And see, that was the kicker. If the shadow guy was a product of my lost memories, taking these pills could hinder what I’d remember from that night. I was caught between wanting to take them so I’d feel normal and not wanting to because they’d cut off my only avenue to remembering what happened that night.
“Okay.” He took that piece of paper from me. “And how long will that take to work once you…”
“Once I start seeing or hearing things?” I felt bad when he flinched and looked away. “About thirty minutes and I’ll be high as kite and happily sedated.”
“It’s okay.” But it really wasn’t. I swallowed the hard lump in my throat, hating the idea of having to take pills. “The doc didn’t say how long I’d need to be on them.”
“What did he say about the notes?”
A fine drizzle covered the windshield before I answered. “He said it was probably my subconscious trying to make contact with me.” My laugh was dry. The therapist had asked how I’d felt before I found a note, if didn’t remember what I was doing before then. And I realized that each time I’d found a note, I’d had a dizzy spell or a brief flash of memory. During those times was when I’d supposedly written the notes to myself. He’d said that I could’ve actually remembered everything during those moments but was still blocking them out.
I sighed. “It’s like I have an alien living in my body. He said that may or may not stop with the medication.”
He gripped the steering wheel. “And the memories?”
I shrugged. “They could keep coming back or stop completely, but the pills might affect them.”
Dad nodded, stuffing the papers into the front pocket of his suit jacket. “I’ll drop you off at home and get them filled for you.”
“Thank you.” I buckled myself in. “Dad—”
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of, honey. Okay? I don’t want you to feel like there’s something wrong with you.”
“There is something wrong with me,” I said drily. “Remember—hallucinations, panic attacks, blah, blah?”
“You know what I mean.” He started the car, carefully angling it out of the parking spot. “I just want you to get better.”
He glanced at me, and my heart ached at the sadness dulling his eyes. Stopped at the edge of the parking lot, he reached out and palmed my cheek. “I just wish…”
“Wish what, Dad?”
A weak smile flitted across his lips as he removed his hand and pulled out onto the road. “I just wish you didn’t have to go through any of this.”
Tipping my head back against the seat, I closed my eyes, listening to the rain smack off the roof. “I know.”
Ten minutes till eight, I placed the prescription bottles unopened in my medicine cabinet and grabbed my hoodie. I was supposed to take the Buspar with dinner, but I had no idea what it would do to me, and I wanted to talk to Carson without being doped up. Before whatever it was we had going on could go any further, I had to tell him the truth.
I slipped out through the basement, letting Scott know that I was going to meet up with Carson. He’d cover for me in case our parents came looking.
I shoved my hands into the center pocket of my hoodie and followed the thin slice of moonlight that seemed to lead right up to the edge of the lawn. From there, I stayed on the trail, busying myself with how I was going to tell Carson I was crazy.
When I saw the tree house, Carson stuck his head out the opening to the observation deck. A baseball cap was on his head, pulled backward. “Come on up.”
In spite of what was going on, I grinned as I climbed up the wooden planks. He grabbed my hand through the opening when I reached the top, hauling me up. “Thanks,” I said, looking around the square room built for kids much, much younger than us.
A thick blanket had been spread out, and I crawled over to it, sitting down. He sat beside me, stretching out his legs. “Nice touch,” I whispered.
Looking proud of himself, he grinned. “I thought it would make it a little more comfortable.”
I clasped my hands together, throat dry. How did I start this? There wasn’t a manual on these kinds of things.
Carson nudged me with his shoulder. “I wanted to ask you something.”
“Okay.” My fingers dug into my palms.
“I did have an ulterior motive for luring you out here, away from your brother.”
My heart thumped heavily. “You did?”
He nodded. “Do you know what’s happening in three weeks?”
“Um, the end of April?”
“Yeah, that and prom.”
I stared at him.
With his eyes on my face, he laughed. “You look a little shocked by that.”
“I just…haven’t thought of prom.”
“I figured as much.” He scooted over, and his entire leg pressed against mine. “I know a lot is going on, and going to the prom might seem stupid, but I think it’s what you need.”
“Yes, and there’s something else you need.”
There were a lot of things that I needed. My eyes searched his face, and for the hundredth time, I wanted to kick myself for not seeing him before for who he was. “What?”
Carson tucked my hair behind my ear, his hand lingering against my cheek for the briefest second. “You need me to take you to the dance.”
I opened my mouth, but there were no words. A sudden rush of images of being invited to dances in the past flashed in rapid succession. Hide-and-seek invites, a card stuck in roses, a large banner spread across the baseball diamond. All of them intricate setups, but for some reason, Carson inviting me to the tree house to ask me pulled at my heartstrings.
Carson lowered his chin. “Usually, I can figure people out by the looks on their faces, but I have no clue what you’re thinking. Good idea? Bad? Terrible?”
I stared to laugh, but it was choked off as reality came crashing back. “It’s a wonderful idea, but I can’t go with you.”
“I’ll admit. I’m kind of confused.” He leaned back, resting his hands on his knees. “You think it’s a wonderful idea, but you can’t go with me?”
“Yes. No.” I shook my head. “You don’t understand.”
He gave me a small, thin smile. “Yeah, I don’t. Care to explain?”