Now Carrie was naked. Well, not naked, but she was sitting there in her bra and panties. Halley was examining Carrie closely.
"And milk came out of these?" Halley asked, incredulously about Carrie's breasts.
"Will milk come out of mine?"
"Only if you have a baby," explained Carrie patiently.
"Maybe I should do that."
"No rush, Halley," said Carrie gently. "There's lots of time. Now, are you ready to play?"
They worked their way through the toys. Halley showed little interest in vehicles of any sort. Animals and humans were the main things that caught her attention. She loved the jack-in-the-box, especially after Carrie taught her the song.
"Pop! Goes the Weasel!" she would shout, laughing hysterically every time the clown sprang up and surprised her.
All the while, Phil was watching, enchanted. While common-sense might have argued otherwise, there was no doubt but that Phil was falling head-over-heels in love with this odd girl.
She loved the collection of wooden animals that were part of Phil's vintage train.
"Where is this from?" she asked about the elephant.
"From Africa," explained Carrie.
"What are the coordinates of its home?"
"Oh," said Carrie, confused. "Elephants tend to range around -- so we wouldn't be able to get the exact coordinates."
Halley looked disappointed then picked up a seal.
"How about these?" she asked.
"Those are all over, but there are some down at the pier in San Francisco. Would you like to look up the coordinates?"
They went to the computer and pulled up Google Earth. Carried helped locate the pier and Halley was very pleased to find the exact location.
"You like knowing where things are, don't you, Halley?" asked Carrie quite seriously.
"Yes. I do. I like to know where things are -- and where they are from."
"Where are you from, Halley?"
Halley stopped, a worried expression on her face.
"I rode here from Glendale. The Greyhound station was Latitude 34 degrees..."
"How about before that?" asked Carrie, putting a reassuring hand on her arm. "Before Los Angeles, where did you live?"
The look on Halley's face was akin to a junior in high school trying to puzzle out a calc equation on their AP exam. She was lost in thought and it seemed as though she'd forgotten the two others in the room.
"Halley?" said Carrie, softly.
Halley looked into Carrie's eyes and for the first time the psychologist saw a haunted look about the young woman.
"It was cold," said Halley. "It was cold for a long time, and then it would get very, very hot. When it was hot we would dance and sing -- and we would talk with our friends. Then it would get cold again and we would listen for songs from far away. Soon, it would all start again."
"What would start again, sweetie?"
"I don't know!" cried Halley. "I don't know what it means. I just know I'm here and the reason I'm here is to be with Phil Bensen. This morning he yelled at me, and that wasn't nearly as nice as when he held me or especially when he kissed me. Kissing is very, very nice."
"Yes, it is. Now how about you play some more, Halley? I'm going to talk with Phil for a little while and then I have to go."
"Will you come back and visit?"
"I will," said Carrie as she brushed Halley's hair away from her face. "You could come and visit me, too. You could meet my daughter Moira. Would you like that?"
"I would love that!"
"Good, I'll give you the coordinates. Now go and play."
Phil followed Carrie out to the kitchen again as Halley turned her attention back to the Jack-in-the-box.
"Well doc, what's the prognosis?" asked Phil.
"Phil, she's an innocent."
"What does that mean?"
"I'm not sure. I can tell you if I was on a quest where only the pure of heart could touch a sword or a jewel, Halley would be the one I'd pick. There's not a shred of evil or guile in that girl. Compared to her, Moira is a devil -- and she's just turned two."
"Okay, so what should I do with her?" said Phil, grinning as Halley's laughter trickled into the kitchen.
"Teach her," said Carrie. "Teach her about this place."
"This place? Where exactly did she come from?"
"I don't know, Phil -- but it sure as hell wasn't here. It must've been somewhere pretty nice. She's here for you. She said it herself. Teach her, take care of her, and don't yell at her any more. She really doesn't like that."
"I know. I know. But Carrie, I've got work."
"Bullshit, Phil. You've said yourself that you were going to cash in with your programming work and take some time off. Having the most beautiful woman that I've ever seen show up whose only mission in life is to 'kiss you and hold you', if that isn't an excuse for a vacation, I don't know what is."
"Phil, she's yours. She's your gift -- but also your responsibility. Just hold her. Just treat her right and teach her about this place where she's found herself. It will all work out, trust me."
