Do Overs, Part 2:
Vree had agreed to meet with me after the game. She, Liam, and I, sat at the lower level of the bleachers behind the backstop and home plate.
She and I were older—she fifteen, about to turn sixteen in two months—and strangers. Liam and I were sixteen and born in February. He was eight days older and had his driver’s license. Vree planned to get hers in August.
She did not remember ever meeting me, so I pretended to have visited Ravenwood only once when I was five years old. But Liam caught me in my lie.
“You told Amy that you and Vree met two years ago,” he said, giving me the once-over all over again.
Flustered, I took in a deep breath and wound up my courage. It was time to tell the truth.
I told Vree about our first meeting, rescuing Laurie Burnett, Amy’s band ARC, The Roundhouse, and Nancy Pennwater Stephenson.
She did not know Nancy. Her parents were not the owners of The Roundhouse—Liam’s Uncle Paul owned the place and called it The Roundabout. She never sang in Amy’s band, which was The Amys and had been for almost three years. And, after punching me in the upper arm for mentioning it, she emphatically insisted she had never ever been pregnant and didn’t plan to be for several years.
Then she looked at me as if I had lost my mind.
“I know it sounds crazy,” I said, “but it happened. Ravenwood has changed. After the woman in white came, Ravenwood and everyone in it vanished. When it came back, an old man with a German shepherd lived in your house.” I omitted the vanishing cider mill, the yellow fairy, and Vree’s return when she told the fairy to take her home. “Now you’re back and almost everything about you is different. I don’t suppose your mom is named Deborah and works as a nurse at the hospital.”
“Her name is Karri. She’s a schoolteacher. She teaches ninth grade science.”
“And your dad is probably not a dentist named Charles.”
“His name is Michael. He was a lawyer until lightning struck and killed him last summer.”
“I’m sorry for your loss,” I said. “So, is Vree still a nickname from your initials VRE?”
I nodded. “Other than that, it seems I know very little about you … the new you.”
“What about me?” Liam asked. “How have I changed?”
“I don’t know you at all, though you remind me of a guy named Leonard who lives next door to one of my cousins. We call him Lenny. You look just like him.”
“I have to go,” Vree said when a white Chevy station wagon drove into the parking lot. Rubber tires crunched gravel before the car stopped some forty yards away. The driver—a dark-haired woman with very short hair—honked the horn.
“Is that your mom?” I asked.
“Yes.” Vree stood. “Maybe I’ll see you around,” she said before leaving.
“I should go, too,” Liam said when Vree’s mom pulled away and drove off with Vree riding shotgun.
He picked up his fishing rod and left me alone at the bleachers.
“You’re too close to your characters,” a woman said. I looked around, but no one was there. “You cannot see what’s happening until you distance yourself from them.”
I waited for her to say more.
I stopped typing.
To be continued.