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The commotion that followed the impact left her almost deaf and the shock made her scream loudly. So much blood, so much destruction all around her... What a terrible déjà vu... She felt an extreme urge to cry, but she was afraid that if she starts, she won't be able to stop at all. She couldn't understand very well what was happening, she could barely see in front of her. Ashley had the feeling that she lost something very precious, something that had just been given to her, but her brain refused to tell her what it was. The steel sheets of the car were almost crushing her body, but she managed somehow to free herself from it and drag herself out of that trap. She stood up with difficulty and began to take deep breaths, even though every breath made her feel physically ill. She was trembling all over with fear, cold, shock. She looked at her hands covered in blood and she started desperately cleaning them on the white dress she was wearing. Why did she have that white dress on? She was hating that color. For nearly a year at this point, she refused to wear anything white.
Where was she? Was she there all alone or was there someone with her? Ashley looked around and saw no one else. All right, she had to seek help, she had to find her cell phone... Ah, yes, she had left it in that car... She didn't want to go back in there, but there was no other option to be taken into consideration. So she turned back and stretched out her arm in the middle of all that bent steel looking for that damn phone. The broken glass wounded her hand even more, but she told herself to pay no attention to the pain. She had to find that phone at all costs... With her fingertips, she just felt something warm. It was... someone's arm... She leaned down more, trying to figure out who this person was... She couldn't see very well from that angle, so she got up, walked around the pile of steel that had become the car and leaned down again. Oh, God, she finally saw a man's motionless body. Ashley had to get him out of there, she had to see his face and make sure he was still alive.
Her hands full of deep cuts and blood were hurting her a lot, but she clenched her teeth and managed to get him out. Ashley pulled him away from the car crash and left him lying on the asphalt. Before doing anything else, it was necessary to take care of her hands. She was losing too much blood from all the deep cuts and this wasn't a good thing. Ashley tore up the white dress and made a few bands to cover her bleeding palms. She approached that man she pulled out of the car, but he was still motionless, lying face down on that dirty road. Gathering all her strength, she turned his face up and for a second she stopped breathing. Her eyes stared without flinching at his face and she felt a wave of deep desperation taking control over her body. The man was Justin, now she could see him even with his face covered in blood. Her hands were trembling so much and Ashley placed one of her trembling hands on Justin's chest to feel his heart... No heartbeat... She started moving her head, she couldn't believe what her eyes were seeing... It couldn't be! Not again! No! The words came out from her lips like a scream of despair and the tears she wanted to keep locked inside could no longer be stopped.
"Justin!" she screamed and her hands started shaking him. He had to open his eyes, he had to! "Justin, please don't do this to me! Stay here with me! I'll do whatever you want me to do, but don't do this to me! You can't die! Please ... Please ... Justin ..."
She felt some hands clasp her arms and the voice of someone that was talking to her. It was Justin's voice, but it couldn't be his, because he wasn't moving, he wasn't breathing, his eyes were still closed. She covered her face and began to cry desperately.
"Darling ... Ash ... Open your eyes, please, baby!"
Ashley kept her face covered with her hands. To open her eyes to see what? No, she had had enough, it was better to stay like this, with her eyes closed. There was nothing else that she could do, she was living the same car crash all over again, only that, this time death had returned to take Justin. It was him the gift that life brought her, but she had lost him too... Ashley's heart was beating so fast that for a moment she wanted to rip it out her chest and throw it away. If she hadn't let Justin enter her life, he would still be alive right now. It was her fault, it was all her fault... The same way Brandon's death was her fault.
"I'm right here, baby, look at me! Stop covering your eyes with your hands and look at me, damn it!"
Someone took her hands away from her eyes and touched her lips in an almost imperceptible way. Then she felt some warm hands caressing her face and a sweet and tender voice whispered her name again...
"Ash, please wake up from this nightmare and look at me! I'm right in front of you!"
She finally opened her eyes and saw Justin sitting in front of her, staring at her with his deep blue eyes. She looked all around her, she looked at her hands that were shaking uncontrollably but were neither wounded nor bloody. Then she looked at Justin again and threw herself into his arms crying desperately. Ashley clung to him as if Justin was a lifesaver and she was shipwrecked in the middle of the ocean. She moved away from him a little and caressed his face, his hair, his lips, his shoulders, his arms just to make sure he was alive, that he was fine, that everything she had seen before was just a bad dream.