I could see red and blue flashes through my eyelids, and I wasn’t sure why. I just remembered a car coming toward me. Air was pumping into my lungs, seemingly of its own accord since I couldn’t draw a breath. I felt plastic on my face, then the flashes went away.
I opened my eyes a crack when something brushed my arm. I looked to my right and saw a nurse putting something into my IV. He noticed me watching him and seemed a little surprised.
“What happened to me?” I mumbled.
“You were in a hit-and-run. Your pelvis, left leg, and foot were shattered.”
“Oh,” was all I managed to say, still absorbing this strange information.
“I’m Kaleb. I’ll be taking care of you for a while.” I nodded as the door opened behind him. My best friend, Ava Tarems, walked in as Kaleb quickly walked out.
“Oh, Cloe. I got here as quick as I could.” She walked over to my bed.
“How’d you get back to Washington so fast? I thought you were in Italy.”
“It took me almost three days to get here. You’ve been in a medically-induced coma for four days.”
“Did Pogo come with you?”
“He’ll get here tomorrow. Look at this, I leave you alone for a couple of months and you get yourself run over.” I smiled. That’s the thing about Ava; she can always make you feel better.
“How long are you staying?” I asked.
“Until you get better. I gotta go take care of some things; I’ll be back in a few hours. Will you be okay?”
“I’ll be fine. I’m pumped full of pain meds.” Ava studied me for a few seconds before leaving the room.
I was asleep when I felt a hand grip my shoulder. It was the nurse, Kaleb.
“Visiting hours are technically over, but your friend Ava really wants to talk to you. She says it’s urgent. Do you want me to let her in?”
“Yeah,” I muttered, trying to figure out why Ava had an urgent need to talk to me. Kaleb disappeared into the hallway by my room, coming back a few minutes later with Ava.
“I’ll leave you two alone.” Kaleb walked out, closing the door behind him.
“Did you notice that that nurse, Kaleb or whatever, is really cute? I think he likes you, since he did sneak your friend in.”
I rolled my eyes. “What was so urgent?”
Ava looked like she was contemplating something. She sighed before saying, “Do you remember when I said earlier that I had to take care of some things?”
“Yeah,” I said suspiciously.
“Well, um, I’m pregnant.” She didn’t meet my gaze as she said it.
“Oh,” I muttered, not quite sure what to say. “Does Pogo know?”
“I’m telling him tomorrow when he gets here. He’s gonna be so excited; he’s been pressing me for kids lately. I just don’t know if we’re ready.”
“Ava, trust me, you’ll be fine. You two have been through a lot together in the last five years, ever since, ya know, the incident.” I still didn’t know what exactly had happened with Ava getting shot, and Pogo’s scars, but she was really touchy about it.
A beeping sound came from her purse, and she retrieved her tiny purple cell phone.
“It’s Pogo; I gotta go. I’ll be back tomorrow.” She strode out of the room with a worried look on her face.
Kaleb walked into my room, and I noticed he was wearing normal clothes instead of scrubs.
“You have a visitor,” he said.
“Who?” I asked, since I’d already seen Ava earlier that day.
“Me.” He smiled at me, and he looked strangely familiar.
“Cool. Do you know where the remote is?” He reached behind the TV and pulled out a skinny black remote.
Kaleb turned on the TV and came to sit next to me. I could feel heat coming off of his arm as I gently leaned on him. He flipped through the channels, but there was nothing on. Kaleb clicked off the TV and set the remote down on my bedside table. I looked up at him just as he crushed his soft lips against mine.
“He kissed you?” Ava asked me, a little bit more shocked than I like her to be.
“Yeah. It was nice.” She just stared at me doubtfully.
Pogo stuck his head in the door. “Some cranky lady’s trying to get us to leave, Ava. She says Cloe’ll never heal or something. I dunno.” He walked in, wrapped his arms around Ava’s waist, and buried his face in her short, dark hair. I could see the thin scars on his arms and neck, just a tiny bit lighter than the rest of his skin.
“Does he know?” I mouthed to Ava, hoping Pogo wasn’t paying very much attention. Ava nodded infinitesimally. Pogo released her, and interlaced the fingers of one hand with hers.
“Have fun with your hot male nurse,” Ava said mockingly as they walked out of the room. I stuck my tongue out at her.
“Cloe, I need to ask you something.” Ava looked at me hopefully.
“Will you be their godmother?” She looked like she’d already resigned herself to her fate.
“I’m having twin girls.” She smiled weakly.
“I’d love to.” Relief washed over her face, but was quickly replaced with horror. Which thoroughly freaked me out, since Ava is rarely ever fazed by anything. I looked to my left, where she was staring, and gasped. A metal fork was floating in the air beside my bed.
“I think it’s you,” Ava whispered.
“What are you talking about?” I whipped around to face her.
“We’re gonna do a test. Try to move it to the right with your mind.” To my surprise she was being totally serious.
I turned around and tried, and, to my horror, it moved to the right. I tried something else, and the fork folded in half, just like I’d wanted it to. I gasped, and it fell to the ground.
Ava had a very smug look on her face when I turned back around. She just radiated I-told-you-so.
“How did you know?” I asked.
She became serious again. “Remember when I got shot?” I nodded, and she went on, “I could transfer my pain, then injuries, to other people. That hot guy from our English class, Mason Laramore, kidnapped Pogo and me. He tortured Pogo, and planned on killing us both. I had Pogo shoot me so I could transfer it to Mason, but it didn’t work. So, now you know.”
I stared at her in shock. There was a knock on my door before Kaleb walked in. “Good news. You start physical therapy tomorrow, which means you’re not stuck here anymore.” He smiled at me, then looked to Ava. “Your husband’s looking for you.”
“Oh, crap,” Ava mumbled. “I gotta go.” She left Kaleb and me alone.
“I don’t know if you should be living alone. It’ll be hard for you to get around. Do you have anyone you could stay with?”
I shook my head, and said a muffled, “No.”
“You could stay with me.” Kaleb studied my face as I made my decision.
“Alright. I need to have Ava get some stuff from my apartment first though.”
Kaleb grinned, and I smiled back.
I’d lived at Kaleb’s house for two months before I could get out of a wheelchair and onto crutches. The house was small, cozy, and, thankfully, one-level.
I was sitting on the couch one day when my cell phone rang. I pulled it out of my pocket, and wasn’t surprised to see that it was Ava calling me.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Not much. Pogo’s spazzing out, but whatever.”
“When are you leaving?”
“We’re not. We agreed that it would be best to raise the kids here.” I could hear the resigned tone in her voice. “So, are you liking it at Kaleb’s house?”
“Yeah. It’s nice having someone else around.”
I heard the click of the front door opening. “I gotta go,” I said to Ava.
Kaleb walked into the room, and bent down on one knee.
“You’re getting married?” Ava asked doubtfully. “What’s your new last name gonna be?”
“Moore.” I was embarrassed by the look she was giving me.
“I didn’t freak out when you got married,” I pointed out.
“I’d known Pogo for like, forever. You’ve known Kaleb for how long?”
“A few months.”
Ava knew she’d proved her point; I could tell by the smug look on her face.
Kaleb and I had to wait a couple of months to get married, since I wouldn’t be caught dead in a wedding dress with a cast on my leg. It was a small ceremony, with Ava being the maid of honor. It’s harder than you’d think to find a bridesmaid dress for someone who’s six and a half months pregnant.
“Congratulations,” Pogo said, as he and Ava danced alongside Kaleb and me.
“Thanks,” I replied as I pulled myself closer into Kaleb’s chest.
“Kaleb, I need to tell you something,” I said the afternoon after our wedding day.
“What?” he asked suspiciously as he sat down on our couch next to me.
I took off my watch and set it on our coffee table. I concentrated on it until it floated into my hand. Kaleb stared at me in horror.
“Oh no. Not you too.”
I stared at him in confusion. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Some people at the hospital are being experimented on. They’re testing drugs to make the brain more powerful. Can you levitate anything?”
“Just things with metal in them, so far.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” The concern in his eyes made me feel guilty.
“I wasn’t sure how you’d take it.” I stared down at the floor as he reached out and grabbed my hand.
“I also have a confession to make. My given last name isn’t Moore, it’s Laramore. Before you freak out, I’m nothing like my brother. Mason was crazy. I know what happened to Ava and Pogo; I realized it when I saw his scars.
“Our dad created labs dedicated to making people extraordinary. But they couldn’t do it. Mason realized that Ava had an ability. He planned on duplicating her genome and putting it in other people, so they could have their own abilities.”
