Chapter - 7
Back in the present time, everything is the same. Zack is still fighting with his dad; Leo is interacting with his soulmate; and Zenny and Jeff are still driving home.
Zenny looks at Jeff out of the corner of his eyes, “Do you remember when we first met Zack and Leo?”
Jeff scoffs, “How could I forget?! You pestered me for like a week about logging in so I could meet Majesty.”
Zenny smiles while he talks, “And aren’t you glad I did.”
“Yeah, I am.”
“Do you really think, it’s possible for us Earthlings to become council members like Zack says?” Secretly hoping.
Jeff looks at Zenny, and pauses for a good while as he thinks about the question, “ . . .I don’t know man. I would say no,” Zenny gives Jeff a quick look but returns his eyes to the road; and continues to listen to Jeff, “but there is something about Zack. He never gives up—he never doubts. And look at Leo.”
“I know! I’ve seen him fly in real life! You know that quickie-mart that’s by the café?” His face and voice showing his amusement, “He flew me and him to get some snacks.”
Jeff nods in sympathy, “Yeah,” he chuckles, “and that bastard has read my mind.”
Completely shocked, Zenny looks at Jeff, “No way! When did he do that?!” He quickly looks back at the road.
“Yeah it was a while back before we got on this new planet. Remember when we did that side-quest with that dark-knight boss?”
“Yeah remember. I still can’t sell that sword he dropped—no one can afford it for the recommended price.”
“Well when we all were walking out of the café, he read my mind.”
Zenny widen from the astonishing information, “Aww damn!”
Jeff sighs, “Yeah and now Leo knows that I think his e-girlfriend is a high-born snob.”
Zenny’s mouth opens wide in shock, his voice showing his slight amusement, “Whaat! You think that?!”
“Yeah of course I do. The only reason she is even talking to him is because she thinks he is from Morin.”
“Wait—why would she think that?”
Jeff explains, “Think of it from her point of view. She meets this guy who bets a birth-coin against one of hers. She would naturally think he’s a high-born.”
“Ooooh I get it, and Leo wouldn’t have to say he wasn’t a high-born.”
“Exactly. He just has to keep playing along.”
Zenny gives Jeff an inquisitive look, “But why do you think she’s a snob?”
“She’s a high-born,” Jeff points in front of him as if to say keep your eyes on the road, “All high-borns think they are better than everyone else.”
Zenny look back at the road. “Daaamn,” Zenny starts laughing.
Jeff looks at his longtime friend, “What’s so funny?”
“Leo’s going to mind-fuck you in real life.”
Jeff counters, his voice showing a hint of amusement, “No, that’s what he’s doing to his e-girlfriend.”
Zenny laughs even harder, “yeah,” he starts trusting his hips in his seat, “mind-fuck the shit out of that high-born bitch.”
Jeff keeps things more mature, “And the sad thing is I think Leo is really falling for this girl.”
While keeping his eyes on the road, Zenny turns his face towards Jeff, “What’s so sad about that? Love is a beautiful thing.”
Jeff answers, lost in his own thoughts, “They can never be together,” looking straight ahead but miles way, “They’re from two different worlds—literally and figuratively.”
“Ahhh I see what you’re saying.” Zenny pulls up to the gated entrance. He reaches out of the car and presses and holds a button on a panel while he pops his head out the window and speaks, “It’s me Zenny.”
Jeff keeps his insightful mood up, “Yeah and when they do finally meet—it could be very bad for Leo.”
Zenny drives down the private driveway. “What do you mean?”
“Well, when she sees that he is not a high-born, born with super genetics due to their generations’ repeated prolong exposure to All-World, then, she’s not going to feel the same way Leo feels about her.”
Zenny pulls up in front of Jeff’s house. “I think Love can overcome all.” It starts to lightly drizzly outside.
Jeff unbuckles his seatbelt, “A beautiful sentiment my friend”, he puts his hand on Zenny’s shoulder, “and so naïve,” nodding his head while still looking at Zenny as the words come out of his mouth; the tone in his voice matching the pensive look on his face, “I hope you’re right . . . for Leo’s sake.” He gets out of the car and the mood changes when he waves goodbye, his voice carries an up-beat tone, “See you tomorrow.”
Zenny waves back, “Bye.”
Jeff looks up slightly as he speaks, the smile still on his face, “What’s up with this rain? They said it would be no rain with clear and sunny skies.”
Zenny shakes his head, his smile still on his face, “At least they got the clear and sunny part right.”
Jeff chuckles, “Yeah go figure.” Jeff shuts the car door and walks up to his door.
Zenny says bye again, and without turning back around, Jeff waves him off.
Zenny rolls up his windows and goes to his home.
The light sprinkle becomes a light rain. Zenny makes it home safely and just before the light rain turns into a steady rain. The skies slowly begin to darken as the rain fall continues to increase.
And back in the low-income part of town, Zack is walking out of his parent’s place. His mom has tears running down her face. She hugs him and gives him a kiss on the cheek, her voice is sob-filled, “Be careful.” Feeling the same way that the sky looks, he doesn’t want to be reminded; so he keeps his head down and lets her hug him.
