:Part 1:

7:00 in the morning.

My entire body is numb with exhaustion and I can't even get up. Both of my eyelids are drooping and I know I'm going to go back to sleep. Some part of me knows something's wrong, that I need to get up, but I can't resist. I end up falling back asleep...right back into the pitch blackness of sleep...


My eyelids flutter and the first thing I see is her face, smiling, with eyes full of life. She looks so gorgeous like that. As I sit up, I expect to see my bedroom, but instead it's something else entirely...

I'm in paradise: sand, palm trees, lushness and flowers and stuff I don't know the names of everywhere. It seems strange that I'm here when just awhile ago, I could've sworn that I was lying in my bed, sleeping. But I'm not complaining about waking up in a totally awesome tropical paradise with totally hot, totally happy Circe.

She doesn't look like her normal self: her hair's down to her waist and there's no half-red in it. And she's wearing a long, white dress and a cape attached to her shoulders by brass buttons. The outfit isn't the latest fashion trend, but it really suits her.

I look back at her and smile. Oh, man, she smiles back and I swear it makes my whole day.

"You look...hermosa," I tell her. Then she laughs. She actually laughs and it's so...cute. I don't know how else to describe the sound.

"You don't look too hot right now," she says, grabbing my hand.

"You sure?" I ask, letting her pull me up and lead me wherever. "Okay...I'll admit you are cute," she says, squeezing my hand and sending shivers down my spine. "But you're covered in sand..."

"I'm your sand castle masterpiece," I reply and I can just sense that she's rolling her eyes, but she's also wearing a half-smile. She can't fool me: I know she likes my flirting.

The rest of the way she's silent and it's starting to drive me crazy. I like the fact that her hand's in mine, but I'd really like to know where she's dragging me off to. The palm trees and plants start to become thicker and thicker, but Circe seems to know exactly where she's going and what she's doing. After awhile, I just can't hold back my curiosity anymore.

"Where're you taking me, Amazon Princess?" I call out to her.

"You'll see, she replies," all ominous and mysterious. And the wait continues. She keeps dragging me on and I have a feeling if I asked her again, she'd just give me the same answer she just did...again.

Finally, she stops. The plants rustle as we walk through. Stepping out, I can see why she was keeping it such a secret. The place is a clearing with a good deal of pure blue sky showing. Off in the distance is a wood hut next to a graceful waterfall. Picturesque spot and ideal for a honeymoon. Or a teenage couple. I look at Circe out of the corner of my eye and smile. Wonder what she has in mind...?

"That's my home over there," Circe says, pointing at the hut and smiling at me.

"Looks cozy, I reply," wiggling my eyebrows. I hope she got the hint...
"I get really lonely in there... "she says, putting on a faux pouty face. "I barely get any visitors... Well...you got a visitor now. I take a step towards her."

That's when a huge spout of sand explodes and covers me, head to foot. Just as I'm spitting sand out of my mouth, another spout of sand explodes behind me with a popping sound. Sand keeps shooting up, surrounding me, filling my nose, mouth. It's an endless wall. "CIRCE!" I scream, covering my face with my arms and trying my best to spot her through the wall of sand. "CIRCE!"

Suddenly, a hand grabs my wrist, pulls me out of the sand and starts pulling me. I'm so confused. What the heck's going on? I don't even recognize who's pulling me. The world's a giant blur and all I see are my running feet and the popping sounds are howling in my ears.

Next thing I know, a door slams shut and I'm standing in a cozy little living room. The popping sound is replaced with the crackling of a fireplace. I'm whirled around again and it's just now that I realize that my heart might just bust out of my chest if it beats any faster than it is right now. Alarmed and bewildered, I find myself looking right at Circe...and she looks tired.

"Sorry about that..." she sighed, looking at me. "There's other people besides me living on the island. They hate my guts. They'll do anything to get me. For example, they set up those booby traps you just ran into in the sand outside..."

I soak that information in, and it doesn't make sense. "Who are 'they'?"

"I'll explain later..." she says. "We're safe if we stay in the house."

"But they attacked you! I protested. Shouldn't we-"

Circe walks up to me as I'm talking. My eyes follow her and then she cuts off my words by just grabbing my face and kissing me on the lips. Everything else seems to disappear as I close my eyes and just let her kiss me. I kiss her back and she comes closer, wraps her arms around me.

All I can think about is soft her lips feel pressed against mine, how her body's pressed against me. It's driving me crazy. I can't think of anything else, just how much I'm enjoying this, how much I want it to continue. And just as soon as it started, Circe pulls away and it ends. I'm looking at her, into the depths of those gorgeous brown eyes. I want to say something to her so badly, but this is one of those rare moments in my life that I'm just...speechless.

