This story has been sitting on my laptop for some time waiting for me to do something. This is one of my few stories that take place on Earth. WARNING - This story is NOT the edited version. I know there are probably spelling and grammar errors. The edited version is on my laptop and will be posted as soon as found. I would have waited but I feel I should have posted this long ago and I'm way overdue.

The world is so noisy. The sound of everyone bustling around. The sound of happy birds chirping. So much noise. Some good, some bad. Headphones are the only way I survive. Don't try to talk to me. I can't hear you. I don't want to hear you. I don't want to hear any of this. I want to go back to my quiet planet.

I regret coming on this mission. It is only my second day and I can't stand it. It was supposed to be an honor reserved for the best. Now I know the only reason they don't give it to younger ones is because they might go insane. We aren't used to this noise. We don't speak. Our machines are quiet. The other inhabitants of the planet rarely speak. It is too noisy here. It is too weird.

My ears can not take this. My head can't take it either. I feel like I'm suffocating. There is too much noise but yet not enough. There is no telepathic speaking. My ears aren't used to being used, and my brain isn't used to being left alone.

I sit and type on this historic relic they call a laptop. I don't need this thing to record my thoughts and my travel log. My brain has much more memory space. But I must fit in. I can't sit here doing that. Not when Earthlings can't do it.

They only use about 10 of their brain! What a waste! Not that I should be commenting. I only at the moment can use about 60. I once met a person who could use 65 of their brain. How amazing! I can't wait to meet the civilization that uses 100 percent of their brain.

But now I must put my brain power to my immediate mission. I must find the Earthling. But which one is it? I don't know. But I will know when I find it.

No, not it. I must never again refer to Earthlings as "it"s. They are "he"s and "she"s. I can not let myself slip into thinking they are inferior.

Now, I will know when I find her/him. And then I will take the lucky Earthling back to my planet, to home.

Until then I will live with these headphones and my world's music. I will live with no telepathic contact. I must save and shut down now. It is beginning to get late by my standards and I must go back to the apartment I have rented. Bye for now.

Chapter 1

Mayalenesiou walked slowly back towards her apartment, with her laptop under her arm but still on. She needed the music it played because she accidentally left her player on the counter. She never heard the shouts telling her to watch, to move. Someone glanced her shoulder, but with his momentum it caused her to fall. She barely had time to roll towards the sidewalk when a group came chasing after the boy who knocked her over.

She lay there with her hands over her ears, trying to block out the incoming sounds. She tried to think, tried to understand where the music went, and why she was on the ground. She looked down at the laptop but could not tell if it was broken, only that it wasn't smashed. Then it came to Mayalenesiou in a flash, and she could finally focus on the strange Earthling standing over her.

He had just stopped turning to face her and was speaking to some other man. "I don't think she's okay. Maybe something happened in the fall, or the guy was holding something. Let's call 911."

The words meant nothing to her. It was only the feelings she picked up on. He seemed worried, concerned. Something was bothering him much more deeply than her fall. She had to figure out what they were saying. If only she could think clearly and remember the English she was taught, for of the fact that they were speaking English she was sure. She had to convey that she was alright, but how?

He turned to look at her again and only saw a girl lying there who didn't look like she was breathing. He didn't see an alien who was trying to concentrate on his words by blocking out the sounds of others. "Are you alright? Do you want us to call an ambulance?"

Mayalenesiou knew that she wanted to answer positive for the first one and negative for the second one. She couldn't take the risk of what these primitive "doctors" would do. She opened her eyes to see if that would help her figure out what to do. The first thing she saw were his baby blue eyes and Mayalenesiou felt as if she were surrounded by them. She could drown in those perfect blue eyes. Whoever knew an Earthling possessed such beauty, Mayalenesiou thought no longer paying attention to what was going on. Time seemed to be on stand-by for her and for one moment everything was perfect.

And then he spoke. But not to her. "I think she's alright. Maybe we should call just in case she had a concussion," he said to the crowd without his eyes every leaving Mayalenesiou's.

