Chapter 4: Denial Is Much More Than A River In Egypt
In the middle of a posh and fancy restaurant, Simon Teffler sat across from Evelyn Monroe, trying to force himself to look into her eyes. Evelyn was an attractive woman in her late 30s, but she still had the mature look about her. Simon was struggling to pretend that this didn't matter to him. He was going to make this work. After all, he wasn't a…don't even think the word!
Looking at Simon and smiling, Evelyn reached across the table and grasped his hand. Though it took him a few seconds, he clasped her's back. He was trying to look enthused.
"Simon, I can scarcely believe that I'm here at The Italian Garden with you. What finally prompted you to ask me out?"
Simon was still pretending to hold her hand as she began affectionately rubbing the skin on his fingers with her thumb.
"Well…I guess I'm a bit more shy than people realize. I didn't know if you shared the interest."
"Simon, I gave you more than enough hints. I think you always knew that I shared the interest. Yet for something over two years, you didn't…"
"Well, the past is the past. The important thing is that we are now an item."
Evelyn smiled widely, her eyes glistening under the soft ceiling lights.
"So you really consider us official now? That's awfully pretentious of you, Sime."
Simon forced himself to smile, realizing that Evelyn meant that in a sarcastic fashion.
"Eve, I think it's past time that we were official."
With that said, Eve gently tightened her grip on her date's hand. Simon attempted to return the gesture, even though he was just not feeling it. But he wanted to feel it. His moral sense of propriety demanded that he felt it. And he had to stop thinking of Ultra Girl, the squeaky tone of her adorable voice, how amazing she looked in both her tight costume and the revealing sun dress she wore out to lunch with him the other day…
"You look magnificent tonight, Eve! I was…really stunned when I first saw you."
Evelyn smiled again, as she hoped that her red sleeveless dress would be a turn-on to Simon. Little did she realize that he wasn't overly fond of her attractive but mature-looking body and skin.
"Sime, you are a major flatterer. I was starting to think that you would never ask me out, that we would never get together like this. I thought maybe the fact that I was the boss intimidated you or something."
"Everyone knows you would never give me any special treatment back at the office. My record has stood on its own, and I know that will continue."
"Of course it will. And Simon…we are spending the night at your place tonight, right? I hope you don't think that's rushing things."
Simon gulped at the highly forward suggestion, not out of embarrassment but out of regret. He now realized that he must be…intimate with Evelyn. Of course, this is a romantic relationship. And he should want this. Many guys would, he reminded himself.
"Um, no…it's not too sudden."
"Sime, I know you said you're more shy than you seem, but I expected at least a smile on your face."
Simon forced a not very convincing beam across his visage.
"I think…it's a wonderful idea, Eve. After all, this is a Friday and we have no work tomorrow. Um…yeah."
Meanwhile, at the Optimus, the headquarters of Youth Power, Ultra Girl and Gater were putting two new recruits through the paces: Zap, a girl of 11, and Amazing Girl, who was 12. Both of them were metahumans who recently acquired their powers. And both wanted to be heroes. Hence, they had come to the right place.
"Okay, girls," Gater said, trying to sound like an authority figure, "what we're going to do now is determine the extent of your powers, and how they can be used to our advantage in a team situation."
Ultra Girl grimaced and intervened, doing her best to get her mind off of Solar Man, and not to feel rejected by him. Maybe she should ask Laze out, as he seemed to like her. But she had since accepted that she is only attracted to older men. She doesn't want to lead Laze on, as she respects him as a valued teammate and friend.
"Girls, don't be too put off by Gater's 'leader-man' act…he's really a way cool pussycat once you get to know him."
Gater smiled at Ultra Girl's jest. "You will soon find out that is not true. I'm as miserable as they come."
Ultra Girl pointed to Zap. "You're up first, girlfriend."
"No probbies!" Zap said ebulliently, with energy and hyperness nearly pulsating from her total being. "I'm really gonna show you how I fry things!"
