I knew that Travis and I had fallen asleep under the cherry blossom tree by the lake. I tried to remember so many times if I had woken up and walked home or if Travis had carried me home. I couldn't remember either. So it was very much to my surprise that I was in lying in my bed the next day and Travis was nowhere to be seen. I didn't want to open my eyes.
For a moment I felt like Miss Clavel in Madeline, when she woke up at odd times of the night saying, "Something is not right!" whenever the girls were in trouble. I used to wonder what kind of feeling she got that made her so uneasy that she'd spring up from her bed all in a rush. But now I knew what that feeling was. Unlike Miss Clavel, I did not feel like springing up from my bed and finding out exactly what was not right.
However, I did not have the luxury of sleeping and lying in bed until the feeling went away. I had to go to school. Honestly, I couldn't see the point in a dying girl getting an education she won't be able to finish. I felt exhausted and weak. Still, I opened my eyes.
I got up from bed and walked out of my room into the hallway. I approached my dad's room and called out his name. There was no response. As I reached his door, I noticed a note that had been taped onto it. It had my Dad's handwriting, but it looked very hurried.
I had to go on a trip. Business.
Be back in a few days. I'll call you whenever I can.
I love you.
I grabbed the note from the door and stared at it.
Who's Nicole, Dad?
Downstairs, I heard someone in the kitchen. It was our maid, cook, and my former nanny, Grace. I headed downstairs and almost ran towards the kitchen. I was relieved to see her there, cooking my breakfast as usual.
"Grace," I said.
"Good morning, Ivy," she said with a smile that made you think she was too young for the gray hair on her head.
I sat down on one of the stools by the counter. I watched her cook for a while until I felt the piece of paper in my hand. The feeling was back again.
"Grace? Who's Nicole? It's just that Dad left this note and - "
Grace laughed. "Is this one of those philosophical questions, honey? Those 'who am I?' silly talk? I think it's all nonsense. If you wanna know who you are, take a long hard look in the mirror."
"Wh - What?" I stammered. "What are you talking about?"
She only smiled and shook her head and turned her back to me.
"It must have been a mistake," I said softly. "Dad mixes up names a lot. But, Grace, I just don't get why he would leave me now. I'm the one who's dying and he acts - "
"Dying?" she asked, still not facing me. "Enough of this nonsense and go get dressed."
I was starting to feel my head ache. I couldn't understand how everyone could act this way. I put my head in my hands and stared at the countertop. I closed my eyes, and I could've sworn I felt the earth move under me.
I sighed, and got up from the stool. I watched my feet as I walked to the stairs. Then I looked up and I could've screamed. I was in a different house. I ran to the kitchen, making my head ache even worse.
"Grace?" I said as I peered into the doorway.
It wasn't her anymore. It was a small woman with striking gray eyes and blonde hair. She looked familiar. But everything about the kitchen, about the whole house, was different.
"There you are," she said. "Nice to see you dressed already."
I looked down at myself and saw that I was no longer in my pajamas. What was more unsettling was that the clothes I was wearing weren't mine at all. I didn't even reply to the woman. I just ran up the stairs, into the first room I saw and hoped that I was dreaming a very strange, very brief, dream.
It seemed as if I had walked into a girl's bedroom. I approached a mirror and held my breath. I looked into it and saw that I was still me. I saw my green eyes, pales skin, and short dark hair. I was me, and not the girl who was in the picture frame by the mirror. I tried to calm myself as I picked up the picture frame. The girl had the exact gray eyes of the woman in the kitchen, but she had auburn hair.
I know this girl.
I looked closer. There was a boy beside her. It took me a while before his face registered. Then I dropped the frame. The boy was Spencer. I froze.
Oh God. Oh God. Please, no.