I had never really been into fashion but growing up my mother had tried to turn me into a socialite so I knew a lot of the ins and outs of the fashion industry. I was excited for my chance as a writer but it would be a lie to say that I had been looking forward to the assignment when Delia gave it to me.
Most of the big runway shows I’d been dragged to as a kid had always been super boring but the charity show hosted by the community center was actually an enjoyable event. The charity fashion show that we went to was pretty nice and I was in a strangely good mood when Randall and I walked out of the center’s auditorium. I felt more relaxed than I had in over a week. “I totally needed this. After the week I’ve had it was nice to go on a date with my best friend.”
“A date? I love you and you’re beautiful but I’m afraid I would never go on a date with you.”
“Yeah, ’cause I don’t have balls,” I quipped. The color deepened in his face at that.
I looked up at the inky black sky and spun in a slow circle until the stars blended together while Randall watched me like I had gone completely insane. I loved the carefree mood that had settled over me. “Look, there I am,” I giggled, pointing to the small constellation near the Big Dipper.
He gave me another strange look. “Ly, what are you talking about?”
I stopped spinning and pulled Randall down closer to my eye-level. “See, there’s the Big Dipper. That group above it is Draco. Then Lyra is there at the opposite end of Draco. See the really bright star? That one’s Vega.” I focused on the handle of the rhombus-shaped collection of stars.
I froze and the fierce-looking redhead from the party popped into my head. A wave of dizziness suddenly swept over me and I swayed on my feet. Staring at the stars, I felt like I was missing something incredibly obvious, like I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face or something. There was something strangely familiar about that Vega chick but I couldn’t seem to put my finger on it.
“Hey, Ly, can we get out of the cold now?” Randall asked after a long minute of me racking my brain with no answers.
I blinked, my eyes snapping away from the starry sky down to his face. “Uh, yeah, sure. Sorry about that. I was just a little sidetracked for a second.”
We drove for a while and I fiddled with the radio with him getting cranky at me. We were stopped at a light before I finally asked, “Can you take me back to the office? If I hurry I can make tomorrow’s paper.”
“Of course. Do you want me to wait for you?”
I shook my head vigorously. “No, that’s all right. I might be there for a little while.”
He shot me a confused look before he nodded. “That’s fine but you don’t have much time before the deadline. What can you do there after you send the article in?”
I shrugged. “I’m really hyped up right now so I want to get as much done as I can. I might just tidy up a little and get things set for the rest of the week. I’ll just catch a cab or something when I head home.”
He pursed his lips as he pulled into the newspaper parking lot. “Okay,” he conceded slowly. “I don’t like the thought of you taking a cab or anything but I guess that you’re bad ass enough to handle yourself.”
I smiled and kissed his cheek. I knew that he was being sarcastic and that didn’t stop me from being a smartass right back at him. “Yeah, I know I am, but thanks for the compliment. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
My story on the fashion show was emailed to one of Delia’s assistant editors and sent to print at the absolute last second. Most of the office was empty, with the exception of a handful of editors and the layout crew working quickly so the paper went out on time in the morning. I was virtually alone in the office but I shot a wary glance out the door into the hallway anyway. When I was positive that no one would bother me, I pulled up the internet and typed in Vega. Most of the links that popped up were about astronomy. It wasn’t much to go on and I sighed in defeat, dropping my head to my hands. After a minute I narrowed the search to anything related to the Dawson family. I found a few articles about my dad’s car company and his football career and a few Facebook pages but nothing was even close to what I was looking for.
I groaned in frustration and was getting ready to close down the site when something caught my eye. It was about three pages into the search and didn’t seem very relevant to what I was looking for. The headline read: Dawson Family Welcomes New Baby Girl. The article was from 24 years ago when I was born. I clicked onto the link and was instantly taken to an old news article announcing my birth to all of Logan. I quickly read through most of it but froze when I saw the pictures at the bottom. There was a simple black and white photo of the giant ball my parents had thrown in my honor on the day I was born. In the colorless crowd of random people waiting to welcome me into the world, I swore I saw Michael Page and Vega glaring at each other over the spiked punch bowl.
“Guess what I’ve got,” Randall demanded in his singsong voice as he bounced happily into my office.
“Please tell me that it’s coffee,” I replied hopefully.
He smiled wryly and pulled out a steaming cup of Starbucks coffee. “Well of course. But when I was at Starbucks I saw this and just had to buy it.” He held out a copy of the paper. I snagged it from him and devoured the front page in seconds. My name was printed there in the byline of one of the front page stories.
“No freaking way!” I exclaimed. “Randall, I made the front page! Can you believe it? My story’s a front page article.” I started jumping up and down like a madman and giggling like crazy.
Randall laughed at my childish antics. “Yeah, I know. I saw the headline and knew that I had to get it for you. Can you sign my newspaper?”
My blue eyes narrowed slightly. “Okay, now you’re being an ass, but I do appreciate you making such a big deal about all this for me.”
He winked at me. “No problemo. Now get to work. Soon I’m going to have enough of your articles to wallpaper my bedroom.”
I let out a sigh. “Well hopefully I’ll get a chance at another front page story. Today Delia has me working on a piece about all the businesses that are going under from our crappy economy.”
Randall gave me a serious look. “The crappy economy is nothing to turn down your nose at. This is a very important article, Lyra-Rose.”
I rolled my eyes and grinned up at my best friend in the entire world. “You’re stupid sometimes. But for some reason I still love you.” I let out a sigh and glanced back at the blank word document. I’d talk to Randall for the rest of the day if I could. “Well, I should get back to work. What are you working on?”
