01: More Business at Alex & Co.

01: More Business at Alex & Co.

 

I know yet another third person perspective is troublesome, but this chapter is necessary to explain the events a little clearer than they’d otherwise be. While Alex is present and aware of what’s occurring, the fresh perspective helps with the understanding of its impact. So far we’ve dealt principally with Alex’s reactions to events, as well as one of his women’s initial reactions and his parents’ perspective. Now we get to see how some of his ‘type 3’ fans respond to him.


Kitty and Chalise arrived early the next morning. Kitty had stopped to pick up her friend, both of them anxious for what the day promised. They were in good moods, partly because of the previous evening, partly because they now felt almost fully included in Alex’s world, but also because it was such a beautiful day, revealing everything anew in the fresh light of a bright springtime morning.

There was some confusion over the arrangements of the day’s meeting. No one had wanted to leave Chalise’s mother, Caroline, alone, especially since she hadn’t gotten a car of her own yet. Becky had also pointed out that Cate was still upset with Melinda, and thus it might be best if she avoided that day’s discussion. Melinda was disappointed, but grudgingly admitted she had a valid point. So they reached a couple of work-arounds. Since Brooke wanted to be there, they’d agreed that she could bring her kids by and Caroline and Melinda would babysit for a while. However, Melinda also got Becky to agree to reveal everything discussed during the meeting as she didn’t want to miss any of it. Melinda had also stressed that she wanted to discuss her project with Alex, but Becky assured her she could time it better when there weren’t so many people around. Groveling in front of one’s sister is such a private matter, after all. So Becky promised her she’d arrange for Melinda to meet privately with Alex and Cate later.

Brooke arrived with her kids, to everyone’s delight. The girls doted on Suzy and Josh. They really were cute kids. Suzy knew that they were going to discuss Alex and wanted to join in, but Brooke made it clear that she’d tell her all the important parts. Suzy was hardly pleased but it at least appeased her. Josh was more interested in playing. Brooke planned on leaving the kids with Melinda while they discussed adult topics with Kitty and Chalise.

As they arrived, Kitty and Chalise weren’t surprised when the door opened without their having to knock. It was just one of those things that you eventually got used to being a part of Alex’s sphere of influence, thus they didn’t bother to ask. There were many things that bothered them a lot more than this minor little trick.

Alex welcomed them as usual. In this household everything revolved around him. His parents deferred to him, his sisters seemed to worship him, and the various women waited on him hand and foot. But both girls were used to this unusual situation. Somehow, in Alex’s case, it just seemed like the way things should be. But then again, both Kitty and Chalise had been around him long enough to realize some of the reasons for these odd behaviors. Well, maybe not the actual reasons, but at least a lot of what was involved. They were hoping to discover the final reasons soon.

They both kissed him, reveling in the feelings his presence generated in them. Despite Chalise’s unhappy relationships with her father, brothers, and most of the guys she’d tried to date, Alex—for his unorthodox approach, his women and his many mysteries—seemed like the perfect guy. He’d do just about anything for you, there was never any doubting how he felt about you, and if you were ever unsure about how much he appreciated you, all you had to do was watch the women around him. If he had any reservations about you, they’d certainly let you know it.

Kitty, on the other hand, had tried dating but had never been very impressed with it. Every time she’d go out with someone they’d have fun, that is, until some other girl would walk by. Then suddenly all conversation would come to a screeching halt and the guy would stare at the woman’s chest until she disappeared from sight. They’d then turn back to her and inevitably glance at her chest as if making a comparison, and she’d always come up the loser. They’d quickly look at her face again, as if her chest couldn’t keep their attention, and their eyes wouldn’t connect with hers. She could tell they were still thinking about the woman who had just walked past, judging Kitty as inferior to someone they had never even met. Inevitably she’d freeze up, no longer trusting the guy enough to talk much more, which would leave the guy unable to continue the conversation. That was how the majority of her dates had ended.

Yet Alex was different. Alex actually looked into Kitty’s eyes when he spoke, not because he wasn’t interested in her sexually, it was clear that he was, but because he found her interesting as an individual. He locked eyes with her every time he looked at her.  His eyes seemed to look into her very soul. He was always fascinated with everything she said, even if it was some silly joke that made little sense. Just the fact that she said it was enough for him. As a result she would wrack her brain to think up fascinating things to say just to rise to the challenge.

She figured he didn’t stare at her chest largely because he was surrounded by beautiful women. First, his sisters were confident, smart and attractive women. The women that surrounded him were all fascinating, accomplished people that would clearly do anything for him. Alex would look when he wanted, but he had no need to try to look all the time because he could look at beautiful women anytime he desired. And he included Kitty amongst those women. What’s more, he didn’t even appear to notice anyone else around him. If a cute girl walked by, chances were he’d ignore her. If he did notice someone, chances were there was a good reason for it, because as often as not, they would prove to be as fascinating as the rest of the women around him. It was like he attracted interesting people to him, so he didn’t need to worry about anyone else. In fact, he seemed almost afraid to look at anyone near him. That was yet another thing they didn’t yet understand.

