Home – Part II
The moment I saw her, I knew she was all too aware of me knowing about the website. She knew I was standing there, watching her carefully, but she didn't even glance in my direction. She was unbuttoning her coat, slowly hanging it, trying to prolong what was inevitably happening for every second she possibly could.
I had been around when Lilly was at her worst. A revengeful fury she had been on those occasions, the true drama queen, brave – or careless - enough to face whoever was in her mind doing her wrong. Assertiveness was never a problem with her – she stood up for herself, defending herself even when it was obvious she was the one making mistakes.
Frankly, I had never seen her like this, afraid, beaten, almost ashamed of herself.
I crossed my arms. Whatever she was feeling about it now, it didn't make it okay. It didn't make me any less angry.
She was the first to speak up.
"So, you are home," she said, looking at her hands. "Mom's really psyched about it. Beware, though, I doubt she'll let you leave on Sunday."
"Yeah," I felt the impatience rising in me. "Lilly, we need to talk."
"Look, Michael, I am sorry, alright?" she exclaimed then, but there was a complete absence of any emotion in her voice. She didn't seem sorry – she didn't even sound angry about my bringing it up.
"What were you thinking?!" I heard myself screaming. I knew it was wrong, raising my voice like this, but emotions once again got the better of me. Suddenly the whole weight of my sister's action was upon me, a million little things it could result in. The carousal on uncertainty, run by my demons, was in full swing again, driving me insane.
"I was just really, really angry, alright?!" she yelled back me.
"And how do you think I was feeling? Don't you think the whole situation was slightly worse for me than it was for you? And yet I didn't go around creating hateful website about her! Do you have any *#&$%%ing idea what this could do to her, Lilly?"
"Wanna know what I think, Michael? I think nobody sees ME in this whole *#&$%%ing mess!" she yelled. "You all go around saying how difficult it was for you and her, but no one ever considers how everything affected me! You think you are the only one losing someone? You think you are this huge victim because you moved to Japan and will be away for so long from your family? Well, what about me, huh? Did you ever wonder about me? I had to witness my brother getting his heart broken, a day before leaving for Japan! My only brother moving to *#&$%%ing JAPAN for a YEAR! You think it was easy for me? You think it was easy for Mom and Dad? All they think about is how Michael is doing, you are what they talk about with their friends, not me. And I get good grades, my show is getting more recognized, and yet they don't even see me! All they see is you, and you are not even here! But, alright, sibling rivalry, that's not a big deal, huh? Well, what about my own BOYFRIEND breaking up with me practically the moment you left? Leaving me because … because he liked someone else? Someone, as in, my best friend, my brother's girlfriend, the girl responsible for my brother's leaving? You might have lost your girlfriend, Michael, but I lost my brother, my boyfriend and my *#&$%%ing best friend in a DAY! Do you know how it feels, losing everything all at once? Or are you too, like everyone else, too preoccupied by yourself to even think about me?"
I witnessed Lilly's outburst before, but never had they been this justified, this real, this honest. It stunned me, making feel guilty. She was right, of course. Never have I wondered how she was doing, how she was dealing with my leaving and everything it had brought along. Of course I could find comfort in knowing Lilly had never been good with showing her true emotions, preferring to hide them behind the opposite of what she was really feeling. She never liked to appear weak, and it was her way of protecting herself. But reality, it more often than not made the situation worse, distancing her from others, only exaggerating the problem. Over the years, she mastered the art of suppressing her true emotions to the extend nobody ever doubted in her performance. Clearly no one wondered how my leaving affected her – she didn't even give anyone a chance to consider it, seeing how angry she was at everyone.
I should have realized it, though. I was her brother, I was there when she developed into this cool, collected, assertive, sensitive girl she was now, much thanks to our parents. I should have seen through her act, but instead, I let her down, too focused on my own world crumbling.
"It still does not make it okay," I swallowed hard.
She shook her head.
"Did you even hear what I said, Michael, or are you still only seeing yourself, like you always have?"
