Sometimes Melissa wishes she weren’t so goddamn nice. For example, when she’s trapped in a conversation at a party with a crazy guy who either is really desperate to have sex with her or literally believes he can predict the future.
Melissa is very good at telling guys to fuck off when they’re actually being assholes, but this guy just seems weird, so it’s hard to bring herself to be rude. “I don’t believe in supernatural stuff,” she tells him. “I’m studying medicine. Science.”
“Saying you don’t believe in the supernatural is like saying you don’t believe in homosexuality,” he informs her. “You can disbelieve all you want, doesn’t stop it from existing.”
If he is trying to hit on her, he’s wasting his time. Melissa wouldn’t fuck someone that condescending no matter the state of his sanity. “The difference is evidence,” she says. “I know gay people exist because I’ve encountered them. There’s two guys making out right there.” She points at the corner of the room, where a couple of boys look like they’re having a lot more fun than she is.
The guy--he introduced himself, but she didn’t bother to file away the name--gestures grandly at himself. “Evidence!” he proclaims.
Melissa crosses her arms. “Okay,” she says. “Show me what you’ve got.”
She ends up regretting that.
Actually, she doesn’t really regret it. If supernatural powers exist, she does want to know. She does not, however, want to be stalked by a creepy guy who has made it his life’s mission to convince her how special he is, and this fellow seems to have taken the instruction “show me what you’ve got” to heart.
She gets pissed at him for a while, because it seems like he’s got to be setting this shit up. He says her mailbox combination lock will get stuck, and it does, and she’s sure he poured glue into it or something. He says the cafeteria worker in charge of sandwiches will forget the pickles she asked for, and she assumes he’s friends with the woman.
But he couldn’t have gotten her roommate to spill tea on her, because Jen was at that party too, and she was saying the guy looked creepy before he ever came over to talk to Melissa. She wouldn’t go along with his shit. And he guessed the exact score she would get on her anatomy test, which she hadn’t taken yet when he made the prediction. It could have been a self-fulfilling prophecy, but Melissa was pretty sure about a couple of the ones she got wrong, so she doesn’t think so.
She doesn’t tell him to fuck off. Not because of politeness--she has no compunctions about being rude to a person who is actually stalking her--but because she’s too damn curious for her own good. The longer he keeps being right, the less plausible it becomes that he’s bullshitting.
And if he’s not bullshitting, then what the hell is he doing?
“You think you’re going to be a doctor?” he says to her in the student union. “You’re not going to be a doctor.”
Melissa was studying before he found her. She has another test tomorrow. She pretends she’s ignoring him, but she knows she’s not fooling him.
“What’s the plan?” he asks. “I can’t read minds, I don’t know what you think your life is going to be like. I just know how it actually goes.”
Melissa’s plan is to finish nursing school, get her RN license, work nights as a nurse to support herself while she gets her bachelor’s degree on a pre-med track, and then take out some colossal student loans and go for the MD. Then maybe she’ll think about starting a family.
She doesn’t tell him that. Plenty of people without precognitive powers have already told her she can’t do this. She doesn’t need that shit from someone who might actually know for sure.
“You’re not going to med school,” he says. “I see a lot of vomit cleanup in your future. And you’re going to get an 89 on that test.”
Melissa watches him leave, her eyes narrowed. Then she reclips her hair so it won’t fall in her face and turns her full attention to the book on her lap.
She stays up until four in the morning cramming, and then she wakes up at eight and reviews everything, and then she takes the test.
The teacher hands them back a week later. Melissa’s score is 90.
“You’re wrong,” she tells him. She holds up her test, the score circled at the top. “You’re wrong. I’m going to be a doctor and you cannot scare me into failing, you psychotic fucker.”
For the first time since she met him, he doesn’t look so sure of himself. “What did you do?” he asks, staring at the paper.
“I worked for it,” Melissa hisses, and she’s not talking about the single stupid point on the test. She’s talking about everyone who’s ever tried to tell her what she’s capable of. He’s no different from any of them.
“Tell me what comes next,” she says. “What’s the sandwich lady gonna forget today?”
He tells her more than he’s ever told her before, like he’s trying to reassure himself that he can. He tells her about the weather, about the news, about crimes and accidents. He looks afraid, and like he’s trying to hide the fear.
Melissa writes it all down and sets out to thwart fate.
The guy spins around, still hopping along the sidewalk. “Sorry, I’m really really late,” he calls, and keeps running.
Melissa chases him down, getting a grip on his arm right before he dashes out into the street. Three seconds later, a car screeches out of the parking garage next to them and careens past them without a pause.
“Whoa,” says the guy, and takes a few steps backwards, staring after the car. “Shit. Did you just save my life? Jesus Christ.”
Melissa lets go of his arm. “I don’t think so,” she says. “You might’ve broken a leg or something, though. Be super careful crossing streets today, okay?”
“Yeah, for sure.” He lingers awkwardly for a moment.
She raises her eyebrows. “Weren’t you horrendously late for something?”
“Oh, yeah.” He glances in the direction he was running. “You know, I’m late enough by now that I think I’m just gonna skip. Can I buy you coffee? You know, as thanks.”
Melissa checks her list. She’s not going to be able to do anything about the rain, and she wouldn’t want to prevent the political scandal from breaking even if she could, so the only thing left is a purse-snatching on Fifth Street in an hour. “Sure,” she says. “Let’s go to the place on Fifth, they do a killer chai.”
He’s a student at the university, majoring in criminology and minoring in three languages. He wants to be an FBI agent.
Melissa tells him about her med school plans, because he clearly wants in her pants too badly to give her shit. Sure enough, he’s nothing but supportive and impressed by her ambition. He’s charming, a little too purposefully charming for her usual tastes, but he’s pleasant enough company.
“Hey!” someone shouts from outside the window. “Get back here!”
Melissa checks the time. Shit, she missed the purse-snatching. She rushes outside, but the thief is long gone.
She ends up going home with the guy. Or to his dorm room, anyway, which isn’t much of a home, but there’s a bed and an attractive man and she’s had a tough enough day that she’s not feeling picky.
“You want to know what you’re going to do about that pregnancy?”
Melissa sets her shoulders and her jaw before turning around. “No, Miss Cleo,” she says coolly. “I want you to fuck off.”
He smirks. “It takes a lot of effort to change the course of destiny, you know. It’s a good idea to be prepared.”
Melissa walks away without another word. She doesn’t need his warnings. She knows now--knows for sure, because she’s tested it--that she can do what she wants no matter what the universe thinks it has in store for her. If she decides she’s going to go to med school and be a doctor, that’s what’s going to happen.
And if she ends up deciding something else--well, that’s up to her.