Facing Fiction

Chapter 1

Occasionally touched by the humming breeze of the calm wind; Sarah and Chuck's mournful emotions soaked the air in woe. A gentle breeze delicately brushed her blonde, glinted strands of hair against her smoothened, never-aging face.

Spoken in the form of a bedtime fable, he narrated to Sarah their life story – how they met, all the adventures they experienced (together) and the tale of how they fell in love. Tears of joy, tears of sadness both enveloped their forlorn eyes as damp streams of water trickled down their cheeks. Laughter spewed from their chortling mouths, following the mention of all the affluent experiences that had filled their lives with abundant amiability.

His hand cupped over the other, tightening his grasp as nerves began to slither up his spine. Fearing her response, he remained solicitous in telling her his best friend's theory.

"You know Morgan," he gulped, shaking his head, "has this crazy idea."

Her eyes turned to face his, acknowledging his anxiety to proceed. "What is it?"

"He thinks that with one kiss, you'll remember everything…"

She laughed, amused by the fairy-tale absurdity. "One magical kiss?"

"Yeah."

Waterfalls of worry and disappointment flooded through him, forcing him to admit to himself that the return of her memory was a hopeless, child-like fantasy. Seated in gloom, his chuckies scraped against the sand, creating the illusion of a wrinkled, sabulous surface.

He suppressed his inner feelings of disillusionment and began to giggle with her. With slight turns from side to side, he shook his head, frustrated in having held on to the false hope of this make-believe dream. He tried to confess to himself that what he desired may never come true.

What if she wasn't willing to test the hypotheses?

Feeling foolish in believing that there might be a chance, he continued, "I know it's-"

"Chuck."

Swiftly darting his head, he turned to face hers. "Yeah?"

Their eyes met. The corners of her voluptuous lips rose, forming a silent smile. "Kiss me," she invited.

Gobsmacked by the invitation, his eyes lit up with effervescent mirth, his face radiant with warmth and promise.

Her eyes faced his, analysing the man that sat beside her. He was so gentle, so kind, so nerdy and so gripping. Seated next to this loveable character, she couldn't help but feel drawn to his sweet, understanding personality. At first glance, she knew that he didn't appear to be her most likely candidate for a partner. But through understanding herself and her wants and desires, it became adamantly clear that he definitely resembled all the traits she was looking for in a lifelong companion. Not to mention that the more she glanced at him, the more attractive he became. She had fallen in love with him before, and through getting to know him a lot better this second time round, she clearly – to an extent – understood why.

As he leaned in, her heart suddenly fluttered, awakening caged emotions that had been locked inside of her. With a welcoming expression, she neared his anxious lips and kissed him…

His lips pulled free from hers and his eyes remained shut, stuck in the amazement of the experience. Consumed in excitement from their prolonged embrace, he allowed himself to believe that the kiss magically worked. Though, he remained nervous to open his eyes and ask her if it did. He knew he couldn't face the truth if it didn't.

After an agonising second, his eyes slowly widened. The picture that lay before him caused his enthusiastic smile to brusquely disappear…

"Sarah?"

His eyes darted anxiously, widened with shock. He recognised her absence and searched for her presence. "Sarah?"

Gone? How could she have disappeared so quickly?

Facing the air that was once heavy from the mass of a human body now remained vacant and light. It seemed as though all worldly barriers had been surpassed due to the anticipated kiss shared between them and as a result, Sarah's existence passed through that barrier, vanishing from their world.

Seated alone at the beach, confusion and worry sprouted fear from within him, accelerating the pace of his fragile heart.

Where did she go?


Pulling away from their lengthened kiss, her eyes gently opened, revealing to her senses the bewildering location that she found herself in. Blared by the repetitive noise of constant chatter, Sarah was crowded by hordes of families paying a visit to the Cabrillo Beach. Taken aback by their prompt presence, she began to realise Chuck was missing. It was as though he had been replaced by strangers hoping to catch a tan or a 'sick wave'.

