Imaginations, page 1
A Novel by Tara Brown writing as AE Watson
Copyright 2013 Tara Brown
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. No alteration of content is permitted. This book is a work of fiction, any similarities are coincidental. All characters in this fictional story are based entirely on the crazed mind of the author and are not based on any human. Any similarities are by chance and not intentional.
This book is dedicated to my readers—thank you so much.
Cover Art by KC Designs
Edited by Andrea Burns
Other Books by Tara Brown writing as
TL Brown, AE Watson, Erin Leigh, and Sophie Starr
The Devil’s Roses
The Born Trilogy
Born to Fight
The Light Series
The Light of the World
The Four Horsemen
The Blood Trail Chronicles
The Single Lady Spy Series
The End of Me
The End of Games
The End of You – A Novella
Blood and Bone
Blood and Bone
Sin and Swoon
Soul and Blade
The Long Way Home
In the Fading Light
For Love or Money
White Girl Problems
The Seventh Day
There are no numbered chapters in this book, it is done on purpose. It may feel like it goes against the grain and defies the rules but it is done with intention.
Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.
Last night or maybe the one before . . . Does it matter?
I had searched the crowd for her, but his fingers clasped around mine and distracted me. I’d swear the deafening music made my heart beat faster, if that were possible. I didn’t know if it was or not.
I looked at his fingers touching mine. It was a weird sensation for me. They didn’t dig in threateningly, but the way they grasped, I could sense the excitement coming off of him. He held me like he didn’t want me to get away. I decided, as I was dragged through the dance floor, that it had to be lust. I knew about lust. It was a lesson I’d memorized.
It wasn’t just my imagination.
His strong hands and firm grasp made my heart race. My own lust was coursing through me. It had started when he touched me. I could only imagine that I liked the way he held me tightly to him. I couldn’t remember if I had ever felt it before. But I could imagine it. I was weak like that, always letting my imagination get the best of me.
I let him pull me, bumping us both into strangers who were also masked. My mask rubbed against my cheeks, annoying me. I wished I could take it off, but the club had rules. A curious moment made me wonder if I had ever been here before, wearing the mask and wishing I could take it off. Was there ever a version of me that was brave enough to take it off and defy the rules of the Club of the Unknown? Was every version of me different or were circumstances so repetitive that I was always the same girl living the same day? Were any of my days ever different? I quickly reasoned that if they had been the same, I would have remembered them with better clarity. As it was, I had flashes of the things I’d repeated and that was all. That alone meant some of my days were different. We always remembered what we repeated.
I couldn’t know if I had been to the club before, but I could assume it. I had to have been, as the message with the location had come to my handheld. How else would I have gotten it? That was the rule, was it not? My class had talked about it. None of us knew where the messages came from, or if in fact the club existed. Everyone at our school spoke of it in hushed tones, agreeing it was one thing we needed to remember existed. We had things we agreed upon, secret things our teacher let us have that we didn’t have to talk to our parents or other adults about. Secrets she kept for us.
The whole class had to believe that the Club of the Unknown was important. Only then could we add it to the daily memory discussions. We were only allowed a few of those additions.
All we really ever discussed about the club was that it was real, and our belief that only the truly trusted were given the address to the location that changed every time. We agreed the club must happen once a month, more than that and they would get caught. Our teacher made us agree the conversation would never stray from the innocent discussions on the subject. She made us agree that we didn’t need to know the details of the club. All I really knew was that to be trusted and invited, one had to be guaranteed. To be guaranteed, someone had to vouch for you. I couldn’t imagine who had vouched for me.
But clearly someone had, because I was there. I was holding hands with a boy I didn’t know, as Amber was dancing with a group of people she didn’t know.
I looked around for Lyle. I almost jerked my hand free, wondering where he was. It was odd that he had been on the train with us as the man handed out the masks for the party none of us would remember. I was surprised Lyle would go and a little bit jealous. I liked that he was the one boy in class I could count on to be kind, and I always imagined he liked me just a bit.
I looked around, wondering if I could find him in the crowd. It wasn’t too late to jerk my hand free and find him. But if I did, could I imagine kissing him? Or what if I found him kissing another girl?
Either way, I would be grateful when the memory slipped away in the late evening, stolen by my sleep. I didn’t want to imagine him dancing and kissing another girl. He was too perfect and too sweet. I didn’t imagine he kissed girls. He was a gentleman.
I pushed the thought away and reminded myself that imaginations were a dangerous toy the weak mind played with. I, apparently, had the weakest of them all.
