Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to X-Men or Marvel, but they haven't sued me so far, so thanks guys!
Author's Note: This is the last chapter, so I hope ya'll have enjoyed the story. I tried to end the Jayden series last time and it just didn't work. Right now, as far as I can see, this is the last story. I'm going to try to concentrate on original stories and hopefully write a book, but if the inspiration bug bites, I just might bring her back again. You never know. But thanks for all of the support and interest ya'll have shown over the years. It means a lot to me! Enjoy, ya'll!
It took me three days to convince Hank that I was well enough to leave the mansion. It took me four days to convince Tony he wasn't going to die if he cut back on his pain pills long enough to go on a road trip with me. They both finally agreed and I picked Tony up at his apartment. It was the first time in nearly a week I had seen him where he wasn't high as a kite and insisting he could hear my hair grow. After picking him up, we made one pit stop.
Then we drove to Rochester.
The nearly six hour drive was quiet. For once Tony didn't make any smart comments about my driving or attempts to be funny. Which was odd enough on its own. But neither of us were too eager to speak, so we didn't. We just focused on the road before us as I drove in the early morning light.
When we finally arrived at the little blue house at the end of a long street, I double checked the address Tony had gotten as a favor from someone at work to make sure it was right. The address matched. But I hesitated in getting out.
"Problem?" Tony asked.
"More than you know, De Luca," I said. "I've never done this before."
"What? Shown up at a stranger's house randomly?"
"No, I've done that," I said. "I've never faced the family of a target after I've eliminated them."
"Whatever." I stared at the house for a few moments before finally letting out a sigh. "Alright, let's go."
We both got out of my Jeep and Tony grunted and groan in pain, despite the face that his arm was nearly healed. We both walked up the short walkway and I felt my stomach flutter. I had an idea of what I was going to say, but I was still nervous. Tony looked over and family me a small smile. It was mildly comfortable that he was there. He had spoken to more families who had lost members than I had.
We walked up to the door and I pressed the button for the doorbell. We waited for about a minute before someone finally answered.
And I pushed my nerves aside.
An older man with grey hair and a mustache opened the door. He smiled. "Hello. Can I help you?"
"Are you Tomas Grayson?" I asked.
He nodded. "Yes I am."
"Is Mrs. Grayson home?"
His brow furrowed and I could feel his concern growing. "Yes she is. May I ask what this is about?"
"I would like to speak to the two of you, if that would be possible, sir?"
"Your grandson David."
"What about him? How do you…how do you know him?"
"I would rather speak to you together, if that's okay?"
He seemed to think it over for a moment, contemplating whether to let two strangers into his house with him and his wife. They were both older and if Tony and I were bad people and wanted to hurt them, we wouldn't have much trouble doing so. I didn't blame him for being cautious.
Tony, who could obviously see his uneasiness, reached into his jacket for his ID and badge. "I'm Antonio De Luca, NYPD. This isn't a police matter, it's a personal one, and it's not mine, it's hers, but she asked me to come so that you wouldn't think she's just some crazy girl showing up at your house. We were both injured at the end of last week and we've spent the time since then recuperating. She actually had a very difficult time convincing her doctor to let her leave home today to come here. So I apologize if this is an inconvenient time for you, but we've been busy this week and this was a bit of a last minute decision to come here."
That seemed to work. He nodded. "Okay, come on in. I'll get Merriam."
Tony and I followed him into his house. He led us into the living room and instructed us to sit on the couch and wait on him as he went to get his wife.
There was an open bowl of peppermints on the coffee table and Tony grabbed a handful of them, shoving them in his jacket pocket. I gave him a look. "What? They're for people to eat."
"How have you not been fired yet?"
He smiled at me. "Because they love me."
I shook my head. "They're the only ones."
He was about to say something else, something sarcastic no doubt, but Mr. Grayson entered the room again, grasping his wife's arm and ushering her in alongside him. She was blind.
Tony stood up politely and waited until Mrs. Grayson was seated in the loveseat across from us before taking his seat beside me once again.
I smoothed my hair back and took a deep breath before folding my hands in my lap. "Mr. and Mrs. Grayson, my name is Jayden. I'm here to speak to you about your grandson David."
