The Incarnations Chapter 5

Chapter Five: An Evil Love

Lady Love takes them to her favorite love story. She has been watching them over the past few years, a relationship between the pauper and the self-made princess bear fruit. 

A few years ago, this man worked at a simple coffee shop, his life falling apart. As a simple waiter, he made not enough money. As a waiter he never had enough time. As a writer, he never made a story that turned out popular. 

He had a savings, but a savings would only last so long. He was going to lose his home, his belongings, and even the old typewriter his long dead mother had left him. His last hope was a job interview he had searched and worked so hard to earn. The day he met her had already been looking to possibly be the best day of his adult life. For the first time in so long he was excited for the future, for he believed that he actually had one worth living. The interview would be in several hours, and he was finishing what would hopefully be his last shift at the coffee shop.

Then she came in. Her business suit exuded success, her suitcase exuded business, and her expression exuded a lack of time. Her face that day was seemingly a never-ending frown. She waited in the line to give her order as everyone else did, and sat at her seat to twiddle about on her phone as everyone did. The real world was of no interest to her, the world’s problems not capable of overcoming her own. 

She worked at a successful corporation where she worked as hard if not harder than everyone else, but never received as much credit. Her boss, a female dog as this woman called her, always took credit for her work, but at least this woman in the coffee shop made so much money that it was almost impossible to care all the time, especially with a promotion on the horizon. If she wanted to, she could quit, and never worry, and neither could anyone who would get her inheritance. 

Eventually the waiter, with a bigger smile than he has had in months, came over with the woman’s coffee. He told her, “Here you go,” so simply. 

When she looked up and saw his smile, she found it a herculean task not to smile back. She told him, “Thank you.” Their eyes didn’t hold a special gaze, nor a lasting or longing gleam. He immediately went back to work, almost done for the day, and the woman couldn’t stop smiling. She could not understand why.

Neither knew of the Incarnations watching them. Neither knew the Lady who had disguised herself as a human as she does to be entertained. Only this time, bringing her Lord with her to the past, to see the story from the beginning. 

They sit together in the corner of the store and she drinks her coffee, smiling to herself, because she knows what a story that this is going to be. She simply doesn’t know the very, very end.

The man, he went home, showered, dressed himself up, and brushed his teeth to make the smile he had on all day shine as bright as it could be. He got ready, and he started his walk to the place he believed would be where he would find his new job. 

In the City of Angels, he didn’t want to risk being late. As per usual, he narrowly avoided death by car and rude truck driver nearly a hundred times before he got to his place of interview, but he never lost that smile. 

He got to the building, and it was magnificent. It was large and grand, the opening lobby showcasing people in casual wear and business attire. People from everywhere all walking in and out. The myths he would learn, the people he would yearn for, and the glory he could achieve. Those possibilities all crossed his mind as he looked across a lobby filled with glass, and a water fountain to boot. When one thinks about it, it really is a waste of water, and has no reason to be there, but no one questions it. 

The man walked up to the lobby receptionist and explained to her that he was here for an interview for whichever position he was applying for. He was given the room number, and told to wait to be called there. He thanked the receptionist and tried to stop himself from racing to get there. He wandered up escalators, traveled through elevators, and walked to his heart’s content, never thinking he was lost, he simply had a grand adventure. 

He got to the office door where he was to wait, and so excitedly he opened the door. He did not like what he found.

So many men and women, waiting just like him, wanting the job he wanted so much, just like them. He found a seat, the last one left in the room, and waited. He regretted coming nearly an hour early. He regretted being forced to wait with his rivals. 

No, he thought to himself. He mustn’t let his wits get the better of him. Of course, he knew this was going to happen, of course he knew that there would others. He would defeat them. He would best them so magnificently. He would get this job, and they wouldn’t, for they did not need it like he did. But is that true?
He pondered whether or not any of his ideas were facts, each and every moment of his waiting. With each person who went before him, he wondered if it were a person who needed the job more than him, wanted it more than him. If such a thing were even possible.

So many went and came out before him, but he could never bring himself to look at their face when they exited. What if they were happy? What if they were full of dread? What would either of those things mean for him? He could not look, and in his seat he waited.

“James Mendax. James Mendax?” At first he didn’t hear, but the second time he heard his name. His head turned up, and just as quickly, he stood up. Then he turns to the woman already going back into the office.

He follows her to a small windowless office, with only a desk and two chairs with one light. Simply a room for interviews. 

As the two sat down to face each other, neither had taken the time to look at the other’s face. As they sat down in their chairs, they lift their heads up and find themselves surprised. 

The woman was the one he served at the coffee shop, and he was the one who put a smile on her face. 

She pointed to him and said, almost not sure, “You served me my coffee.” When she said that, he felt terrible, doomed even. She knew then that not only did he already have a job, but how low it was.

Then she smiled as she offered her hand over the desk. “I’m Melinda, Melinda Asinus. Nice to meet you.” Her smile was a carbon copy of the happy one he gave her this morning, which allowed him to regain his. He brought his hand up to shake her own.