Chalise found Alex was unlike any of the guys who felt she was obligated to date them. They’d all thought that because they were black and aggressive, that they were the most attractive thing in the world. That reminded her too much of the men in her family. Her father talked about promoting blacks and the glory of black pride, but mostly his idea of getting ahead in the world involved either playing up to whites, or playing to their expectations. There was no ‘standing on your own two feet’ as far as he was concerned. You couldn’t achieve anything unless you played the role set out for blacks by the white man for the white man. She didn’t need that kind of thing in her life. She’d be happy being marginally successful if it meant she could avoid acting like that much of a player.

However, she seemed to be in the minority in that view. Most of the guys she met all thought they needed to be “gansta”, which meant they’d act like a thug until they finally got arrested, then they’d have nothing left they could do in life but be a convict. She understood that black men didn’t have many options open to them, but she couldn’t see how anyone could win playing that game. That was something else she wasn’t looking for.

Alex was different, though. He demanded to be treated, not according to some role he played, but simply for how he acted and how he treated you. Chalise could understand that. If someone acted like an ass, she’d like to be able to tell them that. Yet Alex never seemed to do that. Sure, he acted like a naïve kid who had never dealt with anyone realistically before, but such honesty was refreshing after having dealt with person after person who’d pretend to be one thing after another.

When she first met him she was sure he was playing another role, talking about women following him all around, about how women kept showing up and how they might pop up at any moment demanding his attention. But in his case he was sincere. What’s more, so were the women that surrounded him. If Alex said he was going to do something, he did it. No if, ands or buts. He told Kitty he wouldn’t ask about her dates with Darrell, and he didn’t. Even when she tried to explain she had no desire to sleep with Darrell. He’d given his word and nothing else mattered, certainly not his own interests in the relationship.

He also told them he’d always tell them the truth, unless he couldn’t. It had sounded strange at the time, but she had known it was true when he said it. He had his own reasons for not telling them things, and she could respect that. It seemed that everyone around him was cautious of what they said or did. Yet in his case it was clearly more than just talk. The things she’d personally observed him doing were absolutely amazing. He drew women to him like moths to a flame. He managed to heal those people in the hospital doing nothing more than holding his hand over their skin. There was nothing anyone could see him doing, but each of them immediately felt better. He never claimed he was going to heal anyone, he simply tried to help. In some of the cases they continued to suffer despite what he did for them, but the effect he’d had on them was still clear. And what he had done in that last case, the one with Mary, was just damn scary. He’d essentially put her down, killing her in full view of the hospital staff, without doing anything to her other than holding his hand over her forehead. The staff hadn’t responded, and there would be no way to prove what he’d done, but both Kitty and Chalise—who’d observed the event—were fully aware of what had happened. Yet she knew, even though he had the ability to do that, he’d only done it because he’d promised to help the girl, and when she asked him he’d finally helped her. And that had been that.

She’d never thought she’d end up with a skinny white boy, but their temperaments just seemed to match perfectly. He treated her fairly and reasonably, he and his sister challenged her intellectually, and he trusted her to behave admirably and morally. If those were traits associated with dating a white boy then line them up. But she knew better than that. His traits weren’t related to his being white. He was unique. She hadn’t met any other white guys who treated her like he did. She knew she’d have to teach him a few things about the real world, about what her people had faced in the past and continued to face every day. But she was comfortable that he’d listen and try to relate to the information. Which was more than any of her black friends ever did with what she told them.

All these thoughts flashed through both girls’ minds in only few moments it took to hug and kiss him hello. Yet the memories were enough for them to feel completely safe in his arms. It even went beyond that as well. There was just something about him that you knew you could trust. When he said he wouldn’t lie to you, except by omission, then you simply knew he never would. However both girls had to quickly shake their heads to clear it of such thoughts. There were much more important things to deal with today. His sister Becky came up behind them and gave him a hug as well, though it was the least intimate of anyone in the household. You could tell she wanted more of a hug from him, but she was happy to get whatever he offered. Then there was the greeting from all his women, his ‘girls’ he called them, despite the fact they were all legal adults and even included someone’s grandmother. They both knew any one of them would gladly kill anyone who threatened him, and they’d gladly spend their lives in prison for doing it, proud that they’d served him for only a few moments. Such dedication was almost as scary as that scene in the hospital!

Finally they had to focus their thoughts. The meeting was beginning.

