Thanks to my editor Dr Mark for all his help and advice.
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Caleb 27 – Back again.
Dianna led us into a room, holding the painting I had given her. I could see she had tears in her eyes, and I knew they were happy ones. I was pleased that I had managed to repair at least some of the damage I had done at the farm when I’d been so angry over the attack.
She walked to one side of the room, and I saw the photograph the painting was based on on the wall. It was yellowed and faded, in a small frame, and was about half the size of the painting.
Dianna took down the photograph and replaced it with the painting, taking care to ensure that it hung straight and wasn’t going to fall off the wall. She stepped back to admire it. The tears that had been gathering in her eyes escaped and rolled down her face.
I reached out and gathered her to me and held her for a few minutes.
“I’m sorry, Dianna,” I said to the top of her head. “What I said was cruel and uncalled for.”
She tilted her head back to gaze at me with her own set of golden eyes. “I had been hoping that we were making progress,” she said. “When you said those things, it was as if we were back where we started.”
I shook my head. “I have so much to sort out,” I said, still holding her. “I sometimes forget where I am with things, and people. You and I are in a much better place than we were.”
“But not back to normal?” she asked.
“Not yet,” I said, a small smile playing around my mouth. “But I do have a plan for that.”
I heard all the girls give a little gasp, and Mary moaned slightly. Waves of arousal hit me from both the twins. Dianne looked to them and then to me with confusion.
“Not yet,” I repeated. “But soon, I hope. One more thing. If you want to get back in Ness’s good books, stop calling her Vanessa. She doesn’t like it.”
“But it’s a beautiful name,” said Dianna.
“It is,” I said. “One day she may grow to like it being used, but for now she likes to be called Ness. You’re starting on the back foot if anything you say to her starts with ‘Vanessa…’”
She nodded, and we broke apart, moving into the kitchen where she started to serve the dinner she had cooked.
After we all sat down to eat, Dianna seemed eager to make conversation. “Maggie tells me that you managed to hold onto memories of a whole three years of study and assimilate them,” she said, her voice betraying some wonderment. “How did you do that?”
It was nice to hear that she was impressed with something I’d done that, finally, wasn’t tainted by some moral complication. Maybe that’s why I spilled the beans so easily. I told her all about reading my own mind and figuring out how to sort memories for more efficient storage. I told her how once I had ‘trained’ my brain to do it, it became automatic, and virtually any memory I took would get assimilated.
She looked disappointed for a moment, but then I saw the wheels start to turn. “So, if I’m right,” she thought out loud, “you could only do that with Telepathy. As an Empath, I wouldn’t be able to ‘retrain’ my memory storage. I wonder, though, if maybe you could help someone retain memories though– even a Norm, maybe.”
“It would be a long process,” I said. “I guesstimate it took me about twelve hours asleep and awake to assimilate that set of memories.”
“Would you be willing to experiment with one of our agents?” she asked. “She is about to go undercover and has a huge amount of information to assimilate. We can give her the memories of those who know it, but it’s no good because it all gets muddled. She’s trying to cram it into her head the old-fashioned way, but the window of opportunity for her insertion is closing. I don’t want to lose the chance, but I also don’t want to send her in if she’s not ready. Her safety is obviously my primary concern.”
“How long do we have?” I asked.
“A month at the most,” said Dianna. “Then it will be too late.”
“What does she need to learn?”
“She needs to be a certified accountant,” she said. “So far she has the basics down, but it’s effectively a two-year course she is trying to learn in two weeks.”
“I’m assuming you’ve got a real one on hand,” I said evenly. It would be baffling if they didn’t. The point I was making was that I’d need their consent too.
“We’ve got someone teaching her,” she confirmed. “It’s too slow, though. And yes, he’s on the inside. No issues there.”
“I still have my classes at the university,” I said, “although I will have more free time now I’m not wrestling.”
“You’ll get paid for your time too,” Dianna said. “The three thousand is literally a retainer. The hourly rate is one-twenty.”
“One dollar twenty?” I asked. “Isn’t that a little below union rates?”
“One hundred and twenty,” she laughed. “Doofus!”
“Okay then,” I said. “I’m back at PSU starting Monday. Let me get my new class schedule and see how much time I have available and then I’ll let you know. I should be starting my Healing training too, so my time is going to be tight, but I’ll manage. I’m starting to think I need a secretary.”
“I’ll do it,” said Amanda. “I could sit on your lap and take dick-tation.”
That got eye-rolls from pretty much everyone. Still, I sent her a little private jolt of gratitude and horny, which she appreciated. In turn, she gave me a subtle head-tilt towards Mary.
“Secretary-slave,” she sent. “She might be into it.”
As tantalizing as the thought was, I also briefly wondered which twin would take the actual work more seriously.
We finished the meal and, after spending time helping to clear up, we set out on our interrupted journey home. We arrived at the house just after nine.
Josh’s parents were still there, having planned to go home the following day. His dad, Steve, was about an inch shorter than me, with short blond hair and a stocky build. His mother, Cassandra, was much more rotund; the term ‘Rubenesque’ popped into my head, and it fit. She was about half a foot shorter than her husband, and also had blonde hair and blue eyes.
They stood to greet us as we piled into the house. I’d had to park on the drive since I’d lost the garage opener with my stolen truck. Jules had changed the code on the garage, but we hadn’t ordered a new remote yet.
“Mom, Dad,” said Josh, “this is Caleb, my ex-roomie and now my landlord, I guess. This is Mary, Amanda, and Jules.” I saw a glint of mischief in his eyes then he continued. “His girlfriends.”
“They are all your girlfriends?” asked Cassandra, her eyes wide.
“Not exactly,” I said. “But we are all together. And Josh…”
Josh looked at me, and I grabbed the nearest girl’s – Jules’s - hand and showed him the ring.
He grinned and Louise shrieked, causing us all to flinch. She came and threw her arms around the girls one at a time, insisting on inspecting the rings.
Rachel came out of her room, wondering what the fuss was about. She had a guy in tow. I wondered what that was all about. I saw Louise look across at Rachel; the look on her face when she saw the guy spoke volumes. She didn’t like him one bit.
Rachel came over and threw her arms around me, squeezing me tightly. “I’ve missed you,” she said before backing off and beckoning the guy over.
“Caleb,” she said. “This is Bruce. He’s a friend I met at the bookshop.”
Bruce didn’t look too pleased by the welcome that Rachel had given me, but held out his hand. I could tell I was in for a crushing contest, so I set up a TK ‘wrap’ around my hand that he would neither be able to feel nor crush. He could squeeze all day and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I decided to leave it at that, and not demolish has hand in return. I was probably a little too proud of myself for my restraint.
Eventually, I got bored with the comically-long handshake and pulled my hand out of his grasp. Neither of us had spoken, but I had ‘heard’ plenty.
Bruce had met Rachel at the bookshop, but only because he’d known she would be there. He knew Steve Jenkins, and had seen the video of the events in the coffee shop. Steve had told him where Rachel was and had given Bruce his blessing to go fuck the cunt if that’s what he wanted. He, Steve, declared himself finished with her, as though it had been his choice.
Having just seen another three girls enter the house atop the two he’d already met, he also resolved just moments ago to sample them all – except, perhaps, for ‘the dark-haired one,’ as he thought of her. She wasn’t to his tastes, although the thought of a threesome with the twins had him stiffening.
