There were a few cars on the roads on this Sunday morning, only a few people to observe this tall, perfectly muscled, and fit twenty year old running in her tight jasmine vest and even tighter black jogging pants. The pants covered her flawless skin, but showed off the contours of her quads and hamstring muscles as they flexed gently while she ran. They accentuated the perfection of her form and displayed her in your face athleticism. Her body screamed for attention even if the look on her face was serene and uninterested.
One guy in a Toyota was admiring the shape of this young woman's butt as she ran by. It was hard and bubbly at the same time. He could just make out the dimple of her gluteus as it bunched up during her next long stride. He could glimpse the head of her hamstring as it too worked. She made his loins and his hands ache. If he could feel an ass like that just once in his life, he could die a happy man. The light turned green, and he pushed the gas.
Another guy in a Chevy paid more attention to her face. Her face was like her body, aggressively beautiful. If the shape and features weren't enough, she had the deepest bluest eyes he'd ever seen, almost like they were backlit. He wished he could see her up close. He didn't notice when his light turned red. In and instant, the Chevy slammed into the Toyota.
Jan stopped and turned quickly when she heard the accident. "Ut oh", she breathed and sprinted towards the two cars. The Chevy was steaming, but the driver was removing his seat belt. Jan ran up and opened the door. "Are you all right!"
The driver was groggy, but he came to when he saw her right there, like the face of an angel come to rescue him. She was startling up close, and so were those eyes. He could have swam in them like an ocean. "I'm fine."
"Ok, let me check on the other guy." People were coming out after the wreck, but Jan was the first one to get to the driver of the Toyota. His door was damaged and there was a little blood on the airbag. "Hey!", Jan yelled. The man was trying to remove his seat belt, but his hands were shaking too badly. "Let me get that." She reached across his body. It wasn't much of a stretch for her long arms to get to the release button. She pulled it from around his shoulders then looked at his face. He was still woozy. There was a puff and something smelled hot in his car. "I have to get you out of here", Jan told the Toyota driver. She put her arms under his shoulders and pulled. Her body felt so good against his that he didn't quite want to wake up. It might not be real.
Jan took the man under his arms, and pulled. Her jasmine vest had to stretch when her muscles jumped to action. Even without her super strength, Jan's muscles were spectacular. She tightened her arms to get control of him. Her biceps flexed up, pressing hard against the man's torso, further locking him into her grip. Then her back got into the action with the muscles of her lower back flexing so hard that the channel of her spine looked like a feminine canyon. Even covered by the vest, it was deep enough to allow a few drops of her sweat to run down her back. Jan squeezed her eyes shut as she strained to pull his upper body through the car window. She put him over her shoulder and grabbed two handfuls of his pants legs to pull him the rest of the way out. She rested his entire 180 pounds on her shoulders. Her legs and core muscles were easily strong enough to hold his weight now that the pulling and tugging were finished.
The driver woke up just as he feet left the car. When his eyes focused, there it was in all its glory. Jan's ass cheeks were only a foot away flexing in tiny rapid ways to keep balance. He lowered his arms down her back as she prepared to set him down, feeling every wonderful contour of her body along the way. He stretched out his fingers and moaned as he squeezed the most delightful ass he would ever touch.
Jan's ass clenched at his touch, and her eyes opened wide at the shock of it. She set him down quickly. A thin line of blood ran from a cut over his eye, and he was still woozy, but he had a wide grin across his lips.
"I hope you enjoyed that", she tried to sound at least a little upset. The driver of the Toyota looked at her and smiled. Jan couldn't find it in herself to get mad. Instead she stood up, and looked around. There were other people out there now. She could hear sirens on the way, so she left. She didn't want to stay for the cops. She'd had her fill of them for a while, so she continued on her jog.
She finished her seven mile route and ran up the stairs to her apartment three at a time. She filled a large glass with water, downed it in one long pull, then filled it again. She felt pretty good about herself at the moment. Physically she felt great, more than strong enough to run the 10K she had entered for charity, and she liked that she'd done her good deed for the day by helping those accident victims. She wondered what had caused it. She hadn't seen any blind spots or distractions in the intersection. She shrugged her shoulders then chuckled thinking back to the man who had grabbed her butt like it was a pot of gold. Even in times like that men only had one thing on their minds. She turned to wash out her glass when there was a knock on the door.
