Immortally Bound

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Chapter 3

I snapped awake still murmuring ‘keep the secret’ aloud. What secret was that? The familiar scent of pine and holly wafted around me, and I knew instantly I was at home in my own bed though I had no clue how I had gotten here. I felt like I had slept for years and years rather than just one day. I sat up and smelled a faint fresh scent of cinnamon and orange blossom lingering beside my bed. My mother had been in my room recently. I glanced over at the chair next to the wooden desk that was covered with homework and textbooks. My hockey jersey had been pressed and it hung on the back of the chair. The game was only a couple of days away, but she knew I’d worry over my uniform if I didn’t see it before Friday.

I swept my eyes over to the small electrical alarm clock on the nightstand; it read six thirty. I turned and peered at the window behind me. It was still dark outside; Shafts of moon light peeked out from behind my drawn curtains. School didn’t start until eight. I wasn’t in a rush, but I wanted time to mull things over. The last thing I remembered before I fell asleep was trying to rescue Lynna from these strange men; though now that too felt like a dream rather than a reality. My mind was so jumbled from sleep and the dreams I had, that I felt that I needed to wake up completely first, and then mull the situation over.

I swung my feet off the bed and grimaced at the touch of the cold wooden floor. Eventually, I stumbled into the bathroom and turned on the shower. The water felt hotter than normal and it took a couple of minutes to get the temperature just right. Once I was washed and dried off, I stared at my reflection in the mirror. There wasn’t a scar on my chest where I remembered feeling pain from the crystal knife. In fact, there wasn’t any bruising anywhere on my body, including my shoulders where Justin had punched me. My skin looked normal, and my bone structure was untouched. Maybe what I had seen was just a dream after all. Now that I thought about it, I didn’t really know Lynna. We didn’t talk, or she didn’t talk to me. But I couldn’t quite figure out why I imagined her speaking Gaelic in front of me. I only used Gaelic when I talked with my mother about private issues. Hardly anyone in the world spoke fluent Gaelic in this age, especially in this part of the Americas. It was nearly a dead language.

I dressed for the day and gathered up my hockey gear; we had practice later. I headed for the kitchen, hungry. My mom appeared in the hallway. Her silk blue robe was wrapped around her. I knew then she had just awoken. She must’ve laid out my jersey the night before, though I swear the scent was fresh and not faded.

She held up a piece of folded paper. “Garrett, please be careful today. This is for your coach as well as your gym teacher.”

I accepted it only after a moment’s hesitation. Why did I need a doctor’s note? Was I sick last night? Was that why I couldn’t remember what had happened or how I got here?

My face must’ve been very confused because she sighed and continued talking to me as I followed her across the house and into the kitchen.

“The note is from Dr. Cohen. If you feel dizzy at all today you are excused from all activities. I don’t want you blacking out again,” she explained.

It was apparent that I had seen the doctor because of an incident. It took me a second before I processed what she had said. I had passed out? When I tried thinking about the event itself I got nothing in return; no memories, no feelings, just nothing. All I remembered was Lynna. I remembered talking with Lynna in Gaelic. I remembered feeling something painful and then dreaming about a pretty world. I don’t remember blacking out or visiting Dr. Cohen’s office.

“Your father called yesterday,” she began anew. This time she pulled out a box of cereal and poured us two bowlfuls. “I told him not to worry about you because I knew you’d be alright. He wishes he could come home, but he’s tied up in the Mediterranean.”

I sat down on a barstool. She stood as she placed the bowl near me. I was so confused about this new situation I didn’t know what to say. Nothing made any sense anymore. But how could I tell her that I didn’t remember what had happened to me? There was no way she would believe the vivid dream or the weird situation that had happened to me yesterday even if I tried explaining it all to her. It sounded wild in my head until she told me that I had blacked out.

“Garrett? Are you alright?”

My mother’s voice penetrated my thoughts. I tried my best to seem fine, but I don’t know if it worked as well as I wanted it to. I was so focused on yesterday’s events and last night’s dreams that who knew what emotion was written on my face. None of this was normal to me. “I’m fine. I had a bad dream,” I answered her trying my best to sound like I was alright.

Her face frowned at me. “I’m sorry to hear that. I’d hoped the medicine would’ve given you a dreamless sleep, but it seems that wasn’t the case.”

I had taken sleeping pills as well? I tried not to look surprised. She spooned some cereal into her mouth, and I did the same to keep my face from revealing any shock. Once I was done, she cleaned the bowl.

“Have a good day at school.” She kissed my forehead and hugged me gently.