Zap had a green and yellow costume, which was open in the back to show off her skin. Her uniform had no sleeves, but it did have gloves that extended up to her elbows. She had a stylized lightening emblem on the front of her uniform, which hugged her body tightly. Her long, flowing auburn hair curled around the bottom. She stood in a mock battle pose, as arcs of electricity danced around her closed little fists, leaving a crackling sound in their wake.
"Nice," Ultra Girl politely opined. I'm not going to think about him. "Now let's see how much juice you really have. Blast that big cinderblock over there."
Zap stared intently at the enormous cinderblock for the purpose of aiming, and she began summoning more electricity. Her arms, the bottom part of her face (which her mask wasn't covering), and the exposed skin on her back began glowing like a lit candle. With a loud sizzling sound, she threw a blast of electricity at the 200 pound cinderblock and utterly annihilated it.
The destructive deed done, she then blew on her finger, sending a few glowing sparks of leftover electricity away from her hand in an elegant pose. "Was that enough juice for ya?"
"Mucho impressive," Gater said, moving his dark hair aside on his head with his left hand. "You're going to be quite a powerhouse once you get a full handle on those powers."
"But why don't you consider me a powerhouse now…? ~grumbles~."
"Amazing Girl, you're next!"
Amazing Girl was taller than her slightly younger fellow inductee, with an aqua blue costume that exposed her mid-driff. Unlike Zap, she was beginning to "bud," having small breasts whose outline was clearly visible underneath the torso-hugging top she was wearing, and she had only shoulder length brown hair. She seemed more shy than Zap, wanting every bit as much to be a hero, but the nature of her power made her wonder how it could be applied on the spot.
"So what do you do?" Ultra Girl asked sternly but politely. "What type of power do you have?"
"Well," Amazing Girl replied quietly, "I transmute stuff."
Gater looked at her as if taken aback. "Does that mean…you transform one substance into another?"
"Yup. I don't reallie know how I do it. I just point to sumthing, think about what I want it to be, and it becomes that. It just don't work on anything living."
"Ah, so you can't transmute organic material," Ultra Girl noted.
"Rite," Amazing Girl agreed demurely.
"There's another big ass cinderblock there," Gater pointed. "And it's very inorganic. Let's see what you can transform it into."
"Okies." Amazing Girl pointed at the huge block to focus her power in that direction, concentrated, and with a sudden 'poof' of displaced air, the block was transmuted into carbon dioxide, harmlessly intermingling with the atmosphere.
"You totally rock, 'Mazing Girl!" Zap shouted enthusiastically.
"Cool!" Gater stated obliquely.
"I can see lot's and lot's of combat applications for that," Ultra Girl said. "Now, we have to start training as a team, so we can learn how to use our powers to compliment each other's fighting styles."
I am so not going to think about him, Ultra Girl told herself with strong determination. I'm not…I'm not…I'm…shit, girl, you better stop thinking about him.
The next morning, Simon Teffler awakened and noticed that Evelyn--who was laying nude beside him in bed--had her arm clasped over his chest. For some reason, he felt a little distressed, and more than a little guilty, like he had just used someone--but certainly not for sexual pleasure. He tried very hard to enjoy the past evening, and he was confidant that he effectively faked an orgasm. He also continuously strove to avoid looking at her body. But he realized that this was his girlfriend, whom he would have to share countless evenings of intimacy with, along with many moments in between. He had to find her attractive. He looked at her body, trying to find the lines along her skin--and her large, slightly sagging breasts--as sexually appealing as possible. His movement caused her to stir. She lifted her head, her eyes still sleepy-looking, and he couldn't help noticing all of the lines present on her mature face.
"Good morning, sweetheart."
Eve looked up at her man and smiled. "Last night was incredible."
"Um…yes. It was. Very much so."
"Do you think you could say it with less enthusiasm?" she partially joked.
"Sorry, I'm just tired. I'm always like this in the morning, before the coffee." Simon felt disgusted, as he just lied to make an excuse for himself. His solar-enhanced metabolism virtually never experienced fatigue, and he slept exclusively for the purpose of giving his mind the opportunity to dream.
