Domino Effect

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Chapter Two

Bailey woke and dressed. She usually went running with Sam on Saturday while on their lunch break, but today felt different. First off, she had the day off. She snatched her phone from her nightstand on her way to the kitchen. Bailey typed a quick text—“Can we budge up the workout?”—to Sam, even though she had no intention of skipping her workout. She tossed her phone onto her couch, leaving it there, and crossed over to the fridge, peaking into the poorly-stocked shelves once again. Sighing, she grabbed the milk and poured it into the blender that was to her left. Bailey added two bananas from the counter and several ice cubes from the tray in the freezer, securely pushed the top of the blender down, and hit on.

Last night hadn’t been the best sleep she’d ever had, but it also hadn’t been the worst. Bailey had tossed and turned, something she did on a normal basis. She even got up and stretched, did some yoga in the middle of the night, but nothing she did seemed to help.

Bailey thought back on what she’d dreamed about as she sipped on her smoothie. It was something she did before her workouts, drink her banana smoothie. There was a slight headache that throbbed above her right eyebrow, but eating usually put those annoyances to bed. It was an easy recipe her father had taught her as a kid. The smoothie and headache remedy. Bailey’s thoughts whizzed past that unpleasant subject and brought her back to her sleep-deprivation. Her dreams had been very colorful. They had been different than her normal dreams, of which she had very little. The pictures she’d seen had been bright and abstract, with flashes of light and jarring movements that disoriented her.

She’d woken no less than five times and each time it took her a minute to get a bearing on where she was and which way was up. Bailey sucked the last of her smoothie out from the bottom of her glass and rinsed the glass out. She placed it next to the sink on the counter. Her dreams last night had made her heart race like it hadn’t raced in years. She walked around the island and started towards her bedroom, but stopped mid-stride when her phone buzzed against the cushions in her couch. Her dreams were still running through her head, making her look twice at the shadows in the corners and squint at the patterns in the sunlit windows. Bailey didn’t want to keep thinking about them but it looked like they weren’t going to go away any time soon.

She leaned over the back of the couch and picked up her cell. Sam’s reply—“Sure thing. See you later!”—flashed from the screen back at her. Bailey chuckled. She knew Sam was probably all for skipping her workout because she’d had a morning romp with her husband, Dane, as soon as they’d untangled themselves from sleeping around one another. It was something Bailey had always been quite envious of, but she never let Sam in on it. Revealing that would put a damper on their work relationship, for starters.

Minutes later Bailey was back in her bedroom, lacing up her Nikes and stuffing her earbuds into her ears. She switched off the lights, grabbing her keys as she passed, and shrugged into her tank top. Bailey locked her front door behind her, the wind tickling her ears as a small patch of wispy hair escaped her ponytail. She glanced down at her iPod, scrolling through her various workout playlists. She made a sour face at the poor state of it. The edges of the purple casing were chipping away, the bottom was coming apart, and some of the screen was cracked. Bailey shrugged, settling on her “Girl Radio” playlist; Muse began humming out of her earbuds.

What was she going to do today? Bailey began to jog up the small hill towards the center of town. She had the day off, not something she was able to enjoy frequently. Bailey watched the cars pulling in and out of the small grocery store as she neared the corner. She had more time to go to the grocer’s today than last night, so she felt as though she should use her free time wisely. The Muse song switched to one of Fall Out Boy’s, and she started down the hill, swerving a little to avoid the passerby on the sidewalk.

For how early in the day it was—it was only seven o’clock—there sure were a lot of people in town. Bailey passed the Green Mountain Inn and took a right. It was probably the warm weather. People who didn’t live in town came from all over to experience Stowe in the summer. She’d have to hit up the diner later that afternoon. Bailey sighed, thinking that she should run extra hard to keep off the pounds she was bound to rack up on the burgers and fries.

Mummified my teenage dreams

No, it's nothing wrong with me

The kids are all wrong

The stories are off

Heavy metal broke my heart

With that in mind, Bailey picked up to a sprint. Down past the Inn’s parking lot, past the post office, past the white condos on the hill. She banked a right and took off up the hill into the condos’ parking lot. She raced around the edge of it until she was back where she started. Then she was down the hill and off towards the Green Mountain Inn again.

