"Why wouldn't you want to be probed?" asked Jim. "How many other people can say they've been abducted by extraterrestrials and had their DNA extracted? That would be so amazing!"
Scarlett thought for a moment, and struggled to find a response. Finally, she just shrugged. "I'm not sure how to answer that."
Scarlett had ventured out of the city to investigate a report of UFO crop circles at a local farm. What she'd found was the handiwork of what she suspected was school kids. The news came as a huge disappointment to Jim Brown, the owner of the farm.
"Well, what can you do?" the elder farmer frowned. "Guess I won't be able to add the crop circles to the collection."
The Brown family farmhouse was a wunderkammer of the esoteric, occult, new age, and downright weird. Bookshelves lined the wall, filled with tattered and obviously well-read treatises on the occult. Every inch of wall space that wasn't covered by bookcases was lined with pictures of pyramids, crop circles, mandalas, sacred symbols, and quotes from nearly every religious text ever known to man. Tables filled the corners, and were covered with candles, crystals, skulls, skull candles, skull candle-holders, crystal skulls, and crystal skull candle-holders.
Scarlett was impressed.
As she looked around, she noticed a hand-painted sign hanging on the wall. It read, "But take courage, the race of man is divine." Something about it made her uneasy, but she couldn't place why.
"That sign," she said, pointing to it, "where is it from?"
"Oh, I lifted that from a hotel down near Columbus." said Jim, "It's part of the Pythagorean creed."
Scarlett clutched her head as a wave of dizziness hit her. Numbers tumbled through her head: 780, 1351, 153, 265. Her knees buckled, and she felt herself heading for the floor, when a strong pair of hands grabbed her and steadied her.
"Woah, there," said Ben, "You ok?"
"Sorry," Scarlett replied, unsteadily. "I just...need to sit down." Ben helped her to a chair, and then she continued, "It's been a rough few weeks."
"Yikes," said Ben. "You're welcome to hang out for a while."
"Hell, why don't you stay for dinner?" asked Jim.
"No, thanks. I couldn't. I should probably go."
"I guarantee that you'll never have a steak this good anywhere else," said Jim.
"My dad is one hell of a cook," said Ben.
"Well," she said after a moment's hesitation, "I am kind of hungry."
Jim Brown was, indeed, one hell of a cook, and Scarlett eagerly cut into the perfectly rare rib-eye. "This is fucking amazing," she said between bites.
"I told you," said Ben with a smile as he filled up her wine glass.
"And the wine goes perfectly," she continued, alternating bites of steak with sips of wine.
"I like this one," said Jim with a chuckle as he pointed to Scarlett. "Say, are you single?"
"Dad!" exclaimed Ben. Scarlett blushed.
"Well, not for me!" Jim retorted, "I'm old. For you. You're single, she's smart, you should get together and give me some grandchildren finally."
"Oh my God," Ben said as he covered his face with his hands.
Scarlett narrowly avoided snorting wine out of her nose as she struggled to suppress a laugh. She set the glass down and took a deep breath. "Well, I'm not seeing anyone right now, no."
"See?" said Jim.
Ben peeked through his fingers as Scarlett who blushed more fiercely and covered her own face as a result. "So..."
"Well, you want to go out sometime?" asked Ben as he put his hands back down.
Scarlett dropped her hands and smiled at him, "Yeah, I'd like that."
"See!" Jim said, smiling. "I'm glad that's settled. Now who wants more mashed potatoes?"
Scarlett, Ben, and Jim ate and talked for hours, until Jim finally excused himself to go to bed. "Lots of farming to do in the morning," he explained before he left the table.
Ben watched his father disappear upstairs, and then turned to Scarlett, "More wine?"
"That depends," Scarlett smiled, "are you trying to get me drunk?"
"Heh," Ben chuckled, "Yeah, I guess so."
"So that you can take advantage of me?" she said, hopefully.
Ben paused for a moment before smiling and nodding, "Yeah, I suppose I am."
"YES!" her brain said.
"Shut up, he will hear you," she said back to her brain. She smiled. He smiled back.
"Well," she said as she leaned forward, "I don't think you're going to need to get me any more intoxicated than I already am to accomplish that."
"Is that so?"
"That," she said hungrily, "is so."
Scarlett was not prone to one-night stands. On occasion, though, with just the right man, on just the right night, she was willing to make an exception. And, she was hoping that this might turn into a two or three or ten-night stand.
It also provided her with an excuse not to sleep in her own bed.
She helped him clear the table, and clean up, giving Jim enough time to fall asleep, and then Ben led her upstairs. She took hold of his rough hand in hers, and followed right behind.
His hands and arms were strong, and he guided her body in just the right way. While she normally preferred to lead, this night she was content just to feel his skin next to hers. She was happy not to be alone. She was happy to feel alive.
The noise of chanting awoke her. It was distant and unintelligible, like a television turned up too loudly in a house down the street, but it was definitively chanting.
Ben was sound asleep. Scarlett pulled the covers back, glanced admiringly at the nude body of the man who had been sleeping next to her, and then padded quietly to the window.
The nice thing about being this far away from downtown was that that it was dark at night. It wasn't middle-of-the-desert dark, but it was still better than in the suburbs. The relative darkness allowed her to spot a spot of light halfway across the field - near the spot she'd examined earlier in the day.
"No shit," her brain said to her. "They're back."
"Oh, this is going to be good," she replied.
She walked back to the bed, and gently roused Ben. "Hey handsome," she said as he looked at her, sleepily, "Want to go tell some damned kids to get the hell off your lawn?"