Join us this week as our
hero villain meets with his enemy’s sidekick to betray his own diabolical plans, despite his henchman. 0.O
My intros just keep getting weirder.
Lowdown for new people: It’s a villain who’s got amnesia, but doesn’t want anyone to know and also thinks past him is a horrible person and is trying to fix all his former plans.
For old folks: Yep. Dallas is back. ❤
For everyone: It never hurts to reread. 😉
Past parts below…
Aaaand *drumroll* part 16, everyone!
Lunch with the enemy
I was a bit cocky in my declaration of being able to find Dallas’s unspecified “place”. Turned out, there were a lot of “places” by the zoo. And searching all of them for a small, shy person takes a while.
The last place I looked was a hipster-y, eco-friendly place tucked in a little side street.
“Branches” read the sign in a weird font that actually looked like branches.
About five cars were parked out front. One was a small, green pickup that looked like it ran on the prayers of its owner.
Something told me I’d found Dallas.
I pulled up by the curb on the opposite side of the street and cut the engine. Bad News had given me an old baseball hat that was sitting on the dashboard. “Disguise” he said. I guess I was kind of famous. Or infamous. I pulled it on, yanking the brim down to shade my eyes,
Shoving the keys in my pocket, I got out and went across the street to the door of the café. A grubby little mat welcomed me and a cowbell above the door clattered as I stepped inside.
I craned my neck around to get a good look at the clock behind the counter. One-fifty already. Crud.
The girl at the counter hesitantly edged into my sightline. “Hello, may I help you?”
I straightened, “Uh, yeah. I’m here for lunch with . . . someone. A friend.” I turned and looked over at the seating area. Way off in a corner booth, I saw someone in a dark green coat looking seriously into a mug.
I pointed, turning back to the girl, “I’m with him.”
“Very good,” she handed me a sheet of paper, “there’s your menu. I’ll be over to take your orders in a bit.”
I nodded my thanks and started walking towards the table quietly.
Dallas still hadn’t noticed me. He cupped his hands around the top of the mug, trapping the steam for a bit. A frown creased his forehead and he put his hands back down with a half sigh.
I cleared my throat, “Hey.”
He jumped a bit and looked up at me.
I raised a hand in greeting, “Sorry I’m late. Got a little lost.” I slid into the booth on the bench across from him.
“No, it’s fine.” Dallas assured, shifting in his seat. “I don’t mind waiting.”
It was quiet for a few seconds. I looked around the room at all the nature photography, plants and quotes.
“Pretty nice place,” I said, “Come here a lot?”
Dallas shrugged, “Sometimes.” He looked back down at his mug. I followed his gaze. I think he had black tea of some sort in there.
He rubbed his hands together. There was a tiny blue flash and it looked like his skin almost flickered.
I blinked. What did he have? I didn’t see him holding anything just a couple seconds ago . . .
Dallas sighed and propped his arm on the table, holding the bridge of his nose. “You wouldn’t remember that anyway, would you?” It almost didn’t sound like he was taking to me.
I leaned forward, “Remember what now?”
“So what can I get for you guys today?” asked a waitress, suddenly materializing next to our table.
We both jumped.
“Well . . . I . . .” I stammered, glancing at Dallas, “I don’t know, really. Do you want something, Dallas?”
Dallas peeked down at the menu again for a second, “Um . . . Caesar salad maybe?”
“Alrighty, then.” The girl scribbled it down with a smile, then turned to me, her ponytail flipping over her shoulder. “And for you, sir?”
I glanced over the menu, reading absolutely nothing. “D-do you guys have burgers?”
“We sure do.”
“I’ll take that, then.” I handed her the menu.
“Alright,” she took it from me, “I’ll be back in a few minutes, then!” Beaming at us, she clacked away in her high heels.
Silence fell again, except for the hum of voices and occasional clank of dishes. Dallas took a sip out of his mug. It looked too big in his hands.
I leaned back in my seat. “So, what were you saying?”
“You were the one that wanted to tell me something first,” Dallas pointed out.
“It’s fine. Give me more time to prepare and I’ll be more coherent. Seriously, what were you saying?”
He sighed and set down his mug, looking into it again. Somehow gathering courage from his tea, he straightened and met my gaze.
“Just . . . Amazing Man’s superpowers . . . um . . .” he rubbed at the back of his neck. “So he’s not like superman or anything, falling from space and all. He was given his superpowers by an organization.” Dallas stopped for a second and raised his eyebrows. “Is this ringing any bells?”
“No.” But I was getting a tiny prick of headache, so an old, broken bell was probably trying to ring.
Dallas looked back at his tea, “It’s sort of an injection . . . thing. Tiny nano-robots that give the powers and can be turned off if he turns evil or anything goes wrong.
“So that organization also chose him a sidekick from the armed forces applications. To serve our country in a different way, so to speak. And that sidekick they chose was me. They thought the sidekick also needed superpowers as well, so . . .” he sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “ . . . they gave them to me.”
Dallas was a superhero now? Correction, super sidekick? I furrowed my brow, “How come you didn’t use them when I had you captured?”
“There’s a bit more,” he corrected, “I was given forcefields and teleportation, but they were doing more harm than good, with my clumsiness in controlling them, so they turned them off.”