Like Steve, he had all kinds of charm, but unlike Steve, it wasn’t powers-based. He was just a player, and damn good at it. Fortunately, he had not managed to get into Rachel’s pants - yet. That had been his plan for the night, though, and it appeared that we had interrupted them just as things had been starting to get interesting.
I inserted a small tendril into his mind, and the Compulsion was set. I imagined Bruce adopting a particularly radical form of honesty in his interactions with Rachel.
Bruce moved from me and went back to where Rachel was standing.
“Come on,” he said. “It’s time you and me fucked. Steve says you were pretty good in bed.”
“Steve?” she asked, a look of shock spreading over her face.
“Steve Jenkins,” he said. “He said he was done with you and I could have a go, so let’s go. This dick ain’t going to suck itself.”
He went to grab her arm, but my hand got in his way.
“I think you need to leave,” I said quietly.
I saw the violent thoughts running through his head, but then felt two other people at my back: Josh and his father, who had both stepped up. Bruce yanked his arm out of my grasp and made for the door. As a parting gift, I imagined him completely – well, figuratively – forgetting about Rachel, and the rest of us. I locked it in too.
Rachel looked at me, stunned. “He knew Steve?”
“So it would appear.” I turned to Josh and his father. “Thanks for the backup.”
“No problem,” Steve - Josh’s dad, that is - said. “I can’t believe he actually said that out loud.”
Josh and Louise both looked at me, as did all my girls. The penny apparently had dropped.
“Are you all right?” I asked Rachel. I had thought she would be upset, but she was more angry.
“Fucking Steve Jenkins,” she hissed. “Who does he think he is, trying to pass me off to his friends? And to think I was…” she stopped suddenly blushing, realising what she was about to say. If Bruce had kept his mouth shut, he may well have got what he wanted that very night.
“Marjorie warned me about him,” she said. “I didn’t listen. She warned me about Steve Jenkins too.”
“Sounds like Marjorie is a good judge of character,” I said.
“She warned me about you as well,” she said, smirking.
“Then she is definitely a good judge of character,” I said. “Listen to her.”
Rachel laughed sadly, and then bade us all goodnight and returned to her room. I decided to let her be alone for a while. Later, though, I thought I might ask one of the girls to look in on her.
I went into the kitchen and made coffee for everyone. We sat in the living room and chatted to Josh, Louise, and Josh’s parents - who, after the initial shock, were interested in finding out about our unique arrangement.
When it was my bedtime, I caught Josh’s eye and we both went into the kitchen.
“What are the sleeping arrangements?” I asked. While we had been away, Josh’s parents had been using their room, and Josh and Louise had been using ours.
He shrugged. “I guess Lou and I will have to use the empty spare room.”
I checked in with the girls. “The bed is big enough for all,” I said quietly, “but it will be just sleeping. Will your parents freak out about it if they see it?”
“They go to bed usually about an hour after you,” he said. “They don’t tend to get up until after nine, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“They are going home tomorrow?” I asked, and he nodded.
“Okay then,” I said, before going back into the living room and bidding everyone a good night. I went to bed.
When I woke, the bed was more crowded than usual. Jules was to my right with Amanda behind her. Mary was on my left with Louise behind her. Josh was spooning Louise. Since it was still only four in the morning, I slid out of bed without waking any of them and made my way out onto the deck. It was cold. I determined that I needed to start training indoors.
It felt wrong not to have my canine audience laughing at me with their lolling tongues as I went through the moves. I had left the hot tub, Louise’s and Amanda’s cars, my truck, and Josh’s dad’s car all hovering an eighth of an inch off the ground. I had even lifted them using their wheels so that their suspensions wouldn’t look strange. I estimated that for the two hours I was training, I was keeping around twenty to twenty-five thousand pounds of ‘stuff’ in the air.
I finished training, put everything down, and showered. I was in the kitchen contemplating what to make for breakfast when Josh’s mom entered and looked at me.
“You’re up early,” she said.
I smiled at her. “I get up at four most mornings,” I said. Since it was just after seven, it was late to me.
“You’ve been up since four?” she asked. “Why?”
“I have to train,” I said. “I’m learning martial arts, and it’s the only time I get to practice that doesn’t really cut into my time with the girls.
“Are you hungry?” I asked, wanting to change the subject. “I was going to make waffles.”
“You cook too?” she asked, the hint of a grin on her face.
I made a batch of batter and heated up the iron. In a few minutes she was sitting at the counter, eating waffles and bacon, and seeming to enjoy them both. That made me happy.
“Can I ask you a question?” she asked. Since she had already asked several, I saw no harm in her asking another. I nodded.
“Are you fucking Louise as well as all your girls?” she asked, watching me closely for my reaction. Perhaps she was hoping for me to give myself away. I had learned by then how to keep my own face from showing emotion. I didn’t break stride, finishing off making my own waffles and bacon, which I sat down to eat.
“You didn’t answer,” she said.
“I agreed that you could ask,” I said. “I never promised an answer. My personal life is, with all due respect, none of your business.”
“It is if you are having sex with my son’s girlfriend,” she said.
“Nope,” I said. “It isn’t. If you want details of their sex lives, you have to ask them. My sex life is none of your concern.”
“I’ll find out, you know,” she said. “And if you are…”
I looked at her levelly.
“Are you threatening me?” I asked.
“Josh is happy with Louise,” she said. “If you ruin that then I will make your life a living hell.”
I prodded Mary to wake Josh and ask him to come join us in the kitchen. A couple of minutes later he and Louise walked in. I gave them both the memory of our conversation.
“Mom,” asked Josh, “what are you doing?”
“Doing?” she asked, all innocence. “I’m having breakfast with your landlord. What does it look like?”
“So, asking him if he was fucking Louise,” he returned, “and threatening to make his life a living hell is breakfast conversation, is it?”
Her jaw dropped. “You heard?”
“Yes, we heard,” said Louise. “Caleb has done nothing wrong. Josh and I are very happy together and Caleb is not interfering in any way.”
“Then why didn’t he just say so?” she asked, giving me a hard look.
“Because,” said Josh, “like he said; his sex life, along with mine and Louise’s, is none of your business. I don’t ask you about your and Dad’s sexual habits. What makes you think you have the right to ask about ours?”
“Because nothing,” said another voice. We looked up and saw Steve standing in the doorway. I hoped Steve Jenkins was far enough in our rearview mirrors to give Josh’s dad his own name back. “I told you not to interfere, but you snuck out while I was in the shower. Are you determined to wreck another one of our sons’ relationships? James still won’t talk to you. Is one alienated son not enough?”
“I just want him to be happy,” she said, defensive and beginning the lip wobbling act - and it was clearly an act. She had no remorse at all.
Steve wasn’t buying it either. “No, you just want to stay in control of his life. He’s twenty years old, Cass. His private life should be just that: Private - at least from us. We’ve done our bit; the rest is up to him. If you can’t see it, Josh is deliriously happy with Louise, and she seems pretty smitten with him too. Who cares what they get up to in the bedroom and with whom? They make each other happy. Let’s leave them alone to make their own way. You can’t enforce your ideas of happiness on them.”
While he had been talking, I had made a stack of more waffles and bacon. I put some on a plate and handed it to him. Josh and Louise were already seated and digging into theirs. He sat down and began to eat.
“Would you like some more waffles, Mrs. Steele?” I asked politely.
She looked at me and then shook her head. “I need to get our stuff together,” she said, and left the kitchen.
“Sorry about that,” said Steve. “She just doesn’t know when to stop.”
I smiled. “I have some pretty intense relatives as well. I’m used to it.”
He applied himself to his breakfast, accepting another waffle when offered. When he was done, he stood and held out his hand. “It was good to meet you. I’ll go and get that busybody and get her out of your hair.”
“Good to meet you too, sir,” I said, and he left the kitchen.
“Caleb, I’m…” Josh began.
I stopped him with a look. “Don’t say it,” I said. “Parents are always going to worry about you. Don’t be like your brother. Don’t not talk to your mom. She’s just scared to lose you, and wants you to be happy. Show her you are, and she’ll be happy too.”
An hour later, Josh’s parents had gone, and once again we were left to ourselves.
Rachel came into the kitchen, having stayed out of the way while the ‘row’ had been going on.
“Caleb,” she said. “Can we talk?”
“Sure,” I said. “Will here do or…”
“Here is fine,” she said. “I have spent the holiday talking to Jamie, and I have had a couple of conversations with my dad. He says he understands what went on. You were right; someone showed him the video, and he said he was proud of me for standing up for myself, and showing everyone what a sleaze that man was.
“He knows that I’m living local to the university, and that I’m working. He doesn’t know where. He actually telephoned the bookshop to let them know I was okay, but they didn’t tell him either. I think I’m ready to see him now. Can I meet him here?”
I nodded. “Of course,” I said. “We can…”
“No,” she said, “I need you to be here. If things go wrong, I’ll need you.”
“When were you thinking?” I asked.
“He’ll be finishing in church around now,” she said. “I was thinking sometime today?”
I checked in with the girls. The consensus was the earlier the better - get it out of the way. I agreed.
“Whenever suits you,” I said. “Is Jamie coming too?”
She shook her head. “I thought it better if it was just him and me… and you.”
“How much does he know?” I asked.
“He knows about the pregnancy and the termination,” she said. “He obviously knows about Steve, but not about everything else. I was planning to tell him the whole story and then see what happens.”
“How did he take that?” I asked. I figured if he was a church going man, he probably had ‘opinions’ on matters of ‘termination.’
“He was very calm,” she said. “I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing. My mom will probably come too.”
Somehow, I had never considered a ‘mom.’ The dean had always just been the one in the picture. I’d never thought to ask about her mother.
“Okay then,” I said. “Make the call.”
Rachel’s phone was still not sending out her number, but he must have figured out that a call from a withheld number was his daughter. He answered on the second ring.
I went into the kitchen to let her have some privacy and started thinking about lunch. A few minutes later she came in.
“They’ll be here in an hour,” she said.
Suddenly, the girls, Josh and Louise had a hankering to go out for lunch. They were ready and gone in less than thirty minutes.
When the knock came on the door, I went into the kitchen, letting Rachel to answer it. I made a tray of coffees and waited. I thought it would take a few minutes for them to get the tearful reunion out of the way. I was wrong; they were still at it when I went back in, fifteen minutes later. The dean was standing by his daughter, who had a short, fair-haired woman clinging to her. I assumed it was her mother. The dean looked up from them as I entered the room, and his eyes went wide.
“Caleb Stott,” he said flatly.
“Coffee?” I asked, and placed the tray down on the coffee table.
Eventually, Rachel’s mother was persuaded to release her daughter, and they sat. They each took a chair, and I sat on the sofa. Rachel sat beside me, nervous.
Both parents were staring at me. I couldn’t determine their facial expressions. Their auras were full of fear, worry and anger. The anger appeared to be mostly directed at me.
“So, Mr. Stott,” said the dean affecting his sonorous voice as he had in his office on the occasions he had been accusing me of some wrongdoing. “Would you care to explain?”
“No,” I said, “but I think Rachel would.”
Rachel took a deep breath and began. She told them everything. They already knew she had taken up with a man, and that she had got pregnant and decided not to keep the baby. They didn’t know that he had dumped her in an out-of-town squat at the mercy of the people there.
She started at the beginning and didn’t leave any details out. Some of them I hadn’t known. She told them of the constant taunts in the squat, of having to beg for scraps to eat. She told them of the constant pressure for sex and how she had been thrown out of the squat with nothing but the clothes on her back.
Rachel explained how she had thought initially that he had sent Amanda and I to get her, especially when we were driving back toward PSU, but that when we got to the house, she was scared that something more sinister was going on. She relayed how, after she had been allowed to take a bath, she had come out in nothing but her robe and offered herself to me, hoping that it would be enough that I wouldn’t hurt her. She then told them my response.
She told them everything, in more detail than I had thought she would. She was undergoing a catharsis, and I could see how much she had needed to confess to them. All the time, I said nothing, and all the coffees went cold.
When it was done, both the women had soaked shirts and wet faces. The dean just sat, slack-jawed, staring at us both.
“I’ll get fresh coffee,” I said and stood.
When I came back with the fresh brews, I placed the tray on the table and played ‘mother,’ asking if each wanted cream and sugar before passing them out. They took them, but showed no real interest in the drinks.
During her soliloquy, Rachel had told them what I had told Jamie about why and how I had found her, but that apparently wasn’t enough.
“Why?” asked the dean, looking at me.
I cocked my head to one side. “Why what?” I asked.
“If you thought I was harassing you,” he said, “why would you do so much for my daughter?”
“The two were completely separate,” I said. “I heard there might be someone in trouble. I decided to see if she was, and if I could help. The fact it was your daughter had no bearing on the matter.”
“So, what now?” asked her mother, for some reason looking at me.
“That’s up to Rachel,” I said. They both looked at her.
“I’m back at work,” she said, “saving for my own place.”
“Why don’t you come home while you do that?” asked the dean. “You could save whatever you’re paying rent here.”
Rachel smiled softly. “Caleb hasn’t taken a penny from me, for rent, for food, for anything. He spent nearly a thousand dollars on me that first night buying me clothes and other necessities and hasn’t asked for a single thing in return. I practically threw myself at him, and he still didn’t take advantage. He told Jamie that I wasn’t ready to have sex, and she agreed. So, I lie in bed at night sometimes, listening to one or other of his girlfriends screaming as he pleasures them, and wonder what it is that is so wrong with me, that he can’t bring himself to touch me.”
“You know that there’s nothing wrong with you,” I said gently. “You were in a dark place, and that is not a place from which you can make good decisions. I’m sorry if we disturbed you. I’ll make sure we don’t again.”
“See?” she said, looking at her parents. “He’s just so nice. He’ll do anything to help… except fuck me.”
Rachel’s mother gasped and her father colored, out of shock or anger I couldn’t tell.
“Rachel,” her mother said quietly, “Caleb is right. You are not in a good place to make those sorts of decisions just now. It also seems like you are a little bit fixated on him. Perhaps some time away would be good for you. Give you some time to heal, some separation. Caleb already has a… some girlfriends. You want to find your own man, someone who loves just you.”
“I tried that,” Rachel said. “Look where that got me.”
I took Rachel’s hand and she looked at me.
“Rachel,” I said. “That first night, I said two things to you. Do you remember?”
She shook her head.
