“Hey, man. What’s up?” asked Jarod as he walked into the room.

“Nothing really. I just wanted to talk with you about something.” I told him.

Jarod rolled his eyes and said, “Well, yeah. I got that idea when Mila told me that you want to talk.”

I chuckled and said, “I suppose that would be a slight giveaway. I imagine that you’ve noticed I’m a little different now.”

“Mysterious potions of unknown origin will do that.” replied Jarod.

I stared at him, replaying what he just said in my mind. He really just said that, right? I almost couldn’t believe it. “What? How?” I asked.

“Oh. Aaliyah texts like a fiend. I asked her what happened earlier today. Sorry, but I was curious.” he explained.

“I see.” I told him, wondering if he now knew more about the potion than I did.

Jarod laughed, grinning widely. “I see the potion hasn’t helped you relax. Chill, dude. Everything’s fine.”

I sighed and said, “How am I not supposed to worry at times when everything keeps changing? We barely graduated high school five months ago. Now I’m about to buy my father’s hotels off him. At the beginning of the year, I would’ve laughed at the suggestion of magic being real, no offense. Now… well, you know. Did I tell you Alma thinks we should start dating?”

“She’s wanted to date you for a while now. I think all of them still do.” claimed Jarod.

“No, I’m pretty sure the twins are more interested in you now.” I told him.

Jarod shrugged, grinned, and said, “You got me there.” Then he took a seat and told me “But still… Most girls you meet want to date you.”

“Only because I have inherent magic that I can’t suppress.” I replied.

“Nah. You’re just that likeable. Seriously. Even if you didn’t have any magic, I’m sure you’d manage to do fine. Look at me… I’m not half as attractive as you, not as wealthy, and not half as charming. I’m still dating twins.” stated Jarod.

“Wait. You’re dating both of them? What if they.. No, they have to know. Don’t they?” I asked. “No, define ‘dating’ for me.”

“Umm… I’m worried that your brain will hemorrhage this rate.” teased Jarod as he grinned.

“Seriously. You can’t date two girls. That’s just…” I started, deciding not to say “wrong”. If Ai and Mai were both fine with it, who was I to judge? “Awkward.” I told him.

“Not as bad as you might think.” he claimed.

“Due to their telepathy?” I asked.

“Oh. Wow. You knew?” he inquired.

I shook my head and admitted “Not until you asked if telepathy was common in their family.”

“Ah. Oops. I probably shouldn’t say anything else about it. Sorry, but it’s their secret.” insisted Jarod, holding up his hands defensively.

Nodding, I said, “I understand. Just was a bit of a surprise.”

“Not as much as you were this morning. When you showed up looking all glowy, I knew something had happened. I didn’t expect you to handle Ai and Mai like kittens though. I thought I was having a bizarre dream for a moment there. How fast are you now?” he asked enthusiastically.

“No clue. I’m not quite as fast as Alma still, but I’m much closer.” I told him.

“Is that why she brought up dating again?” he suggested with a wink.

“No, actually. She brought that up before I took the potion. Apparently, dating her would be dangerous in some way. I really don’t know the specifics, but Aaliyah was adamantly against it unless I took the potion.” I explained.

“Huh. I’ll have to ask Ai and Mai what they can tell me about it.” replied Jarod.

“Can you tell them apart now?” I wondered aloud.

“Nope. Well, I can if they let me get a good look at their eyes, but that’s a rarity. I just sort of go with it.” he claimed.

“That really doesn’t bother you?” I inquired.

Jarod brushed off my concern and said, “No, man. I’ve got two beautiful girls who actually get me. I mean really get me. If I want to run an idea by them for optimization of heat distribution in a nuclear reactor, they hold up their end of the conversation most of the time. I can’t fault them for their lapses, given that it’s not really their focus. I didn’t do any better discussing underwater ecosystems with them.”

“I really need to make time for studying more. I managed a little today, but I haven’t really had much alone time despite not sleeping last night.” I told him, feeling slightly depressed by the huge gap between our levels of education. Jarod knew at least a couple languages beyond English already as well as vastly more physics, especially involving engineering. I wouldn’t even have a clue as to where to begin building anything of the things he had created.

“You don’t need to sleep?” asked Jarod.

“I haven’t felt tired yet, but I might just crash for a day at any point. No clue yet.” I told him.

