Disclaimer: As soon as I become rich I'm A: going to buy a share in Marvel and Fox and B: Building a pirate ship in my back yard. Until then, I own nothing and I am shipless. I hope you enjoy the new story.
Confessions of a Broken Heart
"Miss Rivers, can you tell me when you first started having these dreams?" Dr. Lewis asked as I sat in his office.
Once I came back from Canada, I promised my parents that I would speak to him. However, the session hadn't started off very well. This was going to take a while.
"They're not dreams, they're visions," I said, looking out the window at the rain.
"Visions of what?"
"Things that have happened. Things that will happen. I never know which is which."
"How do you know the difference between your visions and dreams? How do you know that one is real and the other is not?"
I looked back to him from the window. "How do you know the difference between reality and dreams?"
"Are you saying that these visions you have, what you see, it's as if you're there?"
"Look, Dr. Lewis in order for you to understand, you have to believe what I'm telling you. I'm not crazy, I'm not having illusions, it's real."
"Jayden, this doesn't make sense. You have to give me a reason to believe you."
I looked back out at the window. "I'm a mutant," I said quietly.
"Is that why you ran away?"
"No, I ran away because you and my parents insisted that I was crazy. I'm not crazy; I just needed someone who believed me."
"Did he believe you?"
"Yeah, he did."
"Is he the one who convinced you to not tell your parents about being a mutant?"
"No, I met him in Canada; I had decided long before then that I didn't want to tell them."
"Do you believe in mercy killings, doctor?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Do you believe that some people are better off dead rather than having to suffer through life?"
"I don't know."
"My parents do. Their son wasn't stillborn. He was born with green skin, scales and red eyes. He was a mutant. The only reason my parents adopted me was because the night before they showed up, I had a vision that they were going to be there. I was sitting there, dressed up, ready, waiting for them instead of outside eating worms, or whatever it was that other four year olds were doing. They wanted someone completely opposite of their son. If I told them that I was a mutant, after what they had done to their own son, what would they do to me? It's self-preservation, doctor."
"They told you that they murdered their son as a mercy killing?"
"No, I saw it."
He let out a long sigh and rubbed his brow. "Why did you run away?"
"Three months ago I started seeing visions with a man in them. It wasn't odd for me to have two or three visions of the same person, but after a month, I had had well over fifty of the exact same man. Every night as well as some during the day. Mom started to worry about me when I would blank out during dinner and so she and dad called you. After that night you came over to 'assess' me, I knew that I had to find him."
"Because there was something about him, something that I saw that I needed to know."
"And did you find out what you needed to know?"
I looked at him from where I had been staring at the rain. "Yeah."
"And what did you need?"
I made a weak smile and shook my head. "It's not that easy, I'm afraid. It's a bit more complicated…complex. It was never one thing, it was everything."
"Can you give me an example?"
"It was a feeling; I don't know how to explain it."
"Can you try?"
I let out a deep sigh and thought. "Have you ever been somewhere and they ask veterans or fire-fighters or a certain group of people to stand out of a much larger group? And when you see them stand up, one by one, you get cold chills, knowing that they've done something, they've been somewhere, they're part of something that we've never done or will ever understand. It's something that swells up when you realize that it's much bigger than you. That moment when you know that even if all of people standing up don't know each other, they're all connected." I shook my head. "I don't know how to explain it; I just know what it feels like."
"You wanted to feel as if you were part of something. Is that how he made you feel?"
I raked my fingers back through my dark brown hair and sighed. "No, not really."
"If he didn't make you feel that way, but that's what you wanted, how did he make you feel? Loved…protected…scared?"
I let out a small laugh. "I was never scared of Logan," I said, then shook my head. "I was scared of him once, actually, but that was it, and it wasn't even that big of a deal."
"Was that when he forced you to drive across the country with him?"
I had to laugh aloud at the absurdity of his question. "Is that what you think happened; he 'forced' me to drive across Canada with him? He had much better things to do than to drive around a teenager for nearly two months."
