The Wizard Heart
The next day was very hectic. David had been called into the School District offices to have a meeting with the School Superintendent. It turned out they didn't want to let David out of his contract, even though it was in his contract he could leave without notice. This was due to his other position, which David saw as a more important job then his teaching gym at the local high school.
After threats of getting the lawyers involved, from both sides, David was released from the contract and given a glowing letter of recommendation for his next position. While he was in with the superintendent, Sherry was dealing with getting Eli removed from his classes and getting all the paperwork in order for the move. She made sure she was given the hardcopy of Eli's transcript, as well as having them send a copy to his new school up in Dyersville.
After they finished at the district offices, they had to rush home to meet with the owner of the moving company Gerald had hired to move Eli's tanks. Even though Gerald was still at the house, Eli insisted on being there to talk with the owner.
When the three of them got to the house, Gerald was already showing the owner of the moving company the tanks. Eli was not a happy camper when he saw the owner had a finger in one of the cichlid tanks.
"Sir, remove your fingers from that tank at once!" Eli yelled at the man as he came down the stairs.
The man jumped back away from the fish tank then looked at who had yelled at him. When he saw it was just a little boy, he was about to yell back when Gerald started talking.
"Eli, I am sorry I didn't see him put his fingers into the tank until after you yelled. I did tell him not to touch any of the tanks before we came down. I am sorry I wasn't watching him closer."
"It's alright Grandpa, it's not your fault. I am sorry I yelled at you Sir, it's just that you never know what is on someone's hand and if you did have something on your hand then you could kill every fish in the tank, and destroy the filter system for months. So, I am asking you to please keep your hands out of the tanks?"
"Fair enough, although just so you know, Gerald here did make me scrub my hands with that special soap before I was allowed to come down."
Eli smiled over at his Grandpa, letting his Grandpa know he was not mad at him.
"Sir, my name is Eli Kerry, I am the owner of Eli's Fish House and all these tanks. If we agree that you will be moving them for us, you and I will be working closely together." Eli had stepped back into a much older persona, one his mom didn't really approve of.
"Well, I was under the impression that Gerald here was footing the bill to move the tanks?"
"He might be paying the bill, but the tanks belong to me, so what I say goes, or we find a different company to work with." Eli said holding his head up.
"Fair enough young man, fair enough. My name is Melvin Perkins, and I own the Perkins United Van Lines. I understand these are some very special tanks, so how about you tell me what you need done in order for us to move everything safely?"
"Well Mr. Perkins…" Eli started.
"Please call me Melvin; after all we will be working close with each other." Melvin laughed.
"Very well. The tanks themselves aren't really anything special. All of them are store bought. It is the fish that are special and require special handling in order to be moved."
Eli and Melvin spent about two hours going over what he wanted done, everything from the timing to the moving of the tanks and fish. Gerald and Sherry had gotten bored and headed upstairs to start making dinner while David sat on the stairs watching what Eli and Melvin were doing. David was also thinking about all that needed to be done in order to get this move completed.
Once Eli was satisfied Melvin knew what he wanted and expected they all headed back upstairs. Melvin joked with Gerald what a tough negotiator Eli was and how he was looking forward to working with him. He also said he would be there personally to oversee the moving of the tanks so none of his men would get their noses out of joint having to take orders from an 11 year old tycoon. Eli was starting to get upset when all the adults in the room laughed at what Melvin was saying, so he asked what that all meant.
David explained to Eli quietly that Melvin was calling him a very tough businessman, one who he was honored to be working with. He explained to the boy that this was all meant as a complement and not to get upset because even though the adults laughed, Melvin had not been making fun of Eli.
Before Melvin left, the time and date was set for the big move. Eli was now starting to get nervous thinking about having to move all of his fish at one time.
"Eli relax, we will make sure everything goes smoothly with the move. Your babies will be just fine. We are at this end and Uncle Matt is at the other." Sherry told her son.
"Mom when did you gain the gift of Empathy?" Eli laughed.
"About the same time you were born you little snot! All moms have that gift, so we can tell how our babies are feeling, and we can embarrass them when we want." All the adults started laughing.
