“Three years?” She mused aloud. He had been watching her for three years but the super humans, as he called them, had just found her. She turned to him as the pieces started falling into place. “Luke, if this group of super humans just found me… who have I been running from all this time?”
“Well…” He looked ashamed. “Me. And the others before me who’ve watched you. We had to keep you moving. If you stayed in one spot too long, Jim was afraid the supers would find you sooner. He wanted to give you time. He had always hoped your mother would come back, but after her passing he wanted to give you as much time as he could. He figured this would be hard for you.”
Kenra was stunned. All this time she had really been running from her father, who apparently wasn’t the threat she thought he was. “How long until we get to my father’s?”
“We should be there sometime tomorrow, early evening. We’ll stop in a few hours to get some sleep,” he said. “We’re taking an indirect route to throw off anyone who might be following us.”
“Do you need me to drive any?” she asked.
He smiled. “No, I’ll be okay.”
There was only one more question she could think of, but she still didn’t want to know the answer. She was pretty sure that she already knew what Luke would say, but she didn’t want him to confirm her suspicions.
After a few moments of struggling with everything she had just heard, she sighed. “Luke, is it alright if we just talk about normal stuff?”
“Sure! What do you want to talk about?”
“Did you go to public school?” she asked. Being home-schooled, she often wondered at what it would have been like to go to regular school with regular kids.
“Yes, I went to a local school. Not many of ys do, but Jim wanted me to be comfortable around regular humans. I played on the football team. We were good. We went to the State Championship three years in a row and the last year we went to Nationals.” He seemed to sense she wanted to know what it was like to be a normal teenager, so he explained in detail about his friends, his teachers, his homework and school papers—anything that she had probably missed out on.
“How old are you?” she interrupted.
“I just turned nineteen,” he replied.
“Are you going to college now?” she asked.
“I’ve been taking some online classes for some business courses, but nothing serious… I’m kind of already set in a career.” She knew he was avoiding going any further because it would be outside the realm of normal.
“So why are you so attached to that hunk-of-junk motorcycle? You are always putting it back together,” he taunted her.
“Hey! That motorcycle is not junk! It’s gotten me where I’ve needed to go!” she defended.
“Fine,” he teased. “It’s not complete junk.”
Kenra loved that bike. After her mother died she had traded her mother’s station wagon for the motorcycle; she figured the lighter she could travel, the better.
“When I’m riding it, I feel so free. It’s like I don’t have a care in the world,” she sighed. Luke squeezed her hand gently. She had forgotten he was still holding it. She thought for a moment that she would trade the bike in for something safer, nicer—more normal—if he would just hold her hand forever. Afraid of where her thoughts were headed, she pulled her hand from his and smiled at him.
“So how many girlfriends do you have?” she teased, trying to change the subject and cover the blush on her face.
He chuckled. “None at the moment.”
Luke launched into some stories of his and his friends’ outings. None of them included a girlfriend, she noticed. They talked about simple things for a few hours.
She told him some of her dreams of finding a place to settle down, of getting married and having children, of having a real job and maybe even owning her own business. He listened intently to her. Besides Tara, she had never had anyone she could share her dreams with and it felt nice to have someone who seemed eager to listen. She hadn’t even been able to share them with her mother since they all involved her staying put. Such dreams would have ensured an argument.
It felt good to be able to share her hopes and not worry that Luke wouldn’t understand or would judge her for them, especially since they seemed so simple compared to most people’s dreams. The miles passed quickly as they laughed and reminisced about the good times in their lives.
A few hours after nightfall, he pulled off the highway and made his way to a small motel. It was not a very nice place, but she had stayed in far worse accommodations. Luke seemed anxious about something, but he said nothing as he parked the car. He asked her to wait while he went in the front office. When he came out, he got back in the driver’s seat and moved the car to another parking space along the backside of the motel out of sight from the street. There weren’t any other vehicles around.
When he turned off the ignition he turned to her. “Kenra, this is probably going to be uncomfortable, but I got us one room. I can’t let you be alone right now.”
Kenra glared warily at him. “I’m not going to run, Luke.”
“No.” He shook his head and continued. “It’s not that. I just want to make sure you are safe and I can’t do that if you are in another room. The room I got has two beds and everything, but I just need to be in the same room with you.” She searched his eyes and could tell that he was being forthcoming. She nodded her head to agree to the arrangements.
He jumped out of the car and was at her door in seconds, much faster than was humanly possible raising the question she refused to ask. When he opened the door, she looked up at him startled, but he just smiled and her concerns faded away. They made their way into the room. It was not very big, especially when Luke entered; he had a way of making every room seem small.
They didn’t say much. Both of them seemed to be embarrassed at the closeness. Kenra went into the bathroom and changed into her pajamas, thankful she had loungewear and nothing more revealing. Once she came out, she climbed in one of the double beds and hugged the blanket up to her chin, still feeling self-conscious.
“Good night,” she muttered. Luke was sitting at the small desk, looking over some maps.
He turned to her, dropped a gorgeous smile, and said, “Good night, Kenra.”
She closed her eyes, but she couldn’t sleep knowing he was so near. She felt so drawn to him and she wasn’t sure why. Even with her eyes closed, she could see his deep blue eyes and his brilliant smile. She heard his papers rustling and then the click of the light. She opened her eyes to watch him now that the room was enveloped in darkness.
He went into the bathroom for a moment and when he came out, she had to remind herself to breathe. He had taken his shirt off and even in the dim light of the bathroom she could see his rippling biceps and his chest corded with hard muscles. She shut her eyes against the startling awareness as he made his way past her bed.
When she didn’t hear him get into the other bed, she peeked out through her eyelashes and saw he was sitting at the window. He pulled the blinds barely back so he could see through them. He had a tattoo on his arm but she couldn’t make out what exactly it was. She watched him for a while, before sleep claimed her.
Luke heard Kenra’s breathing even out and knew she drifted off to sleep. He felt her eyes on him when he exited the bathroom but he didn’t want to embarrass her by grabbing his shirt again. He knew this had been a hard day for her and didn’t want to add to it.
Luke had been watching Kenra for so long that he thought he knew everything about her, but the vulnerability she showed today was new. It was also a shock that he felt so captivated by her. As a Protector, he would be drawn to the Link but right now that was Kenra’s father. Maybe it was because he had been following her, but somehow he felt there was something more.