Carrie made sure to give Halley her 'coordinates' before leaving, then pulled Phil aside for one more bit of advice.
"Phil, listen. I know she's naked and I know she's up for pretty much anything but I'd take it slow for a while. She's fully grown, but fully innocent. Just stick with the kissing and holding until it feels right."
Phil closed the door and turned to be surprised by Halley right in his face.
"I think I'm hungry," she said with a smile. "I think that's what this means, this feeling in my stomach."
"Okay," said Phil. "Let's go get some Thai Food."
"Thai Food! That sounds wonderful."
"Have you had it?"
"No, but I like the way it sounds. Thai Food. Thai Food. Yummy."
"Would you like to see where it comes from? Well, where the country where it was originally made is?"
Back to Google Earth - Phil pulled up Thailand and then clicked on the major cities, letting Halley memorize the coordinates of each. They were suddenly very close and Halley looked into his eyes with adoration.
"Phil," she whispered.
"It seems like this would be a good time to kiss."
"I have to agree with you, Halley."
* * *
The next week was one of many adventures. Phil and Halley got to know much of the Bay Area. Halley loved the beach, but still hated clothes so Phil reached out to some connections and got access to a private nude beach a little further south. Halley remarked one time on the anatomical differences between men and women -- but besides that, she paid scant attention.
They paid several visits to Carrie. Her daughter, Moira, fell instantly in love with Halley and they spent many hours playing together.
In their second week together, the conversation came around to Phil's occupation (or former occupation to be precise.)
"Why did you stop?" asked Halley. "You said you loved the stars"
"Oh, I do," agreed Phil. "I love everything about them. I love how they work, how they live, how they die. I love the math -- figuring out how far a star is, how large a star is just from how a ray of light is shaped when it reaches us. I just got tired of the bullshit."
"Nonsense. Astrophysics is a cynical place and we've discovered about all there is to discover. After this, we're just sort of grasping at things."
Phil looked off in the distance, sadly.
"Phil," said Halley," I feel like you're not telling me something."
"It's nothing, Halley - really."
Halley seemed a bit concerned about the subject but let it slide and quickly switched topics.
"Phil, why do you wear clothes around the house?"
"I...I just do, that's all," he said. "It's what people do.
"I see," mused Halley. "Well, I don't think you should any more. I am interested in you and if I can't see you entirely, I can't know you entirely."
Phil agreed to her terms. It soon became a habit for them to shed their clothes at the door much like people remove their coats or their shoes.
That didn't make it so easy for Phil in one area. The first time they had a kissing-and-holding session as Halley called it (a makeout session, as we'd call it), certain things became very evident.
"Oh my!" said Halley, looking down at the evidence. That's amazing. How did you do that? How did you make it larger?"
"I uh... it just happens," said Phil, blushing.
"That's what I've been feeling when we kiss-and-hold. How did you do it? Make it go down again, then back up -- I want to watch!"
"I uh..." stammered Phil, "I can't really make it. It's an involuntary response that happens with -- you know -- with sexual arousal."
"Oh," said Halley -- staring at Phil's erection with the same interest she had about seeing a seagull for the first time, or a palm tree. "Sexual arousal, I have to look that up."
Off she ran to the computer, pulling up Wikipedia, her favorite website. Though Phil had tried to explain to her the variable reliability of the site, she didn't care. She loved the idea of the group-think way the site was put together.
She found what she was looking for with great interest.
"Phil!" she called out. "I think I've been sexually aroused, too. I didn't know that was what it was -- but now I do."
She crawled back into bed with him.
"Phil," she said, climbing on top of him. "It said that sexual arousal is often a precursor to coitus. I know that coitus means copulation, and I also know it can be called getting laid. You said, a long time ago, that you'd rather hold and kiss than get laid. Is that still true? Or do you want to, you know, do coitus things."
Halley had no idea how much he wanted to do coitus things. However, her total innocence, combined with Carrie's advice, made Phil proceed with caution.
"I...I think for now, we should stick with just holding-and-kissing."
"I like that," said Halley. "This whole idea of getting laid seems very -- big, do you know what I mean. Just, big in my heart -- plus it sounds messy."
Phil agreed. Halley kissed him a bit more and then rested her head on his chest and fell to sleep.
Phil wasn't sleeping much these days.
