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Sisters and their Secrets

Oct 2nd, 2020
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  1. A human couple, Mary and Joe met while working at a Mamono archaeological site. After working so closely together for years they fell in love, and eventually wed and wanted to start a family. However soon after trying for a child they learned that they would never be able to conceive.
  2.  
  3. After some time, and some long discussions, they decided to adopt. And because of what they had learned about monster girls while excavating centuries old demonic sites and their current day demonic colleagues, they chose to adopt a Mamono child.
  4.  
  5. Finally, the day came when it was time for the couple to go to The Bright Star Mamono Orphanage. As they pulled up to the driveway, laid out in front of them was lush green grass with children, all shapes and sizes, playing. Some children were under a giant Oak tree taking an afternoon nap and some of the canine kids were chasing after their feline counterparts. And a few of the bigger kids were having mock fights with wooden swords, and one particular red-haired dragon girl seemed to be winning, judging by her dancing and yelling, 'Oh yeah, I won! I won!'
  6.  
  7. The couple came to a stop in front of a ginormous house. As they got out of their newly acquired beat up station wagon, kids came flocking up to them asking, 'Are you gonna be my new mommy and daddy,' or another seemingly repetitive question, 'Are you here to take me home.'
  8.  
  9. The only thing that saved Mary and Joe from being waist deep in ankle biters was when an Echidna came out of the orphanage. The woman's jungle green hair matches the color of her tail, and as she walks, more slithers, out by the newly arrived visitors she wipes her hands on her brown smock then clapped her hands twice and all the children scatter.
  10.  
  11. The Echidna introduces herself as Tia and says welcome while ushering them inside. She apologizes for her attire explaining that she was just getting lunch ready, now that she is closer you can see red blotches all over her apron, and she apologizes for the kids behavior saying that they're just so excited when a new family comes to visit.
  12.  
  13. Now inside Tia begins to show the eager couple all of the adoptable children, in a much more orderly fashion than how the kids were presented outside. As they tour through the orphanage Tia explains how many Mamono have babies that they are not prepared for, so they get placed in this home, where good hearted people have the chance to adopt a precious little one.
  14.  
  15. At that point the trio heard a crash from a couple of rooms away. Tia looks towards where the noise came from then turns her attention back to the couple, she excuses herself and says to look around and talk to some of the kids to see if they hit it off with any of them, then leaves the room.
  16.  
  17. Mary and Joe talk to some kids separately and together, but it doesn't feel right just picking a child like they're a dog at the pound, so they decided to find Tia. As they went through the house to find Tia they lost their way, and when looking in rooms trying to find her, Mary spotted a khaki-colored leg poking out behind a potted plant in one of the rooms and she stops in the doorway.
  18.  
  19. Oblivious that his wife had stopped, Joe continues walking down a long hallway and rounds a corner. Mary steps into the room and as she advances, she sees tiny insect legs trying to scurry further behind a potted plant, to hide from the new presence in the room.
  20.  
  21. Upon seeing that the child is scared, Mary decides to sit on the floor a few feet away from her. Now that Mary is closer she can tell the little one is a Soldier Beetle. A Lance Soldier Beetle to be exact, since she has only one horn. And a lance in her hand.
  22.  
  23. She is wearing a flowing pink spaghetti strap dress that has Lance sized holes near the hem, and a powder pink bow on her horn to match her dress and it sets off her soft blue hair as well. Trying to disarm the nervous little beetle, both figuratively and literally, Mary tells her, "I like your bow,"
  24.  
  25. In response, the little Soldier Beetle grabs foliage from the potted plants and brings it down over her face. Sensing that she needs a new tactic, Mary digs in her pocket and pulls out Mana infused butterscotch candies, and holds her hand out to offer one to the little girl.
  26.  
  27. The Soldier Beetle sniffs in the air, and upon smelling either butterscotch or Mana, or both, she lowers the leaves from her face and looks down at the candies, then up at Mary. She looks down, then looks up, down, up, down. Finally she let's go of the plant, disarms herself of her Lance and very softly walks over and grabs the candy from Mary's hand, quickly unwrapping it, she pops it in her mouth.
  28.  
  29. Mary smiles at getting a good reaction from the little girl. While chomping the candy in her mouth the Soldier Beetle looks at Mary and returns her smile. Knowing that she is making good progress, Mary asks the little girl her name.
  30.  
  31. "…Livi." the girl squeaks.
  32.  
  33. "Why aren't you playing with the other kids?" Mary asks to keep the Soldier Beetle talking.
  34.  
  35. Livi just shrugged.
  36.  
  37. "Well, if you aren't out with the others how can parents meet you and take you home?"
  38.  
  39. With that Livi looks down and over at her legs, then at her body. She got a sad look on her face then tells Mary, "My bodsie's too big, big people like hume-noid kids, not kids like me."
  40.  
  41. Mary felt a surge of pain run through her chest. How can people be so callous, she thought. "I don't think your body is too big, I think you're really cute." The little girl looked up and smiled. And with that small gesture, Mary knew. "Can I introduce you to someone?"
  42.  
  43. Livi nodded.
  44.  
  45. Mary stood up, "Could I carry you?"
  46.  
  47. The little beetle nodded again, and outstretched her arms towards Mary.
  48.  
