Even though the walk from Chastaine’s house to mine didn’t take long, it was long enough for my headache to get so bad I felt sick to my stomach. I stumbled into my house, closed the door, and collapsed onto the couch with my jacket and boots still on. I didn’t have the energy to take them off, and I didn’t care if I got snow on the floor and couch.
The next thing I knew, Mom was shaking me. “Holly. Wake up.”
She sounded scared, which didn’t make sense. I’d fallen asleep. I didn’t remember it happening, but why else would it suddenly be time for her to get home from work?
“What?” I opened my eyes.
“When was the last time you had anything to eat?” She sat on the very edge of the couch and touched my forehead. “You’re cold.”
“Duh. You and Dad keep the temperature in here at fridge level.” I sat up. The room spun, and I tried not to let Mom see how dizzy I was. “I had something at Chastaine’s earlier.”
“What did you have, and how long ago was earlier?” She took a deep breath. “It took a minute or two for you to wake up. I was worried. And you look sick.”
“I don’t think you are.” She studied me.
I rolled my eyes. It was bad enough she was acting like I was dying. Now she was pretty much calling me a liar and staring at me like some weird kind of bug or something.
“It doesn’t matter what you think,” I said. “You aren’t me. I know how I feel, and I’m fine.”
“You’re being rude.” She stood. “You didn’t answer my question. What did you eat at Chastaine’s and how long ago?”
“An apple.” It wasn’t completely untrue. The bottle of apple juice in Chastaine’s fridge was labeled “100% juice,” which meant it was made out of real apples. “Around noon.”
That wasn’t exactly a lie either. I’d had the juice before the meeting, which meant it had actually been quite a bit before noon, but it was close enough.
“It’s five o’clock. You haven’t eaten anything since then?”
“It’s five?” Of course it was. She wouldn’t have been home any earlier.
That meant it had been over six hours since I’d had the juice. Even though I’d gone longer than that without food before, it didn’t seem like such a good idea now. My head still hurt, and I’d scared Mom the same way I’d scared Chastaine. I was pretty sure both those things had to do with lack of food.
“Come into the kitchen,” Mom said. “You need to eat something, Holly. This is getting ridiculous. Maybe we should talk to your doctor.”
“I’m eating.” I got up. The room spun, and I had to grab the back of the couch so I wouldn’t fall over.
“Not enough.” Mom took my arm. “Do you need to go to the emergency room?”
“No. Probably eating will take care of it.” I would have to choke down something so Mom would give me a break. I could handle that. I wouldn’t have to eat a lot, and then I could wait until the next morning to have anything else.