“So it’s your last day, huh?” Kelly looked up at me over the computer screen as I packed away my stuff on the back counter.
I nodded my head, “Yep, I’m officially done all my placement hours for school.” I picked up the last of my scattered papers, then finally the succulent I'd brought in and placed them into my box. I’d been volunteering at the hospital for the past few months as a part of a co-op program I was doing with my school. I’d spent my time working side by side with the nurses, and while I never got to do anything too serious, I sure got to see a lot of cool stuff. A few of the nurses had even taught me to do some simple things like removing stitches, cleaning up wounds, and giving needles.
With my dream to study health sciences at the University of San Francisco in the fall, this looked great on my application. Plus, with my dad being a doctor in the ER here, this place has always felt like a second home to me. All the nurses on staff were practically already family to me, which I was grateful for since dad was never very big on our actual family, leaving it as just the two of us on most holidays. My grandmother came around sometimes, but she preferred staying home as much as possible.
“We’re going to miss you so much honey,” Kelly stood from her desk and pulled me into a hug, tears threatened to spill from her eyes. She was always getting overly emotional. I could never understand how she held it together when interacting with patients as a nurse.
“Kelly, come on, you’ll still see me all the time,” this I could promise her. Even if my placement was over, I loved coming here to help out whenever I could and I was hoping they would still have me. All of a sudden, the desk alarm began to sound, indicating an incoming ambulance.
“Go ahead,” Kelly answered the call as the other nurses began to prepare for the incoming trauma. I quickly turned on the TV and flipped to the news channel, eager to see what was going on. My eyes widened as I watched an image of the local library flash across the screen, followed by a reporter retelling the story of a shooter targeting the local readers. And, of course, the screen flashed to show Onyx, the city’s elusive superhero and his side kick Blaze circling the building in the sky.
Superhero’s had been protecting San Fransisco for as long as I could remember, and the entire city raved about them. In my opinion, though, they were only attracting more trouble for our city. The criminals were getting smart, more sneaky and, therefore , the entire city was only being put in more danger. Plus, whoever the superheroes really were, they probably had huge egos thanks to their roaring fan clubs.
Onyx had been around for a few years now, and girls everywhere swooned at the simple mention of his name. While there were some other superheroes around, such as his partner Blaze, they never made the news quite as often. Leaving Onyx as the main target of the female population's obsession. Not that anyone stood a chance with a superhero, people hardly got close enough to see them clearly, and if you did, it was because they were saving you from danger and you’d be way too rushed with adrenaline to properly comprehend anything about them. No one had ever known any of the superhero’s identities, but it never stopped them from guessing.
“We have a shooting victim!” Kelly called out, finishing her conversation with the incoming ambulance. I so wasn’t ready to leave yet. I dropped my box and hurried to help gather supplies before the ambulance arrived.
After a few hours of trying to help the busy nurses, the victim went off to surgery and I returned to my packed box. Picking the box up, I said my final goodbyes and headed my way down the back hall towards my exit. Walking out into the fresh air, I took a deep breath and looked up at the stars, enjoying the view. Not paying attention, I continued walking forwards to my car, suddenly bumping shoulders with a stranger.
“I’m so sorry” I mumbled, hurrying to turn my attention to my opponent. Only to be faced with a man wearing a dark hood, his hand clutching his lower abdomen, with fresh blood tainting his palm.
“Oh my god you’re shot!” I screamed, quickly rushing towards him and pressing my hands against the wound to slow the bleeding. “Hel-“ I began to shout out but his other hand quickly covered my lips and it was then that I realized that this man wasn’t just anyone, but someone with a secret, with a black and silver mask covering his face.
“Onyx,” I breathed, immediately recognizing him from the images that had been plastered all over the news over the past few years. Wearing all black today, the top of his suit was replaced with a black baggy hoodie. He pulled me into the tight corridor with him.
