Yes, we DO love to torture our characters *evil grin*.
A short time after the events in chapter 5, Lejla tends an ailing Piotr and learns that the flu is not the only reason for his cranky attitude.
Blue reprises a character she played at X-Corp – Cecelia Reyes, and we hope neonix25 does not mind that we borrowed Angelo for a brief interaction with Lejla.
“I feel fine.”
“And you’re a terrible liar.” Cecelia Reyes said, eyeing the tall Russian. “Neal told Dr. Mc Coy you’ve been coughing all night and you didn’t look too good this morning. Hank sent me to check up on you, and I must concur that you look like you’ve been hit by a bulldozer.” Cecelia folded her arms over her chest, glancing over the Russian. He was absolutely haggard.
“My time is just confused from the plane trip; I’m tired, that is all.” Piotr said before lapsing into a fit of coughing.
“Nice try big guy, but that doesn’t explain that. Now sit.” Cecelia pointed to the bed behind him.
“But…I…have…to…to,” His continuous coughing made it impossible for Piotr to finish his sentence.
“Sit!” She barked at the teen.
With a wince at her sternness, he grudgingly sat down on the side of his bed.
“Thank you.” She smiled sweetly, placing the back of her hand against Piotr’s forehead. “You’re pretty warm,” her brows furrowed, a bit more concerned, “Hold this under your tongue.”
Piotr obeyed the bossy woman. After a few moments, Dr. Reyes took the thermometer from his mouth. “Hmm, coughing fits, tiredness, chills, and a borderline temp – looks like you caught a pretty nasty cold, or it could be an early sign of the flu.”
“Flu?!” Piotr’s voice pitched with shock and irritation. “I do not have the flu…I don’t have chills.”
“Then why are you shivering?” She asked with an arch of her brow.
“I’m not!” He bleated, trying to keep his rebel body from shaking, but it only made him ache all the more. “Classes start today and I—” The older woman’s ‘know-it-all’ attitude was beginning to irk Piotr.
“And you’re not going.” Cecelia said bluntly. “The only things you need to be doing are getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, and taking antibiotics. Classes will still be here when you’re better. Plus, I don’t need you spreading your viral germs to every student at Xavier’s.” She added with a small smirk. She placed the tall glass of orange juice she had been holding on the nightstand. “And here’s a head start on the ‘drinking fluids’ part – you’ll thank me for this later. You’ll be feeling pretty crummy within the next hour or so. I’ll be back once I get some antibiotics from the lab.” Cecelia concluded before leaving the room, shutting the door behind her.
The Russian groaned. Despite the puffiness of his eyes, he glared at the glass of orange juice. His face was flushed with heat, making the pressure in his head increase. His throat was annoyingly dry and sore when he swallowed, and his body trembled with sporadic shivers.
“AH-CHOO!” he sniffed, “I am not sick.” He muttered with a croak.
Piotr Rasputin did not get sick.
Always pretty healthy, he hadn’t been sick since he was a small child. Growing up in a country where winter temperatures varied from 16 to 18 degrees below freezing made having a strong immune system a must. He was in Russia for a whole month, only to return to New York and get sick?
I guess this would be an example of irony. The Russian thought bitterly, remembering Ms. Braddock’s English class. Piotr looked down at his sleeping clothes, which consisted of blue plaid pajama pants and a white T-shirt. The thought of English terminology reminded Piotr he needed to get dressed so he wouldn’t be late for class.
Stubbornly rising to his feet and feeling the vertigo of standing up too quickly, Piotr had to close his eyes. With slumped shoulders, he subconsciously moaned as he dragged over to his shared closet. Each footstep felt like he was walking on a bed of needles that shot unnerving pains up his body. Extending his arms to pull through the articles of clothing made his shoulders ache.
