“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.”
When debris had continually hit our ship, it finally broke the glass of the windshield (is that what you even call it for a spaceship?). I don’t know how it happened but before the ship crashed into the ground, I and my seat were ejected into the open air. I remember frantically unbuckling myself from the seat so I could control my fall rather than being at the mercy of landing however my chair did. I hit the ground hard but remembered to roll to take off some of the impact. For a few moments, I lay on the ground on my back, catching my breath and gathering my wits about as the crash had severely shaken me up. But then I remembered that Caleb was still in the ship and I panicked. The panic gave me adrenaline which gave me the power I needed to get up. I could barely walk for some reason; everything was still really hazy to me. There was a lot of commotion around me too which was making everything even more confusing than it already was but somehow, I made my way to the wreckage. I couldn’t see where the windshield was so I stumbled around it.
“Lilly?” A voice said my name. It sounded familiar but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out where from. “Lilly, are you okay?”
“Caleb. I need… Caleb,” I replied, glancing around for any sign of either my friend or the mysterious voice.
“Honey, I think you the only thing you need to do is sit down.” Suddenly Shane Calhoun came into my line of sight. “You with me, sweetie?”
“Don’t call me that,” I retorted, my voice sounding oddly weak.
“Okay, then dear, let me help you sit down because you look like you’re about to fall over and you shouldn’t be walking on that ankle of yours. I’m not a Healer but I know ankles aren’t supposed to be that big. Sit.”
“People are looking for him. Now sit.”
In most cases, I wouldn’t have listened to him, but my splitting headache caused me to cave in, not to mention the ringing in my ears that had started.
“Do you want to lay down?” Shane queried.
“Not with you around. I want to find Caleb. Where is he?”
“You have a very one track mind.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be with Chad?” I muttered.
“Supposed to. Exceptions have to be made in times of crisis. He ordered me to stay here, which I did. Then I saw you staggering about, figured I’d do some good and help.”
“Pretty sure you’re trying to get into my mind even with that ankle bracelet of yours on.”
“Chad told me of that plan you and Caleb came up with. You’re quite the actress, I must say,” Shane complimented. I could hear the smile in his voice but my head hurt too much to look up at him so I could glare at him.
“Miss Snow?” Another voice asked. “My name is Kelsey Manning. Can you walk?”
“I can walk,” I answered.
“No you can’t,” Shane said bluntly. “Have you seen her ankle?”
“She’ll need to be brought up to the hospital,” Kelsey said.
“I can walk,” I repeated indignantly. “I got over here from my… wherever it was I crashed.”
“All our stretchers are being used at the moment. Quite a few people have been seriously injured between the crash and the enemy fighters. And sir, you’re correct. She won’t be able to walk on that ankle. Her adrenaline may’ve hindered her from feeling the pain but now that she’s aware of what’s going on, the story will be very different.”
“Is there any way you can stop this ringing in my ears?” I asked her. “My head hurts really bad and the ringing isn’t helping.”
“Your ears are ringing?” Kelsey asked sharply. I only nodded. Suddenly a cold hand placed on the side of my head. Immediately I jerked back from surprise but the cold hand reappeared as she said, “Hold still. I’m trying to mend your concussion. I’m only a beginner Healer but I should at least be able to reduce the seriousness of it until we can get you to an expertly trained one for that ankle and your wounds.”
“What wounds?” I queried, the ringing in my ears slowly coming to stop. All of a sudden the world seemed much clearer to me, the haze slowly disappeared and I was very much aware of everything going on around me. The sirens, the shouts, the pounding of feet running along the ground, the throbbing aches and pains in my body. How badly was I actually hurt? My pain tolerance was high but this was beginning to get to me which meant my injuries must be more than anything I’d been through.
“Sir, can you help me lift her up?” Kelsey requested.
“Shane, you should get back to your brother,” I stated. “He won’t like that you’re alone.”
“I’m not alone. I’m with you and this lovely lady,” Shane replied coolly.
I sighed. “I meant alone as in without him. Besides, I can assure you Chad won’t like you around me.”
“Chad? Chad Calhoun?” Kelsey queried cautiously.
“The one and only,” I muttered.
Her eyes fell on my acquaintance. “You’re Shane Calhoun?”
“I was wondering how long it’d take for you to recognize me,” he remarked nonchalantly. “Honestly, I was expecting it to be much sooner.”
Shane leaned in casually to my ear and whispered, “I’m kind of infamous around here.”
“Oh yes, I know,” I said.
“Ms. Snow, can you walk if I help you?” Kelsey asked.
“Yes.” She wrapped one of my arms around her shoulder to help me up. My earlier deduction about me being in terrible shape had been correct as the moment I stood up, I nearly collapsed back down to the ground. Not only could my legs barely support me but my world started spinning.
Someone wrapped my other arm around their shoulder but they were taller than me which made it awkward. The only person I could think of that it could possibly be was Shane. Despite me not liking him, I needed help and besides Kelsey, there was no one else around. Everyone was too busy taking care of damage control and looking for other injured people.
“Lilly!” Vivienne exclaimed. My head lifted up at the sound of my name which only made my world spin again. “Oh thank god you’re okay!”
“She had a pretty bad concussion. Her ankle is most likely broken judging by the size of it, and I think she’s lost a fair amount of blood from her wounds. We need to get her upstairs,” Kelsey explained.
“Shane, with me. Now,” Chad ordered.
“But who’s going to support Lilly?” His brother countered innocently.
“I got her,” Vivienne assured. My arm was moved over someone’s shoulder who was just slightly shorter than me which made having my arm around their shoulder much less awkward.
Kelsey and Vivienne started moving so I tried hopping along as best I could. To be honest, I didn’t really remember the trip from the street into the hospital, up the elevator, and into a hospital room. I didn’t even remember falling asleep until I woke up to it being nighttime.
I glanced around the room, still feeling drowsy. As if sensing that I was awake, a Healer entered my room.
“Good evening, Ms. Snow. I don’t know if you remember me but my name is Kelsey Manning. I helped you up here earlier. How are you feeling?” she asked kindly.
“I remember. It’s blurry but I remember. I’m okay. Just really tired. And thirsty,” I answered.
“I’ll go get you some water. The sleepiness will be from all the healing we did on you. You lost enough blood that it started to negatively affect you.”
“Oh. Lovely,” I mumbled, rubbing my head. Kelsey excused herself so she could go get some water for me. When she came back, she handed me a glass. I practically gulped the cool liquid down which felt good against my parched throat.
“Thank you,” I said, “And thank you for helping me earlier. I don’t know if I said it earlier in the state I was in so just in case, I’m saying it now.”
“You’re very welcome. When you’re up to it, you’re free to go. If not, you’re welcome to stay overnight here in the hospital room.”
“I think I want to be in my own bed so I think I’m going to head there now. Hey, I have a question.”
“Did they ever find Caleb? Caleb Queen?”
“Oh yes. He was brought up here just before you. He asked about you constantly. Caleb’s fine. Probably down in his lab if you’re interested in seeing him although I really do suggest you get some rest first.”
“Oh good… I was worried about him.” With that said, Kelsey left the room and I swung my legs over the bed in an attempt to stand. My legs felt like jelly and I took a couple baby steps next to the bed to make sure my legs would support me while I was walking. They did, but I knew long strides would be out of the question, at least for tonight.
Shuffling out of the hospital, I made my way over to my apartment building, taking the tunnel that connected the two together. I passed a lot of people on the way there; all of them seemed on high alert over something. Perhaps there’d been another attack while I was out or maybe some piece of information had reached them of some impending attack. Or, more likely, since they were heading into the hospital, they were worried about their loved ones and their expressions were not one of alertness, but of worry.
But I ignored everyone who passed me because I didn’t know any of them, and none of them bothered me either. My destination was Caleb’s lab because despite Kelsey’s suggestion that rest was in order. The lab security robot scanned my eye before allowing me into the lab. Caleb was at his microscope, completely engrossed in whatever he was looking at, but by the looks of it, he had most certainly been banged up from our adventure earlier as well.
“Hey,” I greeted. His head snapped up at the sound of my voice. “Are you okay?”
“Hey!” Caleb exclaimed, getting up out of his seat. He came over and gave me a hug. When he pulled away, he said, “I’m so, so sorry about what happened earlier today!”
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it, really. It wasn’t your fault.”
“You got catapulted from flying ship. Seriously, the fact that you even survived that is-”
“I managed to get myself out of the seat so I had some control of my fall.”
“Not enough. You had a severe concussion, a shattered ankle, broken ribs, and you lost over a liter of blood and-”
“How did you know all that?” I inquired. Even I hadn’t known all that…
“I went to see if you were awake once I was healed but Kelsey informed me that you fell asleep practically the moment you got in the bed. I saw you earlier actually, right before I was taken to the hospital. Shane was with you.”
“Oh, right. Believe it or not, he was actually being helpful. What his motivations were behind it, I’m not sure, but he helped me stay awake.”
“How’d you get rid of him?”
“Chad and Vivienne came over. She took Shane’s place in getting me up to the hospital. I don’t know where Chad and Shane went.”
“Chad probably escorted Shane to his apartment. Listen, speaking of apartments, I never got to show you the surprise in yours. Want to go see now?”
“Considering my apartment was my next stop, I would love to go.” The two of us exited Caleb’s lab, going up the elevator to my floor. Upon walking up to my apartment, I opened the door and instantly felt something, or someone, was in there with me. I took three steps in when it hit me.
And by hit me I mean I felt claws on my leg. Looking down, I saw Toothless climbing up my pants because he wanted to be held. I let out a gasp as I scooped him up into my arms.
“I hope you don’t mind that the movers came into your apartment without your permission. Everything you could possibly need from your apartment is here now,” Caleb informed happily. “Pets, clothes, makeup, jewelry, electronics, and anything else you can think of. Sorry it took so long. You and Vivienne are apparently more popular than we realized and our liaisons ran into some trouble trying to gather all your things discreetly out of the apartment. The cops were called once or twice too. We finally had to have one of our shapeshifters impersonate you to convince them that you were actually moving out.”
“How long have you known about this?” I asked as my other kittens came running over to me. Caleb picked up Marie and Toulouse while I picked up Berlioz.
“Since the operation to get all this started. I figured since your days here have been rather disappointing with you not knowing your power yet, you could use a little pick-me-up and thought surprising you with your own things would be a good way to do that.”
“This is amazing! Oh my gosh, hi!” I exclaimed, kissing Toothless and Berlioz on their heads. “Caleb, I don’t know how to thank you. This is the best surprise I could’ve asked for.”
“There’s no need to thank me but you’re welcome. Get some rest Lilly. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“You get some rest too. Good night.”
Confession time: I took the day off of work after finding out that my dogs, along with my belongings, arrived to my apartment. It was nice to spend time with them. Eliza was much more willing to cuddle with me than Molly who would much rather play for the entire day.
The next day, however, I had to work. Admittedly I was distracted by the thought of them being up in my room and my supervisor noticed my change in attitude. Upon figuring out what was going on, she gave me the rest of the day off. I guess she understood how difficult it’d been for me to be away from them.
As I was walking to my apartment, someone called out my name. I turned around expecting to see Dylan or Caleb since it’d been a male’s voice, but to my complete shock, it was Chad. Shane wasn’t with him which I found suspicious since, considering what Dylan told me, Shane was in Chad’s custody until Esmeralda knew he could behave himself.
“Hey,” Chad greeted politely, appearing slightly out of breath as if he’d been running.
“Hi,” I replied, beginning to walk again. He followed.
“How are you?” he asked as we waited for the elevator.
I gave him a sideways glance, answering, “I’m well. You?”
“I’ve… been better. Shane is being relentless in his questioning and he’s developed an obsession with that Snow girl.”
“Her name is Lilly,” I said shortly. The elevator doors opened up at that moment so I stepped in. Chad followed me.
“Right… what are you doing?”
“Heading up to see Eliza and Molly.”
“Who are they?”
“My dogs who just arrived the other day.”
“What are you doing later?”
“I will still be hanging out with my dogs.” I bit my tongue, not wanting to ask what was up with all his questions but my curiosity was killing me so I asked, “Why?”
“I was wondering if you wanted to go grab coffee or something,” Chad admitted.
I couldn’t stop myself when I replied, “Don’t I embarrass you though since I apparently follow you around like a puppy dog?”
Chad must’ve been expecting my response because without missing a beat he said, “I’m not used to having people other than Dylan and Caleb, and now Shane, take an interest in me because most people are scared of me.”
“I don’t see any reason to be scared of you.”
“My own powers scare me because I can control a lot of things that no one person should ever be able to control.”
“You are not your powers though. Just because they’re apart of you doesn’t mean they are you. Besides you’ve done pretty well keeping your powers in control from what I’ve heard.”
“That’s because I’m extremely cautious and I don’t put myself in situations that could make me lose control.”
“So what, were you afraid you’d lose control around me?”
“I’m a skinny, five-foot-four person. How on earth could someone like me make someone like you lose control?”
“Because besides the occasional encounter with Iris, I don’t exactly hang out with girls.”
“Do you not root for my team or something?”
“I- no, that’s not it. I don’t hang around people in general. Dylan and Caleb are the only two people who have been there for me through everything, mostly because they were too stubborn to take no as an answer. But certain emotions set my power off in a direction I can’t control.”
“So you’re worried that if you’re around a girl and you start developing feelings for her, you’ll lose control of your powers?”
“Well you never know what happens until you try it.”
“You don’t understand just how deadly my power is! There are very few people on this planet who could stop me. Caleb and Dylan are two of a handful. I’m a ticking time bomb,” he insisted just as the doors opened. We both disembarked, heading to my apartment.
“If anyone thought you were as big of a ticking time-bomb as you seem to think you are, you would be in that max security prison, not going on missions to kidnap people and missions to defeat the enemy. Take some credit in your ability to control your powers.”
Chad sighed. “You never answered my question.”
“About whether or not you’d like to get coffee.”
“I’m going to say no because I don’t think you actually want to go, and I’m not going to subject anyone to doing something they don’t want to.”
“I wouldn’t be offering if I didn’t want to,” he countered.
“… When would you like to go?”
“Whenever you’re free.”
“I’m free now. I just need to grab my purse.”
“You can bring Molly and Eliza if you want. It’s a dog-friendly city here so wherever we go for coffee, they can come.”
“Then come in and help me with them because they get overly excited when they go for a walk and with Lilly not here to help me…”
“Lead the way,” Chad said, motioning towards my door. My mind was racing at his sudden change of heart towards me. My first thought was that Caleb or Dylan had said something to Chad about me because they both knew of what had happened a few days ago between the two of us. Maybe Dylan had threatened to burn off Chad’s pants again if he didn’t apologize or something… I wouldn’t put it past Dylan to do so. But to be honest, I felt bad for Chad after realizing how terrified he was of his own power. Someone, besides Dylan and Caleb, needed to show him that he wasn’t as dangerous as he thought he was.