Everyone settled in the living room. There clearly wasn’t enough room for everyone, so some sat at the kitchen bar or on chairs that clearly didn’t belong in the room.

“So who is going to get this show on the road?” Becky asked. She seemed enthused to begin the discussion.

“First, we need know what they aware of,” Anh stated, speaking much clearer, having learned English amazingly fast, but still struggling with it slightly. Everyone turned to look at Kitty and Chalise.

“We’ve suspected several things for quite some time as we’ve observed a lot of unusual stuff,” Kitty told them.

“But everyone has been trying to not reveal too much,” Chalise continued the thought.

“Then we saw what he was doing at the hospital,” Kitty said, “and we knew we were in the presence of greatness. We didn’t know it intuitively, like the rest of you apparently did, but it’s clear he has some amazing abilities.”

“Wrapping up, we know the following things,” Chalise said, summing up, ticking the items off of her fingers. “Alex is sleeping with his sister, Cate. All of you will do anything he tells you, despite how much grief you give him about a variety of things. He seems to talk to people when they’re not in the same room, or, if they are, without any spoken words—”

“It’s a form of telepathy,” Cate informed them.

“Yeah, that’s the word for it,” Chalise responded, not wanting to get sidetracked just yet. “And it’s not just verbal communication either, I guess I should say non-verbal communication. It was clear yesterday that you were all feeling what he was when he made love to us.” She looked around and saw several nods acknowledging the truth of her statements.

“It’s a little more complicated, in that some of us have certain abilities that others don’t,” Natalie tried to explain. “Both Rebecca and I don’t—”

“We’ll get to that in time,” Becky said, cutting her off. “Let them say what they know first before we begin discussing the details.”

“Of course,” Natalie responded. Chalise wondered where her lack of confidence came from.

“Uh, we know he has access to some unexplained source of energy,” Chalise continued, “which he can use to do amazing things in medicine, but there are all kinds of restrictions on what it can and can’t do. We also figured out that he’s unsure what he can do with it yet.”

“Some, but not all of you, can apparently see what he needs to do,” Kitty said, taking over for her friend, “but since he can’t tell himself, you have to carefully talk him through it.”

“And finally, we saw the awesome thing he did the other day. Awesome and scary I should say. He literally….” Chalise started to explain what they’d witnessed, but halted when she saw the look in everyone’s eyes, telling her she shouldn’t mention it.

“It’s OK,” Alex said, holding his hands up, finally speaking up for himself. “I killed Mary. It’s that simple. The woman trusted me and relied on me to help her.”

“You did no such thin—” Shani objected before he cut her off without a word spoken or visible gesture.

“I killed her, betraying her trust in me, just like I betrayed that woman in Missouri. I never even got to know her before—”

Both Kitty and Chalise perked up at this. This was something else they’d never heard of yet. What woman had he betrayed and how? Hopefully they’d learn that soon.

“Enough!” Anh announced loudly. “You do nothing of sort. Girl beyond help. It unfortunate, but you nothing wrong do. Girl in hospital, she ask die. You do as she ask. You do right. We know you do same if we ask. We respect.” Clearly she was either so upset she wasn’t thinking straight, or Alex was too preoccupied to help her speak clearly. Both Kitty and Chalise had figured that Alex somehow guided her speech, not simply translating for her.

Alex seemed to accept her words. He straightened up and regarded everyone. It was clear that Alex took the older woman advise seriously. Although she rarely spoke, what she did was usually worth paying attention to.

“You’re right, of course,” he agreed, nodding sagely. “Now is neither the time nor the place to harp on what’s happened in the past. Kitty and Chalise are depending on me to….” He kind of mumbled the end of the sentence as if losing his train of thought, then perked up again.

“OK, it’s clear that you know a lot, but there’s still a surprising amount that you don’t know yet. Cate, if you’d like to explain about the various people in my life.”

“Gladly, Alex,” she told him before turning to her two friends. “Basically we’ve classified the people in Alex’s world into three categories. It should help you relate to everyone by understanding how they fit into his pantheon. First are the ‘Seers’ or the type 1s. They’re like Anh, Allison, and the other women who can actually see what amounts to people’s souls. They can see people’s life forces, their health, their basic personalities as well as their emotional states. There’s still a lot we don’t understand about this vision, but that seems to be what we currently understand about it. They were also initially drawn to him because of their ability to ‘feel’ this energy he produces.”

“So that’s what they meant when they said—” Chalise began.

“That he allowed them to ‘see the world differently’. Exactly. He literally gave them the gift of vision, just a different kind of vision. They can see things that are invisible to everyone else, including him.” Both girls nodded that they understood the basic concept so she continued.

