The Self of Regret

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lucas Simmons was late for school. His phone didn't work and he missed morning coffee with his girlfriend. Could it get any worse?
Apparently it could. Lucas quickly discovers that he somehow broke up with his girlfriend in the morning, confessed his love to another girl the night before and changed his career goals, all while he was supposedly sleeping. Just what was going on? Did he actually do all this? Or was something else afoot?

**This is the second short story (although its a little long at 4000 words :P) for my Month of March Short-Story-A-Day-Challenge. I'd like to thank Brandon for giving me the theme of this story. As always, comments and feedback is much appreciated!**

Submitted: March 02, 2014

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Submitted: March 02, 2014



His eyes opened slowly. He felt so refreshed. He'd never felt so refreshed after a night's rest on a school day. Normally his alarm clock forced him awake before he could get in enough sleep. And yet today, he was waking up on his own accord.

Lucas' eyes focused on his alarm clock. It didn't go off. Must be just before quarter-to seven, when it is supposed to go off. His eyes finally adjusted. The red digital numbers on the alarm clock are nothing but a blur. Right, need my glasses. Duh.

Lucas fumbled for his glasses, while remaining cozy in bed. He finally managed to find them and brought them to his face. Much better he thought to himself. He could clearly see that it was 9:38am.

With the realization sinking in, Lucas jumped out of bed. His legs, intertwined with the blankets were locked, so his quick exit turned into a quick face-plant on the ground. "Ouch."

Lucas picked himself up, did a double-take to recheck the time, to make sure he wasn't misreading it. Nope, he w as now another minute late. At this rate, Lucas decided it was best to take his time. It didn't matter now, late is late. He would have to take the city bus to school, miss most of his morning lectures and get there closer to lunch hour. He sighed. He was sure he had set his alarm last night.

After a quick shower, a nice cereal-and-milk-breakfast and putting on his outfit for the day, Lucas was out the door with haste to catch the city bus. Normally he relied on the school bus to get him to school. It took an hour, rather than an hour of half of travel (with transfers and waiting around). But it had long passed at this time. Now, he wouldn't get to school until 11:30am. What a disaster.

As if the day couldn't get any worse, it didn't look like his cell was working either. "Damn. Jenny is going to be pissed. We were supposed to meet up for hot chocolates. Oh well, she can't be that mad... I mean I am her awesome boyfriend after all." This thought made Lucas smile.

Finally at school, Lucas decided it was best to just wait in the cafeteria for lunch, rather than interrupt his physics class with a half hour left. He sat at a table, playing with his phone. Trying to understand why he wasn’t getting any service. "That's so weird" He said, while waving it around, trying intercept any radio-waves to boost his signal.

The school bell finally rung. It was lunch time, and the hordes of students came rushing into the cafeteria. Lucas spotted his two good friends, Michael and Donnie. "Hey guys. How's it going?"

Michael and Donnie seemed shocked to see Lucas. "Hey man. What's up?" Michael approached Lucas and held out his hand. The two exchanged a high-five. Donnie just sat beside Lucas, still examining Lucas, as if to make sure he wasn't a ghost.

Lucas was getting a little freaked out by the staring. "Um. What's up Donnie?" Donnie had short black hair, he was goofy looking; big teeth with a small mouth, pointed right angle nose. Really round face. But he was the nicest guy you could ever meet.

"You sir are brave." He said. Lucas was taken back by Donnie's statement. "Um. Ok?" He turned to Michael. "What's he on about."

Michael had long curly brown hair. He had freckles on his face, and tended to stick his tongue out whenever he was greatly focused on something. Right now, he was focused on making an awesome sandwich. Probably the OCD kicking in Lucas thought to himself, studying his friend. Although it appeared Michael was not listening, he replied to Lucas' question. "How you dumped Jenny this morning."

Lucas' jaw dropped. "What are you talking about?" Michael stopped fumbling with his lunch and turned to Lucas. "Dude, its the talk of the school. You two are out for hot chocolate, like you guys do everyday. Ugh, campy BTWs. And then you tell her its done. You are in love with someone else. Harsh man."

Lucas was still just starring at Michael in complete disbelief. "I was in bed this morning. I just got to school like ten minutes ago. I slept in. I never broke up with Jenny!"

Donnie and Michael exchanged concerned looks with each other. "Well, there are eye witnesses who place you at the scene of the crime... so. Yeah." Donnie had a quizzical look on his face. "You having second thought's or something?"

Lucas, not paying attention lifted himself from the table. "I have to find her."

"Oh I wouldn't --" Michael was mid-sentence as Lucas walked away briskly, ignoring him completely. "-- do that. Oh well. I tried." Donnie just stared disappointingly at Michael and rolled his eyes. Michael was back to focusing on making his sandwich, as if the conversation hadn't happened.

