Questions of a Weary Mind

From the Story Arc: Sometimes the Mask Comes Off

Previous Story in the Arc: Jubilation by October Star II (Monday, June 06, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: The Final Straw by October Star II (Tuesday, June 07, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, June 07, 2005)

Alexei waved to Althea as her train pulled out of the station. Even as she waved back, he could see her cheeks flush pink. He stayed on the platform until she hit the tunnel, his eyes never leaving her smile. He turned, stuck his hands in his jacket pockets and walked back to the street.

He had walked for nearly three blocks before he realized he was practically skipping. He stopped to laugh, and several passers by quickly moved away, thinking Alexei had gone insane. Alexei, you are a man of thirty-four years, but you are acting like lovesick teenager! He mentally admonished himself, but at the same time he could not take it seriously. He was happier than he had been in over a decade.

You are fifteen years older than her! She is young girl, you are old man! The thought nagged at him. He had brought it up to Althea and she had yelled at him! Alexei chuckled. Thea was a delight, even when just thinking about her. Everything he thought about himself or the two of them, he could picture her response.

He composed himself and began walking again. Within minutes he had returned to his apartment building. Rather than waiting for the slow elevator, he quickly bounded up the steps to the fifth floor. He opened the door to his apartment, and paused. The shock of the organized and decorated apartment was still unsettling.

Mrow? The large cat padded into the living room and looked at its human in expectation.

Nyet. I have nothing for you. Look in your bowl. I am sure Thea left you a treat.” Alexei smirked as the Abyssinian trotted off to the kitchen. He turned back to the room and appraised it. With all of his things unpacked, the lack of real furniture became strikingly obvious. “Perhaps is time to stop living like vagrant.”

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Bozshe moi, I had no idea furniture was so expensive. American financing is miracle.” Alexei looked over the paperwork one last time, and placed it in his lockbox. He stretched and yawned, ready to make it an early evening, when he saw the light on his answering machine. He quickly rewound the tape on the ancient monstrosity and hit play.

“Hello? Blin. I am hating these things. Alexei? It is Thea. I am going for patrol this evening. Comrades are getting many reports on Tsoo. I am hoping you will assist. Maybe we…” The machine beeped and cut her off.

Govno piece of Czechoslovakian garbage!” Alexei stabbed the stop button with two fingers and the machine grew silent. “Shower. Hot shower and I will be awake to patrol.” Chuckling and shaking his head, October Star headed for his bathroom. “I am getting too old for this.”

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October Star landed on the fire escape, exhausted, but elated. He and Thea had finally been granted Security Rating 20. He was already planning on his first visit to Striga. A few pre-emptive strikes against the Council, and perhaps they would back off.

He also had a “real” date planned with Thea. She was not coming over to help him with his apartment. They were going to pack a picnic and watch the sun rise in Perez Park. His square jaw softened as he thought of Althea. He was also thankful her shyness sometimes distracted her from the words that spilled out of his mouth when he spoke without thinking.

”Nobody is hating you! You are comrade! Those you know all consider you friend, and those who do not will learn to love you as I do.”

As he stripped off the costume and put it into the maintenance device, his mind raced. She had not noticed it, but as soon as the words came out of his mouth, he had turned white. Had he meant it? It had come out so naturally.

He stepped into the shower and let the warm water wash over him.

”Once we rescue your mama and papa, we will bring them here to Paragon City. They can teach at new university, and they can move into big house with us in Founder’s Falls, where we will keep them safe always.”

Where had that come from? Thea thought it was a great idea, and had even asked if he had really meant it. Was she just happy for parents, or was the idea of getting a house together good to her as well? That also had come out naturally.

What WAS . he feeling? Hwo did he feel about Althea? He had known her for only a few weeks, but he already could not picture himself without her.

To be continued