The night had felt magical in a thousand different ways; the most magical being the boy leading me down the hall so we could be alone in a quieter place. He didn’t look like Lyle. He looked taller, no—wider maybe. His shoulders were strong and thick. I imagined I liked that in a man, but I stopped myself before I could get carried away with the imaginations. They were nothing but trouble in a world with no yesterday and a planned tomorrow.
I tried not to fear the dark or the mystery of the guy with me. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, not technically. Kissing wasn’t illegal; just not something we did in the light of the day. Teenagers were known to take advantage of the reset. The darkness surrounding us prevented us from seeing too much of the truth. Not that it mattered. We wouldn’t remember tomorrow and that was the beauty of it. It was the greatest gift of all. I could commit the act and not carry the guilt.
The guy looked back at me as we rounded a corner. His green eyes were intense. “You live in the city?” he asked in a deep voice. It made my skin shiver in a nice way.
His lips curled up into a smile as he stopped in the darkest part of the hall. He faced me, looking down on me. I stepped back, nervous and undecided if I had made the right choice. He stepped closer, forcing my back against the wall. I looked into his chest and held my breath.
“Look at me,” he whispered.
I swallowed the feelings in my stomach and craned my neck to look up into his shimmering green eyes. His lips were beautiful, and the mask hiding the rest only made him more stunning to look at. I felt my hands tremble.
“I need your name,” he whispered again.
I swallowed. “Gwyn.”
“I’m Brandon. Everyone calls me Bran.”
Licking my lips, I stammered, “H-h-hi.”
“Hi.” He spoke as if he were in awe of me. He ran his fingers down my cheeks.
The dark of the hall and the sound of the music seemed distant compared to the ragged breath we shared. He bent down, brushing a whisper of a kiss against my parted lips. His tongue lightly traced along the crease of our mouths’ embrace. His hands stayed on my face, holding me as if I were breakable. Finally, he ran them down my arms to my back. He gripped me, pressing me into him as he surrounded me.
Our masks rubbed against each other as he moved his face and started kissing along my bared cheek and down to my throat. I shook my head. “Only kissing.” I wanted adventure but not that much.
He lifted his face and smiled. “I thought you said no talking.”
It made me smile, but I shook my head. He cupped my cheeks again, lightly feathering his fingers against my skin. “You are so beautiful, Gwyn.”
He bent his face down again, wrapping his arms around me and breathing into my neck. I could swear I knew him. I knew his smell and his green eyes and the way his voice said my name. I pushed away the feelings and made them be hopes. I knew it would be easier to let him kiss me if I knew him. I hoped I knew him until his hand slipped down my back, cupping me and squeezing. Then I was grateful I wouldn’t remember anything tomorrow.
Tomorrow or maybe today or maybe it was yesterday. No, it was Tuesday.
The rumble of the tram vibrated against my back. I liked the familiar feel of it. I glanced out the window across from me, smiling at the orchards filled with the early morning workers. The green of the grass seemed more intense with the morning light evading it from beyond the hills. It was like it was waiting for something before rising up over the mountains.
"What day is it?" Amber leaned in and whispered.
I pulled my handheld from my pocket and whispered back, "Tuesday. Why?"
She shook her head. "I don’t know. I just have a weird feeling, like I know what’s going to happen next. You know?" She looked at me with something in her eyes that I had seen in my own before.
Instead of being honest, I shook my head like I was supposed to. "No." But I did know. I had been feeling it, so much so that I was remembering that I had felt it. Not that it mattered; we didn’t ever talk about stuff like that . . . ever. We needed to be strong for each other and fight the temptation of imagining things or feeling unnecessary emotions. But if I were honest, I would tell her that I'd been having that feeling for a while. I assumed it was my imagination making attempts at finding a home inside of my head. I knew I needed to be stronger than that. We all fought a battle within ourselves over the control of our minds and the weaknesses that hid in there, waiting to strike.
The tram slowed down at the stop for the area next to mine. There the streets smelled like apples, from the orchards right next to them at the base of the hills. The orchard workers always smelled the best, like cider or apple pie. It was my favorite smell—I knew that.
The doors opened, forcing the scent of the apples to ride along the wind into our tramcar. I closed my eyes for a moment, savoring it. But the peaceful feeling I got every time I smelled it was gone the second I opened my eyes and saw him. Had this moment happened a lot? Was it something I was remembering or just a feeling? I didn’t know, but I didn’t like it.
My stomach tightened and hurt in a way that I was unsure of, like the lightening bugs from the orchard hills were inside of me and making me tingle and spark. Or my innards had decided to change their locations. How could a stranger make me feel that way?
His green eyes flickered with something; I wanted to know what it was. He was thinking something maybe. Or confused. Or excited. But how? How could he feel those things when he looked at me? How could he make me wonder anything?
