"Girl, didn't you hear it?"
I turned at the voice of my best friend Jubilee. She was always excited about something so I just continued on with reading my magazine and didn't even bother to look up until she plopped down on the bed beside me.
"Hear what?" I responded as I turned the page. I grimaced at a picture of another anorexic teen model and quickly flipped the page again.
"The bike, his bike. The Wolverine is back," she said.
I suddenly found myself unable to move or breathe or think. That name always had the power to make me flinch in little ways, or big ones as the case was at the moment.
"Oh, no, I was kinda busy," I said, trying to sound breezy. I knew Jubes wouldn't be fooled, but I had to at least try to seem like I didn't care.
"Uh-huh, well aren't you going to go say hi? Run up and give him a big ole' hug and a kiss? I mean, your man is finally back," she said.
I shook my head and tried to concentrate on an article about lip gloss. As I spoke, I tried to seem casual about the whole thing. "Sure, maybe later," I said.
"Rogue, it's Logan, the Wolverine, the lust of your life, how can you not be running into his arms?" Jubilee asked. I looked up at her and glared.
"Jubes it's been ten years. Ten years of nothing. No phone calls, no emails, no letters, postcards, smoke signals, nothing. I'm an adult now and I refuse to run to him like some eager child who's excited that her daddy is home. He was never my daddy, or my brother, or even that great of a friend when it came down to it," I bit out. I got up off the bed and walked over to the window to let in some fresh air. Jubes stood up and walked to the door as I opened the window and a cool breeze floated in. The room had started to feel stale and claustrophobic. It could have been all the dust flying around from me cleaning earlier, or maybe it was the memories being kicked up. Either way, I needed a breath of fresh air before I couldn't breath. I turned around to see my friend standing by the door.
"Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm just a little tense right now. Between the last mission, and now this; I'm just a little tightly wound," I said.
"It's okay babe. Look, how about we go out to dinner tonight? They have dollar margaritas at the Mexican place on Main Street. What do you say?" Jubes asked. I smiled at her and nodded.
"Can't pass up cheap margaritas and fajitas. I'll meet you in the garage at eight," I said.
"Later girl," Jubes called as she left, closing the door behind her. I waited until she left before plopping down onto my bed and staring at the ceiling. It was suddenly too much, the thought that Logan was just one floor below me after not seeing him in ten years. My mind went back to the day he left. It was a few days after we got back from Alkali Lake. Part of me knew Logan wouldn't stay long after our return. For one, he's Logan, and he would want to get back out on the open road and search for clues to his past. For another, Jean was gone. In my silly teenage mind I actually let myself believe for a day or two that it wouldn't matter that Jean was gone, that Logan would stay because I was here and he would want to make sure that I was okay after everything that had happened. He would be scared after almost losing me and want to stay near me, to protect me like he promised. But then he left with just a short goodbye and a quick hug. That was, hell, probably still is, his style, so I shouldn't have expected anything else. Then I remember for weeks after he left, months even, still believing that he would come back. Then my thoughts turned from him returning to him calling or writing. None of those things ever happened though, and I was left alone to grow up without the one person I thought I could finally count on. I know all children take for granted that their parents will always love and protect them, but I learned differently. Thinking back on my life, I never heard my parents say they would take care of me. Logan did. Maybe that's why I took his leaving and all the years that followed so hard. He had said it, I believed it, and then he just up and left, leaving me to fend for myself essentially. He was my parents all over again. And okay, I had a crush on him. But that's to be expected when a hunky man comes to your rescue like your some maiden in distress in a children's book. Maybe it was just hero worship. I've tried to make myself believe that lie, but it never quite gets past my head. The rest of me knows its bull.