“Next, there are the type 2s, or what we call the ‘Watchers’,” she continued. “These include Betty at school, Natalie and Rebecca. None of them can see any of the things that the Seers can, but they can feel it internally. Unfortunately they generally don’t understand it and simply realize that Alex is extremely powerful. There seems to be many times more Watchers than Seers, but the Seers always demand immediate attention, so they take much more of his attention.”

“Ah, that explains all those people in New Orleans that he didn’t sleep with,” Kitty gasped.

“Right, there were quite a few of them, most of whom he never even talked to, but he managed to assign a couple to watch over the rest,” Cate told them. “Plus he’s still got another girl, Patricia, the blues singer still in New Orleans who is helping teach them what they can do and how they can help.”

“That also explains his comment about women just ‘showing up’,” Chalise observed.

“Exactly. If there’s a Seer anywhere near him, they’re drawn to him and they’ll seek him out, usually not letting anything get in their way,” Cate said, enthused that they were accepting this all so readily.

“Wow, it almost sounds like he’s got an army of followers deployed, moving field generals here and there,” Kitty said, her eyes opening wide at the thought of the numerous unnamed followers she imagined all dedicated to Alex.

“Well, there’s hardly enough to form an army yet, but they’re trying to organize,” Cate corrected her. “Anyway, the third and final group, or the type 3s, are the normal people. That would include the two of you, myself, and even Ryan at the hospital. They are the people without any reason to accept him for what he is, that choose to follow him simply due to his personality. Alex talked and demonstrated to Ryan that he knew what he was doing. He didn’t make boastful demands. Instead he simply quietly walked around the hospital helping people without any explanation. I like to think that that behavior did more to convince Dr. Moore than anything else.”

“So just how many of these do we have to worry about, competition wise, that is?” Kitty asked.

“Well, all the type 1s are pretty consistent in their belief that Alex is bigger than any of them can possibly lay a claim to. They all recognize his abilities and power and want him to advance as much as he can, so they all seem to have accepted Shani’s ‘no nookie without cutie’ rule, putting it into Anh’s too perfect terminology.” They smiled at the overly simplistic explanation of what they’d all been wrestling with these past several weeks.

“Then there’s the type 2s. They’re largely afraid to approach him, recognizing his power but not understanding it. However, if he offers them an opening they’ll gladly take it. I probably shouldn’t mention this yet, but I spoke to Alex about the idea of ‘saving his sperm’ to ensure it’s saved in case something happens to him.” They both simply nodded at this so Cate continued. “I suspect the Watchers will be to glad to begin having his babies, even if they can’t do it with him personally. But largely I don’t think you have to worry about them. They’re mostly like Betty. She’s been secretly watching Alex for the last couple of years, but she’s never said a word to him in all this time.”

“I’d wondered why you two hung around with her so much when she never seemed to actually say much to either of you,” Kitty mentioned.

Cate then explained her own theories regarding the possible biological reasons for Alex’s abilities, as well as Anh’s more practical though unorthodox views. Becky then explained the experiments she’d conducted, and how it explained that they didn’t know what was causing Alex’s abilities. Cate then explained her father’s theory about why everyone put up with what had been happening to everyone.

“I still contend that it’s a very strong possibility, although I won’t swear to it, as I have so little control over my own mind as it is,” he joked.

Chalise seemed to seriously ponder this idea. “The guys at school all seem to be pretty set against him for the most part, while the girls are either pining for him or resentful they haven’t been picked instead of us, so you may actually have something there.”

“It explains why Alex’s parents put up with all this weird behavior, as well as explaining why we don’t all fight amongst ourselves like jealous cats and dogs,” Shani explained, though she didn’t look convinced herself.

“I must say,” Kitty suggested to Alex’s parents, taking a chance, “that you both seem to be taking this thing between Cate and Alex pretty well.” Frank grimaced a bit, but everyone could see his face slowly relax again.

“You should have seen him a little while ago,” Linda told them both. “He was fine with most everything that has happened, but once Cate and Alex actually fell into bed together instead of just hinting they were attracted to each other, he was fit to be tied. However I think I was finally able to get him to see beyond his own anger, so he could finally see how much happier they both are and how well they were coping with it. I think that was actually his biggest fear, that somehow Cate would eventually fall apart, or be unable to cope with its aftereffects.”

“Still, I think it’s amazing that you two are as accepting as you have been,” Chalise said. “I can’t picture my father ever supporting me in anything I might choose to do. Knowing your son is playing with things that no one else has before….” she left the rest unsaid.

“Yeah, well, when everything is said and done,  Alex seemed to have a handle on it himself,” Frank said, leaning back and crossing his legs. “He didn’t get carried away, he played it down and tried to control everyone else so that nothing could get out of hand. Besides, neither of us has ever been in a similar situation. This is as new to us as it is anyone else. There’s just no parental rule book for how to advise your kids on subjects like these.”

