"I'm in love," he states. This is his big reason for being so different lately. Usually, I would have come up with some quick comeback like, 'Alec, I swear, that mirror is really getting to you.' But now, considering my newfound state of depression, I state my mind.

"Love sucks. It's all crap. Love is a X5 standing over your vital organs with a sledge hammer, ready to smash in a blink." I spit, staring at the far wall with all it's tacky heart decorations, trying not to show the tears forming in my eyes. "I think you need to find someone better to love than this asshole, then. Because to me, love is . . .ummm . . .a good thing."

Better? No such thing. The one I love is the finest, the best, the crème da la crème. But alas, my vital organs have been beaten and creamed to a pulp, for he has just informed me he loves someone else. Since I have already had my fate decided, I suppose I will dig myself deeper into the depression that this particular holiday brings and ask the question blaring in my head.

"So, who's the lucky lady?" He squirms. I can see the indecision in his eyes. Why won't he tell me? I thought we were becoming good friends. Maybe he knows I will grind her organs, no matter who she is. But whoever it is, she damn luckier than me. So all this anger at this bitch that, in exactly 0.2574 seconds, ruined my life goes into what I say next.

"Let me guess, we can't TRUST Maxie with that information. Ya know, you damn CO's never trust me with anything. First a contact number, now a stupid NAME! What's next? Ya know, maybe I'll take Zack's advice and finally get out of this hellhole I call home. Bye. Enjoy your holiday," and mumble, "Heartbreaking asshole." Without looking back, I leave Crash once and for all. But I can hear him after me.

"I heard that last parting shot. What the hell was that supposed to mean?" I stop dead in my tracks to throw him some wit. "My daddy told me never to talk to strangers." "WHAT? Max, what is this REALLY about? What have I . . .done to make you want to leave?" God, he's melting me with his stare. "Heartbreaking asshole? Asshole, I can't deny, but heartbreaking? I've never wanted to break your heart. In fact, I do everything I can to avoid it. Neck, well, that was an order. One I thankfully didn't fulfill, but heart? What do I possibly have to do with your heart?"

"You stole it. There. Happy? I was starting to get used to the idea when you go and ruin everything by loving someone else. As for someone 'better than this asshole,' there's no such thing. And just so you know, my vital organs are the CONSISTANCY OF ORANGE JUICE!" I speed off into the night on my baby, trying to erase the shocked look on his gorgeous face from my photographic memory. Out of the corner of my mirror, I can see he's still standing there. No, wait, he's begun to blur after me. I pop a wheelie and just dare him to catch up. I know I have to go home, get my things, say goodbye to OC. Unfortunately, with all his training, Alec's getting damn close to my bike. I have one up on him; I know this city like the back of my hand. I take a surprise right throwing my competitor off. I take another quick turn. He's slowed down a bit, but in my rearview mirror I see him pull out a cell phone. Good, at least he's off my tail for a while. I don't see him when I look back, so I head home to Original Cindy's to pack up my stuff and maybe visit Zack for a while. He always told me to get out of Seattle. Yeah, this is for you, Zack. As I get to OC's, I can hear crying inside. Crap. I open the door soundlessly.

"Original? Cindy, you okay?"

"OC's been better. Boo, you are not leaving this apartment."

"What? Why? Who said I would leave?"

"Err . . .no one suga. You just . . . look kinda sick."

"We don't get sick, Cindy."

"Maybe you do. I'll call Alec to take a look." She reached for the phone that coincidentally happened to be very near by. My eyes widened with realization.

"No! He called you, didn't he? ARG! I just CAN'T get away from him, can I?" At that second, he chose to walk into the apartment looking pissed, tired and grateful at the same time.

"No, you can't. And if you do, I'll be heartbroken." What did he say? I let OC sneak out of the apartment. She doesn't have to hear me send useless threats.

"Excuse me, wha . . .what was that?" He takes a step closer to me. His movement is almost lethargic, like watching a movie in slow motion. I keep my eyes on him as he moves close enough to kiss. I close my eyes as he bends his head down close to mine.

"I said, I'll be heartbroken if you ever leave me," he whispers into my ear, letting his hot, silky breath float over my skin. I shudder at the unexpected feeling.

"Alec, as sweet as that is, I want to be more than just your friend. And since it would be torture knowing I don't have a chance, I have to leave." I walked to the door, opened it and. . .

"You really want to know?" I freeze.

"You might not want to tell me," I turn my head slightly over my shoulder.

"And why is that?" he takes a step closer.

"Because, I'd grind her vital organs into a pulp." He chuckles.

"She's an X5, I think she can defend herself."

"I'll do it when she's sleeping."

"She doesn't sleep." That is a problem . . .

"Oh well. Handcuffs will do nicely. Where can I find her?"

"She hangs out at HQ a lot. She kinda has to, considering she rules all of Freak Nation." That sounds a hell of a lot like . . . me? He loves ME? I drop my baby and close the space between us. I kiss him with all my emotions.

"You still . . .up to . . .using those . . .handcuffs?" he whispers between kisses. I laugh, pull a pair out of my back pocket, (never know when they might come in handy) and push him back into the apartment. "Happy Valentines Day," I manage to whisper before my whole world glazes over.