She frowned and looked at her watch. Who could it be this early? She opened the door to see three men in dark business suits. She knew they weren't cops right off. Not even a chief could afford the threads these guys were wearing. Two of the men were middle aged, but the third one was only a few years older than she.
"Happy Birthday, Miss Caufield", the oldest one greeted her stoically. "May we come in?"
Jan grinned at them. "I think I know what this is about." She moved aside and let them enter. Each man took a turn giving her body a once over. They were professionals, but men were men. Jan was used to it.
"Do you have a room in private?", the oldest one asked.
"Sure, my bedroom." She motioned for them to go ahead. She followed and shut the door behind her. This little meeting would take hours. She sat and listened to the lawyers explain her assets and rights. Alisha and Sara woke up while Jan was in her room. Jan heard them, but couldn't even go out to say good morning to them. Then Jan was forced to listen when her family arrive. They'd flown in from Baltimore, but Jan wasn't there to greet them.
"Where's Jan?", Thomas, her younger adopted brother asked. All Jan could do was shake her head while she listened to the youngest lawyer explain market trends and investment options should she wish to change from the current strategy. Jan didn't say much, but she had learned when and how to ask questions, so she asked a few. The lawyers always had good answers. After another half an hour or so of listening, Jan started signing. She signed one document after another until her fingers started cramping. Finally she heard the words she'd been waiting for.
"Ok, sign here Miss Caufield, and we're finished", the oldest lawyer said. Jan put the pen to the paper and had to concentrate to sign her own name. She exhaled when she scribbled it this last time.
"Congratulations." The young lawyer held out his hand. Jan shook it, weakly. Her fingers felt dead. She showed the lawyers out. The two older ones stopped and spoke with Jan's father, Jack, before leaving. Jan grimaced when she finally closed the door. She was more tired now than she'd been after her seven mile run.
"Happy Birthday baby", Carol, Jan's mother called. She opened her arms.
"I'm sweaty, Mom."
"I don't care. Come here." They hugged.
"Happy birthday!", Thomas yelled after coming back into the room. He hadn't seen Jan since his birthday in early September. He went up to her. "So how was it in there those guys?", he asked.
"Long and tedious."
Jack laughed. "Those guys are like the KGB."
Jan chuckled. "They showed up before seven this morning", she complained to her father.
He laughed again then gave Jan one of his big bear hugs that she loved so much. He pulled her to arms length and looked at her with a smile. "You should have seen my 20th birthday. I was on a base in West Germany and three lawyers showed up before reverie. My colonel called me in, and we used his office to sign the papers."
"I bet that sucked."
"Got me out of pt. That was worth it."
"So how does it feel, Jan?", Alisha asked, trying to stir up things. She knew Jan wanted to keep the receiving of her trust quiet, especially with Brian coming over later. Jan cut her eyes towards her friend. Many people would have shrank away. Alisha laughed.
"Come on Jan", Sara started in now. "Is it like winning the lottery?"
"No its worse. At least you have to buy a ticket to win the lottery. All I had to do was live to be twenty." Every one laughed except Jan.
"Well with you that kind of is an accomplishment."
Jan cracked a smile. "I'm going to take a shower." She turned towards her room. Thomas caught up to her.
"Hey", he whispered. "How much did you get?" Jan looked around then leaned in his ear and whispered. Thomas' doe like eyes got even bigger. "That's a lot."
"Yeah I know."
Later that night, the culture and style media types were out in full force. Atlanta was all a buzz because a Redwine's Steakhouse was opening. Interest in the event had been building for weeks, spurred on by the chief marketer Lisa Sanchez, who had been working all the angles to make sure this event was the biggest in town. Famous chef and owner Jeremy Redwine was in attendance and so were lots and lots of celebrities, including superstar movie producer Karl von Edder, who's latest movie was do out in a week. He wanted to make sure he got some face time on all the cameras. It helped that the atmosphere was like a movie premier, complete with seas of beautiful women. Jan had her arm around Sara's shoulder while they smiled for a photo that would end up in the newspaper. The editor hoped those million dollar smiles would sell a few more papers.
"This is really cool", Sara told Jan. "I bet you weren't expecting all this when you were locked up in jail."
"Sara, don't make me punch you out in front of all these people."
"Isn't that what put you in jail in the first place?"
