Chapter Thirty-One

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Happiness is a Butterfly

This can't be real.

It can't be. The girl I saw in the photo isn't Daisy. It's impossible. I knew all of Daisy's friends and she knew all of mine. Up until that summer, there were no secrets between us. If Eden knew Daisy, I would know. Somehow, I would know.

I take a deep breath, fingertips grazing the scar on my wrist. It was dark, I say to myself. It was dark and I could barely see. People mistake strangers as friends all the time, right? I was upset from our conversation, it was dark and I could barely see. It makes sense that I'd see something that wasn't there.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Except, the image is branded in my eyes. Every time I blink, I see who I thought was my best friend holding hands with Daisy, the only girl on this planet who I would've protected with my life. I bite my lip, fighting another rise of my stomach, tongue already bitter.

Eden's hair was longer in the photo. She looked younger, happier, cheeks perfectly flushed as she laughed with the girl her arm was wrapped around.

They looked like sisters, similar but not identical.

Daisy was wearing a jumper she'd bought with me the Christmas before. It was supposed to be a present for Evie, but she loved it so much that she decided to keep it for herself. In her hands she held a beer bottle, lips glistening against the light. Daisy must have done her lashes, because they were longer than I remember, flickering against her lid and nearly meeting her brow.

She always did her lashes like that when there was someone to impress.

'No,' I whisper, shaking my head. This girl isn't Daisy. It's impossible. And yet...

I have to get back into her room.

As soon as the words enter my mind, the sentence becomes a simple fact lodged in my subconscious. I realise that if I don't go back and confirm it wasn't Daisy, then I'm going to go crazy pent up here.

I won't be able to think. I won't be able to breathe. Doing anything from this point onwards will be a task beyond my capability. I'll lock myself in this bathroom and refuse to leave – and then my family really will have something to worry about.

But what if I get caught?

In a matter of seconds, I conjure a story – an alibi, of sorts, in case anything happens. I'd just left Eden's room and went to sort mine when I realised I'd left my phone there. It was on her desk – the doctors said to keep her door unlocked whilst she slept in case anything happened, so all I had to do was pop in to grab it. And, obviously, as a teenage girl in this generation, I need my phone.

It's totally understandable.

I wanted to check if Elliot caught his flight safely and have a chat with Mum. Without my phone, I could do neither of those things. Eden wouldn't even have to know. She'd understand (psychopathy depending, obviously).

Once I'm sure I'm not going to be sick again, I use the heels of my palms to push myself up from the floor. It surprises me how weak and wobbly my legs are; I nearly fall over as I step through to my room, the world spinning despite my level breathing.

I take a second to close my eyes, convincing myself that it'll be fine, that I can do this despite the whispers echoing in my mind saying I can't. Fingertips gripping each side of the doorway, I'm not sure how long I stand there until I decide I'm ready to break into my best friend's room.

But when I do, I'm ready beyond measures.

***

The hallway is empty.

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