Feeling the issue of father’s hotels was settled well enough for now, I asked Alma “About that telepathy spell you had mentioned earlier, would you mind showing it to me?”
“Not at the moment, James. Let’s leave that for tonight’s lesson.” she told me.
“Oh. Why not? Would it really take that long?” I asked.
“Yes. As I said, the spell is very complicated.” she told me.
She wasn’t being entirely honest though. “If you haven’t noticed, my memory’s improved considerably. I might be able to pull it off more quickly than you seem to think.” I told her, leaving humility to the wind.
“James, this just isn’t a good time to be studying magic. My mind’s on other things. In fact, I should get back to work.” she told me.
She still wasn’t being entirely honest. I caught her hand before she ran off and looked into her eyes.
“What?” she asked, pulling back slightly. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Just curious. I’d almost think you didn’t remember the spell.” I confessed.
Alma blushed and pulled away from me. “Now don’t be silly. I admit that I haven’t ever found a use for that spell, given how convenient texting is, but I don’t forget things so easily either.” she claimed.
I felt the pulse of her magic inside her as easily as I felt the half-lie in what she said. How difficult was the spell for Alma to forget it? Her memory had always seemed so flawless. “Oh. You never learned it. Sorry for embarrassing you.” I told her.
She stared at me with wide eyes for a fraction of a second. Then she hurried off with a “Hmph.” I stared after her, feeling slightly amused. I never had realized quite how cute Alma could be when she was surprised. Of course, I hadn’t been able to catch her by surprise so easily before.
Walking back inside, I asked Mila “Is Jarod busy at the moment?”
“That depends on how you care to define ‘busy’, master. He isn’t working at the moment. Would you like for me to ask him to join you?” replied Mila.
“As long as you won’t be interrupting anything.” I told her, uncertain how to take what she said.
“But master, that’s far too vague a statement. If Jarod should be too surprised by his phone, I might temporarily interrupt his heart as the phone buzzes. If he’s conversing, I might be interrupting his chain of thought for a moment. There are many interruptions which I find so minor and common that I truly feel such a condition as you gave is too limiting.” she teased.
“Mila, how do you feel when you smile like that?” I asked her.
“Amused, of course, master.” she replied. “Jarod will meet you in half an hour. Might I suggest taking the time to look over the paperwork for the purchase of Somerset Suites in the meantime? You should have time, and you’ll be busy after your lesson tonight.” she told me.
Busy? Oh, yes. I was supposed to invite Brandon and Jarod to hang out, since the girls were having a girls’ night together. “Right. Thank you, Mila. Mind bringing it up in my office? I’ll look at it there.” I told her.
“Of course, master. I’ll bring you some tea as well.” she replied.
I nodded and set off, arriving on the second floor in seconds. When I saw the size of the document, a number of feelings passed through me. I was surprised that the document wasn’t larger, given that Aaliyah wrote it, but she must have taken into account that father wouldn’t be able to handle a larger document in a single night. Plus, he wouldn’t be out to cheat me in any way. I also felt amused that Mila was probably right, this wouldn’t take more than half an hour for me now. In all probability, I’d get through it in far less time. There was also a feeling of… awe. I hadn’t been out of high school for a year yet, and I was about to buy my father’s prized business.
Taking my time, I was still a quarter of the way through the agreement before Mila arrived with tea. Well, Mila was also the one explaining terms for me long before her body arrived. Now she did so through her body’s mouth rather than over the hidden speakers. We were completely finished with our second time through the contract with over ten minutes to spare, so I decided to see how much of the employee training course I could get through. I wasn’t even halfway through the first lesson when I paused to admire the speed at which Mila operated. Her hardware truly was incredible to keep up with me so easily, especially considering that she was probably busy in numerous other places simultaneously.
“As you’re guessing, I have some advantages creating computers too, boss-man, sir.” stated Aaliyah with a wink.
She had appeared out of nowhere on my desk. The screen had frozen along with Mila’s body, but I didn’t see Carl around.
As the thought occurred to me, Aaliyah said, “Sorry, boss-man, sir, but you won’t see Carl ever unless he wants you to see him. He’s got a few advantages on you still.”
“While you’re here, mind telling me how much I can tell Jarod about what you gave me?” I asked.
Shrugging, she told me “Oh, I’m sure you’ll know what to say. I just wanted to tell you that Cosette and I will be baking a couple cakes for the girl’s night. Should we make one for you and the boys as well?”
“I’ve had plenty of cake for today. Thank you though.” I admitted, regretting the words the moment they came out of my mouth.
Tears welled up in Aaliyah’s large, blue eyes as she gazed at me as if I had committed the worst possible sin imaginable.
“You have to admit that I’ve eaten more than most two people’s fair share today.” I told her defensively.
Suddenly, the tears were gone, and she let out a big sigh. “Boss-man, sir, cake is important. You should never turn down a good cake. Think of Brandon and Jarod! What if they want more cake?”
“Sorry, I suppose you’re right, at least about Brandon and Jarod.” I claimed, though I had trouble imagining the three of us consuming an entire cake too quickly after one of Marco’s enormous meals.
“Oh? You’re full boss-man, sir?” she asked.
“Well, not really. I’m not exactly hungry either.” I assured her.
Pulling a stethoscope from nowhere, she put the earpieces to her ears before applying the other end to my stomach through my shirt.
“Yep. Your cake stomach’s running on empty. I’ll tell Cosette that you’ll gladly have some more!” she exclaimed with a smile and a nod to herself.
“I don’t really have multiple stomachs now, do I?” I asked.
Aaliyah giggled and said, “Don’t be silly, boss-man, sir. You’ve always had room for cake!”
I remembered being distinctly full on a few occasions.
“You didn’t try squeezing cake in, now did you.” stated Aaliyah, rolling her eyes.
“Well, no. Is there anything special I need to eat now?” I asked.
“Cake!” she exclaimed.
Though Aaliyah seemed to fully believe I needed to eat cake, I still had my doubts that some mystical elixir made me dependent on cake.
“Boss-man, sir! You doubt me!?” asked Aaliyah, shock infusing her voice.
“You haven’t been hanging around with the twins again, have you?” I teased.
She stuck her tongue at me and said, “I can’t believe you’d accuse me of going to the dark side.”
“Well, you have been known to dress in black and kill people. That seems pretty dark to me.” I told her.
She shrugged and replied “Fair point, but I make it look gooood.”
Terrifying, at very least.
“You know I’m your favoritest of all secretaries, boss-man, sir! I better get back before Cosette misses me!” she exclaimed, vanishing the moment the word left her mouth.
Everything resumed when Aaliyah left, and I had to wonder what that was about.
“I missed you, boss-man, sir, and needed to find out whether or not you wanted cake!” she replied.
I looked around, but didn’t see her anywhere. That really was going to take some acclimation. I didn’t have a clue what Aaliyah’s limits were, and I doubted I ever really would. Still, I felt lucky to be her friend.
After a few more minutes of working, Jarod arrived. The time had come to explain my situation.