He shrugged. “I have to go take some pictures of some high school basketball game. It’s not the most fun for me but someone’s gotta do it since you’ve been promoted, big shot.”
I laughed and pecked his cheek. “Sorry that I can’t do the sports pics for you anymore but have fun. I’ll see you when you get back.”
Even after Randall was gone I wasn’t totally focused on my work. I couldn’t get the picture of the party I’d seen last night out of my head. Instead of writing my article like I was supposed to, I went back online to do some more research on Michael and Vega. I started by looking up myself since the only thing I’d found with them in it was an article primarily about me. The most recent was on my sweet sixteen, which had been an insanely huge event that I was at for all of twenty minutes. Because of my dad’s influence throughout Logan the whole affair had been a big news story. I scanned through the article and all of the pictures that I could find from the party before I found them. Michael and Vega looked the exact same and were the only two that didn’t seem totally excited to be celebrating my birthday.
I bit my lip uncertainly and pushed the print icon.
I jumped and looked up at Amy, my eyes wide in alarm like a deer caught in the headlights. “Y-yeah?” I was totally flustered. I mean, I wasn’t doing anything wrong but those pictures gave me the creeps.
Amy raised one blonde brow and stared at me sardonically for a moment. “Delia wanted me to ask you if there was any chance you’d be done by four. Her daughter has a ballet thing and she really wanted to get your story edited before she left so she didn’t have to come back.”
I rubbed my temples and sighed. “Uh, yeah, I’ll be done by then.”
“Great, I’ll let her know,” she replied a little too cheerfully. When Amy was gone I spared a look at the clock. 2:50. Crap, now I had a little over an hour to get over my writer’s block and do a story on a topic I myself wasn’t even all that interested in. Sometimes I seriously questioned my choice in careers.
Fifty-five minutes later, my article was turned in to Delia for editing. It definitely wasn’t my best, but I hoped it was at least good enough not to get sent back for a rewrite. I sat chewing anxiously on my bottom lip for a few minutes before my phone rang. “This is Lyra-Rose,” I answered in my most professional voice.
“Hi, Lyra-Rose, it’s Delia. I was going to drop by your office but I’m already running out the door. Anyway, I’ve finished your article and it’s already been sent into layout.”
I let out a sigh of relief. “Okay, thanks, Delia. Have fun at the recital.”
“Thanks, Lyra-Rose. I’ll talk to you more tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your day.”
And that was it. I was free to go home. I packed up my laptop and grabbed my jacket from the back of my chair. I waved good-bye as I passed people but my mind wasn’t on conversing with my coworkers.
The first thing I did when I got home was go straight to my computer. Usually, I didn’t care that my parents had money but I didn’t mind being spoiled when it came to the expensive, high-tech computer my dad bought me for graduation. The internet was high speed, the 17-inch screen was high resolution, and the printer was a color laser printer like professional photographers used to print glossy digital pictures. My system was as advanced as some government offices and even had a program to look up pictures and facial recognition. Too bad that despite the quality of the programs loaded onto my computer none of the search engines had exactly what I was looking for.
I curled up into my desk chair and looked for anything about Michael and Vega but nothing, not even their pictures, was popping up except for the few from articles of me that I’d found in my office. “Wow, I’m an idiot,” I mumbled to myself. I tried to use the facial recognition on my own picture but I was not expecting what came up.
New York Times. December 17, 1988. Lyra Pearson dies at age 17.
I inhaled sharply and my eyes grew twice as large as they should be. The obituary went on to tell how Lyra Pearson was born and raised in New York and was a senior at Millennium High. She died during a bank robbery gone bad and was survived by her parents and three older brothers. The article would have been wholly unremarkable to me other than the fact that she shared my name but the picture accompanying the obituary was of me. Sure, my hair was swept up to the side in a loose ponytail, my eye shadow was bright green, and the clothes were atrocious, but it was me.
I was so stunned by that picture that I lost track of where I was or what I was doing so I jumped a mile high and shrieked when the doorbell rang. I quickly shut off my monitor to hide the freaky pictures before I went to answer the door.
Randall stood on the other side with a bag full of Chinese food, grease soaking the brown bottom. “Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to call you all afternoon.”
“Huh?” I said stupidly. I glanced at the clock and realized that it was already seven-thirty and I’d been at the computer searching for three hours. “Oh, sorry. I got a little sidetracked when I got home.”
“Whoa, what’s wrong with you, Ly? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I gnawed my bottom lip and debated whether or not to tell him what I’d found. “I’m fine. Like I said, I got distracted. So, you brought dinner? You’re awesome.”
“You’re lying,” he accused as he pushed his way through the door into the living room.
“So you’re not awesome?” I teased.
He pushed my shoulder before plopping down roughly on my couch. “Of course I am. I mean that you’re lying about being fine and distracted. Now, what’s up?”
I smiled at him lightly. He was my best friend and I trusted him with my life but there was no reason to make myself seem like a complete psychopath. “Really, Randall, I’m fine. I’ve just been a little busy with the new job and I guess my nerves are just getting the better of me.”
His baby blue eyes locked on my sapphire ones for several long seconds before he shrugged. “Okay, fine. That I believe because Lyra-Rose Dawson is notorious for being an annoying perfectionist.”
“Oh go screw yourself,” I laughed.
Randall and I pigged out on popcorn and watched romantic comedies until after one in the morning. On the outside, it looked like I was having just as much fun as he was, but inside I was still freaking out about Lyra Pearson’s death and how much she looked like me.