Midas Touch: Chapter 8

“Okay, Alex, let’s set some boundaries,” David said. Alex and David were sitting on one of the beds in the hotel; Rachel was reading on the couch.

After many hours of driving, David felt exhausted. Under normal circumstances, driving all day would be very tiring; but with Alex, it was more so. She had no self-control or respect for personal boundaries. No matter what David said, Alex always found an excuse to take off her clothes or cuddle. Or both. David had to force her to sit in the back and have Rachel look after her. Rachel wasn’t in the best mood after that since Alex distracted her from her book.

“You can’t take off your clothes in front of me or other people,” David said.

Alex tilted her head. “Have I not been pleasing to you?”

Probably the most offsetting thing about her was her lack of emotion. She spoke in a monotone and her expression never changed.

“That’s not the issue,” David said like he was speaking to a child. “You can’t just take off your clothes.”

“So, I have been pleasing to you. What about this?” She scooted closer to David and wrapped her arms around him, her breasts firm against his arm.

“Stop that,” David said, forcing himself away from her. “Don’t you want anything for yourself? You don’t have to please me.”

“If I did that, would that please you?”

“Ah, this is going around in circles,” David said. “Gah, at least with Alec, I could reason with him. Even if he did go behind my back.”

“Would it please you if I acted like . . . Alec?” Alex said tilting her head.

“You can do that?” David asked.

“I can try.” Alex closed her eyes and took deep breaths. After a few seconds, she opened her eyes.

“Did it work?” David asked.

Alex looked at David, no longer emotionless. David saw movement out of the corner of his eye and the next thing he knew he was on the floor, and his cheek was throbbing.

“Ow, these hands aren’t meant for punching. That was for changing me into a girl.” David looked up and saw Alex standing over him shaking her hand. David felt a sharp pain in his cheek where she punched him. Her eyes looked down on him condescendingly. She stepped forward and kicked him in the gut. “And that’s for making me into your toy.”

David rolled away, putting some distance between the girl. As he stood up, he was more surprised than hurt. “Alec? Is it you?”

“Who else would I be, idiot,” Alex looked at the nearby mirror. She cupped her breasts. “Wow, would you look at these jugs? I’ve got a firm butt and nice legs too. I’m hot; however, it’s pointless if I’m that girl.” She shot David a glare. “You punished me for doing what you should have been doing with the girls.”

“Don’t try to blame me,” David said. “You were the one who came on to Sam. You’ve been manipulating me since the beginning.”

Alex gave an evil smirk. “You were like putty in my hands. I only did that because you’re too much of a coward to give her what she wants. And, it’s Samantha, idiot. Get the names of your girls right. I even managed to get those guys to toss you into the pool.”

Alex rushed forward and punched David in the stomach, knocking the air out of him. David grabbed her by the arms to hold her away and stop the punches. However, she just kicked him in the shin, causing him to let go. Alex punched him in the gut again.

David tried to go on the offensive. He raised his fists to punch her back. But, she flinched and let out a very girlish yell. David hesitated, feeling very foolish standing over a girl with a raised fist.

Once Alex saw David hesitate, she smiled and kneed him in the stomach, forcing him to fall back on the bed. She climbed on top of him, forcing his arms down. “Here’s a lesson for you. First of all, you have to be firm with the girl. Which are you in this case, since you’re basically a girl.”

David felt helpless lying there. He tried to move, but Alex firmly pinned him down. Glancing at Rachel, he said, “A little help?”

Rachel looked up from her book. “You got yourself into this one.” Her eyes were mixed with annoyance and jealousy. She turned back to her book.

“She’s just mad I’m prettier than her. That’s right, retreat from reality, Riley,” she sneered at Rachel. “Now, where were we? Ah yes, I remember.” She leaned forward and kissed him. Hard.

The next few moments passed like a blur as emotions ran high. The only thing he was aware of was Alex kissing him and her arms around him. In between kisses, he came to his senses enough to barely say, “Stop.”

Alex stopped moving. She was still sitting on top of him; she longer had her shirt on but still have on her bra. Shockingly, David didn’t have his shirt on either. He wondered when that happened. Alex once again wore her emotionless face. “Did that not please you?”

“Please get off.” Alex moved obediently. “Let’s never do that again.” Even though he said that a part of him did want to do that again. “Where’s Rachel?” Alex only stared at him blankly. “Fine, I’ll go check the car.”

David found his shirt and rushed out of the hotel room before Alex could do anything else. He found Rachel sitting on a bench by the car, reading her book. He sat down next to her. “Um, hello.”

“Hey.” Awkward pause. “Did you have a nice time?” Her eyes were red.

“Look, I’m sorry. You saw what happened. She attacked me. I barely managed to make her stop. She’s back to her emotionless self.”