I returned a kiss on her cheek before heading for my car. It wasn’t in the driveway but parked at the curb. I didn’t normally park there. I felt her gaze on me as I pulled away into the street. Even while driving into town, I felt as though she was somehow watching me with worry creasing her perfect face. It wasn’t in her nature to worry, and that had me wondering what had happened to me yesterday. Why couldn’t I remember it?

The drive to school was quick. Well it was quick until I spotted red and blue flashing lights in my rearview mirror. Up until this point, I had never gotten a ticket, nor had any trouble with driving. I pulled into the nearest parking lot and reached for my license. I spotted the folded paper in the cupholders, but I didn’t want to use that excuse. It was my own fault for not paying attention.

“Good morning, Mr. Reed,” the officer greeted me.

I gazed up at him and squeezed my eyes shut. The sun beamed brightly on the horizon, directly behind the man.

“Well son, were you up partying late last night? I heard the victory at last night’s game was well won.”

What did he say? What victory? What game? “What?” I tried asking, but the words came out in a gasp.

The sheriff bent forward and studied my face. “You don’t smell like alcohol, unless you have a hangover. I’ll remind you that underage drinking isn’t allowed in this state.”

Of their own will, my fingers grasped the note, and I handed it to him.

His eyes scanned it quickly. “Well,” he mused. He scrutinized my face again. “Is this true?”

“Yes, sir,” I concluded aloud.

He nodded and folded up the note again, giving it back. “If you’re feeling the side effects from having a concussion, you shouldn’t be driving. I pulled you over for speeding, but it occurs to me that you are probably feeling the effects from yesterday’s incident. Is this correct?”

I nodded.

“Were you feeling this way before you got behind the wheel?”

“No sir,” I stated factually.

“Hmm,” he sighed. He handed me my license back with a warning slip. I didn’t glance at it but stuffed it into my pocket. “Well I’m going to make sure you get to school in one piece. Drive carefully, and later if you still feel this way, don’t drive. You might not be lucky next time.”

He went back to his car and I waited a bit for him to put the car into drive for the short trip around the block to the school. He followed behind me making sure I didn’t break any other laws on the way. I made sure not to break anymore.

I arrived at school early and parked in a space by the field house. I left my hockey gear in the locker room before I began the long trek across the parking lot to the school’s main building. Already several buses pulled up beside the curb and students unloaded as they arrived. A familiar blue Honda Civic caught my eye and as I turned to greet the motorist I came face to face with its driver, Christianella, Jacelyn’s best friend.

“Garrett!” she screamed. Her straw-colored hair flew into my face and her skinny tanned arms were around me before I had time to process that she was hugging me. “I didn’t think you’d be here today!” she squealed into my ear.

As soon as she released me she started babbling about yesterday’s events, which I didn’t mind. But as she rambled on and on, I realized that the day’s events were not what I remembered them to be.

“Everyone was so worried about you! Jacelyn was in hysterics once you passed out on the ice. Thank goodness the trainers got to you quickly and revived you. Of course, now we know that you were just dehydrated, but still… As soon as you had water in your system you were right as rain. By that time, the game was over, and Jacelyn made sure that she stuck by your side. She even ditched Drew, the poor guy. But it didn’t matter much; everyone was more worried about you than who she was swooning over. Are you feeling any better today?”

We drifted slowly towards the school, and I stopped after her last sentence. Did dehydration cause amnesia? Because I don’t remember playing hockey or playing a hockey game. I couldn’t really answer her question because I didn’t even know how I felt or how I should be feeling. “I guess so,” was all I got out.

“Good, because it would be a tragedy if you had to miss the game Friday,” she huffed out in desperation.

I nodded agreeing with her. It was all I could do to not draw attention to my behavior. How much had I missed?

“Is it true? Are you and Jacelyn going to Homecoming together?”

I didn’t have a chance to deny the wild accusation. Two people approached me from behind and clapped my back.

“Gar!” Justin exclaimed.

Drew smiled at the both of us once he walked around. “And Ella!” he added bringing his eyes to her smiling face.

Justin laughed a bit before assessing the situation. “You know if you two dated you’d be Garella! Get it? Gorilla?” He chuckled as the rest of us didn’t find the joke all that funny. His laughter finally died. “And where’s Miss Jacelyn? I honestly thought she’d be here with you, Gar, swooning over you from the scene you caused last night.”

I shrugged. How should I know where that girl was? We weren’t dating to my knowledge. The last I remembered she had a date with Kasey.

Ella nodded. “I thought she’d be here with Garrett too, but she’s not. I don’t know where she is…” she trailed off and slowly dropped her jaw.

