Chapter 1

I leave the theater in an almost dreamlike state. I feel as if I'm floating. I can't believe what I've just witnessed.

I clasp Miranda's hand in my own so we don't get separated in the crowd and pull her forward. We exit the building and step into the cool night air. The only thing I can hear are the honks and screeches of the cars jam-packed into the streets. The air is thick with bus fumes and the smell of frying meat from a nearby food truck.

I love New York City.

I turn to look at Miranda. People are flooding out of the theater and dispersing all around us.

Her eyes are wide as saucers and glazed over. She's smaller than me, with short, pixie-cut, caramel-colored hair, hazel eyes, and pale skin. Her flashy blue glasses are perched on the end of her nose.

"Kay," she whispers to me.

"Miranda," I whisper back.

She takes a deep breath. "We. Just. Saw. Hamilton."

We stare at each other for a moment.

Then we start screaming, squealing, leaping up and down and twirling in the middle of the sidewalk like crazy people. Nobody pays us any notice.

That's another thing I love about New York. Everyone is too immersed in their own business to care about two fangirls freaking out near a theater.

"THAT WAS AMAZING!" I shout. The wind pulls the words out of my mouth and carries them away.

"I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS!" Miranda yells back.

We continue belting Hamilton lyrics as we walk towards the train station.

We've been fans of the musical for months now. Ever since we heard the first song, we were hooked. We listened to Hamilton music non-stop (cough-cough, Hamilton reference, cough-cough), and we'd both become immersed in the fandom.

I push my dark, long, wavy hair out of my brown eyes and push my square glasses up my nose. I smooth my black Hamilton T-shirt- Miranda is wearing a matching one- and focus on making sure I don't trip over my own two feet while we walk.

"What time is it?" Miranda asks me.

I pull my phone out of my jeans pocket. "Close to ten," I respond. "Want to go get dinner? I'm starving."

"I'm always up for dinner!" Miranda exclaims. She grins. "We have until eleven before we need to be back at the hotel, right?"

"Right," I confirm. When Miranda and I had won tickets to the show in a raffle, our families had decided to fly to New York from California. Miranda and I had been close since we were babies, so our families decided to stay together in the same hotel.

"Ooh, what about this place?" Miranda points to a small diner across the street. I read the neon sign bolted to the top of the small brick building. The Traveller's Hub.

"Looks good!" I agree. We dash across the street and push open the wooden door to the diner.

The place is empty except for the three teenage workers standing behind the counter, looking bored. Miranda and I slide into one of the closest booths, whispering to each other.

"Welcome to The Traveller's Hub," someone says flatly. I glance up to see a girl who looks like she's in her early twenties. She's wearing black skinny jeans and a red top, paired with silver flats and silver hoop earrings. "What do you want?"

I'm taken aback by her sudden rude tone, and I can tell Miranda's surprised, too.

"What are your specials today?" Miranda asks politely.

The woman sighs in frustration. Miranda and I exchange looks.

"Specials today… let's see… we have soup. Also pizza. And some canned- um, I mean fresh- seafood. Take your pick."

"I'll take the pizza," I tell our waitress.

"Same here," Miranda says quickly.

The waitress flips her frizzy brown ponytail over her shoulder, pivots on her heel, and stalks away.

"What was that?" Miranda asks me in a low voice.

"I have no idea," I respond quietly.

Miranda shrugs. I shrug. Our eyes meet and we burst out laughing.

That's the greatest thing about having a best friend. You can laugh at everything and nothing at the same time.

"I don't know about you, but I have to go to the bathroom," Miranda blurts. "I drank, like, eight bottles of sprite since we left the hotel."

"I'll go with you," I tell her. We stand up and make our way towards the back of the restaurant, where a tiny green sign points the way to the restrooms.

We enter the ladies room, a narrow hallway housing three separate stalls. Miranda locks herself in a stall and I stand in front of the single mirror in the bathroom, washing my hands in the marble sink to get rid of germs and any lingering dirt from the theater.

Something about the sink catches my attention. The entire bathroom is made of yellowish rock, and is dimly lit by a lone light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The stalls seem small and cramped, and the mirror is coated with dust.

And then there's the sink, bolted to the wall right below the mirror. It's shiny and new and clean. The silver faucets don't even have a mark on them. The water flows cold and clear over my hands.

It's strange.

If I were asked, What's wrong with this picture? I would say the problem was the sink.

It's too new, clean, perfect, bright…

"What are you thinking about?" Miranda asks.

I stop staring at the sink and blush slightly. What is wrong with me? So the sink is clean. It's not an accomplishment.

"Nothing," I lie. Miranda rolls her eyes and nudges me out of the way so she can wash her hands.

I stand to the side as she splashes water and soap over her fingers, tracing the smooth side of the sink.

"Look around, look around-" I sing quietly, quoting "The Schuyler Sisters" from the musical. "- at how lucky we are to be alive right now!"

Miranda turns off the faucet. "The Schuyler Sisters?" she questions, even though she already knows.

I nod.

Together, we both sing the next line. "HISTORY IS HAPPENING-"

Then, before we can even finish our sentence, the crystal-clear, marble-perfect sink explodes.