@Espeon_kitty08: Well yes, that's what everyone's been telling me. Happy you like it so far. Now, I'm not too concerned any more about people who shouldn't be reading this. It's not like I have any control over it. And trust me, I love reading stories with my favorite Pokemon in it. Telling from the first-person really made me emphasize the characters feelings a lot more than I could accomplish from any other perspective. Soru, well, let's say things are going to get interesting for him.
Well, Santa came to town last night, so I guess that means today is Christmas Day. Which means, as my gift to SPPf, I proudly present a new chapter of The Light in the Darkness.
Chapter 3: Making a Fresh Start
For the next few days, not much happened. According to Nurse Joy, I was being held for “observations.” I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere in the Pokemon Center without supervision, for fear that I may further injure my leg trying to overexert myself. Then there was that medicine that I kept taking to treat my headaches. Almost as soon as I took it, I was easily zonked out for the next few hours. While I appreciated her concern for my health, it’s no exaggeration for me to say that it was the most boring time in my life.
Kirk and Soru visited me often, mostly after Kirk had gotten home from work. Kirk would come in and give me a few pets and perhaps an ear scratch or two. As he did so he would whisper some words of endearment. He would also, much to chagrin of Nurse Joy, sneak in these yummy chocolate treats. I don’t know why it is, but chocolate tastes different from when I was human. Perhaps it is because of my enhanced senses that allowed for me to pick up on even the subtlest of tastes.
Even though Kirk’s company was nice, I found a little more enjoyment in talking with Soru, probably because he was pretty much the only one I could communicate with. At first though, Soru didn’t seem to keen on talking to me after our first encounter. He kept himself at a distance from my bed, not even daring to look toward me. Gradually, though, he became more comfortable, eventually sitting at the foot of my bed.
Most of the time, I was the one instigating the conversation, trying to get him involved. But when he did speak, I was fascinated by what he would say. Like this time where we were talking about the weather. Apparently it had been miserable since I had checked into the Pokemon Center. Soru told me that his species could pick up on the subtle changes in the atmosphere that often preceded a shift in the weather patterns and thus, could tell if a storm was approaching.
We didn’t just talk about the weather though. Soru also gave me some background about Kirk. I learned from him that Kirk was a young bachelor who just recently got out of post-graduate school. Apparently, he was working to become a lawyer and recently began to work at his father’s law firm. Unfortunately, Soru wasn’t able to tell me much about the logistics of his work. That was understandable though, since Pokemon really have no need to concern themselves with the human legal system.
However, there were things that I wasn’t able to coax out of Soru. Whenever I asked about his past, he quickly changed the subject. I decided not to further probe about the subject. It was his privacy after all. If he wished to discuss it, I would be willing to listen. That being said, I didn’t tell him about all that had happened to me either. It’s not that I didn’t trust him; I just wasn’t sure that he would believe what had happened. The last thing I wanted to do was lose the trust of one of the only creatures that I could communicate with.
Near the end of my stay, I was feeling much better. I was no longer having those painful headaches that were a result from an apparent concussion. It also didn’t hurt to walk on my back leg anymore. But as my health improved, a new worry came to my mind. What were they going to do with me once I was fully healed? I brought this up with Soru during one of our conversations.
“Don’t worry about that,” he assured me. “Kirk plans on taking you in once you’re given a clean bill of health. That is…if you have nowhere else to go.”
I didn’t know how to react. There was a sense of excitement of course. This meant I wouldn’t have to live out on the streets and forage for food, or deal with the mating patterns of a certain canine. I would have shelter, a roof over my head to protect me from the elements.
But at the same time, I couldn’t help feeling that by letting myself be taken into this man’s household, I would be permanently giving up my humanity. Plus, I really didn’t know Kirk and Soru. Were they really as benevolent as they seemed, or was this some guise veiling their true nature?
“Are you okay, Amber?” Soru inquired. Obviously, he was concerned by my lack of response.
