Getting to Me

Chapter Thirty-One

“Zack, maybe we should turn back,” Mandy told Zacky as he drove thirty miles an hour down the highway. He turned to face her for a few moments before giving her a small smile, putting his hand over hers on the center console before giving it a light squeeze. He knew she was worried because of the ice, but he also knew that she wanted to get to Fargo to see the new baby and see her older brother. And he knew he could drive them there, if he drove safely and slowly enough.

“Baby, it’s going to be okay,” he told her as he squeezed her hand. “Nothing is going to happen. I’m driving slow, and the reports said that the interstate isn’t shut down yet. We’ll be fine,” he murmured. He knew that he was trying to reassure himself just as much as he was trying to reassure himself. He had never driven in this kind of weather before, and he knew that if Mandy was worried about it, it had to be bad. But he also knew that she wanted to see her family. And that was important to him. She rarely got to see Brian, and he knew that family was what was important to her.

Mandy just nodded, but she was still nervous. She knew how bad the roads in North Dakota could be in the winter; especially during a storm like this one. The Weather Channel had called it the worst storm of the century, and though they said that every couple of years in that part of the country, she had a feeling that this time, they were right. The temperatures had plummeted to well below -80 below with the wind chill factor, and that wasn’t to say how much colder it felt than that. The snow itself was packed as hard as ice in some places, and the ice was black, making it almost impossible to see under the snow cover and the lightly drifting snow that flew across the interstate. The sand that the state had put down didn’t do much to stop a car from skidding into the ditch, and once you were there, there was no luck getting out without the help of a tow truck. And that was if you had cell service to call; otherwise, you were stuck there with just the emergency pack and snow.

“Just…Be careful,” she murmured as she smiled over at him, grabbing his hand in hers. She didn’t want anything to happen to either of them. She had just fallen in love with him, and she didn’t want some crummy weather to ruin that. She had known too many people who had gotten into car wrecks during the harsh winter months that hadn’t made it through, and she didn’t want Zack to be one of those casualties. She cared about him too much to have that happen now.

He nodded, and he chuckled when her face brightened as she turned up the radio. They were listening to the only station that came through in this part of the state; some country station out of Dickinson that played a decent mix of old country and new alike. He looked over at her face, tilting her head when she started singing the words along with some love song that was crooned by some male singer he didn’t recognize.

“Baby, who is this?” He asked her, half paying attention to the music and half paying attention to the road. Whatever this song was, he could tell that it was a song she loved; a song that meant something to her. And if it meant something to her, it meant something to him. He loved everything about Mandy. She didn’t change herself to be with him. She knew he was rough around the edges, and that he was more of a punk rocker than a suburban country singer. She just smiled softly and turned to face him as she sang out the words softly.

Got your picture up on the dash of my new truck so I can have you with me every road I’m on. Baby, if what I feel is just the tip of what I will, I can only guess what I’ll be like when I’m completely gone, she sang softly, a smile on her face as she sang the song. Zacky couldn’t help but chuckle as he listened to her. She had definitely picked up on the Haner music talent if he had any say about it, and he could listen to her sing all day long if she’d do it. He would be the first to admit country wasn’t his favorite type of music, but it sounded beautiful coming from Mandy.

He was too concentrated on listening to Mandy sing along with her song that he didn’t notice a patch of black ice that was hidden under some snow that had drifted into the middle of the interstate. The car swerved, and all of a sudden, everything became a lot more frightening than it had been two seconds before.

The most frightening thing to Zack was hearing Mandy’s scream as the car skidded off of the highway and into the ditch. He tried to stomp on the breaks, but the snow was too slick to allow the car any grip to come to a stop, and though he continued pushing down, it wouldn’t stop. And then, everything stopped.

The air was too silent around him. He could only hear the overheating of the car’s engine and his own breathing. The radio had stopped, and he knew that they would need to call a tow truck to get out of there. He groaned when he tried to shift his feet, stopping when he felt the car’s weight shift. He looked out the passenger window, and then noticed that they were on a somewhat steep cliff edge. All color drained from his face when he realized how dire the situation really was. Before he could move, however, a gust of wind tipped the car just enough so that it started sliding further and further down the cliff edge. His first instinct was to protect Mandy, and he reached his arm out to block her from going head-first into the dash, even though she was already wearing her seatbelt. He was mentally cursing himself for having thought he could handle the roads as the car moved down the cliff edge roughly. He was just hoping like hell they made it out of this alive, so that he could tell Mandy how fucking sorry he was.

She let out another scream; this one more pain-filled then frightened, and he looked over to see the glass bust from her window and spray across her face. He felt it hit his arm, but the sting didn’t hurt near as much as it did seeing the glass hit Mandy. Her eyes were squeezed tightly shut in terror, and he could see that her arm was broken just by looking at it. He let out a sharp yell of his own when the car rolled, and he knew that even if he was putting himself in danger by doing it, he needed to pull his seatbelt loose enough so that he could keep Mandy stable. Her broken arm wasn’t going to do her any good, and he wasn’t going to sit by and watch her get hurt.

He leaned over to block her from going forward, wincing when something came inside through the dash and hit him in the back, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to make sure Mandy was protected. He kept his arms holding her firmly back against her seat, the only thing keeping him strong enough to do so being the sheer determination he had to keep her safe. The car finally came to a stop on its roof, and he groaned in pain when he realized that, now that the damage was done. He could already see the blackness starting to blur the corners of his vision, and he tried to fight off the unconsciousness. He couldn’t let it overtake him; he needed to get help and make sure that Mandy was okay. But before he could find the cell phone to dial 911, his vision blurred even worse and he passed out, his arms still blocking Mandy from falling through a windshield that wasn’t there anymore.
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The song that Mandy was singing along with on the radio is the song that named this story, You're Beginning To Get To Me. Also, the cliffs in the North Dakota Badlands is where the car accident takes place, if anyone is interested.