End of Chapter1

“How long has it been?  Since you left Ireland?”

“Tree years,” she answers, her accent returning as she thinks of Dublin. “Do you miss it?” he asks unsure.

Nadja stares at Nick.  She stares so long that he eventually becomes uncomfortable to where he swigs his pint and looks towards the wall.

“Every day,” she says finally.

Nick looks at her, but is unsure of whether he should ask any other questions so he keeps drinking.

“Don’t get me wrong.  The weather here in San Diego is great. And America is so huge.  There are so many choices, too many choices,” she pauses.

Nick waits hanging on her words.

“I think of Dublin everyday,” she sighs. “I miss the smells. The rain. You can smell the Guinness brewing in city centre. I miss crossing The Liffey on ‘alf Penny Bridge, O’Connell Street, the green grass in the country. And people walk everywhere in Dublin.  You can walk the entire city if you want. That’s why I really liked today.

Walking I miss it.”

“Everyone drives here,” Nick says. “I even drove today and it’s like a mile or so from my brother’s house.”

“It’s your culture,” Nadja shrugs.  “It’s a different way of thinking.  In Ireland, in the spring, on days it doesn’t rain people are ecstatic.  T’is very different than here, very different. Sunshine is a given for San Diego, where we would see the sun for forty minutes and call it a beautiful day. I miss hearing the conversations in the pubs. I miss going to the pubs on Saturdays.”

Nick nods quietly, afraid to speak.

Nadja squints at him and then shakes her head.  “Because!” she growls.

Nick looks around the dark bar.  Two old Vietnam Veterans are the closest to them as they sit perched at the bar blankly staring straight at their reflections in the mirror behind the bar and listening to an episode of “Cheers” playing on the TV.

“I didn’t say anything,” he whispers turning back to her. “Fuck!” Nadja’s head falls into her hands.

“What’d I say?” Nick panics. She doesn’t answer.

on.” done.

Nick stares at her with his mind racing, until she interrupts him. “I’m not like that,” she sneers raising her head.

“What?” he asks. “What is it? What did I do?” Nadja shakes her head in frustration.

Nick sits back unsure and forces his pint to his lips. “I’m not crazy!” she snarls.

“OK,” Nick says. “You’re not crazy. But right now I have no idea what is going Tears roll down Nadja’s cheeks and Nick looks in horror wondering what he’s

“Can I trust you?” she asks. “Yes,” he answers immediately. “With my life?”

Nick is puzzled and doesn’t answer.

“It sounds overdramatic, but it isn’t. Can I trust you?” “Yes,” he answers.

“Forget it,” she says with more tears and scrambles for her purse. “Never should

have drank.”

“Hey, hold on. Hey, Nadja?  Nadja?” Nick pleads as she slides herself out of the round booth. “You can trust me. I swear. Just tell me what’s going on. You can trust me, Nadja.”

She stops and wipes a tear off her round cheek. They sit and stare at each other.

Nick says nothing waiting for her to speak.

“You can’t ever tell anyone what I’m going to tell you,” she says wiping another


“I won’t he,” he assures.

“I’ve never told anyone this,” she says sniffing. “OK.”


“OK,” he nods.

“I can,” she pauses and takes a deep breath closing her eyes. Nick leans toward her with his elbows on the table.

“I can hear your thoughts,” she says exhaling.

Nick stares unsure of what he just heard.  “What was that?”

Nadja leans forward to whisper to him. “I can hear your thoughts.” Nick stares in disbelief.

“I know what you are thinking,” she elaborates.  “I can read your mind.” “You can hear my thoughts?” he asks.

“Yes.” “Just mine?” “No.”

“You can read minds?”

“More like hear thoughts,” she answers sheepishly.

“Really?” he is amazed.  “You can tell what I’m thinking right now?” “Yes,” she sinks.

“What am I thinking?”

“You don’t believe I can hear your thoughts,” she sighs. “Well that would be obvious.”

“Now you are worried if I heard you thinking about how much you like me.” Nick’s face goes from amused to concern.

“Now you’re afraid that I heard you thinking about how much you liked my ass the first night we met when I was on the payphone,” she says defeated.

Nick’s nostrils flare in disbelief.