My weak mind enabled him. It wanted to know what he thought as his lips played, like my brother’s did when he was fighting a grin while our parents got angry with him. The only difference was the green eyes looked like he was laughing at me or with me somehow. I could watch him forever. My forever that only ever lasted a day. Then I would forget him tomorrow.
I looked down at my shoes and took a breath, a breath I needed.
"You okay?" Amber nudged me.
I leaned back into the hard plastic seat and nodded. "Yeah. Just think I might be coming down with something maybe. My tummy feels funny."
"Great, that means I’ll probably get it too. Whoa, that guy is cute," she whispered into my hair as she leaned toward me.
I looked up at her. "What guy?"
She rolled her dark eyes. "The cute one over there. Does he go to school with us? No, I don’t think he does. I swear I know him, but I don’t. Is it from school?" She nodded toward the green-eyed guy who made me feel sick.
I laughed and ignored her dangerous confession and questions. "What do you know about cute boys?"
Her smile turned mischievous. "I know stuff. Like Lyle Getty or Tyler McNeill, in class. They’re both so cute. Lyle is too sweet though—I don’t think I like that kind of boy. Tyler smiles and my stomach flips. Imagine finding out that he is a good pairing for you in the future?"
I shook my head. "No. He knows he's cute. He may forget everything else but he knows that. If you watch him, he spends hours looking at himself. If I wanted a guy, which I don’t, I would want him to look at me the way Tyler looks at himself." I blushed. “Lyle is sweet though. I like that his family always has the bushels of apples, pears, and cheese brought into the lunchroom for the kids without much. He always acts like it’s a job he has to do, but I know he watches out for the people without any food. He is mindful of others and that’s attractive. You know, he does it a lot. I mean, I’ve seen it enough to remember it. Whoever pairs well with him is a lucky girl.”
“You just want it to be you.” She poked my side.
My eyes darted at the green-eyed boy and I felt a tremor of untruth in the statement. I didn’t want someone sweet like Lyle. I liked the danger in the eyes on the tramcar, but I didn’t want anyone to be mine. I had never wanted a pairing or a permit for children.
“We have plenty of time for boys.”
She sighed. "I’m not too worried about boys. I think I just want an easy job. That seems like what I want. Something that doesn’t have a lot of responsibility. Then I want to spend my evenings doing things I don’t have to remember the next day, with people I don’t have to know."
I frowned. “Do you think you’ve been to the club?” My cheeks blushed when I thought about the bedpost and the lines in it. I had touched it so many times that I recalled the lines, as if they’d always been there. Deep down I knew they hadn’t. They were the marks we all agreed upon as a way of knowing we had been to the club. That had been Mrs. Barker’s idea. It was a way of keeping track of the times we went so we could make the remembering easier, and maybe one day remember going to the clubs.
“You know the Club of the Unknown is a fallacy—rumors made up by school children.” She grinned but it was pure evil coming off of her. She gave me a knowing look. “I will say, there are notches in my bedpost next to the wall. Notches I don’t recall putting there.”
I blushed and thought about my own. I was about to confess my own when we were interrupted by a voice
"Is this seat taken?" It was the boy with the green eyes. He gave us a sly smile.
I frowned when I saw it was him and shook my head. "No."
He sat down next to me. His warmth was intense, somehow immediately taking up all of the air around me. My right side felt like it was on fire.
Amber lifted her eyebrows, wagging them. I scowled.
She nudged me, forcing me into him. I turned, fighting the blush on my cheeks and muttered, "Sorry."
He shook his dark shaggy head. "No. It's okay." When our eyes met I noticed he was staring at my lips.
I turned my head abruptly and looked back out the window across from me. My face was on fire, matching my arm where our skin met.
“Beautiful morning, isn’t it?”
My eyes widened. I couldn’t believe he was speaking to me. He was a stranger, at least I imagined him to be. He didn’t ride the school tram, I knew that. Why was he on the tram? No one but students rode the tram at this hour. I remembered everyone from my tram rides. Well, the faces in my car. I supposed he could have been from another car. But it didn’t feel like that.
"You going to school or work?" he asked softly.
I nodded once. “School.”
I stared straight ahead. I didn’t know what to say to him. His voice was more familiar than my own. I knew that to be an impossibility, and a frightening one at that. It had to be an imagination, like hope or daydream. Things that led to unhappiness amongst the masses. Did I want to be responsible for that catastrophe?
When the tram started to slow again for the next stop, I jumped up long before we had to be ready to get off. I needed to be away from the feeling of warmth and familiarity. Both were bad. They meant I was losing the war on my mind.
Other author's books:
- Born (The Born Trilogy Book 1)Duplicities (Imaginations Book 2)Vengeance (The Blood Trail Chronicles Book 1)
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