Home > Fashionably Dead (Hot Damned #1)(5)

Fashionably Dead (Hot Damned #1)(5)
Author: Robyn Peterman

Everything seemed to be in there . . . wallet, phone, makeup, gum, under-used day planner. Nothing important was missing. I was being paranoid. Everything was fine.

I eyed my beloved out of season Prada sandals lying on my bedroom floor. Shoes always made me feel better. Only in New York or Los Angeles would anyone know my adored footwear was four seasons ago. Certainly not in Istillwearmyhairinamullet, Kentucky. I got them on sale. I paid six hundred dollars that I didn’t have for them, but that was a deal considering they were worth a solid twelve hundred.

I pressed my fingers to the bridge of my nose and tried to figure out what day of the week it was. Good God, I had no clue. I suppose exhaustion had finally caught up with me, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I had done to be so tired. I vaguely remembered driving home from somewhere. I glanced again at my awesome shoes, but even my beautiful sandals couldn’t erase the sense of dread in the pit of my stomach.

“Focus on something positive,” I muttered as I wracked my brain and snuggled deeper into my covers.

Shoes. Think about shoes . . . not the irrational suffocating fear that was making me itch. Bargains! That was it, I’d think about bargains. I loved getting a good bargain almost as much as I loved Prada. Unfortunately, I also had a huge love for cigarettes, and I needed to love one now. Right now. I rummaged through my purse and searched for a pack. Bingo! I found my own personal brand of heroin and lit up.

WTF? It wouldn’t light because I couldn’t inhale. Why couldn’t I inhale? Was I sick? I felt my head; definitely no fever. My forehead felt like ice.

Okay, if at first you don’t succeed . . . blah blah blah. I tried again. I couldn’t inhale. Not only could I not inhale, I also couldn’t exhale. Which would lead me to surmise I wasn’t breathing. The panic I was avoiding had arrived.

“Fuck shit fuck fuck, this is a side effect. That’s right, a side effect. A side effect of what?” I demanded to no one in particular since I was alone in my room. I knew it was something. It was on the tip of my brain . . . side effect . . . side effect of not smoking. Side effect of not smoking? What the hell does that even mean? For God’s sake, why can’t I figure this out? I have an I.Q. of 150, not that I put it to very good use.

“Wait,” I hissed. “It’s a side effect of the hypnotism.”

God, that was bizarre, but that had to be it. I made that stupid bet with Gemma and got hypnotized to stop smoking by that big blonde Amazon at the House of Hypnotism. That’s what I drove home from. I wasn’t crazy. The Amazon must have forgotten to inform me that I wouldn’t be able to breathe for awhile afterwards. That’s what you get when you don’t read the fine print. Did I even pay her? I’m sure I’ll start breathing any second now. I’m so glad I figured this out. I feel better. For a minute there I thought I was dead.

I glanced out of my bedroom window at the full moon.

“Full moon? Oh my God, have I been in bed all day?”

I threw the covers off and stood quickly, still trying to figure out what day it was. The room spun violently and a wave of dizziness knocked me right back down on my ass. Little snippets of my dreams raced through my mind as I waited for the vertigo to pass.

God, that was a freaky dream. Oprah and Vampyres and yummy, creamy chocolate blood . . . you couldn’t make that stuff up.

The room quit spinning and I stood up slowly, firmly grasping one of the posts of my beautiful four poster bed. I reached up high above my head, arched back and popped my sternum. Slightly gross, but it felt great. I ran my hands through my hair, rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and bit through my bottom lip. Mmm . . . crunchberries. I licked the tasty blood from my mouth.

I wondered what time it was. If it wasn’t too late, I could get a run in and then I could . . . bite through my bottom lip?? Crunchberries? What the fu . . . ?

In my frazzled mental state, I heard a noise in the hallway outside my bedroom. I immediately dropped to a defensive squat on the floor. Way back in high school they told us, if you hear an intruder, get low . . . or was that for a fire? Shit, that was get low for a fire . . . what in the hell do I do for a burglar?

Good God, I was in my bra and panties. The blue granny panties with the unfortunate hole in the crotch. Not a good look for fending off burglars. Not a good look ever. On my never ending list of things to do I needed to add throw out all panties over seven years old.

I remained low, just in case. I duck walked over to my closet and grabbed one of my many old cheerleading trophies out of a cardboard box so I could kill my intruder. It was plastic, but it was pointy. I’d been meaning to give them to my eight year old neighbor. Thank God I was a procrastinator. Wait a minute . . . As I death-gripped my trophy I was overwhelmed with the scent of rain and orchids and Pop Tarts and cotton candy.

What the hell?

It wasn’t a dream. She was here? And apparently from the smell of it, she had a guest. I’d just cannibalized my own lip, my blood tasted like crunchberries, I could smell people in my house, I couldn’t breathe, my skin felt icy, and I think I might be . . .

“Astrid, are you awake?” Gemma called from right outside my door interrupting my ridiculous train of thought.

Oh thank you, Jesus. “Yes.” Was that my voice? It sounded deeper and raspier. And sexier?

“Get out here,” Gemma yelled. “Get dressed and change that underwear . . . it’s nasty.”

“Gemma, I have to tell you something weird, but you have to believe me and you can’t get mad,” I said through my closed door, ignoring the insultingly accurate underwear comment.

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