- A Serialized Novel -

This isn't a superpower. It's a curse.

Back on Track, Maybe

Like I said—It hurt.

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April smacked him right across the face. “Listen to me, you idiot. I am not working for anyone. I am not a liar. You know me better than that. I love you. I don’t know where this stupid idea came from, but I am not pretending. You unbelievable moron! I’ve stood by you when you turned into a five year old after kissing me. I stood by you after the gummy bears and the spandex and the whining! This is not—You really think that I could lie like that? That I would marry someone that I didn’t love just because of an assignment? I gave you my father’s coat. I married you with my mother’s ring. These are not little things, not to me. I have helped you chase conspiracies and recover from horrific beatings and I rescued you—more than once—and you think all of that is just… a lie? How dare you say that?”

Clayton rubbed his cheek, shaking his head. “You didn’t answer me. You don’t just get training like you have, like what you taught me, without something. You rescued me in the middle of a warehouse full of armed men and dragged me out of there mostly on your own! How can you sit there and tell me that isn’t suspicious? You can’t. I need an explanation, not a joke.”

“I don’t feel like giving you one now,” she began, shaking her head. “You—I am so angry. And hurt. How could you say that to me? After all of this, you still think that it’s got to be a lie? When you know how I feel about lying? I want to strangle you right now. I mean it. You are so frustrating. If it’s not your self-doubt or self-pity, then it’s your suspicion. Don’t you get it? Don’t you see what this really is?”

Clay turned away from her. He didn’t know how to face her—still unable to believe what she was saying and wanting to almost desperately. He’d held onto her because she was the one good thing in his life, but now he’d managed to put doubts about her into his head, and he couldn’t seem to get rid of them. He didn’t want to fight with her, he didn’t want to believe that she was lying to him, but what was he supposed to do? Pretend that he didn’t feel like this? It had actually hit him harder than anything else—not the fact that he’d almost died, not the conspiracy, not the fact that he was some kind of lab creation, or even the discovery of his ability in the first place. Not having April…

She touched his back, and he looked at her. She sighed. “You have a very wild imagination, and I wonder if maybe you could have really used that somehow—making your superhero thing into a great game for kids or a story or a movie or those cute costume parties you considered throwing—instead of this. Hurting yourself. Hurting me. Chasing shadows and monsters that don’t exist. You don’t have to be paranoid like this; you know that. I didn’t marry you because anyone ordered me to, and quite frankly, I don’t think they could pay anyone enough to that. I love you, my not-so-bright and not-so-super superhero. You can’t push me away because I didn’t answer one question.”

Clay reached up to cover her hand, closing his eyes for a moment. “I don’t know what to think anymore, April. This whole conspiracy has me up and down and all over the place, and I am scared. I’m scared of taking the next step, scared of what might go wrong, scared of it going right and what happens if it’s really over. Scared of what I might find, scared of what I could become… And then I go and screw up the one thing I need the most. Classic me. Classic self-sabotage, right?”

“Sounds like you, yes,” she agreed, moving over to stand in front of him. She put her hands on his face, and he winced when she touched the still sore spot where she’d hit him. She stepped up and kissed it gently. “You don’t have to do this. We don’t have to be scared of what’s coming or what we’re going to find. You can be excited because it’s over.”

“And… If we don’t really want it to be over?”

“Why wouldn’t we want it to be over?”

“Because then the story’s done. There’s nothing left. There’s just… the end.”

“Okay, clearly I have told you everyone dies at the end way too many times,” April muttered, rolling her eyes. “You silly man. This is where the story changes. Happily ever after isn’t really an ending. It’s a cop-out and a lie because we all know it doesn’t work that way, but even if someone were to write the words ‘the end’ after all of this, that doesn’t mean our story stops. Our story goes as long as we’re alive, and you… Well, you might never die.”

“Again—life without you? Not worth it. Can’t you just admit that you’re the superhero and you have a secret power and that’s why you have all that training? Please?”

She tapped a finger on his lips. “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”

“You said I can’t die.”

“Said you might not die.”

“Knowing me, I’ll go out in a flaming ball of spandex or something, but yeah,” he agreed, kissing her. “Should I say ‘we have ways of making you talk?’”

She laughed. “You have a terrible accent for a man with a linguistics degree.”

“It’s supposed to be terrible in that quote.”


“Okay, admit it. Your superpower is being able to love me in spite of everything.”

She laughed and drew him close to her again. “Exactly.”

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