“Yes, I’m fine,” I replied, not looking Soru directly in the eye. “Just a little surprised, that’s all.” Soru’s concern for me seemed genuine. I think that may have been the deciding factor. I decided that I would live with Kirk and Soru, at least until I could figure out a way to become human again. Perhaps I would even come to enjoy being an Eevee. I had to hold back a chuckle. As if…
Two days later, I was given a clean bill of health from Nurse Joy. Kirk and Soru were waiting for me out in the reception area, ready to escort me to my new home. From what Soru told me, they lived in an apartment building not far from where I had first met Kirk. So I would be living in some bachelor pad. Well, it was better than living on the streets.
The apartment was not too far away from the Pokemon Center, so we walked there rather than catch a taxi or a bus. The weather had greatly improved from what Soru had been describing, the humidity seeming to have dissipated with the last rainstorm. Kirk led our party down the sidewalks, myself closely following behind him. Soru voluntarily took position at the rear of the group.
During our walk, I began to take in the city from a new perspective. It was certainly different seeing the world through the eyes of an Eevee. Everything and everyone seemed to tower over my short stature. My new acute sense of smell allowed me to pick up on a number of odors that I would have never taken in as a human. Not that every odor was pleasant, but it was certainly an interesting feature that I would have to get used to. My ears seemed more alert to the many sounds of the city. There were the usual city noises, of course, but I was also picking up on some of the more subtle reverberations that most humans would not hear, such as the scurrying of the feet of the city Pokemon hidden in the alleys.
I glanced back at Soru. His head always seemed to be on the swivel, on the watch for something. He seemed a bit uptight, so I decided it was probably best not to talk to him. But when he happened to look in my direction, I gave him a cordial smile to show him some kindness. He responded with a curt nod and grunt before returning to his self-appointed watch duty.
After about fifteen minutes or so of walking, Kirk came to a stop. “Well, here we are,” he said, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk. Soru and I took up positions on either side of him. We were now standing in front of an apartment building.
The outer façade of the building was comprised of red brick and mortar, blending it into the older buildings in the surrounding area. Yet it bared the marks of a recent construction, probably built within the last five or so years as part of the previous mayor’s petition to improve the city’s residential buildings. My eyes traced up the side of the building, trying to count the number of floors.
Soru surprised me with his answer. I looked around Kirk’s legs at him. “Excuse me?” I inquired.
“There are thirteen floors in this apartment,” Soru answered. “You were trying to count them, right?”
I nodded and turned my eyes back to the building. Sure enough, there were thirteen floors. The architect must’ve had a sick sense of humor, I thought to myself. In all seriousness, why construct a building with thirteen floors? It didn’t make any sense. Then again, most things people do don’t make sense.
While I was contemplating this, Kirk and Soru were making their way in through the door. Not wanting to be left behind, I hastily followed. I just squeezed my way through the door and thought that I was in the clear. However, I had forgotten about one important part of my new anatomy: my tail.
The door clamped down upon my tail. The sudden sharp pain of the nerves being pinched caused me to let out a yelp. I tried to pull it out myself, but that only caused it to hurt worse. I had to restrain myself from crying. Luckily, Kirk and Soru heard me and ran over to see if I was all right. Soru stood to the side, shaking his head in pity while Kirk opened the door and freed my tail from its trap.
“Not used to having a tail?” Soru inquired rhetorically.
“Not really,” I replied without even realizing the sarcasm in his voice. He looked down at me somewhat perplexed by what I meant, but he didn’t inquire further.
The lobby of the apartment building was fairly nice. At one end of the room there was a collection of chairs and a large overstuffed sofa. There were racks with the current day’s newspapers stack inside, waiting for someone to take them. A coffee machine stood on an end table, ready to provide any resident with a morning pick-me-up. We walked past the residential manager’s desk, Kirk giving a curt nod to the man behind the desk. I wasn’t able to see his face, as it was obscured behind his newspaper.
On the opposite side of the lobby, we boarded an elevator, myself being careful not to catch my tail in the doors. We were fortunate enough to get an elevator to ourselves, but it wasn’t surprising, since it was the middle of the day. Most of the occupants were spending their time outside in the glorious weather. I was grateful for this amenity to be available so I wouldn’t have to climb all those stairs.
“Hey Soru,” I whispered, tugging gently on his ruff around his neck, much like a little kid tugging on their parent’s pants leg when they wish to garner their attention. “What floor—?”
