The Imaginary (LakeView Series, Book Two)

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Phantasm

"I'm hoping that today is the Friday!" Avery chirps, sitting down across from me at the cafeteria table. I sigh, feeling a sinking rock plummet through my chest. I don't think I'll ever be ready for Fridays.

"Oh, yeah about that-" I start, searching my brain for an excuse not to go.

"C'mon, Sage! Live a little." Mason laughs out, putting an arm around Avery. The two of them together are so easy, it's natural for them to just exist. It's so easy for them to live, be happy, and have excitement. What is so hard about it? Why do I struggle so much with letting go?

I know the answer. The last time I let myself go, let myself get close, people died. In my coma-state, I had gone to the Friday night bonfire that Avery and Mason are begging me to go to. That night I was dared to go into the abandoned asylum and immediately things turned sour, lots of people died. So obviously, I don't want to go to the fire.

"I think I'm busy..." I trail off, everyone knows I'm not busy. Mason brushes his brown hair from his eyes, they look disappointed and I feel bad instantly. Maybe I should go, I need to learn to separate my dream from my real life. It affects me so heavily, and eventually, it will ruin me.

"Well, I hope you can make it," Hazel says kindly from beside Mason, reminding me that they are patient with me. Hazel, who is cousins with Mason, hadn't been a talker in my coma-state. She said maybe a total of ten sentences the whole time, and I'm glad that in real life she's happier than I'd made her in my coma. Hazel has the same dark brown hair as Mason, it lays long down her back, and bangs hang in her dark brown eyes.

I can remember when her eyes turned black while under possession, the girl that tormented us all in the asylum took special joy in hurting Hazel. The girl made Hazel kill her cousin, and then possessed her girlfriend Teagan and killed her. Leaving Hazel alone was awful.

"I think I can make it if I move some things around," I reply, dispersing the dark thoughts from my mind, and trying to bring a lighthearted tone to my voice. They laugh at my comment and begin making plans for a carpool. At this point I let myself suck into myself, waves of anxiety pounding into my head and reminding me of how much I am a screw-up.

I don't learn, do I? I just hope this visit doesn't end like the last one. It won't. Right? I made all that up in my head, none of it is real.

"So, seven?" Mason says, I look over at him and freeze. A piece of glass juts out of his throat, blood drips down onto his nice sweater, staining the light blue with deep red. I blink incredulously, he keeps talking to me about the plans but I can only see the glass. It quivers with his words, shaking when he laughs at something Avery says. I shake my head, squeezing my eyes shut for a moment before glancing back at a healthy and alive Mason.

Damn my head.

"Yeah, seven is good." I think it's time to visit Becca, I pull out my phone and pull up our messages, ignoring how far down on the list she is.

'I need a session, are you free today at three?' I hit send with a quivering thumb, my heart racing slightly. Nobody at the table seems to notice how odd I am acting, or maybe they're just used to it. Grayson puts a warm hand on my arm, I look up at him in shock. Somehow I have forgotten he is sitting next to me, noticing him brings a calmness to me. Grayson brings me peace, despite his relaxed and sarcastic manner. He smiles at me, and heat rises up my neck. My vibrating phone pulls me from the energy that pulls me to him.

'Good to hear from you, Sage. See you at three.' I look back at Grayson, who I know sees the text. He knows who Becca is, and seeing our communicating tells him everything he needs to know. I'm struggling, but he's too kind to poke or prod.

"I can give you a ride?" He murmurs under his breath, leaning closer to my ear to make our conversation more private. My skin breaks out in goosebumps at his closeness as I nod in response. His eyes distract me from any fear I felt, they're a beautiful blue like Avery's, but he has red curls that hang in them. I'm lucky he is so understanding.

I'm glad everyone is so understanding and patient. My sister has been dealing with my nightmares like a champ, and everyone has been nice about my weird actions. I can't imagine if they weren't by my side, especially my sister, Avery, and Grayson. If they weren't I really would be alone, and then I don't know what I would do.
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