Eve crawled on top of her new boyfriend and began kissing him on the lips several times. He allowed her to do so, and forced a smile on his face.
"So, sweetie?" she asked. "What are we going to do today? Staying in bed all day and then out to dinner again tonight certainly wouldn't be out of the question."
"Well…I would love to, but I can't. I have some errands to run for my mom, and I promised her I would get them done by today." Actually, I have a training session with Ultra Girl, and I promised her I would make it, so I certainly can't miss it. And there is nothing wrong with seeing her today. I have a girlfriend now. Evelyn and I are an item. And I really care about her. I do. She seems so happy. Why do I feel like a total heel instead of a man in love, like I'm supposed to?
"How about if I accompany you on your errands? I would really like to meet your mother, and we can let her know that the two of us are together now."
"I want you to meet my mom too, Eve, but I have a lot of stuff that she and I are going to have to do alone. Mother and son sort of thing. I promised her this a month ago, and frankly I let her down often enough as it is with my hectic schedule."
"Oh. Okay. Well, maybe we can get together later tonight."
"I would love that…except I really need to get to bed early tonight."
"Sime, it's Saturday. Neither of us work tomorrow, we can sleep in if we want to."
"I know, but I have more stuff to do tomorrow."
"Well, I'll just spend the night again with you again. I know you have to get to sleep earlier, but we'll just hold each other and…"
"Sorry, babe, but if you were here, I'd never get to sleep." He tried to make the smile that accompanied the remark look sincere.
"Oh. So we're not going to see each other at all tomorrow? After we just got together?"
"We'll do lunch on Monday. It's a date! Okay?"
"Simon, am I pushing things too far? I mean, you were the one who asked me out, so I thought…"
Simon forced himself to cut Eve's sentence off by quickly kissing her on the lips.
"Not at all, baby doll. Like I said, I just have quite a hectic schedule in my life. You're…everything I want in a woman, Eve. And more. Okay?"
She smiled contentedly. "Okay. Thank you, sweetie."
"And, I still have two hours before I have to get up, so…let's snuggle."
"Sounds good to me."
Why do I feel like such a jerk? Simon asked himself dejectedly. Why? I really had no reason not to fit Eve into my day tomorrow. C'mon, I do not have any interest in Ultra Girl. In fact, I have no problem with being late for our training session today.
As Simon flew to the Optimus a mere 15 minutes late while all decked out in his Solar Man regalia, he began feeling very low. He always strove to do the right thing, and he initially felt that getting involved with Eve was one of those things. She seemed very happy. And he knew that he could be too, if he only gave it some time. He knew that Eve could grow on him. This 'phase' he was experiencing, this strange mid-life crisis, would eventually abate. And he and Evelyn would live happily ever after. It's about time he started a relationship in his personal life, despite how much time he took up with his Solar Man identity. Why did he feel like he was somehow betraying Eve? Was she not a perfectly beautiful, perfectly wonderful catch for him? She was attractive, elegant, intelligent, ambitious, able to take care of herself…what more could he want? What else could he want?
Suddenly, the solar-powered hero's enhanced hearing picked up the sound of a bank alarm, and he noticed an unarmed man in a pale green costume with a musical note emblem on his chest flee the front of the Silver Dome Bank with a bag full of money in his hand; two armed guards were directly on his heels. The green-clad man quickly pointed a hand and projected a stream of intense musical notes of such powerful vibratory force that they knocked the guards senseless.
"Woo hoo!" the mystery metahuman yelled. "If only Allison could see me kick ass like this!"
Good, Solar Man thought to himself, as he changed course and headed down towards the melee. A distraction is exactly what I need right now.
About 30 minutes later, Solar Man finally arrived inside the Optimus. There he soon found Gater and Ultra Girl standing before him, with the latter tapping her left foot on the floor. He looks so gorgeous, she thought to herself. But I have to stop thinking about him. He's not interested. I guess he thinks I'm too young for him. The jerkwad doesn't know what he's missing.