  49. As Mary bent down to pick up the little Beetle girl she braced herself for the perceived weight that she thought she was going to pick up, however when the little girl Scurried Into Mary's arms, she was surprisingly light. Livi hooked an arm around Mary's neck as her legs found the loops on Mary's jeans and used them to secure herself from falling.
  50.  
  51. Mary walked with the little beetle in her arms to go look for her husband. As they walk out of the room a cast of Cancers are walking by, clicking their claws. Mary waits for them to pass then proceeds to go the way they came from, but before she can go very far Livi tugs on her sleeve, and points to the direction that the Cancers are going, "They say follow them," Livi squeaks out.
  52.  
  53. Thinking why not, Mary turned on her heel and started after the crab girls down the hall.
  54.  
  55. After going down what seemed like the same hallway five times, after making just as many turns, Mary looks down at Livi and asks, "Are you sure they know where they're going?"
  56.  
  57. Livi looks up, expressionless, and shrugs.
  58.  
  59. Right as Mary thought she should turn around she heard her husband's voice in a room ahead of them. The crab girls led Mary and Livi to the correct doorway and stopped. Once Mary stepped into the threshold, the crab girls scurried back the way they came. Well that was nice of them, Mary thought.
  60.  
  61. As they stepped into a large playroom Mary saw that Joe was talking to Tia. As Mary moved closer to them, Joe said, "We've been looking all over for you," Joe pauses when he sees Livi in Mary's arms, "Who's this?" He asks, with a smile growing on his face.
  62.  
  63. Before Mary could say anything Tia jumped in and beamed, "This is Livi. She is one of our finest Soldier Beetle babies." As Joe began to step over to get a better look at Livi she buried her face in the crook of Mary's neck. "And she's a little shy," Tia added.
  64.  
  65. "What do you think?" Mary asks Joe.
  66.  
  67. "Babe, are you sure, I thought we weren't--" Joe looks up at Mary and she gives him a look that says, honey she's the one, while simultaneously saying, if you don't say yes, you're walking home.
  68.  
  69. Realizing it doesn't matter what he thinks, Joe says, "Ok, we'll take her." His wife smiles and he turns around to face Tia.
  70.  
  71. Tia looked a little hesitant, "Are you sure? There is some challenges for raising a non humanoid Mamono child. Like, for instance, as she grows she will get quite big and if you live in apartment or a smaller house you will most likely have to move. And if you rent, you will have to get the landlords permission to widen doorways or stairs and such. Plus there are other things that I'm sure will pop up.
  72.  
  73. "I am not saying that big bodied children aren't worth the cost but, most couples wind up…" Tia raises her arms and moves her hands as she is juggling invisible balls, "Returning, for lack of a better word, the children that they adopt because they didn't know the hurdles they will have to go through." Tia looks truly concerned.
  74.  
  75. "We own a home, it's a pretty decent size, and we have money for expansions. We're taking her." Joe can only look on as he has only seen Mary this sure and determined about something a few times, "Also, we're not in the habit of giving up on something just because it gets a little hard, we'll be fine."
  76.  
  77. Tia spread her arms and dipped her head in a minor bow with a smile forming on her lips, "As you wish," she raised up, clapped her hands and began to rub them together eagerly, " I'll get the paperwork started, if you would just follow me please." Tia motioned to follow her then turned and began humming as she slithered out of the room.
  78.  
  79. Joe looked at his wife, worry beginning to show in his eyes "Are you sure?"
  80.  
  81. Mary looked at her husband then down at the Soldier Beetle-- No, her baby, in her arms and as she did, she could see her family's future laid out before her eyes. "Livi, would you like to come home with us?"
  82.  
  83. With that question, Livi's face lit up and she smiled so big it nearly enveloped her entire face. She began nodding her head vigorously, then hooked her arms tightly around Mary's neck for a hug.
  84.  
  85. While the couple finished the paper work, Livi said goodbye to some of the other kids at the orphanage. On the drive home, Livi just sat on Mary's lap and watched out the passenger window amazed at every little thing. A farm they passed by had cows out to pasture and when one of them mooed, Livi jumped and buried her face in Mary's chest, scared.
  86.  
  87. Once at home, they showed Livi her room and soon realized that some of the things they had already prepared for her, might not work. Like the bed, for instance, would only fit half of her body or the step stool they had bought broke under her weight because the weight limit is up to 20 pounds.
  88.  
  89. However after a few weeks of trial and error, the trio began to get into a rhythm. It didn't take long for Livi to become theirs, it was as if she was with them from the very beginning. One of their very first activities as a new family was going to a nursery and picking out a fruit tree.
  90.  
  91. While reading about Livi's species they found out she is a herbivore, and they thought it would be good for her to have a responsibility of taking care of something, so they decided on a fruit tree. They let her pick out what type of tree to get and as the mighty little Soldier Beetle walked through the aisles of trees, studying each and every one, she finally decided on an Apple tree.
  92.  
  93. As months go by, Joe and Mary's paternity leave is up and they have to go back to work, and they decide to take Livi along.
  94.  
  95. The couples work has taken them to some very interesting places in the world. However this time they chose an archaeological site a bit closer to home, for Livi's sake. Livi was so excited to go with her parents to help them dig for, 'treasure' as she put it, she barely slept the night before and fell asleep on the car ride to the site.