His empty stomach beginning to feel unsettled, he decided to skip breakfast. The thought of seeing a certain Bosnian girl in the dining hall further weakened his desire. Ever since their little ‘reunion’ yesterday, Piotr felt uncomfortable around her for reasons he couldn’t explain. It was confusing, and thinking about it made his head hurt.
Piotr didn’t feel like hearing (or rather ‘seeing’) Lejla give him the same ‘stay in bed’ lecture that Dr. Reyes had given him.
She probably hasn’t even noticed I’m not there. She is probably too busy talking to Doug.
Piotr frowned, despite the pressure it caused in his forehead. His bitter thoughts of Lejla spending time with ‘Language Boy’ tightened his chest. A spate of coughing followed as he tried to focus on finding something to wear instead of his growing fever.
Lejla wasn’t sure she was looking forward to sharing breakfast with Piotr. Although he’d been gone a month, dinner last evening was scarcely delightful. Sullen and unyielding, he’d hardly said more than two sentences.
Still hopeful a good night’s sleep had tempered his attitude; Lejla stood in the doorway scanning the room. She sighed, Piotr’s large form was hard to miss and it was clearly absent. Jeanne-Marie motioned for her to join the table where she, Carol and Fred were already seated when a voice from over her shoulder made her jump.
“Ey, Chica, I don’t think ‘e’s comin’ down.”
Lejla pivoted to face the familiar sound, cocking a delicate eyebrow at Angelo’s assumption that she was looking for his roommate.
His lips quirked in a self-satisfied smirk, “Don’t look at me like you don’t know who I’m talkin’ bout Leli. Your boyfriend kept us up all night with his coughing. I don’t think he’s goin’ nowhere.”
Lejla tuned into one word, so much so that she missed the rest of Angelo’s information. Boyfriend? Is that what everyone thinks? The idea gave her pause. It was something she and Piotr had never even named themselves. Granted, they’d had very little opportunity to explore the new physical side of their relationship, but how many other students were aware that things had changed. Had there been others in the hall when she kissed Piotr yesterday?
Angelo waved a hand in front of her face. “What’s a matter wit you this morning
Leli?” His twist of his lips was even more pronounced, as if he knew he’d ferreted out some hidden secret. “Ruski boy is sick as a dog. When I left the room, he was still in bed.” Jerking his head in the direction of an empty table, he added, “Why don’t ya come over and eat wit me? We ain’t had a talk in a long time.”
Lejla’s eyebrows knit as Angelo spoke. Piotr sick? That would account for his distraction at dinner, and how he had dismissed her afterward. She’d spent the rest of the evening wandering the hallways looking for Jono to ease her anxiety.
She shook her head apologetically. Although their friendship was on the mend, her concern for Piotr’s condition far outweighed Angelo’s invitation to share breakfast. < Maybe another time. > Lejla signed. Not waiting for an answer, she turned toward the buffet line.
“Ella Diablo!” He called at her retreating back.
Lejla’s smirk matched his own. She’d known Angelo long enough to recognize that name. It wasn’t like he was the first to call her that... or the last.
“Hope you know what you’re getting into roomie,” Angelo muttered, stalking off in search of Roberto.
A few minutes later Lejla was at Piotr’s door with a heavily laden breakfast tray. She’d picked out a sampling of the mornings offerings – waffles with syrup and sausage links – primarily for herself, a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and two glasses of orange juice. Mama had added a large mug of hot tea with honey and lemon after Lejla informed her of Piotr’s illness, promising to make him chicken soup for lunch.
Setting the tray on the floor, Lejla knocked with the back of her hand. After hearing a grunt that sounded like Piotr, she retrieved the tray and turned the knob without waiting for explicit consent.
She shouldered her way into the room, eyes immediately seeking her friend. He didn’t look very happy to see her, but Lejla expected that. She brought the tray over to his desk despite his protestations. She didn’t care how ornery he’d been last night or might be even now. She was determined not to abandon him in his time of need.
