Some Kind of Wonderful Part-16

Some Kind of Wonderful-
Part Sixteen


Charlie Sandsmark and his mother, Helena, travel around the world from one archaeological dig to another, looking for evidence of the ancient Amazonian culture. So far they have found nothing, until Charlie discovers something wonderful about himself on a small island in the Aegean Sea.


Author's Note: Ok, here's something that hasn't happened in a long time for me, I'm posting a new chapter the day after I just posted one. I was going to wait until tomorrow to post this but I was convinced otherwise :) So here's Ch. 16. Its a little slower and its mainly talking but it does tell us what happened to poor Eddie Bloomberg. I'd like to thank djkauf for the wonderful and lightning fast editing and DC Comics for their wonderful characters.


Chapter Sixteen:

“Are you sure you’re going to be ok?” asked Donna as she sat down at the kitchen table.

I wanted to tell her I was going to be fine but that would be a lie. Instead, I pushed my eggs around the plate, not hungry for the first time in days. How could I eat after what happened last night? I screwed up, I screwed up big time. There was one thing I swore I’d never do and that was to tell anyone who I once was. Then I went and stupidly called Connor that name. I wouldn’t be surprised if he never wanted to talk to me again. I wouldn’t want to talk to someone who’s lied to you for almost a week and then kissed you. To make matters worse, he just found out I was his best friend in the whole wide world. When we got home last night, I cried myself to sleep on Donna’s lap.

When I woke up this morning, I was in my bed, dressed in my sleeping shirt.

Donna groaned, causing me to drop my fork. “You’re making me depressed.”

I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t believe I was so damn stupid last night. I’d been so careful around Connor too, and in one moment of slight weakness, I ruined it all. I guess I got caught up in things, found something familiar about it all. He and I used to do a lot together---not that I’d ever kissed him. I’m not sure why I did that. But we were like brothers once. It was only a matter of time before I slipped up. It was one of the reasons I was hoping to avoid him. Now I could never go anywhere near him again. I’m not sure what I was going to do in school come Monday but there was just no way I could see his face, not after last night.

“Sweetie” my grandma said as she sat down next to me. “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. I’m sure the boy didn’t even notice and if he did, I’m sure you could explain things to him.”

“Explain things,” I said, on the verge of hysterics. “I’m his best friend, his best guy friend and I kissed him.”

My grandma smiled and took my hand. “Sweetheart, you’re not a boy anymore.”

I groaned. “I’m also a liar.”

“You’re not a liar,” said Donna “you’re someone who’s gone through a very monumental change in your life and have a lot of things that you can’t tell people.”


Donna reached over the table and gave me a one armed hug. Then she gently helped me out of my chair, pushing me toward the living room. I didn’t know what she was planning until she pushed me on the couch. She grabbed the living room handset and held it out for me. It took me a second to catch on and then I shook my head. There was no way I was going to call him. He’d slam the phone in my ear. Donna gave me a look, she even stomped her foot. I wanted to tell her to butt out and mind her own damn business. After all this was partially her fault. If she hadn’t invited him for me then I wouldn’t be in this trouble in the first place. Ok, so that’s not true. I’d eventually slip up around him; I was just hoping it’d be like at high school graduation and then I’d never have to see him again.

“Call him,” she said, tossing the phone at me.

My inhuman reflexes caused me to catch it even though I didn’t want to. Thankfully, she didn’t stay in the room. Instead, she turned and walked back into the kitchen. I didn’t call right away. Instead, I held the phone for a bit and tried to think of what to say. “Hey Connor, it’s your old pal Charlie. Why do I sound like a girl, well it’s a funny story actually” No, I don’t think that would go over so well. In fact, I almost called with that exact same line back when this all started, before Cameron started to set the ground rules. It’s not that I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone who I really was it just made things very difficult for the government to do so.

After twenty minutes, I finally got up the courage to do it when the damn thing rang in my hand. I nearly had a heart attack. After calming a bit---about the third ring---I answered. “Hello?” I asked, my heart still racing a bit.

