Virginia watched the scenery around her fly by, the tan and green of her surroundings a blur. She had gotten a late start in the race and had to catch up, she had to win this, for her, for Stormy, for Caroline... for everyone.
She had to win this.
From checkpoint to checkpoint it as all a rush for her, the hysterical people, the panting horse.
There were only five miles left from the length on the beach, and all of a sudden she was neck to neck with Darrow. They were racing down the beach, the horses' hooves kicking up the salty water. Darrow looked over his shoulder, surprise washing over his face. It quickly changed to a cruel smile, and He shoved his shoulder into Virgina's chest, causing her to fall off Stormy into the water below.
Virgina went flying, slamming into the waist-deep water and getting soaked instantly.
She tried to stand up, but her leg exploded in pain. She felt the awkward angle that it was at, and knew it was broken. She pulled herself up so she wouldn't drown in the small waves.
Her head throbbed where she had hit it on a rock and her abdomen was burning in pain.
All that, just to win a race... Darrow really was a stuck-up bastard.
She called Stormy desperately, and he came over to her. She tried to lift herself up to her feet, but couldn't. There was something else wrong, she didn't feel right.
Virgina tried again, and managed to get up, hauling herself onto Stormy with a muffled cry of pain. She urged Stormy forward, blinded by the throbbing in her leg.
As they raced on, Virginia started to shiver. The water had been ice cold, and the brewing storm wasn't helping. Rain began to pour down.
Up ahead was the marker, but it didn't look like it was in the right spot... Darrow had gone the other way from where it pointed... Stormy raised his head, pulling her in the opposite way of the flag. Virginia let him lead. This far behind, they were as good as lost. She leaned down on his neck, shivering hard.
They rounded a bend in the trail, and all of a sudden the main street was visible. Darrow's horse was just ahead of them. They weren't far behind.
Virginia leaned down to whisper in Stormy's ear.
"Come on boy, we can make it"
As if in reply, Stormy put on a burst of speed. Slowly but surely, Darrow's dark form started to get closer and closer until they were neck and neck again. It was only a block to the finish line. There had to be a winner. At the last second, Stormy leapt forward, running across the finish line by mere seconds ahead of Darrow.
Virginia slowed Stormy down, feeling the tears of happiness coupled with pain rush forth. Her Dad and Sister were already there, hugging her and Stormy.
"Good job" she whispered in her horse's ear. She slid off Stormy's back, then fell to the ground as her leg exploded in pain again.
Her father picked her up, worriedly looking around for the attending physician. Virginia felt faint, her head was pounding. Her father set her down near the stage, then went for a doctor.
She leaned back against a water cooler that had been placed there. Then, Darrow and his father were in her face.
"How. Dare. You!" His father began. The fat man took a step closer, accidentally bumping her broken leg, causing her to cry out in pain and grasp at the broken limb.
"Dad, leave her alone, she's hurt" Darrow's calm voice said, his dark eyes lingering on Virginia's leg.
Virginia was surprised. Those were the first words that Darrow had ever said in her defense. His father fumed, but didn't say anything else to either Virginia or Darrow. Instead, he stalked off in search of the announcer.
Virginia leaned back again, the cool surface of the water cooler felt good against her head. Where was the doctor?
Then, the announcer came up on the stage, then proceeded to relay the standings and awards.
"I-I would like to award the second place to Virginia"
The boos drowned him out, forcing him to stop talking, and it was some time before he could start again.
"Because of a violation of the rules on Virginia's part, I have to award the first place to... er, Darrow"
Virginia noticed that Darrow seemed nervous as he stepped onstage, not his usual smugness. Darrow took the microphone from the announcer's hand.
"I can't accept this award" He said.
The crowd's booing turned to confused muttering. What had happened to the stuck-up brat?
"I have also committed a violation of the rules, I illegally disabled Virginia by pushing her off her horse, therefore injuring her"
The boos started to return.
"So I am awarding this first place to Virginia, because frankly, I don't deserve it"
Cheers went up from all around. Virginia stood and got up on the stage, ignoring the pain in her stomach and head and keeping weight off her bad leg. Darrow gave her the trophy, which was a shiny gold horse. She smiled at him lightly, and thought he smiled back, but she may have just imagined it.
She held out the trophy to the crowd, and they cheered. Virginia started to feel dizzy and sick, but ignored it, smiling and waving to her sister who was taking pictures. Then, She dropped to trophy as a bolt of pain ricocheted across her body.
She gasped, then fell, blacking out.
When Virginia woke up, she was in the hospital. The white walls failing to cheer her up.
Her sister was sitting in the chair across from her, sleeping. Then, as she watched, her sister woke up.
"Hey, how you feeling?" Caroline said, touching Virginia's hand gently.
"Like I fell off a horse"
"You took quite a tumble, sis. They had to take your appendix out, sew up your kidney, eight stitches in your head, and a cast on your leg"
"That's a lot"
Caroline laughed again. Virginia looked over to her bedside table, seeing a glass jar with a flower in it. Odd...