"He passed away in December," Mrs. Grayson said.
"Yes ma'am, I know."
"I'm a mutant, but please don't be scared. My mutation can't hurt you," I said. "I see things."
"My daughter, David's mother, she could get into my mind, show me things. Beautiful colors and images. She passed away three years ago. I've missed her ever since," she said. "Of all the things that frighten me, you're not one of them child."
I nodded and took another deep breath, calming myself further. "In December, I saw something. I had a vision of the break in that occurred at your ex-son-in-law's house."
"Did you see the men who shot them?" Mr. Grayson asked.
I shook my head. "No, I'm afraid not, sir," I lied. "I'm very sorry."
"What did you see?"
"I saw…I saw the two of them get shot. And I didn't do anything about it. I was scared to go to the police because I didn't know how to explain to them what I had seen without letting them know I was a mutant. I didn't say anything and because of that, your grandson died."
"So why are you here? Why three months later?" he asked.
"At the end of December I fell and a rock landed on my head. I lost my memory. I remembered bits and pieces, but not enough. Last week something happened and I got my memory back. I wanted to visit you that day, to let you know how sorry I was. But we were in a bank while a robbery occurred. We were both shot and injured and had to spend some time in the hospital."
"You said you were scared to tell the police, but the young man you're with introduced himself as a detective. You've obviously told him," Mr. Grayson said.
"Yes, sir, I have. Detective De Luca is my brother. I didn't tell him about what I had seen though until last week. He had no idea and couldn't report it himself," I said. "And I apologize that I couldn't come to you sooner and tell you how truly sorry I am that because of my selfish fear, I didn't do anything."
Mr. Grayson studied me for a long time. He stared at me but didn't say anything. After a few minutes, I began to wonder if he was waiting on me to continue. "What do you think the police would have done if you did tell them about what you had seen?" he finally asked.
I shook my head. "I don't know."
He looked to Tony. "They would have attempted to get her to register as a mutant. They could have arrested her. Part of the new procedures to catching terrorists is identifying what's considered a threat. Jayden's ability to see things could make her a national threat. At least that's how they would see her, anyway. If they thought she could see national security secrets, they wouldn't allow her to just walk around. They would definitely do something with her, whether it's detaining or experimentation. It would be something," Tony explained.
"Assuming that they believed you," Mrs. Grayson said. Although she was blind, she was facing me and looking at my face. She looked like she was looking me in the eyes.
I nodded. "Yes, assuming that they believed me."
"They very well may have thought you were just crazy," she said, a slight smile on her face.
"It's very possible ma'am. Many people I've told about my visions have."
"But either way, they wouldn't have done anything about David," she said. "No offence to your brother, but all the detectives we've spoken to about the accident that killed David and the one that killed our daughter, none of them have been very helpful. Or respectful."
"I apologize for that ma'am," Tony said.
She smiled. "Well it's not your fault is it, my dear?"
He smiled back despite the fact that she couldn't see it. "No, but if you give me the names of the detectives who worked on those cases, I can sort them out for you."
Mr. Grayson laughed. "That's not necessary, but thank you," he said. "Would the two of you like anything to drink? I've just made a pot of coffee. It's not too strong, but it does the trick."
"No thank you," Tony and I said in unison.
He smiled and nodded. "Well, as much as we appreciate you both coming here and apologizing…it's not the only reason why you're here, is it?"
"No, sir," I said. "It's not."
"Then why are you here?"
"After seeing the break in, I saw you and your wife and that you had taken custody of your two granddaughters," I lied. I took a deep breath. "I know it's not polite to discuss money, and my parents would be completely horrified at the mere thought of me even bringing this up, and I apologize ahead of time -"
"Miss?" he interrupted me.
"You've already come into a stranger's home, told them you're a mutant and saw their grandson die in a vision. I don't see how discussing finances would be any worse."
I nodded. "Yes, sir, I understand that. But I've never done this before and I'm very nervous. So I'm sorry if you think I'm being awkward or weird. I'm just not sure what I'm supposed to say to keep from looking like a very strange, imposing person."
