Shelly's Story - Part 4
Working for Paul - he insisted I drop the “Mr. Mann” business - was definitely different. For one, his estate is beautiful and ridiculous. He has peculiar tastes, and you can see it in his huge mansion. I'm still not sure I've been in every room of it.
For the first few months, I stopped by after classes when I had the chance. I'd help him out in his lab if he needed a hand, but more often than not, we'd end up in his gym or on the firing range. That was where I did my best to teach him how to fight, how to shoot, and lot of other physical activities he'd never even tried. He told me that he'd always gotten by with his intellect, and that wasn't hard to believe after I'd seen how he held a gun and threw a punch before I got to him.
I decided that I should live up to the “bodyguard” part of my job description when my schedule allowed, and accompany Paul to some of his engagements. I always made sure I was in front of him or discreetly behind him back then - we were never seen side by side, or God forbid, holding hands. It wasn't like that at all.
And it wasn't. I kept half-expecting Paul to make a pass at me, but he never did. I would have been out the door if he had, but he always held true to his word. Eventually, I just took it for granted he'd always be straight with me. He has never disappointed me either, though there are still things he keeps to himself.
Honestly, as the months passed, I found myself growing really fond of the guy. Yeah, he was rich and intelligent; I knew that before I met him. I also knew he was really handsome, because I'd seen his picture enough. But there was something about that boyish charm and the wide-eyed way he viewed the world that was appealing. I felt a twinge of regret from time to time that, apparently, he had shut off “those” feelings entirely when Roxanne Prize had hurt him.
I graduated from MCU in record time, thank you very much, and used that as an excuse to hang around the mansion a lot more. I hung onto my own apartment, but many a night, I slept over after marathon research or training sessions. In my own room, of course. Paul was nothing if not proper.
One particular evening, I was dozing off in front of the TV in the main living room when the mansion was rocked by an explosion. Jarred awake, I rushed through the halls, calling for Paul to make sure he was all right. What I ended up finding was nothing like what I expected.
Paul was fine...except covered in soot. One of his little projects had gone haywire and blown up. That was nothing new, even though they usually weren't so loud. The only difference was I found him in a secret underground lab when I accidentally triggered a doorway through the grandfather clock.
It turned out there was a whole complex beneath the mansion. It was like something out of a sci-fi movie. Boy, if I had only known then. I'd never seen Paul look so embarrassed, and I think he was really afraid I was going to quit right there. I was confused, but not really angry. What was all this about?
That was when Paul explained to me he intended to become a superhero.
TO BE CONTINUED