You walk into a room and take your customary place at a table. You open the book to see the tree stretching and then shaking itself like a wet dog. Michael is trying to grab hold of something as the tree continues to test out its branches. He shouts to the tree:
“Will you stop! I’m awake; no need to belabor the point.”
Words start to write themselves in the sky above the tree. They run down the trunk and around the arched open room that comprises the main living quarters. A rain cloud starts brewing a storm above his head then pours into the loft where Michael is still laying. The water soaks him through. He starts to laugh boyishly, the words dancing around the space.
“I’m sorry, Chug, I’m sorry. I’m just tired is all…I know it’s no excuse. Please forgive me.”
The tree bows a branch and the boy sighs a contented smile. “I better get ready for the day hadn’t I?”
The tree shakes its branches in agreement. Michael leaps onto a rope hanging from his bedroom loft suspended above the living room. He then runs into the room and speaks into a radio speaker. It blares into Alisa’s room waking her up with a confused start.
He says “Good morning, citizens, it’s a beautiful day for complications” You watch as she looks around. The boy speaks up again.
“Good morning, Alisa…Don’t freak out; my name is Michael; if you look out the window, you’ll see my tree; it’s where I live. I have to go now; I’ll greet you again later.
“Cause that’s not at all creepy,” She mutters to herself.
She gets out of bed and walks onto the balcony adjoining her suite. Sure enough, the tree is hanging out in mid-air. She shakes her head and laughs.
After breakfast, she walks to her practice room. Just like yesterday, Freddy is stretching at the barre.
She says, “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” He replies “sleep well?”
She shrugs. “Well, enough. You?”
“Well, enough?” he sounds concerned.
“We have a lot to do, don’t we?” She clips.
He looks at her then sighs and turns his head silently. She looks away clearly dreading any questions
“Yes, we do,” Freddy extends his hand, and she takes it sighing a breath of relief. They practice all morning, then they both head downstairs to the first-floor café for lunch. Alisa and Freddy sit at the same table, then, a young man with golden hair oddly colored eyes, and not quite olive skin sits down next to Alisa. Three more people sit around the table. A short young man with a good deal of freckles scattered across the bridge of his nose and a mischievous grin on his face, a black girl with the delicacy of a dove in flight, and another young woman with rich red hair, green eyes, and perfect milk-white skin.
“Hey,” he extends his hand to Alisa, “I’m Peter Mason.”
“Hey,” she responds.
“What’s your name?” he asks
The short young man across the table looks at the girl with the red hair and says “Hi, fire.”
The redhead sinks into her chair.
“Why did you call me that?” She sounds like a wounded bird.
He back peddles. “No reason; you just seem like fire to me.”
“Don’t call me that,” She says with a tone between a whimper and a bark.
The man ducks his head. “I’m sorry, Phoenix. You met Lynn?” He says, changing the subject.
She breathes a sigh of relief. “Yes, well, sort of hi.”
“His Fiancé,” She says, dripping with the notes of possession that only come from unspoken jealousy.
“Oh, I see,” Phoenix practically whispers, and Peter, picks up on it.
“Yes, apparently, it takes five years to set a wedding date”
To learn the rest of the conversation stay tuned for:
Colten, Lynn, and Phoenix
After the day is done Alisa walks outside and up the boardwalk along the lake toward the condos. As she walks she feels herself being sucked into a vortex. Above the earth, Michael is swinging from a branch. He looks over to see a leaf lighting up he climbs to it, and plucks the object . He looks at the image appearing before him, shakes his head sadly, spins the leaf, and throws it to the ground with a touch of anger. The leaf lands in front of Alisa transforming into a portal. She gets sucked inside. Suddenly she’s trapped in a truck that is tipped sideways. there is an unconscious man next to her. She struggles in vain
“Dad! Dad!” Alisa cries.
A man runs up beside the truck and says “Help is on the way.”
“I can’t move,” Her voice cracks.
“It’s okay” His voice is warm and rich.
Then just as suddenly as she was pulled in she is spit back out. Right in front of her stands Peter he looks puzzled and a little more than just a bit amused.
“Hey, earth to Alisa… What’s going on in that beautiful head of yours?”
“Oh, sorry, Peter” He turns his head sideways, looking at Alisa with a puppy dog grin; she stares him straight in the eye.
“No offense Peter, but I really want to be left…” He kisses her before she has a chance to finish her sentence. Alisa pulls back and gasps then she shrugs and kisses him back with all the intensity of a gale-force wind. Freddy comes out of the performance center and sees Alisa and Peter wrapped in each other’s arms. He watches Peter take her up the condo stairs at the other end of the boardwalk.