I spent sunday evening at the Fergusons’ residence installing network hardware throughout their house, since they wanted hardlines to every room. When I was finished, they had ethernet ports next to nearly every outlet. The job went rather smoothly and probably would have only taken a few if they had had any of the supplies ready. Despite all of my efforts to clearly state my qualifications for various jobs, there were still people who stumbled across my website and expected me to be as well-supplied with various tools as a professional of every single trade. Though I took some loss in pay along the way, I was actually getting a fair number of odd tools from all the jobs where I decided I might need a particular tool again. Perhaps I could make a workroom of sorts when the day came for me to find my own place. Of course, Aaliyah would likely claim that finding a house was a secretary’s job with how she already dove into her job without me even signing her contract yet.
When I returned home from Fergusons’ house, I cleaned up, readied for bed, and then checked if anything new had popped up on my website using my desktop. Though I didn’t doubt Aaliyah’s ability, I wouldn’t be comfortable that everything was working properly until I actually received a few notifications on my phone once more. I hadn’t felt my website looked bad by any means, but what I had done would look childish next to the sleek, graphically advanced thing before me. The layout was still easy to follow, but I eventually noticed that there were subtle shifts in colors as the cursor moved over the page, guiding the user to additional options related to anything over which the cursor hovered. Instead of a typical pause and gradual load time when something was clicked, there were game-like transitions, such as the image bubbling and appearing to evaporate to reveal the page below. I couldn’t believe the speed at which things loaded or that she managed all of this while I was at work. Aaliyah must have been considering the idea of working with me for a while now to have this much ready.
After I finished playing with the new site design, I sent Emma a text and asked her to get on Skype. I was meaning to voice chat, but a video call was incoming within a minute of the text sending. “Man-slave! You usually just text. What’s up?” She was wearing a pink tank top which made my eyes want to wander, so I focused on her deep blue eyes all the more. “I just wanted to run a few things by you and thought this would be easier. First off, Regina has some natural ability at magic, so I would like her to train with us.” Emma seemed surprised. “Really? How can you be sure?” I motioned with my hands as I said, “I could see residual magic covering her, not just her hand like when you did that thing with the plant. The stuff was seriously coating her whole body.” Emma’s surprise seemed to magnify. “That’s pretty cool, honestly. I haven’t encountered many people with natural gifts. Then you show up and pow! There they are. Any idea what she can do?”
“Regina believes that she somehow affects the odds of things happening, but I’m not really sure how to test her at it. Maybe you can think up something tomorrow. I was a little preoccupied attempting to verify that she didn’t know what she had. I told her how quickly Jarod and I had mastered making light, taught her to see the energy, and then let her try doing it. She wasn’t even close and became more than a little frustrated.” Emma gaped for a moment and then started giggling. “James! You’re horrible! That poor girl. I bet that made your night together awkward.” I hesitated a moment and could see she noticed, but I felt very uncomfortable telling Emma how the night progressed when I wasn’t even sure how things stood between us. I took a slow breath and said, “They actually went rather well.” Emma smiled and replied “So things started getting hot and heavy? You kissed, didn’t you! Oh my. You did. How was it? Ugh. Jealous. I LOVE kissing. You were gentle, right? You seem like you’d be a great kisser, though I bet she was the assertive one.”
Emma was grinning and biting her tongue between her teeth while gazing off away from the camera. I was fairly certain that I wanted to avoid what was happening in there as much as Jarod would want to know. Oh. Jarod. I then remembered to say, “Before we get too distracted with the dance, I was curious if we could start training for combat, as in fighting other people that can use magic.” Emma snapped out of her daydream to ask “Whoa. Why the sudden interest in fighting magicky-people? Are you now wanting me out of the picture, since your date went well?” I smirked and said, “Yes, Emma. I’m going to learn your secrets and use them against you. Then I’m going for world domination.” She grinned and replied “You could just dominate me instead.” I felt as if my skin was on fire and looked quite flushed in Skype’s camera view. “Umm.. I don’t think it would be domination if you’re so willing.” Emma gaped and said, “You’re getting kinky, but are you calling me easy?”
Realizing that I was not going to win this round, I ignored her bait and told her “Uh… Back to what I was saying, I think there is a girl starting fires and killing people with them throughout the city. If I’m right about her using magic for this purpose, we need to stop her.” Emma’s smile didn’t even falter as she commented “There always is another girl involved, isn’t there. Don’t worry. I like them too.” I attempted to convey my earnestness in this by saying, “Seriously, Emma. She’s killing people, many of which were uncomfortably close in proximity to me at the time.” Her beautiful smile faded as she told me “I do appreciate your enthusiasm, but you’re talking about getting involved in really dangerous spells, James. I’ll help you train, but don’t forget you can back out at any time. We’re teenagers. Isn’t that enough without being superheroes?” I gave her a toothy grin and said, “If Aaliyah can be an alternate reality’s Robin, you and I can surely handle wearing tights and capes.” She winked and playfully observed “I would have thought you’d want me in tight leather after all the domination talk.”
There was truly no stopping Emma’s fun when she was feeling playful. I lost count of how many times I had to remind myself that she probably wasn’t really interested in me as we continued talking about superheroes, costumes, and magic, that amazing energy which could be manipulated in countless ways through the correct expression of will if one had the knack. “So James, did you hear that the twins will be back in town soon? They’re looking forward to seeing you again.” I nodded and said, “They sent me a text early this morning. Do you think you’ll be able to handle them attending college here?” She shrugged. “They’ll probably spend most of their time trying to confuse you, since they didn’t have much luck last time. I really wish I knew how you tell them apart so well.” I still didn’t honestly know, but I tried to explain why. “At first, I was using different tricks, such as the difference in eye color you told me about. I can’t say what happened or how, but I gradually just started being able to feel which one was which when they spoke or touched me.”
“You are such a freak. I love it! I hope I can eventually express how few people can use magic without fey blood of some sort. Among those, I’ve never found anyone in my research having an extra ability of any sort! I wonder how that works.” If Emma and Jarod ever got hooked on finding oddities together, there would be enough excitement to rival preschoolers at a Christmas party. “I’m glad that you’re happy, but I don’t really know what to say when people ask. Perhaps I should just tell them that you told me even when you’re not around.” She laughed and said, “Tell me how that works for you. Are we meeting up at Mr. Davis’ garage after school again?” I told her we were and then we bid one another “good night.” I went to bed wondering what tomorrow would be like, since I would once more be training in a martial practice with Regina. How would Regina feel if Emma was being flirtatious with me? Then another thought dawned: What would Regina do if Emma started flirting with her? Tomorrow was going to be very interesting indeed.