“Why are you apologizing? We aren’t dating. You haven’t even given me a hint that you’re interested in me. Sure, I do have feelings for you, but I know it is purely from the transformation. Shh, don’t say anything; this is something you have to hear. You can’t please everyone. You currently have eight girls you have transformed who are all head over heels for you. Someone is bound to get hurt. If you worry about every action, it will tear you apart. While I do want to be with you, I want to see you happy more. I’ll go check on Alex.”

David sat alone on the bench for a while, thinking. The cool night air and Rachel’s words seemed to bring clarity. After a little while, David went back inside the room.

“Welcome back,” Rachel said, not looking up from her book. “I put Alex to sleep, don’t worry, she won’t bother you tonight.” David looked over at one of the beds. Alex was wrapped tightly underneath the covers, fast asleep. “I tied her arms and legs and told her it would please you to sleep all night long. Although, it might give her some wrong ideas of what would please you.” Rachel’s mouth twitched in a bit of a smile.

David laughed. “Let’s hope she doesn’t.” A silence settled across the room as the laughter faded away, only broken by Rachel turning the page.

“Look, Rachel,” David said breaking the silence. “I’ve been thinking about what you said. The truth is, my life is a mess. The only people I can interact with are girls who are irrationally in love with me. I’ve never been in any kind of romantic situation, so I have no idea how to act toward them. I do want everybody to be happy, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. However, I can’t be myself around the others; they’re too devoted. I need someone to tell me I’m doing something wrong. I need a friend.”

Rachel put down her book and gave David a pure smile. “And you have one. Also, spend more time paying attention to the girls; talk to them. You’ll find there’s a lot more to them than that they’re head over heels for you. It’ll help.”

“I’ll be sure to do that,” David said. “Thanks, Rachel.”

“My pleasure.”

David felt a weight lift from his shoulders as he lay to sleep.

The next day, the ride went a lot smoother. Rachel played a more active role in taking care of Alex, and the relationship between David and Rachel was much better. They toyed with Alex’s different personalities by asking her to behave in certain ways and made bets on how long it would take her to remove her shirt.

David also decided to let Alex drive. She still had all of her knowledge as a guy, including driving, and David didn’t have the stamina to drive the whole way there. It was also convenient that driving distracted Alex.

As they drove into the camping parking lot in the early afternoon, David was reminded of his brother, now sister. He wondered how she was doing. Life must be completely different for her now.

“How long will it take to get to the cave from here?” Rachel asked, snapping back David from his thoughts.

“Um, it takes about two hours to get to the campsite and three more after that to get to the cave. It will take about ten hours round trip. I was hoping we could get here early enough to do it all in one day, so we wouldn’t have to camp out here, but that doesn’t seem like an option. We’ll have to bring the tent we bought, which will slow us down a bit.”

“Let’s get to it then,” Rachel said. “Why don’t we just have Alex carry all of it? She’d be happy to do it if you said it would please you.” David gave her a stern look. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding.”

They unloaded the stuff and split the load between them. They all helped carry the tent. Once again, it reminded David of his brother.

Three hours later, they arrived at the campground. It took longer than expected because Rachel and Alex weren’t in the best of shape. Alex almost passed out due to dehydration; she never complained she was thirsty, so her body couldn’t function properly.

They set up camp and ate dinner by the time the sun was going down and got ready for bed. They decided to go to sleep early so they could get an early start.

They had bought the cheapest tent they could find. It was only supposed to fit two people. They piled in the tent with David in between the two girls. Their shoulders were touching, and David was very aware of their presence.

“We need to get as much sleep as possible,” David said. “No fooling around tonight, okay.”

“Ah, I wanted to cuddle with you,” Rachel said teasingly. “I know, I know. I’m tired anyway.” Rachel turned her back on David to try to get some sleep.

“That goes for you too, Alex. No touching in the middle of the night,” David said.

“Would that please you?” Alex said, staring emotionless at David.

“Yes, it would. Now get some sleep.”

Surprisingly, she closed her eyes and almost immediately started sleeping. Both of the girls must have been tired from the long drive and hike. David closed his eyes; hopefully, he could get some sleep.

David woke up to something wrapping around his body. A little groggy, it took him a little while to figure out where he was. The tent, in between two girls. He looked to his side. Alex had her arms wrapped around him and her legs entangled with his. Her breasts were pressed firmly against his arm. She was fast asleep.

David could also feel another set of arms wrapped around his other arm. He looked to the other side, and Rachel was hugging his arm like a teddy bear. She was curled up in a ball and it looked like she was having a bad dream.

Both of them were doing this unconsciously and David didn’t have the heart or willpower to wake them up. So much for the full night’s rest.

“I see the cave,” David called out to the girls. Since he could move faster than they could, he scouted ahead to make sure he remembered the way.

