I wasn’t supernaturally inclined to know when vampires were around, but I knew anyway. I was empathic and that meant that I could feel what others felt, I felt what was going on around me. And right now, as I was on top of the Heffler where I volunteered for a crisis hotline, I knew there were eight nearby. I’d been the unfortunate one to answer the call and now I stood there, teetering on the edge with a ‘jumper’ before me. I was keenly aware of the two vamps behind me and the six on the ground. Vampires didn’t usually care about death. I had no idea why they were here, but it didn’t matter at that moment.
“Okay…okay.” I took a deep breath and tried to inch forward.
The jumper was a frail looking girl with inflamed cheeks. Her red curls whisked around her from the wind, which didn’t help our situation at all. She turned, saw me, and her eyes widened. She was the deer in my headlights, but I hoped that I wasn’t the oncoming car to push her over the edge.
“Hi—hello—how are you? No—I mean…” I should have stopped then, but I was the only one from the hotline there. I’d been the last to leave and because of that, I was the only one that heard the phone, answered the phone, and figured out where the girl had called from.
I took another breath, and then said more calmly, “My name’s Davina, but you can call me Davy—if you want.” A part of me waited for the normal ‘Stay away from me or I’ll jump!’, but it didn’t come.
She didn’t say a thing. I saw the tears and that’s what made me pause. She’d been hysterical on the phone. I’d heard the words ‘a guy’, ‘kill myself’, and ‘love.’ My mind leapt to the natural clichéd conclusion. I thought she was going to kill herself over a guy and a part of me felt a little contempt for her. I know, I know — she’s suicidal. I should be sympathetic, but… really—a guy?!
That had been my first reaction, but now I thought differently. This girl wasn’t the suicidal virgin with a love gone reality. I looked into her hazel eyes and saw true agony in this girl. It was real and it blew my breath away for a moment. That was saying a lot.
“Okay.” I needed to settle myself. I needed to plant both feet on the ground and I needed—I looked at her again. The pain was crippling. I could feel it. There was a sense of contentment and resolve in her too. This girl was done. What she was done with, I had no idea, but I felt it. She’d fought a battle, she’d lost, and she was done with it all.
For a moment, I stood in awe of her. I’d had my fair share of trauma and struggle, but I still had hope. This girl had none.
I closed my eyes and opened every sense I had. Every empath I knew would scream against this, but I needed to know what this girl had gone through. Something told me that I
to know. I lowered my bridge, and I felt myself slip inside of her.
Turmoil. Desolation. Agony.
Worst of all, I felt the surrender. It slammed against me like waves of sleet in a downpour. It actually hurt and I bit my tongue. I wanted to feel more. I wanted to understand so I pushed further. Empaths are advised against this for a reason. If we touch too deep inside a person sometimes a part of us doesn’t come back.
There was something inside of her, something that promised me that it’d be worth it. It was like… I needed to uncover it. Surging forward, I fought past the hopelessness and defeat. Then I reeled back when I touched the core.
There had been a guy. He had loved her. She had loved him… and then… I felt devastation, betrayal, and an end.
I gasped abruptly.
I don’t know what happened, but something had happened. She had loved this guy. She found something and then… It was her decision, which was important. She decided when she’d die… not… I couldn’t feel it anymore.
She gasped. My eyes flew open and I felt a wind propel me backwards. It was as if the universe didn’t want me near this girl. I couldn’t look away. Her eyes wanted to tell me something, something that she didn’t even realize she wanted to say, but she didn’t have the words or she didn’t have the will. Then a single tear rolled down to join the rest and she smiled. It was haunting. Then she let go of the railing. I watched, stricken, but already in expectation as she soared downwards.
Something was off, something reeled inside of me.
Something had not gone according to plan and I’m the kind of girl where I knew that plans should go according to plan! It was usually highly essential, but this—this wasn’t good. Not only for the fact that some part of me still felt connected to her, but there was a universe-world-future issue at stake. I had no idea why I felt that, how I felt it, but I did. I was panicked. The girl had jumped, and it was like the world was now going to end… I gulped.
“Mr. Moser is not happy.”
That was my greeting as I dropped my books on the library table and plopped down next to my roommate. She was the originator of my stupid hotline volunteer career. The career that was
, done, and over with. I snuck inside that morning, slipped the envelope underneath the door, and bolted.
There are occasions where I’m very much a coward, and this was one of those times.
“I’m not surprised,” I muttered and bent to grab a pencil out of my bag. The location of the bag was just opportune. It was on the floor so I was able to turn and present my back to my roommate. I hoped she’d take the hint.
“What do you mean you’re not surprised? Why aren’t you surprised?” Emily hadn’t taken the hint. Then again, she never did.
She had been my roommate for the last three months. Her entire life plan was written in detail with bulleted expenditure costs, but it all revolved around her career choice in social work. She was the one to volunteer at the hotline. She was the one who dragged me there. She was even the one that pointed out Adam. Emily wasn’t the reason why I stayed. Adam was that reason.
I like boys. Most people would say that I’m boy-crazy, but the truth is I just find them entertaining. I would never ever kill myself over a guy. They’re not worth that much, but they are worth a fun activity or a cuddle during a movie. When I saw his rich chestnut hair and almond eyes, I knew that Adam would make a great movie-cuddler.
