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NAKAERON - Volume I: Reignited (A Flame In The Wind)

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 I have never been a fan of mornings, like, how do they make other people feel happy and refreshed? I didn’t understand then, I don’t understand now either. I never felt refreshed in the morning, I felt drained instead. Let me start with that day when it all began...

The alarm woke me up in a state I’d never thought I’d ascend to - pure despondency. Mortification. I almost fell out of bed trying to actually get out of it like a normal person.

“Hey! What are you doing?!” I yelled at my cat. “That bacon is mine, you asshole! Get over here, I’ll whoop your ass!”

Typical Mondays, you’d say. What I’d say is that I hate Mondays and mornings. Wait, I already said I hate mornings, but should I go on with saying that I also never had enough time to eat in the morning? Let’s not even talk about other things people do in the morning:  take a shower, choose their outfit carefully, walk their dogs, go for a run - for goodness’ sake, how the hell would anyone expect me to run, I don't know- and some of them even have sex, or go shopping! Can you imagine? Jesus.

For me, it was simple- I had to go to work. I hated what I was doing and I was thinking that I needed to change my job into something challenging that would motivate me to get my ass out of bed earlier, in order to have time to eat and feed my cat, so it would no longer steal my food. Trying to remember myself as a teenager, full of spirit and motivation, was pretty hard for me at that time. I understand why now, but I didn't understand it then. I thought I was just supposed to live my life like normal people. And what normal people usually do...

I quickly grabbed some clothes and took them on, washed my face, put my shoes on and rushed to the door. My cat started hissing at me from behind.

“Wow, calm down. What’s your damn problem? You already ate all my bacon. I’m not gonna feed you until I come back, mark my words!” I sassed.

He started growling. What an ungrateful, furry jerk. I just got out and shut the door behind me. I didn’t even know if cats hated me or if I just had issues with my poor Marble. A white male cat with green eyes. He was a present from my drunk uncle when I turned eighteen. Marble was just a kitten back then and he looked like a tiny white blob with a pair of eyes and a pink nose. When he grew up, he started looking like my uncle. Weird, right? 

Should I start telling you I also hated public transport? I couldn’t afford a car -okay, maybe I could have, but I always chose to spend my money on traveling- so, public transport, as I said, always drove me nuts! My boss always mocked me for arriving late at work. Even if I left home earlier, I would still have been late because of public transport!

That fifteen minute bus ride gave me brain damage, I always hated crowded places. When I finally got to work, of course my boss, Steve, was the first person to greet me in his own way:

“Michael! So glad to see you arrive late again! I truly missed it,” he said ironically, also using that flirty tone of his.

“Spare me, would you?” I scoffed. “Let me take care of my job now, while I’m at it.”

Can’t describe how much Steve could annoy me. Besides the fact that he was also gay and obviously liked the way I looked and I didn’t like him back, he also had to be that overwhelmingly annoying asshole that made people feel like shit in general, as if he was perfect or something. Give me a break!

I sat down at my office and started preparing all the paperwork I needed to review that day. Right, I haven’t mentioned what I did for a living. I was a boring statistics analyst at Agra Corporation, a huge multinational real estate business, with an average salary, because my job was easy and boring.  Despite all that, people kept coming for interviews hoping they’d get hired and also rich “overnight”. Maybe you’re all wondering why was I one of those people, why did I stay to work there. The truth is once you get used to something, you get stuck in that loop and you do things automatically, without wasting any energy like you’d do if you worked somewhere else. Another truth is that I didn’t know why. I just stayed, years passed and… maybe it was depression. Or maybe I was cursed. I bet you’ll say I was actually blessed if you keep reading on. But today, I still think I was actually cursed. I won’t give details, it would make me a worse narrator than I already am. I have a serious reason for writing all this down, maybe I should keep it serious.

I checked the clock. When I realised I had four more hours to go, I got up, frustrated, and decided to go on a little trip to the bar and get a cup of coffee. While I was heading there, I noticed someone in Steve’s office. The most beautiful man I had ever seen. He seemed a little bit taller than me, very fit but not too muscular and his hair was black, way longer than mine. He was wearing black pants that fit his legs perfectly and a blue shirt. What amazed me was his pale skin and the perfect way his face was shaped. I remained there and tried to figure out what they were talking about. One big advantage that working in a business building full of offices had was that everything was made of glass. You couldn’t even scratch your butt without at least one person seeing it. 

The charming stranger got up from his seat, shook Steve’s hand and headed straight to the door. I gasped and moved away, but they both saw me. I gave up and stopped.

“Ah, there you were!” Steve exclaimed with excitement. “Would you be kind enough to prepare me and our guest here, two cups of coffee? No sugar, please. “

What do you think I said? Do you think I was nice?

“I’m deeply sorry, Steve, but I’m afraid can’t do that for you. We only have one coffee capsule left in the bar, because someone - and that is you- forgot to buy more. I think the best option we have here would be to prepare that cup of coffee to our guest while you and me stick to instant coffee, what do you say?”

That moment felt epic for me, like, seriously, Steve tried to make me look like a fool in front of that man. I swear, though... I had no idea where all that courage came from, but it was monumental. I could feel my heart pumping faster, filling my blood with some kind of strange, tremendous power. The charming stranger came closer to me, analyzing me from head to toes. 

“So... this is the manager you told me about, right, Steve?” he inquired, raising one eyebrow at him.

Steve lost his will to speak. It was as if some invisible fairy took away his vocal cords. Just like that - POOF! I cleared my throat, prepared to say I was no manager, just a simple analyst...

“I’m just a…”

“Yeah! He’s just a little bit too cocky, even for a manager, am I right?” Steve interrupted me, laughing nervously.

Well... that’s the moment I realised I stopped breathing. I could hear myself not breathing and hoped they didn’t. I had no idea whether I should say something weird again or stay silent. Guess what I chose.

“I’m cocky after work, too.” I said with a confident smirk on my face. “Also, Steve, it’s impolite not to introduce a guest to me.”

Steve coughed anxiously.  “I… I’m so sorry, you are right. Michael, this is Samuel. Samuel, meet Michael, our… manager…”

"Michael?" Samuel asked as if he expected to hear another name.

 

He nodded and smiled as we shook hands. His palm was very cold, and when we touched, I felt a weird shiver. Somehow, my imagination went nuts and it felt like we actually held hands while both being overwhelmed by a weird connection. I remained calm, though. Maybe it was just my anxiety playing tricks on me because he looked so mysterious, or maybe I was too desperate. None of those were the case, though.

 

Anyway, I knew I was nervous already, and the guy looked at me with a weird satisfaction in his eyes and sketched a subtle smile. I was also staring at him. An awkward silence settled in and Steve decided to break it after a few seconds. First time I felt grateful for hearing his annoying voice.

“ Right! Let’s go outside and drink that coffee what do you say?"

Samuel nodded in approval.

"Bryce, would you, please?” Steve asked a co-worker of mine that happened to head to the bathroom.

“Of course I’ll prepare coffee for all three of you,” Bryce said giving me a hateful look. I guess I finally gave him a real reason to hate me.

We headed to the balcony and sat down at a table with exactly three seats. Samuel was admiring the view. Something was odd about him, he was very silent and calm. The serenity he was emanating was kind of unique, I hadn’t seen anyone like him before. Maybe he disliked me, because he figured out I was gay and he was religious or something and avoided talking to me. Bryce finally came with three cups of coffee. As he placed them on the table, he cleared his throat, looking at me again. I gave him a "What is your problem?" look and he left without saying anything. I sighed in relief.

“Samuel, should we discuss about what we’re going to do with that development project of yours?” asked Steve, breaking the silence once again.

Samuel nodded, blinking slowly at the same time. He seemed to do that instead of saying “yes” or “no". I was so drawn to him that I couldn't keep myself not staring at him.

“Firstly" Samuel began, placing his hands on the table, "I want to inform you that I want your manager, Michael, to become my right hand in the project. Something tells me he knows Agra Corporation more than you do, Steve. Not only he does seem to have the potential of running a project but I also believe he can lead an entire team.”

I gasped, widened my eyes at Steve who almost dropped his coffe cup on the floor. Can you guys imagine what I felt in that moment? Of course anyone’s ego would disco-dance hearing something like that, but mine… mine was completely freaking out.I mean, just trying to imagine how on Earth would I lead a project with hell knew how many people involved?! I was just a damn analyst!

“Excuse me, “ I interfered, trying to keep my voice low and still, “what project are we talking about? What will it focus on?”

“Developing public areas,” Samuel answered. ”We want to attract a… let’s say... smarter range of customers in shopping malls, parks and other types of public places. “

“A smarter range of customers? What’s wrong with the rest?” Steve asked, confused.

“I simply don’t like them,” Samuel enunciated. “ Most of them are not educated people and they are like a disease to society.”

I snorted, silently. Samuel heard me, though, as he smiled at me softly.

“That sounds like fascism. “ Steve scoffed.

“Don’t be hasty, Steve, let the man explain, before making a fool of yourself again for using a word like that in a wrong way.” I scolded him. “Samuel, how would developing all these areas actually keep uneducated people away? I mean… they don’t usually care about others as they just come to the shopping malls to waste their time and money, nothing would stop them.”

Samuel snorted. “Hah, I like you. That is the attitude I need in this project. Waste their time and money, huh? That was actually funny.”

Steve barely made a sound. I bet he was ashamed of himself because he never knew anything else out of his economic range. All he knew was how to manage money. He cleared his throat and tried to stand up for himself:

“Converting places to be one-type-of-people-friendly was never a success throughout history, Samuel. They are places, not certain products. It would  all be a loss of profit.”

Samuel was not moved at all by what Steve said.

“Look, by attracting only smart people with more money, one cannot lose profit. On the contrary, those people would enjoy their time there, especially if they are not bothered by resource- wasting peasants and their offspring, “ Samuel objected.

Ouch. That was pretty rough, because Steve turned pale. I started to think he was the girl in the relationship, who always likes it gentle.

“Guess what happens when people enjoy their time there, “ Samuel continued, looking at me. “They become happier and more generous! All sales would increase.”

I nodded in approval.  Steve sighed.

“Okay, but you haven’t said anything about customers that come to these places just to waste their time and money, like Michael said. Believe me, if I were one of those uneducated freaks, I would not give a damn if the whole country would be destined for smart and wealthy people. I’d still be here. You can’t possibly kick people out or check if they’re educated or not, now, can you?”

Samuel had that look of "you don’t know shit about what I can do" on his face. It amused me.

“What if I told you, for a start," Samuel replied," that we wouldn’t allow people to bring kids, younger than five, with them in the shopping areas? They’d have to leave their kids in children areas where specialized personnel would look after them while their parents are shopping somewhere else? Charged by the hour, of course.”

That was a good food for thought, especially for Steve, whose face brightened up instantly. Imagine a guy having dollar signs instead of eyes.

“Well, that sounds like a lot of profit! Now you're talking business,” my boss exclaimed joyfully.

“I agree, because I hate spoiled brats, why not raise the age limit to seven?" I suggested.

“Hn. I’ll take that into consideration, Michael, thank you,” Samuel responded, sketching a satisfied smile. “By the way, Steve, this coffee sucks.”

“I bet I know why,” I told Samuel as I leaned forward to the table and grabbed Steve’s cup of coffee, taking a sip from it.

“Hey!” Steve gasped.

I snorted as Samuel looked at me confused.

“It’s because you’re drinking instant coffee, Samuel. Steve’s drinking the one you should’ve had. You thought he wouldn’t notice, huh?” I snickered at my boss.

I bet you’re wondering why I suddenly turned into a jerk. Well, the reason might have been Samuel popping in there, almost suggesting I was the one who should run the company instead of Steve? Oh, right. Steve. He turned red and I could almost read his thoughts, betting they sounded like “I’m going to rape you, fire you and then kill you, Michael!!”. Whatever his thoughts were though, he didn’t make a sound.

“Alright Steve, this is getting boring," Samuel sighed. "I’d like to invite Michael to a very important meeting I’ll be having at my company tomorrow morning."

Let’s pause. He said in the morning. M-O-R-N-I-N-G, that was all I could hear. Why on Earth couldn’t anyone have a meeting in the damn afternoon!?

“Michael?” I heard Samuel calling me as I came back to reality.

“Yes! Sorry. A meeting, right! When will it be?”

“9 A.M. at the Alpha Corporation main building. We’ll discuss further about this project. If you want to join me, of course.”

How could I say no to that? He almost lost me at “9 A.M.” though. I nodded, giving Samuel a smile as he did that slow blinking again. He cleared his throat in a very discreet way, then got up from his seat, ready to leave. He gave me a short once-over, then turned to Steve:

“Please, would you bring me my umbrella? I think I might have forgotten it in your office.”

Steve didn’t move.

“I hope you don’t expect Michael to go, right? It’s your private office, Steve," Samuel went on.

“Right. I’ll be back in a minute.” Steve mumbled. 

I wanted to laugh but I kept my mouth shut. My boss gave a last sigh before getting up, heading to his office to get Samuel’s umbrella. Let me introduce you to what happened next: have you watched the “Final Destination” movies? They’re pretty old, but they’re good. Shit happens really quickly in those movies, every single one of them unexpected. That’s how it also happened to me. As I got up from my seat, Samuel came closer to me:

“Here is my number," he said, handing me a piece of paper ripped from a bigger piece of paper from his chest pocket.

I felt like my heart wanted to explode but I tried to calm myself down by analyzing the situation. Maybe he gave me his number because I had to go to that meeting the next day and I needed it. There could not be any other reason, because he was obviously not gay and not interested in me in any other way than strictly professional, right? I just acted normal.

“Thank you, Samuel. I’m really glad I will get to work with you on a project this big! I will call you tomorrow morning for sure.”

Samuel’s eyes widened for a second, then returned back to normal as he sighed, looking away.

“I was hoping I am not wrong about you. I thought you would give me a different answer,” he said as he turned around.

After he made a few steps forward, he looked over his shoulder, straight into my eyes, as if he was giving me one last chance to say something. His black eyes were hypnotizingly astounding. I turned to stone, my face was also red as hell, probably, and I didn’t know what to say. The clock was ticking and Steve could have been back anytime, so I had to think fast. Was Samuel flirting with me? Was he gay? There was no time for all those questions, so I took the risk, because I always get what I want in the end. Hell, that day got me more than I could have ever asked for, anyway.

I made a step forward and gave him a smile, full of confidence. “Maybe I’ll call you tonight, then, because honestly, I like your ideas and I’m dying of curiosity to know more. “

Samuel smiled, satisfied. His face almost said “Go on, I’m listening.”

“So… we should go somewhere and talk. What sort of places are you into?” I asked, slowly getting nervous.

“Private,” Samuel uttered.

“Me too,” I replied. “I know a place where we can eat the best food and also drink some…”

“Yes, your place it is. Sounds perfect to me. Send me a text with your address,” he interrupted me.

Let’s skip Final Destination because that was some serious Matrix shit.  I could not say no, I guess you all realise that. All I wanted to suggest was my favorite restaurant, not my damn house, though. I clenched my fists as released a short sigh.

“Prepare to eat the finest food you’ve ever had then,” I sassed.

“Hn. Don’t overestimate yourself, it might get you in trouble,” he snickered.

Steve came back in the next moment, looking kind of tired. 

“I’m really sorry Samuel, but I searched everywhere, your umbrella could not be found.”

“I must have left it somewhere else, then,” Samuel said with a sickening calm tone. “Thank you, Steve.”

Then I figured it out. The sneaky bastard sent Steve to search for his imaginary umbrella that he didn’t actually bring, only to make a move on me, without Steve being around. I started to like the guy for more than his looks. 

“I have an important meeting coming next and I must head out,” Samuel continued. See you ton… uh… tomorrow, Michael.”

I swear I could see his pale face turn pink for a second. Mr. Perfect almost blew it! I smiled at him and nodded. Steve and Samuel left and I remained there for a minute to clear my thoughts. When I went back to my office, I didn’t even get to sit down because Steve came back faster than I expected. 

“May I have a word with you, Michael?”

There it was. My cue. My turn to get fired finally came, according to my thoughts. I could bet he would tell me that he was going to be the one attending the meeting instead of me, but little did he know about my big date that night, that I actually won the bigger fight…

“Planet Earth to Michael…” he scolded me.

“Yes, sure, I am here. Go on, “ I said.

“Not here, in my office, please.”

I sighed. When we both got into his office, he closed the door behind us. It could totally feel like a future crime scene if the whole building wasn’t made of transparent glass.

“I want to talk about Samuel,” he began.

“ What about him?” I asked nervously as I took a seat, hoping that Steve didn’t figure out what was between me and our guest.

“This project his company is starting… is worth a fortune. It will bring us a lot of money, Michael. “

“Obviously, and?”

“Don’t mock me,” Steve hissed. “Tomorrow you will need to behave like a pure example for what this company is about and for everyone that works here!”

“Oh, I’m actually the manager now?” I laughed. “How did this happen?”

Steve gave a long sigh.

“I started to tell him that this company has a manager with a very high potential, then he interrupted me and I never got to explain who was I talking about. I was talking about myself, obviously!!”

Ouch, poor Steve. Somehow, I wanted to console him regarding the sad situation his pride got into, but the little devil on my shoulder was whispering in my ear that I should let him burn in envy and jealousy.

“Anyway, I was about to tell you that despite the fact I hate doing this and I can’t back down, now that I said you’re the manager. Maybe you’ll do this company some good. Take these books and read them carefully, you will learn some things. I hope you won’t embarrass me tomorrow. Maybe I’ll start to like you more than I could have ever imagined if you do a great job.”

“That sounded gay, Steve,” I snickered.

He scoffed. “The first thing you should start with would be to stop joking around, Michael. Tomorrow you’ll meet a lot of important investors and you can’t make a fool of yourself and our company in front of them and Samuel, who is the CEO of Alpha Corporation!! Oh my God… what did I get myself into…”

“Calm down, I won’t turn anything into shit,” I said as I rolled my eyes.

“I really hope not," he sighed. "Now go home and study! You’re free for today. Actually, I’ll hire someone else to do your old job. You won’t have time for that, from now on.”

“Wow, thanks Steve, you’re the best!” I exclaimed happily. 

“Yeah, for nothing. Call me tomorrow after the meeting and tell me how it went. Don’t lie because I’ll find out.”

“Of course, boss! Have a nice daaay!”

“Yeah, you too,” Steve mumbled as I headed to the door.

I got out. As I was passing through office desks, all my coworkers rose their heads above their computers, curious. 

“Michael, are you okay?” Bryce asked me. 

“Never been better, actually,” I replied.

“Oh. He fired you, didn’t he?”

Bastard. He could not wait for that.

“Actually, I’ve been promoted! Say hello to your new manager, my friends! Have a marvelous day, see ya!”

They all gasped and remained speechless behind me, while I got out and slightly slammed the door after me.

 

                                                                                                                                  ***

 

                                                

Chapter Text

FOR THIS CHAPTER'S BACKGROUND MUSIC: right click and open THIS LINK in a new tab! As I said from the beginning, I chose the music very carefully to let you live this story as if it's real :) If the songs are over before you finished reading, replay the last one, it usually fits.

Thank youuu!

 

I finally got home from work. The first thing that popped into my mind was that I had to feed Marble, obviously. He was growling at me, so I decided to give him his favorite food: tuna. The second he heard me open the tuna can, he “teleported” himself on the kitchen counter and started purring. 

“You narcissistic, psychopathic, shady asshole!” I hissed at him. “You only love me when I give you food!”

I sighed and took off my clothes as I headed straight to the bathroom, ready to freshen myself up with a shower. But then, it hit me:

“Wait, I have to go shopping to buy all the ingredients I need to prepare dinner for Samuel. I’ll come back all sweaty again, damn summer heat. After that, I have to cook and I’ll smell like a grilled onion. I can’t take three damn showers, there’s no time!” I said to myself, while Marble was watching me confused. “What are you looking at? Have you finished eating?”

“Meow…”

I sighed again as I took my clothes back on, checking the clock. It was already 5 P.M. so I had to move fast. I guessed that Samuel wanted to come at 8 or something. I approached to call him but I hesitated, deciding to text him instead:

“Hello, Samuel. Michael here. I was wondering if 8 p.m. sounds good to you.”

I was so nervous I barely managed to hit send. I got a reply instantly:

“Sounds perfect.”

I think that was the fastest reply I ever got from someone I just met. I realised I was going to have a date with a guy I met at work. Wow, that could have been Steve two years before, if I had bad taste in men. Ew!

I took my wallet and ran out the door, heading straight to the store. I decided what I wanted to cook: pasta. I know it sounds simple, but people in Los Angeles didn’t eat that on a daily basis, it was considered fancy food and luckily for me, it was that type of food I knew how to cook best since I had been in college. 

I checked the clock again and it was already 5:30 P.M. 

“Shit,” I slurred.

Besides being a masterchef, I was a master at being late because I never knew how to manage my time. Jesus, Samuel was actually thinking I could manage projects by myself. I started to think that my life was going to be over soon because of that, maybe my date with Samuel was that one last good treatment God gives sinners before sending them to burn in Hell for eternity...

“Sir, that’s gonna be $50,” the cashier told me, bringing me back to reality. I took out my wallet and paid for what I bought. I was starting to get tired of that spacing out happening to me. Sometimes I was going so deep into my own thoughts that I wasn’t able to function anymore. I left the store with some beef, tomato sauce, fresh garlic, onions, herbs and two bottles of red wine. My pasta recipe was pretty simple, but delicious as hell. I was slowly getting excited. As I was walking in a hurry, I suddenly stopped. The thought hit me like a train: “What if Samuel is vegan? I didn’t ask him!”

I began to panic like a chicken before slaughter as I took out my phone and texted Samuel instantly:

“Hello, again. I was wondering if you are vegan or something. It’s important for me that my guests like what I cook.”

“I’m not vegan, I appreciate you asked, tho. Meat is the main ingredient that makes me function, unfortunately for the poor chicken, because that’s what I choose more often. If I think about it, I never eat beef, because I hate the taste.” he replied.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I yelled out loud, in the middle of the street, not caring of the people who looked at me as if I escaped a freak show. 

He didn’t eat beef... and that was exactly what I bought. Marvelous. I rushed back to the store as fast as I could and bought chicken breast. I didn’t return the beef though, I was going to keep it for myself. Why not? His loss, after all. When I got back home, finally, I had only one hour left. Going shopping takes more time than you can imagine…

I headed to the kitchen and started preparing all the ingredients. I threw the beef into the freezer, took out my wok pan, all the spices and herbs I needed and a pot in which I’ve put water. I was going to put the pasta in the pot only after the water was already boiling, because I never cooked soft pasta. In Italy, that was called al dente. I quickly cut the chicken breast into small pieces and gave them a bath in some red wine and spices. 

Usually, Marble was around the kitchen when I was cooking something but this time, he wasn’t. I thought he was probably sleeping in my bedroom. The smell was irresistible though, because I bought the most expensive wine that store had only because Samuel seemed to be a man of class. Honestly, I could not wait to get him drunk and watch him make a fool of himself just like everybody does when they get drunk. Or maybe it was just me who always did that, who knew...