It was then she knew she had to say something or be condemened to people who could never understand how her body works. "I'm fine, thank you," she whispered the words which had suddenly came to her. Loud was not her style; if they couldn't hear her they would just have to learn to listen. Earthlings had a tendency to not listen carefully enough.

The strange Earthling who had cared enough to help, smiled and asked if she needed help getting up. The crowd was beginning to disperse, and talk amongst themselves. Mayalenesiou knew she should try and make a friendship with this Earthling so that she could have help in her search, but the noise was too much. It would take too much time to talk with him and she didn't want to be surrounded by so much noise for that long.

"No, I'm fine." Mayalenesiou picked up her laptop and stood up. "Thank you for helping me." Even when one is in a rush it isn't right to be rude, she thought.

"No problem. I didn't really do anything." The Earthling shrugged off her thank you, but smiled in a way which said you're-welcome. Mayalenesiou started to walk off and he ran to catch up with her. "You talk very quietly," he said just trying to keep the conversation going until he could find out more about this mysterious female.

"You talk much too loud. Listen to the sounds around you and hear how everything is trying to drown out everything else. I really must be going." She felt like rolling her eyes. This Earthling kept trying to talk to her, like perhaps if he talked long enough she would want to listen. In fact, that was the exact vibe she was getting from him. "The last thing I want is to hear you talk and hear myself answer in this stupid vocal way!" she wanted to scream at him. But she didn't.

"I'm sorry if I'm holding you up from going somewhere," he stated emotionlessly while blocking her path. He wasn't sorry. He had let too much slip through his fingers before he realized how important it was. This Earthling had no intention of letting her leave until he knew how to contact her. Changing his tone, he offered, "My name is Luke," and his hand.

Mayalenesiou was still having a little bit of trouble concentrating, but was able to remember enough to shake his hand. As she was shaking his hand she quickly turned them around. By the time Luke had realized what had happened Mayalenesiou was already at the intersection. He debated on whether or not he could afford more time as he needed to pick up medicine from the pharmacy and she seemed to be quite uninterested in him. Just as Mayalenesiou was about to cross the intersection, Luke made up his mind. He ran after her and managed to make the same light and catch up with her shortly after.

"You're supposed to say your name, not run away," Luke said jokingly. The run was no problem for him although it had been a bit of a distance. Everyday he ran more during his track practices. If she kept running, so would he.

Mayalenesiou sighed silently. This boy was not taking any hints, and he had to pick the day that she didn't have any music to drown out the background noise. But his question posed a serious problem. She hadn't picked an Earth name yet, and he seemed the type that would catch her in a lie. So she decided to say the truth and see if he could get his mouth around it. "My name is Mayalenesiou. If you don't mind I would like to go home without you following me." For her to speak emotionlessly was impossible, so she tried to sound as cold as she could to make him back off. No one had prepared her for the troubles of speaking even though they had tried. She could block someone else from reading her mind when she spoke telepathically, but when she spoke her voice carried all of her emotions. Normally she would have searched his mind to see what would make him leave, but she wasn't supposed to do anything telepathically. All she could pick up were the vibes that he let out unknowingly.

As she had expected Luke was having some trouble saying her name. But he wasn't ready to give up just because her parents had given her such a name. "So, if you don't want me to know where you live, can I get a number?" Luke asked quite frankly. While Luke usually was a little bit better with his lines, something about Mayalenesiou made him want to say exactly what he meant.

"If I give it to you will you finally leave me alone?"

"For now."

Mayalenesiou paused. She was very close to the apartment now, but she didn't want Luke to know where it was. If he was this much of a bother now she couldn't imagine how much of a bother he would be if he knew where to find her. But what number could she give him? Mayalenesiou had disconnected the house phone in under 5 minutes from when she moved in, and she had no intention of reconnecting it. If she gave him that number, he found it was disconnected, and then one day she needed his help she probably wouldn't get it. There was the cell phone… If I give him that I'll never get rid of him. And the stupid phone will make so much noise. But there isn't anything else and I might need his help, she thought, coming to each conclusion separately.

