Note: I have no idea if Tyler has a brother, I made Bobby up. If he does, I'm sorry for getting it wrong. Sorry if any characters are OOC. This story is rated PG-13 for possible scenes with drug use. There is PG-rated violence and mature subject matter. I do not own In A Heartbeat.
Val Lanier sauntered down the hallways of her school. She was thinking about the conversation she had with her friend, Tyler Connell, the night before. The more she thought about it, the more worried she became. Yet again, she replayed the phone conversation once again:
"Hey Tyler, what's up?" she asked him.
He sighed. He never sighed unless something was seriously wrong. "Nothing much."
Concerned, she asked him, "Tyler, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"Are you sure? You sound depressed."
"Yes," he hissed.
He sighed again. "No, I'm sorry, you didn't do anything. Not like I could say they same for some people."
"What do you mean?" The phone was silent for a while.
"Hold on a sec," he told her, then she heard him yelling, "What? No, I'm not going right now, Bobby. I'm kinda busy... Bobby, go do it yourself!" He uttered a quick, "Gotta go, bye," and she heard a dial tone as he hung up.
Now, Val was concerned. She went to her locker, where her friends Jamie Waite and Hank Beecham were waiting for her.
"Hey," she greeted them.
"Hey, have you seen Tyler?" Hank asked her. "I haven't seen him today."
"No, but I'll keep my eye out for him," she told him. "He's probably late or something, he's coming," she said, trying to assure herself more than her friends.
He never did come that day. Now she was concerned. She called after the day was over, and he said that he wasn't sick, that he had to finish a report for school. Tyler wasn't the type to stay home for a report. Now she wondered: What's wrong with Tyler?
Jamie stared at his friend Kenny warily. He was giving him a "pep talk" about his attitude.
"What the heck is with you, man? You don't want to do anything fun anymore."
"Haven't you learned anything since the water tower incident?" he asked him, reminding him of the Halloween that they were racing up the water tower and Kenny fell off. Jamie couldn't even help him because he had faked sick that day and the team couldn't let him help because of that. He had felt rotten, and he thought that Kenny had learned something, but apparently not.
"That was a one-time thing, man. That'll never happen again or anything."
Jamie was miffed at his friend's ignorance. "How can you just say that?"
"Because it's true. It's not like that'll happen to anyone else. Geez, you remind me of a worried old lady, Jamie."
"I am not an old lady."
"Well then, why are you so afraid to spray a stupid old building? It's not like anyone cares." He held up the paint can to Jamie's face.
"Because it's wrong," Jamie shoved the can away.
"Oh, come on, no one's gonna see, just do it," he raised the can once more.
The temptation became to great, and the old Jamie emerged from deep within him and seemed to control him. He reached for the paint can and began to vandalize the building.
He and Kenny were taking turns with the can when suddenly, the store manager of the building saw the boys and yelled, "Hey! Stop spraying my store!"
"Uh oh, let's run," Kenny grabbed Jamie and they ran. After a few blocks, they looked back. The manager didn't follow them.
The boys felt an adrenaline rush, and Kenny panted, "Whoo hoo! That was fun, huh Jamie?"
Jamie grinned. "Yeah, that was fun." He only thought thing at this point: I'm back.
The next day, Val, Hank and Jamie were working at the station. Alex got them to file reports. They noted that Tyler wasn't there.
"Tyler never came to football practice," Hank said, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
"What's with him? He probably hasn't left the house since yesterday," Val's brow furrowed in concern.
Jamie sniffed haughtily. "He's probably cutting class or something."
"He'd never do that," Val assured him angrily.
"There's a first time for everything," he retorted.
Before she could reply to his rude comment, the door opened. It was Tyler. "I'm here," he mumbled. He seemed to be hiding his face. He worked on his report.
Later, the others found out why Tyler was hiding his face. When they were sorting some boxes, Val tripped and fell into Tyler. When she got up, she saw Tyler's face and gasped, "Tyler, what happened?"
Tyler's right eye was covered with a black bruise, and he had a gash on his left cheek. There were several cuts on his face, and he looked angry. "None of your business!" he yelled, and he started to leave, kicking several boxes aside as he went.
"Geez, someone's cranky," Jamie said snidely. Tyler whirled around and pinned Jamie against the wall and held up his fist, ready to strike.
"Tyler, don't," Val begged. Tyler thought for a moment, and lowered his fist. He stormed out of the room angrily.
"Nice move, Jamie," Hank told his very ignorant partner. "If Val didn't stop him, Tyler would've slugged you. Think that was smart now?"
"It's not like he could've hit me that hard," Jamie retorted.
While they two boys argued, Val went to look for Brooke. When she found her, she asked her, "Brooke, have you seen Tyler? I want to apologize for something."
"Sorry. He just left. He said that he had important business to take care of."
"Oh, okay. Thanks anyway." As she headed back to the room, she hoped that Jamie would let her help him. At that moment, the alarm rang. She met up with Hank and Jamie in the hallway. As they jumped into the ambulance, they knew that they had to put their worries aside- those that had worries- and focus on the call. People's lives depended on it.
"The call is for a 17-year-old boy that's been stabbed outside George's on Rochester Street," Hank informed the team.
"You mean the convenience store?" Val asked. Hank nodded.
"Why would anyone go there? The last time that I went was when I was six," Jamie snorted.
"Just shut up, Jamie," Val turned away from him. Before he could say any more, they arrived. There were police cars outside the store, and the sirens blared. Val was the first one out of the ambulance. Jamie and Hank got the stretcher and caught up with Val, who halted when she saw the victim.
"Val, what's wrong?" Hank asked her gently.
"Oh my God," was all that she said.
"What? Who is it?" Hank regretted asking the question, for he heard the horrible answer from Val: