Perhaps only a sorceress like the late Hyne could be able to pinpoint when or how such an attraction could come to be. After all, the mere mortals directly involved hadn’t a clue. The only most certain thing was the timeline – not so much as when it began, but more like when it definitely began before.
It definitely began before a small band of about four SeeD mercenaries, one sharpshooter, and one leader of a small resistance faction turned sorceress had defeated a maleficent creature of insane power known as Ultimecia before she could fully realize her plan to Compress Time.
It definitely began before those same SeeD mercenaries, the sharpshooter, and the leader of a small resistance Faction turned sorceress had confronted and defeated two previous sorceresses who had been played as pawns in Ultimecia’s game and thusly saved the world from her devious designs.
And it even definitely began before three of those SeeD mercenaries had graduated from their military academy, known as Balamb Garden, via a final exam, which took place in a city called, Dollet with their objective being to push back Galbadia’s invading army.
So, it must have happened sometime in a shared classroom where one party would observe the other as he poured over a textbook with a highly concentrated look on his face, sitting very still except for at least one foot bouncing up and down as his only valve to release his relentless, pent-up energy.
Or perhaps it actually happened one day in the Garden’s library, where she worked to afford the cost of tuition and where on one peculiar day a young man with a muscular physique with a tribal tattoo adorning the left side of his face, and a most singular expression of individuality in his hair style asked how to find a back issue of Combat King. Maybe it was that day, and maybe it was by way of the wide-eyed, frightened look her got on his face once she began to speak of card catalogues and the Dewey Decimal System that endeared him to her. Who knows really? For who can say what a quiet, straight-laced, unassuming, and practically retiring young librarian would see in this poster child for ADHD? Perhaps when opposites attract, stranger things have happened.
The situation all began to come to a dire head and an interesting turn when the three members of Balamb’s Discipline Committee returned from Fisherman’s Horizon. This had only partially been their idea as it was mostly Headmaster Cid’s encouragement to them and to the Garden’s Commander, Squall Leonhart, to let them return.
Squall was far from overjoyed at the prospect of seeing Seifer Almasy, and his two-man posse, Raijin and Fuujin, traversing the Garden’s hallways and occupying space in its dorms and rooms again just like none of the students and other SeeDs were, however, whereas Squall wasn’t fond of Seifer, he understood him. And whereas Squall had recognized some personal changes in himself for the better in the past several months, he hoped that Seifer could have changed too.
Initially anyway, Seifer had shown to have mellowed out a bit, but he still clung to some time-tested bad habits. Raijin and Fuujin were not much better than their leader in this, and in some ways they all goaded each other on.
The instigating incident that set course of Destiny in motion was a day that found Raijin and Fuujin “disciplining” a young SeeD hopeful after he had stepped on Raijin’s new shoes by accident. Too frightened by the misstep and Raijin’s reputation, and the fact that perpetrator was currently hanging by his shirt collar from Raijin’s hot, enormous fist, the student could not must an apology which only escalated the already tense situation.
Squall had not witnessed this event, but his good friend, Zell Dincht, the muscular, Combat King reading, tribal-face-tattoo adorned, martial artist and all-around general practitioner in the art of fisticuffs with hair that fashionably mimicked a chocobo tail in the front had seen everything. Being a tad on the emotional side himself, like Raijin, Zell burst onto the scene with clenched fists and flared nostrils, practically pawing the ground like a Mesmerize about to charge. The sight had surprised Raijin enough to drop the student.
“You let that kid go, or I’ll whoop your ass!” Zell had threatened.
“I got time, ya know!” was Raijin’s reply. Not a second later, Zell and Raijin were throwing their jackets to the floor while a crowd of students formed a ring around them. Before a punch could be thrown, Squall leapt between them, gunblade flashing (just to get their attention), followed closely by Xu as back up. “You guys wanna knock each other’s heads in, do where no one has to slip on the blood ‘cause there’ll be no fighting in my hallways!”
