Awakening You Page 1

Chapter 1


“I want you to close your eyes and relax,” my therapist instructs in an even, soothing voice I’ve heard at least a dozen times.

I’m lying in a lounge chair in front of him with my arms overlapped on my stomach, and my heart is slamming against my chest as I prepare to be put under for my amnesia therapy. The soft flow of the ocean drifts from the stereo, and birds chirp just outside the window beside me.

“Relax,” he repeats. “Clear your body and mind.”

Clear my body and mind.

Clear my . . .

Body . . .

And . . .


I fall deep into my thoughts, a blanket of darkness wrapping around me.




“Ayden!” my sister cries from the recliner. “Stop spinning me so fast.”

I continue to lap circles, pushing the chair she’s in. “You asked me to spin you, so I’m spinning you.”

“Not this fast, though!” she cries through her laughter, gripping onto the torn armrests. “I’m going to throw up!”

“Oh, fine.” I stop moving and hop back, watching the chair continue to twirl, gradually slowing to a stop.

“That was fun.” She bounces from the chair, her arms spanning to the side as she staggers toward me. “Whoa, I’m so dizzy.” She braces her hand against the sheetrock wall to the side of her. “Everything looks all blurry.”

I laugh, sitting down on the edge of the scuffed up coffee table. “Give it a minute, and it’ll stop.”

She nods, sinking back into the chair. “So, I heard a rumor about you.”

“Oh, yeah?” I ask, vaguely interested as I pick up the remote and turn on the television. The service has been turned off, though, probably because my mom forgot to pay the bill again, so I turn it off.

“Yeah, I heard you kissed Laura Flemming on the lips.” She giggles.

I set the remote down. “So what? It’s not that big of a deal.”

“That’s not what I heard.” Her eyes sparkle mischievously. Sadie has always been the kind of sister who likes to tease me about everything. “I heard that she wants to be your girlfriend.”

I roll my eyes. “Well, she can tell me that herself, then.”

“That’s such a boy answer.”

“If you haven’t noticed, he is a boy.” My older brother enters the living room from the hallway. He’s wearing plaid pajama bottoms, and his hair is messy, as if he just woke up, even though it’s six o’clock at night. “Where’s Mom?”

I shrug. “Out.”

He shakes his head, aggravated and exhausted from the late hours he’s been putting in at his job and school. “Probably doing drugs.”

“She doesn’t do drugs,” Sadie spits. “Stop saying that she does.”

“You’re just in denial,” my brother replies, winding around the chair and heading for the kitchen attached to the living room.

“I am not.”

“Am, too.”

“Would you two knock it off,” I intervene, being the peacemaker as always. “Just let her be, okay? It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Yeah, it is.” He motions around us at the shithole we’ve called home for about a year now. “Look around you. If you can’t see how bad things are, then you’re dumb as fuck.”

“I’m not dumb.” Tears overflow from Sadie’s eyes. “Why do you always have to be such a jerk?”

He sighs. “Look, I’m sorry, okay? I just want you to see how things really are so maybe you can have a chance at a better future.”

“I know things are bad,” she mutters, “but it doesn’t mean I have to be all mopey about it all the time.”

I hate when they fight. Life is bad enough already.

“How about we go outside,” I suggest to Sadie, “and see what kind of trouble we can get into?”

Sadie beams as she springs from the chair. “Can we go see Miss Tammy’s puppies?”

“Sure. Why not?”

She bounces off toward the door while I shoot my brother a look as I head for the front door.

“Don’t ruin her happiness yet,” I mutter under my breath as I pass by him. “Let her be a kid for a little while longer.”

“She’s thirteen-years-old.” He grabs a bowl from the cupboard then lowers his voice when he realizes Sadie is still lingering near the front door. “She needs to start growing up and realizing just how shitty our lives are. And how shitty our mother—”

“My babies!” The door swings open violently, and my mother bursts into the narrow living room with her arms wide open. Her attention falls on Sadie, and she lazily grins. “Come give Mama a hug.”

“Speak of the devil,” my brother mumbles under his breath.

Sadie gives her a nervous, one-armed hug. “I missed you.”

She trips in her heels as she staggers into the small living room. “Where have the three of you been?”

“Right here.” My tone is clipped. “Waiting for you to show up and pay the damn bills.”

She frowns as she slumps against the wall with her head tipped back, her droopy eyes on the stained ceiling above. “I’ve been busy . . .” Her eyelids lower as if she’s about to pass out. “How long was I gone?”

I bite down on my tongue until the rusty taste of blood fills by mouth, hating myself for detesting her so much. “Four days.”

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