"I heard you. But it was still…"
"Still wrong?" she cut me off. "Well, then tell me, what was I supposed to do? I couldn't just go away from it all, like you did. I had to be here, every day, looking at her, knowing how much she had hurt you, watching her with JP, not having any idea whatsoever."
"Any idea whatsoever about what?" I carefully asked, though somewhere in the back of my mind I already knew the answer.
I think she then realized that she had said a bit much. She avoided mz ezes again, trying to think of a way out.
"Lilly? Tell me," I demanded.
I swear I hadn't seen her bit her lower lip in years.
"Calm down," she mumbled.
"Calm down? I am perfectly calm," I dismissed her.
"No, you're not. And you can't do anything about this, understand? Besides, it doesn't matter anymore. She broke up with him months ago," she tried to make whatever she was taking about less important than it clearly was. But it only enraged me more.
"Lilly, just tell me, it is fine," I tried to laugh it off, but only listening to my affected laughter I realized how threatening I actually sounded. That explained why she looked so scared. But there was nothing I could I do about it – if she indeed was talking about what I thought she did, I was nowhere near calming down.
Not surprising, she didn't believe me one bit.
And so she did what she always had, once things got a bit too real for her liking. She changed the subject.
"You still love her, don't you?" she said, completely oblivious to my boiling anger.
It caught me completely off guard.
"Don't bother denying it, really. You have that expression again."
There are only two people in the world that can completely confuse and disarm me at the same time. One of them is Mia. The other is my baby sister.
"The expression you wore that December night when I confronted you with feelings you had for her. And told you she was the one sending you those dreadful poems."
I couldn't just let myself forget about whatever JP did.
"That is completely beside the point," I argued.
"No, it demonstrates my point completely. I don't dare to tell you when you clearly have unresolved feelings for Mia. Why else would you so freak out about that website?"
"Look, Michael, you don't have to tell me. I was way out of line. And … yeah, looking back I do realize everything was not Mia's fault. Though you can't deny she was completely psychotic about the whole Judith Gershner thing, but whatever. I thought that by creating that web I would hurt her at least a bit as much as she hurt me. Too late I realized a stupid website cannot make my pain go away. I can't undo it – though I wouldn't be surprised if you have already done something about it – but I promise you, I will make up for it. I swear. I am already working on it."
I usually could tell whether or not my sister was speaking the truth. This time she went the extra mile to keep me in the dark. Determination on her face overshadowed everything she might as well be feeling.
"What are you planning on doing?" I eyed her suspiciously
"Just trust me on this one, okay?"
"I don't want to sound mean or anything, Lilly, but today has kind of proved that it is rather difficult to trust your judgment sometimes."
She pinched me in the shoulder.
"I am glad you are home, Michael, by the way," she smiled, "I did kind of miss you."
"Yeah, I did kind of missed you too," I laughed. "Now, come on, tell me, what did JP do?"
Her grin became sourer as I mentioned his name. Dark clouds once again descended in front of my eyes and I felt my rationality being swept away by rainy floods.
"Can't you just let it go? I am with Kenny now, and she has broken up with him, it doesn't matter."
I decided to ignore her remark about Kenny. Now she was going out with him? Albert Einstein High School must be getting smaller by the year. Are there really not any boys left? How could possibly my sister and her best friend literary pass boyfriends to each other?
"So they truly were going out?" I tried to sound playful, but I failed miserably.
"Well, that was what she thought," Lilly spat.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Michael, come on, you invented revolutionary medical device or whatever. Figure it out, it was all over the papers. And I mean ALL OVER the papers. I know you have always been quite blind when it came to Mia, but come on, this is too obvious for even you not to notice."
I thought about her words. All over the papers? Why did she emphasize that so much? Yeah, sure, they made paper headlines, she the princess and he the son of a leading Broadway producer, it was pretty inevitable. It wasn't that surprising reporters going the extra mile to make sure to find out about their every date – unless it wasn't their hard work that got them the information leading to their date sites.
I should have known Mia wouldn't voluntarily put up with paparazzi ambushes.
"Are you saying he went out with Mia just to get publicity?" I said, but my calm was completely the opposite of what I was feeling inside.
"And that was why she broke up with him? Because she found about it?"
