I sat down at my desk and opened the empty journal Dr. Grace had given me. She wanted me to write down more of my history. I picked up my pen and began to write.
An unfortunate side effect of immortality is that you have countless hours that need to be filled, especially in these modern days. After I lost my Luke, I dedicated my life to making a difference in the world. I marched with my sisters in the Women’s Suffrage movement, suffering all kinds of torture for the sake of our cause. I was also one of the first women to attend medical school in the United States. I attended every lecture that I could and spent countless hours in the library studying while at school. My hard work paid off, though. I graduated at the top of my class.
I could not sit idly by when news of World War 1 filled the newspapers. I had traveled back to Europe, attaching myself to the British army as a nurse under the name of Collette Warren.
The soldiers… No. They were not soldiers, they were children. I had been working at a hospital camp in Belgium when I met young Simon Rollins. He had bright blue eyes and a thatch of coppery red hair. Simon was only a boy of fourteen, pretending to be nineteen so he could serve his country. The poisonous mustard gas burned his skin and scarred his lungs. He had such dreams, only to have his life cut tragically short.
There were at least a dozen soldiers whom I wished I could have traded places with. They were young and their lives were full of such promise.
The year was 1920. I had retired to New York City to work as an investment banker named Wallace Randall. There was money to be made. For the first time in my life, I felt like the future was filled with possibilities.
During the summer of that year, I met him: Oliver Devereaux. Oliver was handsome and charming, aged thirty. He had taken me under his wing, teaching me the ropes of the dangerous world of rum running. Prohibition was in full swing. Despite my better judgment, the promise of easy money was too much to ignore.
Despite Oliver’s tutelage and dedication to acting as my self-appointed protector, I never could allow myself to relax in his presence. Oliver was ruggedly handsome and had a body that most women would swoon at. He had happy manners and the uncanny ability to sweet-talk anyone and everyone. My romance with Albert Hollingsworth had taught me a valuable lesson. I would not allow myself to become a victim of a man’s charms again.
He didn’t seem to notice or care about my reluctance to drink or to fraternize with the ladies of the evening. I just wanted to be around him.
Oliver and I were in Chicago getting at a popular speakeasy when we were dragged out of the tavern by a few of Oliver’s associates. They were large, powerful men in dark suits with even darker expressions. It so happened that Oliver had stolen nearly twenty thousand dollars of alcohol from their employer, a mean gangster by the name of Babyface Barone.
They gave Oliver thirty seconds to either give them the money or the booze.
“Fellas!” Oliver pleaded. “Come on, now.” Oliver’s sweet New Orleans accent was panicked. “We can work something out.”
The gangsters did not think so. The crackling pop of gunfire echoed into the parking garage. Gratefully, my death was quick. A bullet wound is a terrible way to die.
My acquaintance with Oliver Devereaux did not end in that parking garage.
Shortly after our deaths, I assumed the identity of Daisy Buchanan, a young flapper who was new to the city and was living in a home for young working girls. I was walking down the street admiring my newly shorn hair when I saw Oliver walking toward me.
“Why Wally Ole Boy!” he exclaimed. “You certainly have changed.”
For the first time in my life, I was truly shocked. Oliver was dead. He should have been dead. I turned on my heel and walked as fast as I could away from him. I was the only one who had been afflicted by immortality. The probability of meeting another immortal walking down the streets of Chicago was a million to one.
“Wally,” said Oliver, catching my wrist. “Where do you think you’re running off to?”
“Let go of me.”
“You can’t just ignore your old buddy like that. We did die together after all.” I grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into an alley. Oliver chuckled rakishly. “Be gentle.”
I studied Oliver carefully. It was him. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or scream at him for nearly exposing me. “Is it really you?” I whisper.
He nodded. “It’s really me, Wally.”
“You are supposed to be dead.”
“So are you.” He twisted a curl around his finger. “Your hair is different. I like it.”
I put a hand on my hair. I had kept a collection of wigs at my disposal for when I changed my identity. Oliver took advantage of the blush in my cheeks to caress the side of my face. “You make a prettier girl than you ever did a boy, Wally.”
“My name is Daisy now.”
“Wally, Daisy, Collette, Fred, you are all the same person to me.” He cradled my face in his hands and kissed me. “God, you are so pretty.”