“The first was that you had a place here for as long as you needed it,” I said. “The second was that if a happy, healthy, and whole Rachel invited me to her bed, then I would be there like a shot. You were not that then, and I still don’t think you are even now. Lying in bed listening to me with the girls is not helping. I promised you could stay here as long as you needed, and I meant it. Perhaps, though, here is not the best place for you to be. Maybe some time with your parents will help you to put things into perspective, and help you become whole again. If you do that, and you still want to…”
I saw the dean draw breath as if to object, but his wife put her hand on his arm to quiet him.
“Then, we’ll talk,” I finished.
“You promise?” she asked.
“You know where we are at,” I said. “We can never be anything more than friends. If, when you are fully well again, you want that with benefits, then yes, I promise.”
She nodded and then looked at her parents. She blushed, as if realising only then that she had just been negotiating sex with me right in front of them. She looked nervous.
“Will you come home?” asked her mother. “Let us help you?”
Rachel looked again at me, and then nodded.
We spent the next forty minutes loading all her stuff into her father’s car. Fortunately, he had a large SUV so there was enough room. She had all the stuff I had bought her, along with some other things she had bought for herself since she started back at the bookshop.
After she cleared out her room and did one last check, she came over to me and pulled me into a hug. “I will have you, Caleb Stott,” she whispered, “even if it is only once.”
“Listen to Marjorie about men,” I said. “She has a good eye.”
“She has an okay eye,” she said. “She’s completely wrong about you.”
Rachel’s mother came over and pulled me into a hug. “Thank you for looking after her,” she said. “I don’t know why you did what you did. It makes no sense, but thank you.”
I shook my head.
The dean looked me up and down, as if seeing me or the first time.
“I,” he began. I waited. I had no idea what he was going to say. Apparently, neither did he.
“Thank you,” he said finally, and then just turned and got into his car.
I sighed as I went back into the house. It was a relief that Rachel was going back to her parents. They’d convinced me that it was the best place for her - and not only that, it meant that we would no longer have to tiptoe around the house regarding our powers.
As bad as it sounds, I was glad she was no longer my problem. I went into ‘her’ room and stripped the bed, throwing the sheets into the laundry. I remade the bed with fresh linens and was walking into the kitchen, having decided I was hungry, when the rest of the household came back bearing gifts. They had been for lunch and had brought me a takeout from where they had eaten.
As I ate, I shared the memory of the encounter with everyone.
“So,” I asked everyone as I finished up my lunch “What’s everyone’s plans for the afternoon?”
The girls, Josh and Louise all looked at each other.
“I’m going to be setting up and trying out my new microscope,” said Jules, and promptly disappeared into her workshop. She obviously thought that we were going to be getting up to something she didn’t want to get involved with.
I looked at the girls, and they were looking at me. Josh and Louise were also looking at me. They both had a hunger in their eyes. I smiled. Mary and Amanda stood and walked over, holding out their hands. I took them and they stood me up and closed to either side. Mary turned my head toward her and captured my mouth in a kiss.
Amanda nibbled my neck and then whispered in my ear. “Josh and Louise would like to play. Can we, please?”
I broke the kiss with Mary, turned my head to Amanda and claimed her mouth with mine. Mary took a turn nibbling and kissing at my neck while I engaged her twin. I started moving toward our bedroom, half-leading, half being led by the twins. I looked over my shoulder to see Josh and Louise watching us. I could see both hope and fear in their auras. I assumed that the hope was that they were going to be invited, and the fear was that they were not.
“Coming?” I asked, and both auras blossomed deep purple as they rushed after us.
As we moved into the bedroom, Amanda caught my eye. “I think it’s time.” she sent.
“Time for what?” I responded.
“You know for what.”
I looked her in the eye, and she smiled at me.
I thought about it for a moment and then nodded. She grinned. I felt Mary stiffen and then saw her break into a smile. Neither Josh nor Louise wasted any time, and before the door was even closed they were both naked. The twins and I took a little longer to get there, although almost as soon as my pants were off Louise had my cock down her throat. Josh went to his knees and latched onto a standing Amanda’s pussy like a limpet, and she was grinding into his face as he ate her with gusto.
Mary was in very much the same position with me that Amanda had been with Pops. Her legs were over my shoulders and I had her ass in the palms of my hands while I ate her pussy. Unlike Pops, though, I was using TK to keep her there while I stood, eating her, and getting blown by Louise.
Amanda disengaged from Josh and pulled him to his feet. She whispered in his ear, and he looked at me, a mixed look of lust and shock on his face. He nodded. She pulled him closer to me, and then knelt and began sucking on him, while placing her hand on my ass, massaging my cheeks.
Soon enough, her hand migrated, and I felt her circling my last virginity with a wetted finger. The feeling sent sparks up my spine. I placed Mary down on the bed, and she shuffled up toward the head. Louise stood and turned herself around. She bent over in front of me as she went down on Mary, her message clear. I stepped up behind, swabbed the head of my cock up and down her slit a couple of times for extra lubrication, then slid my full length inside her in a single thrust, pushing her face first into Mary’s pussy. Louise squeaked into it as the sudden assault took her over the edge for the first of her orgasms. She was by the far the easiest one in the house to make cum; even without using powers. I had decided we needed to at least try, sometimes, to have non-power-related sex.
Josh lay on the floor behind me, and Amanda straddled his hips, lowering her pussy onto his cock. He groaned as he felt her heat envelop him. She didn’t move much, just enjoying the feeling of his rigid pole stretching her and her clit grinding against him. At the same time, she began working on me, sliding first one and then two fingers into my asshole. Amanda loved anal play, and the visual of seeing her fingers disappearing inside me was almost enough on its own to make her cum. I knew she wouldn’t last long with Josh’s cock inside her whilst doing that. After a few minutes, she added a third finger.
I felt stretched. The feeling of Amanda’s fingers pumping in and out of my ass, along with the tight, hot tunnel squeezing and caressing my cock, had brought me so close to cumming that, despite my earlier assertion about using powers, I had had to use them to push my orgasm down. Mary was wriggling and moaning as Louise’s talented tongue was working its magic on her pussy. From behind me I heard Amanda gasp as she reached her climax. I glanced down and saw that Josh had grabbed her nipples and was rolling them between his fingers as she rode him. That had pushed her over the edge. Mary cried out from her sympathy orgasm as she writhed and twitched.
Amanda dismounted Josh, and he got to his feet. She gently pulled her fingers out of my ass, and I felt a sudden cold as she dropped some lube on it. Then she worked it in with her fingers, sliding them in again easily. She pulled out once again, and I felt Josh move up behind me - felt his hand on my hip. I stopped moving, a spike of fear running up my spine. I so wanted it, but I was still scared of how it might feel. Regardless of everything I’d experienced via links and bonds, there was something undeniably special and real about what Josh was about to do me.
Josh put the head of his cock against my asshole, and for a second just held it there. It felt hot and slippery. Slowly, he started applying pressure. I tried to relax - tried to push out as I had read you should - and gradually he began to ease into me. It felt like someone was pushing a baseball bat up my ass. Amanda’s fingers had been nothing in comparison to the size he seemed to be. For a moment, I tensed. He stopped. Amanda moved to my side and turned my head to her, kissing me and stroking my head and neck. I relaxed into the kiss, and once again Josh began to move.
