Not a ton of stories in the If I Stay fandom, but this is just something that's been eating at me. So here it is: Adam's point of view in different moments of the book. Enjoy! :) Again, this is all in Adam's POV. I don't have the book on me, and I don't remember the names of Adam's bandmates, so I'm just going to make them up. Bear with me.
Finding Out About the Crash
"...the way I see you," I sang into the microphone, and I gave one last furious strum on my guitar to finish up warming up our songs. The band was opening up for Bikini on the Portland leg of their national tour, which, basically, was huge. It was by far the biggest gig we'd gotten, although Shooting Star was on an upward spiral.
"Sounded good guys," said Derek, who was on drums. He set his sticks down and picked up a water bottle, and we all shuffled off the stage so that Brooke Vega and her band could come up and practice.
After I chugged a water bottle of my own I glanced at the clock on the wall. The concert was starting at eight, but Bikini wouldn't be coming out until nine. Right now it was seven-thirty and, since they were letting people in, I wasn't sure where Mia was. Maybe security was being more strict and wouldn't let her backstage. Maybe I needed to go wait outside so that I could get her back here.
"I'll be right back, guys," I said to my bandmates, and I jogged out to the area where they were selling T-shirts and things. A couple of girls recognized me, but only the ones wearing the Shooting Star shirts. Most of the people were here for Bikini, and didn't really give a shit about the opener.
But one day, I thought, Shooting Star's gonna sell out Madison Square Garden.
I stood up on my toes to look around because, even though I was a tall guy, there were so many people here. It was unreal. And I saw so many people. Guys with purple hair, girls with blonde curls, dark hair falling into someone's eyes. But I couldn't for the life of me spot Mia.
But after a moment of looking, I spotted a familiar long dark braid. Kim.
Wait. What the hell was Kim doing here? Kim, whose mom would have a panic attack if she went to a school dance. Kim, who would rather take closeup photos of a butterfly than listen to punk rock of any sort.
"Hey, Kim," I called out, and I reached forward and snatched her arm, pulling her gently over. "What are you doing here? Is Mia in the bathroom or something?"
"Adam!" she breathed, like she couldn't believe she'd found me. Her eyes were swollen and her face was red and splotchy. She'd been crying. And judging by the fact that she was wearing sweats and had her hair in a messy bun, she could care less that she didn't look the most presentable in the presence of all these people. "I can't believe I finally found you."
"Kim? What's wrong? Where's Mia?"
"That's what I -" Kim stopped speaking suddenly, and looked at the shroud of people around us. "Can you come outside with me? I need to tell you something. In private."
"Did Mia get sick or something?" I asked, chuckling a little as I pulled Kim out the front door. Mia's immune system was pathetic. She got sick all the time.
I stopped just next to the lines going inside, shoving my hands in my pockets and watching my breath in the cool air. Kim didn't seem pleased with this, since she snatched my arm roughly and pulled me around the corner into an empty alley.
"Listen, Adam. I - I don't really know how to say this, so I'm just going to. Honestly I can't believe I'm the person who has to be doing this. We don't really talk much, so I hate for one of our first real conversations to be like this. But in the end, I guess somebody has to explain what happened. Somebody needs to explain why Mia won't be here." Kim paused for a breath.
"Wait." I held my hands up. "Mia won't be here? How come?" I wasn't gonna start whining or anything, but I knew that Mia had been super excited for the band's first huge gig, and she'd told me multiple times that she wouldn't miss it for the world. There'd been a little bit of snow back home, but surely it wasn't anything so serious Kim could come and deliver the news and Mia couldn't come to the show.
"Whew. Okay. Here goes." Kim swallowed visibly. "Mia and her family were in a car accident. They've got everybody at the hospital here in Portland."
I didn't really register much of Kim's words. I just heard that there was a car crash, and there was worry. Then I heard that everybody was here at the hospital, so I figured Teddy and Mia and their parents just needed some stitches or something minor. When this kind of news is delivered, your mind kind of strays toward the minimum damage, probably to keep itself safe.
"Oh. Well can you text Mia and tell her I'll be done in an hour or two? My phone's not on me. Maybe tell her we can go out for ice cream for Teddy."
"Adam," Kim said. Her voice was so desperate that it broke. Mia's parents were dead instantly. Teddy died at the hospital. Mia's in a coma in the ICU. By 'everybody' I meant her grandparents. I'm so sorry." Kim started shaking, but she didn't cry. She was too strong.
