TIME: Part 3
He took the bus into work the following day and distracted himself by plunging into the paperwork. The Monday staff meeting had been canceled because half the employees were still snowbound in their homes, and the rest were frantically trying to catch up on the work they'd missed. Adam had planned to stay late until he remembered his promise to Jam, so he accepted Michael's offer of a lift home.
"So, how's our fearless commander doing?" Michael asked as he made his way to Ballard.
"Not great." Adam reluctantly admitted. "My neighbors had a baby, a home birth which I attended, and then it had to go to the hospital, so I spent yesterday there and am going there tonight. I haven't had much sleep the past several days."
"Bummer. Which hospital?" Michael asked.
"University." Adam said.
"Really? That's where we had Michelle. Forty-eight hour labor. Ended up a C-section. Coral was pissed." Michael shook his head at the memory. "Beautiful baby girl, though." He downshifted towards a yellow light so he wouldn't have to hit his brakes. "The Huskies were playing a game and it seemed like every time Coral had a contraction they made a touchdown, so all these people would cheer." He chuckled. "Of course, that was only in the first few hours. Man, I don't know how women do it."
"Neither do I," said Adam, intending to think of Neela, but all he could see was Annie, stretched out on the bed. He shifted and looked out the window. "Saw an accident here the day before yesterday," he said, forcing his mind to think of something else.
"I heard about that on TV. Guy in a truck hit a woman and kid, right?" Michael said. "Guy died instantly?"
"Well, not instantly, but before the ambulance got there." Adam remembered Annie kneeling over the man, hands outstretched.
They pulled up to Adam's house and Jam's 4x4 was already there. Adam thanked Michael and hopped out. He found a note thumb tacked to his door.
"Catching some Z's. Wake me if it's 6:00 PM . Jam."
Adam looked at his watch. 5:55 PM . Close enough. He went over and knocked on the door. It took a few minutes of rapping, but Jam answered.
"Hey, man." Jam yawned. "Have you thought about your cat once in the past three days?"
Adam started. He'd been so preoccupied, he'd forgotten about Percy.
"Well, don't worry about it. Before Neela went into labor, she took this." Jam held up a huge mixing bowl. "And filled it with cat food, and left the toilet lid up. You're cat's been hangin' here the whole time."
"Thanks, Jam, I owe you one." Adam said.
"Don't worry about it. You've been helping us. Just thought I'd let you know he's not frozen to death. God, I needed that nap." Jam stretched his full 6'8" frame, his elbows nearly pressed against the ceiling. "Well, you ready to do the night shift?" Adam nodded. "I appreciate it, man."
They got into Jam's 4x4. "Annie's been a real trouper, right by Neela the whole time. You can tell neither of them has gotten any sleep, though." Jam pulled into traffic.
"Annie's still at the hospital?" Adam asked, feeling uneasy.
"She won't go home. She got there at like six this morning, said she hadn't slept and might as well be doing something useful. She's made like a hundred trips to the cafeteria for Neela, smuggling up all sorts of food. And ol' Jambaby got tittie maybe six times today, all without the hospital staff knowing. They keep saying the antibiotics are doing such a great job, he's recovering so much faster than expected!" Jam laughed sarcastically. "Modern Western medicine, what do they know."
They walked into the NICU to see Neela sitting with the baby and Annie kneeling, her back to them. Adam had been talking to Jam as they walked in, and he saw her start at the sound of his voice, but she did not turn around.
"Adam, you angel. Thank you for coming back." Neela said. "Look at little Johnson Junior, isn't he?"
Adam came as close as he could without walking into Annie's line of vision. "He looks great."
Neela looked down at Annie. "Thanks, Annie, that felt so good." She looked up at Adam. "Annie's been giving me an aura healing. I feel soooo relaxed, and it helped the baby poop, too."
Annie stood up, but kept her back to Adam. "I think it's the breast milk that makes the baby poop so well, not my healing," she told Neela.
Neela handed the infant to Jam. "There you go, Daddy. I did the input, you can clean the output."
"What else are daddies for?" smiled Jam, as if he'd been asked to wax a '64 mustang.
"He won't say that by the end of the week. Newborns go through more than a hundred diaper changes a week." Annie chuckled. "Well, have fun, folks. I'm going home. See you tomorrow." She walked passed Adam without acknowledging him.