* * *
Though Phil was her tour guide to this big and wonderful place -- Halley took her share of initiative. The very next day, in fact, Phil awoke to the sound of Halley's voice.
"Hello? Justin? Justin, it is Halley. The girl from the bus who showed you her breasts. Yes! How are you? I'm with Phil... Is he my boyfriend? Oh, I never thought of that. Is a boyfriend someone you hold-and-kiss? Then yes, he is my boyfriend. Listen, Justin. I've been thinking about the Giants who are a sports team and not abnormally large men. I would like to go with you to one of those games. Oh, wait one minute."
She turned to Phil, who was looking at her groggily.
"Phil, can we afford tickets?"
"Sure," said Phil. "We'll buy him one too."
The date was set. It was hard telling what Halley was more excited about, going to a Giants game, or the fact that Phil was her boyfriend.
"Hi, my name is Halley. This is Phil, Phil Bensen. He's my boyfriend."
The girl in the 7-11 looked at her curiously and congratulated her as she rang up the Slurpees.
"Phil and I are going to a Giants game with Justin who had a surprising reaction at seeing my breasts. I'm not going to drink this too fast. I have to go slow on the slush-type beverages."
As they left and walked down the street, several strangers were introduced to Phil, Halley's boyfriend.
July 28, 2010 -- 3:07 PM
37 46 40.09N 122 23 22.32W
"Justin!" screamed Halley, running up to the young man who was dressed in Giant's gear. She gave him a huge hug.
"It is so good to see you!"
"It's good to see you, too," said the rather shy Justin. "So, this is Phil?"
"Yes," she said, beaming. "Phil Bensen, my boyfriend."
"Nice to meet you, Phil. You're a very lucky guy."
"I know," said Phil. "Nice to meet you, too."
"I'd show you my breasts," said Halley, matter-of-factly, "but Phil said I should go easy on the breast action in public places."
"That's good advice, besides, they look quite nice in that top," said Justin. "Sometimes, it's better to, you know, sort of half-hide them, it makes people's imaginations work harder."
It was clear Justin had spent some time with Halley and knew how to speak to her.
"Really?" said Halley. "Is that why people wear clothes?"
"Well yeah, that's the fun of it," said Justin. "Have you ever gotten a present?"
"Oh, several. My favorite is my iPhone. Phil gave it to me on Saturday at 10:37 AM, Pacific Time. He gave it to me in a box and told me how to tear off the wrapping paper. The wrapping paper greatly heightened my anticipation."
"Well there you go," said Justin. "Clothes are sort of like wrapping paper, only you don't necessarily cover everything and you only let your boyfriend tear them off."
"Very well put," said Phil to Justin as Halley was bouncing around the stadium, introducing herself to strangers and pointing out her boyfriend Phil Bensen and her friend Justin.
"Halley's a trip," said Justin. "I've never met anyone like her."
"I don't think anyone has," said Phil.
"Are you taking care of her?"
"Doing my best," said Phil. "Still trying to figure out where she came from; who she is."
"She's an angel, that's all I know," said Justin. Literally, truly an angel."
Once in the ballpark, the two guys tried to explain the game to Halley, but she gave up on the logic. It wasn't the game itself that interested her, anyway. It was the crowd. When everyone would stand and cheer for a good play, she would stand too -- but she would watch the people intently.
"It's so beautiful," she said with tears in her eyes. "They are all as one. They are sharing this thing called baseball, thousands of them together. I had something like that once."
"When?" asked Phil.
"I do not know," said Halley, struggling with her emotions. "Some time."
She made them stay to the end, until the people cleaning the stadium had to ask them to leave. With a final look at the darkened stadium, she pushed her head under Phil's arm and had him hold her close as they walked. They said a fond goodbye to Justin, making plans for another game in the near future.
The next morning, Phil was awoken to the sound of Halley speaking Spanish.
"Buenos dias, Abuela. Esto es Halley. Si!"
Phil listened to her chatter away in Spanish. He couldn't make out much but he did understand 'Domingo.'
"So, where are we going Sunday?" he asked her when she hung up.
"To Abuela's. She has a big family dinner and wants us to come."
