tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Bonding Chronicles Ch. 08

The Bonding Chronicles Ch. 08


***** The Hunt *****

Andrew's wide eager eyes took in the hundreds of green steel girders that spanned above them as they crossed the Vancouver-Portland Interstate Bridge. Even this majestic bridge spoke of the Pacific Northwest's love for everything verdant. As they crossed beneath the "Welcome To Oregon" sign Andrew's excitement hit its peak. His phone chimed and Andrew could hear Sara giggling in the seat beside him.

"All I am saying is that a mini is super cute." The words drifted across his consciousness as he thought about his phone. Andrew smiled while casting a grin towards his bored girlfriend who was balled up on the passenger seat.

"I'm sure the fact that it's a 'sport' model has nothing to do with your preference. Does it?" His voice held a playful challenge that he knew Sara would not be able to resist.

Sara brought up her phone and began typing with feverish speed.

"Seriously, sweetie. I think we can just talk at this point. You don't need to-" his statement was interrupted by the chime of his phone.

"Hey, this is wht The Rocket wld hv wanted." The statement drifted through Andrew's mind while he shook his head and chuckled. The car slowed with the heavy traffic leading into downtown Portland, and as Andrew changed lanes the screen on Sara's phone intensified in brightness before the input on her messaging app populated with, ":car: :tombstone: :flag: #neverforget"

They both chuckled and Sara said, "Wow, you are getting really good at this."

Andrew chanced a smiling glance at the radiant grin on Sara's face, and almost hit a car as traffic stopped. His arm darted across Sara's chest attempting to shield her during the surprise stop. She rubbed his arm as they settled and said, "OK, maybe we should stop messing with your new gift for a bit."

"I wonder where she got that idea from." Andrew thought to himself, and the words flashed across Sara's phone for a brief moment before vanishing.

They both chuckled as they considered how quickly Andrew had picked up his new talent. Their exploration of his ability had begun the moment they hit the road, and now three hours later they were both shocked by the speed with which his new gift had manifested itself. What had started with Sara sending playful and enticing texts in the hopes of turning Andrew on had developed into a seemingly one sided conversation as his power grew.

The first few messages left Andrew with a vague feeling of surprise or arousal, but after thirty minutes he had started to see the words in the back of his mind and would repeat them back to Sara confirming his gifts accuracy. From that moment forward, Sara had a new game which she had used as a fun distraction through the long and boring drive; what can I say to get Andrew to pay attention to me.

He sent a text to his parents through the phone which rested in his pocket; letting them know that Sara and he had just arrived in Portland. Andrew was reminded of how fast this new ability had become almost second nature to him as he closed the messaging app through his gift. He found it difficult to not mentally interact with the devices around him now that he had become aware of this new talent, though he still felt a sense of confusion over the ambiguous nature of this gift.

The devices were easy to interact with, but it reminded him of moving his arm, or wiggling his toes. They existed, but felt like an extension of himself, and less like Sara where she was distinctly separate within his mind. Unlike his sexy girlfriend there was no sprite or icon to represent the devices, much as he had no direct way to interact and interpret his own hand within his mind. Sara's cute amber sprite danced with a playful flutter through his thoughts and drew his attention to Karen's pale blue sprite, which he was working hard to try and ignore.

"So, are we ruling out the Outback then?" Andrew's voice showed his uncertainty as he watched the traffic around them.

"Don't get me wrong, I understand your points. We could really use the room." Sara thought about how true that would be if things with Karen worked out how she wanted. "But I just want something sporty."

Sara flashed her cutest sad kitten face and was rewarded with a chuckle and "awwww" from Andrew as he glanced over at her.

"OK, let's at least check it out and see what kind of condition it's in. The price is pretty amazing, and it's supposed to be in great shape. At least that way we could have a fallback if the Mini doesn't work out."

Realizing that her sad kitten face was not going to win this for her, Sara resigned herself to at least consider the competition. The traffic moved through the city at a steady pace, and while Andrew marveled at how much greenery was tucked into every open space, he got the sense that this was an eclectic city. The people, like the countless stores and buildings, all spoke of uncompromising character.

