June 20, 2016 by Dayo Benson
Thanks for tuning in. Legacy, the final installment of the Crystal series, will be out a week today :-). In Legacy things pick up a year after the events of Powerful Enemies and that huge climax where Crystal and the team scored a major victory (trying not to give away any spoilers here just in case some of you haven’t read Powerful Enemies). I recently caught up with some of the team members to see what they’ve been up to this past year.
I’m not sure why, but it seems the team still all live together in their safe house. I walk up the drive and ring the bell. The door swings open and a tall guy with brown-blond hair peers out at me. He’s in his boxers.
Alejandro of course. Who else?
Dayo Benson: Hello, Mr Sanchez. I’m here to see Crystal. I’ve booked to interview her at 6 PM.
Alejandro grins: Buenas tardes, señora. Didn’t you get my message?
Dayo Benson: What message?
Alejandro: She won’t be able to do the interview.
Dayo Benson: What do you mean she won’t be able to do the interview?
Alejandro: She’s not in a great place at the moment because Juda’s trial starts next Monday. She asked me to clear her schedule for the next two months. I left you a message explaining this.
Dayo Benson: When did you leave me a message?
Alejandro: This morning.
Dayo Benson: Well that’s just not good enough. I have flown all the way from the UK for this interview. Is there no way she can do it?
Alejandro: She really can’t. If I was just her manager I would try to force her. But I’m her friend as well. I care about her well-being. I think it’s best she doesn’t talk to the press at the moment. Thank you for your cooperation.
Dayo Benson: Uh, I’m not cooperating, Mr. Sanchez. I need to interview her ahead of Legacy. Fans of your team want to know what you’ve been up to over the past year.
Alejandro folds his chunky arms across the broad expanse of his chest. Well, you can interview anybody on the team apart from Crystal.
I’m so not impressed by this, but it’s obvious I’m not getting past Alejandro.
Dayo Benson: Who else is available?
Alejandro: Everybody. Including me.
Dayo Benson: Well, who else, apart from Crystal, would make an interesting interviewee?
Alejandro: Hmm. There’s Carsten, who’s just been modelling for the past year. To be honest he’s not a very interesting person. Zeke has been supporting Crystal on her world tour, performing during her breaks. That’s it really, he’s done nothing else of interest. Then there’s Max who’s done nothing all year but be miserable and geeky as usual. I suppose you could interview him if you want to return to the UK bored and depressed.
Dayo Benson: Not really. I guess that just leaves you?
Alejandro: Guess so. (He grins). Come on in.
A perfect gentleman, he steps aside for me to enter the house first. The safe house has a nice open plan. The hallway is wide. The stairs are to my right. Up ahead is the kitchen. The sound of a TV blaring comes from the open door to the den on my left.
Alejandro: We’ll talk in the backyard.
Dayo Benson: Okay.
Alejandro leads the way. I peep into the den as we pass it. Zeke and Carsten are inside, sprawled on the floor watching TV. They’re both in their boxers. Obviously, nobody who lives here bothers to wear clothes unless they’re going out. We pass a closed door.
Dayo Benson: Is that Max’s lab?
Alejandro: Yup. He’s in there working on something he told me all about yesterday, but it was so boring I remember nothing of the conversation.
(We enter the kitchen which smells heavenly).
Dayo Benson: Are you baking?
Alejandro: Yeah. Cookies. They’re ready. Do you want some?
Dayo Benson: Yes, please.
Alejandro: Okay, you go on out to the back, while I get us cookies and drinks.
He nods at the door in the kitchen that leads to the backyard. I open it and step out. The weather is warm today. Much nicer than the grey skies I left in the UK last night (:-)). I head over to the patio furniture, and lower myself onto a low seat.
A moment later Alejandro emerges from the kitchen holding a plate of freshly baked cookies and two tall glasses of lemonade. He sets them on the table.
Alejandro: You’re lucky Juda isn’t around, otherwise I’d be giving you something super weird to snack on, like fruit peel.
Dayo Benson: Oh, I’d much rather have cookies and lemonade.
I help myself to a cookie as I take out my interview questions. They were designed for Crystal, but I can tweak some of them as I go.
Alejandro settles down in the seat opposite me, and kicks his feet up onto the low table between us. He observes me through narrowed eyes: So you’re from the UK, huh?
Dayo Benson: Yes.
Alejandro: How long have you been a journalist?
Dayo Benson: I’m not a journalist.
Alejandro: Oh. What are you?
Dayo Benson: Excuse me, I’m the one doing the interviewing.
Alejandro grins: Muy bien.
Dayo Benson: What does that mean?
Alejandro: It means ‘okay,’ ‘okey dokey,’ ‘very well.’
Dayo Benson: Right. Are you going to put on some clothes?
Alejandro: Wasn’t planning to. Why?
Dayo Benson: Never mind. So, what have you been doing over the past year?
Alejandro: I accompanied Crystal on her world tour. As you know, I’m her manager now, and I’m also her stylist. I’ve worked a lot on her public image. She didn’t want the sexy persona anymore, so I’ve managed to facilitate her style evolution into a more modest, but still attractive and chic, kind of thing.
