Chapter Three: Love Lost…
The reporters stood reverently in front of Solar Man and four youthful heroes, as the metahuman criminal who called himself Dante Infernus was dragged away by the Meta Squad unit of the Metro City Police Force. The fifth young hero, Ferro-Con, had reverted to his completely organic flesh and blood state, and was now away seeking treatment for the injuries he received in battle with Infernus. The Scarlet Eagle, leader of Youth Power, stood in front of her three teammates and beside Solar Man, realizing that Ultra Girl was standing on his right. Not wanting to make an issue of Ultra Girl taking center stage alongside as legendary a hero as Solar Man in front of the news cameras (it was never a good idea to let team discord be played out in public) Scarlet Eagle simply stood firm and pushed her ample bosom forward, realizing that Ultra Girl couldn't compete with her in this department. She would have welcomed a casual glance from Solar Man to her chest, which her spandex uniform tightly snuggled against, even though she realized it would be inappropriate because of their age difference, since she prided herself on having the full body of a woman despite being "only" 15. Yet Scarlet Eagle could almost swear by the gods that she actually saw Solar Man glance at Ultra Girl instead. But considering Ultra Girl was two years younger than Scarlet Eagle, and with a barely visible bosom (she recalled hearing another member of Youth Power, Gater, refer to them as "puffies"), such a thought was inconceivable. Right?
"This is Karen Conlin reporting live from West Virginia Street…or, 'Yes Virginia' Street, if you're so inclined. Here we have Solar Man, accompanied by a few members of Young Power…"
"That's Youth Power," Scarlet Eagle grumpily corrected Ms. Conlin.
"Ah, yes…Youth Power…at the scene of another metahuman rampage, this time by a flame-producing meta who calls himself Dante Infernus."
Funny that this air-brain gets his name right, but not ours, Ultra Girl thought to herself. Then again, I guess even adult lunatics get more respect than kid heroes. I can't believe I'm actually standing this close to Solar Man!
Laze was visibly flexing his muscles and providing a big smile for the cameras as he willfully stood behind Solar Man, Mystik standing beside him nonchalantly with a dim smile on her face, hoping that all the boys watching this on TV would notice that her bra top matched the translucent sheer black uniform that covered but poorly concealed it.
"Solar Man," Ms. Conlin continued, holding the microphone close to the masked hero's face. "Can you tell us how you managed to stop Infernus's assault on Yes Virginia Street here, and what the Liberty League is doing to prevent further radical metahuman incursions on…?"
"Um," Scarlet Eagle stepped forward, "with all due respect here to Solar Man, who has indeed stopped many such menaces in the past, it was Youth Power who stopped Infernus. Solar Man didn't arrive until the battle was over."
This time, Ultra Girl stepped forward. "Yea, and it was yours truly, the Queen of Slam, who sprayed a can of whip ass on infernal butt."
"Oh, okay…sorry," Ms. Conlin said, trying to sound apologetic. "But I should mention that Solar Man was clearly the strategist here, in the latest…"
"No!" Scarlet Eagle protested. "I strategized here, but it was Ultra Girl who independently came up with the means to defeat Internus by tricking him into burning his own oxygen supply. Please don't let adultist politics get in the way of the truth."
Karen Conlin looked at the red-clad brunette heroine with an expression of utter incredulity.
Ultra Girl stepped forward again. "Hello-oo! Someone give this lady 50 cents so she can call 'Get A Clue' to let her know that 'adultism' is adult bigotry against younger people! Is anything living inside that skull of hers, or is it open for rent?"
Mystik buried her face in Laze's left shoulder to cover her laughter. "I love it when she let's loose with the 'Get A Clue' ref," she said quietly to the widely grinning boy hero at her side.
This time, Solar Man stepped forward.
"Ahem. Ms. Conlin, Youth Power may give up their social graces when they take umbrage to something, but in their defense, they did stop Infernus on their own. I had nothing to do with the strategy. They risked their lives as surely as any of the adult heroes do in such conflicts, and in fact, Ferro-Con was rather seriously injured protecting lives and property for Metro City. Scarlet Eagle led the battle, and Ultra Girl defeated the meta menace without any intervention from myself."
With that said, Ultra Girl smiled and found herself touching Solar Man's hand. Solar Man felt a sensation not unlike a very pleasant beam of light permeating his entire body at the young blonde girl's touch. It made him sizzle more than the utilization of his full power.