"Chuck?" she called out in confusion. It remained a mystery to her how within a few seconds all these strangers abruptly appeared and Chuck had suddenly vanished.

As a few of the civilians caught her eye, she noticed their staring glares. They were as shocked by her presence as she was by theirs.

"Mommy, where did that strange lady come from?" she heard a child exclaim. The little girl's blonde ponytails blew in the direction of the wind.

A small boy in Ben 10 board shorts (possibly the little girl's older brother) responded. "Lucy, Lucy, that lady teleported. Mom, she just teleported!" he began to taunt like a childish eight year old would, "I told you, I told you, I told you teleportation is real!" With an antagonising glare, their mother retreated from her seat, packed her belongings and dragged her children further away from the 'peculiar newcomer'.

Everyone who was a witness to the strange occurrence continually tantalised Sarah with their non-wavering stares. This made her feel overwhelmed and terrified.

What just happened?

"You're in my seat," came a stern voice from behind her. With a brisk turn of the head, she caught a glimpse of the rigorous speaker. Attired in long, dark pants and a tight top, this overweight, voluminous woman obviously never received the weather forecast – the air was steamed in heat and her dark garments would absorb the warmth. Compressed by the tautened feel of her tight shirt, her copious rolls of excess fat nestled close together, emphasising the fact that even an elephant would feel burdened by her weight. Light reflected off her dark, bob-shaped hairdo, accentuating the sticky grease that lay dense among her scalp. "You are in my seat," she repeated.

"Uh, sorry. Your seat?"

"Yeah lady, my seat. Every day I visit this beach and sit in the very same spot. And right now, you're in it."

With bewilderment, Sarah removed herself from the gritty surface of sand. A small cluster of grain rested loosely among the rear of her long, blue jeans. "Oh. Sorry, I didn't know."

Unclipping the foldable chair that had been stuck under her armpit (glued by her condensed sweat), the brazen woman grumbled with vehement slight, "Pfft, these Hollywood Stars. They think that just because they are famous, they can get away with stealing a person's spot!"

Perplexed with the audible mention of 'Hollywood Star', Sarah ignored the muffled comment and steadily darted away, trying to free herself from central attention. At fast pace, she refuged herself away from the beach. Her eyes sought for any sign that could give her an indication as to where Chuck might be.

Reaching the pavement, her feet grazed against the tar and with weariness, she analysed her surroundings. Wherever she treaded, citizens continuously gazed upon her, as though fame lit her up like a Christmas light, drawing their gawky eyes towards her radiant presence.

Feeling jarred by the x-ray eyes of passers-by, combined with the supernatural disappearance of Chuck, her mind wandered for solutions to her current, dishevelled issue. Nearing the parking lot, she patted the pockets of her jeans in search of her car keys. Though, its lean and light feel led her to the conclusion that her pockets were vacant. To enhance her downtrodden emotions, her car was out of sight, appearing as though the wave of a magical wand extirpated all evidence of its existence.

"What the hell is going on?" she infuriatedly exclaimed, wrapping her fingers round the bony extensions of her waist.

"Uh, is there a problem, ma'am?" a gentleman's voice responded from behind her. She turned to face him. A youthful, dark-haired 30 year old stood before her, wearing sandals and patterned board-shorts. Sprained across his sleeveless t-shirt was a white-printed word 'Nerd', with a red oval-shaped border.

As she faced him, he recognised her – the blonde, shimmering hair; the sparkling, deep blue eyes and the curvaceous lips. "Oh, I – I didn't know you were – um, hi…" A small titter escaped his lips, following an anxious smile of delight. "I know you probably get this a lot, but uh," he reached in his pocket and drew out a pen, "well I don't have paper, but do you mind if you could sign my shirt?"

She drew back in uncertainty. "Why?"

