Moving On: Part I

by Jane Westin


Summary: Can Wolverine and Jubilee reconcile their newfound differences and mend their relationship after so much time apart?

Disclaimer: Yadda yadda yadda, I・m poor, don・t sue me, yadda yadda yadda.

Author・s Notes: Don・t worry, there will be more. Oh yes, there will be more. : )


I rise slowly to consciousness with a pain in my neck and a serious cramp in my right calf. What・s going on? I think blearily, cracking one eyelid.

Through a haze of pain and sleep-gunk, I come to the slow realization that I am not where I should be. Should be in bed, between my pretty blue sheets, under my pretty yellow blanket. Am lying on the couch, half-wrapped around a very asleep, very-nearly-naked Wolverine.

Oh, shit.

Moving as carefully as I can, given my inability to un-bend my leg, I sort of scoot backwards until I・m curled in a tiny, painful ball in the corner of the couch at Logan・s feet. He shifts in his sleep and mutters something unintelligible. I stare at him, feeling as though I have no idea who he is.

I am in big, big trouble.

I put my head in my hands and berate myself mentally, tasting guilt・and morning breath・in the back of my throat. Oh, God, this is just what Chandler and I need.

Okay, Jube, I tell myself. First things first. Get back to where you should be.

I slither headfirst over Logan・s legs and wind up sitting on the floor looking up at him, whose shoulder, I now notice, is sporting a narrow river of drool.

・Oh, God,・ I moan out loud.

I leap to my feet and sprint into my bedroom, feeling weirdly as though this had happened before. Then I remember. Ah, yes, that fateful morning when Rogue walked in and found me hung over in Logan・s bed. Total shudder. Better that I don・t think about that right now.

The sound of the door closing is louder than I intend (good idea, Jube, wake him up, excellent). Ignoring the stirrings from the other room, I dive into bed and yank the covers up over my head. Okay, I think. Okay. It・s only・quick clock check・ten o・clock, so you only slept with him・

・Oh, God!・ Don・t think that again. Don・t think that again.

・so you were only on the couch for a few hours. So it doesn・t really count. So it・s no big deal. Right?

This is so bad.

Dreading the inevitable confrontation with Logan, I close my eyes and try not to think about Chandler.

***

I apparently drifted off at some point, because the clock claims two p.m. the next time I venture out of my cocoon, and my body・s protesting any more sleep. I climb out of bed with some reluctance and open the bedroom door just enough to peer out.

Logan・s still asleep, the blanket wrapped around his torso. Thank goodness for small favors. I creep into the kitchen and, moving as stealthily as possible, begin to brew some coffee. Very strong coffee. I・m going to need it.

I・m just pouring some for myself when Logan sits up suddenly. My hand jerks. Coffee splashes on the countertop, and I fumble for a sponge.

・Morning,・ I say to the sponge.

・Mornin・.・ His voice is rough with sleep.

・Sleep well?・ I ask cheerfully, as though I hadn・t wakened him in the middle of the night.

・All right.・

I don・t look at him as he stands and stumbles toward the bathroom. Instead, I busy myself with the search for sustenance. I survey the contents of the refrigerator and frown. Hm. May need to go shopping at some point, as the only food-products in here are two chocolate pudding cups, a half-empty package of hot dogs, and some old pizza. Not promising.

I hear the shower start up in the bathroom, which prompts me to let go of the refrigerator door and sit down heavily on the linoleum. What am I going to do? Pretend it never happened?

Yes, I decide with finality. Yes, absolutely. Just go on and pretend nothing happened, because really, it didn・t. So I fell asleep on the couch for a while and Logan just happened to also be there. So what? No big deal. It won・t do any good to tell Chandler, anyway; it・d just complicate things, and that・s the last thing I want.

・Yep,・ I say aloud, getting to my feet. ・No biggie. None at all.・

I feel strangely relieved now that I・ve made some sort of decision・even though, I have to admit, it・s not exactly the most honest one. Really, though, what would it accomplish to say anything to Chandler? If Logan keeps his mouth shut, I・m sure as heck not going to open mine.