Some legends are told

Some turn to dust or to gold

But you will remember me

Remember me for centuries

Bailey returned to her apartment twenty minutes and five songs later, huffing slightly to catch her breath. She kicked off her sneakers and left them by the front door; she didn’t want any small stones to catch her underneath her feet. Limping slightly from stretching a little too vigorously, she made her way over to the kitchen sink. Without taking a glass from the cupboard, she turned on the faucet and stuck her mouth under the stream. She placed her keys right next to her; hoping she wouldn’t forget them there. Gulping gladly, Bailey thought a nice shower would do her good. She straightened and turned the faucet off. Wiping her mouth on the back of her hand, she pulled her sweaty shirt above her head and looped her earbuds around her iPod. She tossed both her shirt and iPod over the island and they hit the couch, crumpling up behind it on the floor. The way she handled the poor music device probably didn’t help its state, either. She peeled off her shorts and walked to her bedroom, stopping to pick up the few plastic bags from last night and toss them in the trash.

With the water warming and the steam accumulating in the bathroom, Bailey realized, as she started to look through her dresser, that she’d actually have to be productive today. Not just go to the grocer’s. She’d also have to do laundry. She was seriously low, and Bailey kicked the scrubs she’d worn yesterday into a pile near her bedroom door, so she’d trip on them before forgetting about them.

After another nice shower in two days—the landlord must be on top of his water payments this month—Bailey picked up her scrubs and workout clothes and carried them through her apartment to the closet next to the front door. She opened it to reveal the washer and dryer, both front loading, stacked one on the next. The rest of her laundry was stuffed into the small basket on the floor.

She stood there for a moment, hands on her hips, arms full of dirty laundry. She didn’t necessarily hate doing chores. She just knew she could be doing better things with her free time. Bailey sighed and opened her washer. She dumped her armful in and began stuffing the rest into it. There was a small box of detergent-filled pods to her right on a shelf; she chucked one on top of the pile of clothes and closed the washer. Turning the knob a few clicks to the right, she started the laundry.

There, she thought, one thing down. Bailey closed the closet and retraced her steps back to her bedroom. She went into the bathroom and stared at her reflection.

It had been a long time since she’d just looked at herself like this. She twisted her head to the side. Her jaw had healed quite nicely from where she’d hit it sleepwalking the other day. She twisted her head the other way. Her eyes showed her sleeplessness, but a little foundation would cover that up just as well. She was never one for mounds of makeup, but the occasional face full of slap was appreciated. She fluffed her hair around her shoulders. There were spots along her crown that were turning gray. It didn’t matter much, though, since she’d had those strands since she was a teenager. Not many, she noted, but now there were more than she really liked.

Bailey shrugged at her reflection. Her blond hair was light enough that no one at work knew she had any grays. It was only when she was really looking did she noticed them herself. And they weren’t even a dark, ugly gray. The strands were a pretty silver. That made Bailey feel better. Her eyes, besides having lilac circles under them, were pretty enough. Even the circles added a nice touch. She was always so pale. Her bright hair and hazel eyes gave the impression that she should have a darker skin tone, but since she lived in Vermont, Bailey had always had a soft, wintry complexion.

Shrugging again, Bailey turned the light off, left the bathroom, and dug through the remainders of clothes in her dresser for something to wear. She finally settled on a medium-length wrap dress with no sleeves. The sandals she paired with it were strappy but simple. The dress was light turquoise and copper. It swished when she walked, and it was kind of like wearing water. Bailey thought that dress was one of her favorites, but she was always changing her mind on things like that.

She reached into the bowl on her dresser for her keys, but only found her wallet. Frowning slightly, she went back into her kitchen. She rounded the side of the couch and retrieved her phone from where she had left it earlier that morning. There were three text messages. One was from Sam, another from Charlie, and one was from her mother. She opened the first one, replying to Sam with a quick, “Yeah, I’ll meet you at the Malt Shop at noon,” before opening the next one. Charlie wrote, “We should get Chinese on Monday. You in?”

Bailey grimaced and wrote back, “Sure. Guess I’ll be working out extra hard this weekend.” She added a winky face to the end her reply. The washer changed cycles, and Bailey got moving again. She walked over to the sink and grabbed her keys; she had almost forgotten where she’d put them. Shaking her head, she reminded herself for the twelfth time not to do that. The keys belonged in the bowl in her room, not on the counter where they could get lost.

With all the lights off and the door securely locked behind her, Bailey made her way to her car in the small lot next to the apartment house. It was a little beat up, sure, but she couldn’t get rid of it. They’d been through too much together. Climbing into it, Bailey started the engine, beginning to think through her list of needed groceries.

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