“No one can know I’m here,” his voice was low and harsh as he whispered to me. My breath caught as I met his blazing blue eyes that glowed even in the dimmed lighting around us. His hand slowly came from my mouth, freeing me, but I stayed frozen in shock. I didn’t know he could get shot, rumours had always said he was bulletproof. Yet, here he stood, the blood seeping from his chest and I wondered if it was related to the victim of the attack earlier.
“What are you doing here?” I mumbled, not moving my hands from the source of the blood. I'd never seen him at the hospital before, not that I'd ever seen him before at all. He looked at me, his eyes tracing over my face for a moment, before he looked down to his wound once more.
“I was shot,” he stated blatantly, and I blushed beet red. Obviously he was shot, you’re holding your hand over his wound stupid. “Look, can you just take this bullet out for me so I can go?” He said, fidgeting on his feet as if he were already impatient. What was he doing over here anyway? The emergency entrance is on the other side of the building.
“I’m not a nurse, but if we go over to the ER-“ I began.
“We can’t go to the ER,” he cut me off again. “Too many people. I need you to do it, no one else can know I’m here.”
My eyes widened but he stared at me dead serious. “I can’t take a bullet out,” I rushed to say.
“Sure you can,” he grabbed my wrist and pulled me forwards. Giving me no choice but to rush after him, following behind him as he led me back into the hospital. He pulled me into an empty room just inside the doors as if he’d known exactly where to go. “Go get one of those kits with the tweezers and stuff,” he commanded, and feeling compelled to listen, I practically ran to the supply room. Is this a dream? It had to be. There's no way this is really happening. There's no way there's a superhero at the hospital. There's no way he was talking to me, expecting me to pull a literal bullet from his chest.
“What are you doing Allison,” I mumbled to myself as I grabbed the kit and hurried back to the room where I’d left him. When I walked back in, he was already lying on the exam table, the bottom of his hoodie pulled up to reveal the bleeding wound. I stepped towards him slowly, then placed the kit on an empty table and opened it up. “I can’t do this, we should get a doctor,” I mumbled again, feeling my fear build again.
“Allison, take the damn bullet out. As soon as it’s out, I’ll heal” He rubbed his hands over his face and I took a moment to look over his body, recognizing that this may be the only time I would ever see him this close. He had messy dark hair that complimented his perfectly angled jaw, and what I could only imagine as perfect cheekbones beneath the silk of his mask. His bare stomach was chiseled with abs that I knew I would have been drooling over if they weren't splattered with blood.
Allison now is not the time to be checking him out! I screamed at myself in my head and jerked my attention back to the wound. I moved the tweezers towards the wound, then panic built up again. “What if it doesn’t heal?”
“It will,” he assured me again, his eyes focused now on the ceiling above. The confidence in his voice was unwavering.
“But how can you know that? I mean you’re supposed to be bullet proof, right? and now here you are lying on an exam table with a bullet in your chest. I mean how does that even happen to someone that’s bullet proof,” I rambled on and his eyes suddenly jerked to me again.
“Agh Allison! There is a literal bullet in my abdomen and it HURTS, take it out!” He yelled this time, his voice coming much louder and if this were any other ordinary day I probably would have jumped back in fear. But this day wasn’t normal anymore, because there was a superhero in front of me, and he was really being an ass now. The adrenaline coursed through my veins, giving me fire.
“How do you even know my name?” I got frustrated with him right back and he narrowed his eyes on me. A chill ran down my spine but I did my best to hide it. I wanted him to believe he doesn't phase me, not one bit.
“You’re wearing a name tag, now take. Out. The. Bullet.” He said slowly, gritting his teeth. My eyes shot down to the ID badge I’d warn that still clung to my top and I couldn’t help but blush bright red. I had entirely forgotten that it was still on.
“Well maybe I don’t want to, and you’re being a bit of a jerk, so why should I help you?” I spat back at him. And to my surprise, he leaned his head back on the exam table, his eyes shifting back to the ceiling. He took a deep breath and ran his hand through his messy hair and I couldn’t help but watch as the muscles in his arms flexed. He closed his eyes for a moment, then when he turned back to me he opened them, revealing a much softer blue.
