Chapter 7: The Aftermath
I was back in my room in less than a second and within 60 my landline was ringing and the caller ID showed it was from Andie. I can’t say it was unexpected, just figured they’d need more recovery time than that. I didn’t bother to answer. Maybe I shouldn’t have just popped out like that, but I was banking on the fact that they were a little out of it when I did so maybe my absence wouldn’t be noticed so quickly. I decided at that moment that I was done with that particular set of experiments. I knew Andie could be persistent, but I could be way more stubborn, and I had the means of keeping her away.
Within a couple of hours my phone was blowing up, as were the twins, Shane’s and Eric’s. Andie and Adam were texting and calling everyone they knew that knew me. Somehow she had convinced them that there was an emergency and they needed to find me. The twins showed up at my bungalow, then Shane, pounding on my door. I figured Eric would be along when he returned to this planet. He’d been testing the new harvest today.
“Lala! We know you are in there” OK, could you get a little more cliché Shane? I could hear a little bit of panic in their voices. “Andie said you disappeared, that you were at her house and just blinked out of existence. I assume she doesn’t know about your ability, so why did you risk it in front of her?” Oh all, right.
“Fuck you Shane. I refuse to come out with my hands up, so don’t even bother to ask.” His face looks like a mish-mash of pissed off, scared shitless and slightly amused. I wasn’t aware til that moment that those three things could be that sexy when combined, but damn if they weren’t. He shoved the door open and pushed his way in, followed, of course, by tweedle dee and tweedle annoying as fuck.
And before you go all “man up and grow a set” on me, yes, I am clear now that I was being a punk bitch and running away. This is not news to me, and it serves no purpose for you to rub my nose it in as I’m trying to tell a story here.
“LaLa, shit – you had everyone scared. I mean obviously Andie thinks something terrible happened to you but she won’t tell me what the fuck was going on. Adam is begging for us to have you call him, and won’t give me a reason, and you are sulking in your room like a petulant teenager. None of these things leads me to believe anything good. Would you care to fill me in on what the fuck is happening here? Oh, and just so you know, I’m not giving you the option of saying no – it was a rhetorical fucking question.” Sexier and sexier. Whew!
“OK, Shane, chill. I didn’t think Andie would notice how I left since she was otherwise occupied at the time, and Adam is just horny because I kind of interrupted his blow job.” The look on Shane’s face was priceless. One of those moments that will bring me amusement for as long as I’m on the planet.
The twins faces were not quite as good, but close. Damn close. I admit, I go for the shock value when I can. And I’m good at it. “You two – OUT! We can talk later, right now I need to talk to Shane, alone.” The finger pointing at the door showed I was serious but they didn’t budge. In my head I opened the door and deposited them outside it. The twins frowned and followed suit. It was pretty clear on their faces that they weren’t sure why they were leaving, just that they were. There are a few good things about being me. About being the freakiest freak in freakville.
“Stand still” is all I say to Shane. Since he’s always had limited fade abilities, he almost never did. I honestly didn’t know how this would work since he was one of us, but I figured it would be easier to show than tell. I set the fade and step forward. The connection was immediate and really different than with either Andie or Adam. It was calm. There was no fear, no nerves, just acceptance.
The most shocking part is how right it felt. How together it felt. Like we had always been one entity. I realized I could hear him, though nothing was being said out loud. How did he know? “LaLa – did you just do what I think you did? Are you inside my body? In my head? No, not cool – get out of my fucking head, LaLa. No one gave you permission!” It was at that moment I realized I wasn’t doing the breathing, he was. That was a first. Otherwise, his reaction was very similar to Adam’s. The euphoria, the arousal. Except there was something more. A warmth, a depth of feeling. Shane was in love with me. It wasn’t something that was said, but it permeated everything about the connection. It was unnerving. “Shane, it’s OK.” And I stepped away.
Watching him fall to his knees was disturbing. Thinking of what had happened to Adam, though I’m thinking Andie may have played a part in the intensity, I wondered if the same had happened to Shane. I put my hand out to him and he lifted his face to look at me. The joy and peace on his face were terrifying to me. What had I done? His eyes had turned silver, but were slowly returning to their normal chocolate brown.
“OK, so that’s what Andie and Adam and I were doing. I discovered it by accident at the bonfire a couple months ago and we were experimenting a little to see how it would affect our interactions.” His eyes were losing the glaze and gaining interest, but he was still on his knees. “It got a little intense with Adam and I popped here. I got too freaked out so I bailed. That’s why Andie is calling, that’s why Adam is losing his mind. It all got weird fast, and I needed some quiet to figure out my shit.”
