Wishing on Stars
The sky was inky black, interspersed with bright bits of light; stars, millions of them. The two girls watched as the twinkling stars seemed to wink at them from the heavens. All around them they could hear the sounds of the night; crickets chirping and the soft sigh of the wind as it danced through the bright green leaves in the cottonwood tree in the yard.
Cassie and Sarah lay on an old blanket in the middle of the Banks’ backyard. It was sleep-over night and both girls loved watching the stars. Cassie’s hand strayed off the blanket and ran through the soft grass next to her, pulling and tweaking it with nimble fingers.
“Do you suppose other people live up there Sarah?” Cassie asked, a slight frown creasing her face.
“Dunno,” Sarah replied. “Dad says that somewhere out there other people must live; the universe is just too big for us to be the only ones!”
It was quiet for a few minutes and finally Cassie said, “Well, it sure is pretty anyway. Look, there’s a shooting star!”
First star I’ve seen tonight
Wish I may, wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight!
“What are you doing you big goof-ball? You can’t wish on a shooting star, that’s not how it’s supposed to work!” Sarah told her best friend, looking at her with confused eyes.
“Can too, I can wish on any star I like! I think a shooting star is more powerful than any old regular star anyway Sarah Denise!”
Uh oh. This is serious- Cassie is using both my names!
“Whatever you say, Cassandra Elaine!” Sarah giggled and reached for Cassie’s hand and held it tightly.
Both girls sighed as they heard the back porch door open. They knew what that meant!
“Cassie, Sarah! It’s time to come in to bed; it’s after 10 o’clock now. Hurry up,” Alice Banks urged them quietly, her voice spilling through the soft night.
“Okay, we’ll be right in,” they chorused together, with resignation. They stood up and scooped the blanket up and shook it out. With one last look up at the sky and one last sigh, they headed in.
Sarah was telling Cassie about her trip to Italy. She was visibly upset and Cassie found herself frustrated as she tried to pry the details out of Sarah. Damn, I sent her off happy and she comes home in tears! What the hell happened?
“We decided to spend the rest of my time in Italy together and he planned this wonderful trip for us. Or rather Sunni did actually. Our first day of the trip we went to Pisa and something horrible happened to Adam,” Sarah told her, tearing up again as she remembered how scary it had all been.
“Well, what happened?” Cassie finally asked.
Cassie listened as Sarah told her how wonderful the visit was until Adam’s accident. She stubbornly refused to think of it any other way.
“He got excellent treatment at the hospital,” Sarah told her. “He luckily didn’t have a concussion so they let us go back to the hotel.”
“It sounds as if he was pretty lucky.”
“Yes, he had a headache, but really that was all, after some initial dizziness. The next day some Italian policia came to the hotel and asked more questions. They seemed to have the insane idea that it was not an accident!”
“But you and Adam do?”
“Yes, what else could it have been? Who would do something like that?” Sarah questioned thoughtfully.
“Oh, let’s see, some disgruntled fan who didn’t think he smiled nicely enough at them, or some actor who is pissed because he got a better part? Shall I go on?”
“No one knew we were going to be there Cass. No, it WAS an accident.”
“Okay, so what happened after the accident? Did you two finally do the wild thing?” Cassie asked with a smirk.
That was the kind of look and comment that only a best friend can get away with and Sarah giggled then, wondering how much longer she could push the story before she got to THAT!”
“No, we spent the rest of that day and night in Pisa, then went on to Firenza,” she answered playfully, knowing it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. “I loved riding in the car. It was really cool. Cass, it was a BMW Z4!”
“Hot guy, hot car. This all makes so much sense now,” Cass said, that sharp facetious edge in her voice, the one she does so well and that Sarah actually loved.
The rain seemed to be getting heavier and it was harder and harder to see if there were cars around them. They were only going about 30 mph and Cassie actually slowed down a bit more when she saw some traffic up ahead. Her hands were gripping the steering wheel tightly and Sarah could see how nerve-wracking this trip was for her.
“Oh Cassie!” Sarah giggled.
“Yeah, I can tell he’s a real fast mover! Unlike this traffic,” she said, turning the defrosters up a bit higher since the windows were starting to steam up again.
“So, we got to Firenza and stayed in this beautiful cottage at the Hotel Dei Fiori Bei.” Sarah told her all about the cottage, how beautiful it was and the view and everything. “We were there for two more days. That time was magical Cassie. I mean, we went to the museums and stuff the last day we were there, but the rest of the time we stayed at the cottage. We talked so much Cass, about who we are and what we want. And we had a horrible fight too. But we made up.”
Cassie looked at me for a moment then. “And?” Cassie prompted.
“Um, you’re really so very curious Cassie!” Sarah teased wickedly.
“I swear I’m going to pull this damn car over until you start talking. Actually, that might not be a bad idea anyway. I can’t see shit here,” Cassie said, peering harder out the front windshield. “Sarah, you didn’t come home in tears because you had a peachy keen time. What the hell happened to you?” she stated. Her voice was exasperated and Sarah knew she had better stop toying with her.
“Well?” she demanded. “I’m beginning to think this is serious,” she told Sarah. “Not just you, but this damn weather,” she said as she started to slow down even more since a car had pulled right in front of us and slowed down. She had to hit the brakes hard to avoid hitting it and the car fish-tailed a little bit on the rain slicked street before straightening up.
That’s when they heard a sickening screech behind them and an air horn blowing loudly. A moment later a semi truck rammed into the back of the car, apparently unable to slow down so suddenly. They heard a horrifyingly loud crashing and ripping sound then, and then they were spinning around end to end. Then there was a sickening drop as the car rolled over the embankment.
Cassie remembered the seat belt tearing loose from its buckle and then the feeling of flying free in the car; bouncing over the head rest and finally landing on her head on the rear floor board.
It was all she remembered for the next few hours.
Look for the story to start in April!