Luke stood patiently waiting for her to say something. He slipped in a quick glance at his watch when Mayalenesiou's eyes were closed, for she thought with them closed. This was taking longer than he expected. The pharmacy was going to be closing within the hour, and he still had to get there. He couldn't afford much more time. His sister needed the medicine by 6 o'clock sharp, and it was 5 o'clock now. It would take about 20 minutes for him to get to the pharmacy walking, and about 30 minutes to get home from there. Luke knew he was cutting it close and whether or not he got her number he would have to leave very soon. Well, at least I got her name, he mused.

"Here," Mayalenesiou said, and before Luke knew what she was doing she was throwing a piece of paper to him. His reflexes made him catch it, but he had to bend down because it was such a low toss. When he stood up, she was nowhere in sight. Instead of looking at the paper, he carefully placed it into his pocket and left.

Luke arrived at the pharmacy with barely enough time to spare. The pharmacist already knew what Luke was there to pick up and it was out on the counter waiting for him. To anyone else it would seem like it would be so easy for just anyone to take, but Luke knew that the pharmacist always had an eye on the store due to the many security cameras. The medicine was prepaid for so Luke just grabbed the bag, said thank you to the counter, and left.

The half an hour walk wasn't so bad. The wind provided a slight chill, but it was nothing unusual for this time of year. He wanted to run and get home faster, but he couldn't risk shaking the medicine that much. This was an experimental medicine and to get the most use out of it the directions were to be followed to the letter. There was no point in him wasting a year of work just because he wanted to get home and debated whether or not to look at the piece of paper. If it was her number or some other way to contact her all would be well. But if it wasn't…

It was beginning to get dark, and Luke was regretting cutting it this close. People had lately been popping up on him on this street. Much like the teenager behind him trying to catch up.

Luke suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder, and he turned completely ready to fight for his life. He walked through the less safe areas to get home faster, and although little ever bothered him that didn't mean he shouldn't be ready.

"Whoa. Luke, it's just me," the newcomer said taking a step back for good measure.

"Sorry Chris," Luke said relaxing. His blue eyes stared into Chris's brown ones. What he saw was simply a guy who was fun to be with, always had your back, and was someone you could count on for anything. In other words, he saw Chris's soul. But if you looked closely all of these traits were integrated into everything Chris was from his golden hair to his cunning smile to his confident walk.

"Why are you so jumpy today?" Chris questioned, catching up with Luke who had already started walking.

"I don't know. I have to get this home. I'm cutting it so close." Luke offered as if this would answer Chris's question.

And in a way, it did. Form years of friendship, Chris understood this meant that something major had happened. Luke knew that he had to get the medicine, which Chris knew was the "this," at a certain time and he was never late. Chris could never imagine one time that Luke had been late with it. His sister's disease had made him grow up so fast, but the world he had lived in wasn't done with him yet.

Without any more words being exchanged, Chris decided to walk with Luke until he reached where he lives. When Luke was ready to talk he would talk, in the mean time it was more important that the medicine got to his sister in mint condition. When they reached the door, Luke nodded slightly in acknowledgment of Chris's good deed. And in return Chris nodded slightly and left.

They had a silent agreement that anything could be resolved but it would be on its own time. Chris would wait for Luke to speak. And Luke would, but no sooner than he was ready. There were many people who had found that out the hard way.

"I'm home." Luke simply said normally closing the door behind him. He knew where his sister was. She was always in the same places at the same times. But, following tradition, his mother calmly replied telling him where they were. He walked into the den, where his sister was set up to live, looking at nothing but the floor. He really didn't want to face how things were right now. If he didn't look it might just be normal for one minute. Luke put the package down on the nearest table and left as quickly as he could. His mother's sigh followed him all the way to the kitchen, and the knowledge that his sister was looking sad haunted him until he had no appetite, despite the fact he had hardly eaten all day.

He sat there staring at the food until his sister came in the room. She walked over to his chair and gave him a big hug from behind. Luke looked over his should to see her.

"It's okay," she mouthed. The one who was supposed to be leaning on him for support was letting him lean on her. She had always been able to understand what was bothering Luke, and anyone else for that matter. It was her gift, and she had no qualms about sharing it. "I understand." Her voice after receiving the medicine is shaky, and Luke wonders for the millionth time how much she understands, how deep she is seeing.

