The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

A Brother’s Secret

Chapter 7
Seeking Permission

© The author reserves all rights to this work.


This story is of an adult nature. It is not intended for minors nor for those whose law in their land forbids them to read this material.
This story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental and unintentional.

NB: Words found between asterisks (*) refer to words exchanged in psychic or telepathic communication.

Date: 2 June 2675, Wednesday

Uranus had been a source of fusion fuel several centuries before because of the large amounts of heavy water found in certain regions of its mantle. The miners constructed atmospheric domes that was fixed to the icy mantle. They used the methane from the actual atmosphere to generate energy to keep the domes heated. All this was done without melting the icy surface below the domes. It was the engineering feat of the 25th century. When silicon became the fuel of choice, Uranus became less and less important. Mining for heavy water finally halted in the early 26th century and Uranus became a planet for recreation and academics. The uniqueness of Uranus’planetary tilt and long revolution around the sun allowed the planet to be an ideal planet for the cosmic sciences. Scientists found the planetary solstice periods ideal for studying the heavens.

Due to the nature of the atmospheric domes, the tallest commercial buildings on Uranus were only two storeys high. On this day, Matthew Keith arrived at a one-storey building where his brother worked. After removing and keeping his breathing mask in its pouch, he approached the receptionist’s counter and asked to see his brother.

“Hi, Matt!” greeted Mark Keith through an intercomm. “You’re early! I get off work in half an hour,” said Mark. The receptionist had used the intercomm to call Mark instead of allowing Matthew to enter into the offices.

“Oh, I thought … never mind. I’ll just wait here,” said Matthew, “You go back to your work.” Mark nodded and Matthew moved to a small reception area of the main office of Titan Tours Uranus. The reception area was not very big but it was cosy. He sat down and took up one of the electronic magazines on the coffee table. He activated the power and started to read.

“Hi there, Matthew,” said Captain Brown. He had come out of his office carrying a coffee mug.

“Hi there … Captain Brown.” Since Matthew discovered the true identity of the Captain, he had been working up enough courage to speak to him. When he had first arrived on Uranus, he had viewed the Captain with suspicion. Matthew had been in a reformatory institution. The officials there had been former military men and women. They were tough and, in Matthew’s opinion, totally unreasonable. However, as the months passed, he had found that Captain Brown was different. His authority was not based on fear, like in those institutions. His authority was based on respect. Mark, Matthew’s brother, respected the man and that was the reason that he obeyed him. Then, a week ago, Matthew was allowed into a secret. Captain Brown was really Jorg, a magus with tremendous abilities. Matthew was being harmed by a psychic influence planted by an agent of his biological father. Matthew discovered that his biological father was a ruthless magus and that he was, in consequence, a semi-magus. When Jorg was helping him, Jorg was able to see some of Matthew’s inmost thoughts. He had a secret and Jorg knew about it. Instead of using that knowledge to his advantage, Jorg had offered to lend Matthew his ears.

“You’re here to meet up with Mark?” asked the Captain, going to a small dispenser just behind the reception area.

“Yes,” replied Matthew. “I was a little early.”

“Come with me,” said the Captain to Matthew. Then, as the Captain passed a large office, he peeped into it and asked, “Mark, do you mind if I steal your brother for a little while?”

Mark poked his head out of his cubicle and said, “Sure.” Then he called out a little louder, “Matt, make sure you behave yourself!”

“He’s already eighteen, don’t treat him like a kid,” said the captain, smiling.

“Hear that Mark! You don’t have to worry about me.” Matthew called out from behind the captain.

Mark shook his head in disbelief and the captain chuckled.

Matthew was led into the Captain’s office. “Come into my office, The seats are more comfortable in there.” Indeed, the office looked more comfortable than Mark’s office and the reception area outside. There were single seats, looking like divans, covered with leather.

Once seated comfortably in the office, the captain asked Matthew, “What’s up Matthew? I picked up your thoughts saying that you wanted to talk to me.”

“Yeah, Jacques mentioned something about projecting thoughts and that most magi can pick them up. So I just came in and thought, Please Jorg, speak to me over and over again.”

Jorg chuckled. “It was an effective way to get my attention and it’ll also bring all White’s collaborators here.”

Matthew turned pale. His biological father was Ryan White. Ryan White was going to run for the System’s Presidency and an illegitimate son might ruin things for him.

“Don’t worry. We have some kind of protection here,” the Captain reassured. “What did you want to talk about?”

“It’s about what you saw in my mind the other night, you know …?” Matthew said shyly.

“Yes?” asked Jorg.

Matthew mustered up his courage and said, “I know you saw a girl – one of Jacques’ sisters. I find her fascinating but, at the same time, I’m afraid that she may be just like Stephanie, the one who broke my brother’s heart.”

“Have you spoken about Stephanie with your brother?” asked the Captain.

“Yes,” replied Matthew. “He sounded okay but I’m afraid of dragging out old wounds.”