Lucas was just about to exit the cafeteria when he bumped into Allie. "Oh, sorry Allie."

Allie. Where to begin with this girl. Lucas had always had a crush on her, but then he met Jenny. He and Allie sorta just became friends after that, and so Lucas would just ignore his feelings for her. She had long black hair, she was shorter and really shy. It's what made her so cute. And her gorgeous blue eyes.

She stared at Lucas and a huge Cheshire smile formed across her face. "Oh... hey Lucas." She said ever so shyly. Lucas thought this was unusual. Usually she was enthusiastic and “normal” around him. Hesitantly he returned the hello. "Uh, yeah. Hey Allie. Hey you haven't seen Jenny have you?"

Allie's smile faded. "Oh. No."

Lucas looked passed Allie, as if to scan the crowd of passing students. "Hmm. Alright, thanks anyways. I'll see you around." Lucas rushed off, just as Allie was about to say something. She reluctantly decided to let it go.

Lucas scanned the twelfth grade hallway. Every grade got their own hallway. Twelfth-graders got the hallway facing the teacher's lounge. Just as he passed by, Professor Jacks opened the door. "Oh, hey there Lucas!" Lucas stopped abruptly. He felt he should apologize to the physics teacher for missing his class. "Hey Professor Jacks, look I'm sorry about this morning."

Professor Jacks raised his hand to stop Lucas. "Perfectly understandable. Chemistry is an attractive field of study. I understand entirely. It's a shame though, you had such potential in physics."

Lucas stood there trying to decode what Professor Jacks was talking about. He waited a minute, hoping Professor Jacks would enlighten him. After a minute or two of awkward silence, Lucas cleared his throat. "Um, sorry you lost me. I was saying sorry for missing your class this morning. What's that about Chemistry?" Professor Jacks seemed to be just as confused. He straightened his glasses and pushed them up on the bridge of his nose with his finger. "Well you didn't really miss my class if you dropped it for chemistry. I was just saying how I think you will do just as good in chemistry as you did physics." And with that, Professor Jacks wished Lucas a good day and went on his way.

Lucas stood there for a second trying to make sense of everything that had happened. Today was just a series of events that Lucas had no recollection or control over. He decided to push it from his mind for now and to continue searching for Jenny.

He spotted one of Jenny's friends, Cassandra. "Hey Cassandra!" He ran to catch up to her.

As soon as she saw him, Cassandra rolled her eyes and turned the other way. "Go away Lucas. We don't want to talk to you right now." Lucas slowed his run into a jog, and just as suddenly a walk. "Look I just want to talk to Jenny. I--"

Cassandra turned around to stare him down. She interjected. "What!? So you can go on about how you love Allie and how she'd be better off without you. How you two were destined to break up in a few months anyways. I think its best if you just left her alone."

Lucas didn't know how to reply. "I... I haven't even seen Jenny all day today. And everyone is going on about how I broke up with her. I just got to school! Two hours before that I had just woken up! So what I would like to do is talk to Jenny and try and sort this whole mess up. So please, Cassandra, I am begging you, let me talk to her." Cassandra just continued to stare at Lucas. He could tell she was judging him, and whatever she was thinking, it wasn't very nice. "You're losing your mind. Me and Mel, Steven, we all saw you make Jenny cry this morning. So don't come to me telling me you didn't talk to her. You're such an ass." Lucas was about to interject when Cassandra stormed off.

Ok. Lucas was completely annoyed at this point. He didn't understand anything that was happening. He decided to go back to the cafeteria, to talk to Michael and Donnie and try and understand what happened.

He found them sitting where he had left them. Allie and a few others had joined them. Allie was the first to notice Lucas. She beamed with a smile. "Lucas! We were just talking about you. Here, sit." Allie indicated to a spot beside her. Lucas, hesitantly, sat down. Allie glued herself to his arm. Lucas just kind of let her do it, while trying to question her intentions.

Michael was the one who broke the tension. "Man! You didn't tell me you went to the party last night."

Lucas waited a moment, until he realized that Michael was talking to him. "What party? Mel's party? I didn't go. You know that. I told you I wasn't going to go." Allie interjected. "What are you talking about! You were totally there last night. Remember, we like talked all night."

Lucas just kind of looked at everyone's faces. They were all staring at him, smirking, waiting for him to tell some juicy tales of last night's get-together. Lucas opened his mouth to say something. He paused. "I have to go. I don't think I'm feeling too good." Allie gripped his arm a bit tighter. "Are you ok? Do you need some water?" She grabbed a water bottle and offered it to Lucas. Lucas held out his hand. "No, I'm ok."

