I turn to him, our faces barely at a distance from each other, and I notice his eyes for the first time. They’re kind of breathtaking. “Oh my gosh,” I breathe as I move away from him, shaking my head clear. “This is way too cliché and beyond weird,” I tell him.
“What is?” he asks innocently.
“This. You. All of it,” I exclaim. “I’ve agreed to work with a company that has been stalking me for who knows how long, just to get me to help them do what I’ve already been doing successfully on my own.”
He nods his head in understanding. “Look, it’s really not as weird as I’ve been making it sound,” he tries to assure me. “We only watched you a few times and I only looked you up on social media a handful of times. In a nutshell, you’ve got the gift of spidey senses, while mine is remembering. You feel everything? I remember everything. Victor has the gift of discernment and prophecy. It doesn’t come to him very often, but every once in a while, he gets a prophecy and knows exactly who he needs to find and where he needs to find them. And Veronica? She has the gift of Faith. Even when we thought you wouldn’t join us, she knew you would. I know it didn’t seem like it when you talked to her, but I’m sure you can imagine how tiring it can be to be the one with extra faith. I mean, it’s exhausting enough to remember everything and I’m sure it’s exhausting to feel everything to, but to have more Faith than most in a world that is constantly trying to prove that faith is hopeless; well, you can imagine.”
“I can,” I answer somberly, moving back to him and finishing the cleaning of the bruises on his chest before moving to his arm. “Does it hurt,” I ask dumbly.
“No,” he answers breathing out. “Mostly it just stings, like a paper cut, but almost worse,” he explains.
After finishing up in a silence and wrapping his arm in a bandage, I ask, “Are you hurt anywhere else?”
“Yeah,” he says, breathing out again and spinning around in his seat. “I think he got me in the back and that one does hurt.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about this one first,” I gasp. “This is worse than the others.”
“I don’t know,” he answers. “I guess, I wanted to see your face while you took care of me. I wanted to see the emotions play in your eyes and expressions. I know that sounds creepy, but I swear it’s not. I just like to watch people.”
“No, it’s not,” I agree. “I like to watch people too, remember?”
“So, you do,” he says turning his head to smile at me.
“So, tattoos,” I say. “Like I said, cliché, but I’m curious. Do you have a story for them?”
“I do,” he answers simply. “And one day, I might tell you about them.”
“Fair enough,” I answer as I try to clean his back without hurting him. He flinches a few times, but I’m not sure if it’s in pain, because the meds are cold, or if it’s because he’s worried I’ll ask about the various scars on his back. I won’t. Like the tattoos, maybe he’ll tell me about them one day, but if he does, then it’s going to be on his own time and his own will.
“Where have you two been,” Veronica scolds when Mal and Xane return to the house.
“Mal’s Spidey senses were tingling, and it was kind of an emergency, so we had to leave immediately,” Xane answers.
“Really,” Veronica responds calmer than before. “Well, maybe you could give the rest of us a recap of what happened,” she suggested. “The rest of our team is very excited to meet you.”
“Yeah, of course,” Mal answers.
“Aleksandr,” she scolds. “What happened to you?”
“It’s part of the recap,” he answers smiling.
“Very well,” she states, leading us back to the meeting room.