Laresa's World Ch. 14: Alexis/ClaybyRedHairedandFriendly©
Alexis rolled her neck and used one hand to knead the cords that were tired and knotted. She rubbed her eyes, wishing that the day was over and she was back in bed with her husband nestled beside her. Her other hand moved to her stomach, a swift kick had been delivered from the babe hidden within. "Calm down," she whispered and rubbed the tender spot, laughing at the protrusion that stuck out of her belly. "Just a few more weeks ," she told herself and went back to logging in the newest acquisitions from the museum.
A few more hours passed before she was ready to go back to the basement and open more crates. Carefully she took the steps down to the lowest parts of the Museum and called out to Tom, the security guard who had positioned himself outside the door to the main storage room. "Afternoon Missus St. Clair. How has your day been?" Tom asked, lifting his hand to tip back his hat.
Alexis looked down at her watch and sighed, "It is only afternoon, isn't it. . ." Alexis smiled and patiently waited for the middle-aged man to open the door for her. His keys jingled and the familiar sound set her mind at ease. She always hated coming down here alone and was thankful that someone was always around.
She loved the past, but she didn't like some of the legends that often came with the work she cataloged. Alexis was often chiding herself and her imagination as she worked side by side with ancient Egyptian artifacts. She would constantly see herself being led into a dark abyss, or swallowed up by a mummy, similar to those played by actors in the movies. Curses were another thing often overplayed in her mind.
"How long will you be?" Tom asked as he held the door open for her. Alexis shrugged her shoulders.
"I hope not for long. I'd rather be home right now with my feet up and Clay rubbing the aches out of them. I swear I'm carrying a quarterback inside me instead of being married to one."
Tom chuckled and then winked while nodding to her pregnant belly. "You're carrying twins Missus St. Claire. I'd bet my life savings on it."
"Bite your tongue. The doc claims only one in there." Alexis told him and then asked, "How much is your life savings?"
"I don't have one."
"An easy bet than, huh." She stuck out her tongue when he told her even Doctor's have been wrong.
Alexis sighed as she was left alone in the large room where the lighting was dim and the air stale. She pulled on a blue coat, similar to those that scientist wore in their labs and grabbed a crowbar. Soon she had her arms elbow deep in packing materials. Sometimes she worked in sawdust, other times she worked in styrofoam pebbles. Very rarely she was welcomed with bubble wrap and soft paper. When the door to the room opened, she was surprised by all she'd accomplished and by the hours that had ticked by.
"Give me one more hour and I'll be all done," she said, not checking to see if it was Tom who'd invaded her space.
"One hour than," a deep baritone voice replied.
Alexis spun around and grinned. Clay stood there with Tom behind him. "Hey you " she said and darted over to him as fast as her body would allow. Clay met her halfway and kissed her lips. Tom coughed and then winked before shutting the door behind them.
"Hello gorgeous," he said before dropping to his knees and kissing her satin blouse, where his child lay safely tucked away.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, when he'd returned to face her.
"I thought I'd take you out to dinner. But I can wait an hour." Clay turned her around and gently nudged her to the crate she'd been opening. "I'll finish opening it and then let you take over from there, because I don't know shit about this stuff."
Alexis laughed and watched her husband of four years open the crate with ease. His muscles moved like fine machines that were oiled to perfection. She had met Clay during an after game party she'd attended with a friend. She was immediately drawn to him, but then again he was the star player for the team and every girl in the room was ogling the six-foot four quarterback. It was an hour into the event when she felt someone brush against her and ask if she wanted to leave. Alexis had turned and felt a spark of heat roll through her. She didn't hesitate, leaving with Clay and not looking back.
Six months later they were married and now four years later she was expecting their first baby. Clay finished his contract out with the pro team he'd been playing for and they moved to a quiet town in the middle of no where. Now she worked in a museum in the city and they had a ranch in the country. Nothing, she told herself as she dug through the styrofoam could make her world better than it was now.
Alexis cataloged everything from the crate and then began to vacuum up the white pebbles of packing material from inside the crate. She watched the bag fill with the foam; Clay she saw, out of the corner of her eye, begin to push empty crates into a corner, where he'd pushed them before. She was glad he'd come down to take her to dinner, the extra help he was offering now was much appreciated. When she was finished she looked down into the crate to make sure there were no more styrofoam pellets. "What are you doing in there?" she said.