Me, on the other hand?
I froze. I knew, in my head, that I wanted to break down, scream, cry, and cling to Kim since she was the only thing I knew was solid right now. But the rest of me just needed Mia. Needed to see her, feel her, be there for her.
Kat and Denny were dead. My second parents, quite possibly the people I loved the most, right up there with Mia and my family. And Teddy - my throat constricted when I thought of Teddy. Just a little kid, dead. A little kid who would never live a full life. No first girlfriend, no first kiss, no first love.
Mia - she was all that was left. Where would she go when she was okay again? What would she do without her whole family? Obviously I would be there, but I was no Kat or Denny or Teddy.
"Let's go to the hospital," I said hurriedly, forgetting the band and every stupid person rushing in and screaming for Bikini. Right now, I needed to be with Mia more than I needed anything else.
Breaking Into the ICU
"It's foolproof," Brooke said proudly, standing in the waiting area at the hospital. "Let's just put this plan to action. Adam needs to get in there with his girl." Brooke winked at me.
I sighed and nodded, running a hand through my hair then down my face. I was exhausted, but I still hadn't seen Mia. And this was something I needed.
"Let's get to it," I said.
We approached the ICU, all of us in our skinny jeans and black shirts and converse shoes, getting the weirdest looks from the professionals in the cool-colored scrubs. I could see a couple of them eyeing Brooke, thinking that they saw Brooke Vega, but not wanting to ask and look like an idiot if she was just a doppleganger or something.
"Is that Brooke Vega?" some brave soul finally asked.
"No, it's surely not," said somebody else in a muffled voice. "What would Brooke Vega be doing here?"
Then Brooke started to sing. Her singing was anything but the angelic, haunting tune that would calm everybody into relaxing. No way. Her singing was fierce, aggressive, and, rather, it sent the offices outside of the ICU into chaos. Soon folks were flying at Brooke with whatever paper they could find for autographs, and paper was flying throughout the office.
This was my chance.
I burst through the doors of the ICU. "Where is she?" I screamed. "Where's Mia?"
"In the back corner!" called a deep woman's voice. I wanted to get on my knees and thank whoever that was, but I needed to get to Mia. So I ran to the back corner.
I saw her hair. The hair that I'd nuzzled my face into so many times, the hair that I'd run my fingers through and smelled the vanilla shampoo of. And that's what made me reach for Mia, what made me need to have my hand touch her. That's what made me need to feel Mia, to know that she was really here.
Then I really saw her.
I'd known before coming in that Mia was in a coma. She was in bad shape, they all said. But there was no way any of their words could've prepared me for what I saw.
There were tubes going into her everywhere. Her mouth, her elbows, her wrists, her hands, her chest. Everything had wires, everything had different fluids streaming in and out of her. There was a heart monitor keeping steady tabs on her pulse, heart rate, and whatever else, and I glanced at it because it felt like it was going to jinx something, like something was going to go wrong. She was deathly pale. And there was tape over her eyes. Tape.
What really killed me, though, was that she didn't look like Mia to me. Her skin was white and ashen next to the normal glow that was usual. Her eyes, which always sparkled when she smiled, were unopened. Her lips were chapped. Even her fingers. She had cuts on her fingers so badly that they were bandaged. Her fingers, which were usually moving gracefully and lithely over the cello, were wrapped up like a mummy's.
This wasn't Mia. There was no Mia in this still body lying on the bed, with unhuman fluids going into her, irregular beeps coming from a maching hooked to her. This. Wasn't. Mia.
I registered this all within about five seconds. I started to pull my hand away, feeling disgusted with myself, when hospital security grabbed me.
As they dragged me out of the ICU, I kept my eyes on the girl lying on the bed, and I didn't fight.
Seeing Her For the First Real Time
When they finally let me back into the ICU, I wanted to turn around and sprint back out. I wanted to go open for Bikini and pretend that this awful thing hadn't happened, pretend that my girlfriend wasn't near-death in a hospital, pretend that Kat and Denny and Teddy were still alive. But I knew, not just because of what Willow had told me, that Mia needed me now. More than she'd ever needed me before.
I saw so many poor people as a nurse ushered me over to Mia. A man with a bandage over an armless shoulder was moaning while a nurse plugged something into his IV and tried to relax him. A little kid had a bandage over his or her head. I couldn't tell whether it was a boy or girl, because either way all of the hair had been shaved off.