  96.  
  97. Livi woke to her father rousing her in the back seat, as she rubs her eyes from sleep she looks out the windshield and sees her mother talking to a purple-skinned woman with a forked tail. "Come on sweetie, are you ready to dig for treasure?" Joe asked.
  98.  
  99. She turns her attention back to her dad and nods her head vigorously. Well, as vigorously as she could half asleep, then took her father's hand and jumped out of the car. They walked hand in hand towards a red-roofed canopy with long folding tables underneath it, displaying items excavated from a deep quarry that, the archaeologist believe, was once a village from an ancient tribe of unknown Mamono species.
  100.  
  101. Mary touches the purple-skinned woman's arm in appreciation then proceeds to meet Joe and Livi before they reach the tent. "I checked with Useul, she says its OK for Livi to go down." Mary says to Joe then crouches down to match Livi's height better and asks with a smile, "Are you ready to be a junior archaeologist?"
  102.  
  103. Livi drops Joe's hand and pumps both her fists in the air and happily shouts, "yeah!" However her face shows almost no expression at all, a characteristic that most Soldier Beetles have.
  104.  
  105. Mary stood and held a hand out for her daughter, Livi took it and repeated the gesture to her dad, which he also reciprocated. The trio walked closer to the edge of the quarry and started to go down the man made slope, partially made of scaffolding attached to landings of stone that jutted out of the walls of the quarry, that were already there when the site was discovered.
  106.  
  107. At the bottom sits another canopy, it's smaller than the first and it has a blue top instead a red, signifying magical artifacts, toward the east end of the quarry.
  108.  
  109. As they make their way down the footpath into the quarry Livi is slightly aware of her parents talking to each other, "Useul said the West end was cleared, so it should be safe…" But she's more interested in watching the people digging and dusting off treasures down below.
  110.  
  111. When they finally reached the bottom, which is probably a good 700 feet down, Livi tries to get a good look at the artifacts spread out on the tables, but her parents steer her away from the tent and all the busy people. Before she can protest they tell her that she has a very special job, to find a treasure chest that their team believes once belong to a very powerful King.
  112.  
  113. Now, this is not actually true but, Livi's eyes light up and before her parents can say anymore she scuttles off and begins using her Lance to dig. She hasn't gotten very far when Joe walks up and gives her a child size shovel, a little trowel and a brush. Livi looks up and gives him a knowing nod, as to tell him she understands, then proceeds to pick up the shovel and begins digging again, with a determined look on her face.
  114.  
  115. Behind her, Joe walks over to Mary while she bites her thumbnail, worried, "Do you think she'll be okay?" She asked Joe without taking her eyes off of Livi.
  116.  
  117. "Useul said anything dangerous was cleared from that area, right?" Mary nods her head, still biting her nail. "Then she'll be fine," Joe puts his hand on the small of Mary's back to comfort her.
  118.  
  119. As the day goes on Livi digs her heart out, she is determined to find the 'Kings treasure.' With lunch time coming soon, Livi wipes the sweat off her brow and continues striking the dirt with her spade, like she has done for the last several hours. However this time, she struck something, something that clanged against her shovel.
  120.  
  121. Livi rubbed her eyes, took her shovel and hit the same spot a couple of times just to make sure she didn't imagine the sound. When she finished her sound test she tossed her shovel aside and began gleefully digging with her hands, thinking she is inches away from the treasure. But instead of a treasure chest she found something smooth and cool to the touch.
  122.  
  123. Metal. Peach colored metal. Livi stared at the unknown object confused, not knowing what she found. She thought for a moment and realized that she just found a rare, new artifact. Yes, that's exactly what she did, and she has to see this expedition through. She decides to unearth whatever this thing is before she tells her parents, or anyone else for that matter. After all, this is her discovery.
  124.  
  125. Slowly, she uses her trowel and brush, being careful not to damage the rare artefact, she digs a little then brushes off the area of artifact she just uncovered. She repeats this process over and over until she uncovers the remaining piece of her greatest discovery.
  126.  
  127. After she brushes away the last speck of dirt, she backs up and stares at her artifact. She folds her arms over her chest, proud of her accomplishment. Right as she turns her head to call for someone to come and examine her find, she hears a moan come from the artifact. Livi jumps back, against the side of the pit she dug while unearthing her discovery. Now looking over all of it, she realizes that the artifact is in the shape of a human.
  128.  
  129. Livi, too scared to scream or even move, watched in horror as the arti-- No, the thing propped itself up on its elbow and began to rub its metallic temples with its free hand, moaning, "Ooh, how long have I been asleep?"
  130.  
  131. It opened its eyes and caught a glimpse of Livi with her back against the wall of cold dirt. Livi's breath hitched in her throat when the thing lowered its hand and stared at her, looking her over as if trying to determine if Livi is a friend or foe.
  132.  
  133. "You. Where am I, who are you?" The thing spoke in a monotone, feminine voice. Her body looks to be that of a 25-year-old, her face is smooth and supple looking like skin. She has dark purple markings around her eyes that flare up at the corner of her lilac eyes. Two metal horns, thick at the base, spiral towards the back of her head then loop around at the bottom of her ears. On the front of her thighs she has two teardrop shaped hollow chambers with purple orbs floating, swirling around inside
  134.  