“Cassie?” asked a familiar voice, unfortunately not the one I was hoping for. “Hey, where did you go the other night?”

Great, the other person I was trying to avoid.

“Hey Artemis” I said, biting my lip. “I’m sorry about the thing. After I went to the bathroom, I stepped out for some air. I walked down the sidewalk a bit and then someone tried to mug me.”

I wasn’t lying. After all someone did try to mug me.

There was a loud pause, at first I thought she hung up. After all, how do you tell someone that you think their group is bogus?

Then I heard her sigh. “You’re kidding” she finally said, there was some relief in her voice. “We thought you bailed on us.”

We had a laugh. Then she wanted me to tell her all about the mugging. So I did. I left out the part where I kicked the guy’s ass, of course. Instead, I said he took my wallet---I don’t carry a purse, yet---then he ran off. I’m not sure where he went after that. Then she starting talking about the mugger on the news, the one the police caught only a few doors down from the spa. She started to wonder if it was the same guy. I played along with her for a bit, telling her that it was possible. She told me I should head down to the police station the next time I was in the city to see if the police recovered my wallet. She even agreed to tag along if I needed some moral support. A part of me was kinda happy that she wasn’t pissed at me. I might not like the group she belonged to, but I kinda liked her.

I didn’t have many friends besides her, Cissie and Amy. I can’t count Connor in that bunch anymore, not after last night anyway.
“There’s something cool coming up in a couple of days,” Artemis said finally, laughing. “We’re going to Bay City. It’s not connected to the spa but Antiope is got us some backstage passes to a concert there, she even has pull in this hotel so the seven of us can stay there.”

“The seven?”

Artemis laughed. “You’re coming too, Antiope insisted. She said it would help you get to know us better, some girl bonding time.”

I laughed. I wonder what she was up too. “Sounds like fun.”

It actually did. No one ever invited me to a concert when I was Charlie. I’d just have to look over the fact that it was connected to that woman. We talked for a few more minutes. She wanted to know if I’d join them for another run, possibly tomorrow afternoon. I promised I’d be there then the other line beeped. I groaned, would the world let me call Connor please. I said my goodbyes to Artemis then switched over.

“Cassie” said another familiar voice, Cissie this time. “Hey, how’s it going?”

I cursed in my head. I’d completely forgotten about today. I bit my lip. I wasn’t in the mood for it today but I did promise. “Hey Cissie you all set?”

She sighed inwardly. I think she thought I was going to back out. “Its ok if you don’t want to…ummm…we can do it some other time.”

I laughed. “I promised today so we’ll do it today.”

“Ok” she said, sighing again.

“Cissie, it’s going to be ok.”

I asked her address, forgetting that she actually lived in The Gates too. Her house wasn’t very far actually, just around the corner. I scribbled down the address and told her I’d call us a cab. Then I hung up, setting the phone down. It took me a minute or two to get up enough nerve to call Connor again. I tried his home phone first but it rang and rang. I waited until I heard his cousin’s voice on the answer machine before I hung up. Then I tried his cell but it went to voice mail too. I cursed, clicking the phone off. I went to call him again but the doorbell rang.

Son of a bitch, now what. I stormed over to the door and yanked it open. Connor was standing there, his cheeks were red and looking at the porch, I could see that he’d been walking in place, a lot. It was clear he’d been here for at least a couple of minutes.

“Hey” he said awkwardly.

“Hey” I said, screaming inside my head.

“Ummm…I think you and I should talk Cassie” I nodded. “Or is it Charlie?”

And it gets better.


“Why are we going to Eddie’s?” he asked as we got into his truck.

“Cissie’s madly in love with him. She’s been worrying about him all week.”

Neither one of us were willing to talk about what was important. It was like we had a big secret and we wanted to tell the other but just couldn’t. He figured it out; I suppose it didn’t take a genius. What surprised me though was his reaction. He didn’t seem angry to me. He looked a little confused but not angry. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or bad. I never really saw him get angry before, except at his Dad. The two of them used to fight all the time. One would say something awful, the other would say something worse and they’d storm out of the room. It was similar to some of the stuff that happened between Mom and me, except with actually talking.