“Davina!” Emily called out sharply. She was being ignored. That made her pissy.
I sighed and fought the urge to bury my head in my book. No. Why fight it? I buried my head into my book and groaned dramatically. I knew one thing. It would make
Emily shut up. If there was one thing that made her uncomfortable, it was when someone was in need of emotional reassurance. I once saw her spill a drink and use that as an excuse to leave a group when one of the girls started crying. I highly doubted Emily’s social work career would make it past the paper it was written on, but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell her.
On another note, I hated being called Davina. It’s Davy. It’ll always be Davy. It’ll never be Davina. Then I realized there was silence. Emily had quieted. I risked a look, and saw that her eyes were downcast on her own pile of books. I thanked my own quick wits for this reprieve.
I stiffened at the name, but when I looked over my shoulder I melted into a gooey feeling inside. Adam was approaching with an eager stride. His almond eyes sharpened with warmth, and I saw the earnest grin on his face. Tall, dark, and just pretty. That’s how I’d describe my perfect guy, and Adam easily fit the bill. Plus, he wore Abercrombie. What girl didn’t like that? Well, probably a lot, but it looked yummy on him.
“Hi, Adam.” I was warm. I was always warm around him.
He stood at the end of our table and seemed riveted by me. I wondered why and then let it go. Obviously, the guy had woken up and realized his love for me.
“I heard about the suicide last night. Are you okay? You were there, right? That’s what Shelly said.”
Shelly. All the gooeyness dried up. Shelly was my competition. I cheated on my empath rules and took a peek inside her once. The feeling was mutual. She hated me even more and I didn’t need to be psychic to know that she planned to murder me.
I was only
I was a short girl at five foot six inches with an average build, not slim, but not big either. I had brown curls on a good day, and a frizzy fray on a bad, but I knew my dark brown eyes and my full lips were my best features. Guys liked to stare at both of them, but Shelly was a tall willowy blonde with absolutely beautiful blue eyes. I always felt like I was swimming in a lake when I looked at them.
Shelly liked Adam. I liked Adam, but I wasn’t sure who Adam liked.
“What else did Shelly say?” I couldn’t hide my sarcasm.
Adam’s smile dimmed slightly, but he pressed, “Is it true? You answered the phone and she was on the roof?”
The boy was goal oriented. “Yes. I was there, but she jumped.”
Emily looked up with wide eyes. Adam shifted a little and his eyes skirted from me to Emily. “Are you… are you okay? Shelly said that you quit the hotline.”
“I can’t believe you quit.” Emily had to put her two cents in.
“Yeah, I mean…” Adam took the seat next to mine and lowered his voice. It was soothing and seductive to my ears. “I mean…the place won’t be the same without you, you know?”
Of course I knew, but that was the point of it. I wanted to get as far away as possible. It would always remind me of the girl from last night. I wasn’t freaked out with agony and so forth, but the truth was that I was freaked out by the gut-wrenching feeling that something worldly awful had happened and that it was connected to me. “I just… it’s too much, you know? I can’t handle—she died in front of me. I can’t…it’s just too much for me.”
I saw the sympathy in Adam. He placed his hand on mine. “I know exactly what you mean. If you ever need anything, call me. Okay? I want to help you through this tough time.”
Emily fled the scene. I almost caught a back draft from her sprint. “I’d really like that, Adam.”
He squeezed my hand. “Any time. Remember that, Davina.”
I’d remind him another time not to call me that name.
Then the happily-ever-after feeling was gone
as I felt a vampire walk past us. A cold wind slapped my insides and I looked up. Normally, vamps ignore me. They can’t feel me like I can feel them so they just believe that they’re not noticed.
Not this time.
I gasped when I saw a pair of coal-black eyes staring right back at me. The vamp was tall with jet black hair. He wore a white buttoned-down shirt over jeans. He kept going, but I still felt his eyes after he turned the corner.
“Davina,” Adam said sharply, confused.
“What…what were you saying?” His hand was gone. I wanted his hand back.
“I…” He frowned again and asked, “Are you okay? You pushed me away and I mean, that’s okay if that’s what you need right now. I just thought…” He trailed off and looked away.
I didn’t have to be empathic to see his insecurity. “It’s not that. That guy scared me just now. I’m sorry. I want your help, I really do.”
His eyes twinkled.
I sighed again. How could any girl not fall in love with how adorable he was?
“Can you two stop with the sappy moment?” Emily returned with a storm at her backside. She slumped in her seat. “I’m trying to study.”
“Oh, yeah,” Adam laughed, a little embarrassed. “I-uh—I’ll talk to you later, Davina?”
I nodded. Hell yeah, we’d talk.
“Good. See you later then.”
I glanced at Emily as he left and saw her sharp green eyes on me. She narrowed them in disgust.
“You make me sick.”
“What? Why?” I was innocent.
“You totally lied to him just now. I had to run to the bathroom to keep from barfing. Really?! You can’t handle it? She died in front of you? Mr. Moser told me that you need to get back to the hotline. You broke protocol and that’s why you quit, not because you’re ‘emotionally shaken.’ Seriously, Davina.”