Chapter Twenty-two

Kurt had given them all the day off because he was going to California to visit his daughter for a long weekend.
So David had the day to relax.
And wait for his cell phone to ring.
Which it hadn't.
And it had been two hours since he had woke up.
While he waited, he flipped through the channels on the TV. He actually found one of his movies. A romantic comedy. Pretty embarrassing. He had made it when he was nineteen.

 Maybe she had forgotten his number. Maybe she wasn't good at memorizing things. Maybe he should have made her repeat it five times instead of just three.
He tried to concentrate on the movie, and started to think that the guy on the screen had lost his brothers just two years before.  He also remembered that Cassandra was in this movie.  This was small role she had gotten by dating David.  All of this made him depressed.  Plus he felt embarrassed watching himself. So he clicked on the DVR menu.  He picked a random episode of The Simpsons.  It was “Maggie Makes Three”, the episode where Maggie is born.  But this reminded him of Cassandra. It was the only episode she could tolerate.  She’d always cry at the end and David would fight back his own tears.  Very touching episode.  He had to admit that.
But still.
He didn’t like that episode anymore.
He deleted it.
He picked a random episode of Charmed....the one where Piper becomes a Fury.  It was a hilarious episode.  He skipped to the part where Phoebe and Piper realize the book of shadows is missing.
The phone rang.
His heart pounded. But then he realized it was his house phone. Not his cell phone.
 He picked it up.
"David? How are you!"
"Fine!" Either a telemarketer or a reporter. They liked to make you think they were your best buddies...keep you on the phone as you tried to remember who they were.
"How do you feel about doing an interview with The Globe?  Give your side of the story."
 "Sure,"  David said.  He paused Charmed leaving Alyssa Milano with a really funny facial expression.  He laughed.
 "So, how do you feel about the accusations?"
"What accusations?"
"About you being gay?"
"I'm being accused of homosexuality?" David laughed. "What a crime.           

"Is it true?"
"No." He said. "But the one about me being a reptilian alien disguised as a human is completely true." He hung up the phone. Amused. But still anxious.

When would his cell phone ring?
He unpaused Charmed and watched.
He Waited.

 Rachel held her phone in her hand. She sat on her bed, legs crossed.
She had been in the same position for exactly two hours and three minutes.
She could not bring herself to dial the number. She had enough nerve to talk to David in her dreams, but she was petrified about talking to the real David in real life.
And she was even more scared she'd call, and it wouldn't be David. She was scared it would just be some guy who coincidentally had the phone number her imagination had come up with.
Or maybe it would be scarier if it were David. What in the world could she say to him? What if it ended up the dreams were real, but he didn't remember them when he woke up?  What if she called and he had no memory of giving his phone number to her. What if he yelled at her? What if he hated her?
Rachel pressed talk. She listened to the steady tone. She hung up. She waited about ten minutes. Then she dialed five of the numbers. She hung up again. She considered just forgetting about it.
And another possibility came to her. What if it was the phone number of someone she knew? Someone from her past? What if her subconscious turned the number into David's? What if the old friend recognized her, and asked why in the world she was calling.
So many terrifying possibilities.
Rachel's hand shook like crazy.
And she was sweating.
She decided to give up. Go take a walk. Get fresh air.
And the next thing she knew, she picked up the phone again and dialed the number. It were as if her hands had taken on a mind of their own. She thought of taking back the power and just hanging up.
But she didn't.
"Hello?" A male answered; his voice as anxious as hers. Could it be? She had never heard his voice in phone form before. It didn't NOT sound like him. But she couldn't say, oh yes. That's him!
Rachel didn't say anything. She felt a strong urge to just hang up.
"Who is this?"
"Is anyone there."
 "Um. Sir?"
"Yes?" he said. Was that anger in his voice? Or hope?
"My name is Rachel."
Now it was his turn to be silent.
 Rachel couldn't take this. "I'm sorry. Wrong number. Bye." She hung up quickly.
Seconds later, the phone rang again. She looked at caller ID hoping it would give a name. That would help. It would either be David Tirlson or it would be someone else. Game over. But no. It said "Name Unknown".
She pressed talk.
He didn't even say hello or any other such pleasantries. "How did you get my phone number?" Was that anger? Interest? Curiosity? Rachel couldn't tell.
And Rachel didn't answer. This guy's interrogative manner scared her.
But then it changed. His tone became gentle. "Rachel?"
"Uh huh?"
"Did I give you the number?"
"I do know who you are." He laughed. "Or I think I do. You'll think I'm crazy if you're not." He laughed again. "Then we can just both forget this conversation ever happened."
Rachel had never fainted before, but she thought it could happen now. She felt dizzy. Nauseated. Her vision was fuzzy.
"Rachel. I am David."
 She couldn't speak.
She couldn't do it.
She hung up the phone.
She ran to the bathroom and threw up.
It was all real.
She had spoken to the man of her dreams; in the literal and figurative sense.
She should be happy. And she was happy.
But also terrified.
Who in the hell acts like this in such a situation? She thought back to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Did he vomit when he found out he was a wizard? Did Dorothy vomit when she got to Oz and met Glinda the good fairy? No! Of course not. Normal people happily accept it when they enter the world of fantasy.

