Author's Note: -receives glare from reviewers-
I know, I know. I've taken my time on this chapter. And you know what? Writer's block is a bitch, and that stupid plague has consumed me thoroughly. I've also realized that this is the fic getting the most attention, so I thought a chapter up, and I hope you like it.
You better. :)
Oh, and the whole chapter either consisting of Seth's POV or just an omniscient POV
Oh, God. This isn't happening. It can't be.
My truck pulls up to the scene of the accident, and it's more horrible than my brain can register. The paramedics are tending to another person on the blacktop, a little boy; a little bit over Chloe's age. His twisted little body crumpled on the highway, eyes closed and staring at nothing, with his tears still wet on his face. Damnit, he must have been so scared. An EMT lifts his head, and I see the blood rush onto the EMT's gloved hand.
The car's overturned and crushed, only the back seat of the car isn't completely crumbled. It's been slammed against another vehicle, a truck nearly twice its size. It only has a large, car-shaped dent in the front.
"There's a pulse!" the EMT announced, sounding relived as the other paramedics gathered around, lifting the boy's pale and broken body out onto the stretcher.
I follow the ambulance to the hospital, Summer in the passenger's side. We were both dead silent throughout the entire drive, an uncomfortable ringing of no sound plaguing the air around us.
We both rush inside, and I ask the nurse at the front desk if Anna Stern was hospitalized here. She nods solemnly, "Was," she repeated my wording, and I understand. But yet I don't. I don't want to understand. She was Anna; funny, smart Anna… I was completely unwilling to accept that she was really, really dead.
"And the boy? Who is he? Is he gonna be alright?" I snap, but sounding more worried than anything.
The woman turned away, eyeing a stack of papers and fingering them gently. "Lincoln Stern," she read distantly. "Her son. Fractured skull, with a rather big concussion. Our doctors are working on it, and he'll probably be alright."
I turned away wordlessly, barely satisfied by the info. That's when I see them.
Marissa and Ryan rise up simultaneously, giving Summer and I a comfortable four-way hug. Chloe's here, too, but she's still sitting in the chair in the waiting room nearby. As we all reluctantly pull away, Chloe gets up, runs to me, and squeezes my waist. "It's gonna be okay uncle Seth, I promise," she vowed to my abdomen. Then she clung to Summer.
Summer smiles weakly, but retains her girl-next-door-who-just-happens-to-look-like-a-supermodel look, "It'll be alright, Mini Cooper." She stroked Chloe's tresses, freed from any sort of hair tie.
"I—I'm so sorry, Seth," Marissa tells me, putting her hand on my shoulder. I don't want sympathy, but I feel it anyway, and the pain dulls just a little.
Chloe had never seen uncle Seth so sad in her entire six years on this Earth. She felt like she had been split into tiny pieces, like a pizza, every time she looked at him. Mommy told her that Seth had lost a very good friend, and that he felt really bad. Sometimes she wished she could say something that would make him feel better, but Chloe thought—and knew—that she really wasn't a grown-up, as much as she'd like to be, and nothing she said would matter.
But it did.
She went to her first funeral she'd ever been to a week and a half after the accident, and it was scary. Chloe begged her parents to sit in the back; she'd never want to be so close to someone who was dead. There was a little boy who sat with two really old people in the front, and she knew that he didn't want to be there.
After the funeral, there were some cookies and tea upstairs in the church, and Chloe drew in a deep breath and went over to the boy.
"What's your name?" she asked curiously.
"Lincoln. But everybody calls me Lin, 'cause I don't really like Lincoln all that much. What's yours?" the dark-haired Lin returned a question.
"Chloe, but my aunty calls me Clo Bear or Mini Cooper, and my mommy and daddy and uncle call me Clo. But you can call me Chloe if you want." She said all of this very, very fast.
"Uh… Chloe's alright. It's a pretty name," Lin complemented.
"Thanks," a slight blush painted her cheeks. "So, why are you here?"
"My mommy got killed in the accident. I got a big bump on my head," he answered, pointing to a shaved section of hair in the back were staples held a large cut together.
"I'm sorry," Chloe replied quickly, knowing that that was being said a lot. "She's my parents' and my aunt and uncle's good friend."
"Oh," was all he could say, his hazel eyes looking downcast.
"Uh… um… bye, I guess." Chloe said, wandering away. She had a funny feeling in her stomach; one she'd gotten once before, when she was talking to Seth. It was weird…
Author's Note: Sorry the chapter's so short!
And I know there's a lack of lots emotion on Lin's part, but I'll explain why later…
Next Chapter: Jumps six years into the future, where Chloe and Lincoln reunite after a long, long time; six years.