“Now you are worried if I heard you looking at my breasts at the coffee shop when I took off my sweater.”

“Holy shit!” Nick says. “Yeah,” she adds.

“Alright, wait. That could be obvious,” he says still somewhat unsure. “I suppose.”

Nick looks around the bar once more to see who could be close to hearing their conversation.  The veterans remain in their daze and the female bartender is at the other end talking to her tattooed boyfriend and his partner who have been drinking for free all day.

“I checked. No one is listening,” she says.

Nick shakes his head and laughs to himself in disbelief. “OK. I’m going to think of something that I’ve never told anyone, and if you can tell me what it is then…”

She nods and waits for his thought. Nick closes his eyes.

“You used to put on your mother’s make up, when no one was home,” she says and Nick’s eyes open wide as saucers. “After she died. You would put on her make up. In the bathroom.”

“Holy Shit!” Nick gasps.

“You wanted to smell her smell.”

“Holy Shit!” he collapses back into the booth. “Yeah,” Nadja adds.

“That’s fucking crazy!” he says in awe.

“Well…at least I didn’t get settled here,” she says banging her head onto her forearms that are crossed on the table.

“What?  What does that mean?” Nick asks.

“I like you, Nick,” she lifts her head, “and that is why I told you. But it’s not safe for me to stay in San Diego now that…”

“What???” he interrupts. “Because you told me?  You have to leave San Diego because you told me?”

“It’s not safe,” she says.  Her eyes glisten and a tear flows down her cheek. “You asked if you could trust me, and I said that you could. Truly your

abilities can tell you that.”

She sniffs and listens to him.

“You can trust me with this. I just don’t understand why you feel you have to leave now.”

“It just wouldn’t work,” she wipes a tear with a napkin.

“Look,” Nick says leaning forward putting his hands on her folded arms. “If anyone is open to this kind of stuff, it’s me.”

“You’ll be afraid,” Nadja whimpers. “You’ll be afraid to think around me.

You’ll be different.”

“Will I?” Nick gasps.  “I’m not thinking that right now, am I?” “No,” she sniffs.

“That’s right. I’m not. And you know that. You’ve been hearing my thoughts. Have I been afraid?  Have I not told you about all the crap with my ex-girlfriend?  I told you things that I’m ashamed of, that I’m humiliated by. I’ve told you the truth, remember?”

Nadja places a thumb on her pint glass and rubs it up and down nervously. “I’m sorry about your mom,” she says in a low scratchy voice.

“It’s OK. It was a while ago,” he says putting his hand on hers stopping her from rubbing the pint glass. “Why am I the only person that knows?” Nick asks. “How long have you been able to do this?”

“Since I was a teenager,” she mumbles and sniffs. “There was no point in telling anyone. There was no one I could trust.”

“Not even family?” he asks.

“No one,” she glares.  “Imagine someone talking bad about you in Spanish, and they don’t know you know Spanish. That’s how it feels. My insecurities are always confirmed.  Always.   I don’t even remember the last person I was close to, or the last person I trusted. There’s nothing more disappointing than knowing you’re being lied to by someone you care about.”

“I definitely know that one,” Nick adds. “I had someone tell me things that I knew were lies and I did nothing about it. I always knew that I was never hearing the truth. It has to be really hard for you.”

“If there was just one person I could trust. Someone that wasn’t always trying to tell me what they think I want to hear,” Nadja sighs. “To not feel alone all the time,” she says starting to cry.

Nick runs to the bar quickly and grabs some more napkins.

“Thank you,” she says taking them from him and wiping her eyes which leave black steaks on the napkin from her eyeliner. “I’ve just been carrying this around for so long.”

Nick smiles at her.

“What?” she looks at him annoyed and then shakes her head after hearing his thoughts.

“It’s true,” he says. “You do trust me. You told me.” “I’m drunk, Nick. That’s why I don’t drink that much.”

“But you were drinking at the bar when I met you. You drank that night.”

“I was just going to have one pint. I had a really bad day and I just wanted one pint of Harp.  And I didn’t want to drink it in the hostel.”

“So why did you have more than one?” he asks.

“Because you were so nice, you idiot,” she says throwing her tear soaked napkin at him. “I could hear your depressing thoughts so I didn’t think you would chat me up. Once I sat down you were different. You were nice. I figured one more pint, and it turned into three.”

