A.N. - James is being portrayed in this story by actor Jason Isaacs...a man that I will forever adore.
Chapter 3 - Little Lies
(Little Lies - Fleetwood Mac)
They had been practicing for a few hours, and had finally decided to take a break. Luckily, the old warehouse was relatively cool inside, so they weren't overheating themselves or Justin's electronics, which would be great for future practices.
The three of them were relaxing and learning more about each other as they sat on a couple of old couches, tossing stories back and forth.
Justin had pulled out a couple of water bottles and tossed one to each of them, and was now digging through the cooler that he had brought, trying to find the food as well.
"…And then, I realized that I'd used the Latin word for girl, instead of boy? And I turned my brother into a forty year-old woman, instead of a forty-year old man!" Lisa told them, and Alex nearly spit out the water that was in her mouth.
"I swear," Lisa continued. "It was the best April Fool's joke gone wrong, ever!"
Alex grinned like a maniac and Justin could tell that she was dying to share some of her own stories of the two of them, but he had no desire to be embarrassed, so he quickly spoke up before she could say a word.
"So, Lisa…where are you staying in the city?"
She gave him a look from where she lay on the moth-eaten green sofa. "Well…I thought that it was fairly obvious?"
Both Justin and Alex gave her a confused look, but then slowly saw what she meant as she gestured with one hand at the building that they were in.
At this, Alex bolted up into a sitting position, not quite believing what she was hearing.
"Wait a second…" she said, obviously still a bit confused by what their new band-mate was implying. "You live…here? As in, this-place-that-is-an-empty-warehouse-and-extremely-lacking-in-any-kind-of-security-whatsoever-type here?"
Lisa nodded in confirmation, which caused Justin to bolt straight up from his seat.
"Wait…how can you be staying here? Isn't that illegal? You know…squatting?"
Lisa shook her head. "No…"
They both just looked at her; Justin with a look of disbelief and disappointment, Alex with one of a slight newfound respect.
"…Not if your fiancé just bought the place for you and your new band," she added slyly, a mischievous grin spreading across her lips.
They looked at her confusion, yet again, and she quickly explained.
"Okay…so maybe there a few things that I forgot to mention-"
"Obviously," said Justin and Alex in perfect unison with identical looks of exasperation.
Lisa sighed and then continued.
"I guess I kind of forgot to tell you that I'm engaged…and that my fiancé is, uhm, shall we say, a bit older than me? And," she hastily added before they could interrupt with their questions, "He has a lot of extra money just sort of lying around from an inheritance that he never spent. This is, in a manner of speaking, his wedding present to me."
At this, Alex started to grin, understanding what the girl had done, but Justin continued to gape like a codfish.
Alex looked over at her brother and sighed, rolling her eyes and looking over to Lisa.
"You're gonna have to spell it out to him, Lisa…my brother isn't very good at 'reading between the lines'," Alex said, emphasizing the phrase with air quotes.
Lisa smiled and sat up on the couch, turning her eyes to face Justin as she spoke.
"Uh, Justin…we own the place. It's ours. Well, technically it's in his name, but that's a name that's soon going to be mine anyway, so…are you okay with this?"
Justin finally closed his mouth, took a long swallow and then said…
"Halle-freakin'-lujah! I don't have to worry about bills!"
Alex had crossed over to where Lisa sat and was now grilling her on more information.
"Okay, so first of all…how the hell did your 'fiancé' buy this place so quickly?"
Lisa gave a nonchalant shrug and then carefully picked her words, trying to deliver the information as gently as possible.
"Well…you see, James isn't exactly, uhm, at least not entirely, uh…human."
At this, Alex's eyes snapped back over to where her new friend was trying to sink between the seat cushions, obviously trying to make herself invisible to the intense and scrutinizing look that her new band-mate was giving her.
"What do you mean by that?" Alex asked, keeping her voice low, so that her brother didn't hear what was going on.