I don't know why, but Lilly's eyes popped out. She was quickly back in control over her facial features, though.
"Actually, if you ask me, she still has no idea about this."
"Oh." It did sound a lot like Mia. Something a fact could be right in front of her, staring at her, and yet she wouldn't notice it. The same thing happened with my Algebra instructions in her Freshmen year. Not to mention, Tall Drink of Water song. "Why did they break up, then?"
She started clearing her throat, as if trying to hide her laughter, for whatever reason. Looking at my puzzled face, she turned around to collect herself.
"Well," I went on, unsure of what to make of it all, "this still doesn't explain why you were so upset with Mia."
"Really, Michael? You are getting more oblivious every year? Clearly JP had to break up with me first in order to start dating Mia, don't you think?"
"Are you telling me he broke up with you just so that he could get together with Mia?"
"No, actually I think he only started dating me in order to get close to Mia and her royal spotlight."
Once again she said too much. This time, way, way too much. Not only Mia and Lilly are the only two people in the world who always, no matter what, have a complete control over me, they are also the two people I love most, so much I would do anything, literally anything for them.
And there was no *#&$%%ing way I would let some sleazy prick like JP play with them like this, for whatever wicked pleasure he got out of it.
Without even realizing it, I walked to the closet and took my coat out of it, putting it on.
Lilly appeared in front of me, pushing me away from the door. I could see her mouth moving, but I didn't hear a word she was saying, too wrapped in my own thoughts of where to find JP on Friday afternoon.
"Move away from the door, Lilly," I heard myself mumble.
"No *#&$%%ing way am I letting you out!" she screamed, putting all her strength into pushing me away. But I was bigger, stronger than her, it didn't affect me at all.
"What are you even planning on doing, huh? Beating the crap out of him? He deserves it, sure, but he is such a jerk, Michael, he will probably end up calling the police, getting in trouble! Wanna bet he'd sell his story to some *#&$%%ing newspaper? Do you want the whole world reading about your inability to move on from your failed relationship with Mia? Do you want Mia hearing about it?"
Honestly, I wouldn't care about getting in newspapers. I wouldn't care about legal troubles beating up JP could cause me. That jerk needed to get what he deserved, and clearly I was the only one to do it. There was no *#&$%%ing way I would let him get away with.
But thinking of Mia stopped me. Even if she learnt about his calling the paparazzi, would she understand why I did it? Or would she see it just as another clear sign I was out of control, a danger to her? I still didn't know what she thought of my sleeping with Judith now. Putting JP in the hospital, justified or not, might be the last straw in our already uncertain bond.
Besides, Mia was never into physical retaliation. Actually, she wasn't revengeful at all.
"Are you gonna let it go now?" Lilly asked.
"That *^*&&," I mumbled.
"Yeah, well, we finally agree on something."
And so I took my coat off, pretending I let the whole JP thing slide. I spent the afternoon with Lilly, watching TV and ordering in lunch. Around seven, she went out to meet with Kenny. I waited half an hour, feeding Pavlov, and then I too headed into the night, with a specific goal in mind.
Home – Part III
My sister had been dating John Paul Reynolds-Abernathy IV long enough for me to know his schedule pretty well. When I set out to find him, I knew he was likely at the nearby theatre, a place he frequent in afternoons, I guess taking in the atmosphere or whatever.
With a father like his, he didn't need any experience. *#&$%%, he didn't even need talent.
But today wasn't about JP's incompetence to write anything meaningful.
When I reached the theatre, I walked to the back door, guessing he'd emerge from there. Lilly called, multiple times, but I didn't answer. She probably realized I had let JP off the hook too easily and guessed what I was up to. After about ten minutes, I wrote her a short text, telling her not to worry, and turned off my phone.
I thought back to the talk we had had. Mia most likely really wouldn't be too happy about my being here, but someone had to do it. Somebody needed to put that prick into his place, and I couldn't think of anyone doing it instead of me.
The door opened. My body tensed up as I watched people exiting the theatre. But I didn't see him. He was probably still gaining experience.
