Ascension – Part 4
Written by taliesan :: [Tuesday, 11 July 2006 12:27] Last updated by ::
Ascension – Part 4
Author's Note: Send any comments or critiques to my SWM mail. Please ask permission before re-posting this story. All characters copyright 2006
When last we left: Ryan came up with some impromptu nighttime tests to see just what Andrea's limits were. Andrea left Ryan with an invitation.
As far as I'm concerned, you appreciate Saturdays the most when you're a teenager. You're moving on from the obsession to wake at the crack of dawn and shovel down over-sugared cereal while watching 4 or 5 hours of cartoons, and you don't have the adult responsibility of figuring out just what needs to get done around the house on the weekend. You just do whatever you want. Unless your parents say differently, of course. But my dad was pretty cool about not giving me much to do on the weekends. So, there was nothing unusual about my dad having to wake me up that morning after Andrea tested her powers.
“Alright, Ry … It's almost noon. You're starting to push it, kid.”
I opened one eye to see my dad standing in the doorway to my bedroom, dressed in his uniform and buckling his gun belt. I smirked at him sleepily. “No rest for the wicked, huh?”
“Nope. And definitely none for boys that have girls calling the house,” He stepped in and gave me a playful swat on my feet that were still wrapped up in the bedsheets.
That got me awake in a hurry. “Ummm … did she say who she was?” I already knew the answer, but my heart was still pounding in anticipation.
“Miss Andrea King, as I recall. And you've got …” He looked at the watch on his wrist and raised his eyebrows. “About 5 minutes before she said she'd be over.” The smirk on his face was pure evil. “Best get ready.”
I'm sure the look on my face was everything he was hoping for. Sometimes I think I just have a sadistic older brother instead of a dad.
I ran to the bathroom for a shower so fast, I started to think that some of Andrea's power was rubbing off on me. One of the benefits of being a guy: a quick jump in the shower and a few minutes later, society deems you respectable for public appearances. No hours spent on make-up or hair. Just wash and wear.
I was just pulling a t-shirt on over my head when the doorbell rang. Lucky for me, I had pants on. Unluckily, my dad was right there at the door when the bell rang.
“Well, hello, there. You must be Andrea.” my father's voice boomed from the living room.
“Yes, sir. Umm … is Ryan up? You said he was still sleeping when I called …”
“Oh, no worries there. I made sure he got up,” dad replied innocently. Followed by him yelling towards my room. “Ryan! Best be ready, son. You've got company!”
I don't think there'd be jury in the world that would convict me of patricide.
I gave my wet hair a quick brush and went out to face my doom. “Umm … hey there.” I gave a slight wave as I walked into the living room barefoot.
Andrea giggled a bit when she saw me, covering her mouth with her hand. Dad was smiling way too much for my comfort as well. “Well, I gotta head to the station house,” dad said. “I'll see you later, son.” He turned to Andrea. “And I'm looking forward to meeting you again, Miss King. I gotta feeling you'll be spending a fair bit of time around here.” As he walked out the front door, dad turned back to me. “Oh, and Ry?”He pointed casually to my lower body. “Close the barn door, you're lettin' the horses out.” And with that, he closed the front door.
My face blushed crimson as I quickly turned and zipped up the fly on my jeans. Andrea just fell on the floor, laughing.
I just sighed and smiled a bit. “So … you've met dad …”
Andrea picked herself up from the floor, still giggling. “Oh, I like him.”
I muttered, “Somehow, that fits.” I took a deep breath to regain my composure. “So, what's up?”
“I was waiting for you to call me, remember?”
“You told me to call you when I got up. Which was all of 5 minutes ago.”
Now it was Andrea's turn to blush. “Oh … well … I …” She swallowed nervously, which I found unbelievable. I mean, with everything she could do, what did she have to be nervous about with me? After a pause, she blurted out, “Umm … the county Harvest Fair is in Denton. Would you … like to go today?”
I blinked in surprise as my heart kept pounding away in my chest. “Ummm … yeah. Sure. Just let me put on some shoes …”
Her smile lit up the room. “Cool … But … let me go home and change first. Pick me up at 2, okay?”
I took a look at her, noticing her outfit for the first time. She was wearing a pink t-shirt with a denim vest, tight fitting blue capri-style pants, and white sneakers. I shook my head to come back to reality. “What's wrong with what you're wearing now?”
She smiled back to me demurely. “Well, you know us country gals. We like getting all dressed up for a big social event like the fair.”
I pulled up in front of Andrea's house at just a few minutes before two. Guessing that I should probably be wearing more than a t-shirt and jeans for this, I dressed up a bit myself. A white knit shirt with an unbuttoned gray dress shirt over it, khaki casual pants and dark tan leather casual shoes. I checked my hair and teeth in the rear view mirror, trying to keep down the pit forming in my stomach. Not only was this shaping into a 'more than just friends' date, I had to face the bane of teenage boys since time began.
