Chapter 3: An Unexpected Visitor
"Why do you have that thing, anyway? If it's the government's, shouldn't they be keeping track of it?"
"Beta was able to provide me with some more data on it. He says that if it isn't used, there might be negative effects," Tedd explained.
"Negative effects?" Sarah asked. "Like what?"
"Best cases scenario, it just becomes more powerful until someone uses it," the weird-haired girl answered. "Beta said that in the worst situation, it might start emitting energy."
"So the government gave it to you?" Tiffany asked.
"Well, uh, not exactly."
"You stole it," Nanase accused.
"My point is, the energy readings for this thing are rising. Beta gave me a rough estimate as when it would reach dangerous levels, and we don't have much time left."
With each passing night, Elliot found himself even more confused. He hoped that things would clarify soon.
Something landed on his bed. Something person-sized.
"What am I thinking?" Ellen asked.
"Come on, what am I thinking? Use your mind-reading powers!"
"I can't read minds, Ellen."
"You read that guy's mind last night," she reminded him.
"I didn't read his mind," Elliot corrected. It had taken a great deal of effort, first to convince everyone that he and Justin had never met, than convincing Ellen and Greg that he hadn't somehow unlocked the secret of reading minds. It hadn't worked that well on either of them, but at least he didn't have to live in the same house as his sensei. His sister, on the other hand, wouldn't stop bugging him about it.
"How'd you know his name then?" Elliot resisted the urge to simply say 'You wouldn't believe me if I told you.' After all, Ellen was using mind reading as an explanation; the truth wouldn't be that much stranger to her.
"I might have seen him somewhere," he replied thoughtfully. It wouldn't take long for his twin to figure out that he was lying; in fact, it probably wouldn't fool her for a minute. Elliot didn't care; he just wasn't ready to share his dreams with anybody yet.
"Look at them, it's sickening." Elliot turned to see what Tiffany was looking at. Naturally, it was Ellen and Tedd, deep in conversation on the other side of the cafeteria.
"I don't have a problem with it," Elliot commented. "Ellen can make her own decisions."
"She wasn't talking about that," Sarah explained mischievously. "Tiffany's just upset because now she's the only one of us who isn't going out with someone."
"Th-that's not true!" Tiffany exclaimed.
"You say one thing, but your cheeks say otherwise." Tiffany's face was tinged a little red around the edges.
"I don't need someone else to validate my own existence," Tiffany maintained, regaining her composure. "If I meet someone who is single, and shows interest in me, and not a complete idiot, maybe I might consider going out with them."
"That's no good!" Sarah yelled. A few people at nearby tables gave them weird glances before turning back. "You've got to take the initiative. Go out and search for the right person!"
"I'm fine just waiting, thank you."
"Tiffany, think for a second. If you don't act, you'll miss your chance. Who knows who Elliot might be dating now if I hadn't told him how I felt about him back in eighth grade."
"Just drop it, okay? I'm happy the way I am, so I'm not going to go around trying to change my life just because that's the way everybody else does it." Gathering up her books, she stormed off to her first class.
"Oh, hi, Justin. Would you like to sit with me again?"
"Sure." He sat down across from her.
"So, what did you think of the martial arts class last night?"
"It was… interesting, to say the least." Interesting didn't even begin to cover it. Before the previous night, Justin wouldn't have thought that any of the things he had seen at the martial arts dojo were physically possible. Now, he wasn't even sure that he knew what was possible and what wasn't.
"Have you thought about joining? It would be nice to have someone I know from school there."
"I don't know," he replied honestly. "It's kind of…overwhelming."
"That's what I thought too, at first," she confided. She then proceeded to tell him about when she had first seen things like that happen. "It seems strange at first, but you don't even think twice about it after you get used to it a little."
"Like what that one guy did, knowing my name without me having to tell him? Does he do that often?"
"Not really," she responded thoughtfully. "In fact, Elliot doesn't really have any powers remotely similar to that, since his abilities are mostly fighting-oriented. He didn't startle you too much when he did that, did he?"
"No, I'm fine," Justin replied. "It's just that I feel a little uncomfortable when people know things about me that they shouldn't."
"I'm coming!" Tedd ran to the front door as the bell rang a second time. "It's almost midnight, try to be a little patient," he yelled, not necessarily to the person at the door so much as just to express his annoyance. "Seriously, who comes around this late?"
He jerked open the door, suddenly finding himself standing face to face with a tall, muscular man. The stranger wore a long coat, underneath which Tedd could see a heavy metal chain of some sort dangling from his belt. The man's face was hidden by a pair of sunglasses, but his hair was spiked back.
"Can I help you?" Tedd asked, slightly intimidated.
"It is urgent that I speak to Mr. Verres," The man instructed. "Please, will you take me to him?"
"Dad's a little busy right now," Tedd explained, "I'll try to…"
"That won't be necessary, son," Mr. Verres said as he descended the staircase. "Hedge and I will be going out for a little walk, and then I'll be back." With one swift motion, he crossed through the doorway, simultaneously closing the door, leaving a bewildered Tedd to merely guess at what had just happened.