Authors: Michelle Madow
My hands hovered over the keyboard of her MacBook Air, caught in the act. I had a feeling that “I had an urge to check my e-mail” wouldn’t be an acceptable explanation. Which was too bad, because I couldn’t think of anything else.
It looked like “The Confrontation” was going to happen right here, right now.
“Well?” Chelsea’s voice was full of ice.
Despite the guilt building in my chest, I reminded myself of the reasons I was here. Chelsea had cast a
on me. She wanted me dead. That was way worse than my snooping in her room. Plus, I’d found what I was looking for. She was the one at fault—not me.
I forced myself to hold her gaze. “You should be the one explaining why you cast a curse to kill me.”
At first she looked guilty, but then her expression turned to shock. “I did no such thing,” she insisted.
“Really?” I raised an eyebrow. “Because what I found in your browsing history suggests otherwise.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she continued to deny her actions, although she shut the door so our parents couldn’t overhear. Then she walked over to her desk and slammed the laptop shut, her eyes wide with fury. “You have no right to be looking through my things. You shouldn’t be here at all, but it’s not like I had any say in the matter. I was hoping you would fake sick so you didn’t have to come to dinner. That’s what you
have done. You lying, boyfriend stealing, little brat.”
I stared at her in amazement. I knew she was mad at me, but that was a hateful thing to say. My eyes filled with tears, and I blinked them away, but not before one slipped out.
“The most pathetic thing is that you thought I would still want to be friends with you,” Chelsea continued, her voice escalating in volume. “Coming in here the day after Shannon’s party and saying how you and Drew were meant to be together, that you were soul mates, and that you loved him, blah, blah, blah. Well, here’s some news for you, Lizzie. Drew was supposed to end up with me, not you. You messed everything up. All I’ve done is try to fix my life and make it the way it was supposed to be before you destroyed it!”
“Fix your life?” I repeated, my head swimming with confusion. “What do you mean, that Drew was supposed to end up with you and I ‘destroyed it?’”
“You know what I mean.” She sneered. “When this happened the first time, Drew ended up with me. That’s what was supposed to happen. Not him choosing you. It’s all wrong, and I had to set things right.”
I couldn’t believe she thought that. And if what she was saying was true, then she had gotten flashes of the past, too.
But how was that possible?
“What do you remember?” I asked.
“Enough.” She huffed.
“So you’ve had flashes of the past? You remember who we were back then?”
“You mean the past life we all had together in Regency Era, England, when I married Drew?” Chelsea said. “Because if that’s what you mean, then yes, I’ve had flashes of the past. I remember what happened then. Drew married me. He
“That can’t be right.” I felt dizzy with everything she was throwing at me. Drew had never told me what happened to his past self after my death. Could he have married Catherine—Chelsea’s past self? His parents back then wanted him to marry her for her noble title, so with my past self dead, he might have gone through with it to please them.
“Oh, but it is right,” Chelsea said. “I saw it.”
“When?” I asked, shocked that she remembered anything at all. According to Alistair, to get flashes people needed a trigger. My trigger was Drew. What was Chelsea’s? “When did you remember?”
“Probably after you,” she said. “Because I’m getting the feeling that you remembered before I did. Way before I did. Not that I’m surprised you didn’t tell me.” She flipped her shiny, auburn hair over her shoulder. “You’ve been quite the secretive one lately, haven’t you?”
Chelsea had somehow made it sound like everything was my fault, even though she was wrong. This wasn’t how this conversation was supposed to go. I had to gain control. I was on a mission: Find out what she’d done, and fix it.
“Would you have believed me if I’d told you?” I said, gaining courage when she didn’t say yes. “I began getting the flashes shortly after meeting Drew, when he walked into our History class on the first day of school. I remembered my past life gradually; I wasn’t sure it was real at first. But what I remembered was clear—in the past, Drew broke up with you to be with me. So from what you’re saying, there were clearly some differences with what we saw.”
“I would love to hear what was so different that you couldn’t understand what it meant that Drew
me!” Chelsea said, her hands curled into fists. “What’s hard to understand about that? Clearly I’m the one he wanted to be with!”
“He would have married me if I hadn’t died before he had the chance,” I said flatly.
That stopped Chelsea in her tracks.
“But you didn’t see that part, did you?”
She looked stunned, and unsure how to respond.
Of course my mom chose that moment to stick her head through the door.
“Is everything all right up here?” she asked, her forehead creased as she looked back and forth between us. I guessed they could hear Chelsea’s yelling from downstairs.
“It’s fine.” I managed to smile. “Chelsea and I just have some stuff to talk about, if that’s okay.”
“I understand,” she said. “Tyler said he would have come up, but he thought I was more suited to deal with ‘girl stuff.’ Take as much time as you need. We’ll wait for you for dessert.”
She slipped out of the room and closed the door, leaving Chelsea and me alone.
Not wanting Chelsea to put me on the defensive again, I took control of the conversation. “We need to compare what we saw in our flashbacks,” I said. “Clearly we’re both missing important information. It’ll be good to piece everything together so we can figure this out.”
Hopefully Chelsea wasn’t so angry that she would refuse to approach this logically. My mom had always stressed to me that communication was key in any relationship. Chelsea and I were lacking in communication recently, and comparing memories seemed like the best way to start fixing this mess.
“If that will make you realize that Drew and I are supposed to be together, then fine.” Chelsea stuck her chin defiantly in the air, although I had a feeling that something had changed when I mentioned my death in the past. She kicked off her shoes and walked to her bed, falling into it and leaning against her mountain of pillows. “I’ll start.”
