She hesitated a moment before breaking into a smile. “Is that what you call me? I like it. My name is actually Melanie though.”
I felt my face reddening. Of course her name wasn’t actually Rachel. That was just something I made up in my head. Still, my embarrassment couldn’t keep up with my confusion and joy. “Is it really you?”
She nodded. “Yeah, it’s me.”
Rachel…Melanie grunted as I stepped forward and started hugging her. Laughing, she hugged me back for a moment, but then she whispered in my ear. “Thomas, we need to talk, and not out here. Can we go inside?”
I broke away and nodded, wiping at my eyes as I tried to finish unlocking the door with a shaking hand. My heart was pounding and I still felt like I was in a strange and wonderful dream, but when we had gotten inside and sat down on my living room sofa, I forced myself to focus on the biggest question I had.
Melanie had still been smiling as we sat down, but now she looked worried and sad. “Thomas, that’s what I’m here to tell you. Things aren’t like you think they are. They never have been.”