"Who went to jail?", a cheery voice called from behind them. Both turned to see Cassidy Redwine coming towards them. Her pretty face was all smiles. Cassie was wearing a sleeveless dark red dress over her sculpted competitor's body. Her radiant skin and shapely muscles were on full display. Her hair cupped and framed her face, and her make up was just right.
Sara was closer. She turned and hugged Cassie. "Sara you look great!
"Thanks. I do what I can, but you always look great."
Cassie grinned widely. "No, Jan always looks great."
"Oh, thank you." Jan beamed. As much as she played like it was no big deal, Jan liked getting compliments, especially from someone who had a physique that she admired. "You look better every time I see you", Jan told Cassie.
"I'm getting ready for a show, but I'm going off script tonight because it's your birthday. Happy Birthday! The big 2-0."
"Don't remind me."
Cassie was amused then pouted. The group wasn't complete. "Where's Alisha?"
No sooner had she asked, than the buxom brunette started towards the group. She would have run, but between her body hugging dress and high heel shoes, she couldn't even trot, but she made it just the same. "My goodness, Alisha!", Cassie exclaimed wide eyed. She hadn't seen Alisha in person since high school. The once chubby girl had the body of a swimsuit model with her big round breasts, slim sexy waist, and long shapely legs. "Where's the rest of you?", Cassie asked as they hugged.
"Gone, and gone forever", Alisha stated proudly.
"You look wonderful!", she gushed. "I am so happy for you." Cassie was ready to burst.
"Picture! Picture!", a photog from a magazine yelled to the four of them. They turned and put on their best smiles. The photographer went home after getting their names. He knew he wouldn't get a better shot the rest of the night.
"Come on let's go inside. You'll love the food." Cassie led the group towards the restaurant when she stopped suddenly and yelled, "No way!" A few heads turned. She continued somewhat more quietly, "All three of you? No wonder my detection was off. It was you two at first", Cassie pointed at Sara and Alisha. "Then you came, Jan. All three of you are gifted...", she sighed and concentrated to feel each of their powers. She was nearly overwhelmed. "Man, you three are really really gifted. Now I can tell my Mom that I wasn't a late bloomer. I was overloaded."
Cassie sighed then widened her smile. "I can feel people's special abilities, and you guys are gifted... gifted a lot."
"Does that mean you're gifted too?", Alisha whispered her question.
"I sure am, but we'll talk about that later. I want you guys to meet my parents. They're going to love this. I mean they wanted to meet you guys anyway, but they always love meeting fellow gifted people. This is going to be great."
Inside the restaurant there was a who's who. They mingled for while. Cassie introduced her parents to her friends. Jan smiled when she saw Mr. Redwine. She turned quickly when Mrs. Redwine came closer. There was a look of recognition on Hayfa Redwine's face. "Have we met before?", Jan asked Mrs. Redwine.
"Not until today, Dear", she said and gave Jan a motherly hug.
There was a little more conversation before it was time to eat. The more powerful or famous the person, the closer they sat to the man himself, Jeremy Redwine. Usually his table was made up of the most powerful locals, but this night, only a couple of the people at the Redwine's table were known to the media. There were the von Edder's, and Lisa Sanchez who was making a name for herself in advertising, but the rest of the people were nobodies. Every one of the media wondered why Jeremy was eating with those people.
"I never thought you were a late bloomer darling", Hayfa Redwine told her daughter.
"No, that would be me", Lisa interjected. Unlike the rest of the gifted people at the table, she had been in her late 20's before she discovered her powers.
"I never doubted you either", Cassie's cousin Alonzo told her. They had always been really close, and Cassie knew that he would have lied to her just to make her feel better.
Dinner was more than lovely and the food was terrific, everything it was billed to be. The families swapped stories and got to know each other. The occasion became even more special since everyone at the table was either gifted or the parent of a gifted child. Everyone shared a closeness that they wouldn't have otherwise. The waiters appeared and cleared the plates as people finished eating.
"Anyone save room for dessert?", Mr. Redwine asked. There were a few grumbles before a couple of waiters wheeled out an enormous coconut birthday cake.
"Happy Birthday, Jan!", Cassie yelled.
"Oh", some people near the table exclaimed and clapped. Jack, Carol, and Thomas looked at each other and laughed. All the staff came over, including the chefs from the kitchen. "Happy Birthday", the all exclaimed at once.
Jan hid her face behind her hands. "You guys knew about this didn't you?"
