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Lissa’s eyes flew open, her heart skipping several beats as it registered that she was alive. She turned her head slightly and stared at her nightstand uncomprehendingly. Not only alive, but in the bed of her apartment, rather than a hospital. Confusion assailed her. She’d overdosed and they’d called an ambulance, how did she get back here? Her heart began to race, and she sat up as she started to hyperventilate, her stomach twisting in knots, bright spots appearing behind her eyelids. I’m having a panic attack, she realized, and willed herself to calm down, taking slow measured breaths until the danger of blacking out had passed.
The drugs must have fried her short-term memory circuit, she reasoned…except aside from her elevated heart-rate she felt physically perfect, and that was odd. She should be suffering from some form of hangover…she shook her head in bewilderment, nothing made sense. Staying in the room was definitely not clearing anything up, so she forced herself to get out of bed and walk to the top of the stairs. Voices floated up to her from the living room along with music, and as she stood there a chill made its way up her spine and she shuddered. Long shower, she thought her heart skittering, clear my head, it’ll be fine.
In the bathroom she shed her clothes quickly and rested her head on the cold glass of the shower door as she waited for the water to heat, taking even breaths. When she stepped under the spray she leaned her head back and let the water run over her face, focusing on the visceral pleasure of the warmth running over her skin and calming her nerves.
If the water hadn't started cooling down, she might have stayed in there until she turned into a prune. She sighed and stepped out, taking her time toweling off, then studied herself in the mirror. Her eyes were clear, her skin vibrant, her cheeks tinted pink. There wasn’t a single physical sign of what had almost happened.
She dressed slowly then went back to the top of the stairs, an uneasy feeling growing in the pit of her stomach. She forced her legs to move and when she reached the living room the pit became a crater. The same people were there as the morning before, and not a single one of them looked at her in a way that would suggest anything traumatic had happened the previous night.
“Hey babe, when you gotta work?” Tyler asked before taking a long swig of his beer.
She stared at him, goose bumps raising on her arms. “Um. What day is this?”
He looked at her as if she’d just asked if the sky was green then laughed loudly, his buddies joining in. “Last I checked it was Thursday.”
Thursday. She felt faint all of a sudden, swaying on her feet.
“Whoa,” Tyler jumped up and grabbed a hold of her arms. “You’re white as a ghost, you sick or something?”
She swallowed thickly, unable to respond. A Dream. That had to be it. She’d had an extremely vivid dream. She glanced around the room. A premonition, she amended with a shudder. No drugs for her tonight.
She focused on Tyler’s face, lightly surprised by the concern in his voice. She recalled the panic on his face from…her dream…and felt real affection toward him for the first time in months. Impulsively she wrapped her arms around him and he lifted her up and sat down on the couch holding her in his lap. “What is it?” He asked quietly.
She shook her head and rested it on his shoulder. He didn’t press, engaging himself in conversation with his buddy Dan instead, absently rubbing her back. After a bit she pulled her head up slightly and studied him. His dark perpetually messy hair, his equally dark eyes under even darker slants of brow, his patrician nose, his thin but well-shaped lips framed by a well-trimmed goatee. Two and a half years ago she had found his look enormously sexy. He’d been exciting and so much fun-though a part of that had been the competition, which there had been a great deal of. Still is, she thought bitterly, her gaze drifting over to the red-head draped over the armchair in the corner. The girl he banged while she was at work. The latest one anyway.
This line of thought led to a new one-it was Thursday, which meant she had to be at work by noon. “What time is it?” She asked Tyler quietly.
He glanced down at her and pulled out his phone. “11:30.”
“I have to leave for work in fifteen minutes.”
He stared at her for a moment, considering. “You sure you’re feeling well enough?”
She stared back. Was he actually suggesting she call in? That would be a first.
“Call in,” he told her. “It’s not like they can bitch since you never do it. ‘Sides, I feel like I never see you. Hang out, have a few beers, relax.”
She glanced back at red-head and Tyler caught her chin. “Stop with that shit Liss, there’s nothing going on.”
She locked eyes with him and he shifted, breaking contact as he grabbed his cigarettes. This is why I’m leaving him, she thought. He’s a cheater and a fucking liar. Not to mention he drank and smoked up most of her money every day. She was convinced the only reason he still wanted her was because she provided a steady cash flow. He definitely didn’t need her for sex. His sudden concern had given her pause, but she had to remind herself that the first instance of it had not been real, had been a dream. And by pause she only meant that it was possible he might actually care about her. Not that it would change anything. Whatever lingering feelings she had for him were not nearly enough to stay.
“So you calling in?” He asked.