"Why? Uh – well, you are amazing on Chuck. I just love tha-"

"Chuck?" she asked with confusion. The name then registered. "Chuck? What do you know about Chuck?"

"Um, well, everything. I watch it all the time."

Misunderstanding his reply, he came off as possessing traits of a stalker. He watches Chuck all the time?

"Huh? Ew…" she replied, her expression making her appear as though she swallowed something distasteful.

"Excuse me, Ew? I don't underst – anyway, I would really love it if you signed my shirt…if you don't mind?"

She ignored his request. "Do you know where Chuck is?"

"What? What do you mea–?"

"And do you know what happened to my car?" Her hand pointed in the direction of its absence, towards an empty parking spot where her once sumptuous car had been deposited.

"Um, sorry?"

"I left my car here. Now it is gone. Did you take it?" With aggressive accusation, he seemed suspicious to her spy senses. Still entirely flabbergasted, this strange world of mishap and mystery left her befuddled. Unknowledgeable of the differences this alternate universe had in comparison to the one she came from, everything that happened seemed to tinker with her logical brain. To her rational mind, she could only concur that this fellow was some sort of 'stalker' – how else would he know Chuck and who she was? So in inference, he must have been the person to steal her car or have something to do with the unexplainable – right?

"Huh? No, I wouldn't – I… Sorry, I am really confused…and, and shocked. I mean, it's just that…I cannot believe I am standing in front of you right now. Um, please – could you please just sign my shirt?"

"Why? Why do you want me to sign your shirt?" Her volume escalated as the ever-sprouting confusion began to daunt on her mind.

"Because…um, you're Yvonne Strahovski…and–"

"Who?" He remained taken aback. "Look, I think you are mistaken. I am not that person."

"That is impossi-"

"Sorry."

With stodgy tramples from her ignorant feet, Sarah stormed off, leaving the Chuck fan dismally heartbroken.

Muddled with rapid, unanswerable questions, her current predicament left her lost – literally. Completely. Through this entire confusion, she didn't have time to even think over her relationship and situation with Chuck; to focus on her memories and who she had become over the past five years. She had to first concentrate on finding him and getting herself out of this weird predicament that she found herself buried in.

Upon deciding that the next best step would be to call Bartowski, she reached for her phone in her pocket and dialled his number. Over swept with feelings of relief, a deep, masculine voice answered. "Hello."

"Hello? Chuck?"

"No? Who is this?"

Surprised, she continued. "Uh, who is this? Where is Chuck?"

"Chuck? Apologies ma'am, but I think you have the wrong number."

"That can't be. This number is under my contact list!" With thwarted insincerity, the deep-voiced man hung up the phone. "Hello? Hello?"

Frustrated by his impolite gesture, she focussed her eyes on her contact list. She had numerable 'friends' that she could call, but remained too shy to do so. After all, even following the enchanted kiss that Chuck and her shared – the one that held so much magical promise – she still could not remember them. She couldn't call Ellie, assuming her sister-in-law would continue to hold a grudge against her for threatening to kill her. She couldn't call Casey, supposing he would be on a plane, leaving with Verbanski right about now.

Feeling vulnerable and alone, she felt like a sitting duck. She had no weapons with her. She had no one familiar by her side. All she acquired were the clothes on her back, a few hundred bucks in her rear pocket and the phone in her hand.

What the hell is going on?


"Morgan? Morgan?" Chuck called out, his feet swiftly charging through the courtyard, nearing his best friend. Morgan had his key in his door lock, about to enter into his abode. "Morgan, something weird just happened, buddy–"

Expecting jovial news, his eyes lit up. "Did you kiss her? Did it work?"

"Buddy, that's not relevant right now. Sarah disappeared."

"What? Disappeared? How?"

Chuck failed to respond. Through being lost in understanding he remained lost for words. His head buffered with rapid shaking.

Mistaking Chuck's shock for disappointment, Morgan sighed with grievance. "You kissed her?"

