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April 19, 2012
The Cherokee believe that when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.
Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.
Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…
The gold dress was both beautiful and evil all at once.
I stood in front of the mirror for twenty minutes, frowning until my face hurt and contemplating how Erin would react if I showed up to my party wearing jeans and a sweatshirt instead.
My reflection reminded me of the vision, and even though Dylan said it wasn't this exact dress, it felt close enough -- the shimmery, silky material that felt like water in my hands, the way it pooled at my feet even with my strappy heels. It was as if the dress itself held the ability to make that vision a reality simply by wearing it. But I had nothing else.
I told myself it was my own fears reflecting back. Fancy fabric couldn't manifest a destiny any more than a person could fight it. But, although the sun still blazed with late afternoon heat, the day felt ominous. Or maybe it was me.
Taregan hadn't made a play -- hell, he hadn't made a peep -- since our parking lot encounter. That'd been days ago. I wanted to find out whether his blood ritual had worked, but Dylan refused to contact him. For any reason. Every time I brought it up, his fury worked its way into his tense jaw and then his pursed lips, and I gave up. The warrior wouldn't budge.
Time, on the other hand, only moved forward. And now we were here, my birthday.