I open the pantry, pull out two packages of ramen, and drop the noodles into some water to boil. It・ll have to do, unless Logan wants pudding.

The sound of running water abruptly stops, and I hear the shower curtain being whisked back. I swear, if he leaves a big puddle on the floor, I・m going to kick his butt. I don・t buy his theory that the water just evaporates.

A few minutes later, the bathroom door opens. I turn, see Logan, and nearly fall over.

・Shaddup.・ He gives me a forbidding glare.

I cover my mouth and turn away, closing my eyes and waving a hand in his direction. Oh, I have to treasure that image, because I don・t think I・ll ever see Logan in a fuzzy pink bathrobe again.

・That was precious,・ I giggle as he retreats back into the bathroom with his clothes. ・It・s definitely your color, Wolvie. Would you consider matching slippers?・

He grumbles something that sounds like ・shutcher mouth・ and slams the door behind him.

By the time Logan emerges again, the ramen・s finished cooking and I・m dumping it into two bowls. I remind myself firmly to act casual, then look up at him. His appearance makes me smile・he・s shaved around his sideburns and his hair・s combed down. ・Hey. You look nice.・

・Thanks.・ Logan sits down at the kitchen counter and watches me. ・Smells good.・

I snort. ・S・not great. I don・t really have anything else.・ I slide the bowl over to him. Broth sloshes over the side. ・Oops.・

He looks me up and down. ・You been eatin・ enough?・

・Yeah. I just haven・t gone shopping in a while.・ I sit down next to him and twine my fork in the noodles. ・So.・

Logan gives me a sidelong glance. His eyebrow arches noncommittally.

・You, uh・・ I crinkle my brow. ・You okay from yesterday?・

He smiles crookedly. ・Yeah. You?・

・Me? Sure,・ I say brightly, knowing damn well what he・s talking about and stubbornly ignoring it.

・Jube.・ His tone is insistent. I look up at him.

・All right,・ I say irritably, dropping my fork into the bowl and sitting back with a huff. ・I felt sorta weird this morning. I didn・t mean to fall asleep. But it・s all cool, okay? I mean, it・s no big deal.・ I swing my gaze to his and see mild amusement on his craggy features.

He chuckles at the challenge in my eyes. ・Just wanted to be sure. You were actin・ a little squirrelly earlier.・

I glare at him a moment longer, then give up and smile. ・Sorry. I was just thinking・you know. About Chandler.・

The mention of my boyfriend・s name wipes the easy smile from Logan・s lips, and I see him bristle. ・Somethin・ goin・ on with him, darlin?・

Now it・s my turn to laugh. Why, Wolvie, you are jealous!

・No!・ I exclaim. ・Been a long time since you・ve had a college relationship, eh, Wolvie?・ I add teasingly.

He scowls. ・Not funny.・

I purse my lips and shrug. ・I just didn・t think Chandler・d be too thrilled with the idea of our・em・sleeping arrangements last night.・

He huffs an unconvincing ・Okay.・

I roll my eyes. ・Wolvie, please. Let it go, will you? He・s a good guy.・

・Believe that when I see it,・ he mutters.

Okay, so it・s not jealousy, it・s protectiveness. Overprotectiveness, even. Bummer. I sort of liked the idea of having attractive men fighting over me. ・You know, I don・t need you to pre-approve all my boyfriends.・

If possible, his scowl deepens. ・How many・ve you had?・

・Only two, but that・s not the point,・ I say, pushing my bowl away. Caught between amusement and annoyance, I・ve lost my appetite. ・You don・t need to hover over me, Wolvie. I can take care of myself.・

A sullen-sounding grunt is his only response. I roll my eyes. ・Look,・ I say, ・I・m happy. He・s happy. We・re happy. So why aren・t you happy?・

A shrug.

・Honestly, you・re impossible sometimes,・ I say crossly. ・Okay, if you・re not going to believe me, why don・t I introduce you to him?・ Ooh, why did I say that? Subjecting Chandler to Logan is probably the worst idea since peanut butter and jelly in the same jar. Think before you open your mouth, Jubilee!

