You were expecting a long, detailed beginning . . .? Boy, are you in the wrong place.

It happened like, well, like everything else doe's. Let me tell you from the beginning . . .

"You can't just keep treating each other this way. . ." I sighed, lowering my head, and ran a hand through my hair. Jenny and her mom had had another argument. Why? Why didn't they just leave off?

I shook my head in disappointment. Never did those two leave any peace for anyone else when they fought. Though Jenny tried to soften the impact on me, she didn't need to. I knew the whole story by now, and for what good it did me, it didn't help. I brushed the tear off of my face and went back to reading my soapy romance novel. It definitely wasn't my kind of thing, usually, but sometimes it's the stupid stuff that cheers you up.

The phone rang again, and I ignored it. 'I'm gone,' I thought to myself, my heart racing. Eventually, it stopped ringing. I checked the I.D. and sighed. It hadn't been her, it had been Kimberly. I shrugged. I was reading, anyway. What did it matter that I was here, anyway? I shrugged again, and returned to my book. Joshua was just about to ask Kathy on the date. He'd gotten the flowers, the little box of fancy French chocolates. . .

The phone rang again. I growled, and closed my book without remembering the page I was on. But that was okay. Who needed a good book when you had fancy annoying phones, anymore? Grrr. . . I snatched up the phones receiver.

"What is it!?"

". . . Is that how we answer the phone, Trinity?"

I blanched, embarrassed. "I'm so sorry, Mom. It's just that Jenny and her mom have been at it again, and Jen's mom is trying to drag me into it again. . ."

"I see. Well, next time, honey, just hang up on them. You don't need that kind of bull roar."

"I did!" I whined, "But she keeps calling me back and I need to keep the line open so Jimmy can call."

"I see. Well, hon, I was wondering if you would like to have pork chops, or pizza tonight."

"Aww, but mom that's hard, you know I love both," I said as I winced. We hadn't had either one in a really long time. Pork chops were little and delicious. Pizza was big, delicious and really unhealthy. Choices, choices. . .

"Well. . ."

"Ok, ok!" I said, knowing the sound of her 'let's eat m&m's voice, "Pork chops. With mushrooms and carrots."

"All right. I'll see you when I get home then. Oh, and Trinity? Just tell her to stop calling or that you need the line open. She must have something better to do than bum at you."

"All right. And thanks, Mom. Love you."

"You, too. See you." Then we both hung up.

I stared at my book, and let my head fall down to meet with the mattress. I'd been lying, stretched out on my stomach on my bed the entire time. I grumbled and pushed myself back up, and got off the bed in search of something else to do.

I wandered into the kitchen, and looked around. I did this a lot when I was bored. I wouldn't eat anything because mom was bringing food back, but a drink sounded good. I reached into the cupboard and grabbed my favorite cup, a deep blue plastic one that held enough water to satisfy me. For now. I put the cup of water in the microwave for a minute while I went in search of the hot chocolate.

It beeped before I was done looking, but I eventually found it behind the coffee pot holder. I scooped in about five spoonfuls after taking out the hot water from the microwave. I liked it strong. Most people wondered why I was still alive.

I grinned at the thought. I was in shape, without being very healthy, unfortunately. Just because you were a skinny ninety-eight pound, twenty year old girl meant shit if you weren't healthy. I needed more exercise and I knew it. I needed a job and I wanted to go to college too, but I wasn't in either right now. I sipped my ultra hot, hot chocolate, and thought about how bad the job market had become. I couldn't wait until Bush was out of office. I was rooting for Kerry.

I sat down in my Moms chair and flipped on the T.V., making sure it wasn't very loud. I hated it when dad blasted it, but then, I couldn't blame him. He was deaf in his left ear. Completely. . . because of a surgery that had taken place, the cost had been losing his hearing in one side, and scaring the bejesus out of his wife and daughter, along with his son and the rest of the family. It could have been a life threatening situation if anything had gone wrong. He now heard more so out of base than treble.

I found a good channel to watch, and settled in for a half an hour of Dr. Who? On the Sci-Fi channel, but it wasn't my thing. I was old and interesting, things I liked, but it was a little too erratic for my tastes. Precious, my pet cat, was asleep in my lap before the show was half way through.

I frowned and muted the television. Sirens? I urged Precious off of my lap, and got up to go outside and take a look. I didn't make it to the front door. Everything stopped when I was thrown to the floor by a hit in my chest, and blackness closed in. The last thing I heard was shouting and something breaking.

Eep . . . eep . . . eep . . . eep . . . eep. . .

I opened my eyes, and an off white, white ceiling and a few tubes greeted me. But, where . . .?

"Trinity . . .?"

I looked slowly down, and I saw Jenny and my parents looking at me. Dad was in his hospital clothes. But what was . . .? Then, suddenly, it hit me like the Mack truck had when I was three. I was going to cry. Why I was in the hospital? What was wrong with me?

"Am I hurt, dad . . .?" I asked softly, my voice was hoarse, and it hurt to talk. I gagged.

Dad went a little crazy trying to give me some water, but in the end I was smiling. It was just somehow funny. My whole right side hurt. My back hurt, my front hurt. And my arm was all bandaged. Had I been in an accident of some kind? Why weren't they telling me?

"Jenny? Mom, Dad?"

Jenny started to cry but she smiled and took my left hand. It was horrible of me, but I didn't want to hold her hand. I wanted to hold Mom or Dads hands. If not both at the same time, but I let her, because I was scared, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings.

"Trinity," My dad said, looking very serious, sad and scared all at once, "You were in. . . An accident. The police were chasing some wild animal and it got in the house. When it did that, one of the cops accidentally shot you through a window. . ."

"I was shot? That's it? Why am I all bandaged up like this if I just . . . got. . ." I paused as they looked at each other.

"It tried to eat you, Trin!" Jenny cried suddenly. "That beast tried to eat you! Oreo tried to protect you; all of your cats did, but . . ."

I started crying immediately. I got angry instantly, and my heart started to race. I looked frantically to my parents. Please god no, please go, no. . . .

"Shut up, Jenny!" My dad hissed. My Mom was stone faced. It was true . . . no. No!

"Please tell me they're okay? Mom?' I pleaded, not noticing that I was sitting up. Dad tried to push me back down gently, and I went, looking at Mom like my life depended on it.

Mom finally spoke. "They're okay for the most part; Trinity . . . but Oreo may not make it. Same with Precious. We're doing what we can honey. And . . ." Dad looked at Mom, and then he took my hand from Jenny's.

Suddenly, I just didn't want to know. I just didn't. . . I began to feel a little numb. One of them was dead, or going to die. I wasn't worried about myself anymore. My cats, my friends, as I liked to call them, had tried to protect me, and it was going to cost them this to do it?

"Trinity, Courage did her best, and we tried to save her, but we couldn't, there wasn't enough time. . ."

I tore my hand away and started to cry harder. Mom and Dad took turns giving me hugs and telling me everything would be all right.

Absently, I hoped so. I shivered, feeling the cold enter my bones. Even though I was warm. Before I slipped off to sleep, I told my parents I wanted to talk to Jenny alone. When we were alone finally, I gave her a hug, and cried a little more.

'I'm so sorry I didn't seem happier to see you. I was just so. . ."

"Shh, Trin, it's okay, I understand, honest. . ." She smiled and left. I lay there, staring at the door for a long time after she left. And all I could think of was, 'No, it isn't all right. It never is.'

More to come.