After breakfast Simon retrieved the heavier packages from Morgan's truck, temporarily depositing them in her living room. She would sort through them after they went up to see the apartment Simon would be calling home. They walked out of the back door into a beautifully kept garden, enclosed by a high 12 ft brick wall. On the back of their building was a metal elevator that stopped at each floor, opening to extra large, ultra modern, fire escapes. Shimar had them designed so he could move from floor to floor with no problems and go out into the garden when he wanted to.
The entire building was formed in an odd h-shape. One side was where Morgan lived on the very bottom, now Simon above her, and another unoccupied apartment above him. There was a short hallway that attached Shimar's side of the building. The floor level with Simon's apartment contained his actual living space and the other floors housed a sizable factory and laboratory where he conducted experiments and tested all the prototypes. His apartment had been specially designed to make his movements smooth and unobstructed. He didn't like much furniture since much of his time was spend in the wheelchair, but he had a few oversized large pillows to oblige the few guests he would allow to visit. The most impressive fixture was his extensive computer system. Anything that was new and innovative he had and a few things that were added from his own imagination.
"Wow bro, this is impressive. Anything you can't do with all this stuff?"
"Nope, if I wasn't such an honest individual, I could print out my own money," Shimar joked.
They walked over to Simon's apartment, which was small but enough room to accommodate one person. Shimar had supplied most of the furnishings, a small love seat, some end tables, a nice kitchen set, a few lamps and other necessities, all done in a interesting blend of Martha Stewart and Deep Space Nine.
Simon was very pleased, "So what is it that you need me to do to earn my keep?"
"Since our little, Mory, has decided to desert me and enter into the world of the struggling young executive, if you'd help with the heavier gardening, moving things around in the lab and general muscle man stuff, it would make my life a lot easier."
"No problem, you say it and I'll get it done."
"Well until, Mr. Muyo, can figure out something specific, would you help me go through the things I bought? There might be something you don't like, that I'll need to take back."
"Oh man, watch out for that tone, Simon. When they start giving you that nesting voice, you'd better watch out. They are staking out territory."
"Shimar! I can't believe you said that. Ignore him Simon. The boy has no manners and is delusional at times," she stuck her tongue at him and grabbed the blushing Martian by the arm, towing him out.
Life went on fairly normal with Morgan spending her days at work and her night playing and talking with the guys. Simon became invaluable to Shimar and a fast strong friendship formed between the two men. The young man didn't ask why Simon's condition included the tail he tried unsuccessfully to keep concealed, but he was beginning to form his own opinion to Simon's origin.
One day while Shimar was taking some relax time, Simon came up to his apartment and watched him play an odd game on the computer. He and another player, each having a number of interesting pieces, were moving them around a virtual, black and white, checkered, playing board. After watching for a couple of minutes Simon began guessing what Shimar's opponent was going to do. Not only that, but he could tell Shimar how to avoid having his pieces taken.
"I didn't know you were a chess master, Fur head."
"Is that what this is called? I don't know about being a master, but this isn't very hard to figure out."
Suddenly an idea flashed into Shimar's always-active imagination, "You know you can make a nice bit of cash winning the prizes in these Chess tournaments."
"Oh really? It might be worth giving a look-see. What do you have to do?" Simon smiled curiously.
"Just leave it to me," Shimar, with a few skilled clicks of the mouse, set up a personal account for Simon. Then logged him on to the secured tournament site, moved back and let Simon go to work. In one afternoon he had accumulated a sizable amount of winnings.
"You'd better give it a break or they'll disconnect you. They will tell you it's technical problems, but they don't want to pay out the entire bank. But, if you visit about once a week, I think you can get a pretty nice income coming in."
"Thanks Wheels. You never know when a stable paycheck will be necessary," Simon gave him a sly smile and went back down stairs to finish his work in the lab.
When Morgan got home that night she opened the door and found a large bouquet of yellow roses waiting for her on the kitchen table. She was delighted as she opened the small envelope and read the card; Thank you, doesn't even come close to what I want to say, but I hope these will give you a clue. Simon.
She blushed, feeling the warm affection beginning to develop for the exotically handsome alien. "Stop Morgan, don't let your heart lead you into something you know is so far beyond possible," she warned herself. "But have you ever met any one like him, those incredible eyes, that sweet sad smile and that voice, every time he speaks my legs turn to butter,"
"Do you like em?" Shimar's voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Of course I like him, why not, he's a nice guy. There is nothing wrong with liking such a nice polite guy. We are just good friends. You can't have too many friends."
"Umm, Mory, I was talking about the roses."
"Oh," she could feel her blush getting darker.
Morgan stood in the garden, giving it a good drenching. Simon watched her from his back window, smiling at how sweet she looked in her oversized bib jeans, faded gray cotton work shirt and bare-feet. He was so involved that he didn't hear Shimar roll up behind him, "Pretty cute, huh?"
Simon didn't stop watching her, simply nodded, "Yeah, she is that."
"So, when ya gonna tell her how you feel?"
Simon turned away and hung his head, "Probably never. She's still seein' that Jamul guy. In fact they have another date tonight. She wouldn't want anybody with, let's say, my particular kind of charm.
"What, cause you're a little hairy? You're wrong my friend; she's got it bad for you. You think I'm kidding. Come on, I've got something to show you." Shimar moved his chair smoothly from Simon's apartment to his own. He easily maneuvered over to his computer terminal and reached down, picking up a few sketches Morgan had left, "Check this out."
He handed him the sketches and the tan Martian was shocked at what he saw. Morgan had drawn him while he was sleeping, when he had been working in the garden, but the picture that most touched his heart was the portrait of his face. Never had he seen anything done with such love and affection. She had captured every emotion like she could see directly into his soul.
"But if she feels like this, why is she going out with Mr. Suave and Sophisticated."
"Who knows, maybe she just wants to be sure, but I'm telling you the girl is crazy about you. Besides that guy is a real pig, have you ever seen how he looks at her, like she's a piece of meat?"
"Yeah, I've seen him, but I haven't any right to interfere. I will be keeping my eye on him and if he even tries to put a finger on her, he's history."
It was well past midnight when Jamul and Morgan finally pulled up in front of the apartment building. They had a nice dinner, in one of the finer restaurants in the downtown area and enjoyed a little dancing as well. The tall, small built, but muscular, young man got out and gallantly opened her door extending a hand to help Morgan out of his expensive black sports car and walked her down to the door of her apartment. She pulled out her key and put it into the lock then politely turned to say good night.
Simon couldn't rest until she was home safe. He watched from the small open window that faced the street trying hard to block it out their conversation. He didn't want to be nosey, but he wasn't about to trust Jamul.
"So do I at least get a little kiss good night?" Jamul smiled putting one arm over her head and holding her chin in a playful fashion.
"Jamul, I had a really nice time tonight and you are a very nice person, but I don't think we should see each other again."
"What?" he jerked back shocked that any woman could possibly be dumping him?
"I have to be honest with you, I found that I have feeling for someone else," she said looking at him timidly.
"Please Morgan, don't tell me that you've fallen for that crippled geek?"
Morgan gave him a furious glare, "excuse me, I know you didn't call just call, Mar, that. He's more of a man then you'll ever be."
"Okay, okay, I didn't mean anything by it," he held up his hands apologetically.
She sighed and gave him a forgiving smile, "It's not Shimar anyway, it's a guy you could say, I happen to run into. Besides, with all your charm and good looks, I'm sure you'll find some one else with no problems," she compassionately touched his face.
"Well that's how it goes some times, can I still have that kiss, a little something to say goodbye,"
One small peck wouldn't kill her and she was grateful for a pleasant evening and nice times they'd spent together. She tilted her head making her lips more accessible to him and he took full advantage of her willingness to please. After a few seconds the kiss become very aggressive and his hands began to roam places she was not willing for them to be. Disgusted, she pushed him away, "I think you'd better go," she looked fiercely at him wiping her mouth.
"Oh, you think you can just dismiss me after all the money I've spent on you? Well, you owe me and it's time I cashed in on my investment," he moved in closer backing Morgan against the wall trapping her between his arms.
"Get away from me, you filthy animal," Morgan yelled frighten, not about to let him do anything she began to struggle frantically. Suddenly a dark figure swooped down and grabbed the lecherous attacker by the jacket of his expensive silk suit and slammed him against the opposite wall knocking the breath out of him. Once his head stopped spinning, Jamul realized the imposing figure had him dangling in mid air.
"I think the lady said, she wanted you to leave?" An ominous voice growled from the massive form whose face was hidden in the shadows.
"Sure man, sure. Whatever the lady wants, I'm gone, just let me down and I'm gone," Jamul whimpered in a pleading voice.
"And I think it would be a good idea that you apologize for frightening her and make it your life's goal to stay as far way from her as possible."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm sorry Morgan and I won't be bothering you again. I promise, I'll never come near you again."
"Wise move, bro," Simon tossed the terrified man over on to the stairs and he crawled up until he reached the sidewalk. He scrambled to his feet and ran to his car jumping in through the open window forgetting to use the door and screeched off down the street.
Simon turned to Morgan who was still shaking and holding her torn jacket tightly around her shoulders. He wanted to pull her close and give her some comfort, but instead he reached over and unlocked the door and opened it. Reaching in he turned on the light and stepped away letting her walk past him. She was too embarrassed to look at him and went directly into her bedroom and closed the door.
He didn't leave, but went back to the door to make sure it was locked. Sitting on the couch he stayed there until silence came from Morgan's bedroom. He very quietly opened her door and peeked in to see if she had fallen to sleep. Satisfied he gently closed the door, turned off the living room lights, made sure her back door was well secured, and went to his place.
When she finally got home from work, the next day, it was pretty late because the sun was almost down. She sat for a few moments smiling at the packages lying next to her and then picking them up, she went inside.
Morgan sat the parcels on the kitchen counter before going to her bedroom to put on a more comfortable outfit. She stood looking at her closet, debating before pulling out a long silk royal blue and white caftan. She took the long, soft, flowing robe, laid it on the bed and went to the dresser to pull out four yards of matching material. After changing, she wrapped the material attractively around her head. Before leaving, she looked in the mirror and was more than pleased by her appearance.
Going to the kitchen she unwrapped a small bouquet of daisies and put them in a nice clear glass vase. She took out her special dishes with the multi-colored African print, the dark blue linen napkins and a number of brightly colored serving bowls and utensils. Opening the white cardboard containers, that held the food, she poured the items into the different sized serving bowls. Precariously she grabbed the whole lot and went to the living room and arranged everything attractively on the coffee table, adding the last finishing touch of two large red candles that she lit and sat on either end.
She took a deep breath and went to the back door to call Simon but discovered he was already out on the patio cleaning his bike. She timidly walked over to talk to him.
"Hi ya," she said almost too soft to be heard.
He turned and cautiously smiled at her, "Hey, I was worried about you, are you okay?"
"I'm okay, thanks," she ran a finger gently along the side of the black and silver exterior of the shinning clean bike and the machine flashed a friendly signal in its headlight. Morgan still couldn't get use to getting a response from something that should not have any feelings, but strangely she began to form as strong of an attachment to the machine, as she had to its owner.
"I wanted to do something to well...to say I thought you might like something other then hot dogs, so I got us a special dinner, if you don't have any other plans."
"Nah, my calendar is pretty empty," he joked.
"Good, it's ready and I'll be waiting inside, okay"?
"Okay, just give me a couple of seconds to put my bike away."
When Simon came in he stopped at he door seeing her sitting on the floor waiting for him, "Wow, everything looks really nice Morgan, can I wash my hands first?"
"You know where the bath room is," she nodded placing her chin in her hands, showing she'd be waiting when he came back.
He walked in and started running water in the hand bowl and looked up at his reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror, "everything looks nice, Morgan? How lame can you be? She looked breath taking. Why didn't you tell her that she was the light that makes you want to get up in the morning, that her eyes are the reason why your heart beats, that you want to hold her in your arms and make all the world's hurts disappear, but all you could come up with was, everything looks nice, Morgan," he sighed frustrated, wiped his hands and walked back into the living room taking a seat on the opposite side of the coffee table.
"What this called?" he smiled trying to relieve the nervousness trapped in his stomach.