"This place is all about being who you are, isn't it?" Andrew was amazed as he admired the wide variety of people and places they passed. He had never seen such a rich tapestry of Americana on display as he saw now. He watched as a businessman exited a gastro pub, holding the door for a tall woman with long hair and tattoos spiraling up her arms and across her neck.

"Yeah, I think that's fair to say." Sara responded as she considered the city sprawled out around them. She had never spent the time to consider Portland, for her it was always an annoyance on her single minded journeys to see her mother. Now, with a welcome and fresh perspective she found that Andrew was absolutely right.

They made their way to their first stop for the morning; a moderate sized house nestled down a cul-de-sac in a upper middle-class neighborhood. Non-indigenous trees and shrubs were scattered throughout the neighborhood, which screamed to Andrew of artifice. He spotted the green Outback parked in a driveway, and he felt his phone warm in his pocket as he texted the man from the listing.

Andrew and Sara exited their SUV after parking on the street outside of the house. They were soon greeted by a pleasant looking thirtyish year old man in a polo shirt and slacks. He shook Andrew's hand and seemed to make a point of ignoring Sara as he said, "Andrew, it's a pleasure to finally meet you. I trust the drive wasn't too bad."

If the guy had any issues with Andrew's video-game themed t-shirt, or his black baggy jeans he gave no obvious sign. Sara studied the man and could almost smell his nervous energy as he escorted them towards the Outback.

"Hey Alec, the drive was great. The freeway was pretty scary, but there was not much traffic. Ohh, and the views were just amazing. All this green is really something. My parents were worried, but it ended up being pretty good."

Sara eyed Andrew knowing that he was up to something. He gave her a warm smile before settling his attention back on Alec.

"That's great, Andrew. Glad to hear it, buddy. As the ad says, she's only got sixty three thousand miles on her, and we have kept up on her scheduled maintenance. Wish we could keep her, but with the kiddo on the way we need to get something larger."

While Sara got the key from Alec and walked around the car, Andrew spent a few seconds trying to gauge the man he was dealing with. He already knew he didn't like the pleasant seeming man; much like this neighborhood something just felt off about him.

"We had another couple out here an hour ago, and they put in an offer. So if you want her, you're gonna need to beat their bid." Alec's voice was confident and eager as he smiled at Andrew who finished walking towards the car.

Sara was in the driver's seat, admiring how comfortable it was. She wanted to dislike the car, but found the feeling of the cockpit rather pleasant, as if the car was welcoming her in for an adventure. Andrew pecked her on the cheek before reaching down and pulling the hood release.

Sara gripped the wheel and imagined herself speeding through the twisting roads of the Olympic National Park while Andrew walked towards the front of the car. His hand glided along the glossy green paint and his eyes squinted as something about the well maintained vehicle felt wrong. He lifted the hood and admired how clean the engine compartment was. It was so clean the car looked like it had just come from the dealership.

Despite the immaculate care the car had been given, something was not right. Andrew checked the fluids, and all of the things he could access with ease. He had soon confirmed that everything appeared to be in perfect working order.

"Mind if we take it for a test drive?" Andrew's question hung in the air for a second before Alec smiled and responded.

"Not at all, Andrew." Alec's tone was almost patronizing, and Sara realized that he was treating Andrew like a child. She grinned at Andrew as he hopped into the passenger seat and Alec settled into the back.

Sara left the neighborhood slowly, getting used to how the car drove. She was surprised by how natural it felt, and found that she kind of enjoyed it. Andrew closed his eyes and focused on how the car sounded and felt. Everything seemed perfect, and he could almost feel the car purring around them. The happy rhythm of a machine working as it was intended to.

Then, as Sara got on the freeway, he began to feel an ache in his stomach, almost like he had eaten something that was not agreeing with him. As they swerved between lanes the uneasy feeling intensified and Andrew thought he might throw up.

"Hey, sweetie. Let's head back."

Sara cast a forlorned glance at Andrew as she darted the heavy vehicle around a slow moving sports car. She saw the uneasy look on Andrew's face, and knew that despite how much fun she was having she needed to get back soon.

They pulled into Alec's driveway a short time later, and as they exited the car Alec could see the pale uneasy look on Andrew's face.

