A/N: So I decided to delete the other two chapters, use the material I still liked and had, and just make the story a one-shot. It's a little long but hopefully you'll like it.
A young lady, probably in her late teens or early twenties, walked into the dimly yet colorfully lit shop with gazing eyes. It was a sight to take in, sure. The curtains were thin and flimsy, curious designs full of warm and cold colors, mixing in a way that made their proverbial temperatures meet. The walls were painted in such ways that the energy of the room magically pulled people towards the center. Lamps were handmade clay pottery in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, sending patterns of light around the shop. Paintings done just a few years ago hung in antique frames. Faded posters were attached to walls haphazardly, all for a mysterious effect.
Young blue eyes met my green ones, and I was smiling like I knew who she was, and why she had come. I was already finding out why, I could see her emotions after all. I could see all the her-specific feelings she had all over her body, especially the ones that were at the forefront of her mind. I could see those emotions so clearly I could read the exact reason she had come to my shop in the first place.
"My lady, will you come down and rest? You look terribly nervous," I said in my "professional psychic" voice. It was soft but had a swaying, electric vibe to it. She took in a silently quick breath. By simply using that voice- not even manipulating her emotions- she already took my average observation and understood it as me looking beneath her surface. I didn't even have to be able to see that yellow-green aura coming from her gut to know that she was nervous.
She made a quick walk to the chair opposite me at the antique table. I had my tarot cards to the side, and my regular playing cards just below them.
"Would you mind telling me your name, darling?" I asked in a sweeping breath. Her heartbeat seemed to rise, which only made me curious. Ah, it seemed I would begin our session early… I looked directly into her eyes and soaked in the worried, brown-orange that emanated from around her. I looked into that disgusting color and found what I was looking for. I was so used to doing this I could see into her mind within a second.
"Laila," she whispered. I smiled.
"Laila," I repeated sweetly, "why have you decided to come to me?" I knew why.
"My- my boyfriend," she stammered, "I'm worried about him. He's acting crazy, and he's spending more time at work than usual. I don't think he's cheating, but I know something's wrong," she explained. I nodded slowly in what I pushed her to perceive as understanding. The lightest of a teal-blue was sent to her heart, which I meant to calm her down. Her heartbeat responded in kind.
"It feels good to get this off of your chest, doesn't it?" I questioned. Her eyes widened, and she nodded. I smiled and reached forward with my gloved hands. She jumped to rest her palms in mine. I pulled back just a fraction of a centimeter to make sure the gloves got her fingertips. There was something laced on the outside of them that would keep her from feeling any sharp pains, instead she would feel a dull ache, or buzz. The art of delusion requires subtlety, and directed, pointed, dialogue or physical feelings would be too off-putting.
"We can get to the bottom of this, I believe we can. Do you?" I looked at her, and suddenly she felt my earnest hope. She felt more involved, more in control.
"Yes," she whispered. I gave her a smile, which encouraged her to smile back.
"Good," I said, my voice more charged, bolder. "In order to successfully understand your boyfriend, you must think of him, and of him only. I want you to go back through the beginning of your relationship, up to this moment. I need you to view the progression of your relationship with him, and while you do that, I will channel his energy through you, and I will try to understand his secrets." I manipulated our hands so that they were risen off the table, our fingertips touching. She seemed nervous, so through my arms I sent her another wave of calm. I asked her to close her eyes, and keep them closed.
By this point the gloves had done their jobs, and so my nails slipped through the little slits at the tips of the fingers. I stuck them into the skin beneath each of her nails, so I could touch her blood. Without the life energy, I could not read the images in her mind. I was not "channeling his energy" so much as I was seeing what she was seeing with unbiased eyes. I would look at the details her mind didn't want her to see. I would send her a sense of clarity through some fingers, while I took my own copy of the internal movie from others.
She was right about one thing- there was an obvious change in his behavior, and it would be more worrisome if not for the way he looked at her. His pupils dilated when he saw her, and I had to just catch his mentioning of his boss' marital happiness. I was hit with the brief story of Laila and her boyfriend- Mark, I think- talking about her father, and how much of a proud dad he was when her older sister got married. I saw the expression on his face change, and could practically see the fresh green of an idea form around his face. I pulled back theatrically. Laila was startled and slid back in her seat, her fingertips red but not bleeding.
"Laila," I gasped, like I couldn't believe what I'd seen. "Everything is going to be better than okay! And might I say, congratulations! Go," I exclaimed. I stood up and ushered her towards the front of the room, but not so much closer to the door so much as closer to the "front desk". She was immediately delighted at my vaguely happy words.