By this time Shane’s regained most of his composure, but is looking a little upset. “LaLa, that was incredible. I’ve never felt anything like that ever! And you did this with Andie? And Adam? What the fuck were you thinking trying something like that with normals? I know you consider them friends, but they aren’t like us. What if they turn you in? What if you had got caught?” I could tell if I didn’t stop him he’d go on like this forever, so I used the universal “shut up now” signal of putting my hand over his mouth. Somehow it didn’t appear as if he appreciated the gesture.
“Shane, I get it. I fucked up. With Andie it really felt like nothing. In fact it was a little uncomfortable, a bit of a letdown, so frankly I didn’t see much coming of it. She had this idea to have sex with Adam with us joined together, to see what would happen. You know me, I was curious, so I agreed. I only tried it on Adam to show him that Andie wasn’t being controlled or injured in any way, but it was so different with him than with her. There was so much more sensation involved. It was intense, and it felt really fucking good. And I guess that’s where the aforementioned blow-job comes in. Andie started and I bailed. I couldn’t handle it and ran. Andie had always said that when I walked away it was erotic for her, but apparently for Adam it was a bit more than that and I’m guessing that was an epic orgasm, though I didn’t stick around to verify.” OK, breathe…
“So you’re telling me you can step into other people’s physical bodies, normals, too, not just Enchanted?” He’d recovered pretty quickly, and was looking at me with curiosity and general annoyance.
“Actually, you are the only Enchanted I’ve tried it on. I didn’t even know if it would work on us. But since you don’t really do the fade much, I thought it might work on you. I have to admit, it felt amazing. So amazing. So much better than Adam or Andie.” I’m sure I’ve got my Cheshire cat grin going now, but Shane does not look impressed.
“And I’m sorry about getting in your head. It wasn’t intentional, but the bond was so strong. I didn’t even try to see anything, it was just all there. I could feel how much you miss your mom, how much you hate being one of us, how you feel about me…” I left that last bit to blow in the breeze for a minute hoping I wouldn’t freak him out.
His eyes met mine and the he lowered his gaze. “I guess I was too surprised to take in much of anything.”
“You can shield your thoughts. Part of our experimenting showed that. That is if you ever want to try it again. Frankly, it was better than any sex I’ve ever had, even though it was just the once, and it was so fucking perfect, true comfort and peace. At least for me, I don’t know about what you felt, but I’d like it if you would tell me.” I had an inkling, but I wanted him to share. But instead he reached out and put his hands on my face, and kissed me. Really kissed me. It was amazing and terrifying all at once. Yes, I’d been kissed before, but I swear this was my first real kiss.
It was warm, and soft and deep and everything. Every muscle clenched. It was heavenly and I found myself melting against him, but in the back of my mind there was a growing unease. I knew something was off. Those weren’t bells I was hearing. The noises had nothing to do with the kiss, and they were getting louder. Helicopters. Plural. As the realization set in for me it appeared to have for Shane as well. It had been years since any govies had landed on the island, and they only showed up when there was trouble. I had a sinking feeling something big was up, and that I wasn’t going to like it.
“LaLa, you need to pop out. If this has anything to do with Andie and Adam, you can’t be here for them to find.” His voice belied my concerns as well.
“Shane, I can’t! I need to know what’s going on. I need to hear first-hand what this is about. I’ll just hide somewhere.” I didn’t want to not be here to figure this out.
“OK, fine. Hide here” and he taps his chest. “Hide with me. That way I know you’re safe and you will see everything that happens.”
“You can’t be serious? You want me to walk around inside your body? Do you not remember what happened? Do you seriously want to meet the govies with a major woodie?” I had to smile. It was such a funny thought.
“Yes, I know. I’ll work on keeping it under control, but they can’t find you if you technically aren’t present. They can tear the island apart and not locate you. If it becomes necessary for you to remove yourself completely I can excuse myself to the bathroom or something. It’s all we’ve got for now so hurry up and do it before the helicopters land.” Yup, really sexy when he’s bossy.
“OK, but if it gets too much for you, let me know and we’ll figure something out.” And with that I set the fade and joined with Shane. The sense of peace from earlier was gone, and there was a microsecond of surprise followed by a wave of anxiety. I knew this was going to be a challenge. I could hear him reciting the Gettysburg Address in his head as the feelings of arousal began. I giggled to myself, forgetting that I wasn’t myself at the moment.
