I sat up in bed with a screaming headache and that question racing over and over again through my mind.
Why couldn't I remember?
My cell phone was sitting on the nightstand next to my bed, its alarm ringing again, reminding me why I was awake in the first place. With a groan I grabbed it and slammed my forefinger down on the button to silence it.
I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and cursed under my breath when the cell phone dropped to the floor with a bang. Groaning louder, I stood up and stumbled through my bedroom to the adjoined bathroom I shared with my brother. Luckily I could still hear him snoring in his room, I wasn't in the mood for his hippie bullshit this morning.
A glance in the mirror had me groaning even more. Black eyeliner and mascara were smudged a good half an inch around my eyes. The effect was something that too closely resembled a raccoon for me to find any amusement in it. It just wasn't like me to go to bed with make-up on, besides, it really wasn't like me to wear thick black eyeliner either.
Again I thought, what the hell happened last night?
I sat on the edge of the toilet seat and dropped my head into my heads. No matter how hard I strained though, nothing but blackness would come to me. It was as if I just went to sleep after dinner last night, but I knew that I hadn't. At least I didn't think so, and the manner in which I now found myself suggested that I was right.
It wasn't uncommon for me to have a few drinks at a party. Hell, I'd even passed out a time or two, but I had never before lost my memory of a whole night. That was just insane. Who did that?
I shook my head. No, there's no way. Last night was Sunday. There wouldn't have been a party to go to anyways. Not this early into the school year. And if there had been, I'd at least remember something about it. So what then?
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm not only the pounding in my head, but also the increasing panic that had my chest beginning to constrict. From past experience, I knew that I was just a few crazy thoughts away from hyperventilating and that was so not what I needed.
Another alarm sounded and I jumped to my feet, making sure the lock was secure, blocking my brother from coming in here until I was done. I heard a moan and a thump as his feet hit the floor. A few seconds later and the doorknob was rattling.
"Parker?" he called through the solid wood, "you still in there?"
I cleared my throat before answering. "Yeah, sorry, I was just about to jump in the shower."
"No worries, just let me know when you're done, huh?"
That was the nice thing about Lucas. His hippie crap may be nonsense to me, but it made him pretty mellow and easy going.
Not wanting to make both of us late for school, I turned on the shower and waited for the water to heat up before stripping down and jumping under the hot spray. My head had been hurting so bad, I hadn't realized how sore the rest of my body was until the water began working out all of the kinks.
I tried to keep my mind completely blank. I was sort of hoping that eventually something would come back to me. If not, at least keeping calm would keep a panic attack from starting. There was no way I could miss school today. My parents were already up my ass for ditching last week. It didn't matter to them that it was for a totally good cause. I mean, Homecoming was only a few weeks away, I had needed to find a dress, right?
When the water started to turn cooler, I turned it off, feeling only a little bad that Luke would probably have to take a cold shower. It wasn't like he had anyone to impress anyways, I thought, and then instantly felt a little guilty for it.
It wasn't until I was dried off, wrapped in a towel, and looking through my closet that I begin to feel back to normal. Somehow, I had convinced myself that nothing bad could have happened. I wouldn't have ended up waking up in my bed if it had, right? I let out another breath and nodded, smiling to myself. There had to be a rational explanation for why I couldn't remember. Things like that didn't just happen for nothing, so I figured that eventually I'd remember, and once I did, I'd probably laugh for being so spastic about it.
Thirty minutes later, my long chestnut hair was falling down my back in soft curls, my makeup was perfect, and the light blue sweater I was wearing over my jeans made my eyes seem even bigger and bluer than usual. When I walked into the kitchen to see my parents both sitting at the table with their morning coffee, I was feeling completely normal. Well almost, I thought, trying to ignore the tingling feeling behind my ear.
"Good morning, honey," my dad said without even looking up from his paper.
"Morning daddy," I answered. My mom on the other hand, was glaring at me over the book she had been reading. "What?" I asked her, raising my eyebrows and throwing my hands up.
"You were home early last night."
My jaw dropped.
"Since when is coming home cause for such animosity?" Luke said, walking in behind me.
I turned and smiled slightly at him in a silent 'thank you'.
Mom rolled her eyes, "it's just strange, that's all. When Sarah called you last night during dinner, you said not to wait up. I was surprised when I heard you come home before midnight."