Within days, a student took Squall’s suggestion and organized an event, showcasing a fighting match between Zell and Raijin, which was to take place on a makeshift boxing ring in the Quad. Still fuming and filled with rage, which was being fueled almost hourly with rumors of Raijin saying foul things about Zell’s mother and Zell doing likewise about Raijin’s inability to cook fish properly, both parties eagerly agreed to participate.
. . . Irvine Kinneas and Selphie Tilmitt were doing promotions for the event off-the-record with unconfirmed reports that it was they who had started the rumors . . .
Now, Rinoa Heartilly and Quistis Trepe urged Squall to not let the fight happen, but Squall thought it better to let the two testosterone-charged fighters get it out of their systems. If he didn’t, he reasoned, he knew he’d be breaking up fights between them every other day as long as he could even attempt to keep them on opposite sides of the Garden . . . otherwise it would have been hourly. But Rinoa and Quistis, being of a highly feminine persuasion, failed to see Squall’s reasoning, and believed him to be acting callous and insensitive in taking a chance in letting Zell’s brains get knocked in all for the sake of cleaner and quieter hallways and promptly told the Garden Commander so in the most chiding manner either of them could muster. By this time though, Squall was used to such talk and tones.
Regardless of the fact that the ladies had said anything, Zell was rudely awakened the next morning at 5AM by a whistle-blowing Squall who was amplifying his rude auditory intrusion with a bullhorn. He shoved a glass of raw eggs into Zell’s hand and thusly Dincht’s training had begun. It wasn’t that Zell wasn’t skilled. It wasn’t that Squall had no faith. It was solely that Raijin out-weighed Dincht by 50lbs and had nearly as much training. Squall wanted to give his comrade as much of an edge as he could.
Luckily, in mode with Squall’s designs for Zell, the Garden was not quite so mobile as too many parents had complained to the administration that they no longer knew where their children were. This allowed Squall some options, and one of them entailed Zell, running alongside a transport, driven by a yawning Irvine, with Squall hanging out the passenger side window, calling out commands, insults, and positive encouragement through the bullhorn at Dincht; it was a sight that greeted many a morning for the residents of Balamb.
Later in the day, Zell would be sequestered in the Training Ground without the use of junctions, pitted against a T-Rexaur. At a safe distance, sat a still-yawned Irvine, junctioned and prepped with Exeter in hand (just in case) and Squall in lawn chairs, with the latter calling out commands, insults, and positive encouragement through the bullhorn, keeping an eye on Zell’s battle through a pair of binoculars.
While most students and SeeDs only eagerly awaited the upcoming match with rumors, placing bets, and cheering when Zell walked down the corridors, flanked by a very stoney-faced Squall and Irvine, one student kept a very keen watch on him and his training sessions. She didn’t exactly spy on Zell, but when she witnessed the transport with Irvine and Squall drive by with Zell running alongside, she was compelled to stop and watch. When her fellow compatriots on the Library Committee had information, no mater how minor, on Zell’s training program, she was always available to hear it. And when she discovered that Squall was having Zell face a T-Rexaur unjunctioned, this student who worked in the Balamb Garden Library who was known for always wearing her hair in a ponytail, audibly gasped and found it hard to concentrate on her work that day.
Since the news of the Zell/ Raijin match spread through the Garden like napalm, Alexa Edelweiss had tried being more discrete in finding any information she could, however, her friends on the Library Committee knew her and her adoration for Zell Dincht more thoroughly than she’d thought she’d made known. She’d forgotten how many times she might have mentioned his name in a day. She’d forgotten that they could see her when she caught sight of Zell in the classrooms, hallways, or in the library and couldn’t keep her eyes off him. She’d forgotten how they witnessed her go to such lengths to get in another copy of Goodbye Pururun because Raijin hadn’t returned it, and Zell had shown some interest in reading it. She’d forgotten that they could see that for the past year or more, the library was sure to have the latest edition of Combat King when only random issues had been available before. And when Squall Leonhart and his comrades had returned from defeating Sorceress Ultimecia, Weapons Monthly did cover stories for every comrade, showcasing their weapon. When fellow Library Committee member, Bambi had made the mistake of touching Alexa’s Zell Dincht Edition, the effect had been similar to that of someone casting Berserk on her – another incident she had forgotten.