"Yes."

"Oh, Chuck, please tell me you used a mint before you kissed her. You always use a mint! There is no bigger turn-off than bad breathe."

"Morgan! That is not the issue."

"Then why did she leave?"

"She didn't leave. She disappeared."

"Isn't that the same thing? Though 'disappeared' does have a more mysterious undertone to it…"

"Morgan, she vanished. One moment I was kissing her and in the very next second she wasn't there. Poof! She was gone."

"Poof? Just vanished through thin air?"

"Yeah buddy. I don't know where she is. I don't understand it. She was just…missing. It was so strange. And it was too quick for her to have walked away. She definitely just…disappeared… Morgan; I don't know what to do. You need to help me find her."

"Another mission, huh? All right, Chuck. But don't worry. Wherever she evaporated to, we will find her. And this time, you will get her back for good!"


"One ticket to Burbank please," Sarah asked, gently resting her arms upon the ticket counter of the train station.

The man behind the counter lifted his head from his computer screen. Before uttering a single word, the declining of his lower jaw indicated the piercing jabs of nerves that shot through his body and trickled up his spine. "Uh…uh…"

"What? What is it?" Befuddled, she propped her head in all directions, searching for the cause of his loss of words. Her spy senses started to surface, fearing the threat of danger.

"It – whoa…in all my life I never thought this day would come true."

"What?"

"Oh ha-ha, sorry for the confusion. I am a fan."

"A fan of what?"

"A fan of the show… Chuck? The TV series." Like a cat getting puddled with soaking water, Sarah's eyes bulged with adamant muss. This was the third reaction that she had encountered from a stranger involving some reference to a TV series. "I watched the last episode – the two hour finale is on tonight right? Yeah, yeah – so that moment with you losing your memories and with Quinn and those flashcards was like whew; such a stab to the heart."

Through his jubilant ramble, a flicker of lights lit up in her head from the slight slip of 'Quinn' and the loss of her memories. How did he know?

"Quinn?" A stern, weary expression overshadowed the puzzled look that had covered her face before. "How and what do you know about Quinn?"

His dropped jaw – still drooling from the sight of seeing her – abruptly closed shut with silence. "Uh, I watch the show. What do you mean? Wait – wait. Is this like some role-play thing? If it is, I am so game. Should I get into character?" He cleared his throat with a repetitive, coarse cough. As he spoke, his voice was deepened with a lowered, base-note sound in an attempt to portray the act of a secret, domineering spy. "What do I know about Quinn? Well darling, everything. He works for me. You see, I am the mastermind behin-"

"Cut the bullshit. What is going on?"

"I – I thought you were role-playing…?"

"No, why would I do that? Just explain to me what you mean by TV show."

"You are kidding right?" She responded with silence to his query, making him start to doubt her level of sanity.

Removing his questioning eyes from her stringent gaze, he lowered his head to face the bright light that radiated from his PC monitor. After frenetically tapping his keyboard, he jammed down on the 'enter' sign and turned his monitor to face Sarah. She eyed the computer screen that had been flooded with images pertinent to the TV series, Chuck. Pictures from behind the scenes, stills from the episodes and even photos from the Chuck cast were all absorbed through Sarah's gobsmacked eyes.

"What – what is this?"

"Images of your TV show…encase you forgot."

Glaring with unveiling disillusion, she focussed on one person in particular that continually reappeared in these images – herself. "That – that is me…But…how, I – I don't reme-"

Cutting off the end of her sentence, a flashing thought triggered lightning bolts through her gaped mind. These incidents that she viewed through the pictures displayed could have been from a past experience. Chuck possibly failed to mention the vibrant fact that they starred in a TV series and that her whole life had been recorded like the Kardashians. But the more she analysed the predicament, the more she realised that none of this made sense; even to her amnesia-stricken memory.

