Page 6


So apparently I lied.
At midnight, I boot up my laptop. I can type faster than I can scribble. Besides, the note by my bedside is already cluttered with hearts in the margins and flowery words about a boy I just met today.
10/19 (Tues.)
Horrible memory popped into my head as I was falling asleep tonight. Worst I can remember, really. Can’t see much… just know I’m in a crowd of people wearing black. Their faces are muddy, and someone is dead. At first, I thought it might be Mom’s funeral, but then I remembered hearing her sobs. She’s there, too. Alive.
Can hear the occasional bird, and weeping. The weeping is terrible so I focus on the birds. I think it’s morning, but it’s gray so I’m not sure.
Terrifying statue of a saintly woman (maybe an angel?) one plot over to the left… carved of green stone and looking like she’s watching us.
I finish typing and save the file on my computer desktop, naming it, appropriately, Dark Memory.
I print the page and then place the typed note under the handwritten one; hearts and flowers over the black-and-white account of dark days ahead.
I climb back into bed and turn off the lights for the second time tonight, thinking of the boy whose first name I don’t know, feeling guilty for thinking of him when there are bigger things ahead.
Somehow, amid all the conflicting emotions, sleep grabs my hand and pulls me under.
And then everything unwritten is gone.
On the way to school, I consider telling my mom about the funeral memory, until I realize that it might scare her. Not everyone needs to know what’s coming.
After she drops me off, I head straight for the library. It’s an even-block day, so I have periods 2, 4, 6, and 8: I’ll never be so happy to miss first-period PE. The warning bell hasn’t sounded yet, but I want to arrive early and compose myself for the guy from my notes.
Mr. Henry.
I make my way toward the tables at the back of the library and retrieve a compact mirror from my bag. I use my sleeve to fix my eye makeup and then exchange the compact for my Spanish book.
I don’t hear him approach. Then, without warning, he’s across from me, leaning on the table, eyes fixed on my face.
I lower the book and my jaw drops. I thought I was prepared, but no. Not for this.
“Hi,” I manage.
“Good day so far?” he asks.
“Not really,” I answer truthfully.
Concern crosses his face, and it warms me. “What happened?” he asks.
“Oh, nothing,” I answer. “Just overslept and my mom was annoying and… nothing. Not worth talking about.”
The bell rings, and he and I are eye-locked. When the shrill tone stops, he whispers, “Okay, but if you decide you do want to talk, you can tell me.”
“Thank you,” I say, meaning it.
“You’re welcome,” he says back in an intimate whisper, before he’s hushed by Ms. Mason.
“Luke Henry and London Lane, this is your final warning. No talking!”
Warmth washes over me at the sound of his name next to mine, and as he searches through his crowded bag for schoolwork, I breathe his name so softly that I can barely hear it myself.
We can’t speak the rest of the ninety-minute period, but his presence makes me feel better. It allows me to forget the frenzied morning and, more important, this morning’s note.
Halfway through the period, my fingers accidentally brush Luke’s across the table. It feels like someone shot adrenaline directly into my heart; I inhale sharply and quickly move my hand to my lap. Luke glances up at me and smiles, which makes me blush and look away. I hear him chuckle a little under his breath and then turn a page.
Aware that I can’t seem to remember Luke from tomorrow or the future, all I want to do right now is ditch class and spend the rest of the day getting to know him before he disappears again. Instead, I sit, grabbing glimpses of him every so often, and try my best to act normal.
I answer the phone before my mom hears the ringtone and scolds me for being up so late.
“What’s up?” I whisper.
“Were you asleep?” Jamie asks, more surprised than concerned that she might have woken me.
“No, but my mom thinks I am.”
“Didn’t you know I was going to call?” she asks.
“You know I don’t remember today, only tomorrow on,” I say, rolling my eyes at her, even though she can’t see it.
“I know, I’m just kidding.”
“Oh,” I say, tired. “What’s up?”
“I need to borrow that supercute green shirt you bought that time your mom took us to the city for your birthday.”
I am silent. Of course I have no idea what trip she’s talking about from the past, but I think forward to what she’ll wear tomorrow.
“Hello?” Jamie asks.
“Sorry, I’m here; sure, it’s fine,” I say in a low tone. “You’re coming over before school to get it, right?”
“Yes, but remember I have detention, so it’s going to be…”
“Shhh!” I interrupt. The floorboards are creaking outside my room. “My mom’s coming. Gotta go!”
I hang up and toss the phone on the nightstand just as my mom peeks into the room.
“Honey, it’s late,” she says.
“I know, I was just going to sleep.”
Mom gives me a look.
“What?” I ask.
“Are you sure you weren’t talking on the phone?” She smiles in that way that tells me I’ve been caught. And yet, for no particular reason, I deny it.
“I’m sure,” I say, inching under the covers. “Will you turn off the light?” I ask. She does.
“Night, Mom,” I say, yawning for effect but meaning it, too.
“Good night, London,” she says, and before I hear her own bedroom door click shut, I’m asleep.
I’m shivering in my closet, wearing only a bra, tank top, and underwear, wet hair dripping down my back, when Jamie scares the crap out of me by appearing in the doorway.
“Morning,” she says, with no warning whatsoever.
“What the hell!” I shout, jumping farther into the closet.
“Uptight much?” Jamie teases, taking in the clothes hanging neatly on the racks. “Wear this one,” she says, pointing to a plaid miniskirt.
“That’s way too short,” I protest. “I have no idea why I own that.”
“I made you buy it,” she says proudly. “I love that skirt.”
“You can have it,” I say, turning away from her and continuing my clothes fit. “What are you doing here so early?” I ask casually.
“You are so mental,” Jamie says. “We talked last night. I’m borrowing…” She moves to a row of shirts and quickly looks through them. She locates the sleeve she seeks and yanks the item off the hanger. “… this green shirt today.”
“Cute,” I say.
“I know,” Jamie agrees. She drops her bag and coat to the floor, swaps her own shirt for the green one, then puts herself back together, leaving her shirt in a heap on my closet floor.
“Don’t you want this?” I ask, picking it up.