He was tired from the events of the previous night, but he was able to get more sleep than he thought he would. When Rachel woke up, she apologized with her face turning bright red. It was nice to see a different side of Rachel, apart from the stoic reader or the teaser. David remembered how Rachel said to pay attention to each girl beyond their surface personality.

“Let’s go see if we can find anything,” David said as the girls caught up. ‘Deja vu,’ David thought to himself.

David entered the cave. The pedestal stood exactly how it was before. There were still shards of the crystal scattered across the floor. David picked up a few pieces and put them in his pocket.

“So, this is the place where it all started?” Rachel asked as she entered the cave. She helped Alex up. They seemed to be getting along much better.

“Yep; spread out and see if you can find anything,” David said.

After a few minutes of searching, Alex said, “I think I found something.” She was at the pedestal, brushing away some dust. It was a stone tablet acting as a lid. After a bit of struggle, they were able to remove it. Inside the pedestal, there was an incredibly old scroll.

David picked it up carefully. It was in excellent condition despite its age. The scroll must have been sealed tightly in the box so the air didn’t deteriorate it. David opened it. There was a lot of writing on it in a language he didn’t understand.

“Is that Spanish? Do either of you know Spanish?” David asked. Both girls shook their heads. “Oh well, at least we got something from this trip.”

“We need to find a translator,” Rachel said, “Should we hire someone online?”

“I’d rather not,” David said. “I don’t want this information to leak out. Better to do it in person.”

“We can go to a university,” Alex said. “There’s one about an hour outside our apartment on the way back. I’ve been to it a few times.” David and Rachel stared at her, surprised she could help. Alex only stared back emotionlessly.

“Okay, let’s do that,” David said, as the shock wore off. “Let’s search around some more and have an early lunch.”

“Early lunch?” Rachel said. “It’s still only nine in the morning. Let’s call it a second breakfast.”

“Fine, a second breakfast. You okay with that Alex?” David asked.

“If it pleases you,” Alex said.

“You don’t need to ask if it pleases me every time. Tell me how you feel and make your own decision.”

“Would that please you? Then, yes.”

David and Rachel looked at each other. “Does that count as progress?” David asked.

“I say it does,” Rachel said. She held up her drink with a smile. “A toast to Alex almost making her own decision.”

David raised his drink. “Here, here,” he said, struggling to hold back his laughter.

“Here, here,” Alex said in a monotone voice, holding up her drink, mimicking David. David and Rachel fell into a fit of giggles throughout the rest of the meal.

After eating and searching some more, David said, “I don’t think we’ll be able to find anything else. Let’s head back.”

“Excuse me,” Rachel said to the clerk in the front office. “Do you know where I can find a Spanish teacher or someone who can translate?”

The lot fell on Rachel to find the translator. Alex was very awkward to talk to and David wanted to stay as far away from people as possible. They were at a nearby copy store making copies of the scroll. They didn’t want to take any chances to lose it.

The clerk gave Rachel a funny look but explained the directions to the office of a Spanish teacher. Rachel went back to the car to meet up with David and Alex.

Rachel had enjoyed the trip back from the cave, though it was slightly uneventful. She was able to get to know David even more, and he appeared to be more comfortable around her. Even Alex was more tolerable, partly because she was really tired from walking long distances. The car ride was still long, but Rachel was able to read longer due to Alex either being asleep or driving, though she still wound up removing her clothes every once in a while.

“How’d it go?” David asked as he arrived holding a small stack of paper. Even now, every time Rachel saw him, her heart beat faster. It also didn’t help that Alex was wrapped tightly around his arm. However, she was getting good at suppressing her emotions, especially jealousy. David needed a friend.

“Yep, got it, let’s go.” David put the original scroll back into the car and they made their way to the Spanish teacher’s office.

Rachel knocked on the door. “Professor Hickman?”

“Yes? Who might you be? You aren’t my students.” Professor Hickman was an older man with gray hair with streaks of white. He had thick glasses and wore a collared shirt with a tie. He was sitting behind his desk.

“Yes, I know. We were wondering if you could translate something for us. It’s in Spanish.”

Hickman lowered his glasses to look at them. “Look, kids, I’m very busy. I don’t have time to translate every little thing that comes to me. I can point you in the direction of a professional translator.”

David stepped forward. “We just found a piece of paper while we were hiking. It’s not very long. We’re just curious what it says.”

“Fine, let me see it.” Professor Hickman adjusted his glasses and was about to start reading the paper, but a girl in her early twenties moved into the room holding a stack of papers. She hit David on the way in. Rachel saw David suppress a sigh.

“Professor Hickman, I finished grading these papers. Is there anything else you’d like me to do?” Her tone echoed that she’d like to leave early. The girl who walked in had dull black hair that went down to the middle of her back, tied with a ribbon. She was wearing a thick brown sweater. Rachel found it curious since it was still late summer. How was she not burning up in this heat?

