Part #3 of Wake series by Lisa McMann
Praise for Lisa McMann’s
“Fast-paced. . . . Janie is a strong, appealing character, and the depictions of her emotional turmoil and her painful dilemma are absolutely believable.”
“The popular trilogy ends on a hopeful yet open note that will likely have fans clamoring for McMann’s next effort.”
“A fitting completion to this popular series.”
“You won’t be disappointed—this series is one of the best for Young Adult readers!”
“A quick, engrossing read . . . . A thoughtful, absorbing conclusion to a wonderful trilogy.”
—The Compulsive Reader
“The trilogy couldn’t have wrapped up more perfectly.”
A New York Times Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
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The First Thursday
What the Hell It Is
The Last Day
It Is What It Is
Janie—The Way Cabel Sees Her . . .
About Lisa McMann
For all those who have trouble at home.
You are not alone.
Many thanks to all my invisible friends who shared their painful stories about what it’s like to live with an alcoholic parent, and to Carl Loerwald at the Washtenaw Alano Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for all his help.
Thanks also to:
Jennifer Klonsky, whose tough suggestions made me cry Gone so much better. And, of course, to my agent, Michael Bourret, my favorite person on earth, for everything and more.
Diane Blake Harper, for being wonderful and for having the tackiest snow-globe collection ever. To Marcia and Dan Levy for all the early help—it was an honor to learn things from you. And to Joanne Levy for the priceless feedback. Go, NDP!
Matt and Kilian, for being awesome guys; Rachel Heitkamp and Kennedy, for letting me use their cool buzzword; and to Trevor Bowler, because I promised.
And to all the fans of the Wake trilogy: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for spreading the word about Janie and Cabe. You are amazing. I am grateful.
To anyone whose life is impacted by someone else’s drinking problem, please check out Alateen or Al-Anon at www.al-anon.alateen.org.
It’s like she can’t breathe anymore, no matter what she does.
Like everything is closing in on her, crowding her. Threatening her.
The hearing. The truth coming out. Reliving Durbin’s party in front of a judge and the three bastards themselves, staring her down. Cameras following her around the second she steps outside the courtroom. Exposed as a narc, all of Fieldridge talking about it.
Talking about her.
For weeks, it’s on the local news. Gossip in the grocery store. Downtown. People point, murmur with heads close together, those looks on their faces. Randomly coming up to her and asking invasive questions. Strangers, former classmates, leaning into her space, whispering, like they’re her closest confidantes: So, what did they really do to you?
Janie’s not cut out for this—she’s a loner. She is underground. It’s like she hasn’t even had time to let all the other stuff sink in—the real, the important. The Janie life-changing stuff. The stuff from the green notebook.
Going blind. Losing the use of her hands.
The pressure is breathtaking.
Just wants to run.
So she can just be.
Five minutes that matter.
Across the desk. The spot beside her, empty.
“I don’t know anymore,” she says. “I just don’t know.” Presses her palms into her temples, hoping her head doesn’t explode.
“Whatever you decide,” the woman says.
It is their secret.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006, 7:25 a.m.
“I can’t breathe,” she whispers.
His hot fingers lace her ribs, sear through her skin to her frozen lungs. He holds her. Kisses her. Breathes for her. Through her.
Makes her forget.
Afterward, he says, “We’re going. Right now. Come.”
She does it.
On the three-hour drive, she looks through eyelashes at her blurred fingers, curled in her lap. Pretends to be asleep. Not sure why. Just soaking in the quiet. And knowing, deep down.
Knowing that he,
are not answers to her problems.
She’s beginning to realize what is.
THE FIRST THURSDAY
August 3, 2006, 1:15 a.m.
The inquisitors are nowhere to be found on this side of the state. Here, at Charlie and Megan’s rental cabin on Fremont Lake, no one knows her. The days are peaceful but the nights . . . in a tiny cabin, the nights are bad. Dreams don’t take vacations when people do.
It’s always something, isn’t it? Always something and never nothing for Janie. Never, ever nothing.
Like the car a doctor once told her never to drive, she craves it. Craves the rebellious never, the elusive nothing. And when the next nightmare begins, she thinks about it for real.
Janie shakes on a lumpy sofa. Beside her, stretched out in a reclining lawn chair, is Cabe. Asleep.
He’s dreaming about her.
Janie watches, as she sometimes does when his dreams are sweet. Storing up memories. For later. But this . . .
They’re playing paintball in an outdoor field with a dozen faceless people. It looks like a video game. Cabe and Janie move through the obstacles and shoot at each other, laughing, ducking, hiding. Cabel sneaks up and takes two shots at Janie, two red paintballs.
They nail her right in the eyeballs.
Red paint drips down her cheeks, her eye sockets hollow.