"Feel like a sandwich, Kara?" Luke said trying to regain some cheer. He knew that he was going to have to go make himself another sandwich if he got hungry. BLTs were Kara's favorite.

"You know I do. Thanks." She kissed him on the check and left. Luke than began to wonder exactly what she had meant by "thanks" and what she was thanking him for. She had put such emphasis on it that he doubted it was for the sandwich.

"Did she even take the sandwich," Luke suddenly thought when he couldn't recall seeing her do it. He looked down to an empty plate and smiled. "Whatever is going on, everything is going to be okay," he said to himself, and for the first time he believed it.

Mayalenesiou tossed the broken laptop onto the couch, and headed towards the shower. She paused only to grab a towel and to blast the radio loud enough to drown out all sounds except for the shower. Once in the bathroom, she grabbed the shampoo out of the cabinet and put it in a much easier place to grab when she needed it. She turned the shower on and almost walked in before she realized she still had her clothes on. "Arrrrrrrr! I hate today!" She whined, but even her own voice was swept away by the music.

Mayalenesiou began to undress, carefully placing each article of clothing on a rack made for that exact purpose. She then went through the pockets of the now hanging jeans to see if she had anything in them. In the back pockets, she found a few wrappers and tossed them. Mayalenesiou reached her hand into the front right pocket and pulled out the annoying cell phone. "Stupid little noisy thing," she remarked, looking for a place to put it so she would remember where it was. Her eyes spotted an unused shelf that she could not avoid seeing, and decided to put the phone there. But before she could put it down, the phone began to shake in her hand.

Almost dropping the phone out of surprise, she tried to recall what this sensation was. It was a few moments before she realized someone was calling her and the phone was vibrating. Knowing she wouldn't be able to hear the person on the other line with the radio on this loud she shut it off before answering. "Hello?"

"…H…he…." The voice sounded shaky and surprised.

"Hello?" Mayalenesiou wasn't in the mood for one of those "wrong number" things, and even less for one of those "prank call" things.

"Hi," the person on the other line managed to say

"What do you want?"

"I… I… I didn't know you would answer," the male voice finally admitted.

"It's my phone; why wouldn't I?" Mayalenesiou was starting to wonder where this was going. "Do all Earthlings have other Earthlings' numbers," she wondered, but came to the conclusion of no. Luke had to ask for a way to contact her.

"I thought you gave me a fake number," he sheepishly admitted.



"Leave me alone." And with that she hung up. It was rude, but she really didn't want to talk with him. The phone vibrated in her closed fist, and she fought the urge to answer it and apologize. But she failed. "Hello?" She wasn't going to burst right out into an apology; she still hadn't found out how to use the whole caller-ID thing.

"I'm sorry."

It was Luke. Again. "Why are you sorry? I shouldn't have said what I said. It's just I'm busy right now."

"Oh, okay. I'm still sorry." Luke sounded very nervous, and the thought crossed Mayalenesiou's mind that perhaps, just perhaps, she was making him nervous. "Umm… I'm going to hang up now… I guess."

"Are you going to call back again?" Mayalenesiou prodded. She had her finger on the radio's on button, just waiting until she could hit it.

"I would like to, if you don't mind." Luke sounded slightly confused. In his defense, she had given him the number, and what do you do with numbers other than call?

"Well, I'm going to take a shower so won't answer. Bye." Mayalenesiou had completely missed that fact that he thought she meant ever, but it didn't matter to her. Soon the sounds of water, someone singing, and loud music filled the apartment.

Luke leaned back up against the bed. The desire to smother himself with a pillow was growing with every minute. The alarm clock next to him went off, and Luke groaned. It was time for dinner. He had been looking forward to a few minutes of peace after the phone call disaster. But no such luck.

In this house there was no being late to dinner. Everything had to be done on an exact schedule, so instead of hitting the alarm clock with a bat—which is what Luke truly wanted to do—he turned it off and walked into the kitchen.

