Cruz Castle Grounds, Windenburg, 2028
It was the evening after the Evil Genius and Sweglord youths arrived back from Granite Falls. Henry watched Alex from outside the Royal Palace. His palms were sweaty. Better speak with him before someone sees me, he thought. Henry didn't move. Come on Henry, it's only Alex. Why am I so afraid? Of course Henry knew the answer.
After a few deep breaths, Henry descended the hill.
"Hello Henry," said Alex, hearing his friend's footsteps. He seemed just as nervous as Henry. His eyes flickered up to the castle behind him. "I know a place, Henry. Follow me."
Alex showed Henry to a spot among the bushes. "Oh I know this place!" cried Henry, sprinting past Alex. "This was where you planted your first kiss on my chin."
"Yes Henry," said Alex, with a twang of annoyance, "but many other... magical things happened here too."
Henry frowned. "What? You helping me with my maths homework?"
"Who got A+s in their grade nine exams?" said Alex and he stepped closer, placing his arms around Henry's waist. Henry lowered his eyes and smiled. He twisted his body around and took a step back, breaking the intimacy. Alex was disappointed.
"Hey Alex I forgot to tell you! Yesterday, when I came home from our trip to Granite Falls, papa surprised me with a present...."
"Oh Henry," Alex cut in. "How are your family taking the news?"
"What news?" said Henry.
"Your cousins, Henry. How are your family taking the news about your..."
"Dead cousins?" Henry finished the sentence. "The rest of the family don't know yet. Paris has kept it from the papers for the time being."
Alex frowned. "Really? Why?"
"Don't know, but Paris has apparently booked a day to tell them."
Henry's memory shifted to the night before when he and the surviving cousins were dropped off at the Grandmaster's mansion. Paris told him to not say a word about the deaths to his parents. She wanted to tell them the next weekend when the entire family were gathered to celebrate the foundation of the Sweglords. Henry was too uncomfortable to protest. He had picked up a rash while he was in Granite Falls. Luckily the blotches on his skin cleared up by the next evening, just in time for his meeting with Alex.
"Anyway, Alex," said Henry, "papa brought me a new.... well, he was coming home from the vets when he came across a.... and he thought he was perfect for me..." Henry trailed off as he noticed Alex's eyes transfixed on his bottom lip. Gah! he thought. "Come here Alex," he said, although he didn't give Alex much of a say in the matter as he seized Alex's waist, pressing his body to his.
"Hmm... Henry?" said Alex, in-between breaths.
"What?" sighed Henry. He clasped his arms tighter around Alex's shoulders.
"Tell me my kissing abilities haven't improved."
"Your silence abilities certainly haven't."
"Oh come on, you love hearing my voice."
"Not when it's just to relive a conversation from yesterday."
"Isn't that why we're here Henry?" said Alex. "I haven't met your adorable bottom lip since, well, you know..."
"Your parents died, I know," said Henry. "I was worried you wouldn't want to, since... uhm... my family... uhm... may have... uhm... well, your parents... uhm."
The two best friends broke away. Alex glanced down, his lips drooping and his eyes heavy.
Oh please don't have second thoughts now, Alex. Henry's heart was throbbing.
"Henry," said Alex. He lifted his head, his eyes hard, but sincere. "I think I've made myself pretty clear over the year that I still lo..."
"Alex," said Henry, "before you say anything soppy, I want to tell you that I got a dog."
"Meet Whisper," said Henry. He picked up a small black and white puppy with a typical 'Hellewell' spiky collar around his neck. He stared at Alex quisitively. Alex stared back, a reluctant smile spreading across his lips.
"Oh, is this the present your papa gave you?"
"Uh-huh," said Henry. "Papa found him wandering around a park in Windenburg, on his way back from work. We don't know if he's a stray yet, but apparently he was pretty dirty and riddled with fleas, so he probably is, but if no one claims him in the next couple of weeks, he's mine."
Henry beamed. Alex mirrored him.
"Wonderful, Henry," he said.
"Uhm, I was thinking," said Henry, "you and your puppy, Loki, could join us for Sunday walks around Brindleton Bay?"
Alex's smile remained artificially planted on his face.
"Alex are you alright?" said Henry. "Look, if you don't want to, that's fine. I'm aware you have a strict routine for Loki..."
Yes I do, thought Alex. It's one, stay away from me, and two, if by chance I do spot his... existence, he shall spend the rest of the night outside, come rain or shine... Of course I have to catch him first. Oh and lastly, he must try his hardest to not be so... needy. For example, he can't get smelly, and he better be grateful should I remember to feed him.
"It's just Alex," said Henry, "I thought it would be nice, since we could have picnics up at the lighthouse. I know barely anybody goes there... it could be another couple of hours of us together."
Aww, Alex's heart sighed.
"Of course Henry," he said. "Loki loves walks in the park. If only my own royal schedule allowed for more time between us... but I think, we could fit a couple of hours in for you two."
"Great!" said Henry. "Hear that Whisper? You and Loki are going to be best friends. I'm sure of it!"
Whisper closed his eyes and his tail wagged as Henry stroked his cheek.
Humph! thought Alex. Smelly, slobbery, snotty, pooey demanding little rascals! Why are you ruining your life, Henry?
The Goodie Two Shoes Interrogation Room, 1977
All was quiet in the Goodie Two Shoes' interrogation chamber. Apart from the sound of technology popping and beeping - nothing living could be heard at all... until...
A loud click and the front door creaked open revealing a young woman.
She marched to the corner of the room.
"Aha," she said. "Just what I was looking for. Why is it always down to the bosses to get things done?"
His Evil Services Headquarters, Newcrest 1977
A woman in white entered the reception of His Evil Services' headquarters.
Eva Fowl, the receptionist, continued typing, as if she hadn't noticed the woman's loud knock, heavy strides to her desk and obvious cough.
"Ehem, hello Eva, I know you know I'm here and I wish to speak to your boss."
Eva looked up, then smiled coldly. "Oh Chloe Just! Totally missed you through your 'Goodie Two Shoes'.... aura."
Chloe kept a straight face. "It's Director Just to you, Eva," she said.
Eva rolled her eyes, then pressed a red button on her desk. M. Doom entered the room.
"M. Doom, this is Chloe Just," said Eva.
"Thank you Eva," said M. Doom, "but we had a chat in the sauna last week."
Eva peered at Chloe suspiciously. "You did?" she said.
"Yes," said Chloe. "Anyway, you and I, Doom, need to chat...." she looked at Eva, "in private."
"Oh no we don't," said M. Doom. "You need to tell me right now what you have done with our... fireworks?"
Chloe smiled. "Oh... them... we thought it would be amusing to claim our present a little early. Those fireworks were intended for us... were they not? Too bad they looked a little too... explosive for our liking. They could hurt people. So, we were planning to destroy them - for safety reasons, when we discovered someone stole them. Now, if it wasn't you stealing them back, who could it be?"
Note: I would like to thank Bugsie2016 for donating Whisper to Henry. Henry adores Whisper and the dog is still his favourite topic of conversation, to Alex's disapproval. XD If you would like to know about Whisper's relatives, his father Ninja is from Bugsie's apocalypse drama, What Are We Really Made Of, and his grandfather Teddy is from her Legacy story, The Burton Legacy. Both fantastic reads! :)