Before The Goodbye

Royce walked quickly down the halls of Valley High in search of one person: Charlotte. He had been going steady with her for a little over a year now and everything seemed to be going great. He found her outside sitting under a big oak tree reading a book.

"Hello darling, we won the game...again!" He said excitedly as he sat down.

"That's good sweety, I see everything is going well with you."

"Couldn't be sweller." He said with a large grin.

"Royce, we have a good relationship, right?"

"Of course doll, why? What's going on?"

"Well I just get the impression that you're afraid of any kind of commitment."

"What would make you think that?"

"Oh I don't know Royce maybe because we've been going steady, if that's what you can call it, for over a year now and you still haven't given me your pin."

"I'm sorry doll, I guess it just slipped my mind."

"For over a year!" Charlotte yelled.

"I'm really sorry." Royce said, pleading with her to forgive him so they could get off of the subject.

"Tell me one thing Royce and I'll leave you alone about, did you ever plan on giving me your pin?"

Royce froze, his mind went blank and her found himself staring at her with a dumbfounded look on his face. After a minute he adverted his eyes, but remained silent.

Charlotte sighed, wanting to cry. "Fine Royce, until you decide when you are ready to have a real relationship I don't think we should be together."

"No darling we can work this out, just give me one more chance." Royce said, finally finding his voice.

"I want a relationship with you Royce because I love you, but I guess you don't love me enough to give me your pin...PIN! It isn't like I'm asking you to marry me, I'm just wanting that part of you that shows that I am the one you have chosen, but you can't seem to do that!"

"Charlotte I'm sorry, please don't leave me!"

"I'm sorry Royce, I've got to go." Charlotte said, taking of running. She ran to the girls bathroom and cried in a stall.

Royce just stood completely still, watching the place Charlotte had run off to. Why couldn't he just give her his pin? Why didn't he say anything to her after that important question that could've saved their relationship? Why didn't he run after her? He knows it's because he's an idiot and has ruined everything.

"What's wrong buddy?"

Royce turned around to see his best friend Alex standing there. "Charlotte and I had an argument."

"Why? What was it about?"

"I still haven't given her my pin."

"Still! You have been together forever it seems and you still haven't given her your pin!"

"I was just scared."

"Of what?"

"Commitment."

"Buddy it wouldn't be any different than now, just that she'd have something that showed your love."

"I know that now...now that it's too late." Royce said, sorrowfully.

"Too late?" Alex asked, confused.

"She broke up with me, said I wasn't ready for a relationship."

"Oh Royce I'm so sorry."

After a minute Royce's eyes lit up and he looked at Alex with a smile. "It's not too late."

"What?" Alex asked, confused yet again.

Royce told him his plan and Alex said to go for it. Just then Jared, a local greaser, walked up to them with a smirk on his face.

"What?" Royce and Alex asked.

"You think you're pretty slick, don't you Royce?"

"What do you want Jared?" Royce asked, annoyed.

"Oh, just to challenge you."

"To what?"

"A drag race up at dead man's curve."

"That wouldn't be much of a challenge for me, besides my car is faster than yours anyway so I don't want to waste my time." Royce said, smirking when Jared glared at him.

"Well why don't you prove it, race me then we'll see whose car is the fastest."

"Fine when are we doing this?"

"Tonight at 10 o' clock, it'll be more of a challenge for you at night."

"Swell I'll be there."

"This shall be interesting." Jared said to his friend as they walked away.

"I can beat him, I know I can. My car is way faster than his will ever be."

"He'll never know what hit him." Alex said as he and Royce went to class.

Meanwhile Charlotte is in her English class, thinking about the whole situation with Royce when Mandy turns to her and says, "Guess what I found out?"

"What?"

"There's going to be a drag race tonight at 10 o' clock."

"Oh really?" Charlotte asked, though she wasn't really that interested.

"Yeah, guess who's racing!"

"Who?" Charlotte asked with a sigh.

"No talking you two." The teacher yelled at them.

Mandy leaned down low so the teacher wouldn't see her and whispered, "Jared Emerson and Royce Clayton."

"Wait what?" Charlotte asked suddenly interested.

"They're racing tonight at 10 o'clock, everyone is going to be there!" Mandy said, excitedly.

"He can't do this." Charlotte said, starting to panic.

Just then the bell rang and Charlotte was the first one out the door. She rushed out to the front of the school and saw Royce driving away, she had missed him. 'He can't do this, it's too dangerous' she thought as she walked home. Once she got home she tried calling his house, but there was no answer. She quickly put on some warmer clothes; she'd just have to show up at the race.