"Well, congratulations on this," Ms. Conlin said, obviously perturbed that her spin on the story was intercepted by what she considered to be such rude young people. "What about the Liberty League preventing any further…?"
"Ms. Conlin," Solar Man interjected, "rest assured that the Liberty League will take steps to insure the safety of the world's cities and other localities from further meta insurgents like MetalDeath and Dante Infernus. Despite these menaces, we believe that subsequent legislation by the federal government of any nation to force metahumans to register themselves will only spark further acts of insurgency and rebellion. Do not take the many responsible metas out there to task for what the less responsible of our number will do. Humans and metas need to share this world, and not consider either group ascendant over the other."
"But, Solar Man," Ms. Conlin replied, smiling as if she believed she had an unassailable point, "do many states not require all of their citizens to register their guns, since they are considered a deadly weapon?"
Grumbling to herself, Ultra Girl stepped forth, throwing her arms in the air in a huff of frustration.
"Um, let's get a clue here! People who buy guns are choosing to have a deadly weapon. Metas often don't choose their powers. Some accident or genetic mutation sets them off. Many of them rarely use their powers, and a lot more use their powers to help other people. We prevent any groups of metas from taking over the planet. We have a philosophy based on peaceful coexistence. I believe how we think and how we act is a lot more important than what we are like genetically, what color our skin is, who we are attracted to, etcetera!"
Ultra Girl found herself wondering why she threw in the comment about who people are attracted to not making a difference.
Solar Man beamed and simply said, "I must say I agree with Ultra Girl."
Ms. Conlin scoffed. "Well, we will be counting on all of you to continue doing a wonderful job. This is Karen Conlin, reporting from Metro-News live!"
As Ms. Conlin and the rest of the reporters cleared the area, Scarlet Eagle made a point to thank Solar Man.
"Hopefully, we will get more credit in the printed version than Ms. Con Woman attempted to give us in person."
"I hope so, too," Solar Man replied. "But I think it's much more important that we get the job done and save lives than receiving accolades from the public. Don't you agree?"
"I agree that is the most important part of the job," Scarlet Eagle responded, "but when you're a minority group like people under 18, it's important for it to be recognized when you do something good, to remind the public that many of your number do positive things. That is the first step towards receiving full equality and not be subjected to negative stereotypes that the public wants to push for its own agenda."
Solar Man fell silent, unable to explain to the scarlet-uniformed girl in front of him exactly how profoundly her statement had affected him. Should I come forward? he asked himself. But maybe I'm not that way at all. Maybe it's just a phase I'm going through, some mid-life thing, and asking out Evelyn would be the best way to…
He then felt another pleasant tingle when Ultra Girl grabbed his fingers with her own small hand. He found himself hoping that his costume wasn't too tight around the mid-section.
"So, we can start my training this afternoon," she said hopefully. Her smile beneath the white and blue mask that covered the top half of her face made the red-and-blue clad hero experience a sensation not unlike melting.
"I guess it wouldn't be prudent to put the training off."
"Cool!" Laze shouted. "We all get to train with Solar Man!"
"Um, nimwad," Ultra Girl said, "the offer only extends to me, cuz I totally rock!"
"Wait a minute," the laser-eyed young hero insisted, "why do you alone on the team get to train with Solar Man? We all helped, and Ferro almost got himself melted protecting this city from that fire-spewing maniac!"
Scarlet Eagle had a serious expression on her lovely features. "I must agree with Laze," she said boldly. "Ultra Girl did fabulous today, as well as in the past. But why would you want to train her and not the rest of us?"
Solar Man gulped at her very good question, causing him to ask himself the very same question.
"You're correct," he said, forcing a smile on his face. "I think the Liberty League should have better relations with you young people. But consider that Gater often trains with Mako Shark, you often train with Eagle Hawk, Miracle Girl trains with Amazonian...but there is no Solar Boy yet, so…"
"Good pointies!" Ultra Girl exclaimed in a hyper fashion. "And it's about time Solar dude got himself a sidekick!"
Scarlet Eagle folded her arms, wanting to say that all the other heroes had sidekicks who happened to be members of the same gender, except for her and Eagle Hawk. But she thought better of it, after considering how she and Ultra Girl made a point of contention against any form of discriminatory rules to Karen Conlin. But for some reason, the she-warrior in scarlet felt that she should have reservations, despite not being able to come up with a good reason. These two looked comfortable together in a way that was…different from how she felt when fighting alongside Eagle Hawk, the grimmest super-hero of them all. Was some of his grimness perhaps rubbing off on her?
