Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wizards of Winds and Waves, chapter 9

Some questions are answered.
Yes, that last episode was a bit upsetting. Here, we learn some new information that might help us deal with that other stuff.
Wizards of Winds and Waves
Chapter 9
When I awoke the next morning, Pierre was already up. “I took the liberty of preparing us breakfast,” he said, holding up a familiar paper bag. “Sausage McMuffins from the McDonald’s around the corner. I hope you don’t think they’re too fancy.”
“No, they’re just right.” My brain was still feeling a bit foggy, but the memory of the previous night was painful, and I welcomed the opportunity to put it out of my mind with food that was completely, shamefully, bad for me. I did, however, draw the line at the coffee. The brew from the fast-food place was so vile, it was only drinkable when it was too hot to taste. I got out the carafe and brewed my own, showing Pierre how to do it so he could handle the task in the future.
“Hey, that’s easier than it looks,” he commented. “It’s funny, I find an electric coffee maker too much to bother with, but you don’t even have an electric coffee maker, and the manual method is just about as easy.”
“Yeah, it’s funny. Something else I don’t have: an electric can opener. It doesn’t do anything a hand can opener doesn’t do, and it takes up an awful lot of room, which is something this kitchen doesn’t have.”
After breakfast, we went down to the marina. Neither of us was feeling terribly cheerful, but activity, in the form of sailing, would probably be good for keeping our minds off of our worries.
What had happened last night? To start with, I had never felt anything like the sensations I had been feeling. Never before had I experienced those inner earthquakes, and while I knew enough to know that those physical reactions were more about biology than love, the physical and the emotional reactions were building upon each other, and I knew, somehow, that there wasn’t just a physical attraction between Pierre and myself, but also an emotional one. I wasn’t sure yet whether I could call that emotion love, but there was certainly the feeling of wanting to be with him as closely as at all possible, of trusting him, and even, yes, jealousy, wanting him all to myself. More than a craving for a man, any man, it was an intense desire for this man, and no other. And it was a yearning to be with him, not just for a night, or a month, but forever. I didn’t want him as a bodyguard, a temporary guardian angel; I wanted him as a partner to be with forever. I’d had boyfriends in high school and college, but absolutely none of them had moved me in any way, emotionally or physically. Pierre, on the other hand, in just a couple of days, had worked himself into my very core. And for all of his reputation as a ladies’ man, master of the one-night stand, I somehow knew that this was different for him, too.
But then – what? I was mystified about why, suddenly, I had seemed to fill up with ice. Did I have some underlying fear of intimacy? Was I afraid of the pain that was supposed to be involved in the first time? No, I didn’t think that was it – I was apprehensive, maybe, but I knew Pierre would have been as gentle as necessary, and that mild apprehension couldn’t explain the suddenness and intensity of that freeze-up. If anything, the apprehension was adding to the emotional buildup, that little bit of fear that adds to the excitement of the greatest adventures. I didn’t think it involved any moral scruples, either. I’m not particularly religious, and I hadn’t been in a church since my parents’ funeral. Pierre and I were both consenting adults, and I really didn’t think that his position as my guardian constituted taking unfair advantage of the situation.
Instead, that icy feeling almost seemed to come from some source outside me. I had a mental image of a science fiction movie in which a person is put into suspended animation, flash-frozen in a fraction of a second. Was this the work of the Others, or had I detected their presence in some way and reacted with that extreme freeze-up out of terror of them? If that was the case, had Pierre detected them too? He didn’t seem to, but then, we’d hardly spoken. This time, I found his silence troubling, rather than amusing.
When we got to the marina, Runyon was waiting for us by our boats, the worried expression on his face replaced by a relieved but tired smile when he caught sight of us. “Man, I’m so glad to see you two are all right,” he said. “Let’s go someplace it’s safe to talk.” He led us to his big boat and ushered us down into the cabin, where we settled down in the teak-paneled gloom. “We can talk here; I have shields set up.
“We detected a major wave of evil last night, and echoes of it ever since, and I was afraid the Others might have found Sarah. You look like you must have had a really hard night, but I’m glad to see Pierre was on the job.”
“Oh, no!” Pierre moaned. “I, uh, forgot!” He sank his face into his hands. “I wasn’t even aware. …”
“You mean Sarah saved herself? When I felt the wave coming, I summoned everyone else, and we went into the cave and pooled our strength. We could tell there was some sort of enchantment that was taking control over you both, we couldn’t tell to what end, and we were pushing against that force, but we weren’t able to overcome it. Then, suddenly, one of you broke loose – we thought it was Pierre, since he’s the one with training – and gave the extra boost to kick the force away.”
“God,” Pierre cried. “I didn’t know there even was an attack! I’ve been so stupid. I’m supposed to be protecting her, and instead I was, I was … I should have known better!”
“Whatever it was that you did, it wasn’t you at the helm. The Others had control of both of you. And Sarah broke out before you did any harm. She’s alive, you’re alive, and that’s what matters.”
“You don’t understand. I almost took her!”
For just a fraction of a second, Runyon winced, but then he recovered. “So they’d rather see her power destroyed than try to turn her. This is both good news and bad – good, because it means they don’t think she’ll turn, but bad, because now she’s in even more danger. They’re likely to try to kill her now. We’re going to have to have better protection.”
“Any protection would be better than the sorry job I did,” Pierre commented glumly.
“What was that about my power being destroyed?” I asked.
“You know some of those stories about virgins having special qualities because of their purity?” Runyon asked. “Well, there’s some truth in them. You would lose all of your power, or maybe not all of it, but it would certainly be diminished.”
“As much trouble as this power thing is, maybe I should just get it on with Pierre and have done with it. I’m getting so tired of all of this protection and talk of danger and all of that. I just want to go back to school, finish my degree, and live a normal life.”
“The Others would love for you to do exactly that,” Runyon said. “But yours is the greatest talent any of us has ever seen, and we’re going to need it to fight the Others. We need to get you into our school as soon as possible, where you’ll be protected. Meanwhile, you’re going to have to leave your apartment; you’re too vulnerable there. Pierre’s place has extra protections.”
“I just almost blew everything, and you’re still going to leave me in charge of her?” Pierre exclaimed. “Isn’t that like continuing to employ an incompetent nanny?”
“You’re the best possible guardian for her precisely because you slipped up before. You’re certainly not going to let it happen again. And you do love her, so you have more motivation than anyone else.”
“What good is loving her if I’m a bumbling idiot?”
“You are neither bumbling nor an idiot. And we have no better place to put her.”
“Wait a minute. I don’t want to go to his place. I like mine just fine.”
“Spend another night in your place, and it’s likely the last night you spend on this Earth. You’re going to his if I have to drag you there.”


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