Luke laughed, "again, why would that make you mad?"
She stood up chuckling and punched him playfully in the arm before handing us both a glass of juice. "I'm not mad," she said, defending herself, "I was just concerned that maybe the two of you had gotten in a fight or something."
They both looked at me expectantly, my dad still oblivious behind his newspaper. I shrugged noncommittally. "I was just tired, mom, chill." I wasn't sure if it was a lie or not, but mom just nodded and sat back down with her book and Luke began wolfing down a bowl of cereal.
I walked into the living room and slumped down on the couch. There were still a few minutes before we needed to head to school. Had I been with Sarah last night? I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and looked at my call log. She was the last person I had talked to, but there were a dozen calls from her between eight and eleven o'clock. Wouldn't that mean that I hadn't been with her?
After pressing the screen to dial her, I held the phone up to my ear. It rang five times before her voicemail picked up.Weird. Before the panic boiled back up to the surface though, I assured myself that I'd just talk to her at school. It was no big deal. None at all. Everything was fine.
I jumped. Crap! "Yeah, sure."
Luke raised his eyebrows, his long hair hanging down over his forehead, the stringy strands making me cringe inwardly. I mean seriously, it baffled me that we were related at all, let alone that we were twins.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Why wouldn't I be?" I snapped back.
He shrugged and walked past me toward the front door. "No reason really. You just seem a little more uptight than usual is all."
I hit him on the back before bending to pick up my backpack next to the door. "Thanks a lot, jerk!"
He laughed. "Give me the keys, I want to drive today."
I rolled my eyes, "yeah right. Like that's going to happen."
He just shook his head. His eyes, identical to mine, twinkled with laughter. I couldn't help thinking as I brushed past him what it would be like to be that happy all of the time. It seriously didn't seem like anything in the world bothered him. What would it feel like to be in such a constant state of euphoria?
As soon as the thought occurred to me, though, I brushed it away. It wasn't like me to wonder what it would be like to be different. I was conceited enough to know that it was me people envied and I liked that. It was hard work to be as popular as I was and I had worked damn hard at it.
I got to the jeep before Lucas did. Mostly because he was never really in a hurry to get anywhere. Our parents had bought us the jeep a few months ago for our sixteenth birthday. We were supposed to share it, but that was just pathetic. I'd rather pretend that it was just mine and Luke seemed okay with that. At least he did most of the time.
"So what did you do last night?" he asked as soon as we were in the car and driving down the street.
I clenched my teeth when his question brought back a dull thumping to my head. "What's it to you?" I asked grouchily.
He sucked in his breath, "wow, you really are in a bad mood today. Did you and Prince Charming get into a fight or what?"
"Can't you ever just be nice?" If there was one thing that cracked his perfectly elevated mood, it was Trent. Normally his attitude toward my boyfriend didn't bother me, but my head hurt too bad to deal with any of it today. "I mean seriously, get over it."
He gritted his teeth. "I'll get over it when he learns how to treat my sister," he mumbled.
I opened my mouth to say something. Not sure if what I would say would come off sounding like an apology, though, I shut it. We rode the rest of the way in awkward silence. A silence so deafening that I had to reach over and turn on the radio just to drown it out.
Some song came screaming out of the speakers. Something about love and lust in the moonlight. I wasn't really paying attention to it because it was gothic and eerie and totally not something I would normally be interested in, but then the chorus came on and I slammed on the breaks.
The graves in our past can't hurt us now, baby we'll live together forever if you let me show you how...
A flash of memory spiked through my mind like a white hot needle penetrating flesh. It was painful in its intensity although the steely gray color was innocent enough. I knew what it was. I knew what I was seeing. I just didn't know if it was real and if it was, I didn't know what it meant.
"What the hell was that all about?" Luke cried. Horns honked as cars pulled around me and I realized that I had stopped right in the middle of the street. "Are you okay? What's going on?"
I gulped, only just realizing that I had been holding my breath. "I need to get to school." I let my foot off of the break and slammed it down on the gas.
"Parker, you're sort of freaking me out. Talk to me."
Except that I couldn't. I couldn't talk to anyone about what I'd seen because it didn't make sense. There was no possible way that what I had 'remembered' was real. It was just too creepy and gross to comprehend. There's no possible way I had seen Sarah lying on a stone slab in the middle of a cemetery. Was there?