We drove in silence around the block, neither one of us sure what to say. I was happy with it, sitting here, pretending that what he knew he didn’t actually know. But my happiness was short-lived. I could almost see Cissie’s house when he slammed on the brakes. Ok, he didn’t slam on them but he did stop kinda abruptly. I jerked forward a bit, thank Hera for the seatbelt. He smiled apologetically at me then grimaced, realizing what he was doing. He stared for a bit, looking me up and down. He squinted, getting a real good look at me. When he called me Charlie on the doorstep, I neither confirmed nor denied it. I was a little stunned.

Now I was waiting for him to make the next move.

I didn’t have to wait long. “So, are you or aren’t you?”

I opened my mouth and closed it quickly. I took a deep breath and nodded. “I am.”

“Shit” he said, his face turning a bit pale. “You confused the hell out of me last night, blurting that out right after you kissed me. You kissed me by the way, that didn’t just happen in my head, right?” I shook my head. He sighed again. “Damn, this is so…”

He rubbed his temples. I wanted to hold his hand but that would have really screwed things up. I’m not sure what I wanted to do it either but it just felt like the right thing to do. I think the girl hormones were starting to affect my mind. I barely thought like a guy anymore, it was really starting to freak me out.

He spoke again. It was good he was doing all the talking. “So how long?”

I shrugged. “Not long.”

“Did you take pills and have surgery?”

I laughed, I couldn’t help it. I’m not sure he liked that or not. “Yeah, Connor” I said, waving my hands up and down my buddy. “This is all the miracle of modern science.” I think he got my sarcasm. “I’m…well…the official term is Metahuman.”

Connor’s eyes got big. “Like those girls on TV?” I nodded “I knew there was something so familiar about you. Not the way you look of course but the way you acted and interacted with me. Then when you called me Clone last night, I knew it. There was no way Charlie would have told anyone that.”

It was after all our own private joke. All his life, Connor had been compared to his father. It was really hard not to do, actually. They were both football stars, both popular but whereas his Dad kinda liked the popularity, Connor didn’t. But it didn’t matter to everyone else because everyone around him had already made up their minds about Connor Kent. They kept calling him his “father’s son” and things like that. So I jokingly called him “Clone” once. It was all in good fun and we had a laugh about it. It was my nickname for him and in return he called me “Shrimp” We swore we’d never tell anyone---including our families---about those names.

He was ready for more questions. “So do all Metas turn from guys to girls?” I shrugged. “What about your powers?”

I bit my lip. I wasn’t ready to play twenty questions, at least not here. I looked toward Cissie’s house, I’m sure she was wondering where I was. I took a deep breath. “I’ll explain everything to you later but right now I think you and I need to help Cissie first.”

He looked ready to argue but I gave him a look. It was a similar one that I knew his cousin Kara gave him when she wanted him to do something. He frowned and started the truck back up. I smiled sweetly at him and the two of us continued toward Cissie’s house.

The King-Jones household was a split level ranch like a good portion of the homes in this development. But unlike most, it was a lot bigger than most. It had about four bedrooms and a garage that was detached from the home like mine. Unlike mine, there was a big tree in the backyard where Cissie’s father built her a tree house. When we were younger Cissie, Connor and I all used to play up there for hours. Like I said before, things grew apart when we got older. But part of that had to do with the fact that Cissie’s mother started to distrust people after her husband got into trouble. When I was younger I had no idea what that meant. But a few years ago, my grandpa told me he got involved with insider trading. Then he fled the country.

After that, Cissie was a different person. Her mother went into a little depression and we weren’t allowed to come over for a while. When her mother recovered, things were different. Cissie started concentrating on her academics and had no time for foolish games. Her mother had the tree house dismantled and Cissie was put on the fast track to adulthood. Luckily, for them though, her mother had a really good paying job and her own separate bank account or else they probably would have gone down with the father.