I wonder if there・s a cure for verbal incontinence.

・I mean,・ I amend quickly, ・if he has a chance.・

Logan, whose eyes have suddenly lit with something that looks suspiciously like sadistic glee, leans back and folds his arms. ・Maybe that ain・t a bad idea.・

I reach over, seize his chin, and turn his face toward mine. ・But you have to be nice,・ I say sternly, ・and keep the claws to yourself.・

He extracts his chin from my grasp. ・Jubilation,・ he says warningly, ・ease up.・

・I mean it・・

Ease up.・ He stands up abruptly, drops his bowl into the sink with a clatter, and stalks over to the couch. I watch him stuff yesterday・s clothes into his knapsack.

I sigh when I see him zip up the bag. ・Wolvie.・

He looks up, exasperation smoldering darkly in his hazel eyes.

・Sorry.・ I cross my arms and look at my feet. The fact that he・s gotten all pissy is mildly annoying, but an apology・s what he really wants, so what the hell. I・ll humor the lug.

After a moment, I hear him sigh and sit down on the couch. I glance up.

・Gonna come sit down, or what,・ he says gruffly.

I walk over to him and oblige, arms still folded. For a moment, he doesn・t speak.

・This is sorta weird for me,・ he admits at last. ・When I left, you were still・I ain・t used to seein・ ya on your own.・ He sighs again.

・I can take care of myself,・ I say again, gently this time, but he shakes his head.

・Lotta predators out there, Jube,・ he says. He puts his arm around me. ・You don・t know ・em yet and I hope ya never do, but they・re there and I don・t like that you・re so far away.・

Far away? He thinks I・m far away now? Apparently he・s forgotten that he・s spent the past year and a half several thousand miles away from me. I bite back a smartass response and force a little laugh. ・You forget I・ve fought my share of bad guys, Wolvie. I can hold my own.・

・Not that kinda predators.・ He doesn・t smile.

Oh. I get it. He・s afraid my fragile little heart・s gonna get broken. I almost snicker out loud.

・I・ll be fine,・ I say, waving a dismissive hand. ・Don・t worry about me. Please.・ I shrug his arm off and stand up. ・So you want to see the campus?・

・Okay.・ I sense that he・s still frustrated, but I ignore it. I really don・t want to talk about how I・m not mature enough to live by myself. It・s stupid, really; when we both lived at the Mansion, he never acted like this・back then, we were equals. Partners. I know he・s worried now because I・m not at home surrounded by my family, but geez. Everyone・s gotta grow up sometime. Really, he・s acting like a mother hen, and it・s getting on my nerves.

I sit down on the floor and pull on my shoes, feeling his eyes on me. It・s making me jumpy. ・Stop it,・ I say.

・Stop what?・ He・s still watching me.

・I don・t know.・ I finish tying my shoes, get up, and hold out my hand. He takes it and I pull him to his feet. ・Just stop it.・

He exhales loudly. ・I don・t understand you sometimes, Jube,・ he says.

I offer him a dazzling smile. ・That・s what makes me interesting.・

We walk around campus for about an hour, and I show him the buildings in which I have classes, but neither of us says much as we walk. Our wanderings lead us to cross campus, where I sit down on the steps of Sterling Library. ・Gonna have a smoke,・ I announce.

Logan sits down beside me.

・Shouldn・t smoke,・ he says after a moment.

I nearly drop my lighter. Dear Lord, will it ever end? First he gets all grouchy about Chandler, then he gripes about my living alone, now he・s nagging me about smoking? ・I know,・ I mutter, trying desperately to keep my annoyance in check.

He makes a ・hmph・ noise and falls silent. I watch the students hanging around outside Berkeley instead of looking at him. I know he・s aggravated, but I don・t know why. All I・ve been doing is leading a normal college life, and he・s gone all wack on me. I mean, sure, smoking・s not exactly healthy, but it・s not like he・s tobacco-free either. I remember many times back at the Mansion when I asked him to quit the cigars, and he just shrugged me off. And besides, he smoked with me yesterday, didn・t he? Anyway, it・s my life, and I・ll do whatever I damn well please with it. And today I damn well please to smoke.

Man oh man, this visit isn・t going well. The past twenty-four hours have been an emotional roller coaster, and I don・t think it・s going to get any better. Am I the one acting weird? I didn・t think I was, but then again, I・m not very observant when it comes to me.

I think about that some more and decide that nope, it・s not me. It・s definitely Logan.

Huh.

・We ought to get back,・ I say at last, glancing at Logan. He・s got an odd, distant expression on his face, and he doesn・t appear to have registered my words. I prod his shoulder. ・Yo.・

・Huh.・ His eyes snap back into focus. ・Oh. What?・

・I said, we ought to head home,・ I repeat, standing up and flicking the last of my cigarette into the grass.

And then, to my amazement and extreme irritation, Logan gets up, retrieves the still-smoking butt, and deposits it into the ashtray near the stairs.

・What, you a tree-hugger now?・ I mutter grumpily. He glares at me.

・It・s a pretty campus. Don・t think it・s right ta be dumpin・ butts all over it.・

・All right, dammit.・ I walk right up to him, put my hands on my hips, and match his glare (ignoring, of course, the fact that I have to tilt my head wayyy back to see his face). ・I・m sick of this. What・s going on?・

・Nothin.・ Logan・s face closes off, and he starts to walk away. Oh no you don・t, I think. I lunge for him and seize a handful of leather jacket.

・Come back here.・ I yank on the jacket.

He turns back to me, his face tight with something I can・t quite identify. ・Let it go, Jubilation,・ he says, his voice controlled and quiet. I recognize his stance・the warning tone is back, the same one he used on me earlier today. Not to mention the fact that he only calls me Jubilation when he・s angry at or proud of me, and I・ve got a good idea it isn・t the latter. He always gets like this when I start to get close to something that・s bothering him. I positively hate it. It makes me feel like I・m twelve years old and being scolded for mouthing off.

I am not going to take it this time.

・No, Wolverine, I will not let it go.・ I dart around him so he・s face-to-face with me again. ・You told me I was actin・ squirrelly earlier, but you・re the one who・s been, like, anal-retentive all day long. First you get all paranoid about Chandler.・ I tick off each offense on my fingers. ・Then you nag me about living alone. Then you bug me about smoking. Now you・re picking up after me. You are not my mother. In case you haven・t noticed, I am twenty-two years old, which means I am entitled to a) vote, b) smoke, c) drink, and d) make my own damn decisions about what I do and don・t do. If you want to have some input as to what I do with my life, your opinions are valid and I・ll listen, but for God・s sake stop trying to order me around and make me feel guilty about my choices. This is my life and I・m in charge of it, so just・friggin・stop it.・

I back down, breathless and furious, waiting for his response. I expect him to be angry, maybe even lecture me about how I・m not old enough to blah blah blah. But instead he just looks at me, and his expression is tired and sad.

・Sorry,・ he says simply.

Then he puts his hands in his pockets and begins to walk back to the car.

Well, great.

Now what am I supposed to do? There・s nothing in the world worse than aiming an all-out rant at the person about whom you care most in the world and then watching him walk away looking as though he・s just lost his best friend. I immediately feel guilty.

・Fuck,・ I mutter dismally.

・Language, Jubilee.・ Logan・s voice floats over his shoulder and reaches my ears. His words make me feel a little better・maybe all isn・t lost. After all, he・s been around me for years now. One would think he・d be used to my tantrums.

I begin to follow him, walking slower than he and feeling uncertain. I・ve never blown up at him about this sort of thing before・after all, up until now he didn・t act like an overprotective older brother. I・m not entirely sure what to do.

Fortunately, I don・t have to make that decision. A few steps later Logan pauses, turns, and waits for me to catch up.

・Hi,・ I say as I approach him.

