But why am I Jessica?
I reread what I just typed on my computer screen once again.
My name is Katie Smith. I am 24 years old, and I just graduated with my master's degree in Chemical Engineering. I want to get a cat soon after I get settled in my apartment. For my hobbies, I enjoy running, seeing movies in the theatre, volunteering, and singing.
This introduction bio is stupid. No one at my new job is going to take me seriously if I send this out on my first day. I laughed at myself. What I wrote was true but cringe worthy to read on my Mac Laptop. There I was, sitting in my new apartment in Kansas City avoiding what I really needed to do by writing a crummy and bland bio that my hiring manager had requested I prepare to send out on my first day of my new job. I knew it was time to suck it up and stop putting off unpacking my boxes. I had just moved in, and I would start at my new job in two days. Luckily, I didn't have a lot of things to move with me when I finished graduate school.
I closed my laptop on the kitchen island. Once again, another distraction came to the forefront of my mind as I found myself wanting to take in my apartment space rather then begin unpacking. It was truly a dream having my own place after all the hard work of enduring six years of college. The white plush carpets, light gray walls, the open space and modern design. It was everything I dreamed of. My life was on the right path. While I wanted to continue enjoying the fruits of my labor, the reality of the situation was that it was getting late on a Saturday night and I just needed to get my shit done.
I decided to start at the top of my pile of boxes. Among the three available to choose from at the top, I snickered to myself when I identified the one to kick things off with. It was an obvious choice to begin with the box labeled, "Katie's crap". I smirked at the name. The penmanship and clever naming title could only be credited to my sister. Jenna had helped me pack from my shared apartment in Ohio just yesterday. She was a good sister. I found a box cutter in my tool box and went to work to break the box's seal.
"No!" I exclaimed immediately upon opening the top flaps. I had just set my eyes upon my favorite book in my teenage years, Twilight. The memories quickly came flooding back to me. Edward and Bella's love story spread out in four books. The rest of the three in the series were stacked underneath the one that started it all.
Should I donate these to Good Will? Do they even accept books?
I felt guilty thinking about giving them away, but I really had no use for them anymore. They served their purpose of comforting me during a difficult time in my life, but that was then. I was over it now. Plus, dwelling on it more, I did not idolize the love story between Bella and Edward anymore. The relationship was unrealistic, unhealthy and not appealing. From the few relationships I have had in my life so far, I learned there is a lot more to loving someone then portrayed in the books.
Oh well, they were a fantasy story.
I spent the next hour unpacking two additional boxes after "Katie's Crap" until I realized, I did not have any toilet paper for my new home. It required immediate attention to be prepared before I actually needed it. I recalled there was a convenience store a few blocks away open 24 hours. I decided to pop in my headphones and listen to my newest playlist on my phone as I made my way to the store. I anticipated it would be a quick trip which was perfect since it was dark outside. Nothing good happens when it is dark outside, or so I am told. I had walked two blocks over from my apartment complex when I finally saw the convenience store across the street. I was delighted the high tempo songs I was listening to kept me on pace for a quick trip. I needed to make more headway in unpacking this evening. I looked both ways before beginning to cross the street after the walking signal flashed at me from across the way. I was almost there.
I hope the next song on to play is-
"Jessica? Jessica! Are you okay? Can you hear me?"
Hot breath that smelled like coffee polluted the air in front of my face.
Did I get hit by a car when I was crossing the street? Is that why my head is killing me?
The pain was excruciating. I could attest it was worse than the hangover I had after my 21st birthday. I lifted my right hand from my side to touch the source of the pain. The lump felt like a decent size. I knew I needed to get up.
I should go to the hospital to be sure I am okay and call Jenna.
I needed to open my eyes first though, but I was frightened. Opening them would make my current situation real.
"Jessica just moved her arm," I heard someone say with pride.
"Oh, thank god. Last thing I need is another serious injury in PE to report to the principal. Get up when you're ready Stanley and see the nurse."