"Soul-food, because when you eat it, you're satisfied right down to your inner soul," she place the plate before him and pointed to each of the different foods, "this is spare ribs, potato salad, collard greens, candied sweet potatoes, beans and rice and corn bread."
He looked at the interesting faire and picked up his fork and began poking at the thing called, spare ribs.
Morgan giggled, "no, that's finger food, you eat it like this," she reached over and picked up the juicy, sauce covered, piece of meat and held it to his mouth. He looked deep into her eyes and took a slow bite. She watched him and was again captured by his mesmerizing gaze. Before they knew what happened he leaned forward and she lean over and they became locked in a kiss that sent fireworks soaring around the room. She'd been kissed before, but this was something that defied explanation.
They slowly parted and Morgan sat back on her heels and Simon sat back leaning against the couch. She began to cry softly and he crawled around the table sitting close to her.
"I'm sorry Morgan I shouldn't have, not after what happened last night," he watched her but wouldn't touch her.
She looked over at him and smiled through her tears, "It's not that, I'm just so grateful for what you did. If you hadn't been here I don't want to think of what might have happened. I just wanted to say, thank you."
"Hey, every lady needs to be rescued from time to time. That jerk just didn't appreciate how much of a lady you are," he cautiously put a hand on her shoulder.
"Do you always know what to say, at the right time?" she turned toward him and tenderly reached up to brush his hair away from his eyes.
"Probably not, just when properly motivated," he slipped his finger under her chin and gently moved her head closer to him. She didn't resist but let him guide her close enough for their lips to meet again. She wrapped her arms around him and he pulled her close as the feelings of warm affection, trust and fulfillment past between them.
Parting again she laid her head on his shoulder and he cuddled her in his arms, " Oh Simon, this isn't going to work, you know that, don't you?"
"No, I don' t know any such thing. I get the feeling that my life hasn't been all that great until now. That I've been running around trying to make it mean something. Buried in my vague memories, I feel emptiness, despair and a loneliness that I don't want to feel again."
"But what kind of life could we have? I remember a saying from this movie where a man from one race loved a woman of another. His mother was trying to reason with him and she said, "a fish and a bird could fall in love, but where would they build their nest? Where would our nest be, Simon?"
"Do you love me, Morgan?" he whispered into the soft folds of the material wrapped around her head.
She looked up at him, " I tried so hard not to, but heaven knows I love you more than I could ever tell you."
"Then even if I have to leave the water and learn to fly I'm going to return that love,"
Last Chance Garage
"I know Carbine; we are really getting worried too. I expect this kind of thing from Vinnie, but Throttle is always so responsible."
"It's my fault, if only I hadn't started with him," guilt riddled Carbine's voice as it came from the interstellar video communications system Charley kept well hidden in the small store room situated in the back of the garage.
"Well let's find him and then you two can straighten that out. Love makes you act kind of dingy at times," Charley said compassionately.
Throttle was the love of the young general's life and most of how she reacted was out of the fear of losing him again. First thinking he was dead then, because of the Plutarkian boss, Brie, thinking he had turned traitor, made her insecure and overly protective to the point of some times pushing him too hard to return to Mars. She would always feel terrible after one of their arguments and of course making up was pure heaven, but that didn't excuse that fact that she would put more pressure on his already stressed situation.
Charley heard the alarm telling her some one had pulled into the garage. "Look Carbine, I'll keep you posted. I promise as soon as we find out anything I'll let you know. Somebody just drove in so I gotta go. Try hard not to worry, okay?"
All right, you know if I could get there, I'd be on the next ship out, but it's just not possible with what's going on here. Please call if you hear anything, anything at all."
" I promise," Charley ended the transition and walked out to see who'd come in and was wonderfully surprise, "Hey stranger what's got you in this park of town," Charley cheerfully greeted."
"Hey Chucky, I thought I'd try slumming for the day. I can't believe you are still here and you still have this place going," the young woman climbed out of her vehicle and walked over to exchange a warm hug with Charley.
"Don't call me that and every one can't be the next up and coming CEO of Webtech Inc. Some of us poor slobs have to actually work for a living." Charley teased returning the hug with just as much warmth.