“So not funny LaLa, you could be helping here…” so I tried to remember the lines from my high school musical. We did Rent, so not really a lot of romance. I sang 525,600 minutes…and played the death scene in my head. That actually helped and I could feel Shane’s sigh of relief and he walked us out to the landing site. It had been built here early, but rarely used lately. The letters on the side of the aircraft told me everything I needed to know. WSGF. Fuck.
Jessie was already there, talking to the plants. Warning them to behave. It was funny to watch her scolding a vine. But it worked. As the rotors slowed and I saw people begin to exit onto the landing pad, imagine my surprise when one of them was Andie. Dressed in a business suit wearing a WSGF badge. FUCK! I could feel Shane’s shock as Andie walked up to him, well us. This was so not good. Way to fuck everyone over LaLa. Once again I had managed to find possibly the one person to screw around with that I shouldn’t have. I knew Shane could feel the anger, the betrayal and the self-loathing I was letting out at that moment.
“Where is she Shane? I need to talk to her right now. This isn’t up for discussion, she could be in danger.” Andie’s previously sweetly innocent face was anything but. Bitch! How could she do this! I thought she was my friend. Oh my god I was such an idiot. I didn’t have friends on purpose. I can’t have friends. I know this about myself. I know there is too much at risk, too much to hide. Oh Shit, I just thought all that in Shane’s head. Fuck I’m an idiot.
“She’s not here Andie. She didn’t come back from the mainland. What did you and Adam do to her?” Luckily the twins aren’t here to refute his story.
“Nothing, Shane, we just need to find her. Something has come to the attention of the WSGF that we need to talk to her about.”
“We…meaning you and the WSGF? What the Fuck, Andie, we thought you were our friend and the whole time you’re a spy? A fucking bitch mole? Well, I can tell you now I wouldn’t tell you where she was if I knew because now I know you for what you really are, and I’m pretty sure she won’t ever want to see you again. So is Adam a fucking decoy too? ” The fury was as strong in his voice as I felt in his head.
“No, Adam really thinks he’s my boyfriend. It sucks, I know, but there were good reasons. Look, Shane. I don’t know where she went. One minute we were at Adam’s recording studio and the next she was gone. I don’t know what you know about LaLa, but she’s different, Shane. And we need to make sure she’s not dangerous to you, the other Enchanted, or even herself.” I have to admit if I hadn’t known better I would have thought she was sincere. She had to be lying about Adam. There was no way she’d share this with a civilian. Bitch! Fucking Bitch!
I took the opportunity and spoke up. It was odd hearing my words coming out in Shane’s voice, but I’m glad it worked that way – I hadn’t thought about the possibility of it being mine! “Andie, LaLa has always been different. She told me you guys were experimenting on something, but she wouldn’t give me details. I don’t know what you did, or why she took off, but I will promise you, I will find out, and if you did something to her, I will see to it that you get zero access to the Enchanted from here on out. So get back in your aircraft and go. Leave me your number and if and when she shows up I’ll call you. That’s the best you are going to get.” Damn, I’m pretty good at this.
“I can’t do that Shane. We have to verify that she isn’t here. The guards are searching the rest of the island and my guys will search the buildings. We both know LaLa has some special skills, so even if she is here we may not be able to find her, but I have to at least say I tried. And you know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt her. Since none of you would cooperate with our testing, we had to figure out a way to make sure you were monitored, so that you weren’t a danger to anyone, including each other. To be honest, I was hired as an experiment, to see if we could get close to you and learn more. If you had opened up to us we wouldn’t have had to resort to this. Do you think I liked being deceptive? I’m sorry Shane, but what choice did you give us?” She gave us her best contrite look, which frankly, she sucked at.
“Boo fucking Hoo, Andie. So we didn’t want to be lab rats and guinea pigs. If the roles were reversed would you want to be studied, poked, and prodded, for something you had no control over? None of us chose to be here. None of us chose to have our lives ripped apart by this. And the fact that we want to live as normal lives as possible without intrusion does not seem like something we’ve ‘done’ to you…fuck you, and the helicopter you rode in on.” Ooh, good one Shane – lovely imagery!
I knew I needed to let everyone on the island know what was going on, so silently I let Shane know “I’m going to do something I will have to explain later, but don’t freak out on me, and don’t show anything on your face.” And I sent the warning. I spread the thought of non-cooperation. Say nothing to them, don’t even talk if you can avoid it, and share nothing about LaLa – she’s not on the island. I could hear the question in Shane’s head. “I’ll answer later, but just trust me for now.” I get a visual of the island in my head, and shared one thought. Protect!
