The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book VI
Magi at Work

Chapter 10
Mark and Stephanie

© 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: 26 August 2674, Wednesday

*Jorg,* said Sam. *I’ve located her. She’s by herself on the beach.*

*Good,* replied Jorg. *Make contact and small talk. When the preparations are ready, I’ll let you know.*


In reality, Sam was a fifty-seven year old magus. She actually looked like she was in her early thirties. After surveying the situation, she decided to change her appearance to look like someone in in her early twenties, closer to Stephanie’s age. She was in a long robe with a large bag slung over her left shoulder when she got onto the beach. The change of her appearance was almost unnoticeable as the robe masked the change that was going on within. Sam reached a spot next to Stephanie and proceeded to take out a mat from within her bag.

“I hope I’ll not be disturbing you by sitting here,” she said to Stephanie.

“No, not at all. This is a public beach. I don’t own the place,” replied Stephanie.

Sam shrugged her shoulders. “I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. I didn’t mean to imply anything with my words.”

Stephanie looked up. She realised that she was being rude to the girl who had shown her some courtesy. She gave a small smile and said, “Actually, I should be the one to apologise. I shouldn’t have replied in that manner.”

“No offence taken,” said Sam. Sam offered her hand and said, “I’m Samantha Durnst. Friends call me Sam for short. I hope I can consider you a friend.”

Stephanie smiled, “Good to meet you Sam. I’m Stephanie Robinson.”

“Nice to meet you, too, Stephanie.”

Sam turned back to adjust the mat that she had already placed on the sand. Then she removed her robe and sat on the mat.

“Are you travelling alone, Stephanie?” asked Sam.

“I’m here with friends.”

“Where are they? It doesn’t seem nice of friends to leave you alone?”

Stephanie gave a weak smile. “They’ve gone parasailing. I’m too afraid of heights and so I’m left here by myself.”

“Parasailing? They have it here?”

“Well, not at this beach. They do that on the other side. This cove has calmer waters and so it’s better for normal bathers. Less likelihood of getting swept away by the tide.”

“Oh, I see. I’ve never tried parasailing myself. However, I’m not looking for adventure during this trip. It’s just peace and quiet. That’s why I’m travelling alone.”

“I know what you mean.”

Nothing more was said as each woman soaked up the sun.

*Sam. This is Kean. I’m speaking on behalf of Jorg.*

*What happened to Jorg?* Sam asked in some surprise.

*He’s my trainer,* answered Kean.

*I didn’t know Jorg trained people?* Sam retorted.

There was the slightest pause before the reply came. *It’s a special favour for my father, Patrick Feehan.*

*Oh.* Sam realised who she was talking to. She thought that Jorg must have learnt some special power to end up training Master Patrick’s son. However she did not transmit any thoughts of the kind to Kean.

*Jacques Robinson is with me,* Kean continued. *I’ll move his mind to where you are if you wish.*

*Not yet. We’ve just made contact but I think the setting is not right for any elaboration. Give me about thirty minutes and I’ll contact you to see if I can bring her to a less open area.*

*Will do.*

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Heath and Brin had finished all they had to do in Hawaii. They had the rest of the weekend off.

“Can we go and see Mark? I feel worried for him,” said Heath. “I met him a few times helping Jacques’ family move from Earth to Uranus. He seemed like a nice guy and I know that Jacques had some kind of feelings for him.”

“Jacques told you he had feelings for the guy?” Brin asked.

“No,” answered Heath. “I saw how Jacques acted around the guy. He was civil, a little too civil.”

“You weren’t jealous?”

“A little at first but I know how it is with first loves. I had one too and Jacques knows about him. I still feel something for him when I think about him. It’s difficult to forget. Either you hate them totally or still have feelings for them. I guess Jacques and I fall into the second category.”

“I find it hard to believe that you’re concerned for this guy.”

“Brin, I don’t see Mark as a rival for Jacques’ heart. I know Jacques has given his heart to me. I see Mark as Stephanie’s boyfriend. I know that Mark’s really in love with Stephanie. I see that in his eyes. It’s the same way Jacques looks at me. I hope it’s the same way that I look at Jacques too.”

