For the first time in almost two weeks, Ishaana woke up feeling surprisingly well-rested after crashing at ten o'clock the night before, unable to keep her heavy eyelids from dragging themselves shut. That exhaustion had carried her to bed, and Melody had made her a cup of tea that she had drunk half of before she had fallen asleep in her underwear. The duvet had only covered a strip of her back as she lay on her front, her legs and shoulders bare: it was warm, surprisingly warm for the beginning of May, and Ishaana blamed her body for the shift in temperature.
Today was the day. A flicker of nervousness settled in her stomach, the kind of nerves before an exam she was prepared for but wanted to get over and done with: she had no regrets about what she was about to do, and she knew it was the right decision, but it was still a little daunting. Rolling onto her side, she let out a heavy sigh and reached out for her phone. When she checked the time, she wasn't expected to see a bunch of missed calls from her sister, but that was what filled the screen. Before panic could set in, or she could unlock her phone to ring Priya back, her mobile buzzed in her hand.
Her thumb instantly swiped right to answer the call.
"Pri? Is everything ok?" she asked, her heart seizing with the possibilities. Priya was a texter. She hardly ever called unless whatever she had to say was urgent, and Ishaana could feel her stomach turning. Her body had settled into some kind of a routine, forcing her to rush to the bathroom each morning to throw up, and she couldn't wait to be rid of the constant nausea that the internet assured her was normal, though it felt anything but.
"Jesus Christ, Ishy, you took so long to answer!" Priya cried. "I've called you, like, a million times."
"Sorry," she said, rubbing her eyes. "I was asleep. What's wrong? Why've you called me so much?"
"More like why have you not called me!" Priya's voice was verging on hysteric, and Ishaana was hit with the dreaded panic that somehow Priya knew. Her hand moved down from her chest, resting on her flat stomach, and her heart skipped a beat.
"What're you talking about, Pri?" she asked, still too early in the day for her mind to be operating at its optimum capacity. "Please, you're going to have to spell it out for me. Are you ok? Are Suni and Saffi ok?"
"We're all fine," Priya said dismissively, "but I'm very pissed off with you right now."
Ishaana frowned. That didn't sound right. She hadn't spoken to her sister for a few days, but she didn't think that warranted enough for any kind of anger to sink in. "Why?"
"You told me you didn't know Two Degrees. I was going on and on about them and you said you didn't know them but I went on Facebook this morning and a big thing popped up on my timeline saying Ishaana Jain is now friends with Bishop Knight and ... what the hell, Ishy?" Priya huffed down the phone. "What's going on?"