When we pulled up in front of the house, it felt kinda strange. It used to be yellow but now it was a dismal gray. It was like when her mother went into a depression everything else around her did too. I wanted to make a crack about good times but I’m not sure it was appropriate given the circumstances. We waited a few minutes for Cissie. Connor was about to lay on the horn when she came out. She moved quickly as if she was running from something. I looked toward the house and caught her mother staring at us from one of the upstairs windows. I shuddered. That woman gave me the creeps long before she went off the deep end.

Cissie paused when she saw Connor. I rolled down the window and waved. Her expression changed from surprise to happiness. She ran toward the truck and I slid over into the middle seat, allowing her room in the cab. It was kinda uncomfortable but it would only be for a few minutes. I was instantly aware of the fact of how close Connor and I were together now. My shoulder brushed his side, his arm bumped my cheek.

“Sorry” he said softly, repositioning himself. I nodded numbly.

“Ummm, thanks for this, guys,” said Cissie as we started down the road.

“Anytime” Connor and I said together.

It turns out that Eddie didn’t live all that far from The Gates. After we left the development, we took a right. I knew the area we were going to only vaguely. I ran through there sometimes on my way to the park. The development wasn’t as big as ours and of course it wasn’t gated but it was still a nice place to live. As we drove, I asked Connor about Eddie some more. He told me some things but there wasn’t much. Cissie talked a little bit about him too; when she spoke, she blushed a bit. Only an idiot wouldn’t be able to see that there was something there. It was kinda cute actually. Here she was being bullied by him and she had a crush on him. I think I might have mentioned how immature I thought Eddie was because it was kinda clear that he was harboring feelings for her too.

When we got to the house we found ourselves in front of another ranch style home, they seemed to all the rage around here. Except it wasn’t nearly as big as Cissie’s. She got out of the truck first, practically flying out of it in fact. I followed slowly with a reluctant Connor behind me dragging his feet. I fought back the urge to linger behind and take his hand. I did look back at him though and our eyes locked. I knew there that he felt something too. It was hard to deny it after all. It didn’t matter that we were friends, best male friends before. I had feelings for him and he had them for me. I knew it the moment I saw him in the mall. I should have ended it then but he was the only friend I had before and I just couldn’t get rid of him that easily.

We stared at each other for a few seconds more before he finally looked away. I wanted to cry, this hurt so much.
When I looked forward, Cissie was already on the porch ringing the doorbell. A blonde woman answered, she, must have been Eddie’s mother. His father must have been the Jewish one and Eddie must have gotten his features from her. Because the two of them looked so much alike, it was uncanny.

“Hello, Mrs. Bloomberg?” asked Cissie nervously, the woman nodded. “I’m Cissie King-Jones, a friend of Eddie’s from school.”

The woman sighed. “Eddie isn’t feeling well. I don’t think it’s a good idea that he sees any friends at the moment,”

“Please Mrs. Bloomberg” pleaded Cissie.

The woman looked beyond her and over at me and Connor as we came walking up. Her expression changed when she saw Connor. Her face lit up. “Connor, so good to see you again.”

He smiled. “Hey, Mrs. B” he said, giving her an award winning smile. “You think you can let me and the lovely ladies see Ed for a few minutes. We’ll be quick, I promise.”

She flushed and I rolled my eyes. Connor even had that effect on older women too.

“Only a few minutes though,” she said, stepping aside and holding the door open for us.

Cissie went first followed by Connor and me. When I looked at Mrs. B, I noticed a bandage wrapped around her arm. When she caught me staring, she turned away, dropping her arm quickly. It was kinda weird but this whole day had been weird for me. I smiled at her. She stared up at me for a few seconds then smiled too.
“Eddie is in the basement, you know the way right, Connor?”

He nodded. “Sure do, Mrs. B.”

She left us to it then as Connor led us. There was no door to the Bloomberg’s basement it was an archway with some stairs that led down. Connor explained it was more like a Rec Room than anything else. It had a pool table, a dartboard, and a big flat screen. They watched a lot of games down there too. As we headed down the stairs, the first thing I noticed was the dark. Connor frowned and flipped the switch but nothing happened. I squinted into the dark. If Eddie was down here then he’d suddenly gone vampire. Connor tried the switch again.