“I’m sorry for being rude. I’m just having a rough night, and I shouldn’t take that out on you. Now, will you please, for the love of god, take this bullet out,” he pleaded with me, and I felt a warm feeling stir in my stomach.
“Fine” I grumbled, stepping forwards again. I willed myself to stay calm as I clamped the tweezers around the bullet and pulled back quickly. Onyx squeezed his eyes shut, groaning as the bullet was freed from his skin, and, like magic, the second the bullet was removed the skin around it began to heal, the bleeding coming to a halt. The edges of the wound closed quickly, leaving the skin perfectly intact, as if nothing had ever happened.
“No way,” I mumbled, watching in awe. Then turning my attention to the bullet, I admired it’s orange sparkle, it looked different than any other bullet I’d ever seen before. “What is this?” I wondered out loud.
“Monazite, it’s a rare mineral” Onyx said, sitting up on the table and pulling his hoodie back down to cover his torso. I dropped the bullet into a plastic bag and just as I was about to throw it in the waste bin, he scooped it from my hands. “No way, I’ll take that,” I shrugged my shoulders and cleaned up the rest of the table. Turning to him, I noticed he’d pulled the hood of his sweater back up over his head, concealing more of his face now.
“Ready to go?” He asked me and I nodded my head, this time leading him out to the exit.
“Are you following me? What do you think you're doing?” I asked, noticing as he followed me down the walkway outside towards my car. I turned back to see him strolling casually with his hands in his pockets.
“Walking you to your car?” He replied as if he were confused, which only made me more confused. Why would he be walking me to my car? I was perfectly fine walking on my own. “I’m a superhero, it’s what I do,” he then had the nerve to smirk at me and I rolled my eyes. This was getting ridiculous. Reaching my car, I pulled the driver’s door open and he closed his hand around the top.
“Thanks for taking my bullet out Allison,” he flashed me a smile that I was sure broke every girl's heart, and I grumbled back “you’re welcome”. Although I was still feeling a pretty strong rush of adrenaline pumping through my veins. I had just pulled a real bullet out of someone’s body and then watched him heal right in front of my eyes. He leaned in, his hand suddenly touching my cheek as he pulled my eyes up to meet his. The touch was all too intimate, and normally I would have jumped away but the sparks it sent down my cheek held me captive. I watched as the blue in his eyes lit up brighter again. “You won’t remember this,” he mumbled, and I quickly shook his hand away.
“Are you kidding? That was like a once in a lifetime thing, I just pulled a bullet out of your abdomen. Do you have any idea how freaking cool that is? Of course I’m going to remember it!” I let my excitement out and Onyx jumped back from me surprised. He looked me over, the strangest look in his eyes, almost as if he were afraid.
A quiet beep broke our silence and he quickly looked down at his watch. “I have to go. Allison, you can’t tell anyone about tonight. Please, I wasn’t here. I wasn’t shot. Nothing happened. You left the hospital and went home, that’s it,” he begged me, and I looked him over one last time, taking this moment in.
“I would never tell,” I whispered back, and I meant it. Not only was this about patient confidentiality, but this was one of our city's greatest superheroes and he had been injured. That couldn’t be good for anyone.
“Thank you,” he said, then closed the door of my car and backed away. I looked down only for a moment to put my keys in the ignition. The engine roared to life, and when I turned my attention back to the parking lot in front of me, he was gone.
Once back at home, I warmed up some leftovers for dinner and began working on my laundry for the night. I was back to school tomorrow and already knew I’d have no clean underwear left if I kept putting this off. So I popped in my headphones, turned on some music and sang along as I finished my cleaning up for the evening.
“I know that there’s time that you get so tired, and I want you to staaay” I sang along, swaying my hips as I hung up my clean laundry in my closet. “Don’t stay for me,” I hummed, then all of a sudden gentle hands were pulling the AirPods from my ears. I jumped backwards yelling out and twirling so fast I made myself dizzy only to be faced with the last person I expected to be in my bedroom this late at night. Maybe I expected my dad, my best friend Joey, or maybe even a robber, but that last person I had expected to see was here - Onyx.