"Hey watch who you are calling a little snot! I just might declare you start calling me Your Highness!" That really got everyone laughing. "WHAT?"
"Well Son, even the British royal family doesn't have to call the Queen Her Majesty unless they are at an official function. So I don't think you will be able to make your Mom call you that, not even mentioning the fact she is a Non-Wizard." David said while still chuckling.
"Yeah I guess! After all she has been teasing me since I was really small about being a little snot. Hey Dad, are we still going to go visit your Uncle Max today?" Eli asked.
"No, I don't think we have enough time today. How about the three of us go over there tomorrow and maybe we can take him out to lunch. I really do want him to get to know you. Sherry, I would also like him to meet you. I told you about him the other night while we were getting to know each other. It would mean a lot to me if you both were to meet him before we move."
Both the Kerry's said they were more than willing to go meet David's uncle. Eli ran up to his room to do whatever it is 11 year olds do, while the adults sat around the kitchen table talking. Sherry was a little worried about lying to David's Uncle about them getting married.
"Sherry, we can't lie about it. You have to believe we are going to get married if this whole thing is going to work. Most Wizards have the gift of Truth, and can tell if you are lying. One of the things we are going to do is go to the mall and pick out a ring for you. We are going to have to do that today, so how about you and I go to dinner, just the two of us? Gerald and Eli can go grab something or eat here together."
"That sounds wonderful. However, I insist that I pay for the ring!"
"Not a chance Dear! Not a chance. Again even though I do want to buy you a ring, the main reason is if you say, ‘David got me this ring.' Any Wizard would be able to tell it wasn't true. As we have talked about, I have quite a bit of money, so I have no problems in paying for a very nice ring for you. Just think of this as doing what needs to be done in order to protect Eli, if the thought of marrying me is that bad." David laughed.
"David, the thought of marrying you isn't a bad one at all! In fact I would be honored if you truly did want to marry me. But, I don't want either of us to get our hopes up when we know we are doing this just for Eli's sake." Neither David nor Sherry had noticed Gerald had quietly gotten up and left the room while the two were talking. "David, I know we have had to rush into the engagement, but I would really like to take the rest slow and see where we stand. I could really see us getting along and making something out of this relationship. I hope you feel the same way."
"I do Sherry, I really do. Now, I do have to ask one other thing. Do you think I need to do a Memory Manipulation to place long term memories of us dating? It won't hurt at all, and could offer some protection from probing minds looking to catch us in a lie. It could also help you to see us as really getting married. I could remove them at any time if the need arises."
"As much as I hate the idea, yeah I think that would be a good idea. That way we both have the same memories and wouldn't have to be making things up when people ask us." Sherry replied.
David spent the next hour or so giving Sherry memories of them dating. Things like how they met, their first date, and so forth. He didn't make them too detailed so it wouldn't be complicated. He gave her memories all the way up to the point where he would have proposed to her. Eli had come down at the end of the process to see what David was doing. Eli wondered if he should have memories added as well and asked David what he thought. David told the boy he had another idea for Eli to be able to use without messing around in his head.
Once David was done with Sherry, he started working with Eli to be able to block what others were able to see from him. It didn't take long at all for Eli to learn to block what he was feeling from being picked up by David. David then started working on Eli being able to hide the truth from David. This took a bit longer for Eli to grasp, but once he did it went smoothly. David called Stephen and asked if he could come over for him to test Eli on. Stephen's Truth gift was much stronger than David's was. It was the only gift Stephen had where he was stronger than his twin.
The other reason for David to call Stephen to come over was he wanted Stephen to stay with Eli while he and Sherry went out. David still didn't like the idea of Eli being left alone without some kind of Wizard supervision, even if Stephen didn't remember that Eli was the Dexas.
Stephen soon arrived along with little Melinda. Melinda ran right over to Gerald and climbed up on his lap. She didn't have any Grandparents and had decided to claim Gerald as her new Grandpa. Gerald was happy to indulge the little tyke. After David explained to Stephen what he wanted, and that Sherry and he were going out to dinner, he asked Stephen to stick around until they got back. He explained he didn't want Eli trying out any of his new gifts without an Adult Wizard's supervision. Stephen told David not to worry, he understood.