After I’ve put the pasta in the pot, I added some salt to avoid softening and  also a bit of olive oil, to prevent them from sticking together, because you never let your pasta stick together. It was all done in a half an hour. I cleaned the kitchen right after I finished, because you also never leave traces behind you, even after you cook. No one has to know your secrets. 

I rushed into the bathroom and finally took that shower I’ve been waiting for. When I got out, I smelled like fresh spring air. I grabbed a white shirt and some blue jeans and got dressed. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like it. 

“Hmm, white makes me look fat and doesn’t go well with my blonde hair. Also, what if I stain it with wine? “ I said.

I took a black one instead.

“Perfect!” I exclaimed, while admiring myself in the mirror. I used to talk with myself a lot, I miss that.

Suddenly, I got a text from Samuel:

“Aren’t you going to tell me where you live? Don’t worry, I won’t kill you :) “

“So he actually has a sense of humour,” I laughed.

“ It’s Liberty Street 40. I have a gun.”   I wrote, then sent the message.

I didn’t lie. I actually had a gun and I knew how to use it. After only five minutes, the doorbell rang. 

“Oh my God, I hope it’s not my neighbor again. This is not the moment,” I ranted out loud.

When I opened the door with a frowning face, Samuel greeted me:

“Hello, neighbor! I brought chocolate. I… hope I didn’t bother you,” he muttered, analyzing my grumpy face.

I softened up instantly.

“Neighbor? Uh…”

“I live three streets away,” he chuckled.

He was in a good mood and I suddenly felt responsibility on my shoulders that I needed to keep his mood up. I became nervous.

“Right! Come in. You don’t have to take off your shoes, it’s not necessary,” I told him.

“You’re joking, right?” He asked as he gave me the look.

I laughed, rubbing the back of my head. “Uh... of course I am! I just finished cleaning up, I was curious if you’d notice. So, it means I did a good job, didn’t I?”

“Hn, seems like it.”

I noticed he didn’t say “Hmm” like normal people. Something was really odd about him and I was dying to know him better. 

“Nice house,” he said. “Enough space to hold a family here. Are you sure you’re not married or something?” he said looking at me, suspicious.

“What?! No way,” I gasped, “nice joke.”

“I know, right? My house is twice as big.”

“Oh, come on, Samuel, you can’t mock me in my own house,” I laughed.

He scoffed, smiling. The way we were talking seemed so natural to me. I was overwhelmed. I showed him the way towards the living room and we both took a seat at the end of the table. I took both glasses and poured wine in them and Samuel took a sip.

“Nice,” he muttered. “This is definitely from Europe.”

“Oh, how can you tell? Are you a traveler, like I am?” I asked.

“ No, I was actually born and raised in Norway.”

“What? But your English sounds perfect. The accent is a little bit weird, though.”

“Well, I left Norway with my teacher when I was ten years old, traveled the world for three years and then we moved to America.”

Only with his teacher ?” I asked myself, hoping his parents weren’t dead or something. Samuel sighed, looking at me.

“But still…” I added, “you don’t look European at all, you’ve got some asian traits.”

“Yeah, it’s weird. Also, my name is from the Bible because my old man was very religious. I actually hate it, but I do not have another. My full name is Samuel Ulseth.”

I still avoided to ask where were his parents, I waited until he said something about them.

“ You know I can almost read minds by looking at people’s faces, right?” he inquired.

“I… what do you mean?” I gasped.

“They both died in the war, Michael. My father died protecting my mother and my mother protected me. I was only nine back then.” 

I guess I forgot to tell you that another world war almost killed the entire human population in 2047? Yeah, I think I skipped the most important detail. Forgive me, I ain’t David Attenborough, I suck at narrating. This moment with Samuel I’m mentioning  now was back in 2062. No, I’m not going to tell you what year it is for me now.

“That’s… sad." I sighed. "I’m sorry that happened to you. Do you know who were your parents protecting you from?”

He took a sip from his wine and then took out his electronic cigarette.

“May I?” he asked.

“Sure, go ahead,” I replied. “But promise me you’ll eat after that.”

He nodded. “I don’t know exactly what happened, everything was blurry and I panicked like hell. I somehow recognized his voice, though… as if I knew the guy from somewhere…” he frowned.

“A family foe?” I asked.

“Something more than that,” he said while staring blankly across the room. “I… I don’t know, there’s a whole mess in my head about that.”

“I see. Haven’t you wondered what it would be like, for all of us, if that war never happened?” I asked, staring at the floor.

“Michael, I already said my head is a mess when it comes to those times. We can’t change the past anyway, so trying to wonder what it would be like, is useless. What we can change is the future… and I want to do that. My project is a start. “

“How can developing public areas change the future?” I asked.

“Development is just the first step of this project, the interface. There’s a lot more underneath it…”

“That sounds scary,” I pointed out.

“Mm, it is, actually,” he said after tasting my food. “This isn’t, though. Very tasty, best regards to the chef.”

“Thank you,” I smiled. “Do you want to hear something funny? I bought beef before asking you if you’re a vegan.”

“Oh, really? Wow, I bet I gave you a headache. It would’ve been fine with beef too, because this wine would have taken away its natural taste that I don’t like.” he said calmly while taking another bite. 

“Well… what’s done is done,” I said while wanting to punch him for what he said, because I remembered how I desperately ran to the store to buy chicken instead. “Anyway, you said the project is scary. What did you mean?” I asked as I took a big sip from my glass of wine before I started eating, too. I looked at Samuel because he kind of hesitated to answer my question. When he noticed me staring at him, he stopped chewing. His face looked puffy and that made him look cute as hell. I bet my face was betraying my thoughts again because he looked away and started chewing again, faster. When he swallowed the food, he took a sip of wine and repositioned himself on the chair.

“Michael… I wanted to talk to you in private before the meeting tomorrow. That’s the reason I’m here. I will explain what you will get yourself into and I wanted to make sure you’re okay with everything. You can back away if you don’t share my views.”

I continued eating, nervously. Because of being anxious, I took the plate in my hands and went on eating like that, not caring how impolite it looked. “He invited himself at my place just to talk about some stupid business secrets? This isn’t a real date… I’m such an idiot” I thought.

“Michael? Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” I said lifelessly. “I never back away, so tell me everything.” I said, giving him a serious look.

“Good. Our main goal is to wipe out poor people in approximately fifty years and end capitalism,” he said calmly. 

I instantly swallowed the food in my mouth without chewing it and I almost choked. 

“What?! Wipe out?!” I gasped, freaking out so much that I wanted to tell him to leave, but the words couldn’t get out of my mouth.

“Please calm down" he sighed. "I am not trying to kill anybody, I don't intend that. First of all, I want some categories of people to stop having children. We are working with a pharmaceutical company that is going to develop a vaccine which will do more than protecting someone from a virus. It will also neuter people, making them unable to have kids.” 

“Samuel, have you read Inferno?” I asked him, nervously.

“No, I’m not into conspiracy and religion. This isn’t a virus, I’m not trying to decrease the population nor release hell on Earth, I want exactly the opposite. We won’t do this until we’ll be able to target the right type of people. By neutering uncultured and ignorant people, the difference of class and category will be eliminated completely in less than eighty years as no ignorance will be spread to new generations. People that will remain will value health, education, hard work... so, corruption will also be discouraged. People with bad genes will gradually disappear. Dangerous and abusive mental health issues will not be passed on to generations so carelessly and so on. This planet will be reborn without causing a disaster. It’s just science.” He cleared his throat, then took a sip of wine. “You know, this thing is huge and it will need a lot of research and work, I am aware of that. Data will be collected about people without stopping, the data we get will be sent to hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and so on, but they will need to be careful because we won’t want to neuter couples who are mentally healthy, educated, couples who would offer their offspring everything it needs to become a normally developed human being that will grow up to be a good contribution to society and the world. “

“The perfect, normal human being… this sounds like Nazism,” I criticized his god complex.

Samuel frowned. “It's not, I don’t want to create a Master Race, I want to free humanity from its flaws. These flaws hurt people everyday and that is why life on Earth seems like hell already. People suffer too much because they are selfish. They want children just for themselves, to take selfies with them and brag about them, just like they would do with pets. In those cases, the child is the one to suffer in the future, or might become just like the parents and contribute to ignorance. Infertile couples will be encouraged to adopt children if they still have some qualities as parents but they lack money, for example. If they lack money, the government will help them. A lot of people deserve children but can't have them...”

“Oh, so you want to run for president too,” I scoffed.

“I am a person who works in the shadows. I don’t need to run for President, I have a lot of acquaintances in the political world. They have more than enough influence.”

“I see,” I nodded after swallowing the wine in my mouth.

“If the adopted children or other children will become a threat to this social peace I want, we’ll neuter them too and try to find them a purpose so they can at least be happy... maybe in the future, they will develop themselves and will be grated the right to adopt a child. You know, a child is a person. A child needs to be fought for in every way possible, you can't give birth to a kid and not care how she or he feels, even pets have feelings.”

I sighed. “Samuel… your idealistic dream sounds too good to be true, but this will be so obvious, you truly have no idea. Ordinary people notice when the government plots against them. They notice even if they are stupid. It’s a primary, natural instinct humans have, they feel anxious when they are threatened, and that feeling will spread across the whole country, then across the whole world. You are basically taking away their free will and rights to reproduce and it will hurt them. That will happen if you do it as fast as it needs to be done, considering the circumstances. If you do it slowly and scattered, you won’t be able to face the speed our population grows with. Every day there are babies born. It’s useless. I respect your final goal, but… you can’t do it without starting another war,” I explained.

“ I have other tricks up my sleeve,” he said. “I can erase memories, too. We have developed medicine for that.” He sighed, took another sip of wine and gave me a serious look. “Of course it would be my last resort. I am ready for some scandal too, but not a massive one. I really don't want to hurt anyone.” 

I tried to analyze everything he told me before telling him I agreed. I wanted to help him even if I didn’t have too much hope for the best results. I was afraid, but I felt like I had to help him, like somehow, I knew his true goals more than anything.

“Okay, what do you need me to do?” I asked.

He gave me a genuine smile. “Tomorrow, you will sign a contract, giving my company permission to access data about you. Promise me you will not tell anyone about these extra details I gave you. We will not talk about those tomorrow.”

“Why me, though?” I sighed. “Is it so obvious I hate stupid people and spoiled brats?”

“No,” he laughed shortly. “I realised you’re the partner I need, the missing piece of this puzzle.”

I was flattered by that, I must admit. I wasn’t intending to fall for it, though it felt really weird, like I just joined a Secret Society club or Illuminati and I had to swear secrecy and my full loyalty. 

“Right. Now that we’re all about honesty, I wanted to ask you something,” I muttered.

“Yes?” he asked, twisting his glass of wine in a very classy way.

“Are you interested in women or men?”

“None,” he answered tediously. 

I felt like my face fell on the floor just like it happens in cartoons.

“I liked your food though, I think that should be enough,” he said. 

I still remained silent as both of us had finished eating.

“I’m serious, I loved this food. It’s been a while since I ate something that was made with such passion and devotion.” 

He noticed I was still silent and totally not flattered or moved by his compliments on my cooking skills.

“Are you sure you're okay?” he asked me.

“Yes. It’s just getting late and so much food usually makes me feel tired. Maybe you should head home too, we both deserve a good rest,” I suggested, trying to look unclouded by the fact that my dreams about that being a date, even by a two percent possibility, were ruined.

He leaned back on the chair with his arms crossed, analyzing my face. 

“Look, I can tell that’s not what you actually wanted to say. You don’t want me to leave.”

“What?” I snorted.

He smirked, which triggered me to frown and cross my arms too. “Really? So, are you saying I’m lying?” I asked him, still trying hard to keep calm.

“Well, telling me you’re a manager when you’re actually not, does count as a lie, but that’s not what bothers me,” he said as he took another sip from his wine.

I became anxious instantly, but I was too stubborn to let it show, thinking he won’t notice. “Wow. That bastard, Steve, told you. Big deal,” I scoffed.

“Actually, no,” he said while closing his eyes for two seconds, smiling. “You can’t just tell me to go home, I live three streets away and it’s only 9 P.M., also, Steve didn’t say a word about you. It’s good you showed up by yourself, he wasn’t the guy I was searching for. You don't get it, do you?”

“Of course not, where am I lying again?”

“I already told you. You don’t want me to leave, but that’s what you tell people when you get anxious and confused,” he explained.

“Confused about what?” I inquired impatiently.

“If you’re that curious about what interests me, I already answered your question.”

“No, you didn’t…”

“Just... let me answer the question you should have asked me instead,” he interrupted me.

That's when it happened- the moment that made me doubt my own existence, deny God’s existence for real and question life itself. He twisted his hand in the air in a weird way, and before I could ask myself what the hell he was doing, my chair suddenly moved and backed itself away from the table, then got instantly turned right and stopped. Everything happened in a blink of an eye while I was still on the damn chair. 

Shocked, my teeth clenched and my eyes felt like they were going to pop out. I was looking straight ahead as Samuel got up from his seat and came in front of me, squatting so his face could level mine as he placed his hands on my knees.

“Now,” he muttered, looking straight into my widened eyes, “do you know what question you should have asked me?”

I swallowed dry as my heart was beating so fast, that I thought it would also pop out of my chest. I barely caught my breath to speak. “Yeah… ” I muttered, inhaling a good amount of air. “HOW ON EARTH DID YOU DO THAT?!” I stormed, exhaling.

Samuel laughed shortly at my reaction, then he got even closer to me, still staring into my eyes. I felt like I was tied to that chair, like I couldn’t move and his face was so close to mine that I felt sweat coming out of my hair. I didn’t understand anything.

“That’s not the question I want to answer,” he whispered in my ear.

His breath smelled like that sweet red wine he just drank.

I scoffed, trying to calm down. “Tell me some of my deepest secrets if you know me that much, and maybe I’ll let you hear what you want to hear.”

“Fair enough,” he said. “Where should I start? You have three mental disorders, you feel like your parents are total strangers who always pushed people away from you and you haven’t talked to them in years, your ex who was a girl, broke your heart into pieces three years ago because you realised you’re gay so she left you without saying goodbye, your best friend is in jail because she killed someone when she was nineteen and most of the times when you feel anxious you get sweaty here, at the back of your head. Because you felt lonely and alienated, when you were sixteen you tried to throw yourself off a cliff but you changed your mind at the last minute because you heard the moon talking you out of your depressive episode.”

That was it. I started shivering as I felt his touch on my neck. No one could have known about the last one, I never told anyone about it. I was asking myself how on Earth did he know those things. Also, no one I knew was aware that Viky was in jail.

“Okay, you win. I give up…” I sighed. “What I actually wanted to ask you... are you interested in me?”

“Do you think I am?” he inquired, while gently wiping off the sweat from my neck with the back of his hand, sending shivers down my spine again.

I grunted. “Damn it, I don’t know, your behavior is out of the ordinary, you give me the creeps.”

“Oh, finally you’re being honest and open. Although, before telling you if I am interested in you or not, I’d like to answer the other question you asked, about how I moved your chair. You see... I’ve got micro devices implanted in my wrists which can create or control vibrations around. Everything is made out of them and I can do a lot of stuff like break things, push or pull things, make some things float, change shapes… I can also create sounds, and if I focus enough I can create them only in a small area like someone’s ears if I don’t want them to hear something. Those devices I have receive commands directly from my brain through my nervous system, they are being told exactly what I want to do.”

What I just heard was unbelievable for me in that moment. I know it was 2062 but trust me, ordinary people weren’t surrounded by that kind of technology, especially after the war. But apparently, for rich people like Samuel, it wasn’t such a big deal, just like that scene from Justice League when Flash asked Bruce Wayne what his superpower was and he simply answered “I’m rich” then drove off. Unlike Bruce Wayne, Samuel was bothered by being rich.

“I wish everyone could have access to this kind of science and technology…” he sighed.

“Yeah, but you have to be kind and smart to be able to get a hold of it, otherwise… poof! Another war, “ I told him calmly, forgetting about my question for a moment.

“Then help me and you’ll only see those kinds of people around in the future.”

“I’ll be too damn old to care anyway…” I scoffed.

“Actually, I forgot to tell you. We are currently working on a revolutionary anti-aging vaccine too. It significantly slows down aging throughout the whole body, all internal organs, so anyone who takes the shot once every ten years could live up to three hundred years or even more, depending on their lifestyle, genes and overall health. I’ll be the first one to take it after all the studies come to a successful end.”

“Wow… is that true? Oh my God, that sounds amazing, but… who would want to live in this world that much? It would be depressing…”

(c)Snow124His face was suddenly closer to me as he grabbed my chin, staring deep into my eyes. A feeling of warmth coming from my stomach and going up to my chest overwhelmed me. It was so strange to feel something like that because of someone I just met… 

“It won’t be depressing if we work together to make this world a better place. Nature made us equal. Only hard work should make us more worthy or less worthy of something. There are a lot of people out there who deserve a lot more than what they have right now… also many of them don’t deserve what they have at all, many of them are just uncultured, filthy swines,” he explained with a very serious expression on his face.

Looking at him being so close, I saw how clean and perfect his skin was. I couldn’t even see his pores, it was unbelievable. I wanted to touch him too. He noticed me staring and just smiled as I started shivering because he triggered an anxiety attack in me. I wanted to kiss him so badly because he was somehow pulling me closer just like a magnet, but I could not move.

“Okay,”  he sighed, smiling.  “Let me finally answer the question that’s still stuck on your head, because I can see you are a bit tense. It would be a huge lie if I’d tell you I’m not interested in you.”

I felt like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I smiled genuinely, exhaling all my worries out, but I noticed his face got serious again as he distanced himself a little bit. 

“ You must understand something about me, though,” he said.

“What exactly? I know there is a lot more that I need to find out and understand about you, I’m aware of that,” I replied.

I was calm again, finally calm, after that panic attack I had earlier when I was drowning in confusion. He sighed, then gently touched my face, analyzing it with that serious expression. 

(c)Snow124“You see…” he said,  “I’m not a sexually open person, like you probably expect. For example, I hate people who spend their nights in clubs and come home bringing a new stranger to have sex with. Maybe sex is not necessarily linked to love but I believe it should be made with love, you should love everything about that person. Before I answer completely, I need your point of view about this.”

“If you think like that, I don’t know...” I said slowly, keeping him tense. “I guess I just found the love of my life then,” I finished the sentence with a little sigh of relief.

He laughed shortly, then grabbed both of my hands, lifting me up from my seat. We stood like that, face to face, for a few seconds, smiling at each other. I wanted to kiss him and I could've done it, but... I didn't.

“Samuel, I don’t understand any of this, though. It feels so unreal." I said. "I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ll wake up tomorrow with all of this being  just a silly dream of mine when in reality I just saw you at work and made you a coffee, as Steve ordered me to.”

“That would not be true because of one important detail: Steve was the only one that wasn’t drinking instant coffee, and you would not dream about anything that would put him in a good light. In your dream, Steve would always look stupid.” Samuel explained.

“You’re so smart it worries me,” I laughed, amazed by his way of thinking. “Compared to you, I'm a loser,” I sighed.

“Shh, that isn’t true. I know you, somehow.” he said, putting the tips of his fingers over my mouth. His touch was so gentle...

“That’s the part that confuses me, Samuel. I’m trying to handle too much over here.”

He laughed a little. Damn his smile, why was I so weak?

“Then don’t try to handle more than you can, at once. You’ll understand everything little by little, in no time. So, Michael Nathan Unsworth, do you want to become a part of my world?”

Come on, tell me you didn’t read that like a proposal and I won’t believe you.

“Oh my God, you make me feel in ten different ways at the same time, how is that possible? Are you a freaking alien?” I asked him, laughing.

I was joking, of course.

“You don’t like aliens? Would that change anything?” he inquired, raising one eyebrow at me.

“What?" I gasped. "You’re not… um, you’re not serious, are you?” 

Oh boy, I just had to ask that question. Welcome back, anxiety.

“My parents told me we’re not from here, but I was born and raised on Earth,” he replied, looking away.

So much for the normal evening. So, basically, I fell in love with an alien. He noticed I was staring at him in a weird way and he frowned. 

“Does that make me any different?” he scoffed. “Do you see any extraterrestrial features on my body?” He cringed as he started unbuttoning his red shirt. I felt like my eyes were going to pop out again. When he unbuttoned it completely, he spread his hands and scoffed, looking at me.

“Well? Why do you look so surprised? Is it because you expected something to come out of my stomach and shit?”

I snorted. That was funny coming from someone I expected to lack a sense of humor.

“No, it’s because your body is so damn perfect.” I said, blushing.

He looked away quickly and I swear I saw his face turn pink too. His eyebrows frowned as he blinked and sighed, closing the buttons from his shirt.

“Did I say something wrong?” I asked, worried I might have upset him.

“Not really, but why are earthlings so fascinated by bodies? They aren’t important.”

“Now I can hear the alien inside you talking,” I mocked him. “I don’t know, I guess it’s just natural…”

“I don’t understand, primates don’t choose their mating partners according to that, none of the animal species is so damn sexual.”

“I think I know some, but I can’t remember which…” I tried to contradict him.

He sighed.

“ I swore to myself some years ago that I’d finally find the truth about the human race. You’re somehow out of place.”

“What?” I asked confused. “Truth? About what exactly? How are we out of place?”

“The truth about who made your race able to exist, who created you and let you live here, because nothing links your race to this planet. The most obvious reason would be the fact that you are willingly destroying your planet instead of protecting it and no species that naturally belongs to a planet would do anything to it!”

“What you’re saying makes sense, I agree. I used to have a theory about that, inspired by Ancient Aliens. You know, I believe some alien species  wanted to make an experiment and create a mixed being between them and another animal. Maybe they chose Earth because we have primates, so  they saw an opportunity. They artificially impregnated a few, then they left, leaving them here only to come back after a few years, to see how the new race called humans evolved and turned out. After seeing that we were nothing special or maybe we weren’t what they expected, they just left us here for good, letting natural selection do its job.”

Samuel was paying close attention to what I was saying as he took out his e-cigarette.

“You might actually have a point,” he said.

“I know someone must have been involved" I went on, "otherwise new humans would still evolve out of primates even nowadays, but we don’t see that happening, nature doesn’t go nuts like that. Even if it does, there comes your theory - it would create something that would be drawn to it and loyal to protect it, not destroy it.”

“Exactly,” he replied. “Maybe that is why some of you are dominated by that urge to protect the planet. Because half of the human race genes come from apes, which are naturally from this planet, but the other half… I don’t know what kind of terrible species it belongs to, but it acts like there will always be a planet B if they destroy this one.”

“Wow, our ideas mixed together really turned out to be a hell of a conspiracy theory!”

“Yeah, I think that’s my cue. Maybe I should head home after all,” he sighed.