Who the f**k are Jessica and Stanley? And why aren't people concerned about me? Did this driver just mow people down or something?
The courage to figure out what the hell was going on inspired my eyelids to release their shield around my eyes.
Where the flying f**k am I?
My eyes absorbed an environment my brain could not process. The monstrous headache I was battling mixed with the confusion of my new surroundings, was too much for me. All I could take in was a baseball field, lots of teenagers, a manly looking woman next to me, and a gloomy sky before my world went black again.
When I came to, I heard light whispering around me. I could not focus my concentration on the words enough to actually understand what was being talked about in the hushed voices.
Am I brain damaged? Was I hallucinating earlier?
I prayed to god the next time I opened my eyes, I would be in a hospital bed with Jenna sitting in a chair by my side.
Maybe she is talking to the doctors now about my condition?
The thought of seeing my sister again stimulated that part of my brain that allowed my eyelids to try this one more time. And…I was let down. Again. An encore of "Where the f**k am I?" played right in front of my eyes once more. I was bewildered by my surroundings.
Do paramedics take patients now to a nearby Urgent Care instead of a hospital?!
Referring to my current whereabouts as an Urgent Care was a generous description. But, I felt bad comparing it to the ambiance of a nurse's room you would find in a public school. It didn't help that the walls were a salmon pink supported by a dull gray tile. Classic public school nurse's office décor. My bed, or maybe cot, had a hot pink thick fabric cover sheet slightly drawn around my area, for privacy I assumed. I did not understand why they wouldn't pull it all the way around me in that case. I looked across at the wall in front of me and spotted a flu symptoms poster.
I need to talk to the doctor and get out of here as soon as I can.
"Hello? When can I see the doctor?" I directed my questions to the open room. I hoped the figures masked by the curtain could hear me.
"Jessica don't be rude. You know you are not in a hospital." The manly woman from before was now standing in my view. Her body was thick and muscular. One could almost question if she was a woman, if not for the long hair and light makeup she poorly applied to her face.
Why will these people not acknowledge me? Where is this Jessica character? Or, are they talking to me?
"Who is Jessica?" I had to ask. The splitting headache was still present, and I did not have the brain power to figure out the mystery for myself at that moment.
"Are you screwing with me, Stanley?" I looked around the room visible to me. I observed only empty cots aside from mine. I wondered why I could not see Stanley or Jessica.
"I am sorry, I have no idea who this Stanley and Jessica are. I need to see the doctor now though. If you cannot help me get the doctor, I will figure it out myself." I didn't mean to say that so coldly, but I was pissed. I wanted to go home, talk to my sister and finish unpacking.
The other figure popped around from behind the curtain. The lady with bouncy blonde hair was dressed in business casual attire with a white overcoat. I realized the doctor had finally arrived and I started to relax. I knew with the doctor's arrival, my time in the Urgent Care was almost over.
"Jessica, do you not know who you are?" the doctor in the white coat asked me while directly looking in my eyes like she was confident I was "Jessica".
Why are they calling me Jessica? I am really starting to freak out here despite my poker face. What do I do? Do I claim who I am? Something is not right though... These people look like they know me decently. If I claim who I am, will there be repercussions? I need to figure out what is going on first. I will pretend I have amnesia as "Jessica" and then get the f*** out of here and find Jenna.
"I am sorry, but I don't know who I am. Is that my name? Is it Jessica?" I asked innocently to the doctor.
"Okay, now this might be reportable to the principal. Shit! Nurse Wright, will she be okay?" the brute woman asked Nurse Wright. Nurse Wright pursed her lips. The fine lines around her mouth were not softened by the action. They became more pronounced on her skin. Her pale blue eyes glistened as she mulled over the question if I was going to be okay. I was sure I was going to be fine physically, once the headache passed. Mentally though, I had my doubts.