Regardless of how deeply her infatuation ran, Alexa found it hard to talk to Zell. Being predominantly introverted and shy made the library a great place for her to work, but it was not a place Zell frequented especially since there were no more reports, exams, or any miscellaneous projects that required research and quiet for him to complete since he had graduated. Also, Alexa was not a fighter. She came to Balamb Garden to become a medic. She spent many hours between the library and interning with Dr. Kadowaki, not the training center. Since his graduation, Alexa knew that she may not be seeing Zell in the infirmary as much as before, even though as time went by and he became more skilled, she’d been seeing less and less of him in there anyway. Her only hopes now were the cafeteria, or even more remotely the parking garage as he, on rare occasion, could be found there helping with maintenance on the transports.
Since his graduation, although Alexa was genuinely happy for him accomplishing the difficult goal of becoming a full-fledged SeeD, she had become stricken with a growing despondency. It was difficult coming up with ways to get to talk to him without the library. Once, she had found a very rare, and very old edition of Combat King. Taking a chance, and swallowing copious amounts of fear, Alexa called Zell’s mother in Balamb. Being not just Zell’s mother, but also a “professional” mother, Ma Dincht invited the girl down to the Dincht homestead for some fish. During their discussion about Zell, Ma Dincht informed Alexa of his intended home visit from globetrotting, trying to find a sorceress. She knew of this due to Zell’s dutiful letter writing. In those days, even amidst all the excitement of the pending battles, the Ragnorok was still sure to stop even at the most remote of mailboxes.
Alexa found Zell at the Balamb Hotel and gave him the gift of the Combat King. Speaking from her heart and not from sense, she asked him to think of her while reading it even if it was just a little. Zell had seemed slightly bewildered at her request, but didn’t devote much time into meditating on it. She would kick herself later for being so forward, but the Library Committee quickly reminded her that she didn’t know if Zell would even come back from fighting the sorceress. This fact made Alexa relieved and upset all at once. However, she was able to stop kicking herself once he returned for during the celebratory party at the Garden, he hardly noticed that it was her behind the tray of Garden’s signature hot dogs, which he scarfed into a choking fit. After that, his interaction with her hadn’t changed much, except now he recognized her as the girls who gave him that very handy Combat King, but still hadn’t remembered her name. In fact, to Zell Dincht, Alexa only held the moniker, “that library chick with the pigtail”.
And so, ever just as infatuated with Zell, but really having little success, the event between him and Raijin presented her with a new opportunity, which the rest of the Library Committee pounced on. There was a notice placed on the Garden Square BBS calling for medics to be present pre, during, and post event. The Library Committee signed Alexa’s name to Zell’s medic team naturally. She was personally too anxious about this to be thrilled, but she couldn’t help but look forward to seeing and being able to be in his presence once again.
The day of the match arrived. The Quad was packed to near overflowing with students and some camouflaged instructors who were just too curious to not attend. The Garden Festival Committee had taken over the decorating for the Quad, and had managed to get the place looking like an authentic boxing ring stadium. The school’s best magic users were called to place an anti-magic field inside the ring that was formidable enough for the D-district Prison. The atmosphere was crackling with each student’s excitement and anticipation. It was Balamb Garden history in the making, and every single soul in the Quad knew they were a part of it.
Finally, amidst the dull roar of the students and the flashing screens that were illuminated with the stats of each fighter, Nida emerged from the judges’ table and jumped onto the canvas. From the center of it, he announced the opponents. The dull roar became a certified dine of excitement as Raijin and Zell entered from opposite sides to body-thumping, adrenaline-inducing, bass-filled music.
Seifer sat with Fuujin at a cool distance from the ring.
Squall stood within yards of it, arms crossed with a harsh, focused glare to his blue eyes. His feet kept shuffling as if they would give anything for Squally to allow them to pace the floor.
