The Need Boxset(3)By: K.I. Lynn & N. Isabelle Blanco
“Ask her to do it, then. I’m tired of stepping on those freaky detachable feet.”
Kira scowls at Ryan before turning to take a look around at what we’d built. “Whoa. You guys put this together all by yourselves?”
Ryan and I nod.
She turns around in a circle, silently scanning her surroundings for a few.
My breath feels weird. Like it’s having a hard time coming out. I’m impatient all the time, want what I want when I want it, and waiting for her opinion is driving me nuts!
She stops in front of us and gives us this grudging nod, smirking. “Good job, guys. I’m impressed. Maybe you two aren’t so useless after all.”
I laugh with relief. Freaking smartass. I’ve known her for a year and I still haven’t gotten used to it.
Ryan shakes his head at his sister. “I tell you all the time, but you never believe me.”
“That’s because I live with you and know what you’re like.”
Ryan scowls and opens his mouth.
“Ryan Xavier Roth! You come down here right now. I told you to put away your socks before you could play and they’re all over your bed!” Mrs. Roth screams up from the ground.
Ryan groans and rolls his eyes upward.
Kira giggles. “Go on, Xavier. You know how she gets.” She salutes him. “We shall keep your academy safe for you while you’re gone, Professor.”
X-Men references. Man, she’s so freaking cool it hurts sometimes.
“Shut it, Paisley,” he throws her own middle name back at her, sulking over to the tree house opening.
“Shut up!” Kira all but screeches. She hates her middle name, loses her mind anytime anyone mentions it. She swears she’s going to change it once she’s older. “And the name is Mystique to you, fool!”
I like my friends equally. Most of the time. Sometimes, I like Kira more. Especially when she talks X-Men.
“Mom, Kira called me a fool!” Ryan whines on his way down.
“You are one for thinking you could get away with not putting those socks in their right place,” Mrs. Roth grumbles.
Kira giggles again, turning her smile on me. “Guess it’s just us guarding the academy now, Wolverine.”
Scratch that. When she calls me that, I like her more than Ryan. Coolest best friend ever. “Yes, but how do I know this isn’t a trap? We all know you work for Magneto, Mystique.” I play along, standing straight and puffing out my chest, trying to imitate Hugh Jackman’s stance in the movie.
“I’d betray him for you any day,” she says softly.
I feel like someone just rammed their fist into my gut. “You . . . you would?”
And then we smile at each other, the same smile we always give each other when we’ve just finished tricking Ryan. It’s that smile that says, We got away with it. But I have no idea why we’re giving each other this smile now, what we managed to accomplish.
Suddenly, she walks right up to me and throws her little arms around my waist, hugging me.
She always hugs me. And I like it, so I always hug back. Like now. I wrap her in my arms and use my cheek to push her cat ears out of the way so I can rest my head on top of hers. I don’t know how long we stand like that. Feels like forever.
Eventually, though, Kira pulls back, looking confused. “Is it me, or is he taking way too long to get back here? I mean, they’re just socks.”
I shrug, annoyed that I don’t want to let her go. What’s wrong with me? I don’t know any other boy that likes to hug girls as much as I do. Well, not girls. Just her. “Maybe he got stuck in the toilet.”
She laughs happily, making her way back to the opening. “Yeah, well, let me go check on him.”
That’s another thing I like about her. Ryan might annoy her sometimes, but she adores him. And anyone that adores him earns points with me.
“Kira, wait. I’ll come with you.” I walk to the opening and kneel down to follow her.
The ladder snaps and all I hear is Kira screaming.
Terror shoots through me and I throw my body down on the floor. I reach out the door on instinct and sigh in relief when I find her hand gripping the edge of the platform. She’s hanging on by one hand, whimpering. Scared, tear-filled eyes look up at me as one of her flip flops slips off her foot and falls to the ground.
I wrap both hands around her wrist and pull, but I’m not strong enough to pull her up by myself. What the hell? She weighs nothing. Why can’t I lift her? My heart is roaring in my ears.
“Gimme your other hand.”
She looks up at me and shakes her head. Fear has her frozen and she’s slipping from my grasp. I brace my feet against the wall and try to pull her up that way, but she’s dead weight. Why? Oh God, why can’t I lift her? I just did it a little while ago with no effort.