Cheating Death

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The first time I cheated death, I had just been born. I was diagnosed with cancer as a baby. I lived. That's why my parents gave me the middle name Grace, meaning a good will. The second time, I was a year old. I just happened to crawl out of my pram into the road. The third, when I was two, I tried to jump out of the third story window in my parents' London flat. The fourth, as a three year old, I tried to stab myself with my fork in a posh Indian restaurant. The fifth time, when I was four, was different. I slipped on the ice and was caught, to be put back down again. I only got a glimpse of this person, this child, and their eyes. But I remember the icy blue of their irises. The eyes I saw every year after, when again, I cheated death.

The seventeenth time had to be the worst.

“Ana,” my friend, Geola, calls me from my daze. “You're gazing at your hottie of a boyfriend. I would so...”
            “Geola,” snaps Elinsa from my right. “That's Anastasia's boyfriend, you can't say that.”
            I laugh at Elinsa. “It's Ana, Eli. You don't have to call everyone by their full-name.” I gaze wistfully at Conrad, the guy who made me forget all my near-death experiences with his charm. “I can't blame you though, G. He's cute... but mine.”
            I send her a cheeky grin which is replied. Her face turns sour as she watches Conrad. “Uh oh,” she starts. “Little Miss Perfect Lissy is over there. She fancies Con, it's obvious.”
            Elinsa narrows her eyes at Geola. “Well done, ten out of ten for stating the obvious, Geola.”
            Geola shivers in disgust. “I hate the girl. She's got her hands all over Ana's man.”
            Curious, I flicker my head around. Usually, I'm not the type to get jealous, but with Lissy there’s an exception. She can turn any guy into putty, except Conrad. With sleek, black hair that's always dead straight, every guy thinks she's “sexy”. It doesn't help that she wears her school skirt shorter than I am and wears bright red lipstick. Alissa Poma is someone to watch with your boyfriend.
            When I see him backing away from her, I smile. As if noticing my stare, he grins, running a hand through his messy blonde mop. I shake my head. Who'd have thought that the player fell for the new girl? It was too cliché. Still beaming, I turn to face my friends.
            “I don't need to worry about Lissy.” It's true. I have more important things to worry about— like when my next death is due. Soon, I should think. Weirdly, I'm excited. I want to see those eyes, I crave them. As long as the death doesn't hurt my friends, or Con. “She's pretty but Con loves me. He tells me all the time.”
            Geola mock glowers at me. “Lucky. Tom just plays sport with the boys. I don't think he'd notice if I died right now.”
            “Don't be silly.” Elinsa shakes her head. “Tom would dive in front of a bullet for you.”
            “He would,” I agree. “But—”
            A gunshot sounds through the lunchroom. A scream is next. Terror runs through me. I'm no longer excited. This death is putting others in danger. I look to see who the gunman is. Gunwoman, I correct. Lissy, she's shooting. Conrad, I think, panicky. She's shouting at him.
            “Of course you'd pick the new girl over me, prettiest girl in school. You have bad taste in girls, Conny. And to think you wouldn't even cheat on her.” She shudders. “Gross. Now, make the decision. You live and she dies. Or both die.”
            Conrad steps forward, a moment that plays in my mind forever. His words kill him. He practically commits suicide. “I won't let you lay a finger on my Any.”
            If it had been a normal situation, Geola would have swooned. Instead, she's frozen. So is Elinsa. I go to shout run, but there's another gun shot.
            Conrad falls to the floor. Lissy turns to me, teeth wide in something that couldn't be called a smile. As she goes to pull the trigger, I'm grabbed.
            A husky voice whispers in my ear: “Sorry I'm late.”
            Two bullets are shot. Neither hit me. The bodies that fall limp to the ground aren't mine either—they’re Elinsa’s and Geola’s.
            I go to scream. I turn around. I'm blacking out. All I can see are piercing blue eyes and my mind plays the words.
            “Sorry I'm late.”

            I wish you never came.

© 2012 ItMustBeLove

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