“I shut the power off,” said a voice from the dark.

It sounded like Eddie but there was something else too it, a grumble maybe. It definitely sounded deeper, like he’d gone through a second puberty. Cissie grabbed my hand; her palms were sweaty.

“Eddie?” she asked, her voice soft and sweet.

There was a pause and then: “Cissie?”

She nodded even though in the dark he probably couldn’t see her. So instead she stepped a little bit into the room, I went with her. “I…I mean…we were worried about you. You’ve been sick for a few days so we thought we might come and check on you. Your mother has been picking up your homework every day which usually means a prolonged illness.”

There was a cough. “I’m ok,” said his voice, trembling a bit.

Cissie squeezed my hand. We stepped a little further into the room, walking into something about waist high and hard. For a second I wasn’t sure what it was until I felt around it with my hand. It was the pool table that Connor mentioned. I squinted into the dark, wondering where our would-be host was hiding. It kinda freaked me out, especially being in the dark for the second time in two days. I looked behind me for Connor. I couldn’t see him at first until I felt someone take my hand. I felt his presence next to me. I wanted to flinch and pull away but it felt kinda right.

“You don’t sound ok,” said Cissie, letting go of my hand.

I heard movement in front of us. Cissie heard it too. She stepped forward, moving a little too fast for Eddie I think. There was some stumbling and I smelt something, something burning. He cursed. Cissie took another quick step into the room.

“DON’T COME ANY CLOSER,” he shouted.

She stumbled backwards then burst into tears. I found her in the dark and she cried into my chest. He just scared the hell out of her and that kinda pissed me off. Hiding in the dark or not, there was no way I was going to let him hurt her. I took a deep breath, pulled her away from me and stormed into the dark. This hide and seek game was pissing me off anyways. I heard him stumbling, trying to get away from me. There was a crash, some more burning and then more cursing. I followed the noise, it was close. I took a chance and moved to intercept. I caught him. He ran into me, falling on his butt. I groped in the dark and found him, my hand grabbing his forearm.

As soon as I did so, I felt an intense heat underneath his skin. Then his hand grabbed my wrist, pulling away my arm. As soon as his fingers touched my skin, it burned like crazy. I cursed and stumbled back, my arm felt like it was on fire.

“Damn it” he said, scrambling to his feet. “I did it again. I’m so sorry Cassie, I didn’t mean it.”

I felt my arm, at the place where I should have been burned. My skin was a little tender but it didn’t hurt anymore. Then his words came to me, how he did it again. It suddenly dawned on me why his mother had a bandage wrapped around her forearm. He burned her; he burned her by touching her. I took a deep breath, trying to wrap my head around it. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what happened to poor Eddie Bloomberg. He was like me now, one of the few, I guess. Not that we were kindred or anything---he still sounded like a guy---but we were a part of a new group. I bit my lip and looked behind me, searching the dark for Connor.

“Connor, can you take Cissie upstairs for a few minutes?”

“Are you all right?” he asked, there was genuine concern in his voice.

“I’m good. But I need to talk to Eddie alone for a few minutes.”

I listened as Connor stumbled about and found Cissie. Then I heard the two of them walking up the stairs. I waited to make sure then I turned back to where I thought Eddie was. “You aren’t sick, are you?”

He sighed. “Something’s happened to me, something bad.”

“You changed?”

“That’s an understatement.”

“You still sound like you.”

He laughed; there was a gruffness to it. “I am still me in a way just a little different.”

I sighed. “I mean you don’t sound like a girl.”

“A girl? Why would I be a girl?”

I groaned. That was so unfair. I get Meta powers and a sex change. He gets Meta powers and whatever. I took a deep breath. “Eddie, can we turn on the light?”

“No” he said, angrily and quickly.

