Part IV: Two Loves
After a few minutes of chatting with my dad, Sheila and Tyrone, I heard screaming come from upstairs. I went out only to see Jaeger run down the stairs. I went to see what was going on only for Sage to come down in a rush, almost crashing right into me.
“Not right now,” They said, their tone urgent as they moved past me. “Where’s the first aid kit?”
“Under the sink.” I answered.
“Right, I knew that.” They answered.
They went into the bathroom and opened the sink cabinet, fetching out the first aid kit, zipping it open and dumping its content on the ground, looking around until they found an injection pen.They grabbed it and ran back upstairs without an explanation while I just stood a little dumbfounded. People had congregated upstairs and were arguing loudly about pulling Allen out of the school and suing someone. Unsure of what to do, I went back to the Sunroom.
“What’s going on out there?” My dad asked.
“I’m not sure. I think someone hurt someone else.” Said sitting down.
To my surprise, Sage came my way a few moment later, escorted by a tall round woman with long brown hair tied into a braid and a face covered with little freckles. She had that motherly thing going on for her.
“Hey, what happened?” I asked Sage.
“Long story, I’ll explain later.” They said. “Mama, this is Allison and their younger brother Tyrone.”
“You’re the one with cool mind reading powers, right? I’m thinking of a number between 1-20, what is it?” Tyrone said and I stared at him in horror.
“Tyrone!” I shouted, taken aback by his lack of tact, normally I didn’t mind his lack of social skills, kind of part of the autistic baggage but with Sage it was different…
Sage simply chuckled at the question and raised me a hand to signal it was okay. “I don’t really make a habit of mind reading.” They answered calmly.
“Why not? It must be useful to be able to tell when people are lying and stuff,”
Sage took a moment to think over their words. “It’s intrusive. Our minds are the last place we can be truly private.”
“I get it.” Tyrone said. “Is dinner ready yet?”
“Caroline said it would be an hour.” I said and he pouted, I looked out and noticed Ahti’s family making a beeline for the pool, holding a ball. It was a bit cold for swimming but Itharii were good at keeping warm in the water.
“Why don’t you go into the pool? Ahti’s family are out there if you have any issues.” I told him.
Immediately Tyrone made a run for it, forgetting to say bye or anything else. I had to smile at his enthusiasm. He could be a handful sometimes, but what little siblings aren’t?
“How old is he?” Sage’s mom asked.
“Eleven. I’m really sorry, he’s usually less…”
“Obtrusive?” Sage finished my sentence.
“I think all the new faces and being in the hero school has made him very excitable.”
“It’s fine.” Sage said with a shrug.
“I’m led to believe you’re Sage’s best friend here. I’m glad you’re taking care of each other.” Sage’s mum said, I could detect just the slightest hint of teasing in her tone.
“Let’s go outside too, it’s too nice a day to hide inside.” Sage said in a slight panic ‘let’s change the subject’ kind of way. “Also it’s getting kinda crowded.”
“Sounds good.” I agreed, Sheila and my dad who had hung back during the conversation also accepting the change of venue.
“I gotta go find your papa but I’ll find you before dinner.” Their mum said before dropping a kiss on their forehead. The others left but Sage stayed there for a second and I gave them a look.
“Oh, right. Upstairs…erm…” They hesitated for a moment. “I know you wouldn’t say, but I need you to promise this stays between us.”
Sage sat down and the others took their cue to let us talk alone. I joined them on the couch. They quickly explained how Allen hadn’t taken well to them feeling feminine and wanting to present as such, then Jaeger had come in and assaulted Allen who had then almost lost control of their powers…
“There’s one other thing.” they added nervously. “Right before Jaeger punched him… Allen, he, well. He kissed me.”
The thought grossed me out instantly. On top of Allen’s gross attitude, I couldn’t imagine it being in any way consensual… My mouth sort of hung agape.
“Are you okay?” I asked after a moment.
“Yeah, yeah,” They said with a quick nod. “Just a bit shook. I don’t know what’s going on with Allen and I want to help him. But also kinda nervous to be around him right now. Would it be okay if I crashed on your bedroom floor for a few nights?”
“I can’t believe my first real kiss was with Allen of all people. I’m so owed a re-do.” They said, clearly wanting to hide their face in the conservatory’s many pillows.
I blushed at the thought. Giving them their first real kiss… I wanted to and I knew they’d want me to… But it wasn’t right what with Sheila, what with my messed up head…
“Oh I’ll be right back.” They said, I followed their gaze and saw Sanjay had come back in the house.
“I’ll be outside.”
We both got up and went our separate ways. I joined the others in the backyard only for Tyrone to come to me.
“The pool’s way too cold.” He grumbled. In the few minutes since I’d seen him he changed into a pair of swimming trunks.
“Big sib Allison to the rescue it is!” I declared before going to the pool’s edge and warning people to get out for a moment. They quickly did and I transformed into my fiery form, I flew up and dunked into the pool, the water quickly clashing with my form for a few seconds before it snapped off.
When I came to the surface, my clothes having reconstituted around me, the water was pleasantly warm, a few plumes of steam hovering above its surface.
“What are y’all waiting for?” I asked.
And so we had an impromptu late September pool party shortly before dinner was called, many of us deciding to eat outside.
“Hello there.” Sheila said as she walked up to Sage, making that sound flirtatious, and then eyeing them up and down. “I’m Sheila.”
