My story continued.

The next evening was much the same. However, the day had been unusually hot. The news was on earlier downstairs and Kate had overheard the reporter say that at least five people had died from the heat that day. It was unprecedented. Kate was now up in Alicia’s room kneeling on a cushion at the coffee table and painting her nails a deep shade of purple. She had Alicia's TV on and was sort of half-watching Dragonball Z as she put on the nail polish. Meanwhile, Alicia had been sitting downstairs on her sofa eating a bowl of ramen. Just as she was raising her fork to her mouth to take another bite, there was a knock at the door. It startled her and she dropped her fork, causing her to lose the ramen on it as it hit the floor. “Who the heck is that?” she grumbled somewhat irritably, picking up her fork. She put her bowl down on the sofa and got up to answer the door. She opened it to Speed Racer – or, rather, Jay Gibbons in a dorky looking SR outfit. “Uh...” was all she could get out.
“Is Kate home?” Jay asked.
“Why?” countered Alicia. “Haven’t you taken enough of a beating already? I mean, what the heck are you doing here in that getup?” she asked.
“Well, you said Kate liked ‘Speed Racer’, so I thought that if I dressed up like--”
Alicia cut him off. “I know,” she stated. She didn’t really know what to tell him to get him to go away, as she didn’t really want to see him get ripped apart, but if he insisted on trying to impress Kate then it was his own fault. “Come in,” she said and stepped back from the door. Jay came in and Alicia shut the door. “So you came back,” she remarked. “I don’t believe it.”
Jay grinned. “Where’s Kate?” he asked.
“Oh, she’s upstairs,” Alicia replied and smiled. Jay looked so pathetic and although Alicia felt bad for him, she couldn’t help but think the situation was funny. Joe started up the stairs and Alicia called up after him in a singsong voice, “Oh, Kate! There’s somebody here to see you!”

At that moment, a man materialized in Alicia’s kitchen. He looked a little bewildered, to say the least, as just minutes before he’d been lunging for a madman in a laboratory. He patted himself to make sure he was all there, and he looked around his new surroundings. He appeared to be in the kitchen of a house. There didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary about it; as a matter of fact, it reminded him of the kitchen in his own house. Home, the man thought. That’s where I wish I could be right now. I’m so tired. He ran a hand through his hair. The man could hear people talking in the next room, but judging by the sound of their voices they didn’t seem to pose a threat. Actually, he didn't even think they heard him arrive.
It was then that the man spied a pitcher of lemonade on the countertop by the sink. There was a glass next to the pitcher, so the man decided to pour himself a drink. He was thirsty anyway.
There was a dinner table adjacent to the counter where the pitcher of lemonade was. The man saw it and decided to take a seat there, to wait and see if someone would come so that he could ask them where he was.

Kate had just screwed the lid onto the nail polish bottle when she heard Alicia call up the stairs. Now who is it? she thought. She happened to glance at Alicia’s clock. 6:30, it said. Oh, I hope it isn’t Jay, Kate thought again. “Oh, Katie,” said a familiar voice outside the door. Kate glanced up at the doorway as Jay stepped into it. “AAAAH! You--! What the--!” she sputtered, surprised, upon seeing his costume. She jumped back, upsetting the contents on Alicia’s coffee table. “Yup,” he said.
“I don’t believe it,” Kate replied, shocked. “Jay, what the heck are you doing dressed up like that??” Man, evidently the kid was nuts about her.
“Well, Alicia said you liked ‘Speed Racer’, so I just know, that I’d dress up. What do you think?” he asked. Kate did not know what to say.
“I- I think you’re very convincing,” she managed to stammer out. “But I’m not sure.” There was an awkward pause. “ you want some lemonade?” she finally offered.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Jay replied. The two of them went downstairs.

“So, what do you think??” Alicia asked teasingly as Jay and Kate came downstairs. Alicia had overheard Kate's whole reaction to Jay's interesting choice of clothing. “I think Jay outdid himself,” Kate replied as Jay sat down on the couch. “Actually, the reason I came down was so I could get Jay a glass of lemonade,” she explained.
“Oh, well, I was making more and left the pitcher out on the counter,” Alicia replied. “Just get a glass down out of the cabinet next to the sink.”
“Okay,” Kate said and gave a playful salute. She walked off towards the kitchen as Alicia sat down to talk to Jay.

Kate stepped into the kitchen and stopped. Immediately she sensed that there was something strange about it, but she couldn’t figure out what it was. From where Kate stood, she carefully scanned the whole room. That’s when she noticed him. He was sitting at Alicia’s aunt’s dining room table, and he had his back to the door and therefore didn’t see Kate come in. Who the heck is that? Kate wondered. He was sitting at such an angle to her that most of his body was hidden by the chair back. As such, she was unable to try and recognize him. However, she could see the back of his head. His haircut looked familiar, but Kate couldn’t put her finger on where she’d seen it before. Butterflies started to flutter in her stomach. For a second, she thought to call for Alicia. Kate could hear her in the living room talking to Jay about anime. No, I don’t want to disturb her, she thought. Besides, that guy doesn’t seem like he’ll do anything. There’s something...familiar about him. Kate shrugged. I’ll just get the lemonade and leave. Maybe he won't notice me if I'm quiet. She wondered how long he’d been there at the table. Kate started to creep slowly and silently over to the sink. So far, so good, she thought as she reached it without attracting the guy’s attention. She turned to the cabinet next to it and reached up to open the door and get a glass. The cabinet popped open, and the man at the table turned around. “Oh, hey,” he replied. “I was wondering when someone would show up. This is really groovy lemonade.” He stood up. Kate's blood ran cold. He made a move to come towards her. She dropped the glass she was holding, and screamed.

