Marissa steps over his writhing body, straightens her skirt, and saunters on like nothing happened

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Marissa steps over his writhing body, straightens her skirt, and saunters on like nothing happened. The truth is, she doesn't care that she just stole someone's will. And that makes me furious. It's one thing to treat an A.P. badly, but this – taking away a stranger's choice – it's deplorable.

'You . . . you can't just leave him there.'

She spins, flicking her blonde hair over her shoulder with force. 'Don't be stupid, Rach, he'll find me. They always do. You really need to come to terms with it.'

I focus on the guy curled in a fetal position, rocking back and forth on the ground, his denim jacket bunching by his neck and his white T-shirt covered in soggy brick dust. I can't call for help – drawing attention to him could risk exposing us.

'Why, Marissa? Why did you turn him?'

She shrugs. 'Besides the obvious,' she waves to the sloppy stack of school papers in my arms, 'he's cute . . . and he has nice shoes.'

'Nice shoes?'

'A guy with nice shoes brings good luck.'

I'm fairly certain she just made that up. 'It wasn't too lucky for him, was it?'

'God, you're melodramatic. It had to be done and I'm glad I did it. I haven't turned a guy in days. I was starting to feel under-appreciated.'

'You're out of control.'

Marissa ignores me. 'Nothing makes you feel as valued as a fresh turn. They're so desperate to please, all those heightened passions overcoming their other desires.' The side of her mouth curls into some freaky smile/snarl hybrid. 'There's nothing like a man doing whatever I ask to keep me happy. You really should try it sometime.'

'Do you hear yourself?'

She glares at the interruption. 'Maybe I should tell this one I want someone who can fly and watch him jump off a building.'

I shudder. She can't mean it, but I've heard of others doing similar things. It's reasons like this that make me hate my gift. If you could call it that. Gift feels like a sick term for what it is we really do.


Forcing a man to love me is not something I want.

I kick rocks away from the guy shuddering into my Converse sneakers. There's nothing else I can do for him. He'll stay like this until he's fully turned.

Marissa lets out a long breath, waiting for me to say something. And I do. 'I just don't think it's right.'

Somehow this infuriates her enough to continue toward school. When she's a good few feet ahead, she pivots on her heels. 'First the cab and now this.' Her arms flail like one of those inflatable advertisements on a car lot. If it weren't for the particulars of this argument it would be hilarious. 'If this is your I want true love rant, I'm tired of hearing it. Those women in true love situations would die to get what we have. Well, what I have – a guy whose only purpose is fulfilling my every wish.'

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