Ronnie heard Jim’s voice, and it made her feel safe. Of course he’d come for her. He’d make everything better. He always did. Her whole life was better than it’d ever been before he came.
She’d read about friends before, watched people in vids, daydreamed about what having someone her age who understood her and liked her and accepted her and didn’t care about what she did when she grew up. But Jim was better than any daydream she’d ever had.
And he had such pretty eyes. And soft hair. He chewed his lower lip when he thought about things and blushed whenever someone said something nice about him.
He was just so good. And he was coming for her, all she had to do was hold on. The voices kept telling her that, and she believed them.
Warm hands touched her, and she realized just how cold she’d been. She forced her eyes open. The pain that had ebbed to a background ache flared up, and she whimpered. Jim’s face was barely visible behind the glare of the light that was strapped to his forehead.
"Ronnie, Ronnie, come on. Say something."
His hands were so warm. How had she never noticed that before? She smiled at him. "Jim."
Jim touched her cheek. "You’re freezing."
Ronnie managed a nod. "S’cold."
"How do you feel about getting out of here?"
"Happy birthday, Ronnie." Jim grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her straight up. Ronnie screamed as her weight lifted from her broken arm. She fought to stay conscious, but the pain battered at her senses, and Jim’s worried face slipped away.