Chapter 9 (third person)
Kevin's sister, Joanna, had woken up early. Her parents had gone on a cruise after winning the tickets in a high-stakes bingo game. Three months of no-parents, and three months of looking after her kid brother. Not that she hated the little booger or anything, it was just the practiced resentment of older siblings with much younger kin.
She considered herself lucky, her job at the museum had been postponed, renovations had made her redundant until they were over, three months of heaven for the twenty-one year old college student.
She had just finished her cereal, when she heard two screams. She, thinking that Kevin was in trouble, ran in, to find her kid brother in the same bed as a girl his age in a slightly opaque night-gown of an archaic origin. Well, this was certainly a surprise for her, and she was supposed to be the responsible one.
Thinking quickly, she grabbed the girl, who had been holding Kevin as he cried, and tossed her unceremoniously into her room.
"I don't care who you are, but I'll..." She slowed as she saw that the girl had been crying too, silently, but it was most definitely weeping. "Listen, I don't know what's happened, but I need you to calm down. I'm going to speak with my brother. And you had better be able to explain yourself as soon as I am finished with him." She slammed the door and slumped against it. This was something she wasn't prepared for, her nearly fourteen year old brother was already a playboy...
She walked into the room. Kevin was just sitting there with a blank expression on his face, she noted that he looked like the people in that war movie, they were facing death and did it without flinching. How appropriate.
"Soooo... Going to explain yourself." She started casually.
"WHAT!? There's a girl wearing a complete yet transparent nightgown crying in my room... and you have no explanation?"
"That's right, and the reason she's in her room is because you tossed her in there none to gently." The tone of voice he had surprised Joanna, it was somehow mature, as if he had just learned an amazing truth.
"That won't cut it." She retorted, crossing her arms across her chest. "Dad and mom are calling in exactly one hour as they usually do, and I do not want to have to mention this to them!"
"Just don't mention it. Calm down, and prepare yourself for the unbelievable." He got off the bed and walked with none of the awkwardness of a thirteen year-old. Very purposefully, he walked past her and opened the door to her room. The girl ran into him and grasped him in a hug. "Her name is Princess Alexandra. And I married her in a dream." He said in a serious, mature voice.
His sister just stood there looking at them. Then, she found her tongue, reaching over, she grabbed his ear and then Alexandra's ear and pulled them apart. "Okay then... Kitchen! March!" She walked between them. She alternatively watched both of them as they walked. The girl... Alexandra... was still crying, and Kevin was looking ahead, walking automatically.
She sat them both on the stools on the island in the kitchen. She looked over to the girl first. "Hungry?" She nodded. Joanna made some toast and poured some grape juice as she watched Alexandra eat hungrily.
"Okay, now, tell me your story. Alexandra first."
Alexandra swallowed, then told her story. "I don't believe it, Kevin? What is YOUR story?" And Kevin told the same story from his perspective.
Joanna sighed, majoring in Math didn't help her at all, she was beginning to wish she knew more psychology. "Okay, you expect me to believe that you fell asleep, married the girl in your dream, and woke up with her next to you?"
"Yes. Except it's more complicated than that." Her stoic brother replied. "I spent what felt like four years there. I fell in love with her, in my dream, and I married her, and she and I died in each other's arms, or so it appeared, there."
The phone rang. Joanna walked over. "I will not explain this to mom and dad, so shut the hell up and stay that way. Not a single peep out of either of you." She couldn't help but notice that they moved their chairs closer together and that the Alexandra girl buried her head in his shoulder.
I sat in the kitchen, Alexandra sobbing into my shoulder, it must be hard, I had turned her away from the catapult's ball of death, but what had she seen? Her brother and father, the remainder of her family except for me, falling in a heroic, but futile, last stand? Or, was there some horror that I was unaware of that I could not see?
I felt sorry for her, but I just could FEEL it, I had awakened, and all was well. It was that simple. I can't bear it, I can't help her. I can only be there. I can't bear that pain. I didn't suffer in the end, but I did gain from it. I could feel strength in my hands and skills in my brain that I had learned in those four years and two weeks.
I wish, above all things, that I had not screamed, and my sister had not been there, worrying about me. Alexandra felt wet, tears had soaked her being and her clothing. I wish I could have taken all that pain out of her heart and placed it inside a fire.
My sister was still talking on the phone.
"Well, it's not so bad, Kevin has just woken up, but I'm afraid he is preoccupied. No no! Nothing bad, just showing interests, that all. Oh, things like actual cleanliness, and self-restraint." She looked meaningfully at me, and I glared back, this was the wrong time for a sibling rivalry. "I'm glad you're having fun, but I have to go, breakfast will burn soon. Well! I hope you're having fun! Bye!!" She said in a cheery voice, as she hung up the phone.