“Ah, Tessa, perfect timing. Could you translate this for these kids? They found something on a hike and are curious about what it says. This is my TA; she’ll be able to help you.” Hickman waved them out as he focused once again on his work.

Tessa shot the group a glare. Rachel did feel a little bad for her, but she was more worried about how she would change because she touched David. She was already cute and, obviously, a female. Sophia had altered, but most of the change just made her younger.

“Right this way,” she said begrudgingly.

They went to Tessa’s office; it was a small room with a table and a few chairs. “Can I see the papers? Thank you. Want to record what I say with your phone?” Tessa began to read the paper.

“If you are reading this paper, it means either you or someone else has found the crystal. It is a powerful artifact that grants the person who touches it their desires at the time of contact. After the crystal is absorbed, whatever the infected person touches becomes the object of their desire. In the cases I’ve known, it has been narrowed down to three things: women, wine, and gold.”

“If gold was desired, any solid object he touches will become solid gold. This is the most common desire, but also the most cursed, because of the difficulty of eating. The touch also changes living things, so human contact becomes impossible.

“If wine was desired, any liquid he touches becomes wine. This is the most harmless of the three. Most men who gain this power usually end up living their life drunk or selling alcohol. However, if he touches large bodies of water for long periods, it can ruin the surrounding area. He can kill someone if he touches a person’s blood inside his body.

“Last, if women were desired, any person he touches becomes a beautiful woman completely devoted to that man. Usually, men will live out their days surrounded by beautiful women and be void of any other contact. There has been a case where the man searched out the strongest men and transformed them into women. He created a country of strong women and made himself the hidden king.”

Tessa looked up. “Where exactly did you find this? It sounds like a variation of King Midas.” Rachel noticed Tessa’s hair had become a little shinier. Also, her breasts seemed a little larger, though it was difficult to tell under the thick sweater.

“Oh, um, we just found it hiking. Maybe a group of hikers was playing a prank. Still, it seems interesting. Please go on,” David said. He was excited that he was finding something out about the crystal. Tessa continued.

“I am the crystal’s protector. Only one person at a time is chosen. It is passed down to the oldest male child or the next closest relative. The crystal does not affect the protector, nor can the user change him. Whenever the crystal changes users, the protector informs him of the desire and then the protector observes his actions, never interfering.

“I was observing a minor lord who desired gold. He became wealthy very quickly, but his health began to deteriorate. Within a year of gaining power, he died. His brother, seeing the curse of the crystal, took it to hide away forever. He crossed the ocean to the new land, and I followed him. After journeying for many months, he found this cave and died soon after.

“Noticing no other person would touch the crystal in my lifetime, I am leaving this cave and this scroll to live out the rest of my life. When the crystal is found, the chosen protector will be alerted to find the user.”

As Tessa finished reading, she stared at the papers. Rachel thought about the things they learned. The crystal can offer a few different powers, the crystal separates when the user dies, and there is a protector to watch over the crystal.

Rachel looked closer at Tessa. She seemed to notice the changes as well. Her breast size was much larger. Since her clothing didn’t change, her bra must have been very tight. Her hair was now bright silver that seemed to glow. She also appeared a few years younger, as if she were eighteen or nineteen. Any blemishes on her face disappeared. Her eyes became a deep purple.

Tessa tried to act like nothing was wrong. “That’s all that was written. Is there anything you need?” David shook his head. “Alright, if you would excuse me.” Tessa hurried out of the room.

“Are you going to go after her?” Rachel asked David.

“No. Judging by Sophia’s transformation, she might be able to live a normal life without me.” He pulled out a piece of paper and wrote his e-mail address down and left it on the table. “Just in case something happens. Come on, let’s go back home.”

Tessa stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. While she still looked basically the same, there were noticeable differences, especially with her hair, breast size, and eyes. Her bra felt very tight. She loosened it a bit to get some relief. She felt them growing as she was translating, but she ignored them the best she could.

Thinking of the translation, it was really strange writing. It was written in a really old style of Spanish. The content was really strange; she wondered who made it up.

Then a thought crossed her mind: what if it was true? It might explain why she had changed. She even remembered brushing past the boy in Professor Hickman’s office. She needed to know.

She hurried back to her office, hoping they were still there. They weren’t, but she did find an e-mail address; it gave her some hope to learn about the truth. She went to Professor Hickman’s office to check out.

“I finished translating. Do you need anything else?”

“No, thanks for your work. Is that a new haircut? It looks good. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Tessa was a little surprised by the compliment. It dawned on her that she did look good; she was too distracted by the change to notice. She smiled as she left the office with newfound confidence. If she ever met those kids again, especially the guy, she would have to thank them. Time to go get new clothes.

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