A/N: If you read this book before today (April 9th, 2021), I’d suggest going back and re-reading for the full character stories! I’ve added scenes and descriptions in the first five chapters to solidify this as a romance, which is far more fun for me to write and has a much better chance of me being able to finish it! You can go back to chapter one by clicking here.
Landon pulled into the drive of a relatively nice-looking house. Of course, in comparison to Miguel’s place, about the only thing that wasn’t nice-looking was a crack den, but Landon’s sister appeared to have money, and a lot of it.
“Your sister’s a real psychic… right? Not one of those scam artists?” Miguel asked.
Miguel gestured to the house beyond the windshield. “How does a psychic who doesn’t leave the house afford this place?”
Landon chuckled softly, shaking his head as he undid his seatbelt. “For the good of everyone involved, I’m not going to answer that, Detective.”
After a moment, Miguel nodded. She was involved in something illegal, one way or another. Or had been at some point. Either way, it appeared to have set her up rather well. Miguel couldn’t help but feel just a little burned by that.
Still, he had his son to worry about, and that meant keeping his law-abiding instincts at bay long enough to get the help they needed. “So… what do we do here, Landon? Just walk in? You gotta introduce us ahead of time to security so we don’t get shot?”
Landon snorted before his expression turned sympathetic. “I know it seems like a lot, but it’ll be okay. Nora’s a good person, and she’s great with kids. Christ, there are three psychic little gremlins in there with her now. She knows what she’s doing, and she’s just going to help you and Eliseo… work together. There’s no security. We aren’t gonna get shot.” He smiled. “She’s psychic. She already knows we’re here anyway.”
Miguel offered a smile of his own. “So I guess it’s too late to back out then, huh?”
The younger man laughed. “Yeah, just a little, unfortunately.”
“Damn,” Miguel whispered. Letting out a breath, he undid his seatbelt. “Let’s do this, then.” He slid out of the car and pulled open the back door. He unbuckled Eliseo and lifted him out of his seat. The boy stirred, wrapping an arm loosely around Miguel’s neck.
Landon closed both doors on the car. “She’s not going to do anything to hurt him. She’s just going to help us understand how strong he is, what his abilities are. It’ll help you better understand how to help him through certain things.”
“I know. At least, I sort of know. I’m just…”
Miguel nodded. “I don’t understand. Isn’t this psychic thing, like… genetic? I’ve watched a ghost show here and there, and a lot of those psychics are the second or third generation of psychics in their family.”
“Usually. In my experience, anyway,” Landon said with a little nod. “That’s actually part of the reason I want you and Eliseo to meet Nora. If anyone can explain why he’s one but you don’t know of any in your family or his mom’s family, it’s Nora.”
“What if she can’t?”
“I prefer to focus on what if she can,” Landon said. He squeezed Miguel’s arm, but the warmth of his hand disappeared just as quickly as it had come. Admittedly, Miguel wished it had stayed there a hell of a lot longer. To say he was touch-starved was probably a massive understatement. It was something he tried not to think about too much, something he tried not to really focus on. His career was more important than friendships or sexual relationships. His career put a roof over Eliseo’s head, clothes on his back, food in his stomach. Those things would always come before any desire or urge for Miguel. Always.
“Are you ready to go find out if she can?” Landon asked.
Miguel forced himself to nod. “Lead the way.” With Eliseo wrapped securely in his arms, Miguel followed Landon up to the house. Just before they reached the door, a thin redhead opened it. She was a natural ginger like Landon, though her hair leaned more toward reddish-orange and less toward the reddish-brown that Landon’s did. They shared the same shade of pale skin, the same freckles on their face and exposed arms.
She smiled softly. “I was beginning to worry you’d changed your mind.”
“We were just talking out some nerves,” Landon said. “Nora, this is Miguel and his son Eliseo. Miguel, this is Nora and her husband Nathan.”
The man stuck out a hand. “Nate works fine.”