Ella Diablo – She-devil
Piotr turned around at the creaking sound of his bedroom door. Thankfully, it wasn’t Dr. Reyes coming to force him into bed again; unfortunately, it was Lejla.
Piotr eyed the massive amount of food on the tray Lejla placed on his desk. He sighed, turning his attention back to his closet. Apparently, his roommate had not only told Dr. Reyes of his ailment. Lejla didn’t really expect him to eat all that did she? He felt his stomach churn at the thought of the sausage links he usually loved.
“Did Neal tell you I was sick as well?” Piotr questioned the red girl, a bit exasperated with his roommate at the moment. Had she not cared about his whereabouts until his roommate told her? Of course not. Why should she? Doug was there to keep her company after all…
“I am not sick.” He said offensively, pulling a short-sleeved navy blue shirt from the closet before turning to face Lejla. To the Russian, the room seemed much too hot for a long-sleeved shirt. Clutching it in his hand, Piotr was oblivious to the fact that he had picked up one of Neal’s shirts (clearly too small for him) instead of his own. Neither did he notice that he had not retrieved any jeans.
“Thank you,” he said, glancing with slight nausea at the tray on his desk, “But I am not hungry.” His gruff tone sounding distant, he crept slowly past Lejla to the bathroom.
“I am just going to go to…cuh-classss…” Piotr’s words slurring, he closed his eyes tightly and reopened them hoping to stop the banging headache that was steadily increasing. The coughing started again, causing him to drop the shirt in his hand. The Russian put a fist to his mouth trying to cease his continuous dry cough. He winced; his overheated body ached worse. “I’m fine,” he said weakly when the coughing finally stopped. “it is only a small cough.”
“Classes will be starting soon,” his voice sounded just as bad as he looked, “I must get re—” Piotr never finished his sentence. He felt warm fluid trickle into his mouth from the back corners of his tongue. A stronger fluid rushing up his esophagus, Piotr cupped his mouth before retreating into the bathroom.
A horrid sound of vomiting could be heard as the Russian emptied his stomach of previous night’s dinner. His throat burned with a nasty acidic taste when his stomach had nothing else to reject.
Flushing the toilet, Piotr returned the bedroom where Lejla stood. His face extremely flushed, he clapped one hand over his stomach. His other hand pulled back the short strands of hair sticking to his damp forehead. He let out a small groan before weakly leaning against the wall.
Piotr Rasputin did not get sick…
Lejla frowned at Piotr’s sorry state, closer examination revealing an unhealthy color and sunken eyes. If he’d awakened his roommates, he must not have slept very well either.
She crossed her arms impatiently when she realized why he was rummaging through his closet. He’s going to get dressed? In Lejla’s opinion, the way Piotr looked, he shouldn’t have gotten out of bed.
He eventually paused long enough to glance at her. “Did Neal tell you I was sick as well?”
< I look for you in dininghall. Angelo tell me you sick. > Lejla gestured at the tray, < Want eat breakfast with you. Bring you hot tea and cereal. >
“I am not sick.” He said offensively, pulling a short-sleeved navy blue shirt from the closet before turning to face Lejla. “Thank you,” he said, glancing with slight nausea at the tray on his desk, “But I am not hungry.”
Piotr’s brief disparaging look at the food and Lejla understood she’d probably erred in that department. She watched disapprovingly while he brushed past her. Following him to the doorway of his bathroom, she recrossed her arms and leaned against the frame.
“I am just going to go to…cuh-classss….” Piotr’s attempted declaration was interrupted by a fit of hacking. Just before Lejla thought he was about to cough up a lung, he finally regained his voice. “I’m fine,” he said weakly, “it is only a small cough.”
Only a SMALL cough? Lejla wanted to ask him, and would have if he were facing at her. As it was, signing anything would have been wasted effort. If he thought he was leaving this room if she could help it...
