Paula Carlin released a frustrated huff as she stared down her stubborn daughter. “She’s coming whether you like it or not.” She shook her head and picked up the next dish that needed washing.
Spencer glared at her mother from her seat at the kitchen counter. “Why? I don’t want a stranger living in the house with us, that’s creepy!” She crossed her arms angrily over chest.
“This is a good program,” Paula said for what felt like the thousandth time. She shrugged as she continued. “As a family we will support and care for this girl as the other family will when they take in Clay.”
Spencer groaned, rolling her eyes. The new school year was about to start and she could tell already that it was going to suck. First, her older brother goes off to…whatever country it was the program exchanged him, leaving Spencer with her idiot brother Glen. Now, there’s a complete stranger coming to live with the family for an entire year.
This was going to be a living Hell.
Sighing in resignation, Spencer asked, “How old is this Amanda chick anyways?”
“Her name is Ashley.” Paula said with a patience only a mother could possesses. “I’ve told you this several times now.”
Spencer rolled her eyes once again. “Whatever.”
“She’s eighteen,” Paula paused briefly, preparing herself for the onslaught of yelling she knew her daughter was about to throw her way. “…and I expect you and Glen to be taking her out for fun with your friends sometimes.”
Spencer’s eyes bulged as she slammed her hand against the counter. “What? This Amy girl from Australia is not hanging out with me and my friends! Are you kidding me?”
Paula sighed, placing a dish into the washer in an effort to avoid her daughter’s angry expression. “Her name is Ashley and she’s from a small city outside of Paraguay.”
Spencer scoffed. “That’s what I said.”
Just as Paula turned to her daughter to dispute her words, her husband, Arthur, clamored into the room, wearing a smile.
Arthur clapped his hands together, looking at his wife and daughter. “Hey, girls! Are you ready to meet the new member of our family?”
“No.” “Yes.” The blondes answered simultaneously.
Arthur’s face froze with confusion. “Okay then…”
Paula waved her daughter off, turning to her husband. “Do you know when she’s going to be here?”
“She’ll be here any minute now.” Arthur said with a smile.
Spencer held her thumbs up, slapping on a sarcastic smile. “Yippee!”
Suddenly an incessant ringing of the doorbell sounded.
Spencer frowned, turning in her seat. “What the hell?”
“Okay, I’m coming!” Arthur said, rushing to the front door. When he opened it, he found Ashley staring intently at the doorbell as she rang it without mercy.
Arthur cleared his throat. “Hello,” he said, hoping to gain her attention.
“Can I help--”
“Excuse me, do you--”
Ashley’s probing seized as she looked up at the human in surprise. She studied his face, momentarily, taking in his friendly blue eyes and greying black hair with interest.
“Hello.” Arthur said with a welcoming smile. “You must be Ashley, right?”
“I am Ashley Davies.” Ashley confirmed with a nod.
Arthur stuck out his hand. “I’m Arthur Carlin.”
Ashley stared blankly from Arthur’s hand back up to his face. She had no idea what this human was doing. Why was he grasping air?
“Alright then,” Arthur said, awkwardly retracting his hand. “Why don’t you come inside and meet the rest of the family.”
He turned and Ashley followed dutifully behind him. They walked into the living room where Paula and Glen awaited.
“Everyone, this is Ashley.” Arthur said, waving towards Ashley as she shut the front door.
Paula was the first to step forward. “Hello, Ashley. I’m Paula. It’s nice to meet you,” she said, smiling gently.
Glen waggled his eyebrows. “Hey, hottie! I’m Glen.”
“Glen, mind your manners.” Paula said, lightly smacking her son’s arm.
Ashley stared at the teen boy confused. “I am not hot. My body temperature is that of an average human’s, ninety seven point five degrees.”
The family looked at Ashley baffled. The Alien scanned the Carlin’s faces nonchalantly. Why were they looking at her like that? Did she say something wrong?
After a moment of awkward silence, Arthur turned to his wife. “Um, Paula, where’s Spencer?” He looked around not seeing his daughter.
“She said she had to use the bathroom.” Glen said.
“I’m right here.” Spencer said as she entered the room.
As soon as Ashley laid eyes on Spencer, her hearts began to beat double time. Spencer was the most beautiful being the Alien had ever seen. She couldn’t help but let her gaze happily dance around the human’s gorgeous figure.
