Mornings in the Adams-Foster household are hectic and hectic is an understatement. Stef wakes up first and showers while the water is still hot, shortly followed by Lena. Brandon’s alarm starts up in unison with Jude’s at six o’ clock a.m. sharp. My alarm goes off at six-fifteen and I hit snooze until Lena comes in and turns on the lights.
“Good morning girls! Time for another wonderful Monday.” I sat up so she would see I was awake and Mariana rolled over with a grumble. I showered and brushed my teeth before walking back into the bedroom. Mariana rolled out of bed with hair that would have made social networking history and an expression that defined Mondays. All of my homework was stuffed into my backpack and I headed downstairs and sat at the breakfast table.
“Hey, Callie, do you have all your homework?” After assuring her I had it all Stef placed a glass of orange juice and a bagel in front of me. Taking the cream cheese from in front of Jude I laughed as he tried to take a bite too big for his mouth. Stef sat at the head of the table sipping coffee and going through the mail, she opened a large manila folder and smiled. “Look what I have here.”
“Birth certificates?” Jude jumped up from his seat and leaned over Stef’s shoulder for a better look. “Callie, Callie, we’re adopted!” Lena wrapped her arms around my shoulders and I stared at the official seal beside my name ‘Callie Quinn Adams-Foster’.
“Everything is here, social security cards, new ID for Callie, it’s officially official.” Stef beamed. “Let’s go out to dinner tonight.” She said as everyone but Jesus sat at the table. Brandon gave Jude a high-five and Mariana offered to paint his nails for dinner.
“We’ll talk about it when we get home from school, the van leaves in twelve minutes. Mariana where’s Jesus?” Lena asked placing the certificates back in the manila folder.
“Probably still asleep.” Mariana huffed.
“I’m going to put these in the safe.” Lena said heading up the stairs. “Jesus if you aren’t downstairs in ten minutes you’re running to school.” She called. There was a sudden rush of footsteps and Jesus came tumbling down the stairs running his hand through his hair.
We piled into Lena’s car and pulled out of the driveway watching as Stef locked up the house and made sure her holster was securely on her hips. The drive to school was always a short one and thankfully today it was quiet.
“I’m staying late for a PTA meeting after school so you guys are going to have to walk home okay? Make sure you have someone to walk with, there are five of you, and no one walks alone.”
“We know Momma.” Jude said with a smile. The five of us went our separate ways. Brandon went to practice in the music room, Mariana caught up with Kelsey and disappeared into a crowd of popular girls. Jesus was called over to the volleyball court for a quick game and Jude waved shyly at his friend.
“You don’t have to stay with me, you can go talk to Connor.” I nudged him towards his only friend at Anchor Beach.
“Are you sure?” I gave him a little shove and he smiled before tightening his backpack on his shoulders.
“I’ll see you after you finish lunch.” He waved goodbye and disappeared into the wave of kids. I turned down the High School wing and sat in my first class waiting for the bell to ring. The day dragged by just as anyone would expect it to on a Monday. By the time lunch came around my stomach was growling disruptively. I stopped in the hallway right outside Jude’s next class, he stopped in front of me and held out a cookie.
“Here you go, Connor gave it to me.”
“Then why didn’t you eat it?” I laughed.
“He gave me three.” I took the cookie from his hand and listened as he told me about the first half of his day.
We talked for a minute and just as we were about to part ways a sharp bang rang throughout the hallway. It sounded like a firecracker, someone screamed and another bang echoed through the halls. People began running out of classrooms and into classrooms, I saw a kid wearing a black hoodie waving something at people.
It was a gun. I wrapped my arms around Jude to push him into a class room, there was a sudden sharp pain in my side and Jude and I were on the cold tile floor. It was suddenly difficult to breathe and my head ached, dark spots appeared in my vision, but I focused on Jude’s face. He was terrified, I watched as the kid with the gun walked past us.
“Don’t move.” I whispered to Jude. We laid as still as we possibly could, I clenched my teeth and focused on breathing. The boy rounded the corner of at the end of the hall.
Screams, slamming doors.
Then the fire alarm started. Strobe lights flashed menacingly.
Stampedes of feet got nearer and Jude crawled out from under me.
“Callie, get up.” He sobbed. I got to my hands and knees before slipping in the pool of my own blood. I had been shot, when had I been shot? My head swam nauseatingly. “Callie please.” Jude cried pulling on my hand. Someone almost trampled on my arm and Jude threw his body over mine. I gasped as the pressure doubled on my back and I succumbed to the darkness that had threatened to take over.
We have to get out of here, we have to move. People were running in the halls, sprinting, pushing each other. Stepping over the senior crumpled against the lockers, and the sixth grader laying in front of the exit in a pool of blood.
And then it was silent. Every few minutes there would be a single person that would sprint out of the building, or a single door would slam. There were muffled sobs coming from a classroom nearby, I glanced around carefully to make sure the kid with the gun wasn’t around and looked down at Callie.
She was pale, very pale. My heart stopped. “Callie.” I whispered shaking her shoulder, her hair was matted with blood, there was blood everywhere. “Callie, wake up.” I swallowed my tears and tried to figure out if there was any way I could drag her outside.
Footsteps echoed throughout the eerily deserted hallways and I jumped back on top of Callie and laid as still as I could. The boy walked down the hall and stopped beside the senior that fell against the lockers. He sat beside him and stared at me, he looked me right in the eyes, he knew I was alive I could tell he knew.
The boy looked oddly familiar, but in that moment I was sure I was going to die. He gripped his gun tightly in his hand and kept his eyes locked with mine. I squeezed Callie’s limp hand tightly and I swear she squeezed back. I shut my eyes.
My eyes flew open and I flinched back, but nothing happened. I sat up and looked around to see the boy with the gun slumped against the lockers, blood soaking his black hoodie and his gun limply in his hand. His eyes were glassy. He was dead, and in that moment I recognized him.
It was Vico.