Tempo Trigger Chapter 31
Lion's Story: Garbage Dumpster Confessions
Lion was sitting around on a bench in the halls, eating his lunch. He was cool enough that no one really thought he was a dork, or gave him a hard time, but no one was in a hurry to hang out with him either. A couple of the freshmen girls waved as they walked by, and he forced a smile as he waved back. 'Why does everyone call them "freshmen girls" anyway?' He wondered. 'Doesn't "freshwomen" make more sense?' He boredly searched through his sack, looking for something that he might actually want to eat. What had seemed sufficient when he was making his lunch at 7 a.m. really sucked now.
The sound of girls gossiping came from around the corner. Lion was about to ignore them and go back to staring out the window, but then he reckognized the voice that commanded his full attention whenever he heard it. "-thought you said it was over for good?"
"That depends on what day you talked to me." Tess sighed. "No, we're still together."
"So what're you going to do when Mattheus goes off to the academy?"
"Well, I'm not going to just sit around waiting for him. I think we'll end up seeing other people."
Lion sat straight up, then kicked himself mentally as his lunch bag made a lot of noise. He tensed. 'Let's see, should I be cool, or should I be a wuss?' Then, he heard someone stand up, and footsteps came toward him. 'Wuss!' He quickly decided. He stood up, and started to run away. As he charged down the hall, making as little noise as possible, he realized that he wouldn't be able to get around a corner in time. He frowned, and a yellow burst surrounded him, sending him rocketing down the hall. He realized he had miscalculated as he flew out the school doors, and quickly skidded to a stop. 'Well, at least I got away.' Then, he looked down, and had to laugh at what he had done. 'God, that was pathetic.' Following that, he was hit by another realization. One section of his brain seemed to be yelling at the one that had just made that snap decision. 'She's gonna see the energy residue, doofus!'
He threw the doors back open, and rocketed back down the hall in the exact direction he had just come from. He let his energy fade as he neared the spot in the hall he had started from, and found Tess and another girl waiting for him. "Uh, hi Lion." Tess smiled, but gave him an odd look. "I thought you weren't supposed to use your powers inside the school."
"Well, not officially, no..." Lion admitted. "But the halls are pretty empty right now, so I figured it was safe enough. Then he smiled politely, and walked past them. "Well, good day ladies." With that, the yellow glow surrounded him again, and he took off.
"Well," Tess' friend smiled, "judging from the peanut butter smudged all over that idiot's face, and the half eaten peanut butter sandwich lying here, he listened in on our whole conversation."
About a month later, Lion was at school early, for no reason he could discern. He found the door to the room Current Events was in open, and walked inside. He quickly found a seat, and started staring out the window. He reflected that he should really do some homework, but he just couldn't bear to get to work this early in the morning. He boredly turned in his seat as the door opened, until he realized that Tess was walking into the room. "Oh, hi Lion." She smiled at him. "What are you doing here so early?"
"I'm wondering that myself." He drummed his fingers on the desktop, looking surprisingly cool and collected. At least, he thought so. "Why are you here?"
"Do you know where Mr. Earl stores the poster paper?" Lion shrugged.
"Not exactly... What do you need it for?"
"We need to make posters for the smashball game on Friday." He puzzled this over for a second, before recalling that she was in leadership. Well, that stood to reason. Lion scanned the room, and spotted a large roll of paper on the top of one of the closet alcoves, right under the ceiling.
"Here it is." He floated through the air up to it, then descended slowly, handing it to her as he landed.
She smiled at him. "Is there anything those powers of yours can't do?"
"Oh yeah." He replied, forcing a smile, and making sure she knew it was forced. 'They can't make you love me.'
"Well... Thanks for your help." She replied. "See you in class pretty soon."
"No problem." Lion smiled, and raised his hand in a mock salute. He watched Tess disappear out the door, and then kicked himself. 'That was my chance!' He realized. 'That was my big chance to tell her how I feel! We were completely alone, she was in a good mood...' Lion slumped back into his seat. 'Aw... man.'
'Well, I never thought I'd see the day when a 'synth would salute me.' Tess reflected as she walked down the hall. 'They all seem to be so full of pride when it comes to anything Soultech. I know he just did it as a joke, but he did it without thinking first. Doesn't he care that I'm the daughter of the president of Soultech? Jaguarena sure seems to...' She weighed the options carefully in her mind, and found only one that made any real sense. 'I'd say that boy has a crush on me...'