"What?" Clay asked, as he walked up behind her.
"That," she said, pointing to the object of interest. "I cataloged everything," she said and shrugged her shoulders. "Can you reach it?" she asked.
"Sure," Clay answered. He bent over, and as he reached for the gold band Alexis slapped his ass. "Hey " he shouted and then came up, with the ring in his hand. "Just for that you have to wait till supper to see what this is."
"What? You can't take it out of the museum." Alexis rolled her eyes and held out her hand. "Hand it over," she said, lifting her brows in a 'I told you too' manner.
"Why not? You said you cataloged everything right?"
"Yes," she replied, "but I still can't keep it. . . whatever it is."
"It is a ring," Clay said and deposited it into her palm. "I doubt it is real, because the band is just gold and the stone looks like those rusty looking ones from the quarter machines."
Alexis laughed. "It's amber, you goof. I don't know if it is real or not, but it isn't mine and . . ."
"Awww. . .come on, it's probably from a cracker jack box and some chick lost it when she was packing up the really good stuff." Clay took the ring back and pushed it into his pocket. "Now, dinner. My child is starving."
"Your child is eating like a grown man. I'm going to let you enjoy your moment of theft, but the ring goes back tomorrow. If it is real than someone is very upset they lost it. I'll call the shipping company tomorrow and see if anyone reported losing it."
Clay grinned and hooked his arm around his wife's body. "Fine," he said and led her back to the door. They walked hand in hand, waving goodbye to Tom, who was talking to the second shift guard. He waved back and shouted, "Twins. I tell ya Twins "
Alexis growled and Clay laughed. They stopped by her office, grabbed her purse and coat and then headed out to Clay's Cadillac. Eventually, Alexis head was on her husband's shoulder and her eyes were closed. Clay felt the ring in his pocket and gently eased it out, leaving one hand on the wheel and moving with care so he didn't disturb his tired wife.
Clay studied the ring briefly and swore he felt a warm tingling sensation running through his fingers. He chastised himself and then cursed when he noticed he'd missed his turn. Alexis woke up and looked around. "What?" she asked.
"Oh I was looking at the cracker jack prize and missed my road." He pushed the ring onto his pinky and then turned into a used car dealership, turned around and headed back the way he'd come.
"Well, I'm starved," Alexis said and smoothed down her hair, reapplied her make-up and patted her stomach. "So is the team."
"The team?" Clay asked.
"According to Tom," she laughed.
Clay rolled his eyes and turned onto the street and then into a parking spot in front of Red Lobster. He chuckled to himself, remembering the hundred dollar plates of food he wined and dined Alexis on and then realized she was a simple woman and Red Lobster was her idea of fine dining. Absentmindedly, he rolled the ring with his thumb and then stared into his rearview mirror. "Who the fuck are you?" he said and turned around in his seat, pushing Alexis head down and trying to protect her.
His eyes were wide and his apparent need to protect his wife from the strange woman in the backseat were clearly written all over his face and in his protective stance. "Were you laying in the backseat this whole time? What the hell do you want?" he said.
"Clay? What's going on?" Alexis shouted, though it was hard to do. Her words came out muffled as her head was forcefully tucked as far down as her protruding belly would allow. "Let me up, damn it, I can't breathe "
Clay released his hold, ordered her from the car and waited for the woman he was staring at to speak. Alexis turned around. Her jaw dropped and her hand fell away from the door handle. "Holy fuck," she muttered.
"Get out of the car," Clay said, unsure if he meant his wife or the intruder, either one worked for him though.
"Mast. . ."
Both women spoke at the same time. Clay turned to Alexis, feeling her hand on his arm. "Clay calm down. She's not going to hurt us," Alexis said. Her gaze never left the scantily clad woman. "You're a Djinn aren't you?" she asked.
"A what?" Clay responded before the stranger could speak. "You know her?"
"A genie, Clay. She's a genie. Now how she got here is another question. But she probably won't answer me. I think she belongs to you," Alexis said, still studying the woman.
"A genie? Like 'I dream of . . ."
"No " the woman replied, her voice full of annoyance. Alexis laughed. "I bet you get that all the time," she said. She watched the look of agreement pass on the beautiful creatures face. "You're his aren't you?" she asked again, this time noting the agreeable expression.