James’s interview went over spectacularly. His anxiety quickly faded away as he was interviewed by Melinda. Eventually the interview went towards less professional topics, and they simply talked. His interview lasted the longest, and when he left, he left knowing the job was his. He went home, and Melinda eventually went home, both feeling happy from their day.

The following Monday, James got a call, he learned he got the job. Melinda wasn’t the one who called him, his job wouldn’t even put him on consistent path to see her, so he was only ecstatic about having a good paying job. He would no longer lose everything.

He would start the next week, and he quit his job at the coffee shop at the end of that current week. 

James’s job wasn’t as special or as interesting as he dreamed, but it was much better than being a waiter. He edited papers and business plans, he kept his boss updated on information, he had a desk and a computer. He surfed the web when he had time, he did a little writing, he had a little fun, he flirted with the nearby secretary. 

One day, James had to bring a copy of a revised business plan to his boss, and when he opened the door to the private office, he saw her. He saw Melinda.

His boss went to introduce them, but Melinda interrupted. “We already met. I interviewed him.”

His boss told them, “Well that’s good that you already know each other. James, you’re going to be Melinda’s assistant for a small project. It should take the rest of the day, so anything else can officially be put off ‘till tomorrow.”

“I understand,” James said with a nod of his head. “I’ll help however I can.” 

With that, they found a private room, and he helped her do research with the company’s forecast and records. They spent most of the day helping her build a presentation for the investors. She was the newly appointed CFO, and his boss the CEO, but of course she knew that the credit for their work would go to their leader. Melinda commented about it, and James agreed. Their boss sucked. 

Even when they were done they stayed together to talk. Melinda wished to know how the job was treating James. He spoke about how despite some low points, there wasn’t much to be unhappy with. He loved the job. Melinda said she was glad.

After that they went home, without even exchanging numbers, though both happy with themselves.

Later that week, Melinda’s presentation went very well, or really her boss’s use of her presentation. She found Melinda’s and James’s work to be quite impressive. 

After a few months, after which James had been working for half year, he and Melinda never shared a word other than a friendly hello in the halls. She always went home later than him, and he always arrived to work earlier. Their paths did not consistently cross in a manner worthy of conversation.

Eventually, there was a business trip, and the CEO needed the CFO to go. She even knew who to send Melinda with. 

James was asked to go with a group of assistants alongside Melinda, but nevertheless, they found themselves next to each other on the plane. Once again, together they planned, and they talked. They bonded. They deemed it necessary on this trip to exchange numbers, for business purposes. 

They did their duties with the possible foreign investors, and it went as to be expected. The first night, they both found themselves staring at the ceilings, in bed much too early with nothing to do but think. She texted him first for drinks. 

They met at the hotel bar. At first it was awkward. Being from two different blocks of life, and not really looking for anything in particular. Eventually they found that they had common ground, their interests matched up quite well. They talked and they laughed. They drank and had a good time. Before they became too intoxicated, they left, and went back to their rooms. 

They worked together again, with more joy, greater happiness, and finished early, a foreign relationship secured. They met again at the hotel bar, and that time there was no awkwardness to speak of. This time they drinked heavily, and they laughed heartily. Eventually, James needed to help Melinda to her room, where he tucked her in, and left. Nothing else happened that night.

The next day, the team found they had a day off for the business was completed a day early. While everyone else split, James and Melinda thought they’d take a tropical tour themselves, as friends. 

It was a tour through a tropical forest, where they found themselves comically unfit compared to the guide. Laughing as they consistently tripped and fell against each other and into the other’s arms, sometimes holding an awkward gaze. 

The day eventually ended at the hotel bar, and they found themselves quite enjoying the other’s company. They both felt themselves wanting to continue a friendship at home.

When they returned home, back to business as usual, it took days before Melinda sent James a text to go to coffee during lunch, and he agreed. 

During the office day she came to his desk and he realized that they had a different lunch break. She took him by the arm and told their boss’s secretary that James now has a new schedule for his lunch break. 

They ended up going to the coffee shop where they first met. James found it both comforting and amusing. They talked, realizing that they could without fault. They went back to work, promising to do the same the next day, and the next, and the next. By the end of the week, she kissed him in the elevator ride back to work. The next time they met to go for coffee he kissed her in the elevator ride down to lunch.

Before long, the item was one, and it was nothing special much in the office. The CEO thought herself a matchmaker, and took much credit. Within the first month they were making love, and then rutting in the office. 

Months went by, and once James’s first year of employment was complete, he and Melinda were talking of getting their own home together. Within another month, he was living in her apartment. 

Their romance blossomed and evolved for another year.

In their third year of knowing, nothing could break the honeymooner’s daze. Not the worldly conflict, not the company’s declining forecasts. People could not separate or get between them. They would be okay. 

Then Melinda found the lump.

James told her she would be fine, and the doctor told him he was a liar. She had cancer. 