"I guess we'll be going now," Ultra Girl stated matter-of-factly, with another smile crossing her lovely countenance.
Solar Man returned the smile. "I guess we will start with a tour of the Liberty League satellite. It's a wondrous place to train, also."
Solar Man gently put his arm around Ultra Girl's slim stomach and slowly levitated into the air, taking the blue-clad girl into the sky with him. This time, the smile on her face was palpable. He was barely able to stifle his own smile at the feel of what he believed to be a truly amazing girl in his arms.
Scarlet Eagle watched the two fly away with her arms folded, as if in consternation.
"Can't believe she gets to go and we don't," the young man with the laser-powered ocular lenses complained.
Mystik thumped Laze in the side. "Why? Do you have a crush on Solar Man or something?" she jested.
Laze pulled on her pony tail. "Very funny! How about if I laze you to the ground!"
"Only if you can catch me!" and she quickly summoned a powerful dust devil from the element of air to whoosh her away from the vicinity.
"No fair!" Laze shouted as he started to pursue the ebony whirlwind as best he could on his two feet.
But despite the fact that Mystik's words about the crush on Solar Man were said in pure jocularity, something about them bothered Scarlet Eagle. Severely. I guess he'll have to shatter her bubble by explaining to her how he's too old for her, she thought to herself. And being one of the most noble men in existence, what else would Solar Man do? Right?
"So, why don't we stop and get a bite to eat somewhere before going to the satellite?" Ultra Girl asked Solar Man as she surrepitiously snuggled closer into his arms during the flight.
"Well," he replied, feeling nervous like a schoolboy, "we did tell Scarlet Eagle we would be going to the satellite. And we can get a bite to eat in the onboard commissary."
"But wouldn't you rather stop and get something to eat at a way cool restaurant? Would it tax your budget severely? If so, I have a credit card."
Solar Man almost laughed to himself, and he actually did feel a bit funny, not to mention somehow enthused about going to lunch with this girl who intrigued him so much in a way he was trying to avoid acknowledging.
"I guess it wouldn't be a problem going out to lunch before hitting the satellite. But what will people think seeing a man my age and a girl your age…?"
"Gee, I dunno. Maybe they will think we're on a date or something!"
Solar Man laughed, but he couldn't help feeling another tingle course through his nigh-invulnerable body. "Let's get into more presentable clothing, and we can go out to eat. I know just the place we can go."
Ultra Girl light-heartedly pouted in mock indignation. "Omg, is something wrong with my uniform? Don't you like it? Does it show too much?"
Now the solar-powered hero was really taken by surprise. "Well, it does but I like it…I mean, no it doesn't. I mean, I like just what it shows…I mean, it shows just what I like…I mean, I like it just like it is! I mean…it's fine. It seems designed for maximum…comfort and maneuverability on the field."
"Mmm-hmm," Ultra Girl responded, with a sly smile graven across her soft, light features.
"Well, anyway, do you have your civies stored anywhere near here?"
She smiled again. "Always."
A short time later, Simon Teffler and Alexa Zimmer were sitting at a local eatery known as Dolby's and enjoying a steak dinner on him. His solar-powered body didn't need to consume foodstuffs or liquids for sustenance any longer, but he still savored the taste of food and a nice glass of Pepsi. And more than any of the culinary delights he savored while dining out, he found himself really enjoying the company of this girl who so fascinated him in every conceivable way. He couldn't believe how beautiful her uncovered face looked, now that she had dispensed with her mask. She wore a yellow sun dress that showed off her eminently clear white skin, the dress tying in a ribbon-like design over her back, leaving a lot of her skin free to be admired by anyone who passed by. Her medium blonde hair was pulled back in a pony tail, and she had a very stylish purple and yellow afghan hat adorning her head. He thought the white sandals she was wearing on her feet were the cutest thing he had ever seen, as they clearly exposed her tiny toes for further admiration.
Simon found himself hoping that she liked his face unmasked as well, along with how he looked in his civies as much as he enjoyed seeing her civilian-clad. But he quickly sought to squelch those thoughts, reminding himself that if this girl was to be his…what, exactly, was she supposed to be to him? A sidekick? A friend? A colleague?
"You look nice without your mask," she said as she fiddled with a piece of steak on her fork.
Alexa had again taken Simon by surprise, though she managed to place quite a smile on him after doing so.
"Thanks, I'm glad you like it. I mean, that's nice of you to say."
"You don't seem at all like I imagined you to be without the costume."
