Earthbound Page 92

’’Do ... do you live here?’’ I ask, finally finding my voice.

’’Here?’’ Logan says, jerking his thumb toward the blue house. ’’Yeah.’’

’’I I ’’ I stumble for words, but then the plan snaps together. I shove my hand into the side pocket of my backpack. ’’I found this out on the sidewalk,’’ I say, forcing my fingers to open. ’’It\s looks like it might be valuable. Is it ... your mom\s maybe?’’ I finish lamely.

My palm is sweaty and I know Rebecca\s charm will be slightly damp, but I\m not embarrassed. As soon as he touches the locket, none of that will matter.

He holds out his hand and I turn mine over, purposely brushing his skin with mine, almost gasping at the thrilling rush that courses through me. It\s better than all the dreams I had of him, the vivid memories the necklace gave me.

Because this time, it\s real.

Real in a way that Benson never was.

I kick that thought away and let go of the necklace.

It falls from my palm into his, pooling like a liquid.

He\s studying it.

He keeps staring at it.

I want to scream at him to look up at me, but perhaps this incarnation of him is shy.

That\s okay;I can wait.

For a second.

His shoulders shrug. ’’I can go ask her if you want,’’ he says casually, ’’but I\ve never seen her wear anything like this.’’

My mouth drops. He\s toying with me. He must be. This isn\ the way it\s supposed to happen.

’’Do you want me to come with you to ask my neighbors?’’ His green eyes turn up to me.

They\ e blank.

My heart dies. I\m not sure my legs will support me.

It didn\ work. Not my touch, not the necklace. He\s still just Logan;he\s not my Quinn.

Not yet, Rebecca reminds me. And from somewhere deep inside a reserve I didn\ know I had I find new strength. New resolve.

Back when Quinn met me as Rebecca, I was the one who didn\ know him. Maybe it\s only fair that the tables are turned now.

The important thing is that I found him. He\ll remember, eventually. I have the old journals to help me Logan\s sparse file that I\ve practically memorized. The answers are there somewhere, and I\ll find them.

Until I do, I\ll stay with Logan. I\m not simply his partner;I\m his protector too. The Reduciata are looking for me. For us. Eventually they\ll find us.

Again.

Hell, Benson\s probably already told them we\ e in Phoenix.

And if I don\ wake Logan up before they kill me or him and do whatever it is that\s supposed to recharge us, then we\ e done.

He needs me.

And the world needs us.

I hold out my hand for the necklace and shrug casually. ’’I don\ think that\s necessary. But if someone tells you they\ve lost it, will you let me know?’’ I dig into my backpack, trying to shield its contents from Logan\s eyes. I cringe as I rip a corner off the file Sammi gave me, but it\s the only paper I\ve got. The tip of my pen touches the page before I remember that Elizabeth\s phone is in a landfill in Pennsylvania. After she died, I didn\ chance it;I got rid of everything.

’’Shoot, I totally spaced it,’’ I mutter, feeling my cheeks heat up. ’’I lost my phone and I\m not sure when I\ll be getting a new one. Can I get your number?’’ I ask as I peer up at him from beneath my lashes.

’’Uh, yeah, sure,’’ Logan says, and rattles off ten digits.

’’How \out a name?’’ I ask, playing dumb.

’’I\m Logan,’’ he says, shoving his phone into a pocket and holding out a hand to me.

I shake his hand, feel our warm skin meet, and euphoria tingles through me. He\s a little different modern, I guess but most parts of him are the same. The eyes, that lopsided tilt in his smile. I don\ know if I\ve ever managed to find him this young.

A lifetime. That\s what we have.

A twinge shoots through me at the memory of Benson saying those same words, but I push it away.

I don\ have time for regrets.

’’Tavia,’’ I say, and cling to his hand just half a second longer than necessary. ’’Thanks for this,’’ I add, holding up the scrap of paper. ’’I\ll call you.’’

’’Sure,’’ Logan says.

I stride down the street, peeking once more over my shoulder at him. I don\ know where I\m going, don\ even have a place to stay tonight, but it doesn\ matter. We\ e both here now, and somehow, it will work out.

It\s fate.

’’Wait,’’ Logan calls out only a moment after I manage to tear my eyes from him.

I stop and he takes a few steps forward, looking almost sheepish. ’’Do I ... I know this is going to sound weird, but do I know you?’’

I grin, confidence bursting in my chest. ’’No,’’ I say playfully, ’’not yet.’’ I hitch my backpack higher and turn away, holding our eye contact as I look over my shoulder. ’’But you will.’’


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