my condition. He told them everything he had said to the technicians and helped them wheel me into the radiation department. They injected something for the pain into one of the tubes going through my skin. Then they took x-rays of my back and legs. They performed other tests, but I was just about out of it for them. I was in shock; the world passed me by in a daze.
Finally I was brought to my own room and I was left alone. I quickly fell asleep. It was a deep and dreamless sleep, and it replenished my strength.