He was thrusting gently. His head still wasn’t all the way in, but in the same way I had when I fucked him, he was moving forward a little at a time until, with almost an audible ‘pop,’ his head slid inside me. There was the tiniest spike of pain, and I flinched a little. Josh froze, holding himself just inside of me. He stroked my back as Amanda continued the kiss.
Rather than pushing himself into me, Josh put his hands on my hips and began pulling me onto him. That had the effect of pulling me out of Louise, and the friction of her pussy against my glans took some of the attention away from the massive intrusion in my rear. It wasn’t painful; there was just the feeling of being stretched and full. It was the thought, though, that I had Josh’s big, fat, beautiful cock in my ass, and that he was going to fuck me and fill me with his spunk, that made my own cock twitch. Once again, I had to prevent my own orgasm from crashing down on me and ruining the moment.
Josh pulled me back a little, and then pushed me forward. He repeated the move, and then leaned forward and whispered in my ear. “Fuck her.”
I began to move. I pulled back, pulling out of Louise and impaling myself onto Josh as I did so. I only pulled back about an inch or so before thrusting back inside her. I groaned at the dual sensations of fucking and being fucked. I hadn’t been wrong; experiencing it directly – physically – was something else entirely.
I pulled out further the next time, forcing Josh deeper inside of me, stretching me out more, and then thrust back inside Louise. She moaned. Each time I pulled out I went further, until I was shoving my ass right into Josh’s groin on each backstroke before thrusting deep inside Louise.
Josh seemed to move a little to stand taller, and that changed the angle of his penetration somewhat. On the next backward thrust his cockhead pressed over my prostate and my legs nearly buckled beneath me.
I was thrusting faster, pounding into Louise and ramming my asshole all the way to Josh’s root on each stroke. Louise was moaning constantly as she slurped at Mary’s drooling pussy. She’d pushed two fingers inside her, making her wriggle as she climbed towards her first direct orgasm, and her second overall. Amanda had moved forward onto the bed and was playing with Louise’s tits, pulling and teasing at her nipples, and I could feel that Louise was getting close again.
Sweat was flying from me as I rammed into her, losing myself in the feelings being generated by her pussy and Josh’s cock in my ass. He had leaned forward and was whispering in my ear as he fucked me. As he had in his fantasy, he reached around and started playing with my nipples, tweaking and rolling them in his fingers.
“Fuck her,” he whispered. “Breed the bitch. Dump your load deep in her cunt. Spunk in her Just like I’m going to spunk in you. I’m going to breed your ass with my load. I’m going to empty my balls up your asshole. Go on. Give it to her. She wants your spunk-…”
I had reached my limit and thrust forward. My climax crashed over me, and I shot rope after rope of thick, creamy cum into Louise. My orgasm pushed her over the edge as she felt the heat of my cum jetting inside her.
Since I had stopped moving, Josh started, and began to thrust hard, ramming his cock up my ass with five or six quick thrusts until he pressed right into me and groaned. “Oh Yeah! Take it! Take my spunk up your ass!”
I felt his cock throbbing and pulsating as he filled me up with his cum. I imagined I could feel the heat of his seed inside of me, and that kept my own orgasm going for longer than I thought possible.
I think it was the visual of both me and Josh coming that tipped Mary over the edge, and she soaked Louise’s face and tits with her juices as she came. Amanda, off to the side, twitched and moaned in sympathy.
I stayed slumped over Louise’s back, Josh’s cock softening inside me. After a minute or so, he gently pulled out and I clenched. For some reason I couldn’t identify, I wanted to keep his seed inside of me. The thought of it almost had me getting hard again.
Josh leaned forward and whispered in my ear. “I’m going to grab a quick shower.”
I nodded, and he left the room. I slid myself out of Louise and leaned forward, planting a gentle kiss on her ass, before going into the bathroom myself for cleanup.
When I re-entered the bedroom about ten minutes later, Josh was sitting on the chair while the girls continued to entertain each other. They had clearly not had enough, and by the look of Josh’s erection, neither had he. He looked up at me.
“You okay?” he asked. I walked over to him and offered him a fist bump. He grinned.
“That was intense,” I said, and he nodded.
I looked across at the girls. They were lay in a triangle, faces buried in each other’s pussies. From the squeaks and squeals I could hear, they were having a good time. The first indication I had of Josh moving was when I felt my cock sliding into his mouth. I looked down, a little surprised. His eyes widened and I saw fear spike in his aura; he took my surprise as disapproval. I reassured him by placing my hand on the back of his head and gently pushing him deeper. I felt him moan.
I let him suck on me for a minute or two before pulling out.
I pulled him to his feet and led him to the bed. “I want to taste you too.” I said. He grinned.
I lay down on the bed on my side, and he lay beside me in a sixty nine. I felt his mouth engulf me again, as I was presented with his cock, which was once more drooling precum. I took it in my hand, marvelling at the feeling of the hardness encased in softness. I also marvelled at the fact that I had just been fucked by that monster. I leaned forward and lapped at his head, tasting the precum. He tasted good; I enveloped his head with my lips and pulled him toward me, sliding his meat deep into my mouth.
Since his cock had a slight upward curve, it was easier to deepthroat him upside-down. It slid easily to the back of, and then into, my throat. I pressed my face into his groin and swallowed. He jerked at the sensation.
I slid my arm under him and rolled onto my back, pulling him on top of me and forcing his cock deeper into my throat. For some reason, I didn’t feel the urge to breathe; the heady feeling of having him planted firmly inside me and the things his mouth was doing to my cock distracted me from that mundane need.
Josh placed his knees on the bed on either side of my head and pulled back. The sudden rush of air into my lungs made my head buzz, but I was ready when he thrust forward once more, pushing his throbbing monster deep into my throat.
I moved my hands from off his ass and ran them up his back until I held his head. I pushed him onto my cock as I deepthroated him. As he withdrew, so did I, and within a very short time, we were facefucking each other in perfect synchronicity.
My head was spinning with the lack of oxygen, the feelings of Josh’s mouth and throat on my cock, and the feeling of his hot, rigid cock in my mouth. The taste of his precum exploded onto my tongue each time he pulled out and I tried both to breathe and to swallow in the short windows I had when my throat was not crammed full of his meat.
Despite our recent orgasms, we were both racing toward the finish at an amazing rate. There was no tenderness, no finesse. Both of us were just using the other to get off. We were mutual masturbation aids, and neither of us cared. I suddenly understood Josh and Louise’s need to be used. It felt incredibly liberating to give yourself over to being dominated in such a way - to just hand over control to somebody else and let them use your body for their pleasure, as Josh was doing to me right then. Of course it was tempered by the fact that I was using him equally, but that didn’t matter. I got it. I finally, intimately, got it.
I felt his cock swell even more in my mouth, and I knew he was getting close. I didn’t want him to cum down my throat. I wanted it in my mouth. I wanted to taste him.
Josh sped up his thrusts and I matched his pace, ramming my cock down his throat with equal vigor. It was a race to the finish line as we both brutally facefucked the other. Josh won by a hair. He moaned, and I felt him press his cock deep into my throat. It gave an almighty pulse as it shot the first wad of his cum into me. I pulled back, holding his cockhead in my mouth and lapping at it with my tongue as it continued to pulse and throb, shooting thick, creamy spurts of spunk into my mouth.