I was going to meet her parents for the first time.
It took me two tries to knock on the front door to Andrea's house. It was a huge two story ranch house that showed her family's wealth and status, and it just added more to my nervousness.
The door was answered by a man entering his middle age with chestnut brown hair that was just starting to get hints of gray. “Ummm … hello, sir. I'm here to pick up Andrea.”
He looked me up and down in that way that fathers do when a boy comes to the front door for their daughter. “Ryan, right? You're the son of our new chief of police.”
I nodded quickly. “Yes, sir … Ryan Blake.”
He smiled a bit and opened the door wider. “Well, come on in. Andrea's just about ready.”
I nodded nervously and stepped inside. Mr. King closed the door and ushered me to a sofa in the living room. He started asking all the usual questions that fathers ask. He asked about school, my car, what time we would be coming home … I just answered as quickly as I could, wondering what was taking Drea so long when it was her idea for me to pick her up at 2 in the first place …
“Bill, don't give the boy a hard time. They're just going to the fair.”
I turned to look at the speaker and saw a woman descending down the stairs across from the front door. Her hair was a light brown, just a bit lighter than Andrea's, and she looked to be entering her own middle-age gracefully. I was stunned: it was like looking at Andrea 20 or 30 years from now. Minus the super-powers, of course. She smiled at me, warm and inviting. “Hi, Ryan. I'm Jan, Andrea's mother,” she said as she walked over to me and offered her hand
I stood up and shook her hand. “Pleased to meet you, ma'am.” Then I sat back down on the sofa. With both her parents now sitting across form me.
“We're very pleased to meet you as well, Ryan,” her mother replied. “Andrea's been talking about you almost non-stop for the past week. It's so nice that she's found a friend since …” She stopped there, looking very nervous.
Bill King picked up where his wife left off. “Andrea's had a rough few months. But she's doing better now …”
“It's okay, daddy. He knows.”
I turned to look back at the staircase to see Andrea make her entrance. And what an entrance. Her brown hair was styled and lightly flared in front. Her face had a hint of make up, just enough to be enticing, but not enough to cover her own natural beauty. She was wearing a black, pinstripe sleeveless shirt with a low neckline, giving a fair view of her chest. A black leather belt with a circular gold buckle held up a tan skirt that came down to a few inches above her knee. A pair of 'cowgirl' style low cut boots completed the look. My breath caught in my throat as I watched her walk down the stairs. She smiled at me as she came up next to me. “Hey.”
I blinked and cleared my throat. “H..hey …”
“Andrea … How does he know? I thought you said you'd keep it a secret..” Her father was sounding both nervous and annoyed. Her mother just wrung her hands.
“It was an accident, daddy …”And she recounted the earthquake and her catching the boulder to save me. She left out the part where I helped her find her limits, thankfully.
Her father sat there and nodded, taking it all in. “I see … Well, I suppose then that you know that Andrea can take care of herself then, don't you?”
I broke out of my reverie when I realized that he was addressing em. “Umm … yes sir … not that I would ever …”
Bill King held up his hand. “I'm sure you wouldn't.” He stood up, looking a bit impressed with me. Andrea's mother also looked a bit relieved as well. “Alright, just have her back by 10.”
“Midnight …” Andrea countered as she grabbed my hand and lead me towards the front door.
“Eleven. And no arguments.” Bill was standing near the front door, making sure the negotiations were complete before she left.
“Done. Bye, daddy!” She gave her father a kiss on the cheek as she ushered me out the door.
As we walked to my car, I felt her fingers slide down from grabbing my wrist to entwine with my fingers. I looked at her, catching a glimpse of her parents watching form the window. “Before I forget, you look absolutely beautiful.”
She blushed a bit and giggled as I held the door to the car open for her. “Thanks. You clean up pretty good yourself.” She slid into the passenger seat and smoothed her skirt over her legs. “And I think that daddy likes you.”
“Oh? How can you tell?” I asked as I got in and started the ignition.
“Well, the last few boys that picked me up for the first time … he was cleaning his shotgun in front of them …”
The afternoon drive to Denton was just about perfection. The sun was out but not too hot, the top of my car was down, the wind playing with Andrea's long hair … Like I said, perfect. Until I ran over something in the road and got a flat tire. No dramatic spin or crash, just the sharp pop of the tire blowing and the dull thump-thump-thump as I slowed down and pulled off to the side. “Great.” I muttered. With a sigh, I got out of the car. “Hang on, I'll just be a few minutes with the spare.”
