The next few moments were surreal. The darkness circled around them in an indescribable dizziness. Becca saw her reflection in the mirror as the black cloud swirled above her. Jenny held her arm and scanned the room, looking each direction for answers to an escape. The cloud directed its energy into a small stream that Becca felt as it sucked into her chest. She awoke in the chair when her mom entered the room and tapped her on the shoulder.
“Becca,” Cece whispered into her ear.
Becca heard the echo in her dream where she was sitting in a noiseless garden admiring a butterfly.
“Becca,” she heard again as her eyes began to take focus of the hospital room. She sat up in her seat and looked around. Jenny lie sleeping on the bed, a faint beeping from her monitor seemed to vibrate through the room.
“Dad told you I was coming, didn’t he?” Cece asked.
“Yeah,” she said. She unfolded her legs and scooted herself to the edge of her seat. She rubbed at her eyes to push the burning sensation out. She looked up at the clock by the door. It was the same one she had seen earlier. In her dream…
“What time does that say?” she asked her mom.
“It’s 11:09,” Cece answered.
“But it doesn’t say that, does it?
“It’s in military time,” Cece said and explained, “Hospitals use it so they don’t mess up times. Are you okay?” she added.
“Yeah,” Becca said shaking her head. “Just tired.”
“You can head home if you’d like,” her mom said. “I’m here for the night.
Becca nodded. She began picking up her things. She wanted desperately to talk to Jenny, but also knew it couldn’t be now. So she kissed her mom on the cheek and headed out the door.
Her room felt cold and empty. She looked at her phone, thinking of dialing up Andrew. The time was 1:00 am though so she tossed her phone behind her onto the bed. She grabbed a towel and headed for the shower where she stood under the hot water and wished she would drown.
Did you see that? Becca pulled her face out of the shower’s stream and opened her eyes to look around. Will you tell her I love her? The voice was different this time. They were both in my will. “Who are you?” she asked the air around her, “What is going on?”
The voices got louder. Her hands began to shake and her fingertips burned. The fear inside her filled into her chest until it felt as if it might crush her entirely. She sat down in the shower and covered her ears until the voices quieted enough for her to think.
The room silenced and she could hear her breathing. Her knees pulled into her chest, the water had turned cold. She pushed the water back off her head and turned the faucet closed. A knock at her door brought her back to the bathroom to which she had entered hours before.
She quickly dried and threw whatever clothes laid next her her bed on her before peeking out to see who it was. Andrew stood on the other side. Normally, she would have thought about the state of the way she looked, but this time she just opened.
“I’m gonna go ahead and say, you are not okay,” he said as he wrapped his arms around her.
She closed her eyes as she laid her head into him, her wet hair dripping into little puddles on the floor. Then for some reason, she pulled away.
“I’m okay,” she lied. “My head is screaming, but I’m okay.”
She grabbed a hand towel from the kitchen counter and squeezed some of the wetness out of her hair before searching for ibuprofen in the cupboards. Andrew followed her into the little space that was the kitchen.
“How’s your sister?” he asked.
“I’m sure she’ll be fine,” she said and started, “Dumbass did it to herself,” but stopped before she actually said what she had done. The trust she once had for Andrew began failing her. She was in a weird and unstable place and she absolutely hated how it felt. As if no one in the entire world could help her with what she was experiencing, and even worse, they all had a play in the way she was failing.
“What do you mean, she did it to herself?” he asked.
She stopped in her whirlwind around the kitchen and thought about what she had just opened up. You have to tell him something…”Well, I don’t mean literally,” she began and let the chaos in her brain make nothing into a solid plan to see if he was the one she couldn’t trust, “I mean, apparently she had gone out with one of her boy friends,” she made air quotes to signify the special kind of friendships that Jenny kept, “and they had an accident. She busted her head and they figure she has a concussion. She didn’t tell anyone or even go to the hospital because she didn’t want Bo to find out.” As soon as she stopped talking a large rock formed inside her stomach. The look of concern on his face only made her die a little more inside as she kept the lie in the stillness of the air. The point of no return had passed. She was turning into someone she hated.