i don't need your past
You're still asleep.

At first there was nothing but a dull ache in the back of her head, then, as if filling up a vacant space, a steady thrumming began and it seemed to make sense to her. After all, Anya was convinced she was hungover. Alcohol was the only explanation for waking up in Rhett and Gia's bed, even if she could not remember being there the previous night. It was not unlike her to drink a little too much Merlot in her friend's company -- not when it followed one of Rhett's home-cooked meals -- but a little time on their lounge room sofa sobered her up enough for her to make her way home in one piece. Though she was the first to joke about wanting to get black-out drunk on a week day, spectacles like this rarely happened. For all her talk, Anya was more responsible than that. But her confusion was given little time to unravel, and as she moved from her place amongst the bedsheets to see better, it suddenly began. Her back leaned up against the headboard and a loud ringing in her ears that sounded like a blender, lidless, its blades whirring at top speed buzzed through the space between her ears. Then, distinctly amongst all the chaos, she heard a dog barking loudly, whining loudly, yelping loudly. The slamming of a door somewhere far off followed. A cacophony that would not relent. It grew louder and louder. With a yelp, she moved her hands to cover her ears and she pulled her legs up to her chest. It was an instinctive reaction to ball herself up, to protect herself, but the legs were not smooth like she anticipated, the limbs not as limber and a loud crack -- that sounded suspiciously like bone -- reverberated in her ears.

Anya looked down and spotted large, masculine hands. They were calloused. Well worn. And they were familiar. Anya screamed loudly, but the voice that escaped her throat was not her own. It was deep. Masculine. And loud enough to startle her out of bed. Her feet hit the floor and she felt the impact through her legs. What the fuck was happening? Then again, the pain in her side. The pain that she had mistaken at first for a menstruating organ. No, it was something else. It was something more. The same pain echoed on her other side. Two pin-points. Then, her spine. It radiated through her and she screamed out again in agony but was cut off short when she felt another tug. A lower pain that shifted her gaze from her upturned palms to a violent tenting in her shorts. "Oh, fuck! What the fuck!?" she whined, the realisation sudden and terrifying as she bolted to the bathroom, stopping short when she caught her reflection in the mirror. It was Rhett's face, contorted in horror as she moved her hands up to touch her cheeks. There was a beard that she registered now and it began to itch as soon as she did. A pain growing in her chest, heaving for breath as she tried to make sense of what stared back at her. And all the while, her bladder straining, needing release. Thrusting a hand forward, she opened up the medical cabinet and tried to locate Rhett's pain medication. Her eyesight blurred and she understood that she was losing consciousness, realising then that she'd been holding her breath, she exhaled loudly, her hand closing in on the pill bottle. Frantic, she scanned the dosage instructions and gulped them down. It seemed to ease her panic, but not the pain, her bladder constricting further. "Oh god. Oh god," Anya cried, warm tears sliding down her cheeks as she moved away from the reflection and stared at the toilet, reaching forward and pushing up the lid. "No, no, no, no, no," she sobbed, closing her eyes shut and sliding the boxers slowly down her thighs, releasing the strained penis. "Oh fuck, don't touch it, don't even look at it," she told herself aloud, to hear herself above the din of the loud noises, attempting to aim true.

Afterward, when she'd cleaned the toilet and put away the antiseptic sprays, she located Rhett's phone and called her own cell. There was no answer. "My god... I'm dead," she stared at herself in the mirror, leaning over the sink, blinking at the face that looked back at her. They were Rhett's eyes. Rhett's eyebrows. His nose. His lips. His voice. His semi-erect cock, for fuck's sake! Whatever was going on, it wasn't a dream and that was clear. And Anya had no idea where her body was. By now, the pills had kicked in but the noises in her head were still there. And yet, she did not dare close her eyes. Whenever she did there were images of Rhett's life instead. Intimate images. Memories. Fears. Dreams. Hopes. Secrets. It all came in a rush, overwhelming her, making it impossible to have a rational thought that didn't involve a painful memory from Rhett's past, or a vignette of Gia in some intimate position. In a moment of clarity, she called the restaurant and told them she would be absent and that 'Anya' would be too. Rhett's sous chef had asked her what she meant when she added "if Anya even exists..." She splashed her face with water, she paced, she fumbled around the bedroom, she left her own cell two dozen messages, kept calling and calling and calling to no avail and then she pulled on clothes and ran up and down the street. But nothing could shake it. Eventually, she gave up. She peed again. She pulled on new clothes and she curled up in bed again, jostled out of her reverie when she heard the front door and recognised Gia. It appalled her that she had recognised her by scent alone, like some kind of rabid animal. Another weird realisation, an image flashing through her mind. Holding Gia's hand as an ultrasound technician pressed something to her belly. Kissing her mouth. Coming home and undressing each other and god, no, stop it!

Bleary eyed, Anya pushed the covers back and peeked at Gia over the top of the covers as her friend moved about the room. "Huh?" she replied, the voice -- Rhett's voice -- still as shocking as ever. "I -- wha -- you -- mmmm," she replied, snapping her hand over her mouth, trying to find words. "Bad day. Pain. Really. Bad. Day," she wheezed, squaring her shoulders, pulling the bedsheets closer to her.