Trying to keep the momentum going, even though I reached the 50,000 word goal early (Yea!). The writing’s slower also because the story has become a lot more complex and I have to keep more details into my head. I usually make notes but, in this case and for expediency, I didn’t.
Jacqueline stopped as if she were listening to something. â€œThe search on the invisible species is completed. There are fifteen species that fit all your requirements, another fifty-nine partials.â€
Holy crap. I was beginning to think that the story of the Invisible Man was a real biography. Almost seventy-five species that had an invisible feature in their makeup. Data began to crawl up on the screen. â€œHey, what are you doing?â€
â€œIâ€™m showing you the results.â€
â€œI canâ€™t read that fast. Can I hook my printer to this thing?â€
â€œOh, you wanted it printed out.â€ Jacquelineâ€™s hand snaked out of the screen, a ream of paper in her hand. Except it wasnâ€™t really paper. It was virtual paper. When I touched it, my finger passed right through it. It was, however, opaque. â€œThe paper will disappear when you close the station. Itâ€™ll reappear when you open it again. To turn a page, just wave above it.â€
â€œWhat are you doing?â€ Eve said.
I raised my head, gaped. Sheâ€™d sneaked by me anyway, and her looks just gut-punched me. Sheâ€™d grown into a woman, with all the right curves and hollows, visible even under the sweatshirt. Her hair, a lustrous brown, reached down to her butt. Her eyes seemed paler but longer-lashed. Her lips were full andâ€¦ calling out for a kiss.
If I thought I was in trouble before, I might as well shoot myself now. The only way I wouldnâ€™t be able to lust after that woman was if I was dead.
And I had to go and call her Eve. I could certainly imagine her naked and tempting me with an apple. Sharing it with me, more like. Every muscle in my body, including the most obvious, had jumped to attention.
â€œJack? Did you hear me?â€
I tried to speak. I croaked instead. Sharp pain speared my ankle. â€œOw!â€ Fred sat there, grinning his feline grin, looking innocent. I lifted my pant leg and checked the damage. Two gouges, already pearling with blood, ran from the front of my leg to over the bone ankle. Fred had swiped me. â€œYou think thatâ€™s funny, do you?â€ The scrapes began to burn. I got up for a paper towel.
His ploy, painful as it was, had worked. I was no longer in a daze. In fact, now that I looked at Eve again, she looked more cute than gorgeous to me. I looked around the desk. Sure enough, the yellow diaper bag was sitting beside me. I stayed in the kitchen, not wanting to be influenced by whatever compulsion it had for me at the moment.
â€œDid you bring that bag here, Eve?â€
â€œNo. Iâ€™ve been watching the television all that time, but I got tired of it.â€
â€œYeah, itâ€™s a pretty brainless activity, most of the time. Could you take the bag back to the bedroom?â€
She picked it up, obviously unaffected, and walked to the guest bedroom. She didnâ€™t enter, simply threw the bag on the bed. As she walked towards the kitchen she said, â€œSo, are you telling me what you were doing or not?â€
â€œI was doing some research.â€
â€œNothing important, really.â€ It looked like Iâ€™d decided not to tell her anything, after all. I strode to my desk, pushed the black button on the station. The virtual pages floated back into the screen and the station folded in on itself. A moment later, it looked like any black businessmanâ€™s briefcase. I picked it up, set it down on the floor, and began putting my desk to rights.
â€œJack, can I ask you a question?â€
â€œIâ€™m not like you, am I?â€
â€œThatâ€™s true, youâ€™re not. Iâ€™m male, youâ€™re female.â€
â€œThatâ€™s not what I meant.â€
I looked back at her. She looked so serious, so intense, so bright. I shouldâ€™ve know she would have suspected something. â€œWhat makes you say that?â€
â€œYou, Isabel, me. Not much of a sample, but the television added some information.â€
â€œIt said that to go from baby to adult, it takes at least twenty years.â€
â€œI was a baby this morning. I was a teen only a few hours ago. Now Iâ€™m an adult. But you and Isabel didnâ€™t change that fast. So Iâ€™m not like you, right?â€
â€œI guess youâ€™re right.â€
â€œYou asked me earlier if I knew what I was. I donâ€™t. But you do, donâ€™t you?â€
â€œWill you tell me?â€
I shook my head. The apartment had gone darker with nightfall and I hadnâ€™t bothered turning on any lights except the one under the kitchen cupboard but I could still see her face clearly enough. Was I callow enough to tell her she had only a few hours to live? No. I couldnâ€™t do it. But I could fudge better than anyone.
â€œYou have a condition that accelerates your growth to adulthood,” I lied. “Itâ€™s nothing to worry about.â€
â€œAre you my father?â€