"It's good to see you, girl, it's been too long," The young woman smiled.
"Way too long, Come on up stairs and I'll get you something cold to drink and you can tell me what brings you way down here?" Charley pointed up to the living room and went to get two cans of root beer out of the frig and followed her up.
"Sit, kick off those expensive designer heels and get comfortable for a minute," Charley plopped into her favorite chair and the young woman took a seat on the couch.
"Morgan, it's really good to see you," Charley smiled handing her the cold soda.
Morgan looked at it strangely and thought out loud, "he likes this stuff a lot."
"He? You came all the way over here to tell me about some guy. Best reason in the world so tell me about this, he." Charley sat back and popped the tab on her drink.
"No, I didn't come to talk about any one special, it's just this guy I just met who drinks this stuff by the case. It's his bike I came to ask you about? We had, you could say, a chance meeting a number of nights ago. I almost killed the poor guy when he rode in front of my truck. The bike really needs a professional to look at it and I know you are the very best there is."
"I can't look at it today, I have some personal business I have to take care of, but maybe in a couple of days," Morgan could see Charley's expression change to deep worry.
"Sure a couple of days would be fine. I hope its nothing real serious," Morgan asked seeing her friend's expression change so drastically.
"Well, a good friend of mine turned up MIA and it's got me kind of worried."
"I'm sorry, if you'd rather I can take it somewhere else?"
"No, a couple of days will be find, he'll probably turn up by then I'm just over reacting. I'll call and tell you a good time for him to bring it in."
"That's prefect, because the owner got a little banged up and is still recouping, so he won't be riding anywhere for a while"
"Oh?!" Charley raised her eyebrows.
"Oh, nothing. He's just a really nice guy that needed a little help. I'm being a good neighbor," Morgan tried to sound convincing as she took a sip of soda.
"Okay, Miss good neighbor, this nice guy wouldn't just happen to be really cute by any chance?"
"Well, yeah sort of, but that has nothing to do with it. I would have helped even if, he didn't have a body that won't quit on a hard day and a voice that would melt the polar ice caps and one of the sweetest guys I have ever met and okay, okay, so I am crazy, out of mind, wild about him." Morgan finally confessed.
"So you like him just a little, do ya? What about Jamul, I thought you two were doing some serious dating?"
"He out classes Jamul by miles, besides Mr. Langer is now nursing a few well deserved bruises. He decided that since he'd been putting out the cash, that I should repay his kindness with a roll in the hay, whether I wanted to or not. But my night in shinning armor came to my rescue. I didn't think there were any fairy tales left to believe in, but now I'm sure there is. Charley, he is almost too good to be true, he's funny and kind and warm and gentle and as close to prefect as any man I've ever known.
"OOOO, girlfriend, you have got it bad. So what's Mr. Prefect's name?" Charley chuckled.
" Simon," Morgan sighed whimsically.
"Get out, like the chipmunk? What kind of biker is named, Simon?"
"My kind, but I do have to tell you something about him you might find a little hard to believe." Morgan hesitated trying to find the words to properly explain so Charley won't think she'd lost her mind.
"Lately there isn't too much I find hard to believe, what's wrong
with him, does he have a tail or something?" Charley teased jokingly.
"Well to tell you the truth " Morgan was interrupted by the sounds of motorcycle engines coming into the garage and Charley jumped up.
"Oh Morgan I'm sorry I forgot about this, umm I really have to get to work, these guys are the impatient type. Why don't I call you and we can set up an exact day for you to bring the bike in and maybe we can meet one night this week and you can finish telling me about your dream man." Charley was practically dragging Morgan down the stairs and to her truck.
"Okay, how about tonight?" Morgan looked over at the two cyclist that where parked waiting for Charley's attention. "You know, Chucky, you're the one who needs to slow down," she smiled as climbed into her front seat and started to leave, "and you better be glad I have to pick up Simon before I go to work or I might be insulted that you so obviously are tying to get rid of me.
"Stop calling me, Chucky, and tonight will be fine, now get out of here."
"Okay, I'll talk to you later," Morgan smiled and shook her head looking one more time at the bikers before pulling out of the garage and driving off.
To be continued