He keeps shooting and takes out one limb at a time, until Janie is just a body and a paint-striped face.
He sobs, remorseful, kneels next to her on the ground, and then picks her up and carries her, puts her in a wheelchair. Rolls her away to an empty part of the field and dumps her out onto the yellow grass.
Janie pulls out of it. Knows she shouldn’t be wasting dreams. But she can’t help it. She can’t look away.
When she can see, she stares in the dark at the ceiling while Cabe tosses and turns. She slides her arm over her eyes, trying to forget. Trying to pretend like this hasn’t been happening for two months straight, on top of everything else. “Please stop,” she whispers. “Please.”
He dreams and she is forced awake again.
She holds her head.
Janie and Cabel are in the backyard of Cabe’s house, sitting in the green grass. Janie’s arms end at the elbows. Her eyes ar
Cabel is frantic. He pulls an ear of corn from a paper grocery bag and strips the silk away. Attaches it to one of Janie’s elbows. He plucks two marbles from the paper bag. Big brown Tiger’s Eye shooters. He pushes them into Janie’s sewn-up eyelids, pushes hard, but they won’t stick. Janie falls over backward like a rag doll, unable to catch herself without hands. The ear of corn breaks off her elbow and rolls away. Cabe cradles the Tiger’s Eye marbles in his hands.
Janie, numb, can’t watch anymore. And she won’t try to change it. Not a dream like that. Because it’s about her, and how Cabe is dealing with things. It feels completely wrong to manipulate that. She just hopes he never asks her to help.
Still, she doesn’t want him dreaming it, period. Not any of it. She kicks out her leg. Connects. Everything goes black.
“Sorry,” he mumbles. Goes back to sleep.
It’s been like this.
It’s like everything he can’t say comes out in his dreams.
Familiar stirrings put an end to dreams. A welcome relief. Janie rests on her couch half-asleep. Talking herself back up. Back to normalcy. She puts on her facade.
Until she can figure out what to do about it.
She hears the lawn chair creak, and then feels Cabel snuggling up behind her on the sofa. She stiffens, just a little. Just for a second. Then takes a deep breath. He slips his warm fingers under her cami and slides them across her belly. She smiles and relaxes, eyes still closed. “You’re going to get us in trouble,” she says. “You know your brother’s rules.”
“I’m on top of the blanket. You’re under it. They’ll be okay with that. Besides, I’m not doing anything.” He strokes her skin, kisses her shoulder. Slips his fingers under the waistband of her jammie pants.
“Dude.” Janie links her fingers in his. “Nope,” she calls out, in case Charlie and Megan are paying attention. “Nothing happening over here.” She murmurs to Cabel, “You’re making breakfast. Right?”
“Right. I’m starting the fire with my mind, frying bacon with my darkest, crispiest thoughts. And you thought you had a special ability. Think again, missypants.”
Janie laughs, but it comes out strained. “Did you sleep okay?”
“Yeah.” His chin scratches her shoulder. “Well, as good as anybody can sleep on weaved strips of fibrous plastic and a metal rod riding his ass.” He nips her earlobe and adds, “Why? Did I have a nightmare? You always make me nervous when you ask that.”
“Shh,” Janie says. “Go make me some bacon.”
He’s quiet for a moment, and then he gets up. Slips into his jeans. “Okay, then.”
They do vacationy things. Sitting around with Charlie and Megan, drinking coffee, making breakfast over the campfire. Relaxing. Getting to know one another better.
She stares at everything, afraid she’ll miss something that needs to be seen before it’s too late.
She really doesn’t know how to do vacations.
Besides, some stuff you just can’t get away from.
But she’s brave. Everything appears normal. Even though inside, she’s wrecked.
It’s been a tough few months.
Facing them—Doc, Happy, and Dumbass—was way more difficult than she thought it would be. Reliving all the lies. The setup. The assaults. All the things those teachers did. It was horrible.
Now it’s over, the buzz has died down, but things are still hard. Getting on track again, and facing the reality of a blind and crippled future—it’s hard. Having a mother who’s a drunk is hard too. Thinking about college, where sleeping people are everywhere . . . and a boyfriend, whose doubts and fears only come out in his dreams. Life in general . . . yeah. All of it.
Janie and Cabe do the dishes together. Cabel washes, Janie dries. It feels so homey. She grips a plate tightly, wiping it with the towel. Thinking.
Wants to know if he’ll voice his dream fears.
And so she blurts it out. “Do you ever think about what it’ll be like? You know, if we stick together, and me all blind and hobbling around, dropping and breaking dishes ’cause I can’t hold on to them . . . . ” She puts the plate in the cupboard.