"What do you mean?"
The young blonde girl with the lovely face smiled wryly as she cut and poked another piece of steak with her fork.
"I dunno. I just always thought you would be…what's the word? Sullen? Detached? Acting like a stereotypical noble person. But instead, you're…a different type of noble. A vulnerable type. And I really like that."
"Well, thank you." He smiled pleasantly, seeming to like her compliment, but also a bit worried that she may catch him staring at her. Would she react in disgust? Or, possibly, would she instead enjoy such attentions? I need to stop thinking these thoughts, he said to himself. I'm supposed to be a hero! A hero, for Christ's sake!
"I guess I'm not one to fit any stereotype," he replied quietly.
"You sure aren't." She displayed another lovely smile again, looking absolutely radiant while doing so. If only he could tell her…but it wouldn't be appropriate. He needed to end this impromptu lunch, even though he hoped it could go on forever.
She then glared at him with a level of intensity that was somehow simultanously appealing and unpleasant. "You're not bothered by the fact that I know what you look like under the mask, are you? You do trust me, right? After all, I let you see me without my mask."
He smiled reassuringly, looking calm for the first time since they met. "I trust you, Ultra."
"Thank you. And without the mask, you can call me Alexa."
He thought the name sounded positively lovely, and he noticed for the first time that her eyes were a bright green. He suddenly felt much more at ease; not only with her, but with himself.
"That's a pretty name, Alexa. And you can call me Simon."
She beamed with noticable excitement. "Interesting name. Just like the man who holds it."
Simon hoped he wasn't visibly blushing after hearing that. "Thank you again, Alexa. You're a...rather interesting girl yourself."
Upon transporting to the LL Satellite a few hours later, Solar Man and Ultra Girl saw Eagle Hawk and the Amazonian in attendance near the main meeting room, looking at a video map. The latter's silvery-blue body armor hugged her figure rather snugly, keeping her massive breasts held stiffly to her chest but showing off enough of her shoulders and legs to garner more than a few glances from many men, while she stood in a regal pose, looking as courtly as always. Her long, dark brown hair made her appear all the more stately. Eagle Hawk's dark costume covered most of his body, including his eyes, the deadly silver, razor-tipped talons that rendered his gauntlets notably visible and gleaming under the florescent lights atop the ceiling. While Amazonian spoke like a queen, Eagle Hawk spoke with the resonance of a hit man.
"That makes two metahuman insurgency attacks in Metro City, one in Delta City, and another in Chicago. Not to mention the two that the Liberty League dealt with last month in New York City and one each the previous month in Tokyo and London. Unacceptable. We need to start cracking down, maybe get them to register with our database even though we don't want them to have to register with the government."
"Eagle Hawk, that is unacceptable. We can't force all metas to answer to us, as long as they are doing nothing to menace the welfare of the people."
"Zarra, you're missing my point. We can't police the metahuman community by simply reacting to the devastation the insurgents cause. They have to learn that they cannot act as they choose simply because they have such power or skills. They need to learn that the law is greater than they are. Society needs to operate by rules, and…"
"Eagle Hawk, if you permit me an observation, you seem to be speaking in some of the same rhetoric as the insurgents. We can't form ourselves into a power above metakind, otherwise we set the very wrong type of example…"
Eagle Hawk was about to raise his voice to interject, when he noticed the two new arrivals.
"I suppose, Solar Man, you're going to side with Amazonian on this issue," the grim and violent knight uttered with a dark rasp to his tone.
"You suppose correctly," the solar-powered champion of justice replied. "We need to trust metas in general to live peaceably among the standard human race. We cannot do to them what we don't want the government to do, lest we become a sort of government ourselves. And we're a community, not a government."
Eagle Hawk pounded the table with his strong albeit non-metahuman fist.
"Damn you both! Listen to reason. Society needs rules and laws to operate in an orderly fashion, and since the human government cannot keep these meta insurgents from attacking at will, we need to lay down the law ourselves before the governments of the world declare martial law on all metahuman activity, including ours."
"This guy sounds like my dad," Ultra Girl said, with a giggle. "He seriously needs a hug."
Eagle Hawk cocked an eyebrow a the young heroine's remark. "Excuse me?"
"I believe that is Ultra Girl, of Youth Power," Amazonian noted, in a welcoming manner. "She operates with your partner, Scarlet Eagle. And a fine set of young heroes they are. It was she who brought down Infernus. Congratulations on that."