I looked at the clock and noticed it was still early, only six. I knew that eventually Logan would come up here. He'd ask someone where I was, or maybe just sniff me out with those freaky senses of his. Either way, I didn't think I was ready for all that. To Logan, everything could just be as it was. No time, no hurt, no bad feelings. Maybe it was the near invulnerability and that healing factor that made it so far impossible for him to die, but Logan lived in his own world. To him, ten years was no big stretch of time because he's been alive for who knows how long. He never promised to stick around, or to be some sort of father figure for me. All he really offered me was a ride and a promise to protect me. I guess in that, he fulfilled his obligation. That didn't mean he hadn't hurt me to the core when he just up and left.
For all that alone, I couldn't see him. The girl he left behind, who's still inside me somewhere, would want to run into his arms and act like nothing happened. She'd forgive the hurt feelings, the disappointment, the anger, and the frustration he'd caused as soon as he hugged her. I couldn't allow that part of me out. I couldn't sacrifice my pride or my dignity for him, not after I worked so hard to reclaim it. I would see him when I was feeling stronger, when my feelings were sorted out, when I could look at him and just see an old friend who blew into town for a visit and who I knew would blow right back out again, when I could say hello, smile at him, give him a quick hug and a "Hey, how are you?" and then a "It's so good to see you again. Let's catch up later, but right now I have things to do." That's when I would greet him. For now, I just want to go out, and pretend he's not here.
I glanced back over at the clock and noticed only a half hour had passed. I suddenly felt panicked, that Logan would find me soon if I didn't get out of here. Suddenly nothing else mattered. Not Jubes, or dinner, or missions, or anything at all. I rolled off the bed and quickly changed into the jeans that I had strewn across my desk chair the night before and a t-shirt that I found on the floor inside of my open closet door. Once my boots were on I grabbed my purse and headed down the back steps. I thought it would help me to avoid him. I headed through the kitchen to the garage. As I passed the counter I heard voices in the next room, one of which was deep, and masculine, and very much Logan. I froze in place. My body just wouldn't move, despite my brain screaming at all of my nerve endings to make it so. My breathing quickened as I suddenly became aware of how close he really was, and how badly I wanted to see him, smell him, touch him.
"So I guess you will be with us indefinitely?" I heard Scott ask. He had that tone to his voice, the one he reserved for students who didn't hand in homework or papers, and for Logan.
"Yeah, looks like it," Logan replied. His voice was mesmerizing and no matter how much I wanted to move, I couldn't.
"We had to give your old room to some new students, but I'll be happy to show you to one of the empty ones on the third floor," Scott suggested.
"Sure, later, right now I want to get something to eat. It was a long drive," Logan said, in that voice he reserved strictly for Scott. It was somewhere between annoyance, arrogance, and plain old aggravation.
It was only hearing that sentence did my body finally decide it was time to move. I ducked out the way I had come in and made a bee line for the garage. I snatched a pair of keys off of the rack on the wall. A group of boys were milling around a car they were working on for shop class. I blew right by them, ignoring their questions and comments, and jumped into a small red car, one of Scott's favorites. The tires squealed as I peeled out of the garage and down the driveway. I didn't care if anyone was watching; if they stared at me and wondered what the hell I was doing. They wouldn't understand, couldn't understand, even if I did, or could, explain it. There was just too much going on in my head. Logically I knew that I would have to see him eventually, especially considering we were going to be living in the same house for the foreseeable future, not to mention fighting alongside each other. But my heart wasn't ready to see him. Maybe it never would be. For tonight though, I knew I just had to run. I think I've always had that instinct. It's what drew me to Alaska, and it's how I found Logan and the life I have now. I also think I got a little bit of it from Logan. He's affected me from the day I met him, and even more so since he touched me the first time. I wish that were a secret that only I knew, but it's not. Everyone close to me, and even some who aren't, know the truth. At least Logan doesn't know. Or I hope he doesn't. That's enough for now. Maybe I won't be able to hide it forever, but at least I have tonight. Tonight I can run and not have to see Logan. I'll have to go back tomorrow, maybe the day after, but by then I can be strong; I can be Rogue. I won't be Marie when I see him again after all this time. I'll be all grown up and not affected by his name, or his face, or his memory. That's what I'll keep telling myself until I can believe it's true.