The fighters met in the middle of the ring. Nida told them to keep the fight clean. They shook hands and retreated to their corners. Raijin was handed his bo, and Zell his gauntlets. A mere ding of a bell, and the fight was on.
Practically equally matched, the pugilists gave their spectators a more exciting spectacle than any of them could have imagined. Raijin’s sheer power behind his bo was a definite force to be reckoned with. Zell’s martial arts combine with his strength did poetic credit to the human form. Although Raijin was heavier, Zell was quicker and more agile. As long as Zell could dodge the hardest of blows, he might be able to tire his opponent and whittle him down with his swiftness. But Zell didn’t dodge every attack, and Raijin broke a few bos, one of them breaking across the back of his opponent as the other was getting up from a previous trick of Raijin’s. Being much more than a love tap, Zell had fallen to the canvas again and almost didn’t get back up before the end of the count. A second bo was broken upon Zell’s fist with both opponents taking an equal swing at each other. When this had happened, the roar of excitement form the crowd had nearly brought down the makeshift walls of the stadium.
Between rounds, Raijin caught his breath and was rehydrated. Zell had his fists in buckets of ice and got quick pep-talks from Squall as Irvine gave him quick rub-downs to keep the muscles warm. By the end of forty rounds, both contenders were worse for wear. Raijin was missing a few teeth, and Zell had needed his Squall to cut his eyelid to let the blood out to reduce the swelling so he could see. In the final round, the opponents were clearly running on the dregs of adrenaline and the sheer will to not quit. Suddenly and simultaneously, Raijin brought his bo down hard in the crook of Zell’s neck as the latter delivered a blow to Raijin’s cheekbone that undoubtedly jostled whatever brain cells he had left. Zell fell to his knees, and Raijin staggered back and to the left. Both of them fell completely onto the canvas. Nida began the count. Raijin stirred, and Zell desperately tried crawling to the ropes to help himself up. With one eye swollen regardless of being cut and fatigue urging every cell in Zell’s body to stay down, the ropes seemed leagues away from him. Raijin managed to roll to his side and get a supporting arm underneath him. The count continued. Everyone held a bated breath. Zell’s friends were screaming support to stand, but he could barely discern their voices from the loud rushing sound in his ears. Raijin pushed himself up and got a foot underneath himself.
And then, by nothing more than absolute stubbornness to not lose, Zell forced himself to his feet without assistance from the ropes, who had been just plain jerks for not being within reach. The bell dinged, the round was over. Zell Dincht swayed and fell to his knees, throwing a fist into the air, yelling, “God bless the ring!” The spectators went wild.
Squall leapt onto the tabletop he’d been sitting behind with the fight supplies. From the tabletop, he pounced onto the canvas, barely clearing the ropes. He grabbed Zell before his friend could completely collapse. Dincht was hardly conscious and relinquished his head and face into Squall’s abdomen as the other was yelling over the chaos at Irvine to help him get Zell to the locker room, and at Selphie, Rinoa, Quistis or whomever was near enough to hear anything to do miscellaneous things.
Seifer pushed his way through the crowd and then through the medics surrounding Raijin.
Squall and Irvine had Zell by each arm around their necks. Selphie, Quistis, and Rinoa did their best to push the students and SeeDs back so the boys could get through. Zell’s feet were moving adequately without having to support the weight of his body, but his head was lolling from shoulder to shoulder, while he was mumbling nonsense.
When Alexa, carrying her medic case and bone scanner, arrived at Zell’s locker room, the winner was a little less punch-drunk. Squall readily helped her set up and bandage some of his friend’s wounds, but after that he was just hovering. That’s when Irvine went about what he was best at. Recognizing Alexa for who she was, Kinneas motioned for the girls to leave, and he personally grabbed Squall, dragging him into the hallway by the arm with a, “C’mon, Squall. Let’s let the cute medic girl do her thing and not be in her way.”
