“I’ll kiss you!” Liss exclaimed proudly. What? Kiss? It took me a second to process what she had said. Then I grinned; there was no way I would back away from that. She is my best friend and that term is in no way lessened by the fact that she is my only friend. She was like a sister to me. But the fact remained: she wasn’t my sister; she was an exceptionally pretty girl who I was willing to give my life for. Even with her face all beaten up she was still very attractive. I was starting to wonder whether maybe there was something more between us. It didn’t really matter; she wouldn’t kiss me anyways.

“Go on then,” I urged her.

‘Scared?” she asked.

“Terrified,” I assured her with a grin.

She slowly leaned in toward me; I could see by her expression that she thought I would give in any second. She should know me better than that. Suddenly I didn’t want her to stop. I didn’t want her pull away, but I knew she would, it was inevitable. So I took the initiative and leaned into her, pressing my lips softly against hers. Her eyes widened as I pulled away, but she didn’t pull away. I closed my eyes and leaned in again.

“Kian?” She asked hesitantly.

“Yeah?” I asked, opening my eyes to find that she had indeed retreated.

“What are you doing?” she asked calmly.

“I’m proving you’re fragile,” I informed her in an equally calm voice. Had I gone to far? Should I just have left it at the one kiss? Should I not have kissed her at all? What had come over me to kiss her in the first place?

“Please put me down,” she said quietly. I had gone to far. I quickly and carefully obeyed. When she was safely on the floor again, she looked up at me “Well I guess I won,” she informed me with a smug grin.

“That was all a hoax?” I asked incredulously.

“No, that wasn’t planned at all but I made you do what I want,” she smiled. “I have the power,” she said as she flexed her good arm and laughed.

I grinned; maybe I hadn’t gone too far.

“Did you want to kiss me?” I asked, maybe I had gotten her wrong, maybe she had intended to kiss me before…

“I thought it would freak you out.”

I grinned, at first she had, but…I don’t know…something. I decided to give her my thoughts when she had first threatened with the kiss. “You’re forgetting three things Liss, you’re the only person I care about, I’m sixteen – almost a man not a kid anymore, and you’re beautiful.”

Liss rolled her eyes and began to walk down the street. I easily caught up to her. “Perhaps your brains have been made into those sturdy muscles,” I said, pointing to her arm.

She stopped and sat on a nearby bench, “Kian I don’t get you sometimes.”

“What’s to there to get?” I asked, only half joking.

“We’re friends, you’re like a brother to me.”

“You’re like a sister,” I replied as I sat down next to her, “but can we have this conversation later? We’re not as far away as I want to be from that orphanage.” I had a wary eye on a woman walk down the opposite sidewalk carrying two heavy bags. As I watched one of them split, spilling it’s contents all over the street. I stood up and took Liss’s hand to help her up as well. “We’ve got to get out of this town,” I told her. Well ok, it was a city not a town but whatever.

“Can’t we help her?” Liss asked as the lady began to collect her fallen groceries.

“Let’s just go,” I told Liss, I wanted to help the lady, but I was just so nervous. What if the orphanage people were right behind us even now? We had to get farther away. Now.

I started off in the direction opposite from the orphanage “We should probably find something more suitable to wear,” I commented as I noticed that what we were wearing was not exactly in the best of conditions.

Liss nodded. ““But first Kian, let’s just get out of here,” she said as she eyed a group of teens that were headed toward us. They all had green glass bottles in their hands, which I assumed was beer or wine or something. Some were wearing hoods and others were wearing beanies. One of them was carrying a radio and was blaring loud music out of it. I felt Liss press herself against me as they drew nearer.

I put my arm around her shoulders. “It’s okay Liss I’m never going to desert you, no matter what comes our way.”

She nuzzled her herself closer against me and I felt my chest swell up, no one was going to hurt my Liss. Not if I had any say in the matter. I led Liss on hoping that the teens would just pass us by. I clutched her tightly to me as we passed. Maybe they would just ignore us I thought as we passed the first one.

I thought too soon. The next guy we passed whistled at Liss and made a grab for her. Fury rose up, flooding my chest and reddening my vision. He was obviously drunk, but I didn’t like anyone getting close to Liss without my permission; and this kid certainly didn’t have my permission. I slapped his hand away, and he glared at me drunkenly. “Wassup with you man? I just wanna have some fun. Now just give her over already,” he slurred drunkenly.

I gave him a dangerous look then tried to walk away.

He’s just drunk I carefully reminded myself.

 As I turned my back I heard a knife blade click and turned around to see the boy holding a switchblade. As he lunged for us I slammed my fist into his face. I heard a loud crack as his nose was broken and he flew backward, landing on the ground, knocked out. All his friends stared at me, dumbstruck. Then they shook it off and began to converge on me.