"Really? Everything will be okay?"
"Yes! Your boyfriend- I feel his name is something biblical? Matthew? Mark, maybe?"
"Mark," she breathed. The shock was so vibrant on her it outshone and burned down the worry.
"Mark will be making his recent behavior very clear to you very soon." Laila became very excited and started to dig around her purse. I had chosen to stand next to my price-listing sign.
"Just ten minutes and already my whole outlook was changed. You are getting a nice tip. Does sixty sound okay?" I grinned.
"Sixty works very well. I hope you a life of happiness." I didn't know how I managed to say that phrase twenty times a day without sounding sarcastic, but it happened.
Laila wrote me a check, gave me a hug, and then she clicked her heels out of my shop.
Five palm readings and two tarot card readings later, a harsh ray of sunlight hit my eyes while I stood with a spooked teenager who'd been dared to come here by his rude friends. He gave me my money and walked out, head low. The idiot embarrassed himself in front of his crush. I put all but a ten into the safe tucked under the front desk and locked up.
I brought a bottle of wine back to my apartment with a grin.
"Tonight we are having a small engagement party," I announced to my roommate, Jade. She looked up from her laptop, unimpressed, but mildly confused.
"Who the hell wants to marry you?" she asked. I rolled my eyes.
"Nobody. However, my first client after lunch came in for a personal reading and I saw that her boyfriend was basically looking to propose, so. I bought wine." I collapsed on the couch beside her. She took the wine bottle from me and frowned.
"Do we even own a bottle opener?" I pulled one out from the brown bag.
"We do now."
I walked on the sidewalk in my short little boots, and reached the shop's door. I hummed along to a song that I sometimes played inside while I unlocked the door.
I stepped inside and turned on the colorful little ceiling lights. I flipped the OPEN/CLOSED sign to signal that I was now in. I smiled and walked around the room to dim down the ceiling light while I lit the candles inside the clay pottery. I would have to replace a few of the candles soon, one of the wicks was about to get caught in drying wax.
Right as I was lighting the last candle I felt a presence right outside the door. I closed my eyes and took in that person's energy. Male, irritated, hurt. Familiar, but I couldn't outright assume his cause for standing there- a lot of my female clients could be a little flighty, this was likely an upset ex-boyfriend.
As soon as this man opened the door, I said, "Sir, how can I ease your troubles today?" Because it says psychic on the poster on the shop window.
I turned around to see a young man who was doing his best to hide his shock, and maybe he would have succeeded if I wasn't actually able to see the emotion. He was tall and lean with floppy hair, and I could tell there was some arrogance, the type that belittled those that believed in anything not proven by science. There was probably some leniency there, but not where I was concerned. Fantastic.
"Calypso?" he checked with a mocking tone. I ignored it.
"Yes, that is me," I said airily. His face hardened a little.
"Would you care to tell me why Lacy just decided to leave in the middle of the night to chase her dreams?" Oh, Lacy Miller- the only Lacy who would be a regular. Yeah, she was a nutcase.
"Would you care to not act like I was the one who told her to? I haven't seen her since Tuesday morning, and when she was here she was more preoccupied with having her aura read," I said sharply. He was put off by my attitude. In fact, he snorted when I said that last part.
"Right, you're a psychic. How does that work, exactly? Do you just put on a persona and a nice scented candle, telling people what they want to hear?" Well, he wasn't totally wrong. And I'm definitely not "psychic." I'm just a master at reading people. But he didn't need to know that.
"Sir, close your eyes and think of a number between one and one-hundred," I so sweetly said. He frowned.
"Just think of one." He glared at me briefly but ultimately did as I asked. Once he closed his eyes I walked over to him, and took one of his hands in mine. I knew he had opened his eyes for a second when I did that, but I had closed mine already. He thought of his number.
"Sixty-five," I sighed. He jerked his hand back.
"Bullshit," he hissed. I rolled my eyes.
"Are you one of those who's going to request for a two-out-of-three?" He huffed, but offered his hand again. I took it and we did the same thing again.
"Forty-two," I quipped. He groaned, and I smirked.
"That's not possible!" he grumbled. I shrugged my shoulders.
"If we do another one I might have to charge you," I joked. He folded his arms and took a broader stand in front of me. Now he was really challenged to figure things out- lots of dark reds behind his eyes. At his temples there was a constantly changing mix of red, blue, and green. I pursed my lips. He might be one of those annoying types, but he only stepped foot near me because his now ex-girlfriend had so thoughtlessly left him. I didn't read on him that he was the type to abuse- in fact, quite the opposite was likely true for him.