Dayo Benson: So, you’re managing her career, and still doing your design work? You must be super busy.
Alejandro: I am. I actually have quite a number of projects on the go at the moment. Wanna see?
Dayo Benson: Sure.
Alejandro jumps to his feet: Follow me.
I grab a cookie and then follow him back into the house. I nibble a piece of the cookie. It’s warm and practically melts in my mouth.
Dayo Benson: This is so good. How come you’re so good in the kitchen? Did you ever take classes?
Alejandro tosses me a glance over his shoulder: I’m self-taught.
Dayo Benson: You’re really good.
Alejandro grins: I like you. You can stick around. Some people around here don’t appreciate my cooking enough.
At the stairs he once again allows me to go first. At the top he leads the way into a room. There is fabric everywhere. A sewing machine sits on the table. There are tubs of buttons, zippers, sequins, feathers, and a dozen other things. Over the next 15 minutes, Alejandro shows me his latest works, and his sketchbook of dress designs.
I’m fascinated by the sheer number of dresses he’s making at once. A deep blue dress with lace sleeves catches my eye. I can’t help staring. It’s so beautiful, and it’s obvious that Alejandro puts a lot of passion and love into his creations. Each one is like a work of art.
Alejandro: You like that Carolina dress?
Dayo Benson: It’s beautiful.
Alejandro looks genuinely delighted at my fascination with the dress: Gracias, mi señora.
Dayo Benson: You give each of your dresses a name?
Dayo Benson: You just called it ‘Carolina.’
Alejandro: Yeah that’s the color. Carolina blue.
Dayo Benson: Oh.
Alejandro: Try it on.
Dayo Benson: No way. I don’t want to mess with Crystal’s clothes.
Alejandro: That one’s for my boutique. Crystal’s never worn it. It’s too demure for the stage, but a little OTT to wear off-stage.
I shake my head, although it’s nice of him to offer. I look at my list of questions. I was going to ask Crystal about Juda, so I tailor the question for Alejandro.
Dayo Benson: How’s Anabelle?
Alejandro: She’s fine.
Dayo Benson: Has there been any progress in your relationship over the past year? Are you engaged yet?
Dayo Benson: No? Why?
Alejandro shrugs: We’re just not.
I notice that his eyes have dulled slightly, and his lips have tightened a little. I’ve obviously hit a nerve.
Dayo Benson: Have you broken up?
Alejandro: No, we’re still together.
Dayo Benson: Then what’s the matter?
Alejandro: Can we not talk about Anabelle?
Dayo Benson: Why?
Alejandro smiles: Next question.
Dayo Benson: Okay, next question. Are you thinking of settling down any time soon?
Alejandro: You don’t give up, do you?
He nudges me with his shoulder. Only, he’s so much bigger than I am that it feels like a push rather than a nudge, and I practically go flying into the wall.
Alejandro immediately looks mortified: Lo siento mucho! Are you okay?
Dayo Benson: No.
Alejandro looks like he’s trying to keep a straight face: I do that to Crystal all the time and she doesn’t go flying.
Dayo Benson: Well, I’m a writer, not a tough woman who goes around fighting practitioners.
Alejandro: Sounds like you need to join us for some morning workouts.
Dayo Benson: I think I’ll pass on that. So, speaking of practitioners, do you miss being a practitioner?
Dayo Benson: Really? There’s nothing about it that you miss?
Alejandro: Nothing at all. It was a horrible life. The power it gave me was a poor compensation for the living hell that being a practitioner was.
Dayo Benson: To be honest, when I read Delirium and you got saved, I didn’t think it would last. I thought you wouldn’t be able to do it, especially since you were so used to sleeping around. How have you been able to handle the change in your lifestyle that becoming a Christian required?
Alejandro: First of all, I didn’t think it would last either. But it’s been over a year now. I just take it a day at a time. I believe in God’s grace. If He can help me to live right for one hour, He can help me for two hours, for five hours, for a whole day. If He can help me to live right for one whole day, that means He can help me for two days. For two weeks. For two months. I take it day by day. It’s all by His grace.
Dayo Benson: What would you say to any guys, or girls, out there who have a past similar to yours and are struggling with purity and all that?
Alejandro: I have three tips. Stay busy, stay accountable, and stay connected to God.
Dayo Benson: Care to elaborate on those three tips?
Alejandro: Okay, the first one. Stay busy. The busier I am, the less time I have to get into trouble, or watch things that I shouldn’t. These days I’m so busy that at the end of the day I just want to sleep. I can’t stay up until 2 AM watching filth online, because I’m just too exhausted. Exhaustion is good.
(I can’t help laughing at that).
Alejandro grins: It’s true.
Dayo Benson: The second tip?
Alejandro: Stay accountable. You need good Godly friends who won’t be afraid to challenge you if they see areas of compromise in your life. I learned a lot from what happened to Kyran last year when he went back to Trixie. It was because he wasn’t as close to the rest of us as he should have been and he wasn’t being honest with us. As much as Max annoys me, he’s actually pretty good at keeping me accountable about women, and what I watch, and which websites I visit. We talk openly about our struggles and we also receive mentoring from Jace and Dan, which helps a lot. Every time we meet with Jace and Dan I leave inspired to want to be a Godly man.