I finally just looked away from all the people, realizing I was at the foot of Mia's bed and the nurse had left, leaving me with her. I'd been arguing with her the whole way through, because I felt so guilty, thinking that I was the cause of her latest surgery. But the nurse had managed to somewhat explain things to me.
Mia looked terrible. There was no sugarcoating that. She looked just as bad as she had when I'd tried to break into the room, and even worse. The sheets of the bed were only up to her hips, and I could see that the bandage over her abdomen (from the surgery) was starting to soak red.
But I gathered my bearings and focused on her hands. Those, now that the bandages were off and a few normal Band Aids were on, still looked like they belonged to Mia. Those I could recognize. Those I could touch and go back to when things were okay.
I sighed and then reached forward, taking one of her hands in my own. Beneath all the tubes and tape and Band Aids, her hands were cold. They chilled mine to touch.
"Jesus, Mia, your hands are freezing," I muttered, and I crouched down. I cupped Mia's small hand in my two larger ones, and blew warm air onto her hands. It felt familiar. It felt normal. "You and your crazy hands."
While I was doing this, my mind came to a pause and just rewound. It went back to every time I had done the same ritual to Mia's hands. At our camping trip, cookouts, dumb school dances that Mia always claimed to hate but always ended up dragging me to. And I just wanted, so, so badly, for things to be that way again. To protect Mia from feeling so small on camping trips, to hear embarrassing stories about her from Kat and Denny, to go to those dumb school dances and drink the almost-certainly spiked punch.
I dropped her hand carefully back onto the bed and stood up. "Please," I whispered quietly, just once. And then the same word poured out at least a hundred more times, and I kept repeating it over and over for at least two minutes, just begging, as if it would help something. And then I stopped and I just looked at her taped-over eyes. "Please, Mia," I murmured, and then the one fitting thing came out: "Don't make me write a song."
And then I could no longer take it. I ran out of that room like a bat from hell.
The Moment of Truth
No, no, no, my mind chorused as I went through the songs in the measly section of songs in the classical genre section of my iPod. Since my girlfriend played cello, I did have more classical music than any other guy my age would. But still, none of these songs were right. They were all wrong. Just...wrong.
I closed my eyes and leaned my head back so that it rested on the wall. I was sitting on the tiled floor of the hospital hallway, trying to tune out all of the hospital talk, the doctors looking pitifully as they walked by, the stretchers rolling past my feet. I would listen to barely the first note of the song, and it would be wrong, and my finger would automatically touch down on the little arrow to the next song in the section.
And then there was the cello. It was long and alluring and haunting and beautiful and enchanting. It was right. One hundred percent right, no doubt in my mind about it. I looked down to see what piece it was. Andante con moto e poco rubato. The Yo-Yo Ma version.
And then I realized why it felt like the right song. Because this was one of the songs Mia and I heard on our very first date, to the Yo-Yo Ma concert. Even though I'd forgotten, my subconscious definitely had not.
I paused the song and dragged the little dot on the time line back to the beginning, and I practically sprinted back to the ICU. Back to that hellish room that I'd sworn to avoid. Now I couldn't wait to get back to it.
By the time I got there tears had been for sure running out of my eyes as I sprinted up the stairs, too impatient to wait for the elevator. I was panting as I got up to Mia's bed, and I collapsed into the chair behind it, closing my eyes and rubbing them.
And then I poured my heart out. I reminded Mia of all of the good times, all of the bad, told her truthfully how I felt about her, and lied about having tons of reasons for her to stay. I didn't stop to breathe between sentences. What I was saying needed to be said and, if she chose to go, they needed to be said before she did. She needed to know this. I needed her to stay.
I put the headset over Mia's ears, avoiding the tubes around her face, which were fewer than the ones on her arms and hands. And I pressed the play button.
I cried while I knew the music played in Mia's ears. Because the doctors had said that she would be able to hear it, and I could hear the music in my mind, and I knew that we were listening to the same thing. I knew that Mia was listening to something that was real, and that she was here, and not off in some dreamland that was going to drag her away from me.
Mia was mine, and I wanted her to stay. But in the end it was her choice. It would always be her choice.
I held her hand and sniffed, regaining control as well as possible in the short amount of time.
And then I felt a squeeze.
The end! I doubt I'll do anything of Mia's POV for Where She Went. The second book didn't speak to me nearly as much as the first, although of course I still read it because I needed to know what happened!
Review, please! (: