Chapter Twelve: Natalia
I ran home as fast as I could, lowering my fever as I went. I couldn't have it taking a toll on my body as I ran. My body wouldn't be able to handle the extra heat.
I arrived at my house completely our of breath. I noticed the garage was opened and ransacked as I walked up the driveway. Bursting through the door leading into my house, I found Mark beaten to a pulp on the ground in a pool of his own blood.
I knelt down beside him, cataloging the injuries I could see and using my power to detect the wounds I couldn't. I started speeding up his cellular reproduction and clotting his blood where I could find damage. Losing him would be too much for me.
Mark slowly came to as his brain left survival mode behind. His body was responding well to my healing, which was a good sign. I must've located all of the serious wounds. "What happened?" I asked.
Mark blinked a few times. His pupils shrunk quickly. "The TWA came. They took your parents and Melinda." He coughed once. "They want you to turn yourself in."
I continued to heal Mark as I pulled out the emergency cell phone Jesse gave me. It was supposed to be untraceable and I prayed Jesse was right. "Who are you calling and when did you get a new phone?" asked Mark.
The phone rang and rang. I tapped my foot as I waited patiently for Jesse to pick up. "Natalia. I'm glad you called."
I began coming undone at the seams. It was all falling apart. Everything I knew was gone. I could never return to my old life now that I was on the TWA radar. "They took them."
"Who took who?"
Tears were leaking from my eyes, although I knew that wasn't helping the situation. The logical side of my brain was being silenced by my emotions. "They took my parents, Jesse. They took them." I couldn't catch my breath; I thought I was going to hurl.
"Natalia, I need you to calm down. Stay where you are. I'm going to come get you, okay?"
Mark pushed himself up on his elbow. He looked interested in who was on the other end of my conversation. "It's not safe here. I have to leave now."
"Can you go to a neighbor's house until I get there?" Jesse was tense on the other line. I shouldn't have been surprised. He cared a lot about the secret he hid from me, more than he cared about me.
I licked my lips. "I don't want to put them in danger. Can I come to you?"
"No. Get to a neighbor's house. I'll be right there."
I inhaled a deep breath to calm myself down. I couldn't afford to be emotional in a moment like this. Locking down my emotions and tossing them into the back of my mind was the only way I was going to make it out of this. I'd deal with my emotions once I was safe. "Okay." Jesse hung up the phone.
Mark stood up on shaky legs, I was glad to see he could manage that on his own. He snatched the phone out of my hand. "Who did you just call?"
I snatched my phone back. "We need to get to Alex's house. His parents can help mask us from the TWA." I walked out of the house and over to Alex's; Mark had to job behind me to keep up.
I knocked on Alex's door; he opened it up. "Aren't you supposed to be in school?" he asked.
I smiled. "Aren't you?"
Alex laughed. "Fair point. What can I do for you two?"
Mark stepped up on the porch breathing heavily. "Are your parents home?"
Alex nodded. "My mom's on a conference call in the office, but my dad's at work." I pushed through, dragging Mark along with me. "Hey!" I shut the door behind us. "What's wrong?"
I led Alex up the stairs and into his room before I would speak. Mark walked right in behind me, closing the door quietly. "Alex, I want to be completely honest with you because I'm not sure if I'm going to see you again and you mean the world to me."
Alex nodded slowly. “Okay...”
I sucked in as much air as I could manage. What I was about to tell him was going to be a huge mistake, and would most likely back fire on me. But I couldn't leave without him knowing who I really was. It was dumb, but I wanted him to know why I was leaving and who I really was. "I'm a Molecular Telepath."
Alex almost fell backward. Mark moved to catch him in case he fell. "What?"
I dissolved my brown contacts to show off my emerald irises, the final piece of my Telepath features. "I'm a Molecular."
"I heard you the first time." Alex stared at me. My emerald eyes were making him uncomfortable. "Why are you telling me this now?"
I pursed my lips. "You're my best friend and you have the right to know before I disappear."
Alex turned ghost white. The anger pulsing behind his eyes scared me half to death. It was almost as if all the anger he held for the man who killed his brother was transferred to me. "Anything else I should know?" he asked through a clenched jaw.
I took a seat on Alex's bed, making sure to keep my eyes on my feet. I couldn't look him in the eye. "Not about me." There was one more thing he had to know before I was out of his life for good. He had the right to know. He needed to know in order to move on with his life.
"Both of your parents are half-telepaths and probably don't know." Color was slowly returning to his cheeks. He seemed to take the news pretty well. Now for the big bomb. "Your brother was a Terrain Telepath."
Alex exploded, as to be expected. "No. He was nothing like them!"
I kept my voice low and calm, raising my voice would only make matters worse. "He couldn't help he was born like me. We don't get to choose to be what we are."
"You're lying. I would've known!"
I stood up. "You were both so young. It's likely you've forgotten about him using his powers or he never tapped into them while he was with you."
Alex's hands clenched into fists by his sides. "No. He was nothing like them. He was nice and peaceful and not a Telepath!"
I needed him to accept this. He needed to know exactly why his brother was killed by the TWA. It would help him heal. "He was. His kind are nice and peaceful. His kind didn't take over the world. If they had, it would've been a better place for all of us."
My confession finally clicked in place in Alex's mind but not in the way I intended. "No, but your kind did." I wasn't liking where this was going. "You're like them! Your kind is evil. You're evil."
I read Alex's mind, although it wasn't hard to figure out what he was going to do next. I moved the molecules around me at the same time Alex attempted a right hook. His fist was caught by the air molecules I controlled, catching him completely off guard. He tried with his other fist, but I caught it too.
"Alex, please calm down. I know you're frustrated. I'm not proud of what my kind has done, but I'm not like them. I despise them as much as you do." I released his hands. "You mean so much to me. I don't want to lose you over something I can't control."
Alex collapsed onto his bed. I stood there playing with my fingers. I could sense Jesse on the porch, but I wanted to give Alex a few more moments to process everything I said.
"Please leave," said Alex.
I nodded, respecting his wishes. "I hope this isn't good-bye." I walked out of the room with Mark right on my heels.
I walked outside to find Jesse scoping out the area for places where the TWA could hide. "You ready?" asked Jesse. I nodded.
Jesse opened a portal. I saw a fast food join just beyond it, but I didn't question Jesse's location choice. Mark and I walked through the portal and Jesse followed after us; he automatically felt something wrong. "You brought a human with you?!"
Mark looked startled. "You found another Telepath?"
I rolled my eyes. "Jesse, Mark has lived with me for six years. I couldn't leave him behind for the TWA to find."
Jesse's muscles relaxed, but his mind was on high alert as if Mark could hack into his mind. "Fine."
We stood in the parking lot of the obscure restaurant awkwardly. I knew this wasn't the place Jesse protected more than me. He was still hesitant about letting me in even now when my life was in danger. "I'm guessing it didn't go well with your boy toy." He had a devilish grin on his face.
I glared. "It was going fine. He wasn't the one who turned me in."
Jesse's grin expanded into a full blown smile that spanned from ear to ear. "I guess this means I have you all to myself."
Mark leaned down to my ear. "Secret boyfriend?"
I sighed. "Mark, Jesse. Jesse, Mark. Jesse here is...complicated. We met a few months back at one of those illegal Telepath parties Mom told me never to go to. Mark here is my family's human tenant and apparently my surrogate dad."
Mark shrugged. "Your parents aren't here."
A couple of people walked out of the restaurant eyeing us. We were too exposed here. A TWA officer could appear out of nowhere and take us all to one of the many prisons set up around the world. I crossed my arms and focused on Jesse. "I know you have a place we can lay low for a while."
Jesse pulled me closer to him and further from the restaurant. "I can't take you there," he whispered.
I nodded slowly. "My parents and Mark's wife are probably being tortured for my location right now. I don't have time for your games."
Jesse shook his head. "I can't take you. It's not a place you can just walk into. There's a process."
I crossed my arms and pressed my lips together. My emotions were poking their ugly heads out. I was going to be a wreck in a few minutes if I didn't pull myself together ASAP. "I'm asking for your help. Have you ever lost someone to the TWA?" His answer was written plainly on his face.
Jesse opened a portal beside us. "I have a place you could hide in for a few days."
I kissed Jesse on the cheek. "Thank you."
I dragged Mark through the portal to find a rotting house on the other side. The porch had collapsed long ago. Each step leading to the house was only a frame now. The windows were blown out as if it had been damaged by a violent storm during the war. The roof had at least one large hole from what I could tell; there were probably many little holes scattered around that weren't visible from my vantage point.
Jesse followed us through the portal. "It doesn't look like much, but I've never had a run in with the TWA here."
I walked up to the house, forming molecular stairs up to the threshold. I stepped inside the house to find a little camp made up of five tents. There were blankets, pots, pans, gas lamps, and a grill scattered about. This was a hideout for more than just Jesse.
Jesse pointed to a navy blue tent in the corner. It was the biggest one in the camp. "You guys can stay in my tent. There's food in the boxes on the other side of the room. Make yourself at home and lay low. That means no powers, Natalia." His footsteps moved toward the front door.
I flipped around. "Where are you going?"
Jesse grabbed the rotting door on his way out. "I'll be back. I promise." He closed it behind him.
I stood there exasperated. Jesse was so hush-hush about everything even when my life was in danger. It made me really wonder about what he was up to and how much he actually cared. I turned back to the camp and felt my stomach drop. This was what I was left with.
Mark broke the silence. "He doesn't share much, does he?"
I headed toward the navy blue tent. "Shut up."