"Then why did you stay with him?"
"Like I said; he was something I needed."
"Well, why did you leave then?"
"Because although he was what I needed, wanted, it wasn't quite as simple as just staying. Again, like I said; it's complicated."
"How about we start from the beginning then, alright? Why don't you tell me how you met him? Do you remember that day?"
I smiled sadly and turned back to the window. "Yeah, I remember. It was raining and I was outside, soaked to the bone and beginning to think that after a week of looking for a man I had never met before, and wondering if I ever would, if I really was just crazy and should go home. I sat in some ally, trying to stay dry when I felt him. I couldn't even see him, but I felt his presence and I knew it was him."
The ground was hard underneath me, the wind was blowing cold around me and the late September rain was dripping down onto my head from the roof of the building above me. I was tired. I had barely slept the entire week that I had been gone, mostly because I had been too scared to fall asleep in any of the trucks that I had hitched rides in. It had taken me four days to get to Calgary, Canada from northern California. I had spent the past two nights sleeping in an old parking garage, but I had to move. I had a feeling that I needed to move south, that's where he was, but in the thirty minutes that I had been trying to wait out the storm, I thought about going home. That's when I felt him.
He came out of the back door leading from the bar across the ally from me. He swore and muttered something about the rain. I pulled myself up and stood, deciding to follow him for a while before speaking to him. I needed to get used to the idea that it was real. He was real. I was actually in Canada, basically living as though I were homeless, just for the sake of meeting a man who had no idea who I was. Maybe I did need therapy.
I decided to follow behind him, but as soon as I took a step, I slipped in a puddle of water and fell back, knocking my head on the hard ground as I landed. Then everything went black.
"Hey kid, can you hear me?" I heard a voice ask above me. I slowly opened my eyes to see Logan crouching down by me.
"Yeah," I said, trying to focus. "I'm alright."
"I think you hit your head pretty hard. Let me look at your eyes." He took my face in his hand and looked right into my eyes. "I don't think you have a concussion, but you probably need to go home and lie down."
"I don't have one?"
"Well where are you stayin'?"
"Uh…a parking garage, about fifty miles from here."
He swore. "You're livin' in a parkin' garage?"
"That's where I've been staying for the past two nights."
He let out a deep breath and looked around the ally. "Come on, get up," he said, helping me stand from the cold, wet ground.
My head began to spin the moment I stood and I swayed from the dizziness. He grabbed my arm and helped me to balance.
"I'm good, I'm fine."
"You're soakin' wet, here," he said, taking off his leather jacked and handing it to me.
I slipped it on and looked at him. "Thank you," I said quietly.
"Look, it's rainin' pretty hard and I think a storm's movin' in this way. If I give you some money, you think you can find a hotel for tonight?"
"I've got money, I don't need it."
He cocked an eyebrow at me. "You got money but you're sleepin' in a parkin' lot?"
"It's a garage, but yeah."
He blinked at me. "Why?"
"Well if you feel a lie would be better," he said sarcastically. "Yeah honestly."
"I was looking for you."
"Are you Logan?"
"Then I'm looking for you."
He stared at me hard. "Do I know you?"
I shook my head. "No, I don't think so."
"Then why are you lookin' for me?"
"I see things, visions, and for over a month I've been seeing you. I don't know why, but for some reason you're different from the rest. I've seen you more than anyone else. I know this may seem really odd, I'm some strange teenage girl in an ally in the middle of a rainstorm telling you that I've been having visions of you, but it's the truth."
"Kid, I think you hit your head a little too hard and you need to go home."
"No, just listen to me; I need your help…please."
"What do you want from me, huh? I ain't got a lot of money and I ain't charity. So what do you want?"
"Are you staying in Calgary for good?"
"No, why?" he said, looking slightly frustrated.
"I want you to take me with you. Just for a little while. I think that there's something that I either need to help you with, or that you need to help me with."