"Mine? Why?" Clay asked.
"You wear the ring," the woman replied. "You summoned me from it and I am here to serve. I am called Laresa."
"Laresa," Alexis repeated the name and sighed. "I've heard of you," she whispered.
Laresa's eyes grew wide. "You have?" she asked, suddenly lost in the desire to learn more about herself.
"Hey now," Clay said gruffly. "I need answers. I haven't heard of you, so who and what are you?" he said, barely releasing the tension in his shoulders.
"I am Laresa. I am a Djinn, a genie. I can grant most of your wishes, but not all. I am not limited to three, but as long as you are in possession of my home," she nodded to the amber ring, "I am yours to command. My soul purpose is to please you and bring you joy and happiness."
"How does my wife know you?" he asked.
"I do not know Master. I could read her mind if. . ."
"NO " he demanded. "I don't want you floating around in our heads. No mind reading "
"Clay, I don't know her personally. I know of her. Well, her legend. Remember where I work and what I do," Alexis said. "Laresa, I work in a museum. A place where we keep ancient artifacts and scrolls, several thousands of years old. There is one in our Egyptian display that translates dialog about a woman of great beauty and power, known as Laresa of the Ring. It is of course folklore, but obviously. . .that was bullshit."
"I have heard of museums and I have seen several, but no one has mentioned me before in them. Only a few Masters and Mistresses have known of my existence before I appeared. I would like to," she stopped and lowered her head, "I am sorry. I am here to serve you Master, what is it you wish?" she asked, looking back up at Clay.
"Answers," Clay muttered and turned around in his seat. He glanced nervously, through the rearview mirror, at the woman who barely wore any clothes. "Put something on. I have to feed Alexis and the baby and you can't go in there looking like that."
Clay and Alexis watched in awe as Laresa's clothing seemed to morph into a blouse similar to what Alexis wore and a skirt, much the same color and design. "Holy shit," they both muttered. "You are civilized right?" Clay asked. The look he got from the violet eyes of the genie and the blue ones of Alexis told him he'd asked the wrong question. "Sorry," he muttered and opened the door.
Inside the restaurant, Clay insisted on the private dining room. He knew it was normally reserved for parties and big affairs, but he forked over enough money to guarantee that he had it for the next several hours and only one server would be allowed to wait on them. Once settled into their chairs and their food ordered, Clay turned toward Laresa.
"Now. . .Alexis has more knowledge of you, so I'm going to give her the ring. What does this mean to you?" he asked.
Laresa's jaw dropped. She'd never heard of such a thing, just giving the ring away. She swallowed the words of disbelief and looked down on her home that sat on her Master's finger. "Master, you would lose all rights to me and I would belong to your wife. Your wishes would no longer be granted, but only her's would be the ones I granted."
"Well, we'll worry about all that later," he said and slipped the ring off, passing it to Alexis who slipped it on.
Laresa blinked several times, feeling the slight shift in power as it was transferred to the woman who sat across from her. "Mistress how may I serve you?" she asked.
"Laresa, I have no real need right now. Just answers to questions. Can you answer them?" she asked.
"I can answer as much as I know. I can not answer things I do not know the answers too."
"Sounds fair," Clay said and poured himself a glass of wine. He downed it as he listened to his wife interrogate their genie.
Laresa told her Mistress the memory she'd been given by Alex concerning her journey into the ring. She spoke of the Master that had mentioned her in the scrolls of Egypt. She told of her travels though time and how many had lost her. The rules were explained and discussed at length. When Laresa was asked if she could have her freedom with a wish, she answered her the only way she knew how, truthfully.
"Mistress, I do not know how to gain my freedom. It is something that has often been wished by those that claim to love me, but the wish is never answered. I am a young genie compared to many. There are rumors of tricks to free us, but I do not know them. I know we can be destroyed," she explained how and all three of them shuddered.
"We'll not be destroying you," Clay answered, a hint of anger in his voice for those that would seek to destroy another.
Laresa smiled as the night continued. She spoke of herself and filled the couple in on several things in her life that had effected mankind; not all for the good, she admitted. When they left the restaurant Clay was wearing the ring and Alexis was grinning from ear to ear. "Laresa, we aren't going to use you. I mean. . . we aren't going to demand you give us millions or cast someone into the far reaches of hell. I think you just need to experience life, for as long as we have you."