・Hi,・ he says, and I can tell he feels bad.

Our shoes crunch in the leaves as we walk back to the car, the only noise we make. I slide behind the wheel and start to put the key in the ignition, but Logan reaches out and stops me. I look at him, surprised.

・Wait,・ he says, so I do.

He takes a breath. ・Look, Jube,・ he says slowly, ・the past coupla weeks have been pretty bad.・

I wince and feel even worse, unable to believe that I had not taken his broken heart into consideration. Great move, Jubilee. His fiancee just kicked the bucket and you・re yelling at him. Nice.

・Thing・s・ve changed a lot,・ he continues, looking at his hands, ・and I s・pose I was expectin・ you to be the same when I got here, but you・re not.・

Well, I can・t help that, I think.

・I told you before I・m not used to seein・ ya on your own, and it bothered me that you don・t seem ta・・ To my amazement, he hesitates. He actually sounds awkward. ・・ta need me around any more.・

I feel my chest tighten. ・Wolvie・・

・Nah, it・s okay, Jube.・ He shakes his head. ・I know you・re movin・ on and everything, makin・ new friends・・ I see a stormy look flit across his face・・but it made me kinda sad, and I was tryin・ to find some part of your life to fit into.・

He smiles wanly and runs a hand through his hair. ・Guess I didn・t do a very good job,・ he adds ruefully.

I just sit there for a moment, stunned, and am surprised when tears prick at the backs of my eyelids. He felt like I didn・t need him any more?

Who・dathunkit?

・Wolvie,・ I say after a moment. My voice sounds clogged, and I clear my throat. I try again. ・Wolvie, you didn・t・・ Then I change my mind. ・Okay, I・ll be honest with you.・

I turn and plant a hand on his seat-back. He raises his gaze to mine, and there・s something in his eyes that might be trepidation.

・I was pissed at you for leaving,・ I tell him matter-of-factly. ・You just, like, up and ran off ・cause of that thing with Rogue, and it made me really, really mad. You didn・t even try to work it out with her or me and you left us both feelin・ horrible. I mean, it・s okay・・ I raise a hand to keep him from defending himself or, worse, apologizing・・you did what you had to do, and I respect that. I thought it was crappy, but I respect it. And it・s long over now, so it・s pretty much a moot point.・ I raise an eyebrow. ・But the thing was, it really, really hurt my feelings. I spent the entire summer after you left moping around the Mansion and I think everyone was glad when I left to visit Jono. I mean, I was acting like Rogue.・

At that, Logan smiles a little.

・The only thing I could do,・ I continue, ・was to pick up and move on with my life. And coming here really helped, ・cause I needed to get away from that environment and the memories of you.

・When you e-mailed me to say you were comin・ to visit, that made me mad too, but for a different reason.・ I pause. ・See, I・d spent all those months trying to get over the fact that you left me, and I know how juvenile that sounds, but that・s how I felt, and then you were just, like, ・Hey! Hi! I・m back, wanna hang out?・ even after you hadn・t even written me in forever.

・And, no offense, I thought that was pretty inconsiderate of you, to just come crashing back into my life and expect everything to be the same. But once you got here, it didn・t matter any more, see? It didn・t matter that it was inconsiderate because you were back and I was・am・so glad to see you that I・m not mad about it any more.

・But it still really hurt, and I don・t know if I・m over that. My point・・ I drum my fingers on the steering wheel as my voice starts to quaver・・and I do have one, is that I have tried to change and move on and everything, because otherwise I wouldn・t have been able to・・

Something wet drips onto my hand, and I・m startled to realize that I・m crying. I swallow hard. ・・to do anything, because you were really my best friend at the Mansion or anywhere, and it was so friggin hard to function with you not around.・ My voice catches. ・You were really a bastard,・ I add, sniffling and unable to stop talking. ・That・s why I tried so hard to get over it, and then you came back and it all went to hell. I・m suh-sorry that you feel bad about it, but I had to do it to survive, Wolvie.