"They acted recklessly!" Eagle Hawk thundered. "One of them almost got killed! They are just kids, and…"
"Just kids?" Ultra Girl asked sardonically. "Yea, of course. We are mature when you need us to be, and immature when it suits your purpose. Lucky for the citizens of Metro City that we don't think like that. I guess you discount GirlRobo's exploits over the past two years, also."
Solar Man quickly raised his hands to stop the discussion from becoming an argument.
"Eagle Hawk, I know how you feel about young heroes acting without adult supvervision. But keep in mind that Scarlet Eagle formed Youth Power in the first place."
"And under her leadership, I can at least keep an eye on that group," the dark hero remarked, with more than a hint of hostility.
Ultra Girl snickered. "With a mentor like you, it's no wonder she always has such a stick up…"
"Um, Ultra, that's enough for now," Solar Man interceded, while secretly admiring her spunk and making this admiration clear with a wry smile projected in her direction. She returned the smile, wanting very much to touch his hand again.
"Solar Man, we are going to discuss this further once Bolt, Quantum King, Mako Shark, and Nemesis arrive," Amazonian told her crimson-clad comrade. "It seems the meta insurgencies have caused the world governments to become more concerned, which in turn causes them to propose more draconian legislation against metas, which in turn causes more insurgencies. We have contacted the U.N. Security Council and asked them to let the Liberty League handle this for now, but they are becoming impatient, and we cannot seem to agree on how best to deal with this."
"Do I get a vote?" Ultra Girl asked.
"No," Eagle Hawk responded.
"Yup," she said. "Definitely Scarlet's mentor. They even frown alike."
Just as Eagle Hawk began to scowl, a yellow alert message came through the televiewer. Its code tag made it clear that it was from Dr. Cirkman, a noted expert on metahuman affairs for the United Nations Security Council.
The Amazonian turned on the viewer, to which Cirkman's surprisingly youthful features for his age appeared. His white lab coat made it clear he was busy. His two assistants, Markaba and Destiny (a cyborg and metahuman, respectively) were likewise busy at work behind him.
All three members of the L.L. greeted the famous Dr. Cirkman and his eccentric crew.
"I've been doing an analysis of the latest trends in the meta insurgencies," the great scientist announced. "This is partly based on the data I received from Cangee Industries, where Dr. Cangee himself analyzed the techno-husk used by MetalDeath, and partly based upon some socioliogical studies of my own. It appears that certain technologically gifted individuals are manufacturing metas like MetalDeath to join the insurgency of the natural metas, like Infernus. I've cross-referenced Dr. Cangee's analysis of the alloy with my studies of GirlRobo's own exo-husk, and it appears it's composed of a near-identical alloy. So I'm going to send a fax to Dr. Isaacs, and ask him if there is a way of stifling the production of this alloy by using…"
"Tell us in English, Dr. Cirkman," Eagle Hawk stated with more than a hint of annoyance.
"Yes, of course," Cirkman replied with more than a little sarcasm in his voice. "Small words for small minds."
Eagle Hawk suddenly looked incensed. "For your info, my intellect is more than advanced enough…"
Cirkman gladly interrupted the dark hero. "Markaba, the analysis please."
Markaba moved his cybernetic arm towards a data console on the far side of the room, using the articulated synthetic fingers to type in a code. Within seconds, he produced a schematic that was unintelligible to all on the L.L. Satellite.
"It appears that, as per my calculations, we can count on a 46.7% escalation in the jihadist incursions of meta-humanity on the geo-social strata of the world should more drastic governmental measures be taken to control the metas," Markaba reported matter-of-factly.
Dr. Cirkman looked towards his other partner, Destiny, clearly recognizable in his dark shades to protect his eyes from the overhead lights.
"I msut ageer with Markaab about his concluiosns here," Destiny replied in a nearly incoherent fashion that was typical of him.
"What did he just say?" Eagle Hawk asked impatiently.
"Sorry about that," Dr. Cirkman replied. "He agrees with Markaba's conclusions, based upon his analysis of social trends on meta websites."
"In other words," Solar Man said, "we need to keep in mind that the more restrictions we place on people simply for being metahuman, the more insurgents are created--while some are literally manufactured, like MetalDeath--to keep up the attacks."
"Exactly," Dr. Cirkman agreed. "My assistants and I will notify the U.N. to recommend that you guys handle this situation yourselves, but I can't promise that this agreement will last for long."
"Thank you, Dr. Cirkman, Markaba, Destiny," Solar Man stated with all due appreciation.