“Hi,” Sage said, confused.
“I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Hopefully all good. You’re Allison girlfriend, right? It’s great to meet you.”
“Good like you wouldn’t believe.” She said with a chuckle. “And we’re just friends, sort of.”
“Oh, right.” Sage hesitated. “Are-” they cut themselves off. “What do you think of Ravenhold?”
“It’s fine and all, but I’m much more interested in the people.”
I just shot her a glare. Sheila could get pretty flirtatious with people but I just knew she was doing it to get my goat.
“Everyone here is nice. Well, avoid Allen, but everyone else is nice,” Sage smiled.
“They are so adorable.” She said in Hebrew. “So clueless, it’s funny.”
“Yes, now stop!” I answered in the same language, if much less fluently. Sage was glancing between us, frowning.
“I’ve heard you and Al are close.” She then said, switching back to English.
“They’ve helped me settle in. I’m from Europe so everything here is kinda new,” Sage said.
“Okay I give up, I don’t think I can get through to them without a giant neon sign.” She said in Hebrew with a laugh. “Well, it was nice meeting you, I’m going to be raiding the food now. Ciao-ciao” She added in English, giving them a little wave.
“She seems nice…” Sage trailed off, tilting their head. “Was she- nevermind, it’s not important.”
I definitely knew the last words of that sentence they had omitted but didn’t press the issue any further. Their skin had turned so red I doubted they could’ve handled more before dying of embarrassment.
“She’s nice, don’t worry about her, she was just teasing you. She does that to everyone.”
We joined the others for dinner and enjoyed the rest of the evening, which went on without further drama. Much to my surprise, Allen and his parents seemed fairly chill. A little nervous but they didn’t make a fuss about the Aliens, the superpowers or anything else really.
At nine o’clock, Mr. Martin escorted the visiting family outside, saying they were free to return the next day and everyone but our classmates and Caroline’s sisters left for the night. I was changing into pajamas when Sage knocked on the door. I invited them in.
“We’re still okay for tonight?”
They nodded and went quiet for a moment.
“Is something wrong?”
“Do you want to come with me, get my stuff from upstairs?” They asked, their voice a little shaken by nervousness. “I don’t really want to be alone with Allen right now.”
I took their hand and escorted them to their bedroom. It was still as messy as earlier, if not more so thanks to Jaeger and Allen’s little brawl. Speaking of Allen, he was sitting at his desk, fiddling with his tablet. He immediately looked up as Sage entered and stood up.
“Don’t worry about it.” they interrupted him, smiling awkwardly. He nodded and sat back at his desk. Sage grabbed their stuff quickly while I sat down on their bed, trying to ignore the mess…
“Are you alright?” Sage asked, probably sensing my distress.
“I’m… really not… Your room is making my OCD freak out.” I answered.
“Oh.” They grabbed a few clothing articles and put them in what I presumed was their place, but in a haphazard kind of way. I took them and placed them correctly; folded the right want and arranged by color. When I finished, Sage was looking at me.
“It wasn’t right.” I explained.
“Right?” They asked, but I could tell there was no derision in their tone.
“Things need an order, they need to make sense and be right. If they’re not it brings all kinds of bad energies, everything’s going to go wrong.” They had to think I was crazy… “I know, it doesn’t make sense, but my brain won’t let it go.” I explained. Sage took my hands and sat on the floor before me.
“It’s fine Allison, really. I’ll try to be tidier if I know you’re coming in here,” they said, squeezing my hands once.
“Thank you.” I muttered, my cheeks flushing for what had to be the thousandth time that day…
“I got everything, how about we go back downstairs?”
I got up and they kept their hands laced with mine as we walked. We went into my room and put their bag down.
“Guess I’ll make myself comfortable.”
My heart twisted at the idea of them sleeping on the cold hard floor.
“Wait.” I said.
They turned around and I froze.
Everything from the past few days quickly replayed in my head, the way I’d felt, the thoughts, the words we’d exchanged… I’m so owed a re-do. The phrase played again and again.
“Allison?” They asked, with a worried chuckle.
I put my hands on their cheeks, holding their head and drew them closer, dropping a kiss on their lips. When I realized what I’d done I let them go and my gaze turned away, settling on the bed cover. There was a moment of silence and I couldn’t make myself face them again.
“Sorry I—” I dared to raise my gaze just a little and they placed a finger under my chin, raising my head gently before pressing their lips against mine.
“Welp, guess I’m sleeping with Ahti tonight.” Rowan declared interrupting our moment before getting up their bed, taking their pillow and leaving us alone. We hadn’t noticed them lying there…
“Well that was something that happened…” I muttered, my cheeks flushing. “I like you Sage…”
“I like you too,” Sage whispered, smiling and resting their forehead against mine.
“You know… There’s enough space for two here. You don’t have to sleep on the floor.” I said, looking away, my whole face and chest filled with a burning sensation.
“What about Sheila?”
“Can we just talk about it tomorrow?” I practically begged. “I don’t have the spoons tonight…”
“Of course.” They wrapped their arms around me and I rested my head on their shoulder.
They removed the cover and we sat on the bed, snuggling for a moment before we lied down for the night.
“Goodnight Allison.” They whispered to my ears, their arms reaching around my tummy.
With them at my side, I fell asleep quickly, leaving all the thoughts and question for the next day. Maybe then I would know what I wanted…