They all nodded. "Jeremy called me this morning. He said he'd have something special", Jack told his daughter. Everyone in the restaurant had a piece of the delicious cake. This had turned into an odd, but great birthday party for Jan. She didn't know that she would get her best gift after returning to her apartment.
Mr. and Mrs. Redwine gave loads of interviews then went to their hotel. Cassie had a room next to theirs in the Four Seasons, but she went with the rest of group to continue Jan's birthday celebration at the apartment.
Brian Pronger was three movies into his personal marathon. It turned out that Jan had inherited more from her father than just his height, eyes, and temperament. She also liked movies. She had all the new ones on DVD. He'd watched Revenge of the Sith, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and he was half way through Devil's Rejects when the door opened. A very animated crowd spilled into the previously darkened movie space. Alisha walked in first and flipped on the light. The group behind her was laughing at a story Cassie was telling about when some guys had tried to rob she, Alonzo, and Lisa. Her story stopped immediately when she saw a guy sitting on the couch. Even the laughing died down.
"That's Brian", Sara began as she came into the apartment. "You can speak freely around him. He already knows."
"Oh cool. Is he gifted?", Cassie paused for a second. "Or not."
Brian stopped the movie and hopped off the couch. "Everybody can't have super powers. Then they wouldn't be super."
Cassie considered it for a moment. Her smile made him smile. "Point taken."
"Every super hero needs a sidekick and a confidant. I provide that service for them... well mostly for Jan because she's the only one who gives me the time of day", he exaggerated.
"I'm too nice", the birthday girl joked and pulled off her jacket. The rest of the group fanned around the room taking all the seats. Sara and Alisha went to the kitchen to bring out more chairs. They weren't used to entertaining this many people. Alisha's parents Karl and Cheryl were the last to come in. They'd stopped at the hotel to pick up their infant son Conrad, and to give the nanny a rest. Alisha couldn't keep her hands off of him. She walked around the room with him and a bottle.
After a while, Brian went to the kitchen to get some drinks for people. Cassie was standing in front of the kitchen in her dress. Brian had seen her when she'd come in, but through all the commotion he hadn't gotten a good look at her. He was getting that good look now. She was about 5'6" with muscle symmetry that most bodybuilders dreamed off. He could see her calves, her arms, her shoulders, and the top of her pecs. That was more than enough to see that Cassie was a serious lifter... or more than just serious. It clicked in his head. "Wait a minute. You're Cassidy Redwine!"
She turned. "Yeah."
"No no! I mean you're THAT Cassidy Redwine."
"Ha. I've never even heard of another Cassidy Redwine. I think I'm the only one."
"You don't understand! You're a figure pro. I saw your pic set on the net. Well, both of them. You were wearing a floral print two piece in one of them and this tight little jeans short thing in the other one."
Her face was neutral while she stirred her lemonade.
"I'm a big fan. I saw the vids of your first pro show. You completely should have won that. Your balance is terrific and your cuts were ridiculous. I mean there wasn't a woman on that stage who could hold a candle. You have one of the best upper bodies in the sport, and your legs are so much better than everybody's on that stage. The loser who won didn't even have any definition! You're the best in your class. I... I shouldn't talk like I'm posting on a message board."
Cassie leaned her back against the counter with an easy smile on her face. "No, go ahead. You're doing fine so far."
Brian took a step closer. "I'm just saying that on film you blew them away."
She laughed. "You should apply to be a judge."
"I'd rather be a photographer. I've done some shoots with local models, and some in Pittsburgh. I can see you in a set in that dress right there. It would be easy because you are absolutely photogenic."
Cassie looked at Brian through her lashes. "Do you flatter every girl you meet?"
"Almost never", Brian replied quickly. "Can I call you Cassie?"
Brian tried to read the emotions on her face, partly amused and partly interested. Cassie took a sip of her drink and wrinkled her nose. It was tart the way she liked it. She pushed herself up then put the spoon in the sink. "So, how long have you known about their powers?", she asked to change the subject.
"A few months. Well, I really learned last semester, but Jan had my memories clouded over. Umm... She didn't want me to know, but I'm not mad at her because she had to use her powers to save me from a really bad guy a few months later."
"Oh yeah, what did she do?"
Brian frowned thinking back on it. It was like one of his comic books come to life, one of the intense ones. "She had to fight a super strong guy, strong enough to crush a concrete pillar with his bare hands. Jan beat the shit out of him. Then he broke a support column and made the building collapse on us, but Jan protected me. She got a rod through the chest for her trouble, but she's like super girl."