He pulled at his sleeves a bit, “I honestly do a lot better without having to worry about them. But . . . after the whole hostage situation with you . . . they were worried I wasn’t able enough to defend myself and so it’s back on again.”
Snippets of the conversation I’d heard at the Fernsbys’ when I was just regaining consciousness resurfaced in my mind. There was something about turning something back on that Dallas didn’t want to . . .
Dallas’s voice interrupted my thoughts, “Just . . . if I suddenly rematerialize at the other side of the room, know it wasn’t on purpose.”
I felt kind of guilty now. After all, I was the one who kidnapped him . . . sort of. I mean, there was me, then Bad News, then the gang . . . but still. It felt like it was my fault on some deeper level. He probably wouldn’t have needed to be the sidekick if I wasn’t the horrible villain that needed to be stopped.
I swallowed. “I’m sorry.”
Dallas looked up from his too-long sleeves and locked his green eyes with mine. Almost asking if I was joking. I kept my look serious. He looked back down and chuckled a little.
“I mean it, Dall,” I insisted,
Dallas’s mouth quirked at a funny angle, “Just never thought I’d hear that from you. You never really were one for apologizing.”
I bit the inside of my cheek. “I’d hope that I’m a bit different now.”
Dallas nodded. Neither of us spoke for a minute or so.
I shifted in my seat again. “So . . . my thing I was going to tell you.’
“Right,” Dallas straightened up a bit more and watched me.
My turn to rub the back of my neck and fumble for words. “Okay . . . uh . . . ” I glanced over at the people at the table nearest to us and dropped my voice to a whisper.
“So that ski-mask dude put me in the car with a sack over my head and took me to this place with a big parking garage and a lot of halls and office things. Apparently, I’d missed some meeting with this business-looking guy, so I had to go to his office.”
Just remembering that office made me antsy. I shook it off and continued.
“The guy kept going on about how I’d be nothing without him and how putting the bomb at the baseball stadium almost screwed up everything and they’d already set up everything for me to kidnap Leif.”
Dallas’s brow furrowed. “But you signed the note . . .”
I nodded, “Yeah, but apparently this guy had like advised me on it or something. I was getting almost a philanthropist vibe. Like I was doing the stuff and he was funding it or something. Were you aware of anything like that going on?”
Dallas shook his head.
“Well, he unlocked this secret passageway thing and we went down and I had a bomb I’d been building down there,” I let out my breath slowly and dropped my voice even more. “And this thing is huge. Like, blow-up-half-a-city huge.”
“And here are you gentlemen’s orders!” Two plates clanked down on the table and I nearly jumped out of my skin. The waitress smiled down at us. “Will there be anything else?”
I couldn’t find my voice just at that moment. Dallas shook his head. “N-no, ma’am. Thank you.”
“No problem,” she spun around and clicked back to the kitchen, calling over her shoulder to “just say if we needed anything”.
Like maybe a defibrillator.
I closed my eyes and ran a hand over my face, trying to get my heart rate to slow a bit. My fingers were trembling. I stuck my hand in my pocket and let out a shaky breath.
“You were saying?” Dallas prompted in a half-whisper.
“Something that would seriously get me arrested.”
“You’re fine, Wolf. Keep going.” He pushed his salad to one side and clasped his hands on the table.
I pushed my hat back on my hair and took a deep breath before starting in again, even quieter than last time.
“So he had me program the bomb with a security system thing. My fingerprint, a code word and a key phrase. I’m the only one that can set anything else in the system on there without the whole thing being completely fried. And it’s also going to be under this housing that is partly electrical, so I think that would be yet another security to get past.”
Dallas kept his face neutral, but I could see a deep worry in his eyes. He swallowed, “Where is it going to go?”
I shook my head, “I don’t have a date or place yet. It was still being set. I was going to be alerted as soon as it was figured out. But I’m sure it’s going to be soon.”
Bad News’s declaration that it was fine to tell Dallas as long as I didn’t have the vital bits hardened something in my chest. I held Dallas’s gaze.
“I’ll call you as soon as I get the rest of the information, okay? I promise.”
I couldn’t break it.
My betrayal of my own plans was cemented.
I leaned back in my seat a little.
Dallas nodded, “Okay. I’ll wait for it.” Saying he trusted me wasn’t necessary. He had since he’d said it the first time.
He chewed his lip for a few seconds, then opened his mouth. “Thank you. I mean, for telling me.” He swallowed, “I know how much it means . . . meant, at least . . . to you.” A sincere smile, small though it was, spread across his face. “Not everyone makes use of their second chance. Not everyone turns around.”
Dallas gave a nod. “I’m glad you did.”
For the first time, I actually felt like one of the good guys. A redeemable wretch. I smiled at Dallas. It was involuntary, but I didn’t try and stop it.
The bomb wasn’t disarmed. Everything was far from safe. But for a moment, safety felt assured on some higher level.
It was going to be alright.
And Dallas and I ate our lunch together. Anyone in the café would’ve thought we were friends.
Aww… a happy ending. ❤
Or is it?
Join us next time as things go horribly wrong… on BLANK MASTERMIND.
*dramatic music fades out*
(and I actually know what I’m talking about here because I’m doing these wacky things called ‘planning ahead’ and ‘writing ahead’.)
Have at it, Dallas fangirls. 😛
Favorite lines or parts? What do you think will happen next?