I open my eyes from the deep sleep that held me and feel a small stab of pain when I see that I am in my old room instead of the institute. I lie on my front, propping myself up on my elbows and rubbing my tired face. I stop abruptly when I notice the scorch marks on my headboard. I reach out and stroke my fingers over the marks. Oh no. I wince at the memories of last night before taking a cautious glance to my right. Sure enough, John is asleep beside me. Oh man, how could I be so stupid?
"Hey," I poke him awkwardly on the arm. His eyes flutter open, and he smiles when he sees me.
"Good morning." He yawns.
"Last night was a mistake." I say bluntly. "You should go."
"Oh." He looks slightly insulted.
"My mom will be home from her night shift in half an hour." I stand from the bed and slip on my clothes from the night before.
"Evelyn," He says my name sweetly.
"Yeah?" I reply awkwardly, trying to ignore the memories.
"Last night..." He pauses, watching me.
"What about it?" I say coldly.
"Never mind." He sighs.
"Here." I throw his clothes in a big pile on top of the duvet that covers his body. "I'm going for a shower. By the time I get back, you won't be here, and I can work on convincing myself that last night never happened."
"But it did happen." His voice in my head stops me as I go to leave the room.
"I can't deal with this right now." I try to keep my tone strong. "Just go."
I leave my room and head to the bathroom. I take a long shower, cleansing my body and mind of all memories of yesterday. I sigh heavily when I notice the collection of small burns on my left forearm and hand. How did that even get there? Of course, the burns don’t hurt, but the fact they’re there in the first place clearly indicates my contact with John. Only a pyrokinetic could do that, any other fire could not mark my skin that way.
"Goodbye, Evelyn." John's stern voice fills my mind.
"Ardor." I correct.
"Whatever." I hear the front door slam downstairs as I step out of the shower. Nothing happened. I tell myself.
I quickly dress again, wearing the same jeans as yesterday. I slip my hand into the pocket and feel the rough texture of paper. I pull out the newspaper clipping with the photo of Scott on it. Tears brim my eyes. I'm crazy.
I was so stupid to let him go so easily. I wish I could just take it all back. I love him so much, and he doesn't even know. He doesn't realize that everything about him is heaven to me. I didn't tell him enough how much he meant to me. I can't let him go this easily, can I? He gave me everything I ever wanted. There is no way I could ever find another guy anywhere near as perfect as him.
"Evelyn, honey?" My mother's voice sings from downstairs. "You up yet? I need to talk to you."
"Yeah?" I call, leaving the bathroom and hurrying downstairs. "What's up?"
"Yesterday." She says simply. "Was that the John?"
"Yeah. That's him." I take a deep breath to suppress my emotions.
"Evi, Scott and the other students at the institute seemed so nice. John and that girl you brought him here with... I don't trust them." She admits.
"I know." I reply simply.
"I don't want to tell you who to hang out with, but I'm just letting you know how I feel." She explains.
"I know." I repeat. "Thank you, mom."
"Hey, you okay? You look a bit down." She strokes my fringe from my face slightly.
"I love you, mom." I hug her tightly, holding back the tears.
"What's all this about?" She hugs me back, resting her head atop my own. I shake my head against her shoulder, too weak to say any words. "Evelyn."
"Yeah?" I take a deep breath as I pull back from her.
"You're stronger than you think. You can get through this. You can get through anything." She whispers. "Go out there and show them how strong you are, honey."
"You're crazy, mom." I smirk through the now-flowing tears.
"But you still love me." She teases.
"Of course." I smile. "I've got to go. I'll talk to you later, yeah?"
"Yeah." She agrees.
I practically sprint upstairs into my room. I have an hour before I have to meet my new team. I shove my uniform and an excessive amount of makeup into a sports bag and leave the room, shutting the door behind me. I am thankful my mom never enters my room without my permission. If she did today, not only would she find a photograph that proved my connection to the X-Men, but she'd see a rather excessive amount of incriminating scorch marks on my bed.
I exit the house quickly, storming down the small street. I soon reach the edge of town, and set off down the street to find somewhere to make myself look like Ardor; the brave, strong mutant, and not Evelyn; the pathetic, weak little girl.
I stop when I walk past the newspaper stall that stands proudly on the side of the street. I look down at one of the stacks of papers, the headline catching my eye. "AN X-MAN DOWN?". Jeez, I've only been gone two days!
"Unbelievable." I mutter.
"Isn't it just?" A man beside me speaks up. "They say the others are refusing to comment on what happened to her."
"In my opinion," Another one starts. "They're better off without her."
I pout and roll my eyes.
"I agree." The first man replies. "Didn't she create all the problems in the first place?"
"Her name is Ardor." I cut in, placing the paper back on the pile and igniting it, causing all of the newspapers to burn up in seconds. I hear the gasps behind me as I walk away.
"Yeah, police?" A guy says, obviously having just called 911. "You're not gunna believe what just happened here!"