Chapter one.

Around seven thirty in the evening the hostess, Paige, walked up to me with a white cordless phone while I was waiting a table.

She leaned down to whisper in my ear so the customers didn’t hear. “They said it’s an emergency, you take the call and I’ll get your tables.”

I felt my expression go blank as I handed her my ticket book in exchange for the phone. I pressed the phone to my ear as I ran to a quiet corner in the back of the restaurant.

“Hello?” I asked frantically.

There was someone breathing rapidly on the other end. “Linley! This is Rex, Nate’s Dad.”

I collected my thoughts quickly in order to respond. “Hi Rex, is everything okay?”

“No. Uh, Nate was in an accident this afternoon. I talked to your folks and everyone’s headin’ out to Beaumont. I think you need to get there too.”

My heart dropped all the way to my lower abdomen then jumped back up to my throat, where it stuck.

I barely found my voice enough to speak. “Okay. I can be there in a few minutes.”

I pushed the end button on the greasy phone and ran out to the main floor of the restaurant. I set the phone down on the wooden counter top and retrieved my keys and cell phone before I threw my apron over an empty booth seat.

               I ran out the door of the restaurant and jumped into my truck without hesitation. I drove dangerously fast all the way to the hospital. The ride was a blur.

I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had so many questions. I pulled up to the hospital and parked my wide Chevy SUV next to my dad’s silver Cadillac. I saw Rex and both of my parents near the revolving glass door waiting on the paramedics to unload Nate.

The emergency lights and sirens on the ambulance were blinding and deafening. I ran to meet them at the place where they stood on the sidewalk and I shivered as the cold spring night came over us.

               As soon as the doors of the ambulance were opened I began to cry. All the questions I had disappeared and the reality descended on me.

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