Nick smiles from ear to ear.

Nadja hears his thoughts and sighs shaking her head.

“What?” he shrugs. “You know how I feel about you, and what goes through my head, and you didn’t run away.”

“Nick,” she says, “you are a rarity. You truly are being nice, because you want to be treated nice. You’re honest because you’re tired of lies too. You weren’t feeding me any lines.  You had come to the decision that it was over with your girlfriend. You were afraid that everyone thought you were a fool for staying with her while she flirted with guys right in front of you, but then you thought they must have already thought you were a fool because they knew probably more about what she really did then you did. You realized your brother was right.  When I first approached you, you wanted your songs to come on.  Once we started talking you kept thinking you sounded like a dork and you were completely ecstatic about the comic books. You couldn’t figure out my accent and…”

“And what?” Nick asks.

“You thought I was beautiful.” “I still do,” he blushes.

“Guys think a lot of things when they get some pints in them,” she retorts. “Didn’t I think it when we had coffee?”

“OK.  You did.  Thank you for the compliment,” she finally breaks a smile. “Now that I think about it, you kept commenting on my honesty,” he says

remembering their first conversation.

“It was refreshing,” she says.  “Although later in the night when you walked me to the cab, I couldn’t tell what you were thinking, but for some reason I trusted you.”

“What do you mean couldn’t you tell?” he asks puzzled.

“When a person gets to a certain point of inebriation, I can’t hear anymore. It’s like the thoughts aren’t as strong.”

“Wow?  I pretty much remember everything,” Nick says.

“Could have been me. Nadja shrugs. I had more pints than I’ve had in a while. I think it has something to do with being able to concentrate.”

“But you can hear my thoughts OK right now?”

“It takes effort, but, yeah.  A few more pints and we’ll have to rely on talking to each other.”

“Really?” Nick asks, and she nods. “So you do really trust me?” “I guess I do,” she blushes.

“So you won’t leave then?” he asks. “You won’t leave San Diego tomorrow?” “I can stay a while I guess,” she blushes.

“How about one more pint?”

“I think I need one,” she says slumping into the booth.

“I’ll be right back,” he says getting up but then hesitates. “I have some questions about, you know, if you don’t…”

“I know,” she smiles.

Nick returns with the pints and quickly rattles off his first question. “Can you control minds?”

“No,” she answers with her chin resting on her fists.

“Are you sure?  I’m not perfect, and at some point I may make you upset and I’d hate for you to use your powers to make me cut my hair and listen to house music.”

Nadja laughs, and her body begins to relax. “I wouldn’t do that,” she giggles, “I wouldn’t want to do that, and I don’t think I can.”

“So you use your power for good then?” he asks seriously.

“I see that you have to think of this in the context of comic book scenarios,” she


“For me that’s the only scenario I know of regarding telepathy.” “OK. You’re probably right.  But comic books are exaggerated.” “Are you a mutant?” Nick continues serious.

“I don’t think so…I think I can just do this,” she smiles at him. “Can you move things? Telekinesis?”

“Sure. Watch this,” she says with her index fingers pressing on her temples

staring at Nick’s pint glass.  After a few seconds she looks at Nick who has his mouth open waiting for something amazing to happen. She finally burst out laughing.

“What?” he asks.  “Did I miss it?”

“I was just playing with you,” she giggles. “I can’t do that stuff.”

Nick looks disappointed but then perks up. “Can you talk to me in my mind?” Nadja shifts her sharp jaw back and forth.  “I don’t know.”

“Try it with me,” he sits up straight. Nadja wrinkles her nose, as she is unsure. “Seriously,” he begs.  “Try it!”

“What should I say?” she asks sipping her pint for courage.

“I don’t know,” Nick says excited. “Something so that I know it is you and not my mind doing something.


“Should I close my eyes?” he asks. “What do you do?”

“I’m not sure,” she chuckles.  “I guess don’t think of anything. I’m not sure what I’m trying to do really.”

“Let me know when you’re gonna do it?” he tells her, his heart racing.

“OK,” she stares at him.  She smiles when she hears his thoughts of “not think of anything”.

Nick stares back breathing deep with anticipation. “Rain King?”