"At this point, I don't think there is anything you can say to keep from sounding that way. But you've already got one foot in the door, there's no point in stopping now, is there?" he said. Then he gave me a kind smile.
I smiled back at him and nodded once again. "I had a vision and saw you and your wife. I saw that you were having difficulty taking care of your granddaughters as far as money goes. And I saw that you were contemplating giving them up for adoption," I said. "Detective De Luca is my brother, but not biologically. I was adopted. My mother gave me away when I was three and I was adopted a year later. Even though I was only there for a year, I hated that place. I dreamed every night of my mother coming back to get me. But she never did."
"Jayden is it?" Mr. Grayson asked. I nodded. "Well Jayden, I'm sorry that you had to go through that. But my wife and I have to do what's best for them."
"And I understand that, sir."
"Do you know why your mother gave you up?" Mrs. Grayson asked. "Did you ever find out why?"
"Yes ma'am. She said it was because she couldn't take care of me."
"So you understand why we may have to give up the girls. You seem to be doing well. Can't you see that your mother gave you up to make your life better?" she asked.
"My mother only told me she gave me away because of that. Years later I found out it was because she didn't love me. Her own child. Not long after that I found my father, my biological one. He didn't have a lot of money, but he loved me. He still does, and because of that, I don't care about everything else. I've lived with him for the last eight years and they've been the best years of my life," I said. "My mother could take of me but didn't love me, so she gave me away. You love them; you just can't take care of them the way you wished you could. My mother's problem couldn't be fixed, but yours can."
"How? I can't work, neither can Merriam. Our church has taken up funds for us, that's what's gotten us through these last three months, but they can't keep giving us money," Mr. Grayson said, tears forming in his eyes. "Now I've been praying for a way to take care of those little girls, because they're the light of our lives, but my prayers haven't been answered yet and I don't know what else I'm supposed to do."
I reached into the pocket of my jacket and pulled out an envelope. I handed it to him. "You're supposed to take this," I said.
"What is it?"
"I hope it's an answer to your prayers."
"If it's money, I can't take it."
"I can't just take your money; I don't know you."
"So? I'm not very religious myself, but isn't there a saying something along the lines of, 'God works in mysterious ways'? Now I don't know about you Mr. Grayson, but I don't know a much more mysterious way than having me show up here today," I said with a small smile. "You've been praying for help and I felt compelled to come here. That seems like the answer you've been looking for."
"I don't…I don't know about this. I'm not sure."
"What aren't you sure about?"
"Why you're doing this."
"I saw your grandson and ex-son-in-law murdered and I didn't do anything. Because of that Sarah and Colleen are orphans and in your charge. I messed up their lives so it's my place to fix it," I said. "My father taught me that when I do something wrong, it's my place to right it. As much as I can, anyway. But the problem with this is that I can't fix death. I can't give you your grandson back. All I can give you is what's in that envelope."
"It's too much."
I smiled at him. "You haven't looked inside it. How do you know it's too much? It could just be ten or twenty dollars."
He held it in his hand, weighing it. "It doesn't feel like ten or twenty dollars."
"Well, it's a little bit more than that."
"How are we supposed to explain where we got it? If the IRS asks am I supposed to tell them a little mutant girl gave it to me?"
"No, I'll take care of it," Tony said. "If anyone asks, the money was left with me and donated to you. I brought it to you. It was all anonymous. But I'll give you all of my numbers and I'll take care of it if you need me to."
"It won't last forever, I'm afraid, but it should be enough to help."
He stared down at the envelope, thinking, deciding. "This isn't your place," he said. "You didn't pull the trigger."
I looked away from him. "But it feels like I did."
"Look, there's been something I've been meaning to talk to you about," Tony said as I pulled up at his apartment building.
"Why does that never sound good?" I asked.
He laughed. "Because it usually isn't."
I looked over at him. "Well go on, then. Get it over with."
"Do you remember a few years ago when you told me I should leave the NYPD and go back to the FBI?"
I nodded. "That was like, forever ago, but yeah, I remember."
"Well I got a job offer from them. Not in criminal profiling, but in missing persons. It would be worse hours but higher pay. I've done criminal profiling and detective work my whole life; I'll be learning something new. And knowledge is power, right?"
