Chapter 1: Crossing the Threshold
Bus Stop at corner of Seaver Street and Elm Hill Ave., Dorchester , MA
XxX Alex XxX
The downpour sweeping through the city brought traffic to a crawl. Fortunately, most people heeded the warnings and either avoided the main roads or left their cars at home. The bus I was on swerved sharply to avoid an overturned car up ahead, just barely maintaining its balance. I breathed a sigh of relief when the doors on the bus finally opened.
I opened my umbrella and walked across the street. Only then did I allow myself to take in the sight of the church I inherited when my mother suddenly died last year. The grand structure was being outfitted with solar panels on the roof. It would be the first church with a steeple and bells powered entirely with solar energy in New England. I walked up the paved steps and stepped inside where I was greeted by my mentor and my understudy, Pastor Richard Alphonse. Alphonse and my mother built the church together. When she died in a car accident he helped me in more ways than one.
"Good afternoon, Alex." He greeted as he took my umbrella and handed me a warm towel.
"And good afternoon to you as well, Alphonse." I replied with a nod. "It's raining something fierce outside. I feel sorry for anyone who has to work in that rain."
"It is spring after all." He pointed out. "Though I have to admit this weather is very unrelenting. I wonder if we should ask Mr. Toss to look into it?"
"Celes' dad?" I asked in surprise. While Celes' father did have supernatural abilities like the rest of his family he only used them when necessary. Even I thought asking him to turn off the rain would be a waste of his time.
"Let's wait a day or two before we think about talking to him about it." I said to Alphonse. "Knowing him he'd probably laugh at the idea. Since we're talking about the Toss Family, did Celes get here yet? She said she wanted to talk to me about something."
"She's downstairs taking a bath." he replied. "The girl was soaked to the bone and I insisted she get out of her wet clothes at once. She took up my offer to use your personal bathroom. Amy is seeing to getting her warm clothes to wear home as we speak."
"Well done." I remarked thoughtfully as I turned to leave. "I'm going to my office to finish my homework. I'll leave things here to you until my schoolwork is done."
"Very well." he replied as he smiled. I was about to leave when I remembered something and stopped myself.
"One other thing, Alphonse?" I called out.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Thanks for the towel." I replied before walking down the hall.
XxX Celes XxX
"Here you are, Celes." Amy said as I came out of the bathroom. I was so surprised I nearly dropped my towel. "I'll have your wet clothes ready for you tomorrow. Just come by after school."
"You're a real life saver, Amy." I replied as I walked over to her to take a look at the clothes. I was surprised to see that they were in my size. "How did you..."
"I used to work in a clothing store." she said before I could finish asking. "One look at you and it was fairly easy to figure out the right size for you."
"Clearly!" I exclaimed. "Why did you quit?"
"I felt my skills would be better appreciated here." she replied as her face lit up. "Besides, I'm not so sure Alex would feel very uncomfortable around the clothes for women."
"I can imagine." I said we laughed. I quickly dressed and walked upstairs to Alex's office. Seeing the light on I knew he was inside and knocked on the door.
"Come in." he replied as I turned the doorknob and stepped inside. The study was mostly unchanged from how his mother had it furnished. A large oak desk sat next to the window flanked by two cactus plants she bought in Arizona some years ago. Rows of books lined two bookshelves next on the wall to my left. With a flatscreen TV placed between them. A portrait depicting the prophet Elijah ascending into heaven on a chariot hung from the opposite wall. Under it was a sofa, which faced the flatscreen TV.
Alex was busy doing homework at his desk. He smiled when he saw me. I grabbed a chair and pulled it up next to him. "Sorry I took so long downstairs." I said to him. "I did my homework before I came over so we can just hang out when you're done with that."
"I'm almost done." he replied without looking up.
"Take your time." I said as I stood. "I wanted to ask you something about Holy Force Energy. Katrin said a person's ability to use it rests in their faith in a higher power. Does that mean that if you lose your faith and trust in that higher power, you'll lose the ability to harness Holy Force Energy, too?"
"I don't see why not." he replied, putting his pencil down. "When I blamed God for the death of my mother last year, I lost all of my powers. Not only was I forgiven but my powers have grown. Why are you asking, anyway?"
"I wanted to make sure my ability to use holy power wouldn't be effected by the training my Dad put Mark and I through." I said. "Dad said I'll be more powerful if I can master the sword and Holy Force Energy. It's hard enough being one of the only two Holy Knights in the world so...yeah." He looked at me.