Donnie nudged his shoulder. "Come on man, you seem lost. What's going on?" Lucas shook his head. "I... I think I might be losing my mind. Everyone is going on about how I was at a party last night. I hung out with Jenny last night! I didn't break up with her, and for some reason I am now in the chemistry class instead of pursuing physics like I had intended. I have no clue what is happening with my life right now!" Allie released Lucas' arm, she looked at him with a worried expression. "Are you ashamed of breaking up with her? About having hung out with me last night and telling me you..." Allie began to blush. "That you love me!"

Lucas could see he hurt her. "I'm sorry. I... I don't remember any of that." Lucas examined his hand. He was shaking. He excused himself from his friends and went to the bathroom to splash water on his face. Just what was going on! How could I not remember any of this.

He examined his phone. He still didn't have any service.

Upon exiting the bathroom, he bumped into Jenny. "Jenny!" She looked miserable. Her eyes were bloodshot. She had been crying. Her nose was red from intense friction with tissues. She began to sob. "You... You jerk!" Lucas tried to explain, but he never got the chance. Jenny slapped him with all her might. She walked away before he could even try and get a word in. He held his face, it was burning. He could feel the shape of her hand forming on his cheek. He sighed. What the hell?


"Oh great, now what!?" He cried out towards the PA system above. He reluctantly made his way to the Administration office. There he saw his mother. She was a shorter woman, with short brown hair. She was plump, was wearing a business suit and wore a worried expression on her face. "Honey! I got your call. Are you feeling ok?"

Lucas was once again left dumbfounded, grasping for any idea as to what she was talking about. "I didn't call you. My phone hasn't gotten service all day." Everyone in the office just stared at him. The secretary spoke out. "You were in here not even fifteen minutes ago. You called your mom on the office phone." Lucas looked to the office phone. "I..." His mom put her hand to his forehead. "You're sweating. Hmm. You don't seem to have a fever. Well no matter, let's get you home and rested. I'm sure you just need to rest."

Lucas allowed his mom to lead him out. He was lost in thought, trying to piece together his day. Nothing was making sense. He plopped himself in the passenger seat of the car. Lucas was about to put on the seat-belt when he stopped midway. "Mom. I'm sorry I called you. I'm feeling much better. I'm going to stay." Lucas' mom just starred at him. "Well I'm here now. I can just take you home."

Lucas shook his head. His mom sighed. "Alright. Suit yourself. But I won't be coming back. You'll just have to toughen it out." With that, Lucas exited the car. He apologized again to his mother and returned inside the school. All the way, he kept trying to understand what was going on. And then, in an instant, it all made sense.

Just a little ways away, towards the cafeteria, from the main entrance Lucas could see it all too clearly. Inside, he saw Allie. And with her, was none other than himself. They were walking away, towards their next class, conversing all the way. Allie was laughing and clinging to fake Lucas' arm.

Lucas didn't know how to react. He couldn't even fully comprehend what he was seeing. All he knew was that it was him. Or at least someone or something that looked exactly like him, with Allie.

He thought of going up to the imposter and punching him in the face. But he didn't want to make a scene. He had done enough of that today as it was. He decided to take a different approach. He saw Donnie. From his current position, he was around the corner from seeing imposter Lucas and Allie.

Lucas went up to Donnie and stood right in his path. Donnie looked a little concerned. "Hey, you feeling a bit better?" Lucas ignored his question. "I need you to do me a favour. I don't care how crazy it sounds. I need you to do this for me." Lucas waited just a second for a reply. Donnie nodded slowly. He seemed scared, but stayed to listen to Lucas' mad plea. "I need you to talk to me as soon as you get to class." He could see Donnie was about to speak when he stopped him. "Just do it Donnie. Tell him... I mean me, when you see me in class that 'your lookalike wants to have a word in the gym change room'. Can you do that for me?"

Donnie had a blank stare. "But... I don't understand.” Lucas grabbed him by the shoulders. This caused Donnie to flinch. "Just do it Donnie. Those exact words. Ok?" Donnie nodded. Lucas let him go, and Donnie quickly walked away, looking back once. He was clearly concerned. But Lucas didn't want to go into details. He was losing his mind enough as it was.

He made his way to the gym locker room. Whether his doppelganger was going to show or not, it didn't matter. He would get to the bottom of this, either way. Five minutes later, someone came into the change room. Lucas couldn't believe his eyes. He was staring at his reflection. It spoke. "Hi." It's smile. It's voice. Everything was the same. It was him, it was Lucas. "Who are you?"

Imposter Lucas let out a sigh. "How do I put this... I'm you.” Lucas shook his head. "That's not an answer. How can you be me? I'm right here, right now!" Imposter Lucas pondered what to say next. Lucas could tell he knew way more than he was letting on. "I'm you. Just not from now." He allowed Lucas a minute to try and piece it together. Lucas could feel himself getting annoyed. He had been through so much today. He didn't feel like playing guessing games. Imposter Lucas seemed to of picked up on this. He continued his explanation. " I'm you from the future. Two years in the future to be exact."

