I looked back at him, confused.
"I'm sorry," I said. "Do I know you?"
I wanted to start getting to know him, right that moment, and on a very personal level... but there was something too strange about the whole situation. Then I shook the feeling off. It was probably just someone who was lost. And the fact that I was drawn so strongly to him... well, it just proved that I'd been right; Goodwin was just a friend. The way I felt about Goodwin was nothing compared to the guy who was in front of me right then.
"Blue, we have to talk," he said. "Come with me. You're the only one who can help."
He said it all so desperately that I wanted to pull him into a hug. Then it registered that he knew my name. He knew my name! Was he a stalker or something? I barely even considered the possibility before following him silently. I wanted to see his house; I wanted to know everything, anything about him.
I pretended not to hear my guardian's cries of: What are you doing? I would talk with her later.
"Thank you," he said. He smiled, and I felt my face light up in response. "I know how weird this must be. I guess I should explain."
"My friend is sick... really sick. It's not normal either. He doesn't even feel sick. But he acts like a whole different person. I miss the old Wei."
I heard him talking, but all I really saw were his lips. So close, easy enough to just lean in and...
I tried to clear my head and focus on what he was saying. If my guardian, by now screaming at me to pay attention, was right, then something important was going to happen.
The man lead me to the door of what must have been the kitchen. There was a man inside mixing what I realized, with shock, was...
"A bowl of worms??" I whispered incredulously. "Why?"
"That's my roommate, Wei." the man said. "Ever since we moved here, just a few weeks ago, he's been odd. He brings worms in from the garden, cooks them into casseroles, and tells me it's gourmet cuisine, and he's a world famous chef. But that's just one of his new habits. He also comes downstairs dressed in fine robes and says he's the King of Twinbrook. He makes me bow to him too."
"Pretty little worms," Wei said in a sing-songy voice. "Lovely, pretty, wormy worms! But wait," Wei seemed lost, and his hand gestured confusedly. "You don't want to be a casserole today? Well, what about a stew? Okay, it's settled!"
He went back to stirring, and the man led me away from the room.
"But why me?" I asked, when we were back in the hallway. "I mean, I'd love to help, but I've only just started learning about medicine. I'm not even a true doctor yet."
The man leaned blissfully close.
"You're so much more than you know," he said. "I've been doing research since Wei became ill. And what I've found is shocking. Magic is real, Blue! And you have it! The strongest witches and wizards have multi-colored hair: that's what all the books said! I wouldn't believe it, but I tracked down a wizard, and he showed me. He wasn't strong enough to help Wei though; he said it would have to be someone with an aptitude for healing. But he did tell me that Wei's condition is serious. He'll keep on getting more and more crazy, until one day he just drops dead. The disease is eating up his brain, eliminating one function at a time. Please, Blue, you can fix it!"
His eyes pleaded with me again.
"I'm willing to believe magic is real," I said slowly. I'd seen my mother enough to know that. "But what makes you so certain I'm powerful? I've never done magic before!"
Suddenly, he cupped my face in his hands. I gasped at the warm tingle of the unexpected contact.
"I looked at the employment list for the hospital," he said passionately. "It was on a hunch, but it gave me what I needed. I saw your picture, your blue hair, but I had to check. You could've dyed your hair. Then, right in your file, all the doctors listed how impressed they were with you, like you had a natural knack for healing. They said that patients you so much as talked to made miraculous improvements. Your particular patients always recovered. I knew then that you were the person I was looking for."
"Will you help?" he asked. "Will you learn the healing magic, and make Wei better? Just think of what you'll be able to do. You can heal everyone, if you study and practice. No one in Twinbrook will die of anything but old age, not as long as you are there to perform miracles."
I tried to think clearly, but all I really saw was the man that was holding me now, even closer than before, his eyes so desperate. How could I refuse him? Wasn't it my job to help?
"Yes," I said. "I will."
The man grabbed me and pulled me into a hug.
"You're my savior," he said. "I'll find you soon, and we'll talk."
"But what's your name?" I asked, as I savored the feeling of being in his arms.
"Justin," he whispered in my ear.
I walked out with the sound of his name ringing sweetly in my mind. Justin, Justin, Justin!
I stood on the porch for a moment, staring at a night that suddenly seemed infinitely more beautiful than before. The very air was filled with possibility.
Do you know what you are you getting yourself into? the guardian asked softly.
I didn't know, and I didn't care. Nothing mattered on that amazing night except for Justin and what he had told me. I would help his friend. No, I would help the entire world! And Justin would stand at my side the whole time, and I would laugh at my Mother for ever thinking she could prevent me from knowing my true abilities.
Sorry, I know that this is a short chapter! I promise I'll have a longer chapter up within a few days.