"You keep working that brain of yours, I'm going to get you some water for that headache," I assured him. There was that ugly shocked color again- it was a shade of yellow.
He accepted the water with a "thank you," which I appreciated. I sat him down at the table and let him get his wits about him. I pulled the deck of playing cards close to me and started shuffling. He eyed them while I did so.
"You're expecting to play cards?" he asked. I shrugged.
"You look like you could do to play a game or two," I said. He nodded and shifted in his chair.
"So as far as you know Lacy wasn't planning on leaving?" he mumbled. I started dealing out the cards, and told him that we were playing Gin.
"No, Lacy wasn't even planning on what she was going to do for lunch. I mean, I'm not really surprised. I don't need to be a psychic to know that." He made a weird face when I said that last part. Unbeliever. I put down the first card.
"Yeah, that's Lacy. We've been dating for the better part of a year- she moved in with me a couple of months ago. It was a matter of convenience but it was fun," he smiled sadly, staring at his cards. I closed my eyes but turned my "violet eyes" on. I could see the emotions in his head. He was downplaying his excitement over that particular event, and was doing a fairly decent job of it, but I knew the truth.
"Are you reading me?" I opened my eyes and grinned.
"Can't help it. It's my job," I said. It's basically the point to my whole existence. He voiced his amusement in a single exhale, but picked up a card to continue the game.
"Right, right, I forgot for a moment. Do you always act like this?" It was my turn to laugh.
"Well, it depends on the person who walks through the door. People who want honesty, I offer myself, nothing else. Most people want a show, with varying degrees. Everyone wants the atmosphere whether they know it or not- it fits expectations, it helps people get into the mood of someone telling them what they didn't know about themselves. Typically what varies is the whole persona." His eyebrows raised at that, and he put a card down, which I eyed for half a second before picking it up.
"Tell me about your persona. Besides this," he said, gesturing to my flowing and colorful outfit. I shrugged.
"There's the voice, the sweeping hand gestures, the ever-changing facial expressions- those aren't always hard to keep up with, but it can actually be pretty energy-consuming," I confessed. He was nodding along.
"I can imagine what you must look like. I'll admit, if I had to act a certain way for the entire work day I would be pretty tired by the end. Plus there's the whole pretending to be a psychic thing," he challenged. I rolled my eyes. I picked up one last card, grinned, and set them down.
"First of all, gin. Second, there's no pretending. I see what I see, and what I see is the person in front of me. All of them. Between you and me though, the whole palm reading thing is a total scam, but that's why I don't charge much for one of those." He was laughing, having completely ignored my declaration of winning the hand.
"Well at least I got some truth," he said. I shook my head, smiling, because there are just some people who would never believe anything, which was actually a good thing, most of the time. I could see that he was feeling better though, his emotions were flowing better, instead of being jerky and moving in inconsistent patterns.
"People want to believe what they want to believe. I think most of my clients know that their palms can't tell them anything, but they want to have fun," I said. He considered that, leaning back in his seat with his arms crossed.
"Yeah, that's true. But what about the people who truly believe that their fate lies in their hands?"
"Everyone's fate is in their hands," I joked, with a mocking tone. He rolled his eyes.
"You know what I mean." I nodded, because yes, I knew what he meant.
"Well I don't tell them anything that freaks them out, that's for damn sure," I said. He hummed in amusement. He stared up at me, and I could tell that he was thinking about what to do next. He was also very curious
"Would you like a reading?" I asked. He raised his eyebrows.
"A palm reading?"
"No, of course not. I'm talking about a real reading, the ones I can actually do." He started laughing immediately.
"No, I'm not. You need one, really. How else will that tension in your neck go away?" My favorite thing was to shock my clients like that- it was fun to see people's responses.
"Alright, fine. I don't know what mind reading trick you keep using, but it works, I guess." I laughed, used to being sold short.
"Well first of all, you're frustrated in every possible way. You're stressed and you're anxious, and quite honestly it's revolting to look at. I don't know which member of your family you're avoiding, but you need to step up and talk to this person. Stand up to your boss, too. I'm sure you're very competent at whatever it is that you do, and if he or she doesn't recognize that- screw it.
"If I were a doctor, I'd probably recommend some sort of stress management, because your immune system is about to give up. I can't be sure, but are you fighting a head cold?" At this point the dude was completely in shock, and completely frozen.
"You're freaky," he breathed. I grinned.