"I don't know…but there's a reason for why I can't stop seeing you. Please, just help me."
"You don't even know me and you're willin' to get in a car and let me go anywhere with you? No. And do me a favor; don't go jumpin in any other strangers's cars either." There was a splitting pain still in the back of my head. I reached back to check it and when I pulled my hand back, my palm was covered in a mixture of blood and rainwater. He looked at me hand and swore. "Come on, follow me," he said, turning and walking down the ally.
I picked up my bag and then did as he said, walking closely behind him. He led me out onto and down a street, then down a series of about four others before we stopped outside of a motel. The neon light caught my eye. Most of the letters were out, leaving it only to say 'Elwod Mol' rather than 'Ellewood Motel'.
"How long have you been staying here?" I asked as he looked for the room key in the pocket of his jeans.
"Just checked in a few hours ago."
"Have you stayed here before?"
"No, why?" he said, unlocking the door and pushing it open.
"I saw that sign last night, but I didn't know what it was because the lights were missing."
"I wasn't here last night. I was still sleeping in a parking garage."
He looked at me. "You're serious; you really see things like that?"
"Yeah, it's usually fine, but the past month has been really overwhelming."
We were both quiet for a moment as we both stared up at the broken neon sign. Finally, he moved and flipped on the lights of the small room. "Come in and let me check out your head."
I watched him walk into the room and was suddenly aware of how surreal the moment was. The man whom I had been seeing in my visions for so long was actually there. I was no longer seeing him from another person's view, but from my own. Everything seemed to rush at me all at once and after a week of focusing all of my energy on finding him, there he was and I didn't know what to do. I thought that once I met him I would immediately understand, but I didn't and the realization that I had actually run away began to sink in. Although I had been planning to go home once I had found out what was special about him, it was then that I thought that perhaps my parents wouldn't let me come back. It was then that I felt scared for the first time since I had left home.
"Hey, I'm not gonna' hurt you or anything, I'm just gonna' check your head and see if it's still bleedin'."
"I know, I'm sorry," I said, walking into the small, dingy room and shutting out the rain and wind as I closed the door behind me.
"Sit on the bed," he ordered, jabbing a finger at the nearly stripped bed. The bedspread had been taken off and I held back a smile. I thought that I was the only one who wouldn't sleep under those things.
I dropped my bag in the floor and sat down on the bed as he entered the bathroom. I slipped out of his too large jacket and heard the water start running behind me. After a moment he came out with a wet two and began to examine the back of my head.
"How long've you been lookin' for me?" he asked.
I gritted my teeth and the new sting of pain from on by him touching the gash in the back of my head. "I left a week ago."
"How'd you know how to find me?"
"I saw that you were fighting in bar here in Calgary. I thought you were up further north than this, but this morning I realized you weren't," I said, sucking in a sharp breath at another shot of pain. "I was thinking about going home until I saw you come out of that bar."
"You were gone for only a week and thought about goin' home?" he said with a small laugh. "You look like you're gonna' need stitches."
"Is it that bad?"
He brushed a finger over the wound again and I flinched. "Why don't you tell me?"
"I don't want to go to a hospital; if I'm not going to bleed to death then I think I'd rather just leave it alone."
"Well here, keep this on it until it stops bleedin'," he said, pressing the damp towel against the back of my head, forcing me to hold it there myself.
He walked from behind me over to his bag in the corner of the room. As he walked past me, I caught a glimpse of what he had seen when I fell.
He had known that I was there. He could hear me. Smell me. And there was a fleeting thought that my scent was familiar, thought he wasn't entirely sure where he knew it from. He thought about turning around to ask who I was, but he had been fighting all-night and decided to just go to the motel to sleep. He began heading down the ally when he heard me stand. He heard me take a step. Then we heard me slip and fall. He heard my head hit hard against the ground. He turned around and ran to me. He crouched down, speaking to me and asked if I could hear him. That's when I woke up.
