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   Chapter 17 No.17

A Girl Named Sandy By Paul Kater Characters: 12930

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04

Knots and what-nots

The days following the revelation were unnerving in the strangest way for Paul. Sandy and he left the apartment, rode their bicycles to the university, did their work and classes. Everything felt different, although nothing had changed in that respect. No one treated him any different than before, except Sandy. The new-found alien looked no more like a scaled, slime-drooling, green-eyed monster than the Mona Lisa did; he was just a man doing what he had always done. Especially lunch time was difficult for him, walking around and sitting among so many people. Logically he knew they had no idea about his new identity, but emotionally he found himself shaking. So badly that at one point Sandy told him to wait for her in the hall and then they'd go for a walk outside in the sunshine, eating some take-out lunch she had picked up.

"You have to try and act normal again, Paul, " she urged him, holding his arm while they walked along Tankard's Close, through the small park that was part of the university premises. "I beg you. You're not a bug-eyed monster, you're Paul Eric Carmichael and a damned good astrophysics buff. Please act like one."

Beneath a tree Paul stopped walking and looked at the young woman at his side. He put his hands around her waist and said: "I know you're right. It's just a bit of a revelation to cope with after being just me for about fifty years."

"I understand. But you don't have to do that alone, remember? We can talk, like dad said. Like we do now." Sandy enjoyed the feeling of his hands on her, and sent her appreciation towards him through that invisible bond they shared. "It will all be fine, wonderful man. And now put your mind on something else. Like whatever secret stuff it is that you are doing in your cave in the basement, together with Mister Don Puniverse."

"I'd rather put my mind on you then."

"Hey, hold it, I know what you're thinking, let's save that for tonight, " Sandy grinned. Then she let him kiss her, and they both ignored the whistles that came from cyclists that happened to pass by.


It was Friday afternoon. Paul and Sandy would leave for Arecibo the following Tuesday.

"Doctor Carmichael, " Professor Sams said, standing next to Paul's desk, immaculate in his dark grey suit. "Next week you will depart to Puerto Rico. Are you certain that everything for your journey is in place?" The man looked meaningfully to the crate that contained the simulator which was to be shipped that very day.

"I am quite positive, sir. The simulator is pre-announced at the customs' office, the courier could be here any minute. All the files I could possibly need are on the laptop and in a secure cloud, so we should be all fine."

"Cloud, " the professor gruffed. He was not keen on many of the convenient, modern wonders of technology. "Very well, it is in your hands. I shall be away to a conference in Birmingham as of tomorrow, so I shan't see you any more until you return. I wish you a safe journey, Doctor Carmichael."

"And the same to you, professor." Paul watched the man walk towards the door, that swung open as Sandy came in.

"Oh, hi professor!" she cheered.

"Miss Royce..." He barely acknowledged her. Professor Sams was one of the people who appeared deeply offended that one of his esteemed fellows was living in such a sinful relationship, and the fact that Sandy was very young made it even worse.

"Old goat, " Sandy muttered after he had left. "He really doesn't like me, does he?" She sat on Paul's desk.

"He doesn't like us, the way we are together, " Paul said. "If only we had the decency to marry, that would make a difference for him already."

"I would marry you, " Sandy said. "If you'd ask me, " she added with a pout.

Don, who had quietly listened to them, raised his hand. "Offering services as a best man, quite che

love to her dad and siblings, and then took the phone from his hand to end the call. She grinned as she did it. "Your future mother in law asked me to tell you that she likes your humour."

There was a knock on the door and a man in uniform and wearing a cap came in. "Hullo, folks. Sorry, got delayed a bit. I'm here to collect a box for customs." The man pulled a roll of paper from his back pocket. "A stimulator?"

Don got up. "That had better say simulator. And you two should get out of here. Have a good journey, rest assured that I am jealous all the time you're gone, and I shall hate you forever for leaving the best best man behind." He took Paul's jacket from the hook behind the door, and pushed it in his hands. "Go, leave, celebrate. And again, Paul and Sandy... congratulations." He shook Paul's hand a few times and then asked permission to kiss the bride to be, which was granted.

The courier stood and watched. "Blimey, getting married, are you? Congratulations then." His expression revealed with no uncertain features that he was puzzled about the couple but he kept his opinion to himself and started looking for a pen.

Paul and Sandy thanked Don and the courier, collected their belongings and left the laboratory. As they rode off, Sandy said: "Do you know that you surprised me?"

"Surprised you? How?"

"Maybe I shouldn't say. I'm afraid I feel silly when I do."

Paul put his hand on her arm and told her to stop at the next opportunity. "Now I have to know."

When they had stopped in a safe place, Sandy felt like an idiot. "Please, Paul, don't take this wrong, because you made me the happiest girl, okay? It's just that when I said 'I would marry you', I was, uhm, not really joking, but teasing you in a way. I want to marry you, Paul, I really do, and I surprised myself when I said it, but when you then took my hand and you asked if I would marry you..." A few tears welled up in her eyes and slowly trickled down her cheek as she looked up at him.

Paul slowly shook his head as he put his arms around her as well as possible with the bikes between them. "Blast these bikes, " he muttered, "I hope you understand this is meant to be a hug. You should not get hurt because of it." He gave up the attempt to hug her and instead bent over to kiss her. A taxi driver blew his horn as he passed. "We're attracting attention. Come. There is somewhere that we have to go first."

"I thought we were going home?" Sandy looked puzzled as they got on their bicycles. Paul didn't tell her what he was planning, he just laughed.


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