She shook her head. “No, I’m okay.”
“A’ight then, let me get my keys.”
He disappeared into the kitchen and came back out a few seconds later with a couple of cans of beer in addition to the keys. “Let’s hit the road.”
An hour and a half later Lissa disappeared into the employee bathroom and shut the door. Her hands were shaking as she splashed water on her face. It was all exactly the same as her dream had been. Every table, every conversation. At the apartment it had been one thing since the people who were there this morning were there frequently. It wasn’t a stretch for them to be in her dreams. But the people in this restaurant? Aside from the staff she’d never seen the majority of them before. So how could they be in her dream? And be here now saying and doing all of the same things? Her heart was racing again and for the third time that day she thought she might pass out. She gripped the edge of the sink and once again took slow even breaths, trying to reason it out. Trying and failing.
She’d heard of premonitions, but she’d assumed they were related to one event and not an entire day. How could you see the future if it hadn’t happened yet? It made no sense. Never in her life had she experienced anything even remotely supernatural, so this…yeah it was a bit overwhelming. And she didn’t know if she could handle it, if she could go back out there and keep seeing and hearing everything she’d seen and heard….No. She was going home. She hadn’t gotten back to the apartment until much later in her premonition, so she wouldn’t have to deal with the repeating, plus the deviation would make later on different. And she would tell Tyler that while she was fine with alcohol, under no circumstances was she doing any kind of drugs. She shuddered, mentally avoiding the conclusion of the premonition.
Fifteen minutes later she was standing by the curb. She’d told him that she’d had another dizzy spell and he hadn’t given her any grief, just said he was on his way.
He pulled up and she got in.
“How’re you feeling?” he asked.
“Better now that I’m off my feet.” She forced her tone to stay light, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I feel okay other than the bouts of dizziness.”
“Actually Trimmie was saying that an inner ear infection can cause that, he’s had ‘em before. Should set up a doc’s appointment.”
She nodded, “Yeah, okay, that makes sense. Actually my ear is bothering me a little now that you mention it.”
He turned slightly and smiled, “Yeah, see, nothing to worry about.”
“Were you? Worried I mean.” She glanced at him and he put his hand on her leg and squeezed.
“‘Course I was babe. I’ve never seen you sick unless you count hangovers,” he grinned at her and she smiled back.
“I could use a few beers,” she told him.
“Hell yeah, that’ll cure what ails you.”
“No drugs though.”
He slanted her a look, “Okay….it’s not like you do them much anymore anyway.”
She nodded. “Yeah, I know.”
“So…I know you weren’t there long, but did you make anything?”
Right. She sighed and pulled a wad of cash out of the pocket in her apron, sticking it in the center console.
“How much is there?” He asked.
She sighed again and made a show of counting it, though she already knew. She’d made Fifty-two dollars in less than two hours and twenty of it had gone in her right front pocket. Despite the crazy circumstances she still had a goal. “Thirty two dollars.”
He nodded, “Not bad. You said you wanted to drink right?”
She gave him a look, “The fridge is packed with beer, I don’t think you could fit more in there if you tried.” Belatedly she realized her tone was sharper than she generally used with him.
His hands clenched on the steering wheel and she shrank into the door. “I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just snap at me, seeing as you’re not feeling well,” he stated without looking at her.
She said nothing in return, looking out the window instead. He had never actually hit her, but she knew the potential was there. Most likely the things he did would be considered abuse as it was, the grabbing her leg too hard or pinching her chin, the occasional shove. The unspoken threat of more, which was worse than all of the above.
After a bit she felt his hand on her leg again and tensed.
“Oh for Chrissakes, relax, would you? I know you’re not feeling well, you didn’t mean it, I said that, didn’t I?”
She turned toward him and nodded, willing her body to relax.
“That’s better.” He massaged her leg above the knee and worked his way up, dropping his hand between her legs and petting her. “I need some of this.”
She managed to smile, “Oh yeah?”
“Yeah, what’s it been, like five days? Sometimes I think you’re trying to kill me.”
She continued to smile though images of him and the red-head flashed across her brain. The red-head, she thought with an inner snort. She knew her name but had long ago refused to acknowledge it, as she hadn’t with the ones before her.
“Or maybe you’ve got someone on the side,” he added casually.
She whipped her head in his direction, the urge to punch him almost too strong to resist. “I have never cheated on you Tyler,” she said through clenched teeth.
He laughed, “Aw come on, it was a joke, you really do need to relax, damn!”
She continued to stare daggers at him.
“Oh for fuck’s sakes, you think I don’t know that? If I even smelled the possibility you’d be in a world of hurt.”
“Oh really? Is that right?”
