My phone rang and I saw that dad was calling.
"Max, come home now." He said sternly and hung up.
"I have to go." I said to them and walked home.
As I walked down the street, a van drove slowly behind me. I could hear it, lurking over my shoulder. I tried to ignore it, afraid that I was probably just being paranoid. The van followed me for another five minutes. I still tried to ignore it, but there was no ignoring the sounds of gunshots.
I tried running but I felt a sharp pain in my leg. Then in my arm. I fell on the ground and the van drove off.
I rolled up my sleeve to see blood gushing from my arm. The pain was unbelievable. I tried moving but I couldn't. I passed out, watching the street lights slowly dim.
I opened my eyes to see myself laying in a hospital bed. I didn't know how long I was out, if I was okay, or who had saved me.
I couldn't open my mouth, I couldn't move. I was still trying to understand what the hell happened.
Mom ran in and hugged me.
"My brave boy!" She cried and held me.
"Hun, he's sixteen. The doctors say he'll be okay." Dad said, walking in after her.
They both stood over my bed.
"He's in shock." The doctor said, walking in. He must have realized I wasn't moving or speaking, yet I was awake.
"Let's give him some time." Dad said and held mom close as she cried. They left and the doctor stood over me, checking my eyes and my heartbeat.
After a few minutes, I sat up.
"Are you thirsty? Hungry?" He asked.
I shook my head slowly.
"Who saved me?" I managed to get out.
The door opened.
I saw the girl from earlier.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
"Yeah, why are you here?" I asked.
"I want to make sure you're okay."
"Why are you wasting your time on me?" I asked and she looked at me with a puzzled look.
"Because it's not wasting. I've seen you at school, Max. You're always too nice for your own good. Someone could tear you down a thousand times and you'd still believe there's good in them, that they didn't mean to cause you pain."
I sat in silence for a minute and finally opened my mouth again.
"Who are you?"
"Why did you save me?"
"Max, I already told you."
"No, Stella, I mean, why did you... how did you..."
I stopped talking as soon as I saw her eyes, looking at me, waiting for me to finish my sentence.
"Thank you." I smiled softly.
She smiled back.
"Do it like this." She said and moved the sides of my mouth to create a big smile. I laughed and blushed.
"Stella, It's time to go." A voice said from the hallway.
"That's my mom. I should get going. Text me if you need anything." She smiled and handed me a piece of paper. She turned away and as she got to the door, she looked back at me and smiled.
I stared at the doorway, hoping she'd come back.
She walked back through the door and ran over to me. She hugged me tight and kissed my cheek.
"Take care, okay?" She smiled.
"I will. You too." I smiled and blushed.
She left and it took me a minute to catch my breath. I forgot about everything, the shooting, the pain, everything, when I was with her. I know it sounds weird, but she put me in a trance. Like I couldn't focus on anything but her when she was around.
The door opened again and I perked up, hoping it was her again. It was my cousin, Piper.
"Move, Piper. You're blocking the view of the beauty that was standing there." I said.
"Look, I don't have time for your weird comments." She said and walked over to me.
"Why are you here?" I asked.
"I brought you something." She said and handed me a piece of paper.
"Tanner Webber, 45, was arrested on Monday due to attempted manslaughter of Max Jensen, 16." I read aloud.
"Your mom's ex boyfriend." Piper said.
I sighed of relief at the fact that he was behind bars. I didn't know how else to respond, I never knew him, and he was in jail anyways.
"How is mom reacting?" I asked.
"Aunt Skylar is sad and Uncle Titus is pissed. I think everything is fine now, though."
"Try to get some rest, precious baby boy." She said in a baby voice and messed up my hair.
"You've been talking to mom haven't you?" I smirked.
"Yep." She laughed and left.
After I had fully healed, I was able to go home. Tristan was waiting by the door when we got home.
"Waiting by my door? You stalker." I smirked.
"Well, it beats setting cars on fire, so here I am."
I laughed and we walked inside.
We sat on my bed and started playing video games.
"MAX! YOU NEED TO KILL HIM! HE'S COMING AT YOU! HOLY FUCK! SHIT YOU'RE DEAD!" Tristan shouted.
"Wait what?" I asked.
"You sat on top of a building and just stood there. All the guy had to do was poke you."
I looked at the screen.
"Oh." I said with no expression.
"Something's going on with you." Tristan said and looked at me.
"Nothing is going on with me."
"Do you honestly expect me to believe that?"
"There's no reason not to. I'm fine."
"Look me in the eyes and say that."
I looked him in the eyes, and all my feelings came out.
"I have a crush."
"Max, I'm straight." Tristan said.
"Not on you, fucktard." I said, picking up my controller.
"Well, that was rude."
"I'm sorry. I've just never had a crush on someone.. I don't know how to handle it."
"Who is she? Or he... I don't judge."
"Tristan, I don't have a fucking crush on you. Her name is Stella."
"So I'm not pretty?" Tristan asked.
"I will cut your toe off, Tristan."
"Okay, okay, sorry. So who's this Stella?"
"Let's replay this level real quick." I said and we both joined the game. I pushed him into lava and shut the console off.
"I would have preferred you to cut my toe off."
"Right after I found Stella's little sister and they found each other, I got a call from dad, telling me to come home. As I was walking home, this van was following me. They shot my in my arm and my leg. After I woke up in the hospital, Stella walked in. We talked about what happened, and it turns out, she saved me. The president could come and give me a million bucks, and that still wouldn't make me as happy as Stella did."
"Max, you tend to get caught up with the wrong people. Not me, because, I'm a good guy-"
I laughed and snorted.
"Let me finish. I'm a good guy to people I care about. But to be completely honest, the world is full of assholes. You're always too nice, and you end up destroying yourself to keep those assholes around. Being nice isn't bad, but you deserve happiness, Max."
"She isn't going to be like my 'friends', Tristan. I can already tell."
"Well, I'm always here if you need to talk. Either about food or murder plans, because I'm down with both of those." Tristan said.