“Why? We haven’t finished the wine yet…”

“Tch, don’t you dare lure me into your sexual games, Unsworth.” he scoffed.

“Oh my god, I think you’re actually asexual or something...or maybe… oh my god… are you… you know,” I whispered, “...impotent?”

His face instantly cringed.

“No, I’m fully functional. I could do it right now, but I don’t want to. I like to make my brain aroused, not my dick.”

I almost spilled my wine. That was some straightforward way of saying it, coming from an alien CEO that hates sex - I guessed- and whom I never heard using dirty words. Then another question popped into my head.

“Are you a virgin then?” I asked him, trying not to laugh. “I… I won’t judge…”

Samuel gave me an ice cold look.

“No, I am not. Why are we talking about sex?! Oh my god. Humans…”

“Then, what?” I insisted.

He scoffed. “I never had a relationship, I lost my virginity to a stripper in a nightclub when I was only a teenager because some guys offered me drugs and I wanted to try how sex felt like because everyone was talking about it and it drove me nuts.”

“Wow… okay. Was the stripper a dude?”

“No, it was a woman. After we were done, I still felt unsatisfied and I asked her if that was it. I offered to pay her a lot of money just to make me feel something, but she said she did everything she knew best…”

“So you came to the conclusion you hate sex,” I said.

“Somehow…”

“And you also came to the conclusion you’re gay?” I asked, rising one eyebrow.

“I don’t know, I was just a spoiled brat knocking himself out because life didn’t matter to me, after my parents died. I wanted to see what life had to offer and it didn’t seem like much, I haven’t been attracted to anyone, ever.”

“Have you changed your mind, though?” I asked him.

“Not really, I just decided to do something, set a goal for myself. So here I am, now, the CEO of my father’s company and…”

“...and gay,” I interrupted him, coming closer.

“No, I wanted to say…”

He didn’t get to finish his sentence after he saw me take off my shirt.

“What are you doing?” he asked, with tension in his voice.

I gently pushed him on the chair, took a seat on his lap, looking straight into his eyes, with my hands on both of his shoulders. It was my turn to make him anxious. Payback's a bitch.

“Are you okay, Samuel?” I asked, cockily. “If I kiss your neck right now, what would happen down there?”

“Tch, you know the answer, don’t be an idiot,” he warned me, trying to intimidate me.

“Then how weren’t you attracted to anyone, ever? There are a lot of smoking hot guys out there and you’re telling me none of them flirted with you or tried to do what I’m doing right now?”

I didn’t let him answer though as I instantly kissed his neck. Taken by surprise, he gasped, trying to catch his breath. When I stopped, I ended up kissing his cheek instead of kissing his lips. I was such an idiot, I know. When I looked at him, his eyes were wide open as if they were about to pop out and his pupils were dilated as hell. His face was so red you could say I choked him. I smiled, satisfied by the result, feeling very confident, despite of not kissing him.

He exhaled, trying to calm down. “A lot of guys tried to flirt with me, but I can control myself,” he said.

“Really? Why didn’t you control yourself now?” I asked skeptically, pointing at his privates. 

“With you, apparently, I can't. I feel a connection with you I haven’t felt with anyone, somehow it feels you were the first and only connection I’ve had… like I’ve felt it somewhere before and now I felt it again… something’s odd about you.”

He was right though, I felt the same about him.

“I thought you said you know everything about me,” I scoffed.

“Not everything, it seems. But I feel like we’ve met before… way long ago.”

"Maybe in another life?" I asked.

“I don't believe in that stuff, Michael. Let’s call it a night. It's late now, for good.”

“Okay,” I sighed.

I wanted that night to last forever, but I knew that wasn’t possible. I let him stand up and he grabbed his jacket. As he headed to the door, I followed him. He stopped by the door, smiling at me.

“Thank you for this wonderful evening, gorgeous stranger.” I snickered.

“Hn... I should thank you for making me feel warm again. You’re like a sun to me,” he said with his usual serious expression.

“That makes you the Moon,” I replied.

“Who knows? The Moon told you not to kill yourself, didn’t it?”

I gasped, remembering that moment. It made more sense than ever...

“What’s wrong?” he asked, noticing I spaced out.

“Nothing,” I said, smiling. 

“Okay then, see you tomorrow,” he said.

I wanted to finally kiss him but he instantly turned around and opened the door.

“Good night then,” I told him.

He smiled over his shoulder and nodded at me as he stepped out. I sighed as I watched him go for a few seconds, then closed the door and locked it.

***

 

I went straight to bed, set my alarm for the next day and turned off the lamp. Suddenly, I heard a loud thud in the closet.

“What the heck?” I gasped.



 

 

 

Chapter Text

FOR THIS CHAPTER'S BACKGROUND MUSIC: right click and open THIS LINK in a new tab! 

I rushed to open the closet’s door only to see my cat climbing over my clothes and jackets, and some hangers on the floor. I sighed.

“So that’s where you’ve been all this time. Get out!” I yelled at him.

“Meow…”

I went back to bed, angry. That cat scared the shit out of me. I took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. I knew what was coming the next day was a big challenge for me and it required a good night’s sleep...

While I was sleeping very deep,  wondering now... how could someone sleep so deep that they can’t hear their house being broken into? It depends…

I suddenly woke up and gasped after hearing some sort of explosion, instantly jumping out of bed. Marble was already under it, growling anxiously. I realised if I hid there too, probably the asshole would scratch me because of panic. I ran into the closet and shut the door. I took my phone with me, ready to call the police, when I suddenly saw a weird green light coming through the space between the floor and the closet door and also some strange sounds, like a scanner or something.

“Search everywhere! We need to find him and leave this filthy planet, I’m already sick of it! It’s an order!!” I heard a male voice coming from the living room.

I came to the conclusion that the police would be useless in my case. It was obvious, so I called Samuel instead. The phone rang twice, then he answered:

“Michael?” I heard his sleepy voice. “Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”

“Quick, there’s no time! There are some alien freaks in my house and they want to kill me! You need to get here!” I whispered as clearly as I could.

“What?! Alien freaks?!”

“Yes, please come quickly!”

Then I heard a gunfire and my cat growled… only once, then silence settled in. With my eyes wide open, I started shivering.

“Oh my… God, they… they killed my cat!” I yelped as the closet door opened. I could barely see because of so much green light, but the figure looked human, wearing a weird costume. He pointed a gun at me, after scanning the whole closet with a bracelet. I swallowed dry as sweat was coming down my face.

“Michael? Are you okay?! Michael!” I heard Samuel through the phone.

“They… they found me…” I mumbled my last words as I dropped my phone on the floor because of how much my hands were trembling. 

The strange figure stepped closer and crushed my phone. I turned into stone, couldn’t even scream. A gun was pointed at my forehead, releasing a sharp noise and I instantly passed out. 


When I woke up, my vision was so blurry I could barely see. While it was getting clearer, I saw someone standing right in front of me with arms crossed. I realised I was sitting on some sort of armchair. When I tried to turn my head right to see around me, I noticed my neck was tied to the armchair and I suddenly felt a throbbing pain taking over my whole body. I grunted loudly.

“ I wouldn’t do that if I were you, because that collar stings your neck with fifty micro needles that release adrenaline in your body, causing you to become agitated and hurt yourself even more, until you die in pain,” said the same male voice I heard in my house. 

When my vision cleared completely, I realized it was a woman. Her hair was white, she had no eyebrows and her eyes were green. Her skin was also pale as snow.

“What?! You’re a woman?” I cringed. “What the hell…”

“My voice sounds like that because of this,” she said, showing me a collar attached to her neck. “I broke my vocal chords and replaced my real voice with the voice of my father. He was killed by an kek’ar aryun, like you.”

“What’s a kek’ar aryun?” I asked.

She clenched her fist, got closer, bent in front of me as she grabbed my shirt angrily. “Don’t act like you don’t know, scumbag!” she hissed. “You and your filthy royal family killed my father!”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I grunted.

“Tch! Did they also erase your memory when they sent you to Earth to be raised by humans?! Your bloodline makes me sick!” She snapped as she released my shirt and sighed angrily. “Scan his DNA to confirm he’s a damn kek’ar aryun and he’ll be convinced. Then, we’ll leave this filthy planet and take him with us on Krul,” she ordered to a man sitting behind a computer.

He typed something on the keyboard and a weird metal tentacle came out from a wall and stopped in front of me. A green light came from it, scanning me from upside down. 

Kek’ar aryun match not found,” the computer voice said.

The woman gasped. “Impossible,” she muttered. “You got the wrong target!?”

She went to another computer and pressed a button. A hologram that looked like a browser window appeared. It looked like she started a video call.

“Connection successful,” the computer said.

An image of a man popped up. 

“Yes, commander Aymera,” the man answered.

“You blew it, Keppa! You led us to the wrong target! He isn’t a kek’ar aryun, good luck we decided to check! You idiot!” the woman grunted.

“Your target was at that address, I swear!” the man defended himself. “I checked at 9 P.M., Earth’s hour!”

“ Tch! Did you, at least try to take a picture of the target, to confirm?!”

“No, Miss Aymera, I was sure we got the right one…”

“You’re fired, Keppa. See you when I get back on Krul,” she snarled as she ended the video call. “Erase this idiot’s memory, he’s useless. I don’t want to leave any traces behind us, we can’t kill him.” she demanded.

“Roger that,” the man from the computer said.

The weird tentacle that scanned me earlier came closer to my face and released another three smaller tentacles that attached themselves to my head. They started vibrating and I felt forced to close my eyes. The whole thing kept on going for a few minutes and strangely, I felt like information was being downloaded into my head instead of being deleted, if that makes any sense. I heard a double beep as the tentacles detached themselves. The big one also returned back into the wall where it came from.

“All done,” the man behind the computer said.

I could still remember everything, though. It didn’t work, but I chose to act like it, so they could release me.

“Where… where am I?” I asked, acting confused. I felt dizzy, anyway.

Suddenly, I felt something pointed at at the back of my head. I heard that familiar sharp sound again, then passed out.

 


 

There I was, back at home, in my bed. I instantly felt like I was about to puke, so I got up rashly, coughing like hell.

“Michael! Are you okay?” Samuel's voice came from the hallway.

I also heard his rushing footsteps heading to the bedroom, then he appeared in front of me, looking really worried as he noticed my neck and gasped. He attempted to touch it, and when he did, I squirmed away, grabbing his hand.

“Don’t… it hurts like hell,” I moaned. “I’ve been stung fifty times by some weird needles…”

“Stand still,” Samuel told me, while he went out of the bedroom and came back in a minute with a little bottle in his left hand. 

He opened it and poured some of the liquid on his palms, rubbing them against each other, then placed them around my neck and started massaging it as softly as he could.

“Ouch,” I groaned.

“Shh, it’s okay,” Samuel whispered as he leaned to kiss my forehead. “Lay there,” he pointed out, taking his hands away from my neck.

I did what he said, then he started moving his palms close to my neck again, making me feel a tingling sensation all over that area, including my head. It felt relieving. He stopped after a minute or so.

“Done,” he said. “Does it hurt if I touch you?”

“It just feels like I have sore muscles now,” I answered. “Thank you…”

“No problem. I… I buried your cat,” he sighed. "I didn't even notice you had one... I love cats."

I looked away for a few seconds as a tear came from one of my eyes, lingering on my cheek. I instantly wiped it off, sniffing. 

“I’m sorry,” Samuel said with a soft tone.

“Yeah… I guess he’s in a better place now… or at least that’s what I’d like to think.”

Samuel leaned closer and hugged me tightly, while crossing his fingers through my hair.

“They were after you,” I muttered with my face buried in his shirt.

“I know,” he sighed. “I heard everything.”

“What?” I gasped.

He kept running his fingers through my hair, until he stopped and grabbed something. I felt it when he took it out of a hair strain.

“This. It’s a nano recording device made by Alpha Corp.,” he explained, showing it to me. It was unbelievably small, I could barely see it. 

“Why was it in my hair?” I asked.

He sighed. “Honestly, I wanted to spy on you, to see if you’d tell anyone what we talked about…”

“So, you still don’t trust me…” I frowned.

He sighed again, blinking slowly, in the way he always did.

“I’m sorry. I never trusted anyone. Please forgive me.”

“Yeah, it’s fine. It seems like you did find out other things, though…”

He frowned. “About that… I’m wondering how didn’t your memory get erased…”

“I don’t know, I guess it didn’t work, they did something wrong, perhaps. Do you believe the things they said? About you being sent to Earth to be raised by fake parents? Also, what's a kek'ar aryun?” I inquired.

“I don’t know. I need to find out,” he sighed. “Maybe my whole life has been a lie. Maybe this planet is in danger now. This house is definitely not safe anymore. We must leave.”

“What?” I gasped.

“You heard me. I’ll make a few calls and ask some of my employees to take care of your house and also fix the door, donate all your food to charity and postpone the meeting until 5 P.M. Take with you some clothes you like and we’ll leave in an hour.”

Things started to get serious. I already felt my life wasn’t going to be the same, ever again. I could’ve been killed by those guys, but I got lucky as hell. I didn’t even care about what I needed to leave behind, I just wanted to stay alive. Honestly, it was that moment when I realized once again that I don’t want to die. My thoughts were playing tricks on me, wondering if Samuel had been there when I wanted to kill myself ten years before. Maybe it hadn’t been the Moon talking to me, maybe it was him and I thought it was the Moon because of the drugs I took that day. Also, it was very strange, that feeling I had when those guys were supposed to erase my memory. I felt like I suddenly had more thoughts and memories, but I couldn’t explain to myself why...

“Yes, bring a new door,” I heard Samuel talking on the phone in the living room. ”Yes, let me measure it… one hundred and ninety centimeters high and sixty centimeters wide. I’ll send you some pictures with other details, thank you.”

Then I heard him dialing another number.

“Good morning John, I’m sorry to bother you so early, but I need to book a suite for two. Proceed the payment with the last card I used. I’ll be there in less than two hours. Thank you, see you soon.”

I noticed he didn’t say goodbye when he ended both calls. I heard his footsteps heading to my bedroom. When he saw my luggage, he sighed.

“No, you won’t need all that. Take half of it,” he said with a serious tone. “You’ll have everything you need where we’re going. Don’t worry, your house won’t be set on fire and your clothes will still be here.”

“Fine,” I scoffed.

After a few minutes, I was done.

“Good, my car is here," he said. 

“What?” I asked, then looked out the window and saw a huge car parked in front of my house. “Did it drive itself here?” 

“It’s a Tesla, of course it did.”

“That explains a lot,” I laughed.

“Let’s go, he said.”

We got into the car and the first thing I noticed was how hot Samuel looked holding the wheel. I still felt the urge to kiss him, but I was a shy idiot back then.

“How far are we going?” I asked.

“About an hour away to the South, near Long Beach.” Samuel said as he pressed a button and music started playing.

I sighed in relief as I leaned on the back of the chair, closing my eyes and getting ready for my life to change. I honestly didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I could’ve just told Samuel to leave me alone and to never hear from him again, but there I was, with him in his cool car, scared, confused and excited despite all that. It just felt right.

“Let’s hit the road,” Samuel said as the car started itself.

Chapter Text

FOR THIS CHAPTER'S BACKGROUND MUSIC RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN THIS LINK IN A NEW TAB. :)

LET IT PLAY ONLY UNTIL SONG NO. 23 (EVERYTHING GOOD). THE NEXT ONE IS FOR CHAPTER 5. 

 

 

I hit my head against the car’s window and gasped.

“You're awake, dreamy princess? Look outside,” Samuel said.

“So this isn’t a dream...” I mumbled with a sleepy voice as my vision was still blurry.

I looked outside and saw a breathtaking view. The ocean in all its glory. Blurry blue, just like my eyes.

“Wow, this is really nice!” I exclaimed, happily.

“Let’s speed up a little,” he said.

“Let’s what? Oh my God, no, slow down!” I yelled. “We’re on a hill!”

He started laughing out loud, like a psychopath.

“Woo! Yes! Are you ready to fly?”

I gasped. “Ready to what?!”

The car sped up even more as Samuel was looking straight ahead, smiling. I felt like my heart wanted to get out of my chest and leave me there with that psychopathic alien. Suddenly, I felt like we were rising… up into the air. 

“Whoa, shit!” I shuddered. 

“Don’t faint, you’ll need to see this!” Samuel shouted, trying to conquer the noise of the engine.

Yeah, the car was flying.

“Oh my GOD!!!” I yelled my lungs out, covering my eyes.

“Just look below us!” Samuel shouted again.

I got the courage to open my eyes only to be amazed by what I saw. “Holy shit…”

The view was so breathtakingly beautiful I could not stop looking, I felt as if I died and actually went to Heaven. It looked like the edge of the Earth.

“That’s where we’ll stay,” he pointed at the first building below us. “Hold tight, we’re going to land on the roof,” he warned me.

"Whaaaaat?"  I squealed like a kid.

The sound of the engine changed. I noticed these things even if I didn’t have a driver's license. While we were landing, I remembered why I hated traveling by plane. The feeling of your stomach floating wasn't nice. I saw us going down really fast and somehow, I know it sounds bad, but I didn’t know if Samuel was aware of what he was doing.

“Relax," he said softly, noticing how anxious I got. "Nothing bad is going to happen. Trust me, driving and piloting this beauty is like a child’s game for me- and I always hated losing.”

Apparently, he knew how to whoop my anxiety’s ass really well, at least. In the moment before we landed, he grabbed my hand and held it tightly as the car landed so smoothly I could barely believe it.

“That’s it?” I asked, confused. “It wasn’t so bad…”

“That’s because I know what I’m doing,” he scoffed.

When we got out of the car, a butler wearing a black suite was already waiting for us.

“Welcome back to Tishagate hotel, sir Ulseth,” he said to Samuel.

Samuel nodded at him, formally. “Glad to be back, John. Please prepare the meeting room for me at 5 P.M.”

“Of course. May I ask why are you still in pyjamas, sir?”

Samuel's face cringed a little. “It’s… a long story.”

“Right. Let me lead you to your suite,” John told us.

“We’ll take a little walk to the beach before settling in and we’ll come back,” Samuel said, looking at me for approval.

“Yeah, awesome,” I said. 

“Alright then, I’ll take your bags to the suite,” the butler said politely.

“Thank you, John.”

We all followed him inside. Despite the hotel’s modern look on the outside, the design inside looked very old. When I saw how small was the elevator, I swallowed dry.

“Oh my god, are we going to fit in there?”

“Don’t be such a lady,” Samuel mocked me.

I scoffed as we went in.

“Your suite is at level eight,” the butler informed us. “Not too high and it has full ocean view, just like you always requested, sir Ulseth.”

“Perfect,” Samuel smiled.

Apparently, the hotel had twenty levels. I started breathing faster when I felt we were going down. Samuel grabbed my hand and held it tightly, knowing it worked for me last time. I was such a weakling back then I can barely believe it. When elevator stopped at level eight, the butler got out with our luggage. Actually, just mine as I realised in that moment that Samuel didn't take anything with him.

“Thank you John, see you later," Samuel said as the elevator's doors closed.

“Are you sure you’re okay? You look pale,” he told me.

“I’m fine, just a little anxious, as usual,” I explained.

“Okay, what can I do to help?” he asked, grabbing my face between his palms. 

“This,” I said, finally giving him a short kiss. It made me shiver.

He smiled, blushing. The elevator stopped as we reached the lobby level. 

“What a weird design these people chose,” I pointed out.

“It’s vintage, I think it’s nice,” Samuel scoffed.

“Yeah, but from the outside, you’d expect more… minimalism,” I said.

We got out of the elevator and passed through the lobby while Samuel said hello to some of the other butlers we saw and then we went outside.

 

 

 

That fresh ocean breeze made me feel thankful to be alive and grateful to myself for choosing to go with Samuel. As I said, it felt so... right. I got so excited when I saw the blue water in front of us that I took his hand and smiled at him as wide as I could.

“Let’s go!” I told him.

Samuel smiled back at me and we started running towards the beach. It was 9 A.M., the sun was shining and we were both wearing pyjamas and flip-flops. I’d call that a perfect Tuesday morning. No going to work, no seeing Steve and all my annoyingly jealous co-workers, just being in front of the sea with a handsome guy I just fell in love with. Who would wish for more? I swear I forgot about what happened the night before.

We stopped to take our shoes off, letting the waves hit our feet. The feeling of peace I had in that moment was to never be forgotten. After all, I felt like I deserved it.

“Samuel?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you for popping into my life. You saved me.”

“Did I?” he asked softly.

“Yeah, you did. Let’s go for a swim, what do you say? Take off your shirt.”

“Now?” he asked, surprised. “Hn, count me in.”

We both took off our shirts. I didn’t get to throw my shirt on the ground yet as I saw Samuel running towards the waves.

“Hey, wait for me!” I shouted.

He jumped into the water, straight through a wave and I couldn’t see him anymore.

“Oh my god. Don’t panic, don’t panic, just follow him,” I said to myself.

I ran towards the water, took a deep breath and jumped in. When I opened my eyes underwater trying to search for Samuel, they stung a little because of how salty the water was.

I suddenly felt something pinching my foot and I reached for the surface, panicked like hell. Samuel popped out of the water right next to me, laughing.

“How can someone be so easy to scare?”

“Seriously?” I scoffed. “I thought it was a stingray or something!”

“Calm down,” he told me as he swam closer to me. “Look.”

He twisted his hand in the air a very graceful way and the water around us started moving, but not how normally waves move- the water was kind of dancing. Little swirls were forming in the water, all having different rotation speed. It looked magical.

“Are you doing this?” I asked him.

“Yes,” he nodded.

The waves sounded like the were singing.

“Oh my god, are you a merman too, or, like, Aquaman?”

He laughed. “No, but I have some tricks of my own. You’re so childish. Come on, let’s dive a little,” he said as he grabbed my hand.

We both held our breath and went underwater, holding hands while swimming. His speed was amazing. We swam like that for a few seconds and then we stopped, holding both of our hands as he suddenly pulled me towards him, then swam above me, giving me a sudden, gentle kiss. It felt soft like snow...

It really felt like I fell in love with someone who isn't human. I was living my fantasy and somehow, I didn’t understand why he was so drawn to me but it made me feel special. After he kissed me, he looked at me, somehow trying to communicate with me without talking. He pointed at the sea floor, then he waved one of his hands again. Bubbles started coming out of the sand, revealing small fish, stingrays and other little creatures that use to hide under the sand. Scientifically, he was playing with the oxygen in the water.

Suddenly, I felt like I needed air and reached for the surface as Samuel followed me. The first breath I caught felt like life force. When Samuel got out, he didn’t seem to have been in need for too much air. I was amazed.

“Yeah, you’re some kind of merfreak for sure,” I told him. “Is there something you can’t do?”

“Yeah, enjoy sex,” he said.

I cringed.

“You had to ruin this moment,” I said, rolling my eyes. 

“It’s the truth,” he laughed.

“Oh my god!” I exclaimed, noticing how his pale skin was glowing in the sun. “What the hell, why are you glowing in the sun?”

