The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book VI
Magi at Work

Chapter 9
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: 20 August 2674, Thursday

“What’s wrong with me?” Stephanie Robinson asked her boyfriend, Mark Keith.

“Uh?” Mark was surprised that Stephanie would ask such a question. Stephanie was the jewel in his heart. He thought that Stephanie knew that. “Where did that come from?” he asked.

“Is there anything wrong with me?” Stephanie asked again, ignoring Mark’s question.

“There’s nothing wrong with you.”

“Then why do I feel that you don’t really love me?”

“Stef,” Mark said softly but firmly, “I love you with all my heart. You know that I’ll never hurt you.”

“Well, you certainly don’t seem to show me that you love me,” said Stephanie.

“What did I do this time to offend you?” asked Mark softly with a smile.

“It’s what you didn’t do …”

“What did I forget this time?”

“It’s not that you’ve forgotten anything. You’ve remembered everything, from our first meeting to the anniversary of our going steady, to my birthday. It’s what you don’t do. Most of the girls in the dorm tell me how their boyfriends treat them like women. You know, men and women?”

“Well, I don’t think I’ve ever insulted you by not treating you like a woman. I mean I allow you your space, and yet buy you flowers, let you enter first, and all that, … I treated you like any man would treat a woman …” Mark said with a puzzled look on his face.

“Well, you’ve never once made any moves towards me.”


“You know, initiate something sexual.”

“Sex?!” asked Mark. “You want me to give you sex?”

“Yes! How come we’d never slept together. We’ve been together for about like three years and the most we’ve done was kissing.”

“Well,” said Mark uncomfortably. “Sex had crossed my mind, but I always assumed that we’d get married first …”

“Wake up Mark!” exclaimed Stephanie, “We’re living in the twenty-seventh century not in the dark ages of the nineteenth century. Sex between couples is so common. I figured that there was something wrong with me. That’s why you don’t want to have sex with me.”

Mark started blushing. He had thought about sex with Stephanie. He had often wanked off in the shower thinking about her.

“Is there anything wrong with me that you’ve never even asked me for more than a kiss?”

“Well … I … I … I kinda made a promise …” stuttered Mark.

“A promise? To whom?”

“When I started seeing you seriously, your brother made me promise not to take advantage of you.”

“Jacques? He made you promise not to have sex with me? I’ll give him a piece of my mind!!!” Stephanie almost screamed.

Mark tried to placate her. “Stephanie, he didn’t say those exact words. He just said that if I hurt you by taking advantage of you, I’d be in trouble.”

“So, he said those exact words?”

“Well, something like that. I remember the taking advantage part very well.”

“So, he didn’t say not to have sex.”

“No,” admitted Mark.

“So what’s keeping you from fucking me?”

Mark was disturbed. He had never known Stephanie to use the f-word before. His eyes became wide and he was silent for a moment.

It was one moment too long because Stephanie asked, “Is there something wrong with you, then?”

Mark jerked slightly at the remark. “Is there anything wrong with me? I don’t think so. What do you mean?”

“Well, if there’s nothing wrong with me, then there should be something wrong with you because you’ve no urge to fuck me.”

“Who says that I don’t have the urge? I just feel that we should wait until we’re married, that’s all.”

“Maybe you’re gay, just like Jacques is. You can’t have a proper relationship with a woman. Maybe you can’t get it up!”

“That’s not true, Stephanie.”

“Prove to me that you’re a man. Prove it to me by making passionate love to me.”

“Right now?”

“I don’t see why not?”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!”

“Then, Mark, I question your love for me. I wonder if you really love me at all!”

“I do. But I can’t just take off my clothes and have sex with you right here and now just to show that I love you?”

“Why not?”

“Because the motive’s all wrong. Right now, if I proceed to have sex with you, I’d be doing it to justify my masculinity. It becomes something that I do for me, not for you, not for us. That’s something selfish.”

Stephanie looked at Mark strangely.

“Why do you really want to have sex with me, Stef?” Mark asked.

That seemed to snap Stephanie out of her trance. “Oh! You’re incorrigible. Right now, I doubt that you really love me, Mark. You give me no choice.” Stephanie took out the ring that Mark had given to her on the day that he proposed that they go steady. She threw it at him, saying, “Take this back. I’ve no use for it anymore!” Then, she picked up her bag and coat and stormed out through the door.