Neela and Jam seemed oblivious to the outside world.
"Do you guys need me for anything right now?" asked Adam
"Not right now." Neela said.
"Well, I'm starving, so I'm going to hit the cafeteria." Adam said.
"Hey, can you bring me up a roast beef sandwich and a cola when you come back?" asked Jam.
"Sure thing." Adam headed off towards the elevators.
Outside the NICU he heard the ding of an elevator. He raced over to them and managed to slip in through the closing doors. He heard a sharp intake of breath and turned to see he was alone in the elevator with Annie.
He decided to pretend nothing had happened, so she would think it was a dream. "Had a hard day?" He asked, sympathetically.
"It wasn't a dream." Her eyes narrowed at him.
"Excuse me?" Adam feigned ignorance.
She fumbled in her baggy purse she'd had slung over her shoulder and pulled out a pair of men's jockey shorts. Adam's jockey shorts. "You made yourself disappear, but you left these behind." She thrust them at him.
Adam stared blankly at them as the elevator came to a stop on the second floor. When the doors started to open, he snatched the underwear out of her hands and shoved them into his pocket. An orderly wheeling a gurney came in and stood between them. It effectively stopped their verbal communication but Adam felt bombarded by her thoughts.
They got off and Annie followed him to the cafeteria.
"Well?" she hissed. "I think you owe me an explanation."
Adam looked at her. "About what?"
"Oh, baloney." She grabbed him and pushed him hard against the wall. Adam was surprised at her strength. She put her face up to his. "You were in my bed last night and I want to know why. And how did you disappear?"
He detected the scent of her hair, the same as last night, and he could tell she'd been eating chocolates. Her lips were only inches away from his, and he wondered what is would be like to kiss a woman. Or had he already in his dreams? He looked into her eyes and saw anger, and fear, and something else she was hiding. He took a deep breath.
"Let's sit down and I'll tell you all I know." Adam sighed.
She let him get a tray of food for himself, and Jam's sandwich, and they found a corner away from anyone else where they could talk without being overheard.
"I've been having dreams -- I've had three now -- starting several months ago." Adam began. He noticed her look of shock, and asked her, "Was last night your first experience with me?"
She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times before answering. "I don't know. You mean you've dreamed about me before? What were we doing?"
Adam felt his face flush hot. He didn't know how to answer her.
"That good, huh?" Annie's sense of humor returned.
"Well, I mean, it's just..." Adam looked at her, his jaw clenched, "Annie, I decided a long time ago that I would never have an intimate relationship. So I never have. I just ... don't choose to in this lifetime."
Her eyes widened, unbelieving. Adam went on.
"I have never experienced in the physical what I have experienced on the astral plane three times now." He paused, letting the information sink in.
"Three times?" Annie echoed. "You've hopped into bed on the astral with three women?"
Adam looked down at his food and found he was no longer hungry. He pushed the tray away from him.
"No, the same person. I didn't know who I was with at first. My only clue was hair color and ... the type of skin." He looked at Annie, who was hatless for a change, but had her hair tied back in a braid. His throat was dry. She wasn't helping him with this as she was staring at him with a blank look on her face. "Did you know that every time I've seen you, you've been wearing a hat?"
She looked surprised, and then laughed. "When I first started working with Neela and Jam, I spilled like a whole bucket of paint on my head. The stuff I had to soak it my hair in to get the it out, well -- I should have shaved my head, it would have been easier. Anyway, it did a number on my scalp, which is still getting over it. So I'm very careful to keep my head covered at work, and then to protect my scalp the rest of the times. I guess I just tuck the rest of my hair up under my hat to get it off my neck." She looked down at her pigtail. "Maybe I should just chop it all off." She said, absently.
"No, don't do that," Adam blurted before he knew what he was saying. "I mean, no -- I'm sorry I said that. It's your hair, do whatever you like." He looked out the window at the thick snow covering the bushes and planters.
"So are you saying, you've been with me three times on the astral? Did we do anything? Did we do anything I missed last night? Because if we did, I'm going to try for darned sure to be awake next time!" She laughed.
"Annie, I don't want to be doing what we're doing on the astral. I've already told you, I've chosen not to have an intimate relationship in this lifetime," Adam patiently explained.