“Seventh floor,” he responded before I could even finish asking my question. “Room 702.” He didn’t even bother to look down at me.
The floor lurched upward beneath me as the elevator groaned to life, causing me to lose balance. Our ride was fairly silent, thankfully lacking the cliché elevator music most facilities would play in their elevators. The only noise that I could recollect was the low hum of the elevator trudging its weight plus ours upward against gravity.
We reached our destination without having to make any other stops along the way. The elevator doors slid open and we disembarked. I found myself in a long, carpeted hallway. It had that hotel vibe to it, with the many doors making indents in the walls. Each door had the standard brass knocker and nameplate engraved with the apartment’s number. Room 718. Nope, not it.
I looked around only to realize that Soru and Kirk were no longer standing next to me. Luckily, they hadn’t gotten very far, only to the end of the hallway. I hustled over to catch up with them, only doing so when they had stopped in front of one of the doors. I caught a glimpse of the nameplate. Room 702. Yep, this was it.
Kirk pulled a set of keys out of his pocket, fumbling through them trying to find the right one. “I swear, I can never…ah-ha! Here it is!” He slid the key into the accompanying hole and, with a twist of the key and click of the lock, the door creaked open. “Here we are. Home, sweet home.”
In a gentlemanly manner, he held the door open for Soru and I, gesturing for us to enter first. Soru walked by his master without acknowledging him. I, on the other hand, thanked him properly, even though I knew all he could hear was a simply “vee” or something to that extent. Kirk smiled as I walked past and entered the room, shutting the door behind me.
For a bachelor’s pad, Kirk’s apartment was surprisingly well kept. I was able to walk around on the carpeted floors without tripping over any hazards. The main living area consisted of your basic television, chairs, and loveseat compilation. There was also a large pillow sitting on the floor on one side of the loveseat. I hazarded a guess that it was Soru’s bed. Much like the rest of the room, it was well kept and bared little sign that it had been slept on.
I was about to explore the rest of the apartment when there was a knock at the door. Kirk, who had just shut the door behind me, grumbled a little as he went to open the door. His mood changed immediately when he saw who had been knocking at his door. “Alex!” he exclaimed excitedly. “Come on in!”
Two figures walked into the room. The first was a tall young man, about the same age as Kirk. He was dressed in a plain white polo shirt and khaki shorts. I assumed that he was Alex. Following close behind was an interesting creature. He had a humanoid resemblance, but at the same time he was far from human. For one, his entire body was green, save for his arms and a few other spots, which were instead an aqua hue. Then there was the large lilypad on the top of his head. Yep, he was your typical Lombre for those of you who couldn’t decipher my explanation.
Kirk and Alex started talking to each other about some matters. As they talked, the Lombre walked over toward me. “Hola, chica,” he greeted me cheerfully. “You haven’t seen…ah, there he is. Hola, Soru!”
Soru had just come out of one of the rooms behind me. He spotted the Lombre and reluctantly walked over. “Nice to see you, Paco,” he replied. I don’t think he was all too thrilled to see him over at the moment.
“Hey, hombre, why the long face?” Paco chided, playfully punching Soru in the ribs. “Come on, let’s see a smile.”
I decided to leave the two of them to their own business. “If either of you are looking for me, I’ll be checking out the rest of the apartment,” I told them, heading toward the kitchen. Soru nodded politely to my request. However, Paco began to eye me curiously, making me very uncomfortable. I broke eye contact with him and left room, wondering what else the apartment held for me.
I watched as Amber left the room. She seemed to have hastened her exit when she had made eye contact with Paco. Frankly, I don’t blame her. You could say that Paco and I were friends, but we weren’t all that close. Paco’s master Alex had long been friends with my master, but I only just met Paco after I started living with Kirk. We were polar opposites. Where as I was reserved and quiet, Paco was outgoing and boisterous.
“Yo, hombre,” Paco spoke up as I was thinking. “What is with la chica?”
It took me a second to understand what Paco was asking. He sometimes mixed in words of this strange language into what he said, making conversing with him impossible at times. “Oh, you mean Amber?” I asked, guessing that was whom he was referring to.
