A/N: I do not own "Twice In A Lifetime" or whatever

Prologue…

Seventeen-year old Anya Spencer stared miserably out the window. She blinked back tears as the rain splattered against the bus windows. Lightning clacked above in the dark sky. The bus bounced along the lonely highway as it sped down out of Skylar, Montana.

The artificial lights above her head hummed insensibly and were way too bright. Anya was beginning to get a headache. But, despite the headache, her mind buzzed from thinking endlessly about the events of the past couple of days. Had it only been such a short time?

It was only the second week of summer vacation when Anya heard that her parents had planned on volunteering Anya for a two-week counseling session. She was going to spend two weeks in July counseling a group of ten-to-twelve year old girls at a recreational camp in Montana. It would not have been so bad, except those two weeks corresponded with the two-week trip that the rest of the senior class was taking.

Anya had been so irritated that she had to take care of a bunch of noisy, smelly children. She was so jealous that the rest of her friends were lying in the sun and flirting with all the celebrities on the beaches. Anya planned to sulk the entire time at camp.

It did not turn out so bad. Actually, Anya was beginning to have fun after a couple days. She was in love with the cute little young girls that she was in charge of.

There was Elizabeth McDonald, whom everyone called Dizzy, because she made herself so dizzy thinking about boys. There was Amanda Cornell, the shy, clever cutie who was practically attached to Anya. There was also Crystal Briggs, the always hyper, athletic one, who was always bouncing off the walls. There was also Lauren and Lorna Hawley, the twins. They loved play tricks on Anya. They were harmless, but their favourite trick was to confuse Anya as to who was who. The sixth girl was Stephanie Anderson. She wasn't like the other girls. She was timid and scared. She was homesick for her mother. She would sit all alone during meals and activity time. She made no friendships with the other girls. She would not participate in any of the camp activities. Except when it came time to go boating out on the lake. Stephanie loved boating. She would sit up, alone, at the bow of the boat and quietly watch the tiny lake waves.

Anya was too busy flirting with Derek, the boys' counselor, to notice that the skies were getting gloomy. The weather report predicted rainy weather for later that evening, but it turned out that Mother Nature was a little early. The wind began whistling and billowed the sails of the boat aggressively. The waves steadily grew larger and rocked the small boat.

            All the girls and the boys were scared. Derek and Anya were running around trying to steady the boat. No one paid any attention to Stephanie, until she screamed and fell over into the water.

By then, it was raining. The skies grew stormier. Stephanie's shrieks horrified everyone. Anya panicked and jumped over. She thrashed in the water, searching for Stephanie. She could hear the girl, more than she wanted to, as she screamed and cried and choked on the water, but she couldn't see her. It occurred to Anya that Stephanie could not swim, and even if she could manage to stay afloat, the waves and rain would surely pull her under.

Anya felt so horrible. She had let Stephanie die. She drowned. No one blamed her, but she blamed herself.

The next day, Anya was on her way home. They had sent her back. Anya couldn't handle herself. So, Anya found herself on a lonely bus home thinking about the sweet little girl that she had killed.

Anya continued to stare out the window. There were only five other people on the bus. Everyone sat far from everyone else. It was so quiet.

Anya didn't notice when a young man in a beat up leather jacket came to sit next to her. He slid silently into the seat. He looked sorrowfully at her.

"It wasn't your fault, Anya," he whispered. Anya sniffled as if she had heard him. Of course, she did not. She couldn't hear him. Not yet anyway. "It shouldn't be this way."

Lightning cracked far above. Anya jerked in her seat. The other passengers murmured softly. It was the season for bad weather. Rain splashed fiercely against the windows. Wind howled outside.

The bus driver, whose had introduced himself earlier as Ted, came on over the intercom. He basically said that no one should be alarmed.

Anya got up from her seat. She climbed over her male companion, without knowing it. She walked down the aisle to the bathroom. The man was compelled to follow her, but he remained seated. "It should all be over soon," he said to himself.

As if on a cue, the bus rounded a tight curve. The bus skidded on the pavement. A woman passenger cried out, but the bus straightened itself.

It was around the next curve that the bus met a semi-truck. It happened so sudden, not one of the vehicles had time to react. The bus swerved, trying to avoid the collision, but the guardrail was in the way.

The bus went over into the woods. Bouncing aggressively as Ted tried unsuccessfully to brake the bus.

Anya was thrown to the wall in the bathroom as she tried to steady herself against the mirror. As she leveled herself, she felt blood oozing down her cheek.

The bus crashed into the black lake at the bottom of the hill.

Anya screamed as she was battered against the ceiling. She was crying and screaming. Then she blacked out.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Steve Marsden and Kevin Young surveyed the scene before them. The rest of the paramedic's crew was unloading five other people from the wrecked bus submerged in the water. They looked down at the girl they were working on. She was the youngest, and also the most injured. She was breathing faintly. Very faintly. She wasn't going to last, they knew it. She was coughing up blood and shaking roughly.

There was nothing they could do for her. She was as good as dead as she was dying.

The seventh mysterious passenger stood next to her. He was unharmed. He watched her, almost miserably. He didn't like seeing her in pain, but he was unable to do anything.

Something happened as Anya took her last breath. Her eyes closed. Steve and Kevin wrapped a body sheet over her corpse.

Mr. Smith took hold of Anya's hand.