I could feel the ground move slightly beneath us, and I knew Shane felt it too. Apparently so did everyone else as a look of concern passed over Andie’s face. Again! More! Protect, but do not harm! It was at that moment that the radios started going off. The guards were encountering major issues with the plants and insects, and earthquakes. The ground under the helipad began to move again as the aircraft swayed.
Shane smiled “No worries – happens all the time. They are never very bad, but you might want to get your men and your aircraft out of here, just in case. You never know.” Andie was clearly not pleased as she reached in her jacket pocket and pulled out a card. “We’ll do a quick building search then we’ll go. But if you hear from her, she needs to call me. This isn’t optional, Shane. And if we find out you guys are hiding her, and she really is here on the island, there will be some pissed off people at the WSGF and I can’t control what they might do.”
I was incensed. “Are you fucking threatening us, Andie? Do you seriously think that’s wise? Since as you so obviously stated you have no idea what we are capable of, do you really want to make us enemies? You’re the one who lost her for crying out loud! I’m sure your superiors would be less than happy to think you did something to her. I would re-think the posturing and maybe come up with something that sounds a little more like détente and a little less like Kim Jong Un” The surprise on her face was actually real this time. Score one for LaLa!
Rustling noises around us caught my attention. Apparently Shane’s too since before I realize it we’re looking at the edges of the clearing as they are slowly being overtaken by vines. They are crawling toward us, with one reaching the heli skids and wrapping itself around. OK, we want them to be able to take off…’hold – wait’ and all movement stopped, then the single vine retreated to within a few inches of the skid. I could hear the question in Shane’s head again. “As soon as they leave, I promise”
“Andie, it looks like some of the flora is getting a little restless. You may want to get out of here before it gets out of hand. Our Island is very protective, you know.” I like this slightly evil side of Shane.
Also, I love the partly pissed off, partly defeated look on Andie’s face as she raises her radio. “Pull back, we’re out of here now! Move! Island guards should return to their original locations and cease any action.” Then she looks directly at Shane. “Fine, have it your way, but we will find her, and we will talk to her. This is too important and they won’t let it go, that much I can promise you. And she’d be better off talking to me that being caught by one of the goon squads.”
“I’m not so sure about that Andie. At least with the goon squads she will know what she’s getting. Unlike some backstabbing, lying, deceiving sleazy bitches I know.” Whoa, Shane, nice one! Way to think on your feet!
“Fuck” was the only reply as she headed back to the helicopter with her own personal goon squad. By this time I see that nearly all of the island’s inhabitants are now surrounding the helipad watching the exchange. I know that there are a few – a very few – who are sympathetic to the WSGF. They are all but one those who were the scientists at the Facility, and scientific inquiry is what drove them. They miss it. They feel like they don’t fit in with the majority of the Enchanted. I don’t really know why they haven’t just volunteered themselves to the scientific community, but I have a sneaking suspicion they want to be the experimenters, not the experiments. I can’t blame them on either side. It must really suck to be them. But we still have to be cautious of them. If anyone was to go all Jane Fonda and turn traitor on us, it would be them if they felt they could justify it in the name of science.
Again, I realize I’m thinking all this where Shane can hear me. Shit. Luckily, his own thoughts are going a mile a minute trying to think through what to do next as we watch the helo lift off. I insert myself into his thoughts “Thank you. For what you said. For what you did for me. I promise I’ll explain to you as soon as we have a moment alone, but for now, I want you to know I appreciate what you’ve done. And I owe you one.” That was just for us, but I needed him to know.
“I care for you LaLa, you know that already. I will help you any way I can, but you can’t keep any secrets. No walls.”
“I’ll try. It’s the best I can offer.”
It seems odd to be having this whole conversation without a word being spoken. And with that thought, I hear his voice… “OK, everybody, here’s the deal. The WSGF wants LaLa. Many of us knew Andie and thought she was a friend. She got tricked, and now they want her.” I know this is all true, though leaving out some major chunks of information. “We can’t allow them to threaten us. We shouldn’t get in trouble for trying to make friends. We aren’t dangerous, but we can’t be passive either! And worse even than that, they sent a spy to our midst – to try to trick us into performing for their experiments. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not falling for it. I won’t be going back to the beach parties for a while, and I hope you won’t either. If you want something, have one of the poppers get it for you. If you do decide to go, just be very circumspect about who you interact with – you may end up a guinea pig like they want to make LaLa. We have to stick together on this. Thanks!” and we turn on his heels and head back to his apartment.