It was already getting late, and the chilly winds started blowing up and down the street. The jacket I had on didn't provide much protection, and as the minutes were passing by, I found myself shivering from cold. Not to mention, the smell of the dumpsters wasn't one of the pleasant ones, but I had no intention of moving.
I turned on the phone again, hoping to distract myself from the clear message my body sensors were sending me. As expected, Lilly bombarded me with texts and calls. I didn't bother opening any of them, I just sent her another one, assuring her everything was alright.
Then one of the missed calls caught my attention. Firstly, because it wasn't from Lilly, and secondly, because it was from Philippe.
It took me a minute to connect the name with a face.
Mia's father? What was he calling me for? We hadn't talked in months, since Mia's birthday in May. Why would he, of all people, call me so out of the blue? Sure, I would understand Lars calling me, for we were friends.
Maybe I am prone to pessimism, I don't know, but the first notion that went through my mind was less than a pleasant one. Did something happen to Mia and Philippe thought I would like to know, preferably before the news hits the media?
The sole thought was unbearable, and I would call Philippe back right there, right then, if the door didn't fling open and JP walked out.
He didn't see me. He was talking on his cell, completely immersed in his bubble. He spoke in his usual high tone, full of presumptuousness. What my sister ever saw in him, I have no idea, yet alone what made Mia believe he was anything other than a pathetic prick. But I guess he knew his way with words, given he was an aspiring playwright.
"I know, Stacy, and I am telling you, it will be amazing! The underdog getting his big break, all thanks to his talent and perseverance, not to mention his kindness …"
I stepped closer to him. Maybe he noticed my shadow, maybe he sensed something behind him.
His eyes went big when he realized it was me looking back at him. There was fear in his eyes and I could see his composure fading away with a speed of sound.
He stuttered as he spoke up again.
"Stacy, I gotta call you back, alright?" he said.
It gave me so much pleasure, seeing the effect I had on him.
"Michael," he attempted a smile, but it was a sour one, "I didn't know you were already back from Korea!"
"It's Japan," I coolly corrected him, "and I am not back, I am just vising my family for the weekend."
"Well, that's nice," he nodded, oh so terrified. "May I ask what you are here for? At the theatre, I mean?"
"I thought it was obvious," I shrugged, and his affected smile was only making me angrier. Did he seriously think I had no idea what he did to my sister? To Mia? In which universe did he live?
"No, it isn't," he still pretended to be a goofy, cheerful kid.
I couldn't take it any longer.
"Cut the crap, JP," I raised my tone.
"What?" he looked like he had no idea what I was talking about.
"You know damn well what I am talking about, JP," I stepped closer. Immediately he stepped back, once again restoring the distance between us.
The prick was afraid of me.
"Michael …" his eyes were pleading, as if I actually had an intention to back down.
"Don't Michael me," I dismissed him, "what the *#&$%% did you do to my sister?"
"Lilly? What do you mean? We broke up, it happens!" he exclaimed.
"Happens?" I repeated. "Fine. Then what happened with Mia?!"
"Mia? Nothing! We never even went out!" he for some reason looked relieved. He raised his hands. "Don't believe everything you read in papers, Michael."
"You really think I would not find out?" I laughed.
"Find what out?"
That was when I lost control of myself. I stepped closer to him, and something in my eyes freaked him out enough that he started running, backwards, without turning. He crashed into a wall, and the impact paralyzed him. He stared at me with pure terror in his eyes. It was an opportunity I didn't dare to waste. Next he felt my forearm across his neck. I didn't press hard or anything, but his breathing was still shallow.
"Please, don't…" he begged.
I didn't care.
"Now listen to me, and listen to me well," I said, "because this is the only warning I am giving you. Next time, I am gonna out you in the hospital, and you better believe me, Abernethy. If you ever hurt my sister, in any way, or use Mia to get the attention for whatever pathetic play you are working on, I will beat the crap out of you. Do you understand?"
Something resembling words came out of his mouth. I didn't bother decoding.
"And if you open your mouth about our little encounter to anyone, I swear the press will learn what a prick you are, JP. I mean it. Think about the impact that will have on your upcoming playwright career."
I held my arm still for a few seconds, to get my message across even clearer, in case he thought I was just joking around. When I moved back to his relief, his hands reached for his neck, rubbing it as it he truly had been deprived of oxygen.
I thought he'd start defending himself yet again, playing the role of the victim instead of the predator he was, but he spared me. He just watched me, with a very satisfying amount of fear.
I left without saying another word. I didn't turn around, neither.
Two blocks away, I turned on my phone again, calling Philippe. My mouth went dry as I waited for him to pick up. I knew there were a billion explanations for his calling me. I just couldn't think of any.
Even though he answered practically immediately, it felt like hours dragging by.
"Michael, hello," he said.
His voice didn't sound anxious in any way. Nothing about it indicated he was about to tell me something bad.
It only confused me more.
"Hi, sir, I was…"
He interrupted me.
"Philippe, please. Listen, Michael, I recently learned you are back in New York. As it happens, so am I. I realize you want to spend as much time as you can with your family, but I was wondering if you could spare a bit of your time to meet me."
Mia's dad wanted to see me? What for?
Surprise made me silent for an embarrassing amount of second. I cleared my throat to get myself back together.
"I would love to meet with you, Philippe."
"Oh, I am happy to hear that, Michael. Please, tell me, when would it most suitable for you?"
I was taken aback yet again. I wasn't used to the members of Genovian Royal Family ever thinking of what was most suitable for me. Usually, they preferred not to think of me at all. It was a change I liked.
We agreed to meet in Plaza on Sunday afternoon, just before I'd head to the airport to return to Japan. I still couldn't think of a reason he'd want to see me, but I decided to be surprised.
As soon as my talk with Philippe ended, my phone rang again. It was Lilly, again. I couldn't help but to grin. Persistence is something the Moscovitz siblings have in common.
"Relax, Lilly, there was no blood," I laughed into the phone.
"You *^*&&," she spat. "What the *#&$%% are you up to?"
"I told you, Lil, you have nothing to worry about."
There were a few seconds of silence.
"Well, if there really was no blood, then … thanks for whatever you did, Michael."
"Anything for you, sis."
"Ha, very funny, Michael," I could see her goofily rolling her eyes before she hung up.
Somehow I just knew things were going to get much, much better from now on.
Home – Last Part
The news of my returning to New York for a few days had indeed spread around.
Judith called me the next morning, hoping to meet up with me. She invited me over to her place, saying she was home alone. I smirked at her choice of words. That had been our code back in high school when we were sleeping together. I didn't know if this time she intentionally used it or not, but I wasn't tempted to find out. I texted her back, saying I already had other plans. Which wasn't a lie, given I was meeting Phillipe.
Lars was waiting on me in front of Plaza. He even opened the door of the cab for me, just like when we were driving in the limo to school with Mia and Lilly. At the sight of his enormous, bulky figure, a very visible gun on the right hip and the overall black attire, the cab driver's eyebrows shot up, and from his eyes I could read he thought I was involved with mafia. I made sure to leave a big tip, but he surely was relieved when he could drive off.
"Michael, how are you?" Lars smiled at me, as always unaware of the impression he made on ill-informed people around him.
"Alright," I said. "You? How are you, Lars?"
Lars and I had gotten well on pretty much since the get-go. Truthfully, I don't know why. If anything, he should have been extra suspicious of me, as he instantaneously saw through me, knowing I had a thing for Mia. Instead of telling me off, citing both her age and her royal status as the absolute demolition of my feeling for her, he not only gave me a chance, but in a way even supported me. Once Mia and I got together, he was one of the few that never made me feel unworthy of me. His job as a bodyguard was to protect her, and he skillfully deduced that my feelings were of no threat to her. If anything, I loved her too much, and out of care sometimes somehow ended up hurting her.
"I am fine," he said, and then paused, as if knowing my question wasn't aimed only at him. "Things are very well, you should know that."
"Okay," I nodded. "Thank you. It's nice to know. You wouldn't have any idea why Phillipe asked to see me, would you?"
"To talk," he simply said as we walked to the elevator. "I wouldn't worry about it too much, if I were you."