“I’m not,” he said.

“Yes you do,” I insisted.

His skin looked like fresh snow. So beautiful, I literally froze instantly.

“Everything I can do is thanks to science," he tried to explain to me. 

I started thinking he wasn't fully aware of what he was or what he could do. Looking at the sun’s position, I realised an hour had passed.

“Yeah, I’m sure.” I scoffed. “Let’s go back, I’m hungry,” I complained.

“I guess we could use a good rest,” he agreed.

We swam back to the shore. When we got back into the hotel, I felt a strange energy around that I haven’t felt before. Then, that butler, John, appeared. 

“Welcome back,” he said. “Your access cards are ready, sir.”

He handed Samuel a set of cards with a number series on each. Apparently they were used instead of keys. He also gave us our jackets we left by the entrance when we went to the beach.

“Thank you,” Samuel said politely. “We’d like some coffee, too.”

“Everything is already prepared. You’ll find breakfast and coffee in your suite,” John said.

“Wow, nice. Thank you!” I said excitedly.

John gave me a flashy once over. 

“You’re welcome.”

Samuel looked at me and nodded in the elevator’s direction, meaning he was suggesting we should go. I nodded back and we headed there. Before reaching the elevator though, Samuel stopped by the reception desk. There was John again and another two butlers. What I didn’t understand was who owned that hotel, but I wasn’t planning to ask either. 

“I wanted to say you’re all as welcoming and pleasant as you always were. You never disappoint, John.”

“Well, thank you, sir Ulseth, we appreciate that,” John said, sketching a shy smile.

Samuel smiled back at him but in his own way, which didn’t seem shy at all, as he reached into one of his jacket’s pockets and took out his wallet, from which he pulled out a cheque. Then he suddenly used his “powers” to pull out a pen from his jacket straight into his hand. I made a confused sound, but the others were not moved at all, as if they had seen what Samuel could do before. That strange energy I felt when we came back overwhelmed me again. 

“Spread this between you guys,” Samuel said to John as he wrote five thousand dollars on that cheque, then signed it. 

“Sir Ulseth, you already paid…” John gasped.

“Shut up,” Samuel scoffed and handed him the cheque, then he turned right at me with a calm expression.

“We can go upstairs now,” he told me.

“Right…” I muttered.

We got into the elevator and pressed the command button. We didn’t speak at all during the time we were going up because I was still shocked by what just happened. When we finally got out, Samuel broke the awkward silence:

“You didn’t tell me if you like this place.”

“Oh. Of course I do, it’s amazing,” I assured him. 

“Then what’s wrong? You’re usually very talkative.”

I got nervous.

“Nothing, I’m just… processing things slower, perhaps,” I said. “Yeah, that’s it.”

“Hn. Okay. Here we are,” he said while taking out one of the cards.

He put it close to a tiny screen which made a sharp sound as a green light appeared, just like it happens when you’re paying with contactless cards. The door opened, pulling itself into a passage in the wall. An automatic sliding door in a hotel like that. Why would I be surprised after what I just witnessed?

“This is our suite. What do you think?” he asked.

“Wow, I…”

We suddenly stepped into a huge chamber full of light. I’m not good at describing places at all, but let me tell you that one left me speechless. It was so different compared to the rest of the hotel. The outside wall was made of glass. Actually, the wall was a window and all you could see was that enormous blue ocean and the sky.

“Holy shit,” I said, shocked.

He laughed shortly as he took my hand and carried me slowly to see around.

“Come on, I won’t kill you, not in such a peaceful place,” he mocked me.

I scoffed and followed his lead. We opened another door and I gasped when I saw what was there too.

“This is where we’ll sleep,” he explained.

“Jesus Christ. It’s so amazing. Looks like a place where you can’t have any privacy at all, but then… the ocean is the only thing facing us. I’ve never seen anything like this my whole life. I guess this is what rich people see very often.”

Samuel sighed and gave me a serious look. 

“Yeah, isn’t that sad? Everyone should see this everyday, without having to be rich.”

I scoffed again in disapproval.

“Come on, this place is expensive as hell. You just gave those guys a lot of extra money. Maintaining hotels like these isn’t cheap...” 

“But it should be,” he objected. “It’s just glass, the hotel itself doesn’t have to be like this one. People barely afford to come see the ocean, which saddens me a lot.”

“That’s capitalism, Samuel. Despite a war made us go through hell, this damned system hasn’t fallen.”

“It will. Mark my words.”

I smiled, seeing him so determined. It inspired me in a way.

“By the way, these windows are UV-filtered,” he said. “You can’t see inside if you’re outside. I will show you tonight after the meeting.”

“Is it going to last that long?” I asked, worried.

“I don’t think so, but the point is I want to show you something after the meeting. You won’t say no, will you?” he said as he came closer to me holding both of my hands. We were just a breath away from each other. I could feel my blood boiling.

“How… how could I say no to you,” I snickered, looking into his eyes.

He was looking into mine too and it looked like he was searching for answers into them.

“Something is really strange about the way you make me feel,” he told me softly, almost whispering.

That was when I couldn’t resist anymore and I kissed him, all of a sudden. His lips were so soft, they made me feel high. I could feel a shiver down my spine and I kept kissing him harder and harder. Suddenly, he moaned. When I heard that, I instantly felt like he set me on fire, literally like my spirit woke up. The feeling was so overwhelming, I couldn’t breathe. “Samuel…” I moaned, too.

I heard him gasp shortly after I moaned and then… he bit my lip pretty hard. In response to that, I grabbed him from his back and pulled him as close to me as I could. Our bodies touched and I was so turned on I forgot about being hungry, tired, anxious… I forgot about everything. He suddenly stopped and looked at me, panting.

“You little devil,” he whispered. “The heat you release makes me melt completely. What are you doing to me?” 

I smiled as I realised we went a little bit too far and I didn’t want him to think I was like that with everyone. That’s because I wasn’t. I had never been like that with anyone, but did he know that?

“Damn you,” I snorted. “You’re not sexual, my ass.”

He scoffed.

“What do you mean by that?”

“For a guy that claims to hate sex and probably didn’t have sex since a long time ago, what you just did was extremely sexual.” I said. “You don’t seem to lack experience.”

“I watch porn,” he said with a dull tone.

Soo… a moment of awkward silence, pleeaaaase...

I instantly raised my head from his shoulder to look at him. His face showed no sign of a smile or anything. He had a straight face. “Wha…”

He snorted before I could finish my question. He couldn’t hold it.

“Of course I’m joking, loser. I actually have experience and it hasn’t been that long since I last did it. It’s just… I never felt anything with anybody. I know it sounds like bullshit, but I’m telling you the truth. Maybe I’m not made for it.”

“Cut the crap,” I scoffed, mildly punching his chest. “When was the last time you did it?”

“I think it was last year,” he said calmly as he looked down, thinking.

“Whaaat!?” I cringed. “At least, do you…”

“Play with myself?” he interrupted my question. “Sometimes it happens, but I rarely do. The tension is natural but it goes away on its own just like it happens to animals when mating season is over.”

I laughed because he compared himself with an animal. I took his hands into mine and pulled him towards me, gently. I wanted to kiss him again, but then my stomach started making angry sounds of hunger.

“We should eat,” he said. 

I sighed and gave him a sweet kiss on the cheek.

“Yeah, we should.”

We headed to the kitchen which by the way, also had a sea view. That place was all about the ocean and I realised my anxiety went away. We both took a seat at the table and started eating. We had boiled eggs, bacon, salads and sandwiches. The coffee was also delicious. After I drank it and finished eating, I yawned.

“Yeah, I don’t think this coffee will do any good, you must be tired as hell. We should take a nap, we have plenty of time,” he suggested.

“Sounds good.”

As we went back in the bedroom, Samuel opened one of the windows, and we could hear the waves crashing against the shore. The sound was incredibly calming. I went to bed as he followed me after a few moments of admiring the view.

“We might be better off here than L.A.,” I told him.

Samuel sighed, then nodded at me as he tucked himself into bed.

“You’re right. You look so comfortable.”

“I would be more comfortable if you’d come closer,” I snickered.

He laughed shortly and placed his arm under my head. He was staring into my eyes again and I was staring into his.

“Your eyes reflect all the light in this room and it’s as if I can see the stars in them,” I told him.

“I can see the ocean in yours,” he replied. “This is so strange. I’m so drawn to you.”

“Really?” I asked in a shy way because he flattered me. “But why? We just met, right? I’m drawn to you too, though. You’re right, it’s strange, it’s like I saw you somewhere else before.”

“Yeah. Exactly. It bothers me, I want to know why we feel like this.”

“Maybe it’s just how love is,” I said.

“Love?”

“Yeah. I think I love you, Samuel Ulseth…”

My voice trembled a little when I told him that. Then I heard a big wave crash against the rocky shore. He sighed as he hugged me, looking away. 

“Love…” he muttered. “Is this how it feels? It’s overwhelming.”

“That’s how it should be,” I told him.

Samuel closed his eyes while I was running my fingers through his soft hair which was so pleasant to touch.

“I’m glad we met,” I told him. “I realised there’s more to life than what I’ve seen until now. You really make me want to live forever. With you.”

“Michael…”

“Yes?”

“I love you too,” I heard him say as I closed my eyes and fell asleep.




 

 


I woke up when I heard a loud thunder. I looked outside and the sky was almost black, so I knew heavy rain was about to fall. The window was open and cold wind reached my back, causing me to shiver. When I looked at Samuel, he was still sleeping but his arms were crossed and his face was frowned. I thought he was having a bad dream so I decided to wake him up.

“Hey...Samuel. Wake up.”

He shivered a little, then opened his eyes. When he saw me, he looked somehow confused.

“You’re here…” he muttered.

“Of course I’m here, where else would I be?” I asked, worried.

“I don’t know, I had a strange nightmare. Someone took me away from you or something like that, telling me I should stay away from you…”

“Probably it was because those bastards abducted me yesterday,” I said, convinced it was that. “Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere, nobody but ourselves can tear us apart.”

Even I was wondering where that confidence came from. Samuel sighed and grabbed my hand as we heard another thunder. He turned around, looked outside and sighed.

“What time is it?” he asked me.

“It’s 3 P.M.,” I answered. “Wow, we slept a lot.”

“Yeah. I need to text everyone I invited to the meeting, making sure they all come, especially Scott Aiden.”

“Who is that?”

“An important investor that offered support to my father’s company since I was just a kid. You should have heard of him. But you’re not actually Agra’s manager, so...”

“Guilty,” I pleaded, laughing. “Doesn’t that concern you? I don’t know how to lead a project.”

“Don’t hop into Depression Express yet, you’ll do just fine,” he reassured me. “I knew from the start you’re not a manager, but I said that in order to persuade Steve into saying so.”

“What? Why?”

“Because I wanted you, not him. I came there looking for you.”

I frowned. “What do you mean?” 

“You see, since I was sixteen, I’ve been having some strange dreams about someone I should meet, or about someone I used to know that made me feel in a certain way… I only knew the first letter from his name, which was N.”

I looked at him confused as hell.

“Your second name is Nathan, right? In my dream, I could also see the boy was blonde and had blue eyes, just like you. Everything was blurry, though. The dreams started to fade as I grew older, but then I saw Agra Corporation’s promotion video online and there was Steve, talking about how successful you can become if you get hired as he started showing around and I saw you coming from behind, you handed him some papers as you said hello to the camera, waving and smiling. I gasped when I saw you and I remembered about the dreams I used to have. The night after I saw that video, I had a dream like that again. I could feel a certain energy when I had those dreams. I decided I wanted to meet you, out of curiosity, despite the fact I’m not usually very curious about people. When we shook hands, I felt the same energy those dreams used to give me.”

“So…” I mumbled, “Your dreams were telling you to come and meet me?”

I remembered that I felt strange too when we shook hands, but I didn’t mention it.

“Somehow, yes. I’m pretty sure, that's why I was confused when Steve introduced you as Michael and not Nathan,” he said. “I also noticed you have huge potential and yet you’re using a small percentage of your intelligence, like something is blocking your brain, which is weird, I haven’t seen that in any human before.”

“You’re mocking me, right?” I snorted.

“I’m afraid I’m not. I can sense these things. If you unlock your potential, something makes me believe that you and I can do great things together. No more wars, no more miserable lives… maybe that’s why those dreams were telling me to meet you, it was the Universe,” he laughed shortly at the end as he looked at the ocean.

That was so sweet to hear. He smiled and it was so genuine. In that moment, I began feeling strange, all of a sudden. My brain started playing tricks on me as I began questioning everything about myself, going deeper into my thoughts and memories. Then, I felt an instant, throbbing, pain in my head. I closed my eyes because of the pain and I stopped hearing the storm outside, as if I stopped hearing completely. Then, with my eyes shut, out of nowhere, I saw a weird flashback with me and Samuel... but we looked younger. 

“You’re not too interested in science, now, are you?” his voice echoed in my head.

I instantly frowned as I opened my eyes, panting. “What the hell!” 

“Are you okay?!” Samuel asked me, touching my face. He looked really worried. “You were spaced out for a minute… what the hell happened?”

“I…”

I was thinking if I should tell him about what I saw, but I didn’t want to look like an idiot because he just told me about his dreams, so I decided not to say anything about it. It would’ve been too much of a coincidence.

“I felt a throbbing pain in my head. It must be from this weather…”

“Is it gone now?” he asked, concerned. “Maybe those alien guys damaged your brain trying to erase your memories. You’ll need medical attention tomorrow.”

“Yeah, I think so. We should get ready for the meeting now,” I suggested.

I was getting really nervous because I wasn’t used to being surrounded by educated people and that meeting really scared me for Samuel didn’t give too many details, so I was confused. The only thing that encouraged me was the fact that I believed in his goals, in making the world a better place for everyone, and I really wanted to end capitalism because it encouraged less thinking, more buying and consuming until it drains the life in people. I was thinking again about that flashback I saw in my head. It felt like a memory, but that was impossible because I didn’t know Samuel in highschool.

“Michael?” I heard Samuel calling me while waving at me like I was blind.

“Huh?” I gasped.

“Are you sure you’re okay? You keep spacing out.”

“Yeah. I’m a little bit nervous, don’t mind me,” I told him.

“Hn.” He lent me his hand to help me get up from bed and I followed him in front of a huge sliding door. He opened it and my eyes were amazed by how many clothes were there.

“Wow, you were serious when you said this place has everything we need.”

“Yup. Okay, so, what colours do you usually wear?” he asked me. “Here are business shirts in every shade, just like makeup.”

“Wow, I’m totally freaked out right now,” I sassed.

I realised I sounded so girly, I laughed. I felt like I turned into Steve. Samuel snorted as we stepped forward into the closet, which, by the way, was the size of a whole boutique. 

“Do these fit you?” he asked me, showing me a whole row of shirts and pants in different colours.

“If they fit my thick ass, it’s okay,” I snickered.

I expected him to look at my ass but he didn’t. He was so weird.

“Don’t worry,” I told him. “I already packed some pants of my own, look.” I said.

“No, those are regular pants. You don’t want to look like a loser, right?”

“Uh… I guess?” I scoffed. “What’s wrong with regular pants?”

I heard his long sigh as his head was buried in a row of pants. He took a navy blue pair out.

“Try these,” he said, throwing them at me.

“Wow, excuse me, but Steve doesn’t pay me enough in order to cover for those if I ruin them.” I said as I was staring at them.

He laughed. “Steve’s out of the equation, you’re no longer his employee. You’re mine, now. I texted him this morning and sent him a paycheque.”

I loved the way he said "You're mine, now." Damn.

“What? You bought me out of Agra Corporation? Oh my goodness,” I laughed.

“I have to do what I have to do until capitalism's final fall, even if I have to act like I fucking love it,” he sighed.

“I guess I’m going back to Steve if I ruin your meeting, right? Or if I say dumb shit.”

He gave me a short once over, then went back to searching a shirt for himself.

“If you say dumb shit it means I was wrong and you’re not only going back to Steve, but also back to your boring life while I’ll go back to mine,” he said after a few moments.

“What?!” I stormed.  “So, if my anxiety gets in the way and I really say something stupid, you forget about me, just like that, right? I mean, why am surprised, we only know each other since the day before yesterday! You know what? I’m leaving right now,” I scoffed angrily.

I was really mad, I thought he was using me. I threw the pants he gave me on the floor. Samuel stopped from what he was doing and looked at me. His face didn’t show any sign of concern and that made me even angrier.

“Don’t give me that look of yours! I’m leaving!” I yelled like a kid when his parents make him angry.

“Michael, don’t be a moron. Anxiety won’t get in your way. Also, I’m never wrong. You’re not going anywhere,” he said calmly.

I scoffed like a lady when she’s like “Oh, yeah? Watch me!”  and turned my back at him. “Yeah, sure. How narcissistic can you be? I’m out.” I said, lookinf at him over my shoulder.

As I made a few steps towards the door, convinced I wanted to leave, I suddenly felt that pain in my head again, as if a knife stabbed my skull. I squeezed my eyes shut as I saw another flashback. This time, I was kissing Samuel. It was snowing and I could hear things again, just like minutes before when I saw the first flashback.


“You make this world more bearable, Nathan...”

I instantly fell on my knees with my hands in my hair, staring at the floor.

“No… what is this?!” I grunted out loud, hyperventilating.

I heard Samuel dropping something on the floor as his footsteps were approaching me fast.

“Michael!” he called me.

I couldn’t hear him properly, as if my ears were clogged or something. He grabbed me, trying to make me stand up on my feet. When I stood up, I felt so dizzy that I thought I was going to fall on the floor, but he held me and guided me to the first chair in the way. I sat down and opened my eyes wide, blinking multiple times. Samuel looked really concerned this time.

“Michael… are you okay? You scared the guts out of me.”

“Aren’t you tempted to call me Nathan?” I asked him straightforwardly.

“What? No, I don’t think so, since you don’t use that name.”

“I’m wondering why, though,” I muttered.

“What the hell are you talking about? You’re bluffing. Hey, look at me…” Samuel said as he grabbed my face and patted it, like people do to someone who is hallucinating or talking absolute nonsense.

“It was winter… but… I can’t remember…” I kept on going with the same things.

“Michael, pull yourself together!” he said, shaking me. “What happened?”

I felt like I was calming down a bit and looked at him again.

“I had a flashback… like a memory… with the two of us…” I said almost whispering, because I felt like I lost my voice or strength to speak. I frowned, looking down. “You called me Nathan… and it looked like we were just teenagers,” I went on. “What’s going on, Samuel, why do I see these things?”

“I don’t know. That’s how I felt when I was having those dreams about you. Maybe it’s the Universe or some shit.”

I laughed a little. I realised he cracked jokes when he didn’t know what was going on.

“You know, I always felt incomplete,” he told me. “Before my… uh, adoptive parents, I guess, died, they told me that feeling would go away when I meet that person that was made to complete me and I’ll just know it’s the right one. They used to say our lives aren’t our own.” he explained.

“Destiny, huh?” I inquired skeptically. “That doesn’t explain anything. What I saw, they looked like real memories… they can’t be from another life, that’s bullshit, you said it.”

“We don’t know that for sure. Please, calm down and let’s put some fancy clothes on.”

He gave me his hand to help me get up from the chair and we went back to the closet as he took off his T-shirt in order to try a white shirt. I was stunned by how perfect his body was shaped and I forgot what just happened minutes before. He took the white shirt on and while he was closing its buttons, he turned at me, looking for approval. Before I could say anything, he looked at his back in the mirror. 

“This one’s too large on my back,” he complained as he started unbuttoning it. “I need a slimmer size." He took it off and sighed. I couldn’t resist only looking at him anymore so I went closer and touched his shoulders while kissing one of them, then I hugged him from behind.

“Michael… what are you doing?” he asked me. “Are you not wearing a shirt?”

“So, what? Does that affect you in any way?” I snickered.

“I guess not,” he turned his face at me, smiling. “You’re so warm.”

I laughed shortly. “And you’re so cold, I like it. You’re the ice to my fever.”

“So, you’re the romantic type, huh?” he scoffed as he turned around,so we could be face to face. The sexual tension I was feeling was driving me insane.

“Why are you looking at me like that, Prince of Romance?” he mocked me.

I scoffed. “Because you’re one hell of a tease,” I said as I grabbed his face with both of my palms and gave him a delicate, yet strong and passionate kiss.

 

“Michael!” he muffled, trying to fight back, but it took him like two seconds to soften up and give in to the kiss. 

As I was touching his perfectly curved back, he did the same and we were somehow wrapped in an invisible blanket. 

 

“Samuel…” I whispered. “I… can’t... resist you…” I said as I was caressing his perfectly soft skin and hair. I pulled him towards me until we were completely stuck to each other. I started breathing faster and faster and so was him. 

“We… we’re gonna be late,” he mumbled as he was catching his breath.

 I wanted to carelessly say that I didn’t mind that, but quickly realised it would have been a bad idea to do so. I released him slowly while looking straight into his eyes.

 

 

 

He aimed to grab another white shirt and put it on. It was definitely tighter and fit him perfectly. After that, he grabbed a navy blue tie.

“Do you have any preferences?” he asked me, pointing at the ties in the closet.

“Orange,” I answered. 

He gave me a confused glance.

“It’s the color of my soul,” I explained.

He threw me an orange tie and a white shirt. While I was fitting my tie, I was staring at his back again and he caught me. Instead of saying something or smiling, he sighed and rolled his eyes just like rock stars do when they’re tired of fan girls.

“Oh, come on, what was that?” I objected. “I finally understand why you wanted a shirt that fits you better.”

“Hn. Whatever, I liked the way you looked at me, though.” he said, sketching a subtle smile.

“Really? Then why did you... just stop teasing me, oh my god!” I scoffed. “Asexual people don’t do that…”

“Who said I was asexual?” he interrupted me.

Honestly, in that moment I wanted to jump on him and… you know…

“Anyway,” he sighed again, “you have my approval for the outfit you chose.”

I scoffed again, louder. “Okay, boss! Let’s just go.”

 

Chapter Text

FOR THIS CHAPTER'S BACKGROUND MUSIC, RIGHT CLICK THIS LINK AND OPEN IT IN A NEW TAB.

 

 

Apparently, meetings were held at the last floor of the hotel, but I expected it to be held downstairs. While we were in the elevator, I started moving my left foot nervously. 

“Calm down, nobody’s going to kill you,” Samuel told me.

“Of course not, because I’ll die from a panic attack before anyone could kill me,” I scoffed.

When we arrived at the last floor, I felt like I was in a movie full of rich people. We entered the meeting room and the place had a huge long table in the middle, with two sides and four main seats, shaped like the letter "U". the room also had an ocean view, just like our suite and everything was arranged perfectly. We were the only ones there because Samuel always had to be the first person to arrive anywhere. 

Samuel took the second main seat at the end of the table. He waved his hand and the next chair pulled itself out for me.

“Show off,” I scoffed as I went there and sat next to him. A few moments after, we heard a knock on the door. 

“Come in!” Samuel said out loud.