“Classes will be starting soon,” his voiced sounded just as bad as he looked, “I must get re—”
Piotr hurriedly pushed past her into the bathroom. Suspecting what was to follow, Lejla ducked her head and looked away. Although she felt bad for the Russian, the mere sound turned her own stomach a bit sour. Hoping that he would be okay, she stayed motionless, bringing her head up only at the sound of rushing water.
He returned to the bedroom in even worse condition than a few minutes earlier. Lejla had enough of his talk. Maybe the obstinate budala would finally come to the same conclusion, but she wasn’t going to take any chances. Getting his attention, she sternly signed < Go back to bed Piotr >.
She didn’t stop there. Approaching him carefully, she linked her leather-clad arm through one of his. Although by no means superhuman, Lejla was a great deal stronger than her size suggested. Gentle but firm, she guided Piotr back to his bed.
Once she maneuvered him to the side of his mattress, Lejla used her arm to force him to sit down. She didn’t spare him a short lecture, Lejla-style. < Why you so stubborn? You need rest, not school. Not hurt you miss today. Maybe I go get blue doctor? > Lejla expected some kind of argument, particularly about the last thing that she’d signed. Her face was drawn with concern, having felt his fever through their brief contact. Fingers itching to smooth his sweat-matted hair, she didn’t chance touching him. Piotr didn’t need any accidental lacerations on top of everything else.
budala (Serbian) - fool, idiot
< Go back to bed Piotr >.
Piotr frowned. He hated when people acted like they knew what was best for him. He was physically strong and extremely prideful. There was no way a little ‘flu bug’ was going to keep him out of class today.
“Nyet.” He said simply and sternly to the small red girl.
Apparently, she didn’t hear him, because Lejla proceeded to loop her arm in his and pull him toward his bed. Piotr was irritated by Lejla’s bossy action, but his body ached too much to try and snatch his arm from her. Besides, he really didn’t want to lose an arm to her razor skin.
“Lejla,” he intended for her name to come out his mouth with authority instead of a weak whine, “Stop it, I am going to class. Are you listening to me?” The red girl ignored his feeble rants, pushing him on to his bed.
Gah, she is stronger than she looks.
Frowning up at the girl, his shock at her strength was quickly dismissed.
< Why you so stubborn? >
Ya ne tverdolob, He objected mentally to her accusation. “Why are you so bossy?” He said with a resentful pout.
< You need rest, not school. Not hurt you miss today. Maybe I go get blue doctor? >
“Nyet!” He exclaimed, but suddenly regretted it when he started to cough again. Why did she insist on tormenting him? Dr. Reyes’s lecture was enough; he didn’t need Dr. McCoy’s as well.
“Dr. Reyes already came by, thanks to Neal…” He made a mental note to give Neal the evil eye the next time he saw him. “She said…she said… I would be fine.” Actually, she said with rest and meds he would be fine, but Lejla didn’t need to know that. It wasn’t like he’d told a complete lie, though he didn’t tell the complete truth either. “So I am going to class.” He said challenging Lejla as he stood firmly to his feet.
Rising too quickly gave the Russian a sense of vertigo. Losing his balance, Piotr flopped back down on the side of his bed. “Oh, moya golovka.” He moaned, putting his hand to his woozy head. His face felt like it was on fire, closing his eyes he wished the delirium would end.
Ya ne tverdolob (Russian) - I am not stubborn
Oh moya golovka - Oh my head
“Dr. Reyes already came by, thanks to Neal…She said…she said… I would be fine.”
Lejla didn’t mince words, < Liar. You look terrible. No way doctor say that. > She was beginning to lose patience with him. Besides, she hadn’t had her breakfast yet and shoving him around the room revived her appetite. Her stomach’s complaints weren’t improving her own mood.
“So I am going to class.”
Lejla heaved an exasperated sigh. What was it going to take to make this tvrdoglav dečak do what was good for him. Fortunately, gravity and his own body’s infirmity accomplished what she could not. Retrieving the breakfast tray, she moved it to his nightstand.