“You sure are quite a character, Heath. I’ve never met anyone like you.”

“All of us are different. Are we going or not?”

“Yes we’re. I’m going to transport both of us there.”

Brin and Heath appeared behind a large tree.

“We’re still invisible, just in case we’re spotted,” said Brin softly. After moving his head a little, he continued, “There’s no one looking. Let’s go!”

Brin caused both of them to be visible as they moved towards Mark’s house. They reached the gate and Brin pressed a small button.

“Yes,” a moody voice sounded over the speaker.

Brin nodded to Heath.

“Mark? This is Heath Williams. You remember me?”

“Heath? Jacques’ uh … uh …”

“Partner,” Heath completed the phrase for Mark.

“Yes. Sorry,” he said sounding very depressed.

“You sound as if you’ve just woken up. Did we come at a wrong time? Have we interrupted your nap?”

“No,” the voice changed considerably. “Is Jacques with you?”

“No, someone else … a colleague … is with me. I’m on Earth on business. We finished earlier than expected and I thought I’d drop by to see you,” Heath replied.

“Okay, come on in!”

They heard a click and the pushed open the gate and walked up to the house. They waited at Mark’s front door for about two minutes before Mark opened the door.

“Sorry,” Mark apologised as he let them in. “I’d to clean up a bit. The place’s quite a mess.”

Mark looked terrible. He had dark circles around his bloodshot eyes. Heath and Brin immediately felt very sorry for the man.

“Take a seat guys. Do you want a beer?” he asked.

“Do you have cola?” Heath enquired.

“Yes.” Mark disappeared into the back of his flat.

Brin whispered to Heath, “He’s going to break down again. I guess seeing you has given his sorrow renewed vigour.”

Mark took some time to come out with two cans of chilled cola.

“Here you are,” he said, “Had to go through some stuff in the fridge to get to the cans … Sorry.”

“Quit apologising, okay? You’ve been apologising since we walked in,” said Heath as he took the cans from Mark.

Brin was surprised. He knew that this was going to bring about a bout of tears from Mark. He wasn’t wrong. Mark began to tremble and broke down. He was a mess. Heath stood up and gave Mark a hug. Mark held on to him tightly as he sobbed violently.

Heath let Mark sob for a while before saying, “What’s the matter, Mark? Things can’t be that bad?”

“She’s gone, Heath. It’s all my fault!” Mark sobbed.

“Who’s gone?” Heath asked.

“Stephanie,” Mark replied. His sobs subsided a little before he added, “You don’t know, do you?”

“Maybe I should go outside,” said Brin, standing up.

“Please stay!” said Mark. “I’ve never felt so bad in my life. You’re my first visitors since she left. Please stay!”

Brin just nodded his head and sat down again. Heath brought Mark towards a couch and the both of them sat down.

“If you want to, you could talk to us about it,” said Heath.

Mark took a deep breath and started to tell them what happened. He started sobbing before he finished two sentences. He took about ten minutes to tell them what had transpired a week before.

“I know that I shouldn’t have been such a prude. I love Stef. She’s a wonderful person and I’ll never hurt her. I kept my promise to Jacques because I want Stef to be my wife.” Mark’s tears started to form again. “It’s probably my pride … and my stupidity … I thought that our wedding night’d be more beautiful if we’d kept our first love-making to that night … it was my ideal … it wasn’t hers,” Mark continued with pauses to wipe his tears.

Heath felt sorry for Mark. He didn’t know what to say. His so-called break-up with Jacques at the beginning of their relationship was due to an entirely different reason. There was a reconciliation because he had co-operated with Jorg to save Jacques out of a potential fatal mental exercise.

“I’ve tried to call her but she never answers. I found out that she’s gone off with a group of her friends. I wonder if this is really the end …” Mark really sounded despondent.

“I’m sure she’ll come around,” said Heath.

“We’d fought before but never like this. There’d be sulking and silence for a few days but she’s never returned the ring,” said Mark trembling in sorrow at the thought of what Stephanie had done.

“You can’t stay here. There’re too many memories. Let’s take you somewhere else,” Brin suggested.