"These experiences haven't even whetted your curiosity? It's sure whetted mine!" Annie was taking all this fantastic information in stride and was enjoying herself immensely.
Adam got a little annoyed at her levity. "That's not the point, Annie. I choose to be senior to my body. I choose not to indulge my curiosity."
Annie leaned against her chair and propped her head up with her hand. "Listen, Spock, have you wondered why you're having these astral experiences? Do you think perhaps your higher self is allowing you to have astral experiences because you're denying yourself the same learning experiences on the physical?"
Adam was stunned. Not just because she'd picked up the moniker they had at work for him, but because she sounded exactly like his mother.
"But I am my higher self." He tried to regain his authority in the situation.
"Bosh, Adam. We are all spirit, we all have bodies, but we view our realities through our egos. We have a lifetime of creating our egos and cleansing them so we can see more clearly. Who's talking to me now -- Adam as spirit, or Adam's ego?" She didn't let him answer. "The neutral, amused, and detached part of you or the opinionated, judgmental side that needs to always be in control?"
"I don't need to respond to that," Adam said, huffily.
"You don't need to answer me, Adam; you only need to answer yourself." Annie said quietly.
He was a vortex of conflicting emotions. He had never felt so strongly towards anyone before. He wanted to shake her. He wanted to get up and run from the room. He was surprised to even find seething hatred coming up in reaction to her prodding.
Annie sat back, folded her arms across her chest, and smiled. "You are in a growth period, aren't you?"
He couldn't answer her.
"Listen, Adam," she leaned forward and, without thinking, put her hand over his. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. But if you want your astral experiences to stop, perhaps you should stop resisting an in-body social life."
Adam was surprised to find how comforting her touch was. "What, we should jump into bed together so I'll stop dreaming about it?" The moment he said it, he felt enormously embarrassed.
Annie was not embarrassed, however. "No, I mean, perhaps we should -- you know -- go on a date. Like normal people. Just a date. Dinner and a movie. It doesn't have to be romantic or anything, we could even just be friends going out." She made it sound like the most inviting and the easiest thing in the world.
Adam felt like he was fifteen years old instead of over thirty. He had never had a date in his life.
"You know, Adam, it's not going to be easy for me, either. I haven't had a date since my husband died. In fact, the last time I dated was before my marriage, and I was twenty."
"What about Bruno in the woods?" Adam asked.
She started to choke with laughter. " Theo ? The Neanderthal? He crashed that hiking party. It was supposed to be just me and my two friends, and he knew them from meetings so he asked himself along. No. I would never date even someone in recovery. It makes me too crazy." She thought back to that time. "I practically had to beat him off with a stick. Then I implied I was HIV positive and zoom! He was outta there." She looked down at the table. They were still holding hands. She turned her hazel eyes up to him. "Well, what about it?"
"Okay," he found himself saying. "What movie do you want to see?" He couldn't believe this. Here he was sitting in the University Hospital Cafeteria after a snowstorm at the age of thirty-one making the very first date of his life. With a woman he'd already made love to on the astral!
"Let me get a paper." Annie stood up and went to the machines against the far wall.
Adam suddenly found himself ravenous and wolfed down his dinner before she came back. He was aware he needed to get Jam's food to him upstairs, also. Annie walked slowly back, looking in the newspaper as she walked. She was a woman of so many contradictions, Adam thought. She had this outer layer of confidence and worldliness, but he sensed such vulnerability inside her. Even as she was acting so casual about being with him, Adam felt an underlying current of apprehension. Both of them were aware that he had not answered her original question, how he'd physically appeared in her bed and then disappeared. He wasn't ready to tell her the full truth about himself at this time, and she wasn't yet ready to hear it. When she got to the table, instead of sitting opposite him as she had at first, she sat beside him, so they could look at the movie section together. Adam was amazed how every nerve cell in his body sprang to attention at her proximity. He found himself wanting to look at her instead of the newspaper, and was annoyed by his lack of focus. He detected a subtle floral scent he hadn't noticed before from her, and wondered where it was from. Her clothes? Soap?
"Adam! Wake up!" Annie said sharply to him. She'd been asking him which of several films he'd like to see.
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that last bit, what did you say?" Adam planted his gaze onto the newsprint, although he couldn't see any of the words.
"I said, I'd rather see a comedy or maybe a sci-fi, but nothing with a lot of violence. Is that okay with you?" She had a smile in her voice.