He hugs her back, “I will mom.” With that said, he walks out into the rain. A hundred feet from his parent’s door Zack hears his dad’s voice, “Hey come back here.” The middle-age man’s voice still holding hints of their fight.
The sound of his dad’s voice initially stops Zack, but he overrides his inherence reaction.
“I need to talk to you Zack,” he calls to him again.
Zack keeps on walking: Just going to be the same bullshit.
“Please Zack I need to talk to you.”
Zack stops. The rain is falling down hard. He knows he is going to regret his next decision but that’s his dad. He turns around and walks back to the man who raised him.
The first things that comes out of the middle-age man’s mouth, “I’m proud of you,” he hugs his son, “I know we’re not your biological parents, but you are my son. I care about you and want the best for you. I didn’t know how else to push you. You need to go out on your own. I know you’re going to achieve all your goals…”
Zack’s body trembles with mix emotions.
“… I don’t want to see you spend another second of your life here. Go out into the world and experience a life the rest of us Earthlings can only dream about”
Still silent, Zack nods. His arms: hanging limp by his sides.
His dad releases his hug, and without a word, Zack turns back around and heads back into the rain. He doesn’t look back. He just keeps walking. Even in the rain, his face is still hot; thinking about the past few years: Damn it! Why couldn’t he have said that in the first place?! All the little remarks and rude comments: Why didn’t he just tell me?! The question keeps going through his head—why. He tries to calm himself down, but he can’t. He knows if he calls Leo right now; sounding like he has been crying and asks if he can stay over that Leo will for sure say yes. His skin cools off. He practices few times to sound normal, “Hey man is it cool if I come over and hangout?” Fully ready, he calls Leo. His phone rings a few times and on the other side . . .
“Hey wait up,” Leo talks to the beautiful face of Malissa, “Zack’s calling me.”
She stops in mid-sentence, “--Okay.”
Leo answers Zack’s call, the Malissa’s face is replaced by a black screen, “What’s up man?”
“You want to hang out. Get some pizza and play some All-World on that sweet neuro set-up you got?” Nailed it.
Leo smile as he thinks: Yeah it is a pretty sweet system, “Maybe another time man.”
“Alright man, I’ll talk to you later.” He closes his phone and continues walking towards Leo’s place because that’s the only place he knows outside their old neighborhood.
Leo ends his call with Zack, and Malissa’s face reappears on the screen. “So me tell about that . . .”
Malissa picks up where she left off, talking about her day and the group she goes through All-World with. As time goes on Malissa’s talk about her friends gets Leo thinking about his buddies: I bet Jeff is reading a book. And Zenny he’s probably talking to past girlfriends. And Zack he’s . . .I wonder what he’s doing?
The more Leo and Malissa enjoy each other’s company the more Leo can’t stop thinking about his life-long pal. And then after some time of mulling it over, he makes a decision in his head: If she’s the one—She’ll understand. “I’m really having a great time talking with you. I want to catch up with an old buddy of mine. It’s raining cat and dogs over here.”
She gives him a look of befuddlement, “Cat and dogs?! Do they get hurt?!”
He can’t help but smile while he waves his hand, “Never mind--it’s an Earth expression. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Okay bye.” They both end their call.
Leo calls Zack. By now Zack has already passed Leo’s place.
“What’s up man,” Zack says trying to not sound overly excited.
“Did you think your dad will let you drive the car in the rain.”
“Yeah I think he’ll let me borrow the car.”
“Cool. Then get over here man.”
“Alright I’ll be there in about ten.”
Leo thinks it is a little odd that it will take him only ten minutes when driving usually takes forty-five to an hour depending on the traffic, but he doesn’t question Zack’s statement.
Zack turns around and starts heading back in the direction of Leo’s condo. Ten minutes later, Zack knocks on Leo’s door. Leo opens the door and Zack is dripping-wet. He looks outside as he speaks, “It’s raining bad but damn—what’d you do walk here.”
Zack smile. “Yeah.” Zack walks in.
Leo shuts the door behind him. “Give me sec,” Leo starts to walk away as he explains, his voice become less clear as his distance increases, “I got an extra pair of sweat pants and shirt.” Leo comes back and hands Zack sweat-pants and a white t-shirt. Leo walks away to get things set up, so they can both log into All-World.
Zack takes off his wet clothes and puts on the dry clothes. He then goes to the dryer and puts his wet clothes in the machine and then goes to the guest bed room and passes out on the bed.
Sensing something is wrong with Zack, Leo checks up on him. He sees that is friend is passed out. This makes Leo even more concerned. Combined with him showing up soaking wet and then not being in the mod to play All-World. The only person on Earth that loves to play All-World as much as Leo is Zack, and Leo knows that Zack loves entering All-World through the top-of-the-line system. Leo even bought an extra neuro-gear so Zack could link up into the system when he was over. Concerned for his best friend, Leo uses his fledgling mind-powers to reach Zenny and Jeff: Hey stop reading that book. I need you to come over.
While still reading his book in his bed, Jeff talks in his own head: God damn it, Leo! What did I tell you about getting in my head?!