"It might be a concussion and temporary amnesia. We should request she be taken to the hospital for a CT scan and an appointment with a doctor. Maybe Dr. Cullen can do it?" Her voice seemed laced with worry. I was in favor of this plan. I could use the opportunity to make my escape.
I hope this Urgent Care isn't far from the hospital.
The two women nodded in agreement then disappeared behind the curtain once again. I tilted my neck to the left side of my head on the stiff pillow underneath me. It was the only comfortable position I could create to rest my eyes, before they would inform me of my hospital transportation.
I peacefully dozed off believing the misunderstanding of my identity would be cleared up soon enough.
I woke up to hearing, "Yo, Jess-ih-kah. Big Mike is here. I volunteered to take you to the hospital, so I can skip the Calculus quiz Mr. Davis was handing out. Great timing! Heard Bella popped you good with the baseball bat when you were playing catcher in PE. Sorry to hear about that. You will feel better though after I take you over to see a doctor." The cheerful voice belonged to a boyish looking fellow with pale blond hair and clear blue eyes. I may have found him cute if he didn't look underage to me.
Why is this Big Mike taking me to the hospital? An Uber! I should call one. That reminds me, where is my phone? Ugh, this headache is reducing my ability to think sharp in this situation. I should have thought of this sooner. I can call Jenna and she can explain to everyone who I am. Brilliant!
I looked at Big Mike. "Can you ask Nurse Wright for my cell? I can just Uber there, no biggie," I informed him happily.
Big Mike immediately laughed at my request. "That hit to the head must have really scrambled your brain, Jess. Your parents took your cellphone away from you a month ago and you still haven't got it back yet. Otherwise we would be talking more outside of school." Big Mike winked at me. It sent shivers down my spine and not in a good way. "And what the heck is an Uber?"
Maybe Lyft is the popular ride share in Kansas City? And why did this Jessica person have her cell phone taken away by her parents? Can she not afford her own phone and phone plan? She sure is making it difficult for me to get the f**k out of here.
"Or a Lyft. Can I borrow your phone to order one? I can pay you back." Big Mike's brow wrinkled with concern and he shifted his lips in a grimace. His now perplexed expression slightly alarmed me. My hope to make my independent escape died swiftly once Big Mike opened his mouth.
"You are right, Nurse Wright. Something is really off about Jessica. I will take her now." Big Mike's tone was now serious unlike when he first started conversing with me. I sighed and decided to just roll with the circumstances. I would keep up with this Jessica persona until I was checked out at the hospital, and then I would run for the hills. In the moment, it dawned on me I should request to have my personal belongings given to me before Big Mike whisked me away.
"Sure, but before we leave can I have my personal affects returned to me." I secretly hoped my wallet and headphones would help restore my identity. I was weary to think they had my cell phone since Big Mike assured me Jessica did not possess one at the time.
"Jessica, you were in PE. All that stuff is in your locker, and it will be there when you get back. Let's go." Big Mike chastised me like I was a toddler. What he just said did not make sense to me. I was aware that the pounding on my head made my thoughts slow, but it was hard to believe I couldn't even put two and two together to figure out how I ended up in my current circumstance. Big Mike's hand gently peeled away the white soft blanket that had been enveloping my body since I first woke up in the Urgent Care.
I looked down at my clothes and stared in horror. I was wearing a plain gray t-shirt and navy-blue gym shorts.
Why am I wearing different clothes than what I left my apartment in!? What is going on?!
Big Mike forced me on my feet and out of the bed. Upon standing up, my sense of the world around me was off.
Where did my height go!? Am I dreaming?
I pinched up upper left arm. The slight twinge of pain that resulted from the pinch felt real. I reached out and pinched Big Mike's elbow.
"Ow! What was that for?" Big Mike gawked at me like I was a crazy person doing something out of character.
"I wanted to make sure I wasn't dreaming," I stated without hesitation.
"Don't you pinch yourself for that reality check though?" he asked incredulously. His bulged eyes were beginning to return to their normal size.
"It was for good measure to check you out as well." Big Mike smirked now at my response.