Later that night at the race Royce stood by his car, preparing himself for the race. He couldn't focus on the race though, all he could think about was Charlotte, he doesn't know what he will do if he loses her. Alex walked up to him and told him the race was starting in five minutes. It was then that Royce noticed Charlotte standing directly behind Alex, staring at him. Alex noticed that they wanted to talk so he walked away, leaving them alone. He decided to go talk to some of the ladies that had showed up.

"I didn't know you were going to show up."

"I had to, Royce this is a bad idea." Charlotte said seriously.

"Don't worry doll, there's nothing to worry about. I'll beat him with hardly any effort and then it'll be over."

"Royce I'm serious, that attitude is going to get you hurt or even worse."

"Darling there's nothing to worry about, there's no doubt in my mind that I can beat him."

"Please Royce, don't race." Charlotte pleaded, looking into his eyes.

"I can't back out now doll, I'll look like a chicken if I do and I can't let that happen. Imagine what my reputation would be like then."

Charlotte sighed, knowing she couldn't change his mind. "Fine, just be careful."

"I will...oh and can I talk with you after the race, about us?"

Charlotte looked hesitant and he could tell that she was about to say no. He quickly grabbed her hand and held it in between both of his. "Please." He pleaded.

"Alright." She said, giving in.

"Royce the race is starting." Alex yelled to him.

"I'll see you after the race darling."

"Okay, after the race." Charlotte said in a whisper.

"Okay Royce you can beat him I know you can and after you do Charlotte, you and I can all go get a shake to celebrate." Alex said, giving his best friend a pat on the back for good luck.

"That sounds swell." Royce said as he got into his car.

Charlotte walked off to the side with Alex to watch. She didn't want to watch, but she had to so she could make sure that Royce would be alright.

Jared's girlfriend Tina walked in between the cars and held up a flag for a minute then swung it down, starting the race. Royce was right, his car was faster and it was pissing Jared off. Royce was doing quite well; he was a few feet ahead of Jared. Surprising enough the race wasn't even on his mind, he was thinking of Charlotte. He held up his pin and smiled, after the race he would give it to her and hopefully she'd accept it. Royce's mind finally went back to the race when he noticed that the sharp curve was right in front of him, but he didn't brake in time. His car went over the edge of the mountain and started flipping down the side of it. Royce hit his head on the steering wheel and held his forehead in pain. A second later the car blew up with Royce still trapped inside.

Charlotte and Alex watched in horror as Royce's car went over the edge of the mountain and then blew up. Charlotte screamed Royce's name as she went running over to the edge to look down. The car was in flames, Royce had been killed. Alex ran up a minute later and also looked over. He couldn't believe he just watched his best friend die and he wasn't able to do anything for him.

"Charlotte, I'm so sorry."

"No he can't be dead, someone has to go help him. Get him out of that car!" She yelled hysterically with tears streaming down her face

"It's too late Charlotte, we can't help him now."

"No, we have to help him!"

"There's nothing we can do, I'm sorry."

"He can't be dead, I love him." Charlotte said, looking at him sorrowfully.

Alex pulled Charlotte in for a comforting hug and she collapsed in his arms. He pulled her away from the side of the mountain and sat down with her as she cried into his chest. It was so unreal; he had lost his best friend. He never should have encouraged him to race. Charlotte was a mess and he knew that Royce had been planning on giving her his pin. He decided not to tell Charlotte that though, it would only make things worse.

Jared watched Charlotte and Alex apologetically and then looked at Royce's flaming car, shocked. He just wanted to show that his car was faster, he never wanted Royce dead. He couldn't help, but feel a little responsible for his death. Now Charlotte wouldn't have her boyfriend, Alex wouldn't have his best friend, Royce's parents lost their only son and this would greatly affect Royce's sister Rachel, her and Royce were very close. Not to mention that Royce had lost any future that he could've had, he lost his life. He felt horrible, he couldn't believe that Royce was actually dead. He didn't like Royce much, but now he feels kind of bad for the way he has always treated him.

Royce tried everything he could to get out of that car, but it was no use. The whole car was on fire, parts of himself included. He yelled for help for a few minutes, but no one came. He then realized that he was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it. He was in so much pain and there was so much blood. He felt horrible, he never got to give Charlotte his pin, she didn't know that he was ready and wanting a relationship with her and she never would. Royce clutched his pin; thinking about all his times with Charlotte before he finally died.

~ Finished ~

***** Review please and tell me what you think of the story :) *****