His head turned, his expression turning deadly serious. “Yeah. That’s right.”
Suddenly she didn’t give a damn whether or not he hit her. Fuck walking on eggshells, fuck pretending, fuck him! “Fuck you Tyler.”
His brows shot up in surprise, “What did you just say?”
“You heard me, do I need to spell it out?”
The car jerked to the curb and he slammed it in park, his hand turning white from the grip he had on the shifter. “Apologize now, or get the fuck out and walk the rest of the way.”
She snatched the money from the console, “Or better yet I’ll take a cab!” She went for the door handle and was yanked backward by her hair. He twisted it in his fist painfully and pulled her into his lap sideways until she was jammed between his chest and the steering wheel. His eyes were furious and any other time she would have been terrified, but adrenaline coursed through her body and she used it, taking him by surprise as she whipped her head forward and connected with his nose. He released her and she jumped out of his lap, getting out the door and nearly slamming it on his hand as he lunged across the seat at her.
She ran across the street to the other sidewalk and kept running, turning right when she got to the corner and nearly knocking a guy over as he came out of a deli. She ran another couple blocks before Tyler caught up with her. She heard the distinct sound of his mustang’s engine behind her and slowed, her body giving up the chase before her mind did. She searched for a safe haven but she’d made a bad directional choice and the only open business close enough to run to was an insurance agency. She came to a complete stop and stared straight ahead, breathing hard, her hands clenching into fists at her sides as she heard the sound of his door opening. She swung around to face him and was surprised when he approached slowly, the expression on his face as much wary as it was angry.
Adrenaline was still coursing through her veins despite her lack of motion, and when he got close enough she threw herself at him, but instead of lashing out she grabbed the back of his head and kissed him fiercely.
He’d caught her sides in a painful grip and it took him several shocked moments to understand the shift in their fight. Once he did he wrapped his arms around her and lifted, and she wrapped her legs around his waist as she continued the assault on his mouth. When they finally broke the kiss they only moved by millimeters, both of them breathing heavily. His hand moved up her back and landed gently on the side of her face.
“Why are you with me?” She whispered.
He moistened his lips. “What do you mean?” He asked in equally hushed tones.
She didn’t respond other than to cock her head to the side slightly, her eyes searching his.
“Why am I with you, what kind of question is that?”
She sighed and looked away.
“Don’t do that!” He said a bit louder, shaking her slightly. “You pick a fight, wail me in the nose, run off, kiss me like you never have before and then ask me cryptic fucking questions….what is your deal Lissa?” He shook her a little harder, “Tell me what the fuck is going on!” He lowered her to the ground, but kept a firm grip on her waist.
Her brows furrowed. Kiss him like she never had before? Was that true? Yes. Yes it was. Because she never initiated anything, she just reciprocated. Was that the problem, was that why he fucked other girls?
“Answer me Goddammit!”
“I don’t know.” She laughed suddenly. “I don’t fucking know!”
He let go of her and backed up a bit, the wary look reappearing which for some reason made her laugh even harder.
“Oh fuck. Are you pregnant?”
Between the ridiculousness of the question and the expression on his face…laughter became full on hilarity. She sunk to the ground and wrapped her arms around her knees, her shoulders shaking, tears sliding down her face, which of course alarmed her already confused boyfriend, thinking he’d gotten the answer to his question.
He crouched down beside her. “Oh shit. Fuck. Okay, it’s okay, look we can talk about this…
She slapped his arm trying desperately to get the hysterics in hand. She shook her head trying to relay a message, but with tears still streaking down her cheeks he was getting something else.
He started nodding and helped her to her feet. “Yeah, maybe we should wait ‘till tomorrow to talk about it, huh? You just relax, we’ll get you some wine, you like wine right? Yeah, you relax and we’ll talk tomorrow.”
The laughter died away and she was bemused by the earnest expression on his face. Fuck it, let him think what he wanted. Tomorrow she could tell him that she’d been worried about it or some such nonsense, get a test, be negative, and celebrate with gin. Tonight she would drink wine and let him believe her crack up had to do with a baby. God. A baby. As if she would be so stupid and careless.
“Wine sounds good,” she managed.
He nodded again and led her to the car, opening the door for her-a first, and helping her in-also a first. Jeeze. You’d think the guy actually liked the idea of a baby. She watched him walk past the windshield and wondered, did he like the idea? Was he insane? Yeah, maybe he was. She could feel laughter trying to bubble back up and squashed it. No more of that. Well, at least she didn’t have to worry about him trying to feed her drugs. She bit her lip to keep from smiling. This day was already a great deal better than the one from her premonition, doing the day over wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
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