2. Jacket Strings

A golden stream of sunlight warmed my skin.

Jullian leaned back onto the arm of the chair next to the window. The movement put him directly in the ray of sunshine making his brown eyes shimmer. He had short, black wavy hair that just reached his ears. His expression was calm but focused, it would almost seem intimidating if it weren’t for his braces and messy hairstyle. They gave him a boy-ish charm.

He fiddled with the string on his jacket. Given the situation, I did appreciate his fashion. He wore a black sweatshirt with white details on the chest. His light wash jeans were distressed at the knees and fell to his shoes. Simple enough but he accessorized with a few silver rings and necklaces.

I moved back over to the bed I had just laid on. He didn’t say anything and just watched me take in my surroundings.

I leaned over to look out of the window. Trees, grass, sky.

Well, that’s concerning. As someone who was raised in the city I haven’t really had my chance at learning the wilderness. I couldn’t tell you if these were the woods right outside my county or right in the middle of the amazon.

I shifted my attention to indoors. A black dresser sat next to the door, and directly across from the bed, a lovers seat. There was a side table next to the bed, and a chair next to the window, where Jullian sat.

The sun’s tired glow stretched through the slightly cracked window, lighting the room. I didn’t see any pictures or decorations that showed it was someone’s room, only simple space fillers contributing to the ‘look’.

There was a black and gray theme to the decor with details of red, making it somewhat modern for a wooden cabin. Someone definitely came from money.

On the floor next to the foot of the bed sat my old clothes and shoes in a pile. I raised an eyebrow and looked down at myself. I was wearing an oversized plain gray shirt and some red and navy pajama pants.

“They got ruined in the explosion,” said Jullian. I looked up at him. He tilted his head to rest on the windowpane and looked up at me apologetically. “Sorry ’bout that by the way. We were gonna toss them, but Rosemary said to never throw away a girl’s clothes. The girls didn’t have enough time to bring their stuff over so I just let you wear mine. Not that I….I mean I didn’t, you know…. we let the girls do that part, like we would never….yeah.” He let out an awkward cough and started picking at his jacket strings again.

I sighed. This is unbelievable. I thought about making a move to jump out the window, or running through the house for the exit and attacking anyone who tries to stop me, but I don’t.

My toxic trait is thinking that I could easily escape a house of multiple people. He doesn’t seem to be a threat, but then again what kind of people would kidnap someone after an explosion instead of taking them to a hospital. I decided to play it safe.

“Why am I here?” I questioned.

“Why are any of us here?” Kenji said, opening the door and plopping down on the bed next to me. He picked up a pillow and placed it over the top half of his face.

“Why are there sidewalks in the Cars movie when they literally are all cars? Why do people stop the microwave ONE second before it beeps? I guess these are all questions we will just never have the answer to.” He smiled, flashing a perfect row of teeth.

Suddenly, he lifted the pillow and threw it at Jullian, who then caught it and threw it back, only for Kenji to duck behind me allowing me to be smacked in the face.

Kenji burst into laughter, his body shaking with his chuckles causing his curly hair to fall to his eyes. He had brown skin and full soft shaped lips. His Thick, dark eyebrows were perfectly arched giving him a pretty boy look.

“Seriously guys, knock it off.” Rosemary says, walking in and grabbing me by the hands leading me to the love seat to sit with her. “She just survived an explosion, do you think she wants to wake up to two idiots hitting her in the face with a pillow?”

“How’s Anthony doin?” Jullian asked, standing up. His playful expression fading back focused.

She shrugged and began pulling her long black hair into a bun. “He’s….alright I guess. Surprisingly no serious injuries but he’s…in a mood.”

Reaching into her pocket she whipped out her phone and began holding it in the air to examine her features and pick at her eyelashes.

“Bruh, when is he not in a mood? That guy is like walking depression.” Kenji said as he stood and walked over to a space with an empty wall. “You’d think being able to say he saved a chick and survived a badass explosion would be enough to put a smile on his face.” Kenji huffed and started doing handstands using the wall to balance himself.

Just then Anessa walked in and pushed his feet making him lose balance “Really Kenji, in what world would that put a smile on anyone’s face? In fact we should all be depressed right now, because we failed our mission.” Anessa said, taking a seat next to Rosemary. “And stop doing that, before you put a hole in the wall.”

