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My eyes met his, and I knew he could see the fear and desperation. “Accident. Lila’s been in an accident.”
His eyes widened, but he remained silent as the doors slid closed. I didn’t know how much I had just given away, but at that moment I didn’t care; nothing else mattered. I needed to get to Lila, she was all I cared about.
I paced as the elevator descended to the plaza level and dashed out as soon as my body could fit through the gap in the doors.
Panicked, I ran. She was about half a mile away, and I could get there faster on foot.
I had to get to her, I had to tell her. I couldn’t lose her.
The rain had let up to a sprinkle, but it didn’t matter if it was down-pouring; I was too focused on reaching her.
I turned the corner, and it all came into view. Gawkers stood around, blocking me. Police cruisers were everywhere, fire trucks and ambulances, but I couldn’t see her car.
I ran up to the line next to a cruiser when it came into view. The sight almost brought me to my knees, and it would have if the need to see her and make sure she was all right hadn’t been so great.
It had been a direct hit to the driver’s side. It was a crumpled mass of metal that once resembled her sedan. The door had been ripped off, and I could see blood on the upholstery.
That night began to flash again, overlaying on the scene in front of me. Another car, another crumpled bloody mess, with another woman I loved.
My heart rate increased and my chest tightened with each step forward, my body shaking.
“Hey, hey! You can’t enter!” A cop called out to me, stepping in front of me.
“Please, I have to… Lila!” I yelled as I pushed past the officer. “Oh, God. Lila! Love, no! No!”
My vision started to darken and my heart was beating in my ears. It was sprinting. I knew the officer was trying to stop me, but I pressed forward, searching for her. Another officer came up and they tried to restrain me.
“Get your f**king hands off me. That’s my girlfriend! Lila!”
An ambulance gurney came into view, and on it laid a woman. Her left hand was lying over the side, limp, stained with red.
“No!” I screamed, my knees buckling. Another image filled my mind, almost an exact parallel from the photo of my wife’s hand to Lila’s.
The officer attempted to slow my descent to the ground. My heart was beating at a furious pace, my chest caving in to the point that I was grasping, clawing, at whatever was keeping me from breathing. My vision was blurred and getting darker with each beat until I could see no more.
I had a vague feeling of people surrounding me, talking to me, and then I heard a familiar voice, breaking through everything.
“Help him! He’s having a panic attack!” Caroline cried out.
I didn’t even get to breathe a full breath before I felt a prick in my arm and everything turned black.
It was bright, sunny, and I had to shade my eyes from the light. Something stirred at my side and I looked down to find my Lila snuggled in. Her head tilted up; her intriguing gray-green eyes met mine briefly before snuggling back into my chest. My arm was around her shoulder, and I leaned my head down to breathe her in, kissing the top of her head. I let out a sigh and pulled her closer, reveling in her warmth.
I looked around and found we were outside, lying in the middle of a park, people all around us. People all around, yet there we lay, relaxed and content. I felt something move on my chest and looked down to find Lila’s hand resting over my heart, a diamond glinting from her ring finger, a small band seated just beneath.
I couldn’t pull her flush to me, so my gaze moved farther down and saw that her stomach was large and swollen. My hand reached out to rest on her belly. I felt a kick against my palm, and my heart swelled at the feeling of life beneath it. A life we had created.
She shifted and sat up. “Anna!” she called out. “Anna, come back away from the pond!”
I looked to where she called and my breath caught in my chest. A small girl, who couldn’t be more than four, turned to look at us. Her light brown curls were bouncing as she ran toward us, hands waving in excitement. Her eyes lit up just before she threw her tiny body on top of me.
“Daddy! Daddy! There are fishies in the water!” The joy rolled off her tiny frame, her smile consuming her face.
Her unique gray-green eyes stared up at me, identical in color to Lila’s. Her hair the same shade of brown as mine. Other elements of Lila could be found in the shape of her lips and the angle of her little nose.
My hand reached out to touch her face, but instead of meeting flesh, my hand fell right through her as she dissipated between my fingers.
The sky turned gray, dark clouds tumbling into view. My gaze turned back to Lila, she was still curled into me, but her body was limp and skinny, no swell in her stomach. I looked to her hand, it was now bare of the rings that had been there and blood covered her skin.
“Lila,” I called to her, shaking her, but she didn’t wake. “Lila!”
“Lila!” I cried out. My eyes snapped open, my breathing hard, as I looked at the ceiling. I could hear the beeping of various machines next to me.
I sat up and looked around, trying to orient myself, and recognized my family in the room. My mind fought back, trying to remember how I got there. Visions of Lila’s crumpled car, her bloodied hand hanging from the stretcher came back at once. I swallowed back the bile that rose in my throat as the panic set in again.
I had to find her. I needed to make sure she was all right, that she was…alive. She had to be alive. Please, she had to be.
I pulled back the sheet and swung my legs over the edge. There was a tug on my hand, and I ripped the heart monitor from my finger. The machines began beeping wildly, alarms going off.
“Nathan, honey, it’s okay. She’s alive,” I heard my mother say. I could tell by her tone it was a plea in hopes I would calm down, but it didn’t work.
I could vaguely hear and see my parents in the room along with Darren, Trent, and Erin. They were talking in whispers, but I couldn’t concentrate on that. I had to find her.
Please be okay. Please be alive. Please don’t leave me!
“Lila!” I cried out for her, my panic rising.
“She’s all right, Nathan,” Darren said to me as he stepped to the side of the bed. I didn’t believe him, I couldn’t. I had to see for myself. I swatted at him, pushing him aside.