My mind felt like it was going to explode. I had basically spent the remainder of my week studying. I was officially excused from school for the moment, but if I couldn’t pass this upcoming exam, I’d just be throwing my high school degree away. I did not need to finish my degree. Given my current prospects, a high school degree was meaningless to me. The only reason I wanted to finish it was for my mom. I wanted to see the happiness on her face as I was able to finish my degree. If even Hazel was able to do it, I should be able to manage.
Of course, my ace in the hole was my watch. Cecelia could feed me any answers I couldn’t get on my own. As long as I muttered the question, she could send me a text of the answer. I just needed to make sure that no one saw me doing that. I could only use it for the most desperate of circumstances.
Why was I willing to cheat to earn my high school degree, but refused to commit major crimes to obtain wealth? I don’t know what to say. One bothered me and the other didn’t. It wasn’t like I needed the high school degree to accomplish anything. It was just a piece of paper. It wasn’t the same thing as stealing money.
I hadn’t managed to study very much this day though. That was because it was Friday, and in a few hours, I’d be heading back to the Apocalyptic world. There was a time where the thought of returning filled me with dread. Now, my emotions regarding the place were complicated. I felt eager to get started with merchant trading. I felt excited and a bit flushed to see Katarina again. Then there was Keira. I was still scared of the raiders though, and of Argos city as a whole, but I needed to move things forward there if I wanted to move things forward here.
I hoped there would be a lot of items traders found me that I could trade to earn some extra cash flow. I wasn’t going to depend entirely on the auction house to support my business. Rather, I felt like the little things I could sell online and in the pawnshops was money I could use at home, where the big-ticket items would be reinvested into my business. In that respect, if I wanted to improve my mother and sister’s lives, I would earn that money through jewelry and such items. As the dinosaur bones and big art, they would go to keeping my tech business financed. You had to spend money to make money, but I was too eager to not take at least a little advantage for myself and my family.
A light knocking on the door spared me from having to look at my books for another moment. “Yes?”
The door opened, and a familiar face peeked in. “Hey, Daniel.”
The sight of her caused my mood to drop a bit, but I quickly schooled my face. “What is it, Gabriella?”
She pushed open the door and let herself in the rest of the way, closing it and locking it behind her. “I came here to pick up your mother for a weekend getaway.”
“Then why are you here?” I didn’t mean for my voice to sound rude, but I didn’t want to deal with Gabriella’s parenting.
Even though she was just my mom’s friend, she still felt she had to say something whenever I did something wrong. So, I ended up getting lectured by her more often than I cared to admit. Seeing as mom and I usually had already resolved the issue by the time she heard about it, she’d often end up lecturing me on things that were already over and done with.
“I heard about this so-called apprenticeship that you’re starting with Mizuki Corporation. You’ve been pulled out of school. You have strange hours. Money has suddenly started appearing from nowhere. You’ve even invited suspicious-looking young men to the house.” As she spoke, it was clear her opinion on the Mizuki Corporation was low.
“Y-yeah… it’s a good thing. I’ll learn useful skills, and be able to bring in a good amount of money too.” I responded.
“Here’s the thing…” She gave me a sharp look. “No matter how much I asked your mother, she doesn’t seem to know exactly what you’re apprenticing for…”
“What for?” I asked, clearing my throat.
“Yes, what is it you’re doing?”
“Naturally, that is… business. I’m learning business.”
“What business? What are you selling?”
“I don’t know yet, I just joined.” I gave a toothy smile.
“I’m just worried, Daniel. I don’t want you or your mother getting scammed. You’ve had enough bad luck in your lives.”
“I know what I’m doing. I’ll take care of my family.”
She shook her head. “Daniel, you’re still just a kid.”
“I’m not a kid.” I shook my head.
I was feeling somewhat frustrated. After all, I had experienced life-or-death situations. I had just taken out three robbers. I was stronger than just about any guy. I created a business that was exchanging thousands, and I even took over a raiders camp. I had been tortured, had sex, and even battled someone to death. So, being called a kid didn’t sit right with me anymore. I might still be seventeen, but I had lived enough that I could call myself an adult.
