VMW-5: The Unexpected

Bella's POV

When I woke up I was lying in my own bed at home and I could hear the faint voices of my mom and Phil downstairs, the crowd cheering from the baseball game Phil was probably watching, and once again I looked out my window and saw the moon glowing brightly. I felt a strong sense of deja vu and hazily left my bed and stumbled down the stairs. Mom and Phil both turned to face me as they heard me come down the stairs.

"How are you feeling?" Phil asked. "Groggy," I answered, adjusting to my surroundings. It almost felt like I was seeing everything for the first time, as I scanned across the living room and kitchen. "Yeah, you still look out of it, sweetie," Mom observed. "You want something to eat?" she asked. "We have takeout from Auntie Jo's!"

I smiled,"Yeah, that sounds good. I'm just gonna head back upstairs and get rid of this morning breath." Renee nodded and turned back to the kitchen as I quickly jogged back upstairs. Hm? Why was I asleep again? I thought about it for a moment but no matter what I kept drawing a blank. I tried to think back to earlier in the day but nothing stood out to me, I know I went to school but couldn't remember anything else that happened before I woke up. That's strange.

Then suddenly a part of me said to forget about it, to not mind it, it was no big deal, I took a nap, that's it. Stop overthinking it.

"Bella, come down! Your dinner is ready!"

"Coming!" I yelled back. I rinsed my mouth and quickly put my toothbrush away and made my way to the kitchen. When I got to the table my food was served and Mom was seated across from me with her coffee mug. I chuckled when I saw it, on her mug in bold letters were the words, Probably wine.

I ate dinner quietly as I listened to Phil watching the game between listening to my mom share about her day, gossip, and how she finally found her missing earring in her makeup bag.

"I was so relieved Bella!" she exclaimed. "Your grandmother gave them to me on my 16th birthday, the diamonds and gold are real you know?"

"Why was it in the makeup bag in the first place?" I asked, as I twirled my fork in my pasta.

"I think it was after Phil and I came home from our date, it was so late and I was so tired. I didn't even want to put it back in jewelry box and chucked it into my purse instead. I guess my makeup bag was open and this one fell in it," she replied and touched her left earlobe.

She was wearing them now, like she usually did before she lost them. She almost always had them on except for when she went to bed because they bothered her and couldn't sleep soundly with them on. "Now I can I give these to you on your 18th birthday," she smiled.

I shook my head. "No, you love those earrings Mom." "Grandma Marie gave them to you, so you should be the one to keep them. Besides, I could never wear something so valuable," I added.

"Yes you can, and you will. I know you don't like receiving presents because you think it's troublesome for others to spend money on you but," she paused, "these are technically hand-me-downs so there's nothing you can complain about."

I narrowed my eyes at her triumphant smile as she took another sip of her coffee.

"They are still too valuable," I continued.

"I'm not taking no for an answer," Mom said with determination as she stood up from the table and left to join Phil on the couch.

"So stubborn," I mumbled to myself and finished my dinner.

After that I headed back upstairs to do my homework and wondered to myself, Did I do my homework before I went to sleep?

Once again I remembered how weird it was have this gaping hole in my memory.

Why can't I?

Suddenly I froze mid-step on the stairs as I suddenly recalled Miranda standing over me with her hazel eyes suddenly becoming blue and continually repeating, "Forget, forget, forget, forget it all. Forget me. Forget the hallucination. Forget. Forget. Sleep. Sleep. Forget and sleep."

"Miranda," I murmured.

"Bella?" I turned to see Mom staring at me. "What's wrong?" she asked.

I blinked. "Nothing," I replied, surprised at how casual I sounded, how my face didn't betray the emotions swirling within me.

"Are you sure?" she prompted.

"I'm fine, Mom," I smiled, "I'm just thinking about homework," I lied smoothly. For once in my life, I was lying without stuttering, and awkwardly shifting my eyes, or anything else that was obviously gave me away.

"Okay, well good luck," she said and turned her attention back to Phil and the TV.

I nodded and hurriedly went up the stairs and rushed to my room. I shut the door behind me as soon as I was inside.

"Oh crap," I said to myself. "I think something is seriously wrong with me."

I paced back and forth with my mind reeling from the sudden memory.

"Who's Miranda? What the hell was that in my head just now?"