Rising too quickly gave the Russian a sense of vertigo. Losing his balance, Piotr flopped back down on the side of his bed. “Oh, moya golovka.” He moaned, putting his hand to his woozy head.
Huffing fretfully at Piotr’s foreign words, Lejla stooped beside him. She slid her arms beneath his legs and lifted them back on the bed, his weakened state allowing her to do what she probably wouldn’t have been able if the tall Russian were healthy.
Trapping Piotr by sitting on the edge, Lejla shook a menacing talon in front of his face. Center three fingers curling inward, she signed < Stay >. Her mouth drawing a harsh line, she brought one hand emphatically down edge first onto the open palm of the other. < Stop... big baby, or I give you more pain, yes? > The threat wasn’t exactly genuine, but the Bosnian wanted him to understand he dared not ignore her command.
Motioning at the tall ceramic mug, Lejla signed < Drink tea before it cools. It help your upset stomach. > She studied his pale face, her own features softening. Eyes sweeping over his distressed body, it made her ache to see the normally robust Russian in such misery. She’d never hurt this badly for anyone. Please Piotr, stop fighting me.
tvrdoglav dečak - contrary boy
His eyes were still shut when Lejla retrieved the breakfast tray from his desk and placed it on his nightstand.
“Wuh-what?..” Lejla’s gesture caught Piotr off guard as his legs were lifted onto the bed. When did this waif of a girl sudden gain all this strength? And why did he feel so light-headed? Without even realizing, Piotr eased back until his head found his soft fluffy pillow. It’s coolness felt so good, but he was much too stubborn to admit it. A moan left his lips when he attempted to get up again. However, Lejla was having none of that, waving her slender finger threateningly.
< Stay >
Stay? What was he, a puppy or something? Challenging her stern face with a quirk of his weary brow, he opened his mouth to give the girl a piece of his mind, but was quickly silenced by her poignant hand movements.
< Stop... big baby, or I give you more pain, yes? >
Piotr blinked, a bit surprised by her pretentious words.
Is she threatening me? She has some nerve…
Scowling, Piotr propped himself up on his elbows. “Gah!” He exclaimed with a whine, the body aches returned bringing trembling chills along with them. He flopped back onto the mattress. Small twitching tremors made the aches worse.
He turned on his side to face Lejla, wrapping his arms around himself, he hoped to ease the nerve-wracking pain. Piotr’s eyes fell upon the quilt at the foot of his bed. His mother made it for him several years ago, and he longed for its warmth. The sick Russian tried to reach down to get his mother’s quilt but found the task too painful for his weak body to accomplish. He settled for rewrapping his arms around his torso and drawing his long legs up to his stomach.
There was no way he was moving from that bed – ever. Though he was submissive due to pain rather than Lejla’s threats, Piotr gave up mission impossible: going to class.
< Drink tea before it cools. It help your upset stomach. >
She doesn’t really care; she only came out of pity. When she leaves, she will return to HIM.
An image of Doug came to mind, which made the Russian grunt.
“…I…don’t…want…any tea.” He stubbornly complained through his shivering. It was beyond him how his body could ache with coldness when his head felt like a boiling kettle.
Lejla rolled her eyes at his refusal, but she had expected it. Were there any males of her species that didn’t turn into big whiny babies when they were sick?
Well, she wasn’t going to force feed him, if that’s what he thought. She gave him a once over with her eyes, noticing how he’d pulled himself tightly together. His shuddering was making the bed quake.
Lejla slid off the side of his mattress and stood contemplating his quilt for a moment. There were times when, despite the lethal quality of her powers, she felt completely helpless. Piotr had spoken of the sentimental value that blanket held for him on more than one occasion. If she tried to pull it over him in her current state of irritation, she was sure to damage it.