“So,” Alex said, speaking up again after having simply sat back and let the whole conversation unfold around him, “I was planning on bringing up the whole ‘preserving the genetics’ argument with you both, but now that it’s out, what do you think of the idea?”

“Oh, I think it makes perfect sense,” Kitty responded enthusiastically. “I think you should save as much sperm as you can. In fact, I can’t believe you haven’t purposefully gotten anyone pregnant yet.”

Alex’s jaw just about hit the floor at that response. It was the last thing he’d expected her to say.

“I agree,” Chalise stated. “But let me get a few things straight first. Cate, you said that the girls’ genetics ensure that there are plenty of these Seers and Watchers, but only one of Alex, right?”

“Well, that we know of, at least,” she conceded.

“So essentially we’re talking potentially thousands of these Seers and likely millions of these Watchers?”

“Easily,” Cate agreed, “although we haven’t quite worked out the proper ratios yet.” Becky nodded her agreement with that supposition.

“So Alex is busy trying to preserve the Watcher and Seer communities, but he hasn’t done anything to preserve his own huge leap forward in the vast genetics game?” Chalise continued on, only pausing long enough to make her point. “I’d consider it to be his, and our, genetic imperative to reproduce by whatever means, as soon and as much as he can. I mean, no one has observed any significant genetic improvement or advancement for all of our recorded history. So not only has Alex been the first step forward, but it’s a vast leap forward.”

Once again the women in the room all nodded their head in recognition of this basic concept.

“You mean you wouldn’t object to the idea of—” Alex didn’t get much farther than his initially hesitant question.

“Alex, we’re talking about the future of mankind here. Do you think the first animal with color vision said, ‘No one else touch him, he’s mine because he can find berries better than anyone else?’ I don’t think so. Do you think the first man to ever speak had a wife that said, ‘Just as long as you never speak to anyone besides me’?” Chalise looked at Alex as if she expected an answer.

“Well, I don’t really think—”

“That’s right, you aren’t really thinking about it. Cate,” she asked, turning back to Alex’s sister, “am I safe in assuming that there aren’t any instances of another Alex around?”

“My sister Melinda is looking into that for us,” Alex protested.

“And if she’d found one, she surely would have told us by now, wouldn’t she?” Chalise pressed. When she got no response she went on. “I’m assuming that massive genetic changes don’t just ‘spring up’, do they?” she asked Cate. “Can we assume this is just a common, everyday event?

Cate took a moment to consider her response then started lecturing on the topic. “It’s nice to believe that they do, because then it seems inevitable. If thousands of people all have the same traits and it just takes someone to recognize it, then it’s merely a fact of nature. But if a major advancement happens to one isolated individual, then everything rests upon him. I think that’s what’s happening with Alex. If something were to happen to Alex, there would never be any more Watchers, Seers or anything. There would be no telepathic communications, no activations, no visions, and no recognition of this life energy.”

“And everything you’ve all observed would be completely for naught,” Chalise pressed, “isn’t that right?”

“That’s pretty much the case,” Becky answered with certainty.

“Then you’d best get your ass upstairs as soon as possible and start working on progeny pretty damn quick!” Chalise concluded.

“But don’t you—?” Alex tried to argue.

“Hell no!” she answered, before he could even form his question. “I’m not about to deny the world, our children’s children’s children, and our entire species the potential for their future. Sure, we both want a piece of you as long as we have the possibility, but I don’t think that either one of us is ready for kids at the moment. If someone else is willing to step up and help save what you represent, then I say more power to them.”

“Actually, all that Cate suggested is that we freeze some of my sperm. She suggested we travel to St. Louis to do it next weekend,” Alex explained.

“Hell, you shouldn’t have waited this long,” Chalise argued. “What if my crazy brother had killed you? Do you want me to think that I almost caused the world to lose what you’ve got to offer? If you need us to go up with you and milk the sample out of you then we’d be honored to do so, but you really need to get this accomplished.”

“Actually there’s a bit more to it than that,” Cate told them.

“Yes, there was the suggestion that several of the Watchers would likely be in a position to take advantage of the ‘samples’ right away, if they were allowed,” Becky offered, interrupting Cate so she wouldn’t have to take the full brunt of this approach on her own. “There was also the suggestion that the Seer community should try to test the waters first, as the idea of someone like Alex with the potential to see their own energy would be tremendous.”

“And you have a recommended volunteer?” Kitty asked, glancing at the assembled women.

“They’ve actually talked it over,” Becky continued. “The only one really in a position to do so at this point is Shani, and they wanted to limit it to only one at the moment, for fear that a house full of pregnant women would raise too many problems.”