I flopped down on my bed and buried my face into the pillows as I tried to suppress a scream. It was all too unbelievable. I stayed still on my bed as I tried to sort out my thoughts and as time passed my memories slowly resurfaced and when they did I felt with an absolute certainty of three truths.

One: Miranda manipulated my mind and memories. I don't how she did it but I knew that she did. As for why, from what has happened and what she said, she was trying to prevent me from asking further about my hallucinations and the truth behind them.

Two: It wasn't an hallucination. I was a mermaid. Miranda told me herself before she knocked me out.

Three: My mom knew about it. About all of it.

I remembered how strange she acted when I told her about my hallucination, how she quickly took me to see Miranda, and most importantly how I had been asleep for most of the day yet she acted completely natural about it. Phil didn't mention anything about it but I guess she made up some kind of excuse to him.

I wanted answers, I needed answers, but there was no one to turn to and suddenly no one I could trust either. The only ones who could give me answers were the same people who were keeping me in the dark, and they were willing to drug me with false herbal remedies and manipulate me in order to do it.

I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what the truth is and I'm sad because I can feel this divide developing between my mother and I. We have always been so close and been so open with each other, now even that doesn't feel real.

Were there other times when I had my mind messed with? If, so then when? Honestly, how would I even know if there has been?

I sighed and buried my face into my pillow again. "It's so messed up," I cried into my pillow.

I watched out my window as Phil opened the car door for my mom and waited for them to drive off and turn down the street before running down the stairs. I tripped and landed on my knee but quickly got up and raced out the door. I sent a quick text on my phone before running to the gas station down the street. I looked around the lot for a while before I saw it, a brown sedan parked with its engine running.

I had spent the better part of the week rummaging throughout the house for anything of my mom's that would give me answers. It wasn't easy since I had no idea what I was looking for and my mother was so scatterbrained and disorganized that she left her stuff everywhere in the house. After coming up empty I realized that I had no choice but to get my answers from Miranda.

I took a bus last time but that took too much time so I made a deal with Corey. He was failing our class and had a car, and his parents were going to revoke his driving privileges unless they were brought back up. I managed to overhear him talking to his friends about it and made a deal with him to be his tutor and occassionally copy my homework in exchange for a ride every now and then.

"I was beginning to think you flaked," Corey said when he saw me. I opened the passenger door, "Nope, I was just held up by my parents," I told him. "Thanks for this," I added. Corey smiled tightly, "As long as you get me to pass Algebra." I nodded. "I will. Whenever you need me," I promised."Alright, where are we going?" he asked as he began to put the car in reverse.

"It's not far," I assured him. "It's just a friend's house, keep driving down main and make a left at KFC."

Corey drove in silence as I gave him directions, once we arrived at Miranda's house I thanked him once again with a copy of Monday's homework and asked him to pick me up in an hour. I watched him drive away before carefully looking around me and hopping over her fence. Although, I didn't find any answers from my mom I knew I could find them here. The thing is that Miranda can come back at any moment. If she catches me I can have my mind wiped all over again and I wasn't sure if I would notice it again. Carefully I reached up to her window and peeked inside. She's not home. I took a deep breath. To be honest to myself this was the most reckless I've ever done and I didn't exactly have a well thought out plan. But, I couldn't wait and I knew if I truly thought about it I would talk myself out of it.

The window was open thankfully except for the mesh screen meant to keep bugs out. I scanned the edges and searched for a weakness that I could exploit. Around the edges were screws, I reached into my bag and searched for what I had. I brought a flashlight, pepper spray, black gloves,but not a screwdriver or any other tool. To be honest I'm amazed about how stupid I am to be so ill prepared for this.

I searched her backyard and found a shed, surely this is where she'll have some tools?

As I walked closer I realized that there was a padlock secures to the door, disappointed I retreated back to where I was. At this point I was beginning to panic, the longer I stayed the more likely I was to get caught.

Maybe she hid a key somewhere? I scanned the area, she really has nothing back here.

"This is just sad."

I jumped at the sudden voice. I stood frozen too scared to turn around and face her.

"Turn around," she commanded. I cringed.

I slowly turned around and saw a girl close to my age standing with a smirk on her face.

"Not who you expected?" She teased.

I shook my head.

"Not what I expected," I replied honestly.

The girl grinned while within a large mass of water surrounding her. The lower half of her body was completely submerged and the top half was completely dry.

"Where..?" I asked in disbelief, scanning the yard again. Not only the girl but this entire pool of water wasn't here before, both had suddenly appeared.