It was that that tipped me over the edge into my orgasm. Josh, too, pulled back when he felt my cock start to throb in his throat, collecting my cum as I shot several spurts into his oral orifice.
Finally, we were both spent, breathing heavily through our noses.
Suddenly I felt Josh pulled off me, and I was attacked by Louise, who kissed me, thrusting her tongue into my mouth to share the load that Josh had just deposited there. I could see that Amanda had done the same to Josh.
After we had kissed for a couple of minutes, our tongues stirring his cum around both our mouths, we broke apart and swallowed our share of the bounty. I looked across at Amanda, who was now kissing Mary; obviously theirs was a three-way share. Louise pulled my head back to her and kissed me again, more gently.
“That was so hot,” she said. “We loved watching you guys.”
I chuckled. “I guess it’s only fair. We were enjoying watching you three getting it on.”
She grinned. “Who needs illusion when you have such sexy housemates?”
“Oh?” I said. “So should I cancel the tentacle monster then?”
Her eyes went wide, and her pupils expanded until there was almost no green left in them.
“T-tentacle?” she asked with a bit of a stutter.
“Just a crazy idea I had.”
Josh moved up behind her. She turned her head and kissed him. “Hey, lover,” she said, then turned back to me.
“We’ve missed you,” she said. She kissed me once again and then clambered off the bed to get dressed. She looked over her shoulder at Josh. I turned back to face him.
For a second, he looked a little self-conscious but then he reached up and cupped my cheek. He kissed me too; it was soft and gentle. Josh and I had kissed before, but always in the throes of passion. All other times he had let Louise do the kissing, usually claiming to be too tired to move.
“Thanks, Caleb,” he said. “We really did miss you.”
He, too, climbed off the bed, and I rolled onto my back. I felt the bed rock as the twins moved to either side of me. They each stole a kiss.
“Our little boy’s all grown up,” said Amanda to Mary over me. Mary grinned.
A sudden thought occurred to me. “Can I see that memory now then?” I asked.
Mary looked at me and smiled. “If you’re a good boy,” she said, “maybe one of us will share it with you, while the other takes care of the aftermath.” She stroked my determinedly flaccid cock. I didn’t think he’d be responding to anything besides brute psychic force for a while.
My stomach growled. It was time for dinner.
After dinner, I powered up my new computer. I wanted to check my readiness for my first day back at PSU. I opened my emails and saw I had several. There were a number of requests for my hypnotherapy services – over two dozen, in fact. I had been joking about getting a secretary, but I suddenly wasn’t so sure it should remain a joke. There was a fair amount of spam to go along with those two dozen requests, and then other serious emails besides. Jamie had emailed me asking if I could make time to see her at some point in the morning, and the dean had also asked if I would be so good as to attend a meeting in his office at eight thirty. I sighed. I’d hoped against hope that him discovering my good deeds would make him less likely to ‘invite’ me to early-morning meetings.
The most important email was from Jeevan. I didn’t even know he had my email address. He asked if he could come and visit me the next night. I fired off my response and then set about answering all the others.
It soon became clear that if I was going to continue my hypnotherapy business, I was going to need some kind of room. I didn’t want a load of strangers trooping in and out of my house, but moving from dorm room to dorm room was just taking too long. I wondered if there was a room I could rent on campus somewhere - perhaps on an hourly basis. I determined to ask the dean if the opportunity arose, or maybe Jamie. By the time I had answered all my emails, it was time for me to go to bed.
I decided to run the next morning. I really needed to find a dojo to extend my martial arts knowledge. I was training two or three times a week, and the other days I ran. Since I was running for a couple of hours each morning, I easily covered ten miles if not more. I was as fit and lean as I had ever been, and it felt good.
I made breakfast for everyone, and we all travelled into PSU together in my truck. We went in slightly earlier than we would normally because of my appointment with the dean. I braced myself for more abuse. I knocked on his door just before the appointed time.
“Mr. Stott,” said the dean as I entered his office. There was nobody else there, and he indicated the seat across from him. I sat and waited. He looked at me for a few minutes as if he was trying to figure something out.
“I wanted to talk to you about Rachel,” he said. “Firstly, I needed to thank you. Things were so fraught yesterday that I couldn’t really express myself as I would have liked. Rachel and her mother had several long talks over the course of the day. I still find it incredible that you found her, and just how much you did for her, for no reward.
“I tried to see your angle. I tried to figure out exactly what you wanted from her, or from me. I spoke to Mrs. Smythe, since she knows you better than I, and has been speaking to Rachel since she was rescued. I had to admit defeat and accept the only conclusion that could be drawn by your actions toward my daughter.”
“And that is?” I asked, curious.
“That God must have moved you,” he said. “There is really no other explanation for it. I wonder which church you attend. We would be happy to see you at ours.”
I grimaced. “I don’t really go to church,” I said.
He smiled. “That’s not unusual. Often students away from home backslide a little. Ours is a really friendly and open congregation. We’d love to have you.”
I suspected I could put him off with some vague non-promise to think about it, but I felt a rush of indignation. It overwhelmed my better judgment.
“I don’t go to church,” I said, “because I don’t believe in God. I’m an atheist.”
“Oh,” he said, looking embarrassed. “I didn’t realize. I’m sorry.”
“I doubt your church would have been overly keen in any case,” I said, “given my living situation.”
“Those girls in your house are really all your girlfriends?” he asked.
“Not all of them,” I said, and he smiled. “Just the three.” His smile wavered.
“Rachel seems to have somewhat fixated on you,” he said after a while. “You are all she talked about.”
“That’s kind of why I persuaded her to go home,” I said. “I can’t offer her what she needs.”
“And what is that?” he asked.
“Exactly what your wife said,” I said. “She needs some time to recover, and she needs someone to love her.”
“And you don’t love her?” he asked.
“Not the way she wants me to, no,” I replied. “I’m sure there are some poly relationships out there that are first come, first served up to the fire code, but that’s not us. My girls and I share a special bond; Rachel was somebody who needed my help.” Then my pique overrode my better judgment yet again. Even though the dean was trying to be fairer with me than he had in the past, I was still inclined towards a defensive confrontation. “And you don’t really think her being a part of what we have would be healthy or moral, do you?”
He shook his head, but then sighed. “If it made her happy, I guess I could get used to the idea.”
I was shocked.
“Well, it’s moot,” I said. “I - we - don’t love your daughter like that. We do love her, but as I said to Jamie, it’s a filial love.”
“Yet you promised her you would have sex with her?” he said. “Why?”
“Because right now her confidence is at rock bottom,” I replied, “and she didn’t need me kicking her while she was down. She is a very attractive woman, and she needed to know that someone still thought so. I wanted her to believe that my refusing her was not because of how she looked, or more importantly what she had done, but because I thought it would be bad for her, would hurt her.”
“And when she gets better?” he asked.
“Are you really asking me that?” I queried.
He shook his head, and took on a more businesslike tone. “Rachel said you spent a lot of money on her. At least let me repay that.”
“There really is no need,” I said, “but there is one thing you might be able to help me with.”
He raised his eyebrows. It was in invitation to continue, but there was worry there too.
“I wonder if there is a room or a space on campus somewhere I can rent sometimes,” I said. “I don’t know if Jamie told you, but I am a practicing hypnotherapist and business is taking off. I need somewhere to work from.”
