“James, have a moment?” questioned Dejon from my office doorway.
“For you, certainly. What’s up?”
He stepped nervously into the room, looking around as he did. The office currently looked like my favorite part of the Whimsical Woods of Gadregarn. The alien creatures and vegetation were probably throwing him off.
“My office has a variety of settings to depict alien worlds. Convincing, aren’t they?” I commented with a smile as he stepped over some roots. “Mila, mind changing the room to match Charles Dickens’ office? The one from Gad’s Hill Place.”
Dejon grinned, quickly stepping over to the bookshelves. “This is almost like the pictures!”
“Probably slightly more accurate to what Dickens preferred.” I admitted. “I thought I remembered you liking his work.”
“Who doesn’t? These books are real!?” he exclaimed, running his fingers over the covers.
“Depends on how you want to define ‘real’. Though they’re not made of paper, you could pick one up and read it while in here, but I have a feeling you came here for something other than reading.”
He nodded, his fingers lingering on the covers longingly. Then he turned around and said, “I want to use my ability on an employee, on… Noelle.” He stepped closer to my desk, looking determined. “I could help her, James, in ways even Mila couldn’t. If I told her to remember a name, for example, she’d actually remember it. I’m certain it would work.”
“Her memory issues are a bit unique, so I can’t guarantee that such a tactic would give permanent results. Have you talked with her about it?” I asked.
Shaking his head, he told me “No. I didn’t want to get her hopes up if you were against the idea.”
“On the condition that you discuss things with her before each attempt, I’m fine with it, but don’t go through with anything if Mila recommends against it. You know she’s always watching.”
“Really? We can try?” he questioned, sounding surprised.
“Sure! This will give you a safe way to practice more and Noelle really could stand to benefit if things work well.”
He smiled a little but seemed to think of something. “Don’t you want to at least be present when I try, in case something goes wrong?”
“Mila is my eyes and ears. She’s also even better at pure logic than I am, so she’ll be more capable of helping you to word the commands, not that an avid reader such as yourself will have problems in that area. I look forward to hearing the results.”
“Thank you! Thank you so much. I’ve met her a few times now, and each time has worried me more than the last. How does she even make it from one day to the next without remembering…” He motioned with his hands as if trying to grasp all the things Noelle forgot in a day. “Everything! I know Mila helps her now, but…”
“Yes, do remember that she has made it this far in life without us before you get too carried away.”
“Oh…. Yes. Sorry. She just seems so helpless, and I want to help make her life easier. I’m sure this’ll work.” he assured me. “Did you know she doesn’t even remember her birthday!?”
“Christmas.” I replied. “Probably why her parents named her ‘Noelle’, don’t you think?”
“Yes… I suppose that would make sense, but she doesn’t even remember that she was born on Christmas!” he exclaimed.
“Actually, she does, according to her sister, but only around that season. The decorations are enough to help her remember.”
“Still, James… that has to be hard.” he insisted.
I nodded and said, “Yes, but she also forgets her worries frequently, leaving her happier than most.”
Dejon frowned. “I can see the appeal, but I also find the idea horrifying.”
I laughed. “I certainly wouldn’t care for it either. Did you know that you’ve frequently been affected by her magic?
“What? She has magic?” he questioned.
“You still have considerable spellwork to practice. I know using residual energy is difficult for you, but you’ve seen the benefits as well. Do your best to focus next time you’re around Noelle.”
“But what… what does she do?” he inquired, looking concerned.
“She continually wears her emotions on her sleeve, literally showing everyone how she feels. Pay attention, and you’ll catch the magic, especially if she’s extraordinarily excited or nervous.”
“Can I get more of a hint?”
Smiling, I said, “I can’t see them, so I truly am not the best person to provide hints. Emma’s noticed, so you should ask her. Cosette probably has as well. That girl doesn’t miss much.”
Dejon nodded. “Okay. Will do.” He stood there, seeming to be thinking through what I said.
“Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Oh! Sorry. No. I’ll go. Thank you for seeing me and granting me permission. Sorry to take up your time.” he replied, speaking quickly.
“Relax. I’m happy for a small break.” I assured him.
Dejon smiled a little before walking out. I knew he had a good heart, despite having my doubts when I first met him. Sighing as my mind started tracing back through the years that passed for me since then, I did my best to refocus.
Aaliyah had drafted a proposal to be submitted to the city council as part of our endeavors toward the start of my company’s taxi service. Through our app, Mila would be contacted to provide travel services throughout the city. The proposal also included plans for a Wi-Fi blanket provided by a subsidiary that Aaliyah had purchased for me a few months back. The two were tied by claims that the automated taxis would make use of the Wi-Fi for traffic updates, better guidance, and oversight to demonstrate the safety of the system. I had no doubts that everything was in order, but Aaliyah insisted I memorize some details for when I’m questioned on it.
I pressed through the material, making sure to utilize the overly technical tutorial she had written as well. Recognizing that the taxi designs were based off some of the work Jarod and Aurora had done, I started reading through how their percentage would work as well. Unsurprisingly, a note toward the end informed me when I was scheduled to give the sales pitch to Jarod. Checking the time, I saw that I was right on schedule.