"Try being a teenager in high school charge of a church with 700,000 members." he countered as he pushed his dark brown hair out of his eyes. "Even with Alphonse and Amy helping me it's not as easy as it looks. Not to mention the regional delegates like to challenge me on everything."
"Por qué no le preguntas a tu hermana que te ayude?" I asked him in Spanish ("Why don't you ask your sister to come help you?"). Switching back to English I said "You know she won't mind."
"No puedo seguir confiando en que me ayude." he replied ("I can't keep relying on her to help me.") in Spanish before switching back to English. "And besides, Gina and Dad have already done so much for me."
"They're your family and they want to help you." I pointed out. "You know how mine is. If someone needs help and you can help them, you help them."
"That's why I fell in love with you." he replied quietly. "Your family helped me out when I was ready to give up. They wouldn't let me quit or give up no matter how much I wanted to. I'll always remember that kindness."
"You're very welcome." I said as I walked over to him. "Since we're on the subject, is there anything I can do for you as a member of the Toss Family and your girlfriend?" I felt my heart race and my palms beginning to swear as I looked into his eyes. Even though I was the one who said it I could feel face turning red.
"W-When you look at me like that, I can't even think straight." he replied as he blushed as well. At that moment, the door opened and Pastor Alphonse walked in. I gasped in surprise and we quickly separated.
"Please excuse the interruption." he said to Alex. "Celes, your mother just called to remind you to leave for home soon. She tried your cellphone but it was turned off."
"Oh, right!" I exclaimed. "Mom's still getting morning sickness and Dad's still downtown. I need to get home and make something she can keep down."
"Isn't she three months pregnant now?" Alex asked. "Most women are usually over their morning sickness by then."
"Yeah, but she's been having a rough time with it I guess." I replied, which was half true. There was more to it than that but it was a family secret I promised never to tell anyone. "Anyway, I should probably get going before the weather gets even worse."
"Alphonse, can you walk her to the bus stop for me?" Alex suddenly asked the older man. "There's something important I need to do."
"What could be more important than...nevermind." I remarked as I followed Pastor Alphonse into the hallway. Right after the door closed we heard a crash come from inside Alex's office. When I opened the door we saw Alex collapsed in front of his desk.
"Alex!" Pastor Alphonse exclaimed as we ran to his side. He was unconscious and unresponsive but he did have a pulse.
"He's running a fever." I said as I touched his forehead.
"Why didn't you tell us, Alex?" Pastor Alphonse asked he picked him up and carried him into the bedroom next door. I was impressed with how strong Pastor Alphonse was given he was in his 60s.
"He must have been in pain for a long time." I said as he examined him. "We need to bring this fever down or he might not wake up."
"What should I do?" Pastor Alphonse asked as his hands trembled in anguish. "If we lose Alex tonight, I..." Alex was like a son to the older man. After his mother died he took it upon himself to support Alex at the church in any way he can. To me, he was the love of my life. We'd been dating for a few months and I didn't want to have to think about life without him.
"Pray." I replied as I ran to the door. "I'm going to get some water to try to cool him down."
XxX Alex XxX
The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was Alphonse praying over me. It took me a moment to realize I was no longer in my study. "Where am I?" I whispered. I tried to sit up but the pain that swept through my body reminded me why I passed out.
"You're awake!" Alphonse exclaimed, throwing his arms around me. "Thank God! Celes and I found you collapsed in the study and I feared the worst. What happened?"
"I must have been more exhausted than I thought." I replied weakly. "It hurts to move."
"May the Lord's blessings wash over you." Alphonse said as a blanket of light enveloped me. After the light faded I found I could move without feeling pain. Considering I learned much of what I knew from him I wasn't surprised the effect of his blessing was so strong.
"Thanks for the blessing, Alphonse." I remarked as Celes came into the room.
"Are you okay?" she asked as she ran to my side. I knew almost at once she was now the doctor she was training to be and not my girlfriend.
"I'll be fine." I replied as she touched my face. "Alphonse used his power to ease my pain."
"Maybe, but you still have a fever." she said as she looked into my eyes. "If you tried to leave that bed now you'd probably pass out again. You need to rest."
"She's right, Alex." Alphonse added as he nodded approvingly. "I'm sure your father and Gina would be equally devastated if something happened to you."
"When was the last time you ate?" Celes asked me.
