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Never never part two, p.1

  Never Never: Part Two, p.1

   part  #2 of  Never Never Series

Never Never: Part Two
 

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Never Never: Part Two


  Copyright (c) 2015 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

  All rights reserved.

  Cover Designer: Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations, www.okaycreations.com

  Interior Designer and Formatter: Jovana Shirley, Unforeseen Editing, www.unforeseenediting.com

  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Colleen Hoover: https://colleenhoover.com

  Tarryn Fisher: https://www.tarrynfisher.com

  This book is for all of you who love happy ever afters and forgave me for the ending of part one. It was Tarryn's fault.

  ~Colleen Hoover

  This book is for everyone who thinks happy ever afters and Diet Pepsi are stupid.

  ~Tarryn Fisher

  Chapter 1: Silas

  Chapter 2: Silas

  Chapter 3: Charlie

  Chapter 4: Silas

  Chapter 5: Charlie

  Chapter 6: Silas

  Chapter 7: Charlie

  Chapter 8: Silas

  Chapter 9: Silas

  Chapter 10: Charlie

  Chapter 11: Silas

  Chapter 12: Charlie

  Chapter 13: Silas

  Chapter 14: Charlie

  Chapter 15: Silas

  Chapter 16: Charlie

  Chapter 17: Silas

  Chapter 18: Charlie

  It starts slowly.

  The rain.

  A splatter here, a splash there. First on the windshield in front of me and then against the windows surrounding me. The drops begin to sound like thousands of fingertips tapping the top of my car out of unison. Tap-ta-tap-tap-ta-ta-tap-tap-tap. The sound is all around me now. It feels like it's coming from inside me, trying to get out. The rain begins to trickle down the windshield, thick enough to mix together in long lines that resemble tears. They slide to the bottom and disappear beyond the glass. I attempt to turn my wipers on, but my car is off.

  Why isn't my car on?

  I wipe the fog off my window with the palm of my hand to see outside, but the rain is falling so hard now I can't see anything.

  Where am I?

  I turn around and look in the backseat, but there's no one there. Nothing there. I face forward again.

  Think, think, think.

  Where was I headed? I must have fallen asleep.

  I don't know where I am.

  I don't know where "I" am.

  I...I...I...

  Who am I?

  It seems so natural to think thoughts that contain the word I. But each of my thoughts are hollow and weightless, because the word "I" is attached to no one. No name, no face. I am...nothing.

  The hum of an engine steals my attention as a car slows next to mine on the road. Water splashes across the windshield as it passes. I make out taillights as the car slows and then pulls over in front of me.

  Reverse lights.

  My heart begins to beat in my throat, my fingertips, my temples. The lights atop the car breathe to life. Red, blue, red, blue. I watch as someone exits the vehicle. All I can make out is their silhouette as they begin to approach my car. I barely move my neck as they walk toward my passenger door, keeping my eyes trained on them as they reach the window.

  A tap.

  Tap, tap, tap.

  I press the ignition button to give power to the windows--how did I know how to do that? I roll the window down.

  A cop.

  Help, I want to say.

  I forgot where I was going, I want to say.

  "Silas?"

  His voice startles me. It's loud. He's trying to compete with the sound of the rain by yelling the word Silas.

  What does that word mean? Silas. Maybe he's French. Maybe I'm in France and Silas is a greeting. Maybe I should say Silas in return.

  The man clears his throat and then says, "Your car broke down?"

  Not French.

  I look at the controls on my dash. I force my lips apart so that I can form a word. Instead, I gasp for air, unaware I've been holding my breath. When I release the air in my lungs, it comes out shaky...embarrassing. I look back at the officer standing at the window. "No," I say. My voice scares me. I don't recognize it.

  The officer leans down and motions to my lap. "What you got there?" he asks. "Directions somewhere? You lost?"

  I look down at an unfamiliar stack of papers resting on my lap. I push them to the passenger seat, wanting them off me, and I shake my head again. "I, um. I was just..."

  My words are interrupted by a ring. A loud ring, coming from inside the car. I follow the sound, moving the papers from the seat to find a cell phone beneath them. I look at the caller ID. Janette.

  I don't know a Janette.

  "You need to get off the side of the road, son," the officer says, taking a step back. I push a button on the side of the phone to get it to silence. "Go on ahead and get back to the school. Big game tonight."

  Big game. School.

  Why does neither seem familiar?

  I nod.

  "Rain should let up soon," he adds. He taps the roof of my car as if he's sending me off. I nod again and put my finger on the button that controls the windows. "Tell your father to save me a seat tonight."

  I nod again. My father.

  The officer stares at me for a few seconds longer, a quizzical look on his face. He finally shakes his head and then begins to retreat back to his car.

  I look down at the phone. Just as I'm about to hit a button, it begins ringing again.

  Janette.

  Whoever Janette is, she really wants someone to answer this phone. I swipe the screen and bring it to my ear.

  "Hello?"

  "Did you find her?" I don't recognize the voice on the phone. I wait a few seconds before responding, hoping it clicks. "Silas? Hello?"

  She just said the same word the officer said. Silas. Except she said it like a name.