She had money, and she still had time. They were assured that with proper care and treatment they would be fine. Eventually James realized that she could even receive her treatments at home. Their company insurance paid her bills, and she paid extra to be able to spend time at home. 

Soon James quit his job and stayed with her always. As she decayed he was the only one outside of lawyers and doctors who she saw. 

Melinda fought hard over a year against the cancer. A cancer that should have left her long before. She felt herself losing her fight once she lost her chance to walk without a cane. Then she found she felt too weak to make herself breakfast. Sometime between all that, she found herself no longer lying with James, she had to have a bed by herself. She grew lonely knowing he was a few feet away, but not where she wanted him. Never did he make mention of leaving her though, he would never.

What could be described as decay became deterioration.

On the last of nights, the Lord and Lady finally reach today. Time finally lines up. 

Lady Love’s final attempt was to watch the romance of Melinda and James from it’s start, to its end. As they watched on for three years, Lord Dread felt his own beliefs and resolve decay. He felt himself losing. Eventually upon watching the couple receive the woman’s diagnosis, he realized what his Lady meant when she said, “Imagine how much one comes to love when they do lose someone most precious.” He deduced long ago the woman’s fate.

Now on James Mendax’s last night with Melinda Asinus, the Lady and Lord watch on, and bask in what they slowly both start to believe to be love. 

From her tired and dry lips, Melinda apologizes, “I’m sorry, I’m leaving you so soon. I, I wanted us to have so much more.”

James shushes her, not believing that she should die with regrets. “No, the moments we’ve gotten are more than I deserve. Never be sorry.”

Melinda tries to cry, and finds herself unable. Her breathing gets harder and more difficult. She finds herself unable to do so normally. She holds James’s hand with all the strength she has, but that seems like nothing.

The Lady, who watches on in silence inside the bedroom with her Lord, finds herself crying. For once, the Lord accepts this as a realistic reaction, as what is happening before them calls for tears. He simply rests his arm around her shoulders as they watch on.

This is the first time the Lady sees the end, as before this was considered the future. Before, she only knew what was coming due to her foresight. Now as they have finally caught up with time she finally sees how this story ends naturally. She couldn’t bear it before, but she must now. 

As Melinda fades in their home, in her bed, James holds her hand, and doesn’t shed tears. He’s prepared.

There are a few more breaths, a few more gasps. Then Melinda dies. James holds her hand as it goes limp. He sits, and does not make to move.

Lady Love cries, but in a way she is satisfied. This is her favorite tale, and she feels her Lord ceding besides her. She simply awaits the words. The words that mean salvation, that mean victory. The words that mean she has proven all of her brethren wrong about her. Most importantly, she has proven that love exists, and that the Lady does not keep it all to herself. Her Lord will believe in love.

Lord Dread turns to her, and is ready to admit defeat. He moves to stroke the tears from his Lady’s face.

Then James rises, and strangely drops Melinda’s dead hand to fall. This singular action draws the attention of both Incarnations.

James leaves the room, a posture not that of one broken, but one content. The Lord whispers, “Why does he leave?”

The Lady and Lord follow, James roams, and goes to his kitchen. He seemingly begins to make a bowl of cereal.

The Lady gasps with her hands to her lips, “The poor man is in shock.” The Lord is not so sure, rightly. As James makes his meal, he sits down, and takes out his phone. He dials a number. “The ambulance for her body surely.” The Lord is not so sure.

It rings and James waits, and waits. Someone answers, and he informs the one he called, “She’s dead, finally.”

Lady Love’s mouth cannot close. 

“Yes, have it all transferred. Transfer it all.” The Lady falls to the ground. “I’ll call the coroner after you. Follow the instructions in her will. I have nothing to add. Sure, with the money she’s left me, I could pay for her funeral ten times over.” The Lady streams tears so heavily, so full of despair, she cannot comprehend. “I get to choose whether to burn her or bury her? Flip a coin. I don’t care. There’s only me, really. She’s an only child.”

The Lady falls over and weeps. She’s never weeped before. It takes everything in me to not appear and wrap my arms around the child. She knows what this means. She knows what James has failed to do. 

She hasn’t proved Dread wong, and this was her last and only chance. 

Lord Dread kneels, and tries to gather Lady Love in his arms, but she cannot take it. She shoves him away, she kicks and she screams. She is misery, and her Lord cannot help her. He tries to hold her, he tries to carry her away, he tries to pet her hair, rub her shoulders, hold her hand. Nothing. She beams away from Lord Dread, and from James Mendax. 

The Lord Dread is alone with James, and he can do nothing but look upon the mortal with eyes of fury. This man convinced him he was wrong, convinced him of love, to have faith in mortals… then he took it away. This man could have waited minutes to be evil, and the Lord and Lady would have been gone. Instead, he proved heartless, a pile of scum deep down.

Most of all, James Mendax made his Lady weep. No one may do that.

“No one may dare make my Lady weep.

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