 The phone rang again.
Rachel decided to just ignore it.
But then decided she needed to be brave.
She picked up the phone. "Hi."
"Why did you hang up on me?" He seemed more amused than angry. And he didn't wait for an answer. "So this is real! I told you so!" She didn't say anything. "Why did it take you so long to call? I've been sitting here all morning. Waiting. Doubting? Thinking I was crazy."
"Sorry." That was the most Rachel could manage. At the moment.
"I wonder if Daphne is real too. I guess she is. And Jason? Or maybe just you and I are real. And they're figments of one of our imagination?"
Rachel had a really bad taste in her mouth from the vomit. She hated throwing up.
"Rachel? Are you there?"
"I'm here."
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah." And in a way she was super okay. But she was terrified. Her emotions were running in all different directions. She had never felt like this before. Suddenly, she found tears streaming down her face. And she was too choked up to talk; not that she had been talking so much anyway.
"I can't believe I'm actually talking to you." He laughed. "Unless this is a dream too."
A possibility. But her heart told Rachel it wasn't.
David agreed. "It's real," he said. "I know it. I think deep inside I always knew it. Probably from the first time I met you. Remember when I was all tied up and you came in. Daphne was a statue."
"Yeah," she remembered.
"I think sometimes we know things. But our rational mind tells us it's impossible. So we deny what we know."
"That makes sense to you?" he asked.
She nodded.
"Hello? Rachel?"
"Yes," and for the first time she relaxed a little.
"So now that I know for sure you're real." he said.
"I want to know everything about you. Everything."
"No being shy. And after you tell me everything, I'll tell you everything you want to know about me."
    Rachel didn't have the nerve to tell him she already knew almost everything about him. Would he be this nice if he knew she was one of his biggest fans? Would it be flattering to him or creep him out?
"First of all. How old are you?"
"Are you in high school?" he asked.
 "Just finished." she said.
"Oh. Forgot. It's summer." He went on with the questions. College plans. Family. Friends. Hobbies. Basic stuff. But he didn't want to stop there. He went beyond polite pretending to care. He seemed to really want to know about her. Rachel couldn't remember anyone, in her entire life, being that interested in her.
"So how long have you done the food blog?"
 "About two years."
"And how did it all start?"
    "Well, just as a joke," she explained. This was back when she actually liked Jessica. A little. They had taken pictures of the cafeteria food...the really disgusting-nutritionally horrifying meals. Rachel decided it would be funny to post the pictures on the Internet and ended up making a blog about it. She kept taking cafeteria food pictures and posting them-without Jessica who lost interest after the first day.  "But," she explained to David, "That got old. So I just started taking pictures of food in general. Stuff I cooked, stuff I ate at restaurants."
"It sounds really great," he said. "I love food." He laughed. "Well, I guess most people do."
He then asked to see her website. She was a bit self-conscious and embarrassed, but he insisted. So she gave him the address.
He asked her a few more questions, then finally stopped. "I just thought of something."
"What?" she asked.
"If you're real, than Eddie is probably real too."
"And so are the games," Rachel finished for him.
"How many points do we have?"
Rachel had no idea. "Maybe three or four?"
"Maybe we should call Daphne and Jason too. So all four of us take the games seriously.
 "I'll give them my number," David said. Rachel felt a twinge of jealousy. Would David ask Daphne the same amount of questions? Would he be just as interested in her as he was Rachel? Would he be even more interested?
"Well, Rachel--"
Oh no.
 "I better let you go. Don't want to take up your whole day.”
Rachel realized in some ways she had felt the phone call would go on forever. She didn't want it to end. She was finally feeling somewhat okay about everything. She didn't want to say goodbye.
But she did, because she didn't want to sound overeager and desperate.
"It was nice talking to you."
She hoped he'd say something like "Maybe I'll call you later."
 Instead he just said "I guess I'll see you in the dreams."
"Kind of like Freddy Krueger." He gave an evil little laugh, then went back to his normal voice and said good-bye.

Subpages (1): Chapter Twenty-Three