Dayo Benson: I love that.
Alejandro: My last tip, stay connected to God, is self-explanatory. We no longer do our morning workout, but we still do our morning prayers; every day without fail. That is so important. I like to commit my day to God and ask Him for the strength to just live right and to overcome any temptation that might come my way.
Dayo Benson: Awesome.
Alejandro: It really helps.
Dayo Benson: That’s great. So, can we talk about your relationship with the other team members?
Dayo Benson: Let’s start with Zeke. In Powerful Enemies, Saleisha said you’re a ladies man, Juda is a man’s man, and Zeke is both a ladies’ man and a man’s man. She said that’s why you don’t get on with Zeke. I’d like to know what you think of that statement.
Alejandro: First of all, I’m man’s man. I do love the señoritas, but…I’ve changed. Not that I don’t see ‘em anymore, or don’t notice how hot they are…but I’m learning self-control, and personal discipline—all that fun stuff. And I have Anabelle.
Dayo Benson: So, why don’t you get on with Zeke?
Alejandro: I do. But he can be so annoying.
Dayo Benson: What about Carsten?
Alejandro: He needs to stop speaking German. He can hardly even speak it anyway, he’s just trying to make a statement about being European, when in actual fact he might not be, since he doesn’t know who his real parents are.
Dayo Benson: Right. Should I ask about Max?
Alejandro: He’s just old and miserable. And he likes to sound intelligent by using big words.
Dayo Benson: So, you don’t think Max is intelligent?
Alejandro: He is, but he likes to rub it in everyone’s face that he is.
Dayo Benson: So, you would get along better with him if he was more humble?
Alejandro: Sure. I mean, I’m very attractive—always have been—but I don’t go on about it all the time.
Dayo Benson: Right.
Dayo Benson: How about Juda?
Alejandro: Juda needs to smile more. Sometimes, I’m not completely convinced that he’s a Christian. The Bible talks about the joy of the Lord and the joy of salvation. Juda doesn’t seem to be very joyful even after becoming saved.
Dayo Benson: So you think he’s faking it?
Alejandro: No. I just wonder what’s wrong with him.
Dayo Benson: You’re aware of his difficult childhood?
Alejandro: Yes. But he needs to lighten up.
Dayo Benson: How about Crystal? What do you think of her?
Alejandro: Ah, the boss. She’s amazing.
Dayo Benson: You have no bad words to say about her?
Alejandro: No bad words.
Dayo Benson: So the only person on the team about whom you have not a single bad word to say, is the one woman on the team?
Alejandro: Not because she’s a woman. I’ve never looked at Crystal in that way. But she’s cool. I do wish she would have married AJ, instead of Juda, since he seems like a much better option. AJ and my sister, Estelita, seem to be getting on really well these days, so I ain’t going to say too much about that.
Dayo Benson: If you don’t get along with each other very well, why do you all still live here together?
Alejandro: We do get along. It’s just…some people can be so annoying. We’re all still here because we’ve been busy traveling the world with Crystal. None of us have had the time to find someplace else and move out.
Dayo Benson: How’s your mum? Is she proud of you for that medal you got at the end of Powerful Enemies?
Alejandro: Mum? I love how you say that.
Dayo Benson: Sorry. ‘Mom.’
Alejandro: My mom is so proud.
Dayo Benson: How about your cousin…I forget his name.
Alejandro: I have many cousins.
Dayo Benson: The one who stole your first girlfriend, and caused you to become a womanizer.
Alejandro: Oh, Carlos? I haven’t seen him for a few years. He needs Jesus.
Dayo Benson: Are you going to tell him about Jesus?
Dayo Benson: Do you still have hard feelings towards him?
Alejandro: No. I’m over it now.
Dayo Benson: What about Tiana, your first love?
Alejandro grins: She contacted me last year after I received the medal. I told her I’m in a relationship with someone else now.
Dayo Benson: She wanted you to get back together?
Alejandro: Of course she did. But I’ve moved on. She, and Carlos, didn’t count on me becoming the success that I have become. Success is the best revenge.
Dayo Benson: So you’re driven by revenge?
Alejandro: No, I’m successful because I’m talented and I work hard. But the revenge is sweet too.
Dayo Benson: So, are you really not going to tell me anything about you and Anabelle?
Alejandro: I’m really not going to tell you anything about me and Anabelle.
Dayo Benson: Okay, last question. Fruit peel or enzyme yogurt.
Dayo Benson: You have to choose one. Imagine there’s nothing else left on earth to eat. Which one would it be?
Alejandro: I’d rather die than ever eat any of Juda’s disgusting rations again.
Dayo Benson: Thank you for your time Alejandro.
Alejandro: My pleasure.
Hope you enjoyed the interview guys. Who should I interview next? And what questions should I ask them? Leave a comment or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.