feI was in an unusually bad mood when I woke up the next morning; I didn't feel like getting up at all, but I did anyway. As soon as I removed the thin bedspread that was covering me, I quickly retreated back under it. The room had turned unbearably cold overnight; the heater must've been broken. I turned over and froze when I saw him sleeping soundly in the bed next to me. The images of what happen in the middle of the night rushed into the front of my mind. I realized that I didn't feel safe being near him anymore, and I decided now, with him being asleep, was a good chance, if the only one, to make my escape. I went in the bathroom, put on my shoes and jacket and grabbed my bag. I was about to slip outside unnoticed, when I felt something grab my arm.
I slowly turned to face him and he didn't let go. I tried to read his face. He looked exhausted, like he hadn't slept at all, and was that desperation I saw in his eyes?
"Please…" Another attempt at making me stay. Why did he, after last night.
"I'm sorry about last night," he continued.
I didn't know how to respond, but I felt as if I had some fault in my near-death experience. The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. "Me too."
"Yeah, just um," he started as he ran a hand through his wild hair. "Just don't try to wake me when I'm having a nightmare, alright?"
I nodded, unsure of what to do next. My bag was still sitting beside me, and I could have just left then and there, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.
"You know I can't make you stay," he assured me, letting go of my arm, "but…but it would be nice if you did."
"But before we leave, you probably should shower, smells like you need one," he said, ruffling my hair. I blushed and winced at the gesture. Did I reek that bad?
The hot water felt like heaven on my skin, especially on my lower back, which had begun to hurt. I showered quickly, and changed into clothes that smelled the cleanest out of the pile in my bag. I came out of the bathroom. Logan was moving around the room, gathering his belongings together. Noticing me in the room, he asked me a question I hadn't expected.
"So, uh, how far along are you?"
I stood there dumbfounded and stared at my abdomen. The bump was barely noticeable through the shirt I was wearing. "Wha…how'd you know…?"
"I can smell it on you; your hormones are freaked out. You don't smell like any other woman I've been with."
Part of his mutation I figured. "Oh, um, five months I think," I answered, still shocked at his intrusiveness. Then without warning, tears spilled down my cheeks. Stupid mood swings. I turned away from him, hoping he wouldn't notice. I quickly wiped the tears away, only to have more reappear in their place. I sank onto the edge of my bed, covered my face with my hands, and sobbed, for no apparent reason. Then I felt his hands around me from behind, pulling me onto his lap. He held me there for a few minutes, as I sobbed into his shirt. I was confused; why did I feel so safe in his arms?
"What's wrong, kid?" he asked, with an alarmed expression on his face. He brushed hair away from my face.
I jerked away. "I don't know," I said as I tried to figure out exactly why I was suddenly having this crying fit. Then it dawned on me. "I guess I'm just so mad at myself for letting him do this to me," I explained, pounding the bed with my fist, my sadness suddenly turning into anger.
"I don't know. All I remember is that I hitched a ride from some trucker back in Idaho. He said he would be able to take care of me. He seemed nice at first. We stopped at a bar. I asked for a drink, but I think he must have put some drugs or somethin' in it. I remember being really out of it, but…but then there's a length of time when I couldn't remember anything. I woke up naked next to him, in some ratty motel room. I was able to leave without wakin' him up. God, I don't even remember his name!" I started sobbing again.
He held me for another few minutes until I calmed down. He spoke again. "But I thought you said you hurt people when they touch your skin…"
"Yeah, but I got these bracelets," I said, peeling off my gloves and holding up my wrists. There was a thin shiny bracelet clamped to each wrist. After having them for months though, they haven't dulled yet. Then Logan did the weirdest thing, he sniffed them, and as he did so, his face paled. "I got these bracelets at a lab someplace, and they're supposed to disable my mutation. I don't exactly know how, but I guess they do."
We sat in silence for a moment. Feeling awkward, I shifted off his lap.
"Do you remember where the lab was at?" he asked.
"Um," I scrunched my up my face and thought really hard. "By a big lake, I think, and a dam."
He thought for a minute. "Okay, well, get your things together…" he started, but I cut in.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I think I just figured out where we are going next," he replied as I stood up.
X X X
"Logan," I said as I came out of the bathroom for the third time that morning. "Why do you want to go back there?" I knew I really didn't want to return there.
"I want to find some answers…about my past and stuff."
"Oh," I said, for lack of something else to say.
"I also have a strange feeling," he continued, "that wherever you got those bracelets is the same place where I got these." He unsheathed his claws with a distinct *snikt*. I jumped.
"What would make you think that?" I asked.
"I have a feeling that those bracelets are made from adamatium, like my claws," he said and moved toward me. "And if they are…" The claws protruding from his left hand slid back into his arm, and so did two from his right hand. He took my wrist in his left hand. "Do you trust me?"
I thought about it for a moment, then swallowed and nodded. He lightly scraped a claw across my bracelet, and the contact produced bright orange sparks. I jerked my hand away. He grabbed it back, and examined the bracelet.
"I knew it!" he exclaimed, as the claw slipped back into his arm.
I pulled my hand back again and examined it myself. There wasn't a scratch on it.
"The metal is indestructible," he explained.
I stood there in awe, reexamining the bracelet several times, but no scratches showed. And then it happened, a light ripple across my abdomen. My hand moved downed there. I gasped as I felt it again.
"What?" he asked, a concerned look on his face.
"It…I think it moved," I said as grabbed his hand and placed it wear I felt it move. Nothing happened.
"I don't feel anything," he said.
"Well…hmmm." I lifted my shirt up just enough to expose my slightly swollen abdomen, and replaced his hand. He quirked an eyebrow. I felt the ripple again, right where his hand was. Logan jumped. Yep, 'Mr. I'm such a badass' actually jumped when the baby moved. I couldn't help but giggle. He removed his hand and I fixed my shirt.
"What?" he asked.
I shook my head. "Nothin'," I said, a smile plastered on my face.
"How old are you, anyways?" he asked.
"I'll be eighteen in a couple days."
After we gathered out stuff, we left and headed north. It was snowing heavily and I could barely see the sides of the road. I had held on to his waist in a death grip; I really didn't like being out on an open vehicle in this kind of weather. After a while I was covered in wet snowflakes and soaked to the bone. Logan had only his leather jacket to keep warm, nothing to protect his head or hands from the bitter cold. I didn't get how he could stand it.
"Logan," I yelled, "I don't think this was a good idea!" If I had thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. Snow changed to freezing rain which pelted us.
"Yeah," he hollered back. "The next town that comes up we'll pull into."
"Don't you ever worry about how dangerous these roads can be?"
He didn't get to answer. We didn't see the truck that was swerving toward us until it was ten feet in front of us. The truck hit the motorcycle, throwing both me and Logan from it. I felt my back hit something hard, and then my world went black.