Heath nodded. “Look, Mark. Don’t lose hope. Just hang in there. I agree that the best thing’s to have a change of environment. Once you feel better, you’d be able to see things more clearly and decide the next step. Staying here right now is definitely detrimental.”

Mark shook his head, “No. What if she calls?”

“Bring your communicator with you. Go and pack a few things. I’ll bring our vehicle closer so that you don’t have to walk too far,” said Brin.

Heath grinned when Brin said that. He knew that they’d left the vehicle back at the hotel. “Mark, let me help you to pack,” said Heath as he ushered Mark to his bedroom, giving Brin the opportunity to transport himself from the bedroom.

Brin opened and shut the door to make it seem that he had left the room. Then he willed himself back to the hotel in Hawaii to fetch the vehicle.

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

It was about forty-five minutes after Sam had made contact with Stephanie. They had adjourned to a little juice bar about three hundred metres from the beach. The place was not crowded and afforded a little privacy to the two women. Sam had made small talk and tactfully guided the conversation to men and to boyfriends. She had given Kean the okay to monitor the conversation with Jacques. Meanwhile, Heath had already filled Jacques in on the reason for the break-up.

“So this big guy comes along and tries to be fresh with me,” said Sam. “Adam who’s a whole lot smaller than him tries to protect me. You could see that he was afraid but he faced the man and told him to back away from his girl. The guy calls him puny or something but Adam stands his ground. He told the big guy that he shouldn’t be a coward and try to snatch the girl of a guy who’s obviously smaller and weaker than him. The crowd was deathly quiet when Adam called him a bully and a coward. The guy takes a swing at Adam but Adam dodges him skilfully, grabs his arm and with his fingers straight, aims for the armpit. That jab caused the guy so much pain. Adam then said that the guy was welcome to try again and that there were about fourteen other spots that’d give the same kind of pain. The guy didn’t even try!”

“Adam knows martial arts?” asked Stephanie with her eyes wide.

“No. He’d only learnt two places to hit, other than the groin, from some book his uncle gave him. If the guy’d come at him again and again, I’m afraid I might not be here talking to you. Who knows what the big guy would’ve done to me?”

“You’re making this sound more serious than it really is,” accused Stephanie with a grin.

“Well, I didn’t exaggerate about Adam jabbing him under the armpit. And, about what the big guy would’ve done? I’m a green belt in karate and the big guy would’ve had to handle me kicking him in the groin!”

Stephanie laughed.

“Well, what about your guy. I’ve shared my admiration of my guy. Don’t tell me you don’t have one?”

Stephanie turned silent suddenly.

“You do have someone, don’t you?”

Stephanie’s eyes turned red as she said, “Not any more.”

“What happened? He dumped you for another girl?” asked Sam in a defiant tone. “Don’t give him any heed. He’s not worthy of your attention, if he did.”

“No, I dumped him.”

“Found him with another girl, eh? Men! They’re all after one thing!”

“No. I don’t know if I should tell you anything. After all, we’ve just met and it doesn’t feel right telling you about my problems.”

“Look girl. If you don’t want to say anything, it’s fine by me. If you need a listening ear, sometimes it’s better with a stranger than with a good friend. No strings attached. No obligations on your part.”

Stephanie paused for a moment and said, “I think it’s better to tell someone. I don’t think any of the friends I came with would understand.”

Sam nodded.

After Stephanie recounted what happened, Sam kept silent. She sensed that there was more and she knew that Stephanie would say when she was ready. Then she caught the thoughts of another man and a party that Mark did not know about.

Jacques had, in the meantime heard all that Stephanie had said and what Sam had picked up in Stephanie’s projected thoughts. He was quite angry with Stephanie for being such a fool. Mark loved her very much and she knew it. How could she just throw everything away?!!

*Jacques, control yourself. Until the truth’s known, you can’t act on anything. I’d rather let her tell us the truth and then help her. The idea is to help your sister, not reprimand her,* Kean admonished.

*Sorry,* apologised Jacques.

“Would you like to hear my opinion?” asked Sam.

*Say yes, Stef,* said Jacques mentally though he knew Stephanie could not hear him.

