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When I wake up it’s pitch black.

“Grace?” I call into the silence. “Emma?”

My voice echoes through the empty living room. It’s cold as ice in here, and I’m suddenly very aware of my exposed skin, my shorts and tank top a little too conspicuous.

I stand, grabbing a jacket that’s slung over the back of the couch and slide into it. The coat is warm, the sleeves long. It looks familiar.

Then I realize where I’ve seen it. This is Gabe’s coat. I rush to unzip it, feeling a scream stick in my throat. I want to call for Grace, or Emma, or anyone. The zipper catches and I can’t get it off.

“Don’t worry about giving it back,” Gabe’s voice startles me. He’s walking towards me from out of the kitchen. I want to run away from him, but I can’t. My body reacts—I want to run to him, but I won’t. What is this power he has over me? “That coat was made for you.”

“What are you talking about?” I demand. “What are you doing in my house?” No sound is coming from my mouth. I grab at my throat, my eyes huge. “Where’s Grace?” I try again, still not hearing my own voice.

He heard me.

“Grace?” He asks, confused. “Grace isn’t for me... is she? No,” he answers his own question, shaking thoughts from his head. “You are mine.”

I bolt upright, gasping for breath. I look around, disoriented and panicking.

“Holly?” Someone asks, startling me.

I whip my head around and find Grace laid back in my dad’s old recliner, staring at me and trying not to laugh.

“Are you okay?” She snickers.

I groan and put my hands over my face. “I had the weirdest dream.”

“Sounded like a nightmare,” she says, looking a little concerned. “Was it about Brian?”

“Oh.” I’m suddenly hit with guilt. Since my conversation with Gabe, I haven’t thought too much about my brother. “No... it was about Gabe.”

“Brian’s friend? I didn’t know you two talked.”

“We don’t,” I tell her. “But tonight he saw me sitting out back and he came and checked on me. And the weirdest thing happened...” I trailed off, realizing I was about to overshare. Me and Grace don’t talk about things like this.

“What happened?” She presses.

“No, it was nothing. I didn’t mean to... I don’t want to bother you. I probably shouldn’t have asked you to come over,” my cheeks burning with embarrassment. I actually asked Grace to come over. She definitely doesn’t care about the trivial details of my life.

Her mouth drops and she looks as though she’s been slapped.

“Why would you think that I don’t care about the trivial details of your life?” She demands, angry.

My face pales. Did I say that out loud?


“Why would you think that?” She asks again.

“I didn’t say that,” I tell her, pretty positive that I didn’t say it out loud.

“Yes you did—I heard you. And it’s not true. I came here because I thought you needed me. Because you’ve never—” she doesn’t finish her sentence.

“I’ve never what?”

She shrugs and awkwardly wraps her arms around herself. “You’ve never asked me to hang out or talk or anything. You always had Brian for that... I guess I just finally thought you wanted to confide in me.”

I’m speechless... and unsure how to respond.

“I guess I just never thought you wanted to hang out with me... I mean, I did have Brian. I loved Brian... but he was still a boy. It would’ve been nice to talk to someone about girl things. I thought I was just too young—you didn’t want your little sister tagging along.”

“I mean, no, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I was just that typical teenage girl who had didn’t want her sister tagging along... but I didn’t think that just because I told you no a couple times meant you would think I never wanted you around.”

I look away from her, picking at my nail polish. “I guess one day I just stopped asking. It’s not that I thought you didn’t like me or anything... I just thought we weren’t meant to be close like some sisters are.”

I frown at the carpet, trying not to look at her. We’ve never had a conversation this honest. It feels nice, but at the same time on edge because I can’t gauge any of her reactions.

“Do you know that I asked mom and dad for you?” She asks, surprising me with the tenderness of her voice.

I finally look back up at her. “No, I didn’t know that.”

“When I was little I always bugged them about having a baby sister.” She smiles a little, lost in a memory. “Then one day it was finally happening. I was going to get to be a big sister. I’ve never told anyone this, but I think I always kind of resented Brian. It felt like he took you away from me. The two of you always had this bond that I never felt I could compete with. And so then, me and Brian never really had the bond we should’ve had either. It was just selfishness.”

We sat in silence for a moment while I took in all of this information.

“Do you think Brian knew I loved him?” She asks suddenly, her voice hollow, empty. I didn’t answer, unsure of what to say. She notices my hesitation and continues, “It’s just that... if you’ve always felt this way, how did I make Brian feel? Did I make him feel unwanted? That I didn’t care about him?” Her voice cracks and I can hear the pent up guilt.

“I don’t think he felt that way,” I answer softly. “He knew you loved him. We may have been dysfunctional but we’re still family.”

She smiles at me—a hopeful smile.

“And just so you know,” I continue, “I always wanted to be where you were. I thought you were so cool. I just wanted to be like you.”

She rolls her eyes at me, laughing. “You don’t want to be like me,” she says, and then doesn’t give me time to question her about why exactly I don’t want to be like her. “So what happened with Gabe?”

I frown then, thinking back to the strange interaction.

“I don’t even know how to explain it,” I tell her. “It was so strange. It was like I had no control over myself. We were just talking and then he grabs a piece of my hair and he just barely touches my face and it was so weird. Like I was on fire, like I couldn’t breathe, like I wasn’t myself. And I told him he was keeping a secret from me, like I just knew that he was, and I barely even know him.” I’m speaking so fast at this point I don’t even know if she can keep up. But while we’re discussing strange things, “I also am 99.9% positive that I did NOT say that you don’t care about the details of my life... at least not out loud.”

She stares at me for a long pause and I wonder if she thinks I’m crazy.

“It’s probably just stress,” she says quickly. “I’ve been thinking strange things and feeling all kinds of weird since Brian died.”

Grace is experiencing weird things too?

Maybe she’s right, maybe it is just stress. I still have a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach though.

“I’m glad you came over,” I tell her sleepily.

“Me too,” she agrees. “Maybe we should try and get some sleep,” she says, noticing my yawn.

I nod my agreement. She leans back in the recliner and I sling my feet over Emma’s, who’s been sleeping through this whole heart-to-heart, and lay back on my end of the couch. This time I drift into a dreamless slumber with an odd sense that something is going to happen tomorrow. Something big.

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