Hi readers! Just wanted to say thanks for checking out this book! I have made a playlist to coincide with this book and wanted to post it here so that it would be free for everyone to access. There is one song for each chapter of the book. To get access to the Spotify mix, please find the link here; h****://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ogl8rV5qLlG3krDj6l43U?si=zq2yZ5H_SZaTWplDMx_1qw or on my social media pages (Ally Parker on f******k, or AllyParkerstories on instagram). If you don't wish to see the list of songs, skip to chapter 2.
The list of songs is as follows;
1. Don't Stay by X Ambassadors
2. 3 AM by Relic
3. June, After Dark by Elliot Root
4. Walls by Quinn XCII
5. Stranger by X Ambassadors
6. Way Down We Go by KALEO
7. Naked by X Ambassadors
8. Free & Lonely by X Ambassadors
9. Wildflower by The National Parks
10. Superman by We Three
11. No Right to Love You by Rhys Lewis
12. Superpower by X Ambassadors
13. In Your Arms by Illenium
14. All We Ever Knew by The Head and The Heart
15. Sweet Disaster by DREAMERS
16. The Idea of You by Grady
17. Take it from me by KONGOS
18. Secrets by We Three
19. San Francisco by The Mowgli's
20. Troublemaker by Grizfolk
21. Undeniable by Kygo
22. Waiting for You by Grizfolk
23. Polaroid by Imagine Dragons
24. Shadows by X Ambassadors
25. Brother by X Ambassadors
26. Optimistic by X Ambassadors
27. Don't worry, you will by lovelytheband
28. I'm Good by The Mowgli's
29. Let Go by BANNERS
30. Better Days by Dermot Kennedy
31. You're Somebody Else by Flora Cash
32. Gorgeous by X Ambassadors
33. Alter Ego by KALEO
34. Love Songs Drug Songs by X Ambassadors
35. Mess Me Up by Neon Trees
36. Take it All Back by Judah & the Lion
37. I Walk on Water by KALEO
38. Hoping by X Ambassadors
39. She's Out Of Her Mind by Blink-182
40. Can We Hang On? By Cold War Kids
41. Kerosene Dreams by X Ambassadors
42. RULE by X Ambassadors
43. Sanctuary by Welshley Arms
44. With Me All Along by Bronze Radio Return
45. HOLD YOU DOWN by X Ambassadors
46. Novocaine by The Unlikely Candidates
47. With Me by Sum 41
48. Belong by X Ambassadors
49. Next to You by John Vincent III
50. Knives by Metoma
51. Days Like This by Dermot Kennedy
52. I Want More by KALEO
53. Don't Fade by Vance Joy
54. I Found Out by The Head and The Heart
55. Save Yourself by KALEO
56. WHERE WE ARE by The Lumineers
57. Nobody else by LANY
58. Torches by X Ambassadors
59. Broken Bones by KALEO
60. Start a Riot by BANNERS
61. Shine a Light by BANNERS
62. Misty by Caamp
63. Unsteady by X Ambassadors
64. Deep Water by American Authors
65. Like Gold by Vance Joy
66. Darkness by Bronze Radio Return
67. HARD LOVE by NEEDTOBREATHE
68. Meet Me in the Woods by Lord Huron
69. American Oxygen by X Ambassadors
70. Pieces by Matoma
71. No Good by Harry Hudson
72. Okay by X Ambassadors
73. Favourite Place to Go by Layup
74. Restless by Cold War Kids
75. Some Kind of Love by The Killers
76. Stolen Car by X Ambassadors
77. Automobile by KALEO
78. Eye of the Storm by X Ambassadors
79. Brother Run Fast by KALEO
80. I Can't Go on Without You by KALEO
81. Not Easy by X Ambassadors
82. Strawberries by Caamp