Peg felt a hand shaking her gently.
"It's time to get up. Come on..you're going to be late for school." a voice said as she rubbed her eyes and sat up, pushing the heavy covers off her chest.
"Wait..what?" Peg asked, clearly confused. She ran a hand through her short hair and blinked at the bright light. It was the maid, waking her up as usual.
"Come on Peg..you don't want to be late for your first day of school your senior year. Senior year is the most important year of high school." the maid said, yanking back the covers. Peg shivered with the sudden change in temperature and wrapped her hands around her goosebumped arms. How had she gotten here? Yesterday she went to sleep in Lily's house and today she was back in her own room. She stared around at the posters on her wall (the bands Green Day, Good Charlotte and Panic! At The Disco stared back at her blindly), at the heavy, wine-colored carpet beneath her bare feet as she swung them off the bed and onto the floor. There was her desk with her MacBook with the customized Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington skin, her purple-skinned IPod with the black Skull Candy earbuds sitting next to it.
Peg shook her head as she got out of bed, not really sure what to make of it all. It was like the entire events of the last week or so hadn't even happened. As she pulled on her jeans and a vintage flannel shirt she'd picked up at a garage sale, Peg tried to make sense of it all. She stumbled downstairs in her bare feet, her head awash with confusion. How had she gotten from there to here? Had the last seven days all been some kind of really intense, bizarre dream? It just didn't make sense to her at all.
"Well, good morning sleepyhead. It's about time you got up." her dad chirped cheerily from the kitchen table as he sipped on a cup of coffee and read the newspaper.
"Dad?" The look on Peg's face was one of astonishment..her dad was almost never at home in the mornings when she got up for school unless he was sick. He was always at the office at the crack of dawn and almost never came home before she went to bed.
"Yes, Peggy?" he asked, looking confused himself. "What's wrong?" he asked as he got to his feet, setting the chipped coffee mug down on the Formica table.
"I..I don't know. You know how at the end of "The Wizard Of Oz" Dorothy wakes up in her own bed and can't believe the whole thing was a dream?" Peg said, sliding into a chair uneasily. Peter put his hands on her shoulders as he stood behind her.
"Yeah." he answered, his voice neutral.
"I'm feeling kind of like that. When I woke up this morning, I couldn't believe I was in my own bed. I thought..I thought I was on this ranch, kind of in the middle of nowhere and I was going to give horseback riding lessons to a little girl. And there was this woman, Lily, who took me in and stuff." Peg explained and her dad took a deep breath.
"Peregrine..it was all a dream, sweetie. Just a really intense dream. You know you've been having those since Dr.Koothrapalli started you on Paxil. Some of them I guess are just more intense than others. But that's all it was, sweetheart. It was just a crazy dream." Peter tried to reassure her but Peg pushed him away.
"It wasn't just a dream. It had to..It had to have been real. I FELT IT! It was real!" she insisted and Peter shook his head.
"No sweetheart, it was just a dream. Dr. Koothrapalli said this might happen, that you might have some really intense dreams that you thought were real. But they're not and this was one of those..it had to be." he told her and she fumed silently.
"Now, I've got to get to work, Peggy. If you need anything you can call me at the office, ok? And we'll talk. I love you, sweetheart. Don't be late for school." he told her and she sat there, puzzled. Her father had never acted this loving towards her before...something had to be going on. She just needed to figure out what it was. But before she could even begin to piece together this puzzle, she was dealt another shock. One that nearly dropped her to the floor in a dead faint.
"Oh hey, pumpkin? Can you pick up a couple of steaks on your way home from work this evening? I want to barbecue tonight and I need you to get the steaks for me." her mother said, giving her father a loving kiss on the cheek as he headed out the door. Peg stared like she'd just seen an alien or a ghost. Her mother HATED her father and the feeling was mutual, she assumed. So what was she doing here, acting all lovey-dovey like that? Peg's brow furrowed as she tried to work out exactly what was going on.
"Peg! Glad to see you're up dear..I didn't hear you come in last night. That must have been some party at Denise's house. You look like you've been pulled through a knothole backwards." her mother commented, giving her daughter a hug.
"Mom? What on earth are you DOING here? I thought you lived in Brazil, with Rafael?" Peg was feeling more and more confused every second. Her mother made a face, scrunching her brows together.
"What the hell are you talking about? Brazil? Who the hell is Rafael? I don't even KNOW a Rafael, sweetie. Are you..are you feeling alright? Maybe we should keep you home today and I'll call Dr. Koothrapalli..." Penny sounded concerned as she reached for the cordless phone next to the stove. Peg sank back into her chair, her head swimming as she tried not to faint. Something was very wrong here, but she couldn't quite figure it out. Her mother had taken the cordless phone into the formal dining room and Peg could see her pacing back and forth but couldn't quite make out what she was saying.
"Yes, that's right Dr.Koothrappalli. I think she's having some kind of a relapse. Should I bring her in to your office or should we go straight to the hospital?" Penny said, a worried note in her voice as she tried to be cheery and smile at Peg who stared intently at her.