"You're late," she said with mock indignation. "You can move at the speed of sound, yet you're late. Go figure."
"Sorry," the crimson-clad hero replied, attempting to keep his eyes off of Ultra Girl's figure--and her even more lovely eyes. "On the way over here, I witnessed an odd super-villain robbing the Silver Dome Bank. He called himself Emovocals, and he actually used concentrated musical notes, projected with powerful vibratory force, as a weapon. He kept mentioning that he was robbing the bank so that he had more money for some girl named Allison, who I think was his daughter or something like that--in fact, I'm starting to think he called himself Emovocals because he was so vocal about his personal life, as if he couldn't keep his personal business from spilling out of his gullet. It will be a cinch for the Metro City Police to track down as much info on him as they could possibly need; if I was a super-villain, I certainly wouldn't want him on my team!"
"It takes all kinds, I guess," Gater suggested, awestruck to be in Solar Man's presence. The red-clad hero would have to make it a point to keep Gater from noticing that his eyes were so focused on the lovely young heroine standing before them.
"Well," Ultra Girl said, "now that you're all hypered up, we can start our training session. Correctomundo?"
Solar Man smiled, this one genuine. "Absolutely. Oh, and I'm sorry for…"
He suddenly remembered that Gater, the aquatic adolescent hero and sidekick to Mako Shark, was present.
Ultra Girl smiled back, also sincerely. "It's okay." She touched Solar Man's arm, unable to restrain herself. "Let's start the session."
"Okay, what do we do first?" Gater asked.
Just then, the police radio signal, which Mystik playfully called the 'trouble transceiver,' began beeping a condition red. "All points alert! Metahuman insurgent attacking Times Square!"
"Shit!" Gater exclaimed. "Times Square is always filled with tourists. It rivals its counterpart over in New York City as one of the world's biggest tourist spots! If some metahuman insurgent goes on a rampage there…"
"Yea, we know, doofus!" Ultra Girl chimed in. "Many innocent lives will be lost, the government will be sure to crack down on metahumans in general in response, which will then cause more metahuman insurgents to go all medieval on the city."
"We have to get there as quickly as we can!" Solar Man shouted. "Gater, you're best in dealing with menaces near or in the water. Stay behind and contact the rest of Youth Power, have them scramble to the area to back us up. In the meantime, Ultra Girl and I will handle this."
"Just do it!"
Of all the adults in the world, Gater would probably only allow Mako Shark to give him a command that he would readily obey…along with Solar Man, who was considered among the greatest of all heroes, if not the greatest on this world. With that said, Gater stayed behind to gather more of his teammates, as Solar Man scooped Ultra Girl in his arms, and began taking off towards Times Square, determined to preserve as many human lives--and therefore metahuman freedoms--as possible.
Upon their arrival in Times Square, the two stalwart heroes noticed a scene of total carnage: bloodied human bodies lay strewn about, some crushed by cars that were hurled at them, others pulverized with what appeared to be the work of massive human-shaped hands. Many shops and vehicles were decimated, clearly the work of a madman with a tremendous amount of physical power. People were screaming and fleeing, literally tripping over dead bodies and debris in the process. Solar Man and Ultra Girl realized they would have their work cut out for them here.
"This is bad, and I mean really bad," the solar-charged champion told his intrepid young partner. "We have to put a stop to this!"
"I'm right beside you in that, handsome," she replied.
At the center of Times Square, the powerful duo finally noticed the perpetrator of the carnage. The malcontent was over seven feet in height, female and nude, with her body covered by a shell of what appeared to be smooth, grayish-blue flexible organic metal, though it didn't appear to be cybernetic or circuitized, as did the techno-husk covering MetalDeath. This dangerous woman appeared to be a walking chrome statue, her long hair stiff and metallic. Considering the way her feet sunk half an inch into the ground when she walked, it appeared that her mass was incredible, giving her a level of superhuman strength that may equal--or even surpass--that of Solar Man himself.
