CHAPTER 38 - From Our Mistakes (5)
’She was totally into you, you know.’ ALICE sounded annoyed, which wasn’t unusual for her partner.
‘I do. The feeling ain’t mutual, though.’
‘Is it ever?’
Alex crumpled the napkin and threw it at the nearby waste receptacle. He turned back to his drink as the din of conversation continued unabated in the dive bar. The FIFA Cup was on the screen, and he and a few other patrons were watching it intently.
‘You already know the answer to that question.’
‘Oh come, will you grow up? It’s not gonna happen, so give up and move on.’
‘Nah, fam, I’m good. You never know, a miracle could take place, after all.’
‘Alex, there is no fucking way. Not in a hundred years!’
‘Hey, you don’t know that! Maybe in a hundred years, a way will exist. I got ideas, ya know?’
‘I don’t like what you’re thinking right now…’
Alex smirked to himself and took another sip of his whiskey and coke.
‘Do you ever?’
Celia sat in on the driver’s bench of the wagon, deep in the trees. The horses were restless, and so was she. As such, Celia did what she could. Her eyes began to emit a faint glow, her irises fading to pure white as she used her unique magic.
Countless images passed through her head as she pushed her ability to its limit. A minute later, her eyes shot open, and she was panting heavily like she had just run around the castle a few times at a dead sprint.
She hurriedly tied the horses to the nearest tree and started running for real, straight towards Alex, no more than a speck in the distance.
“Master Jaeger, you mustn’t! Run! Run far, run fast!”
The car stopped, and a young Alex was about to get out of the shotgun seat when his mother’s voice stopped him. He looked back over at her as she spoke. Even at 17, he was already a specimen of perfect physique. His black hair and green eyes caught the afternoon sun, and the shadows fell delicately over his chiseled jaw.
“Are you sure, sweetie? There are a lot of less dangerous jobs out there.”
He nodded, the short-cropped hair not even long enough to bounce with the gesture. A comforting smile appeared on his lips as he set a hand on his mother’s shoulder. He took in the wrinkles on her face, the grays that were sneaking into her jet-black hair. He knew he was the cause for more than a few of those signs of aging, and this would cause so many more in the future.
“I told you, ma, this is what I want. I’m going to help people in a way only I can.”
“But you can help other ways, too! Even the police, Alex. I’m just worried.”
“Don’t be, ma. I’m gonna be fine, I promise! You know how strong I am. Since dad passed, was there anything I couldn’t do in his stead?”
“This and that are two entirely different things! There’s talk of the Gerssian’s mobilizing for war.”
“I know, that’s why I’m not waiting until I’m 18. I need to be ready before they ever get a chance to start.”
“Alexander James Jaeger, you better be 110% sure of this!”
He leaned over and kissed his mother’s aged forehead before getting out of the floating vehicle. He closed the door and peered through the open window.
“I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life, mom. Besides, it’s not like I’m leaving today. I’ll see you in an hour.”
“I can’t stand to lose you, too, Alex. I might die of sadness.”
“And I can’t stand to sit by and do nothing when I could help. People need protecting, mom. It’s why I was put on this Earth.”
She sighed in defeat and shifted into drive. He stepped away from the car, and confidently made his way into the nearby building. Posters hung in the windows, and a few desks could be seen inside with uniformed men and women hustling to and fro. Over the entrance was an old-fashioned back-lit box sign.
‘United States Army Recruitment Center’
A Sergeant First Class with a ‘Jackson’ on his nameplate greeted him as he entered. Alex smiled back with a wave.
“So, I’m here to enlist!”
“Oh yeah? You know there’s a war brewing, right? We can use all the able-bodied soldiers we can get! What job were you thinking? Strong fella like you could have your pick, I bet!”
Alex pointed at a poster in the back depicting several white-haired and red-eyed men and women in dress uniforms standing in front of the White house.
“I want to enroll in the MAGES program.”