“Dude! Aren’t you coming?” asked Jarod, waking me from my sleep. “Huh?” I replied dumbly blinking bearily at him. I looked over at the clock and practically jumped out of bed. My alarm hadn’t gone off. When I checked my phone, I found that I forgot to unmute it after the concert. “Why didn’t you wake me?” I inquired. “When are you ever late? I figured I just missed you while I was eating, since I didn’t notice you when I got up.” replied Jarod. Well, I was late today. I sent Aaliyah a text to inquire when I was needed downstairs, and got a reply almost instantly. Luckily, I didn’t have anything for a couple hours still. This was only the third day of the convention, and I already was in the mindset to be there before the floor opens. What had happened to me? I always loved sleeping in whenever possible. “Sorry, but I gotta go, dude. I’ve got first shift at the booth, and the twins volunteered to help out today,” said Jarod, waving and walking out the bedroom door. I got my stuff together and headed to the shower, musing through it over how work had changed me. I couldn’t really complain. I loved my company and my new friends, but the drastic changes in my life were a bit dizzying when I took the time to think about them. After getting dressed, I walked out to find Alma working at the desk.
As completely beautiful as I found her hair, I still was amazed she didn’t find the exceptional length troublesome. When she sat, her hair reached clear to the floor. Did she ever get it caught in the wheels of office chairs? “Need something, James?” she asked, surprising me. “Umm.. breakfast, I suppose.” I replied, moving to see if there was anything left over from this morning’s room service. “You looked troubled. Is something bothering you?” inquired Alma, her violet eyes fixed on me. “Honestly, I was just wondering how you manage to keep your hair looking so beautiful.” I explained, feeling too awkward at the end to manage a smile. I looked up from my scantily filled plate to find Alma staring at her computer with rosy cheeks. “Magic,” she said after a moment. I then told her “Magic is great for cleaning, but what about conditioner to help keep it healthy?” Still not looking at me, Alma said, “I really don’t need any. I’m not human, James. Cutting a single strand of my hair with bolt cutters would probably take you some effort.” I paused with my fork halfway to my mouth. “Bolt cutters? Really?” I asked. After she nodded, I said, “That has to be wonderful. A little water, and you’re done.” She didn’t reply, so I went back to eating while worrying that I offended her. Realizing I was standing around with a plate in my hand, I sat down just as Alma stood up..
Alma walked over to the table and sat across from me. “I usually bathe in fire.” stated Alma, fire surrounding her hand as she lifted it in front of her. After a moment, I realized that I didn’t feel any heat, so I slowly moved my hand closer. She then said, “You won’t feel a thing unless you stick your hand in the fire, James. Though this is only two thousand Kelvin, you’d certainly not enjoy it.” I agreed, returning my hand to my fork. She smiled and brushed her hand through her hair, and the fire instantly spread across all of it, leaving her hand entirely. “YOU’RE ON FIRE!” yelled Portentia from behind me, causing me to turn. I hadn’t realized she was even here, but she appeared to be on the verge of panicking. “Oh?” asked Alma, perfectly calmly. I looked back to her, planning to ask her to kill the flames, and found that the fire was spreading up the curtain. I heard Portentia running as Alma started to laugh. She was so completely beautiful. The fire disappeared in an instant. “Perhaps that was a bit mean, but her expression was priceless,” said Alma, still laughing as she spoke. I took a moment to clear my head, having been a bit too captivated by Alma. Standing, I thought I should head after Portentia before she pulled a fire alarm, but she was running back into the room with a fire extinguisher before I even stepped away from my chair. “Oh. Right. Magic.” she stated blandly. “I’m terribly sorry for inconveniencing you, but I really couldn’t help myself,” said Alma, not sounding remotely apologetic to me.
