“You could just wait for me here or go back to the house. I don’t care.”
Olivia glanced sideways at Emilia who couldn’t hide that she still wasn’t okay with what Olivia was going to do. She’d just asked what they were doing here and had shaken her head in dismay and most likely in disagreement.
“And do what? Take a bath? Watch T.V.? At least here I’ll get to see how you break this poor man’s heart, just like in The Bachelorette.”
“Fine. But if you start being a pain in the ass and….” She trailed off at Emilia’s expression of pure pain. She had stopped moving and looked like an ice sculpture.
Then it dawned on her, what this place meant to Emilia.
“Oh, no. This is where it happened, didn’t it?”
As much as Emilia wanted to deny or hide her reaction, she couldn’t. It was like watching a movie. Only that the woman supposed to be playing her was way shorter and had a different coloring to her hair. But she could see her with her head hunched down as she was quickly approaching the street were Emilia’s life had ended.
She tried to process this. There was something quite not right. The anxiety was there. What she’d been trying to scare away all day after haven’t spent the night and most of the day at the cemetery, came down hard on her. Fear and dread crawled along her skin like a million spiders, dangerous and unstoppable. Still, the woman walking a few paces ahead seemed familiar. It wasn’t her though, it couldn’t be.
Then it hit her. Of course it wasn’t her but even as the name came to her mind she already knew how it was going to end.
Could a ghost feel fear? Olivia wondered. She had seen her pissed off, annoyed, even happy but she had never seen Emilia look like she’d seen a ghost. That uneasiness that had been with her for the entire day descended once more on her and her body shuddered away from it.
After that, it all began to unfold like a slow-motion movie the second she forced herself to follow Emilia’s stare. She immediately recognized the quick, bouncy steps of the person about to cross the street and knew, with a gut-clenching dread what was about to happen.
Still, she yelled.
Camie knew she was heading in the right direction but didn’t bother to look up and check for any coming cars. Damon had texted her about tomorrow’s party and despite haven’t gotten permission from her dad to go, she was already making plans to meet at his house and then go from there with Elisa and Samantha.
Her hands were busy sending her reply she never saw the car coming at her. It was someone shouting her name from behind that had Camie finally looking up.
They both felt their bodies freeze for a split second before both women ran. Olivia screamed Camie’s name again saw the girl’s surprised look followed by the shock registering in her sweet and innocent honey colored eyes. They moved from Olivia to the car fast approaching her. It was evident in the way her body tensed and froze, that she was way too scared to move out of its path.
Olivia didn’t even have time to think what she was doing. Later she would wonder how she got so fast to the kid’s side. She ran as fast as she could. The second she reached Camie she pushed her out of the way of the coming car.
Those seconds before knowing what was about to happen felt to Olivia like standing in front of a huge wave, soaring into the air and about to crash into the sand. She knew she stood on the precise spot where you could neither move away or dive into it and avoid the collision. Maybe it was because she still had Camie’s face fresh in her mind that Michael’s face swam up in front of her. She closed her eyes, trying to cling to it as fiercely as possible.
In that instant, the driver’s eyes looked up from whatever had been distracting him. He planted both feet on the brakes but it was too late for him to stop. The car skidded on the road.
Emilia had remained at the edge of the sidewalk, staring at Olivia with pity in her eyes which quickly transformed into a steely determination.
This is what I am supposed to do.
She appeared next to Olivia in the blink of an eye and for the first and last time, touched her warm skin. A force she didn’t know she possessed or one that was probably granted to her for this sole purpose only made her push Olivia out of the way, but not so successfully. The car still sent her flying but not with the initial force it would’ve.
The driver screamed as the woman who’d been in the middle of the street all but vanished by some invisible force and the shape of another woman, pale skin, blue eyes and dark brown hair billowing in the air replaced her. He just shut his eyes before his car hit some unseen barrier and stopped.
Olivia felt someone’s hand as it moved her out of the car’s way and sent her flying to the floor. She also felt the moment her body hit the ground hard and heard Camie’s scream as it teared through the traffic noise.
As soon as her head hit the pavement a warm trickle of blood began to run down her face. There was a blinding light getting closer to her. For a moment, it drowned all of the noise from people screaming and a girl sobbing close to her. But then little by little the light began to take the shape of a woman. Of the friend who’d saved her life, or at least had tried to.
The pain was starting to travel all through her body, her throat complained as she made the effort to call her name. In the end, she wasn’t sure if she said the name out loud or if it was just a faint echo in her mind.
Olivia tried to fight hard against the invisible pull of darkness as it tried to take her under. Her eyelids were struggling to remain open, but just as she was about to fade away from consciousness, Emilia leaned over her and looked right into her glassy eyes and said.
“I guess you were right after all. Take care Olivia. Come visit me sometime.”
After that, it all went black.
Michael ignored the curses from the people he tried to shove out of his way. He had to make sure. He hadn’t been paying attention to the street in front of him but he could swear he heard someone scream his niece’s name right before he looked up and realized there’d been an accident.
The crowd opened up to let him pass and when he saw Camie kneeling on the floor and crying. He felt all the air rush out of him in one quick swoosh. His blood had turned ice cold and for an instant he was paralyzed. Then Camie’s gaze found him and she practically jumped into his arms holding him tight. With shaking hands, he pulled her away from him and he began to run his hands up and down checking for any injures, but the girl only had a scrape on her elbow and on her knees. The relief he felt almost made him fall down to the floor.
Unfortunately, his relief was short lived because Camie began saying in between sobs.
“Uncle Michael…..it’s…my..fault. I am so sorry. She saved my life. I am sorry.” Michael then looked at Olivia’s still body sprawled on the pavement next to Camie and he literally felt his heart stop. His knees gave in and he fell to the floor. Quickly, he went to Olivia’s side and lifted her in his arms.
“Olivia, baby. Wake up, Olivia. Do you hear me?”
An almost audible moan escaped from her lips and Michael had to stop from gathering her close to him. He didn’t know how badly she was injured so he didn’t want to risk hurting her even more.
Camie was still sobbing so Michael reached out a hand and pulled her down with him. While Camie rested her wet face on his chest Michael kept trying to make Olivia open her eyes. The next words she croaked felt like a punch to the gut.
“No, no baby. Stay with me. Do you hear me? Damn it, Olivia. I love you. You hear me? Don’t you dare do this to me!”
Michael could make out the faint reassurances from someone behind him saying there was an ambulance on its way. But nothing made sense to him. His only concern was that Olivia had yet to open her eyes.