John came in, with a straight face, not surprised at all we were there twenty minutes earlier. 

“Good afternoon, Mr. Samuel, I brought some cups of coffee, as you requested.”

“Thank you. Leave them on the side table please. Do I have sugar and milk?”

“Yes, sweetener included for you, sir, “ John said, smiling at him. “If you need anything else, send me a text.”

Samuel nodded at him, and the butler left, leaving us alone again. As Samuel turned his face to me, I could see a tiny smile, somehow. I think he was the first and only person I had seen to be able to smile like that, if it was even a smile.

“I remembered how natural you acted when Steve said you’re the manager. I loved that, you made it so much easier for me," he told me.

“I just acted according to my feelings. I was always like that,” I said.

“That’s one of the things I admire about you, you’re everything I am not. Be careful, though, some people should never know what or how you feel.”

“I know,” I approved, smiling back at him. “I was always able to somehow sense if someone has bad intentions."

“Hn. That's interesting.” Samuel replied as he checked the time. “They should be here any minute. Michael, promise me you’ll stay calm and act rationally,” he explained, while touching my shoulder gently. “You’re my backup and we are a team. So, because of that, I will send you signals using my techniques. When you should say something, you will feel a slight buzz in your right ear. If you must keep your mouth shut, you will feel it in your left ear. Got it?”

I nodded, but I was still confused. “You still don’t trust me, do you?” I inquired.

“Believe me I do, but these people care a lot about what you say and you are a straightforward speaker. That can come in handy sometimes, but… this time, it might trigger something we don’t want.”

“Okay, got it. What if you don’t give me any signals?” I asked, curious.

“You can say anything as long as you do not interrupt someone, insult them or give them more information than you should. Remember our conversation back at Agra Corp.?”

“Yeah…” I said, actually remembering that moment when he sent Steve after his non existent umbrella.

“Perfect. Follow my lead if something confuses you and everything should be fine.”

“What if you give me a signal to say something and I don’t know what to say?” I asked again.

He sighed and blinked slowly while still keeping that smile on his face even after opening his eyes. He was doing that slow blinking more often that anyone I had seen. He was an alien, though, so there was nothing ordinary about him.

“I’ll help you. Just... don’t freak out. You’re not a teenager anymore.”

“ I know…” I said faintly. Then, I felt that sharp pain in my head again. Everything became blurry all of a sudden as I saw another flashback.

“What do you want from me? I never had any friends, everyone hates me, why are you so kind to me?” he yelled at me.

I just came closer.

“Stop it, I’m not gay or something, is that why you’re stalking me?” 

“How can you know what you’re not, when you haven’t asked yourself if you are?” I asked.

Then I grabbed his shirt, pushed him into the lockers and kissed him passionately, sending shivers down his spine.

 

“Michael?” I heard Samuel’s voice in my ear. 

Then he gently slapped my cheek.

“Huh! What?! What was that for?” I snapped.

He sighed, with a concerned look on his face. “Were you having those flashbacks again?”

“Yeah… it’s so weird…they only happen now. I’ve never seen these things before... I think they’re about you, but I’m not even sure, everything I see is blurry… maybe those alien freaks who kidnapped me did something weird to my brain when they tried to erase my memories…”

Samuel gasped.

“What?” I asked.

“What if…”

Then a knock at the door interrupted him. He sighed. “Come in!” 

The door opened and the first person I saw had his nose and mouth covered by a black mask. His hair was grey but he didn’t look old at all. Samuel seemed to know him because he got up from his seat and headed in the guy’s direction. I didn’t know what to do so I followed him. 

“Is everyone here?” Samuel asked the guy.

“Yes.”

“Thanks, Kassius.”

What a weird name, right? Kassius waved his hand at the door, showing everyone waiting outside that they could come in. A guy with red hair and striking green eyes came in, followed by a blonde woman with a frowned face and a guy that wasn’t dressed up properly at all. They shook hands with Samuel and then another blonde girl came in, followed by a guy with long brown hair in a short ponytail. The girl looked overly confident and decency was clearly not her favorite style, as it seemed. Her skirt was very short. They were followed by a guy with short black hair and very thick black eyebrows, a chubby guy with brown hair, another weird guy wearing actual round sunglasses inside a room, and a guy that looked pretty old, dressed very formally.

“Mr. Aiden, so glad you made it,” Samuel told the old guy when they shook hands.

“Pleased to be here, once again," he said. His voice was really raspy, I could bet he was a smoker.

Then, another two guys came in and they looked really strange. I instantly felt a bad vibe coming from them. One of them looked really feminine, he had long black hair in a ponytail and long, hazel eyes, just like a cat or a snake. The other guy with him, had grey hair and was wearing round Harry Potter-like glasses. I saw Samuel narrowed his eyes at them too. After they shook hands, I went next to him.

“Is everything alright?” I asked.

“I just don’t remember inviting them, I don’t know who they are. Let’s just sit down, we’ll find out.”

Everyone including me and Samuel took a seat at the table. Samuel and I on the main front seats next to Kassius and Mr. Aiden and on the sides of the table were the guy with the short ponytail and the blonde girl, the red haired guy and his companions, the chubby guy and the other dude with sunglasses, the guy with thick eyebrows, then the two shady men Samuel and I noticed. After everyone made themselves comfortable, Samuel cleared his throat, while keeping both of his arms on the table and his hands in front of his mouth.

“Before we begin, “ Samuel said, “I would like to thank you all for coming. It is really important to my company and myself that you have all shown interest in this project. Any of your ideas are welcome and up for discussion. If you have any questions, you can ask freely.”

The red haired dude raised his hand.

“Yes, Garret,” Samuel approved.

“Explain again, with details, what is this project focused on exactly. I’d like your partner to give me some details. You seem to be… in a rush,” Garret enunciated.

I became tense when I realised the guy wanted me to speak. I swallowed dry, trying to find the right words. It really wasn’t a good start. I felt a weird tingling in my left ear. I realised it was Samuel doing it, so I got the hint - I didn’t say a word and sighed, relieved.

Samuel smiled at Garret. “What makes you think I’m in a rush? I have all the time in the world,” he replied.

“Do you?” Garret asked. “Is this project’s main goal based on truth?”

Samuel narrowed his eyes at him. “Of course. Why wouldn’t it?”

“Then let your partner explain some details, I don’t think it would harm him.”

I saw the shady guy with snake-like hazel eyes smile after Garret spoke, but I wasn't able tell Samuel about it without being noticed. I suddenly felt a tingling in my right ear. I clenched my teeth as I exhaled air from my nose, silently, then smiled at Garret.

“Alright. First of all, it’s a pleasure to meet you all. I joined Mr. Samuel’s project because I genuinely loved the idea. It would change the world. Somehow, the face of the economy would change…”

“How can a simple project do that?” Garret insisted. “Michael Unsworth, am I right?”

I nodded in approval. Apparently, he had his facts up to date if he knew my name.

“A simple project can turn into a huge movement, you can’t change the world in a day, of course." I said. "I assume you all believe in the power of patience, don’t you? So, as a company, you can change things little by little in years, by obtaining power over other companies that stand in the way of your goal. How do you obtain power? By making allies,” I explained, trying hard to look unclouded. 

“So, you’re a naive idealist,” the other dude next to Garret scoffed.

“Kameron, be nice,” I heard the blonde girl next to them whisper.

Garret scoffed too. “You’re too vague.”

Everyone suddenly looked at me and I felt like I was about to turn into stone as I became anxious. Trying to keep calm though, I remembered my purpose there was to support Samuel. Having the patience to explain something to so many people with different opinions, apparently, was a skill a team leader and a supporter should have. I smiled politely and went on:

“Let me explain it to you in a straightforward way, then,” I said as I got up from my seat, looking at Samuel, hoping he won’t think I’m doing something wrong. I felt a tingling in my right ear and I swear a could see a tiny smile in one corner of his lips. Gaining a lot of confidence in that moment, I backed away from my seat and started walking across the room. “First of all, we are going to change how public areas are used and we will attract only a certain category of people, while discouraging others. By developing business points around public areas such as shopping malls, parks and schools, we will be able to focus on a single type of people and turn them into customers: the smart, active and educated type of people. Only educational, business related and high quality art events will be approved in areas surrounding schools and free-time public areas. That means commercial  music will be discouraged, circuses and other shows like that will not be allowed. Promoting things that do not offer the public any knowledge or high quality content will disappear. People will stop spending time outside to lose focus and run away from problems like they do now. On the contrary, they will come to charge themselves with good, useful things and information and be surrounded by people who share the same type of views. Uneducated people will not feel welcome anymore and if anyone behaves badly, they will have to answer to strictly applied laws. Any questions until now?”

The guy with Harry Potter glasses raised his hand.

“What I heard sounds very unrealistic and somehow, childish. Also, hate for people who did not have a chance to educate themselves? Why would anyone want to make people feel left out? Are you that cold hearted?”

I felt a strong tingling in my left ear. So strong, it made my ear itch. Samuel got up from his seat too, narrowing his eyes at the weird grey haired guy and his hazel eyed companion, who interfered quickly:

“Excuse my partner’s straightforwardness,” he laughed shortly. “Can you blame him, though? That’s how it is when you’re young, right, Michael? You burn from the core, like a flame in the wind…”

My heart skipped a beat hearing that and I saw Samuel became tense too. The guy could surely give someone the creeps. His grey haired partner noticed me staring. 

“You haven’t introduced yourselves,” Samuel enunciated.

“Oh, please accept my apologies for that. My name is Oliver Smith and this is my partner, Kaleb Yves. We are scientists dedicated to create revolutionary changes in this world.”

“Hn. I see,” Samuel replied. “How do you want to involve science in my project? What do you have so unique that my company already doesn’t?”

“Oh, nothing, of course, we just want to be part of whatever your amazing company will develop.”

“Everything we need is already developed,” Samuel said full of confidence.

“Is it? Oh,” Oliver replied, acting surprised. “I see…”

Something was fishy about that guy, he acted like he knew more than he should about Samuel’s company. Also, the way he was talking was… slow and really odd. 

“We do not intend to bother,” Oliver went on, “I just think it’s interesting, you know? This sociological chess game you want to play.”

I noticed Kassius narrowed his eyes at the guy, then exchanged looks with Samuel. 

“There is no chess game, “ Samuel said.  “It is something someone finally has to do, because things are starting to become chaotic again, even after a war took place. There are a lot of countries already doing similar things and the people there are given no choice but to educate themselves or leave. We want a world without any place to go for those kinds of people, so they will choose to blend in.”

“That sounds rough, but you’re not the President,” Kaleb scoffed. “You have no power.”

What he said annoyed me because he verbally attacked Samuel and I really wanted to say something, but Kassius took my chance away:

“Enough!” he exclaimed. “This isn’t high school.”

“Thank you, Kassius,” Samuel said. “What company do you represent, Mr. Oliver?”

“I am my own company,” he snickered. 

Samuel scoffed. “I need big companies to support me in this, as my partner said. We need power over other companies and I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do to help. You can stay, though.”

“Oh, I think you’re wrong, Mr. Ulseth. You see, maybe you need my help with the medical and pharmaceutical research your company is involved into…” Oliver enunciated.

Samuel frowned. “And why would I need help for that?”

“I see, that means you have all the research material you want, then why not more?” Oliver went on.

I felt Samuel getting anxious, somehow. 

“No need,” he answered.

“Why are we wasting our time with discussions like this?” Mr. Aiden interfered. “Let’s focus on the main subject, please.”

Everyone cleared their throats then went silent. Nobody seemed friendly at all, which wasn’t something I expected, to be honest. Mr. Aiden seemed really too old to be involved in business and that guy with the short ponytail seemed to be bored as hell, like someone dragged him there without his will.

“Michael, you were speaking about the project if I remember correctly, before these curious men interrupted you, am I right?” Mr. Aiden asked me.

I was actually surprised he spoke to me.  

“Uh, right,” I nodded. “So… where was I... “ I said, pretending to clear my throat. “As Samuel said, other developed countries have already started doing similar things, trying to beat the current system. I believe the USA can do it too. Our country has power over people, changes happen faster here than in Europe, for example. If people will realise they are feeling better, they’ll go on the same way and keep evolving.”

“What a drag,” the guy with the short ponytail scoffed. “Why not leave the world as it is? You guys have nothing better to do, that’s all. Everybody’s going to die anyway, who cares?”

I instantly cringed. “Excuse me, Mr…uh...”

“Shane,” he completed my sentence. “Shane Narby.”

“Mr. Narby… can I ask why are you here if this is a drag for you?” I asked calmly. I was right about him after all, it was written all over his face.

“She dragged me here,” he said, pointing at the blonde girl next to him.

“What? You said you like this type of business, your family works in real estate!” she scolded him.

“Yeah, real estate, Jess, not this, “ Shane scoffed.

I snorted. “Mr. Shane, while I can see the discussion itself bores you, I can still sense you’re a kind man and you care about others. That means you agree with me,” I said.

Samuel gave me a surprised look. 

“How can you tell?” Shane asked me.

“I just feel it. Let me explain… imagine if the world was perfect. Just imagine. People have equal chances, corruption does not exist, money is earned accordingly to how much one works…”

I heard a snort coming from Garret. “Can I say something?” he asked.

“Of course,” I said.

“Our planet is dying, Mr. Unsworth, everything is polluted and you’re all here worrying about social development and the fate of human race according to how we treat one another. Mother Earth will wipe us all, educated or not. We should already search for another planet to run off to, instead of wasting our time like this.”

I saw Mr. Aiden and Samuel rolling their eyes as they sighed. Everyone else went silent, again. He was right, though. Samuel had high hopes for Earth and maybe he had some tricks up his sleeve to save the planet, but could he say something? He needed to keep his mouth shut about who and what he actually was. My palms started sweating because I didn’t know what to say next, but Kassius saved me, again:

“And whose fault is that? Ours. Humans destroyed this planet and we need to restore its natural peace. We had the resources, we had ideas all these years since the 90’s, but corrupted people came and destroyed everything, piece by piece. They even started another war. A lot of action had stopped from being taken and after the war people fell into depression. We need to lift ourselves up and start changing, as Michael explained. The world will not end as long as we’re here. Right, Mr. Aiden?”

The old guy nodded with a smile. 

“Yeah. That would be nice,” Shane sighed.

“That’s the spirit!” I exclaimed after I heard Shane. "Now you get what I wanted to say. Thank you, Kassius."

Samuel scoffed with a gentle smile. “Anyone that didn’t understand our main goal? That is, finally, to contribute to the benefit of the world, starting on a social scale. Why? Because real estate business damaged society more than anything else. This business promoted events that lead to encouraging people to stay dumb and uninformed. Just take CC Town as an example. They built an entire “Town” for those people who just come to the shopping mall, dragging their kids with them, taking selfies all day long, having no concern about real problems this world is facing. Pollution being one of them. How can people focus on fixing the world's problems if they're encouraged to stay uninformed and ignorant? They can't.”

Everybody nodded in approval except Oliver, Kaleb and Garret.

“Yeah, we must do something!” the guy with thick eyebrows exclaimed. 

“We must stop pharmaceutical companies,” the chubby guy said. “They are killing us!”

Everybody gave him a quick glare than they looked back at Samuel, who frowned.

“That’s the type of bullshit I usually don’t tolerate. What does that have to do with what we were talking about?”

“Give us one reason why it’s not true, what he said,” Garret muttered. “It’s 2062, a war almost killed our best people and then after that everyone went dumb after they healed from the injuries… it’s the government, you know that, Mr. Ulseth, you come from a highly respected family…”

Garret seemed to be on drugs or something, it gave me the creeps.

“Excuse my cousin,” the blonde girl next to Garret said. “My name is Tania. He is very affected by what happened, his parents died in the war…”

“I’m touched, “ Samuel scoffed ironically. “Mine were killed too, in front of my own eyes.”

Some of them started whispering.

“He’s that kid ” I heard the blonde girl that came with Shane say. 

I started feeling bad. While the war took place, my parents took me and we ran off to an island near Canada. We only came back when I was twelve when everything started being rebuilt. I instantly remembered about Viky too, who had already eight years in prison at the time this meeting was taking place. She killed a man, that was all I knew and the police never let me speak to her. I suddenly realised I went too deep into my thoughts again and because I was afraid I’d have another flashback or something weird, I blinked five times and came back to reality. I was shocked to suddenly hear everyone speaking at once. I realised they all took a break while I was out in my thoughts.

 Samuel sighed, gave me a glare and closed his eyes. He opened them only after a few seconds. 

“Please pay attention,” he told me.

“I’m sorry. Did I miss something?” I asked, confused.

He nodded. “Yeah. Garret went nuts. He stormed outside, he couldn’t take the fact that he’s a sensitive hippie.”

“What the hell is wrong with the guy anyway?” I asked.

“You heard Tania. Nothing special from my point of view. I’ve been through hell and you don’t see me yammering all over the place,” he scoffed.

The room was so full of noise I could barely hear Samuel. Suddenly, Mr. Aiden slammed the table, making a loud thud. Everyone went completely silent.

“Break’s over,” the old man muttered. “Let’s get back to business.”

“Yeah,” Kassius sighed. “It’s high time we came to some final decisions. I have the documents prepared in my PC that need to be signed by whoever wants to be a part of our project. Basically, a contract.”

“Nobody sign anything!!” Garret sneered, entering the meeting room. His eyes were wide open and his face pale as paper. “You will kill the planet… all of you… please don’t kill my mother…”

Everyone cringed. Samuel was the only one I saw to become angry. He clenched his teeth, I could see that because his mouth was half open. He suddenly stood up, slamming both of his hands on the table.

“That’s enough! I thought we were done with bullshit, Mr. Garret, I thought I made myself clear. Take a damn seat and shut up.”

Garret gave him a cold stare and took a seat as Samuel took back his seat too. 

Mr. Aiden sighed. “Alright. We’re not teenagers. You can all stay focused and pay attention while someone is speaking now, can you?” 

Nobody objected.

“Good”, the old man went on. “I want to explain for the last time why I want to sponsor this project. I ain’t no damn president as Mr. Kaleb told Samuel, but I can make myself heard and everyone here can do the same. This young man here, Michael, said we need to make allies in order to be respected and recognized by people and he is right! All our goals are fair and well intended. All understood?”

Nobody said anything.

“If your goals are not like ours,” he went on as he looked at Oliver, “you can leave right now.”

Nobody moved, though.

“Fine," Mr. Aiden sighed. "Then you’re all to be trusted, right? I hope I’m not making a mistake by saying this. I’d like to ask who owns public properties in here.”

“Me!” the guy with thick eyebrows exclaimed with a smile. “I would love to be involved, I own all the dance clubs and all the sports clubs are owned by members of my family. My name is Lewis M’Connor.” 

“Me too, “ the chubby guy sighed. “You convinced me. My name is Chad Allis and my family owns the biggest chain of shopping malls and fast foods in West America.”

Mr. Aiden smiled. The other guy with sunglasses cleared his throat.

“My name is Shinon Abraham and I would also like to join this project. My family owns all the parks in the United States.”

Everyone gasped. I was wondering too, how could a family own all the parks and why… but he guessed we would all ask ourselves that, so he explained:

“We bought them all in order to protect them. Nature is very important to my family, especially insects, they have a crucial role in the ecosystem. I’m not selling anything, I would like a simple partnership.”

Mr. Aiden nodded in approval. He seemed to trust the guy. “Okay then. Mr. Chad and Mr. Lewis, tell me a price for what you two own.”

“Where would our profit be, then?” Chad asked.

Samuel scoffed, disgusted by the capitalistic question.

“You can still be the ones who benefits from the profit, it’s called franchise. I own those places only on paper.”

“Oh! I understand now,” Chad said relieved.

He didn’t seem to be the sharpest tool in the shed. Samuel turned to Lewis.

“What about you?” he asked him. “Do you agree to do the same?”

“As long as I don’t have to change anything, because I’ve put so much work for my customers…” Lewis sighed.

“You’ll just have to stop using commercial music,” Samuel explained. “Would you do that?”

“I…” He stopped for a few seconds. “I guess I could try, starting with one club..”

“No,” Samuel objected. “You either apply this measure to all your clubs or not. I want to believe you’re smarter than it's expected.”

“Of course I am!” Lewis snickered. “The new generation is smarter than the previous ones! I believe we can make a change!”

“Then be the first one to make that change and people will follow,” Samuel suggested.

“Okay! You convinced me, “ the thick eyebrowed guy exclaimed. “Let’s save the world together!”

I sighed at how easily he manipulated Lewis. Samuel noticed my face and he smiled at me, his expression almost telling me “ See, how easy that was?”

I smiled back at him. As I turned to look outside, I was wondering how many weird things I will witness from that moment on...

Chapter Text

RIGHT CLICK THIS LINK AND OPEN IT IN A NEW TAB FOR THEME MUSIC. 

 

We suddenly heard a knock on the door, then John came in with a tray full of food and drinks. He placed everything on the table, told everyone to enjoy, and left. I was very pleased with what I saw on the table. Everyone started eating, while discussing random subjects, because the official meeting was over as the main purpose had been fulfilled.

“We should open free libraries for people,” Shane said, out of nowhere.

“Oh my god, the world has enough of those,” the blonde girl said to him.

“I’m sorry Jess, but there are never enough libraries. Especially free ones.” 

Jessica scoffed.

“I agree, “ Mr. Aiden said. “I’ll sponsor that too, we need to promote culture.”

“Indeed, the only culture most of this planet’s people have is bacteria,” Oliver sassed.

Kaleb was the only one who laughed at his partner’s joke. I began to wonder if they were a couple.

“I would like another coffee, Mr. Samuel,” Oliver said. 

Samuel pointed at the side table full of coffee cups. 

“Right,” Oliver smiled. “Who else wants coffee?”

“I’d like one too, “ Mr. Aiden said, wanting to stand up.

Oliver waved his hand at him. “No, no, let me. It would be my pleasure,” he said as he went to the table to bring the coffee cups. He placed one cup on the table, in front of Mr. Aiden, smiling at him politely.

“Thank you, “ Mr. Aiden told him.

Oliver nodded and went back to his seat. I saw Samuel stand up. 

“I’m going to the bathroom, I’ll be back in five minutes,” he told everyone.

After Samuel left, another butler came in with dessert. I smiled instantly, I was always a fan of sweets. The butler started placing a plate full of cake in front of everyone, and when he wanted to put a plate in front of Oliver, I felt something weird going on, but I could not explain it to myself. I thought it was just anxiety because  Samuel left me there with all those people, but suddenly, the butler dropped the plate on Oliver’s lap. I gasped as the weird feeling intensified.

“I’m so sorry, sir!” the butler apologized.

Oliver frowned  at him, then released a long sigh. “No problem, I'll just go and clean myself up.”