"Yeah, that is you. And there you are again," he gestured, pointing to an image of her Chuck co-star seated beside her during an interview, "with Zachary Levi. Hey – you still keep in contact with that guy, right? He is such an awesome dude!"

"Zachary Levi? What – huh? No, that – isn't the man in the picture Chuck?"

"Well yeah, if you want to look at it in that way. I guess Zac is Chuck. After all he is the actor that plays him on the show."

Like the screeching


sound of car breaks coming to a frenzied halt, Sarah's spinning head abruptly froze. Something dodgy was happening and she couldn't explain it. The first unimaginable occurrence was the loss of her memory. Following that was the discovery of her marriage to Chuck. On an even grander mystical note, the man she 'married' then disappeared and among numerous occasions, she was mistaken for a well-liked 'celebrity'. People began to stare at her wherever she went; her life apparently had become a TV show and Chuck – Chuck was supposedly a fictional character played by the likes of an actor who went by the name of Zachary Levi?

She couldn't explain any of the weird phenomena that had surrounded her over the past week or so. Her head felt like a rotary tornado, capturing her life in a violent, destructive blizzard that fatally left her stuck in an amnesia-like damnation.

With grievance, she raised her eyes to the befuddled – yet bemused – fan. "Who is that seated beside him?"

"Uh…you? Ha-ha…" he gulped, uncertain whether she was pulling his leg or ripping it off.

"And who do you think I am?"

"…Yvonne Strahovski…?"

Yvonne Strahovski? That name triggered her memory. The stalker-fan she encountered earlier that day had mentioned it. For some portentous reason, everyone seemed to perceive her as this Hollywood Star, and she couldn't grasp the reason why. Yes, the resemblance was uncanny. Though, she had no recollection of this other woman and no understanding as to why their features seemed so similar. Did she pretend to be this celebrity for a cover? Was this all a mission that she failed to recall? None of it made sense, but she was determined to shovel her way to the bottom of this dilemma, through which she would hopefully find her way back to Chuck.

"Okay," she idly replied. "Could you tell me where I live?"

As though she had been repeatedly clobbered with a baseball bat, Yvonne's head beat to the sounding of an ominous drum. Welcomed with the amplified noise of daytime greetings, her boyfriend, Tim, made his appearance into the kitchen where she stood. She attempted to cool down her boiling forehead with the freezing touch of her icy palm. Unclicking the kettle, its handle was grasped tightly by the masculine hand of Tim as he poured soothing, hot water into a mug to make himself some tea. A dour sigh escaped her red, voluptuous lips. "I have the worst headache ever," she moaned.

"Shame babe. Have some medicine."

A repetitive clatter of tiny paws tapped against the tiled floor of their lustrous home. Chazzie, Yvonne's black and white adopted dog, passed through the kitchen to where her bowl full of doggy food resided. "I have no idea how I got this headache," Yvonne stated.

Through opening one of her raised, glass cupboards that was bordered with a white frame, she extracted some headache tablets. "Eh, I feel like death." With a look of tired desperation, she poured tap water into her glass before dunking down the tablets and using the water as a pacifier to smoothen the swallow.

"Well, go have a nap. Maybe you will feel better afterwards."

"No, I'd rather not. The Chuck finale is on tonight and I want to watch it. It makes it special if I watch it simultaneous to the fans."

He rolled his eyes, annoyed with her resistance to rest for a while. "Fine. But you will be tired by tonight."

"Yeah–"

The unannounced booming sound of a musical chant from the ringing of their doorbell startled her sensitive ears. "I'll go see who it is." Wrapping her loose over-garment tightly round her body, she unlocked her front door and gently pulled it open.

The tautened over-garment unfastened as Yvonne's hands steadily dropped to her sides. Frozen in bewildered disbelief, she witnessed herself standing before her eyes.

With uncertainty, her duplicate greeted. "Uh, Yvonne? … Apparently you're me. Hi, I'm Sarah Walker."