Leo explains: Something isn’t right with Zack. He seems really down. I figure seeing all the guys together will cheer him up.
Jeff closes his book and sit up in his bed: What’s wrong with him?
I have no clue.
Well read his mind.
I can’t. He somehow is able to block me.
Jeff laugh and then rubs it in Leo’s face: Yeah that’s what you get! I’ll get ready. You better talk to Zenny, he’s my ride.
Okay. I’ll get back to you.
While Leo searches for Zenny’s mind, Zenny is having some fun. He is talking to a very attractive woman around his age, “Oh yeah, keep doing that! You’re so hot baby!”
Zenny, you have to come over.
The sudden voice in his head startles him. He leans up-right in his chair, as he starts looking around, “Who the—fuck?!”
The girl on the screen calls back to Zenny, “Baby—who you talking to?” She keeps playing with herself.
Zenny looks back the screen and explain, “Oh it’s nothing baby. I thought I heard a noise outside.”
It’s me--Leo. Hurry up!
Hey Leo, you sound different in your mind-reader voice—like you a buff-dude. Zenny thinks for a moment: Wait—can you see me?
No Zenny, I can’t see you. Hurry up dude. You got to pick up Jeff too.
Zenny breathes a sigh of relief knowing Leo can’t see him: Alright-alright give me ten minutes—maybe twenty.
We don’t got time for your shit Zenny. Put that thing away and get over here as soon as possible.
He is still doing what he was doing before Leo started talking to him: I thought you said you couldn’t see me!
I’m a mind-reader.
The lady calls back to him, “Oh baby I love it when you do it like that,” her voice beings to carry intensified sexual undertones, “you’re getting me so hot.”
Zenny looks at the face of the woman, who he thinks will be the mother of his children, and explains as he puts himself way, “Melony—baby. I got to go. It’s an emergency.”
Melony calls back, “I understand—but you owe me.”
Now standing up, he gives her sympathetic words, “I owe you big time.” He gives her a kissy-face and with that said, he ends the stream with her. He grabs his keys and heads out.
Zenny and Jeff are at Leo’s place as fast as Zenny’s car can go—safely.
They walk in, and Zenny and Jeff greet Leo. “What’s the problem with him,” Jeff says.
Leo shakes his head, “I don’t know.”
It seems obvious to Zenny, “He probably got in a fight with his dad. Think about it. His dad is always on his case. That’s why we never go over there.”
“I didn’t think about that--but you’re right.” Jeff walk towards the guest bedroom while he talks, “I’m going to check on him.” Looking down at Zack, Jeff puts his hand on Zack’s shoulder and mildly shakes him, “Wake up buddy.”
Zack opens his eyes, his voice is a little drowsy, and he looks up at Jeff, “What are you doing here . . .”
“We just wanted—”
Zenny interrupts Jeff, “You and Leo were going to play the game without us?!
Still a little drowsy, he sits up, “It’s not a game.”
“Sorry boss,” Zenny says.
Seeing his brothers-in-arms all around him brings Zack to high spirits. He springs up to his feet. “Alright, let’s do this.”
They all link up and log into All-World. Majesty, Doc, and Echelon are standing, in game, looking at Zenny.
Majesty waves his hand inches in front of Zenny’s face, “Zenny—what are you doing man? We’re all waiting for you.”
Doc explains, “He’s ordering a pizza.”
“I want the big pizza—not the little one.” Zenny reacts to the person on the other side of the line while he paces in the living room, “No, I don’t want the fifteen pound—I want the big one—yes that one—Thank you,” he stops pacing as he gets real serious, “That’s double pineapple, double ham with double cheese. ’Cause last time it wasn’t double pineapple.” He shakes his head, “Well it didn’t look like it—I’m just saying. Okay—thirty minutes. Alright bye.”
Majesty starts laughing, “Don’t tell me he’s order that big pizza again.”
Doc nods. “Yeah he is. I just hope they don’t mess-up our order this time.”
Last time they only brought out the fifteen-pound pizza by mistake so in order to correct the situation they gave them that pizza for free and brought out the correct order.
Echelon: I didn’t mind.
Doc looks at Majesty and talks, a smile on his face, “Who do you think is going to win this time?”
Zenny’s avatar comes back to life.
Majesty gives his educated guess, “I think Zenny’s going to win but I gotta back my boy Ech.”
“Well that seems like a safe bet. After all, he did win last time.”
Majesty explains, “That’s only because Zenny sneezed.”
“Fair enough. I give you 2 to 1 odd in favor of Ech.”
“Make it 3 to 1 and you got yourself a bet.”
Without any hesitation, Majesty holds his hand out, “Deal.” The two shake on it.
Zenny and Echelon are already walking away.
Majesty calls to them, “Hey wait up.”
Zenny informs the leader and the scientist, “We don’t have time to waste. Pizza is coming!” He looks at Echelon while they keep walking, “Isn’t that right Ech.”
Majesty chuckle as him and Doc catch up, “Okay, point taken. Let’s get this quest going.”
While the four Earth-guys start their latest side-quest, the Friday night for the five Morin-teenagers continues to unfold.