Malachi Gregory – Case Number Five: 8 Seconds

“Absolutely not,” Veronica vehemently rejects.

“Then, I “absolutely will not” be working with you.”

“Fine, we’ll find someone else,” she threatens.

“There is nobody else,” I remind her. “Like you said, I’m the Chosen One right. That means I can’t be replaced, because I’m the only one.” Veronica glares at me, because she knows I’m right. Far too dramatically, I turn around, letting my hair whip behind me and start to walk away, but Xane stops me.

“Just wait a minute,” he begs.

“Look Cowboy,” I say looking at him. “I know you’ve got this white knight complex where you feel like you have ride in on your horse and save the day with your dazzling smile and captivating charm, but I’m not a damsel in distress. I don’t need you and quite frankly, I don’t care if you need me.”

“Just give me five minutes,” he begs. “Please.”

“Two,” I offer grudgingly.

“Fine, okay. Just, please come back over here so we can all relax and have a nice, civil conversation.” He leads me back to Veronica and Victor, who leads Veronica, Xane, and me to a table to sit down.

“Even if I wanted to be the superhero who saves the day, I couldn’t be,” Xane tells me. “I’m not incredibly special and I don’t have any unique talents. If anything, I’m the sidekick. I’d be your sidekick actually, because you’re the one who has been gifted with incredibly unique abilities. Maybe you don’t care if the L. Angels need you, but what about all the people you can help if you work with us? They’re the ones who really need you. So, let me offer you a compromise.”

“You don’t have the authority to offer her a compromise,” Veronica scolds.

“Veronica,” Victor says softly.

“What is your compromise, Aleksandr,” Veronica asks calmly.

“What if we draw up a contract that says Mal will agree to work with us on a trial basis, let’s say for a month. At the end of that month, we’ll sit down and have another conversation. She can tell us if she wants to stay, leave, or take a little bit longer to think about it. Then, if she decides she wants to stay and that she’s serious about keeping our organization a secret, she can tell Bailey, who I met this morning, about us. Are y’all willing to at least consider agreeing to that compromise?”

“Not to make excuses for myself,” Veronica says. “But it’s just been very stressful trying to figure out how we would broach the opportunity to meet you, offer you a job here, bring you for a tour, and ask you to work with us. We’ve been watching you for a while now and knew that it would be difficult to get you on board, so I do apologize for being aggressive with you. I am willing to accept Aleksandr’s compromise, if you are.”

I continue to sit with my arms folded across my chest and look between my three potential coworkers skeptically. How do I know I can trust them? They’re not like other people or actors. They’ve allegedly been trained in acting and psychology. If that’s true, then they know better than even some of Hollywood’s most elite actors how to put on a good show.”

“I will also accept your compromise,” I finally answer. “But, if I feel that anything anyone does or says is morally or biblically unsound in even the slightest way and I don’t receive a satisfactory explanation that shows me I was mistaken, then I can and will immediately terminate the contract.”

“Fair enough,” Xane agrees. “Victor, will you draw up the contract while I give Mal a tour of the tools and amenities she’ll have access to as long as she’s with us?”

“Of course, and well done, Xane,” Victor replies proudly.

“Yes, well done, Aleksandr. By taking charge of this situation, you took advantage of a perfect opportunity to showcase to Malachi why you are here, whether you intended to or not.” She smiles at him and walks away.

“Why are you here,” I ask as he leads me back to the elevator.

“Basically, my main job titles are Cowboy Casanova and White Knight,” he jokes. I smile at him when he flashes a silly grin. “Really though, it’s kind of true. I’m either the charmer or the hero. I waltz in with my… what did you call it? Dazzling smile and captivating charm and get the girl to open up to me and then I swoop in like the hero on my white horse and save her from troubles. I can do the same with the guys too, though there’s a lot less dazzling, captivating, and swooping involved and more small talk, competing, and or defusing.”

“Like with me and Veronica,” I state.

“Yeah, she’s a firework and you’re a fire cracker yourself, so I reckon this experience will be like a rodeo where Victor and I have to do everything we can to survive 8 seconds with a bull and a bronco.”

I look at him curiously. “Are you really from Texas?”

“Born and raised,” he answers proudly. “You ever been?”

I laugh. “No, I’m a Cali girl through and through.”

“Well, we’ll have to change that, now won’t we?”

“What do you mean,” I ask nervously.

“If you stick around with us, we may be asked to take trips to Texas and I’m hoping you’ll come with me,” he answers truthfully.

“There’s no way you’re turning me into a girl from a country song and I’m certainly not going to be one of your Dallas cheerleaders,” I promise him.

“Actually, I’m from San Antonio, so technically you’d be a Silver Dancer,” he teases. “‘Cause our main sports’ team is the San Antonio Spurs.”

“Fine, then I won’t be a Silver Dancer,” I correct.

“You’d never make the team anyway,” he claims. “You’re too fiery.” He laughs when I glare at him.

I change the subject. “So are you going to give me a tour or what?”

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