Jorg nodded. “That’s understandable. The best person to ask is Jacques but I’ve a feeling that you don’t want him to know about your feelings about her sister. The next best person is your brother. Why don’t you find a way to ask your brother what he thinks.”

“Why can’t you help me?”asked Matthew. He was a little disappointed. He had thought that Jorg could do some mind reading to determine the girl’s character.

“What do you think I’m doing now?” retorted the Captain with a smile.

“I mean, why can’t you tell me about Jacques’ sister and tell me my next step?” asked Matthew anxiously.

The Captain stared at Matthew for a few seconds and then said, “All right. The girl you’re thinking about is Lelia. She’s Stephanie’s younger sister. My advice is to get to know her as a person first. Your fears are justified but I can’t give you information about her because I’ve had no reason to get to know her yet. Mark knows the family and so he’ll be able to tell you some things. I don’t think Jacques will mind if you want to know his sister as a friend. Tell him slowly and state your intentions clearly. If Heath is there, you’ll have an easier time. Isn’t that enough?”

“I’m still afraid,” said Matthew.

“It’s natural but I heard a wise saying a long time ago: There’s nothing to fear except fear itself. We’ll never be totally sure of anything but what drags us down is fear. Think about it.”

“I guess. Thanks. There’s something else …”

“Yes,” said Jorg patiently.

“Jacques said that I have some powers that can be activated, would they be enough to protect Mark and myself?”

Jorg frowned. “I’ve not analysed what your powers are but I’d recommend against activating your powers now.”

“Why?” Several possibilities entered Matthew’s mind. They were not very nice with regard to magi.

“If your powers are activated, White will surely know and he’d want to know how your powers were activated and Jacques and Heath would be in greater danger. There’s another way to activate your powers but you’ll have to be patient. It may take five years or more for that way to show itself.”

“Five years?!! White will be more powerful then!” moaned Matthew.

“I’m sorry, Matthew, but your powers aren’t going even to scratch White. Patience is a virtue and I know that if you’re patient, the other way would cause you more joy.”

“How do you know? Is there something you’re keeping from me?”

“I can’t tell you what I know because I’m still not sure how accurate the information is. All I can ask you is to trust me. Wait. It would be worth it. I don’t think White will act immediately unless you show that you’d be a bigger danger to him than you are now.”

Matthew nodded his head, “In five years, I’d have gotten my degree. Maybe I could work for the Pellegrine, like Mark.”

“Maybe. That’s tomorrow, let’s enjoy today first,” said Jorg. At that moment, Matthew began to realise that Jorg might be much older than he looked.

“So, are you ready to go?” asked Mark as Jorg and Matthew emerged from the office. He had been waiting patiently outside Jorg’s office.

“Yes. I’m famished,” replied Matthew. “I hope Jacques and Heath have cooked up a storm.”

¤ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ¤

“I think I’ll talk to Jacques and Heath now,” whispered Matthew to Jorg.

“All right,” whispered back Jorg.

“Mark! Let’s show these two domesticated guys what real barbeque cooking is.”

“Let me help too,” said Kean, picking up a message that Jorg had sent him.

“I’m not much of a cook. I’d probably burn the food,” said Mark.

“C’mon. I’ll instruct you. You aren’t going to be soft in front of your younger brother, are you?” teased Jorg.

“Okay, Mike. If the food gets burnt, it’s going to be all your fault,” grinned Mark as he sat up.

“That’s the spirit!” said Kean tapping his hand on Mark’s shoulder.

“Get this straight, though,” said Mark still keeping the grin, “I’m not becoming your boyfriend if I can cook.”

“I’m hurt Mark,” said Kean trying unsuccessfully to look hurt. “I wasn’t even thinking of hitting on you. You aren’t my type anyway.”

“Oh! You’re hitting back …” said Mark. The three men’s voices trailed off as they headed off to the special fireplace that was just recently added to Jacques and Heath’s place.

Jacques, Heath and Matthew were left in the dining area.

“One of these days, Kean is going to get careless and spill the beans about his relationship with Jorg,” said Jacques.

Heath noticed that Matthew was just smiling. “Matt, do you want me to leave? I know that you may feel awkward being alone with Jacques and myself.”

“No, Heath. We had sex. That’s all. Even Jacques understood that. I admit that there was some enjoyment but I know that all of us did it for a greater cause,” trying to sound brave.

“This is corny!” laughed Jacques. “Do you remember that ancient movie that Jorg showed us?”

“Which one?” asked Heath.

“The one where the guy wanted to make out with a girl and said that it was due to the fact that he was going off to war and he turned it into the girl’s civic duty to have sex with him?”

“Oh no!” smiled Heath. “Matt, you have just been given Jacques’ Movie Parallelism of the Day.” His eyes betrayed that he had just shared a secret joke with Jacques.

Jacques punched his partner on the shoulder.

Heath grimaced. “Ouch!” he groaned.

“I know that it didn’t hurt Andre Heath Williams,” laughed Jacques.

“Uh-oh, he’s using the full name …” grinned Heath.

“Quit, won’t you?” laughed Jacques. “We’re supposed to be entertaining Matt here, not keep him in the dark.”

