This heightened fucked-up-ness spurs me to make an appointment with Dr. Greyson.
“It’s been awhile,” I state the obvious before Dr. Greyson gets the chance.
“I’m here when you need me.” He leans back, hands folded in his lap.
“Thank you. Can I just throw everything out on the table and let you figure out how to piece it all together?”
A tiny grin graces his face. “I can’t promise to piece anything together, but I’m here to listen and help in any way I can.”
I sigh, readying myself for the big spill. “I’m engaged to Griffin.” I hold up my hand so he can see my ring.
“Thanks. I love him. I’m happy with him. He’s my dream come true. I love his family. I love that his family loves me and even my mom. Our moms have lunch together. They’re genuine friends. We’re planning a spring wedding. I want a hundred babies with Griffin.”
Dr. Greyson lifts a single brow.
“Okay, maybe like four … but you get what I mean. My relationship with my mom has greatly improved. She’s living again, not just grieving my father’s death. And she’s even started taking photos again.”
I pause to catch my breath.
“It sounds like things are going well for you.”
“I know, right? It’s the perfect life. What more could I possibly want or need?”
He nods. “I sense there’s more. Maybe the true reason for your visit?”
“It’s Nathaniel Hunt. I know this feels like a conflict of interest. I’m not sure he even still sees you. I haven’t asked. But here’s the issue: He thinks I’m the reincarnation of his childhood friend. The things I told you I know about him? He thinks it’s because I’m his friend Daisy. I didn’t believe this for the longest time because I didn’t remember her, only him. How could I be her and not remember her? It makes no sense.”
Dr. Grayson leans forward and steeples his fingers. Things are serious since we’re already at steepled fingers.
“The problem is … I’ve had these memories or flashbacks of her. And I say her because I still don’t connect her to me. But the only logical explanation for these memories and my knowledge of this time before I—Swayze—was born is that I’m her. So …” I sigh. “I honestly believe I’m her.”
He narrows his eyes a bit, making a slight shift of his head to the side.
“Now, before you feel obligated to solve the reincarnation mystery, I have to tell you that’s not exactly why I’m here. I’ve decided to accept that I’m her. But I don’t want to be her because I like my life as Swayze. So I got Nate to agree that we wouldn’t talk of her again. And I don’t talk about her anymore with my fiancé either. But …” I reach back and rub my neck with both hands.
“You can’t control your thoughts and they keep going back to her and the memories you have.”
“Yeah.” I cringe. “But it’s not just that. I can ignore memories, push them aside. It’s the feelings. Nate and I grew close over this. I think in some ways we were Nate and Daisy again. Not romantically.”
I feel like this isn’t entirely true. But it’s not entirely false either. It’s … complicated.
“Friends,” I say. “Very familiar friends. But that complicated my life with Griffin, so I asked Nate to forget about the past. Daisy. My memories. I asked him to treat me like an employee. Period.”
“And how is he doing with that?”
“Great. That’s the problem. He’s giving me exactly what I wanted, and it was good for a while, but now it doesn’t feel so good. The thing is … I miss him. Things feel cold and very robotic between us.”
“What do you miss?”
“His smile. When I met him he was this broken man who lost his wife. But over time he smiled and joked. It was nice. Now his smiles seem forced, and he hardly looks at me. It’s a simple good morning and good night.”
“Are you worried he’s not happy now?”
“Is he?” I know he can’t answer that, but I’d love to know.
Dr. Greyson retrieves his famous tin of mints. “Does Swayze miss him or does the part of you that feels like his childhood friend miss him?”
“I don’t know. I have trouble separating the two when I’m around him.”
He opens his side drawer. “I’m going to give you the name of a colleague of mine. I’d like you to pay her a visit. I’ll let her know to expect your call. She’s well-trained and quite knowledgeable about the theories of past lives.”
I take the business card from him.
Professor Hazel Albright
I squint at the card for a few seconds, fighting for the connection. I’ve heard her name before.
