I wasn’t certain how long the music was playing before I was consciously aware of its beautiful melody. I felt someone was touching my cheek, and my eyes shot open. Trix was beside me, wearing far too little for my comfort. “AALIYAH TRIXIBELLE SYPHER!” I shouted, pulling back. “Yes, boss-man, sir?” she asked from the foot of my bed. The music had stopped when I yelled. Had she been singing to me? There was a violin in her hand, and she looked completely confused. “Did you have a bad dream, boss-man, sir?” she asked me, still bewildered. “Umm… I can’t really say. Why are you in here?” I inquired. Still looking at me quizzically, she replied “To wake you up, of course. We need to take off to the convention soon!” She started dancing around my room as she explained in a sing-song voice “The others are already up and moving, so I thought I better wake you up. The boss wouldn’t want to be late when his employees are so prompt, would he, boss-man, sir? I am paying for your company to help represent Global Princess Entertainment today.” I was tempted to ask if she understood how convoluted things got when my secretary hired my company to help her business, but I was rather certain that I’d get a wide-eyed “no” as she tried to figure out how I was confused. Being so brilliant, I wondered how she handled the rest of us never keeping up so well.
After a little debate about whether or not I could hear Aaliyah “practicing” her violin from the shower, I convinced her to stay in my room while I prepared for the day in my bathroom. Mila’s comments about my heart rate weren’t helping at all. How was I supposed to be calm when my thoughts were bouncing back and forth between the vision of Trix in bed with me and Alma’s cool gaze. I could easily see Alma being rather upset if she could read my mind at times, but I was quite certain that she was utterly breathtaking even when angered. Those violet eyes above her cute nose which led to lips that I could easily imagine kissing… “Oh, master! Are you alright? Your heart rate is picking up again. Do you want me to call the princess in here for medical assistance?” asked Mila, sounding flirtatious even with a hint of distress. “No, Mila. I’m fine.” I replied. “But master, humans are often stressed by big events in their day. You don’t want to die far before your time due to not taking proper care of yourself, do you?” she asked. “I really am fine, Mila. Thank you for your concern, but will you please let me get ready in peace?” I begged. “Hmph.” was all she said, and the room went silent, save for the soft sound of Aaliyah’s violin from the next room.
Lost in thought as I was, I had no clue how long I spent getting ready, but Aaliyah was still dancing around my room, playing her violin when I entered. She gave me a huge grin and jumped up to hug me before saying, “About time, boss-man, sir! Onward!” The last was said with great enthusiasm as she pointed her bow at the door. I held the tiny girl’s legs as she sat on my shoulder, playing another song on our way down all the stairs. I knew better than to think it coincidence when Aaliyah’s music was in perfect unison with the singing ahead. I knew the voices and the song quite well after the past couple days, but I didn’t join them yet. I stood listening for a few moments, simply to hear Alma’s voice a bit longer. If not for Aaliyah, Alma would definitely be the star of the show. Her singing, dancing, and everything else were so flawless. Despite thoughts of kissing her not long ago, I couldn’t see how I could be with her at the moment. Could a normal man really keep the company of a girl who was more goddess than human? I felt Aaliyah’s bow lightly strike my head. “Boss-man, sir, we need to go!” she complained. The door opened before I could touch it, and Alma was there gazing up at me. “Good morning, James. Have you eaten? You have scarcely left yourself any time, but the food Marco prepared is still perfectly heated.” she told me. Did she save it for me?
“Bring a plate to go if anything. We need to move, boss-man, sir! The semi’s waiting!” claimed Aaliyah. “Semi? What Semi?” I asked. “Did you expect all my equipment to magically appear at the convention center, silly? We need to unload after we arrive! Mila pulled the limo around already for us.” she explained. “Mila can control a limo now?” I inquired. Alma put a plate in my hands and clapped hers before motioning for everyone to get out the door. “Umm.. yeah. I modified the company limousine with some parts Aaliyah procured.” explained Jarod before heading to the door. “He really is amazing for a human.” commented Alma before taking my free hand and pulling me along. I was somewhat surprised that Mila wasn’t commenting on my heart rate again, but I was mostly wondering why Alma chose to hold my hand. I wanted to date her, but not seriously. At least, I didn’t feel ready for a serious relationship with her. I was interested in going on dates and seeing what she was like in a more normal situation. Thinking of Trix again for a moment, I wondered if I really would recognize a normal date. I saw Portentia look back at us before stepping into the car and wondered briefly if she knew what a normal date was. Did she think of us going to dinner as a date?
I helped Alma into the car, swung Aaliyah down into it, careful not to spill my food, and then followed after. Everyone was so lively today, but I wondered why Brandon and Jarod both sat in the front, leaving me with all the girls. The twins might have been wondering the same thing with how they watched Jarod before noticing my gaze. Aaliyah and Portentia were signing animatedly to one another, which seemed to cause Alma to sigh. At least, I didn’t see any other reason for her to sigh. Emma and Brenna were excitedly talking about their costumes. Going by the video Aaliyah made, the costumes would be extremely elaborate, but what else would be expected when she was involved? As our journey continued, I was getting more and more excited as well. This was the least amount of practice I ever had before a performance, and I hadn’t danced on a stage for years now. Part of me was simply glad that mother wasn’t the one coordinating outfits. I still found wearing pink to be completely humiliating. Time passed all too quickly, since I was really enjoying the time visiting friends. Despite being up front, Jarod and Brandon were actively joking with the rest of us, and Alma, beautiful Alma, was so full of smiles today. I loved her hair, but I didn’t understand how she kept it so perfect when it touched the ground while seated.
“Boss-man, sir! The door!” called Aaliyah. We were there. Men in the semi hurriedly unloaded the equipment as Aaliyah directed them where to go. There was already security at the convention center, but Aaliyah passed out badges to each of us, saying we were with Global Princess Entertainment. Seeing a badge on Alma just seemed wrong to me. Nothing so ordinary seemed right for her. When we went inside, we found that we were the first ones to arrive. Of course, we needed the massive room to be empty for our setup. After the last man from the semi service left, the countless pieces floated into the air, their packaging unwrapping. Then piece after piece flew together in rapid succession till the stage, lights, carpets, and everything else were in place. Even knowing Alma was the one behind this great feat, I didn’t see any sign of it on her. Unlike movies, she didn’t wave her hands, chant, or use some mystical device. She just calmly stood there, watching like the rest of us as magic made short work of an enormous task. I really couldn’t understand what being her was like. What did she see in me?
Wiping her brow as if she was the one who just strained herself, Aaliyah said, “Well, now that that’s over with, let’s get into costume and start our warm ups, save for Alpy. You don’t mind keeping an eye on things, do you, Alpy?” She visibly sighed before saying, “I’ll be keeping Ai and Mai as well.” Aaliyah just grinned and waved for the rest of us to follow her, and follow her we did, each carrying a garment bag with a corresponding name. She led us down the maze of corridors with complete confidence, and had Brandon hit the button for the fifty-fifth floor on the elevator. Aaliyah was going over our schedules again on the way up and reminded everyone to keep their phones handy, since Mila would send updates to them. Jarod and I took one of the bedrooms to change, but Brandon took one by himself, apparently not comfortable with changing in front of other guys. Some people were like that. Opening the garment bags, Jarod and I were blown away with how perfectly the costumes duplicated our character’s attire in Ancient Tribes of Earth. The leather armor Ignus Ashenwake wore over his robes seemed even more elaborate in real life, runes covering its surface. I couldn’t wait to get changed. This was going to be amazing!