The Pacific waves crashed in icy glory as the sun faded below the horizon, a silence coating over both Lucy and Vance. She kept her eyes on the water, but he couldn’t look at anything except her.
How could he believe a thing like that?
Yet…how could he not?
“It’s called clairvoyancy,” Lucy said as she leaned into the railing of the deck. She ran a knuckle under her eyes, brushing away the tears that had formed. “It’s a family thing, like a trait or gene. I don’t really know how it works other than that it skips a generation and it’s through my mother’s bloodline. It gets confusing and doesn’t make a lot of sense all the time, but it’s who I am, and I have no control over it.
“There’s a trigger to become truly clairvoyant. It can be brought out in every other generation, but only under certain circumstances. To be able to see through the veil, you have to die and come back to life, as well as have the gene in your DNA. It’s a technicality, but it has to happen for it to work.”
Vance’s eyebrows rose, studying Lucy carefully. She showed no signs in her body language that she was lying, and he had no other option than to believe her. “Are you saying you died and came back?”
“I was visiting my cousin in Maine during my freshman year of high school. We were on our way to some party that was happening at a frat on the USM campus. It sounds stupid recounting it, especially since I was barely 15 and he was 17, but he wanted to have fun while I was there. He’d been trying to convince my parents to move there, since Phoenix was hell to visit. There was a deer, and Jordan’s reaction time was a moment too slow, he swerved and the car flipped off the highway at 11:32 at night. We rolled eleven times before the car finally stopped, but Jordan had gone through the window before the fifth.
“I was still in the passenger’s seat, but I’d hit my head more than once on the window. By the time the car had stopped, it landed on my side and shattered the window in on me. A shard of glass, more than one really, cut along my throat.” Lucy moved her damp hair to the side, revealing evident scars on her neck. It was clear that there were very few people she’d shown them to. “I was losing a lot of blood very quickly, and I could feel myself getting colder. I went unconscious within minutes, dead in fifteen. Everything was black for a while, but then all of the sudden, I felt the world flood back in. The paramedics had gotten there just as I slipped, and they brought me back after being dead for five minutes.
“The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes wasn’t the paramedic hovering over me, but instead Jordan watching over her shoulder. I was so thankful that he was okay - that he wasn’t hurt after the crash, but I was wrong. Really wrong. He just smiled at me, like all he needed to know was that I survived, and then he was gone.” Lucy’s eyes were glazed as she recounted one of the most painful moments of her life, the one that completely changed her.
Vance stayed quiet as he hung on to every word that left her lips, aware he’d been shown a side of her that was often, if not always, kept under the radar.
Clearing her throat, Lucy forced herself to continue. She’d gone too far to stop where she was. “The books are a way for the spirits that come to me to move on. When you die and you have unfinished business, especially an unjustified murder, you’re stuck. It’s like limbo, where you’re on Earth, but no one except people like me can see or hear you. Writing someone’s story is one of the few things I can do to help them. To take their story, and in a way, let people know what really happened to them. That’s why I do it. It’s not for me to get money or fame. It’s for them, so they can move on.”
“And what about your dad?” questioned Vance. “He didn’t tell you his whole story, he just said his last words.”
“There are slips when it comes to blood, at least with direct links, deep or emotional tethers. Since I had such a strong bond with my father, he could transfer his memories to me through the kiss on my forehead just before he vanished.” Lucy idly motioned to her head, recounting the wispy breeze of the last kiss from her dad. “I could see what happened from an external perspective, but he blocked out one thing from me.”
Deveraux’s eyebrows furrowed, “What do you mean?”
“You know the saying of how all your questions will be answered in death?” she asked. She went on when she received a subtle agreement. “When you die, you get more than just your perspective on it. You know the identity of who killed you, things they did to prepare, their thoughts about you. Stuff like that becomes common knowledge, because since you’re dead, who are you going to tell?”
Vance’s lips parted, it all making sense. “Then they come to you.”
“And when my dad learned everything, he gave me all of his memories except for one,” Lucy told him. “What could he possibly keep from his only daughter that was planning on going in the FBI?”
“Who killed him.”
Lucy lightly nodded, her bottom lip pulled between her teeth. “He knew me so well, and he knew that I wouldn’t give up if I found out who murdered him, let alone have a perfect way to find him.”
“Is that why you didn’t go into the FBI?”
“I would’ve been too tempted,” she replied softly as she looked over to Vance. “I let Jones know everything I did, and I didn’t stick another finger into the investigation. If they know who the hit man was, I’m not aware of it. I stayed away from the FBI because I couldn’t deal with having so many people know about me, about my father, and much less knowing that I would have endless sources to lose myself in some ridiculous revenge plot.” Lucy ran a hand along her jaw, sighing. “So I planned on being a lame lawyer with a Stanford degree. But the books kicked up, and by not burying myself in legal work, I have more time to help by writing.”
Vance hesitated briefly, “And you were close with Jones and Tyler?”
“Remarkably.” Lucy motioned over her shoulder with her chin, “Come on, I want to show you something.” She headed into the house, Alex greeting them warmly from exactly where he’d been when they had left. Going over to the bureau below the wall mounted TV, she opened the top drawer and removed a box with a Middle Eastern pattern that was incredibly familiar to Vance.
Following in behind her, Vance lingered by the settee as Lucy turned around to face him. His expression changed through confusion to mild wonder, “I was with him when he bought that in Bangladesh.”
“He sent it to me as a grad gift when I finished up at Stanford.” Lucy opened up the delicate box, photographs and mementoes inside. “We met as kids through our parents. Our dads went through the Academy together ages ago and they stayed friends.” She held out a picture to Vance, one she would never get rid of no matter what. “This was just before his first year at Penn and my last one in high school. His family stayed with us for a month in Phoenix before school started.”
Vance took the photo from her willingly, seeming to be discovering a new side of his best friend.
In the Phoenix heat with no signs of aging on their faces, it was the girl in front of him and a memory of his deceased partner with the brightest looks in their eyes. Tyler’s hair was a beautiful mess in the wind and laughter was no doubt evident under the glossy film.
The FBI agent’s lips parted, “I knew there was a girl, but he wouldn’t say much more than ‘Phoenix.’”
Lucy sat down on the armrest of the couch, the box still in her lap. “It was complicated between us. It went from a summer fling to spells of one of us avoiding the other on and off for years. Phoenix before college was really the only good time there was.”
“I can’t believe it,” expressed Vance with a light shake of his head. He offered the photo back out to Lucy, his mind shattered. “This is all so insane. You and Tyler, your dad being FBI, much less the clarity thing.”
“Clairvoyance,” Lucy said as she shut Tyler’s box and set it next to her. “And if you’re going to call me crazy, you can get the hell out of my house-”
Deveraux smiled lightly, “I don’t think you’re crazy, Lucy.”
Her eyes narrowed slightly, evaluating the strange expression on Vance’s face. “What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking we should get you on payroll.”