Nothing ruins your day quite like losing your twin sister. It was the week before prom and Hallie's boyfriend, Jace, had asked her. There had been thousands of rose petals strewn around the house for a week from his elaborate promposal. It was almost their anniversary and she wanted to look stunning for the dance. I volunteered to drive her around town to shop. Sometimes I wished I wasn’t such a wonderful brother.
“So I was thinking of dying my hair blonde. What do you think?” she frowned from shotgun, fixing her hairdo using the mirror attached to her lowered sun visor.
“You don’t wanna match me anymore?” I teased, filling my voice with false hurt.
She punched me playfully and I swerved the car to retaliate. She screamed, grabbing her armrests. I laughed.
“You jerk!” she exclaimed and hit harder. I’d never admit it to her, but she actually could hurt me if she hit hard enough. But she was in a good mood so I was safe for the moment.
“Back to the subject, I think you should dye your hair purple,” I informed her, reaching up to comb my fingers through my own sandy brown hair.
She laughed and turned the radio up. Somehow she always managed to find the one station playing good oldies music. It was a skill I highly respected. Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer blasted through my truck.
Our next stop was some shoe place. I knew it would be my least favorite spot since Hallie always managed to try shoes on for hours longer than her dress fashion shows always lasted. It was one of her many annoying talents.
“I’ll be fast,” she assured when she noticed my face. I raised my eyebrows skeptically but followed her into the store.
After a straight two hours of wandering the racks looking for the perfect shoes and being disappointed by sizes she walked up to me. I was sitting on a low bench with tilted mirrors built in so you could admire your beautiful feet in their new shoes. Hallie squealed in excitement above me. I recognized that expression. She was in love.
“How out of your price range are they?” I sighed.
She assumed an indignant expression. “Excuse me?”
I chuckled, amused by her attempt to act innocent. “You wouldn’t be showing them off to me unless you needed money. How much?”
“It's like you've lived with me your entire life. Like twenty bucks but aren’t they perfect?” she replied dreamily. She was doing that thing with her feet now where she kept shifting weight and position to linger in the shoes before putting them back. It was always her last attempt before she started begging and bribing.
“Fine. But you owe me,” I gave in. I was always planning to but I couldn’t let go too easily or she’d start begging more often. She laughed in triumph and hugged me awkwardly from above then ran off to grab the box so we could check out and leave.
It happened while we were crossing the street. All I saw was the car approaching, heard the honking. I felt the impact then the world was spinning around me, I was weightless. Next I was lying in the asphalt with Hallie kneeling next to me. Her hands clamped over one of mine. Blood dripped down my face and I remotely felt sharp pain crashing through my being.
“Hold on, Seph,” Hallie whispered through her building tears.
I smiled weakly. “You’re cute,” I teased. We both knew I wasn’t making it through this. I couldn’t think straight but I wasn’t sure I even wanted to. I wanted the pain to stay distant. I didn’t want to keep looking at Hallie, crying because of me. “You’ll be fine,” I reassured her. She could only shake her head.
I tried to move my free hand to brush a tear from her face but my body wouldn’t obey me. I was too weak to move. Once the adrenaline slowed the pain became more defined. My gut was screaming its objection at the piece of glass lodged in it. My head pounded from the impact on the ground. I guess I had smashed in a window since there were shards of glass littering the ground around me.
I sucked in an unsteady breath, trying to speak. My voice refused to obey me as well. I would’ve cussed it out, yelled, demanded I move but I was powerless. I settled for meeting Hallie’s eyes insistently. She returned the gaze through her blurry vision. I made one last attempt to smile before the world started going black.