Warning: sexual situations (at the end)
My body ached all over like I’d just gotten plowed by an eighteen wheeler and left on the side of the road for dead.
“What the hell did that blue hoodini dude put in those drinks last night?” I rubbed my throbbing forehead, hoping the knives that were being drilled into it would stop.
When I forced my eyes open, I blinked. Ugh. The side effects hadn’t worn off or I was still dreaming. Note to self: NEVER drink shots at a magical bar poured by a guy who looked like he belonged in a lamp.
Okay so the last thing I remembered was that drunken kiss I laid on Dr. D. And not gonna lie, it was pretty trippy to kiss myself but I was out of it, literally, so it didn’t matter. Right?
Then my surroundings slapped me as my hungover mind caught up with them. “Why does this place look so familiar?” I wondered.
That door and that desk and the rotting substance in that coffee cup looked almost like my old digs. But that couldn’t happen. I remembered MOVING out of there over a month ago. God, hallucinations were sooooo overrated. I didn’t drop a hit of acid last night, so what gave?
Coffee. That’s what I needed. And whereever I was in Glimmerbrook, I was sure somebody would sell some or I’d beg whomever we ran across to poof a mug for me.
Stretching, my back cracked loudly.
Geeze, my neck was so stiff. I hadn’t felt like this since…
This WAS my old place. I remembered spilling the contents of a What-a-simburger meal during one of my study sessions and was too lazy to clean it up.
And there on the desk was my makeup…
And Ancient Metals textbook…
Like in a creepy movie, I turned slowly toward the Henry Puffer mirror I’d gotten on sale for an insanely cheap price.
And when I saw the face that I’d been staring at with Dr. D’s soul in it for all this time, I wanted to shout to the rooftops.
I screamed, “OH MY GOD!”
Birds chirped loudly, berating my already pounding skull.
How much did I drink last night? I thought but couldn’t move. The bed was so comfortable, I sank into the mattress.
Maybe if I curled up on my side, the pain in my temples would subside. But it didn’t.
And then I remembered the events of last night.
“Shit,” I hissed, shooting up, making the room spin.
Thinking that maybe Charlene would be laying next to me, I whipped my head around to find it empty. Conflicting feelings of disappointment and relief startled me. On the one hand, I wanted Charlene, more than anything but…not in my body. That kiss was as close as I’d ever get. We’d both had a bit too much to drink and it’d just happened. But it was too weird for me. Shutting my eyes made it tolerable but I couldn’t keep that up.
I wondered where she was. Thinking about her traipsing around Glimmerbrook or even that magical realm made me nervous. “God…I’ve got to find her,” I groaned, trying to rub out the throbbing, hangover headache.
When I looked up, I realized I was in my bedroom–not in Glimmerbrook. And when I padded over to the mirror, I couldn’t believe who was standing there.
So the genie actually did a 180 on us and gave us back our bodies. Like wtf???
Thinking that I’d actually flown back into MY body meant that Dr. D was probably back in his. AND my hair had suddenly grown to its original state (as well as my body put back on the thirty plus pounds Dr. D had worked off. Like really, genie? You couldn’t let me have one positive souvenir from our body switching, hellacious episode?)
So, I knew I wanted to see him. Like sooooo badly. I straightened my hair and put on my best makeup (honestly, I missed getting girlie-fied so much, it was beyond satisfying to get ready this morning.) Then I hustled my ass over to his house.
Before I could knock on his door, he opened it.
The butterflies that were already in my stomach did their own flip flops. “Hi,” I said in a dreamy voice.
He looked at me as if I was still that stupid student, coming over to his house to bug him. OMG! Did he like get amnesia or something in the switcheroonie?
“What can I do for you, Miss Darby?”
My stomach knotted so much, boy scouts would have been jealous. “I…uh…w-wanted to…um…ask you a question?” What was I going to say? Like, so Dr. D, we were on the expedition and we found a genie and he’d cursed us, switching our souls, and we lived in each others bodies for weeks and so, through it all, we fell in love (or lust, not sure), then we switched back but you have no clue about it because the stupid ass genie decided to get rid of your memories. Geeze. Just my luck.
Staring at me with his familiar cold gaze, he said, “What did you want to ask?”
I sighed and shook my head. “Oh…just forget it.”
I was about to turn around when he swept me up in his arms and kissed me!
“Is that what you wanted to talk about?” he breathed, hovering over my face. Oh GOD! He was soooo sexy, I could hardly stand it!
Then he lifted me up like I was made out of marshmallows or something, still kissing me. I soooo wanted to get all naked and touch…uh…stuff with him because, not gonna lie, I kind of dreamed about it while I was in his body. It was weird to think like that when I was him but oh baby, it’s not like that anymore! This was gonna be delicious.
Then suddenly, Zack appeared out of nowhere, crashing our moment right when I figured Dr. D was gonna carry me to his bed. DANG! Blocked by his little bro.
“Whoa,” Zack said. “Looks like things heated up in the jungle between you two. Hope you got a little work done, at least.”
And oh my LORD, Dr. D couldn’t keep his hands off me. All he did was nod and blow in my ear, which made things even more unbearable. “Yeah…we kind of…found each other?” I said, not sure “when” we were…like did we just get back from the jungles like when we woke up in our bedrooms the first time? But at that moment, Dr. D was driving me batshit crazy, and I was either going to jump on him right then (sorry Zack, you’re gonna get an eyeful) or we were going to have to hustle out.
Dammit. My brother was in the kitchen all this time. And he seemed surprised to see Charlene and me together. I could only surmise we had teleported into our bodies at exactly the same time we’d arrived in them earlier when we’d first made the switch. That would make sense. And that would mean nothing had changed since we’d gone to the jungle. No weirdness with Todd or animosity with Reed. No seeing Ginny (as a mermaid? Maybe that wasn’t real?) or finding a whole assortment of gurus, spellcasters, and strange phenomena.
But one thing that was real whether all the rest was just a huge hallucination was my feelings for the woman in my arms. “Uh…Zack, I think I need to talk to my girlfriend alone, if you don’t mind.”
His eyebrows raised. “Your girlfriend? Say no more, big bro. Me and Reed will go out for breakfast. You’ll have the place to yourselves. And by the way, Myla is going to be so happy about this news.”
We wasted no time. In a rush to the bedroom, our clothes flew off and we made passionate love–an experience I’d never forget.
When we’d finished and held each other, I gazed into her eyes, so happy for the blessing the genie had given me. And it wasn’t until that moment I’d actually realized it. From when I first met her and how she’d infuriated me to living in her shoes on a miraculous journey, I understood her more than anyone in my whole entire life. We were meant for each other. Complete opposites that fit together like puzzle pieces.
“I love you, Charlene,” I whispered, with my heart squeezing, not able to really share my indescribable feelings for her. Those words felt underwhelming. We were bonded in a way no one else could share.
“I love you, too, Liam.”
We cuddled for the rest of the morning. I marveled at how happy I was–that I’d found a precious treasure–something I’d been searching for and thought I’d never discover.