  My name?

  "What?" I say into the phone, confused by everything.

  "Did you find her?" There's panic in her voice.

  Did I find her? Who am I supposed to be looking for? I turn around and check the back seat once more, even though I know there isn't anyone in the car with me. I face forward again, not sure how to respond to the question just posed to me. "Did I find her?" I ask, repeating the question. "I...did you find her?"

  A groan comes from Janette. "Why would I be calling you if I found her?"

  I pull the phone away from my ear and look at it. I'm so confused. I press it against my ear again.

  "No," I say. "I didn't find her."

  Maybe this girl is my little sister. She sounds young. Younger than me. Maybe she lost her dog and I was out looking for her? Maybe I hydroplaned in the rain and hit my head.

  "Silas, this isn't like her," Janette says. "She would tell me if she wasn't going to come home or show up for school today."

  Okay, I guess we're not talking about a dog here. And the fact that I'm pretty sure we're discussing a person who is apparently missing makes me really uncomfortable, considering I'm not even sure who I am right now. I need to hang up before I say something wrong. Something incriminating.

  "Janette, I have to go. I'll keep looking." I press end and set the phone down on the seat next to me. The papers that were sitting on my lap catch my eye. I reach over and grab for them. The
pages are stapled together, so I flip to the front page. It's a letter, addressed to me and some other guy named Charlie.

  Charlie and Silas,

  If you don't know why you're reading this, then you've forgotten everything.

  What the hell? The first sentence isn't what I was expecting to read. I don't know what I was expecting to read.

  You recognize no one, not even yourselves. Please don't panic, and read this letter in its entirety.

  It's a little late for the don't panic part.

  We aren't sure what happened, but we're afraid if we don't write it down, it might happen again. At least with everything written down and left in more than one place, we'll be more prepared if it does happen again. On the following pages, you'll find all the information we know. Maybe it will help in some way.

  -Charlie and Silas.

  I don't immediately flip to the next page. I drop the pages in my lap and bring my hands to my face. I rub them up and down, up and down. I glance in the rearview mirror and then immediately look away when I don't recognize the eyes staring back at me.

  This can't be happening.

  I squeeze my eyes shut and bring my fingers to the bridge of my nose. I wait for myself to wake up. This is a dream, and I need to wake up.

  A car passes, and more water is tossed across the windshield. I watch as it trickles down again and disappears beneath the hood.

  I can't be dreaming. Everything is too vivid, too detailed to be a dream. Dreams are splotchy, and they don't flow from one moment to the next like everything is doing right now.

  I pick the pages up again, and with each sentence it becomes harder to read. My hands become increasingly unsteady. My mind is all over the place as I scan over the next page. I find out Silas is definitely my name and that Charlie is actually the name of a girl. I wonder if she's the girl who is missing. I continue to read, even though I can't suspend disbelief long enough to accept the words I'm reading. And I don't know why I won't allow myself to believe it, because everything I'm reading certainly coincides with the fact that I have no recollection of any of it. It's just that if I were to suspend my disbelief, I would be admitting that this is possible. That according to what I'm reading, I've just lost my memory for the fourth time in a row.

  My breathing is almost as erratic as the rain falling against the roof of my car. I bring my left hand up to the back of my neck and squeeze as I read the last paragraph. One I apparently just wrote a matter of ten minutes ago.

  -Charlie got into a cab on Bourbon Street last night and no one has seen her since. She doesn't know about this letter. Find her. The first thing you need to do is find her. Please.

  The last few words of the letter are scrawled, barely legible, like I was running out of time when I wrote it. I set the letter down on the seat, contemplating everything I've just learned. The information is racing in my mind faster than my heart is beating in my chest. I can feel the onset of a panic attack coming, or maybe a breakdown. I grip the steering wheel with both hands and breathe in and out through my nose. I don't know how I know that's supposed to produce a calming effect. At first, it doesn't seem to be working, but I sit like this for several minutes, thinking about everything I just learned. Bourbon Street, Charlie, my brother, The Shrimp, the tarot reading, the tattoos, my penchant for photography. Why does none of it seem familiar? This has to be a joke. This has to be referring to someone else. I can't be Silas. If I were Silas, I would feel like I'm him. I wouldn't feel this complete separation from the person I'm supposed to be.

  I grab my phone again and open up the camera app. I lean forward and reach behind me, pulling my shirt forward and over my head. I hold the camera behind me and snap a picture of my back, then pull my shirt back into place and look at the phone.

  Pearls.

  A strand of black pearls is tattooed on my back, just like the letter said.

  "Shit," I whisper, staring down at the picture.

  My stomach. I think I'm about to be...

  I open up the car door just in time. The contents of whatever I had for breakfast are now on the ground at my feet. My clothes are being soaked as I stand here, waiting to get sick again. When I think the worst is over, I climb back into the car.

  I look at the clock, and it reads 11:11 am.

  I'm still not sure what to believe, but the more time that passes without recollection, the more I begin to entertain the idea that I may have just a little over forty-seven hours before this happens again.