"Hello, Luke," his mother began. They had a planned conversation. Well, it wasn't really planned, it was more like a rehearsed conversation. They always said the same thing no matter what. Luke couldn't remember exactly what his mother had said the reason was for why they had started this, only that it had something to do with his sister—just like everything else he does.

Kara had to take her pills at this exact time. But they were made so small that she had to take quite a few to reach the dosage she needed to live. Each pill had to be taken right after the other and with food so that it doesn't damage the lining of her stomach. The first day she had to take them Luke remembered seeing this look on her face. It made his heart . Everyday he could remember after that there was only this conversation.

Not wanting to ever see that look on Kara's face again for any reason, Luke fought the urge to mope or let anything other than happiness show in his voice. "Hello, mother." He pulled the chair out and sat down, smiling at Kara who was already seated.

"Now that we're all here, let's eat," Luke's mother continued. Kara and she began to eat the pile of mashed potatoes, but Luke waited a moment.

The next line was his, and he could never say anything properly with food in his mouth. "This looks great, mom," he said with more feeling than he felt. Only then did he allow himself to begin eating.

"Thank you. I worked very hard on it," she replied with a cheery face and took a bite of the meat.

"You're welcome." Luke took a moment to pause. This meal was good, but he expected nothing else. His mother's great joy was cooking. She was going to be a chef, but she just couldn't stand not getting to see the people eating it.

"How's sch—" At that exact moment the sound of an engine revving and a horn honking cut off the rest of her words. This was one of those situations Luke and his mother had been trying to avoid, and his mother didn't look at all like she had a plan. Kara was already interested in what was going on, but couldn't do anything for she had to finish taking her pills and eating dinner. The next thing that was coming was going to be that look. The look Kara gets when she knows her disease is keeping her from joining in with the rest.

"I'll go see what it's about. You two just keep eating," Luke calmly stated as he excused himself from the table. His attitude changed when he got closer to the door. "If those idiots are here again," his voice trailed off as he stepped outside. And it came as no surprise to him that those idiots he had just referred to were out in the street waiting for him.

"Hey Luke! You comin'?" one of the guys shouted. He was the only guy who was acting excited. The rest of the guys in the car were acting as if it was no big deal if Luke came.

"Sit down, a. You're ruining the finish," the driver told the excited guy standing on the trunk.

"I'll do whatever the hell I want to," he replied even though he sat down in the back seat.

Luke just patiently stood there waiting for them to finish. Not like he could do anything else; he had no clue what they were talking about. And he was out-numbered, but that didn't really matter. To Luke it only ever mattered if you were out-skilled. Numbers were nothing.

The girl riding shotgun lifted herself up and over the car door. She walked over to Luke's side of the street.

Luke stood there waiting for her to get all the way over. When she had, he spoke. "They're still as idiotic as ever?"

Her voice had a slightly sad tone to it. "Can't you tell?" Luke knew that she was conveying another message. And it was more about Luke not having been around much and his change of attitude towards them.

"Look, I'm in the middle of something—" Luke started, but never got the chance to finish.

"You aren't in the middle of anything! You aren't even on a side! We're in the middle of something. You know you used to be part of that we. What happened, Luke? What happened to you?" Her voice started off strong and then got lower and crackier.

"Mel, I grew up. I can't spend the rest of my life doing that stuff. One day you'll wake up and see it, too. But for now, what do you want?" Luke stared at Mel in the eyes and somehow managed to maintain a level calm patient voice. He knew that if he didn't, he would soon be swept up into the flow of things again. He somewhat wanted to know what it would be like again, but he couldn't. He couldn't let himself go, for his sister's sake, for his future's sake.

Mel inwardly sighed. To her Luke had never been the same since his sister got sick. You skipped out on us, Luke. I want to make you feel the pain we felt, I want to kill you… I just want you to come back to use. You promised us it was forever. I asked how long forever was. You pointed up to the stars and told me that as long as they were there, you would be here with us. And I believed you. I believed you, you rotten stupid idiot, Mel thought. She wanted to tell Luke all of this, tell him exactly how she felt, but instead she heard her own voice saying something very differently—and completely emotionless except for the coldness like the cold shoulder he had given them. "We were wondering if you still cared enough to help us against the Pinks. We kind of got into a little argument that we're settling 3 days from today, which would be Friday."