“Actually, we didn’t completely fail.” Kenji said, walking over to a backpack sitting by the door and pulling out a stack of brown folders. “I managed to save some of the files I pulled from the main office. Can you believe that? Literally who keeps paper files these days?”

He strode over to Anessa and made a gesture to hand them to her. When she made a move to grab them, he quickly snatched them up, holding them out of her reach with a grin. She put her hands down and glared at him clearly unamused. Giving up, he rolled his eyes and lightly smacked the top of her head with the papers before dropping them on her lap. “I was going to say something but was too occupied by the exploding dead girl and forgot.”

I gasped. Had they killed someone? Were they going to kill me next?

“He’s talking about you.” Rosemary said reassuringly. ” When we brought you here we thought you were dead.” She squeezed my hands and frowned.

“Yeah bro, there was blood all over you and you were all limp with your eyes rolled back, scared the crap outta me. Definitely not a pretty sight.” Kenji cringed.

Anessa rolled her eyes “But thankfully you still had a pulse and I was able to save you.” She explained.

“With my help.” Kenji added proudly.

“And how exactly were you able to save me? Why didn’t you take me to a hospital or call just 911? I have no idea who you people are or where I am and the last thing I remember is going to bed after an argument with my parents, next thing I know, I wake up in a strange lab without them and almost die in an explosion!”

I noticed Anthony walked into the room. He kept quiet as he trudged over to stand with the rest of the group.

Seeing him reminded me of the fear I felt. The similar fear I currently have from waking up and once again not knowing who I’m with or where I am.

Was this normal for them? There was a squeeze in my chest and my hands trembled. Fear welcoming anger. Are they being serious right now? This has to be some kind of joke.

“Uhhh, is she okay?” Kenji asked, eyeing me carefully.

“Anthony, we may need you to calm her down.” Rosemary called.

Jullian walked over and kneeled in front of me. “Guys she’s fine, just give her some space, we still don’t know what she can do yet.”

Everyone moved to the other side of the room as Jullian placed his hands on top of mine. He spoke softly, slowly letting me hear every word.

“Hey, hey just look at me. Like I mentioned before, my name is Jullian. That’s Anthony, the one you met in the fire. This is Kenji, and they are Anessa and Rosemary.”

They each gave their own small gesture of a greeting.

“We are not trying to scare or hurt you. That building you were in was a bad place, and we were looking for someone in that building but when they weren’t there we started destroying it so no one could ever be brought back there again. That’s when Anthony found you. The fire had got out of control, the building exploded, and we panicked and brought you back here. That’s all. I promise.”

He stared up at me in sympathy. I could almost feel the sincerity in his eyes, the honesty in the invisible circles he lightly traced on my hands. I suppose the story did sound plausible. Although I knew it was wrong to automatically accuse them without even hearing their side, I couldn’t bring myself to feel bad about it. People didn’t exactly have a golden track record of being honest or trustworthy with me.

They may not be a threat, but I was still in danger. Someone kidnapped me and I needed answers.

“Did you see my parents? Do you know if they were in the explosion?” I bit the inside of my cheek, almost wincing at the sound of my voice cracking. I was alone when I woke up in the lab. They could’ve been in one of those rooms.

“Not…that we know of. The building was vacant when we got there, except for you.”

Except….for me. I didn’t try to hold the tears. I let them fall one by one until heavy streams rushed down my cheeks and onto my chin. I should be happy, relieved. If they weren’t in the explosion then they could possibly be alive and safe, looking for me. So why aren’t I? Why was there still a pit in my stomach and a tingle in my mind whispering that something just wasn’t right?

Jullian’s eyes softened as he pulled me into a tight hug. “Don’t worry, we’ll do everything we can to help you find your parents.” His warm arms held me as I dried my eyes. I’m safe and that’s good enough for now. I took a steady breath, wiping my tears away and cleared my throat.

“But we’re also going to need your help.” Rosemary stepped forward and placed a hand on my shoulder. “We need you to tell us what your power is and everything you can remember about your capture.”

I pulled away from Jullian and stared up at her.

“My what?”

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