"You make it sound really exciting."
"It was, and scary too." He shuddered thinking about how scared he had been, but he always felt at ease when Jan was around. She had a way of making things turn out all right. "Its too bad she's lost her strength now."
"What!" Cassie frowned.
"Oops. I shouldn't have said anything. She's going to kill me."
Cassie stormed out of the kitchen. "No, she's not. I'm gonna kill her first." She walked into the living room while Mr. Hewitt, Mr. Caufield, and Mr. von Edder were in the middle of discussing whether or not they should buy a race horse. Cassie ignored it all. "Jan!", she yelled and got everyone's attention. "Why didn't you tell me that you were having problems with your powers?"
Jan blushed from embarrassment. She didn't want everyone knowing about that. "It didn't come up", she stammered.
Cassie shook her head and smiled at the same time. "I'm sorry to butt in everyone, but could you help me move this furniture out of the way to make some space?"
"What's going on?"
Cassie's face brightened. "We're gonna fix Jan's powers."
"All powers are linked. We can use our powers to fix Jan's. Can you help me move the furniture out of the way? We need some room so we can make a circle."
"Awesome!", Thomas shouted and started moving chairs.
"I guess we regular people should get out of the way", Gloria said after all the chairs and sofas were moved.
"Oh no Mrs. Sanchez. You're Lisa's mother. Half of her power came from you. This would be great for all the parents." Cassie's tone was serious yet joyous. "Since you are the blood relatives of gifted people, you can take part in this and get a lot out of it. If you've ever wanted to know how your children feel, or more accurately what your children's powers feel like, then this is the time to learn. Of course it might be a little too much for Conrad", she added.
People started taking up spots on the floor. It always worked out that the children sat between their parents. Carol Caufield sat next to Thomas who sat next to Jan and Jack next to her. Lisa sat with her mother to her left, and Sara sat with her father. Karl von Edder sat next to Sara and Alisha next to him, but Cheryl was still standing with baby Conrad.
"I'll hold him, Mrs. von Edder", Brian offered.
"Oh that's so nice of you." She handed her son over very carefully, but Brian was used to holding babies. He was the oldest of five children.
Cheryl sat down next to her daughter with Carol Caufield on her left. The circle was almost complete.
Alonzo walked up to his cousin while everyone was settling down. "Nervous?"
"Yeah", she replied. It showed all over her face. "I wish I Carmen or Teresa were here, or maybe I should call Mom. She'll come no matter how tired she is."
Alonzo took Cassie by the shoulders. "You'll do just fine", he reassured her.
"I hope so. Help me please. You've been through this before."
"I'll give you everything I've got."
"I'm gonna need it. I felt Jan. She's really powerful."
Alonzo took his cousin's hands and swung her arms. He looked at the circle. "So are you. Plus there are some of the most powerful people in the world right here in this room. Aunt Hayfa told me earlier tonight. They'll give you all you need to help Jan."
Cassie smiled. She wasn't usually unsure of herself, and when she was, she hid it, but this was a big deal. "Ok, let's do this."
Alonzo took a place next to Lisa, his fiancee. She held Mr. Caufield's hand, while Cassie sat between Sara and Karl. Everyone linked hands, completing the circle. Cassie took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. The linking began.
An energy flowed out from Cassie. It was subtle, flowing from her finger tips in both directions around the circle, softly like the breeze on a summer's night. It grew on the inside of the people. Their awareness expanded until they couldn't just feel the hands that they were personally holding. They felt all the hands being held that the same time. They couldn't just feel their own hearts beating. They felt all the hearts beating. They could feel the very spark of life inside each person in the circle until the lines between one life and the next blurred into obscurity. It was the closest to the pure energy of life that any person could get. The energy had filled each person and connected them. Step one was over. Now Cassie had to draw out the powers.
She turned the energy on herself, focusing it until it pierced to her core, to the place where her gift was stored. Her gift mixed with the energy, joining with it. Her gift traveled along the link until everyone in the group felt it. They began to experience what Cassie did. They became keenly aware of every nuance of emotions to the smallest detail and change. There were no barriers at all to Cassie's ability to tell how a person felt. Cassie concentrated and sent more power from her gift into the group. They began to feel her ability to control emotions. It was fascinating, but things were just getting started. Cassie added more of her strength to the link, locking it. There was no way out of the link now unless she willed it. Cassie was in control and everyone could feel it.