"Yeah hah!" the carnage-bringer yelled in a husky, barely feminine voice. "I can't believe the power I have with this new body! I've joined the ranks of the metahumans! I am Maraud, but you can call me death! We will fucking reign supreme! Humans are shit, but we are supreme! The world will be ours! The world will be…!"
Maraud's diatribe was abruptly cut off as Solar Man slammed his mega-hard fist into her jaw.
"Argh! I almost felt that! It's you! The world famous meta who kisses the normals' asses! You're a traitor to your race! Eat my fist!"
The blow Solar Man received had an astounding amount of force behind it, and it drove him back hundreds of feet. He was barely able to control his trajectory so as to prevent himself from slamming into the fleeing people. His flight was stopped only when he struck a building, crashing clear through the wall in the process.
Ultra Girl faced down her opponent. "That was a mistake, you bitch!"
Projecting a force field shaped like a gigantic mace, Ultra Girl slammed the powerful field into Maraud's face, almost knocking her off of her feet. But the villain's tremendous mass made it extremely difficult to actually knock her down.
"Is that all you got, girlie?"
"No, that was just to get your attention, hoe! This is meant to hurt!"
Ultra Girl created a flurry of force spheres the size of basketballs that simultaneously struck every point of Maraud's body with great force. The chrome-coated villain went down to her knees, the techno-organic shell of her body actually experiencing intense pain as a result of the multiple blows from the savage force sphere attack.
"You'll die for that, you little prick!"
"Yea? Try it!"
Ultra Girl then proceeded to surround herself with as thick a force field as she could possibly create to counter her opponent's assault, but she could tell that the field was strained by the rain of incredible blows that Maraud was inflicting upon it. Slowly but surely, her field began retracting. A trickle of blood flowed out of one of her nostrils as the strain grew critical.
"Let's see how much you can take! You're a traitor to your race! We are metas! We should be running this world! The Meta Liberation Front will see that this happens! You stupid little bitch!"
Just as it seemed the incessant pummeling on her field would be too much for Ultra Girl to handle, Solar Man had recovered and flew full force into Maraud's body from behind. The massive villain winced in pain, but remained on her feet.
"Asshole, my molecular density is off the scale! You can't stop me! No one can! The metas will rule the world, and traitors like you will be crushed!"
With one swing of her massive arm, Maraud smashed Solar Man into the ground, the top part of his body buried beneath the asphalt by the force. She then began pummeling her opponent furiously, and he could actually taste blood in his mouth. He hastily moved his hands in front of his face, desperate to protect his nose and teeth from being crushed under the relentless fusillade of blows now relentlessly raining down upon him. Maraud's fists appeared to weigh numerous tons each, and she was clearly capable of killing even a being as powerful as Solar Man, who suddenly began to seriously wonder about what the limits of his invulnerability actually were. Though he hardly had time to think, he noted that since she was obviously another manufactured meta, Maraud's techno-organic skin was likely crafted from Dr. Isaacs' process, without his knowledge or consent, as had been the case with MetalDeath.
Standing several feet away, Ultra Girl was desperate to save the man she considered to be the most incredible male specimen in the world. But no matter how many times the youthful heroine struck Maraud with her force field battering rams, the chrome-laden villain remained on her feet and continued her merciless assault on Solar Man. Ultra Girl knew that she had to do something really creative…and nasty.
I've never really formed my force field into a sharp point before, but I have to try.
Concentrating to the best of her considerable ability, Ultra Girl formed a battering field that had a razor sharp edge at the tip. Then, thrusting the finger-shaped field forward with as great a force as she could possibly muster, Ultra Girl used the sharp edge to skewer Maraud's left eye. The chrome woman screamed in agony as bluish techno-organic blood flowed from her torn eye socket, Ultra Girl having correctly deduced this as a vulnerable spot. Needless to say, the brutal villain ceased her beating upon the nearly unconscious Solar Man immediately upon the penetration of her eye.