Alicia was right in the middle of a talk with Jay about Ranma ½ when she heard a scream and the sound of crashing glass. It made both Jay and Alicia snap bolt upright. “What the hell was that?” Alicia asked, surprised. Just then, Kate came shooting out of the kitchen and barreling through the living room. “Kate! What’s wrong?” Alicia asked as Kate snatched her backpack off the hook by the door and shot out the door in one fluid motion. “Alicia! There’s a weirdo in your kitchen!” she cried frantically over her shoulder as she went flying down the driveway and took off down the street. Jay raised an eyebrow. “Say what?” he asked. “What the heck is she talking about?”
“I don’t know. Nobody can get into my aunt’s kitchen except through the living room,” Alicia stated, concerned. “That’s weird.”
Alicia had thought to go look to see who was in her aunt’s kitchen, but it turned out she didn’t have to.
“Hey, miss! Wait! Come back!” a shrill voice called. Surprised, both Alicia and Jay turned in the direction of the voice. There was a man standing in the doorway to Alicia’s aunt’s kitchen. It was Speed Racer. “Um...” was all Alicia could say. Jay’s eyes widened and he started to nudge Alicia. “Alicia...are you seeing this?” he asked, voice wavering. She blinked a couple of times in disbelief and rubbed her eyes. Both Jay and Alicia were speechless. There was silence. Finally, Alicia found her voice. “What are you doing here? You didn’t break in, did you?” she asked incredulously. She didn't really know what to ask, but figured that was a start.
“Break in??” the guy from the kitchen responded, stunned. “I’d never!”
“Um, Kate didn’t ask you to dress up like what’s-his-face and come over here, too, did she?” Jay added hesitantly, still not quite believing in the identity of the man in front of him.
“Dress up like – what? What are you talking about?” asked the other guy, baffled. Jay started to answer. “Well, Alicia said that if I dressed up like--” Alicia cut him off yet again. “That’s the second time today Kate’s freaked out on somebody,” she remarked, more to herself than anyone. “What is it with her and men, anyway?”
Speed helped himself to a chair and sat down across from Alicia. “Okay, wait a minute,” he said. “Lemme get this straight. Kate was that girl that ran out of the kitchen,” he stated. Alicia nodded.
“Okay. By the way, I didn’t mean to scare her,” he added. Then he pointed at Jay. “But what’s he doing dressed up like me? And how does he know what I wear?” In the midst of all the heyday generated by this stranger showing up, Jay had forgotten about his costume. He coughed and looked down at his lap, suddenly very embarrassed. “Oh, that,” Alicia answered, a grin spreading across her face. “He was trying to impress Kate because he’s in love with her and the only way that he thought he could do it was by dressing up like Speed Racer, who’s this guy on a TV show that Kate’s a big fan of. Well, I mean, he’s you, I guess, but you’re supposed to be a character on TV,” Alicia finished. Alicia was a little confused, to say the least, but she didn't seem to think that the man across from her was faking his identity. The only other thing that baffled her was why Kate freaked out on him and ran off. Kate loves him, she thought. Why did she run away?
Alicia looked over at Jay. Jay looked like he wanted to die and Alicia was trying hard not to laugh at him. “Well, I don’t know why I scared her so much. I was only going to ask her where I was. I wasn’t going to hurt her,” Speed added.
“Well, see, it’s not that she thinks you would. If anyone knows about you, it’s her. She didn’t count on the real you showing up in my kitchen,” Alicia explained. “See, here you’re a character on a popular TV show. People here don’t think you really exist.” There was silence for a minute as this sank in. Then Alicia asked, “By the way, how did you get into my kitchen without me noticing?”
“Well...” Speed hesitated, scratching the back of his head. “It’s kind of unbelievable.” Alicia eyed him with a look that someone’s mother would give them if they came home too late. He sighed. “All right. I was in a laboratory, and I was confronting a madman who’d built a whole bunch of nukes that he was going to use to take over the world. Anyway, he had some of his henchmen knock me out. When I came to, I was seated in a chair in the middle of the room. The madman was standing across from me, and he was holding a remote control of some kind. He told me that he’d figured I might be a threat to his plans for world domination, and so for that he’d come up with a device that he said would get rid of me for good. He declared that he’d use it to get rid of anyone who got in his way. He then activated the device, and I ended up in the kitchen of your house. I could hear you guys talking in the other room, but you didn’t seem like you were dangerous, so I figured I’d just sit and wait for someone to show up.”
“Then Kate freaked out on you and ran off,” Alicia said, as an afterthought. There was more silence. Then Jay piped up. “Uh, by the way, where is Kate?” he asked. “She ran off like, 30 minutes ago.”
Alicia shrugged. “I dunno. Probably somewhere downtown,” she answered, and added, “Except I don’t have a car, so I don’t know how we can go look for her.” There was silence. Almost before he could stop himself, Jay spoke up. “Well, I have a car outside...” he contributed, then instantly realized what he was saying and who he was saying it to. He quickly clapped a hand over his mouth. There was silence. Alicia looked at Jay inquisitively. Speed looked at Jay. Jay eyed Speed Racer warily, thinking of his own car and how many man-hours he had to put in at Buddy’s to get it. If this guy really was who he appeared to be, then Jay wasn’t about to let this guy drive his car, much less touch it. Oh, no. “Hey, Jay,” Alicia started. Jay already knew what she was going to ask and violently shook his head. “Oh, come on,” Alicia protested.
“Yeah,” Speed chimed in. “Don’t you want to find your friend? It’s getting dark,” he noted. Jay mumbled something that neither Alicia nor Speed could hear and trailed off. There was silence as Jay contemplated the rescue plans. Finally, he looked up and stated, “All right. We’ll use my car to go get her, since I’m the only one with a car at the moment. But I’M DRIVING.”

On to the next chapter. ---->