She didn't waste any time. She took all the energy of her gift and slammed it into her cousin Alonzo. People were barely used to the new sensations when they felt the energy enter Alonzo. It felt like his nerves were on fire, but he didn't try to fight it. Cassie wasn't quite as polished as her older relatives when it came to linking, but she was strong. The energy she controlled, went to his core and found his power. She drew his gift into the circle. The more of his power she pulled, the more people felt what Alonzo felt. His subtle control of magnetism was especially fascinating to Thomas.
He didn't have time to observe for long, Cassie entered him next. The thirteen year old stiffened when the combined power of two gifted people entered him. Cassie had been a little apprehensive about drawing out Thomas' power, but his gift was vast and deep. It helped too that he had complete control over his gift. Instinctively, he fought against Cassie's invasion. At first it felt like the worst violation a person could experience, but when he relaxed and let her work, it felt natural and pure. There was nothing wrong with her pulling his power into the group. Thomas experienced his power like never before. He felt it mesh with the linking energy plus Cassie and Alonzo's power. They fit together like pieces of a huge complex puzzle that Thomas could only see a tiny fraction off. It was amazing.
Brian bounced Conrad on his knee, but he couldn't take his eyes off the circle of people on the floor. He had no idea what was happening, but he knew it wasn't easy whatever it was because Alonzo and Thomas had started to sweat. Cassie's face looked neutral so far, but there was much more to do.
Cassie had added three gifts to the link. All that power flowed through the circle. They hadn't felt anything like it in all their lives. Part of them understood that Cassie was connecting a puzzle, but they could also feel each gift individually. People were beyond trying to understand what they were experiencing.
While the rest of the group marveled, Cassie probed Jan with the combine might of three very gifted people. She pulled back quickly. It would take much more than what she had to corral Jan's gift. Cassie realized that she might well have to contain the full weight of Jan's gift in order for it to be fixed. She needed more power. It was time to enter Sara.
William Hewitt knew his daughter was special. Jan and Alisha knew that Sara was so powerful that she often held herself back, but as the energies entered her and started to bring out her power, they drew back in awe. Cassie moaned. It was like turning on a faucet and getting a waterfall. She drew more power from Sara until the circle was crackling with it. Sara exhaled and dropped all her defenses, letting Cassie have complete control over her gift. It wasn't easy for Sara who was used to protecting herself, but if this was going to help Jan then she would do it. The people in the circle came to understand how Sara felt the world as more of her power joined the group. Her power was truly awesome. Alonzo and Thomas were both powerful in their own right, but neither had felt power to rival Sara's until Cassie sent the energy into Lisa.
Lisa Sanchez had only recently discovered her gift, but in that time she'd come to know that she was probably the strongest woman in the world and perhaps the strongest person on the planet period. While Lisa's gift didn't match the others for nuance or complexity, hers was pure strength. When Cassie began to draw out Lisa's power people were blown away. They could feel the energy and strength that flowed through Lisa's muscles when she used her power. Instead of flowing through her wonderful body, her power flowed into the awestruck circle. Was there ever an end to it? Cassie kept pulling. Lisa had never found her max power. Her power was linked to will, and Lisa didn't know how to back down. The more Cassie demanded, the more Lisa was determined. After a time, everyone in the circle felt the bliss that came over Lisa when she used her strength to utmost.
Brian stopped bouncing Conrad. Things had gotten serious. Sweat ran down Cassie's head and neck, while Lisa's exquisite face was strained. He could feel a change in the air too. He blinked his eyes a couple of times because he could see a faint glow in the middle of the circle. It could have been his imagination, but he knew it wasn't. It was power like he would never feel.
Cassie now controlled a massive reservoir of power. She had never felt more power from so few people in all her life. It was mind blowing and humbling, but she wasn't finished. She needed still more to contain Jan's gift. The energy entered Alisha.
At first there was nothing at all. Cassie searched for Alisha's power, but was aiming at a moving target. It morphed and changed, eluding any attempt to corral it until Alisha let down her guard. Cassie grabbed hold of it and slowly Alisha's power joined the circle. Hers was the power of infinite imagination. She could create for others anything she desired down to the very tiniest detail. Entire worlds could be created and destroyed in an instant with Alisha's power. It was time. 'Now or never', Cassie thought.