The rest of the evening went off without a hitch. David and Sherry got their shopping done and had a very nice meal together getting to know one another on a more personal level. David really felt like it was a great date.
The other four had a great time as well. After Stephen put Eli through his paces, the four of them head out to Chuck E. Cheese's® to have some bad pizza and play some fun games. The two men ended up having to carry the two kids back into the house and put them to bed.
After having breakfast, Stephen and Melinda headed back up to the hospital to spend time with Cody. Gerald said he was going to do some shopping of his own while the others were off to see Uncle Max. David tried to talk Gerald into coming with them, but Gerald wanted to go look at a new tractor he had been thinking about. He thought that while he was in the city he might get a better deal than at the small dealership back home.
The new family headed over to the nursing home to meet Uncle Max. He didn't know that David and his new family were coming over today, and had a fun game of poker going with a few of the other men. When David, Sherry and Eli got there they could hear the old men yelling at each other that they were all cheaters. Eli was starting to get scared, when David started laughing. David walked over to a door and told the old men to shut the hell up. One of the men told David to get out unless he brought his wallet, to which they laughed even harder. David told them all, but Uncle Max, to go take a nap and that he was there to take his Uncle Max out for the day.
David pushed an older man in a wheel chair out of the room. Even though he looked really old to Eli, he could tell there was still a lot of life left in the man. David wheeled his Uncle over to where Sherry and Eli were waiting before introducing him to them.
"Uncle Max it is my honor and privilege to introduce you to my fiancée, Sherry and her son Elijah, who goes by Eli." David said standing beside Sherry and Eli.
"David, boy we need talk, NOW!" The old man said before turning away and wheeling himself away from them.
David followed the older man over to the other side of the room. When his Uncle Max stopped and turned to David, David really didn't know what was going on. He couldn't tell if Uncle Max was upset or just surprised.
"Boy, I know I am old and a bit out of touch, but that girl is no Wizard, and that isn't her boy!" The old man stated.
"Uncle Max, you are correct, however, we must not talk about this here. Please wait until we get out of the home before you and I talk about this. Just know that young Eli is my Ietanka." David said causing the old man to gasp.
"Boy, has this been proven?"
"No Uncle Max it hasn't for reasons I will explain to you once we are out of here. Now, please let's get out of here where we can talk without being over heard." David said pushing his Uncle back over to Sherry and a very frightened Eli.
"Miss, Young Man I am sorry I was so rude. It would be my honor to accompany you for the day." Uncle Max said.
"Come on you all; let's get him signed out for the day and get out of here." David said heading over to the front desk. Once he had signed his Uncle out for the day, including dinner, they headed out to David's SUV. Eli was shocked when as soon as they got out the door, Uncle Max got up out of the wheel chair and started walking to the truck.
Eli couldn't believe the old man could walk that fast. He looked over at his Dad to see what his reaction was. David just shook his head folded up the wheel chair and carried it over to the back of the truck to store it away. Once the chair was in the back, he told Eli to climb in and they would be off. Eli got in the back seat and put his seat belt on. It was then that Eli noticed Uncle Max was sitting in the back seat as well.
"So tell me my boy what do you think about them two getting married?" Max asked Eli.
"I am really excited about it. My real dad died before I was even born, so I am really excited about now having a Dad. David has been awesome with me and my Mom. I can really tell he really cares about both of us just by the way he protects us. He even yelled at Uncle Stephen because he didn't tell me my rights." Eli rushed out not knowing if he said more than he should.
"So you know my Stephen too? Tell me my boy, how did you come to meet my boys?" The old man asked.
"Uncle Stephen was my science teacher all year. He was my favorite teacher of all. I get picked on a lot in school, by both the other students and some of the teachers. Uncle Stephen would stick up for me and help me when it got bad. I had hoped at the beginning of the year that Mr. Hunt, Uncle Stephen now, would get together with my Mom, but that was before I knew he was married to Aunt Karen and they had Melinda. Then when I made a mistake in school Uncle Stephen found out about me, and called in Dad to do my interview." Eli knew he had broken the cover story, but for some reason he just couldn't lie to Uncle Max.