"You thought you knew me," I stated, once I was back in my present mind.
He turned to look at me from where he had been taking out some of his clothes from his bag. "What?"
"When you left that bar, you knew that I was there and you thought that you knew me. How?"
"Are you readin' my mind?" he asked, looking almost mad.
"No, I'm not – I can't – but when you walked past me, I saw what happened a little while ago. What you saw. Why did you think you knew me?"
"I don't know, something about your scent's familiar."
"But you don't remember where you know it from?"
He stared at me. "No. My memory's been a little fuzzy over the past few years, and I ain't even sure if I do know it or if it just reminds me of something."
"Yeah, whatever. Keep that towel on your head. I'm gonna get in the shower, don't steal anything."
"I wasn't planning on it.
"Good." He then left and went into the bathroom once again, closing the door behind him. After a minute, I heard the water in the shower start.
I stood, still holding the towel firmly against my head, and began to look around. The room was small; the light was dim and yellowed in color, making the room feel cold and eerie. The smell was musky and I wondered how Logan could stand it. I knew he was a mutant, I knew he had claws, but I also knew that his senses were amazing. The smell was nearly nauseating for me; it had to be terrible for him.
I walked from the bed to the window and pulled back the curtains to look out at the rain. I saw a flash of lightening in the sky. The storm was getting close and I was less than excited at the prospect of having to go back out in it once my head stopped bleeding.
I had gone over my meeting with Logan in my head more times than I could keep track of, and yet I hadn't thought our meeting would take place how it had. Nor had I thought of the fact that he may not believe or want anything to do with me. I had just assumed that we would spend a few days together, I could figure out what was so special about him and I could go home, without having to worry about overwhelming visions. But it wasn't going the way I had planned. I was going to be dumped back out on the streets and having to find a way back home, hoping that my parents would let me come back. They had, after all, assumed that I was crazy and called for an intervention. Making me sit and listen to a doctor I had never met try to tell me that what I saw, what I claimed to be visions, were just delayed results of being abandoned by my birth parents as a child. I had never known my real father, but my mother kept me until I was three, but couldn't take care of me anymore. She gave me away because she knew that someone else could give me a better life. It was a sacrifice I could never fully understand until I have children of my own. My mother didn't abandon me, she gave me a life, and I knew that what I saw had nothing to do with her, but they thought it did.
When I decided to leave, I barely had twenty dollars of my own money. I knew I couldn't get anywhere with that and so I took three hundred dollars from my parents. Then I left. I had 'run away' quite a few times as a child, as I'm sure most kids have at one point in their life. You pack a bag, you go down the street and wait until it gets dark before finally going back. But for the first time in my life, I had kept going down the road and didn't look back. It was strangely liberating to know that I could leave that easily, but terrifying in the same right.
I love my parents, don't get me wrong, they've taken care of me when I didn't have anyone else to do that for me. But there was something about me that never quite felt attached to them. There was always something inside of me that told me to go through the motions, but to never really get close to anyone. Like a mantra, it would repeat itself in my mind over and over again; You don't need anyone else, you just need you. Maybe that's why I had been so upset when I had first began having so many visions of Logan. I knew that one of us needed something from the other, and there was a fifty percent chance that it was me who needed something from him. That would mean that I needed him and I didn't like the thought of that.
There was another flash of lightening that jarred me from my thoughts and I saw the lights in the room flicker. I took the towel from my head and checked the status of the wound. I had to squint in the dim, blinking light to see, but I could tell that it had slowed to a near stop. But it needed to be cleaned. The rain and ally water probably wasn't too good for the healing process.
"Didn't anyone ever tell you not to stand by a window while it's stormin'?" I turned around and saw Logan emerging from the bathroom in sweatpants and a wife beater. "How's your head?"
"It's almost stopped bleeding."
"Good. If you're gonna' get in the shower, I suggest you do it before the power goes out."
"I beg your pardon?" I asked a little confused.
