I willed myself not to cry. “I wanted to have friends and go to parties like everyone else. Not be Freaky Tessa who sits at home on the weekends reading books and watching TV with her parents. Begging her brother to hang out with her.”

Mom sat down next to me, holding my good side. “I know it’s hard, but you’re here for a reason. You have to have faith in God and in yourself. If there is anything I’m sure of, it’s that you’re meant to do something great with your gifts.”


I snorted. “Right. Because these ‘gifts’ are so useful for oh, I don’t know, nothing.”

She kissed my forehead, and her guilt surged through me before she could block it.

I felt like a real jerk for not being nicer about what she said. But I couldn’t get my hopes up that one day I’d find my curse was useful.

“This is my fault. I’ve kept you away from my side of the family for too long. You are meant for something.”

What the hell was she talking about?

“I have something to tell you later. First, let’s get you to the hospital.” She started for the door.

“Mom,” I called after her. “I’m sorry. Thank you for taking care of me.”

“Anything for my baby.”

I’d make it up to her. Tomorrow. When my shoulder wasn’t hurting so bad. Sliding on my sweatpants and flip-flops took all the energy I could muster.

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I was so out of it that I nearly forgot my gloves. Number one place I didn’t want to have a vision: the emergency room. Talk about a minefield of pain and drama. I grabbed a pair of white cotton ones that stopped halfway to my elbow.

Axel was waiting with my parents at the door by the time I got down the stairs.

“Ready?” Dad’s arms were still folded in front of his chest. No hint of a smile on his face.

“Yeah, but I’m feeling a little—” Gray dots filled my vision. Then, there was nothing.

Chapter Ten

The car bounced over the gravel road, but I couldn’t muster the energy to lift my head. It took a second to make my eyes open. “What happened?” I was lying across the backseat in Dad’s SUV.

“You fainted, sweetheart.” Mom brushed my hair out of my face. “We’re almost to the hospital.”

“That’s good, I guess.” A cold drop of sweat rolled down my forehead. My mom’s face spun in my vision, and I had to close my eyes to keep from throwing up.

When the car jerked to a stop, I nearly rolled off the seat.

“Dad’s going to carry you inside.”

The world tilted as he lifted me into his arms. Mom walked ahead of us to the front desk. The nurse stood as Mom started rattling off information. “My daughter has a very high fever. And we think she has infected scratches on her shoulder.”

The nurse gave my mom a bored look as she snapped her gum. “How did your daughter get these scratches?”

“She was at a party last night, and a teacher from St. Ailbe’s—”

The nurse’s mouth fell open, and a ball of wet gum plopped onto the desk.


She picked up the phone. “Stand by for a possible Code Black.” The nurse slammed the receiver down, grabbed a clipboard, and ran around the counter. “Follow me.”

Code Black? Code Blue was what they said on TV when someone was dying. Code Black better not mean death. Because if I died from one measly kiss, I was going to freak out.

My nausea was back with a vengeance. I leaned my head into my father’s shoulder. He smelled like a juicy steak.

A steak? Really, Tessa?

I was already kinda crazy, but this fever was making me full-on insane-o.

“You okay, sweetheart?”

“Yeah, Dad. Just a little queasy.” And by little, I meant on the verge of hurling.

“Hang on for one more minute. Almost there.”

I closed my eyes and my sense of smell strengthened. Disinfectant stung my nostrils. Someone must have gone overboard with the bleach.

That was enough of overbearing smells for this girl. I tugged the top of my shirt over my nose.

Mom put the back of her hand to my forehead. “You hanging in there?”

“Yup.” Barely. “Where’s Axel?”

“Don’t worry about him.”

Oh, no. That didn’t sound good. What was Axel up to? I hoped he wasn’t chasing down Dastien.

Dad set me down on the bed as the nurse slid the privacy curtains along the rail, hiding us from view. She snapped on a pair of rubber gloves. That sound made me antsy. Any time plastic gloves were involved, things were not going to be fun.

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