Lucas had lost his mind. There's no way. This had to be some nightmare. He was still sleeping. "Look. I know this seems unrealistic and impossible." Lucas interjected. "You think!?" Imposter Lucas could sense the hostility. "Look. I'm not plotting to ruin your life, or replace you. It's nothing like that."

Once again, feeling the rage boil up inside, he cut the imposter off. "Then what is it? How am I staring at an exact copy of myself. Time travel? Please tell me there's a better reason than that."

Impostor Lucas lifted his hands, begging for Lucas to calm down. "I'll tell you everything. Just listen. Its true. I am you from the future. Two years from now, our life, is a mess. We, I mean "I", just went through a really bad break up. It was devastating. On top of that, I've lost interest in school. Everyday I wonder how life could of been different. So one day, I discovered a way to fix everything. This might sound crazy, but I found a way to travel back in time.”

The imposter could tell that Lucas was having a hard time believing all of his story. Lucas was just waiting for someone to come out and tell him that it was all an elaborate prank. That everyone was paid off to be in on it, and that this guy was just an actor dressed as him. The imposter continued his explanation. "With this ability, I decided to set us on the right path in life. I came to this period in time to do just that."

It all made sense. Lucas understood now. As impossible as it was, if what he was saying was true, than it was all his doing. "You! You broke up with Jenny... And... and Allie. You're trying to hook me up with Allie. And you went to the party..."

"She likes you. She always did. She told me that when you started dating Jenny she had grown really fond of you. This was the chance for us to be with the girl we always wanted to be with. Jenny was a mistake. She is going to cheat on you in a few months from now. And the next girl, she was even worse. A year together, happy as can be, and then just like that, the next day she decides to leave. No explanation, no reasoning. And it was by text message. Trust me, you don't want to ever go through that heartbreak. I'm still suffering. And yet Allie. Allie has always had feelings for us. It was just never the right time. While you are with Jenny, Allie meets another man. She's going to meet him in a few weeks. You end up alone, and she ends up happy, but not with you. Don't you see! I did everything today so we wouldn't have any regrets. So we could live the life we wanted, we just never reached for."

"So what? You took over my life for the day? To make all this possible?"

"I should probably come clean about a few other things. I turned off your alarm and..." He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cellphone. He ejected a small chip from it. "I should give this back to you." He tossed it to Lucas. Lucas caught it in his hand. He opened his hand to look at it. It was the SD card to his cell. "This is why my phone didn't work! You sabotaged me, so I wouldn't be at school today and that I wouldn't be able to communicate with anyone! Seriously?" Lucas was trying to process everything. "And dropping Physics? Was that because we really wanted to do Chemistry?!"

"Everyday I ask myself why I didn't go for it. Well, it just made sense to me."

Lucas seemed to be struggling with this truth. "Why... Why couldn't you just leave my life alone. Let it play out!? Who gives you the right to play with fate! To deny me my own choices? To alter Allie's life too!?"

The imposter at this point was the one who got frustrated. "What don't you understand! I am you. Two years from now you are miserable, you're full of regret! And on this day, you could of had everything that makes you happy! I saw an opportunity to make both of our lives better! I would save you from regret and misery, while giving myself, which in turn is actually us, the life we want! I'm trying to save you"

It was all too much for Lucas to process. This, this isn't right. "But... you are changing everything, what if you aren't happy with Allie? Or... I don't know, are unhappy with chemistry?! I just... I... feel like this isn't right! I should be allowed to make my own choices"

The imposter laughed. "Let you make choices! I've been there. I saw it play out. Spoiler alert, it ends the exact way I described it. The choices you would make are the same ones I made. It's a straight line. A highway with only one destination. But if you could change the past, wouldn't you?" He gave a little chuckle. "Of course you would... because I am you! And we did. We found a way to do it and we did it! Now you can think its immoral, its wrong. But the way I see it, I just saved you a world of hurt and bad choices. I'm done. I did everything I had to. Now you can decide whether or not you want to try and salvage the life you had, or take the opportunity I have presented you with to have the life you want."

With that, future Lucas reached for a watch on his right arm. He began playing with it. "I know what you are feeling right now. It isn't anger, or frustration. You are seeing it from my perspective. But I'll also respect you. I'll leave the rest to you. Goodbye Lucas."

With that, the imposter began to shimmer, like it does when you look at something radiating heat, as if he was a mirage. And just like that he faded out of existence. Lucas stood there a minute, trying to decide what to do next, to even decide if he accepted everything that had happened. Was it wrong for a future version of himself to alter everything so that he could be happy?

Lucas exited the change room with an expression of deep thought and concern. And after a brief moment, he allowed his face to relax. Class had started, and so he decided to go to class.


© Copyright 2017 J J Citywall. All rights reserved.

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