“This is awkward.”
I stood in front of Blake and Lilah, trying not to feel too embarrassed. They both agreed to be my ‘guinea pigs’ after I explained to them about my random vision from kissing. They seemed fine with the whole thing. I felt weird about it.
“Fine, if you’re not going to,” Blake said and he rushed forward, kissing me rather hard. I instinctively jerked back but he held onto me for a solid ten, twelve seconds. When he released me we just sort of stared at each other. “Anything?”
“Hmm, let’s try this.” And before I could argue he grabbed me again. This time when he kissed me he used his tongue. I made muffled protests and finally managed to shove him away, gagging and wiping my mouth off.
“Blaaaake! What the hell?!”
Blake grinned. “Anything?”
“No!” I made a face. “Why Did you include your tongue?!”
“I dunno, I figured maybe a French kiss might help. How did you kiss Eidan?”
“NOT LIKE THAT!”
Blake sighed and rolled his eyes. “Fine, sorrrrry! Excuse me for trying to help. Lilah, maybe you can get some sort of response besides undeserved disgust.”
Lilah stepped forward with a giggle. She didn’t attack me and instead waited for me to come closer. Once we made sure the other was ready we shared a kiss. A lot nicer than Blake’s at least, and no tongue. Nothing happened. I pulled back feeling a bit disappointed.
“Want me to try again?” Blake offered.
“No.” I folded my arms, not sure how to feel now. “I don’t know what triggered that vision. Or why it happened without… without the sleeping part.”
“Maybe you did fall asleep for a split second?” Sam offered.
I shook my head. “I don’t think so. Maybe it’s to do with the fact he’s a sylph.” I doubted that was the reason though.
“Maybe try kissing someone else,” Blake suggested. “Eli, wanna give it a go? Kiss a psychic, kiss a psychic! All time low payment of zero simoleons, limited time offer. Ow!” he whined as I smacked him.
“No.” Eli gave me a slightly scared look. “No, that’s fine.”
“How about Sam?” Blake continued.
Sam and I looked at each other. “Ew!” I exclaimed. “That’d be like kissing my brother.”
“Why are you only suggesting guys?!”
“Cause it happened with a guy, duh!”
“Like, how about Kiley?” Lilah said with a smirk.
“I never got a vision the first time we k–” I stopped but it was too late. My friends all began hooting and exclaiming, except for Eli though he snickered.
“You and Kiley kissed?!” Blake exclaimed. “When was this?! How? Why? Was it good?”
“Omigosh, I was wondering if that happened!” Lilah breathed out. “Tell us!”
“You never even told me!” Sam added, looking a bit annoyed.
“I can’t believe Kiley didn’t brag about it!” Blake added. “I mean she’s been after you since–” He stopped and then laughed. “Man, she got a smooch from you! I’m impressed.”
“Um–it was ages ago. It’s not important.” I bit my bottom lip, hoping they’d drop the questions. “I don’t think kissing people would help anything. I think maybe it was a fluke, a one-time-thing. You know. Yeah.”
Blake then kissed me again. It only lasted a couple seconds since I managed to shove him away. “Sorry, I was hoping if I surprised you something would happen.”
I poked my finger into his face. “You do that again and something will happen, and it will hurt you. A lot.”
Thankfully my little kissing experiment didn’t leave the room, however the news that Kiley and I kissed certainly did. I didn’t really care that everyone knew and Kiley admitted when we talked about it that she didn’t care either. She was just curious about why it just now came out and not sooner.
“Most guys like kissing and telling,” she said, twisting some hair around her fingers as we played chess and chatted.
I bent forward, studying the chess pieces. I wasn’t amazing at chess and Kiley was beating me pretty easily. “I don’t see any reason to broadcast things like that. If you have to brag about kissing or scoring with someone it seems less… romantic, you know?”
“Romantic?” Kiley bust up laughing. “Not much romantic about it from what I can remember. It’s not like we got together. Check.”
I squinted at the pieces. “You know what I mean.”
“Mhm. So why was it mentioned last night?”
I moved my remaining bishop out of the way with a sigh. “I–er, I kissed someone and had a vision. And… my friends and I were talking about it and… I accidentally mentioned I didn’t have any visions when I kissed you.”
Kiley giggled. “Checkmate. Shall we try again?” I wasn’t sure if she meant the game or the kissing until she continued with, “Maybe it’s something that changed now that you’re a tiny bit older. I won’t mind. You know I like you.”
My face heated up as we put the pieces back in their original places. “I don’t even know why you like me so much. Aren’t you seeing anyone?” I couldn’t recall her ever dating anyone since–well, ever.
Kiley stared intensely at me which made me feel weird. “I like you.” That doesn’t explain anything, I thought but then realized there hadn’t been any reason or explanation for why I liked Romance. It just happened. “Hey,” Kiley said and I looked up. She leaned across the chess table and seized hold of my chin. Her eyes sparkled as she tipped her head forward and kissed me.
