and my body wasn’t going to be able to maintain consciousness much longer. Everything hurt, and the doubts that Drake had offered threatened to crush me. “Can you read my memories?” “I shouldn’t—” “Tank. Please.” I hoped he was reading my thoughts. My mental defenses were down and it was the best time to find the truth. I trusted Tank. He could do it if anyone could and I needed to know what Drake was to me before tangling Tank into the mess of my life. “Okay.” He shifted me into a more comfortable position and put a hand over my temple. “Relax.” His calloused fingertips felt like heaven. I opened my mind, offering my whole self to the man I loved. Images spun from the shadowy depths of my mind. As Drake’s face came to forefront, my muscles tensed, and my world shattered.
Jenny’s body tightened. I tried to keep my mental touch light, but digging for suppressed memories was rough work. I’d blocked all the supers in the building, and the guys were mopping up the rest of Drake’s force. Good to have you back, boss. Ruin spoke first, but the rest of their voices followed. They’re toast now. Boo-yah! Dibs on victory kisses from the boss’s girl! The last was from Cyclone. I tuned him out and bent to focus on the task at hand. We had about two minutes before Drake and one of his buddies made it back to the office. They’d slipped the guys on the roof and were sprinting down the stairwell. Two minutes would be enough. I didn’t want to do this now, but Jenny had thought right. The best time to break the hazy cage around her mind was while Drake’s powers were suppressed and she was vulnerable. I stroked her hair as I delved into her thoughts. She was mine. Beautiful, spontaneous, strong and crazy. She looked like she’d put herself through hell to get to me, and it wasn’t far from the truth. Every part of her ached, and her exhaustion stretched soul-deep. If she kept using powers at this rate, she’d tear herself apart. It was impressive, but I couldn’t let it go on. I wanted to see her healthy and off the diet of booze and pain meds. Smiling next to me. That wouldn’t happen until her thoughts were her own again. I moved deeper and deeper into her mind until the haze parted and a flood of memories broke from Drake’s dam. A fresh-faced Jenny clutched a stack of books to her chest as she ducked her head against a misty rain. I recognized the street. It was Greenwich Village near NYU. She had to be late teens, early twenties, with long blonde curls that turned heads, though she didn’t notice the attention. Jenny slipped into an alley and a smudge of something—a man?—shot through the air after her. A muffled scream, and the books toppled to the ground. She was flying. No. Her attacker was flying. He carried her to the top of a building and dropped her on the narrow ledge of ornamental stone. Old cigarette butts littered the space. Jenny tried to scrabble backward, but there were no windows and there was nowhere to go but down. The guy had scraggly hair and the melted look of wasted muscle. A failed hero? As he closed in on Jenny, he unzipped his fly. My blood boiled. I wanted to tear through the memory and rip his throat out, but I couldn’t change the past. I wanted to save her, but all I could do was watch. “No!” Jenny batted at him, but he pinned her arms and fell on top of her. His lips crushed hers. I ached to take her into my arms and stop the muffled sounds of panic and pain. It was getting too much to take when the man’s eyes widened. He tried to pull back, but his body went rigid. He slumped and tipped over the ledge, falling to the ground like dead weight. Served the bastard right. Jenny clapped a hand to her mouth, and panicked breaths sped through her fingers. She scrunched into herself, pressing her back to the wall as she clutched her knees. She stayed that way as screams and sirens echoed from the street, but the terrible realization