Ever since the night at Alex’s house, all he could think about was what he would do if he actually was approached by ‘The Keepers’. As much as he respected Alex he really didn’t take it very seriously at first. The topic was interesting of course, but sounded like something on the Sci-Fi channel. A secret organization with space-age technology? That couldn’t be real.
But it definitely was real. When James Ellison told him about the group, confirming what Alex and Stephen told him a few nights earlier, he probably should have acted more shocked. Ellison was a bright man and Sebastian was sure he noticed his reaction. He had probably put Alex and Stephen in danger by not pretending to be more surprised at Ellison’s proposal. It had to be obvious that this wasn’t the first time Sebastian had heard about ‘The Keepers’.
Still unsure of what his next move was, he heard a knock at his door. He hesitated to look and see who it was. He wasn’t sure who he was most nervous about talking to at this point, Alex and Stephen or James Ellison.
He was pleasantly surprised though to see that it was actually Anna.
“Hey, what are you doing here?”, he asked awkwardly.
“Jeez, sorry. Bad time?”
Realizing how rude he initially sounded, he immediately apologized. “No, I didn’t mean it like that. I’m surprised. That’s all. In a good way. Come in.”
“Sorry I didn’t call ahead of time. I was just in the neighborhood and saw your car outside. Just wanted to check on you and see how you were. You weren’t in class last week and last time I saw you was at the party. You didn’t say much after you talked to Mr. Ellison. He didn’t say something to offend you did he?”
“No, no. Not at all. I think it was something I ate at the party actually. I didn’t feel well for a few days afterwards. But I’m fine now. How have you been?” He wanted desperately to change the subject from James Ellison.
“I’ve been good. You know how it is during finals week. Just ready for it to be over with.”
Sebastian nodded in agreement, but he hadn’t actually put much thought into school lately. With everything else going on it wasn’t at the top of his priority list. He couldn’t talk to her about that so he changed the subject once more.
“Are you thirsty?”, he asked. “All I’ve got is bottled water. And a few beers of course.”
“I’ll take one of those beers if you join me.”
Sebastian laughed and grabbed two bottles, handing one to her. She wasn’t your typical girl, but drinking a beer on a weekday afternoon? He had to admit that was pretty cool.
They sat out on the patio and talked for hours. At one point she even got up, went to his fridge and grabbed the last two bottles and gave one to Sebastian. After everything that had gone on lately, this was the first time he felt himself relax. When she went inside to answer a phone call, he stayed out on the patio and gave her some privacy. He couldn’t hear what she was saying and she couldn’t see him from where she was standing. He caught himself staring at her as she was laughing, obviously talking with a friend. She apparently was talking about him because she then turned and he could see her mouth the words “Yes, he is so cute”. It was then that she noticed him staring in her direction. Instead of being embarrassed, she burst out laughing. It was the cutest thing he had ever seen.
As she continued her phone call, he didn’t try to hide looking in her direction now. She gave him an occasional smile. Just then it hit him. If he followed through with joining ‘The Keepers’ he might not have moments like this again. His life would be dedicated to the groups mission. Yes, the members were all married and had families, but from the few personal conversations he had with James, he came to a sad conclusion. When he talked about his family there was a sense of pride followed by what had to be regret. He admitted that he didn’t get much time at home and the free time he did have from work was spent planning with The Conductor.
Was it really worth it? As Anna walked through the sliding glass door and back onto the patio, he thought he knew what the answer was.