Adam nodded, still not hearing.
Annie sighed and folded up the paper, which broke Adam's gaze and her looked back up at her. His eyes had a lost and helpless expression.
"Listen, lover boy, let's do it this way." Annie said with patience and understanding, like a teacher who found herself going too fast for her students having to go back and repeat the lesson in simpler terms. "Let's wait until the snow melts, and then set a day to go out. We can look at the paper then to decide on a movie, okay? They all change on Friday, anyway." Adam nodded. "Good. Now get that sandwich up to the new father. I have a bus to catch. I'll see you tomorrow."
By their third day at the hospital, Neela and Jam were at their wits' end. All they wanted to do was bring their baby home. They had never meant to be in a hospital in the first place; they'd chosen a home birth because they both disliked hospitals and especially doctors. Whenever they talked to an intern about the progress of their baby, they got the same runaround. The child had to stay in intensive care at least five days, for the run of the antibiotics, regardless of the improvement of its health. Cost and lack of insurance made no difference to the hospital. When Adam arrived, Annie was waiting in the lobby.
"We need your help," Annie said when she saw him.
"What do you mean?" Adam wondered if things had taken a turn for the worse. He'd picked up on Neela and Jam's distress on the way over.
"You know what I mean. Neela's no longer checked in at the maternity ward, they're camping out in the waiting room, and their baby is fine, or almost fine, or fine enough. You've got to do something." Annie had taken Adam's arm as he was walking, as if squeezing it was going to emphasize her point.
They got onto the elevator. "You want me to talk to someone?" Adam asked, hedging.
Annie pulled on his arm with impatience. "No! Just -- change it! I know you can do something to change this!"
Adam knew that she was asking him from a deeper place she wasn't entirely conscious of. "I'm not here to create change on a direct level." Adam said, responding directly to her question and not her level of awareness.
Annie was stunned into silence. The elevator doors opened and they got out. She wheeled around and faced him in the hallway.
"Then help me. Just stand there, the way you did at the birth, and help me. I'm going to try something." Annie said. Adam nodded so she grabbed his hand and pulled him to the NICU.
The nurse at the desk waved them by, and they went and scrubbed up. Neela and Jam were sleeping in the waiting area, so they didn't disturb them. In the unit, a nurse was checking the baby's monitors, so they patiently waited until she went to another incubator on the far end of the ward.
"Now, you just stand here. I want this section grounded and at gold, while I work." Annie whispered to him like one spy passing secrets to another.
Adam did as he was asked, feeling slightly strange. He'd done this on his own before, he'd done it with his mother and with others like him, but he'd never done this it an ordinary human being. Closing his eyes, he imagined himself connected to the center of the earth with a grounding cord of energy. Then he imagined the room connected in the same way, with its own grounding cord. Then he imagined the room filled with gold energy. Annie sighed when the gold filled the room. He watched Annie ground and center herself beside the incubator, and pass her hands over it, and under it. Then she put her hands inside and let one rest lightly on the baby's feet and the other on its head.
"We should have done this the first day. I can't believe it took me three days to think of it." She murmured as she worked.
"Neela and Jam have their lessons to learn. Maybe they needed three days here to learn them," Adam said in hushed tones. He was watching her move all the different doctors and nurses out of the infant's space, and was surprised to see her correcting some chakra damage. Was she consciously doing this? How did she know how to do it? In a few minutes, the incubator seemed filled with a bright, glowing light.
"There you are, baby," Annie said tenderly. "You can get in your body now." She removed her hands and stepped back from the incubator. Adam watched her close her eyes and do a short cleansing process on herself, before turning to him. Her face was glowing.
"Thanks for your help. I couldn't have done this without you," she said, gratefully.
As if on cue, a doctor came into the room. He was older than the other doctors they had seen, and obviously one with authority. He walked over and looked at the Johnson baby's chart.
"Are you the infant's parents?" he asked, looking over his glasses at them.
Adam shook his head. "I'm his ... uncle. The parents are in the waiting area… should I get them?"
"Please do." The doctor looked over at the baby.
"You know, I don't understand why a perfectly healthy baby needs to be taking up space in the intensive care unit. Don't you think you should send him home where he belongs?" Annie asked. "Everybody else keeps saying two more days, two more days, but it seems an unnecessary financial and emotional burden on the parents."
