Sunday, 10 May 2015
Michael Lee Harker, Intergalactic Sim of Mystery - Chapter Ten: A Family Dinner
Michael was making dinner when Yuri got home. However, he hadn't anticipated that his brother would be bringing his date back with him. Therefore, he was quite surprised when he saw a young lady walk in through the door, followed by a familiar blond-haired figure.
"Ah! Mike, you're home!" Yuri said cheerfully.
"Of course," Michael replied flatly. "You know that I do not go out very often."
"Whatever," Yuri answered. "I'm glad you're home, anyway. I'd like you to meet someone. This is Crystal - my new girlfriend. She'll be dining with us tonight."
"'Girlfriend'?" Michael thought to himself. "Dear Plumbob, the man works fast."
Crystal stepped forward, reaching out to shake Michael's hand.
"Hello, Michael," she said brightly. "It's nice to meet you. Yuri's told me so much about you."
Michael shook Crystal's hand, as he was expected to do, but he had begun to feel very... uneasy. There was something... odd about her. Something that made Michael's senses go on alert, as if something bad was about to happen. In fact, it was the exact same feeling he got whenever he was questioning -
No. No - surely not! Yuri was foolish, yes, but he knew better than to associate with criminals. Perhaps he was just nervous about meeting his brother's new acquaintance... the feeling would almost certainly pass in a minute or two.
"What's cooking?" Yuri asked, bringing Michael sharply back from his thoughts.
"Oh... pasta," he replied. "Penne bolognese."
"Michael speaks Italian, you know," Yuri said to Crystal, before turning back to his brother and saying, "Sounds great. I hope you made enough for three!"
As Yuri and Crystal took their seats at the table, Michael turned his attention back to the now-bubbling pasta sauce, desperately trying to suppress the uneasy feeling that was quickly growing stronger.
Crystal was a perfectly civil young lady. She was kind, polite, and made pleasant conversation. During the entirety of dinner, she acted in a way that Michael, and indeed, even the pickiest of people, would not be able to find any fault with. And yet, the same thoughts kept running through Michael's head.
Unsafe. Dangerous. Liar. Deceiver.
Normally, Michael was able to deal with the people who produced the anxious feeling inside him. Usually, they were being interviewed, or fingerprinted, or locked away in the cells. But he wasn't at the police station now. This woman was sat here with him, in his very home, as a guest - someone he'd just served a meal to, and was now forcing himself to make small talk with. It was also clear that Yuri absolutely adored her - he never once took his eyes off her, gazing at her as though she was a precious jewel, and laughing like a fool at all her silly jokes.
Dear Plumbob, if this woman dared to hurt his brother...
"Pardon me a moment," Crystal said suddenly. "I just need to... use the facilities. Where's the bathroom, Yuri?"
"First door on the left, honey."
As Crystal hurried off to answer the call of nature, Michael cleared the dinner plates, and Yuri took a seat on the living room sofa.
"Isn't she great, Michael?" he called.
Michael gave no reply.
"She's just so perfect!" Yuri continued. "So pretty, so funny, and so... unique! I've never met a girl like her before!"
"And you have met quite a few," Michael thought to himself, but he continued to say nothing.
"Well?" Yuri asked. "What do you think of her?"
Michael sighed. Two difficult choices lay before him. He could either lie and say he really liked Crystal, which would make his brother happy, but possibly put him in danger. His instincts were never wrong. On the other hand, he could tell Yuri his worries, and risk facing his brother's wrath. It was clear Yuri deeply cared for this woman, and that he was after a very specific answer. Which course of action was the lesser of two evils?
As he entered the living room, Yuri looked up at him, still waiting for a response. He decided to bite the bullet.
"There... there is something about her," he said.
"What do you mean?"
"I do not know - just something... not quite right. She... she makes me nervous. I am worried that she might be... dangerous."
"I know what you are thinking," Michael said quickly, "but it is not like that. It is just... well, my instincts have never been wrong before."
Yuri slowly stood up, glaring at Michael. Just as the detective had feared, his brother hadn't taken too kindly to his suggestion.
"You're just jealous," Yuri barked. "No-one's ever shown the slightest bit of interest in you, so now, you've decided you're going to ruin my happiness."
"What?!" Michael cried. "Yuri, that is ridiculous! I am just saying - "
"Either that, or all that work's gone to your head," Yuri snapped, refusing to let his brother finish speaking. "You think everyone's a criminal. Well, my Crystal is wonderful and beautiful, and I will not let your stupid "alien powers" tell me otherwise!"
"Fine!" Michael yelled back. "Be like that! But I am warning you right now - that girl is bad news!"
Furious, Michael marched towards his bedroom and barged inside, slamming the door loudly behind him. Yuri threw himself back down on the sofa, arms folded, sulking.
Crystal emerged from the bathroom and headed into the living room. The moment she saw Yuri's angry expression, she grew concerned.
"Honey? What's wrong?" she asked.
Yuri exhaled deeply, desperately trying to calm down.
"Nothing," he told her. "It's not you. My... my brother's being a total idiot, that's all. Come on - I'd better take you home."