Cabel flicks his fingers at her, spraying her with water. Grinning. “Sure. I think I’m pretty lucky. I bet blind people have great sex. I’ll even wear a blindfold so it’s fair.” He bumps his hips lightly against hers. She doesn’t laugh. She steadies herself and then grabs a stainless steel skillet by the handle and starts drying it. Stares at her contorted reflection in it.
“Hey,” Cabe says. He dries his hand on his shorts and then strokes Janie’s cheek. “I was just joking around.”
“I know.” She sighs and puts the pan away. Throws the towel on the counter. “Come on. Let’s go do something fun.”
She focuses her mind.
It’s cold in the water, but the afternoon sun is warm on her face, her hair.
Janie bobs in place, knees bent, arms straight but not locked, trying to balance. The life vest knocks about her ears. Her well-toned arms are like sticks shooting from the vest’s enormous sockets. Janie’s glasses are safely stowed inside the boat, so everything is blurry. It’s like looking through a wall of rain.
She takes a deep breath. “Hit it!” she yells, and then she is yanked forward, knees knocking, arms shaking. She grips the rope handle, knuckles white, palms and muscles already sore from two previous days’ efforts. Lean back, she remembers, and does it. Let the boat pull you up.
She straightens, sort of.
Wobbles and catches herself.
Her bum sticks out, she knows. But she can’t help it. Doesn’t care, anyway. All she can do is grin blindly as spray slaps and stings her face.
She’s up. “Woo hoo!” she yells.
Megan is a gentle driver at the wheel of the little pea-green speedboat. She watches Janie in the rearview mirror like the good mothers watch their children, her brow furrowed in concern but nodding her head. Smiling.
Cabel faces Janie, in the spotter position at the back of the boat, grinning like he does. His teeth gleam white next to his tan skin, and his brown hair, streaked with gold from the sunshine, flips wildly in the wind. His nubbly burn scars on his belly and chest shine silvery brown.
But they are both just blobs to Janie from seventy-five feet away. Cabe yells something that sounds enthusiastic but it’s lost in the noise of the motor and the splash.
Janie’s legs and arms shiver as they air-dry and then get slapped with spray again. Her skin buzzes.
Megan keeps them close to the willow-treed shore. As they approach the town’s beach and campground, Megan eases the boat into a wide semicircle, turning them around. Janie tenses into the turn, but it’s only a mild bump over the wake. Once they straighten out again, Janie moistens her lips, and then, determined, she gives Megan the thumbs-up.
Megan complies, and speeds toward the dock near the little red-brown shellacked cabin, one of six dotting the shore at the Rustic Logs Resort, and then she continues past it. Exploring new territory.
I am such a badass, Janie thinks. She squints and makes a daring and ultimately successful attempt to cross the wake again as the two in the boat cheer her on.
By the time Janie senses it, it’s already too late.
A woman lies sunning herself on a water trampoline, skin gleaming from tanning oil and sweat. Janie can’t make out the scene, but she’s all too familiar with the warning signs. Her stomach twists.
Janie flies past the woman and becomes engulfed in darkness. There’s a three-second-flash of a dream before it’s all over and she’s out of range again. But it’s enough to throw Janie off-kil
If you fall, let go of the rope.
Janie surfaces, coughing and sputtering, her head on fire. Amazed that the oversize life vest is still attached, though she’s all twisted up in it. Feels queasy after swallowing half the lake. She wipes the water from her stinging eyes and peers through the blur, disoriented, wishing for her glasses. Ears plugged. When weeds suddenly tickle her dangling feet, she eeps and her body does a little freak-out spasm of oogy-ness, after which she tries not to think about being surrounded by big yellow-orange carp . . . and their excrement.
Blurg. Not fond of this, hello.
Boats whine in the distance.
None of them sounds like it is coming to rescue her.
Finally she hears a muffled chugging. When the motor cuts, Janie calls out. “Cabe?”
It’s still the only name that feels safe on her tongue.
In the boat, Cabel wraps a towel around her. Hands Janie her glasses. “You sure you’re okay?” His eyes crinkle and he’s trying not to grin.
“Fine,” Janie growls, peeved, teeth chattering. Megan checks out the bump on Janie’s head, and then hauls in the tow rope.
Cabel coughs lightly and then presses his lips together. “That was quite, uh, quite the display, Hannagan.”
“Are you actually laughing at me? Seriously?” Janie rubs her hair with a towel. “I almost died out there. Plus my brain is now infested with plankton and carp shit. You’d better watch it, or I’ll blow a snot rocket at you.”
“I’m . . . eww. That’s disgusting.” Cabe laughs. “But seriously, you really should have seen yourself. Right, Megan? I wish we had a video camera.”
“Dude, I am so Switzerland,” Megan says. Rope stowed, she revs up the engine and swings the boat around, back to the dock.
Gone by Lisa McMann / Young Adult / Fantasy / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes