You guys if I’m ever not online for two days the one thing you can assume is that I’m not studying.
He laughed. He found her action not in the least surprising. This was Aelita after all.
“You want to play that game huh?”
William held his smirk, heading over to the pinkette and making a reach for the ball.
“Yeah, maybe I do.” Aelita’s amusement was evident in her voice as she raised both eyebrows at her friend, daring him to come over and take the ball from her.
“—Too slow!” she chimed, pivoting on one foot to swoop the basketball just out of his reach. Taking a few steps back, she started dribbling the ball as she walked around the gymnasium floor.
“Well? What’cha waiting for?”
Anthea spun around at the sound of the familiar voice. She didn’t know whether to feel nervous—afraid that she’d been caught—or overjoyed, that she had the chance of seeing her again. But above both of those things she felt guilt. Because she knew very well that what she was doing was out of line. Wrong. Unjustified.
But, it was a lot easier to obey rules when she had been 110% positive her daughter was no longer alive, than when she had happened to run into her in a coffee shop. Or at least, a girl who looked a lot like her.
She was in a vicious battle inside her mind. There were still doubts, but even amongst those doubts was a little voice screaming to her. That’s your daughter, dumbass. Go get her!
And then there was the other voice. Have you forgotten that you vowed your life for this position? If Tyron finds you, it’ll be the end of it for you. You know that.
Maybe she did. But maybe she didn’t really care.
“Hello,” she smiled, thinking of the first lie she could. “I was just taking a walk, and I recognized the name on the gate.”
There must be something about a mother’s smile that can calm you, because Aelita instantly felt better than she had all week. But rather than remind herself how stupid that was for the thousandth time, she decided to just let it go.
—And right on cue came the conflicting emotions. Seeing Anthea standing there both hurt, and felt amazing at the same time. She wanted to turn and run away…yet, just as badly to run into her arms. It was like her brain knew she’d be setting herself up for more hurt, but her heart refused to listen.
“Well…it’s nice to see you again,” she replied, “…I, uh…I’m sorry for skipping out on you like that the other day. I just…really had somewhere I needed to be.”
Apologizing for a lie with another lie probably wasn’t the best course of action, but she had to admit, it sounded a lot better than the truth. And, hey— what teenage girl didn’t tell a lie to her parents every now and again?
William dribbled the basketball for a bit, before he shot it into the basket, hit the rim, and missed completely. He sighed running his fingers in his already messed up hair. His jacket had already been tossed to the side and as he caught eye of the ball he followed it, watching as it bounced on the ground toward the feet of the approaching.
“Looks like I’ve been found.”
“Mind tossing me the ball, Pink?” He asked holding his hands up in front of him.
Aelita came to a halt as the large, orange ball gently tapped against the edge of her shoe. She bent down to pick it up, gently tossing it from one hand to the other, as if testing its weight. Oh, sure, she could just toss it back to William—
But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?
“You want it?” she asked, wearing a smirk on her face that almost rivaled the older teen’s. “You’re gonna have to come take it from me.”
Anthea couldn’t get that girl out of her head.
There was this thing, about being mother, that you always knew your child when you saw them. You always knew. Natural instinct.
The thing was that Anthea wasn’t a mother anymore. And as far as the rest of the world was concerned, she never was. She wasn’t Anthea, she was Rose. And she wasn’t a mother or a wife or anything other than a professor for Deckard, Inc.
That was what she’d convinced herself for so long. For over twenty years now! And then one trip into a coffee shop ended up turning all of that around.
Now Anthea kept running “errands,” an excuse to get out of the lab, to go to that school Aelita had mentioned and just watch. She’d just wrap her arms around the rims of the gate and peek through, listening to the laughter of students and watching the transitions between classes. And sometimes, she would watch and see if she could spot Aelita. After all, she had to be the only one there with pink hair.
But she’d never dare step foot on the campus. Because she wasn’t Anthea, she was Rose. And she wasn’t a mother, she didn’t have a daughter that was somehow 14 when she should be 24 that went to a boarding school only ten miles from her place of work. And she wasn’t a wife, to a dead man who’d disappeared eleven years ago.
She’d left all of that behind! She was way out of line, coming to Kadic like this. No, now she was letting herself dwell. Letting herself feel things that she shouldn’t and let herself think about possibilities that just weren’t possible.
So out of line, that she wasn’t even thinking about the fact that staring at the courtyard of a school looked awfully suspicious.
Ever since the all-too brief encounter with her mother, Aelita’s mind had been in a state of utter turmoil. It had taken a lifetime to accept the fact that she would never see her mother again— and just before discovering that livestream in the Cortex, she’d just about done it.
But, no. The universe obviously had some sort of issue with the pinkette finding peace and happiness, because just as soon as she’d regained hope reuniting with Anthea, it had been ripped away right in front of her.
Anthea knew who she was. Or, she definitely suspected it. Aelita had seen the recognition in those clear, green eyes— the same as her own. That was how she was sure. But rather than attempting to question her further, she’d ignored it altogether. That only confirmed the young girl’s deepest fear: her mother wasn’t looking for her. Nor did she care about the possibility of finding her.
She hadn’t told a soul about what happened in that coffee house— not even Jeremie. Her goal was to completely forget it had even happened; it was the only way to move past it.
Although, spotting the exact woman she was trying to forget right outside the school’s gates made that difficult.
Well…she’d asked about what school she attended, right? Maybe that meant she had some reason for being there. Or maybe talking to her would get her to leave for good. Either way, she noticed herself purposely heading past the gate.
“Hello again,” Aelita spoke, slowly approaching the woman behind the fence.
He glanced over at Aelita and shook his head. “No, I’m fine,” he argued, with his breath now shaky. “Really. I just have a—”
Pain surged through his forehead again, and he crashed his shoulder against the wall as he pressed his hand against his skull, doing his best not to cry out just from the agony. Maybe today wasn’t the day to lie to himself, but maybe he wasn’t going to let himself believe that.
“—A headache,” he continued. Just a headache. The worst one he’d ever had, but just a simple headache nonetheless. The jabbing, pulsing pain spreading through every nerve in his head wasn’t fading at all, but he let his hands fall to the side and forced a crooked smile at Aelita. “I’m really okay.”
“And they call me the stubborn one,” she muttered under her breath. Honestly, what did he expect her to do? Just leave him to pass out in the middle of the hallway? Jeremie was barely able to stand, and not without help from the wall he’d been leaning against. She doubted he could make it two steps on his own, let alone all the way to the showers.
“Jeremie, look at yourself.” Aelita leaned away from him for a second before continuing, “I’m asking you; please let me help you back to your room.” Her expression softened, deep green eyes wide and hopeful. “For me?”
2. Would you date an 18-year-old at the age you are now?
“Well…that’s only three or four years older than I am, so I guess it wouldn’t be so bad. Still, I think I’ll just stick to people my own age.”
4. Would you ever smile at a stranger?
7. What exactly are you wearing right now?
“Pink shirt, jean jacket, black skirt, knee socks.”
11. Are you a social or an antisocial person?
“…Hard to say. I don’t have many friends outside of our group…but I wouldn’t call myself antisocial. I like being with other people.”
14. Can you drive a stick shift?
“I can’t drive at all.”
15. Do you care if people talk badly about you?
“I…well, yeah. Who wouldn’t?”
20. Is there a boy who you would do absolutely everything for?
“There are four, actually.”
22. Is it cute when guys kiss you on your forehead?