Pondering the situation, Lejla’s eyes cast about the room for a solution. In due time they fell on a piece of sport’s equipment propped against the wall. She had no idea to which roommate it belonged, but she was sure he wouldn’t mind her borrowing it for a good cause.
Crossing the room, Lejla claimed the long stick she believed was used in the game of hockey. She swung it around, carefully sliding it underneath the folds of Piotr’s quilt, slowly pushing the material up and over his bent legs. It took a little bit of cautious maneuvering, but eventually the blanket was within reach of his fingers. Dobar Gospodar, the things she was putting up with today.
Satisfied that Piotr was no longer hell-bent on attending class, Lejla returned the hockey stick to its previous location. She’d been oh so tempted to whack him with it if he dared to try getting out of bed again.
Her stomach picked that moment to make a very audible protestation. Although it was getting late – which a quick look at Neal’s alarm clock confirmed, there was no way she was about to go to class without feeding her demanding metabolism.
Lejla decided to take her time, figuring her pink-haired teacher wouldn’t mind if she knew that her student was tending a sick friend. Whether or not Piotr desired her presence, he was going to tolerate it at least until she finished her own breakfast. Not caring if he was even watching, she signed. < I stay short time. Not eat yet. >
Pushing his chair to his bedside as she had done the night before, Lejla positioned it in reach of the tray. She took the time to cut up her waffles before placing the plate in her lap. They were nearly cold, but she’d never learned to be a picky eater. The food was sweet and it would put an end to the gnawing pang in the pit of her stomach, which was all she wanted at this point.
As she ate, her eyes rarely left the huddled figure of the Russian. Lejla wondered why exactly she was going through so much trouble for someone that didn’t seem to appreciate it. She had to be in love with him, otherwise she’d lost her mind.
Dobar Gospodar (Serbian) - Good God
Piotr momentarily shut his eyes trying desperately to will the pain away without success. Giving up on finding peace in his current turmoil, Piotr reopened them
to find Lejla…with a hockey stick?
For some reason it looked rather threatening in the hands of the petite red girl. He knew she was a bit agitated with him, but a hockey stick?
Sudden warmth began to make its way up his legs and waist as Lejla used the stick to push his beloved quilt over his shivering body. Once in fingertip’s reach, he reflexively pulled it up to his neck, absorbing its comfort.
The Russian watched Lejla take a seat with half-lidded eyes. He found it harder and harder to keep them open with fever flushing his face. He had a sudden urge to kick his newly accessed quilt onto the floor, but the chills pulsing through the rest of him warned otherwise. Groaning, he forced his contradicting body to deal with the discomfort of being feverishly hot along with icy chills.
< I stay short time. Not eat yet. >
The absent rush of signed words made the Russian’s chest tighten. She really didn’t want to be here. He was more of a burden than a concern to her. He closed his eyes both from tiredness and the sudden hurt of this perceived realization. He should have known the feelings he had for Lejla were too good to be true. Even his brother doubted their growing relationship, and now Piotr was beginning to think Mikhail was right about his failure to attract the opposite sex.
“You don’t have to stay at all,” Piotr said weakly, eyes narrowing into small slits, “Just go. You would rather be with Doug anyway.” A stubborn pout formed across his pitiful features.
“You had more fun with him during the break – he buys you expensive clothing and plays games I am too dumb to play, and…and... AH-CHOO!”
The strength of the horrendous sneeze forced Piotr’s body into its steel form.
Embarrassed by his sudden loss of control, Piotr pulled the covers over his head, “Just go away.” He said coldly, hurt evident in his tone before he proceeded to cough uncontrollably.
His body felt no better steel than it did flesh. He was still hot and cold, he still ached all over; and the emotional tightness in his chest still throbbed.
Beginning to lose patience with Piotr, going to class was looking better and better to Lejla. She hoped he would fall asleep so she could sneak out. The prospect of sitting by his bedside and listening to him whine would have tested even her sweet-natured mentor.