Alexa was alone with Zell. The Library Committee had made her practice this conversation, but even with that she was almost too nervous to talk, but some higher Benevolent Being gave her a hand allowed Zell to recognize her.
“Hey, you’re the girl who gave me that Combat King in Balamb.”
She tried desperately not to blush but to no avail. Thankful that she was bandaging his hands, which allowed her to be close without having to look her adoration in his eyes, she replied, “Yeah. You know, I thought I remembered seeing some of those moves today from the Combat King.”
Zell scratched the back of his head with the hand she wasn’t working on and kind of grimaced. “Heh. Yeah. Even with all my training they still come in handy, especially the one you gave me.”
Alexa’s cheeks turned crimson, but she had to concentrate. This was the best time to say what she had to say. She picked up the rolls of bandaging and retreated to her medic box to put them away. With her back to him, she swallowed her fear, which was too copious to get down. She made her move. “Um Zell, I was just thinking . . . um . . . I’m a student of myomassology . . .”
“Myoma-whatsis?” came Zell with furrowed brows.
“Well, it’s the study of muscles and their tissues. . . . I’m learning how to mobilize and heal restrictions in muscle tissue. I was wondering if you’d let me do a clinical hour on you.”
Her words had confused and kind of scared him. What she was speaking of sounded like it could be painful. Right now, the look on his face was similar to the time when she tried explaining to him the Dewey Decimal System. Now, if Alexa had asked him if she could give him a massage, which was precisely what she was asking, Zell wouldn’t have had such trepidation. “. . . Well, I guess,” he replied. “How . . . how exactly are you gonna mobilize my tissue?”
“Oh . . . uh, with my hands.” For some reason, she felt like one of those bad girls that her mother did not raise her to be.
“Why my tissue?”
Alexa finally turned around to face him. “Well, you’ve just been in this fight where you used your muscles to excess so you’re going to have a lot of restrictions in a couple of days. If you let those restrictions continue without be addressed, they become hard and almost like scar tissue. Then you lose mobility. And for you to be a fighter like you are, you can’t afford to lose mobility. Besides with your . . . physique, you’re the perfect specimen to be worked on.” She quickly turned away again. – Perfect specimen? – she thought, reflecting on his all-too-present muscles. – I hope he doesn’t catch on that I just called him hot! –
He didn’t. He just blinked and scratched his head again. “I sure don’t want to lose mobility. Yeah, you can mobilize my tissue.”
“R-really?” She turned back to him.
“Sure,” he replied with a flippant shrug. “Uh, do you need to mobilize my tissue right now?”
“Oh no. We need to give your muscles a break; otherwise they’ll become inflamed. We can do it in a couple of days.”
Zell reached behind himself for his jeans, which were lying on the bench behind him and winced in pain. “Ow, ow, ow.” His muscles were already killing him. He took out his cell phone from his jeans pocket and touched the screen. “Okay, how do I reach you?”
“You can just call the library.” Alexa knew she was missing out on an opportunity to give him her number, but her self-depreciating mien wouldn’t let her. – Besides - she thought – he probably won’t need it again after this is all over -.
“Okay . . . uh . . .” he was embarrassed to ask, but he had to. “Who do I ask for?”
For a split second, if it weren’t for the reality that Zell Dincht was going to call the library and ask for her, Alexa would’ve started to cry in that moment. – He doesn’t remember my name? - “Alexa,” she replied humbly.
Zell typed her name into his phone, linking it to Balamb Garden’s Library number. “Okay!”
“All right. Well, I guess I’ll see you in a few days, Zell,” said Alexa with a rush of relief that the conversation was over and she hadn’t shied away from it. She picked up her case.
“Right on,” he replied cheerily, but trying not to smile too much because his face hurt.
Out in the hallways, Selphie was pointing and giggling at Squall’s shirt. With the blood from Zell’s eye, nose, and mouth, he’d left an interestingly, yet somewhat gory cameo of himself on it. Squall was laughing a little too. With the fight over, Zell winning and not being too horribly damaged, Leonhart could relax again. And Rinoa, having seen Squall so concerned about Zell even though he allowed the fight to happen, had fallen in love with him all over again, which was actually a regular occurrence, but now she was giving into a fully lover’s gaze at her knight.