David had driven to a local park and pulled into the parking lot. After parking the car, he suggested they walk over to the picnic table to have a talk. As they walked the short distance to the table, Eli started to cry silently. He knew he messed up and was afraid his new Dad would be angry with him. It wasn't until the group got to the table that David saw how upset Eli was.
David put his arm around Eli's shoulder and gave him a squeeze. He was trying to let the boy know he wasn't upset with him. He didn't say anything until they were all at the table.
"Alright, just to clear the air, Uncle Max here has a gift called Force Truth. What that means is that we can't lie to him. So, we have two options. The first option is to tell him the whole true story. The second option is to keep quiet and not tell him anything. Sherry, you have as much say in this as Eli or myself. Eli you have more to lose or gain by this so it is up to the two of you to decide what option we are going to take." David told them.
"I know he is using his gift, but there is something about him that makes me really trust him. I say we tell him the whole truth about all that is going on. I don't know why, but something is telling me he is will be important in the coming fights." Eli said to his Mom and Dad.
"Alright Eli, your feelings haven't let me down yet." Sherry said.
"Okay, seeing how you agree, Uncle Max we will tell you everything. Once we started to interview Eli here we ran into problems. We needed to get the parents involved in the process in order to get it finished. When we talked with Sherry we found more problems. It turns out Eli's heritage is not a happy one. Sherry would you like to talk to him about this?"
"Sure I can do that. I guess first off you should know that I am not Eli's birth mother. My Best friend in high school was a girl named Katrina Miller." As soon as Sherry said the name you could tell Uncle Max had heard of it. "She and I went to the same college and were roommates there. She met a boy there by the name of Todd Everett. They fell for each other hard. Everything was going great for them and they were talking about getting married, until Todd got a call from his Father telling him he needed to rush home. About two weeks later Todd called her telling her she needed to go into hiding. Both she and I went to my Uncle Matt's cabin in the Ozarks to hide out for the summer. It was there we found out she was pregnant with Eli. After trying many times to get through to Todd and failing, Katrina knew there was something really bad going on. She refused to go to the hospital to have her baby, so we hired a midwife to help out. She told the midwife her name was Sherry Kerry, so that is the name on Eli's birth certificate. After Eli was born and she swore me to raise him if anything ever happened to her, she left me there to go find out what happened with Todd. Todd and most of his family had died in a house fire, the only member who didn't die was his younger adopted sister. During the time we were at the lake cabin, both of her parents were killed in a car accident. While she was trying to get back to our hometown to deal with their deaths she was hit and killed by a drunk driver. So, I have raised Eli as if he was my own child from the day he was born."
"Wow, I knew the Miller's and felt their deaths were very suspicious. I didn't know the Everett's, but with both families dyeing within months of each other, and their kids wanting to get married something major must have been foreseen." Uncle Max said while rubbing his head. "I have a feeling I know what someone on the Council of Wizards was worried about. Boy, have you had the young Wizard's blood tested?"
"Yes I asked Karen to test it manually, and then I had Stephen wipe her memory. As far as the Council of Wizards knows, Eli is a class V Wizard who I have decided to take on as a personal trainee, per my right. What they don't know is that Eli is the Dexas and a damn powerful one at that!" David told his Uncle with pride.
"Well I am really surprised at this turn of events. I do agree with you Boy, this needs to be kept from the Council of Wizards for at least the time being. Hell, looking at him I wouldn't even think he had stated puberty let alone be half way through!" The old man laughed.
"Eli, do you want to tell him?" David asked the boy not wanting to embarrass him.
"Okay, it doesn't really bother me. Grandpa Max, can I call you that?" Eli waited hopefully until the old man nodded his head with a huge smile on his face. "Well Grandpa Max, I haven't started puberty yet. The doctor thinks I am at least a year to two years away from it." Eli said.
"And you're sure he has gifts already?" The old man asked.
"Eli, see that table over there?" Eli looked to where David was pointing and nodded his head, "I would like it over here, no more than 3 feet off the ground if you please." David said with a chuckle.