  135. Livi, scared out of her wits, starts to cry. The thing is taken aback at the sight, “No," she holds her hand up meaning stop, "No don't cry,” The thing crawls closer to Livi, and sits on her heels in front of Livi as the Soldier Beetle shrinks back as close as she can to the wall of dirt behind her. “See? It's OK, I'm OK. I won't hurt you, I promise.” The thing crosses her hands over her heart to show her sincerity, then holds a hand out to Livi.
  136.  
  137. Not knowing what to do, Livi looks at the thing's face then down at her hand. Livi gathers her courage and gingerly stretches her arm out to meet the things hand with her own. When their hands meet the thing smiles for a moment then brings Livi's hand up to her mouth and kisses her hand. Livi giggled at the feeling of the things soft yet cold lips touching her hand. After she kisses Livi's hand she flips her hand over, and begins licking the little girls Palm, which turns Livi's giggles into laughter.
  138.  
  139. “What so funny, little bug?” Joe asked as he walked up to the pit Livi was digging in. When he saw the thing, which he recognized as a Automation, he jumped down into the hole and snatched up his daughter into his arms. “Oh my God,” He yelled, “Mary, Useul get over here now!”
  140.  
  141. “No, wait--” Livi began.
  142.  
  143. But before Livi could say anymore the Automation raised her arm, a crackling sound came from the palm of her hand which she leveled at Joe's head, "Unhand my master." She spoke with a monotone, robotic like voice.
  144.  
  145. “No! Don't hurt my daddy!” Livi yelled as she wriggled free from her father's grip. Livi prepared her Lance marching towards the Automation.
  146.  
  147. “Livi don't!” Joe said but before Joe could stop Livi, the Automation lowered her arm, the crackling noise subsiding, and she knelt as Livi walked over to her.
  148.  
  149. “As you wish, master.” the Automation said as she bowed her head respectfully at Livi.
  150.  
  151. A few minutes later, lunch now completely forgotten, Livi sits on the Automation's lap as her parents and Useul discuss amongst themselves what to do with the Automation.
  152.  
  153. “She seems harmless,” Mary said.
  154.  
  155. Joe rubs his eyes and heaved an annoyed sigh, “You didn't see what I saw, we can't let our daughter near that, thing." Joe protests.
  156.  
  157. "It's not a thing, it's an Android, an Automation to be exact. They're built to protect, not to hurt."  Mary tries to calmly explain.
  158.  
  159. "I know what an Android is, I--"
  160.  
  161. "Technically, an Android would be a male robot, what we have here is a Gynoid, a female robot,"  Useul interjects, earning her annoyed glares from Mary and Joe. Useul held up her hands defensively, "Hey, just trying to help."
  162.  
  163. “The problem isn't what it is, the problem is that it just tried to kill me!” Joe stated again for the umpteenth time
  164.  
  165. “I know," Mary rubs her temples, a headache growing, while she is tries to explain, "But she was just trying to protect Livi, she didn't know you were her father at the time. And besides, when Livi told her to stop, she did. It was just a fluke accident. Now, can we talk rationally about this.”
  166.  
  167. "Mary, you're not hearing me. she, tried, to, kill me!"
  168.  
  169. Mary put her hands on her hips, “Joseph Phineas Brown, you do not yell at me!”
  170.  
  171. “How can I say this so you understand, we need to get rid of that thing before it--"
  172.  
  173. Before Joe could start on another tirade, Livi walked up hand in hand with the Automation. “June is gonna live with us.” Livi proclaimed as she walked up. The three adults turned and looked down at the little Soldier Beetle.
  174.  
  175. Joe bent down closer to Livi, careful to be out of the Automations reach, “Livi, she can't live with us, she's too dangerous.”
  176.  
  177. Livi opened her mouth to protest but before she could speak the Automation said, “Livi's dad, I apologize for my earlier actions, I did not fully understand the situation. If you will allow me to stay by my Masters side I will be eternally grateful. And worry not, I will always keep her out of dangers reach.” She performed a deep bow.
  178.  
  179. Mary and Joe's mouths dropped open not knowing what to say. “Well, looks like you two got another kid,” Useul said with a smile as she clapped them both on the shoulder, earning her a terrifyingly angry stare from the both of them. "Geez, you try to help and all you get in return is hate. People these days." She said shaking her head while walking away from the family.
  180.  
  181. For the following couple of weeks they convinced Livi to leave June, which is what Livi named the Automation, at the dig site saying that she would be guarding the quarry. But after a while that excuse was not enough and Livi harped and harped until she convinced her parents to bring June home. From that moment on the Soldier Beetle and Automation were like sisters. June would watch over Livi and Livi looked up to June.
  182.  
  183. Livi even insisted that they should get another fruit tree for June to look after, just like Livi's. So Mary and Joe finally broke down and decided to let June get a tree. June let Livi pick what tree to get, and she said that June should get a Peachtree because June's skin is the color of Peaches. And so they planted the Peachtree across from Livi's Apple tree in the backyard.
  184.  
  185. June and Livi have been inseparable ever since June came into her life. June would walk Livi to and from school everyday, be her nurse whenever Livi was sick and they would even sit on the roof, under June's second story bedroom window, and eat apples and peaches off of their trees together.