Circe just smiles, her lips closed and then she shows her teeth. "You're covered in sand!" she exclaims. I'm still shocked and completely numb after something so electric, but her comment makes me think. I can actually feel the sand clinging to me, stuck all over my body.

"I'm gonna go get something to eat," she says nonchalantly, and begins to walk off. "Shower's down the hall to the left."

I'm still mesmerized. I watch her go to the other end of the house and exit through a door at the other side that I didn't realize was there before. I don't stop staring until the door slams and I'm alone. Everything's dark except for the light coming from the fireplace. I can feel the sand again and decide to take Circe's hint.

The bathroom is small and white tiled...and modern looking. It looks like it belongs in a super hi-tech hospital rather than in a hut in the middle of a clearing of an island. Right away, I rush into the shower and the spray of water feels nice, sending all of the sand off and down the drain. The water's a bit too cold, though, but it seems to be clearing my head from whatever shock I fell into after my unexpected first kiss.

I can't help wondering what Circe's doing here all by herself...I thought she'd be hanging around with Van Kleiss and his goons in Van Kleiss' 'Bat Cave'. And why would somebody be attacking her? She works for Van Kleiss, but...I don't know what's up with her. She seemed to be confused and emotional the last few times I saw her, but now she's happy and carefree. Though there's secrets behind that exterior-

The water stops and I just stand there. A huge cloud fills my mind and my thoughts become hazy. Like a robot-no pun intended-I mechanically dried off and got dressed-again no pun intended. All that fills my mind is her face and how great she looks in her new get-up; she's really rocking that look. My cheeks are burning; I know I'm blushing. Somehow I end up laying on the living room couch and she's dancing hypnotically in my mind. She's all I can think about.

My heart's dancing the mambo. I keep re-living my kiss with her over and over again and each time, it makes me tremble and shake. So badly I want to take her and hug her and kiss her. The desire is rolling through me like wildfire. It felt so magical. Every moment with her is magical. Even looking into the flames in the fireplace, I can't deny the truth: I'm falling in love with her.

No, that's not it. I am in love with Circe. And the feeling's eating me alive.

I'm thinking so much, I end up forgetting all about where I am and what's going on. That's when the door opens again and I'm on my feet, rushing over to where she is. Circe's smiling and empty-handed. Out the door, I can smell something delicious.

"Dinner's ready," she says. "You're looking pretty good now, Rex," she adds, winking. "Good enough to eat."

"I'm the main course," I reply, winking back. I'm not sure if I'll be able to return to the playful flirting I had going on with her earlier. For the first time in my life, my knees are shaking and I'm actually nervous around a girl, but I'm not gonna let her know. "I might just eat you if I didn't have any food around," Circe growls. "Grrr!" She mimes shaking her fingers at me like cat claws.

Circe turns and leaves the wooden hut again, me following right at her heels. There's a fire pit set up in the sand: a small fire and several stones to sit on set up around the fire. A wooden spit is turning just above the fire, a golden, roasted turkey turning on it. Hope you like turkey, Circe says, smiling and carefully beginning to extract it from the spit. I watch her, mesmerized again. Being this close to her, I feel like I'm attracted to her like a magnet. Her hair is glowing with tinges of yellow and orange in the firelight, adding to her beauty. I can't help the feelings flooding through me like tidal waves. They're so strong, I'm barely standing on my feet. I could care less about food or the turkey. I don't need any of that, just as long as I can see Circe, be with her...


It's a very small sound, just barely above a whisper, but it's probably just the wind.

"Rex! Rex!" My concentration on Circe begins to break. The sound becomes barely any more audible, but it becomes a sound that won't leave my ear. Eventually, I just turn around and look. There's nothing there. So much time has passed, it's dark outside now. But even though it's dark, I know nothing's there. Yet the sound continues.

It's unnerving me; maybe I have some kind of paranoia, but I wouldn't know why. Then I see a huge shape form in the darkness, a huge and hulking shape. It's walking right towards the fire pit at a slow and determined gait and I know this is what keeps hissing my name in a whisper-like tone.

Immediately, my reaction is to turn and run towards Circe, clomping into a defensive stance, fists clenched. All I can think about is protecting Circe from whatever surprise attack this thing's planning to spring. I will myself to turn my arms into giant mechanical fists, but...

I don't feel the normal whir and click or tingle of nanites. I feel nothing at all. Helplessly, I look down and even though I try again, all I see are my normal hands. Un-clenching my fists, I look down at the empty palms of my hands, utterly bewildered.

Somehow, I don't have my evo powers anymore...