"I get that pretty often." He sat there another moment, before standing up and making his way to the door.
"You're leaving so soon?" I laughed.
"I came here on my lunch break, I gotta go," he said. I looked quickly with my Violet Sight, and saw that he was distracted, confused, and something else negative I couldn't quite name.
"Well, Jesse, it was nice to meet you," I sighed with a smile. (He hadn't told me his name, and I'm not sure Lacy ever said it- although I probably did guess it at some point.) He stopped and gave me a certain look, and if I didn't have the ability to see the colors around his head, I probably wouldn't have known. I did have that power though, and I was proud that I had softened that hard head of his.
"Yeah, I guess it wasn't such a bad use of my time," he responded with a small smile. He opened the door and walked out.
He would be back.
I could never figure out a name for what I was. I was comfortable with labels, I felt more organized that way, and it frustrated me that my mother, who was also like me, would just refer to us as special. Our dog was special, but she didn't have our abilities. It couldn't have been hard to figure out a name- if vampires and werewolves and banshees all get names, I damn sure wanted one. Since then, I'd started to create names based on our abilities.
We could see auras, sure, but they were based on emotions. Typical emotions, like love for a person, always stayed and was more resistant to change. Personality consisted of emotions, and even pain was like an emotion. If it could be felt, I could see it. If it affected the psyche, I could see it. The emotions, the colors, they were three-dimensional and located all around the person's body. Of course the most of it was centered at the head and the chest, but it was everywhere.
What surprised others though, was that each emotion was specific to the individual feeling it. Different types of love had different colors, intensities, and different images or experiences attached to them. When brought to the forefront of the mind, if I were connected to the person, I would be able to see what they were seeing, and of course, I could feel what they felt. This was the closest to mind reading I think any human-adjacent being could do. I could also control what they felt, and send them waves of any emotion I wanted them to feel. I could make them feel pain, and I could mute their senses.
I felt literally everything that the other person was feeling. I could feel their pain, their heartache, their state of psychosis, and, in cases like Jade's, their high. And somehow, I could always push through it, and see the person. I could push the emotions to the side- quite literally, actually- and focus on that person. My purpose in life was to help people. When I was little and going through an anxious and rather bitter stage, I hated it. As I've grown and managed to travel all over my home continent and then move across the Atlantic to the United States, all I've wanted to do was what I was supposed to do. It was probably some predetermined decision, caused by neurotransmitters in my brain, but I couldn't be bothered to care.
I started coming up with my own words, my own labels. I loved playing around with latin prefixes and root words. I particularly liked Sensus Humanum. The words meant feeling, sense, or sensation, and humanness or feeling, respectively. I didn't like the term Empath. It felt too limited. An empath could send and feel others' emotions, but could they manipulate people like we could? I can make a person feel like they were literally on fire, and they would see the flames. I was not an Empath, I was something much more powerful. Sensus Humanum sounded powerful.
Sometimes seeing clients got boring- especially if they were only going for the fake stuff. There were only so many palm readings I could do! The tarot card readings could be a little fun- you never knew which cards would show their faces. The normal card deck readings were a lot more fun, there were so many ways I could use them.
It was the aura readings and the energy readings I actually felt comfortable doing. I could help people that way. I could see what was causing them trouble, I could pinpoint the root of the problem and I could give them advice that wasn't just some sneaky way of saying the same thing every idiot says.
Then my new favorite non-client walked in. With flowers. How nice. It had been a week since our very first and very interesting meeting, but now he's brought me flowers.
He didn't look like he wanted to give me the flowers however. He stood barely inside the shop, his hand still on the door out. He was crumpling the tissue paper that was wrapped around the stems of the bouquet.
"I don't think you realize how ridiculous you look," I remarked lightly. He rolled his eyes, a typical behavior I would expect of him.
"I didn't pay you last time, I thought this would help would help with your shop's… image," he gestured. I grinned at him. How could someone so cynical and sarcastic be so transparent? I wouldn't even need to use my abilities to see through him.
"They're lovely," I sighed happily, getting up out of my seat to go get them from him. I placed them in a vase with water- something I already had set up. I guess I would need another vase for that particular project, but the flowers did look quite nice. When I turned around to see him awkwardly staring at me, I tilted my head, letting my curiosity be seen.
"Thank you," I said. He nodded stiffly, looked like he might say something else, and then he turned away and left the shop. Jesse was not a man of emotional competence.
It was another three weeks before I saw Jesse again, although this time he was much more relaxed, and acted with clearer determination. He came in, sat down in the seat opposite mine, and slid cash towards me.
