“Whatever,” she said as she started to inspect her manicure.

“All right, everyone. Shots at the ready,” Carlos lifted up his shot glass in salute.

“Ready!” the boys yelled.

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“Por arriba. Por abajo. Por alcentro. Por aldentro.” I said with the boys, then quickly licked the salt, forcing myself not to grimace as a new flash of visions burned my brain courtesy of Carlos. I drank the shot in one swallow, and tried to ignore the burning in my throat as I shoved the sour lime in my mouth with my gloved hand.

That wasn’t so bad.

The boys laughed, and one gave me a high five as I put my discarded lime on the counter.

“Good work,” Carlos said.

“Thanks.” Smiling back at him, I finally felt the confidence I’d been faking. I could do this. I could be one of them. I could control my visions and come off as cool. As normal. I was totally rocking it.

Chapter Eight

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“Oookay. Well, thanks for that Carlos.” Rosalyn’s words were clipped, bringing me crashing back down to reality.

That was nice while it lasted. I shook my head as I pulled on my glove. I’d have lost with her either way I played it. I was going to have to figure out who I wanted to be actual friends with and fast. Keeping up with Rosalyn and her mood swings was enough to drive anyone mad.

Rosalyn held up two fingers. The boy closest to the keg grabbed two red plastic cups and started filling them with beer. Being totally underage, I had no idea what my limit was in terms of alcohol, but I was going to have to watch it. I wanted to blend in, not end up like Jess.

When he handed us the beers, Rosalyn grabbed my hand again. “Bye, boys. We’re going to go see who else is here.”

She pulled me into the living room, where some hip-hop was blaring. Not anything I would ever choose to listen to, but a vast improvement from the country music that Rosalyn favored. I hadn’t had my dancing fix in a while, so I’d take it.

All of the furniture in the room had been pushed against the walls. A bunch of people danced in the middle of it, grinding into each other. Others sat on the couch and chairs around the room. I couldn’t help but stare at the couple making out on the couch. Didn’t they feel weird doing that out in the open? The guy grabbed the girl’s boob, and I looked away.

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There was no way I’d let any guy maul me in public. I don’t care how many shots I had. It’d never happen. I respected myself too much for that.

I took a sip of the beer and gagged. It tasted like pee, not that I’d ever actually tasted pee, but what I imagined pee might taste like.

Rosalyn chugged her beer and then dropped the cup on the floor. “Let’s dance,” Rosalyn yelled into my ear as she pulled me into the middle of room.

Not sure what to do with my drink, I held onto it. I tried not to spill as I swayed back and forth. When I went out with Axel, I usually stayed off to the side or in dance circles where there was more room, and I always wore something that covered nearly every inch of my body. But this was out of control, especially in my dress.

I should have worn long sleeves, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it in the Texas heat. Just the four inches of exposed skin between my gloves and the cap sleeves of my dress was enough to drive my second sight crazy. The press of bodies moving to the music was overwhelming. Wave after wave of visions hit me.

I hope he likes me.

I think I’m going to be sick.

That guy is totally checking me out.

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I can totally see down her shirt. This drink is gross. She’s totally into me. I am totally going to get laid tonight. He’s a bad kisser I think I smell I’m totally hotter Yeah baby come to papa

The floor rocked. All the emotions that everyone was feeling built on top of each other. The visions were crazy. Usually when I got one from physical contact with another person, I saw the last thing that affected them emotionally. But since everyone was well on their way to wasted, whatever they were thinking and what they were feeling were the same thing. So I was seeing what everyone was thinking.

That might’ve sounded like a cool superpower before, but now I knew mind reading wasn’t something I enjoyed. At all. The only thing I was feeling that was all mine was the nausea. I needed air.

I crossed my arms in front of my chest, and hunched over them so no one else could touch my skin. To the side of the dance floor there was a sliding door. “I’m going to go get some air,” I yelled in Rosalyn’s ear.

“Cool,” she said and went back to her swaying.

The air outside hit me in the face with a wall of wet heat, but one by one, all the other feelings and visions faded away until I was left alone with my nausea. The backyard was so dark that I couldn’t see where it ended.

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