"I had lunch at 12:30PM but I haven't eaten anything since then." I replied.
"Then we need to get some food in you." she said as she turned to Alphonse. "Do you think you can make a bowl of soup for him?"
"Of course." he replied as he stood. "I'll begin right away."
"You don't have to do that Alphonse." I said. "Once I get some rest I'll-"
"Shut up and let us help you this time!" Celes snapped, much to my surprise. "I won't leave until I know you're going to survive this. I wouldn't have the right to call myself a doctor, nevermind your girlfriend if I didn't take care you. So please..." The sincerity and concern for my well being...I could see it plain as day in her eyes. I glanced at Alphonse, who looked at me expectantly.
"Celes...you know me all too well." I said as ran my hand through her long hair. "Now that you mention it I am feeling a little hungry. Can you make enough for the two, Alphonse?"
"Of course." he replied, turning to leave. "It'll take a bit of time but I'll be back as soon as I'm done."
"I think I'm ready to answer the question now." I said to Celes as she squeezed my hand.
"What question?" she asked.
"Earlier, you asked me if there was anything you could do for me." I explained as she slowly nodded and smiled. "What I want...is to marry you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Celeste Ann Toss. You've made me a better person and I know you'll be an amazing doctor, too. I want to share that life with you. If you'll have me, that is."
"Of course I'll have you, Alex." she replied before kissing me. "And I mean ALL of me. I'm willing to prove it, too." It took me a moment to realize what she meant. The next thought that entered my mind was the fact I was the head pastor of a church and Celes' father was a war hero.
Then I thought about how much I wanted to take her up on the offer. With a silent nod, we were both about to lose our virginity. She climbed on top of me and helped me take my shirt off. I caressed the lock of her hair that hung from her right shoulder as she traced the lines of my bare chest with her fingers. "Celes." I whispered before she kissed me again. She held the kiss for almost a full minute before gently letting go.
"I'll be gentle." she whispered before taking off her shirt, giving me an up-close look at her bosom. I caught the flicker of uncertainty in her eyes and pulled her close.
"Don't worry, everything will be fine." I said as I pulled her close, taking in her scent. "I wouldn't have said what if I didn't mean it. You know that."
"Let's get these off then." Celes said as she set to work unbuckling my pants. At the same time I worked to unbutton her skirt. In less than a minute both of us were completely naked. She reached for my John but I stopped her halfway.
"Not yet." I said as I ran my hands through her long black hair. Celes' hair ran down the length of her spine and stopped at her waist. She knew it was my favorite part of her and she allowed me to play with it as I wished.
"You're not too bad yourself." she said as she traced a line across my neck with her finger. I nearly bit my tongue suppressing a scream of pleasure. I didn't want Alphonse to hear us in case he suddenly came back early for some reason. I'd be able to tell if he was close but I was in no rush to break off my alone time with Celes just yet. Noticing Celes looking at my aroused member again I whispered into her ear
"It's all yours."
She began to massage my inner thighs as I caressed her breasts. They were large enough to for me to cover with one hand without hurting her. She was like the perfect woman to me. We locked eyes briefly, knowing we were at the point of no return.
"Let's do it." she whispered. We switched positions so that I could aim properly. To my relief, my John slid into her without much resistance.
"You ok?" I asked, the emotion obvious in my voice.
"Only if you are." she replied as she smiled. I suddenly remembered I left my condoms in the desk of my study. I couldn't exactly leave the room, nevermind the bed. From the way she laughed I knew she was thinking the same thing I was. "Relax, I just had my period a few days ago."
"You know me better than I know myself, you know that?" I said as I pulled the sheet over us to keep the cool air back. After the first few thrusts I found myself swimming in euphoria. Without realizing it I suddenly released inside her.
"Alex!" she exclaimed in surprise. When I looked into her eyes she laughed. "Aren't you the one who's supposed to be following my lead?"
"I couldn't help myself." I replied, chuckling. "At least we know you can't get pregnant."
"Do you think I'd have you get me pregnant just to trap you?" she asked in surprise. "Don't compare me to one of those dumb ass MTV moms!"
"Relax, I'm just teasing." I replied, laughing myself. "Besides, you're more likely to get sick than get pregnant right now. I still have a fever after all."
"Even if I do get sick, it was worth it." she whispered as we finally separated. I lay next to her almost completely spent. Amazingly, she remembered to redress as well as help me get my clothes back on. As I quickly changed the sheets only one thought crossed my mind: The next time we could do this.