  186.  
  187. Everything ran smoothly in the family's life.
  188.  
  189. That is, until Livi hit puberty.
  190.  
  191. Since puberty, Livi isn't that cute little Soldier Beetle anymore. she is a wild, hormonal, everything-will-be-my-way, typical teenager. And June gets most of the blowback from her raging hormones.
  192.  
  193. And that brings us up to today, when Livi and June are having, yet another fight, where Livi blames June for something that she most likely, did not do.
  194.  
  195. “I told you, I would not do that to you. I would never do that to you!” June yells, dodging to the left to avoid a blow from Livi's Lance, which promptly goes through the back of the living room couch.
  196.  
  197. At this point in the argument, the family's' living room is in shambles. again. “Well, Becky told me that Toby told her, you were the one spreading the rumors that I, I… You know what!" Livi shouts and yanks her Lance out of the couch and takes another wild swing at June.
  198.  
  199. June dodges then grabs her left wrist and begins focusing her energy into that hand to create a paralyzing blast that will make Livi stop, “You know Becky is a liar, please just calm down so we can talk.” June says in hopes of ending this fight.
  200.  
  201. “How dare you call my best friend a liar!” Livi shouts. Livi looks down at June's hand and sees yellow Sparks. Knowing what she is about to do, Livi sidesteps and hides herself behind their dad's oversized lazy boy chair, knocking over a vase on the end table next to the chair, in the process.
  202.  
  203. A hurt look shows on the usually emotionless face of June, “I thought I was your best friend,” As the last word escaped June's lips, a yellow ball of energy fired from June's left hand, aimed right at the lazy boy that is partially hiding the Soldier Beetle. However it did not connect with Livi as at last second before the blast hit, she dodged to the right into the doorway of the dining room, leaving a gaping hole in the back of their dads recliner.
  204.  
  205. “I never want to see you again!” Livi shouted as she ran for the back door, slamming it as she dashed outside.
  206.  
  207. June eye's started to water and she ran up stairs to her room and slammed her door as well.
  208.  
  209. All the while, their parents were watching from the kitchen. Mary sighed, “If you start cleaning up the mess, I'll go and talk to June." She stepped over a broken family photo as she headed towards the stairs.
  210.  
  211. “That's fair. But I'm not picking the new couch this time, and we can't let the girls order it again ether.” Joe said as he stepped out of the doorway, into the living room and stared longingly at his fourth ruined recliner.
  212.  
  213. Mary sighed again, “I know, I know...” she said as she took to the stairs to go comfort June.
  214.  
  215. Mary gingerly rasped on June's bedroom door, “June, sweetie, can I come in?” Mary could hear June's bed creek then footsteps as she walked to the door.
  216.  
  217. When June opened the door she sniffled, Mary could tell she had been crying, her face is little puffy, (which is odd since her face is metal and should not be able to be puffy, but they never questioned things like that,) and her eyes are red. “Oh sweetie, come here," Mary said spreading her arms and June collapses into her chest, bawling.
  218.  
  219. After a moment of stroking June's lilac hair in the hallway, calming her, Mary was able to guide her back to her bed. Once they sat down Mary asked her daughter, “Can you tell me what all this is about?” While rubbing circles on her daughters back, trying to keep her calm enough to explain.
  220.  
  221. June reached to her night stand and pulled out a wad of tissues from a Kleenex box. She sniffles, “She thinks I spread a secret she told me in confidence, but I didn't!” she blows and wipes her nose, “But I know it was Becky who told," She gives her mother a seething look meant for Becky, "Livi said I was the only one she told. but the other day, I caught Becky in Livi's room looking though her diary after she excused herself to the bathroom. That's gotta be how she knew.”
  222.  
  223. Even though June is an Automation she has plenty of human emotions. After learning more about her species from any kind of book or article they could find, Mary and Joe were surprised to see her acting on emotions rather than rational thought like most Automations would. Like a night a few years ago, there was a really bad storm, torrential rain, thunder and lightning, hail and high winds. It was so bad the whole neighborhoods electricity got knocked out right in the middle of the storm, and it didn't get repaired for four days.
  224.  
  225. Automations weak point is electricity, so when the lights were blinking on and off and electricity was surging through the whole house, and neighborhood, June was a nervous wreck. She was shaking, she was so scared, like a true human or Mamono. Livi was the only one able to comfort her. Sometimes Mary wished Livi was still that sweet little girl, and not the hormonal monster she is today.
  226.  
  227. June flopped back on her bed and groaned, “Why does Livi believe her? Everyone knows Becky is a liar, but Livi just can't see it,” June rubs her eyes with the back of her wrists.
  228.  
  229. “Sometimes it's hard to see what a person is really like when your friends with them. sometimes you just have to take a step back, and look at the situation with clear and neutral eyes,” Mary said leaning back on her elbow to be closer by her daughter, “Don't worry, in time I'm sure she'll see how Becky really is,” June moves her hands off her eyes, looks up at her mother and Mary brushes hair out of June's eyes, “You just have to give her some time.”
  230.  
  231. June raises back up to a seated position and Mary follows suit, “Do you really think so?” June asks.
  232.  
  233. “I really do,” Mary says as she moves another stray hair out of her daughters face, and June lips start to curl into a small smile.