Alexa emerged into the hallway, meekly smiled at Zell’s friends and practically ran away.
Squall and company went back into the locker room to see Zell. With his bloody bits and hands bandaged, he looked much better, and acting more like himself.
“How ya feeling?” asked Squall.
“Great!” piped Zell. “That library chick’s gonna mobilize my tissue!”
“Oh, nice. . . . Wait, she what?” Squall was mildly confused.
Irvine just grinned.
Squall had been right in letting Zell and Raijin duke it out. For the next few days, calm had been restored to Balamb Garden. In fact, Zell and Raijin seemed to even have developed a new respect for one another. For the time being at least, Zell could be caught giving Raijin and genuine thumb-up, and Raijin could be seen giving Zell a returning grin that was sans a few teeth. Internal peace was good.
And as Zell said he would, especially since it was for the good of his mobility, he called Alexa at the library and they set up a time for her to do her clinical hour on him.
She was shaking when she arrived, standing in the hallway in front of his door. She was relieved that she was carrying her folded treatment table so that he wouldn’t be able to see her shaking. However, Alexa would soon realize that things were “worse” than she could have imagined.
Zell hadn’t come to the door, but instead had called somewhere inside, “It’s open!” in response to her pushing the buzzer. Alexa staggered in for the cumbersome bulk of the table into Zell’s living space and was remarked at how clean it actually was. As she began to unfold and set up the table, she found out why Zell hadn’t come to the door.
Zell appeared in from the bathroom doorway. He was rubbing his hair vehemently with a towel at first, but then just let it drop to his shoulders. He was still damp and wearing nothing else but his boxer briefs. Beads of water were still slowly making their path down his body, which were either being hindered in the process by some toned bulk of muscle, or aided in finding the perfect course in a sinew. Alexa nearly fainted.
“Sorry I didn’t come to the door,” said Zell. “I wanted to be all clean before you put your hands on me.” He returned to bathroom to finish drying off and left Alexa to swoon by herself. It was then that she realized that she truly might have made a horrible mistake. For the time being, she wasn’t even sure how she was going to get through an hour of this.
Zell hadn’t meant to come out of the bathroom in the indecent intention of lewd insinuations; his mother had taught him better than that, and in front of girls, that was not his MO (perhaps Irvine’s, but not his). However, his line of thought had been that because she was a medic here to mobilize his tissue, he had to be mostly unclothed from the start. Also, it was required to be buck-naked for his SeeD physical with Dr. Kadowaki once a year anyway, and chances were good that this medic had probably handled a jar of his urine at one time, Hyne knew. So there was really no reason to be a prude about things. For this medic to see him in his boxer briefs must have been of very little consequence.
Once again that Benevolent Being from above must have lended a divine hand to Alexa for Zell fell asleep for most of his massage. This was such a relief for Alexa as it allowed her to work in peace without worrying about him judging her work. She did what was necessary, imparting however much pressure or whichever technique that would get the job done. There were a couple of trouble spots, like when she arrived at Zell’s glutei and lateral rotators. At that point, she began reciting to herself the names of the muscles in the hands and feet to keep her attention away from how well-toned Zell Dincht’s behind was. After she had Zell flip over, she was stuck again at his pectoralis major. In fact, she debated with herself whether or not it was necessary to address this muscle, but especially from a medical standpoint, this was one of the most important groups of muscles for Zell to have worked on since someone in his position used them quite frequently. But from a person standpoint for Alexa though, it wasn’t exactly easy to place her hands all over Zell’s immaculate, masculine chest, especially while he laid there peacefully sleeping with a cute and pleasant expression on his face. She couldn’t help but liken him to an angel – a big, beefy, Adonis of an angel, and then quickly and fervently chided herself. Alexa took a mental note to not massage anyone she thought was hot and had a crush on anymore because this was ridiculous.