Laresa swallowed, unsure as to what to do with such a gift. Who were these people? Why were they not demanding a new house or new car? Why were they not asking her to give them job promotions or vast amounts of wealth? Were there really people out there that just wanted to live life the way it was supposed to be lived? "Master, if this is true, may I live like you and Alexis?" she asked.
"Yes," Clay replied and chuckled when Laresa grinned. She slipped off her shoes and wiggled her toes. Her fingers ran over the leather of the seat and she scooted up to the window to stare at the world as her Master drove the car home.
When they arrived Laresa glanced at the couple and opened the door, immediately the sounds and smells of the ranch assailed her and she breathed deep the different smells. Clay had granted her a wish unlike anything she'd imagined. She was close to being a real human, as close as she could be without being free of the power that kept her tethered to her ring. She felt the gentle push of "go on" roll over her thoughts and she timidly began to explore the ranch.
Clay and Alexis watched their genie move toward the stables. They thought of following her, but decided to let her come back to them when she was ready. Together they moved as one into their simple home and quietly headed upstairs.
Weeks past and Laresa had become a constant in Clay and Alexis life. She chose to accompany Alexis to work, under the guise as Clay's sister. She was welcomed at the company parties and even worked side by side with Alexis when she cataloged several ancient artifacts. Many times Laresa would willingly offer history on the artifacts. The pull of the ring was always there, but rarely was she summoned or asked to perform a duty. Clay would keep the ring on his pinky, unless Alexis asked for it. On those days Laresa was off to explore the city with her friend and shop for baby clothes.
Her Master and Mistress's wishes were small compared to the ones she'd granted most of her life. Clay would burn dinner and ask for Laresa to repair it. Once Alexis burned Clay's shirt when she was ironing and Laresa was asked to fix the favored material. Simple things, like having the dishes washed or the laundry done were granted with mere flicks of Laresa's wrist. It wasn't until Clay screamed for Laresa that her true powers of a genie were demanded of her.
"Clay?" she asked as soon as she appeared. Her clothing was that of a rancher, her boots dirty and her hair hung in a ponytail down her back.
"It's time Laresa and damn it she wants that baby delivered here. I don't know how to deliver a baby. I don't know what to do. I need help. I wish you to help deliver this child," Clay said. Laresa smiled. His voice was not demanding, but full of fret and worry. For weeks she'd grown to love the couple and felt more like their friend than their slave.
"Yes, Clay I will do so. I can not do both. I can not sooth her and birth the babe. She is upstairs correct?" Laresa asked.
"Yes, in our bed. She's in a lot of pain. If you tell me how to deliver the baby I will. I want you to just take care of her. I don't want to lose her." Clay spun on his heels and took the stairs two and three at a time, reaching his bedroom, just as Laresa was done feeding his mind with the knowledge of thousands that had delivered babes in all sorts of circumstances. He shook his head and was momentarily dazed by the wealth of knowledge. "I forget sometimes how magical you are," he said and pushed past her, wondering how she'd made it up the steps before him.
Laresa smiled, feeling her Master's nervousness, but knowing his command was to sooth his wife, not him. She moved to the bed and sat down next to Alexis. "My friend, I am here. Clay wishes to sooth you. I must obey him. I need to take your pain." She whispered into Alexis ear and kissed her temple. One hand moved to Alexis forehead and the other slipped to the swollen stomach that was moving with life.
As Laresa soothed the contractions and kept Alexis body strong, Clay began the steps needed to deliver his child at home. His movements were swift and knowledgeable. Laresa's face grimaced as she took the pains that rolled through Alexis body. She felt the stabbing in her back and moaned as it wrapped around the muscles of her stomach. Her pulse raced. She broke out into a sweat and she bit down on her lip, breaking the skin. Laresa wasted no time in mending herself. Her job was to focus on the woman in the bed.
Clay's eyes burned with tears as his son fell into his arms and released a scream that let the world know he was not happy to be out. Laresa gasped in shock as her body felt the loss of the babe from a womb that had never held one. Her face paled and she shuddered. "Clay," she shouted and found herself doubling over, her hands however never leaving the woman her Master loved. "Another," she cried as a contraction moved through her barren body.