Made for You Page 51

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“You shouldn’t have opened them at all,” the detective chastises me.

“Nathaniel, why don’t you help Eva out to the sofa,” my mother says.

I can’t disobey her. There’s nothing else to say to the detective right now, and I won’t learn anything new by staring at the dead cicada, the tiny card, and those horrible, beautiful flowers. I meet Nate’s gaze and nod. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to feel safe again. I want to lock everyone I know and love, and even those I only like, here in the house with me, and we can wait while the police catch the killer.

The sheer weighty terror of it all creeps up on me. Someone tried to kill me. Someone feels such vile things for me that he—or maybe even she—wanted my life to end. There’s no way to make that kind of wrong feel okay. It’s such a big violence that it killed Micki and Amy. Their deaths feel like my fault.

And it makes me sick.

What did I say or do that made this crazy person fixate on me and my friends?

“Are you doing okay?” Nate settles on the uncomfortable chair to the left of the sofa, near enough to reach me if I need anything but not so close as to make me nervous.

I’m nervous anyhow. I need to figure out who’s killing girls in Jessup, and to do that I need to tell Nate my secret. I can’t research anything without him knowing why I’m trying to solve it.

“If you touch me, I see your death,” I tell him before I can back down from the impulse. “Since the accident, I see people’s deaths. I thought it was just hallucinations, but . . . I think it might be real, and I’m terrified.”

Nate stares at me with something like sympathy in his eyes. He’s still staring at me when my mother walks into the room.

“The detective is leaving, and I have to go to the police station with her. I’m swinging by the office briefly to pick a few things up, but I’m not staying,” she says. “I’ll lock the door behind us. The alarm is set, the company is monitoring it as a top priority, and the police will do drive-bys, and . . . I’ll have my phone, and . . .”

Nate nods. “I’ll be with her until you come home. We’ll be okay.”

She pauses, but she doesn’t really have a choice. If the detective needs her to go to the station, she has to go. We are safe here too.

“I’m fine,” I add. “Promise.”

She takes a shuddering breath. “Do you want an officer to stay? I’m sure we could ask Detective Grant to—”

“No,” I interrupt. “You can call or text, and the alarm is set. The service monitors it, right? Honestly, I’m fine.”

Reluctantly, she leaves.

Once she goes, Nate is silent again. It’s not until the outside door closes behind her and we hear the lock engage and the telltale beep of the alarm being armed that he says, “Say that again.”

“When people touch me, I see their deaths. One of the nurses has a heart attack. My father dies from some disease in the hospital. You . . . you drown on liquor after the killer finds you along the road.” I watch him as I tick off the deaths I’ve seen, listing them impersonally so I don’t think about the details, the feelings, the horrible panic of death.

“And this started after the accident,” he half asks, half states.

“Yes.”

“But you think it’s . . . not from your TBI.”

I huff in frustration. “I know it sounds crazy, but you’re my proof.” His brows raise, and he motions for me to continue, so I say, “I knew about Nora and Aaron because of the death vision. When you touched me, I sort of . . . I think of it like falling into it. I fell into you, and you were worried about them. You hadn’t told me anything about them yet, but I knew their names already.”

He’s silent again, but this time he’s motionless. We sit staring at each other for several tense moments, and then he stands and walks toward me. “How do you think I die?”

I flinch away. “Liquor.”

“I stopped drinking.” He kneels on the floor in front of me so we’re eye-to-eye. “I don’t drink or drink and drive.”

“I know,” I whisper. “He forces you off the road, and you don’t have your cell phone . . . well, you didn’t. The vision changed after I asked you to keep your phone on you. When I saw your death the second time, he broke your phone. It was on Old Salem Road. You were almost home, and it was dark, and—”

“I do drive that way,” he interjects. “It’s faster.”

After a minute pause, he says, “That’s why you made me promise to check for my phone.”

I nod. “It wasn’t enough though. When you got out, you thought he was going to help. He doesn’t help. You need to stay in the truck so he can’t touch you.”

“Why did I pull over?”

For a moment, I think back, letting myself imagine the two times I’ve felt Nate die. “You get sick. Ready to throw up. It’s like the flu or something.”

We exchange a look as I realize how strange that sounds. How would the killer know Nate would have the flu and would be pulling over? That part doesn’t make sense. Even if the killer was following him, it wouldn’t mean there would be an opportunity—unless there was reason to expect Nate to get sick. I meet his gaze. “He must give you something first. Poison or a drug or something. Don’t eat or drink anything that isn’t in a sealed container. Until we catch him, you can’t risk it. I don’t know when it happens.” I pause. “It was a Friday, I think. You were thinking about visiting Aaron.”

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