Spencer’s face scrunched up in disgust when she realized the new girl was checking her out. “Uh, mom, could you tell Amanda to stop staring at me?”
Paula rolled her eyes. “Her name is Ashley and she’s doing no such thing.”
Spencer glared at the Alien. “If you don’t stop staring at me, I’ll claw your eyes out,” she said with a sneer.
Ashley immediately averted her eyes.
“Hey.” Arthur frowned at his daughter. “Spencer, calm down.”
Spencer shrugged, crossing her arms. “She shouldn’t have been looking at me like that.”
“Okay that’s enough.” Paula intervened, “Spencer, why don’t you show Ashley where she will be staying.”
“Whatever.” Spencer sighed, brushing past Ashley and up the stairs.
The Alien, making sure to keep her eyes off the angry teen, followed silently behind her.
“This is it.” Spencer stated pushing open the door to Clay’s room. She turned to address the brunette, but froze when she was met with Ashley’s back. “What the Hell are you doing?”
“I am looking at the wall.” Ashley said.
Spencer frowned. “Why are you looking at the wall?”
“You said if I looked at you, you would claw my eyes out.” Ashley answered staring intently at the wall in front of her. “I wish to keep my eyes in my sockets.”
Spencer shook her head with agitation. “Is this some lame attempt at a joke or something?”
“Um no, I do not think so.” Uncertainty laced the Alien’s voice. She had no idea what a ‘joke’ was, or a ‘lame.’
Spencer rolled her eyes and headed for her room. “Whatever, I’m going to my room. If you need anything, don’t bother me.” She said over her shoulder before slamming the door shut.
Ashley finally turned around and looked at Spencer’s closed door. “Is this what the human’s call a ‘warm welcome’?” She wondered aloud as she entered Clay’s bedroom.
Looking around the room, she spotted a small thin object placed on the nightstand. Cautiously she picked it up and observed the utensil. It had a sharp point on one end and a weird clicky button on the other. When she clicked the button, she gasped as the point went away. Ashley clicked it once more and the point came back.
Point go away.
Point come back.
Point go away.
Point come back.
Ashley happily kept clicking away until the object accidentally split in two pieces. Frowning, the Alien picked up a half of the instrument, looked inside, and saw a weird yet familiar looking black substance.
Curiously, she sniffed the black substance finding it had no strong odor. She dipped her tongue into the liquid and found the taste to be recognizably delightful. Ashley licked her lips. “This is ink!” She said with delight.
Ink was the most cherished drinking substance back on her planet Zygot. The Alien’s only drank it on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, and the skinning of a baby Zyglet.
Ashley threw her head back and downed the rest of the yummy drink in a matter of seconds. Letting out a content burp, she threw the small object over her shoulder.
Venturing further into the room, Ashley came across a large square object that was covered with sheets. She laid her hand on the item and found it to be soft. Ashley tilted her head. “This must be what Earthlings call a…bed.”
Studying the square, she let out a laugh and shook her head. “How on Zygot do these beings sleep on such a thing…how do they even sleep horizontally to begin with?”
Across from the bed, there was a desk. On top of the desk there was an object that Ashley actually recognized—a computer.
Ashley leaned towards the desktop computer. “You are smaller than your kind on my planet, but I bet you’re just as efficient.” She took a seat in front of the machine and smiled. “Computer on.”
The Alien waited for the computer to head her command, but it did nothing.
Frowning Ashley said, “Computer, power on.”
Again, much to Ashley’s frustration, nothing happened. “You’re going to pay for being disobedient to your new master,” She said to the computer.
Getting up from her seat in a huff, Ashley stomped out of the room and knocked on Spencer’s door.
Spencer angrily wrenched open the door and glared at Ashley. “What did I tell you about bothering me, Amanda?” She questioned with a frown.
Ashley tried to respond but the sight of the beautiful teen left her tongue-tied. Her hearts were doing that weird thing again, where they started to pick up speed. The Alien had no idea what to do with these strange emotions drumming through her body.
“Um, I computer,” Ashley said helplessly.
Spencer’s frown deepened. “What?”
Spencer scoffed. “Thanks for wasting my time, Loser.” And with that, the door was slammed promptly in Ashley’s face.
“Don’t mind her,” A voice said from Ashley’s right.
The Alien turned to see Glen leaning against his doorframe. He nodded his head towards his sister’s closed door. “Spencer can be a big bitch sometimes.”