“You are just a kid…”
“I’m an adult!” I snapped angrily, nearly reaching out and grabbing her.
She was momentarily startled by the tone in my voice, but she quickly recovered. She met my eyes, a dubious expression on her face, but after a moment she gave a sigh and a shrug dropping her purse on my bed and going through it.
“If you insist, Daniel.”
“What are you doing?” I frowned as she pulled out a pair of gloves from her bag.
“Since I’m here, I figured I should give you your physical. We’ll call it a house visit.”
“Don’t forget, you’re still my patient. Two weeks ago, you came in with various psychological issues. Although the tests didn’t come back with anything questionable, it’s my duty as a doctor to make sure you’re checked thoroughly. So, take off your shirt.”
“That… I’m a bit too old to…”
“Strip, or you will be stripped.” She narrowed her eyes and said such a word with a no-nonsense tone.
I sighed and ripped off my shirt. “Fine, there.”
She pointed a finger at me, the red lacquered nail touching my nose. “Pants as well.”
I frowned, but I stood up anyway and pulled off my pants. It seemed quicker that way. Tossing them aside, I sat down in nothing but my boxers. She smiled and then sat down next to me while pulling a stethoscope out from her purse. Putting it in her ears, she pressed it up against my back.
“Deep breaths. Breath in… and out.” She declared.
I wanted to roll my eyes, but I did what she asked. I patiently waited while she checked my back and chest. Her soft fingers moved across my skin gently each time she moved it. Mother and Hazel often had cold hands, but Gabriella’s hands were always warm. I wondered why I suddenly noticed that.
Her hands left my back, and then she brought out a light. She checked my ears, my eyes, and even made me go ‘ahhhh’ While looking down my throat. She touched under my neck, her warm fingers pressing against the sides.
“Is there any pain?” She asked.
“No,” I responded, resigned to my fate.
She lowered her hands onto my chest. “Is there any pain?”
Her hands went down to my stomach, and she pushed from the sides. “Pain?”
“No.” Her hands went down my boxers. “H-hey!”
“Relax.” She declared as her fingers pushed against my pelvis. “Oh my, maybe you are an adult.”
“Oh, my, that’s a pretty nice size.” She was making no pretense as her hands touched my penis.
“Hey! What the hell?”
“Are we getting embarrassed? It’s okay for this kind of thing to embarrass little kids.” She responded.
I knew what Gabriella was doing. When she didn’t get her way, she sometimes acted inappropriately to get a rise out of me. She tried to throw people off and make them uncomfortable. She was doing that to me at the moment. I decided I wasn’t going to let her win without a fight.
I crossed my arms and looked away, allowing her to prod and touch. When she failed to get a reaction out of me, she’d abandon it. That’s what I thought. I didn’t know it came from my recent sexual experience with Katarina or what, but even though her hands were just touching it, I began to react. To my horror, my penis started to grow erect.
“Daniel, you should – ah!” She had been about to egg me on one last time, but the thing her hands had been hovering over, barely touching, and suddenly grown to fit in the grip of her hand. Instead of poking and prodding it, her hand ended up wrapped around her tightly. “D-daniel!”
Feeling annoyed, and yes, a bit embarrassed, I reached up and grabbed Gabriella. She made a cry as I shoved her down on the bed. Despite jumping on top of her, her hand had for some reason remained grasping my dick. She stared up at me with shocked eyes, a rare moment where she couldn’t come up with anything to say.
“I’m a man,” I said, my hands pushing her down on the bed. “If you keep testing me, maybe I’ll just have to show you.”
Her mouth opened, but no words came out. Before either of us could say more, there was a knock on the door, and the knob turned, but thankfully it was locked. Gabriella snatched her hand back from in my underwear like they were on fire.
“What’s going on in there? Gabriella?”
“We’re alright!” I shouted, slowly getting off her. “Gabriella was just finishing up.”
It took a lot for a blush to show on Gabriella’s dark cheeks, but she glowed red as she grabbed her stuff, and after I put my clothes back on, she fled the room without a single word.