Chuck hit the “end” button on his watch and raised up on his haunches. He peered over the rooftop ledge of the building adjacent to Sasha’s penthouse. He was not pleased about her decision to go home alone. So he followed her. Everything did appear secure, otherwise when she had called, he would have blown his cover to keep her from going inside.
That was until Chuck saw something strange. At first he thought that it was just a light coming on in another apartment. But then he saw that it was moving. Suddenly, Chuck knew exactly what, or rather who, that ball of light was. Lumin. And he was after Sasha!
Chuck scanned the apartment for Sasha. There she was, coming out from the bathroom. She was talking to Lumin! Just standing there, talking to him. Why wasn’t she going for help or fighting him?
He must be brainwashing her, Chuck thought. He stood to his feet and jumped up into flight in milliseconds. Hovering outside Sasha’s bedroom, Chuck weighed the options. Either way, he knew two things: one - Lumin can only be physically apprehended when he’s in human form and consequently, two - he’d have to take Lumin by surprise. Chuck flew back a few feet and flew head on through the glass, wrapping his arms around Lumin and wrestling him to the ground.
Sasha zapped Chuck with a bolt of electricity, enough to knock him off his feet. As he sat stunned, Lumin returned to his ball shape, whispered something to Sasha and vanished out of the broken window.
“Chuck! What are you doing?”
“What am I doing? I’m saving you from Lumin! What are you doing trying to stop me?”
“I did stop you, Chuck. You always think you’re more powerful than me. Aw and look what you did to my window!”
“I don’t understand what’s going on,” Chuck rubbed his head as the shock wore off. With a sweep of his hand, he picked up all the scattered pieces of the window and reassembled them without even the hint of a crack.
Sasha gave Chuck an icy stare but ignored his statement. She walked methodically to her kitchen. Her mind was arrested by all the things Lumin had told her and she needed to process. She filled a tea kettle and put it on the stove to boil. Chuck was only a step behind her.
“Sasha, what is going on? What was Lumin doing here? What did he say to you?” Chuck was losing his patience. He was starting to hope that she truly was brainwashed as he suspected. Otherwise she was just being rude. And annoying.
Sasha turned to Chuck with the lost look of someone who’d been betrayed by their closest friend.
“He said,” she stammered. “He said that…Chuck, Lumin is…he’s my father.”
“He’s my father. I’ve known it for a long time but I just…I could never find the right moment to tell you.”
“So…wait a minute…whose side….”
Sasha cut him off, a determined finger aimed dead between his eyes.
“I am with the Forces. I always will be. I’m with you, Chuck.”
“Then why the hell did you stop me?”
“Oh, everything is about you.”
Sasha turned back to the stove, pointed her finger at the kettle and zapped it until it sung. Even she wasn’t sure whether she was annoyed at the time it takes to boil water or if she’d thought better of shocking Chuck again and directed her emotions elsewhere.
“Great. So you’re just go into Woman Mode: loaded questions, snide remarks, misdirection, making it all my fault and then saying I’m making it all your fault. I can’t talk to you when you’re like this.”
A wind kicked through the apartment and the lights flickered on and off.
“You think you know me, Chuck? You think you’re so perceptive about me and my moods? If you were, you would have known that what you just said to me was the worst thing you could have said.”
“I’m sorry, Sasha. You’re right. It’s not an eye for an eye here. We’re in this together.”
“Oh, no we’re not. You’re in this for you. The only reason you care about protecting me is so you can have me for yourself. Never mind the fact that I have clearly said, time and again, that we’re done. You don’t care about what I want or what makes me happy. You just want to be happy. You. You. You. You.”
With every ‘you’ that quietly and angrily left her tightened throat, Sasha took another step towards Chuck. She raised her hands like claws as all the lights in her apartment went out and she began to glow white hot blue.
“Sasha, don’t. I thought you said you were with me!”
“I did. But when I said it, I meant it. And the best thing for you right now is for you to get out of my apartment before I kill you. And so help me, if you don’t use the door, I will kill you for breaking my window again.”
Chuck was smart enough to know he’d lost this round. Keeping his eyes glued on her, he back out to the door, opened it and left.
The electricity whooshed back into the lights and sockets of Sasha’s apartment. A dim white afterglow hung about her as she crumpled to the floor in sobs.