XxX Celes XxX
"We have committed a great sin tonight." Alex said as I he played with my hair. "Dear God, I can't stop thinking about how amazing that was. I can't begin to imagine what Alphonse will say when he comes back." As if on cue, the door opened and Pastor Alphonse walked in with two bowls of warm soup. He paused momentarily before setting the tray down on the table.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything?" he asked as he looked between is.
"N-Not at all." I replied as I quickly scrambled off the bed. "I was just making sure Alex would be fine after you left is all."
"I see." Alphonse said as he walked over the the window and sniffed the air. "What is that smell? I haven't smelled that in over 20 years. And why were the sheets changed?"
"You're probably better off not knowing." Alex remarked as he shot a glance in my direction.
"Ah, I see." the older man replied without turning around. "Celes, your father called again. He's on his way to pick you up."
"I'll just get my things ready, then." I said as I walked to the door.
"Before you leave Celes, is there anything you would like to say?" he asked. I froze. Did he know?
"Oh, right." I said as I walked back to Alex's side. "I'll call you in the morning. Try to get plenty of rest."
"I will, don't worry." he replied as he kissed my knuckles. "Tell your dad not to worry."
"Of course." I said said before turning to leave again.
"AHEM!" Alphonse said rather loudly.
"What?" Alex and I said at the same time. At this the man signed.
"Don't look so surprised." he said as he smirked. "It's not like I wasn't married once. I know what sex smells like."
"ALPHONSE!" Alex exclaimed in horror as we stared at him in surprise.
"Don't worry, your secret is safe with me." he continued. "You're both teenagers after all. I see no reason to mention this to your parents or the delegates. After all, I saw nothing."
"Thank you, Pastor Alphonse!" I exclaimed as I hugged him. The sound of a truck horn outside told us my father had arrived.
"Your chariot awaits." Alex said to me. "I'll pray for us."
"That's all I could ask for." I replied as I went to the door.. "Good night, Pastor Alphonse."
"Good night, Celes." he said in turn as I left. I ran outside and jumped into Dad's Hummer. He waited until I had fastened my seatbelt before puling away from the curb. Unless you saw both of my parents you'd have a hard time believing he was my biological father. I inherited all of my looks from my mother save my skin color, which was the same color as a graham cracker. It wasn't too surprising considering my mother was Korean and my father was African American.
One of the other things I got from my father was my skill with swords. I was nowhere near his level but I could easily hold me own against anyone else. Since I was on top of my schoolwork I would be graduating from high school at the end of the school year. I was already taking classes at Tufts University downtown where I was studying to become a doctor.
"So, how did it go?" Dad asked as he stopped for a traffic light.
"How did what go?" I asked in surprise.
"I'm sure we talked about answering questions with a question." he said. "I'm talking about Holy Force Energy."
"Oh, right!" I exclaimed, remembering why I originally wanted to talk to Alex. "He said it should be fine for me to be able to do both at the same time. If he lost his powers and got them back, anything's possible."
"That would explain why he was depressed last year." Dad remarked thoughtfully. "He's had so much happen to him in such a short time it's a wonder he hasn't caved from the stress."
"Actually, he did today." I replied as the light turned green. "Alex collapsed in his study with a high fever. Alphonse was able to get the fever down so his life's not in danger anymore. I made him promise to call me tomorrow so I know he's still alive."
"He's very lucky to have a doctor in training as a girlfriend." Dad said, smiling. "I'm proud of you, Celes." When we arrived home dinner was on the table. I found my younger brother Mark Anthony eating a slice of pizza at the kitchen table.
"Where did your mom go?" Dad asked as I sat at the table.
"She just went upstairs to check on Ann." he replied.
"Do you want me to go see her?" I asked Dad.
"Nah, I'll go." he replied as he grabbed a slice from the box. "I won't be long." After he left, Mark used the power of Fire Force Energy to melt the cheese on his slice of pizza. I was impressed he didn't burn the paper plate it sat on.
"That's pretty impressive." I remarked. "I know Fire is your specialty like Katrin but you're getting good at it."
"Well, I have been practicing unlike some other people in this family." he replied. I used Water Force energy to knock the slice out of his hand just as he picked it up. The slice his the wall behind him and slid down, leaving a trail of tomato sauce and cheese behind. At that moment, Mark's mother Terra entered the kitchen. When she saw the slice on the floor she had a pretty good idea of what happened.