The butler looked really confused, like he didn’t understand how that accident happened. I was also thinking the whole thing was strange. I mean, someone who worked in a hotel like that could not be so damn clumsy. I frowned as I watched Oliver leave the meeting room. That weird feeling I had, intensified even more. I felt sick all of a sudden, so I had no choice but to stand up and leave the room too. I excused myself as I got up from my seat and headed to the door. I barely closed it after I got out, because I was feeling extremely dizzy. I kept moving forward until I saw the sign for restrooms. Then suddenly, I heard Samuel’s voice:

“What the hell are you doing?! Stop!”

I gasped as I began running through the hallway in the direction where I heard Samuel’s voice coming from- the restrooms. As I got closer, I slowed down. I wanted to see what was going on first, without being noticed. I peeked inside the bathroom and I saw Samuel and Oliver standing in front of each other and Samuel had an angry expression on his face. 

“Come on, Seryth. I know you’re in there, you just have to remembe,” Oliver said as he placed his hand on Samuel’s forehead. Samuel grunted and instantly took Oliver’s hand off.

“Tch! What is your damn problem!? Who are you and why are you calling me Seryth?!”

Oliver just smiled.

“That Scott Aiden… look at what he’s done to you... no problem though, the Uhyra blood inside you will wake up and avenge your ancestors. I could help you too, but only if you want…”

Samuel cringed. “Stay away from me… I don’t know what you’re talking about…”

“You found your flame again but you still don’t remember who you are. Interesting, I’m wondering who’s responsible for that. Oh, look, the flame is here to save its wind,” Oliver went on, looking at the door as he noticed my presence. I gasped.

“How sweet…” Oliver sassed, ignoring me, as he suddenly grabbed Samuel’s forehead again. “Consider this my help, Seryth, you will come to me anyway, in search for the truth."

A purple glow surrounded Oliver's palm as Samuel groaned out loud. My body instantly moved their way.

“Stop!” I yelled, running towards him, but Oliver disappeared before I could catch him. He vanished completely. 

"What the hell?!" I snapped as I stopped and bumped into Samuel, who curled up on the floor with both of his hands on his head, shocked by what happened.

“Samuel! What did he do to you?” I asked him, agitated.

He was hyperventilating and I panicked like hell because I didn’t know what to do, I just hugged him as tight as I could.

“Please, say something…” I yelped.

Then a loud scream suddenly came from the hallway:

“Someone call 911!!!! Mr. Aiden collapsed on the floor!” Jessica yelled. 

Samuel instantly raised his head and gasped. “No… impossible…” he muttered as his voice was shaking.

We both got up and rushed outside the restroom, heading back to the meeting room. When we entered, we saw everyone standing up, surrounding Mr. Aiden who was lying unconscious, on the floor. Blood was coming out of his mouth and his eyes were wide open. The view was terrible, I froze instantly. Samuel grunted as he threw himself on his knees, in front of Mr. Aiden.

“Everyone, back off!” he screamed as he placed his hands on Mr. Aiden’s chest.

Samuel cursed, as he realised he didn’t know what to do. I noticed he tried to use his powers and the others didn’t seem to have a clue about what he was doing, except Kassius, who sighed. 

“Those bastards,” I thought as I noticed Kaleb wasn’t there anymore either.

“Everyone stay away!” I heard a woman yell from behind. When I looked at her, I realised she hadn’t been at the meeting. She had short, black hair and dark eyes.

“Miss Stephanie, wait!” John called her.

“I got this, “ she scoffed at him. “I know what Lady Teressa told me. I won't do anything weird.”

She leaned closer to Samuel, who barely managed to back away. Stephanie checked Mr. Aiden’s pulse and released a long, deep sigh.

“He’s dead,” she muttered.  

Samuel froze, widening his eyes at Scott's dead body.

“Oh my goodness!” Jessica gasped, covering her mouth with her hands.

Stephanie got up and went straight to Kassius, whispering something in his ear. I saw him gasp, but he instantly tried to calm himself down. 

“Alright. The meeting is over. John, please escort everyone outside," he demanded.

John nodded in approval and led everyone to the door. They all followed him quietly. After John closed the door, only Stephanie, Kassius, Samuel and I remained there.

“It was him…” Samuel grunted as he clenched his fists, “he killed Mr. Aiden somehow...”

“I can confirm he was murdered, Kassius,” Stephanie said. “He was poisoned. Who are you talking about, Samuel?”

Then, I remembered that moment when Oliver gave Mr. Aiden a cup of coffee. He must have poisoned it. 

“Check this,” I told Stephanie while handing her the cup. 

Stephanie took it, and to my surprise, I saw a green light coming from her hand as she kept it above the cup. Samuel was also shocked to see what she could do. She suddenly gasped.

“That’s… impossible…this poison belongs to… but... Lord Orris is dead! He died along with Sanneth Uhyra two hundred years ago, after they fought each other on Krul…” she said as she looked at Kassius, who looked away, after his sight froze from hearing what she said.

I gasped when I heard the word "Krul", that was the planet those freaks who kidnapped me wanted to take me to. Samuel got up from his knees with his face frowned, clenching his fist as he approached Stephanie.

“If you do not explain to me what is happening, I will kill you…” he threatened her. “Who is Sanneth Uhyra and Lord Orris? Why do these names sound so familiar to me!? Also... that guy, Oliver, who killed Scott… said I’m an Uhyra... what's the meaning of all this?!”

 I was shocked by Samuel's rage. Kassius sighed.

“I guess it’s time to pay Lady Theressa a visit,” he told Stephanie. “Please be patient Samuel, we don’t know what’s happening either. Just calm down and we will get answers soon. I promise.”

Samuel sighed angrily, but I still remained anxious and confused by his sudden behavior and everything I heard. I also knew Kassius was lying, he did know what was happening. I could see it in his eyes and I bet Samuel saw it too. I grabbed his hand and looked at him, worried. Samuel sighed as it felt like he calmed down.

“I need to extract the poison out of Mr. Aiden’s body in order to create an antidote,” Stephanie enunciated. “Samuel, I will need your help.”

Samuel nodded. They both raised one of their hands in front of themselves as Mr. Aiden’s body started floating in the air, then landed on the table. Stephanie got closer as she pointed her hand at Mr. Aiden’s stomach. Samuel waved his fingers and made Mr. Aiden’s eyes close.

“Sorry,” Samuel sighed. “I couldn’t stand looking into his eyes.”

A purple liquid started coming out of the body’s mouth as Stephanie was slowly moving her hand from left to right.

“Your turn,” she said to Samuel, who quickly grabbed an empty glass and placed it near the body’s mouth. 

As Samuel was looking at the purple liquid that was floating into the air, he was constantly moving his hand and I noticed the liquid was being somehow moved above the glass, then he closed his fist and all the liquid fell straight into it. 

“Done,” Samuel muttered.

“Okay, good job. I will take the body and depart to Akai as soon as possible but I have to run some tests first,” Stephanie said. “You will need to come too, as soon as you can.”

“We’ll leave tomorrow,” Kassius told her.

“What country is that?” I asked.

“The name sounds familiar to me,” Samuel added.

“It’s not a country,” Stephanie said. “It’s a planet. Your home planet , Samuel.”

Samuel’s eyes widened. "What?!"

“Don’t worry, if there is something you must know, Lady Teressa will explain it to you as soon as you arrive there. Please let professor Kassius stay with you at this hotel.”

Samuel sighed as he took his phone and typed something. “Done,” he said after a few seconds. ”Your room is at level five, take the access card from John.”

“Thank you,” Kassius said. 

We all headed to the door, got out, then took the elevator. Samuel and I were the first ones to get out of it. 

“I hope to hear from you soon, “ Stephanie told Samuel. “See you on Akai. Both of you,” she enunciated as the elevator's doors closed.

Samuel’s face remained confused as he watched the elevator go lower. We stood like that in the hallway for a few minutes.

“There they go… all my plans. They’re stardust. Apparently, something darker is going on…” he said.

He was right. What worried me though, was the fact that Stephanie said we both needed to go on Akai. I was glad, but didn't understand why would she want me to go too...


 

Chapter Text

RIGHT CLICK THIS LINK AND OPEN IT IN A NEW TAB FOR THEME MUSIC :)

 

After we got in our suite again, Samuel seemed to be really depressed. I wanted to cheer him up but I didn’t know what to say to him, I thought that if I kiss him or do things like that, he would think I was selfish or that I only focus on sexual things. 

I just placed my hand on his shoulder and sighed. “Are you okay?” I asked.

“Not really,” he muttered, “but there’s nothing you or anyone else can do to make me feel better. Everything that happened, was just… too much at once and I didn’t understand a thing about Lord Orris and all that. Also, my teacher seems to know more than I do, which bothers me. He was beside me since I was a toddler.”

“Oh, so Kassius is that teacher you traveled with?” I inquired.

“Yeah. “

Everything started to make more sense in my head. Samuel took off his pants as he went into our bedroom, releasing a long sigh. Seeing him in underwear really made me stop caring about all our problems. I’m a pervert, I know…

I followed him. He took some comfortable pants on and I did the same. The day ended for us anyway, but I still hoped I could do something to make him feel better, I didn’t want it to end like that. I looked outside the window and it was still raining, but the clouds were starting to scatter and I could see the sun. 

“Hey, Samuel.”

“Hn?”

“Let’s go outside.” I suggested.

“It’s raining,” he scoffed.

“It will stop in a few minutes, “ I said as I came closer to him, grabbing his hand. “Come on, some fresh air will make us feel better. We could run a little bit on the beach. It’s good therapy.”

He rolled his eyes, but didn’t object, so, while we were holding hands, we got out from our suite, went into the elevator and in only two minutes we were already downstairs. John saw us, but I started running faster while holding Samuel’s hand so John didn’t get the chance to say anything to us. I felt like we were just kids running through the hallways and I really felt happy. Samuel was behind me because he wasn’t as motivated as I was, but when I looked at him, he looked back at me with a genuine thankful expression on his face. 

After we were outside, I kept running towards the beach. When we got there, Samuel stopped.

“Oh my, let’s go back, this rain is still heavy.” he complained, putting his arms above his head.

“Nooo, we can go for a run. Come on, don’t be a coward!”

He raised one eyebrow. “Oh, really?

“Yeah, look! The sky’s clearing up!” I exclaimed. 

“Sunsets make me feel sad,” he told me. 

“It might be our last, maybe there’s no Sun where we’ll depart to,” I tried to convince him.

He sighed and let down his hands, giving me one of them. Just like that, we took our shoes off and started running by the ocean, holding hands. I was continuously smiling at Samuel, trying to make him feel better and I noticed he wasn’t so sad anymore. After ten minutes, I got tired and we both slowed down. Samuel finally smiled at me.

“Okay, it’s settled. Each time you’re sad, we’re going to do this. I’m gonna take you for a run in the rain,” I told him.

He scoffed. “Good luck with that.” 

“Don’t mock me!” I said, laughing, while pushing him a little bit towards the water. 

He pushed me back.

“Oh, so you’re provoking me, now that you feel better, huh?” I snickered as I took his hand, pulled him towards me and then suddenly pushed him so hard he fell on his butt in the water and a wave hit him. I couldn’t see him for two seconds. “Oh my God!” I yammered, putting both of my hands over my mouth.

When he got out of the water, his face looked so pissed I swear he would come and kill me. 

“Shit,” I muttered, looking at him coming my way. 

I didn’t know if I should start running, or apologize and hope he won’t throw me in the middle of the ocean. His face was red. I swallowed dry.

“You,” he hissed at me with that pissed off face.

“Samuel, I…”

Before I could say another word though, he grabbed me and suddenly pulled me into a deep kiss. I swear, I felt like an explosion took place inside of me and I needed to put out the fire. But how could I, with him kissing me like that? I moaned and exhaled at the same time. Loud. I wanted him, I wanted all of him, every part of his body, his every kiss, every breath he exhaled- I wanted it all. We kept on kissing while our hands were continuously moving all over the place, especially mine. I couldn’t decide where to put them because I wanted to touch him everywhere at the same time. It stopped raining and I realised we were alone on the entire beach and not in any hotel’s sight, because we ran pretty far away. I felt like I could finally be myself, not that I was usually a shy guy when things like these happen, but because I needed Samuel to feel safe too. I hugged him tightly as I kept kissing him, slower this time, because I wanted to tease him. 

I felt the need to tell him how turned on I was and how much I wanted him in that moment, but the words simply could not come out, I was too afraid I might upset him... but then, suddenly, I felt the tips of his fingers in a place where he wouldn't have normally touched me as he took off my shirt. I gasped out loud, then a big wave hit us from behind making us fall the ground, half in the water, half on the beach. Samuel fell on top of me. He took off his shirt too and I could see desire in his eyes. It was so beautiful…

“I want you,” he told me with a serious expression on his face.

“I want you too, Samuel. Let’s go back to our suite and…”

“No,” he interrupted me, with a calm but demanding tone, touching my lips with his fingers. “I want you right now. Here.”

My heart skipped a beat as I widened my eyes at him, shocked because of what I heard him say. I felt his hand caressing my chest as it was slowly sliding lower to my abdomen. Because we were soaking wet, every touch I felt was more intense as it turned into a tingling rather than just a normal touch. He grabbed my hips and kissed my lips again. I can’t describe how that made me feel, it never felt so good for me to be teased, but this… this was overwhelmingly pleasant and satisfying. I suddenly turned my head left and gently kissed his neck. The sound he made turned me on even more, but I didn’t have to worry about that anymore, as it seemed I also turned him on, because in that moment, I felt it. I felt it on my abdomen as he was on top of me. Its shape, its length, I felt it in every detail, so I couldn’t keep my hands to myself anymore. I lowered one of them down his body, snaking it under his underwear, as a payback for earlier when he touched me there. I squeezed it just a little bit, to tease the hell out of him. Samuel’s eyes widened as he made a sound similar to a cough when you choke someone, which ended in a soft moan of pleasure. We undressed as fast as we could and Samuel threw our pants and underwear on drier grounds, as none of us could stand the heat anymore. 

Our naked bodies finally touched like that. It was pure, raw,  just like it was supposed to feel, even more, if you ask me. He was still on top of me, kissing me again as he was moving his body over mine just like the waves, sending shivers down my spine because of how pleasantly cold his skin was compared to mine. As we deepened the kiss, we were both moaning, one after another. Samuel lowered his body as he stopped to look at me. 

“Let me feel you…” he whispered next to my ear, while his lips gently touched my neck, making me shiver again.

My eyes were just telling him “Of course I’ll let you…”  Without saying anything though, I grabbed his back, slowly pulling him closer to me.

I am aware of the fact that my face looked really helpless somehow, or maybe not quite… but what I remember clearly is his face, which was still calm, untroubled, serene. That bothered me, I wanted to see his face change. I wanted to see it frown and cringe because of too much pleasure. I wanted to give him all that, to offer him the chance to finally feel something. He was already turned on and rock hard, so that was the perfect moment when I could finally make him feel more. 

“Embrace this… trust me,” I told him, noticing the concern and the doubt in his eyes.

He blinked slowly and leaned down to kiss me again. A wave gently pushed us towards the shore, as he finally allowed his body to step forward, making me groan. I swear, I had never felt more complete my whole life. We were one, moving together with the ocean, wrapped in a strong embrace, moaning and panting as if we were clinging to the edge of the highest cliff in the world. In the meantime, his hands were in the right spot, down on my body, as he was moving them in the rhythm of his breathing. I suddenly noticed he started shivering as if he had been struck by a mild electric shock. He tried not to make a sound, but gladly for me, he failed. The sounds he made at the end sent my consciousness into a different dimension while I kept my eyes on his face as he finally frowned with his mouth half open, panting. When I felt all his energy filling me up, I was also done for. I gasped and suddenly pulled him towards me kissing him hard while I was moaning loudly, then a powerful wave hit us, washed us clean and pushed us towards the shore. Samuel let his head fall on my chest as I sighed in relief. 

“I love you,” I told him, running the tips of my fingers through his hair.

“I love you too, Nathan.”

I gasped as I raised my head to look at him, confused.

“What…?” I asked. “Why did you call me like that?”

Yeah. Welcome back, anxiety. Long time no see.  

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just did…”

I felt that sharp pain in my head again. I knew it was coming. Another flashback. Another strange memory of me and him. Because I knew I was already anxious, I sighed heavily, prepared to see another flashback… I closed my eyes, while still caressing Samuel’s hair. Everything turned black, and then I saw it.

“I love the sea so much,” he told me. “It’s so amazing I can barely find the right words to describe it to you. I could live next to the sea forever. When I look at it, not only does it make me feel alive, but also makes me feel dead inside…”

I looked at him, confused. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Hn,” he scoffed. “You see, the ocean is like a permanent future mother. She holds a whole world inside of her and that world never gets out. It sticks with her. Compared to the sea, we are nothing. We are empty, that is why we need someone else to fill our emptiness. We come to the sea because she inspires us, her waves are like the touch and the songs our mothers used to calm us down with. We come to the sea because she would take us with open arms and make us part of her. This might be the reason some people are afraid of the sea, she can be scary sometimes…”

I opened my eyes and realised Samuel fell asleep on my chest. I looked at the sky as the sun was almost gone and I started feeling cold. I still felt the need to understand why was I seeing those flashbacks, because I didn’t know if they were real or not. I woke Samuel up.

“Let’s go back, it’s getting dark.”

“Yeah,” he sighed.

“Are you okay?” I asked him.

He looked at the ocean.

“The sun is almost gone. I told you sunsets make me sad.”

“Why?”

“I have no idea. I just know that it’s the same feeling as if you’d leave.”

I looked at him, but he avoided meeting my eyes.

“The sun always comes back in the morning,” I told him calmly. “Also, it will still be up for two more hours.”

He sighed as he got up. I finally got the chance to admire his naked body, it felt like I was looking at a sculpture, a perfectly carved one. Pure art…

“Michael?”

“Huh?” I gasped, realising I had been staring at him a little bit too much. “Sorry,” I snickered and got up too.

He sighed again, but I could also see a tiny smile on his face. We both took our clothes on and headed back to the hotel, holding hands. I felt so happy, nothing else mattered.

When we got back, John wasn’t at the reception desk, which I thought was weird, but Samuel didn’t say anything about it. 

“I need to take a shower,” Samuel told me as we got back in our suite.

“Okay. I’ll go grab a snack.”

He went to the bathroom and I went to the kitchen. I took a chocolate bar from the fridge and before I could finally relax and take a bite from it, I heard a loud breaking sound coming from the bathroom. I dropped the chocolate bar on the floor and ran to the bathroom door in a flash. I knocked.

“Samuel? Are you okay? I heard a lot of noise.”

No answer came back. When I tried the door, it was locked. I instantly panicked. What if Samuel fell and hit his head or something? Without any second thoughts, I smashed the door open. Even I was shocked how weak that door was. Or maybe I was too strong for my own good…

“Samuel!” I yelled, seeing mirror scattered all over the ground and him curled up on the floor, with a piece of mirror glass in his left hand. He was holding it above his left hand, close to his wrist. I instantly grabbed it, cutting myself.

“Shit,” I slurred.

Samuel didn’t make a sound. When I looked at him closely, his eyes looked like they could see through me. I leaned down at his level.

“Samuel. Hey! Can you hear me?” I asked, grabbing his chin. “Samuel!”

He still wasn’t responsive. I panicked like hell as I was looking at him, not knowing what to do. I was scared and all I could do was cry at that moment. I grabbed him and hugged him, thinking he had wanted to kill himself and he was in a state of shock at that moment. I thought it was that, because that’s how I felt when I wanted to do it too. His body felt so lifeless...

“Samuel… I love you. Please, say something,” I sobbed. “Why would you want to end your life? What’s wrong? Please… don’t leave me…” I went on.

In that moment, I heard him gasp, then he exhaled. 

“Samuel?” I quickly grabbed his face between my hands and looked at him. His eyes came back to normal, he wasn’t looking through me anymore, but he still looked confused as hell.

“What’s wrong, Michael? Are… are you crying? What’s going on?” he asked.

I widened my eyes at him and instantly smiled, I couldn’t help myself, seeing that he was okay. I kissed him, relieved. 

He looked around, confused. “I wanted to take a shower and then… I fell asleep,” he muttered, frowning.

“What? You fell asleep?” I asked, starting to become more confused than he was.

He looked at my bleeding hand, still frowning.

“What’s that?”

“I…uh... the mirror fell off and I tried to gather the pieces...” I said. I didn’t want to tell him about what actually happened because I figured out something was wrong. I remembered that Oliver did something to him before he disappeared and Mr. Aiden died. Maybe Oliver damaged Samuel’s brain somehow, and I wanted to make sure nothing bad would happen again. 

I needed to act normal.

“How about we take that shower together?” I asked him.

“Pervert,” he scoffed.

I laughed, glad he was okay. He got up and took off his clothes. I frowned behind him, analyzing the broken mirror, worried about what just happened. It looked like he had wanted to hurt himself but I didn’t understand why. Also, how did the mirror break? He could not remember anything, so asking him about it or letting him know would’ve had worried him even more than he already was. 

“Well? What are you waiting for?” he asked me.

“Huh?” I gasped, then looked at him. He was waiting for me, naked, in the shower. I gave him a slow blink while smiling, and he looked surprised to see me do that. “I don’t owe you copyrights, do I?” I asked him.

“No,” he smiled.

I took off my clothes too, and joined him. “I see that someone is happy to see me naked again,” I snickered.

“Tch, you really are a pervert,” he scoffed. “But you’re right, someone is happy, me included.”

He grabbed my waist and pulled me closer to him. I instantly kissed him, while lowering one of my hands down his body, touching him gently. He moaned and kissed me harder.

“Michael… what are you doing to me?” he asked, panting.

“Nothing, just this,” I said, touching him again, not so gently this time.

“Shit!” he moaned, as if I threw ice cold water on him.

I loved being in charge when it came to teasing him. Maybe it was because he always looked so confident all the time, but when I was doing those things to him, he was always shocked, confused and helpless against what he was feeling. When a man tells you that he hated sex for his whole life and nobody succeeded in making him feel something, only to react like that when you touch him, it makes you feel like your power over him is tremendous. I suddenly lowered my body and kneeled in front of him, looking into his eyes. His face looked so shocked as if he’d seen a ghost. I snorted a little because I couldn’t help it. It was funny. 

“Michael… what are you…”

Before he could say another word, I started kissing him down there, feeling his smooth skin with my lips and my tongue. He gasped loudly, bit his lips as he quickly grabbed the window sill with one of his hands. I kept doing what I was doing, giving him the best I had up my sleeve. After only two minutes, his legs started shaking a little as he groaned my name with his eyes shut. I felt so happy. I got up, and kissed him childishly. His face cringed a few seconds after.

“Wait, where did you…uh…”

“What?” I asked, confused.

“Tch! You know what I’m talking about, Michael.” he said as he gestured what he meant with his hands.

“Oh! You mean your…”

“Yeah, that.” he interrupted me.

I looked at him and snorted. “Oh my god, you really feel awkward talking about this, don’t you? I swallowed it, obviously!”

His eyes widened for a second as he kept looking at me. 

“You...did... what? Why? “ he asked, almost whispering, as if he suddenly didn’t want anyone to hear us.