"Well, this is a training hospital, miss. You'll encounter varying degrees of experience with our interns. Five days is the standard amount of time; however, this child is full term, and his breathing is at a normal rate, no signs of jaundice." The doctor's mood changed from detached to confidential, "I think it might be all right to, let's say, flex the rules in this case."
Neela and Jam came hurrying in to the unit, with worried looks on their faces. They were anticipating more bad or frustrating news.
"Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, I am signing your child out. I believe he is healthy enough for you to take home," the doctor said.
They both erupted into tears of joy as their baby was handed over to them.
Neela kept saying, "It's a miracle, it's a miracle, praise the Lord! It's a miracle!"
Jam shook the doctor's hand, pumping it up and down and thanking him profusely. Finally the doctor extricated himself, and the family turned their joy towards Annie and Adam, thanking them for their tireless vigil with them, for their unsurpassed acts of friendship. Then a nurse came in to help them with the procedure for taking their child home, and Adam and Annie used the opportunity to extricate themselves as well.
Adam followed Annie out towards the elevators. About the time he was going to ask her a question, she turned around to ask him one, and they both spoke at once. They laughed, and Annie said, "You first."
Adam frowned and looked at Annie. "I was just going to ask you how you know what you know. I mean, you knew what you were doing back there, didn't you?"
Annie grinned. "Well, I was just going to offer you a ride home. The streets were clear enough to drive today. I can answer your question on the way."
Adam, who hadn't ridden his bike that morning due to the ice on the roads, gratefully accepted. It wasn't that he minded public transportation -- it gave him time to think -- but it was bone-chilling weather now the snow had gone.
"I trained at a mystery school," Annie explained, as they walked towards the parking lot. The University Hospital 's underground walkway had the piped in music of chirping birds. It was odd-sounding and out-of-place in the dead of winter.
"A what?" asked Adam, searching his memory for where he'd heard that term before.
"A mystery school. There are a lot of different places to learn the things I've learned, I just chose a mystery school. I learned basic meditation and healing techniques, and spiritual principles from at least first century AD, or actually the time of Christ," she said matte-of-factly, opening the car door for him.
"Spiritual principles," Adam echoed.
It wasn't a question, but Annie took it as one. "You see, and maybe I don't need to tell you this, spiritual and psychic mean the same thing, it's from the same root word in Greek. I believe the more you're aware of yourself as spirit, the more psychic you become."
"Go on," Adam said, eager to see how much she knew.
"Well, I believe we are all spirit, and we have bodies; you know, we reincarnate, we have different bodies, and each life time is a series of lessons, like a grade in school. Just a minute here -- I need to concentrate." Annie was pulling out into traffic and the road looked slick. "I wonder what the wind-chill factor is."
"Our bodies are like our cars?" Adam prodded.
"Huh? Oh, like a vehicle? What an interesting picture," Annie said, mulling on it. "Yeah, I guess so, but our bodies are so much more fun than cars. I mean, cars don't touch, taste, hear or feel emotions. Cars can't make babies, or baby cars. But we do drive more than one vehicle in a lifetime, and it takes us where we want to go. So as spirit we do have more than one body in a lifetime, and each body takes us on our path to God."
When she said the word God, Adam felt a tingling throughout his entire body. He knew it to be the energy of God, he was familiar with it because of his real work. But he had never known anyone other than his mother or those like himself to understand this energy. Annie had shown Adam, probably without realizing it, that she was familiar with this energy.
"Anyway, that's how I know what I do," Annie concluded. By this time she was crossing over the freeway and heading down Fiftieth Street towards Ballard. "Now, tell me this, Adam. How do you know what you know?"
Adam felt caught off guard. He'd been so carried away by what she was saying, he hadn't noticed she was going to ask that question. Usually he was able to tune into what people said before they said it, because they'd think about it first, and project an image he'd pick up. Like watching little photographs that appear before one speaks.
"I've had special training, too," Adam finally said, as they pulled up to a red light.
Annie leveled her hazel eyes on him. "Oh, yeah, one that teaches you to disappear and leave your underwear behind?"
Adam had been dreading that question. "Well, yes," he said simply. Keep the answers simple, he thought, and only answer what she asks. Her questions will indicate how much she's ready to hear or know.