“Wow. That will really free up some time, assuming you don’t do whatever you did last night.” he stated.

“Oh. I was hanging out on Cosette’s floor. There was an impromptu dance party.” I admitted.

“James and a bunch of girls dancing the night away. Sounds about right.” he claimed.

I sighed and shook my head. I didn’t intend to dance all night.

“I really want a chance to speak with Cosette. I have so many questions, but I don’t want to make Ai and Mai jealous either. Probably will have to wait until the girls are better acquainted, but dude… we’re living with a vampire. Isn’t that crazy?” asked Jarod.

I agreed, saying, “Really is. She’s got some pretty interesting magic.”

“Oh?” he asked, obviously interested.

“I’ve seen her shapeshift, and she can apparently heal wounds. At least, she said that she heals the opening after she feeds. Hard to tell, since I only saw her feed on Portentia.” I explained.

He was grinning as he said, “Wow. She just let you watch her?”

“Sure did. Portentia’s blood seems somewhat like a drug to her. She was a bit hyperactive for hours afterward.” I told him.

“I can’t believe she’s related to the twins. Their expressions were priceless.” stated Jarod.

“I wouldn’t call it a close relation, since her father was over two hundred years old. You’ll probably talk the girl’s ear off when you get a chance.” I mused.

Jarod laughed and said, “You’re probably right, assuming she won’t run off.”

“She won’t. She knows Aaliyah wouldn’t be happy with her, and she doesn’t have anywhere else to go. That’s something you can ask her about later. Before I forget again, we’ve been instructed to have a boys’ night tonight.” I stated.

“Well, yeah. Ai and Mai told me they would be indisposed, and Mila already posted the times on the company calendar.” he replied.

“Oh. I don’t have to inform Brandon then?” I asked.

“Of course not, master. I wouldn’t dream of shirking my duties simply because I’m helping you study.” she replied.

“Helping you ‘study’, eh?” asked Jarod, using his fingers for quotes.

“Oh, yes, Jarod. The master enjoys my assistance immensely.” she replied.

“Whoa. Stop there. No dirty innuendos in my office, you two.” I told them.

“I suppose Mila and I can continue our conversation outside if you need to do some more work. Oh, but you’ll need her assistance, won’t you.” suggested Jarod with a wink.

“Well, now I know your ulterior motive for creating Mila’s body.” I told him, doing my best to frown at him.

“What? Are you suggesting that I had an ulterior motive for pouring so much effort into helping Mila? For shame, James. I’m merely working toward sainthood.” he claimed.

“Says the guy who’s dating twins.” I teased.

“Someone had to help those poor, lost souls.” he argued.

“I don’t want to know what sort of help you’re giving them. You can keep those details to yourself.” I told him.

Jarod sighed and said, “My own best friend has no interest in how my relationships are going.”

“You’re right. I should talk with them about how our would-be saint saved them.” I suggested.

“Whoa now… What’s said in your office should stay in your office.” he claimed.

“Oh? You’re sure?” I asked.

“Nah. They’d probably be up for discussing things. Let’s just see if they’re busy.” he replied, pulling out his phone.

I pulled his phone out of his hand with a spell, caught it, and set it on my desk.

“No need. I changed my mind.” I told him.

“Dude… Let’s watch Star Wars tonight.” suggested Jarod.

“Huh? I suppose we can. I haven’t seen it for a while.” I told him. “What brought that up?”

“The way you did that reminded me of a Jedi recovering his lightsaber.” he claimed.

“Oh. I hadn’t thought of it like that before.” I confessed. “Mila, mind checking if Brandon would be up for watching any of the Star Wars movies?”

“Not at all, master. I’ll let you know the moment he replies.” she replied.

“Can you make this room look like Tatooine?” asked Jarod.

I shrugged and looked over to Mila. The room instantly took on the appearance of a desert and dry air started blowing.

“Actually, let’s go with Alderaan.” suggested Jarod as he rubbed his eyes. “The dry air gets to me.”

The room changed again as Mila said, “Master, Brandon is asking if we get to use the theater for our movies.”

I shrugged and said, “Sure.”

“He’s going to wear his Jedi pajamas then.” she replied.

“Oh… I’m bringing my Sith robe then. It’s on!” exclaimed Jarod.

He was right. This was going to be fun.

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