I set out the spare and the tools next to the left rear tire. Rolling up my sleeves, I slipped the old-style scissors jack under the chassis and started to crank. There was resistance as it started to lift the rear end of the car, but then it got stuck. I cursed under my breath and turned the crank as hard as I could, snapping the handle in the process. “God damn it!”
Andrea sauntered over and looked down on me as I sat there. “You know …”
I looked at her for a bit, then shook my head, feeling like the biggest idiot in the world. “Duhhhh …”
Andrea just looked both ways to make sure that no on was around, then reached under and casually lifted up the rear of the car, the suspension squealing a bit as the weight was lifted. She then turned around, holding the edge of the chassis by her fingertips behind her back. She stood there in a casual pose and looked like a pretty girl leaning against a car while her boyfriend changed the tire. For my part, I hoped that at least I looked like I should be her boyfriend.
We got the the fair without anything else going wrong. A quick stop at the ticket booth and we headed on in, hand in hand. There was a livestock display on one half of the fairgrounds, but we headed to the amusement rides, food stands, and arcade that made up the rest of the fair. And there were lots of attractions there: tilt-a-whirls, bumper cars, a haunted house ride, even the token Ferris wheel. The next few hours were a mixture of laughter, cotton candy, Andrea squealing and giggling on the rides, holding her hand, and feeling like I was the luckiest guy on Earth.
Which as far as I was concerned, I was.
As the sun started to set, we decided to take a dinner break. We grabbed some corn dogs from one of the stands and sat down at a picnic bench. One moment, Andrea was smiling and laughing, the next, she latched onto my hand. I looked around to see what was causing her distress and saw a girl form our class headed our way. Tammy Larson. She was in a couple of my classes. Then I remembered, Tammy had been one of Andrea's friends before she got her powers and withdrew into her shell.
“Hey guys … hey Drea,” Tammy said as she walked up. She seemed a bit nervous. I didn't have to look at Andrea to know how nervous she felt, I could feel her heart pounding just sitting next to her.
“Ummm … hey Tammy. It's … it's been a while.”
Tammy nodded a bit. “Yeah. So … ummm … there's a bunch of us from school over here … you guys … want to sit with us?”
I felt all the tension leave Andrea's body and she sighed happily. “Yeah..yeah that'd be cool …” She looked over at me, smiling a bit in hope.
“Yeah, sure. Come on and introduce me to everyone …” I smiled at both of them.
Andrea got up, and Tammy came around to give her a hug. “Cool! Come on over …”
Tammy lead us over to the group, most of whom were Andrea's friends. There was a lot of nervousness at first, but soon enough, we were all laughing and joking. I was feeling accepted as a part of their group, and Andrea was happier than I'd seen her to date. Not everything was forgiven all at once, but the doors Andrea shut had been opened again. Now all she needed was time.
After dinner, we all hung out and rode a couple more rides. Everything was so perfect, I should have known it wouldn't last.
We got off the tilt-a-whirl after riding it for the third time, all of us laughing and giggling. Andrea wrapped her arm around me, snuggling in as the autumn air turned chill. From off to our left, a voice boomed out. “So, you stop calling me and start up with this geek? Is that how it is?”
As a group we turned to look and saw a contingent of Unity High's varsity football team. Andrea's face went pale. “Chad? No … no it's not like that …”
“Oh? Then how is it, Drea? Not only do you make me look like a fool by dumping me like that, but you go out with him?” I got a better look at the beefy guy in the blonde crew cut and recognized him. Chad Taylor. Quarterback.. Star of the school. All around jock. And, apparently, Andrea's ex.
“Don't you dare bring him into this, Chad. I dumped you a long time before Ryan came here.” She had stopped holding my hand and her fists were clenched in frustration. The group we were with stood by Andrea in a show of support.
Chad just sneered at me. “I mean, you leave me and pick up him, instead? Come on. Word is that he can't even fight for himself without a girl bailing him out.” The football line snickered and jeered.
I stepped forward defiantly, my own fists clenched. Andrea put her hand on my shoulder and whispered. “Let's just go …” I gently put my hand on hers and slid it off.
“Wanna make a little bet, Chad?”
Chad and his flunkies looked surprised. “What? That I can beat you into a pulp? No bet there, man.”
I snorted in amusement. “Yeah. I'm more scared of what my dad would do when he found out what I did to you if we did fight.” Chad's nostrils flared and he looked like he would rush me. “No. I'm talking about one of the midway games …” I gestured around the midway. “Just you against me. No fight, no blood. Just a friendly bet.” I puled out my wallet and produced a $20 bill. “Twenty bucks says I can beat you. Just to make it fair, we have to both agree on the game.”