  I reach across the seat and open my glove box. I don't know what I'm looking for, but sitting here doing nothing seems like a waste of time. I pull out the contents, tossing aside vehicle and insurance information. I find an envelope with our names written across it. A duplicate of everything I just read. I continue to flip through the papers until a folded piece of paper tucked at the very bottom of the glove box steals my attention. It has my name written across the top of it. I open it, first reading the signature at the bottom. It's a letter from Charlie. I start back at the top of the page and begin reading.

  Dear Silas,

  This is not a love note. Okay? No matter how much you try to convince yourself that it is--it's not. Because I'm not that type of girl. I hate those girls, always so lovesick and disgusting. Ew.

  Anyway, this is the anti-love note. For instance, I do not love the way you brought me orange juice and medicine last week when I was sick. And what was with that card? You hope I feel better and you love me? Pfft.

  And I definitely do not love the way you pretend that you can dance when you really look like a malfunctioning robot. It's not adorable and it doesn't make me laugh at all.

  Oh, and when you kiss me and pull away to tell me I'm pretty? Don't like that one damn bit. Why can't you just be like other guys who ignore their girlfriends? It's so unfair that I have to deal with this.

  And speaking of how you do everything wrong, remember when I hurt my back during cheerleading practice? And you skipped David's party to rub Biofreeze on my back and watched Pretty Woman with me? It was a clear sign of how needy and selfish you can really be. How dare you, Silas!

  I will also no longer tolerate the things you say about me around our friends. When Abby made fun of my outfit that day and you told her that I could wear a plastic bag and make it look couture, it was way out of line. And it was even more out of line when you drove Janette to the eye doctor when she kept getting headaches. You need to get a grip. All of this caring and consideration is so unattractive.

  So I am here to tell you that I absolutely do not love you more than any human on this planet. And that it's not butterflies I feel every time you walk into a room, but sick, one-winged, drunken moths. Also, you're very, very unattractive. I flinch every time I see your unblemished skin and think--Oh my god, that kid would be so much more attractive with some pimples and crooked teeth. Yeah, you're gross, Silas.

  Not in love.

  Not at all.

  Never Never.

  Charlie.

  I stare at the way she signed off and read those words through a few more times.

  Not in love.

  Not at all.

  Never Never.

  Charlie

  I flip the note over, hoping to see a date. There's nothing to indicate when it was written. If this girl wrote me letters like this, then how could everything I just read in my notes about the current state of our relationship even be true? I'm obviously in love with her. Or at least I was in love with her.

  What happened to us?

  What happened to her?

  I fold the letter up and put it back where I found it. The first place I go is to the address listed on the paper for Charlie's house. If I don't find her there, maybe I can get more information from her mother, or from anything I can find that we might have overlooked before.

  The garage door is shut when I pull into her driveway. I can't tell if anyone is home. The place is grungy. Someone's trashcan sits sideways next to the curb, trash spilling out onto the str
eet. A cat is pawing at the bag. When I step out of the car, the cat dashes down the street. I look around as I make my way to the front door. No one is around, the neighbor's windows and doors are all shut tight. I knock several times, but no one answers.

  I look around one last time before I turn the knob. Unlocked. I quietly push the door open.

  In the letters we wrote to ourselves, we mention Charlie's attic a few times, so that's the first place I search for. Charlie's attic. I'm meeting the attic before I meet the girl. One of the doors is open in the hallway. I walk in and find the bedroom empty. Two beds--this must be where Charlie and her sister sleep.

  I walk to the closet and look up at the ceiling, finding the entrance to the attic. I push clothes aside, and a smell fills my nose. Her smell? Floral. It smells familiar, but that's crazy, right? If I can't remember her, I can't possibly remember her smell. I use the closet shelves as stairs and make my way up.

  The only light inside the attic comes from the window on the other side of the room. It's enough to illuminate where I'm going, but not by much, so I pull out my phone and open the flashlight app.

  I pause and stare down at the open app on my phone. How did I know that was there? I wish there were rhyme or reason to why we remember some things and not others. I try to find a common link in the memories but come up completely empty.

  I have to hunch over because the ceiling is too low for me to stand upright. I continue across the attic, toward a makeshift sitting area on the far side of the room. There's a pile of blankets lined with pillows.

  She actually sleeps up here?

  I shudder trying to imagine anyone willingly spending time in a place this isolated. She must be a loner.

  I have to bend over more to avoid hitting my head on the rafters. When I reach the area she's made up for herself, I look around. There are stacks of books beside the pillows. Some of the books she uses as tables, topped with picture frames.

  Dozens of books. I wonder if she's read them all, or if she just needs them for comfort. Maybe she uses them as an escape from her real life. From the looks of this place, I don't blame her.

  I bend down and pick one up. The cover is dark, of a house and a girl, merging together as one. It's creepy. I can't imagine sitting up here alone, reading books like this in the dark.

  I set the book down where I found it, and my attention falls on a cedar chest pushed up against the wall. It looks heavy and old, like maybe it's something that's been passed down in her family. I walk over to it and open the lid. Inside, there are several books, all with blank covers. I pick up the top one and open it.

 
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