He walked with me to the room of Mia's father. On the way he told me an amusing story of how he and Wahim decided to participate in the next Movember, and were currently contemplating getting a head start.
"I do worry about Clarisse's opinion, though," he sighed.
"Why? I know she's not a fan of facial hair, but I am sure she cannot tell you not to have mustache," I laughed.
"The guy who worked for Phillipe before me," Lars said, "had a punk band. He never mentioned it on the job or anything, but when Clarisse found out about it, she sacked him before the day ended. Because, you know, she only listens to cabaret music. Even though he never played or even talked about his music. Mustache, on the other hand, she would be staring at constantly."
"But I thought you worked for Phillipe?"
"Keep thinking that if it makes you feel better," he said just as we reached Phillipe's room. He knocked, and Phillipe's calm, assured voice invited me in.
He sat behind a long desk. I couldn't help but to notice how his personality was written all over the desk. Both were tidy, he in his expensive-looking suit that seemed to have just gotten back from the dry-cleaners, and the desk without a single pen lying around and with every paper in their respective folder.
When our eyes met, he got up to greet me.
"Michael, hello," he said, looking genuinely happy to see me. But when it came to Mia's family, it wasn't Phillipe who disliked me.
"Alright, thank you, you?"
"Same old same old," he laughed and invited me to sit down. As I did, he pulled a tray I hadn't seen earlier closer. It had a bottle and two glasses on. "It's cognac," he informed me. "I know you are not 21 yet, but I figured what the hell."
He poured us drinks, and I took a sip, just to be polite. Phillipe's eyes were fixated on me, not moving away even for a split second. I tried to maintain my composure, but years in politics left him with a piercing stare, even if completely unintentionally.
"So how's work?" he asked.
"It's coming along nicely."
"Japan, if I am not mistaken, right? Such a fascinating country. Culture, people. A great experience."
"To be honest, most of what I see is the insides of the lab," I laughed.
"Yes, well, before you left, Mia told me you were off to construct some sort of a surgical robot. But I have to admit, I didn't understand just how ambitious your project was until I read a little bit on the subject."
"Ambitious, maybe, but today's technology is more advanced than you might think. All the necessary components already exist, it is just a matter of putting them together."
"Still, given your age, I think it is a marvelous achievement, even if in the end it does not end up working as well as all hope."
"Thank you, Phillipe."
"It does, however, make me wonder what drives a twenty-year-old to try to achieve something the most renowned scientists if more than twice his age are still struggling with."
"I don't think your age should be, or maybe even is, a factor in making an idea into a reality. Vision and determination do not come with age; I'd say they come with personality," I argued.
"I agree, Michael, and having read your magazine back in the day, always thought you were definitely a character capable of great things, but potentially revolutionary medical equipment is a big leap forward from opposing Microsoft. Even in terms of gained respect and acceptance."
He poured some more drink in his glass before continuing.
"Look, Michael, like I said, I always thought highly of you. Not just as far as your academic achievements were concerned, I always admired your personality, from intelligence, demeanor, to the way you cared about my daughter."
"No, don't thank me, it would be obvious to any hillbilly," he dismissed me. "A father can only dream about his daughter having luck of finding someone like you. That is all I ever wanted for Mia. I know there are people, my mother especially, that believe Mia should only be with someone of her social status, but frankly, I am not as rooted in 19th century beliefs like my mother. For me, the matter of you having a proper name was never important. I am sorry if I ever made you think otherwise."
"You didn't, Phillipe," I assured him.
"Yeah, well, I think my mother more than just compensated," he sighed. "Anyway, my point is, I wouldn't care if you were just a student, later on working for some computer company or something. I wouldn't think any less of you. But your determination to go as far as making a surgical robot, something that will change the history of medicine, well, I have to admit you left me speechless, Michael. I don't know how things are currently between my daughter and you, and I have no doubt she is the dark as far as your inner motives for going to Japan for so long are, but I want you to know that I appreciate what you are doing, a lot. You don't have to prove yourself to me. Maybe the world thinks otherwise, maybe even you think like you have to, but for me, just the respect you have shown for Mia is enough."
"It means a lot to me that you think this way," I said with a lump in my throat.