"Stop being such a dork and tell mw what this is really about, De Luca."
He ran his hand back through his hair, one of his nervous habits. "I took the job, Jayden."
I smiled at him. "That's great. When do you start?"
"I don't know."
"This is awesome. What part of New York is it in?"
"Where is it then?"
He gave me a nervous smile and then let it drop. "Chicago."
"Are you serious?"
He nodded. "Yeah."
"Are you moving there for good?"
"When did you get the offer?"
"A couple of weeks ago. But I only accepted it two days ago. I think it helped that I was high on my meds at the time," he joked, laughing slightly.
"Why did you wait so long to take it?"
He looked out his window and drummed his fingers on the divider between our seats where both of our arms were resting. "Well…as much as I love you, I don't always believe everything you say."
"Gee, thanks," I said dryly. "I can convince you to love me, just not to trust me."
"You didn't convince me to love you, Jayden. I fell in love with you when you told me not to."
"Well maybe you should have listened to me for once."
He looked back at me. "I tried."
"You know, Logan's right, you really are the girl in this relationship. We broke up two years ago, Tony. I am not that great of a person to be in love with all this time later. I suck. So why don't you go grab a pint of ice cream and watch 'P.S. I Love You', or 'Ghost', or some other sappy movie and cry?"
"I'm not a girl," he said. "But 'Ghost' is a good movie."
"Well what was it you didn't trust me about that made you delay your decision? I'm curious to know what type of power I weld over you still."
"I didn't believe that the baby was going to die. I thought you were confused, or lying, or -"
"Lying? Why in the world would I lie about that, Tony? I'm not some saint here claiming I always tell the truth, but I'm not that depraved. I have some scruples, you know?" I shook my head. "What would I gain from lying to you about that? What would be my objective, exactly?"
"There wouldn't be anything to gain. Two weeks ago, when you told me all of this, when you said you were pregnant, you weren't who you are now. You didn't have your memories."
"What does that have to do with anything?" I snapped.
"You didn't remember that there could be something to gain. That there could be an objective. Those three months you had amnesia were the best three months of my life in over two years because you were like how you used to be. You didn't look at a situation and see how you could exploit it. You didn't size me up every time I made a move. You were just a normal girl."
"Oh, well, I apologize for getting my memory back. I didn't realize how much you enjoyed it being gone. Shall I knock myself in the head with something to see if I can't lose it again? Because there are a lot of things I would rather not remember about this week," I said. "As a matter of a fact, why don't you hit me? Come on De Luca, let's see if your right hook is as good as you always said it was."
He shook his head. "Stop being ridiculous, I'm not going to hit you."
"Why not? You'll get your aggression out, I'll forget everything, I'll go back to being who you want me to be and you don't have to move. It'll solve everything," I said. "So why not just do it?"
"Do you ever think about how crazy you sound sometimes? I mean, really, you sound like a lunatic," he said, turning in his seat to face me. "I'm not going to hit you."
"Why not? You've thought about it."
"No, I haven't. Of all the things I've thought about doing to you, that wasn't one of them."
"You're a jerk."
"And you're a spoiled brat."
"How am I a spoiled brat?"
"I tell you I'm moving to Chicago and this turns into a conversation about you."
"You started it!"
"Oh, what, are you six now?"
"If I was six, I would still act older than you."
"Yeah, great comeback."
"You're a jerk."
"You already said that."
I stared at him for a moment, frustrated. I thought about slapping him, maybe even punching him. My right hook actually was as good as I said it was. But I realized it didn't matter what I did; he was still moving. So instead, of hitting him, I started crying. I wasn't a sobbing, weeping mess. But I let my tears go.
Tony let out a sigh as he unbuckled himself. He pushed my arm from the divider and folded it up. Then he moved closer and pulled me into a hug.
"I don't want you to leave," I said.
"You'll be fine with me gone."
"No I won't. Who's going to make me watch all of your stupid movies? Who's going to give me foot massages and cook Italian for me?"
"Someone will," he said. "Just hopefully not in that order, unless they wash their hands first."