"Come on crazy, let's get you fixed up." Big Mike pulled me by my hand out of the room I had spent the last hour or so in. The exit of the room led to a long hallway, similar to a school.
No way! Are we in a school?
Big Mike guided me with his hand in mine down the hallway. A loud bell rung through the area as we were only halfway down the hallway to what I presumed was our exit.
"Damn. It's about to get crowded in here. Just keep holding tight Jessica and we will be at my car soon." Big Mike seemed like a decent guy. It escaped me why he was called Big Mike when I assessed his appearance as a boy under 6 feet and of a medium frame. But, I was grateful to have a ride to the hospital to shortly end this nightmare.
We were so close to the exit doors, when Big Mike's name was called. "Mike! Hey, will she be okay? I am so sorry Jessica. I am such a klutz. They should have never let me participate." I looked up slightly from the ground and saw the soft voice of sincerity came from a plain looking girl with chocolate brown hair and matching brown eyes. I didn't know what to say to her, I just wanted to leave and be out of this situation indefinitely. I bobbed my head at her and felt Big Mike's hand tug me forward. "I'll update you later, Bella. She will be fine."
"Make sure my dad sees her. She will be in good care." The next voice came from a boy standing beside the girl. He was very good looking with copper hair and gold eyes. They were a mismatched couple only based on appearances. The way he looked at me, it felt off. At first I wanted to characterize his look as disdain, but it actually appeared to be more like an upset confusion.
Perhaps he is annoyed I didn't forgive his girlfriend verbally? Who cares! I am NEVER going to see these people again.
"I'll ask if he is on shift when we get there." Big Mike responded sternly to the copper haired boy as he neared us to the exit door. For some reason, I got the vibe they had beef over the girl who beamed Jessica with a baseball bat.
My journey with Big Mike finally had come to an end. He escorted me in his black honda accord to the hospital within five minutes from the school we were at. During those five minutes, it really sank in that I was not in Kansas City anymore. My current whereabouts resembled the small town feel I experienced during my undergrad education. I could not fathom how I got here, unless I was kidnapped. But there were also other things I couldn't explain to assure myself I was still Katie Smith. The first thing I needed to do in that hospital was look in a god damn mirror.
Big Mike took care of everything when we got inside the tiny hospital. Big Mike being buried in paper work provided me with the perfect opportunity to look myself in the face to this "reality" I was in. I found a single use women's restroom not too far from the front desk. I felt Big Mike's eyes on me as I walked in. After I closed and locked the door, I shut my eyes. I was having trouble of thinking of different scenarios that could play out based on who I saw staring back at myself in the mirror. The headache I was enduring was still messing with my thinking capabilities.
Just do it, Katie. Once I confront what the hell is going on, I can find a way to get out of this ordeal.
Feeling pumped up after my pep talk, I snapped open my eyes. I took in my appearance with a gasp escaping from my lips. My straight and thin, long black hair was replaced with thick and wavy light brown hair that just passed my shoulder. The eyes gawking back at me were a cerulean blue and not dark brown as they should have been. The frame of my body was more petite, and I was short. I confirmed the short height when I backed up to the measuring marks on the wall. I barely passed 5'1". I should have been 5'6".
Who the f**k am I? Why am I here? Why don't I look like myself?!
"Jessica, are you okay? You have been in there for a while." Big Mike sounded concerned. I hadn't realized I was in there for a long enough period of time to warrant concern. I decided to put a pin in figuring everything out until my head ceased feeling as if a hammer was being thumped on it constantly. I opened the door and Big Mike's expression softened almost immediately upon seeing me.
"Dr. Cullen is going to see you now. Let's go back to the room they have for you." Big Mike grabbed my hand and ushered me down a series of hallways into a private room with light green walls. Dr. Cullen, a very good looking man, was already waiting for us in the room. I was in disbelief. Usually the situation was the other way around.