The traffic started moving again. "You were a yogi in Tibet or something?" Annie asked, skeptically.
Adam couldn't lie, but he could prolong explaining the truth. "No."
Annie made an exasperated noise. "Why aren't you leveling with me, Adam? What's the big secret?"
"I don't feel I can reveal everything to you right now, but I will be as honest with you as possible," Adam said, truthfully.
Annie chewed on that one for a while. "Okay," she finally said, as they were pulling up to his house. "This may sound weird, but it just is the first thing that came to mind, so I'll run with it." She parked the car and turned to face Adam directly. "Are you a human being in a human body, or are you some other kind of being in a human body?"
Adam started. That was as close to the truth as he could have made it. "I think you'd better come inside," he said.
"Fine with me, it's colder than a witch's tit out here," Annie said, and climbed out.
Inside, Adam put on some water for tea, and they sat at the kitchen table. He took a little while, fumbling with mugs and tea bags, stalling an answer. Then he sat down and took a deep breath.
"The only person who knows the truth about me, besides my mother, is Paul, my dad." He began. "I really don't know you well enough to be telling you this, and yet you seem to be in my life for a reason. I'm not altogether sure why. Please understand that what I'm about to tell you is in the strictest confidence."
Annie propped her head up with her fists and stifled a yawn. "Get on with it." She feigned disinterest.
He started slowly. "I belong to an organization of beings that take bodies, in this case human bodies, and move them through time."
She looked at him, blankly. "Come again? English, this time?"
"I don't always live along linear time. I am assigned for to other time periods for short intervals. I do not consciously work at affecting my situation, but I create change simply by being there." Adam looked totally serious.
Annie sat back in her chair and looked him up and down. "You're not pulling my leg, are you?"
Adam shook his head. "I only tell you this to explain why I have the ability to transport myself the way I did that night with you. And I only reveal this much to you because you practically guessed it earlier."
She frowned. "Are you human? Or did you borrow that body?"
Adam laughed. “I'm not a walk-in, and I'm not an alien. I am a being. And, actually, I'm more human than any of my colleagues, because my body was gestated." Annie raised her eyebrows at this, so Adam kept going. "My mother's body was created ... um, I can't really explain how, but it was manifested -- she had no parents. But she gestated me; my father is Paul, who is human." He paused to see how she was taking this. When he and Moira had told his father, Paul had gone into such extreme transition that too much information either made him nauseated or gave him a migraine. It had taken several days to explain things to him.
Annie simply nodded her head. "Cool."
Cool. "Is that it?" Adam asked, not certain what he expected. Perhaps shock, or at least a "prove it" reaction.
"Well, I knew something was different about you from the first time I met you. Your energy feels different, for one thing. So what you've told me makes sense to me. It kind of gives me the missing pieces to your puzzle," Annie said, smiling at him.
Adam shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "What do you mean, ‘feel different'? I thought my vibratory level and density was pretty compatible with this era."
"Well, Mr. Spock, it is.” She laughed, “I mean, your energy is ... clearer. It's definitely male energy, but it's not thick with past experiences, or heavy with grief, which a lot of men have. I figured you to be an intense meditator, with some great routine for cleansing your space. Which you probably are, but I think it's something else as well."
Adam cocked his head to one side. "What is that?"
"Well, you're detached from other people. Sometimes you carry that to an extreme, and I thought you were just a loner who liked to isolate himself. But, now I understand, you are detached from our world, or my world. You have a connection through Moira and Paul, but you don't have strong ties to family, friends or places. Because you aren't going to stay here for very long. How am I doing, am I at least partially right?" Annie asked.
Adam felt like he was talking to his mother for a moment. She had the same way of expressing herself, of getting directly to the point, and of reading him so clearly.
"You are right on most points, but I think I am going to stay here, for a while at least," Adam said. Again, Annie's questioning eyebrows. "Well, I've been here for six years, only leaving every six months or so for either a tune-up -- er, a kind of astral and physical healing -- or a short assignment to another time." He stopped there, watching her. Was she understanding this?
It seemed so. She was leaning back in her chair, arms folded across her chest, looking him up and down. She was wearing her wool hat, pulled over her forehead, but her hair hung in a long, red braid, down one shoulder. She was squinting, which wrinkled up the freckles on her nose.