We both laughed, but my tears didn't stop. "I love you Tony," I said, pulling out of his hug. I looked up at him. "You're one of the most annoying, cocky, immature, insecure jerks I've ever met. But I do love you. I'm sorry I just couldn't love you the way you needed."
"Life sucks like that sometimes," he said. "And you're one of the most annoying cocky, immature, insecure brats I've ever met."
I smiled at him. "What am I going to do without you?"
"Without me? You really think because I'm moving to a different state you can get rid of me?" he asked, his smile growing. "No Miss Rivers, that's not going to happen; I'll be calling you and we'll be doing the whole e-mail thing."
I laughed, my tears finally stopped. "E-mail thing. You sound so old when you said that."
"I am old," he said, wiping a few stray tears from my face with his knuckle.
I stopped him and looked him straight in the eye. "You're leaving because of me, aren't you?"
"There you go with the self-centeredness again," he joked. "No, it was a good offer. It's something new and I'm getting too old to chase bad guys around the city."
"Tony, it's me you're talking to here. I can tell when you're lying."
"I know," he said. He let out another sigh. "I can't stay here and watch you with Scott. I thought I could, but I can't. You can call me a girl all you want, I don't care. I love you and I'll always be there for you, but I'm not strong enough to stand here and see you happy with him."
"We've gotten along just fine in the last two years. What happened? What changed?"
"You weren't with him. You were in love with him, yeah, but you weren't together. That made a difference."
"So I finally have a chance to be happy and you can't stand to see that."
"I wouldn't put it exactly like that, but yeah, I guess."
"That's not fair. I never pitched a fit and moved away whenever you got a new girlfriend."
"Okay, the first problem with that I'm not pitching a fit. I'm being calm; you're the one that's crying."
"I'm not crying anymore," I said. "And you're calm because the only emotions you ever show are anger, lust and sarcasm."
"Sarcasm's not an emotion," he said, giving me a smirk.
"Whatever. My point is that I didn't run away when you brought some new girl around. It didn't matter if I thought they weren't pretty, or smart, or good enough for you. I didn't say anything. I was nice to them."
He laughed. "It didn't matter if you said anything or not. You scared them off all the same."
"How did I scare them off?"
"Because you are the epitome of crazy ex-girlfriend."
"I am not."
"Yes you are. You're beautiful, you're smart, but you're insane."
"I'm not insane. I'm a little off kilter, maybe. Eccentric, a bit weird, but that's it. I'm not full blown crazy," I said. "And why would me being insane scare off your girlfriends? They're not dating me."
"What did you always used to tell me? 'If you date me, you date my family'. It's the same for me. And you're the only family I have here. So you kind of influence them. A lot."
"Well they all sucked anyway. So you should thank me weeding them out. I saved you the trouble of having to break up with them, which you would have done anyway."
"Oh, well, in that case, thank you," he said sarcastically.
"So what you're telling me," I started, "is that you're moving so you don't have to see me with Scott and so you can get laid without me getting in the way?"
"Yep," he said, giving me a wink. I shook my head. "Come on, you're going to come see me, right? I'll fly you out sometime; I'll show you around town. We'll have fun. And I'll come back here to see you when I get time off. It won't be that bad."
I grabbed him and pulled him closer, wrapping my arms around his neck. "I'm sorry I sucked as a girlfriend and a sister."
"Hey, don't say that. You only sucked as a girlfriend," he said with a laugh. I pulled away from him and punched his shoulder. "Ow! That's my bad arm."
"I could arrest you for assaulting a federal agent. You want to keep this up?"
"I would totally kick your butt, but I have to go home. I'm meant to be back before five so Hank doesn't have a fit. You know how he is."
He nodded. "Yeah, I do."
I looked at him. "What are we going to do, Tony?"
He kissed my forehead, then moved his mouth to my ear. "We're going to do what we find easiest: Pretend like there's nothing wrong. So I'm going to tell you goodbye and go inside. You're going to drive home and be with your family. Then I'll call you tomorrow and everything will be just fine. Alright?"
I nodded my head slightly. "Okay."
He pulled back and gave me a forced smile. "I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"Yeah, I'll talk to you then," I said.