“You’re licensed by the state?” he asked, and I nodded.
He thought for a moment. “There is a store room,” he said. “It’s not much - about two hundred square feet. It’s full of junk that has just piled up over the years. It does have a window, but I don’t think it opens.” He thought for a few more moments. “I’ll tell you what: if you clear it out, the space is yours until you graduate. There’s nothing but junk in there. If there’s anything you can use, you’re welcome to it. The rest can go to the dump. If you want there to be any furniture in there, you’ll have to provide it, but the space won’t cost you anything. I think there are a couple of power outlets in there too, so as long as you don’t install a supercomputer or something it will be fine. If it’s too drab, feel free to slap a coat of paint on.”
I grinned to myself. It was generous, but not as generous as it first appeared. He needed the space cleared out and cleaned up. It would likely make quite a nice little office for someone when after I was gone, and at no cost to him. The space was useless to him until he either spent some money or found a sucker.
“That is exceptionally generous,” I said. “Thank you.”
“Its next to the library,” he said. “Room B11c. I don’t think it even locks anymore, so if you want to keep anything in there you might need to install a lock. For fire purposes, you will need to give the head janitor a key.”
I stood, since our meeting appeared to have come to an end. “Thanks again,” I said. “It will make life a lot simpler having a space to work from.”
He stood and held out his hand to me. “Thank you,” he said gravely. “For everything.”
I looked at my watch as I left his office, wondering if I had time to go look in the room before I had to get to my first class. I didn’t. I did, however, run into Jamie in the halls as I was walking to class.
“Caleb,” she said, smiling. I glanced at her hands. Her nails were a good half inch long and were manicured.
“Jamie, how are you?” I asked.
“Good, thanks,” she replied. “Can you spare me a few minutes at lunchtime please?”
“Sure,” I said. “Your office?” She nodded. “Okay then, see you at lunch.”
I turned around and almost crashed into a girl walking in the opposite direction. Before I knew what was happening I was enveloped in a tight hug and had a face full of bushy brown hair.
“Angela,” I said, pleased to see her. “How are you?”
“I’m great,” she said, releasing me.
“How’s Bob?” I asked
“I’m good too,” a voice from behind me said, making me jump.
I turned and shook his hand. “Listen,” I said, “I’d love to chat, but I have ten minutes to get to class. Maybe catch up later?”
They both grinned and nodded, and we parted ways.
“Caleb,” the shout came from behind me. I turned. Angela was standing with her back to me and her hip cocked, looking over her shoulder. That ass was on full display.
I grinned, and she blew me a kiss before they set off again.
My first class of the new semester was ethics, and we had a lively debate about something that had absolutely nothing to do with me. I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t have another class until after lunch and so I decided to go look at my new office space.
The dean hadn’t been wrong when he’d said it had been used for storage. There was so much rubbish stored inside that I could barely get the door open. It was packed to the rafters with assorted junk that appeared to have come from just about everywhere. There was broken furniture, display stands, a rusty and disconnected old water fountain, and boxes and boxes of stuff I had neither the time or inclination to identify. It was going to take some work to clear it out. Thankfully I had a new truck, so transporting the junk to the dump would be relatively easy – although, by my guess, it was going to take a few trips.
I had a poke around, and, for want of something to do, spent an hour carrying boxes to my truck. It didn’t really make much of a dent in it overall, but I felt like I hadn’t wasted the time. I made a mental note to stop off at the dump on the way home later. I didn’t even open the boxes. I had made that mistake before when clearing out spaces, falling down the rabbit hole of opening boxes and examining what was inside. That was a massive waste of time, and ended up with more stuff being kept than thrown away.
I cleared probably about a third of the room into my truck before realizing it was lunch time and I had to go see Jamie. I quickly tossed a cover over the heap, though I did briefly wonder if inviting thievery might not help me in the long run.
Jamie’s office door was open when I arrived in the waiting room. She saw me immediately and invited me in. There were two pizzas in boxes on her desk.
“Since I’m taking up your lunchtime,” she said, “I thought I should provide something to eat.”
We settled to the pizzas and bottles of water that came with it. In very little time both boxes were empty.
“For most of the summer I have been talking to my husband,” she said. “As you can imagine, it was not an easy conversation to start, and a more difficult one to keep going. Malcolm is not the most outgoing of people, and talking to him about sex is difficult.
“I ended up having to broach the subject as if I was trying to talk through a difficult case I had at work. I do sometimes bounce ideas off him, although obviously only in general terms. I never breach confidentiality. Eventually, I got him to open up to me, and we discussed our sex life - or lack thereof. He seemed shocked that I actually wanted sex. He had been brought up to believe that sex was for bringing children into the world and nothing more. He actually felt ashamed after the times we had sex, thinking that he had forced himself on me.”
I smiled. “That’s good then,” I said. “Now that you have that out in the open you should be able to work together to resolve the issue.”
She shook her head grimly. “I thought so too,” she said, “but there is something more going on. He has some kind of mental block when it comes to sex. He just can’t perform. It seems that it takes him literally months to work himself up into a state where he can, and then the slightest thing can kill his mood and spoil everything. We’ve tried a few things - even Viagra - with little success. Eventually, I got him to agree to seeing you.”
“When?” I asked.
“Whenever you are free,” she said. “It would be good if you could come to our home.”
“Okay,” I said. “I can do that. I’m busy tonight, but so far, the rest of my evenings are free.”
“Tomorrow then?” she asked. “About eight?”
“Should be fine.”
She scribbled on the pad on her desk and then tore off half the sheet of paper. “My address.”
I stood, took the offered paper, and left her office.
As the afternoon wore on, I got more nervous about the coming meeting with Jeevan. I was still not decided if I was going to trust him or not. He had offered me a look around inside his head. I still didn’t fully trust there were no strings attached, even for that initial offer. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I discovered all his – and even the whole cabal’s – dirty secrets, and then decided I wanted no part of it. That led me down the rabbit hole of wondering if somebody else in the cabal – or even Jeevan himself – would tweak his mind before he visited me.
I waited for the girls at the end of the day, and they were amused by our side trip to the city dump on the way home. They were content to sit in the cab and let me get on with it, not being ‘dressed’ for doing that kind of work. Not even Jules offered to pitch in. I looked around for both people and cameras – there were none – and made short work of the unload using my TK to offload the bed of the truck in one sweeping move.
I had thought that Jeevan would be coming later in the evening, but the knock on the door came just after we arrived home.
“Hi Jeevan,” I said as I opened the door, allowing him entry. “We just got in. I kind of wasn’t expecting you until later.”
“Sorry,” he said. “You didn’t specify a time. Did I interrupt something?”
I shrugged. “I guess not.” I offered and made coffee for everyone, and then Jeevan and I went into the den, a room we hardly ever used. I closed the door.
“I have some more questions, if that is okay,” I said, and he nodded. “You say that you don’t answer to Maggie. Who do you answer to?”
“The short answer is that we police each other,” he said. “In the U.S., there are thirty or so Healers, who are all part of an international community of Healers. We have no geopolitical affiliation when it comes to the art. There are about three hundred or so worldwide, and many of them spend a lot of time outside of their ‘home’ countries, for lack of a better word. The U.S. healers all meet a couple of times a year, normally by teleconference, as we are scattered throughout the country. We help and support each other. We also do monitor each other’s activities, but only with regard to Healing.