"Will you do a reading?" he asked quietly.
"Do you believe now?" I asked with the same volume. He slowly nodded his head. I reached out with my palms facing forward, and for some magical reason, he understood that he was supposed to touch his fingertips to mine. I asked him to close his eyes, so I could use mine.
Regal blues, electric yellows, a few reds… how could primary colors look that nice? Minus the anxious yellow of course- that was always an irritating color. The yellows flashed constantly, moving with jerky motions that made it difficult for me to read.
"I don't quite understand what's making you so anxious. Work, maybe?" When he opened his eyes, I could tell that he was trying to hide something from me. That made the yellows a little bit easier to read.
"What is it about me that makes you so nervous?" I laughed. It was silly. I couldn't do him that much harm, and I didn't want to. He'd done absolutely nothing to me except bring me flowers and amusement. And money, for that matter.
"I haven't quite figured that out. What else do you see?"
"I see that you're enjoying the higher position at work. The blues I'm seeing look good on you. Don't screw it up." He frowned a little.
"Do you see that I will?"
"I'll let you in on a secret- I don't see the future. I can only make predictions based on the present. And the anxiety you have, and whatever passionate emotion you're also dealing with- don't let it interfere with your work. I think you work for some type of company. Marketing? I think it has something to do with finance." There was that surprise again. The yellow got a little bit clearer.
"I must say, Calypso… you aren't a fraud. You can't read palms and you can't see the future, but you're more than just a person. I'll see you when I can." He stood up, turned around, and left.
He started to come in two week intervals. Always during his lunch break, always trying to hide something from me. The more I saw him the more I figured him out. He saw me as a complex person, a mystery. Whenever he came in for me to learn more about him, he was trying to learn about me. He was observant, I gave him that.
This time was different. He came in smiling, no yellows, and several purples. And here I was, assuming he'd finally vocalize what I was reading from him.
"Something's changed," I observed as he came in to sit down. He nodded, keeping that silly smile on his face. He leaned back in the chair with his arms folded, triumphant.
"I know what you are," he said. I laughed, because how ridiculous did those words sound?
"Enlighten me," I dared him.
"You're an empath," he declared confidently. I scoffed, of course he would use that term.
"I'm better than that, my friend. In fact, what I am doesn't have a name. Most of us don't want one, actually," I confessed.
"Better than an empath," he mused. I nodded.
"I can do more than feel what others are feeling, I can see what others are feeling. If I concentrate, I can make out the specific situation that made up the feeling being felt." I turned my Violet Sight on. "And I'm sure it's not everyday you see someone with violet irises." He stared, mesmerized.
"I came in here knowing that you were more than human, and I still get a bomb dropped on me," he murmured. I laughed.
"My roommate had a more relaxed reaction. Although, she was high at the time," I said.
"Your roommate gets high?"
"Not anymore. When I say I feel what others feel, that includes more than just emotions. It was hard to stay focused when that one was out of her damn mind," I explained.
"This is kind of insane. I'm starting to wonder if I'm hallucinating right now," he said. I laughed again, because I could tell that in no way was I actually overwhelming him.
"I guess I can say I'm not a psychic now, but don't tell anyone else that, I need to pay my bills," I joked. He smiled warmly. It had been how long? Three and a half months, and he finally knew the truth. He looked down at his hands, and I could tell that he was becoming nervous.
"Are you still going to come by? I'd hate to lose my favorite client," I said. He looked up then, and then his eyes widened as he realized I could see what was going on. Then he narrowed his eyes.
"How long have you known?" he asked.
"Since the last time you came," I answered. (That was a lie, I'd known for a month.) He rolled his eyes and nodded, because of course I knew.
"Well I suppose it's best if I come out and say it… or ask it, I should say," he sighed. He paused, and then repositioned himself into a more professional stance.
"Miss Calypso…" he trailed off, realizing he didn't actually know my last name.
"Dumitru," I provided. He raised his eyebrows and I shrugged.
"I'm from Romania," I said. He deflated.
"Of course. You're Romanian, how could I miss that," he muttered. Then he went back into his previous stance.
"Miss Calypso Dumitru… will you accompany me to dinner tonight?" he finally asked. I smiled.
"I thought you'd never ask. Yes."
A/N: Now the reason that last couple of scenes are so short and mostly dialogue, is because writing this story kind of became a pain in the ass, as it was incredibly difficult to channel and real motivation I had to finish it and see it's final result.
Please review, I guess.