“You don’t have to stay at all,” Piotr said weakly, eyes narrowing into small slits, “Just go. You would rather be with Doug anyway.”
Doug? What does Doug have to do with...?
Lejla’s eyes widened, a forkful of waffle hovering motionless in the air before her open mouth. Returning the morsel to her plate, she pondered why Doug had suddenly become part of the conversation. It finally hit her like a ton of bricks.
Falling ill wasn’t the only reason he’d sent her swiftly packing yesterday.
“You had more fun with him during the break – he buys you expensive clothing and plays games I am too dumb to play, and…and…”
Piotr confirmed what she only just comprehended. She’d wounded him with her thoughtless chatter praising the attributes of Doug Ramsey...
The sneeze took Lejla completely by surprise. The remains of her breakfast slid to the floor unheeded. She scrambled to pick up the bits of waffle and a stray sausage that rolled under the bed. The activity gave her a chance to find a reasonable response.
Embarrassed by his sudden loss of control, Piotr pulled the covers over his head, “Just go away.” He said coldly, hurt evident in his tone before he proceeded to cough uncontrollably.
Lejla wanted to take his advice – to march straight for the door without a backward glance. The “old” Lejla would have done just that. Then it occurred to her that a few short weeks ago she wouldn’t have cared enough to bring any sick someone breakfast, except maybe Kurt.
Finding Piotr had changed her. She didn’t want to go back to being the strange red shadow that crept around the mansion, rarely interacting with anyone. Lejla had a feeling that if she walked away now, Piotr’s jealousy of Doug might ruin their relationship. Sick or not, the Russian needed to accept that the place he held in her heart was significant, in a way she was only beginning to understand herself.
Rising from the floor, Lejla placed her plate back on the tray. Only then did she see that Piotr had shut himself off from her. Calmly approaching the bedside, she took a deep breath and sat on the edge. Mustering every bit of control she could, she slid her hand beneath the blanket and pushed it down until she uncovered Piotr’s face.
Pursing her lips, she gently brushed damp bangs off his forehead with the back of her hand. A faint smile tugged at her lips. He needs a haircut.
Even through his metal plating she could feel the unnatural heat of his fever. Not able to “talk” to him as long as he refused to open his eyes, Lejla hoped by spurning his command, Piotr would understand he was wrong.
Piotr didn’t bother to peek from beneath the blanket when he heard the clatter of a plate hitting the floor. From Lejla’s movements, he assumed she would pick up her things and leave as he’d told her.
How could he have been so stupid to actually believe Lejla had the same feelings for him that he wanted to share with her? He should have known better, especially after the whole ‘crush on Jubilee’ thing. If the Chinese firecracker wasn’t interested in him, why would a beautiful jewel like Lejla be any different?
The Russian expected to hear a door slam shut any moment. In its place he felt the mattress shift from weight on the side of his bed. Again, he wanted to demand that she leave, but a small moan escaped his metallic lips instead.
He was much too stubborn to see why Lejla was still there, so he remained snugly under his blanket, despite the aggravating warmth causing his brow to sweat. Even after the red girl made an effort to uncover his face, Piotr rudely kept his eyes closed. Looking at the blue-eyed, red-skinned beauty hurt too much.
Taking a deep breath, he released it slowly, hoping to calm the tension in his chest. This action only triggered a fit of coughing. Heaving a bit from the exertion, Piotr moaned again. This time, his small whimper was answered by the gentle soothing touch that only Lejla was able to offer him in his steel form.
Despite their heaviness, Piotr’s tired lids fluttered open to see Lejla staring down at him. With a serene look upon her ruby face, she continued to stroke his brow, removing the damp locks from his warm forehead.
His weary eyes questioned her motive, wondering why she had not run off to be with Doug. Was it pity? – Because he didn’t want her pity.
One of his best friend Shiro’s various axioms suddenly came to mind.
The good guys always get pity.
Continued on Page 2