*Jacques!* called out Kean in his mind.

Jacques kept silent.

Stephanie nodded her head.

“Go back to him. He’s a real gentleman. Not many guys are willing to wait for the commitment ceremony to jump into bed. He must really think the world of you. Virginity may seem like an archaic idea but when it’s the man who’s proposing it, somehow it seems more noble. He hasn’t been sleeping with other girls, has he?”

“I don’t think so,” replied Stephanie. “The real problem isn’t that he isn’t sleeping with me. The real problem’s that I’ve not been faithful to him,” added Stephanie quietly.

Kean sensed a wave of emotion in Jacques and had to warn him to remain calm.

“What do you mean?” asked Sam. “You’ve been sleeping with another guy behind his back?”

“Well, not exactly. About a month back, I went to this party without Mark knowing. He would’ve objected to it if I’d told him. One of my friends wanted the company and so I joined her. It was at her cousin’s place in Brooklyn. I don’t know what was added to my drink because after a glass of the so-called punch, I became high. My memories were pretty vague. I remember someone touching me and kissing me and I remember liking it. Then there were many hands touching me and I was naked. I remember touching naked flesh, men and women. I woke up with a headache and naked in a room with four guys and two other women, all asleep. I remember that my vagina was a little sore and was horrified to see bloodstains on the bed sheets. One of the girls awoke and asked me if I enjoyed my first experience. Then it hit me. I’d given away my virginity to strangers. Four men …” Stephanie was starting to get emotional.

Sam held her hand to try to comfort her, “Don’t continue. It’s all in the past.”

Stephanie got a hold of herself and shook her head. “I have to finish it. That morning, I realised that the friend that I’d gone with was nowhere to be found. When I finally found her, she said that I’d left the party without telling her. I must’ve been really stoned. My period was due two weeks ago. It’s still not here. I’m late, Sam. I’ve never been late before. I’ve always been on time. I thought of a plan to try to get Mark to sleep with me. Then, he might think that he was the cause. However, when I talked to him, I realised I was being selfish. I couldn’t add one lie on top of another. At that moment when I was talking to him, I realised what to do. I gave him back the ring that I’ve been wearing for two years. I know it must’ve broken his heart but I couldn’t tell him the truth!”

“Why not?”

“He’ll never forgive me!”

“Then, breaking his heart is okay?” asked Sam with a tone of surprise.

“Well, at least he doesn’t hate me …”

“He’ll find out somehow and then he’ll be sure to hate you.”

“I don’t see how …”

Sam looked Stephanie in the eye and said, “Look girl. You made a mistake and maybe you liked what happened but you’ve got to take responsibility for you actions. Here’s a man who’s devoted to you and you’re making him pay for your mistake. Even if he hates you afterward, you could still stand tall knowing that you’ve done the right thing. You may think that he’d never find out but trust me, word goes round, especially in the party circuit. And if you’re really pregnant, then tongues are really going to wag.”

“I’ve been thinking of terminating my pregnancy.”

“Right,” said Sam in disbelief, “that would keep everything a secret. No one will ever know.”

“That’s what I thought,” said Stephanie.

“Then you’ll look for another guy to love and leave poor old whats-his-name in pieces because you’ve left him.”

“He’ll survive,” said Stephanie.

“Do you really care for this guy?” Sam asked.

“Of course,” Stephanie defended herself.

“Then, tell him the truth …”

“He’d be hurt!”

“Either way,” said Sam, “you’d hurt him but this lying is definitely not right … unless you care more for yourself than for him.”

“What do you mean?” asked Stephanie getting agitated.

“If you’d rather let him feel guilty for doing nothing wrong than letting him know that it was really your fault, then you’ve put yourself before him.”

“You’ve got no right!” exclaimed Stephanie.

“Your right,” apologised Sam. “I’ve stepped over the line. I’m sorry.”

“You should be …” said Stephanie as she stood up. “You’ll forgive me for leaving so abruptly.”

*Jacques, do you want me to go after your sister?* asked Sam.

*Yes, please. I don’t know if she’d do anything stupid. However, you’d better be invisible because I don’t think she’d want to see you …*

*I understand.*

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