Luke almost began to speak, but he had to stop. He could tell his voice would come out shaky, and if he didn't seem strong about his choice—even if he was doubting if he made the right choice—they would pester him into rejoining. It got to him that they still used his name for the other gang. It was a mistake of course. He saw two guys fighting over a starburst, and it has just made him think of the starburst commercial promoting the pink ones. When somebody asked what he was looking at "the Pinks" just slipped out. Finally Luke felt his voice was strong enough, and yet his will power wasn't. They had to go soon or everything he had worked for this year was going down the drain. "I don't see why you would need my help." It took only a mental picture of his sister for him to stare Mel down as if convincing her with his eyes that he didn't want anything to do with hem ever again.

"Come on Mel! Let's go," John yelled to Mel when he saw neither of them were talking. He had the engine roaring, which wasn't unusual for the car. Luke had helped him and Mark make it that way and just by listening to it Luke got the urge to lift up the hood and check out how it's been doing.

Reluctantly Mel broke away from Luke's gaze and walked back towards the car. She didn't bother to open the door; she never did. Mel had once told him that it was so much easier just to hop over then to have to bother with opening and closing it. "I told you he wouldn't reconsider," Mark said as they pulled away, leaning up from the back seat. The guy next to him immediately began to complain, but Mel wasn't listening to either of them.

Luke wanted to be back, that she though she knew. He belongs with us. We just have to make him see that again. Make him see that we're going to hold him to that promise. He can't get away from us that easily. Suddenly Mel involuntarily shivered. She knew that on a one-to-one basis Luke could kick their asses without breaking a sweat, and he probably could still beat them even if it was four-on-one. But it didn't just have to be the four of them on him. We could call the rest to help…. Mel banished that though immediately. The last thing she wanted was for the rest to get involved. It could get much bloodier and would definitely get more violent than she wanted. Not that she minded violence; it was just that she minded when it was going to be used on Luke.

Luke is still a member, whether or not he wants to be, and we just can't do that. He'll realize he can't live in the world like that. He'll come back to us, Mel tried to convince herself. But in the back of her mind she knew that if Luke was going to come back it would have to be by force and her heart ached.

Luke walked back in the house and headed towards the kitchen. His mother and sister were just finishing up. Luke's mother looked up and smiled at the sight of no blood. She thought she knew what Luke used to do, but she didn't know that half of it. "What was it dear?" Her cheery tone was forced and Luke noticed.

Kara must have been asking if she could come out and see, Luke thought. "It was nothing. Just…" he trailed off slightly knowing he couldn't say the words he wanted to. To mask it he took a big gulp of milk from his glass. When he put the glass down he continued. "Just a car with some loud people. No big deal. I'm going to go."

If there was on thing Luke's mother had learned, it was when he said something he was going to do it. She got a quick glance of Luke's back as he grabbed his coat, but a very nice view of the door closing behind him. She sighed ever so softly. "What are we going to do with him, Kara?" she asked in a teasing tone as she cleared Kara's place.

"Love him until he suffocates?" Kara tried to help, but her mom shooed her away from the work.

"That sounds like a plan. Now you let me clean up these dishes while you go have fun."

"Alright." Kara left the room and quickly went to her room. She opened the window and looked around for Luke. He always took a little bit of time before he actually went anywhere. He said he liked to just feel the night air. "Hey Luke!" Kara said as loud as she could without her mother hearing.

Suddenly a tall male leaned down in front of the window. "You call?"

"It was those friends of yours in your car?"

Luke smiled in at his little sister. "What would I do if mom was as perceptive as you?"

"You'ld do what you always do. What's up with you, Luke? I don't just mean them coming by in your car like that. There was something before that. What happened?" Kara spit out the word them like it was poisoned. She knew what Luke used to do and she hated it. She was afraid for him everytime he went out, even though she knew that Luke can take care of himself. But if anything was going to happen it wasn't going to be a fair fight for him.