Miguel adjusted his grip on Eliseo and gave Nathan’s hand a firm shake. “Thank you both for having us over. I’m sure you have much better ways to spend a Monday night.”
“I usually just skim my help forums until I fall asleep for a few hours.” Nora wrapped a hand around Nathan’s arm and took a small step back. “Come on in. Let’s see what we can do for your boy.”
Miguel stepped into the house, Landon behind him. Once the younger man kicked off his shoes, Miguel did the same. “I think this will sound rude no matter how I ask it, but I don’t mean it that way. How can you… do anything for him?”
“I guess it’s about your perspective on the situation. To me, helping you understand him and helping you know how to help him is doing something for him. Being able to help explain a little bit why he’s like this and you aren’t is doing something for him. Finding a way to help chase away some of those nasty nightmares is doing something for him.”
“Y-you can do that? Help get rid of the nightmares?”
Nora shook her head. “ ‘Get rid of’ is… unfortunately too strong of a term. But given enough time, I can possibly help find a way to deter them.”
“Deter them how?”
“Make them occur less often, less intensely. Is that agreeable?”
Miguel nodded so fast it made him a little dizzy. “Yes. Yes, it’s agreeable. Anything that helps him.”
Nora smiled. “That’s a good start. I’ve met a lot of parents that will do just about anything to get rid of it completely, no matter what their kid wants.”
“I get it,” Miguel said. “I don’t want him to suffer through this. I don’t want him seeing the things he sees.”
“You’re a good dad. In my experience so far, most of the parents who come to see me because they want it gone desire it because they’re tired of dealing with calls from the school or other parents about the weird stories their kid tells the other kids. It’s unfortunate, is all.” Nora nodded off to the left. “Come on. We’ll talk in the living room.”
“It’s going to be okay,” Landon said as they followed Nora and Nathan through the house. “Nora’s the best there is for this sort of thing.”
“I have a feeling Nora is the only there is for this sort of thing.”
Landon chuckled. “Probably. But even if there are a million people like her doing this exact same thing, I’m willing to bet she’s the best. She’s the strongest psychic the Devil’s ever seen.”
Miguel glanced down at him. “Should… I be worried that you chose ‘Devil’ instead of ‘God’?”
A nearly mischievous little smile came to Landon’s face as he offered a shrug. “Up to you.”
“Cool,” Miguel whispered.
In the living room, Landon dropped down on the couch and Nora and her husband sat on the loveseat across the room. Letting out a breath, Miguel sat down beside Landon and shifted Eliseo to his lap. The boy stirred, head dropping to Miguel’s chest rather than his shoulder.
“Landon told me he has nightmares,” Nora said.
Miguel nodded. “They used to mostly be bad things happening to animals, and that started about a year or so ago.”
“What kind of bad things?”
“I don’t know. He never gave me a lot of details. A lot of cows, though. I know that much.”
One corner of Nora’s mouth scrunched up for a moment. “And the current nightmares, the ones with human death. How long has that been going on?”
“Since his mom died. About six months.”
Nora nodded. “How did his mother die?”
“I-I’m sorry. If you’re as good as Landon says you are, shouldn’t you know all this already?”
Nora’s smile was nothing but understanding. “I get the apprehension. There are a lot of scammers out there working under the guise of supernatural sensitivity, but I’m not one of them. I know bits and pieces about you, but I do my best not to pry into a person’s mind or feelings without permission or necessity. So long as you answer my questions, that necessity doesn’t arrive.”
Miguel closed his eyes before bringing himself to nod. “I don’t know how she died. We were already divorced by then, and the cause of her death was only released to her family.”
“Mm.” She pointed at Eliseo. “Do you think her family told him what happened?”
“I doubt it. But, umm… but he was found in her car parked outside of where her body was found.”
“Jesus,” Nora whispered. “Do you know if he saw it happen?”
Miguel shook his head. “No idea. I’ve assumed it’s… likely that he saw or heard it, but I don’t know. We don’t really talk much about the day Mommy died, you know?”
