Steve Parker watched Alex’s back disappear from the kitchen.
Teenagers wouldn’t do something reckless when there were adults present, right?
“Let me get you some soup” Tim said, interrupting his thoughts. She grabbed a bowl from a cupboard and headed to the stove. Using the ladle Alex left near the pot, she filled the bowl to the rim.
She slowly walked over to the island counter and placed the soup at the head.
Steve sat down on the stool while Tim searched for a spoon. He thanked her once she handed it to him.
Each time Steve Parker scooped a spoonful of soup, he would pour it back in again.
Tim chuckled to herself. She had come to learn it was one of Steve’s habits whenever he was worried. Instead of asking about it, she waited patiently and finished her soup.
He’d tell her eventually.
“Tim, do you know who that is?”
Tim looked up in surprise. That didn’t take long.
Steve pressed his lips together in a firm line. He hadn’t told Ethan about what happened in English class just yet. He thought if nothing happened after, it meant it was a one time thing and that he was only worrying too much.
But now… the same people were upstairs doing who knew what!
“Now that I think about it…” Tim wondered out loud. She knew the girl’s name but if her fiance felt strongly about her presence then, she must be someone familiar, “Was that Alex Carter? The girl who is pretending to be a boy in school?”
That would explain how startled Alex was at her. Tim didn’t know why others couldn’t see that Alex was a girl. To her, it looked plain as day. Were people really that blind?
“Yes” Steve Parker heaved a sigh, all his worries flying out in one breath.
Tim frowned at him, “Then, why are you acting like you saw a ghost?”
“Because I saw her and Logan act out a scene from Romeo and Juliet.”
“While everyone thinks they’re both guys?” She laughed heartily, “Sounds like the premise for a romantic comedy.”
“That’s not the point, Tim” her fiance groaned.
He looked truly bothered, Tim thought. The soup in his bowl was still full. At this rate, it would be cold by the time he took a taste.
“Then, what is it?”
“They looked… looked really intimate.”
Tim raised her eyebrows at that. From what she remembered of the play, intimate seemed to be one of its core elements. Wouldn’t it be abnormal instead if they weren’t? What could possibly be running through her fiance’s head?
“Are you worried that your son might be gay?” She suddenly blurted out, taking a wild guess. Then, she held his hand that laid on the counter, “You know Alex isn’t really a guy, right?”
“Of course, I know that, Tim” Steve Parker exasperated. He did know it really well. That was the problem, “But does Logan know that? How could they possibly date? Wouldn’t Logan be having an existential crisis over it? He thinks that he’s attracted to a guy.”
Tim couldn’t understand how this had become an issue. The answer seemed pretty simple, “I think if Alex really loved Logan and wanted to be in a relationship with him, she’d tell him.”
“And that would devastate him! He’ll find out that he had been lied to. He might even swear off any relationships.”
Sometimes Tim questioned who was the female and who was the male in this relationship. Generally, males were inclined to be rational thinkers while females were more emotional and intuitive but in this situation, their roles seemed to have reversed.
“Did you watch an episode of Coffee Prince again?” she demanded. She had noticed this change ever since the staff at school influenced Steve Parker to watch Korean dramas.
When he didn’t say anything, Tim got her answer.
She stood up and walked behind him, wrapping her arms around his shoulder and pressing her cheek against his.
“Oh, come on, dear” she whispered, “Whatever happens, I’m sure they’ll be able to make it.”
“Tell that to Alex’s parents” he snorted in reply.
“What do you mean? Would they suddenly oppose if their daughter fell in love? Uh-uh, I don’t think so. Logan is a hell of a catch. Any parent would be happy to have him as an in-law.”
In a disguise or not, Alex had the heart of a girl. Her mother would surely want her daughter to find the right man and fall in love. It could happen in high school, could it not? She wouldn’t want to wipe out the opportunity.
Tim felt the tension leave her fiance from the way his muscles relaxed under her touch.
“You’re right” he said, sipping on the spoon full of soup, “Logan… in a relationship. I could hardly believe it.”
“Not yet, he’s not” Tim chuckled, “Don’t think about this too much. You sound like a teenage girl obsessed with webnovels.”
Yet, his nose remained stuffy. He groaned, burying himself further under his green blankets. Maybe it hadn’t been a good idea to visit Alex when he had already been sick himself.
Then again, he left her to clean up the mess he had made. He had been busy daydreaming that he lost track of how many scoops he made.
Did washing machines not have a safety loc? Would they just burst out whenever it had too much soap?
Did he really put that much?
Logan grumbled again.
Well, he could survive another day away from school. Hopefully, Alex had already recovered. Then, this whole thing would have been worth it.
Man, he must be really guilty to be dreaming about her. He hadn’t opened his eyes since he woke up from a different dream—he’d actually almost considered it as a nightmare.
The man in it looked scarily like his own father and he did not seem happy. Next to him had been Alex. She looked more unhappy.
“Logan, are you awake?”
But her voice surely didn’t sound like it.
Alex knocked on the door, calling out Logan’s name. Unlike a certain idiot, she didn’t barge inside people’s rooms unnoticed.
The steam from the soup floated up to her nose. It did smell good. She could only rely on Aunt Tim’s opinion that it tasted just as good.
When Alex heard nothing, she knocked again, opening the door, “Logan?”
The first thing that hit her was the cold air—really cold. A few clothes littered the carpet. She did her best to avoid them.
Other than those, Logan’s room seemed pretty clean. It put Alex’s room to shame. The one she noticed the most was how bare Logan’s walls were. There were a few trinkets but that was it. It looked almost like a hotel room’s walls.
She looked for his bed table, only one photo framed filled its space, and placed the bowl on it.
Alex squinted at the photo. She saw a woman and a young boy. The boy had his eyes closed as he kissed the woman’s cheek. They had the same black hair and Alex guessed that they also had the same green eyes.
Without a doubt, it had to be Logan and his mother.
Alex sighed, sitting on the bed. She jumped to her feet at her mistake. She immediately checked on Logan. He didn’t seem to be awake.
He looked like a cocoon. Only half of his face was exposed.
It was like watching a baby sleep. Alex didn’t want to wake him but the soup might get cold…
Eh, there was more downstairs. She could always reheat it.
Alex left the side of his bed and looked for a place to sit.
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Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.