"Oops." I said as my face reddened.
"You're lucky that didn't hit anyone." she said to me. "And I expect you to clean that up before your father comes back downstairs."
"I know." I said as I got up to grab a cleaning rag.
"By the way, Katrin called earlier." Terra said as I got to work cleaning the mess I made. "She bought a house in Brooklyn."
"She did?" I asked in surprise. "I thought she was just getting an apartment?"
"I thought so too but she said she wanted her own place." Terra replied with a laugh. "I guess living with a guy with the same face as you for as long as she has will do it."
"If she has her own place, I'll have to visit her when I have some free time." I replied. Having finished cleaning up I wiped my hands on my jeans. "I'm going to bed. We'll finish this later, Mark."
"Anytime, Celes." he replied as he grinned.
Madison Park High School, Roxbury (Boston), MA
XxX Alex XxX
True to his word, Alphonse kept our secret. He did tell me to be more responsible, though. I missed a few days of school but now I was well enough to catch up on what I missed. Even though all the teachers knew what my job was they couldn't make an exception for me. When the final bell rang, I met Celes by the football field in the back of the school. She was watching them practice from the bleachers next to the field.
As I neared, I noticed the sword that sat in her lap. Even after her father talked to the principal she wasn't allowed to carry it around in school. She put it in a secret compartment inside her locker in the morning and took it back out after the final bell. As she watched the team practice she never took her eyes off the field even when I sat down next to her.
"Welcome back." she said as I sat next to her.
"Thanks." I replied. "Anything interesting happen down there?"
"Not yet but it's gonna." she replied as her eyes met one of the players. "Found him."
"Who's he?" I asked as my eyes tried to zero in on whoever she was talking about.
"Shane Nelson." she explained. "He just made the team but I owe him some payback for trying to set my hair on fire."
"When did he try to do that?" I asked in surprise.
"This morning." she replied as she suddenly stood. Her hands glowed with a white light as she focused her power. She pointed one of her hands at him, causing a beam of light to strike her target. The force of the concentrated explosion of power launched him across the field. He landed on the on the other end of the field goalpost.
"That was...impressive." I said as his teammates rushed over to get him down. The jock looked and glared at us.
"It serves you right." she replied as she got up to leave. She took a few steps before she suddenly stumbled, nearly falling down the stairs.
"Celes!" I exclaimed as I rushed to her side.
XxX Celes XxX
Are you ok?" he asked me as he helped me sit down.
"I just need a moment." I replied. "I think I might have overdone it there."
"Well if that's all, you know the saying." he remarked. "Two wrongs don't make a right."
"Says the pastor who took my virginity." I shot back playfully. "Come on, let's get out of here." We walked to Dudley Station, which could take people all over the city and beyond. We ran into my friend other best friend Jenna Wilkinson there. She was waiting for one of the buses going downtown.
"So what are you two up to?" she asked.
"We just came from school like you did." I replied. "What about you?"
"I'm going pick up my camera from the repair shop." she said. "It's one of those models only the media and the paparazzi use these days. That idiot Shane Nelson broke it last week."
"I paid him back for both of us, then." I replied before explaining what happened. "Let's just say he won't be bothering anyone anytime soon."
"You sure you didn't kill him?" she asked in surprise.
"Nah, but the last time I saw him he was in no position to do anything but hang tight." I replied as the three of us laughed. I glanced to the right and saw the bus I needed pull up. "Looks like that's my cue to head out. I'll call you later, Jenna."
"Where are you headed off to?" she asked.
"I'm going to train in Franklin Park for a little while." I replied as I turned to leave. "What about you, Alex?"
"I'm going to my Dad's store to help him with something." he said. "I'll be home later though so call me when you have some free time." I ran to the bus and got on just before the doors closed. The bus drove up Washington Street, which merged with Blue Hill Ave. I got off just after it turned onto American Legion Highway and walked the rest of the way from there.
I entered a clearing that already bore the marks of my more intense training sessions. It was secluded enough for me to train in peace but at the same time, criminal elements wouldn't try to mess with me here. I started with some basic drills before moving into more challenging techniques.
One in particular I was working on would be the ultimate defense against anything. The problem was getting it to work when I'd need it the most. Every time I used it the timing would always be off and now it was getting frustrating. Dad even tested it to see if the technique would work only if I was about to be killed but that didn't produce any results, either. There was no doubt the skill I called Super Damage Guard would save my ass when I needed it the most. The trick was getting it to work.