"Thought you might wanna' clean up and put on some dry clothes before you go to sleep."
"You're going to let me stay with you?"
"I'm not gonna' put you out in the storm. You can sleep on the couch for tonight. Then you can do whatever you want in the mornin', I don't care."
"Thank you," I said, walking to my bag and picking it up. I began walking to the bathroom when I realized something. "Oh, my name is-"
"Don't. We do the name thing and I might feel a little bad about makin' you leave tomorrow. I doubt it, but I'd rather not take the chance." There was a hint of a smirk on his face and I hated him.
I hated that I couldn't get him out of my head.
I hated the fact that I recognized the sarcasm in his voice from my own.
I hated that I needed him.
But more that all that, I hated that even though I needed him, he was willing to set me on a door step the first chance he could get out without having to feel guilty about doing so.
"Right, silly me," I said dryly, entering the bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind me.
I dropped my bag in the floor and began peeling off the damp layered shirts from my body. I had intended for them to keep my warm, but instead they had only managed to keep me cold with their chilled dampness.
I caught sight of myself in the mirror and was shocked to see how I looked. My dark brown hair was matted and twisted from everything it had endured in the past week. It hung damp and sadly around my face, drawing attention to the dark under eye circles I had, making my hazel eyes seem shallow and tired.
My normally tan skin took on a sickly look to it under the yellow lighting, and I could see a few bruises beginning to surface on my back and arms.
I didn't look myself as I took in my surroundings and situation. I didn't feel myself either. Instead, I felt scared and unsure.
I finished undressing and turned on the water in the shower. I'm embarrassed to admit that it was my first shower since leaving home and the hot water quickly chased away all of the chill bumps on my skin.
I washed my hair thoroughly, wanting to get out of the oil, gutter water, and blood. I wanted to wash away my pessimistic thoughts down the drain with it. I tried to scrub away all of my fears, but I couldn't. I only managed to make my skin pink and raw. That's when I started crying.
There was no doubt that I was a mutant, but what if I was crazy, too? I was in Canada, crying in the shower of some stranger's motel room. Although it might not have screamed insane, it wasn't exactly the best argument for my sanity, either.
I just wanted for something to start making sense to me. I didn't want to feel unsure anymore, but it seemed the only thing I had ever been sure of was that I had to find Logan. I stopped crying long enough to laugh at the absurdity of that. I didn't know him from Adam, I only knew his name from hearing him being called it in my visions, and yet I had possibly thrown away my future for him. A man who was refusing to even let me tell him my name. I allowed myself the thought of giving up, of going home or anywhere that would have me, but I knew that wasn't what I was supposed to do.
I turned off the water and left the comfort of the warm shower to prepare for the chilly reception I was sure to get from Logan once I left the bathroom.
Admittedly, I did feel much better once I was cleaned up and into some dry clothes. I took advantage of the bathroom and running water and brushed my teeth while I was in there. I then took my hair down from its towel and combed my fingers through it. Although I still looked tired, I was at least clean and that made me feel somewhat better.
When I went back into the main room again, I saw that the TV was turned on and Logan was sitting on the couch watching it.
I carried my bag to where it had been before and stood there awkwardly in the room, staring at both him and the TV. One of the Three Stooges movies was playing.
"You can have the bed, I'll sleep on the couch," he said, not bothering to look away from the screen.
"But I thought you said-"
"Do you wanna' sleep on the couch?"
"I don't care honestly, as long as it's not concrete."
"Good. Since you don't care, you get the bed."
"Thank you," I said quietly, going to the bed and sitting on the edge of it. I watched the TV for a moment, watching as Shemp tried to fight against a boxer, but was too scared to actually fight him. I had forgotten why they were supposed to be fighting; it had been a long time since I had seen the movie. "I always liked Shemp."
"I would've thought you were more of a Curly person."
"Everyone likes Curly. Except my dad, his favorite is Larry."
He grunted. "No one likes Larry."
