She’d finally made it. It only took twice as long as she had initially planned, but she was finally here. Q took a quick second to appreciate what she’d done: trekking across a foreign, lonely city is not the easiest thing to do after all. She smiled to herself as she hoisted her backpack up a bit further and carried on with her journey. It was easy to get to from here. She walked down what seemed to be a random combination of streets, a few main roads, as well as a couple of alleyways for shortcuts.
She was halfway down one of the alleyways, nearing a rickety fire escape, when her neck suddenly tingled. It was that sensation you get when someone’s eyes are burning into your back. She sensed a presence somewhere behind her – she was being followed. Her survival instincts kicked in. She took a few more steps, until she’d reached the fire escape. Immediately, she stepped behind it in order to cover herself, and raised her left hand. In one quick motion, she released an electric zap from her hand, directly at the interloper’s chest. They had a dark hood over their head, so they just looked like a looming threatening figure. A vigorous deflection from the figure’s left hand caused the hood to fall off of his head. Q recognised him instantly.
Caleb had what could only be described as a sheepish look on his face. They stood still, staring at each other, both breathing heavily. Q was the first to break the silence.
“What are you— Are you stalking me?” she accused. Caleb took a step back, as if to run away from embarrassment, then thought better of it. He took a moment either to come up with a response or maybe to build up some courage. Irritation washed over his face.
“So what if I am, huh? It’s a good job I did actually! I saw what you did back there. You can’t just go around doing as you please, Q – it’s not right ! You’re—”
“What I did back where?” It suddenly dawned on her how far back he was referring. “You were on the tube? You’ve been stalking me all day?!” She felt violated.
Caleb hesitated, stuttering incomprehensibly. Q gasped and then paused to compose herself. “How long have you been following me, Caleb?” She didn’t need to speak the words. She already knew from the look in his eyes. He had never let her go off alone.
“That doesn’t matter right now, Q. Stop trying to make me out to be the bad guy here! You shouldn’t have exposed yourself like that on the train.” His voice was rising, but he couldn’t help it.
It was her turn to feel the embarrassment. She knew she shouldn’t have done it. She wasn’t about to admit that to him, though.
“It wasn’t a big deal. No one saw me do it and the kid loved it, okay? Just relax every once in a while, Caleb. You’re such a hard-ass.” She looked him straight in the eyes.
“It wasn’t worth it, Q!” He yelled. Q didn’t flinch. “You, of all people, should understand how dangerous it was.” he added quietly. That made her flinch.
Tears formed in her eyes as she tried to defend herself. “That’s not fair – that wasn’t my fault, Caleb. You said you wouldn’t bring it up anymo—”
“I’m just trying to make you understand.” He let out a long breath, as if he was deflated. He couldn’t get through to her. “Stop trying to do this on your own, Q. We’re all sorry about how things went down the other day, okay? We just do things a— certain way. We think things through. We’re not… you.” Q had a feeling he had started referring to himself as “we” by now. “You need us just as much as we need you, Q.”
They just stood there, a few feet apart. Neither one willing to take the few steps that separated them. Caleb didn’t know what else to say. There was nothing left to say.
So he covered the distance between them in two strong strides. He reached his arms out, and wrapped them around Q’s waist, pulling her close to his chest. He had to show her how much she meant to him. It was now or never. He examined her eyes, yearning for any hint of reciprocity.
Q was taken aback by his dominance. She really had missed him. There was just so much love in those hazel eyes of his. She wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled his face to hers.
In that moment, when their lips touched, it was all okay. The anger was replaced by passion, and the embarrassment replaced by vulnerability. They connected like two pieces of a puzzle, pieces that were always destined to fit together.
This temporary bliss, however, didn’t change the past. They were both hurt. They had been through a lot and it just wasn’t simple anymore. The situation was much bigger than them. Maybe in another world.
They held each other in the dark alleyway, as a tear rolled down Q’s cheek.