Prologue

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Max skated down the smooth road leading to her house, only 5 more minutes and she'd be home just in time for dinner as ordered, although she was cutting it fine this time and she knew it. Looking at her watch for the umpteenth time she cursed under her breath knowing that any deviation would result in another week of being grounded.

I'm gonna make it, I'm gonna make it... she told herself repeatedly, almost sighing with relief knowing her house was around the next blind bend. She afforded herself one more triumphant glance at her watch, whilst leaning slightly to steer around the bend.

"Shiiiiit!" she yelled as she collided with something. It was a nasty fall, her left knee hitting the ground first, followed by her palms raking across the road surface attempting to protect her head from making contact. She lay there for a few moments, in a thin haze of dust whipped up by the crash, gathering her senses and waiting for the world around her to settle.

Climbing painfully to her feet she quickly assessed the damage, testing her now bleeding knee by bending and straightening her leg, wincing slightly at the damage evident on her hands as she rubbed them on her thighs to wipe off the blood. "Dammit" she said out loud, "what the hell was that?"

Finally, she looked around, trying to identify what has caused her wipeout. At first she saw nothing, but amongst the dust floating in the air all around her she saw a mound of something a few meters away. From where she stood it just looked like a pile of pale rags, but as the dust began to settle she could see it was a person, crumpled on the ground from the impact, unmoving. "Oh my god" she muttered, racing over, her injuries forgotten. Reaching the body, she at first thought that it was a child given their size, but rolling them over she realised it was girl of her own age, but painfully thin. He hair was just below her ears, slightly wavy, her skin so pale as if it had barely seen the light of day, blue veins visible underneath. Max didn't know whether to run for help or attempt to carry her, but realising that she couldn't leave her lying in the road she scooped her up and started home. Max was both relieved and horrified at light the girl was, relieved that she could carry her, but horrified that she could feel her bones so clearly, that she was so light.

With both hands occupied she could do nothing but kick at her door hoping her mom would answer. After only a few attempts the door flew open to reveal her cross mom, "Max! What on earth..." Her mom didn't finish the sentence, her anger replaced by immediate concern. "My goodness, what happened?"

"I don't know, I was coming around the bend and we just collided, I didn't see her, mom, I didn't see her" Max said, tears starting to fall as the shock set in. "Is she ok?" she asked, her voice cracking.

They laid the girl down on Max's bed, her mom trying to assess her. "She's so thin" she said quietly, "and her clothes...small...and torn and filthy."

"Is she ok though?" Max asked.

"She's breathing, but her head is bleeding...I'm going to call an ambulance, I can't tell if she's badly hurt" her mom stated. "Stay here and watch her, ok?" Max nodded, not taking her eyes off the girl.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~*

"chkkchkkhhkccck...Max, you there, over?"

"Dustin? Over."

"Yeah, just wanted to see if you actually made it back on time, over."

She could hear the smirk in his voice, he'd been telling her to leave earlier but she always left it till the last minute, testing the boundaries as usual. "Um, no, I had an accident...over."

"Shit, you ok?"

She waited, walkie-talkie etiquette having been one of the major talks on being introduced to the party.

"shit, over...sorry...over."

She rolled her eyes, smiling, "yeah, just some bruises...but I hit someone, a girl, we're waiting for an ambulance...over."

"Oh my god, is she ok? Who is she? Over."

"I don't know, and no, I've never seen her before...she just appeared from nowhere, over."

"What does she look like? maybe we know her, over."

Max looked at the girl, "she has short brown hair...she's so thin, I don't know, like unhealthy thin, she might be homeless, her skin is dirty, she had this pink dress but it looks old and torn and way too small...the only reason it fits is 'cause she is so thin...she looks awful Dustin, over" she managed, voice cracking again.

There was silence, eventually Dustin replied "Max...describe the dress, over."

"What? Over."

"Max, just do it, ok? It's important, describe the dress, over" he said, firmly.

"Er, ok, its light pink, like baby pink, it has, had a white collar, a kind of like frilly top bit, oh and she's wearing gym socks and old sneakers. Over."

"Max, I gotta go, I'll see you later. Out" said Dustin breathlessly.

"Dustin?" Max tried, but she got no reply. Putting down the walkie-talkie, she went and sat next to the girl and watched as she 'slept', praying that she wasn't hurt. She couldn't help but admire her features, even among the blood and the dirt she could see a beautiful face underneath, she took her hand wanting to comfort the strange girl...at least that's what she told herself. What's taking the ambulance so damned long?

*~~~~~~~~~~~~*

"The ambulance will be about 10 minutes they said" informed her mom, "we've got to just keep her warm and keep an eye on her till then." Max nodded, unsure of what to do other than stay by her side.

They heard a siren in the distance getting closer and both breathed a sigh of relief. A knock at the door signalled their arrival, Max's mom answered and let them medics in. They set to work quickly, assessing the head injury, and checking her vitals. Deciding to put her in a neck brace they then loaded her onto a stretcher and carried her out of the house.

Hearing more sirens, everyone couldn't help but look around to see Chief Hopper's truck narrowly missing 4 boys hurtling towards the house on bikes, led by Mike Wheeler who looked as if he rode like his life depended on it.

Max stood open mouthed at the ever-increasing chaos at the front of her house, watched as the Chief moved with more energy than she'd ever seen him display, watched as Lucas and Dustin's faces erupted in elation, seemingly recognising the girl being loaded into the ambulance. Her gaze finally fell on Mike, his face was a mixture of recognition and elation, but also pain and guilt. She could see tears start to form in his eyes and heard his voice form one word, "El."

*~~~~~~~~~~~~*


A/N  this might be quite slow update-wise, I'm still finishing my Stalker story (although it's almost done)
Let me know what you think of this one after a couple of chapters...I may or may not continue it...

A life less ordinary ||~~Elax/Elmax~~||Read this story for FREE!