We stood there staring at each other. I couldn’t look away, and I was sure he couldn’t either.
He was too far away for me to hear, but his lips moved and I knew what he said. It was the same thing I’d been thinking. “It’s you.”
Mr. Dawson cleared his throat. “Maybe it’s best if we leave you to it.”
“Yes, but thank you for your offer,” Mom said. “Tessa’s not great with strangers.”
Perfect, Mom. Way to make me sound like a freak. I shot her a look that said as much.
“Let’s talk on Wednesday, John.” Mr. Dawson walked to the car. His movements were not only silent, but also graceful and efficient. Almost like a dancer’s, but somehow more dangerous. The two men argued, but then Dastien’s shoulders drooped. He placed the keys on the hood of our car and headed to his. He stared at me before getting into the passenger side.
I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until they were gone and I was left gasping for air.
“You okay?” Axel said.
I swallowed. “Yeah. Of course. I’m fine.”
“You sure, mija?” Mom said. “You look pale.”
“I’m fine,” I said it with a little more force than was necessary, but didn’t apologize for it. I headed to Dad’s SUV and stared at the keys. I thought about taking off the gloves and holding them for a second just to see what would happen, but I had a feeling my mind had taken in all the information it could for today. The gloves had to stay on, at least for now.
I unlocked the doors and started unloading our bags.
For days I kept staring out the windows, hoping Dastien would come back, but he never did. I guessed he didn’t really have any reason to come back. That didn’t stop me from wanting it. I was curious about him and needed to figure out why I was so drawn to him. Hours filled with unpacking endless boxes went by, and I started to wonder if what I’d seen, what I’d felt, had been a figment of my imagination. For a girl who was used to seeing things that weren’t there, it wasn’t completely out of the realm of the possible. But it’d be a damn shame. Just the thought of seeing Dastien again had my palms sweating and I kind of liked it.
But Dastien wasn’t the only thing on my mind. The house was a minefield of visions. Sometimes they were normal, everyday stuff—people laughing, fighting, getting ready for work. Then I’d touch something and rage would fill my body. My blood would boil and an animalistic urge to destroy things would consume me, but I wouldn’t exactly see anything. It was all emotions, which I was adding to the weird and new category. So far, Texas was turning out to be pretty interesting.
By the end of the weekend, the house was mostly in order—all the essentials in the right spots even if they weren’t totally organized—so I started attacking the boxes in my room. I dusted my books off, placing each one—sorted alphabetically and by genre—on the shelves Dad installed. What some people might call “anal,” I’d call efficient. What good was it to have a book if you couldn’t find it when you wanted it?
When I was done, I sat on the bed and stared at my collection. Axel and Dad were arguing over what station to stream music from. Dad wanted classic rock and Axel wanted hip-hop. Dad informed Axel that there were no “thugs” in the house.
I was laughing at their verbal sparring when Mom came into my room holding a stack of clean towels. She pointed at my gloveless hands. “How’s it going in here?”
“Fine.” I waved toward my books. “Got them unpacked.”
She set the pile down on my bed. “What about the rest? The house giving you any trouble?”
I shrugged. “Define trouble.”
“Anything you need to talk about?”
“Nah. I think I’ve got it covered. But thanks for the offer.”
She settled down next to me. “You okay? Your brother’s leaving in a week and half, we’re living in a different state, and your new school starts tomorrow. It’d be totally cool to admit you’re nervous.”
“Have you met me? This whole no-brother, new school combo is going to rock.”
Mom gave me her patented I’m-not-buying-the-line-of-crap-you’re-selling look.
“Axel leaving is gonna suck.”
She kept silent as she stared at me.
“Okay, so I’m nervous about next week. I’m a freak, but I’m also human. Who wouldn’t be?”
“That’s what I thought.”
“I don’t know why admitting it was helpful. It didn’t do me any good.”