His intensity made me nervous. “Sure,” I said, although I wasn’t sure I understood at all. In fact, the only good his little speech did was make me want to find a St. Ailbe’s kid to befriend.
His gaze was suddenly too much, and I looked down at my feet.
“I doubt you’ll run into my students too often,” Mr. Dawson said. “They stick pretty close to campus, and John, you’ll be doing everything from the offices downtown. The school isn’t too far from here though—just on the other side of the creek.”
That sounded far. “Where’s your car?” I said. Axel elbowed me. Jeeze. Was it elbow Tessa day or what? My question was perfectly valid. It wasn’t out front when we pulled in.
“I hiked.” I must’ve made a face because Mr. Dawson explained. “The creek backs up to the house. You’ve got maybe fifty feet of trees before you’ll hit a steep drop. The bottom is the bed of the creek. It’s been dry for years though. It’s only a couple mile hike from here to the school.” A honk sounded from the driveway. “That’s one of my former students now. He graduated a couple years ago, and teaches occasionally. John, you’ll get to know him well. He’s my second here. I know you’ve got movers coming in a bit, but I thought you might want help unloading your cars after such a long drive.”
“Perfect. Thanks, Michael.” Dad grabbed the keys from his pocket. “Axel, get to it.”
Dad tossed the keys to Axel, but I caught them. “I’ll help.”
Dad shared a look with Mr. Dawson. “Axel, go with your sister.”
That wasn’t awkward at all. Why didn’t Dad want me to go outside? Axel and I walked out the front door, but I stopped just outside.
He was here. The younger guy from the vision. The one who could tell that I was having the vision. The one I linked to.
My breathing was shallow as I watched him move. I didn’t want to make a noise, not even from breathing. I wanted to watch him in real life for a second. He was at least as fit as Mr. Dawson, and had the same soundless stride. I could feel his restlessness as if it were my own. He pulled off his sunglasses and stuck them in the collar of his blue t-shirt. I smiled when I noticed the band artwork on the front—The Helio Sequence. That album was in heavy rotation on my playlist.
Axel called out to him and my moment of watching unnoticed was shattered. I stumbled back a step.
“Tessa?” Mr. Dawson said, suddenly close. “Are you okay?”
I tried to move away, but he was already reaching out to steady me.
“Don’t touch her!” Dad said.
Too late. He gripped my bicep, skin-to-skin.
Running. Panting. Wind ruffled his fur. His paws slammed the ground at a fast pace.
Faster. Must go faster.
Mr. Dawson was there with me. I could feel him in my head, an unwelcome visitor, seeing what I saw. It felt like an invasion, and I wanted him gone. I pushed him out as the vision faded. And just as quickly as it started, I was back on the porch, staring into Mr. Dawson’s hazel eyes.
I knew I should pull away from him, but the look he was giving me warned me not to even try. I was paralyzed as I waited for one of us to break the silence.
That was the second time my visions had gone wonky. This time was way more unsettling than the last.
And shit. Dad was going to be pissed.
His lips turned up as that thought ran through my mind. “I see we’ve both got our secrets,” he whispered so that only I could hear it.
Crap. Was he reading my mind? If he were telepathic, that could explain why my visions were weird with him. I’d never met anyone with gifts before, not since my abuela passed, and I was too young to really remember her anyway.
Crap. I’ve got to stop thinking stuff.
Mom stepped between us and pulled me away from him. “You okay, Tess?”
“I think so.” Sorry, I mouthed. So much for making a good impression.
“My daughter doesn’t like to be touched.” Dad tried to explain. “She’s got this condition—”
“It was my fault.” Mr. Dawson stared at me as if he could see right through me. Then he nodded, and took the keys from my gloved hand. “Head’s up, Dastien!” He threw the keys.
Dastien caught them without looking from fifteen feet away. He didn’t take too much notice of me. Not like I wanted him to. He walked to the cars as a breeze whipped through the house, slamming the screen door shut behind me. He spun. His eyes, dark before, flashed to glowing amber.
That had to be a trick with the light.