“You know that Matt said you don’t have to come anymore,” Rachel says in the passenger seat next to me. She brushes her caramel hair out of her face. “I have my own car now. I can drive myself.”
“I know,” I say. I thrum my fingers along the side of the steering wheel. I’ve been accompanying her to her sessions with Matt pretty much every time she goes for months now, though at this point Matt told me I don’t have to come anymore. She was practicing her powers on me, but I guess they’re working on something else now. So why am I still going?
Glancing over at her, I see that she’s applying makeup in the mirror, though I’m not sure why. She looks beautiful without it, but whatever. Not that I like her or anything, I’d just have to be blind not to notice. Actually, I do like her more than I thought I would. When Julia first roped me into doing this I dreaded doing it, but it hasn’t been that bad. Under the layers of sarcasm, she has a genuine personality; it just takes awhile to find it.
“Hey,” I start, simply making conversation, “do you watch Star Wars? I’ve been waiting on the newest one for an eternity.”
She slams the mirror shut. “Are you kidding? I love them. I’ve been pumped up to see the new one for freaking months. I got the rest of them at my house.” Excitement reflects in her eyes and I can practically feel it rubbing off on me. The kid in her is leaking out, which is unusual compared to her typical nonchalant attitude about everything. I’m tempted to look over at her, but I keep my eyes on the road so I don’t cause a wreck. “Why? You wanna go see it when it comes out?”
“Hell, yes, I do,” I say.
“All right,” she says, sounding content. Out of the corner of my eye I see her turning back to the road. “It’s a date.” She pauses, seeming to realize what she said. “Or . . maybe not a date, but we’re still going together.”
“Yep,” I agree. I take a sharp left turn at a stop light that sends our bodies veering to our right in the car.
“Jesus Christ, you need to learn how to drive, Parker,” Rachel says, gripping the door handle.
“Because you’re just so good at driving, aren’t you?”
“I’m glad we agree on something,” she says, nodding. Before I can say anything else, she turns the volume up on the radio and starts singing along to the song playing. The sound coming from her mouth freezes all thoughts in my head, drawing my eyes to her. My grip loosens on the steering wheel and suddenly I can’t stop staring at her. She has the most . . the most amazing voice I’ve ever heard. I don’t even hear the words, just–just her voice. It doesn’t sound quite . . human, as weird as that sounds, and I know that I will never hear anything like it ever again.
An angelic glow seems to develop her as she sings. Has–has she always been this beautiful? Her skin looks flawless, her eyes are brighter than before . . it doesn’t seem possible. If I wasn’t seeing it myself I wouldn’t believe it.
When I lay my eyes on her, it hits me that I would do anything she asked of me. Anything. And I want to do anything she asks. I will serve her for the rest of my life if that’s what she wants. Her voice and beauty captivates me, keeping my mind, body, and eyes locked in place. I can’t move until she tells me to move, even if I wanted to. The more she sings, the brighter and bigger the white glow around her swells. It’s strange: just by being next to her I can feel the immense power coming from her and I know she could easily kill me in a heartbeat, yet I would still take a bullet for her. Give my life for her.
She’s been so into the music that she hasn’t noticed me staring at her, and when she looks up at the road her eyes widen and she stops singing. The glow around her fades. “Parker, look at the road!”
I snap out of my trance and dart toward the road, where the car is leading us toward the grassy ditch. The tires hit the grass and I struggle to maintain control of the car, but after of moment of fighting with the wheel I get us back onto the road unharmed. My heart feels like it’s going to explode in my chest, so as soon as I get the chance I stop and pull over in a grocery store parking lot. Numbly, I stare straight ahead at the people passing by, wondering what the hell just happened.
Rachel’s hand touches my arm and she peers over at me. “Parker, what happened? Are you alright?”
I turn to her. “You don’t know?”
She furrows her brows at me. “What do you mean?”
“When–when you started singing, it was like..like you put me in a trance or something. All I could see was you. All I wanted to do was serve you, protect you. You were glowing.” She lets go of my arm and leans back, gaping at the outside world through the windshield. “What? Has that never happened before?”
She shakes her head. “I..I don’t know. I don’t remember. I just remember that something happened the last time I sang in public, and since then I stopped doing it. It’s been so long that I don’t remember what it was though. I guess..I guess maybe this could've happened. I was, like, eight at the time.” She looks at me. “Please don’t tell Matt.”
“I’ll tell him, just..not today. I’ll tell him the next time we come, okay? I want to see if I–I can do it on purpose later. Without him being there. I want to figure it out on my own first.”
I no longer feel like I’m bound by her, like I have to do whatever she says, but with her asking me like that I agree to it anyway. “Fine,” I sigh. “Just until the next time. But you’re not trying that on me again.”
“Agreed,” she says. We sit there for a moment, just looking out the window before she adds more. “What was it like?”
“I’m not repeating what went through my mind,” I say. She rolls her eyes. “But,” I add, “whatever you did, you were very powerful at it. You have an incredible voice, Rachel. Just..don’t sing to me again because I like to be in control of my feelings.”
“No promises,” she says. This time I’m the one rolling my eyes. I take a deep breath, then shift into drive and pull out of the parking lot. Part of me wants to hear her sing again, and the other part wants me to be in control of myself. I guess what I really want is to hear that . . that alluring sound coming from her again, but without it making me me feel like I’m in love with her every time she does it. I don’t like feeling anything for anyone unless I know that I’m actually feeling it.
I’m not exactly sure what happened with Rachel, but it’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. If she can control me as easily as she did on accident, what exactly could she do on purpose?