Luke was partly lost in thought also. He had helped to make that car and now he had to leave it all behind. It would be so much easier if I didn't just keep seeing them. Or if I brought along a picture of Kara. I think I'll do that. "Do you have a picture of you I can have?"

"Yes, I d--. Hey wait! You're changing the subject," she objected even as she handed him the small wallet sized picture. "It's mom's make-up 'cause I missed class pictures. I only have wallet sized ones. Be careful with it."

"Ok. That's perfect thanks." Luke took the picture through the open window.

"Now. Tell me what happened." Kara's voice was as stern as she could manage to make it.

Luke smiled. He knew there was no way he was going anywhere until he told. "I met this girl. That's all. She got knocked over by some runner. Seemed pretty dazed; thought she might have it her head," Luke said telling it like it was. Kara didn't need to know the rest of the details.

But, Kara did know something else happened, too. It was written all over Luke's face. Anyone who knew him well could see it, yet Luke couldn't see it. Kara decided against pushing Luke for more information as he was beginning to get restless. "When you get home I want to hear the rest." And with that she closed the window.

Luke stood up, wondering exactly how much his little sister knew. But one glance into the now dark room and he was leaving.

Chris sat on the ground, not yet wet with morning dew, fingering the paper Luke was taking such great care of. Finally he spoke. "So you going to call this mystery girl again?" While his tone was calm his mind was racing. Luke was usually cool around girls and Chris had never seen him having trouble talking. Most people would think that Luke was caught by surprise. And he was. That surprises me even more. Luke is always ready for anything. And since when does he think a girl would give him a fake number?! Chris controlled his face so that none of his confusion and shock would show.

"I don't know. Are most people anxious to make idiots of themselves?" Luke stared at the cell phone resting in his hand. It could be the beginning or the ending. He carefully placed it in the middle of himself and Chris. This is not an easy decision! What if "taking a shower" was just her nice way of saying "Don't call back!"

"So what speed-dial number is she?" Chris watched as Luke layed down staring up at the stars. Normally Chris would do likewise, but for now all his attention was on the cell phone.

"I haven't even known her a full day. Why do you think—" Luke was cut off by a playful nudge that wasn't really playful and more of a shove than a nudge. "Okay. Okay. She's number 7."

"You are very obsessed," Chris commented as he picked up the phone.

"Mayb… What are you doing?" Luke asked as his wandering eyes saw Chris holding his phone.

"Calling her," he mouthed with his hand over the speaker of the phone and the other end to his ear.

"Give me that," Luke said as he grabbed the phone from Chris's hand and instinctively put it up to his ear. "You little thief. You are not getting away with this." Luke angrily said through his teeth, trying to wipe the growing smile off his face.

"Excuse me? What did you call me," the voice demanded from the phone.

Luke's eyes went wide and he tried to explain. "I didn't mean you! I'm sorry. There's someone else on my end. I really wasn't speaking to you."


Now Chris had to grab both his hands to prevent him from throwing the phone to avoid being identified. He stared at Luke with a you-don't-want-her-to-think-you-hung-up-on-her-,-do-you-? look. Reluctantly Luke agreed with Chris and put the phone back to his ear as Chris left go of his arms. "Yes."

A sigh was heard on the other line. "Is there something you need?"

Luke cover the phone and mouthed the question to Chris. Chris responded with a –why-are-you-asking-me-? look. Mayalenesiou speaking interrupted what he was going to say.


"Um… Can I call you Maya? Like for a nickname?" Luke asked nervously. In his mind it was also a good question. Mayalenesiou was just too much for him to be able to correctly pronounce.

"What's wrong with my name," Mayalenesiou quickly responded with.

Luke almost hit himself over the head. How did I not see that coming? Umm… think, idiot, think. Ahhh. Got it. "Nothing. I just was wondering if a nickname would be okay." That wasn't your line, idiot! That was completely stupid. What happened to the line I had? Look now, your palms are sweating; don't drop the phone.

"If you must. Is that all?"

If I must? Does that mean yes or no? Why can't I think! Wait, I am thinking. ARgggggg.

