“Eighteen thirty-six.” I scratched my head. “That sounds like a date.”
He leaned out of the window to punch in the code. “Yup. Year of the battle of the Alamo. Welcome to Texas, princess.” Leave it to Dad, the history buff, to know the answer.
Dad clicked his seatbelt back into place, and we drove down the bumpy road. I checked the directions from Dad’s new boss again. “Says here that we’re the ninth driveway. If we get to the fork, then we’ve gone too far.”
Dad grunted. “Well, we’re definitely in for a change here.”
“You could say that.” It seemed like these tiny driveways were more like trails in a national park. I couldn’t see any houses, and the “driveways” were really spread out.
When we reached the fifth, Dad cleared his throat. “So the head of St. Ailbe’s is meeting us at the house with the keys. I, uh, just…” Dad trailed off.
He sighed. “Try not to touch anything or have any visions in front of him. I didn’t exactly say anything about—”
“Dad. Seriously. It’s not a big deal. I would rather not have one either, but in the event that I do, I’ll try to hide it. Cool?”
He patted my jean-clad leg. “Thanks, princess.”
“That’s nine.” I pointed to the driveway. It curved down a hill and finally opened up to a beautifully manicured lawn. A circular drive with a giant oak tree in the middle led up to the pale yellow stucco house. Butterflies filled my stomach as we stopped in front. It wasn’t as big as our house in LA, but almost. The white wrap-around porch drew my attention, especially the bench swing to the left of the front door. Off to the right was a white two-car garage.
Dad parked in front of the garage to leave the drive open, and Axel pulled up beside us. I slipped down from the SUV and pulled a pair of thin tie-dyed gloves from my pocket.
Mom hopped out of Axel’s car and put her arm around me. “How was the last of the drive?”
“Fine. But you still smell like chicharones.” I made a face. She tried to smother my face with kisses, but I pushed her away. “Nasty!”
The screen door squeaked open, which shocked me. Besides our two cars, there were no others here. A man stepped onto the porch, and we stopped goofing off. Mom straightened her shirt, and Dad knocked on Axel’s window. “Quit texting.”
I didn’t fully turn to Dad’s new boss until Axel was out of the car. I don’t know why I was surprised to see the older man from my vision walking out of the house. He was the one who hired my dad, so he’d most likely held the papers that gave me the vision. But I was still caught with my mouth hanging open. The whole thing was weird, and that was saying something for a girl who was used to weird.
Now that I was seeing him in the flesh, Dad’s boss looked a bit younger than my parents. Light brown hair curled around his neck. He hadn’t shaved, giving him a rugged look that went along with his scarred hiking boots. He didn’t make a sound as he walked down the steps, which was eerie enough without adding the fact that he’d co-starred in one of my oddest visions ever.
I didn’t know I’d made a noise until Axel elbowed me. “Dude. You okay?”
I cleared my throat. “Totally. Why wouldn’t I be?” Axel had been pestering me ever since I had the vision in Dad’s office, but I hadn’t spilled much. Maybe I should’ve told him, but I couldn’t bring myself to. For some reason, my connection with the younger guy felt personal.
“Thank you for getting here so quickly, John,” he said to Dad. “I’m Michael Dawson.” His grey T-shirt was a smidge too tight around his arms, making it strain against his biceps as he reached out a hand.
Dad stepped forward to shake it. “Wasn’t a problem. This is my wife, Gabriela, my son, Axel, and my daughter, Tessa.”
Axel and I stayed by the car while our parents greeted him. It was better to keep my distance, less chance of a vision that way. But when Mr. Dawson reached to shake Axel’s hand, he abandoned me. I sighed. This was going to be awkward.
Mr. Dawson held out his hand to me, but I didn’t take it. “Welcome to Texas,” he said. It sounded a little like a question.
Mom gave a nervous laugh instead of her normal booming one. “It’s been a long drive, and we’re a little cranky. But we can’t wait to get settled in.”
A breeze picked up, blowing my hair in my face. It’d finally grown past the bottom of my shoulder blades. I pulled a rubber band out of my pocket and yanked the wavy mess into a sloppy bun.