After the first siren rang, and people started pouring into class, Tess walked right up to Lion's desk. He looked up, surprised. "I think I've figured something out." She began. He merely raised an eyebrow in response. "I'm pretty sure that you have a crush on me."
On the outside, Lion appeared to remain the same, but every muscle in his body tensed involuntarily. 'Should I tell her? Should I deny it? Should I wait until later? Should I just sit here like a doofus until everyone in the class is staring at me?' Groaning inwardly, Lion slowly sat up straight in his chair, then said calmly, "Tess, calling it a "crush" hardly does it justice." 'Wow, that sounded pretty good.' He began to smile.
She was momentarily taken aback too, but then said, "Look, it's nothing against you or anything-"
'Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!' Lion forced himself to maintain a smile.
"But Matt and I have been together for a long time, and-"
"You don't need to say anything else." Lion held up a hand.
"Then... you understand?"
"Whether I do or not doesn't make much difference, does it?"
"No, I suppose not..." She frowned, but couldn't think of anything else to say, and slowly walked away.
Lion let his head fall to the desk, 'Ow, dammit!' and he stared out the window, a blank expression on his face.
As he walked out the back door the of the school that day, something made him deviate from his normal path. He walked around to the garbage compacting area behind the school. He stopped, stared at the wall for a minute, then punched it as hard as he could. Cracks radiated out from the point of impact. 'Damn it Tess!' He thought, then paused for minute. 'I always THINK. I actually wanna say something, for once in my life.' "Damn it Tess." He said out loud, though quieter than his thought had been. "Why can't you see that this isn't just a normal high school crush? Every time I see you, I'm instantly put in a good mood. But I long to have more than just a good mood, and the longing is painful. Every time someone says something bad about you, I feel the rage boiling up inside of me. I want to beat the living crap out of them, because you're perfect. Your eyes, your smile, the way the light hits your hair in the morning... All perfect. I want to see that perfection every day when I wake up, and every night when I go to sleep, and as much as possible in between." 'That's pretty selfish...' He told himself. Then he looked up and sighed. "And I just poured my heart out to a dumpster. That's sad, self. Just sad. Why can't I tell HER that?"
Then, the door to the cafeteria a few yards down the wall slowly opened. "I... I think you just did." Lion froze in place, and looked up, to see that the windows to the cafeteria high up in the wall were all wide open. The door finished opening, and Tess slowly walked out, looking very nervous. "Did you mean what you just said? All of it?"
Lion paused, a worried expression on his face. 'Should I try to deny it? No, now is definitely not the time. In class was the time. It's too late now.' "Of course I did." His smile was geniune. "I don't make a habit of lying to myself."
"Maybe I was a bit hasty before." She looked at the ground, avoiding his gaze. "If you feel that strongly... Well, I don't know what's going to happen, but I'll try not to rule out any possibilities."
"Tess... Thank you." Lion's smile broadened. "And... I'll try to avoid the garbage dumpster confessions in the future." 'From now on, if I'm feeling something, I'll tell you directly.' Lion looked up at the sky. 'SAY that, you doofus!' He lowered his gaze again. 'Still can't do it... Oh well, at least I made some progress today.' "Well, guess I'll be seeing you tomorrow." He started to walk away. "And I'll be loving every minute of it." Tess smiled a little at that, which caused his grin to widen until it came close to breaking his face. Lion calmly walked back around to the front of the building. He stared at the ground, then suddenly rocketed into the air, a brilliant yellow glow surrounding him. "Yeeeeaaaaaaaggggghhhhhhh!!!! Eat my energy residue Mattheus!! Now, not only do I have the power, I have the feeling too!!" Lion blasted between the city's high rises at an insane speed, managing to avoid crashing only because he knew the city layout by heart. He dropped down onto the roof of his building, and charged inside. He practically broke the wall down in his eagerness to get in.
But once he got in, he stopped in his tracks. His family was all gathered around a projector, staring at it intently. "Hey, what's going on?"
"Lion, come have a look at this." Leopardano waved him over, a grim expression on his face. Lion's smiled vanished, and he walked over to the projector. He saw that they were looking at a rather large globe of the planet, and there was a red glow a ways to the south of Lohkiarn. No, it wasn't to the south, it was BELOW Lohkiarn.
"The hell is that?" Lion frowned, still too used to his day at school to speak formally.
Leopardano pointed to a status display below the globe, and specifically to an angry looking energy signature. It was incredibly jagged, and Lion had never seen anything like it. "That, is the alien."
"If you don't tell me what you're thinking, then I won't be able to understand..." - Rinoa Heartilly
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