My Imaginary Boyfriend, Episode Nine: And Greet

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Dizzy. So very dizzy.

And nauseated.

My entire body feels heavy. Everything aches and nothing will move. The room is hot, blazing hot. My mouth, dried out, tastes like metal and cotton. I gasp for breaths, but my chest barely moves.

The voices. They're so loud. My head pounds at each sound. I wish they would just stop talking.

"What did you do to her?" The girl screeches. Her words echo through my ears. Oh, it hurts.

"I didn't do anything! I didn't mean to, anyway." A male voice, one I recognize. I can't place it right now, but I don't want to. I just want to go back to sleep. Please, please just be quiet.

"Didn't do anything? This doesn't look like nothing!" This time it's a boy yelling. Why won't they just stop? I squeeze my eyes tightly and turn my head away from the irritating noise.

"Alec, lower your voice." The familiar voice again, this time a bit softer. "Guys, look. I think she's coming to."

A hand, smooth and cool, rests against my forehead for a moment. I groan and struggle against the gunk sealing my eyelids shut. Another hand, warm and calloused, slips into mine.

"Emily? Emily, can you hear me?"

"Don't rush her, Rykel." That annoying boy again. Why does he sound so mad?

"Emily, you don't know me, but don't worry." Now the girl's voice - quieter, softer. She sounds much nicer this way. Her voice is pretty. "Alec and I will take care of everything." She goes quiet. What is she talking about?

What is going on?

I finally manage to open my eyes, taking in a shock of curly red hair next to a familiar pair of concerned blue eyes before I slam my eyes closed again. "The light. It hurts."

"She can talk. That's good." The worried boy. He sounds relieved now. Why wouldn't I be able to talk?

The girl speaks again. "Alec, shush. Don't worry, Emily, you don't need to open your eyes. Just... just tell me, do you think you can move? I mean, what hurts?"

I groan again. "Everything."

The girl laughs, but it sounds forced. "Well don't overdo yourself, then. My name's Nissa. We'll take care of things, okay? You just rest there for a minute." I hear the squeak of shoes against bare floor as the girl walks away, then the low hum of voices too far from me to make anything out. The person holding my hand remains, though.

I pour all my energy into clearing my head. Focus, Emily. Try to remember. Rykel and I were on a date... the roller rink... the kiss. Oh yeah. Hm. "Rykel?"

"I'm right here." He squeezes my hand.

"What happened?"

He clears his throat and lowers his voice. "Well. Um. You blacked out."

I laugh. It makes my chest and stomach hurt, but really, nothing is throbbing or burning. I'm just aching all over, and so very tired. "Yeah. I figured that much out."

He laughs too, but the sound is strained. "I'm not really sure what happened. I mean..."

I open my eyes just a crack and force myself to wait for them to adjust, ignoring the burn of the lights. Eventually I manage to open them all the way and focus on Rykel kneeling beside me. "Help me sit up?"

"Are you sure that's a good idea?"

I stretch my arms out in front of me, releasing his hand. "Yeah. I'm fine now. Just sore."

He slides over behind my head, still kneeling on the ground, and hooks his arms under mine. Slowly he drags me over to the side railing of the rink. I notice a red-haired girl and a very tall brunette guy standing towards the end of the rink... in pajamas? That must be Nissa and Alec.

Once I'm sitting with my back propped up against the railing, I pull my feet up to my side and start unlacing the roller skates. I nod my head in Nissa and Alec's direction. "Friends of yours?"

Rykel rubs the back of his neck and glances towards them. "Yeah." There's a pause before he continues. "Actually, they... we go to Polytech together."

It takes me a few minutes to understand what he's saying. They're Conductives too, with powers. "Oh." I set my roller skates next to me and tuck the laces inside before meeting his gaze. "So..."

He smiles a little and shrugs, but it's clear to me that this is not the grinning, cocky Rykel I know. Neither of us is really sure what to say.

I have plenty of questions. Might as well get them out. "How long was I out?"

He shrugs. "Maybe ten minutes? Fifteen? I'm not sure."

I nod. Longer than I thought, but then, there had to have been enough time for Rykel to contact Nissa and Alec and for them to get here. "Okay. Um... you said you don't know what really happened? You know, like... why I blacked out?"

He blushes. Rykel is blushing. Huh. "Well, I'm guessing something about electricity and, um, kissing had something to do with it."

I laugh. I can't help it. "Alright then. We'll leave it at that for now." I look back over to Nissa and Alec, who are watching us, and look like they don't want us to know that. "Are they... are they both like you?"

"Conductives? Yeah. But they have different release skills."

I raise my eyebrows but refrain from asking. I know there's a lot of rules about secrecy at Polytech. If Rykel wanted to tell me about his friends, he'd have told me.

"Can I meet them? Properly, I mean?"

Finally a real Rykel grin. "Sure. Why not? You think you can walk?"

I nod. With one arm over Rykel's neck and most of my weight on him, I manage to stand up. I brace myself for dizziness or nausea, but nothing comes. Nothing except the sensation that my entire body is so heavy and all I want to do is go to bed. I ease myself away from Rykel and roll my shoulders and neck. Rykel slips his hand into mine and we walk towards his friends.

Nissa smiles as we approach. Alec examines me from head to toe. "Are you feeling better? Sure you should be walking?"

I smile and nod. "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine now. Thanks. For everything."

Alec smiles. "Okay, good. Good." There's an awkward pause in which all of us just stand and look at each other.

"So, I'm Emily." I hold my free hand out to Nissa.

She jumps out to take it. "Oh! Of course. Sorry. Nissa." Her hair bounces around her head with every movement.

I nod and turn to Alec, who stands off to the side, looking at Nissa. "You're Alec, yeah?"

He turns his gaze towards me. "Yep. That's me."

Another heavy silence follows. Finally, I speak. "Thanks, Nissa, Alec. I'm sure you guys were a great help tonight. But I'm really sore and tired, and it's probably like four in the morning by now, so if you don't mind..."

Nissa nods. "Oh, yeah, of course. It was nice to meet you, even under the circumstances." She pulls me into a warm hug before stepping back beside Alec. "We'll be leaving you two, then."

Alec and Nissa head for the front door of the building. I slide my hand into Rykel's and we follow them silently. He hits the lights and pulls the door shut behind us, picking the padlock up off the pavement and clicking it back into place.

It's a long ride back to the little coffee shop right off campus, with the roar of the motorcycle's engines the only sound. Once we arrive, I climb off the cycle and adjust my purse nervously. How should I say goodbye after a night like that?

Rykel nods to me. "See you later, sweetheart."

I nod back. "Later."

He grips the handlebars and prepares to set off. I jump towards him and kiss his cheek. He turns to me, a strange, startled expression on his face. I smile shyly. "Good night."

With another nod, he revs the engine and drives away.


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