"That's what I told him."
"He know where you're at?"
"I'm eighteen, it doesn't matter."
He finally looked at me, cocking one of his eyebrows. "Is that a 'no'?"
He turned his eyes back to the TV. "Now that you found me, you gonna' go back home?"
"My parents don't know that I'm a mutant. They think that the visions I'm having are related to some emotional problem like Child Abandonment Syndrome, because my birth mother gave me up for adoption when I was three. They want me to go to doctors and have tests done. I can't go back home until I get them under control. I think you can help me do that."
"I honestly don't know."
"Why don't you just tell them what's goin' on? Seems easier to me than runnin' away and huntin' down a complete stranger."
"They're really not fans of…people like us. Besides that, it's not just them; it's me. I've been seeing things for as long as I can remember, I'll have visions ten, twelve times a month, but with you, there were fifty, sixty of them. Some were long, some were short, but I couldn't stop them. I think you can."
"Again, I really don't know," I said as thunder rolled through above the motel, the lights flickering once again. My head was pounding like never before and everything that had happened in the past hour and a half was just adding to it. He was supposed to help me, and yet I didn't know how, which just added to my frustration, making the pain in my head even worse. "I don't know, I don't know," I muttered, cradling my head in my hands. My tears from earlier were threatening to come back and I had to fight to keep them away. I looked back up and saw him staring at me.
Have you ever shared a moment with someone where you just know that you're connected deeper than that moment? There was no sudden revelation, nothing was clear, I knew no more then than I had two hours previously, but when I looked up and my eyes met with his, something clicked and everything changed. I felt something I had never felt before.
"And what did you feel?" Dr. Lewis asked, pulling me from my story.
"I don't know how to explain it. Growing up I knew that I didn't belong in my family, I didn't fit it, and I accepted that I never would there. But I had spent my life chasing after a feeling, an emotion, a connection that I could never explain, but knew existed, and in that moment, I finally found what I had been looking for. Even though it was short, probably only a few seconds, it was enough. I knew it wouldn't stop the vision, it wasn't going to make my situation any easier, but it nothing else, that moment along was worth the time spent getting there, no matter how short and fleeting it may have been."
"If you had spent so long searching for this feeling, then why was it so short lived? Why would you end it so soon?"
I gave a small laugh. "I assure you, had I had a choice in the matter, it wouldn't have ended so soon. Especially not the way it did."
I looked at Logan, staring at me, and I noticed that he wore the same expression as he did when looking at a girl he knew. I didn't know her name, only that she had brown hair with two white streaks and that he cared a lot about her. Not that he cared about me, he didn't know me, but she had looked around me age and I assumed that he saw her sitting there in my situation. Whatever the reason, as my eyes burned from fighting tears, from being tired, and distraught, I let them go. I allowed myself to cry for a moment, though neither of us took our eyes off the other or spoke a word. That's when the news bulletin on TV caught both of our attentions.
"Earlier this week we broke news about the American teenager that had reportedly ran away from home," the middle-aged newswoman said as a photo of me appeared on screen. "Last weekend, after an argument with her parents over the state of her mental health, eighteen-year-old Jayden Rivers left in the middle of the night. After airing the story, we received several phone calls reporting that viewers had seen her here in Northern Alberta, while nearly all of the calls received have been from Calgary. If you have seen or have any news of missing American teen Jayden Rivers, please contact your local police or new station. We will update on this story as it develops. Now back to your program, already in process."
That was it. I knew that if there was ever a chance that he might have changed his mind and allowed me to go with him; he wouldn't after that.
"Thank you for helping me and letting me stay here for the night, but I'm tied so I think I should get some sleep. After tomorrow I'll leave and you won't have to worry about me anymore," I said quietly. "I'm sorry for causing you any trouble."
Sharing a room with a stranger was the last thing on my mind as I fell asleep that night. He was the safest I had felt in a long time and all I was thinking of was that after that night, I didn't know what I was going to do.