“If a Healer goes rogue - and it has happened, but thankfully not for a long time - the others will not intervene, but they will report him or her to the relevant authorities so he or she can be dealt with.”
He waited for my next question.
“You said that I might be called upon for help,” I queried. “What would that entail?”
“You have a huge amount of power,” he said. “A more experienced but less powerful healer may call on you to help with a case that requires more power than they have available. They would then guide you through the healing process using your power. I would have to impose a limit on the number of times you are asked; otherwise, given your strength you could easily be drafted full time. Superman getting used as a power plant and all that.”
“How does healing actually work?” I asked next. “Surely the ‘power of the mind’ is not enough to cure everything?”
“It’s a combination of your powers,” he answered. “Empathy helps you to determine a lot of illnesses, as does Telepathy. Your TK and Compulsion can work together. So far, you have only applied your power to a person. Have you ever tried to Compel anything other than a person?”
“A cow, once,” I said, he gave me a strange look. I remembered that some Indians worshipped cows and I was wondering if I had performed some kind of heresy.
“Compulsion works on any living thing,” he said, “even cells. Most of us Healers are uniquely dissatisfied that it’s even called ‘Compulsion,’ in fact, but we haven’t come up with anything else that’s stuck. As you might imagine, we also don’t want it called something even scarier.
“You can actually Compel a cell to die, or to speed up its division. There are limits, of course, because eventually all machines break down. Even if you mastered Healing, it would probably take you longer than your lifetime to individually rejuvenate all your cells using Compulsion and TK together. Probably drive you crazy, too.
“In trauma, you can use TK to realign a broken bone, and then Compel the healing of that bone to speed up. It’s not instant, but it will reattach a bone strongly enough to keep it in position. If I repaired a femur in such a manner I would not advise running on it, as the bone would still be weak for some time afterward, but it’s generally strong enough to bear some weight – enough so the patient can walk to the toilet on their own, let’s say.
“If someone’s heart stops - let’s say it’s a clot. You could use your Empathy to find the clot by looking for the area of the heart that is being starved of oxygen.”
“Wait, what?” I interrupted.
Jeevan, to his credit, didn’t seem annoyed. He gave me a smile and a wink. “’Empathy’ isn’t a great label either,” he said. “Surely it makes sense, though. Humans grew into these powers as humans a very long time ago. They had very little scientific knowledge, and their concerns were immediate: self, tribe, predators, food. They had no idea about cells, or even microscopic multicellular life. They took the miracle for granted – that they could better sense the feelings of incredibly complex organisms. They had no concept of how advanced that was, given that those complex organisms – themselves, and their tribe members – were the product of millions of years of evolution.
“You’ll discover, through our training, that ‘Empathy’ is, at its most basic level, a tool that measures pleasures and pains – stress and a lack thereof. Cells can experience stress. They can malfunction, making them stand out from their compatriots. If you like, dying cells are not happy, and cancerous cells are crazy. Once you know what to look for, all the various stresses that various cells are feeling will lead you to that clot. Then you can use TK to destroy it and reperfuse the heart. It’s much more complex than that, but you get the idea.”
“Wow,” I said dumbly. “That’s… a lot.”
Jeevan nodded. “It is. Surely you can understand why Maggie, and people like her, don’t want anybody knowing the full scope of our powers. A powered assassin who used the lessons of Healing would effectively be untraceable through their handiwork. What’s one more person that gets cancer? One more person who suffers a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, or even just senile dementia? Once the wheels are set in motion, there might not even be any evidence to glean. Using Compulsion on something as big, complicated, and recursive as the human brain is a messy affair. A few cells? It takes tremendous power and focus, but it’s simple and clean.”
I nodded soberly. I think Jeevan could see my face turning some combination of pale and green. He offered a sympathetic look in exchange.
“It’s better to focus on the good you can do,” he said. “That’s why I don’t work for the FBI.”
I nodded again. I tried to refocus myself – not necessarily how he’d suggested, but at least on the raw information he was offering up.
“So we can kill bacteria and viruses too,” I said.
He nodded. “Of course. You just have to be careful that you don’t create too many corpses all at once. The body’s own systems can get confused and overloaded, and you do want the afflicted body to go through the process of developing antibodies whenever possible.
“Then again,” he said, “this is why dreamers are such effective healers. By imagining outcomes, you can avoid the laborious process of considering all the potential unintended consequences of every discrete step that a more traditional Compeller would have to take. You only have to account for the possible unintended consequences of the final outcome – and I’d say that, on the whole, that’s a lot less stressful when you’re focused on a clear-cut task like healing a body. ‘Social engineering’ is a lot messier; wouldn’t you agree?”
“Mmm,” I said absently. My mind went unbidden to Kyle and Jennifer. I wondered how they were doing.
Jeevan sat in silence while I thought about everything he had told me. He was unperturbed by the delay; I knew he appreciated just how much he’d turned my world upside down. Even after all that, though, I was still uncertain about whether I could bring myself to trust anyone enough to allow them through my shields. He’d offered me access to his mind, but that would be a large amount of information to go through. In theory, I could maintain my defenses while doing it, but I worried I might get distracted or overwhelmed.
“You are still struggling with trust,” he said. I doubted he needed his Empathy to know that. I nodded and he smiled at me gently. “I understand. This is not uncommon in people who were born with Compulsion in the U.S. The Everson family has made it their mission to make sure your family were contained. No other country in the world does this to their children, and so I, having been born in India, didn’t experience what you are facing. I have, however, brought three new Healers into our community since I came to the U.S. I saw their struggles and their reservations. I can show you their journey into Healing and into using their powers.
“I have spoken with our group about you, and they are all very excited to meet you - if you come onboard.”
“You said that you would be prepared to allow me access to your mind,” I said, “but what if, after I get that access, I still decide not to join your ranks? Aren’t you concerned that I would know all your secrets and be out of your control?”
He smiled at that. “You have far more power than me. If you wanted to look around my mind, then you could do so without my permission. The fact that you have not already done so speaks to your character. In that sense, I am not actually risking very much in allowing you access. I am hoping that this gesture of trust does give you some reassurance that we have nothing to hide. It would be entirely counterproductive for us to deceive you. We need Healers, and someone of your power would be a very valuable asset to the team. There may even be times when the international network may request your help. Obviously, those requests are not mandatory, and if you are working for the FBI, they would need to agree.”
I had reached a decision point. Logic told me I should go forward. I wanted to be able to Heal, I wanted to help wherever I could, and I wanted to have some users at my back who had no affiliations with those who had been trying to control and manipulate me.
My gut told me that I should stay safe within my cocoon and that I was only setting myself up to have another set of people who wanted to manipulate and control me.
In the end, it was Jules’ words that swayed me.
“You need someone outside us five that you feel you can trust,” she had said, and she was right.
I sighed. “If you are prepared to allow me access to your mind,” I said, “then I would like to see.”
Jeevan smiled at me. “I will warn you,” he said. “I have my own secrets, and am not proud of everything I have done. You may see things you don’t approve of, but this was my life, or sometimes the lives of others who entrusted their secrets to me. Before you look, it would be best to develop an idea in your mind of what you’re looking for; that will ease your search.”
I nodded, and saw that he had dropped his shield.
I created a question. “Show me what you don’t want me to see,” I thought as I plunged into his mind.