February 20, 1998
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
I blink rapidly. A Plymouth Breeze zooms past me and I notice the new dealer plate on the back.
It is Groundhog Day. I have been here before. Haven't I? There’s something about that song….that car….
A hand touches my arm and I am looking into Nick's baby face. His hair is long, parted in the middle and the tank top he's wearing droops on his scrawny body, the straps sliding off his shoulders. I look down at myself. I realize I am in a filthy lab coat. My wardrobe choice conflicts with the humidity that surrounds us. I inhale the salt water rolling in from the ocean.
"What happened? You look so young." Nick looks around. “We’re not in Kansas anymore. Actually, where did we just come from?”
"I don't know."
It is the truth. My heart is racing like something major has just happened to me...to us. I feel older and wiser than my body feels. Little bits and pieces seem to be scrambling to find a sensible place in my mind.
I don't know how I know, but I know that Nick and I should be happy we are here rather than where we just left. I know I’m supposed to meet Brian here.
I can see glimpses of the future.
There's a baby...
And then there's Nick. The floppy blonde haired teenager in front of me who is the opposite of my ‘type’ of guy is the guy who loves me and respects me more than anybody else in the universe does.
"I feel like someone took a chunk of my brain," he says slowly. "We've been here before."
The House of Blues is behind us; the beach sprawling out ahead. Nick looks at HOB and then at me.
"God, you're beautiful. Sweaty, but beautiful."
"You’re cute,” I offer.
“Cute?” He almost looks wounded. “Cute is what you say when you see a puppy.”
I figure telling him that his hair makes him look like a puppy isn’t the best thing to say. Instead, I make a general observation.
“We weren't here a minute ago," I say confidently.
"No," he agrees. "I vaguely remember us being married...and your boobs being bigger. And Ben..."
Nick and I look at each other. The name had escaped me, but comes crashing back. Ben. Brian's son.
"I feel like I'm one of those people that can see into the future," he says. "You can't be more than 19, yet I can see you in my mind..."
I finger the lab coat. I am incredibly sweaty. I shrug out of it knowing that it is a missing piece of the puzzle.
"At least whatever happened has happened to both of us," I say reasonably. Under the lab coat, I'm in a pantsuit that makes me feel like a lawyer. I scratch at the collar.
"It has to be aliens," he declares.
"Totally," his eyes light up. "We probably don't even know each other, but the aliens kidnapped us and made us their ambassadors. We have to know the future to prepare.”
“Prepare for what?”
“Well, they couldn’t tell us everything could they?”
All I can do is stare at him. He looks like he might pee his baggy jeans from excitement. He literally has to yank them up to keep from falling. The thighs of the black denim material fold in at odd angles. I have another momentary image of much juicier, naked thighs...
"Or maybe you're an alien," Nick continues, scrutinizing me harder. I smirk.
"Or maybe you are."
"Well, if you're an alien, you have fantastic taste. I'm quite a catch."
I can't help it; I laugh. He's so sadly pathetic. He's so not my type....
Yet the Nick I see in the future is almost irresistible.
We both turn at the sound of his name. A big body guard marches up to us. "Dude Kevin is about ready to kill me. You just disappeared. I thought you were just going for a smok---what the hell are you wearing?"
“It’s my new look,” Nick says automatically.
“You look like you’re playing dress-up in my clothes, dude. You’re going to lose your drawers. Come on.”
Nick glances at me and I see my panic reflected in his eyes. I have no money, no ID, and I’m dressed like a forty-year old businesswoman.
“Kevin found your cigarettes. I don’t think you’re going to want to bring her along for the blow-up.”
Cigarettes. I don’t know why, but I suddenly see Nick leaning against a wall smoking. It is right before I meet--
“Give me one second to say good-bye?”
The bodyguard gives me a smile. “Sure.”
Nick turns to me, but waits until the guy is out of hearing distance. “I know you sleep with Brian tonight.”
“I don’t have to,” I reason. ‘Awkward’ isn’t even the right word to begin to describe how weird it is to know that Nick will be thinking about me while I have sex with his best friend.
“True,” he smiles. “You could sleep with me.”
“I could,” I smile. Yes, he may be scrawny, but I know what the future holds for him. Yes, he totally isn’t my type, but he turns into my type, right? So I can totally sleep with him…
He leans towards me. “I’ll warn you that I haven’t hit my final growth spurt yet though.”
I stare at him blankly. He smirks.
I get it.
He grimaces. “I’ve got to go. Give me fifteen minutes and I’ll come down and get you. Just wait at the entrance.”
My heart constricts as he jogs away. My head is still swimming, but I at least feel safe with him around knowing that we’re both in this together. But alone…
Nick disappears around the side of HOB. I take off the jacket of my business suit, wad it up and stick it in the trash. Luckily, I’m wearing a silky white tank top. I instantly feel much cooler.
I head towards the entrance.
Fifteen minutes later, I am still standing at the entrance. I’m growing stickier and thirstier by the minute. I glance inside. It looks so much cooler…
After another five minutes, I head inside to the bathroom. I walk up to the sink and stare at my reflection.
A youthful, flushed face looks back at me. My hair is a tousled mess. I turn on the faucet, cupping the stream into my hands. I splash my face four times, gasping each time as the ice cold water meets my burning hot skin. I snake my fingers through my hair, trying to loosen the tangles.
It is hopeless.
Not wanting to waste more time, I step back out into the dimly lit hallway. I need to get back to Nick. I need--
I freeze. There is only one voice that can draw out a ‘hi’ that way.
Brian smiles at me. “Can I buy you a drink? You look a little hot.”