R

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Note: This is an unedited draft. If you spot any editing issues on this short story, you're more than welcome to send feedback to me! Thank you for reading.

I am R. Today is my 18th birthday of this life and that means it's the end of it.

Ever since I could remember, I can never live more than a single day when I reach the 18th birthday of any life. This happens for a very long time until I lost count on it. Although I have only 18 years on each of the bodies, I'm able to remember what happened in my past lives. Not all, but most. I don't know how and why it happens but it just did.

My parents in current life are busy preparing stuff for my birthday party. They're always loving and caring. Never stop giving me the love I deserve as their only child. And as their sole descendant, they have a very high expectation on me to inherit their multi-million dollar corporation after I graduate from university (if I'm able to attend any). I wanted to tell them I couldn't but I don't know how to do so. They simply wouldn't believe me or they might think that I'm using it as an excuse to escape from the family business.

"Rachel dear, would you please come down and have a look at the decoration?" That's Mom, always sweet and graceful. As far as I know, she never gets angry with anyone. I wonder if she really doesn't have any temper at all.

I hear footsteps outside my bedroom, then a knock on the door.

"Rach, are you okay? Mom's calling you to check out the party decoration," says Dad outside my room. They respect me in every way even though I was a kid. So they will never intrude my privacy without my permission. Despite the stress in inheriting the family heirloom, everything is perfect. My life as Rachel is perfect and I don't want to lose it. But no matter how hard I try, I just can't escape the fate.

I reluctantly stand up from my bed and walk towards the door. I take a deep breath before opening the door to face Dad, whom I can't see again after tonight. Squeezing a smile, I lie to him, "Sorry Dad, just trying to finish a book. You know, it's easy to be lost in books." I finish it with a wink.

"It's okay, dear. Come, your mom needs you at the garden. Today is your big day and we have something important to announce," says Dad as he plants a kiss on my forehead. If possible, I don't want it to stop. I don't want to lose them.

In one of my past lives as Ritchie, I had an abusive alcoholic dad. I didn't go to school, all I need to do every day was to work at a nearby restaurant as a dishwasher so he could have money to buy booze. If I didn't manage to bring back enough cash for him, it was as good as hell. My head was slammed into the wall, lost a few teeth from his punches and sometimes broke a few ribs. That time, I wished my life was shorter. Or better yet, I wished I was never born.

My heart weighs a ton when I'm stepping down on the stairs. I had enough of these lives, be it good or bad. I remember there was once I asked my mom when I was Rhonda whether she remembers her past life, she just shot me a glare and told me I read too much until my mind was messed up. I wished I was crazy too but I wasn't.

When I reach the garden, tears start to roll down my cheeks uncontrollably. I see party tables arranged nicely and there are garden archways decorated with my favorite flower - Lavender standing at the entrance of our estate. An elegant lady who looks like the party organizer is busy coordinating her staff in preparing the party and Mom is standing beside her. I've had birthday parties in other lives and as Rachel too but not as wonderful as this.

Mom turns around and sees me standing by the glass door with teary eyes. She runs towards me and immediately hugs me. "Oh my dear Rachel, what happened? Why are you crying? Is there anything that upset you?"

I hug Mom tightly in fear of losing her. Then I force myself to at least say something not to worry her, I want her to always remember the happy Rachel, her Rachel.

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