I pushed Alexandra gently away from me. "I wish you wouldn't make pointed remarks."
Joanna turned, facing me, her face completely without restraint, obviously she was struggling with resentment. "Oh... I'm sorry that I haven't a boyfriend who's obviously distressed. Oh, and I'm sorry that I can't comprehend the situation. Are you on crack? Are you snorting or sniffing or something new, Mojo? Is it that Mojo I hear about? Maybe SHE got you addicted to it!"
She stood there panting, then, she turned to Alexandra. I was still numb, I felt useless. "And YOU! What's wrong with you, your parents aren't dead! I refuse to believe that you two got married! I refuse it! It's not that I don't like you, I think we could be friends. What are you? You have a small crown, and a very fine silken sleeping gown. Completely inappropriate for someone of your age, half transparent and all!" She stopped her rant and sat down. Apparently, she had lifted a great load off her chest with that harangue. "Alright, lets get you into some proper clothes. YOU can stay here, little brother."
And she walked off with Alexandra. I stayed where I was. It hurt not to be believed, and I'm sure Alexandra wasn't about to stop crying.
Chapter 11 (third person)
One hour later.
The two had disappeared, Joanna had no idea where they had gone. She had heard their story twice, and it did not vary in any way. She was a complete loss. It was the beginning of summer, she shouldn't be toiling over this one problem for so long!
She sat on her bed and leaned her back against the cold wall. She had the phone in her hands. She knew that the decision she would make now would decide the tone for the next two months. They were attracted to each other, she could not discount that, and that girl, Alexandra, constantly went to him, not to some item, or herself, for support.
She had a friend, Greg Walker, a psychology major and a minor in Computer engineering. He was surprisingly knowledgeable about decisions, his goal was to create A.i.s for computer games, the more advanced the better.
"Moshi Moshi?" Came the expected reply, Greg was a strange one, thought that sounded cooler than "hello."
"Hey, it's me, Joanna." She spoke into the phone. He had woken up an hour earlier, and it sounded like he was playing on his computer.
"Yo, how are you, sound horrible, hangover?"
"Hell no, its my little brother. He's got me in a hell-uv-a hole."
"Man," Came the good natured jab, "you know Joanna's in a bind when she uses her signature 'hell' a lot. What's the little son of a gun been doing?"
"He's got a girl..." She started.
"NO! Shut the hell up! Its not like that! She wasn't there when I checked up on him last night and I arrive to them both screaming in the same bed! Fully clothed, at least, though I don't recognize the brand of night gown she was using."
"Man, that's a doozy. You want me to talk to 'im or something?" He was being serious there, Joanna was known for having 'morals' she didn't allow certain boundaries to be crossed. She claimed that they were the reason she wouldn't go out with him, but he had serious doubts about that.
"No, just advise me on what to do."
He was silent a moment, a very loud, blood-curdling scream came from his computer. "That's better, that guy was bothering me, anyway, you're not telling me everything."
"BLOODY HELL!!! I don't give a hell flame! Hell's teeth! I think I'm crazy enough as it is without other people knowing that too..." She sighed, a very long sigh, into the phone.
Greg apparently took the queue. "Listen, I can't help if I don't know everything."
She calmed down. "The girl seems to be a princess, she had a small gold crown. A magical kingdom princess or something like that, I don't know! Anyway, they got themselves married and... Hell, its so darned confusing."
Greg took this in, he could make cracks later, his courses had had a very specific chapter on insanity, and the verge of it. "Okay then, let us take one step back..." He continued on, with breaks for Joanna to think through and either agree or disagree. "... It comes down to this, if your brother lies, which I don't think he does, then why in the world would he lie if the girl was apparently a surprise to him. And the girl, why would she be crying if they obviously didn't do anything, and she was on the bed of her own volition? If she is unharmed except for some cuts obviously made by shrapnel, how did your brother do it?" He waited for any response before continuing. "If all evidence points to one answer, no matter how improbable, its prolly that answer. That was a mis-quote of Sherlock Holmes but it still applies. Now, did that help?"
"Yes, thank you, I am grateful." She said into the phone.
"Grateful enough to go out with me?" Greg asked somewhat hopefully. She laughed, was this a hopeful sign?
"Hell no, but I'll go to one of your LAN parties you're famous for. Signing out."
"Dang, bye." He hung up and returned to his game, later, he got fed up and messed with its code, the A.i. needed work.
Joanna still had no direction on what actually to do. The only thing that she had gathered from her friend's good-natured advice, was that what Kevin and Alexandra had told her was absolutely true with a low margin of error. She instinctively knew the odds but refused to believe them.
I'll show you how terrifying a true Christian can be!
Looking for a worthy opponent but the one man who can face me will not fight me anymore.