Static, a split second of static, a channel changing. A vision. Like before. Kiley crouched in the corner of a dark room, arms over her head. She was shaking. Someone stormed around in the other room. A guy. Throwing things, cussing. Something shattered. Future Kiley (who looked barely older than now) curled into a small ball and began crying.
Then the channel changed and I was back in the den at Moonlight Falls. Kiley’s eyes were still bright and her lips twisted into a smile. “I gave you a vision,” she said, settling back into her chair. “Is that better or worse than a boner?”
I tried not to shiver. “I don’t know,” I croaked out, trying my best to hide the fear from my voice. “Least I know it wasn’t a fluke.” Finally I managed to sweep my eyes back up to her face. Oh Watcher. I need to warn her… Warn her of what? That she’d be in the same house as someone with a bad temper? I tried to remember if I saw any bruises on her in the vision but the room had been far too dark.
Kiley’s smile faded. “It wasn’t a very nice vision, was it?” I swallowed and shook my head. “Was it about me?” I managed a nod. “Well. Shit. How bad?”
“A… I don’t know. I d-didn’t get enough information to really tell. It might be a bad relationship. A violent one.” The last words came out as a whisper.
Kiley narrowed her eyes and sat back, crossing her arms over her chest. “Not very likely.” She sounded very adamant.
“Fine, that’s good. Maybe a burglar then.” I pushed my chair back and stood up. “I think I need to lay down, I’m sorry.”
I struggled to get up the stairs and felt a bit better once I collapsed into my bed. On one hand I had the fact that kissing Kiley gave me a vision. On the other… A bad relationship, I couldn’t stop thinking of that. I just had the sense that’s what happened. Maybe her surety had been from being sure that she could weed out a violent boyfriend. UGH I wish I could have more information–
Wait. I rolled onto my back. I still remembered every detail from Eidan’s kiss’s vision. I could remember the details from Kiley’s. These aren’t acting like my normal visions. The details weren’t fading right away. They still were sharp, as clear as a movie playing on my brain. What if this is how my visions work now? What if I didn’t have anymore sleep-visions? What if they were all… What, kissing visions?
I snorted and rolled over again. Kissing visions, how freaking stupid.
I focused on school as December hit, glad to have a distraction from everything once the exams started. I did continue to have normal visions though it seemed like they didn’t happen quite as often. Mr. Hunter noticed my visions were ‘slowing’ down, so to speak, but I didn’t tell him about the kissing thing. It felt kinda embarrassing. Especially since Blake kept telling me I should run a combo kissing booth/psychic reading stall at the fair.
The winter holidays went by mostly without much of an issue. Near the end of the break there was a big news report about a bunch of the Justificus group getting their jail time shortened by giving up names of those who hadn’t been caught. I wished they announced the names, wondering if any of them were connected to Hunter’s. I wished I could have some sort of vision about it… like seeing a future where the spy was arrested or something, so I could tell Mr. Hunter the spy’s identity. Or maybe one of the names would turn out to be the spy?
I returned to Hunter’s and nobody had left. All the teachers were still around, all the students. So if any of them were the spy they hadn’t been snitched on. Eli seemed even more stressed and I did try talking to him. He quickly shut me down, making it clear there was nothing to talk about.
“We do talk about it though,” I said. “We talk about it by sometime next year. The vision I had about it…”
Eli glowered. “Then we’ll talk about it then.”
Meanwhile Blake decided he still needed to try to give me a ‘kissing vision’ and about once a week he would try to kiss me. Usually I managed to avoid these but on occasion he succeeded, and in April when he gave me a successful kiss I had a vision. Blake–older Blake–paced around a room with a phone pressed hard against the side of his head. “I don’t care, he’s done something wrong and someone–“
Then the kiss ended, so the vision ended. Blake saw my eyes and got excited. “I did it! I gave you a vision! Didn’t I?”
“Ugh, yes,” I groaned. “Now stop kissing me. It’s disturbing.”
The next few weeks were spent focusing on schoolwork and trying to drive everything else from my mind. Next year would be my final year of school. One day while hanging out at a park Sam and I talked about possibly doing online college afterwards where no one would care about his pointy years or if I fell asleep and screamed bloody murder.
“I just don’t know what I want to do,” I sighed, twisting around in the swing. “Like, what should I do as a job? I’m not even good at anything.”
“Psychic readings with a kiss?”
“Screw you.” He tipped his head back and laughed hard. I swung towards him to kick at his legs. “You jerk,” I grumbled. “Blake is influencing you.”
Sam grinned. “I don’t know what I want to do either. I’m not really feeling the urge to pick one career over another. I suppose we could always become teachers here.”
I made a face. “Urgh, not me. You really want to be a teacher?”
“No. I just don’t know what I could do.” He began swinging a little bit, looking at the clouds. “Honestly…” He trailed off and went silent. I urged him to continue and it took several minutes before he admitted, “I wouldn’t mind too much just being a househusband, you know? But that’s not something I can just apply for.”