Justin had excused himself a few minutes ago to check on some of the equipment and to do some numbers on their finances.
Lisa shrugged her shoulders and averted her eyes, but quickly explained.
"You see…I met James after I lost my family wizard competition and went to Britain. I was nineteen, he was…" She trailed off and then started again, leaving that particular bit of information out. "He was foreign…and charming. We had this connection that I just couldn't explain, you know?"
She looked at Alex, a beseeching look in her eyes, asking her to understand and Alex's offensive body posture pulled back some.
"James is what wizards call a Laikas…a time demon. They can stop time whenever they need to in order to get things done without it affecting mortals in any way…" She watched as comprehension fell across Alex's face and then explained the rest. "…Like filling out paperwork and things like that."
Alex gave a small smile and leaned back into the couch as well, giving her a sly look.
Lisa returned the look, and then explained a little bit more, realizing that she still hadn't told her newfound friend everything that she needed to.
"James," she continued, "Is only part Laikas, which means he can only stop time for a certain amount each time….but that does make him significantly older than me."
A guilty and almost embarrassed look crossed her face.
"Uhm, if you take out all of the time he's spent 'out of time', he's…" She hesitated, but then dove in. "…Forty-two years old."
Alex looked at Lisa in shock, but Lisa cut her off before she could say a word. "But he looks just a little bit younger than that, like he's in his mid-thirties. And he's a really great guy, and when he proposed I was thrilled and now we're getting married and now I'm afraid that I'll lose your trust and-"
Justin, surprisingly, was the one to cut her off.
"It's okay, Lisa…I probably would have done the same thing if I were you."
The green-eyed girl looked up at her friend's brother with worry in her eyes. "Uh…how long were you standing there?"
Justin grinned. "Long enough."
Lisa groaned in embarrassment, covering her face with her hand, trying not to die from total embarrassment.
Both Alex and Justin chuckled in amusement at her embarrassment, and waited for a few moments while the girl collected herself. It was obvious that she hadn't planned on telling them so much about herself so soon.
But soon Justin couldn't help but ask, "So…with all of the extra time that James has had, how old is he?"
Lisa squirmed in her seat and mumbled a number under her breath that neither sibling could hear.
Alex grinned. "Hey, Lisa, not sure we heard you, do you think you could speak up?"
She said the number again, but they still couldn't hear her, so they prodded once more, and suddenly she snapped.
"Look, he's seventy-nine, alright?"
They both pulled back at that information, but they smiled. At least they had gotten their newest band member to open up to them and that was one of the most important things they could do. They would need trust in order for the three of them to work together, and sharing information about their lives helped to build that trust.
Alex and Justin both pulled back from the joined attack that they'd made on their new friend and shared a look.
"Cool," was all Alex said in reply to the new information, and watched with relief as all of the tension that had previously been there dissipated from Lisa's frame.
Suddenly, there was a flash of light not five feet from where they sat, and a man in black jeans, motorcycle boots and a motorcycle jacket walked over to where the three of them sat and then leaned over the back of the couch where Lisa was sitting and placed a lingering kiss on the young woman's lips.
Both Justin and Alex looked on in shock as the man said with a pleasant British accent…
"So, you told them right?"
Lisa nodded, and that was when they realized that this was James.
He walked over and extended a black gloved hand to each of them, flashing them a disarming smile.
"Hi, pleased to meet you."
Both of the siblings were still in a slight daze as they shook the Lisa's fiancé's hand. As they did, Alex couldn't help but nod in approval at the man that Lisa had picked to be her future husband. He was close to six-foot, had short, black hair, and incredibly bright blue eyes.
He then looked back over to his fiancé, who was still sitting on the couch, unmoving, and flashed her another winning smile, but then Alex noticed the barely suppressed anger in Lisa's now sparking green eyes.
James rubbed a hand against the back of his neck and then gave her another hesitant smile just before saying…
"Did I forget to mention that I was dropping by today?"