[This is the story that started Edith and Ben]
When I reached the school I was one of the first to arrive, the ice must have slowed everyone down. The parking lot was almost entirely empty, I pulled to the far side, reasoning that it would be easier to stay standing on the grass, transformed into an alien landscape by the ice coating every blade, than on the smooth surface of the ice covered parking lot. I wasn't the only one to have had this idea as the few other cars in the lot were all in a row where I had planed to park. I pulled into a space at the end of the row. When I was stopped and the engine was off I said a prayer of thanks to the gods of automobiles for allowing me to make it this far, then I stepped outside to figure out why the hell the ride over had sounded so strange.
It was a relief to see that it wasn't because there was something wrong with the truck, it was because something was right with it. Charlize had installed chains on my tires. I was grateful, especially since it seemed like she'd probably done it when the freezing rain was still falling. She should have asked me for help rather than doing it alone, but the fact that she'd done it, and apparently not wanted to inconvenience me by asking for help, was touching. I really appreciated it and it was one of the first times I felt truly good about something since arriving.
Then there was a high pitched sound that couldn't possibly be good. I turned to face it, keeping one hand on the truck to make sure I didn't loose my balance. A feeling of dread set in when I saw the few students already in the parking lot, Edith Cullen stood out among the faces, all looking at me. The disturbing thing wasn't that they were all looking at me, it was how they were all looking at me. A mixture of shock and horror. When I'd turned far enough to see the source of the sound I saw why.
The blue van had probably started it's screeching journey at the other side of the empty parking lot, but it had already closed much of the gap and it was headed straight for me.
There were any number of things I probably should have thought or done, but I didn't think anything, I panicked. I let go of the truck and tried to run. It was a bad idea, my feet slid right out from under me. I was falling, the van was coming, and I was convinced I was about to die.
My life didn't flash before my eyes. I didn't think about all the things I wished I'd done or said. I didn't reach any epiphanies. I just came to the conclusion, with an unexpected feeling of calm, that the van I was staring at would kill me.
Then something hit me from the left, I felt it latch on to my waist and the entire world spun. I was no longer looking at the van but instead staring up that the clouds. I wasn't falling straight down, but being carried by the impact and the grip on my waist in the direction that had been rightward, though as I twisted it became backward.
There was an ear rending sound that I knew must have been the van slamming into my truck.
I landed on my back. What I hit was hard and cold, but it wasn't smooth enough to be the ice and I wasn't sliding against it even though I was pretty sure I was still moving. People started calling my name.
When I stopped moving the grip on my waist released and I rolled off of what turned out to be Edith. I tried to stand up, at first I slipped on the ice, but I managed to avoid falling and I stood on the second try. I waved in the direction of the other students to let them know I was alive, offered Edith my hand to help her up, and tried to thank her for saving my life. "Thanks for-" was as far as I got. She when she took my hand there was something I couldn't help but notice. "You're freezing," I said just as she got to her feet.
She quickly pulled her hand away, "What?"
"Your hand is freezing."
"I'll be fine once I have a chance to warm up," she sounded almost defensive.
"Are you sure because-"
"Ben, have some perspective." She pointed in the general direction of the blue van, my truck, and the car I'd parked next to, which were now part of one big accident scene. "You were almost killed by a rampaging van; my hands are cold."
Obviously she was right that in context it seemed like an insignificant thing to focus on, but her hand really hand been as cold as ice. I didn't want the person who saved me to die of hypothermia. On the other hand, I didn't want to annoy the person who saved me. So I dropped it. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Thanks for saving me." She said I was welcome. Then I started to wonder something, "How'd you get to me so fast?"
"I ran really fast."
"But you were-"
"Really, really fast." There was a moment of silence and then she again gestured to the accident asked, "Shall we?" We started over to survey the damage. I slipped, but she caught my arm and steadied me before I could fall.