Mark was shocked when he saw the ring flying towards him. It was something that he never thought he would see Stephanie do. When he recovered from the shock, Stephanie was halfway to the door. He jumped up and before he could even take two steps, the door slammed. He rushed out of the house and saw Stephanie walking away really fast. He ran up to her.

“Stef! Wait up! Please!” Stephanie walked faster but Mark caught up with her.

“Please Stef, listen …” Mark said, panting, walking beside Stephanie, trying to get her to look at him.

“We’ve nothing more to say,” said Stephanie roughly.

“There must be something I can do? If you want to fuck, we’ll fuck. Just come back with me and spend the night with me.” Mark caught hold of Stephanie’s arm.

“Too late Mr. Keith. How can I force you to part with your principles?” said Stephanie sarcastically. “Now, if you’d please let me go … “ she said pulling her arm away from Mark’s hand.

“Please, Stef!” Mark was visibly crying.

“Go home, Mr. Keith. We’re through!”

Mark knelt down on the pavement. His heart broke and his tears refused to stop.

† ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ †

Date: 24 August 2674, Monday

Jacques looked at the time. It was late. The rest of the staff had gone home. It was his turn to close up the office. He stood up and tied up his desk. Then, his desk communicator sounded. It was an audio-only message.

“Good evening, Jacques Robinson speaking. What can I do for you?” Jacques said automatically as he pressed the answer button.

Jacques heard a familiar voice. “Good evening, Jacques. It’s nice to hear you sounding so professional.”

“Good evening Jorg. How goes the acquisition?”

“It’s too early to tell but I didn’t call to tell you about that,” Jorg answered.

“What then?” asked Jacques.

“I’ll need you to be here on Earth as soon as possible,” Jorg replied. The answer surprised Jacques.

“Why? Surely I’m not needed for the acquisition? I’ve no knowledge of …”

“Listen,” Jorg’s tone of voice indicated that there was a problem. “I can’t explain the details but you’re needed here on special assignment. I’ve cleared it with the Head Office here. You’ve been given emergency leave …”

Jacques had not recovered fromthe surprise. “What? Emergency leave? What’s going on?”

Jorg chose to remain mysterious. “Come immediately. I’ll explain when you reach here. I’ve taken the liberty to purchase a return trip for you from my end. Your flight leaves at 2000 SGT.” (SGT refers to Standard Greenwich Time. The 27th century equivalent of Greenwich Mean Time.)

“That’s only a little over three hours from now,” remarked Jacques.

“Yes. Leave a short message with your family to say that you’re going to Earth for a few days,” instructed Jorg.

Jacques protested, “They’ll probably think that I miss Heath so much that I’d to go and see him.”

“Yes,” Jorg replied. “I’m hoping that they’ll think that.”

“What?” Jacques complained. “I’d so much trouble trying to convince them that moving in with Heath wasn’t because of that. Now, all my convincing would be to waste.”

“Keep talking and you’ll not even have time to pack,” said Jorg with a chuckle.

“Okay, okay!” exclaimed Jacques.

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 25 August 2674, Tuesday

It was 1000 GMT when Jacques reached Earth Platform. He cleared the immigration rather quickly. After going through the Quarantine scan, he saw Jorg waiting for him.

“Okay, Jorg. You’d better have a good excuse for bringing me here in such short notice.”

*Your sister’s in trouble,* Jorg said to Jacques mentally.

*What kind of trouble?*

*All we know is that she took off with a group of friends after a fight with Mark.*

Jacques became silent when Mark’s name was mentioned.

*Is there anything wrong?* Jorg asked, noticing the change in Jacques’ mood.

*Just something in the past.*

*Let me guess, you fell for him before.*

“Jorg!” Jacques said out loud.

Jorg gave a chuckle. *I didn’t even try to read you. Your face told me all I needed to know.*

*Back to my sister.*

*Apparently, your sister broke up with Mark and he’s been depressed for days.*

*How did you know all this?*

*I’ve my ways?*

“Oh! Jorg, you’re impossible!” said Jacques.

*Please be careful of what you do when we leave this platform. Heath was being monitored when we reached Earth. No doubt you’d also be too. However you can still send messages to Heath and to Heath only. No one can invade that space without you knowing.*

Jacques nodded his head.

