parked in his space behind his building. His sense of dislocation made even those most familiar surroundings feel surreal. He hurried along the sidewalk beside Tallulah’s and turned right at the corner, keys clutched in his hand, thinking of the nooks and hidden corners of the apartment where some evidence might still be found that he did not live there alone.
Music came from the café, acoustic guitars and voices raised in song. He heard it only vaguely, like elevator Muzak, too focused on the task ahead. But a few steps past Tallulah’s he heard the music grow louder as someone opened the door, and a voice called his name. Hope flickered and died within him as, for half a second, he thought it could be Jenny. But it wasn’t her voice.
The woman had lovely, anguished features and bright pink hair. Everything about her spoke of desperation, from her black clothing to the imploring look in her eyes. “Jim, please say you know me,” she whispered.
He blinked in surprise and studied her. “Trix?”
Something burst within her. She let out a sob and rushed to him, threw her arms around him, and held on tight. Trix Newcomb. Jenny’s best friend. Thinner than he remembered, her pink, jagged-cut hair such a radical departure from her usual look, she was barely recognizable at first. Now she wept into his shoulder, trying to talk but unable to get words out past the sobs.
“Trix,” he said again, in wonder. With some effort, he pried her away from him, staring into her face. “You remember.”
Eyes wide, she caught her breath. “I just …” She gestured at her clothes, then grabbed fistfuls of her hair. “I changed . In, like, a millisecond. I totally freaked. I didn’t know if someone had slipped me something or, shit, I just didn’t know. I went to call Jenny and her number wasn’t in my cell. Yours, either. I was already online, and I went to find it on her Facebook page, but it’s gone, so I looked for her blog, only that’s gone, too. So I called information and your number is unlisted and there’s nothing for her and then I started calling around and …”
Her voice stopped working. Her mouth opened and closed, but her lower lip quivered and fresh tears slid down her cheeks.
Jim hugged her again, so relieved to see her, to have her know him. He wasn’t alone. And if Trix remembered Jenny and Holly, then that meant that Jim wasn’t crazy. They had existed. Somehow they had vanished, and who- or whatever had taken them had managed to eliminate them from the minds of anyone who had known them, except for Jim. And now Trix.
“Holly’s gone, too,” he said. The hardest words he’d ever spoken.
“Where … where are they?” Trix pleaded with him.
Jim didn’t let her go. Trix had become his anchor. “I don’t know,” he said. “But we’ll find them. I swear we’ll find them both.”
You Won’t Make a Fool Out of Me
O NCE , T RIX had dreamed that Jenny loved her. More than that, she had dreamed that they were in love, and so fiercely that when she had woken from that dream, it had broken her heart to realize it wasn’t real. It hardly seemed fair. She had loved Jenny since college, constantly fighting not to be the love-struck lesbian her friends had warned her she might become, mooning over the straight girl she could never have.
Over the years she had forged her love for Jenny into something sweet and mostly selfless. In the beginning, Trix had wanted to hate Jim, but she’d found herself unable to do it. They had too much in common. They had Jenny in common. And over time, Trix had come to realize that she cared for Jim nearly as much as she did Jenny, though in a very different way.
Then Holly had come along, and that had caused a metamorphosis in Trix. All the romance and lustful thoughts she had harbored for her best friend over the years had receded as her dedication to Jenny became a love for and loyalty to this family. Jenny, Holly, and even Jim … they were as much