Second Nature
questions off, knowing I could wander in pointless circles all day
without getting any closer to an answer. “But he isn’t the only guy
I can see, anymore.” I tried to coyly glance at Dylan from beneath
my lashes, but Sariah caught it and smiled.
    “Well, why don’t you take Dylan home, and we
can talk when you get back.”
    Xander opened his mouth to say something,
and Sariah stomped on his foot and gave him an evil look. I shook
my head and ushered Dylan out the door before the two of them got


    DYLAN COULD GET himself home, and he was
only letting me drive him to spend more time with me. That was okay
because I wanted to be alone with him too. Guilt ate at me. God
only knew what Nate was going through while I explored my strange
new freedom. But he walked away from me . I was tired
of letting him make me feel guilty.
    “So now you know more about me than anyone,”
I said, smiling without taking my eyes off the road. “Tell me about
    “I don’t know that there’s much left to
tell. Apparently, when I was two or three, the door to a police
station opened, and I toddled in. No one saw anyone who could have
opened the door, though there were people all around. I was taken
to a group home, where I lived on and off for several years.” He
picked at a spot on his jeans only he could see. “They kept finding
homes to place me, but somehow one of the other children who needed
it more always wound up going. After a few years, I suspected
somehow I was influencing that. Eventually, I was placed with a
nice family, but it wasn’t long before my foster mother was offered
her dream job in California, and I was back at the group home.” He
sighed, abandoning the spot on his jeans to gaze out the window
with a distant expression. “Every time, something similar happened.
Kids kept going to better homes meant for me. When I was placed in
a home, good fortune found the families I was placed with. Maybe
that’s why I had it so good, or maybe someone watched out for me
all those years.
    “The convenience store happened when I was
fifteen, and then things started to make sense. All the good
fortune was because of what I was.” He seemed to come back to the
car, his gaze shifting to the front window. “I got myself put back
into the group home where I began to use my abilities more
purposefully—fixing the damaged ones when I could or finding them
good placement when I couldn’t. By the time I graduated high
school, I had helped over forty kids turn their lives around.” He
shrugged like it was no big deal.
    “It was about then I discovered one of the
harsh things about the system. When you graduate high school, it’s
simply done with you. I had brought fortune to so many, but none of
them associated it with me because that would be crazy. So I was
eighteen years old, and for the first time, I was utterly alone. I
had no money, no job and nowhere to go.”
    I couldn’t help myself, I turned to look at
him. His voice was so sad and the feeling echoed my own. I wanted
to hold him close.
    A horn honked, snapping me back to reality.
I turned my head to discover I had crossed the centerline into
oncoming traffic and a box van hurtled alarmingly close. I didn’t
have time to react before Dylan placed his hand on the wheel and
wrenched it back towards our side of the road. But he was too late,
and the corner of my car met the edge of the truck. I waited for
the crunch of metal and the jar of the impact, but the van just
passed through my car as if it was insubstantial.
    Once we were back on our own side of the
road, I pulled into the first parking lot and climbed out of the
car shaking. I couldn’t believe how close I had just come to
seriously hurting us. “I’m starting to think you might be my
guardian angel.” I tried to smile as Dylan jogged around the
    “No way would I sign on for that.” Dylan
returned my smile with ease. “That’s beyond a full time job.”
    I barely

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