"Did you or dad bring me flowers?"
"Nope, you must have a secret admirer" Caroline replied, flashing a smirk. Virgina shrugged, reaching for the glass of water Caroline held out to her.
"What happened after I passed out?"
"Well, Darrow caught you, believe it or not. Then we took you to the emergency room" Virginia spit out the mouth of water she had drank.
"Wait, wait. You say that DARROW caught me?" She asked incredulously, after she finished spluttering.
"The one and only" Caroline replied.
Virginia scratched her head and took another sip of water,
"But... he hates me"
"Apparently not..." Caroline said, getting up and stretching. "Since you're awake, I need to go get some coffee"
Virginia nodded, then winced as it felt like her brains were being sloshed around.
"How long do I have to be here?" Virginia asked.
"Probably a couple more days" Caroline replied, already out the door.
Virginia sighed, listening to her sister's footsteps fade away.
She looked at the lone flower sitting on the bedside table. It was pretty, a pink rose in full bloom. She took it out of the vase and sniffed it, relishing the scent of fresh rose.
Virginia sighed. If only she knew who had given it to her...
Virgina was out of the hospital three days later, and back to school on crutches that day.
She was still getting used to it, and her arms ached from the effort by lunch. Luckily, she had some aquaintances that would help her out occasionally.
Aquaintances. That's all she had, no friends whatsoever. She sat at lunch by herself, sitting at the only table that was never taken. One day, she was at the Library, trying to reach a book on a high shelf. If only she was an inch taller, then her favorite chapter book would be in reach.
Then, a hand took it from the shelf, holding it above her head. She spun around to see that the hand belonged to Darrow.
"May I please have it?" She asked, trying to be polite, after all, he had let her win a race.
"Yeah, sure" He replied, handing it to her. For once his face was devoid of its usual bad-boy smirk.
Their fingertips brushed as he set the book in her hands, but he pulled away quickly, as if stung. Virginia was surprised for a second, but then again, it was Darrow.
"Sorry" He said, then brushed past her, disappearing down the aisle.
A couple months later, Virginia was due to have her cast replaced with a brace.
Spring had started, and the annual spring dance was only couple weeks away. She wasn't expecting anyone to ask her, she was just that type of girl who always ends up the wallflower.
Caroline hadn't been like that. She had asked someone. But truth is, there were no boys that caught Virginia's eye. Not that anyone would want a horse-obsessed girl like her...
The only boy who loved her was Stormy, and she planned to keep it that way.
So, the days until the dance were being counted down by every other girl except Virginia. One day, about a week before the dance, Virginia was making her way down the front steps of the school building when a boy rushed past her, tripping her good leg and causing her to fall hard on the cement.
She gasped as the impact stung her hands and knees, a sharp pain running through her injured leg.
The boy didn't even say he was sorry.
She slowly gathered her crutches, trying hard not to cry. Then, she saw that her bag had split open, spilling the contents onto the sidewalk.
A couple tears rolled down her cheeks.
People were so unfair.
Then, someone's feet stopped in front of her. Virginia looked up, and saw Darrow's silhouette looming down on her. She continued picking up the contents of her bag. What did this jerk want with her? Then, Darrow was kneeling down, gathering the rest of her spilled pencil case. He put it gently in her bag, then handed it to her.
"Thanks" She said, trying to wipe the tears off her face.
A hand stopped her, gently brushing her cheeks until there wasn't any wetness left on them. She looked into Darrow's face, startled.
Why was he doing this?
"You okay?" He asked.
"Yeah" Virginia replied.
He took his hand away from her cheek, then cleared his throat.
"Hey, I wanted to ask you... You want to go to the dance with me?"
Virginia was totally caught off balance.
"Why would you want to go with me?"
He rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. Virginia could see he was battling with himself.
"Um, well. I don't really know, but that's not really the point, is it?"
"I guess i'll go with you, if you don't try anything creepy"
"You want me to pick you up?"
She shook her head.
"Nah, I have to be there for Drama class anyways, so i'll just stay"
"I'll meet you inside at five, okay?"
Now it was her turn to nod.
"Alright, See you" He said, walking away and leaving Virginia absolutely stunned.
The day of the dance, Virginia was nervous. When Drama ended at four-thirty, she went to the bathroom and changed into the dress that she and Caroline had picked out.
It was light pink spaghetti-strap with a small sash around the middle, falling to around her knees.
Carefully, she pinned her hair up with a pink flowered hair clip, then slipped on her mother's necklace she had picked out just for this; a pink metal rose on a pink silk cord.
Virginia looked at herself in the mirror and gasped.
For once, she was beautiful.
She put on a pair of pink converse, thanking heaven that she wasn't still in that awful boot, and stepped out of the bathroom. It was almost five-o-clock, and she quickly paid her admission, going in and standing at their designated meeting place, hoping desperately that Darrow hadn't showed her up.
So, what do you think? will Darrow leave Virginia at the party, or will he show up? Next chapter up soon!