Chapter three, here we come! Hope you enjoyed. Review, please! Disclaimer is on the first chapter.
"Jared, we found one!"
Melanie and Jamie tumbled back into the truck. I hugged them both, smiling at my ability to do so. We were truly a family again, and more.
"You found one?" I asked eagerly.
They nodded, gasping for breath. "We'll show you," Melanie told me. "Come on." She handed out the sunglasses, and we all put them on before hopping out of the truck and ambling down the street.
"Be casual," Jamie hissed, and I forced myself to relax. I couldn't help it; I was so nervous. We'd just gotten Melanie back…
I forced myself not to hear that, to just keep walking instead.
"There," Melanie whispered, pointing. I looked at where she was pointing.
I blinked in astonishment.
She was pointing right at Wanda.
"That's her," I whispered immediately.
Jamie grinned. "I know, right? It's her! It looks just like her."
Melanie smiled. "The age is just right, I think," she said quietly as we watched the tiny girl talk to another soul. The girl brushed her golden, waving hair out of her face, and we all grinned—that was a habit of Wanda's. Melanie continued, "She won't want to be a little kid, but we still want to give her lots of time in this body."
"The face is good, too," I whispered. "No one could ever distrust that face. That will be perfect for raids."
Melanie rolled her eyes.
"My only problem is…" She hesitated. "I don't know. The vulnerability, I guess. I've been in Wanda's head for months, and I know her. She just seems stronger than that, I guess."
"We all know that she is," I told her in a soothing tone. "But she's so gentle that we think it would be best to get a body that will express that."
She nodded. "I guess so."
Then she turned to Jamie. "Well, the final say is up to you, Jamie," she told him with a smile. "You get the last decision."
Jamie looked excited. "That looks just like her!" he said loudly. "It's almost a perfect transition from a Flower."
We looked at him strangely, but then we noticed two souls that had paused on the sidewalk and had been listening to us discuss the body.
"I'm sure that Petals Open to the Moon will really enjoy that body," he continued in that same loud tone.
Melanie caught on more quickly than I did. "Yes, probably," I said in a wistful tone. "Were you there for her insertion?"
"No, I wasn't," Jamie said, shaking his head, "but I saw her after it was finished. We were good friends when we were Flowers. I'm glad she's got a good body now."
The other souls relaxed. We were simply admiring the new soul's body together. They moved on, not looking confused anymore.
"Nice work, Jamie," Jared said under his breath as we all headed back to the truck. We climbed in to discuss the body some more.
"I say yes," Jamie decided. "She looks just like Wanda. She almost looks like an angel, and Wanda's sort of like an angel, you know?"
Melanie smiled. "You wouldn't think the same if you'd been in her head for so long," she teased.
Jamie grinned. "I'm telling her you said that," he singsonged.
"All right, back to business," Melanie said quickly. "Are we going to take this one or not?"
"Yes," I nodded. Then I turned to Jamie. "Wait a second, how did you know her name?"
He frowned. "Whose name?"
"The soul's. You said, 'I'm sure that Petals Open to the Moon will really enjoy that body.' How did you know that was her name?"
"Oh, that." Jamie smiled. "I overheard the soul she was talking to say it to her."
We smiled and piled out of the truck. Time to bring Wanda's new body home.
"I'm so excited, Wanda. When they get back, we can get you a new body. They're out looking for one right now."
"I'm sure they'll find a good one. We'll make sure that there's no one in it first, though. We won't make you a parasite again, I promise."
"There's so much that you haven't experienced yet. Wait until the rains come! It's really something to see…we're going to have a great future together, Wanda…"
I jumped and stared at Jeb. "What?" I asked, bewildered.
He sighed. "I've been standing here, calling you, for five minutes," he said, exasperated.
"Oh." I smiled. "Sorry." I looked back down at Wanda, who stretched a few attachments in Jeb's direction.
"She's saying hello."
Jeb blinked, and then squatted down so that he could peer in at the tank. His eyes widened when he saw her waving at him.
"That's her, huh?" he asked softly.
Ian grinned and nodded.
They both watched her in silence for a long time.
"Hey there, Wanda," Jeb finally choked out.
She stretched toward him in the tank.
"I thought they were supposed to be in hibernation in those tanks," Jeb said at last. "You know, sleeping."
I shrugged. "Maybe she's too wired up to sleep," I said with a grin. Then I got serious. "She has been sleeping a lot, but she's moving around in there sometimes, like right now. I talk to her a lot, and she always sort of…responds. You should have seen her when Jamie came over to see her. She probably won't remember any of it when she wakes up in a new body, though."
Jeb laughed. "Doesn't surprise me." Then he sighed. "Are you going to eat, kid? Wanda wouldn't like it if you starved yourself."
I blinked, surprised. "I've been eating," I protested.
He raised an eyebrow. "When's the last time you did?" he asked skeptically as my stomach growled loudly.
I frowned. "Um…right before Jamie left," I said sheepishly.
He sighed and heaved himself to his feet. "I'll get you some food."
I grinned up at him. "Thanks, Jeb."
"I owe her," he mumbled with a shrug, ambling off to the kitchens.
I looked back down at Wanda. She was asleep, but even so, her attachments still stretched out to me.
Jamie exploded into the room, fairly shaking all over. They brought a body into the room, but I didn't even look at it. I just stayed with Wanda. I didn't care what she looked like on the outside. On the inside, as long as this beautiful creature was there, I would love her.
I spoke to Wanda. "Hear that, Wanda? They got you a new body! Soon you can be with me again."
She was sleeping peacefully, but when she heard my voice, she stirred. She stretched out toward me, and I grinned.
I could hear them trying to wake the body up, and Wanda slowly drifted in the direction of their voices.
"They're going to make sure that no one is there," I assured her as they took the previous soul out and put her in a tank.
Then I began to whisper to her again, telling her all about life in the caves while she had been sleeping, all the things that she was going to be able to do once she got her now body.
Minutes of attempting to wake the girl up turned into hours, which turned into days. After a long time, they came over to me and admitted that it wasn't likely that the girl was going to wake up.
"We don't want her to die," Melanie said sincerely.
Jamie grinned. "So we'll have to put someone else in, instead."
I grinned and picked up Wanda's tank, carrying it over to the girl who was facedown on the table. Doc had already made the incision, and I carefully opened the tank and reached in.
Wanda slipped easily into my hand without hesitation, and I lifted her out.
I heard several sighs, and I looked around and saw for the first time how many people were there. Trudy, Lily, Geoffrey, Paige, Jamie, Jared, Melanie, Jeb, Doc, even Kyle and Sunny.
"That's what you look like, huh?" Kyle was murmuring to Sunny.
I grinned and held my hand up so that everyone could see her. "Say hi to everyone, Wanda," I said quietly.
They watched in astonishment as she waved her attachments, and I wanted to laugh again as I gently brought her back down. She curled herself around me again, and I smiled.
"Time to go home," I whispered as I brought her near the incision line.
She slipped into the body with grace, all her attachments winding into place easily. We all watched in astonishment.
Doc sealed up the line and dusted the Smooth powder on it.
Then we all sat down and waited for Wanda to wake up to her new home, her new body, her new life.
And I would be waiting for her.
Yaaay! I think we're all done. I might add another chapter about everyone else's point of view when she wakes up, but I don't know if I will or not. Review and tell me what you think! Fourth chapter or no? Would that be overkill, or would it work? Please review and let me know!
Thanks for reading! Hostfanatic out!