Seeing him feel so awkward was so cute it made me want to hug him and never let him go. He sighed as he turned on the water and grabbed the shower gel. I took it from his hand as he gave me a confused look, somehow pissed. I just smiled at him, opened the shower gel bottle, poured some of it on my hands and started rubbing it on his soft, pale skin. My smile didn’t go away all that time, as his face remained confused. 

“Why are you doing this? I’m not disabled, I can do it myself,” he scoffed.

“Just soften up a bit,” I sighed. “I’m doing this because I like your skin so much. So, obviously, cleaning it is very satisfying to me,” I explained.

“Tch, you humans are so weird."

“Shut up and turn around,” I demanded.

Samuel scoffed again, but he did what I said. My ego was all over the place in those moments as I thought it would always be like that, but Samuel was like that back then only because his brain was still confused and I was totally clueless about that. I enjoyed it, though. Every second of it. 

I poured some shampoo on my hands too and started massaging his head, spreading the foam through his hair. He was completely silent, but he wasn’t tense anymore. He relaxed completely and I was glad for that. I kissed his shoulder and wrapped my arms around his chest. We sat like that, under the shower, for a few minutes, while soap was being rinsed off our bodies.

 


 




I was sitting next to the window, admiring the last rays of sunshine for that day, as the sun was slowly hiding behind the horizon. 

“Thank you for this amazing evening,” Samuel said behind me, placing his hand on my shoulder.

I held his hand, leaned my head on his chest and smiled at him.

“No, I should thank you. You are everything I ever needed, Samuel Ulseth.”

His smile was so smooth you wouldn’t even notice it, but it was there.

“What you did in the shower, by the way... what was that?” he asked me.

I felt the need to snort and laugh as loud as I could.

“You said you have experience,” I snickered. 

He frowned, then poked my forehead.

“I know what a blowjob is, you dickhead, I was talking about what you did to make it feel so good...”

Yeah, I know what you all think, thank god I didn’t snort and laugh as I said I felt the need to, because it would have made me look like a total idiot. 

“Oh. Well, that is hard to explain, but I’ll do it slower next time so you can keep track,” I mocked him.

He scoffed. “Remember I wanted to show you something? Follow me.”

I got up from my seat and followed him as we left our suite, then Samuel took out one of his cards, placed it near a door next to ours, opening it.

“No way!” I exclaimed, seeing what was behind that door. A huge pool. The ocean could be seen from there too.

“Are you up for a swim before we go to sleep?”

“Of course,” I said. “Let’s race.”

“You must really like losing, if you suggest that,” he mocked me. “Alright. I’m in.”

We undressed and jumped into the pool. We headed to the edge of it, preparing ourselves for the competition. 

“We should have warmed up a little before jumping in, “ I told him.

“Tch, I don’t need that,” he scoffed, mocking me again.

“Alright, now you’re provoking me!”

“Get ready… one, two, three… start!”

We both inhaled a generous amount of air as we sunk our heads into the water and pushed ourselves forward against the pool's wall. 

I just focused on my speed and my moves. I didn’t actually think I had the chance to win against him, but I was still giving my best. While I was caught in my own attempt to keep myself focused, I felt another sharp pain in my head. 

I knew another flashback was coming and I tried hard to stop it or at least not let it stop me from swimming. I went to the surface, inhaled some air again and dived into the water again with my eyes closed.

This time I just saw what I thought was Samuel’s face, but… he looked a little bit different. Older, somehow. His hair was longer. Then I realised what I saw was not an ordinary flashback at all.

“Sanneth, promise me you will not let anything destroy what we have.” I heard a voice say to him.

I gasped and instantly reached for the surface. Samuel was still swimming, so he didn’t notice anything. I kept swimming too, until we both reached the edge again. 

 

 

“You won, “ I told him.

“Did I?” he asked, confused. “From the vibrations I felt in the water, you were two rounds ahead of me. You don’t have to lie, you won. I don’t mind, I’m actually amazed.”

“What?” I gasped. “What do you mean I was two rounds ahead?”

He swam closer to me. 

“You were, Michael. I am fast and smooth, but your strength kicked my ass this time.”

I was shocked to hear all that because I didn’t realise how that happened, especially while I was interrupted by that flashback. He took my hand and I smiled at him, seeing how happy he was with my performance. We inhaled some air and sunk ourselves into the water again, as he gave me a short kiss. Being with him always made me forget about all my worries, even about that strange flashback I had minutes before. Also, the water from that pool was so clean I could open my eyes without the slightest problem.

In that moment, everything seemed perfect. We were just young, in love and free. At least, for that moment. As for me, I wasn’t aware at all of what was waiting for me. But after all, I could had never run away from what was coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

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" No!! I’m so sorry Samuel, for all I’ve put you through!” I yelled.

“Just close your eyes, Nathan.”

“But I don’t want to die!! Now I remember! I can remember everything, Samuel, so I don’t want to die anymore! Use your powers and stop us from falling, please!!”

 

“No… our love must die along with us.”

“Samuel!!!!!!”

 

 


I woke up in our suite’s bed, hyperventilating, almost choking. When I looked next to me, Samuel was not there. 

“What the hell… Samuel? Are you here?” I yelled, but no answer came back. “Jesus… that was such a horrible nightmare… and he called me Nathan again… what the hell is going on?”

I checked the clock and it was 5 A.M. . It made no sense to me why would Samuel leave the suite and my anxiety started playing tricks on me, telling me that he left for good and everything had been a joke. I inhaled and decided to ignore those thoughts, so I took my phone and called him. 

“The number you have dialled cannot be reached right now, please try again later”, the voicemail said. 

“Tch! You’ve got to be kidding me!” I hissed.

I got up from bed and went straight to the bathroom to check if Samuel was in there, being obviously afraid something bad happened again and only the thought of it made me shiver. To be honest, Samuel leaving me was a better scenario in my head than finding him dead or hurting himself again. When I opened the bathroom door, nobody was there though. The whole suite was empty and all I could see was the moon shining above the ocean and its dim light filling the room. I sighed and decided to go to the reception desk, because John must have seen Samuel somewhere. A haunting silence dominated the whole building too. Also, when I arrived at the reception desk, no one was there. Maybe they didn’t expect anyone to book a room at that hour. As I was looking around, I saw a small elevator behind a wall, in the corner. It wasn’t easy to notice. 

“Is this functional?” I muttered as I pressed the command button, curious.

The doors suddenly opened. Not sure what I was doing, I stepped in and pressed the only button the cabin’s command board had. The doors closed and I felt the elevator going down. I swallowed dry. After two minutes, it stopped. Yeah, that’s a lot of time for an assumed short distance. When I got out, the cold air hit me and almost made me faint. That was a huge difference of temperature between levels, considering the fact that it was summer.

“Hello?” I said, as the echo of my voice traveled through the dark hallways which seemed to be made of stone. When I looked around more carefully, I noticed the floor’s edge was actually a ditch, covered by a metallic grid and light was coming out of it. As I got closer to examine the ditch, I noticed heat was coming out of it too, because it was filled with burning coals. That also explained the light. I asked myself what the hell was that ancient heating system doing in a place like that and why was the place so cold despite all that. Not getting any sunlight might have been the reason but I was also wondering how low under the hotel was I.

“May I ask what are you doing here, boy?” I heard a voice ask me as a manly figure stepped out of the shadows. The man had long, spiky white hair and looked very muscular.

“Who are you?” I asked him.

The man scoffed. “I’m the one who’s asking questions here, you know? My name is Joshua.”

I widened my eyes hearing his name as it rang a bell in my mind, but I didn’t understand why. His face was also familiar to me.

“Now tell me kid, what are you doing here? Are you lost?”

“Kid?! I’m twenty seven, you know?” I raised my voice at him.

The man laughed a little as he placed his hand on his forehead. “Oh, my. Time passed quickly in the real world, it seems. Look, you should go back, this is not a place where you should be. How did you get here anyway?”

“Real world? What are you blabbering about? I took this elevator, of course!” I said as I turned around to show him, but when I looked behind me, I couldn’t see the elevator anymore. “Whaaaaaat?! Where… where is it?!” I yammered out loud as I turned back around to look at the old man, whose face was also confused as hell.

“Impossible,” he muttered as his face began to frown. 

“Dude… you scare me,” I muttered as I swallowed dry. 

“Go back,” he told me, pointing at the wall behind me. When I turned around again, the elevator was back. I gasped as my whole body froze because of shock.

“Fine,'' I said as I headed to the elevator, making him believe I was willing to go back, then suddenly turned around and dashed through the hallway, passing by him as quick as I could. He definitely didn’t expect that.

“Hey, you! Stop!” I heard him yell as I kept running through the hallway as fast as I could. I bumped into a door and opened it without hesitation, only to find myself entering the biggest library I had ever seen. As I stepped forward, the door closed itself behind me and I was suddenly wandering through tremendously tall bookshelves. I stopped, as I saw an unexpected “friend” in there. I turned to stone and tried to hold my breath while Oliver was looking through a book that had the letter “U” engraved on both sides of its cover. Glad he didn’t notice me, I planned to stay there and spy on him, but then I heard that old man Joshua storm into the library:

“Boy, are you here?!”

That was the moment I saw Oliver wave his hand in the air and disappear. Just like he did in the bathroom with Samuel. I narrowed my eyes and realised I could still see where he was, but somehow I could only see a purple halo instead of his body, then Joshua popped right in front of Oliver, but didn’t see him because he continued going forward, searching for me. Then he came back in the same spot after a few seconds, like he had missed something. I saw Oliver’s halo move away quickly and run towards the door. I didn’t care about Joshua anymore, I just wanted to stop the bastard so I popped out from where I was hiding and started running after him.

“Hey, come back here!” I yelled. “I can see you, asshole!”

“Kid, stop! It’s dangerous!” I heard Joshua scream behind me.

I didn’t give a damn, though. My brain had never been more confused as it was back then and all my concerns were about finding out the truth. I didn’t think about it too much, but I was well aware of the fact that I, as a human being, should not be able to see Oliver’s aura or whatever the hell that was, should not be able to swim faster than Samuel and definitely should not see weird flashbacks or smash bathroom doors open so easily without any training. I thought back then that the bastards who kidnapped me were responsible for all the things I could suddenly do or happened to me, that they might have done something to me. I wasn’t entirely wrong, though. That was why they didn’t actually erase my memory. They weren’t able to do it because of a reason. I was getting closer to finding out what that reason was.

We were back on the hallways, still running and I was getting closer and closer to Oliver. As soon as I was close enough, I jumped and launched myself at him, grabbed his foot and threw him against the closest wall I saw. He coughed blood because of the impact and I could see his body again. 

“You’re not going anywhere,” I roared at him angrily.

He chuckled. “Wow, you really are amazing after all. Too bad Aymera put you in my way more than I wanted. She basically undid what I had done ten years ago. You need to be put out once again, for good this time, annoying blaze!!”

He raised his hand surrounded by a purple glow and I knew he wanted to throw a blast at me or something, but before he could do anything, a white blast hit him instead. 

“Stay away from him, you clown!” Joshua roared. 

“Tch… Jirath,” Oliver grunted at him. “Long time no see, foolish coward.”

I kept hearing other names instead of the ones I knew and that really made me go nuts. I felt like everybody was lying to me. Also,  Joshua had powers and apparently Oliver knew him. Why wasn’t I surprised at all?

“See you next time, “ Oliver said, his voice suddenly sounding different, croaky. I noticed his face somehow started to change… like his skin was falling off, revealing a different face under the one we saw.

I gasped in disgust, staring at him. He just laughed as he waved his hand at the wall and the elevator appeared out of nowhere. He jumped in and the doors closed before I could catch him.

“Damn it!” I yelled, hitting the elevator’s doors as they became a wall. “I need to catch that sick bastard. And you… you also have ten seconds to explain why he called you Jirath instead of Joshua,” I hissed at the old man.

“It’s my second name,” he answered shortly, without hesitation, so I believed him.

“Whatever. That bastard did something to Samuel, I need to go and find Samuel before he does,” I said to Joshua.

The old man sighed, then nodded at me.

“Go,” he said, then waved his hand and the elevator appeared again. 

I ran towards it without hesitation.

“Be careful, Nathan,” he said. “See you on Akai.”

I gasped as the elevator’s doors closed before I could say anything. I was left anxious, with my mouth and eyes wide open. When I was finally back in the hotel lobby, I started panicking as Samuel seemed nowhere to be found. I didn’t even know where to look for him but then I remembered someone else might know where he was.

“Kassius…” I muttered, as I quickly ran over to the reception desk to open the computer and check which room was Kassius staying in. It was 525. “Thanks John for not being here,” I scoffed as I rushed towards the main elevator. As soon as I reached the fifth level and the doors opened, I was dashing through the hallway to find Kassius’ room. When I got there, the door was already open.

“What the hell… Kassius? Hello?”

No answer came back and I started feeling like something bad was going on. I wasn’t able to explain it to myself back then, I just knew Kassius definitely wasn’t there and I still had to find Samuel as soon as possible. Suddenly, I heard something fall on the floor and break. When I looked, it was a glass.

“Who’s there?!”

 No answer came my way and silence still dominated the place until I noticed the furniture in the room was trembling.

“An earthquake? Impossible…”

I instantly froze, because I knew an earthquake would cause a tsunami in that area. An anxiety attack installed itself into my mind and instantly took control of my body, making me unable to move.

“Shit… I have to… do something…” I gasped as the whole room started spinning before my eyes, feeling like I was about to faint, but I struggled to pull myself together. I saw the pieces of glass on the floor and I forced myself to take one and quickly cut my hand with it, so adrenaline could make me alert. I grunted and closed my eyes, inhaling deeply as I was trying to calm down. After a few seconds, I became angry, remembering that Oliver might had been behind what was happening. I frowned and clenched my fist as blood was dripping through the space between my fingers from the cut inside my hand.

I got out of Kassius’ room and dashed through the hallway again, straight into the elevator, ready to go outside of the hotel because something was telling me that’s where I’d find Oliver again. When I got outside though, as I was running towards the beach, Kassius called me:

“Michael! We need to leave! Now!”

I turned around and saw him. He looked scared.

“What the hell is going on?” I asked.

“It’s Samuel… he’s… he’s out of control… I could not stop him…”

He was hyperventilating.

“Stop him from what, Kassius?! Where is he now?”

Kassius didn’t say a word anymore, he just pointed at the ocean. 

“What… what do you mean? Samuel is in the water? Please explain!” I yelped.

“He... threw himself into the water saying he will embrace the darkness... that is all he said and I couldn’t see him anymore after that. Michael, the earthquake you must have felt earlier… Samuel caused it. His energy went nuts… we need to depart to Akai right now and Teressa will tell us what is really going on and…”

“I’m not leaving Samuel here,” I interrupted him.

It suddenly started raining. When I checked the clock, it was already 6 A.M. I grunted, took off my shoes and shirt, prepared to run towards the water.

“Michael, please listen to me! Samuel is capable of more than you know...” Kassius yelled.

“Forget it. You were beside Samuel so many years and now you want to leave him alone!? If I were you, I would search for Oliver, because that bastard stole something from Joshua’s secret library and I’m more than certain you know what and who I am talking about.”

“Oliver was here all the time?” he gasped.

“Yeah, I guess. I’d be more concerned about that. Call anyone you know that could help us. I bet Joshua’s gonna be outside soon,” I said, then headed towards the sea, leaving Kassius behind with the food for thought I “served” him. 

I jumped into the water and started swimming as fast as I could, that’s how desperate I felt. I didn’t even know where to search for Samuel but despite that, I knew I would sense his energy somehow. After a few minutes, I really did. I inhaled deeply and went underwater. I could feel he was close to me, but I couldn’t see him underwater, although  I kept looking in every direction . Because I needed air, I reached for the surface again. While I was catching my breath, I suddenly felt like an electric shock hit me as I saw Samuel’s silhouette a few meters in front of me... standing on the water.

 

“Oh my god… what the…”

I was so overwhelmed by seeing him above water instead of swimming in it that I thought I was hallucinating. I shook my head, rubbed my eyes but I could still see him, so I was definitely not hallucinating. Somehow, I was scared and happy to see him, at the same time.

“Samuel!!!!” I yelled as I began swimming as fast I could, kicking the water with full force. 

I noticed the waves were getting bigger and bigger. It was the first time I was afraid of Samuel’s powers, especially after what Kassius told me. It was unbelievable he could cause an earthquake, as smooth as that one was, that was capable of creating a tsunami. How could that kind of technology, capable of doing such things, could stay hidden from people? I had no idea what to do, so out of impulsiveness, I swam in his direction and grabbed his foot, but I couldn’t make him move at all. He was looking at the water, but not at me, as both of his hands were close to his body, keeping his fingers apart from each other, in a straight position. His sight was focused on the ground, like he was looking through the water. That view was really scary. He looked possessed.

“Samuel, snap out of it!” I yelled.

“Humans must be… washed away,” he muttered, calmly, without even blinking.

“No” I thought, “… this is all that bastard’s doing… that Oliver... I need to do something. But what can I do? Why on earth isn’t Kassius or anyone else helping me?” 

I noticed how my heart was beating faster and faster and it was hard for me to even breathe, imagine I also had to keep swimming so I wouldn’t drown. I just knew I had to do something to make Samuel come back to sanity, I knew I had it in me somehow, but wasn’t aware of it. Suddenly, Samuel laid his eyes on me and all could see in them was hatred. It felt like I was looking at someone else. That wasn’t the Samuel I knew. 

“You… are in my way,” he said as our eyes met. He suddenly moved his hand and placed it above my head. 

I gasped as I widened my eyes at him. “Samuel… what are you…”

But before I could finish my sentence I felt a burning sensation in my eyes and instantly felt the need to squeeze them shut. That’s when I realised... he was actually trying to hurt me. As anger installed itself within me, I reacted instinctively and grabbed Samuel’s foot harder, pulling him underwater with me, then savagely punched him in the face, also noticing my moves were faster than they would normally be underwater and that made me question my strength again. After Samuel opened his eyes, he gave me a cold, angry stare as he kicked the water, launched himself at me and grabbed my throat as we instantly rose out of the water at his will.

He landed on his feet above the surface, with his hands still around my throat, holding me in the air while I was struggling to make him let me go. He was choking me so hard I couldn’t breathe at all and because I also had been underwater before that, I realised it had been an entire minute since my lungs received oxygen. My heart was beating fast as hell and all I could think of was the fact that I would die by the hands of the one I loved so much. When I processed that more evenly, I felt like my body went on fire, I literally saw the reflection of myself, somehow glowing, into Samuel’s dark eyes. I felt like deep within me, I was turning into something more, like my spirit didn’t accept that way of dying. To make it clear, I understood that Samuel could not kill me and I could never kill him. It was impossible for us to die by the hands of one another. That’s what I felt to be the undeniable truth.

I calmed down a bit, trying to take a deep breath, despite the fact that Samuel was choking me and I suddenly gasped and opened my eyes wide when I felt my lungs filling up with oxygen. I didn’t understand how, but somehow, my body was absorbing oxygen from Samuel, through my skin cells. He gasped when he heard me breathing again and he frowned. He surely didn’t expect that.

“Why aren’t you dead yet?!” he snarled.

“The only way you can kill me… is if you die as well. Do you want that, Seryth?!” I asked him, somehow clueless about why I said that, but the words just came out of my mouth.

He looked at me and I could see it in his eyes… he was lost in his own mind… and I had to bring him back to reality. I felt my body becoming stronger and stronger, while Samuel’s seemed to become weaker, but as soon as he realised I was taking away his energy, he released me, letting me fall, and backed away a few meters, but both of us were shocked when I landed on the surface of the water instead of falling deep into it.

“What? Am I… standing above water?!” I asked myself as I tried to make a step and convinced myself it was true. I was able to walk on water. I was able to do it because Samuel was able to do it. Somehow, borrowing some of his energy gave that ability. I laughed shortly as I looked at my own feet stepping on water. 

My excitement vanished quickly when I heard Samuel grunt as he suddenly started running towards me with the same amount of hatred in his eyes I had seen earlier. I could actually feel his anger in every molecule of air around us and I also knew I had to stop the damage Samuel’s earthquake might have caused because I could feel the water that was continuously retreating, which in the end would come back in full force - a tsunami.

“Wind doesn’t need fire to survive, it can survive on its own!” Samuel yelled as he finally approached me, grabbing my hand and throwing me in the air as far as he could, just like he threw our clothes on that beach where our naked bodies finally touched the evening before. I felt hurt, like he stabbed me through the heart.

“Now, be gone!” he yelled again in the next second after he threw me in the air, as he raised both of his hands forward and made all the drops of rain in the air nearby instantly freeze, take the shape of sharp needles and launched them at me, all at once, while I was still in the air. I gasped, squeezed my eyes shut as I landed on my feet and took a defensive position, placing my arms in front of my face. I expected my body to be stung all over the place by all those ice needles Samuel launched at me, but when I opened my eyes, they were floating in the air, surrounding me. 

“Am I… doing this? Did I stop them?” I gasped as I realised I was protected by an invisible energy field I created, which I could sense despite not seeing it. I began to feel more confident but I didn’t know how much it would last, so I began thinking about a way of escaping, the quickest one possible, but nothing came into my mind, until I felt an instant urge to attack Samuel back. Because I knew none of my attacks would actually kill him, I didn’t hesitate- as I was still standing with my arms crossed in front of my head, I suddenly raised them in the air, like people usually do when they praise someone they worship. The move just came to me, it didn’t feel like I was using my mind too much, or maybe it was the huge difference between what I could do in those moments compared to the nothing I could do before. Yeah, it was definitely that.

After I made that move, all the ice needles suddenly flew Samuel’s way with an incredible speed. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It felt like I could control nature or something. Of course Samuel didn’t fall for that attack because with only one move of his hand, the ice needles melted and fell down as rain, mixing with the ocean.

“You’re no match for me, Uzkaeri.”

“Tch, why do I keep hearing names I know nothing about?!” I grunted. “Samuel, please stop this! I don’t want to fight you, I love you!”

The last words I said were words spoken in tears as an overwhelming sadness took over me. I was really afraid, I really didn’t want to fight him as I also could not understand how on earth could Oliver control him like that, nothing made sense in my head. It was like a never ending nightmare that haunted every minute of my sleep.

I tried to get closer to him, making a few steps forward. “Samuel, please. Come back to me. I know you can hear me…”

“I don’t know who this Samuel is, but it's like you’re talking to a ghost and it makes you look dumb,” he told me with a very cold, calm tone-  the same tone he used on a daily basis but in that moment his words were hurting me in ways I never thought I’d be hurt by something.

My body started feeling heavy as my mind was getting weaker because of too much sadness. Samuel instantly noticed that and he quickly came closer to me, until we were just a few centimeters away from each other. The hate in his eyes was still there. Because I was already clogged up inside by miserable feelings of fear and depression, it would had been too much for me to try and figure out where all that hate was coming from. Of course my mind started confusing me as it always did, for as long as I had been alive, telling me that if I kiss him, he would snap out of it. As we were standing in front of each other like that, I was fighting with that irrational thought. Resisting it as hard as I could, I even made a step forward, to test Samuel’s reaction. He didn’t even move a finger- that’s how confident he was and that’s how absent his mind was.  

