I don't own Danny Phantom or Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Enjoy (:

If I Stay

Chapter One

January 5, 2012

Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around in it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it.

But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know.

- Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall

There's an old rumor flying around that says that when you're in the midst of a near-death experience, your whole life flashes before your eyes. Like you actually relive your entire life in those few seconds when the outcome of the situation hangs uncertainly in the air. You close your eyes and flash back to that day in fifth grade when your skirt was tucked into your underwear on the playground, that one pointless algebra class you took in eighth grade, the first time the school bully preyed on you, your first C. And then you flash to the first time you ever rode a bike, the day you and your best friend laughed so hard you peed a little, your first kiss (even if it was with that one jerk), the first time you made a perfect score on a test in calculus. You relive it all, the good and the bad. According to the rumor.

That's not what happened to Sam Manson.

No, when it happened to her, she wasn't thinking about her best friends or her awkward middle school phaze or even her family. She wasn't still seething with anger at Danny, wasn't thinking about how she hadn't said goodbye to her parents, hadn't told her grandmother that she loved her...

She thought of Jackie Hargis.

Specifically, that time in the third grade when her class was playing tag at recess. They were splitting into two teams - that was how they played at Amity Park Elementary School, an odd mix between tag and capture-the-other-team's-players - when Paulina announced that she didn't want Jackie Hargis on her team.

"She's too fat," She sneered. "She won't be able to run fast enough. You'll catch her in, like, two seconds."

Little Dash laughed appreciatively behind Paulina. It was the first time Paulina had ever been so mean to anyone. Jackie turned as red as a tomato and ran away crying.

The saddest part was that Jackie wasn't fat to begin with. She just had a little lingering baby fat around her face and on her stomach. She shed that quickly, though, growing a good two-and-a-half feet by high school. Ironically, she was the captain of the girl's track team, the first junior ever to hold the position. She was even kind of friends with Paulina - they would wave to each other in the halls and attend the same parties. Sam wondered if Jackie ever mentioned that day to Paulina, or if she even remembered it.

It was one of those memories Sam didn't even know she had. She had enough time to relive it, to smell the dust and feel the heat of the sun and the sweat trickling down her back and to hear the laughter, Dash's laughter, rising up and swelling into a sharp, keening scream in her ears.

And then there was nothing.

Stay tuned (:

- Tori