"John! She better be here!" My angry thoughts call out to the mutant hiding somewhere in the dark foliage of the park.
"She is." He speaks aloud, stepping out from the trees. "She's got back about an hour ago. Thanks for helping her." There is something covering his face, but I cannot quite tell what.
"What are you wearing?" I roll my eyes and make my way towards him. I am stopped in my tracks, however, when I see what covers his eyes. "That's... Scott's visor... Wh- Where did you get that?"
"Voltage brought it back as a souvenir. Looks pretty good on me, right?" You've gotta be kidding me right now?! That... Argh! I calm my thoughts. I have to play this cool.
"Yeah, I guess it does." I approach him more now.
"You like it?" If I was being honest, I'd tell him how freaking stupid he looks, but I'm not. I want to play around with him a bit more.
"I do," I move even closer to his body, reducing the inches between our faces. "I really do. You look really hot in that."
"Oh yeah?" He smiles proudly.
"Yeah." I place my left hand gently on his cheek. "Better than Scott, in fact."
"Really?" His smile grows.
"No, not really!" I yell, driving my fist into his stomach and pulling the visor from his face. "Give me that, asshole!"
"Owww." He moans, bending over his winded abdomen. "What was that for?"
"Tell your girlfriend to stay away from Scott." I growl.
"Okay, okay. Maybe I deserved that." He pants, trying to regain the breath I stole from him. "But Voltage isn't my girlfriend."
"Ground rules," I state strongly. "Never again will you guys cross with the X-Men. I don't want this getting ugly, and if Scott finds out about you, there will be a large optic-blast-shaped hole in your chest, got it?"
"Jeez. Fine!" John's reaction makes him seem like a spoilt child.
"Secondly, keep her away from my boyfriend. Period." I don't care if I helped her escape, it doesn't mean I like her. "And finally, try to make sure we don't kill each other. After being thrown out of a window by Miss Sparky yesterday, I'm not feeling too safe with you guys."
"She did what?" John seems angry at my words.
"I'm willing to forget it, as long as it never happens again." I cross my arms to assert my authority.
"Okay. Deal. I'll talk to her." He sighs. "So, the X-Man would really come after me if he found out?"
"Don't call him that. But yes. You can count on it." I state with confidence. Scott is very protective, and not very forgiving. On top of that, I've not really given him a reason to like John. "I probably won't get off lightly either."
"He just appears more and more controlling and uptight each time you talk about him." We walk into the trees together.
"He's not. He just likes to know that I'm safe." I smile at the thought. "And sometimes he can be a bit jealous, we both can."
"So, he'd be jealous of me?" John raises his eyebrows and smirks.
"Yes, John, he probably would." I roll my eyes again.
"That's... Satisfying." He laughs slightly.
"Don't be nasty." I poke his arm roughly.
"I'm not." He shrugs, stopping and turning to face me. I copy him. "I just like the fact he thinks that I'm a threat."
"Any guy is a threat in Scott's eyes, especially ones that don't follow the rules." It's true. Scott's possessiveness is more than excessive at points.
"But I'm more of a threat than most." He whispers, stepping towards me. I step back into a tree and gasp at the contact, before leaning back against its trunk.
"How so?" I look into his eyes, the blue in them mixes into the darkness of the night.
"Well, you've already admitted that you find me attractive. And then there's our connection." He places his hands either side of my head, trapping me. "And I don't see you sneaking out to see any other guy in the middle of the night."
"I didn't admit anything; you went through my private thoughts!" Although his body pins me to the tree trunk, I don't feel uncomfortable. The close proximity of his warm skin is quite nice, actually. "And the way you say 'sneaking out' makes it sound like I'm having some kind of affair. I'm here because of our telepathic connection, nothing more."
"Who knows?" He shrugs. "Maybe we will be having 'some kind of affair' soon?"
"Nope." I smile sarcastically. "Never gunna happen."
"The bet's not over yet, Evelyn." He brings his face even nearer to mine. "You forget so easily that I have been in your mind. I know what makes you fall in love, Miss James."
"Not you." I reply wittily.
"I wouldn't be so sure." He whispers tenderly. He slowly strokes his hand through my hair, locking his eyes with my own. "Isn't it beautiful how the connection we have strengthens when our eyes meet?"
"I- I hadn't n-noticed." My stuttered response is clearly a lie. I had noticed. Of course I had. How could I not? Now, as I allow myself to be lost in the sea of blue, I feel a wave of emotion wash over me. It feels as if we are connected in every conceivable way. Our bodies, our minds, our souls - all linked. I feel his heart beat in sync with my own and sense every breath that he takes. I swallow hard and bite my lip. His face nears mine more now, but I don't feel any inclination to move away. I hear the contented sigh slip from my lips and notice his mouth twitch into a small smile. I close my eyes and let the peace of the moment consume me.
"You are beautiful, Evelyn James." His thoughts are faint in my mind, just loud enough for me to hear. I feel his warm breath against my skin as he reduces the already minute space between us. I feel Scott's visor slip from my fingers, as all of the muscles in my body relax. And then, finally, our lips touch.
"No!" I pull away immediately. "I- I can't do this. I'm sorry. I ha- I have to go!"
I bend down to retrieve the visor from the floor and sprint from the trees. From the park. From John. My breath wavers at the thought of what just happened. That was it - I almost kissed John. But the worst part is that the words he had said echo in my mind.
The bet's not over yet, Evelyn.