・I・m sorry I yelled at you,・ I add meekly, snivelling hopelessly by now. I put the heels of my hands over my eyes and lean against the steering wheel.

There・s a long, miserable silence. I can hear Logan breathing. Thinking.

But not moving.

When I・m finally able to stop crying, I sit up, wipe my eyes on my shirt, and start the car.

Neither of us speaks the whole way home.

***

Logan follows me up the stairs to my apartment. I open the door. We go inside.

・I don・t have anything for dinner,・ I say helplessly. ・I can order a pizza・・

・Stop.・ Logan cuts me off. He takes me gently by the upper arms, steers me toward my desk chair, and sits me down. He kneels in front of me and tries to meet my eyes.

I stare at my hands folded in my lap.

He puts his big hands on either side of my face and tilts my head up so I have to look at him. ・Jubilee,・ he says, ・I・m sorry.・

I shrug and try to turn my face away, but of course I don・t succeed. ・S・okay.・

He ignores my attempt to skate past his apology. ・I should・ve stayed. I didn・t know it was that important to you. Didn・t know it・d hurt ya that bad.・

・I shouldn・t・ve told you all that,・ I mumble.

・Glad ya did,・ Logan replies. ・I don・t always know that what I do matters. I・m sorry I hurt ya.・ His thumbs stroke my cheekbones, brushing away the stray tears that fall from my eyes. ・I shoulda told ya that in person.・

There・s a pause and he furrows his brow, looking as though he wants to say something else, but apparently decides against it. He lets his hands fall from my face to the armrests on either side of me. His eyes assess me worriedly.

I close my eyes. ・It・s okay. I understand. I know how you felt.・

Logan looks at me a moment longer, then nods and rolls back neatly into a sitting position. He rests his forearms on his knees and continues to watch me. Feeling uncomfortable under his scrutinizing gaze, I tuck one leg and push the chair into a spin.

・You wanna just, like, start over?・ I ask as the chair turns me toward the window, away from him.

He chuckles a little as I swing back to face him. ・Dunno. You kicked my ass the first time I met ya.・

I snort. ・Yeah, right. I was five-three in heels. You had me pinned in thirty seconds.・ I spin again.

・Stop that.・ Logan reaches out and grabs the armrest, bringing the chair to a halt. ・You・re makin・ me sick.・

・Spoilsport. Betcha don・t like roller coasters.・

He shrugs. ・Never been on one.・

How about that? ・I know what we・re doing next summer.・

・No way, darlin.・・

・We・ll see.・ I knock his hand away and resume spinning. ・So what do we do?・

As I swing by Logan again, I see his expression sober. ・Jube.・

・Yeah?・ Spin, kick, spin, kick. I・m having a hard time staving off apprehension.

・Would ya stop it?・

I stop. ・Things aren・t gonna be like they were, ya know.・

The look on his face tells me he・s already figured that one out. ・So how are they gonna be?・

・Dunno.・ I shrug and avert my eyes. ・You・re still my best friend, you know, even though you did spend the last year and a half being an ass. I mean,・ I add, ・even Chandler doesn・t know me as well as you.・

・Hm.・ I look up in time to see Logan hide a smile. He changes the subject quickly. ・Guess he don・t know about your secret superhero identity, then.・

・I・m not even a full team member,・ I protest.

・Ya might be, one o・ these days. What・re ya gonna tell him then?・

・Not a thing.・ I snort. ・I swear, when I first told him, he acted like I was a science-fair project.・

Logan・s brow creases in a frown. ・Jube・・

・Don・t.・ I hold up my hands. ・Sorry. I shouldn・t have said that.・

・Ya don・t have to defend him to me, darlin・. I already don・t like him.・ I catch the glimmer of a smirk. ・But if he・s not treatin・ you right・・

・No, no, he・s fine.・ I shake my head vigorously. ・He・s great.・

Logan still doesn・t look satisfied; in fact, the look on his face is strangely frustrated. Well, not much I can do about that.

・But,・ I add, hoping to make him feel better, ・you・re still number one in my book, hairy man. You know that.・ I reach out and tousle his hair.