“I didn’t even know you had interest in dating at all.”
He looked at me now. “Not really. I don’t see the point in dating around. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it… I just… it’s not for me. And I don’t know if I’ll ever even find ‘the one’. If there is a ‘one’ for me.”
I shrugged. “Some people say there’s someone out there for everyone.”
“Not really. Or, if there is, it’s not like you’re guaranteed to find them.”
Sam dug his feet in to stop swinging. “Yeah that’s fair. Plus I’m not interested in sex so there’s that added to the fun, finding someone not interested in it either.”
I jolted a little bit, rather surprised by his confession. “Whoa. That’s, uh, shoot, what’s it called? Um, asexual?” I asked and he nodded. “I didn’t know you were asexual.”
“To be fair, I’ve only just realized it recently.” Sam gave me a curious look. “You don’t think it’s weird?”
“Dude, no,” I promised. “Why would I think it’s weird?”
“It… it’s sometimes hard. I mean, hearing others talk about sex and it just seems like a lot of people feel it’s the big goal of life.” He began kicking at the mulch. “All the songs talking about sex, all the movies, everything. The media. Guys proving they’re men by getting laid. That sort of stuff is just so… prevalent.”
We hopped off the swings and began walking. “Yeah it’s everywhere and it sucks it’s everywhere.” I jammed my hands in my pockets and kicked a rock. I definitely wanted to have sex. I said as much and added, “However it’s not something I expect everyone to want. And I definitely don’t think it’s weird or makes you less of a man for being asexual.”
We veered off into the woods as the clouds began to blow away, bringing sunshine down on us. I wasn’t paying attention to where we were going but that didn’t matter too much since Sam didn’t get lost in the woods easily. I began kicking a rock again though it wasn’t so easy getting it through the sticks and underbrush. We continued discussing his newly realized sexuality. He had been anxious to talk to me about it but had put it off for several weeks. He talked a little bit about sexuality in the elven world. It seemed to be a lot freer than in the human world. I remembered something about that from what Reeny had learned from her grandparents.
We walked and talked, and talked and walked. It was pretty nice hiking through the woods. We must have walked miles when we came near a sort of open area. The ground dipped down and we were going to skirt around it but something caught my eye. Inside the dip, near the center. “Hey, what’s that? Looks like a sculpture.”
I climbed down into the hollow and walked across the ground. Dread began filling me as I walked. The grass underfoot was paler and paler until it was just completely dead the closer I got to the thing poking up in the middle.
I staggered at the unfamiliar voice in my head. I swore lightly as I clutched at my head. It began hurting pretty bad as I got even closer to the thing. It was a pile of rusty looking dust that had somehow solidified into a pile of ugliness.
The screaming grew in my head.
Burning ice, burning me, ripping me.
The voice grew in my head like someone turned up the volume. The voice felt familiar but I didn’t recognize it. My hands trembled as I reached out for something not there.
A scream like a train, distant and then suddenly right in my ear. I began screaming too and yanked back, my whole body shaking. I stepped back and fell to the ground. It felt like something seizing my entire body, ripping through me. My eyes began burning. I screamed and kicked and thrashed.
The train grew louder, screaming, whistling in my ear. It felt like my entire body might explode. Thousands of minuscule fingers pulled at my eyes, burning them. Then darkness. The pain grew worse. The miniscule fingers tore at every last pinpoint of my body, from the inside out. Leaving points of fiery cold pain. whereever they touchhed.
You’re okay… try to heal yourself
Another voice, this one familiar as my blanket. Uncle Max. I reached out into the darkness for him and found his hand. It held onto me tightly and pulled. I gave a weak cry. “Uncle Max please, it hurts, Uncle Max…”
He pulled and yanked me away from the pain, away from the darkness. Light poured into my eyes which hurt just as much as the darkness had. I adjusted my head and saw Sam dragging me out of the hollow, not Uncle Max. But I had heard him.
“Shit, shit, shit,” Sam breathed out until he gave a heavy yank to drag me up over the slope and onto the flat ground. I sat up and tried to stay calm as the world tilted around me. “Shit, Apollo.” Sam knelt in front of me, his fingers digging into my shoulders.
My entire body shook and I couldn’t stop. I felt so cold. “Uncle Max?”
“No, it’s Sam. Can you see me?” He waved one hand in front of me.
I swallowed and then managed to nod. “Y–yeah.”
“Your eyes are gold.”
“Your eyes are freaking gold colored. They were practically glowing. Did you–were you–a vision?” Sam asked, his voice rather ragged.
“No. No.” I began shaking more. “I want to go home.”
“Yeah, let’s go. Can you walk?”
He helped me to my feet and it took a few tries before I managed to lurch forward. After a moment of slowly limping Sam told me my eyes returned to normal. The pain began fading, too, and after a couple more minutes I could walk regularly. I still felt freezing cold, though, and sick. So sick. And scared. And sad.
I spent the walk home with tears dripping down, and I had no idea why.