“I heard that!” Spencer yelled from her room.
“Good.” Glen called back, before turning to Ashley. “So, since the dweeb over here didn’t want to help you, maybe I can.”
Ashley nodded, although she had no idea what a dweeb was. Maybe that was a nickname for Spencer. “I need assistance with the computer, it’s being disobedient.”
Glen shot her a confused look. “What do you mean it’s being disobedient?”
“It won’t turn on.” Ashley added.
“What?” Glen frowned, heading into his brother’s bedroom. “Clay just got this computer. Let me check it out for you.” He hit the power button and watched as the computer came on.
Ashley’s eyes widened in surprise, “How did you do that? You didn’t even have to say anything! That’s amazing.” The Alien tentatively ran her fingers along the computer’s tower.
“Um, yeah,” Glen said, raising an eyebrow. “I guess they don’t have computers like that where you come from, huh?”
The Alien shook her head still staring at the computer in amazement.
Glen nodded slowly. “Right. Well, mom says it’s time to eat dinner so come on.” He said, walking out of the room.
Ashley stepped back from the computer, giving it an appreciative pat on the top of the monitor. “I forgive you,” she said before exiting the room and making her way down into the dining room.
Arthur placed the last dish on the table as the family settled down in their seats. He looked around. “Where’s Spencer?”
“I am right here, dad.” Spencer said as she skipped into the dining room with a giant smile painted on her, usually scowling, face.
Glen’s face screwed up in disgust. “Ew, she’s smiling!”
“Shut up, Glen.” Spencer said, taking a seat across from Ashley.
“Why are you so happy anyways?” Paula questioned with narrowed eyes as she watched her daughter suspiciously. “This isn’t like you.”
Spencer blushed, biting back a smile. “I just got a call from Carmen--”
“Ugh!” Glen gagged, clutching his stomach for effect.
Spencer rolled her eyes and continued, “She told me she’s moving back to L.A,” she said, picking up her fork as a grin tugged at her lips.
Arthur raised a brow. “You’re not considering what I think you're considering, right, Spencer?” He gave her a knowing look, visibly not happy about the news.
Spencer shrugged and began to eat, indicating she was done talking about this particular subject--for now, at least. The family was more than happy to let the subject drop.
Ashley looked at the food on her plate with raised eyebrows.
Paula noticed the Alien’s distressed look. “What’s the matter, Ashley? You don’t like spaghetti?”
Ashley looked from her plate to Paula nervously. “Oh, no, I’ve just never had…this spaghetti…meal before.”
Arthur’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Really?”
Spencer chuckled. “Where have you been living, in a box?”
“Spencer, one more crack like that and you’ll be grounded.” Paula said, sending her daughter a look of admonishment.
Ashley picked up the utensil everyone else was using. Biting her lip in concentration, she tried to stab at her food but the noodles kept sliding off each time Ashley brought the utensil up to her mouth.
Arthur watched with amusement as the Alien poked at her food with the wrong end of the fork. “Ah, Ashley,” He said, gaining her attention. “Try using the other side of the fork.” Arthur held his own fork upright for her to see.
Ashley nodded and turned the utensil around. She stabbed at her food again, smiling when she was able successfully picked up her food. “I did it!” She said before sticking the fork-full in her mouth.
Spencer let out a quiet laugh of disbelief as she watched the Alien. She had to admit, this Amanda…or Ashley girl was weird but somewhat cute. Mostly weird though.
Ashley moaned as she chewed on the food. “Mmm, so good!” She said, earning the attention from the rest of the family. “Mmmmm!”
“I’m glad you like it, Ashley.” Paula said with a smile.
“It’s really good!” Ashley repeated over a mouthful. This spaghetti stuff beat the food she ate back on her planet Zygot by a human mile.
Arthur cleared his throat. “So, Ashley, are you ready for your first day of school tomorrow?” He questioned taking a sip of his water.
Ashley nodded. “I think so.” She said, stabbing at her food.
“Good.” Paula said with a grin. “We wanted to make sure you’d be comfortable at school. That being said, since Spencer is in all senior classes this year we--”
“Mom,” Spencer said in a low voice, dropping her fork. “Please don’t say what I think you’re about to say…”
Paula ignored her daughter. “We spoke to the school and set your schedule so you and Spencer have every class together.”
Ashley beamed while Spencer screamed. “Nooooooo!”