He swats my hand away, and a small smile replaces the disgruntled expression. ・Don・t touch the hair, brat,・ he warns.

・Touch it all I want,・ I sing, seizing two substantial fistfuls and tugging.

・Hey!・ Logan・s fingers dig into my ribs, and I shriek. He yanks me off my chair and tosses me easily to the floor. ・Say uncle.・

・U-uncle!・ I squeal, slapping madly at whatever appendage I can reach. ・Uncle, dammit! Stop! Stop!・

Finally he does, and I sit up, flushed and panting. ・Jerk.・

・Wimp,・ he teases back.

・Just ・cause you・re a big brute・・ I grumble, smoothing my hair. I wonder idly if there really is something he wants to talk about, and he・s only initiating tickle wars to evade said topic. Could Logan be succumbing to avoidance?

・Nah.

I reclaim my seat in the computer chair. ・So・you want to get a pizza?・

Logan pauses, thinking, then shakes his head. ・I told Chuck I・d be back tonight,・ he says, sounding sort of regretful.

Meaning, of course, that he・s going back to see Rogue. I feel a sudden twinge of jealousy and resentment and am dismayed.

No, I tell myself, your life is here now, and his is in Westchester, Rogue or no Rogue. Of course he wants to get home. Did you expect him to stay here forever? Get over it, Jube.

But as I am discovering, it・s easier said than done.

Fighting the shroud of disappointment that・s settled heavily on my shoulders, I nod. ・So you goin・ now?・

He looks away. ・I oughta.・

Well. So much for our moment of camaraderie, I think, feeling the shift in mood from lighthearted to uneasy. I・m not really surprised that he decided to leave so quickly・Logan doesn・t really like to draw goodbyes out to unnecessary lengths・but it nevertheless comes as a surprise, and not a very pleasant one at that.

Logan stands and slings his knapsack over his shoulder. Watching him, I can・t help but feel rejected, even though I know it・s stupid. After all, he・s left before, hasn・t he? And he・s always come back. Granted, sometimes it takes a few months, but at least this time he・s staying in the country.

I hope.

・So you・re headed back home, huh,・ I say casually, standing up and leaning against the desk.

・Yeah.・ Logan・s still not meeting my eyes.

・Gonna see the fam, huh.・ My hands tremble a little, and I stuff them into my pockets.

・Yeah.・

・I・ll miss you.・ I hear my voice go from too-cool to tiny, and I know it・s because I really don・t want him to leave. It・s been months, and a day just isn・t enough.

When Logan looks up, electricity seems to crackle between us. A little psychic thrill jolts my brain, and I・m suddenly bombarded with a bewildering mix of sensations. Some I recognize, some I don・t; it・s all very confusing.

How totally bizarre. These little flashes happen sometimes, especially at the Mansion; I usually chalk it up to psi-residue from the telepaths. I myself am no great psi-power, so it always joggles me a little when it hits, especially now that I spend the majority of my time around good old Homo sapiens. It・s Logan, though, so I・m not terribly surprised; we・ve spent enough time together that some degree of psychic connection is inevitable. In fact, more startling than the mind-jolt is the information it conveyed, because mixed in with that potpourri of conflicting emotions is one interesting little tidbit: he doesn・t want to leave.

Innnnnteresting.

I run both hands through my hair and focus again on Logan, who・s looking at me with mild concern.

・Nothing,・ I say, before he can ask.

He nods and drops his gaze from mine. I wonder if he got the other end of that little episode. I sincerely hope not, because I can・t stand the thought of him knowing how much I don・t want him to leave.

We stand at the door, he looking about as uncomfortable as I feel. I crank the lock to the left.

・Tell everyone I say hi,・ I mutter.

・・Kay.・

I open the door. I look you at him. ・Well・see you.・

・Yeah.・ He steps over the threshold and glances back at me once. Just once. Then he turns and trudges down the steps.

I close the door, and this time I don・t watch him drive away.

***
 
Part II coming soon—stay tuned!