In my dream I know I am falling though there is no up or down, no walls or sides or ceilings, just the sensation of cold, and darkness everywhere. I am so scared I could scream, but when I open my mouth nothing happens, and I wondier if you fall forever and ever and ever touch down, is it really still falling? I think I will fall forever. A noise punctuates the silence, a thin bleating, growing louder and louder until it is like a scythe of metal slicing the air, slicing me-
Then I wake up.
My alarm has been blaring for twenty minutes. It's six fifty A.M. I sit up in bed, pushing away the comforter. I'm covered with sweat even though my room is cold and my throat is dry. I'm desperate for water, like I've just been running a marathon. For a second when I look around the room everything seems fuzzy and slightly distorted, like I'm not really looking at my room but only at a transparency of my room that's been laid down incorrectly so the corners don't watch up with the real thing. Then the light shifts and evrything looks normal again. All at once it comes back to me, and blood starts pounding in my head: the party, Juliet Sykes, the argument with Josh-
"Hayley!" My door swings open, banging against the wall, and Erica comes running into my room, stepping over all my notebooks and discarded jeans. At that moment, a sudden chill travels down my spine and I realize that something is wrong, something skirts the edges of my memory, but then it is gone and Erica is bouncing on my bed and throwing her arms around me.
"Mommy says you have to get up." Erica smiles. Her breath smells of peanut butter, and it's not until I push her off do I realize how badly I am shaking.
"It's Saturday." I say, and I have no idea how I got home last night. I have no idea what happened to Dakota or Sarah or Hannah, and just thinking about it makes me sick.
Erica starts giggling and bounces off my bed with a large grin. She laughs one last time before skipping down the hallway and calling after my mom.
"Don't make me come up there Hayley Nicole!" My mom's voice echoes from the kitchen.
I put my feet on the ground and the feel of the cold wood reassures me. When I was younger I would lie on the florr all summer when my dad refused to turn on the air-conditioning. I'm tempted to lay down on the ground and relieve my past because I feel feverish and my stomach is churning. I can't keep the pictures from flashing across my mind: John, the rain, the sound of bottles shattering in the woods-
My phone chimes from my end table, making me jump. I reach over and slide my finger across the unlock it.
I'm outside. Where r u? -Dak.
I place my phone down next to me, but not before I see the date staring back at me: Friday, Febuary 12. Yesterday. Another chime, another text.
Don't make me late on Cupid Day, beeyatch!
I suddenly feel like I'm moving underwater, like I'm weightless, or watching myself from a distance. I try to stand up, but when I do my stomach bottoms out and I have to rush to the bathroom in the hall, legs shaking, certain I'm going to throw up. i lock the door and turn on the water in both the sink and the shower. Then I stand over the toliet. My stomach clenches on itself but nothing comes up.
The car, the skidding, the screams- Yesterday.
I hear voices on the hallway, but the water's rushing so hard I can't make them out. It's not until someone starts pounding on the door that I straighten up and yell, "What?"
"Get out of the shower. There's not time."
I crack the door open a little and there Dakota is, her big puffy jacket zipped to her chin, looking pissed. I'm happy to see her anyway. She looks so normal, so familiar.
"What happened last night?" I ask, my voice shaking slightly.
Dakota frowns for a second before shaking her head and laughing slightly. "Yeah, sorry about that. I couldn't call back. I didn't get off the phone with Alex until, like, three AM."
"Call back?" I ask, heart racing inside my chest. "No, I meant-"
"He was freaking out over the fact that his parents are going to Florida without him." Dakota says, rolling her eyes. "Poor baby, I swear to you Hayles, guys are like pets. Feed 'em, pet 'em, and put 'em to bed. Speaking of bed, are you excited for tonight?"
"What?" I don't even know what she is talking about. Her words are running past me, blurring together. I'm holding on to the towel rack, afraid I'll fall over. The shower is on way too hot and there's thick steam everywhere, clouding up the mirror, condensing the tiles.
"You, John, some Miller Lite, his flannel sheets." Dakota laughs, winking at me. "Very romantic."
"I have to shower." I blurt out, eyes wides as I go to close the door but Dakota wedges her elbow in the last second and pushes into the bathroom.
"Uh-uh, no way. You'll have to do without." Dakota argues, shaking her head at me. Dakota brushes past me before reaching into the shower and turning the water off. She grabs my hand and drags me into the hallway before stopping and staring at my face. "You definately need some make-up though. You look like shit. Nightmares?"
"Something like that."
"I have my MAC stuff in the tank." Dakota smiles, unzipping her coat so that I could see a white tuft of fur peeking out from her cleavage: our Cupid Day shirts. I suddenly have the urge to sit down on the floor and laugh.
"Get dressed." Dakota says, and pulls out her Iphone, probably to text Hannah saying we're going to be late. She watches me for a second then sighs before turning away.
"Hope John doesn't mind a little BO." Dakota chuckles, and as she shakes her head over this, I start pulling on my clothes: the tank top, the skirt, the boots.