When I saw the sun beginning to set I decided to call it a day. I walked back the way I came and crossed the street to catch the bus home. About five minutes passed before other people came to the bus stop to wait for the bus. One of them appeared to have some shady intentions. The man wore a black hooded sweatshirt that looked two sizes two big for him. His eyes darted between the rest of us, sizing us up. I considered just walking to the next bus stop when the bus pulled up to the curb.
The suspicious man boarded the bus before I did. He clearly didn't get on the bus for the ride for he immediately started arguing with the driver. I bus pass and found an empty seat next to the backdoor. I kept my eyes trained on him while my left hand rested on the hilt my sword, which was hidden under my coat. I silently prayed I would not be forced to use it when the bus started to move.
I breathed a sigh of relief when the driver waved the man through. Obviously he decided to not take his chances with this guy. I locked eyes with the hooded man as he walked past me. "The fuck are you lookin' at?" he shouted as he sat behind me.
"Relax, I'm just a high school school student." I quietly replied as the bus began to move up Blue Hill Ave. Suddenly the man jumped out of his seat and pulled a switchblade out of his pocket.
"Today must be my lucky day." he said as he waved the blade in my face. "You're gonna do exactly what I say or I'll have to ruin that pretty face of yours."
"You have no idea who you're messing with." I said as I stood and turned to the frighted elderly woman sitting in the seat across from me. "You there. Can you vouch my actions are in self-defense?" She looked confused but quietly nodded. "Good."
I unsheathed my sword, shattered the pocketknife and sheathed it again in a single second. The motion was fluid and thus he didn't realize the knife was broken until he tried to use it, the broken blade falling harmlessly to the floor. Had I fully unsheathed my sword I probably could have cut his hand off.
"Shit!" he exclaimed in horror as he fully understood how easily I could have killed him.
"Now I do it for real." I said as gripped my sword's handle again. As if on cue the man ran past me and screamed for the driver to stop the bus. He was more than happy to be rid of the man. When the doors closed again the other passengers cheered.
"That was incredible!" the woman I talked to moments ago exclaimed. "Where did you learn to do that?"
"My dad taught me." I replied.
"When you get home, tell him I said thank you." she said.
"I will." I replied as I smiled.
Garcia Residence, Dorchester (Boston), MA
XxX Alex XxX
Dad and I had just finished setting up the new flatscreen TV he'd bought when the phone rang. I wiped my hands on my jeans and ran to answer it. "Garcia residence, this is Pastor Alex Garcia speaking." I said. As soon as I said that the person on the other end laughed. Of course, I knew right away who it was.
"Richard told me you'd say that if you picked up first." My sister Gina remarked. "I heard you were really sick a few days ago. You'd better not work yourself to death. I won't forgive you if you die."
"Don't worry, I'll be careful." I replied. "Dad and I just finished setting up a new flatscreen. This one has internet built in and you can even stream Netflix. Now we're more than ready for the Super Bowl this time."
"Boys and their toys." Gina remarked. "By the way, how are things going with you and the love of your life?"
"She helped me make a speedy recovery." I replied as the events of that night we were alone together replayed in my mind. No that I was going to tell my sister we had sex a few days ago. "After this year I might ask her parents if I can marry her."
"You know very well the legal age is 18 in Massachusetts, Alejandro." she pointed out.
"We can get married at sixteen if our parents sign off on it." I shot back. "And knowing her dad I'm sure he'll let us get married."
"Well I hope you know what you're doing." Gina said as Dad walked back in the room. "There are some parts of being married that can stress you out. Once you say 'I do' there's no more 'me'. Talk to Richard when you get the chance. He'll tell you."
"Alphonse...?" I said in surprise. "That's right, he was married a long time ago. Maybe I'll talk to him later."
"Hey, is that Gina?" Dad asked me.
"Oh yeah sure here you go." I replied as I passed the phone to him and went upstairs.
I knew Richard Alphonse was married years ago. Twice, actually. His first wife was the love of his life but she and the baby girl they were expecting died in childbirth. He remarried a few years later but when he decided to become a priest his wife didn't want to change careers and they divorced.
Even so, the way Gina said it had me wondering if there was more to Alphonse's past than even I was aware.