All three of us stared at her expressionless until I noticed that she was gazing in the direction of the field house. The look on her face was a mix of shock and horror. I swiveled my head over to whatever caused her to be so upset. Justin and Drew followed my line of sight as well, eager to know the details. Kyle and Jacelyn were locked onto each other, passionately kissing near my car. They were so involved that neither noticed who was nearby. Several of the students who were closest to them gawked, giggled, and pointed in their direction.

“I can’t believe her…she…” Ella stumbled out. She shut her mouth, clenched her fists and stomped over. “How dare you!” she screamed as she pried Jacelyn off Kyle.

Jacelyn wasn’t a bit unhinged by seeing Ella. She grinned wickedly at her. “And what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded her friend.

“Why are you kissing my boyfriend?!” Ella screamed at her.

Jacelyn’s eyes gazed at Kyle’s body dreamily. “Oh, well Kyle’s mine. Didn’t you know that? He’s always been mine from the beginning.”

“What?”

Jacelyn glanced at Ella. “You didn’t know you were his second choice?”

“Really?” she asked Jacelyn and not Kyle. “And what about Garrett? Are you going to hurt him too? Again?”

Jacelyn’s smile faltered. “Garrett’s not the star quarterback. Besides, he won’t even be here today. His mother will probably make him stay home because he’s sick. He needs his rest before the game and his coronation.”

I tried not to look shocked, but I was. It was Thursday? Already?

Ella raised her eyebrows before she turned and walked away from the pair. She marched past Kyle who attempted an apology for his behavior and made a beeline for the school. Kyle followed her, sputtering, and Jacelyn pulled out a mirror and some lipstick. She smeared more ruby red onto her already red lips that were swollen from kissing and stashed the mirror back into her purse. She glanced up towards the three of us.

For a second her face mirrored surprise, but she wiped the shock off her face and smiled. She made the quick trip over to us and hooked her arm in mine. “Garrett! What a surprise to see you here! You’re late you know.”

Her composure was like I hadn’t seen her and Kyle making out together. I pried her arm out of mine and crossed my arms against my chest to keep her hand from reaching for mine.

“Garrett,” she pouted. “You’re the only man I could ever want…”

I cut her off with a shake of my head. “No, Jacelyn. Not again.” I was not playing her game. I turned away and went towards school. Classes would start soon, and I shouldn’t use the folded piece of paper to explain why I wasn’t in them.

Jacelyn suddenly blocked my path. She looked upset and angry by my behavior towards her. “I don’t think so Garrett. I say when we’re through!”

I backed away from her and turned quickly enough that I completely obscured her from my sight. That’s when I spotted Lynna walking into the building. She was alone and upset about something. Jacelyn noticed me staring at her as I had frozen upon the sight of the girl.

She laughed at first. “The sick girl?” she mocked Lynna openly not caring who heard her. “You mean to tell me she rejected you?”

I didn’t spare her any words for even my anger towards Jacelyn was rising to the level of Ella’s. This was not a laughing game. I really wanted to refute her, but it wasn’t the time and all I would be doing was playing into her game hand. Her words trapped me though, and I didn’t want to be trapped. It was better if she was left with speculation rather than facts.

She continued directing her annoyance towards me by chastising Lynna. “Good riddance too. We don’t need a non-English speaker in the group.”

Justin laughed out loud. “If we needed a maid we’d take her,” he jested.

Before I knew what I was doing, I slammed into him. Justin fell onto the ground, surprised by my actions. “Yo man, what’s wrong with you?” he jumped back upright.

I was shaking, literally with rage.

Jacelyn shook her head in disgust. “Seriously Garrett…What are you taking? I’m going inside. I’ll see you at lunch.” She blew a kiss in my direction and flounced away.

Drew laid a hand on my shoulder. “You okay?” he asked me.

I nodded shakily.

“You look like you could use something to eat. Did you eat anything this morning?”

“I’ve had breakfast,” I grunted. I grabbed the notebook that fell when I pummeled Justin to the ground and took off towards math. “I’ll see you guys later.”

“At least go and see the nurse…” Drew said as I walked away from him.

I was at the door to the building when I heard Justin speak to Drew from behind me. They had followed me from the parking lot when I clearly didn’t want them to.

“Something is seriously wrong with him,” Justin mused.

“Maybe he’s just nervous,” Drew replied.

“Whatever. I guess we’ll find out tonight if that ‘medicine’ coach gave him is working.”

Medication? What kind of medicine was I given? I whirled around to ask them what they were talking about, but when I looked behind me they weren’t there. I surveyed the parking lot and spotted them both entering the school from the other end of the building. Before I could ponder how they got to that end of the building so quickly, the warning bell rang. I ran off to class curious about what all I had missed in the last three days.

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