Destiny Gift (The Everlast Trilogy) - By Juliana Haygert Page 0,1

sea-green eyes, and his smile always made my heart somersault.

Yes, Victor lived only in my visions, but I was in love with him.

I had been seeing him for nine months. Because of him, I had blown off too many dates, said no to too many guys. I had become unsociable, buried in my own fantasy world. But I didn’t regret it.

“Nadine?” Dr. Brown’s voice caught my attention. “What else do you dream about?”

I blew out a breath, crossed my arms over my chest, and held on tight.

And just like that I was back in my dilemma: being crazy and having Victor, versus being normal and losing him.

I didn’t care that every Saturday night my roommate gave me a lecture about being young and pretty and smart, about going out, having fun, and making out. I had happily exchanged those parties she’d wanted to drag me to just to see Victor. And I would do it again.

Saying goodbye to him scared me, but it wasn’t the only thing that made my stomach shrivel. What if I was insane? What if I was interned into a clinic under heavy sedation? What if I was given those shock treatments horror movies pictured so often? I couldn’t be incarcerated in a freak’s clinic—not at will, at least. I couldn’t lose Victor either.

My breathing grew shallow.

“I need to go to the restroom.” I stood, my hand over my queasy stomach, and dashed out of the room. I couldn’t do this after all.

Though, instead of turning left and going into the restroom, I turned right and walked out and across the reception. Once in the corridor, I ran.

I would not lose Victor.

***

On the subway ride home to Manhattan, I kept asking myself why the hell I went to a psychiatrist. Deep down, I knew I wouldn’t give up Victor for anything, so why bother?

An old lady sat beside me. She opened the morning newspaper, and I couldn’t help but peek at it. As usual, the headlines were one worse than the other.

In Australia, a terrorist entered a train station and blew himself up, along with hundreds of innocents. Acid rain damaged houses in Brazil and burned hundreds of people. In Canada, rabid doves invaded a church, killed the priest, and injured several devotees. A new virus was discovered in Africa that seemed worse than Ebola. Everywhere, assaults, robberies, killings, and other horrific events plagued the world.

Perhaps I should have been used to the disasters, but I wasn’t. I was born into this world, this cruel, dangerous, dark world—the world of chaos, as my mother called it—and yet, I was always shocked by the tragic events.

“I wonder if I’ll see the blue sky again before I die,” the old lady said. “I miss how life was before.” She folded the newspaper and turned to me. “Ah, the rivers were clean, there were trees and flowers everywhere, and summers were warm and sunny. We could actually walk down any street and not be afraid of being robbed. Now we have to be careful of bats.”

I could have told her I had been attacked by bats more than once, but I didn’t want to encourage her to keep talking.

She went on anyway. “God gave up on us. I’m sure of it. Thirty years ago. He left us and our world changed.”

Her words echoed in my mind, bringing forth an old memory. My grandma and little me strolled through the field where my dad worked. The lake had dried out, and the plantation was dying from lack of water and sun.

“The water is dirty, but serves its purpose nonetheless,” she explained as our feet crushed the dead stems. “The owner doesn’t make enough money to keep paying for the sun lamps to warm the herbs and make them grow.”

The image was forever etched in my mind: the darkness from the sky, the grayish brown from the ground. Even the rotten smell of dead vegetation made its way into my memories.

I looked around, confused. This was my father’s job. How would he support our family if his work was dying?

“You know, dear, I believe God abandoned us,” my grandma continued. She halted and looked at the dark clouds. “I pray and hope He’ll forgive us and come back someday.”

“Don’t you think?” The old lady’s voice brought me back to the present.

I nodded, not sure what she had asked, but not caring either.

My mind was on what had changed from the before world. Unlike the lady by my side, older people didn’t

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