She probed Jan again. Her power rested just below the surface waiting to be unleashed like a mighty torrent. Cassie took the combined might of the gifted in the circle and slammed it into Jan without mercy.
Jan's mind went white with shock. All the power from Cassie, Alonzo, Thomas, Sara, Alisha, and Lisa entered her body. It was too much. No one person could contain that much power. It burst through her filling her instantly. It flowed between her thoughts even. She surrendered to it. There was no fighting it anyway. It went to the center of being and found her power there, bottled and corked. The energy pushed past Jan blocks and unleashed her power on the group.
Jan's gift hit the group like a nuclear explosion. Already strained to bursting from the other gifted, Jan's power was an uncontrollable mass of pure power and fury. Cassie struggled to spread it evenly throughout the group, but it erupted faster than she could control it. It was more than overwhelming. At the center of Jan's power was a blinding rage that Cassie had never felt before. Cassie drew more power from the other gifted, maxxing out Alonzo and Thomas. Both of them strained to offer more, but they were at their limits. Only Sara and Lisa had more to give. Cassie pulled more from them trying to contain Jan's power. It was no use. It just kept coming. Sara and Lisa's powers were deep deep wells; Jan's was an insatiable volcano, and it wouldn't mesh with the others. Cassie was at the end of her skill and strength, then like an answered prayer, Alisha's power morphed. It became what it had to be in order for Jan's power to mesh with the group's. It flowed like honey closing the gaps in the puzzle until Jan's power started to fit with the others. It was still hard to control, but Jan was finally able to look at her own gift the way the others had. She could see how the her power to heal and her strength were intertwined. Then she saw the problem. She saw how she'd lost half her power. It was so simple that for an instant she derided herself for being stupid. She should have felt the answer all along. Jan grabbed control of her power and pulled it back to herself. It was as natural as blinking an eye. When Jan had finished putting her rage back into its cage, it was all over.
The group sat in stunned silence relishing the last moments of an experience that defied description. Jan slowly opened her eyes, blinking at the light as she pulled herself into reality. She was hesitant to check at first, afraid that her power wouldn't be there, but it was. She let a trickle escape. Just that little bit was a rush. She jumped for joy. Her head hit against the 12 foot ceiling of the living room.
While Jan hopped around like a cheerleader, the rest of the group began to emerge from the fog of their experience. The fine details were already starting to fade, but the emotions were fresh and undiluted. Children hugged their parents and husbands kissed their wives. The true depth of their affection for each other had been felt in a way that hugs and kisses couldn't convey, but it was all they had.
Cassie Redwine sat very still after that ordeal. Everyone was tired, but Cassie was exhausted, like she had done a dozen workouts back to back to back, but she was also satisfied. She glanced up at Jan and smiled. Jan reached down and snatched Cassie up from the floor.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!", she yelled as she pulled Cassie close to her and jumped up and down.
"You're welcome, Jan", Cassie laughed weakly. "I hope you like this birthday present." Jan set her down then turned towards her father and brother.
Thomas didn't say anything, his eyes were full of tears as he hugged her waist. He was still overcome from the linking. He'd regret for the rest of his life that he never got a chance to experience this with his real mother and father, but after being linked with the Caufield's, he knew for certain how they felt about him. He'd made the right choice to join this family.
"I'm happy for you, sweetheart", Jack said in his understated way. Jan reached down and snatched up her brother in her right arm, and her 240 pound father in her left. Her father's weight wasn't even a slight strain now that she had her strength back. "Pumpkin", Jack began slowly, trying not to laugh, "Put your Daddy down." Jan chuckled and set them both on the ground. Jack leaned down and kissed Jan on the cheek.
Through the laughs and smiles there was one person softly sobbing. Jan turned with a confused frown to see her mother. Tears fell from Carol Caufield's covered face, tears of regret and shame. Her daughter didn't understand. "I'm so sorry, Jan", Carol cried. "I didn't know." Jan came close and tried to put her arm around her mother's shaking shoulders, but Carol backed away. She didn't deserve her affection.
"All those years, I didn't understand how strong it was." She grit her teeth and clenched her fist. "The rage! It was too much for a child. You were just a little child with all that rage and power inside of you. You acted out because of your temper. You tried to tell me that you couldn't always control it, but I... I didn't believe it, not fully. You'd tell me how hard you were tying to control it, but I didn't understand." Carol looked at Jan's face and her tears wouldn't stop. "It was too much for you to handle, and I never understood until now", Carol broke down.