"I am sorry we haven't had a chance to talk earlier. But I believe you needed to cool off your head a bit."
"Yeah, things are much clearer now."
"Good. So I can expect you to see more of you at our dreadful family dinners in Genovia?" he smiled.
"I certainly hope this will be the case," I said.
"Well, I for one have no doubt."
But that wasn't the end of my encounters with Mia's family.
I was at the airport, waiting to board the plane back to Tokyo.
"Well, well, well," I heard someone say. The voice sounded rather familiar, so I turned around to see who it was.
I saw two guys coming closer to me. The first one was wearing gold pants, an Aloha shirt and a pink derby hat. He had a half-full cocktail glass in his hands, and truthfully, he didn't even look sober.
It was René, one of Mia's cousins.
The other wore leather pants in the color of lime, a slightly darker denim jacket and a yellow T-shirt. He kept pushing his sunglasses further up his nose, though to me it looked like they already reached the desired position. It was Sebastiano, Mia's other cousin.
"Isn't this Michael, Mia's Michael!" René said, actually embracing me. "You have no idea how happy we are to see you, aren't we, Seb?"
"Cert," Sebastiano nodded.
"Fancy a drink, Michael?" René said in a voice similar to the one Clarisse usually used when playing a role of the hostess.
"No, thanks, I am just about to board the plane."
"You going to Japan! How is that magnificent robot coming along?"
"Okay," I said, still baffled both by their outfits and the situation as a whole. I never really talked to either of them, with the exception of that time my beloved sister played strip blowing with some of the European royals. Mia always complained about them, but in their colorful attire and an obvious drunken state, I found them to be hilarious.
"You have no idea how happy that makes me feel, mate!" René sang, then clearing his throat as if trying to sound more serious. "You know, there's usually three of us, but one got stuck babysitting. With his girlfriend. Which he met via an online dating service. Dating Agency Mandy, maybe you heard."
"Shhh!" Sebastiano tried to shush him very indiscreetly.
"What?" René argued. "They are a completely respectable – or is it reputable? - agency. Not like one of those where they hook you up with the girl that claims to be pregnant with you the following week, even though you took extra precautions, as you have been falsely accused before, by a very persistent and creative lady that doesn't let anything go to waste, much like that guy in TV that drinks his own urine. I mean, Mandy has the best screening system, I tell you."
I admit, I had no idea what to say to all that. But I did look around, just to see if there were any TV crews nearby.
"Anyway," he went on, "I would just like to say in the name of all three of us, that we wish you good luck with your robot, though we don't really understand what it is, heck, I don't think even Mia does, but anyway, we are talking about a girl here that doesn't even know how to make a proper cosmo, but, where was I? Oh, right, yeah, we are totally cheering for you, mate! All the way! We are really on your side, you know, no matter what Clarisse says, but she also totally dislikes me wearing this shirt which is like totally awesome, as she hates pretty much everything without diamonds and purple. But I say life shines brighter than diamonds. And why choose only one color, when you can wear all of them at the same time! Are you sure you don't want a drink or two? Because it is totally on me. Well, on Harry, because I have his credit card, but he totally wouldn't mind. Because we are such big fans. Oh, and just so you know, we are totally watching over Mia for you. So, don't worry, we are taking real good care of her. So you can be at ease about that, and just focus on the robot. Which is like so the coolest thing ever."
I was quite sorry that my flight was called then. Of course it took me five minutes to actually get to the gate, as René and Sebastiano insisted on takin pictures with me, right there, in the middle of the terminal. It made some tourists from Germany even think I was some kind of a celebrity, as they approached us, asking if they too could take a picture with me. I hurried to explain that it was a, well, somewhat of a family thing, but René completely dismissed my words, chatting to them in German, making them think I was god knows what kind of a superstar.
Still, as I walked away, glancing over my shoulder to see the two goofballs one more time, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was now, in a way, part of Mia's, yes, completely crazy family. She seemed to be the only one not to be aware of it yet.
But I was sure that too was soon to change.
To Be Continued.
Edited by dbcWinter, 11 April 2015 - 07:54 AM.