*Good,* continued Jorg. *I’m going to give you all the other information that you need to know to help Stephanie and Mark.*

¤ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ¤

After a few hours of rest, Jacques met with his friends for lunch. He was instructed to meet them at the Plutonic restaurant. Jorg and Heath were involved in some business for Titan Tours in Hawaii.

*I missed you,* was the first message that Jacques received when he met the party.

*I missed you too.*

Jacques noticed that there were two other people at lunch. One was Brin, who was known to the three of them. The other was a young man that he had never met before. The young man had dark blond hair and dark brown eyes and certainly looked like he was of Oriental descent. His build was quite stocky but not fat, and he wore a bright smile on his face.

“There is someone I’d like you to meet, Jacques,” Jorg announced. “This is Kean,” said Jorg as he presented the young man to Jacques. “… and this is Jacques,” Jorg said to the young man.

“Very pleased to meet you, Jacques,” said Kean.

“Likewise,” muttered Jacques as he became aware that Heath was quite uncomfortable. He turned to see Heath red as a beetroot and Brin grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

“What’s happening?” Jacques asked in surprise.

To that, everyone, except Jacques and Heath, burst out laughing.

“What’s happening?” Jacques repeated his question to his friends.

“Well,” Brin explained to Jacques between giggles. “When Jorg said that you were coming down, Heath was overcome with joy. Kean guessed your relationship and asked if he was glad that someone was coming down to warm his bed tonight. He shouted Yes! and every head in the room turned to him. When the embarrassment from making a fool of himself receded, he realised what he’d said yes to. You should’ve seen his face go from red to white and I thought that he was almost going to pass out!”

“Then I told him, in a low voice,” said Kean, “that I couldn’t wait to see the man who could affect him so much. He went back to being red.”

Jacques could not help chuckling. He had never seen Heath’s face so red before. Not even when they were in the peak of passion during sex.

“If you don’t stop making fun of Heath, we’ll all go hungry because none of us would be able to order anything,” said Jorg trying to help poor Heath.

Heath was spared from further teasing and lunch was ordered.

“Let’s remind ourselves of the matter at hand,” Jorg said, taking charge of the informal meeting. “I’ve let Jacques know what we already know. The situation’s like this. We need to locate Stephanie a.s.a.p. and try to find out what really happened. We could ask Mark but my sources say that he is really broken up inside. I don’t know if asking him would help him get deeper into his depression.”

“What makes you so sure that Stephanie would also talk?” asked Jacques. “I’m her brother. I know how stubborn she can be.”

“That’s why we needed you here. We need you to see to the situation with Stephanie.”

“That’s not going to work,” said Jacques. “Stef wouldn’t talk to me, of all people!”

“Then you suggest what we could do,” instructed Jorg.

“Well, if she’d a quarrel with Mark, I don’t think we should send a guy to talk to her. We should send a girl.”

“That sounds reasonable,” said Brin. “I’ll try to get Sam Durnst.”

“Sam?” asked Jacques. “I thought I said a girl.”

“Samantha Durnst,” Brin grinned. “We call her Sam for short. She is one of the juniors in the rescue corps. I think I can pull a few strings to get her to talk to Stephanie.”

“How? Do you think Stephanie’d talk to a stranger?”

“We’ll need to see to the context first,” Brin explained. “Sometimes a stranger can get more out of a person than a friend.”

“We’ll still need you,” said Jorg.

“Why?” asked Jacques.

“You’ll need to see if your sister is telling the truth or pulling a fast one.”

“Read her?”

“No,” said Jorg. “Just look for signs. I’m sure you know the signs when she is telling the truth or when she is not.”

“Unfortunately, she is one of those who doesn’t have a nervous habit. Not even my mother can tell.”

“Anyway, I’ll feel better if you’re there with Sam. You could guide her if she goes off the track.”

“But I thought …”

*Jacques, careful,* Heath sent Jacques a thought. *Let Master Jorg finish.*

Jacques nodded sheepishly and said, “Sorry for interrupting.”

“You’re not going to be physically there. I’ll bring your mind to where your sister is. Brin and Heath can take care of business during that time.”

“What about Kean? Isn’t he part of the team?” Jacques asked.

Heath grinned. He knew why Kean was around. However, he decided not to be vengeful and so kept silent. Kean was grateful that Heath did not say anything.

“Kean is training under me. He may be able to learn something from the task we have,” Jorg said.

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