If Portentia was upset when she came back from returning the fire extinguisher, I couldn’t tell. I wasn’t entirely certain that leaving the two alone while I put on the rest of my costume was a good idea, but they weren’t after one another when I returned. “I sent a text to Aaliyah asking about my makeup while I was up, but she said you’d be able to handle it. Do you mind?” I asked Alma, knowing I had no hope of creating the elaborate details that really finished the look. I soon found that having Alma apply makeup was far more distracting than when Aaliyah did it. Those violet eyes being so near to mine made my heart race. One glance at her lips made me certain my eyes shouldn’t linger there either for all I could think was how much I wanted to kiss them. “Why did you decide Ashenwake needed a scar?” inquired Alma. “You don’t like it?” I asked. “I’m not against it, but I tend to think of scars as reminders of failings.” she replied. “You can earn a scar saving someone.” I argued. “Not if you do it properly.” she insisted. Then, before I came up with a comeback, she asked “Were you a fan of Harry Potter, the character?” I hadn’t thought of there being any similarity, considering the completely different look of Ashenwake’s scar.
“Well, I did enjoy his story, but that wasn’t the reason. I just thought the scar made Ashenwake more distinct and gave him more depth, like there was something in the years before I knew him which marked him for greatness.” I replied, feeling dorky admitting that out loud. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’ then,” she said. I was tempted to ask if she read the books as well, but I didn’t really want to come across as even more of a dork. Yes, the books were really enjoyable, but Alma grew up doing magic and looked like a mystical being from a story. The odds of her being as immersed in that story as I was seemed poor. “There. All done. Have a look,” said Alma as she held up a mirror for me. If there was any difference between Alma doing the makeup and Aaliyah doing it, I couldn’t tell. The scar looked just as formidable as yesterday’s to me. I wasn’t certain how long the makeup took, but I wanted a drink the moment she put down the mirror. When I went to move, Alma pushed me back down and started brushing my wig. “I’m not too worried about the wig. Ashenwake’s hair blows all over the place in the game.” I told her. The game’s graphics were absolutely incredible that way. The realistic movements were far beyond what I had seen prior to it on so many levels. “I’m well aware of how your character looks, James, but I prefer your hair like this.” she claimed. “Shouldn’t we head down to the convention? You’ve fussed over him enough.” complained Portentia.
After placing the mirror in my hands, Alma turned to Portentia and said something in sign language. I really did need to learn how to sign, but the list of things I needed to do seemed monumental these days. Other than that the hair was moved about, I didn’t really understand the difference Alma saw in it, but I wasn’t going to complain about her helping me. “Thank you for the help. Are you going to get in costume today?” I asked. Still signing with Portentia, she nodded and said, “I’ll be just a moment.” Then she seemed to vanish. “How does she stop the wind?” asked Portentia, looking to me. “Oh. Umm.. I can’t say I’ve really thought about it.” I replied. “Even I create a little breeze when I run. She’s faster and doesn’t move anything. It’s gotta be some sort of magic.” she insisted. I agreed, saying, “Yeah, but I have no clue what the spell’s like. I really have a great deal to learn still. You can always ask Alma.” Portentia opened her mouth, but Alma was with us again, saying, “Yes, I have to use magic when I move, but the spell isn’t something James is likely to need. Shall we go?” I stood and made my way to the elevator with the girls flanking me. I really didn’t see what was in the way of the girls getting along, but there seemed to be something. I wanted everyone to get along within my home. Hopefully, things would work out eventually.
Then the elevator stopped, but without the typical ding of arriving at a floor. “Lovely.” stated Alma. “Are we seriously stuck?” I asked, pulling out my phone to warn Aaliyah. “Looks like it.” replied Portentia. I attempted to send Aaliyah a text, but I wasn’t getting any signal. “Great. I guess there’s a first for everything, but why did this one have to come today?” I groaned. “This is your first time?” asked Portentia as she pressed a button which turned an automated voice announcing that she had activated an “emergency call tone”. “Yes. Yes, it is.” I replied. Then another voice came through the speaker asking what the emergency was to which I replied that the elevator was stuck. The lady said that someone would be coming to assist us immediately. After a minute, Portentia said, “I’ve been stuck in them loads of times. This is the first time with such pleasant company though.” The last part was obviously directed at me as she pointed looked into my eyes. “I can imagine some with whom I would not want to share such a small space for long.” I replied, thinking of some of the more odorous teammates I had on the track team. “Let us just hope this time isn’t for too long. I could easily get us out, but I would rather not damage the lift further.” commented Alma, who looked as calm as ever. I really couldn’t complain about being stuck somewhere with her, but I hoped I wouldn’t be late for my turn at the booth. What a morning.