I took another deep breath. This was going to be difficult. “In order for me to understand what’s going on, I need you to turn on the light for me.”
There was a long pause. Then a sigh. “If I do it then you have to promise not to tell anyone what you see, including Cissie.”

I smiled. “I promise.”

There was some shuffling. He moved away from me and to somewhere I couldn’t see, probably toward the power box. After a minute or two, the power came back on in the room. What I saw caused me to gasp, I couldn’t help. Standing in the corner, draped in nothing but a blanket and tattered jeans was something that could only be described as a demon. It was tall and red with black horns and yellow eyes. It had shoulder length white hair, long fingernails and a forked tail---about two feet long---dangling around the back of its legs. It had human feet though which I suppose could have been the only normal thing about it. I groaned, I couldn’t keep calling it an “it” It wasn’t an “it”, it was Eddie. Sorry, no more confusion, I swear.

“Oh my God” I said, finally finding my voice.

He smirked, revealing sharp canine like incisors. “Now you know why I kept the lights off.”

I nodded numbly and took a step toward him. He stepped back, forcing himself into a corner. “Get away from me” he said harshly, giving me some pause. “I’m sorry but when I touch people, it burns them.”

I looked down at my arm where he touched me. It was a little red but there were no burn marks. I held up my arm, showing him that he didn’t hurt me. His eyes widened a bit. He knew that’s where he touched me. “I’m not like normal people.”

He didn’t say anything so I decided to demonstrate. I figured seeing that we were in the same boat there was no reason to keep things from him. I walked over to the pool table and scooped up the eight ball. I rolled it around in my fingers then showed it to him with my palm open. He nodded. Then I closed my fingers around it and squeezed. The eight ball shattered to dust in my hand. Eddie’s mouth dropped open, revealing more of his sharp teeth. I smiled, opening my hand and allowing eight ball dust to drift to the floor.

“Holy shit” he said, backing away from the corner a bit. Then he looked down at his crotch and frowned. “You could of castrated me before.”

We both laughed. I pointed to the couch but he didn’t follow. Instead, I walked over and sat on the arm. Then I told him my story, I left out the Goddess part though. I wanted him to think that I was a regular Meta just like him. It took a lot longer than I thought actually. He listened and nodded a lot, probably noticing some similarities to his own story. When I finished, he let out a loud sigh.

“So you were a dude before?” I nodded. “That sucks.”

I smirked. “You get used to it I suppose.”

“And does anyone else know?”

I nodded. “My family and my friend Donna. Connor knows now too, well some of it anyway.”

He nodded. “And these government people you mentioned, will they come looking for me, too?”

I shrugged. “I think as long as you remain hidden and don’t use your powers, they’ll leave you alone. They were only interested in me because of what I did in Greece.”

After that, the two of us talked. He wanted to know what else I could do so I told him about the bullet deflection thing and my super endurance, if you want to call it that. Then I asked him about his powers, besides the burning flesh thing. But he didn’t know what else. He said he was afraid he was going to burn the house down if he tried experimenting. After he changed and burned his mother, he retreated down here into the basement. He flipped the switch on the power box and has been sitting down here in the dark ever since. That was a couple of days ago, his Mom brought him meals but that was the only human contact he had.

“Do you want to show others?” I asked and he shrugged.

“Don’t you think people would freak?” he asked, waving his hand over his body. “I mean you went from a dude into a super model. Me, I went from guy into Satan.”

I laughed, I couldn’t help it. “You’re not Satan, you’re a Red Devil.”

He smirked. “Kinda poetic I guess. My mother used to call me her little devil when I was younger because I always got into trouble.”

We both laughed. Then I spent the next few minutes trying to convince him to allow others to see him. I thought if he started small at first and worked his way up. He wasn’t sure. “How about Connor and Cissie?”

He frowned when I mentioned Cissie. I took a chance. “How can you date a girl if she can’t see you?”

If he flushed, I’m not sure because he was already red to begin with. Instead, he sighed. “You don’t think she’d freak?”