Eli held up his hand and pointed it at the table, and then he raised his hand slightly and pulled it towards him. As he did this the table rose up about 3 feet and then slowly but steadily moved towards where the group was sitting. Eli brought the table right up to the end of the one they were sitting at and gently sat it down. He then looked over at David with a smile on his face.
"Holy Mackerel! I have only seen one other Wizard ever do that, and he is on the Council! I have no doubt in my mind this boy is the new King. What other gifts have shown up for you my boy?" Max asked excited.
"Is it alright to tell him Dad?" David nodded to his son letting him know it was alright. "Well, so far I have Mistake Repair, Empathic, Truth, Area Scanning, Levitation, and Fear Projection. Dad is trying not to let any new ones happen for a little while so I don't get so overwhelmed with them like was before. Every time we turned around there was a new one coming out."
After explaining about the new gift, the group went and had a great lunch and continued to talk about what was happening and how to protect Eli from the few Council members would want him out of the way. During the late afternoon it was decided Max would come back to the house to have dinner with the family and for him to get a chance to meet Gerald. Eli was really excited for he had adopted Max as his new Grandpa and wanted his other Grandpa to meet his new Grandpa.
The whole evening went really well. Gerald and Max had hit it off really well. Max had done a tour in the U.S. Navy. Of course Max was in the Navy long before Gerald was in the Army. This common ground was enough to form an instant friendship. Over all the whole evening was a great success.
It was towards the end of the evening when David was getting ready to take Uncle Max back to the nursing home when Eli asked a stunning question.
"Grandpa Max, why are you living in the nursing home? You don't seem to me to need to be living there?"
"Well my boy, a bunch of my friends live there, and seeing how I am retired and don't really have much to do it seemed like a good place to go. I don't have to take care of my house, yard, and all that crap which at my age isn't really that good for me. So I decided to move there and let others care for me and have friends my own age around." Max told the boy.
"Do you like living there?" Eli asked.
"Well most of the time, yeah I do. There are sometimes I really regret moving there. They don't treat some of the residents all that good. They know I have a mouth on me, so they don't let me see most of what goes on. It sometimes is like living in a prison."
"Would you be willing to move with us when we move to the farm?" Eli asked to a shocked group.
"Eli! Something like that would have to be talked about between all of us. You just can't invite someone to live with us without talking it through." Sherry told her son. "Although, you are more than welcome to come with us Uncle Max."
"Well, see now if I did move there, I would have the same problem I had when I was living at home, nothing to do to keep me busy."
"Well, I have a thought that will solve that problem. As most of you all know we have talked about expanding my company once we move. Well, I am going to need someone to be there while the crews are building my new tank set up, and then it would be great to have someone who will read emails and junk mail and be there to accept deliveries. So I was thinking that maybe Grandpa Max would like to sign on to help. Uncle Matt said he would help out part-time too if I wanted him too, so it wouldn't be like a fulltime job for Grandpa Max. He and Uncle Matt could both split their time." Eli explained what he had been thinking.
"Well my boy, that all sounds good. However with these two here planning on getting married at some point, now don't deny it just yet, the three of you are going to need to live as a family to really get to know one another. I wouldn't want to intrude on that, I just won't." Max told the boy.
"I might be able to help with that Max. See, my best friend, Matt, is moving in with me as we speak. It is his farm that Sherry, David, and Eli will be moving to. How about you moving into my place as well. There is plenty of room for you, and you can have the in-law's suite off the main floor. I know Matt is planning on taking the second master suite upstairs as his room."
"Sir, that is a very generous offer, but why would you make it when you have only met me today?"
"I know my Grandson. I might not have chatted with him over the computer like his Great Uncle Matt did, but I did talk to him on the phone at least twice a week since he was about 4 years old. I have always tried to give him what he needs, and most of the time what he wants. Just by looking at him right now and by the way he has thought things out I can tell he wants you to be closer to both him and David than if you were to stay here. Also, I think you, Matt, and I would get along great. Us old war dogs have to stick together." Gerald laughed.