“Again, that makes perfect sense,” Chalise answered. “So,” she asked, turning back to face Alex again, “what do you need us to do, insert it for you? Because we’ll do that if you think it’s necessary.” Alex was in no shape to respond right then, the shock in his eyes apparent to everyone. Everyone finally cracked up over his reaction, as it was just too priceless to avoid.

“As long as we don’t have to get pregnant at this point in time, and as long as it’s with someone that you care about, we understand perfectly. We might have a problem if it was with a stranger, but seeing what’s at stake, even that argument won’t hold any water. This is much too important to hold up because of a single individual’s sense of ownership or propriety.”

Frank leaned over to his son and whispered, just loud enough for everyone to hear, “You see what I was saying?” Linda threw a cushion at him and they all laughed again, which helped to dissipate the accumulated stress. Even Alex began to relax a little.

“OK, then,” Cate began, once more assuming the role of leading the conversation, “That leads us to the topic of this summer. As you may have heard, instead of attending college in the fall everyone now believes that Alex should focus on finding as many type 1s and type 2s as he can. We plan on initiating that with his traveling this summer, as soon as school ends. He’ll probably be gone for most of the summer.”

Both Kitty and Chalise looked at her in all sincerity. “And who would accompany him?”

Cate coughed nervously. “Well, due to space restrictions, cost considerations, and assuming that he’s likely going to bring many of the women he meets along with him, we were thinking of keeping his party small.”

“That’s understandable,” Kitty concluded. “So I’ll assume by your response that we aren’t at the top of the list.” She saw Cate’s nervous nod and told her that was fine with her. “We’ll probably both be busy trying to work out our own plans for the fall. You don’t mind if we stop by for visits along the way, though?” she asked.

“No, of course not. We don’t control either of you or your access to Alex,” Cate argued.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Kitty replied. “As the de facto leader of this community, it seems to me that you have a LOT of say about it. But I think that both Chalise and I are now in a similar situation to yourself, Cate. All this news means that our previous plans for college aren’t worth a hill of beans. You’ll have to let us know what training we should undertake in order to do the community the most good. If you need more scientists, we’d be glad to, although I suspect we sort of let ourselves fall behind in the areas of Chemistry, Physics and Physiology,” she laughed.

“You know, now that you mention it, I could use my training in resort management to make all the arrangements for you,” Natalie announced happily as her face lit up. “What’s more, my training in management would allow me to arrange which Watcher community does what.” The look in her eyes was matched by a similar one in Alex’s, now that he’d finally found a way to pull Natalie from her own sense of inferiority. If she had a task to accomplish, like the other girls were all beginning to, then she wouldn’t be as likely to obsess about her inability to do more.

“We’ll have to get together and thrash this out,” Becky offered. “As I said, Melinda is anxious to help as well. Speaking of which, she really wanted to be here today but was, ahem, unable to.”

Cate leaned forward to explain to Kitty and Chalise. “That’s because of me. I’ll explain when we get the chance.”

Ignoring her, Becky went on. “Anyway, she’d like to speak about her research with you tomorrow, Alex. Also, while we’re speaking of it, I’ve already talked with Shani and Allison about having you stop off at the hospital tomorrow morning. You’ve been avoiding it since the ‘incident’ with Mary, and while that was unfortunate, there’s really too much depending on you to continue along those lines.

“You’ll need to do several things. First off, you never got those bloody MRI scans you worked so hard to get. Next, you need to get back on the horse and let Ryan try you out helping different types of patients. We really need to test what you can achieve and what you really can’t affect. Finally, Allison and Ryan are both anxious to see what you can accomplish in terms of psychiatric patients.”

Alex, his attention finally freed from worrying about Kitty and Chalise’s concerns, was all ears. “That makes sense. Make it so, Number One,” he announced, making fun of the old Star Trek episodes.

“Oh, and, Gail, was it?” Kitty asked, addressing a new topic important to her and Kitty. “We’ll need to speak to you about Alex’s ability to lie convincingly. He’s been relying on telling people the truth when asked embarrassing questions and hoping they won’t believe him. It’s not exactly the best approach to take. I hope you’ll be able to help him with that?” Gail simply nodded without giving them a firm reply.

Alex was pleased by how events were unfolding. Everyone was beginning to work together as a team. The idea of giving everyone assigned tasks was a godsend. It gave everyone a personal mission to focus on. He could see that Natalie was already energized by the idea that she could contribute in her own unique way, and he could also tell that both Kitty and Chalise were thinking along similar lines, even though they’d only been a member of his inner group for about an hour. It gave him great hope for the future, hoping that he could continue to foster such camaraderie.

“We thinked you would agree with everything,” Anh told them both. Now that she was getting better with her English, Alex was only correcting her after she’d spoken, so she was still learning, but she was getting more actual experience speaking on her own. “Somehow, it fit together all.”