He gave me another kiss, this time on my cheek, before opening up his door. He winked at me and smiled before slipping out of his seat. He was standing on the sidewalk in front of his apartment building and about to shut his door when I reached out my hand to him. He took it and gave it a light squeeze.
"Thank you for going with me today, Tony. I don't think I could have done it by myself."
"It was my pleasure," he said. He gave my hand a kiss before letting it go, then he waved at me. "Bye."
"Bye," I said. But then I had a thought. "Wait."
He ducked his head back into the door. "Yeah?"
"When you're in Chicago, hanging out with all your new co-workers and the gorgeous girls and living it up in a new city, I want you to remember something."
I smiled at him sadly. "We'll always have Paris."
I walked into Hank's office at ten 'til five and stopped at his desk. He was on the phone so I waited quietly while he spoke.
"Yes…well thank you for the call Moria, I would be more than happy to take you up on your offer…I'll call you back later after I've spoken to Charles and we've discussed the details…Yes, I'll speak to you the…Goodbye." He hung up and looked at me, smiling. "Good afternoon Jayden, how may I help you?"
"You told me to come see you when I got back."
"Oh yes, I did, didn't I?" he said. "I just wanted to see how you were feeling and make sure your medication's working properly. Would you like some tea? I've just made a pot."
"No, I'm fine," I said. "I would actually rather be nosy and ask who you were talking to on the phone? It sounded like a woman."
"Indeed it was. It was Professor MacTaggert."
"The Irish chick Chuck used to date?"
"Yes, that's the one."
"You said she made you an offer. What kind?"
"The serum I use to slow down Rogue's mutation is faulty. It has to be injected once a month in order to keep her mutation under control. But Professor MacTaggert has made a huge leap in her research. She was able to take a sample of the serum and make its effects last up to seven months in one of her test subjects," he said. "With a little more tweaking we could get it to last longer. Perhaps become permanent."
"That's amazing. Scientifically way beyond my understanding, but amazing none the less…right?"
He smiled. "Yes, it is."
"What was the offer, though?"
"Oh, she's asked me to come work with her this summer at her lab in Ireland. I'm sure if we spent three months devoted to it, we could come up with some absolutely astounding results," he said. "It could possibly pave a completely new road for mutants. If the government is given an option to help suppress and control, not eliminate, the mutant gene, they may very well stop research for a cure."
"So you'll be gone for three whole months?"
He nodded. "Yes. If Charles can find a replacement doctor, that is. I'll need someone to take over my charge while I'm gone."
"Okay, well, look…I'm healing up pretty awesomely, there's no real bad pain or anything, so why don't you go talk to the Professor? I can come back later if you need me to."
"Are you positive?"
I nodded. "Yeah, I'll be fine."
He walked me to the elevator and I rode it to the first floor with him. Once he got off, I went on up to the second floor. I was tired, physically and emotionally, and the only person who could help me right then was Logan. So I walked down to his room.
Before I ever reached the door, I could hear Rogue's voice. She and Logan were talking. Though I wasn't sure what about. I could only tell that Marie was excited about something.
When I reached the door, I knocked on it. A few seconds Later, Logan answered. He looked awkwardly happy.
"Hey darlin'," he said, greeting me with a smile.
My eyebrow shot up in question. "Am I…interrupting something?"
"No," Marie said, beaming at me. "Come on in."
I stepped into the room and Logan closed the door. I looked at him, then her, and back to him. "Okay, what's going on? Because the two of you are like, freakin' creeping me out right now."
Logan looked at Marie. "You tell her," he said, walking over to his bed. He sat at the foot of it.
"Tell me what?" I asked, confused.
"Guess what we've decided to do," Rogue said.
"If you say move out, I'm going to scream. Enough people are leaving me; I don't need the two of you to leave me, too."
"No," she said. "Wait…who's leavin'?"
"Tony's moving to Chicago for some stupid new FBI job and Hank's going to Ireland for the summer. I don't like people moving and going. I like to keep my life centered and they're totally effing up my chi, or some shiz. So whatever you've decided to do, just tell me it doesn't involve leaving me."
"No." She held up her left hand. "We're gettin' married," she said, showing off her engagement ring. "Finally."
"Wow," I said, genuinely shocked. "Um…congratulations."