Chad paused for a bit, then smiled as he puled out his own wallet. “You're on. Just name it.”
I looked around and pointed to a nearby booth. “The rifle range.”
Chad shook his head. “Hell, no. Your dad probably taught you how to shoot.” He was right, but I wasn't going to tell him that. He looked around and then smiled. “How about a real man's game. The hammer.”
I looked over to see the hammer game with the bell on top of a 30 foot post. No way I could beat him on that. “Nah. I don't mix steroids into my breakfast cereal.” I looked around. Just about everything else was a tossing game or based on some kind of sport. “Baseball toss?”
Chad smiled wickedly. “Sounds good to me.”
We strode up to the booth, both groups following us. I looked at Chad. “Five bucks worth of throws, most knockdowns wins?”
Chad nodded and pulled out a five for the booth attendant. He took the balls and threw at the stacked milk bottles. He had 15 throws and managed to knock down the bottles 10 times. I looked over at him, impressed. He crossed his arms and sneered at me. “I don't just play football, dweeb. I'm also the catcher on the baseball team.
I nodded glumly as I paid my five dollars and got my 15 throws. “That's good to know.” I remarked before I started throwing. I stepped back from the line a bit and pitched the ball sidearmed, smiling at the metallic 'clang' of the bottles falling down. I smiled at Chad. “Now I know who I'll be throwing to in the spring.” The sneer on Chad's face faded as I went 15 for 15. I hadn't thrown a ball since the season ended back at my old school in Kansas. Nice to see I could still perform on demand.
Chad's face got so tight, I thought the skin would rip. He just threw the twenty at me as he stalked off, to the cheers and laughter of Andrea and her friends. I picked up my winnings off the ground and grunted in surprise as Andrea rushed up to hug me as I straightened up. “That was so awesome! Why didn't you tell me you played baseball?”
I just smiled back and held her close to me. “Never came up. We had … other things to talk about.”
She smiled and giggled. “Chad really deserved that. He can be such a jerk. And I dumped him because I caught him going out with other girls, not because of … you know …”
I nodded and lead her back to the booth. “He does seem like the type. Now … there's still the matter of the prize for me to collect. What do you want?”
Fifteen minutes later, we were riding on the Ferris wheel, snuggled together. Just Andrea, me, and the 3' tall stuffed bear that she picked out form the prize vault. I had to blow the $20 I won from Chad as well as the $20 I had fronted for the bet to win enough tickets for the bear, but I think it was worth it. Her head was resting on my shoulder, clinging to my arm.
It was one of those moments that just has to be ruined by asking a stupid question.
“Why me?” I asked as I looked down at her.
She looked up at me with her blue eyes. “What do you mean by that?”
“I mean, why do you want to go out with me? You're beautiful, you're sexy, you're smart, you're … you're a goddess come to life. You could have any boy you wanted. Hell, you could have any man on the planet you wanted. I'm just a regular guy. I'm not exactly god material.”
She sat up and looked at me funny. “Did it ever cross your mind that I am with the guy that I want? Not because of how you've been helping me, but because of who you are?”
I blinked in surprise. “Yeah, but …”
“It's because you came back. That day after I showed you my powers, what I can do … you had the chance to walk away, to never talk to me again. I was expecting you to do that. But you came back. I can't think of any guy I know that would have done that.”
By now, we had reached the top, and the wheel jerked to a stop. We sat there, the cabin swaying gently back and forth. There was a light breeze and the stars were shining in the clear night sky. We sat there, looking at each other. And slowly, we moved towards each other. Everything seemed so synchronized: our heads tilted in just the right angles, our arms slid around each other, our eyes closed together. And then our lips met.
We hugged and kissed for what seemed like forever. Nothing deep or involving tongues. Just that absolute, perfect first kiss. One that made me feel like she would be the only one I would ever love.
The wheel started forward again and we broke the kiss with a quiet sigh from each of us. She just snuggled into me more on the way down. After we got off the ride, we said our goodbyes to the others and headed for the exit, her hand still holding mine.
We spent a few more minutes kissing in my car before we headed for home. There was more exploration and variety, this time. Andrea giggled each time our tongues touched. Every so often I would smile and chuckle as I realized that I was living the dream of millions of fanboys across the world.
I was making out with Supergirl in my car.
The drive home was quiet and the night air both relaxed us and cooled us down so that when we got to her house, all we needed was one last good-night kiss. It was 10:55 when we stood on the doorstep, Andrea holding her bear in one arm and me in the other. We leaned in for that last kiss of the night.
I kept her curfew, too. After the kiss ended, Andrea walked into her house just as the clock on the living room mantle struck 11.
Next: Homecoming and Drea's first crisis