Footsteps – Chapter 2

She didn't see it coming. It happened quickly. The car hit her. She was flung forward. Her head hit the curb, making her vision become no more than a hazy blur. Her leg scraped against the cold stone pavement. The pain made her want to scream. But she couldn't. She tried to get up, but it was in vain. She couldn't move. The pain plagued her. Her eyes flickered restlessly. She felt vulnerable and shuddered with fear.

James switched off the radio. Every neuron in his mind was awake and alert. He leapt out of the car. Then he saw her. A girl, about 21, lying crumped by the curb. Her leg was bent at an awkward angle, she looked pale, her jeans were torn, her long golden curls covered her face, and she was shaking. Oh God. He hit her! James felt the heavy beat of his heart, weighing down inside him. For a second, his eyes flickered away, and then back towards the girl. He had to help her. He couldn't just leave her. He did the right thing and approached her quickly.

"Oh God! I'm sorry. I didn't see you. I'm sorry."

The girl tried to move again. James saw she was struggling. He felt the strain of guilt in his voice, as he continued speaking.

"Where does it hurt?"

"M-My head…and my leg." She responded weakly. "Ow."

"I need to get you to the hospital," James said.

She was able to move her arms again. The girl pulled her hair away from her face, sitting up weakly. She glanced at him, with piecing shaken blue eyes. She tried to stand up, but a sudden spasm of pain struck her leg. She winced.

James spoke kindly. "It's alright. Come on. It's going to be alright."

He helped her stand up slowly. She limped towards the black Aston. Then she spoke, still shaken.

"Skylar."

"What?"

"My name is Skylar."

"Nice name." He paused, glancing at her with kind gentle eyes. "I'm James."

Skylar continued limping towards the car. James helped her climb inside. She winced again, due to the intense pain surging through her leg. Eventually, James drove her to the hospital. Neither of them spoke for the rest of the journey.

XXXX

She limped into A&E. James helped her stay balanced, as she nearly staggered over, a couple of times. Skylar finally made her way to the reception desk. She signed in, stated her name, and explained she'd cut her leg from falling. The receptionist smiled at Skylar, as the details were added to the computer. Afterwards, Skylar went and sat in the furthest corner. James sat opposite her. She continued to glare at the floor; barely blinking as she sat thinking. Her thoughts were a mess. They were jagged. She couldn't think clearly. Skylar knew it natural to feel dazed, shaken and scared. After all, she'd just been hit by a bloody fast car. She was pulled from her thoughts, when she heard the nurse calling her name.

"Miss Skylar?"

Skylar stood up, responding. She followed the nurse through to one of the casualty rooms. James glanced at her, giving her an apologetic look.

30 minutes later

Skylar emerged from the doors. Her injuries were clean and covered. Her leg was wrapped and bandaged. It was noticeable, due to the large rips in her jeans. Skylar strolled slowly towards James. Then, she spoke.

"Thank you."

"I'm still sorry." James kept his emotions hidden.

Skylar saw beyond the mask. "I know." She paused, sighing deeply. "I-I should go."

Skylar began walking towards the doors. James watched, as she wobbled slightly and balanced herself against the wall. He stood up, strolling slowly towards her. He glanced at Skylar.

"You're still shaken," James said.

"I'm fine. I'll be alright," Skylar responded, "I know what I'm doing."

"I know when people aren't alright, and pretend they are," James observed. He gave her a sympathetic look. "And there's nothing wrong with telling the truth."

"Oh." Skylar wasn't sure what else to say.

"How about a coffee?" James suggested, "A bit of caffeine will help keep you stable."

Skylar gestured to the corridor. "The canteen's this way."

James smiled and said, "I know somewhere much better."

XXXX

"I forgot how nice this place was," Skylar commented.

She and James headed inside Pret and found a table by the window. Skylar sat down and James perched opposite her. Next, he spoke.

"Any choices?"

"Strong black coffee; no sugar," Skylar told him, "And with a slice of lemon drizzle." She paused, and then continued. "It's my favourite."

"Hmmm. Mine too." James smiled. He headed to the counter. A minute later he returned, carrying the coffees and cake slices.

"Thanks," Skylar added. She drank her coffee slowly. It made her feel better. So did the cake. She glanced out of the window, watching as the traffic moved by.

"You should call your parents; let them know what happened."

James pulled her out of her thoughts. Skylar faced him.

"I don't want them worrying," she said.

"Sure?" James sighed. "I should've been more careful."

"Maybe. But you didn't mean for it to happen, despite going 40 down a 20 mile an hour road. Anyway, accidents happen."

He began to notice it. There was something about Skylar. Something different. He didn't know what it was. But her eyes. Where had he seen those gorgeous glinting blue eyes before? Somehow, Skylar seemed familiar to him. James continued speaking.

"You're right. Sometimes accidents happen. And someone usually dies."

"Not always," Skylar pointed out, "I didn't die."

"You could have died."

"But I didn't."

Skylar slumped against the back of her seat. Her eyes flickered to the window. James glanced towards her.

"Are you looking for something?" he asked.

Skylar nodded. "Yeah."

"What are you looking for?" James became intrigued.

"My parents. I'm adopted."

He was about to respond. Suddenly, he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He grabbed it and glanced at the screen. He sighed under his breath.

"It's work." James answered the call.

"Bond! Where the bloody hell are you?!"

Mallory's voice boomed down the phone. James' eyes went wide. Skylar guessed he was in some sort of trouble. Mallory continued to yell at James.

"I can't believe that during one of our most impossibly dangerous missions, you choose to pull of an act of sincere stupidity! Get back here now!"

A furious Mallory hung up. James exhaled in frustration, as he put his phone back in his pocket. He gave Skylar an apologetic look.

"I have to go."

He headed towards the door. Then, Skylar spoke.

"James." He faced her. She carried on speaking. "Thank you."

James smiled and headed out of Pret. Skylar gazed out, as she watched him sprint across the street. She sensed it. Something about his eyes and his face. James felt familiar to her. Only, she didn't know how.