"Isn't it excitin'?"
"Yeah…yeah, very exciting," I said. "I didn't realize you were celebrating, or whatever. I guess I'll leave you to it. I was just going to talk to Logan. But um…I'll talk to him later."
"No, it's fine," Rogue said. "I'm gonna go tell everyone. You two talk."
"Are you sure?"
She smiled at me. "Of course. He's still your father; you can talk to him whenever you want."
I gave her a smile. "Thanks."
She gave Logan a kiss before leaving. Once she was gone, I gave him a look. "What?" he asked, sounding annoyed.
"What happened to your whole theory of bad mojo getting put on every woman you marry?" I asked.
"I changed my mind."
"And you didn't tell me?"
"I didn't have to."
"You should have; I tell you everything."
"Even when I don't want you to."
"I'm serious, why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you can't keep a secret."
"Yes I can."
"No," she said, "you can't. Not one like this. You'd find some way of lettin' it slip."
"Maybe you're right."
"Okay, you are right," I said. "But what made you change your mind?"
"She told me I could marry her or find someone else," he said. "I told you she was stubborn."
I laughed. "Wait…so you didn't really change your mind, she just gave you an ultimatum?"
He gave me a look. He didn't seem to find it so humorous. "I would've lost her one way or another."
I did my best to stop laughing and be serious. "You could have said no and she would have left, or you should propose to her and take your chances with your so-called 'curse' where all of your wives die," I said. "I don't envy you, furry-face."
"What did you need to talk to me about?" he asked, changing the subject quickly.
I walked over and sat down beside him on his bed. "I saw the grandparents of the kid I killed today."
"So that's what's wrong with you."
"Yeah, unlike you who's pissed because your girlfriend tricking you into proposing. Did you get down on one knee?" I asked with a smile.
"She didn't trick me and I ain't pissed."
I studied him for a moment. "You're nervous, aren't you? You're nervous about getting married."
He gave me another look. "This isn't about me. You needed to talk, so talk and get it over with."
"I'd rather talk about you right now. I've never seen you act like this before. I mean…are you happy?"
"Yes I'm happy," he growled.
I smiled at him. "Yeah…yeah, that's real convincing there."
"You came here to talk about you, so let's talk about you."
"I'm getting there," I said. I let out a sigh and stared down at my feet. "I saw those people today and it just…it made me realize how good I've got it, you know? Yeah, Bridget hated me and gave me away, but I got a set of parents that took care of me. They weren't awesome, no, but…they gave me a good life as far as, you know, giving me what I needed. Then I found you and you have never let me down. I've got you, my family, I have enough money to be set for the rest of my life and despite my healing gunshot wound and the fact that I can't ever have kids, I do have my health." I shook my head. "I just realized how really freakin' lucky I am."
"So what're you upset about?"
I looked up at him. "That I am upset," I said. "When I lost my memory, I saw everything differently. I saw my life in a completely new light. So that when I got my memory back…I realized how big of a brat I had been."
"I could've told you that."
"I'm serious," I said, but smiled at him. "Everything I have, I took for granted."
"What does that have to do with that kid's grandparents?"
"They didn't have anything. The wife was blind, the husband couldn't work because he had to take care of her, and they were seriously struggling. They lost their daughter, their grandson and their ex-son-in-law in less than…three years, I think. Maybe two, I can't remember. But despite all of that, this man sat across from me and told me that he went to church and he prayed. They had lost everything and he still had faith," I said. "I, on the other hand, have everything I need but complain and whine about everything."
"You're not that bad."
"I'm bad enough," I said. "And I need you to help."
"For what? You quit doin' jobs and you confessed for all the ones you did. What's left?"
"Other things. Can you do it for me? Just one more time."
He nodded. "Yeah, go on."
I took a deep breath. "Forgive me my father for I have sinned. I take you for granted as my father. I don't think about all the things you do for me, what you gave up and continue to give up so that I can live here and have a chance to be happy. I talk back and I'm disrespectful. And for that, I'm truly sorry."
"Kid," Logan said, interrupting me. "You don't need to ask for forgiveness for that."
"Please just…I just need you to confess me. Can you please do that?"
