God, I’d made a huge disaster out of things. Typical, right? Without thinking, I just allowed my feelings to get ahead of my brain. Of course Dr. Day wouldn’t want to start a relationship with Reed. Whatever happened to my plan on getting him a GIRL-friend? And now, he was definitely NOT happy with his life like this and I was sooooo not going to break the curse. How stupid could I be?
After Dr. Day left, I heard a knock on my door. It was Reed.
“I really don’t want to do this now, Reed. Maybe in the morning?”
Jostling the bed, he said, “Liam…for what it’s worth, I understand. Coming to terms with your sexuality is one of the hardest things to do. I know it was for me. But I just want to say I won’t pressure you. Take all the time you need to decide.”
God, he was so nice. And that only made me feel three inches tall. It was like a bandaid that I didn’t want to take off but I had to. Rip it off and get it over with before I did anymore damage. “Yeah…about that…um…I’m not who you think I am, Reed, so…I can tell you now. I’m not gay, and I shouldn’t have led you on like that.”
“Sweetheart…I know what I saw tonight…and if you lie to yourself any longer it’ll only confuse you more. Can you honestly say that if we weren’t interrupted tonight that you wouldn’t have slept with me?”
Eek! A loaded question! How was I going to get out of this one? I REALLY liked Reed, but he wouldn’t want me in my original body. And that had to be my standard. Unless Dr. Day and I give up hope on getting back. I answered, “I mean…yeah…it probably would have happened, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. I have an obligation…”
He sat next to me and sighed. “I get it. An obligation to your girlfriend. I’ve been dumped for worse reasons.”
“I’m really sorry, Reed. I had a great time tonight but…the timing isn’t right. Not now.”
He jumped to his feet and padded to the door, saying, “Okay, Liam, I can wait. I believe you’ll come around when the timing IS right. I know what I felt tonight. You just need to come to terms with it yourself.”
I groaned inwardly as I heard him quietly walk out and close the door.
Flinging myself on the bed, I shook my head. “Why did everything have to be so messed up?”
The following morning I was determined to do as much research as I could to redeem myself to Dr. Day. That note about Ginny was nagging at me, telling me not to give up hope on finding a clue. I went to the university and checked out as many books on Sulani mermaid lore as I could. Surely it would show me something.
One story struck a chord. In it, a mermaid lured a man to the water. From there, she kissed him, turning him into a mermaid. What if that note was true? What if the reason Ginny disappeared was because a mermaid, the mermaid she’d seen when she was a child, actually found her again and turned her into one!
But then if that happened, what could I do about it? She was lost forever.
As I was musing over this stuff, Dr. Monteira’s hushed voice startled me. “Hello, Charlie. Find any good information in that book?”
It was so weird hearing my name, it almost freaked me out. “I wish. Nothing but endless dead ends.” I slapped the book closed.
Moving toward the bookshelves, Dr. Montiera stopped me and said, “Why don’t we talk over coffee downstairs? I have something I want to discuss with you.”
When we arrived at the university coffee shop, I got a double chocolatte mocha (nothing like having the metabolism of a rabbit to enable you to guzzle extremely high calorie drinks!) Then I slid into my seat. Not gonna lie, I was kinda freaking out on the inside just being this close to Todd AKA Professor McHOTTIE sitting right next to me. Yeah, okay, I’d just gone from one hottie to the next but it had been kind of easy in Dr. D’s body. Seriously, the guy was like a dude magnet. But note to self–this guy knew I was a gal! WOOT!
Todd took a sip from his drink then said, “I wanted to run something by you first before I asked Liam. In my earlier research, I’d discovered a shaman who lives in Sulani. I believe he might dabble in cases like yours.”
“Well, heck yeah, doc, you don’t have to ask twice. Let’s go to Sulani! I’ve got nothing else to do.”
He pulled out his phone and scrolled through until he found a website about strange phenomena, voodoo, etc. “Well, you see it’s not that easy. He purportedly lives at the top of an active volcano.”
“Hey, what’s a little hot seat when we’re in the hot seat, am I right?” I asked, giggling at my joke.
He shook his head. “Yes, but he doesn’t like visitors so the trip might be all for naught.
“We’d have to somehow convince him to help us. Make it worth while for him, maybe.”
“Like give him a bunch of money? You know…Dr. D is loaded. I’m sure I can vouch for him to pay up. He HATES being in my body.”
“No…nothing like that. It seems the shaman has a bit of a…um…foot fetish.”
“A foot what?”
Suddenly, my phone buzzed. It was Dr. D! “Speak of the devil. Did you know we were just talking about you? Your best bud here has some good…”
“Shut up, Charlene, for once and listen to me!” he yelled. “Get over here at your apartment right now! And don’t bring anyone. Understand?”
“Omg, Dr. Day. Yeah…what’s wrong? Are you okay?”
“Just get here!”
He clicked off before I could ask him anything else.
Todd arched an eyebrow. “Something wrong?”
My heart sped up as my mind raced to all kinds of awful things that might have happened to my body. “Yeah. Dr. D’s in trouble. I’ve got to go.”