“Ooh you’ve done it now man,” I heard form one of them.

“Yeah, you’re in for it dude,”

“We’re going top make you wish you were never born.”

I gently pushed Liss behind me as I faced them. They weren’t a match for me; I had the advantage of strength enhancement drugs on my side…plus a lifetime of physical training. I let out a feral growl as they came closer. When they continued to come, I charged into their midst and knocked them down like bowling pins. I picked one up and heaved him over the heads of the others. His head hit the pavement with a loud crack, knocking him out. Then I dropped to my knees and swung one outstretched leg in a circle, knocking out a wide swathe of the assailants.

One of them grabbed me from behind and the only other one still conscious came up in front of me with a knife. I grinned at him as he stuck is head in my face. “You’re gunna pay punk,” he spat.

“Maybe someday,” I replied, “but not to you.” With that I slammed my head against his. He dropped to the ground as well. I wrenched myself out of my other attacker’s grip and turned to face him. He lifted his hands up, then turned tail and ran as fast as he could away from me. I could easily have caught him up, but decided it wasn’t worth it…Liss was safe now, so there was no need in hurting more.

I slowly walked over to Liss and put my arm around her shoulders again. She was shaking like a leaf. “Liss…” I trailed off at a loss for what to say, how could I reassure her that I was just protecting her? “You know I love you and would never hurt you.”

Liss nodded and pressed her head against my chest. I sighed and put my arm around her. “Let’s go Liss,” I said as I looked at the sky. The sun was getting dangerously low, and we still weren’t nearly far enough from the orphanage.

Three hours later found us much farther from the orphanage and inside an abandoned-looking building. I had gathered some empty boxes and flattened them out for use as a bed. Liss came and sat beside me as I sat there contemplatively.

We were finally free. Now what? I had been thinking for a while but I still came up blank. A sudden coughing fit from Liss aroused me from my thoughts. I looked over at her and saw blood leaking from her fingers as she continued to cough. I gasped, “Liss!” My mind scrambled desperately for some way to help her. I could think of only one thing: the hospital. At this point I didn’t care if it would blow our cover. I would deal with that when it came; right now Liss needed a doctor.

When her coughing fit subsided I looked directly into her beautiful big brown eyes. “Liss, I am taking you to the hospital now.”

“But—“ she began.

“No,” I cut her off, “I know it’ll blow our cover, I don’t care, you need some help.”

I picked her up and headed for a hospital, which we had passed earlier; headless of the blood that smeared my shirt as I did so. I wouldn’t be able to take it if Liss died. She was my purpose in life. She always had been. I lived to keep Liss safe. Her death would make my life a failure; I wasn’t about to let that happen. I loved her far too much.

Blood leaked out of the corner of Liss’s mouth and I gently wiped it away as I walked-ran to the hospital. When we got there she was immediately taken to an emergency room. “I’m sorry sir, but you are going to have to wait outside while we determine what is wrong with her,” one of the doctors informed me as I handed her over to their care.

“What do you mean wait outside! I’m not leaving her!” I told him desperately.

“I’m sorry sir, it’s protocol.”

I sighed exasperatedly; he was just doing his job…it wasn’t his fault. I reluctantly went and sat in the waiting room. A full hour later another doctor came up to me. “Sir, will you please come with me, I have some questions for you.”

I followed him worriedly. “Is Liss ok? What is wrong with her?” I demanded of the man.

“She has been given a chemical that makes her body attack her own lungs, and that is what I want to ask you about,” the doctor informed me. He motioned for me to sit down in a seat; he took the seat across from me.

“Is she ok? Can I see her?”

“She will live,” the doctor replied calmly. “The chemical in her lungs is still only in animal testing phase at the medicinal labs and is therefore illegal to use on humans, do you have any idea how she got it into her system?” he asked.

I sighed, and then launched into a long tale of my life. Finally, here was a chance to expose all the wrong done to us at the hellhole they call an orphanage. When I had finished the doctor nodded and showed me the way to where they were keeping Liss. “She is just in there,” he informed me, “now if you’ll excuse me I have a very important phone-call to make.”

I nodded, and then burst into the room. Liss was on a bed there with an IV in her arm. She didn’t look very happy about it, but she was awake and seemed to be doing pretty well. I moved up to her side, “They didn’t hurt you did they?” I asked worriedly.

Liss looked at her IV and grimaced, “They were nice…” she trailed off.

I closed my eyes and heaved a very relieved sigh. Pulling up a chair, I sat next to Liss and put my hand on her cheek, “You had me so worried Liss!”

The End

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