It was a cool night. The wind whistled past my ears and my hands were numb, but nothing could dampen my mood. My dad's truck keys jingled from my pocket as I walked up to Alice's front porch. The porch lights flickered, needing new batteries. When I reached the door, I was greeted by a cheery rug. I knocked on the big, white door and waited, listening to footsteps rushing about.
Then Alice opened the door, her hair curled, her makeup applied, her biggest smile planted on her mouth. "Hi, Eddie."
I grinned back at her. "Hey."
Then her overweight father lumbered over. When he spoke I could smell alcohol. "Have her home by eleven. Got it?"
I nodded. "Yes, sir."
Then I took Alice's hand and led her away from her house. I opened the truck's door for her and helped her climb in. Then I came around to my side and started the engine. Soon, we were cruisn' down the highway, laughing and talking.
"So, where are we going?" Alice asked.
"The fanciest restaurant in town: Spencer's," I replied, a smug look on my face.
"Ooh! That'll be awesome, Eddie!"
I turned and looked at Alice, taking mental pictures of her brilliant smile. Then it vanished and was replaced by a deep frown. Her eyes were focused on the road, worry seeping in. So I turned back to the road. There was a stalled Toyota in the middle of the road. I was too close to stop, so I jerked the wheel to the right. Alice's scream echoed the squeal of the tires as they obeyed my command. But I'd jerked too hard and the truck lost it's balance and spiraled into the ditch. I heard more of Alice's piercing screams and the sound of glass breaking before everything went dark.
When I regained conciousness, something warm, wet and sticky rolled into my eyes. I winced in pain when I tried to focus on where I was. I had a killer head-ache. Then the haze sort of lifted and I knew where I was: my dad's truck. I felt around for Alice, worry crawling into my mind.
"Alice?" I sputtered out.
A pained moan came from beside me.
"Alice?" I asked again. I reached my hand out and felt hair. It was warm and wet. "Oh, God, Alice."
"Eddie?" she spoke softly. Then, a little more forcefully, "Eddie! Where are we?"
I was crying. "The truck, Alice." An agonized groan from her. "I'm so sorry."
Silence between us, and I didn't know if she was mad or just unable to speak. The minutes dragged on, but I couldn't make my lips move to form words. My head hurt too much. Finally, I found my voice. "Alice?"
"Eddie," she murmured. "Hold my hand. Please. I need to hold on to something."
So I took her hand in mine and squeezed. Then I leaned over and kissed her lips softly. Her lips were cold, her breath cool. Hot tears rolled off my cheeks and on to her dying face.
"Don't," she whispered. She tried to reach out and touch my face, but she was too weak and her hand fell back.
More tears fell, more shaky breaths breathed. Minutes passed, and Alice's pulse slowed. When it was barely there, I panicked. "Alice."
"Alice! Answer me!"
Nothing. I couldn't feel her breath anymore. Her pulse was non-existent.
"Alice . . ." I whispered. The tears came and they wouldn't stop. I held her for what seemed like hours before I heard approaching footsteps.
An unfamiliar voice called out, "Eddie Vedder! Alice McBerth! Hold on!"
But it was too late. She'd already let go.