"You don't have to do this."
"Yeah I do," I said. "I have to do it for me."
He ran his hand over his face. "Alright, go on then."
It took me a while, but eventually I confessed everything to him.
Everything I had done to Scott. To Tony. To him.
I confessed all the thoughts and feelings I had while my brain was clouded by amnesia.
I confessed and asked for forgiveness for everything I had done to hurt my family. For taking a job that made me lie to them and push them away.
Everything I had kept from him, every secret, every lie, I confessed it all.
I poured my heart out to him and in true unconditional love, he kissed my forehead and told me I was forgiven.
And that was all I needed.
When I was done, Logan pulled me into a hug. He held me tight and kissed my forehead.
"I love you, Logan."
"Right back at'cha, kid."
I pulled out of his hug and stood up. Then I gave him a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you," I said. "For everything."
He gave me a wink. "Don't worry about it, darlin'."
"I've got some other things to take care of, so I'll talk to you later."
I left his room and walked down the hall until I reached Scott's door. I knocked on it to the tune of 'Shave and A Haircut' without the 'two bits'. I waited as Scott came to answer the door.
"Hey," he said, smiling at me. "Where have you been today?"
"There were some loose ends that needed tying up from the last job I did."
His brow bunched in concern above his glasses. "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah. I got to do something good today. So…yeah, everything is okay."
"Are you sure?"
I smiled at him and nodded. "I'm sure," I said. "Are you going to let me in or are you going to make me stand out here and talk to you through the door?"
"I'm not sure. Do you know the password?"
"Hmm…" I said, pretending to ponder the thought. "Is this it?" I stood up on my tip-toes and kissed his lips softly. As I pulled away, he was smiling.
"You know, I'm not real sure. You might have to repeat that once more." I laughed and kissed him again, this time letting my lips linger a little longer. "Yeah, I think that might be it."
"Good. Let me in, Slim. We need to talk."
"Why doesn't that sound good?" he asked with a laugh.
"Because you're paranoid," I said, walking into his room. "Where's Lily?"
"At a friend's house," he asked. "Why?"
"Just wondering," I said. "You know, when I lost my memory, I didn't think much about Lily being gone. You said she spent time at her friend's houses because you wanted her to be around kids her own age rather than the high school ones here. But that wasn't the truth, was it?"
He shut his door and leaned back against it. "No, it wasn't."
"She spent a lot of time with them because you were afraid she would realize I couldn't remember her."
"She thinks the world of you. She absolutely adores you. I couldn't let her get hurt."
"I understand that now. I love that kid like she was my own. But before…before I thought you were telling me the truth. I didn't realize you were sending her away to protect her," I said. "Why has she been gone since I've gotten my memory back?"
"She hasn't been gone the whole time."
"No, but quite a bit."
He crossed his arms over his chest. "Things changed when you lost your memory."
"Our relationship changed."
"There's like, two ways you can go with this conversation and to be quite honest, I'm a little nervous," I joked with a smile.
"Don't be," he said smiling back. "Our relationship has changed for the best."
"Meaning we actually have one now as opposed to being in the weird attracted, best friend limbo."
"Exactly," he said. "And I wanted us to make sure that we had our relationship tacked down before I let her know about it."
"Well," I said, walking closer to him. "I love you, so that bit's tacked down."
He grabbed my hands and pulled me to him. "I love you, too," he said, brushing the hair out of my face.
"So what's left to figure out?"
"Are we really going to do this? We've been dancing around it for eight years and something has always stopped us."
"My age, your wife."
"My grief, your fiancé."
"It's called dramatic buildup, Summers."
He laughed. "I always thought it was called bad timing."
"That too, maybe," I said. "But we're both here now and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make this work."
"So we're doing it then?"
"As long as you're ready."
His smile spread wide across his face, showing his dimples. "Oh, I've been ready, Rivers," he said, wrapping his arms around me, pulling me all the way to him.
I put my arms around his neck and looked up into his glasses. "I've waited on you for so long," I said, my voice dropping low and becoming serious.
"Was I worth the wait?"
I smiled back up at him, feeling the happiest I had ever felt. "Oh yeah," I said. "It was well worth it."