“Yeah, yeah, the Eevee,” he replied. “I’ve never seen her before. She living with you now?”
I nodded in confirmation. “Kirk just adopted her,” I replied. I explained to him about the incident a few nights ago.
All Paco could do was shake his head. “Man, hombre, that’s rough,” he said. “At least she didn’t get…you know.”
I nodded absentmindedly, not really hearing the last few things he said. I was too preoccupied by thoughts of the last few days. Whenever we went to visit Amber at the Pokemon Center, I always felt nervous. There wasn’t any reason to be, of course. I knew she was going to be fine and all. But every time I would enter her room, I would suddenly become uptight.
I kept myself far away from her bed, never too keen to talk. However, Amber was insistent on talking to me. I guess she must have been really bored if she wanted to talk to me. Yet to my surprise, she seemed quite interested in what I talked about, especially about my ability to foresee weather conditions. I guess I never considered it interesting myself, since I had grown accustomed to it over the years.
The more I talked to Amber, the more comfortable I became. I don’t know what it was about her, but she seemed to have an aura about her that relaxed me. All those uptight feelings I had were quelled by her relaxed demeanor. However, there were things I refused to discuss with her. Anytime she would inquire about my past, I would quickly change the subject. Perhaps it was a little rude, but it was a topic that I did not wish to discuss.
“Yo, Earth to Soru. You still with us, hombre?”
Paco brought me back to reality. “I…I’m sorry,” I apologized. “I guess I was distracted…”
“Thinking about her?”
I was caught a little off-guard. “What?” I inquired, a little confused by what he meant.
“You know, Amber,” he explained, pointing to the doorway she had just went through. “You’re acting a little strange.”
I gave Paco a queer look. “What would make you say that?”
“Oh…just the way you acted there,” he replied. “You didn’t seem to hear what I said, and you stared off in the direction she left. One and one adds up to dos, mi amigo.”
For a moment, I considered correcting his last statement, but he had hit everything else dead on. “Yeah, I guess so…” I conceded. My cheeks began to feel a little bit warmish.
Paco chuckled. “Seems like someone has a little crush on the little chica there,” he chided, elbowing me in my ribs playfully.
I recoiled in shock. “What!? Y-y-you think I have a crush on A-amber?” I stammered. At his chiding, my cheeks were now burning hot.
“Well, judging by your reaction and how bright red your cheeks are, then I would say so,” he replied. “Give it up, hombre. You’ve pretty much given yourself away.”
I sighed, conceding defeat. “I guess I do have a little crush on her,” I admitted quietly. “There’s just something about her that…”
“All right, all right!” Paco interrupted, laughing a little. “I don’t want you to turn this into a romance story! I just wanted you to admit you liked her."
After he said that, I felt a surge of anger build up in my chest. Without a second thought, I lunged at a wide-eyed Paco and pinned him against the wall. “Whatever you do, don’t tell anyone,” I snarled at him angrily. “Especially Amber.”
Poor Paco was frightened by my sudden shift in behavior. “Y-y-yes, I-I p-p-promise,” he stuttered. His body was quivering violently.
Satisfied he was telling the truth, I released him. Immediately, the anger seemed to decamp from my chest. “I-I’m sorry, Paco,” I apologized emphatically. “I don’t know what came over me there.”
Paco rubbed the back of his neck. “You really need to learn to take a joke, hombre,” he said. He still seemed a little nervous over what had just happened.
“True,” I conceded. “I really shouldn’t have done that.”
Then, much to my surprise, Paco laughed. “It’s all right,” he assured me. “I probably shouldn’t have pushed it as far as I did.”
His acceptance of my apology relieved some of my tension. Paco was never one to hold a grudge. “Thank you,” I said. I started to walk over to the kitchen, where our masters were talking. Then, I looked back at Paco one last time. “You promise to not tell anyone about what I said?”
Paco nodded vigorously. “Don’t worry,” he promised. “Your secret is safe with me.”
I thanked him again and walked away. I really hope it is, I thought to myself as I crossed the threshold into the kitchen.
<End Chapter 3>