“But why bring Pogo into it?” I stared down at Kaleb’s warm hand.
“Mason wanted Ava to be with him, not Pogo. So he kidnapped them and tried to kill them. We both know what happened next.”
Kaleb held my hands tightly, trying to stop them from shaking so much. He wrapped an arm around my waist and kissed me. I relaxed in his hold.
We both jumped when there was a knock on the front door. We walked together to the door, figuring it was somebody delivering a late wedding present.
“Max!” Kaleb exclaimed when he saw a tall man standing on the porch.
“Hey Kaleb,” Max said with a sad smile.
Before I could tell what had happened, Kaleb was on the ground. Blood soaked the floor from a bullet hole in his chest.
“Why did you do this?” Kaleb gasped.
“I made a promise to Mason.” Max turned and walked away.
I knelt down beside Kaleb and pulled the bullet out of his chest, with my mind. I lifted it and threw it full-force at Max’s retreating figure. It hit its intended target-his head-and he fell down, killed instantly.
“You’ll be okay,” I muttered, tears dripping onto Kaleb’s reddened shirt. I could see the light leaving his green eyes.
“Love you,” he managed to gasp as he slipped away. I slumped onto his chest, trying not to notice that it didn’t rise and fall.
“Oh my God. What happened?” I heard Ava say, as if from a great distance. Unfamiliar cold hands grabbed my arms and pulled me to my feet; it took me a second to realize it was Pogo.
“Oh no,” Ava led me out of the house. I glimpsed Pogo pulling out a cell phone to call an ambulance.
Everything was in a haze. I barely even noticed the ambulance coming, carting Kaleb away. Ava hugged me as best she could.
“I’m so sorry,” Ava murmured. I scrubbed furiously at the blood caked on my arms and face, anything that would remind me of him. Tears started to stream down my face, as much as I tried to stop them. I collapsed on Ava’s bathroom floor in a heap.
“She’s beautiful,” I whispered, holding one of Ava’s new babies.
“Her name’s Makenzie,” Ava said, smiling. “Pogo has Cara. She has his eyes.”
I felt an unwanted pang of jealousy; I’d never have a baby with my husband’s eyes. Fearing a major breakdown, I pushed the thought away.
My cell phone rang, and I hurriedly grabbed it before it could wake up Makenzie or Cara. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered it anyway.
“Cloe?” I recognized the faint voice instantly.
“Kaleb,” I breathed, trying not to let myself hope.
“Please help me,” Kaleb’s voice pleaded, then the line went dead.
“What was that about?” Ava asked.
“Wrong number.” I put my phone away.
It took me a long time to fall asleep that night. Kaleb’s voice haunted me. I had nightmares about Max, and Kaleb’s death.
I was jarred awake by a cold hand brushing my arm. Kaleb was standing beside my bed, wearing the same blood-covered shirt I’d last seen him in. But he was blurry, like he was standing in fog.
I reached out for him; my hand went straight through his arm. My eyes were hot with tears as his ghostly arms wrapped around me. I rested my head on his chest, and, to my surprise, it stayed there.
“You can come with me,” Kaleb murmured.
“I have to do one thing first. Stay with me.”
I picked up my phone and called Ava.
“What time is it?” Ava grumbled.
“You need to get over here, right now,” I stated, watching Kaleb the whole time.
“Alright. But this better be one hell of an emergency.” Ava hung up the phone.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Ava asked.
“I’m fine. He’s right there.” I was getting irritated by the fact that she couldn’t see Kaleb.
Kaleb walked up behind Ava and just stood there, giving me a mischievous look.
“Cloe, you’ve been through a lot.” I nodded slightly. Kaleb winked at me. “I know you really loved him, but-” She cut off as her arms were pulled behind her. A look of understanding crossed her face.
“I can feel his hands. You’re telling the truth.”
“I’m going with him, Ava.”
“I’m not sure. But I’m not losing him again.”
“I understand. If anything happened to Pogo…” she trailed off.
Ava ran forward and hugged me. When she let go, Kaleb grabbed both of my hands. I knew by the look on Ava’s face that she could see him now. I smiled reassuringly at her. She tried to smile back, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes.
Kaleb pressed his lips against mine as we dissolved into nothingness.