How To Live Without Dying

Tinsley was always loped in with the popular crowd in one way or another. It was just what her mother wanted. But, Tinsley couldn't stand it.

Ian was an indie skater kid with an undeserved bad reputation.

Sparks fly when they meet, but things quickly turn dangerous.

Sort of happened by chance, and I just kept on with it, but all of the chapter titles are taken from songs by Land of Talk.


4. Goaltime Exposure

I woke up to the sound of yelling and glass shattering. I jumped out of bed as Mandy and Kristen ran past me to the door. I joined them outside to find the awful scene.

"Preston, leave," Jack said, holding him back as Brad and Kendall helped Ian into a chair on the back patio.

He was covered in glass, a large piece sticking out of his arm and another near his hairline.

"What happened?" Mandy ran frantically toward her brother. "Somebody, call the ambulance. Call the police."

"No, Mandy," Ian said and pulled the glass out of his flesh. "I'm alright. Where are your shoes? You'll cut your feet."

"Tinsley," Mandy calling my name surprised me. "There's a first aid kit in the master bathroom, under the sink. Will you go get it?"

I nodded and moved past Jack and Preston on my way. When I came back, Preston was gone.

"Mandy, move out of the way. I know what to do," I said and sat in a chair next to Ian.

Jack's face flashed red and he stepped into the house.

"I'll get a broom and clean this up," Krystin said.

"Do you think there's any plywood in the garage?" Kendall asked. "I can try to close up the broken door with it."

"I'm not sure," Mandy threw her hand up to her forehead. "You can check. I'll go wake up Mr. Burnett and see if he can help you."

"I'm already here, ma'am," the butler said as he approached. "What happened?"

"I slipped on the floor and fell through the door," Ian said quickly.

Everyone got to work and I had Ian tilt his head down so that I could look at the cut on his head.

"It's not very deep," I said and dabbed at it with a cotton ball covered in peroxide.

He shuddered and I applied a butterfly bandage to close the cut.

"Let me see that arm," I said and he moved it gingerly toward me.

"This one's worse," I said as I looked it over. "You'll need stitches."

"I guess we should've called an ambulance anyway," he sighed.

"No, I know how to do it," I said as I cleaned his arm and took out a tiny sewing kit that I found in a drawer in the master bathroom.

I sterilized the needle and thread with rubbing alcohol and worked to stitch up his arm. He held tight to the arm rest of my chair to keep from flinching. Jack came back from inside the house with a shot glass full of brown liquid. Ian took the shot, then coughed as he handed the glass back to Jack.

Jack looked at me meaningfully, then made his way back to the house.

He and I shared a memory we both hated. The night my mom talked me through stitching her up for the first time. She always had spools of fishing twine and peach thread in her drawer.

It was a skill in which I, unfortunately, had quite a bit of practice. Since I'd moved back in, I'd only had to stitch Jack up once, though. He'd managed to keep my dad away from me so far.

"Tinsley, you're finished," Jack said, staring at me.

I realized I was clenching Ian's hand on top of my thigh. I let it go and stood up, then hurried into the guest house.


Suddenly, and with little fanfare, it was as if it was alright for Ian to be around, now. Jack still kept an eye on me, but he didn't seem to mind us chatting a little bit. He still liked to throw me telling looks here and there.

Everyone just acted as if things were kind of normal. Mandy would give Ian steady doses of ibuprofen throughout the day. Kendall took over grill duty and kept everyone fed. Jack kept the supply of beer present and handed another shot to Ian every few hours.

Eventually, everyone got tired and headed to bed.

Once again, I couldn't sleep. But, it wasn't because I felt uncomfortable where I was or about my friends. I couldn't sleep until I figured out whether or not Ian was sitting out on that dock. The idea of him out there, possibly still buzzed, bothered me.

So, I stepped outside with the same blanket around my shoulders and walked down to the docks. He wasn't there. I felt relieved, but sat down anyway to look out over the water. Manmade or not, lakes are beautiful. Especially with the stars over head and the moon's reflection rippling in the water.

"I thought I might find you down here," he said a few minutes later as he sat down next to me, his hand gripping the edge of the dock just an inch from mine. "Don't tell me you've been waiting for me."

I didn't tell him that part of me had, in fact, been waiting for him.

"I think that you're very pretty," he said quietly.

I smiled, but didn't turn to look at him. Instead, I asked, "How many shots have you had of that whiskey, and when was your last one?"

"Oh, come on," he laughed. "I'm not drunk."

I looked at him and shot an eyebrow up in question.

"I'm serious," he said. "I'm trying to complement you. Thank you for the stitches, by the way."

"No one has ever challenged me the way you do," I told him. "It's very irritating."

"Really?" he asked. "Then why did you wait for me?"

Because, it's almost like, in the short time that I've known him, he's enabled me to knock off some of the weight of this world from my shoulders. He's made me see myself and those around me for who we actually are. Not aspects of ourselves, but actual, whole people. He's made me face the fact that at least two people care about me and would be hurt if I left. I can't lie to myself about that anymore because of him. Which really pissed me off, but I feel better all the same.

So, instead of answering him with words, I moved my hand over his and wrapped my fingers around his palm.

"I do think that you are very pretty," he said again, quietly.

"How's your arm?" I asked.

"It will heal," he said. "Hurts like hell, though."

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