Falling For You
Mia turned up the radio as her sedan flew across the slick road.
Let’s Go Crazy.
She was excited about the trip home. She had been living in New York, and despite the close proximity to Boston, she hadn’t seen her sister, Grace, for four months. Mia was just finishing school, and between internships and the huge amount of work she had been putting in to earn her MBA, there just wasn’t any time. She was lucky to have a sister like Grace. She understood when Mia was too busy to talk. And with Grace, she never needed to feel pressured to have a perfect relationship. When they did get a chance to see each other, it was as if they had never been apart.
Though lately Mia had been trying to make extra time to connect with her heartbroken sister, at least on the phone. Grace was just getting on her feet again after a long depression. Her fiancé had pulled a fast one on her, and there had been a few months of Mia visiting her often, trying to coax her off the couch and into therapy. Grace had been absent from work long enough that her job was on the line. She had some savings, but not enough to last her more than a few months.
Grace had resisted at first, but Mia had seen this kind of thing before and had known exactly what to do. In the end, she’d found the right doctor and therapist for her sister and then harassed her until she made, and kept, appointments with them. It took some time, but eventually she had started to come back to herself. Mia credited the meds more than anything, though she knew Grace hated having to take them.
She was back to work now, though, busy again, and they still talked a couple times a week to touch base, more if Grace needed someone to cry to. Mia was relieved that she would have a chance to focus on her for a bit, and was glad the mellow holiday at home wouldn’t distract them too much. There were lots of tears in those weekly calls, and though they’d ebbed away a bit, she couldn’t wait to wrap her arms around her sister in a big bear hug.
She and Grace had grown up at their parents’ place in Boston. It had been even longer since she had seen them, and she couldn’t wait to catch up on all the family gossip. Her mom tended to try to keep family secrets just that: secret. But her dad had let slip that her aunt’s daughter had been working, no joke, as a stripper. Everyone in the family was in a tizzy about it, but were too afraid to confront her. Mia would have loved the opportunity to get the details first hand, but really she had been relieved to find out that her aunt and cousin would not be joining them for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Probably too embarrassed, she thought.
She laughed aloud as the music played. She had never been close with her cousin, but Angie had been known to jump around from school to school, project to project, job to job. Whatever the story was, Mia was sure there would be plenty of secondhand lurid details once she pulled into the driveway. She’d get her mom to talk, even if it took all week.
It was getting late, nearly eleven, and she was eager to get there. She had expected to arrive by nine, but no such luck. The traffic out of the city had lasted for hours. But now she was on the move again. The snow had turned to rain, which meant the roads were pretty clear now, and she pushed on the gas a little harder.
The music on the radio changed, and a moment later Winter Wonderland was blasting through her speakers.
“Aw, yuck!” she shouted at the radio, wrenching the volume down.
It wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet, and already with the Christmas music! The last thing she needed was to get that junk spinning through her head all night long.
She picked up her phone to switch to her playlist. She was an expert at her phone, and could make most of the selections, even texting, without even looking at the thing. One day they’d probably just implant the information into people’s brains somehow, but for now she just had to wing it like everyone else.
But it was late, and she was on the freeway. She needed to look at the screen to select some different music. She checked around her for cops and then waited for a straight stretch of road. She held the phone up to the steering wheel so she could glance back and forth between the screen and the road, scrolling down the list, searching for something classic, something she could sing to, to wake her up a little for the last hour of the drive. More Prince, maybe.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement, something white speeding by her passenger side window. A motorcycle? No.
It was a truck, and it was going way too fast. He was going to cut her off. She dropped her phone and blared her horn, then watched in horror as it tipped onto two wheels, about to flip over right in front of her.
How was this happening?
She steered right to get out of the way. The back end of the truck clipped her car at just the right spot. Just the wrong spot.
She was airborne. There was no sound but for her own blood pumping, ringing in her ears.
Time slowed down.
As her car flipped through the air again and again, her thoughts went blank. Adrenaline rushed through her body as the first airbag went off, but when the car smashed upside down onto the pavement, she only registered the pain.
And then it was over.
She was gone.