The size of lump on my head and other factors made Dr. Cullen believe I did not need a CT scan. While Dr. Cullen continued to examine me, he mentioned his son Edward and his girlfriend Bella. I couldn't place why everything seemed so familiar. These clues were being presented to me, and I did not know how to piece them together. Dr. Cullen was concerned with my lack of familiarity with my surroundings and people. He reviewed the facts for me.
"Your name is Jessica Stanley. You are a senior at Forks High School. You are 17. You are classmates with my son Edward Cullen. This is Mike Newton, a good friend of yours that you've grown up with here in Forks. I am Dr. Carlisle Cullen, and I have looked after your family for a few years now. Mike can fill you in on more details. I think you have some temporary amnesia from the hit, but I believe you'll recall everything within a few days. Just keep looking for opportunities to familiarize yourself with your life and something will trigger your memories to come back. In the meantime, I am going to prescribe some extra strength pain killers for your headache." Carlisle Cullen smiled at me and I knew I was f**ked.
I must have been hit and killed…is this my heaven? But why am I Jessica? Should I not be the lead protagonist Bella to live out my teenager heaven dream of being with Edward?! Why did I have to die? I was just beginning my adult life! Why am I here after my death? Can I go onto the next phase of heaven? How do I get out of this fresh living hell of Twilight?!
"Sure, I'll do my best, Dr. Cullen. I am very optimistic. Thank you for your help." I smiled sweetly at him. I had to pretend I was on board with this and then get the hell out of here.
Carlisle rose and left the room after I agreed to come back for another check up in a week. Mike f**king Newton escorted me out of the hospital and explained it was his duty to take me home. He surprised me though by taking me to pick up my prescription first before he dropped me off. When he parked outside of Jessica's house, I gave him a proper hug as a thank you. As scary as this whole ordeal had been, Mike had been very supportive.
As soon as his car was out of sight, I booked it down the street. I had no idea where the hell I was going. A major driving force of my break for it was that I was partially concerned I was going to find out I was in a "Wayward Pines" novel situation with no roads leading out of Forks, Washington.
I never got to find out though. I had run raggedly for over an hour, this body was not as cardio equipped as I was used to, until a silver Volvo cut off my path. Oh you got to be kidding me. Edward Cullen is here?
The driver's side window rolled down. "Jessica, a lot of people have been looking for you. They are concerned."
Oh god, I am living in a Wayward Pines novel! They won't let me escape!
I didn't respond and dashed off the road into the woods nearby. My adrenaline drove the body I inhabited forward despite its protest it was not capable. "Don't make this difficult, please." Edward's voice called after me.
F**k him. I am escaping or will die trying.
I wondered if it would piss him off hearing my thoughts.
Wait! He could help me? He could look into my thoughts and see I am NOT Jessica f**king Stanley from the Twilight Books.
I stopped running and held out hope that my teenage fictional crush could ultimately be my savior. I turned around to face Edward as he walked closer to where I was standing. I did my best to project all the thoughts of my real identity towards him.
"You ready? Let's go." I didn't understand the annoyance reverberating in his tone.
"Don't you have anything to say to me?! Don't you know now?" I yelled in anguish as I threw my arms up in the air. I secretly begged him to acknowledge he knew I was Katie. But if he knew... he gave no indication to me. I could only presume that he had to ignore I was Katie because then he would reveal he was a vampire to me.
"Look, I know you hit your head and things are confusing to you right now. Carlisle explained it to me." Exasperation was evident in Edward's steel cut words. I crossed my arms across my chest in a defensive strike.
"Hey, isn't that a breach of patient and doctor confidentiality? He shouldn't be telling you that!" I was bewildered I could ever think of Edward as some god-like man to love once. I felt some bile trail up in the back of my throat at the mere thought of it.
"Everyone knows, Jessica. The high school is small; any news spreads fast. God, I wish I knew what you were thinking!" Edward shouted in frustration. My body flinched.
Can he not read my mind? What the f**k is going on?