"You alright, young man? Let me get you some water." Alec looked worried, and rushed into the house as Andrew responded, "Thanks."

Sara rushed around the car and held him with both hands while appraising his condition.

Andrew smiled at her and whispered, "This guy is full of it. There is no offer, and I think he knows there is something seriously wrong with this car."

She raised an eye at him, and asked, "I trust your judgment, baby. Why are you letting him treat you like a kid?"

Andrew laughed before responding, "Because it's easier to negotiate with people who underestimate you, and let's face it, I am highly underestimate-able."

They both chuckled as Alec returned with a large glass of water. The color had already begun returning to Andrew's face, but he welcomed the cool drink of water as it settled his upset stomach.

"Thanks, sir." He responded before finishing off the glass and handing it back to the nervous man. "So we are considering putting an offer in, but would need to have our mechanic look at it first."

Sara shot Andrew a worried glance, her eyes screaming, "But you just said this thing had something wrong with it."

Andrew stifled a smile and focused his attention on Alec who's nervousness seemed to have doubled.

"Yeah, well, that's to be expected. If you don't mind, I have a mechanic just down the street who is exceptional." The hopeful confidence in Alec's tone almost made Andrew laugh as he shook his head.

"No, I think I will stick with the guy I found, thanks. He is not too far away, and he has guaranteed that he can finish the inspection quickly." Andrew flashed his most sincere and happy smile as he watched Alec falter before him.

"Well, I'm not sure I have the time to take it somewhere further away."

Andrew shook his head at Alec's lame excuse. "Well, we can leave our SUV here as collateral while we take it in for you. We will just return with your car once the inspection is complete."

"No, I'm not comfortable with that." Alec was quite nervous as he shifted his glance between Andrew, Sara and his car.

"Well, I appreciate your time then, Alec, and I wish you the best of luck." Andrew extended his arm and shook Alec's clammy hand with a smile.

As the young couple got into their car and Andrew waved farewell to Alec, Sara's phone chimed in her pocket. Settling into the seat Sara saw a message from Andrew which read, "Look for 2006 Outbacks with engine problems."

"OK, you could have just said that, he can't hear us." Sara was smiling at her boyfriend as they pulled away from Alec's house. The older man seemed relieved as he waved at their retreating vehicle.

Andrew winked at Sara as he responded, "Yeah, but this is more fun."

Andrew's car flowed through the many interwoven freeways like blood through the arteries of the city, finding his way to their next stop quickly. He texted their next contact as they pulled off the freeway and approached the restaurant where they were supposed to meet. Andrew tried to read the article that Sara had pulled up on her phone about the Outback through his gift, but he found the images and HTML of the website difficult to parse. The code was confusing and muddled his thoughts as his brain struggled to organize the data.

"OK, sweetie. Can you summarize it for me? It seems like web-pages are just too difficult for me still." He could feel her soothing hand on his thigh as he shook the confusion from his thoughts. His cock jerked in dry frustration, brought to life by her gentle contact. Andrew's block held back his fluids with absolute control, but did little to quell the wellspring of desire within him.

"According to this article, it sounds like there are Outbacks between 1996 and 2006 with head gasket leaks. Do you think that is what you were sensing?"

Trying to block out Sara's phone, Andrew focused on the road ahead of them as he pulled into the parking lot.

"Could be... It's funny, because I kind of remember having a similar feeling when we were driving with Alli to Hoquiam. Her car just felt good though, kinda happy if that makes any sense. The Outback felt like that too until we hit the freeway." Andrew shook and shivered for a second before continuing. "Whatever it was, that experience sucked. My stomach is still not right."

Their SUV pulled into a spot in front of the Chinese restaurant, and Andrew was pleased to see that they were closed. The idea of being surrounded by food right now made him nauseous. His phone chimed in his pocket and Andrew said, "He should be here in a couple of minutes."

Sara shook her head and struggled to get used to his new ability. She unbuckled her seatbelt and climbed across, straddling Andrew in the driver's seat.

"Well, we seem to have a little time to kill." She purred into his ear as she nibbled his lobe and trailed kisses along his neck.