  234.  
  235.  Mary looked down at her hands and moved one on top of June's and squeezed, "honey, can I ask what the secret is?" Mary looks up and cocks an eyebrow, studying June's face, trying to gauge her reaction.
  236.  
  237. A horror struck look crossed June's face, as if Mary just asked her to kill the family dog. June groaned again, flopped back down on her bed and crossed her arms over her face, "Ugh, you know I can't tell you that, I'd be betraying Livi's confidence," She lowered her arms and gave her mother an annoyed look, "That's what this whole stupid fight has been about!"
  238.  
  239. Even though June is a centuries-old Automation the more time she spent with Livi, the more on Livi's level she became. And just like any other teenager, She can also be just as emotional as one too. And just as hard to deal with at times.
  240.  
  241. Mary took a deep breath through her nose to stay calm, “June, I know you want to keep Livi's trust, but if what I heard is true, I need to know. Does it have anything to do with...”
  242.  
  243. Meanwhile, sitting in a café a couple of minutes from her home, Livi checked her phone for any messages. When she didn't see any she looked at the time and closed the screen then slammed her phone face down on the table she's sitting at. Livi lowered her head to rub the back of her neck with her hands, aggravated at herself for yelling at June when she knew June wouldn't do what she accused her of.
  244.  
  245. The door to the café opened and in walked a boy with Brown shaggy hair, around the age of 16, Livi looked up when she heard the door chime and smiled at the boy.
  246.  
  247. After ordering, the boy slid into the chair across from Livi, she stretches her arms across the table and he did the same, as they clasped hands he asks, “Hey Vee, are you OK?”
  248.  
  249. Livi looked down at their entwined hands and started rubbing her thumb in a circle between his thumb and index finger, "Yeah, I'm fine. I just got into with June, that's all.” Livi looks up into the boy's eyes, “I'm more worried about you, I'm sure you've heard what they're saying…” she looks back down at their hands and her cheeks begin to burn red, “Aaron, I'm sorry that you had to hear that about me.”
  250.  
  251. Aaron swallows and holds Livi's hands tighter, “it's OK, you know I don't listen to rumors…" He smiles a sad smile, but it soon fades when he asks, "But, is it true?”
  252.  
  253. Livi just stared at their hands and gave a small nod.
  254.  
  255. Aaron looks down from Livi's face,“...Do you--" He stammers, "Do you love--”
  256.  
  257. “I'm sorry." She blurts out, "I just, I...” Livi bites her bottom lip and looked out the window to stop herself from crying.
  258.  
  259. Aaron cupped her chin to force her to look at him, his eyes seeming cold as if stealing himself for the inevitable. “Do you?”
  260.  
  261. Livi could see the look of hurt on his face, as she closed her eyes a tear rolled down her check, "I'm sorry," She whispered.
  262.  
  263. Aaron untangled his hands from hers, leaned back in his chair and took a sip of coffee he ordered before he sat down, trying to avoid looking at Livi's face.
  264.  
  265. With his hands no longer in Livi's, she suddenly felt very cold. She crossed her arms, rubbing them to try and get warm, while she looked down at her own drink. Neither spoke for a while, just avoiding each other's gaze.
  266.  
  267. Until Livi suddenly spoke, “I think I do love her. But I know that nothing could ever happen. I just... I just was so upset, I thought I'd never see her again…" She looks down at nothing particular, "Or get to kiss her. I didn't mean to put you through this, I--”
  268.  
  269. Aaron suddenly shot up from his chair making it clatter underneath him, some of the patrons in the café looked to the couple because of the noise. Livi watched as he walked over next to her and without a word leaned down and took her lips with his. Gentle at first, but then harder with more passion.
  270.  
  271. After a moment of kissing, Aaron pulled away. Livi could tell her cheeks were red but she wasn't sure if it was from trying not to cry, or knowing that she just kissed her boyfriend in front of everyone. Before she could ask him why he did that, he blurted out, “I love you Livi.”
  272.  
  273. Livi's eyes widened and her mouth dropped, that was the first time they ever said I love you to each other. But why would he do that now, after she told him that the rumors were true, she did kiss someone else while they were together.
  274.  
  275. Before she could speak Aaron pulled away and sat back down in his own chair. “Livi, I will always love you, I have since the first time we met, I don't need to know how you feel about Useul, I just need to know how you feel about me," He reached his arms across the table and clasped Livi's hands once again then looked into her eyes, “Do you love me?”
  276.  
  277. Livi was in shock at his confession. After taking a moment to regain her bearings she shook her head to clear it, and frantically said, “You love-- How could you say-- After knowing it was true,” Livi leaned forward so the other patrons in the café, some of whom were still staring at the couple, couldn't hear, “Even though you know I kissed someone else and said I think I might love them? How could you say you love me?”
  278.  
  279. “When Becky told me that you kissed Useul… it hurt, But that made me realize how much I love you. and besides, you were in shock, it's not like it'll happen again. At least, that's what I'm hoping,” Aaron look down at their hands, clenched his jaw then looked up into Livi's eyes once again but this time he had a fire raging behind his, "So, do you love me?"
  280.  