"Not a problem," Dr. Cirkman retorted.
"Any time I'm needed, I would be ecstatic to help," Markaba offered.
"Hepling such graet heroes is my plaesure," Destiny added.
As the televiewer went blank, the Amazonian began to glimmer at her two comrades-in-arms.
"It would appear, gentlemen, that we have a lot to discuss once the others arrive."
"Yeah, we do," Eagle Hawk stated indignantly. "Because I fail to agree with these scientist types."
"In the meantime, Ultra Girl and I will begin our training session in the Battle Room," Solar Man stated.
Ultra Girl smiled with a noticable degree of excitement. "Right behind you, Solar dude."
Somehow, that commonplace nickname of his sounded very flattering coming from the girl hero's soft lips.
After about an hour into the training session, everything was going better than Solar Man had expected; Ultra Girl was truly formidable with her force field projection powers. Despite his extraordinary level of superhuman strength, Solar Man was unable to get close to her with her force fields deflecting his agile flying form every time he attempted to tag her. This girl is good, he mentioned to himself. No wonder she was able to take down Infernus. But I have a few surprises in store for her. With that decided, the crimson-costumed hero flew through the air, determined to slam head first into his young training partner's force field. As he predicted, she stopped him upon impact with her field a good 15 feet away from her, only to then project her field outward so that he slammed against the wall over 50 feet away. This time, however, he pushed forward on her field, causing the blue-clad girl to slide backwards on her feet until she hit the wall across the room. He then began to redouble the pressure on the field in front of him, determined to break it down before she shoved him away again.
But she had an unexpected trick up her sleeve. Instead of pushing him off in a certain direction, as he anticipated, she suddenly turned her force field off…causing him to fly forward via the continued momentum until he landed up against her. He then found his body directly in contact with her own.
"Now, this is interesting," she said, her face less than an inch away from his own.
"Um…maybe we should try another maneuver."
"How about…if we rest for a minute or two first…?"
Just then, the sliding door opened behind them and the gray-costumed Mako Shark walked in.
"Hey, Solar Man, I thought I would tell you that everyone has now arrived, so we can begin the meeting…um…what did I interrupt here?"
"Absolutely nothing!" Solar Man practically hollered with all due haste. "Ultra Girl pulled an unanticipated maneuver, and I ended up almost crushing her against the wall. I'm anxious to end this session and begin the meeting."
"Um…okay. I'll meet you back in the main meeting room then."
Solar Man turned to Ultra Girl, once again very close to her face, and he didn't like the expression he saw on Mako Shark's visage. What did the aquatic hero suspect?
"That…wasn't wise of us."
The young blue-costumed girl moved her lips slightly closer to his own. "And why not? I think it was the best maneuver I pulled all day."
"Ultra…we can't. We just can't. Society has rules…"
"But you do want to, don't you?"
"I…have to go."
"I hope I didn't disgust you in some way, or offend…"
"No, at all. We…we just can't. I need to go."
The tingling sensation in his body was palpable. He wanted to taste those lips, to hold that beautiful body so that it was pressing closely against his own, but…he just couldn't. There were rules. Eagle Hawk was right. Society had rules. And weren't all rules there for a good reason?
With a notable erg of effort, Solar Man pulled himself away from Ultra Girl and strode out of the Battle Room, heading for the main meeting chamber. The girl hero stood there with a look of abject sadness on her face, as if her dreams had been shattered. Did he not want to kiss me? Or…was it just about those goddamned rules?
Later that day, Simon Teffler strode into the offices of THE NEW VOICE, a look of stern conviction on his visage. He almost ran into his good friend Larry Alton.
"Hey, Sime, didn't you call in earlier today, just after you left for lunch? Didn't you say you wouldn't be back in until tomorrow?"
"I did, Larry, but I have two important things to do."
"But I thought there was some story you were pursuing…"
"I have something else to pursue in here."
First, Simon picked up the phone and cancelled the private meeting he set up with Seamus at their TV division the following day. He wasn't ready for that anymore. Instead, he wanted to be ready for something completely different.
Walking into Evelyn Monroe's office, he smiled at her expectantly.
"Simon?" she wondered aloud with a look of pleasant surprise on her face. "I didn't expect you back in the office today. Didn't you say there was a story you were…?"
"I have something important to ask you, Evelyn. And it couldn't wait."
She now wore a big glimmer on her face. "And what might that be, Simon?"
"Evelyn, we've worked together for a few years now, and…I've admired you for a long time. Will you go out with me?"