“Do you really want to kill me?” I asked him straightforwardly. 

“What do you think?” he asked me back, smiling in a way I never thought I’d see him smile.

I took a deep breath as I looked into his eyes without blinking. “Do it, then. But you won’t be the one who laughs last,” I said to him, convinced those were my last words.




Chapter Text

I took a deep breath as I looked into his eyes without blinking. “Do it, then. But you won’t be the one who laughs last,” I said to him, convinced those were my last words. 

As I was left standing there, with my feet barely touching the soft waves, staring at the man I loved so much as time seemed to suddenly slow down around us, I felt my pulse quicken beneath my skin and I saw Samuel’s pupils dilating as the raindrops stopped falling and remained floating in the air. It wasn’t an illusion, Samuel was doing that, too.

I was thinking that it should have been already 7 A.M. but the sun couldn’t be seen because of the clouds. “Sunsets make me sad”, I instantly remembered Samuel telling me the day before, but in that moment, it made no sense to me why those words of his popped into my mind. I was quickly brought back to reality when I could see the ocean floor through the water underneath my feet, all of a sudden, as the sea level seemed to be very low.

I knew then- it was happening. The big wave was on its way to the shore and Samuel was aware of that, that’s why  he slowed down time- to be able to kill me before that would happen so I won’t be able to stop it. I was still confused though, because I didn’t understand how Samuel would consider me a threat against the tsunami, I had no power. Maybe it was because I “borrowed” his energy and became able to use it like my own? It just made no sense to me nevertheless, for in my mind I was still Michael Unsworth, a simple human. Although, what Samuel was doing was already beyond what science could explain. I mean, time could not be actually stopped. If it could, it would accelerate what comes next after you press the “pause button” again, right? At that moment though, I just had to accept that maybe… science could not explain everything, especially when it came to Oliver. I had no idea what that guy was capable of and still couldn’t figure out how he controlled Samuel. 

Willing to let Samuel hurt me and see what would happen, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as I  prepared myself to hear him yelling my name before he killed me.

“Nakaeron!”

I instantly opened my eyes wide when I heard the name he yelled instead, instinctively grabbed his hand that was reaching for my chest and stopped it. He would have definitely killed me with the power I felt was coming from him.

“Tch, you were just testing me, weren’t you?!” he hissed at me. 

Maybe I was testing him without being aware of it. Honestly, I never thought he would actually want to kill me but there we were...

“Are you stalling me?” Samuel snarled. “Your precious star won’t help you this time, with all this darkness surrounding us… so stand still and let me cut you in half!”

I gasped as it all finally made sense in my head. “ Precious star, huh?” I thought

as I remembered how Samuel acted weird in the evening before, right after acknowledging the sun was about to set - he said it made him feel sad and he wanted to hurt himself when we arrived at the hotel. Right after that, he became weaker and I won against him in that swimming competition only to find myself alone in bed at night because he went on a rampage to the ocean. In conclusion, sadness was his weakness and Oliver knew that, so basically what Oliver did to Samuel’s mind was being triggered by sadness. I began to understand the mechanism a little.

At that moment, I had to do something to make the sun come out of the clouds and test if my theory was right. 

“Okay, but how do I do that? If he slowed down time, would I be able to scatter the clouds as fast as I need to? Or maybe I should figure out how to make him stop slowing down time… if he does this with his abilities, then it must require focus and energy… alright, then…” I thought.

As I made a step forward I realised my moves were not slowed down at all and neither were his. Confusion quickly settled into my mind as it made no sense how would someone slow down time and not be affected by it. The premise of my theory was wrong.

“He didn’t slow down time, he’s just playing with what’s around us… trying to delay the wave I guess… amazing.... he can hold this massive amount of water… this must require a lot of focus…”

I regained confidence in my theory despite its premise being changed, as there was still only one thing left for me to do- win against him at playing with nature. 

“Don’t be so sure my precious star won’t come in handy when that’s its sole purpose,” I snickered at him.

“What purpose is that?” he asked, frowning.

“To bring light!” I enunciated as I raised both of my hands in the air, pointing them where I calculated the sun would be at that time- close to the horizon, of course. A few seconds later, I was left amazed by the clouds that started scattering before my eyes, at my command, revealing the sun in all its glory.

“You!” I heard Samuel roar from behind me. 

When I turned around, to my surprise, he closed his eyes. He raised one of his hands up in the air, pointing at the sky and suddenly all the scattered clouds were brought together above us as lightning was continuously flashing through them. 

I gasped, looking up. Despite the fact that I brought out the sun, Samuel still managed to avoid seeing it and I was still outmatched from what it looked like. 

“Impossible…” I muttered as I swallowed dry.

“Farewell, Nakaeron!” Samuel shouted as the sky suddenly lit up before my eyes.

“Michael!” I heard Joshua calling my name the second I fell into the water, struck by lightning.

“Samuel… open your eyes…” I thought, as my body was slowly sinking. I wasn’t even sure if my theory was right. Also, why did he call me Nakaeron as if he was talking to someone else, not to me… as if he was talking like he’s someone else. A few seconds later, everything went black.

 


 

“Will I see you soon, Sanneth?”

“Hn, probably. If it’s me that Orris wants, I’ll give him all I’ve got.”

“Please come back alive. Our wedding is in a few days.”

“I will.”

 

“Do you promise?”

“I already promised myself to you, Nikaellan.”

“Good. That means you have to stay alive “

 

 

 

I opened my eyes instantly, after having that flashback, only to see Samuel sinking as if he had been blasted into the water. My body wanted to freeze, but I realised I needed air so I rushed to the surface to inhale a good amount of it, then instantly dived back in. Samuel was laying on the seafloor, deeper than I expected. The pressure was so high I started feeling pain in my ears as I tried to reach him. I grabbed his hand and I quickly swam upwards to the surface again.

“There he is!” I heard a familiar voice. It was Stephanie. 

“Michael! Over here, quick!” I also heard Joshua shouting at me.

They were on the beach. I swam in that direction while holding Samuel tight in my arms. His weight was dragging me down, but I kept kicking the water with my feet until I reached the shore, with his body still in my arms, facing me. I looked at him, wondering who stopped him.

“Okay, Jirath, now that they’re out, let’s do this, we’re running out of time!” Stephanie demanded. It was weird she called him Jirath, though.

Asking myself what they were doing, I turned around to look at the ocean and I freaked out so much when I saw the huge wave heading towards us that I fell on my knees, almost dropping Samuel on the ground. I knew something was odd when I was in the water, because I barely reached the shore, as if the ocean was pulling me back, but I was too focused on taking Samuel back to think about the wave. I got up and backed away a few meters, still holding him in my arms as Joshua and Stephanie raised both of their hands in front of them just like I did when I created a protection field that saved me from the ice needles Samuel threw at me. 

“Did it spread everywhere, have you checked?” Stephanie asked Joshua.

“Yes, just keep it at full force!” the old man shouted.

At that moment, instead of washing us all away, the wave hit against the invisible barrier that Stephanie and Joshua created, making them both yell out loud. That must have been some hell of a force to deal with. Any mistake in their focus would have ended up in a disaster. 

“Michael, take Samuel and go inside!” Stephanie demanded while still keeping resistance against the furious sea. 

Curious by nature, I would have stayed to see how it ended but having Samuel unconscious in my arms made me do as she said. I ran back to the hotel and instantly tucked Samuel into bed as soon as I arrived in our suite. 

I sighed in relief and went to grab a snack. When I got back in the bedroom, Kassius was by the bed, looking at Samuel with a serious expression. After two seconds, he laid his eyes on me, frowning.

“Michael, if you know something, I think it’s high time you told us. Samuel never acted this way.”

I sighed. “I think Oliver did something to him yesterday, right before Mr. Aiden collapsed.”

“What? How?”

“You know Samuel went to the bathroom. Right after that, the waiter strangely dropped a plate of cake on Oliver’s lap.”

“Yeah, then Oliver excused himself saying he’s going to clean up…” Kassius completed my sentence.

“Well, he went after Samuel,” I said. “I knew that because I started feeling sick all of a sudden, I don’t know how to explain…”

Kassius kept looking at me, analyzing me. “We’ll get to that later,” he told me. “Now go on.”

“Right. When I left the meeting room and followed Oliver, I found him and Samuel in the bathroom, on the verge of fighting. Oliver kept saying things like Mr. Aiden lied to Samuel, kept calling him Seryth, saying that he actually despises humans and one day he will want to avenge his family… “

Kassius gasped. “This is really bad. This means he might really be…”

“Lord Orris?” I interrupted him. “The one Stephanie mentioned about? Yeah, he might not be dead, he might have killed both Sanneth and Nikaellan and made it look like he died along with Sanneth, when in fact, Nikaellan found out about Sanneth’s death and went after Orris in a flash, “ I said. “Sanneth and Nikaellan were already engaged.”

Kassius widened his eyes at me, maybe wondering how did I know those things.

”We’ll get to that later though, right, Kassius?” I asked him, noticing his confusion.

He hesitated answering for a few seconds. “Uh… right.”

“Oliver, or Lord Orris, however the hell you want to call the bastard, placed his hand on Samuel’s forehead as a purple glow surrounded his palm. I don’t know what that was, but it made him groan in pain. Samuel’s weird behaviour started right after the sun had set,” I explained.

“The sun? What does the sun have to do with Samuel?” Kassius asked, confused.

“Nothing, in particular. But you know what has to do with Samuel? Sadness. I think Oliver damaged him psychologically. The damage needed to be triggered by something sad, which was Mr. Aiden’s death right after Oliver disappeared. That’s when this psychological tumor that he implanted in Samuel’s brain started spreading. Think of it like a virus being in the incubation period, but that period is much shorter in this case than it would be if we were dealing with a normal virus. Remember that Samuel threatened Stephanie he will kill her if she won’t explain what’s going on?”

Kassius nodded, still frowning, as he was processing what I was explaining. Judging from the look on his face, what I said made a lot of sense.

“That’s when it started,” I went on. “Samuel was sad and angry. If I hadn’t done something, his rampage would have started much earlier.”

“What did you do?” Kassius asked me, taking me by surprise.

I blushed and looked away as I instantly remembered the moments I spent with Samuel on the beach. “I… took him out for some fresh air, tried to cheer him up. And it worked… for a few hours, at least. He told me then that sunsets make him sad. That’s how I figured out that Samuel’s rampage was caused by sadness, and Oliver who damaged him psychologically, not physically at all. What Oliver did to Samuel was triggered by sadness, awakening tremendous powers in him. You said it - Samuel is capable of much more than what I had seen. I know you said the truth, because I have seen now what he’s capable of. Although, I want to ask you something, Kassius… is Samuel aware of what he can do?”

I looked straight into Kassius’ eyes as he released a deep sigh, looking away.

“No,” he answered.

I gasped, but somehow, I expected that answer. I instantly went from sadness to anger. “Tch! Why did you lie to him?”

“It’s complicated. Although, it’s over now. Samuel will find out the truth, but not from me. Promise me you won’t say anything to him. Lady Teresa will explain everything to him as soon as we get to Akai.”

I rolled my eyes, disappointed. “Fine, have it your way. Just know this,” I said, pointing my finger at him. “If this happened because Samuel was sad, you all have to keep him happy from now on. I won’t let you or anyone whom he trusts disappoint him, you hear me?” I hissed at Kassius. “He trusts you more than anyone, you were like his second father. “

“Did he say that?” Kassius asked, taken by surprise.

I just gave him a cold stare without answering his question. 

“I see…” he sighed. “My time has passed, though. It’s you he needs now, more than anyone… Michael.”

I noticed how it took him two seconds to pronounce my name. “Is there something this Lady Teresa should let me know about as well?” 

“I’m starting to believe there is. How did you survive being struck by lightning, Michael?” he asked me with a serious tone.

“I have no clue, “ I answered. “But I sure as hell want to find out how, too. I could also do things… I was able to stand on water.”

Kassius widened his eyes at me as if he’d seen a ghost. That’s the moment I started questioning everything as I began to feel so confused that I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I took a seat on the nearest chair as anxiety began bothering me again. Remembering the panic attack I had in Kassius’ room when I felt the earthquake, I instinctively checked my palm where I cut myself to snap out of it. To my biggest surprise, the cut healed almost completely. I gasped out loud as I was staring inside my palm, forgetting that Kassius was there too.

“Are you alright?” he asked me.

“Uh… yeah, I guess. It’s just… I don’t know. I’m confused. Two days ago I was just a boring analyst.”

“Do you feel like running away?”

I looked at him, clouded by the question. “Why would I want to run away? I love him.”

Kassius sighed without saying anything back. I heard a knock at the door, then Stephanie and Joshua came in.

“ It wasn’t locked,” Joshua said, looking at me.

“I know,” I replied.

“We defeated the beast,” the old man went on. “What rage nature holds, unbelievable. It’s been a while since I had to create and hold a barrier of that size for more than ten minutes.”

It was weird to me how calm Joshua was talking about powers and things like that with me around, as if he knew I was able to understand everything, somehow. It made me feel like he knew more about me than I did. I narrowed my eyes at him as I remembered he also called me “Nathan”.

“How is he?” Stephanie asked me about Samuel.

“I’m not sure…” I sighed.

She went by the bed and placed her hand on Samuel’s forehead.

“Oh, my!” she gasped. “It feels frozen! What if he has hypothermia?”

“I think there is someone here that can help with that,” Joshua said, looking at me.

Stephanie turned around and looked at me too, while Kassius was looking at Joshua.

“Go on, Michael. You’ll know what to do,” the old man told me.

I was shocked by the request and somehow felt unable to move, but I forced myself to get up from my seat and slowly walked to the bed. When I came next to Stephanie, she looked at me, then looked at Joshua, who only nodded at her with confidence.

“Give me your hand,” Stephanie told me.

I did as she said. Noticing the cut inside my palm, she frowned.

“When did you cut yourself?” she asked.

“A few hours ago,” I sighed, knowing it would create confusion, because no wound heals that fast, but I had no reason to hide anymore. I just wanted to understand what the hell was happening. 

She gasped, widening her eyes at me. “You’re… no, impossible, that can’t be…”

“I’m what?!” I snarled, consumed by anger which was also fed up by all that confusion in my head.

“Leave that for later, we need to save Samuel now,” she said, frowning. “As soon as he is stable, we depart for Akai. John prepared Samuel’s ship on the rooftop.”

I just sighed and left the whole thing aside. Samuel was more important to me than anything. 

“Now place one hand on his forehead and one on his chest, please,” Stephanie said to me. “Then, close your eyes, calm yourself down and think like you want to give him all the love you have. I know it sounds silly, but I think it will work.”

I nodded and did what she said. After a few seconds, I felt like my hands were literally burning. I grunted. 

“What do you feel?” Stephanie asked me.

“My hands… are burning…”

I heard Kassius gasp.

“Good. It’s working! I’m going to interfere now too, don’t lose focus, Michael!”

“... understood.”

When Stephanie interfered, I felt all the warmth from my hands leak as it started spreading all over Samuel’s body. We kept doing that for almost ten minutes while I felt sweat all over my hair and face as I was trying my best to stay focused. Suddenly, Samuel gasped for air as he stood up, scaring me.

“Oh my god, it worked!” I exclaimed with eyes wide open, looking at him. I wanted to jump on him and hug him but Stephanie grabbed my shirt, stopping me.

“Why?” I asked.

Samuel looked at us, confused. “Where am I?”

“Samuel, how do you feel?” Stephanie asked. 

“A bit cold,” he answered calmly. “Michael, why is everyone gathered in our bedroom? Did something happen?”

Stephanie sighed and let go of my shirt. I instantly went to hug Samuel. “They're here to take us with them, to Akai!”

“Okay, but what’s with the rush?” he scoffed, pushing me away.

I smiled, noticing he blushed a little, and hugged him tighter. I knew he felt cold, so I wanted to give him more of that warmth that I was apparently able to give away. Feeling that, he didn’t push me away again.

“Well, I can’t complain about waking up to this,” he smiled. “Although, you guys give me the creeps, you’re all standing here as if I’m in hospital or something. Can’t you just wait outside? People need privacy, you know?”

“Uh… right,” Kassius gasped awkwardly, waving at the others to step out of the bedroom.

I laughed, glad that Samuel’s old attitude was back.

The others went out in the living room, closing the door after them, while I remained with Samuel.

“You know… we should dress up and go,” I suggested.

“I haven’t even woken up completely and you expect me to function without coffee?” he scoffed as he attempted to take his phone, but couldn’t find it in his pockets. “Where is it? I never forget where my phone is.”

I noticed his phone placed on the nightstand next to which Kassius sat. He might have taken Samuel’s phone before he threw himself in the ocean and then left it on the nightstand while Samuel was still unconscious. Probably Samuel’s phone contained valuable information that couldn’t be lost.

“There it is,” I said, pointing at the nightstand.

“Oh. Weird, though, I never leave it there. Nevermind, I need to text John to bring us some coffee.”

“Okay, then we’ll go, right?” I asked him.

He gave me a confused look. “What’s with the rush, again?”

“We need to find out some things, and… I want to visit Akai!” I said, smiling, trying hard not to say something that would make him upset. 

“I know,” he said, gazing at the ocean through the window. “But no need to get anxious about it. Let’s stay here a bit more. You’re so warm…” he muttered as he leaned to kiss me.

“Samuel,” I whispered. “The others are in the next room.”

“Who cares?” he said as he kept kissing me. “I can’t get enough of you, Michael.”

“Oh my god, are you teasing me again?” I asked.

“No,” Samuel said as he ran his hand through my hair, then pulled me closer in a strong embrace and didn’t stop kissing me even for a second. ”Touch me…” he muttered.

Hearing that, my hands instinctively went under his shirt, moving up and down on his back. I really had the intention to give him all the warmth I could give. Ironically, it looked like he needed it so much that he decided to set me on fire by turning me on. I knew we wouldn't do anything more than that with other people in our suite, but it felt good nevertheless. Just cuddling with him was enough for me, for it was all the love I could have ever asked for. 

“Why can’t I get enough?” he said while still kissing me. It felt like he literally wanted to eat me up.

Somehow, it worried me, because I recognized anxious patterns in that behavior. He was holding me and kissing me in such a way as if he was afraid I might run away or something. I backed my lips away a little, stopping him. 

“Hey… what’s with the rush?” I asked him.

“I’m not rushing. What’s the matter, you don’t like what I’m doing?” he snickered, giving me another short kiss that barely touched the tip of my tongue and ended it by softly biting my lower lip. 

I moaned shortly then stopped, afraid the others might hear us. “S-Samuel…”

“Hn, so you did like that,” he snickered again as he suddenly snaked his hand into my pants, touching me in a way I would have never expected from him.

This time, I moaned louder and Samuel kissed me instantly, so I could not be heard. He kept touching me over and over and I started feeling so weak that I couldn’t stop him anymore, I didn’t even want to stop him, I just gave in to the pleasure. I was also shocked. I mean, Samuel took the lead in a very different way compared to the last time, when we were on the beach, when he told me he wanted me. The way he said it then expressed his vulnerability, giving in, while this time it was his pure domination over me, mixed with his desire to make me feel good only using the touch of his hands- one under my pants and the other one that kept moving from my hair to my back while I was caught in his relentless kiss.

“I’m so close to…”

“I know,” he whispered in my ear.

Prepare for the moment to be ruined by Joshua who just entered the room… without knocking. Samuel and I both gasped. I bet my face was red as hell because Joshua cringed a little. He cleared his throat as he stepped forward and closed the door.

“Aren’t you guys supposed to get ready?”

“We’re… waiting for John to bring us coffee,” Samuel explained.

“Oh, I see. How do you feel, Samuel?”

I started getting anxious and Samuel noticed that. I mean, I was on the verge of… you know, letting Samuel finish me off and that idiot just had to walk into our room. I felt like my blood was boiling. Attempting to touch myself, I snaked my hand under the blanket that Samuel threw over us in the second he heard the door open. I was at that point where I could not hold it, I needed only one minute to be done for. Samuel saw my hand moving and stopped it. Without being warned about it, I suddenly felt vibrations… in my pants. When I realised Samuel was doing it while speaking to Joshua, I can’t explain how exposed I felt and how I wanted to punch Samuel in the face for doing that to me. I saw a tiny smile in the corner of his lips as he gave me a flashy glimpse. The vibrations intensified as they began to have a rhythm, and I felt like I wanted to explode. 

“Michael, are you okay?” Samuel asked me with a fake worried tone.

I only had a few seconds left until I was done for and I knew Samuel wanted to test my mind and see how creative I could get in that kind of situation. I really thought he was a psychopath back then. 

“Y-Yeah, I’m alright, I think… I feel like sneezing but I can’t let it go…” I mumbled. 

“Just close your eyes and let it go,” Samuel snickered at me while Joshua was still there, which made me turn red probably.

“Aaaaah… aaa… achoooo!” I fake sneezed as I covered my head with the blanket, hiding completely. 

“Michael?” I heard Samuel call me.

“He probably caught a cold from the rain yesterday,” Joshua said.

“Hn, probably,” I heard Samuel say with a slight cocky tone.

That’s when it happened. There, under that blanket, I gave in to the vibrations that intensified even more after they slowed down when I answered Samuel’s question. Under that blanket where I could barely breathe, I grunted with my teeth and fists clenched as I felt my pants getting slightly wet. I just threw my head on the pillow, panting, without taking the blanket off.

“Joshua, John just texted me he’s at the door, can you go open up and take the coffee tray from him?” Samuel asked the old man.

“Sure.”

“Thank you,” I heard Samuel say as Joshua left our bedroom, closing the door after him.

“You dirty little fucker!” I snarled at Samuel as I instantly got out from under the blanket. “How could you use your powers on me like that… when he was… Joshua was…”

He laughed shortly, satisfied. “So that’s what having kinks and fantasies means. Interesting.”

“Huh?!” I cringed. “Are you kidding me?! This was an experiment?! I’ll kill you!” I kept yelling, grabbing the collar of his shirt. “You’re a psycho, ya hear me?!”

Right in that moment, Joshua came back in with a tray of coffee and almost dropped them when he saw my attempt to choke Samuel.

“Uh…”

“Don’t mind him, it’s the virus.” Samuel told him with a sickening calm tone. “I think he caught something serious, we need him checked. Stephanie, would you…”

I interrupted him by placing my palm over his mouth.

“I’ll just leave these here,” Joshua said awkwardly as he placed the coffee tray on the nightstand and quickly got out of the room.

Samuel took my hand off his mouth and kissed it softly. “You’re adorable.”

I sighed as I let my head fall on his shoulder. “You’re still a psycho,” I told him.

“Hn, who knows,” he said as he took a sip from his cup of coffee. “Maybe I am.”