  281. Do I love you? Livi thought. They've known each other since about a week after she was adopted. He was a boy in the neighborhood she now lived in, and soon after she moved in he would come over with different toys and ask her if she wanted to play, at first she was hesitant because she was little scared of someone new, but after a few days of his pestering she finally said yes, and since then they have been friends.
  282.  
  283. Even after Livi got older and her mood swings drove away most of her other friends, he still stuck by her, even when she occasionally yelled at him for doing something she deemed stupid at the time. But around the age of 15 they realized their feelings for one another were more than just platonic, and so they have dating for almost a year. He is also one of the few people who can calm her down besides June.
  284.  
  285. “I-I love you too,” Livi stutters out, a smile tugging at her lips. Aaron's smile is also returning, brightening up his face. They gazed happily at each other for a moment, then realization dawned on Livi, “Wait, did you say Becky told you that?”
  286.  
  287. Aaron looked taken aback and confused at the sudden question, “Yeah, she's the one who's been spreading the rumor."
  288.  
  289. “That little b-! June was right, damn it.” Livi propped her arm on the table and lowered her head into her hand, “I should have listened to her, damn it!” The hand she was holding her head with she balled into a fist and slammed down on the table.
  290.  
  291. “Let me guess, Becky told you it was June who started the rumor?”
  292.  
  293. “Yeah,” Livi looked outside and seen it was getting dark, then she began digging in her pocket, pulled out her wallet and left the money for her drink with a generous tip and said, "I'm sorry Aaron, I have to go, I have to fix this."
  294.  
  295. "Go, do what you need to do,” When Livi started to walk past him, he grabbed her arm, catching Livi's attention. She looked down at him, “We're good, right?” Aaron ask with a slight quiver in his voice.
  296.  
  297. Livi smiled, leaned over and kissed his lips. “Yeah, we're good.” Aaron's bright smile returned.
  298.  
  299. As Livi rounded the corner leaving from the café her mind was racing. How could Becky do this to her? She was supposed to be her friend. And worse yet, why blame June? As thoughts raced in her head she thought of the moment that started all of this.
  300.  
  301. Two weeks ago after school, she went to her parents job site. She always loved going there as a child, just digging in the dirt would make her happy. But now she has a different reason to go there that makes her happy; seeing Useul.
  302.  
  303. When Livi hit puberty, her emotions bashed her in the head like a ton of bricks. She didn't understand why she was feeling the way she was towards Useul, who had always been like a fun aunt to her.
  304.  
  305. Whenever Useul would show Livi different ways to dig with different tools, she would listen intensely. But now, instead of paying attention to the digging techniques, like she did when she was a child, Livi would concentrate on how Useul's body moved. How the muscles in her toned legs would ripple when she jumped in and out of deep holes. Or on hot days how her sweat glistened in the sun as it fell off her chin onto her well endowed breasts.
  306.  
  307. How Useul would flip her jet black hair revealing her pointed ears, and supple bare neck. Oh, how Livi wanted to kiss that neck, to kiss her lips, for Useul to be in her arms.
  308.  
  309. This particular day after school, Livi walked into the trailer that served as the excavation teams main office. Livi was looking for her parents but instead she found Useul sitting behind a desk shuffling paper work. As she walked in, Useul ran her hand through her hair and let out an aggravated sigh while staring at the papers on her desk.
  310.  
  311. When Useul heard the door shut she looked up and smiled when she saw Livi, “Hey kid, what's up?”
  312.  
  313. Livi's cheeks turned pink knowing that she is alone with Useul, “Oh, ah, n-n-nothing. Just looking for, uh, mom and dad, heh heh,” She stammered, nervous to be around Useul alone. Trying to change the subject Livi asked, “What's going on with the papers?”
  314.  
  315. “Oh, this? This is just paper work for closing the dig site. You know, I said when I became an archaeologist I would never have to do paper work, I was wrong.” she said with a sarcastic smirk.
  316.  
  317. “Wait, what, your closing the site?”
  318.  
  319. “Yep kiddo, our boss is making us. You'd think finding a freaking Automation would buy us the time to go on for few more years, but noo~ ” Useul said while shuffling papers together and taping them on the desk to straighten them.
  320.  
  321. Livi moved to the desk and slammed her hands down on it, startling Useul, “No! they can't do that. That means we will have to move to wherever mom and dad are called to next,”
  322.  
  323. Livi is starting to work herself up into a tizzy, walking back and forth in the trailer. Useul got up and went around the desk, “Livi, it'll be OK,”
  324.  
  325. “No, it won't be OK, how can it be OK!? I'll have to leave my friends, my school, my boyfriend and… and…”
  326.  
  327. Useul put her hands on Livi's shoulders to make her stop moving and calm her down, “Livi, look at me," Livi stopped and looked in Useul's eyes, "I'm sure your parents won't make you leave your friends. They said they saved enough money to wait until you graduate before they have to think about taking another assignment.”
  328.  
  329. Livi looked at Useul with pleading, watering eyes, “You don't get it,” she said in a small voice.
  330.  
  331. “Don't get what?”
  332.  
  333. “I won't be able to see you!” Livi shouted then cupped the back of Useul's head and brought her in for deep kiss.
  334.  
  335. Useul pushed Livi back, surprised at her action. “What are you doing?” Useul asked wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
  336.  