“She’s written books on this topic.”
My gaze shoots up to his. That’s where I’ve seen her name. Nate has her book in his nightstand.
“She’s at the university?”
“Yes. She’s a professor there, but she takes on a few cases of particular interest.”
“And by particular interest, you mean reincarnation.”
“By particular interest I mean rare cases referred to her by trusted colleagues.”
I nod, staring at her card. I wonder if Nate knows her? Standing, I slip the business card into my purse. “Do you believe in reincarnation?”
“My beliefs don’t matter. They’re just that … beliefs.”
My lips twist. “I didn’t believe in it. I still can’t really wrap my head around it, but if I don’t choose to accept it as the answer, then I’m just a crazy person. I don’t want to be a crazy person.”
Dr. Greyson stands, escorting me to the door. “Swayze, you’re not crazy.”
I chuckle. “Will you write that on my chart so I have it in a permanent medical record?”
He grins because he doesn’t know about Erica and Doug Mann and the Daisy connection. That might make him second-guess my sanity.
Every evening I give myself a pep talk before walking into the house. I have a nanny. Her name is Swayze Samuels. She’s just a nanny. Morgan’s attached to her, so while I should look for a new nanny, I feel like Swayze is best for my daughter—not for me.
“Dashing through the snow …”
My head jerks back as I open the door to the greeting of Christmas music. It’s two weeks until Thanksgiving. Why is there Christmas music playing?
The door chime makes Swayze jump as usual. She spins around, hugging Morgan to her. I hate that her smile fades when she sees me. I hate that I can’t get the fucking nerve to share my own smile.
“A little early for Christmas music.” I set my bag on the chair, keeping my eyes on Morgan while I wash my hands.
“Is it ever too early for Christmas music?”
“Yes.” I steal Morgan from her. “Hey, baby doll. I missed you today.”
Swayze holds her spot next to me. Usually she’s halfway out the door by now.
“Thank you, Swayze. Drive safely,” I say as if I’m talking to Morgan because I don’t like looking at Swayze. Or maybe I don’t like the way she looks at me like I’ve done something wrong.
“Did uh …” Her words lack any sort of confidence. “Did you have a good day?”
I glance over at her and sit on the sofa, letting Morgan’s strong legs push off mine in her constant desire to bounce. “It was fine. Thank you. Did you have a good day?”
“We did.” She hugs herself, rubbing her lips together and shifting her weight from one leg to the other.
“Okay. Well … glad to hear it.”
“Doing anything exciting this weekend?”
“Just the usual.” Why is she stalling? “You?”
“My birthday is Sunday, so we’re having a family dinner at Griffin’s parents’ house.”
“I didn’t know. Happy early birthday. Twenty-two.” I shake my head. “Enjoy your youth.”
She nods, working the hell out of her lips. Her mind must be racing. I can see it in her tight brow. I can predict where this is going, but she’s conflicted about breaking her own rules. I’m not going to help her out, and maybe that makes me a dick, but I’m so lost right now I refuse to make any assumptions with her.
“You’re not that old. I think a lot of people would say anyone in their thirties still retains a lot of youth.”
I grin at my smiling baby. “Hmm … maybe so.”
“So …” She rocks back and forth on her heels. “Have a good one.”
Halfway to the door she stops and turns. “Jeez, would it kill you to share a little? I know what I said about keeping things professional, but how is it that when I mention my birthday is Sunday you have no natural instinct to say, ‘Oh, really? My birthday is tomorrow.’”
Morgan’s chubby hands reach for my face. I kiss her fingers. “I didn’t know your birthday is Sunday until you mentioned it, but I assumed you might know that my birthday is tomorrow. Sorry. I get a little confused as to when we’re being honest and when we’re supposed to pretend. I went for the honest assumption, but clearly you wanted me to pretend. So, wow! My birthday is tomorrow. How crazy is it that our birthdays are just a day apart?”