“Of course.” Nora reached up to tuck her hair behind her ears. “Can I touch his arm? His arm or his hand gives me a better reading than sitting across the room does, and from over here, things are a bit hazier than usual.”
“What does that mean? That it’s hazier?”
“That he’s a little stronger than I’m used to.”
Miguel nodded, though he felt like he couldn’t breathe. “Go ahead.”
Nora pushed herself to her feet and walked over to the couch. A hand on Landon’s knee, she squatted down in front of Miguel. “Eliseo, honey?”
Eliseo’s eyes fluttered open. “Where are we, Daddy?”
“This is Landon’s sister, Nora. We’re at her house,” Miguel said, struggling to force every word past the lump in his throat.
Eliseo looked up at Landon. “Are you in trouble?”
Landon snorted. “Not today. We just wanna see if Nora can help calm your nightmares down a little.”
“Calm… them down?” Eliseo asked. He tilted his head back against Miguel’s chest. “Get rid of?”
“No, mijo. I wish we could get rid of them, but we can’t. But, uh, but Nora, here… Well, she thinks she can help make them happen less often.”
“Less is good.” Eliseo looked at Nora again. “How?”
“I’d like to touch your hand or your arm. It helps me figure out where the nightmares are coming from, and once I know that, I can figure out how to slow them down.”
Eliseo rolled up the sleeve of his pajama shirt and stuck out his arm. “Okay.”
Nora smiled. “Thank you.” She grabbed Eliseo’s forearm, her brow furrowing almost instantly. She grabbed his hand instead, clasping it between both of her own. She closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against her hands.
When she finally released Eliseo’s hand, she looked almost angry. “Landon, see me in the kitchen, please.”
“Now,” Nora said as she pushed herself to her feet.
“Now I’m in trouble,” Landon whispered to Eliseo before standing up. He squeezed Miguel’s shoulder. “Everything’s okay. I’ll be right back. Okay?”
Miguel forced himself to nod.
Nathan cleared his throat. “I have some coloring books over here if you’re interested, Eliseo.”
“Any lambs?” Eliseo asked.
Nathan leaned forward and sorted through the small stack of books on the coffee table. “Here we go. This one’s all farm animals.”
“Thank you!” Eliseo jumped off Miguel’s lap and grabbed the coloring book. He sat down beside the basket of crayons on the floor and rifled through the pages in search of a lamb to color.
“Do you know what’s going on?” Miguel asked.
Nathan shook his head. “Unfortunately, I’m not that kind of psychic. I’m more of a… creation and destruction sensor.”
“What does that mean?”
He lifted his shoulders, eyes shifting to Eliseo for a moment. “When something is born–human or otherwise–I can sense it. If something dies, I can sense it. It’s a fleeting feeling, and it thankfully only comes through to me if I’m in close enough proximity to the things birth or death. I, uh… can also look at a picture and sense if that person is dead or alive. I learned not too long ago that I can even feel out those that have been buried.”
“Like a cadaver dog?” Miguel asked.
Nathan chuckled. “Yeah, a little bit.”
Nathan shook his head. “Not often. I don’t believe the nightmares I do have are anything more than my own. Every person that’s like us is… different. Different abilities, different strengths. There’s one in L.A. that can figure out just about everything there is to know about you just by touching your hand. There’s one locked up in prison there too, doesn’t even know he’s one. Nora knows he’s pretty good at picking up on a person’s habits or routine by touching them, but the spirit that’s attached itself to him blocks her pretty good from finding out anything else.”
Miguel scrubbed a hand over his mouth, looking over at the kitchen doorway. “How, uh, how does Nora know he’s a psychic if he doesn’t know?”
“You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know they’re sensitive to some degree. Nora can more or less sense psychics. Where they are, who they are, what they can do. But this one, the ghost that’s attached to him has convinced him they were connected at birth. He was young when he heard that story, and it has unfortunately stuck.” Nathan cleared his throat, leaning forward to look at the kitchen. “I’m gonna see what’s going on, okay?”
“No problem, Miguel. Back in a few.”
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