She didn’t bother trying to explain to them her own theories about how they may have actually been fellow spirits that had crossed over with Alex, they really didn’t need to know such things. Simply the fact that they accepted everything about him so readily spoke volumes.

Kitty and Chalise, on the other hand, were positively giddy. They knew that there was something amazing about Alex, but they never had any idea what. Over time, more and more had slowly been revealed about him, each amazing fact proving increasingly fascinating. But now that they were part of the ‘inner circle’, they realized that the lives they had previously known were essentially over. They were no longer young children wrestling with the complexities of growing up and trying to find a place in the world. They’d found a mission that would define their worlds, and would help not just their boyfriend, but a whole new community of individuals, and potentially, the entire future of humanity. It was an exciting prospect, and it almost excited them more than their initial sexual explorations with Alex.

“Uh, Alex, there’s another issue we wanted to discuss,” Shani said, refocusing everyone’s attention. “Allison and I were a bit distressed by what you did with Mary. Not that you had to do what you did, that was perfectly understandable. What bothers us is that no one understands what’s involved at this point. It seems to us that we’re seeing people’s souls when we look at them, or at least what goes into making up the soul. When you drew the energy from her, essentially putting her, uh, ‘down’, we were a little afraid that you may have done more than just that.”

“Maybe we’ve been watching too many religious movies over the years,” Allison said, backing Shani up, “but we kind of expected to see this soul that we’ve been seeing leave the body as it leaves this ‘mortal coil’. We’re a little afraid that, instead of merely stopping her brain from functioning, you may have unintentionally absorbed her soul, just when it was ready to move on.” Allison looked very sheepish relating this information, knowing that Alex was a bit touchy on the subject already.

“We’ve both been wandering the hospital trying to observe anyone else at the moment of death, just to see what happens, and whether what happened was a ‘normal response’ or not,” Shani explained. “Unfortunately, you just can’t plan on someone dying at any particular time, even in a hospital emergency room. So we’re still baffled by it.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Alex told them, looking a bit disturbed himself. “What’s done is done and I don’t plan on doing it again. We’ll eventually figure out what’s going on, but until we figure it out, we’re all trying as best we can.”

“You know,” Becky said, interrupting the conversation, “I think this is the perfect opportunity to bring up something else that I was thinking of. Cate, you’ve always been big on your science fair projects. I’d like to suggest you start a much more important one. Dad, if you could help us tomorrow, I’d like to build some cages for Cate. I spoke to someone at the testing facilities at the school, and he can set us up with a few animals for our own testing. I’m think several mice and possibly some bunnies, so please, Cate, don’t go getting attached to any of them.

“Now, the guy is going out of his way in doing this for us, but don’t let him know that we actually plan on doing any testing of our own. That’s sure to set off all kinds of alarm bells, because there are all kinds of restrictions on animal testing, especially by private individuals. Normally they also deal with disposal of animal carcasses, but I think that’s a bit much to expect, so if it’s necessary you’ll just have to bury them in the backyard.

“There are a variety of things we’ll need to test. I’d do it myself, but I’m living on campus and I’m not allowed to keep pets, and if anyone heard I was doing experiments on my own there’d be hell to pay. Now the first thing you’ll need to test is whether Alex’s draining energy from Jennifer’s arm caused the bone to become fragile. So you’ll have to get Alex to do the same thing to a couple of different animals and observe the results. Then, if nothing happens, you’ll have to euthanize the animals and test the bone strength of the limbs affected.

“Next, regarding this concern of Allison and Shani’s, you’re going to have to put down a few animals at random, just so Shani and Allison can observe what happens. That should either ease their consciences or let us know if we need to be aware of anything.

“I’m sure there are several other experiments you’ll be able to think up on your own, but that’s a good start right off the bat,” Becky concluded.

“Sure, I can do that,” Cate told her enthusiastically. “I’ve been dying to provide Alex with some real information. That sounds perfect. Dad, get ready for a few new holes in the back yard and, Mom, get ready for some rabbit stew in the future,” Cate said, sounding much too happy about the whole thing.

“You know, just out of curiosity, mind you,” Gail suggested, “but do you think you might be able to use what you did with Mary as a potential weapon if it was necessary?” Alex visibly blanched at the notion, which caused both Kitty and Chalise to give him reassuring hugs before he addressed the issue.

“Not if I could possibly help it,” he said, “but realistically, I doubt it. To use it on someone, they’d have to stand perfectly still while I tried to access specific areas of their brains. It’s hardly the kind of thing you could do in an emergency. Mary pretty much knew what I was doing and was willing to let me do it to her.”

“OK, I didn’t mean to disturb you with the suggestion, I was just wondering,” she told him.