Toss Residence, Dorchester (Boston), MA
XxX Celes XxX
"I'm home." I said as I walked in the front door. "Anyone here?"
"Welcome home, Celes." I looked in the living room where Mom was organizing some documents for work. This was the first time I'd seen her out of bed in weeks so naturally I was more than a little surprised.
"Mom!" I exclaimed as I rushed to her side. "What are you doing out of bed?"
"I'm fine now, Celes." she replied as she hugged me. "My doctor cleared me to return to work the day after tomorrow so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to use tomorrow to catch up on everything I missed while I was sick.
"Welcome back, Mom." I said as my eyes watered. "I really missed you."
"You and everyone else, I'm sure." she replied as she looked into my eyes with concern. Mom had been sick her whole life. What only me, my parents, Fin and Katrin knew was Mom died giving birth to Fin and Katrin. At the moment she died, Fin and Katrin gave her some of their power to bring her back to life. When I was first told about it I gave her some of my power, too. She is my mother after all.
"I'm just glad to have you back, Mom." I said as I smiled, which put her at ease. "A guy tried to pull a knife on me on the bus. I didn't hurt him but he won't be bothering anyone anytime soon."
"You didn't use Force Energy did you?" she asked as her eyes narrowed.
"No, but I did use my sword to break his knife." I replied with a shrug. "I moved too fast for the cameras to pick it up, don't worry."
"I know you're always careful but I can't help but worry." she pointed out. "When you start a family of your own, you'll know the feeling too. Speaking of family, how's Alex doing these days?'
"Today was his first day back." I replied. I then went on to tell her about the rest of my day. About an hour later Mom decided to turn in for the night and went upstairs. I went in the kitchen and made a sandwich for myself. After that I went to my room to do homework for my med school classes. Fifteen minutes after I started on my homework I suddenly felt sick to my stomach. I ran across the hall into the bathroom and emptied the partially digested sandwich into the toilet.
"You ok in there?" I heard Mark ask from the hallway.
"I think the mayonnaise went bad." I replied as I staggered to my feet. A moment later I was throwing up again. When the feeling finally passed I went back to my room. I finished the rest of my homework and then turned off the light.
Before I climbed into bed I got on my knees and prayed to God I was only suffering from food poisoning. Having just had my period, I knew I couldn't possibly be pregnant.
Then again, I was in med school and knew better than that.
XxX Kara XxX
Somewhere in London
"Come on Kara push!" the doctor urged. I moaned softly as I felt the baby's head emerge from my opening. With one final push the baby was out. Only then did I relax. The doctor took the baby away without announcing the gender. There was no need. The baby was stillborn.
"I'm sorry, Kara." My little sister Sumi said as she squeezed my hand. "That's the 23rd baby you've lost since your firstborn. You know your body isn't designed to support a human baby."
"I did it before." I shot back. "I held her, Sumi. She was perfect. She was beautiful. Once he found out what I was he wanted nothing to do with me and threw me off a cliff but before throwing the baby into the sea. That's when I knew Master Highwind was right about humans. All the care about is getting what they want the way they want. They don't care who they hurt in the process."
"What do you want, sister?" Sumi asked after a long pause.
"I want what was taken from me, Sumi." I replied as I looked her in the eyes. I could tell she was frightened. "It's been 40 years. If she were alive, my daughter would be 40 but look like a human in her mid-20s. He took something precious from me. Maybe it's time I returned the favor. It has been a while since I've been to The States, after all."
And so we have the end of the new Chapter 1.
I actually merged Chapters 1 and 2 of the original story here. I cut out a lot of the fancy talk and just got right to point. You'll notice I put an emphasis on Alphonse's past here and there. That's intentional and will be revisited.
As for the scene above yes that's new. You'll find out her relevance to the new storyline a little later on but you certainly haven't seen the last of her. Some of it has to do with a conversation Alphonse has in the yet to be drafted prequel to this (a short but interesting story, to say the least when I get around to writing it). I'll explain Nephilim a bit later in the story but as hinted above they age slower than humans do.
The new Chapter 2 comes soon. It's a LONG one.
One last thing: For the first time ever I'm using visual cues so the reader knows when the story being told from another person's point of view. It was the biggest complaint most folks have with my stories here and on FFnet. In that sense I'm using this story to try out a new system. I felt it was especially important given I introduced two new characters in the opening chapter (Kara and Sumi). I will only use it when writing in first person though. Tell me what you think!