"Ooohhhaaahhhgghh! You bitch! You little fucking bitch! You're dead! Do you hear me? You're fucking deeeaaaddd!"
Leaving Solar Man half buried in the street, the profusely bleeding Maraud charged at Ultra Girl, leaping over 15 feet with one thrust of her ultra-powerful legs. When her unbelievable weight landed a few feet from the blue-clad heroine, Maraud caused the ground to quake around her, as she sunk into the ground up to her ankles. The quake was so powerful that the shock waves caused Ultra Girl to fall to the ground. Raising her piledriver fists, Maraud slammed both of them down upon the force field that Ultra Girl hastily surrounded herself with, and her body was literally pounded into the ground as a result. This occurred just in time for the recovering Solar Man to witness.
"Ultra Girl! Nooo!"
An indescribable rage overwhelming his usually even-tempered psyche, Solar Man ignored the blood flowing from his mouth and flew with great speed into Maraud's chrome body. He then began pounding away at her face with his full strength, making sure that at least half of his punches landed on her punctured eye. He was moving at super-speed, hitting her over 20 times in a few seconds. Though she was still on her feet, her jaw was obviously broken, the left side of her face was swollen to the size of a melon, and her mouth and nose, as well as her eye, were dripping streams of techno-organic blood.
"You bastard!" The chrome-plated she-warrior then retaliated by striking Solar Man across the face again, sending several droplets of his blood through the air. But he was too angry to go down now, as well as too determined to avenge Ultra Girl. The two began pounding on each other furiously for several minutes. But Solar Man had superior speed, and he hit Maraud several times for every one blow she landed on him. Both refused to fall, but sooner or later, one of them had to. The shops and activity centers around Times Square shook with each thunderous blow inflicted by the two titans, and windows for several blocks shattered with every impact.
Suddenly, a bluish-glowing field struck Maraud in the back of her head. This distracted her long enough for Solar Man to land a flurry of blows. Shouting more expletives, Maraud continued to fight until Solar Man made it a point to sink his thumb directly into her injured eye. His hand covered up to the wrist in blue techno-organic blood, he continued to take advantage of the distraction by winding up his right fist and punching her as hard as he possibly could. A large fountain of bluish-colored blood sprayed from her face as Maraud finally fell.
As the powerful villain lay in a puddle of azure blood, her techno-organic skin cracked and even shattered around her broken face. As she lay there, Solar Man could see how massive her body was: very muscular, with her large breasts covered up by the chrome colored skin with no visible nipples.
The sun warrior then turned to the sight he knew he would see after the force field struck Maraud from behind. Ultra Girl stood there, shaking and battered, blood flowing from her nose and mouth, a huge bruise on the right side of her face, her costume torn…but alive and standing.
"You're okay! Thank the gods, you're okay!"
"Y-yea…I managed…managed to throw a thick force field over myself…just before she struck me. But damn…damn, did that ever hurt."
Solar Man dashed over to his lovely young partner, and checked her for broken bones and contusions.
"You're badly bruised, but no serious injuries. Thank you for saving me twice."
She forced a smile over her semi-battered but still very comely face.
"You…bailed me out at one point also. I was just returning the favor, handsome."
Now smiling intently and extremely thankful that Ultra Girl's brave heart didn't result in her death, Solar Man had no inclination to wait for Captain Krueger and the rest of the police to arrive. He gently took Ultra Girl in his arms and flew to the top of the Motorcade Building, the tallest edifice in Times Square. He wanted a bit of privacy, with no one but the pigeons bearing witness.
"I…I thought I lost you, Alexa. I thought…"
Ultra Girl smiled again, her facing looking exquisitely beautiful despite the bruises and cuts. "I thought I was going to lose you, also."
"But…but I have to tell you something. I've been…in denial. Denying how much…how much you…mean to me."
"I know. You mean a lot to me, also. And I mean a whole lot."
The two heroes then wrapped their arms around each other and shared a long, passionate kiss. They now both knew exactly what ecstasy felt like.
NEXT: Love is a Battlefield