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Authors: Megan Miranda

Hysteria (24 page)

BOOK: Hysteria
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I woke up to my alarm. In my bed. I shook my head, trying to judge what was real and
what wasn’t. The room looked untouched. I was on my back, sheets pulled up to my neck.
I turned off the alarm and tested the door. Locked.

I took a deep breath. A dream. Just a dream.

I got my shower caddy together and grabbed my bathrobe. And then, just to be sure,
I pulled open the bottom drawer to my desk.

The knife was gone.



Chapter 13

omebody took my knife. Not exactly something I could report. I pulled the brush through
my hair, tearing at the knots. Tearing even after there were no knots left. Last night
had happened. It had really happened. And something else had happened, between the
time I opened the desk drawer and made it to my bed. But I couldn’t remember.

I closed my eyes and ran through the events again and again: the knocking, Bree, the
knife. I dropped the brush. Oh God, Bree. Had she taken it? Had she used it?

I ran out into the hall, toward her room. Bree was there. In the hall. Walking from
the bathroom, in her robe, toward her room. Taryn moved in the opposite direction
with a shower caddy in her hand. Neither looked up at me, though they must’ve noticed
me, standing,
in the middle of the hall.

It happened and the knife was gone and Bree was fine. But now she wouldn’t look at

A new feeling settled in my stomach. Fear. She must’ve reported me. Ran to Ms. Perkins,
showing her the knife. Maybe the campus police were on their way. Or Dad, with his
disapproving look, or Mom, with no look, really, at all. On their way to retrieve
me because I wasn’t welcome here any longer.

Except no one came. I got ready for class, like normal, and everyone acted like they
normally acted around me now. Which was to say, they either looked too much or not
at all.

But every time someone came to the classroom door, my heart leapt into my throat.
Every time someone uttered a name that started with the letter
, I jumped. But the next few classes passed without incident.

At lunch, I saw Ms. Perkins in the quad. She glanced my way, just for a second, and
then kept talking to the teacher next to her. I let out a long breath.

Nobody told.

But the knife was still gone.

I sat under the giant oak by myself. The ground was a little on the damp side, but
the dirt up around the roots was dry. Added bonus: nobody else was out here.

Except Reid. Walking toward me, his hands deep in his pockets.

Reid skipped class. He had to, that was the only way he’d find me on my lunch period.
“Mallory,” he called as I gathered up my half-eaten lunch. I didn’t have time to pack
it all up and escape before he got here.

He looked at my shoulder first. Just a quick look, but I noticed, and I felt the scabs
itching underneath the bandage.

Then he sat down beside me. “I’m sorry,” he said, which I hated. But then he said,
“I’m sorry you’re upset. But I’m not sorry that I did it,” which I loved. “And I’m
sorry the words came out wrong . . .”

“Stop apologizing,” I said.

“I like you.” The air felt too warm suddenly. Because I realized that Brian had never
said those words. So ridiculous. He’d said a lot of other things, which I’d thought
amounted to the same thing.

But they didn’t.

Reid kept talking. “I like you, but . . .” Ah, the famous
I like you, but . . .
“Does it have to be this hard?”

Everything’s this hard. “If this is you breaking up with me, save it. You have to
be together before you can break up.”

“That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying . . . let’s start over. Go back. I’m the guy
you used to see three times a year and now we’re here at school together. Let’s go

Go back. A do-over. Like this was all a game. Like what you do doesn’t count unless
you want it to.

“Say yes,” he said.

Reid of all people should know you can’t go back. Can’t start over. Can’t call redo
and play a better hand. But here he was, pretending we could. If you pretend something
hard enough, could it become real?

I shifted so I was facing him, raised myself up on my knees. He pulled me closer,
his arms around my back, and I rested my forehead against his chest. My hands gripped
his shirt, like I was begging for something. Like I was kneeling at some altar. Like
this whole thing was some kind of prayer.

That night, there was a shadow under my door. Just standing there. Waiting. Every
few seconds it shifted a little. Then it went away. And then it came back. It was
after lights out, but I hadn’t taken the sleeping pill yet. I slowly eased the top
drawer of my desk open and slid the scissors into the waistband of my pajama pants.
And then I walked very cautiously, so I wouldn’t cut myself.

I cracked the door, and as my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw Bree, with her eyes
wide, like she’d been caught in my headlights. “What is it?” I asked.