At that point Chris grabbed the phone from Luke's frozen hand. He so owes me, Chris thought looking at Luke. "No it isn't all. This is Chris. Luke has gotten a sudden case of laryngitis, which I'm sure will be gone soon, but he wanted to ask if you would like to have lunch with him tomorrow."

"Where? When?" Mayalenesiou's answer was slightly delayed, but Chris paid no attention to the pause.

"Café in Sount Arting. Noon. Oh, and that's the name of the place. Weird name; great food." Chris told her with no effort. That was the place everyone went to eat. "Can I say you're going," Chris prodded when she said nothing.

"Oh. Yes. I'll be there."

"Okay. Bye," Chris said as he hung up the phone. He turned to face Luke, who still hadn't moved. "Now that wasn't so hard, was it?"

Somehow this seemed to shake Luke out of his trance. "For you maybe." In a more thoughtful tone, Luke added, "I wonder if she thinks I'm a stalker."

"You?" Chris couldn't help but laugh. The was no other sound and for a moment Luke believed that it was not Chris laughing at him, but the world, fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it was laughing at him. "How can you believe it will work? Your heart will break," it seemed to say.

Luke stood up and brushed the grass off his pants. His blue eyes dared the black night. We'll be together. All I need is one chance and now I've got it. When silence returned Luke started to walk down the hill with Chris not far behind. "When and where?" Luke calmly asked in a very strong tone.

Chris reached over putting his arm around Luke's neck. "Ahh my friend. What would you do without me? Noon; tomorrow; and where do you think?"

Luke just nodded. The only place he could think of that Chris would think of so fast would be Café in Sount Arting. And that's when a very harsh reality hit him. "Tell me it isn't Café in Sount Arting," he asked softly.

Chris pulled back, surprised by the sudden change in mood. "Well of course it is. Everyone eats there. It's the best place. You love their food; or did you forget that?" Chris ducked to avoid Luke's swinging arm. "Calm down. What's the matter with you?"

"Everyone goes there." Luke said more calmly, but he wasn't near being calm. He couldn't bring himself to walk another step. It felt like every step he made just brought him one step closer to the event that was going to go down with more casualties than the Titanic.

That was we Chris remembered what he had forgotten. Together Chris and Luke sat down and just watched the night sky. On Wednesdays, all of the gang that Luke had been so close to ate lunch there. Because where else was there?

Mayalenesiou sat down at a table in the café. She put her laptop on the table and her purse next to it. Expertly she unfolded her laptop and had it up and running in seconds. The headphones were the next to come out of the bag and on her ears. Soon she could hear nothing other than the singing in her ears.

A few songs later she glanced at her watch. 11:50 it read. She wondered once again what time noon was and how long she was going to be sitting there. She hadn't pegged Luke as a morning person, so this seemed early enough to her to be safe.

Mayalenesiou opened up the internet and attempted to connect to a connection. The waiter, who had been standing behind her for some time now, tapped her on the shoulder. With no effort at all, she ignored him.

He reached over her in a flirtatious way, and started typing on her laptop. When he removed his hands the message read: There aren't any wireless connections around here. The one that should be working is broken. Maybe I could show you a place where there are.

With a sigh, Mayalenesiou typed a message back that made him leave. It consisted mostly of words that she had heard yelled at some man. They had made him leave so she figured the 4-letter words could work for her, too. Once he was gone she opened up a document and began typing everything she knew about who she was trying to find. With her head buried in her laptop she didn't notice Luke for a few minutes.

When she did finally look up he was staring right at her, but not smiling. He seems nervous, she noted. Hmmm, maybe it's all the other people staring at him. Is that normal?

"Hey," Luke said shifting nervously. "I know I kind of invited you here, but would you mind if we went somewhere else?"

His lips are moving, and I'm sure there's sound coming out of it. But do I care enough to listen to all this chatter? Mayalenesiou pulled one of the headphones out of her ear and reached over to Luke. She then deftly stuck the headphone in his ear. At his confused look she slid the laptop over to him.

Luke typed what he had said and leaned back waiting for an answer. Mayalenesiou rolled her eyes and moved over to read what he wrote. So that's what he wants.