The four teens find out something interesting about their PODs
“Now, why would I do that? My comment was completely true.”
Lara walked up to a crowd of people. She saw Joe and asked, “What’s going on?”
“A fight.” He looked up over the crowd and added, “And I’m pretty sure Alex is involved.” I wish I could see better.
Lara looked at Joe, shook her head and said, “Joe, you’re about twice these people’s size in muscle alone. Just push your way through.”
Joe opened his mouth to protest but instead turned and started to make his way through the crowd. Lara followed close behind using Joe as a sort of shield. When they got to the source of the commotion they saw Alex, red in the face, staring down Cal. Lara rolled her eyes as Joe walked toward them. Just as Alex was about to throw a punch, Joe stepped between them. Alex’s punch hit Joe square in the chest, right where Cal’s chin would have been a second before. Joe let out a breath of air as Alex gingerly held his hand whining.
“What’d ya do that for?” Alex yelled at Joe. “His face should be pulp by now!”
Cal was pounding on Joe’s back trying to get to Alex but Joe wasn’t moving any time soon. Cal let out a big groan of frustration then finally gave up, crossing his arms. Lara was moving around them trying to force the crowd to disperse. Eventually they did when they realized that there wasn’t going to be a fight. Joe grabbed both Alex and Cal’s shoulder and steered them over to a nearby bench, forcing them to sit down. Once Lara had finished with the crowd control she came and joined them.
“What do you guys think you’re doing?” she sternly demanded.
The two boys began babbling out incomprehensible explanations at the same time. Joe quickly crossed his arms so he could cover both their mouths. They both had a shocked look in their eyes and when they finally calmed down and were quiet Joe lowered his arms, uncovering both their mouths.
“Guys, we’re graduating in two weeks. We’ve done our tests and everything. Do you think you could grow up a bit before then?” Lara said to them, raising her voice slightly. “Now, what happened?”
Alex pointed at Cal and began, “He, he-” He took a deep breath then tried again. “He was totally out of line. He-” His voice quietened to a soft whisper. “He said that I have no heart. That I’m too selfish to care about anybody else but myself and that’s why I can’t keep a girlfriend.”
Joe turned to him, studying his face and what was happening, then in a softer tone he repeated Lara’s words. “What happened?” He wasn’t referring to the fight. There was something else going on here.
“I was just telling him the truth. All he ever thinks about is himself,” Cal blurted out, not realizing what was going on.
Before Cal could continue defending himself Joe clamped his hand over his mouth again. He turned to Cal and snarled, “I wasn’t talking to you.” This shocked both Cal and Lara since it wasn’t normally something Joe would do.
When Joe turned back to Alex he saw that he had taken advantage of this distraction to march off toward the soccer field.
“Auuuggghh, this is so stupid!” Lara groaned then, looking pointedly at Cal who gave no reaction, turned and ran after Alex.
Why didn’t I yell what Cal did? I could still be back there winning the fight! Why did I have to go all soft? Why did I even show any emotion? Alex thought to himself.
Suddenly he felt a hand on his arm. He pulled away and stormed off with brisk steps.
“Alex, where are you going?” Lara ran and stepped in his path. He tried to step around her but she wouldn’t let him pass.
Finally he grunted a short answer. “Anywhere but here.”
Lara firmly grabbed his shoulders. Looking at him straight in the eyes she said, “We need to talk.” She dragged him down to the ground and he sat with an ‘oof’. “Now, Joe wasn’t the only one that noticed something more was going on. Something deeper. What is this really about?”
Alex shifted uneasily. He really didn’t like talking about this kind of thing.
“Alex, you might as well talk. You being stubborn won’t help. We’re staying right here until you talk.”
Alex sighed then began, “It’s my sister. From the day of her birth I was told to take care of her, guard her with my life. I loved Alice with all my heart. But I failed.”
Lara nodded, encouraging him to continue.
He took a breath and continued, “I was so stupid! I took her down to the train tracks. She liked rocks and there were tons of different rocks there that she could look at. I turned around and the next thing I knew she was on the tracks. I ran to get her away from there as I heard a train coming. But the train reached her before I did. She was thrown toward me. She was dead before she hit the ground.” He said all this staring past Lara into space then he stared straight at Lara as he said the next thing. “I guess what Cal said hurt because he’s right. Ever since the death of my baby sister I’ve shut everybody else out. If anybody gets too close I end up hurting them.”
Lara stared at him in shock and muttered a, ‘huh.’
Alex stared back then stood up and yelled, “I just poured my heart and soul out for you and all you can say is, ‘huh’?”
Lara rose up beside him and replied, “I said ‘huh’ because that makes three of us four Xonars that have lost a family member. I’ve been wondering why it was us that got the PODs. Maybe we were chosen. But then, why would Cal have one?”
“He lives with his grandma. His parents died in a car crash,” Alex explained.
“Ok, well then,” was all Lara could think to say.
Meanwhile, back at the bench Joe decided to talk it out with Cal.
“What’d you do and what’s going on?” He cut right to the point.
Cal opened his mouth to speak then closed it deciding to approach it from a different angle. “See that girl over there?” he asked pointing to a tall blonde wearing jeans and a tight pink t-shirt.
“Yeah,” Joe replied wondering where this was leading to.
“Her name’s Sarah Jones. Alex has known for quite awhile that I like her. I’ve been too shy to make a move so today Alex walked up to her and stole her right out of from under me. Then the rest you know.”
Joe looked up and saw Lara and Alex walking their way.
“How’d it go?” Joe asked looking from one person to the other.
“We found out something interesting,” Alex replied.
Joe looked at them inquisitively.
“It turns out that we may not have found the PODs. We think they found us,” Lara explained.
“You mean we were chosen?” Cal inquired.
Lara and Alex nodded. “We all have something in common. We’ve all lost a member of our family, or in Cal’s case two,” Lara explained.
“But why does that make us legal candidates for these fancy devices? A lot of people have lost family members. Why us?” Cal wondered.
Lara just shrugged.
“Umm, well that was the bell. We should be getting to class,” Joe said cutting the silence that had loomed over them.