For the first time in his life, Adam found himself saying, "Well? What are you thinking?" Because he honestly couldn't tell.
She looked surprised. "I don't think I was thinking much of anything. I haven't made my mind up what I think. Oh, I believe you, I really do." Her voice faded, and then Adam was able to read her thoughts. But why tell me? Why me on the astral, too?
"I don't know," Adam answered, "I asked God that same question, and all I received was laughter as a reply."
It was Annie's turn to shift uncomfortably in her seat. "I didn't ask that question, Adam, I thought it."
"I know," Adam said, matter-of-factly. "I pick up on people's feelings, and their thoughts, so I usually know what they're going to say before they say it. I've developed a pretty good filtering system, though, so that I no longer know what the whole block is thinking and feeling. It was harder when I was a child."
"You traveled through time as a child, too?" Annie asked.
"Well, of course. I was with my mother and she couldn't stay anywhere longer than three weeks, so I was constantly on the move until I was about twelve; then my energy started changing. It turned out to be better for me to stay longer in places, so I began having chaperones on my assignments... " he stopped. He was telling her way more than she was asking.
"So that's why your dad took that job… so he'd be moving. She has to keep moving. Because she's not like you, right? She wasn't gestated, I get it. Oh, I bet she causes lots of change." Annie looked excited.
"How do you mean?" Adam said, knowing the answer but wanting to see if Annie did, too.
"Well, we all create change of some kind, wherever we go. We enhance or affect our surroundings. Every person is a thread in the tapestry of life, that kind of thing. But some people create more radical change. I bet that Moira, with her higher vibration, really shakes things up if she stays anywhere for long!" Annie laughed, not realizing how right she was. "You don't seem to be that kind of person. Your energy is more stabilizing." Annie's eyes opened wide. " Mount Rainier . You were meditating on Mount Rainier . Is that your assignment here?"
Adam was beginning to feel a little lightheaded. Annie seemed to be craving more and more information, and he was feeling blown out by imparting it. "Uh, Annie, I don't want to talk about my project --- I don't want to talk about Mount Rainier ." He looked at the clock on the stove. "It's getting kind of late." He really meant he didn't want to talk anymore.
"Okay, I'll only ask two more questions." Annie rose to go. "One, why don't you wear a watch, drive a car, or have any modern appliances here?"
Adam looked around, "I have a refrigerator and stove."
"I mean, you don't have a VCR, you don't have a cell-phone or a microwave… I'm surprised you own a TV. What gives?" Annie was standing behind her chair, tapping on it with her fingers.
"I don't do well with electrical things. My watches usually stop, if they're battery operated. The wind-up ones run too fast. I don't drive because I screw up the electrical system on cars. I don't seem to as a passenger, but behind the wheel, I do." Adam looked at his television. "I inherited the TV with the house from my dad, and I watch Star Trek on it."
Annie looked humorously surprised. " Star Trek ? Which one?"
"All of them. I started when I got hired at Marbanks. The whole office is Trek central; practically everybody has a nickname from a Star Trek character, we call the head office in San Francisco ‘Star Fleet Command', or ‘the Academy'. My dad was Captain Picard, my aunt Sarah is Captain Janeway, that sort of thing," Adam explained.
"And you're Spock." Annie smiled.
"Well, sometimes I'm Data, and I'd like to be the holographic doctor on ‘Voyager', but he doesn't have a name." Adam smiled back. "But since I took command, I'm Spock."
"Ah," Annie nodded. "Okay, last question."
"What?" Adam again could not read her.
"When do you want to go out?" Annie asked lightly.
The question hit him in the chest. This was really going to happen. "When do you want to go out?" Adam hedged.
"Oh, you chicken!" Annie accused. "Okay, I'll take the lead. How about this Saturday? We can go to dinner and figure out what movie we want to see. I could pick you up at, oh, six-thirty?"
Adam was thinking he'd rather meet her someplace, so he could escape home on his bike.
"No, you don't," Annie said. "On a date, we ride together. Be ready at six-thirty." Adam looked surprised. "Hey, you're not the only one who reads." She headed for the door. Before she let herself out, she turned to Adam, who was standing in the doorway of the kitchen. She raised her hand with her fingers splayed, so the index and center ones were separate from the ring and pinkie. It was a Vulcan salute. "Live long and prosper." She grinned, and left.