Eva had two secrets. The second was that she periodically vanished into thin air. And now was the worst time for it to happen.
Her stomach lurched.
Not now, on the night of her ten-year reunion. Not when she was about to see her entire high school class again. If the wrenching in her gut was any indication, she would see them, but they wouldn’t see her.
A wave of nausea swept over her as she neared the banquet hall. The reunion had started five minutes ago. The toes of her shoes snagged against the hotel’s plush carpet, and she stumbled forward, wrapping her arms around her middle. She planted her feet for a minute, took a deep breath, and forced herself forward. The contents of her stomach roiled again. Her fingers scraped the thickly textured wallpaper as she pulled herself forward.
Carefree voices rolled down the hall behind her, trickling in from the hotel lobby. Several of them were close—heading to the reunion, probably.
Where she had planned to be right now.
Another wave struck. She was about to vanish right there in the middle of the corridor. But then she spotted the door to the restroom. Eva pulled herself forward, falling against the door and shoving it open with her body weight. She stumbled in but didn’t make it farther than the sinks before she felt it happening. Thank heavens, the room was empty. She gripped the counter and watched her reflection in the mirror.
For half a second, her copy stared back at her. And then the woman in the mirror started to fade. Her nearly black, shoulder-length hair turned grainy. Her pale skin grew translucent. Eva fixed her gaze on her knuckles, white from her grip on the cool granite. Her hands dissolved, and the only thing in their place was the black stone beneath.
Eva looked up at her reflection in time to see the green eyes pinched with pain meet her own and vanish from sight.
The nausea was gone. And so was she.
In those few seconds, her entire body had disappeared. She stood staring into the barren mirror, which reflected only the toilet partitions behind her.
The initial urge was to start hyperventilating. But she knew better. She’d learned quickly after her first disappearance back in middle school. Controlled breathing would make her feel better and ease her panic. She had to relax.
Reaching her formless arms for the counter to steady herself didn’t help. Her fingers merely slipped through the granite surface as if she wasn’t even there. Like a ghost.
She took a couple of full breaths, pulling the air in and out of her lungs. The sound of her own breathing was distant, almost as if she were isolated in a narrow tube. As if her breath bounced off the walls of some unseen chamber.
Eva’s thoughts turned to her predicament. A question tugged at her mind. How long? What if this disappearance spanned days…or months…or even years again? The fear clawed at her mind, and her breathing hitched again.
She closed her eyes and willed herself to a place of calm. It took a minute, but finally she regained control. Still, what if she missed the whole reunion because of this? She couldn’t afford that right now.
Hiding out in a hotel bathroom in Lake Tahoe while the Carson High School class of ’07 mingled and drank cocktails was not what she had in mind. She could imagine the jocks showing off their wives and beer bellies. The geeks comparing desk jobs. She hadn’t seen most of her old friends in over a decade. Names flicked through her brain. Megan. Tait. Beth.
The last one brought a surge of feelings. Where was he right now? Her heart pumped harder. Her invisible palms felt clammy. Nervous energy raced through her.
Eyes closed, she forced herself to release the anxiety. A soft, heavy depression took its place, filling her gut with lead.
Eva had driven two hours from her home in Sacramento to find a way to stop disappearing. For one small blip in her life—back in high school—she had almost been normal. For two years, her vanishings had almost stopped. Back when she’d been dating Kaden.
Had something about their relationship kept her in the present? The feelings he used to stir in her, or maybe his touch? All Eva knew was that this reunion was her chance to find out. She had to see Kaden, and she had to convince him the breakup was a mistake. Maybe then she would stop disappearing.
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