"Well, when is this move going to take place? I mean do I have enough time to pack my stuff?" Max laughed.
Eli started to hoot and holler while he was jumping around the kitchen he was so excited. The adults started laughing watching Eli being just what he was, a kid.
By the time David was ready to take Uncle Max back to the nursing home, all the arrangements had been made. All that was left to do other than informing the nursing home that Max was checking out was to inform the rest of the family. David knew Stephen would be happy Uncle Max was out of that home, but he wasn't sure what Kelly would say. Kelly had always thought Uncle Max should be locked up somewhere as crazy as he was. David figured as long as Eli was happy he could put up with whatever his far away sister could put out.
After getting back from taking Uncle Max home, David started in on the phone calls. He knew Stephen would be easy so he got that one out of the way first, however Stephen didn't answer. He then called Kelly down in Florida. David was a bit surprised when it was Donnie, his 10 year old nephew who answered the phone.
"Hello, Higgins residence. How can I help you?" Donne asked as he answered the phone.
"Well, you can tell me who your favorite Uncle in the world is!" David teased.
"The one who gives the best gifts! What's up Uncle David?"
"Now how did you know it was me Donnie?"
"Simple, Uncle Stephen always asks about school, and you are always looking to get a complement of some kind!" The boy laughed.
"Fair enough," David laughed, "Fair enough! Donnie is your Mom around? I really need to talk to her."
"Yeah, let me call her." David could tell Donnie had set the phone down before screaming his head off to get his mother one the phone. David was sure he had damaged his voice with the yell he did. David was laughing as his Sister came to the phone because he heard her telling Donnie he needed to yell louder because the people on the space station might not have heard him.
"Hello?" Kelly said picking up the phone.
"Hello Sis! David here, you got a moment to talk?"
"Hey Little Brother! I always have time for you. How are you doing? I haven't spoken to you in a few weeks. I know you have been chatting with the kids, but you don't call Eric or me all that often."
"Yeah I know, sorry about that. We all need to get better about talking with each other. Well, I was calling today to let you in on a few things. First is I am getting married."
"YOUR WHAT!?" Kelly yelled into the phone. David now knew where Donnie got his yelling from. "You had better start from the beginning and tell me everything!"
"Well, I met her a while back though Stephen. Her Son is eleven and in one of Stephen's classes. Anyway she and I started to see each other and really hit it off, and I asked her to marry me, she agreed. She is a Non, but her son is a Class V." David hated having to lie to his Sister, but knew she would understand, at least he hoped she would when the truth came out. David went on to explain the story to his Sister, at least the made up version that had been agreed upon.
"And, that brings me to the next point I need to talk to you about. We have decided to move Uncle Max with us to Dyersville." David braced for the explosion.
"Good! I really didn't like that home we had him in. Every time I talk to him he is telling me about this problem or that problem and looking at the state records and inspection scores, it is always in the lower range of exactable. What is the new home like and what is it called so I can look up the state rating?"
"Umm, that is just it. We aren't moving him into a new nursing home. He is going to be living with Sherry's Father and Uncle. It will be close by so we will see him quite often, in fact he is going to be working part-time for Eli." David quickly explained.
There was silence on the line for a few moments before he got a reply.
"I see. Have you talked with Stephen about this move, and if you did what did he say?"
"No I haven't told Stephen. I wanted to talk to you about it first. Kelly, you got to understand Uncle Max feels like a prisoner at that home. The only reason he has stayed up to this point is because of the people he knows that also live there. Both Gerald and Uncle Matt are in their 60's and are both ex-military widowers. Gerald's place is only a few miles down the road from where Sherry and I will be living, so it will be easy for me to keep an eye on Uncle Max if needed. Also, with him agreeing to help Eli with his company it will give him something to do during the day, and allow us to have even more contact with him."
"You know, David, I think it is a great idea. Are you going to be teaching there?" Kelly surprised David by agreeing so fast. They went on to talk about other subjects for about an hour before saying goodbye to each other. Now David had to tell Stephen of the change regarding their Uncle. However this wouldn't be a fight, just informing him what Uncle Max had decided.