She had just finished working on Zell’s head, which was an area she rarely working on anyone who didn’t suffer from frequent headaches, and looked at the clock to make the startling realization that her clinical hour had turned into two. She had been concentrating on so many things all at once that time slipped away like a cat burglar in the night. Except for the few seconds it took Zell to flip onto his back, he’d been asleep the whole time, and was still sleeping now. Scared that he would be irritated and hate her with a passion for the rest of her life for taking so much time, Alexa debated not waking him and just making a beeline for the library where the committee members made her promise to go directly there after the massage to spill the details. However, she couldn’t just leave her equipment there. She sighed, rubbed her temples, and prepared herself to apologize profusely.
Dr. Kadowaki had showed a little trick in waking up SeeD mercenaries or student who were in their last requirements to becoming SeeDs, which fascinatingly enough did not work on other students. It was a technique that was much easier than shaking someone and screaming their name. Alexa reached down and lightly stroked Zell’s face. He woke up with a start, practically leaping off the table with still-bruised fists poised. Seeing Alexa and his dorm room, he quickly remembered the situation.
“Oh! Sorry about that. I guess I fell asleep or something,” he said grimacing and scratching the back of his head sheepishly.
“That’s perfectly all right,” she replied, pulling the sheets off the table. “How do you feel?”
Zell moved his shoulders and neck and threw a few punches with his newly mobilized tissue. “I feel great!” he exclaimed. “I feel lighter and like I can more easily than before!”
Alexa smiled, and began to dismantle the table.
“I probably should have had this done before I fought Raijin!”
“Well, actually,” rejoined Alexa, “if you had you probably would have lost the match since you’re not used to fighting without tension residing in certain areas whether you’re conscious of it or not.”
“Oh really?” he replied, slightly puzzled by this fact.
“You’re used to your body only being able to move certain ways. If I had given you a massage and then all the sudden your body moves differently, even though it’s more efficient, you’d have to change little things about the way you fight that you’re not used to doing or feeling.”
“Wow!” Zell was impressed. “You sure know a lot about this stuff.”
“Not really,” returned Alexa, looking down and away to not allow him to see her blushing at his compliment.
“Can I help you with that?” he offered, watching her dealing with the bulk of the table.
“Maybe you should get dressed,” she replied, relieved to be able to suggest something to rectify the situation of a Zell Dincht still standing in his underpants, intimidating and tantalizing her with his captivating form.
“Oh. Good idea.” He left to go find some clothes, being none the wiser of his intimidating, tantalizing and captivating form.
From another part of the dorm, presumably wherever Zell kept his clothes, Alexa heard him call out, “Whoa. Do you realize you spent two hours on me?”
She bit her lip and prepared her apology. “. . . Um . . . really? I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Zell called back without any malice. “Who knew I had so much tissue to mobilize?”
Alexa sighed in relief.
When Zell came back out, Alexa had finished folding and packing the table back into its case and was heading for the door. She asked Zell to sign her clinical form, which he did happily, then she meekly said her thank yous and good-byes, which he returned. She left the dorm, but as she got into the hallway, his voice arrested her, “Maybe I should have you mobilize my tissue again sometime.”
Alexa wasn’t sure if she could handle it again. She felt she barely made it through this time. “Well . . . it would be a good idea,” she admitted, thinking only of his benefit.
“Would I be able to ask for you again?”
Her heart stopped beating for a few seconds. “You could . . . but there are a few other students with a focus in the myomassology course. You wouldn’t have to get me.” She knew the other member of the Library Committee would have pounded her if they knew she had suggested another student could work on him, not taking such a gaping opportunity to get closer to Zell like this. But she felt that she hadn’t taken a breath in almost two hours, and if Zell could find someone who did a better job than she could, she preferred it if he kept that person.
“Yeah, I guess I could,” said Zell looking at his feet thoughtfully, “but I like your touch. See you later, then.” He moved away from the door allowing it to slide closed.
And for the second time that day, Alexa nearly fainted.