Jan's long arms finally encircled her mother. "Its okay, Mom", she whispered in her ear. "How could you understand? No one in the world could feel what I felt until a couple of minutes ago. Don't beat yourself up. It's my power, and I love it. I wouldn't want to live another second without it. She kissed her mother then spun her around in a circle. Carol tried to laugh through her tears. She would have to work at forgiving herself even if her daughter assured her that there was nothing to be forgiven.
Jan went to Lisa then. Jan didn't know all of it, but she knew that if Lisa hadn't been there that Cassie wouldn't have had enough power to do what had been done. Lisa's beautiful face was tired and her shoulders a little slumped. Cassie had used a lot of Lisa's power, more power than Lisa had ever used at one time to do anything. "Congratulations", she said. Jan opened her arms and hugged Lisa. Lisa couldn't see the sly smirk on Jan's face. Lisa's eyes got wider and a muffled grunt escaped her lips as Jan applied a couple thousand pounds of force to Lisa's ribs and back. Lisa's body could take that kind of pressure without any risk of injury. "I'm too tired to squeeze back", Lisa wheezed and patted Jan on the arm. She laughed and let her friend go. "I'll get you back", Lisa assured Jan with a grin. Jan made her way to Sara and Alisha while Cassie made hers towards the couch.
Her cousin Alonzo came up from behind and turned her round. "Late bloomer huh?" He kissed her sweaty forehead. "You were great. Even Mom would have been impressed."
"Ha. Aunt Hamida was never impressed."
Alonzo looked into her eyes. "I couldn't be more proud of you. And she would've been proud too. Trust me."
Cassie beamed through her fatigue.
"You want to leave with me and Lisa? We're getting ready to go."
"I think I'll crash here", Cassie said and fell onto the sofa.
"Okay, I'll see you later. Oh, and make sure you invite them to the Thanksgiving party in Chicago."
People finally prepared to leave. The good-bye's took an hour. Brian secured a ride with Alisha's parents back to his dorm. It gave him a chance to be chauffeured for the first time in his life, plus he and Conrad had taken a liking to each other. Jan came up while Brian was putting on his coat. "Thank you", she said simply.
"For what?", he asked with a lopsided grin.
"If it wasn't for your big mouth, I wouldn't have my strength back."
Brian smirked. "Hey, it's your birthday." He put his head down, and spoke seriously. "I know how much that meant to you. Of course it was an accident, but I'm really happy for you Jan. Oh! I have to give you your birthday present."
"You already did."
"No, I bought you one." He reached into his bag and pulled out a wrapped package. "I know you've been meaning to get this for a while, but you've been busy, and they've been sold out. So I saw it, and I got it for you."
Jan tore the paper off to reveal the Monk and Coltrane At Carnegie Hall cd. "Aww Brian thank you so much." She hugged him too. When Jan got emotional it was hard for her to stop being emotional.
"Happy Birthday", he said again and turned to leave.
Cassie had to hurry to and catch Brian before he got out the door. "Here." She shoved a piece of paper into his palm. He stopped and opened it. "Its my cell number, e-mail, and Myspace."
Brian grinned at his success.
"Send me some samples of your work, and I might let you do a shoot", she teased.
"I'll do that."
"Don't forget", she told him and turned.
"That won't happen Cassidy."
She peered at him over her shoulder. "You can call me Cassie."
"Goodnight Cassie." Brian smiled and walked out. He had to leave before he screwed something up, because for today Brian Pronger was batting a thousand. He was going to savor this and quit while he was ahead.
more to come very soon!!!
|Power and Fury: The Early Days pt.1||The Femme Soldiers Attack||The Terror Gallery pt.2|
|Power and Fury: The Early Days pt. 2||The Strength Serum||The Femme Soldier: Strength Conquers All|
|Power and Fury: Just Warming Up||Power and Fury: Power Problems||The Femme Rampage|
|Power and Fury: Itching for a Fight||The Femme Revolution||Power and Fury: Pushed to the Edge|
|Power and Fury: The Heist||The Femme Revolution Pt. 2||Power
and Fury: Sara's Bad Day
|The Femme Soldiers||The Terror Gallery pt. 1|
There are plenty of others where this story came
from. Please check out the bookshelf for all the past chapters of
Power and Fury and my other series.
comments and critisisms welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org