  337. Tears flowing freely from Livi's eyes, she tries to explain to make Useul understand, “Can't you see! I love you. I have since I was 13.” Livi moved towards the purple skinned woman, she reaches to move Useul's hair back behind her ear, “You, you're the one that I'd miss most. The one I can't stand to lose.”
  338.  
  339. Useul's eyes softened, understanding now why Livi has been acting so awkward around her for the past few years, “Oh honey, no. I'm so sorry, I don't feel that way towards you."
  340.  
  341. Livi's face dropped, “But, you said you love me before? How can you say you don't love me now?”
  342.  
  343. “I love you like a niece, or a daughter, not in a romantic way,” Useul tries to put a hand on Livi's shoulder but she pulls away, “Livi I'm not sure what to say, I'm sorry.”
  344.  
  345. Before Useul can say anymore Livi runs out the door in tears, not even hearing Useul's shouts saying to come back.
  346.  
  347. In the present, now back at home Livi steps cautiously around in the dark now wanting to wake her parents who turned in early. She went up to June's room looking for her but she wasn't there and the only other place Livi could think of where June might be would be their spot.
  348.  
  349. Livi went through the kitchen to the sliding door that lead to the patio and heard rustling in the Apple tree planted next to the house in the backyard. She stepped off the patio into the soft Dewey grass and looked up to see metallic toes hanging off the eave of the roof. Livi opened her shell, stretched her wings out and roll them for a second then flew up onto the roof next June, who is to the side of her bedroom window, hugging her knees.
  350.  
  351. June watches as Livi lands gently on the roof next to her. Livi turned around to face the same way June is, sits, and looks out over their backyard. “Hey.”
  352.  
  353. “Hey.” Livi echoes.
  354.  
  355. The two girls sat quietly. After a good half hour of them both staring off into the distance, while occasionally glancing at each other, Livi spoke up first, “I'm sorry,” she closed her eyes while looking down at the yard, “I should have listened to you. I talked to Aaron, he said Becky was the one telling everyone.”
  356.  
  357. June let out a sigh, “I wanna say it's OK but,” June looks over at her sister, “You keep doing this, you keep believing everyone else but me, and yelling at me constantly. I don't know if you don't trust me anymore or what, but it's not OK.”
  358.  
  359. Livi opens her eyes and looks over at June, “I know, I just feel like...” Livi put her hand down on the roof between them to steady herself as she turns to face her sister, “I feel like I'm drowning half the time, it's like everything I'm feeling is swirling inside me, just wanting to come out all at once, and I'm afraid what will happen when it does.
  360.  
  361. "Then whenever I try to talk to you about it, I wind up concentrating on something bad I was thinking about and blaming you for whatever it was, and never actually saying what was really on my mind. Heh, which is kind of everything lately.” Livi looked away shaking her head and rolled her eyes at herself.
  362.  
  363. “I didn't know,” June put her hand on Livi's hand that is resting on the roof.
  364.  
  365. Livi looked at her sister with sad eyes, “I'm really sorry,”
  366.  
  367. “So am I.” June pulled Livi's hand and brought her in for a hug . When they pulled away from each other June kept her hands rested on Livi's wrist, with Livi doing the same. “So, you said you talked to Aaron?” June asks, with a look of uncertainty about bring up the subject.
  368.  
  369. Livi dropped her hands, tilted her head to look at the dark, starry night sky and groaned, “Yeah, that was rough. He said I hurt him, which I'm not surprised, hearing that your girlfriend kissed someone else can be pretty devastating.” Livi looked down with a grin playing at the corner of her lips, "but, he did tell me that he loves me.”
  370.  
  371. “No, really?” June said shocked.
  372.  
  373. “Yes!” Livi squealed.
  374.  
  375. “Tell me everything,” June said with an excited glee in her voice and held her hands out in front of her, signaling to give her all of the info.
  376.  
  377. The girls sat on the roof talking for over half the night, occasionally giggling and squealing as they gossip. "… and that is how Ciara flashed the hot lifeguard last summer. ” June said reaching for another Peach.
  378.  
  379. Livi nearly choked on the Apple she was eating by laughing so hard, “Oh my God, she is such an airhead,” She said wiping a happy tear from her eye.
  380.  
  381. “It's nice to talk like this again,” June said before biting into her Peach, “Just promise me when you feel like that, you'll tell me,”
  382.  
  383. Livi thought for a moment then said, “How about we come with a safe word, so I don't get sidetracked and get upset, kinda like...” She looks around then focuses on the half eaten Apple in her hand, “Apple. Our safe word can be Apple, how's that?”
  384.  
  385. “Only if we never call it a safe word,” June laughs, “You do know what a safe word is actually used for, don't you?”
  386.  
  387. “Of course I do! I'm not that unexperienced, you know.”
  388.  
  389. June gave Livi a look that said really.
  390.  
  391. “I do! Well, not personal experience, but I know things!”
  392.  
  393. The girls looked at each other in a serious manner then burst out laughing. They laughed so hard that the grumpy cat lady who lives next door yelled at them to keep it down, they yelled back an apology then looked at each other and started chuckling. They each grabbed a fruit from their trees then switched with the other, an apple for a Peach.
  394.  
  395. They are having a special moment eating fruit from their trees, giggling and laughing, just like they always do after a big problem. And the sisters are inseparable once again.
  396.  
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