Kitty was amazed how everyone worked so efficiently together around Alex, each person taking on an assigned role without question and offering suggestions about other’s concerns. She realized that this was the manifestation of Alex’s girls’ devotion to him. Once they set helping him, nothing in the world was likely to dissuade them. But she could certainly understand such feelings now.

Last night had been an amazing thing for her. Despite Alex’s continued comments about his own virginity, he hadn’t asked the same of either of them. In fact, he went out of his way to tell them that it didn’t matter what they did or didn’t do, as those were details of the past and not of their present together. As a result Kitty hadn’t revealed her own history to him, even though she had wanted to when Darrell said the things about her he had. For Kitty was, in fact, a virgin herself, up until last night of course. She knew she didn’t have a hymen remaining, so it wasn’t really an issue, and Alex had made the entire evening so special she couldn’t have asked for a better way to lose her own virginity. So she was convinced that, once again, Alex seemed to know best. He was right, her past hadn’t mattered because he would have treated them both as princesses either way.

She couldn’t have imagined a better experience than what she’d achieved last night. She wasn’t even bothered that she’d had to share her first night with her new best friend Chalise. It had been beautiful between the three of them. Though she was curious about all this talk about feeling Alex’s energy, she wondered if maybe sex with Alex was even better than it would be with anyone else. She really had no way to evaluate it, having no other experiences, but she couldn’t picture anyone else ever making her feel as special and as beautiful as they both had last night.

With those thoughts in mind, she clung to his side and let herself bask in his sheer physical presence. Sure, Darrell was certainly larger and better built, but she had no doubt that Alex was a much better man than Darrell could ever be, even without all his special abilities. However, once you added those in there was simply no one to compare him to.

Chalise was having similar thoughts, hugging Alex’s other side. Her own history had been based on fending off overly aggressive dates she had no desire to be intimate with. Several had been quite aggressive, and she’d been lucky to have escaped unscathed on a few occasions, and that’s why she was nervous about accepting dates any more. She too had been a blushing virgin last night, although she’d had a bit more experience than her friend. Her experience had been with the handle of a favorite hairbrush of hers. The reason why the brush was favored was quite obvious, as she never used it for her hair, usually using a pick or other specialized tool instead. But she’d been feeling frisky one day and had observed it when out with some friends. It looked like just the right size and shape, and she’d immediately gotten ideas of the potential uses it could be applied to. Best of all, no one would ever suspect it to be what she planned on making it.

That hairbrush had been her single lover for lo these many years, though she was glad to hand the task over to Alex permanently from now on. The affection he’d showered them both with was everything she’d ever dreamed of. If her father ever asked her why she hadn’t given herself to a deserving black man, she knew what her response would be. There simply was no man of any race who was more deserving than Alex.

She’d been nervous about being experienced enough for Alex, because although he continually talked about what a virgin he was, he obviously had a lot of experience since his trip to New Orleans. Especially since Cate revealed that one of his girls had worked as a high class escort. Chalise had undertaken to educate herself as much as she could, reading books, checking online and talking with friends, but she’d eventually had to calm herself. Obviously he cared for both Kitty and her regardless of their experience. He had his pick of women, and yet he was bequeathing his first experience to them. That meant a lot to her.

Given what Cate and Frank had said about Alex’s controlling those around him, she didn’t think it really mattered. She felt strongly about him, whether it was something he did intentionally or not made no difference. She felt tied to him intricately now, and she wanted nothing more than to be one of his ‘girls’. She knew she couldn’t hope to compete with what they shared with him, but he didn’t seem to discriminate in such things. He welcomed people exactly as they were, whether they had magical abilities or not, he simply didn’t care. What he cared about was that you treated him honestly and really cared for him, and he for you. Well, she did both. She had never cared for anyone like she now did for him. She had to admit, she also felt a very close connection to several others right now as well. Kitty had become a fellow lover as well last night, Cate had become a close confidant, although she imagined that, given what she knew of both Alex and Cate, that they’d also become much more soon. And Alex’s other girls already held a special place in her heart for the protective nature and love they held Alex in. She’d always feel a part of them, whether anything passed between them or not.

Just thinking these things was already making Chalise damp, and she could hardly wait before trying to mount her new boyfriend again. She imagined doing it in front of the room right then, and the idea filled her with confidence and a warm reassurance, because she knew, as shocking as it might be, they’d all welcome and encourage her. She knew she’d found a new home, a new lover, and a new future. Whatever else life held for her, she knew that Alex, his women, and his mission would forever be a part of it, no matter what personally passed between her and Alex.

The meeting broke up soon after that. A couple of people gathered to go over a few more details. Both Kitty and Chalise accompanied Alex into the kitchen as he had yet another mid-morning snack. They wanted to make sure that he had plenty of energy, because they planned on physically taxing him as much as they could for the rest of the day.

 

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