The Other SideMature

When I opened my eyes, I didn't know where I was for a few minutes. I was staring at a ceiling, but it was angled strangely. Shifting, I realized I was on my back, the floor beneath me hard. Slowly, I flipped onto my stomach and lifted myself up. The hallway I was in was small, but I could hear everything. I heard the shouting, the screaming, and finally, the gunshot.

Silence filled my head and for a moment I thought I had gone deaf. My entire body stopped working, because the fear took over, and my brain told me who it was who had gotten shot. I squeezed my eyes shut and my knees gave out. I was back on the floor and I didn't move, didn't see, under someone touched my face with trembling hands.

"Kendall, we have to call the police, and an ambulance or he isn't going to make it."

At these words, I opened my eyes, and looked into a pair of hazel ones. Christian sat crouched in front of me, his entire face etched with worry and panic. He kept glancing behind him at the bedroom, his lips forming a thin line.

"You're alive," I whispered. Then I threw myself at him, kissing him like I hadn't seen him in years. He returned the gesture and held me tightly. "God, I thought you got shot."

He stopped kissing me, then, seeming to remember why he came out here. Gently he drew away from me and touched my face, his eyes searching mine, and then he spoke.

"Kendall, it's Jude."

My eyes widened at his words, then I noticed his clothes, and the red specks on the fabric. It was blood. Jude's blood.

"He saved me," Christian explained, bringing me to my feet. "But not without getting shot. Seth got him right in the chest. I'll call for help and you watch him."

My legs shook and I gripped the wall for support. "Seth," I muttered. "Where is he?"

"He's not here," Christian said angrily. "The fucking coward jumped out the window."

I nodded, starting toward the door. I didn't even have to go all the way into the room to smell the blood. It was so strong that I nearly gagged. The first thing I saw was a shoe, then I heard a muffled cry. I saw Jude laying there, his chest covered in blood from the wound, and his eyes, those forest-green eyes, were staring at me.

I dropped to my knees beside him and automatically grasped his hand. "It's going to be okay," I said, trying hard not to cry. "Christian's calling for help."

Jude's eyes, for the first time, looked full of terror. His breathing was erratic and his body trembled. Then he opened his mouth.

"I'll be with Abbie," he whispered, a smile on his lips. "I'll get to see her soon. It's what I always wanted."

"No," I said, shaking my head. When I looked at him, his eyes mirrored mine with tears. "You're not going to die, Jude. It's not happening. We're going to get you to the hospital and you're going to be okay."

I heard the sirens, and then all I remembered was them taking Jude away, while I sat outside wrapped in a blanket. Christian sat beside me, our hands linked, and for the first time in my life, I prayed.


Whether or not Jude went to the other side at all during the operation to remove the bullet, I didn't know. When we were finally able to see him, he was still asleep. Christian went to get some sort of food for us and when he got back he explained what he could. Seth had taken him from his own yard, drugged and carried him to his car, and just before the unconscious settled down on Christian, he remembered being stuffed into a tight space. Then he woke up in a bedroom with Seth touching him.

I was sitting in a cushioned chair, my knees pulled up to my chest, when the hospital room door opened and one of the nurse's came in. She shook her head. "He's very lucky to be alive," she said to us. Then she looked at me. "Someone is here to see you, Kendall."

"Who?" I asked suspiciously.

"Your mother."

I blinked at the nurse a few times, glanced at Christian, and stood up. I followed her out the door and down the hall. There was a figure standing near the automatic doors. She burst into tears when she saw me.

We didn't exchange words. She cried, hugging me. She smelled minty and she didn't seem to be stumbling. She was, for the first time in two years, completely sober. When I hugged her back, her little intake of breath told me that she wasn't expecting that at all. When she asked me what happened, I just told her that my friend got shot. She surprised me by asking if it was my boyfriend.

When I returned to Jude's room with my mom, Christian stood, his eyes narrowed. When my mom saw him, she frowned.

"Please don't be mad," she said softly. "I know what I did and said was wrong. You can forgive me if you want later."

Christian's mouth opened slightly in disbelief. I went over to him and tapped his chin with my finger. He shook his head and looked at me, reaching for my hand. We sat and waited for Jude to wake up while my mom announced she was going into rehab.


After Jude had woken up at some during the night, I cried against him and thanked him for saving Christian. He laughed at me and told me to stop being so dramatic, then to my surprise, he shook Christian's hand.

I couldn't wait to sleep. I was exhausted. We dropped Christian off and headed home, neither of us speaking. My mom unlocked the door without saying anything to me, then went to her room. I went into the living room to fall asleep with the TV on. When I flicked on the light, a terrible scream escaped my throat.

Seth was staring at me with a crooked smile and amused golden eyes.

The End

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