“Sorry. I was about to knock.”

“Um, about last night,” I said.

“Oh God, I’m mortified,” Bree said, throwing her hands into the air. Then she smiled,
looking past me. “I mean, seriously. You must’ve thought I was crazy.”

“I thought you were scared. But I’d taken a sleeping pill. And . . .”

“Right. You told me.”

“What were you running from?”

“Oh. Nothing, really. It’s just, I can’t sleep. And Taryn snores. I know you wouldn’t
guess it by looking at her, but she does. And I’m having, like, nightmares or something.
Except without really sleeping. Weird, huh?”

“Weird,” I said. “So about the, uh . . .”

But Bree just stared at me, her head cocked to the side. Like she wasn’t about to
acknowledge what she and I both knew I’d showed her. “About the

“The sleeping pill. I don’t know if I said something, maybe? Or did something? I wasn’t
really thinking straight.”

Bree was looking over my shoulder, into the room, and I realized I was holding my
breath. And then I realized why. I was hoping she’d ask to move back in. Pathetic.

“Well, that’s kind of why I’m here,” Bree said, still looking into the room. “I was
wondering if you could spare one.”

I tried to look into her eyes, but she looked unfocused. Tired, I guessed. Was this
the start of friendship? Or the restart? Maybe like Reid said, we could have do-overs.
I didn’t know. But I also didn’t know what harm a single sleeping pill could do. So
I went to the drawer and pulled out the vial, and all the while Bree stayed in the
door frame, with her eyes too wide, watching.

She held out her palm, and I could see her veins running through it. I could see this
faint tremor, too, like I saw under the window the other day. She really did need
sleep. She needed my help. I tapped the lip of the vial on her open palm, and a single
pill settled into the crease of her hand.

She closed her fist around it. “Okay,” she whispered, backing away.

“Okay,” I said, and I watched her walk down the hall like in a trance, absently fumbling
with her doorknob, her fist still closed around that single pill. Like it was worth

Then I took one myself. And right after, I heard something outside my window. Someone
was there. I was sure of it. Almost sure of it. I heard the resistance of the lock
as it was pushed upward. I turned on the lights and threw open the shades, but I could
only see my reflection. I darted across the room and turned off the lights

and I swear I saw a dark figure heading for the trees.

Long, lanky strides. Hair lit in the moonlight. Brian.

, I thought. In my mind. Hallucinations. So I jerked the blinds closed and lay on
the bed and took comfort in the familiarity of what would happen next.

The beating of his heart. My name, whispered. Begging me to wait. And his hand.

I let it come, and I felt some relief, finally. Like this was the consequence. And
all I had to do was endure it.

The next day was full of a different kind of talk. Reid and Krista. Fighting.

“He called her a manipulative bitch,” some girl whispered in math. Lisa? Lissa?

“No, he said she was a
, manipulative bitch,” the girl next to her said.

“Was that before or after she kissed him?”

My head slipped off my hand and nearly banged into the table. The girls looked at
me, and they didn’t look away, or stare too long, or anything. The one closest to
me leaned over and grinned. She whispered, “Before she
to kiss him.”

I smiled quickly at her, and ran the image through my mind. Krista cornering him.
Trying to kiss him. Reid pushing her back, calling her a manipulative bitch. No, a
, manipulative bitch. Perfect. And then I thought of these two girls, and I thought
that maybe there were a lot of people like that

normal, non-bitchy, non-crazy people, like Chloe

and I just hadn’t looked hard enough yet. I also thought I should probably start looking.

Reid found me after class

before his game. He was out of breath, and probably running late for warm-ups. “So,”
he said, “I should probably tell you that I got in a fight with Krista.”

“So I heard,” I said.

“Not, like, a physical one or anything.”

“I know.”

“She tried to kiss me,” he said.

“I heard that too. Funny. I thought she didn’t like you.”

“She doesn’t,” he said.

“I don’t get it.”

“She was trying to mess with me. And you.”

“Why does she hate us?”

“It’s not us, don’t you see? It’s not even
. But I’m so freaking sick of it.” He closed his eyes and shook his head, then refocused
on me. “Oh, but in the interest of full disclosure, I should
tell you that Saturday is in two days.”

“Good math, Reid.”

“Thanks. Yeah. No school. No practice. I’m free. Available. You know, if you’re going
to be around . . .”

BOOK: Hysteria
2.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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