August 8, 2010 -- 1:44 PM
People's Park, Castroville, CA
36 46 1.33N 121 44 55.18W
Phil and Halley could hear the music from the street. Abuela had told them to park in front of the house and then walk through the back yard to the park beyond it. At first Phil thought they were at some sort of civic function due to the number of people who were gathered. You might have thought it would have been the classic moment of the music stopping upon their arrival - but Abuela's family appeared to be a true California mix. Though the majority of the people were of Mexican descent, the crowd was sprinkled with a fair number of white, black, and Asian ancestry in the younger generation. A makeshift band was playing and continued to do so throughout the afternoon and evening, different players rolling in and out at times.
Halley found Abuela and they hugged in a greeting. The old, wrinkled woman took Phil's hands in hers and held it lovingly while she looked piercingly into his eyes, seeming to examine him carefully. Apparently, she approved of what she saw and reached up to kiss him on the cheek.
"Es muy guapo," she said to Halley.
"Yes, he is handsome," agreed the Halley, "and he is my boyfriend!"
Soon, Abuela took Halley off for a talk, leaving Phil on his own.
"Dude, do you want a beer," asked Chad, a young Asian man who was married to one of Abuela's granddaughters.
"That sounds perfect."
Phil had a great afternoon. There were a few tech-heads in the crowd to talk to, as well as a few amateur astronomers. Few people actually knew his name. He was generally called 'hot-chick's boyfriend,' which he had no objection to.
As the sun went down, the music picked up and dancing began. Halley was thrilled to enjoy this new experience and learned how to dance very quickly. Though she danced with a few other men, she much preferred dancing with Phil. As the evening wore on, Phil became aware he needed to pace himself if he was going to drive home. Midway through he switched from beer to lemonade to quench his thirst from the non-stop dancing. It was at one of the breaks that a young Latina woman in her twenties approached him. It was Christina, Chad's wife.
"Abuela wants to talk to you," she said, smiling.
"Oh, I'll get Halley."
"No, just you. She's talked to Halley. I'll come with you so I can translate."
She took Phil by the hand and led him from the park to the house. Abuela sat in the air conditioned living room and smiled upon seeing Phil. She gestured for him to sit and then started in talking. It was obvious Christina was used to translating, for she barely missed a beat.
Abuela started talking.
"She is very pleased that Halley found you, though she's not surprised. She says Halley was sent here for you."
"Sent from where?"
Abuela pointed to the sky.
"Cielo," said the old woman. "Heaven, yes."
She went into Spanish again.
"Grandma admits that she is a religious woman. Her faith is her life, but this girl has made her doubt."
"Made her doubt?" asked Phil
"Made her doubt, and believe all at the same time. Halley is surely from somewhere else, a divine being -- but she does not speak of God or Jesus. She is sent from somewhere higher than here, but it is not Abuela's god who sent her -- Grandmother knows that. Yet, looking at her, she knows there is a better place -- somewhere beyond. Grandmother takes comfort in that, even if it is not her faith which Halley reaffirms. As for you, you are lucky. She is here for you and you alone. No man has ever been given such a great gift. She applauds you also..."
And here, Christina stopped, blushing a bit at what her grandmother had said.
"Abuela," she said, shocked.
"Speak. Speak. You do not, how you say, stop my words," insisted Abuela.
"She says," continued Christina, "that she applauds you from abstaining from having sex with Halley. To have such a beautiful body as that in front of you, pressed against you, and not give into temptation -- that is a huge accomplishment. Few men would have been able to resist. She says it is good you didn't though -- because you are not ready."
"I'm not ready?" asked Phil. "I've been waiting for Halley to be ready."
"She says Halley was ready to make love the instant she saw you," said Christina, "but to make love to an angel -- to merge your souls in that way, you must be willing to share everything. Halley has told Grandmother that you hide things. Halley says you hide things about your work, your astronomía. Your astronomy."
Phil blushed and nodded in embarrassment. He knew it was true and he was ashamed. Halley would give him anything, would tell him anything -- and he had been reluctant to share anything personal with Halley on this topic.
Abuela reached out and took Phil's hand.
"Open your heart," she said in her heavily accented English. "Open your heart to this girl and your reward will be... sin medida."
"Beyond measure," explained Christina.
As they drove northward, Halley had Phil roll down the top of his BMW Z4, one of his first indulgences when he'd started making consultant-dollars. As soon as he did, she removed her lovely dress, wanting to feel the air on her skin. It was late enough and they were driving on two-lane roads, so Phil wasn't worried too much about her distracting other drivers.