He groaned in just contained lust as their lips met and she gyrated in his lap while their kissing picked up in fervor. The moments faded into each other as they settled into the gentle rhythm of their passion. They both danced and played with their partners needs, intuition driving each other into skillful action. Between their bond, and their extended practice within the glade they knew just what to do to maintain this perfect playful balance of arousal and pleasure.

Sara's sweet musky scent was just beginning to permeate the air when Andrew's phone chimed. He pulled away and they both took deep breaths while providing each other with gentle pets and soft kisses. Easing their libidos down before Andrew smiled and looked out the steamy window.

"Looks like we have company." Andrew's voice was timid through his nervous laugh.

Sara opened the driver side door and dropped through the opening, landing on her feet with grace. "Mike?"

The short Latino man was leaning against a patchwork Mini Cooper, a large grin plastered across his face. "Damn, you must be Sara!"

He whistled as she walked towards him with a playful shimmy in her step. "Mike, this is Andrew, my boyfriend."

Andrew closed his door and said, "Nice to meet you, Mike." as he walked the short distance towards their contact. The Latino watched him with a surprised but happy smile.

"Well done, little man." Mike's voice held his laugh as he nodded towards Andrew with a huge grin.

Andrew chuckled and responded, "Thanks."

The two men shook hands while Sara stalked around the small car like a predator.

"So, this is it, huh?" Andrew said with a skeptical tone, eyeing the car carefully. The Mini Cooper was not much to look at, appearing to have been cobbled together from at least three different cars. Each panel was a different color, some red, others black, and a couple were a dark purple. Now that Andrew had seen the car he understood why Sara had never shown him the listing, and wondered what she was thinking bringing him to check it out.

Mike chuckled as he saw the look on Andrew's face. He watched the young couple as they each approached the vehicle from wildly different perspectives.

"I know, she ain't much to look at but she's in great shape." Mike was still chuckling while he watched Andrew shake his head. Sara was bubbling over with excitement, her love for the vehicle apparent in her every bouncing step.

Andrew rubbed his chin and asked, "Was it in an accident?"

Mike openly laughed and clapped Andrew on the shoulder while he turned to look at the car with Andrew. "No, my friend. The exterior panels were heavily damaged by hail."

Sara was opening the door and the two men could hear her release an excited squee as she looked around at the dark interior. Andrew studied Mike's smiling face and couldn't sense any deception, but something about that story just didn't add up for him.

"How long have you been sitting on this? To my understanding, Washington and Oregon don't get the kind of hail that could do the type of damage you are talking about."

Mike laughed and shook his head. "I like you, man. You remind me of me." He watched Sara fiddling with the stereo through the tinted windshield. "Still working on the hot girlfriend, so you got me beat there." His laugh was infectious as he slapped Andrew on the back and finished, "I picked her up at auction. The previous owner lived somewhere in Wyoming and I guess defaulted on their loan."

Andrew realized he liked Mike, and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Mike dug out his phone and starting flipping through photos. After a few seconds he handed the device to Andrew and said, "It took some work, but I think I did a good job." He patted the hood with affection. "All things considered."

The photos on Mike's phone revealed how heavily damaged the car had been when he got it. Andrew was impressed by the young man's work as he flipped through the pictures and saw the dramatic transformation the car had gone through. His gift was providing him with the metadata information from the pictures as they slipped by, which told him that Mike had spent the better part of two months restoring this car.

There were many gaps between the photo's, and Andrew knew that not all of that time had been spent on this one project, but he was still impressed. There was a older Latina in a lot of photos either smiling up from behind a counter, or kissing Mike on the cheek and Andrew recognized a mother's love from a mile away.

"Great job, man." Andrew's tone showed his admiration for Mike's labor. "Sorry, I went a few pictures past the car. Your mom seems great."

Mike laughed, "Thanks, vato, she's my world."

Andrew looked Mike in the eye and knew for a fact that he really liked this guy.

"OK, well if we don't take this thing for a test drive, I think Sara is going to steal it."

Mike held up the keys and smiled, saying, "Well, that might be difficult."

Andrew just shook his head and said, "You don't know Sara. She will find a way."

They both laughed as they entered the car. Andrew took the passenger seat while Mike sat in the back, behind Sara. Handing the keys forward, Sara took them with a speed Andrew had only ever seen during their combat training sessions.

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