“But the fun is all gone if I had to explain everything,” protested Heath.

“Guys! Thanks for making me feel comfortable around you but Jorg actually got my brother away so that I could have a serious talk with you guys,” said Matthew.

“Serious talk?” asked Jacques sitting up.

“Yes,” said Matthew. “It’s about your sister.”

“Stef? Why? You’re thinking of hooking her up with Mark again?” Jacques asked in surprise.

“Actually, no. I’m talking about Lelia. I want your permission to get to know her.”

“Lelia?” asked Jacques in surprise. There was a short moment of silence as Heath could sense Matthew’s fear and Jacques surprise. “Yes. Lelia did mention that she had an overaged boy in one of the classes. You mean it was you?” Jacques asked.

Matthew nodded his head. He was feeling excited because Lelia mentioned him but at the same time, Jacques’ expression gave him a sense of dread. It did not seem very positive to him.

“Why do you need my permission?” asked Jacques.

Matthew blushed. Heath guessed what was happening and spoke up, “Jacques, I think that Matt likes Lelia.”

“She’s only fourteen!” Jacques protested. “She’s too young to be thinking about these things.”

“What do you mean? The class is for sixteen and seventeen year olds. How could she fourteen?” Matthew asked.

“Lelia is a very bright student,” explained Heath. “Her best subject is history and so she is two years ahead in that subject. Her studies her other subjects with her peers.”

“Now do you understand why I don’t think you should be thinking of her that way?” asked Jacques.

“What way?” asked Matthew.

“If you mean permission to get to know her and date her and stuff, the answer is no. You’re eighteen and four years older than her. She’s too young for this sort of thing.”

Matthew bowed his head in disappointment.

“Jacques. Give Matt a chance. He could’ve made a move without you knowing. The fact that he wants your permission means that it is not just a simple thing means something more. Why don’t you ask him to tell us more?”

Jacques looked at Heath questioningly.

“Go on Matt,” Heath said, disregarding Jacques, “tell us why you want to know Lelia. You must already know her since you’re in the same class.”

Matt looked up. “Well, I’m so afraid to talk to her. I mean, when I see her, I get this incredible feeling inside of me.”

“You mean a very fuzzy warm feeling?” asked Heath.

“Yes,” Matthew replied, “and more …”

“You feel that she is so precious? You feel that you want to but can’t touch her because you’re so afraid that you’d hurt her?” asked Heath.

Matthew stared at Heath in wonder. “How … how … how did you know what I felt?”

“I know because I felt the same way when I met my first love, Vince.”

“First love?” asked Jacques.

“I didn’t mean to …” started Matthew.

“Don’t worry,” Heath reassured Matthew. “Jacques, you know what I mean right? You must have also felt that way … your first love?”

“No,” said Jacques firmly. “I felt drawn and I wanted to know him straight away and I couldn’t wait to get to know him more. There was no fear.”

Matthew’s face fell and he bowed his head again.

’Look at what you’ve done to him!’ Heath sent the thought to Jacques.

’Lelia is too young.’

’Set limits. I think this is first love. If he doesn’t obey the limits, then all bets are off. You’ve also got to hear what Lelia and your parents have to say about all this. Don’t you think they’ve a right to know and make decisions?’ Heath countered.

“All right, Matthew,” Jacques said, “I’m not going to stop you from knowing Lelia. However, there are a few things you’ve got to take note of. First, you can only meet her in school and nowhere else. Second, she’s still fourteen and so no dates. Third, you’ve got to get to know her on your own. I won’t give you any clues. If she likes you, you’ll know from her, not from me. If she rejects you, I won’t be the first to tell you. So no help from me. Last of all, you’ve got to meet my parents. They give the final permission.”

“Is that acceptable to you, Matthew?” asked Heath.

“Yes. I just want you to know, Jacques, that I’m not thinking of making out with her or anything. It’s just that I find myself attracted to her smile. She’s very quiet and I had to build up a lot of courage just to say hello to her. I approached you so that you won’t have the wrong idea. I now know that I’m a lot older than her. Please trust me, Jacques. I’ll never hurt her, I promise.”

Heath and Matthew waited for Jacques to respond. Jacques now saw Matthew in a different light. Before, he was just a brother of a friend. Now, he wondered if he could handle Matthew going after his sister. He wanted to have the last word in but Jorg, Kean and Mark came in.

“Are you ready for a great steak?” asked Mark cheerfully.

Jacques forced a smile, “I guess … I don’t have no choice, do I?”

The mood of the party came back to what it was before. Jacques really made an effort not to let the revelation spoil the mood.

Matthew became slightly introspective when his brother, Kean and Jorg came back into the dining area. He understood Jacques concerns but he could not understand why Jacques could not trust him that he was not after Lelia for sex. Then it hit him. He suddenly realised why Jorg said it had to be at least five years before he could receive the powers. Perhaps Lelia was like Jacques. Was Lelia the one for him? He decided that he should meet Jacques’ parents.

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