I had wanted to start, since I got the flashes first, but I stayed quiet. Chelsea was cooperating, and I didn’t want to mess that up.
“Before I start, you have to promise you won’t repeat what I’m about to tell you to anyone,” Chelsea said seriously, without a trace of the earlier anger in her tone. “If Shannon finds out I let you in on this, she’ll be beyond angry.”
“What does Shannon have to do with this?” I asked.
“Promise you won’t tell anyone, and I’ll tell you,” Chelsea said.
I wouldn’t keep what she told me from Drew, but since it wouldn’t help to point that out, I agreed to her condition. I hated knowing I would go back on my promise the minute I talked to Drew tonight, but I tried not to dwell on it.
The small lie was worth it to save my life.
“Sunday morning, Shannon dragged me to that Mystic Pathways store in the mall,” Chelsea said. “We went there once a few years ago. Remember?”
“Yeah.” I nodded, remembering how we’d gone into the store as a joke. It was dark inside, and filled with herbs, crystals, and so-called magical candles. Then we saw the creepy old lady who worked there, looking like an evil character in a fairy tale. We bolted out of the store, and joked about her being a witch. I hadn’t given that day much thought since.
“The lady who works there is Shannon’s aunt, but that’s not the point,” Chelsea said with a wave of her hand. “The point is that she convinced me she could help me get Drew back, and she took me into the back room. She did some past life regression voodoo, and that’s when it came back to me.”
“Your past life?” I asked, gripping the armrests of the chair.
“The first thing I saw was Drew dancing with me at a ball.” Chelsea’s eyes took on a far-off look, like she was seeing the scene in front of her as she described it. “We were happy, and having fun. I saw you there too, but after I saw you, the scene switched to one of me and Drew talking in a garden. He looked upset—really upset—but I don’t know what was wrong. All I know was that he was coming to me with his problem, and I was doing my best to help him get through whatever was troubling him. The next thing I knew, I was in a church watching myself marry Drew.”
I didn’t want to believe it was possible, but I doubted Chelsea had made that up. “Was I there?” I asked, trying to ignore how hurt I was at the possibility that Drew had married Catherine and not told me. Or maybe he just didn’t remember. I didn’t remember much about my past, either—only the parts with Drew. If he only remembered the parts when he was with me, then he wouldn’t remember anything beyond my death.
“I don’t know.” Chelsea lifted a small pillow from the bed and hugged it. “It was pretty fuzzy. I saw some people in the crowd, but no, I don’t remember seeing you.”
“Because I was dead,” I reminded her.
“Maybe.” Her eyes darkened, like she didn’t want to believe it.
Then I told her my side of the story. How after I saw Drew for the first time in European History, I felt like I knew him from somewhere, but couldn’t place where that was. How soon afterwards, strange things started happening to me, like the sketches I’d made of my past self in Regency England, and becoming fluent in French. How Drew came to the Halloween dance, and when we danced together, I had a flashback of us dancing at the ball we attended in the past—the same ball I assumed Chelsea saw during her “regression session” at Mystic Pathways. I told her about meeting Alistair, his role as my Memory Guide, and how he gave me objects to help me remember my past life, like the mask, the necklace, the original printing of
Pride and Prejudice
, and the sheet music for “Minuet.” I told her about remembering how to play piano as easily as I’d remembered how to speak French. Finally I told her about what happened the night of Shannon’s party—the flash I had of Catherine and Drew together in the past, and the memory of the carriage accident that had ended in my death.
Surprisingly, she listened to everything without interruption.
“So in the past … you died,” Chelsea said once I finished. She sounded like she didn’t want to believe it was true.
“Yes,” I confirmed. “And when I was in the car with Jeremy after Shannon’s party, I stopped the past from repeating itself. But on Sunday night, something changed. Creepy things started happening to me, like crows attacking me, my watch stopping, and pictures falling off the walls. Drew and I went to Alistair the next day to ask what it meant. Alistair said they were death omens, because someone who was close to me in the past had cast a curse on me. He said …” I swallowed, preparing to say the terrifying thing that would happen if everything continued on its current path. “He said if I didn’t find out who cast the curse, and exactly what they did, I’m going to die by the next full moon. That’s why I was sneaking around in your room. I had to know if it was you. Wouldn’t you have done the same thing if you were me?”
Chelsea played with the edges of the pillow, looking terribly guilty. “I didn’t want you to die,” she said, looking up to meet my eyes. “I was angry about everything that happened, and I’m still mad at you for not being honest with me from the beginning and for spending time with Drew behind my back. But when I said in the spell that I wanted things to end the same way they did in our past lives, I thought it meant that Drew and I would be together. I didn’t realize it meant you would die. We’ve been friends forever, Lizzie. You know I’m not that bad of a person.”
“I know.” I played with the chain heart bracelet Drew had given me as I gathered my thoughts. “But whatever you did, even if you didn’t do it on purpose, it’s done now. You can’t take it back.”
“We can’t reverse it?”
“No.” I shook my head. “Once a spell is cast, it’s irreversible. By the way,” I said, “how long have you known you were … a witch?” I laughed, because despite the seriousness of the conversation, I still had a hard time believing witches existed.
“I don’t think I
a witch,” Chelsea said. “If I am, the only reason I know is because the spell worked.”
“Alistair said the only other way for you to do a spell would be if you drank a witch’s blood.” I wrinkled my nose at the prospect. “Even if you wanted the spell to work more than anything you’ve wanted in your life, that’s gross. I know you wouldn’t agree to that.”
Chelsea paled, her expression changing to one of horror and disgust.