I shook my head. Cissie was cool and open-minded. At least I thought she was. I took a deep breath and told him to sit tight. Before he could say yes or no, I went up the stairs. Connor, Cissie and Mrs. B were sitting in the living room drinking hot chocolate. Mrs. B gave me a longing look and I smiled at her. She saw it in my face, knowing I’d seen what he’d been hiding. She let out a sigh of relief, probably glad that I didn’t run out of there screaming. Cissie gave me a look too. I smiled at her, trying to read her. Would she be willing to except him now? Well there were was only one way to find out.

“He wants to see Cissie and Connor”

“I’m not sure that’s such a good…”

I raised my hand. “He’s ok with it, well he’s a bit nervous but I talked with him about it and I think it’ll be ok.”

I looked at Connor. He looked confused until I nodded so he smiled. Cissie looked a bit confused too but I think she understood. At least some it anyway. I led the way down the stairs. When we got down there, Cissie holding my hand, Eddie was covered in his blanket. The lights were still on so that was a good sign. He turned around slowly, his tail sticking out of the fabric. That’s the first thing Connor and Cissie saw actually. Cissie squeezed my hand but I think she was going to be all right. Then Eddie dropped the blanket, both of them gasped. No one did or said anything for about a minute. Cissie did tighten her grip a bit but at least she didn’t scream or run crazy out of the room.

Connor broke the silence. “Dude” he said softly then a few seconds later, he added. “That’s so awesome. Are you a Meta too now?”

Eddie visually relaxed and nodded. Connor looked like he’d just won the lottery and why not. Two of his friends just confessed their superhero powers to him in one day. He was probably on Cloud Nine. Cissie on the other hand, I’m not sure what she was thinking. She was still holding my hand and staring. I think she was trying to figure out if the person standing in front of her was still Eddie. He looked at her, searching her face. Then he smiled. I think that’s what did it for her. Her grip on my hand relaxed and she sighed.

“Eddie, is that really you?”

“Hey Cis” he said sheepishly.

She let go of my hand and slowly walked over to him. He made a motion for her not to come any closer. Then the two of them talked. He told her about his inability to touch people now and she listened intently. I decided then that it might be a good time for the two of us to leave. Connor didn’t know what was going on until I grabbed his arm and pulled him up the stairs. Mrs. B stood up from the couch when the two of us reappeared.

“Is everything all right?”

I nodded. “He and Cissie are talking, it might be a while.”

Mrs. B. sighed then smiled. She looked at the two of us. “If you two want to go I can give her a ride home later.”

I answered for Connor. “That would be great; the two of us have some things to talk about anyway.”

I grabbed Connor’s arm and dragged him toward the door.

We went out to his truck, me pulling him along. I don’t think he cared much for it but I was in a rush. After seeing Cissie with Eddie, I was in a talking mood. I wanted to get all my cards out on the table and see what he thought. I wanted to renew this friendship and hope that it could survive this little bump. I also wanted to see if there was anything more to it as well. I know it was weird and it creeped me out but I couldn’t help feeling for him. I think he felt the same. He kept looking at me, glancing ever so slyly as he started the truck. He put it in reverse and started back toward my house but I wasn’t ready to go home yet.

“Not there, let’s go someplace else.”

“Any place special?”

I shook my head. “Some place where you and I can talk.”

He smiled and went in the opposite direction, toward the mall. The ride was quiet and going good until I noticed the black SUV in the rearview. I cursed, wondering how long it was going to take for them to realize I was off the reservation again. For a while, it kept its distance, tailing us a few cars behind. But as we moved away from the pack, the SUV wove around the others to get behind us. It was kinda erratic behavior for a government goon. I continued to watch it, as it got closer and closer. Soon we were the only two cars on the road. Connor slowed, trying to get it to pass because it was almost on our bumper. I groaned. What the hell was their problem? Was this penance for me not calling it in?

I rolled down the window to shout something when I noticed something major. The black SUV that Cameron’s people usually drove had Government Issue plates. I also thought it was a little inconspicuous but apparently, it helped them park anywhere. This one, however, didn’t have those plates. I cursed. We weren’t being followed by Cameron’s guys after all.

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