Later that night, the Carlinsand Ashley gathered around the table for dinner.
“So,” Paula said, picking at her food. “How was everyone’s day?”
“It was awesome!” Glen started. “I got twelve digits from the ladies today.”
“Digits…what are digits?” Paula questioned.
“Phone numbers, Paula,” Arthur said before turning to his daughter with a small grin. “Spencer, how was your day?”
“It could’ve been a lot better,” Spencer said, sending a glare across the table at an oblivious Ashley.
Paula gave her daughter a look. “Spencer, don’t start a scene.”
Spencer grumbled under her breath, angrily stabbing at her food.
Arthur cleared his throat. “How about you, Ashley? How was your first day at school?”
“My day was excellent, Mr. Carlin!” Ashley said with a nod. “I love it here. I made some new friends and the coach put me on the track team!”
“Wow. That’s great, Ashley,” Paula congratulated.
“Thank you, Mrs. Carlin,” Ashley smiled. Her face turned apologetic when she turned to Spencer. “Oh, and Spencer, I know after theatre class you told me to ‘go jump off a cliff,’ but there were no cliffs around for me to jump off of. I am sorry.”
Spencer nearly choked on her food.
Paula looked at her daughter with incredulous eyes. “Spencer you told Ashley to go jump off a cliff?”
Spencer shook her head, with a scoff. “Of course not,” she lied.
“Yes, you did,” Ashley said with a nod. “It was after theatre and I said to you ‘this project is going to be fun, Spencer’ and then you said, ‘go jump off a cliff’ verbatim.”
Glen frowned. “You took that literally?”
Ashley nodded hesitantly. Of course she did. Was she not supposed to?
“Spencer,” Paula said, pointing at her daughter. “Go to your room. We’ll discuss your behavior later.” She nodded towards the stairs.
Spencer shot one last glare at the Alien. “Thanks a lot, Ashley,” she said, tossing her napkin down. Shaking her head, she exited the room and headed for her bedroom.
Ashley cast her eyes down with guilt. “I did not mean to upset her,” she whispered with a heavy sigh.
Arthur patted the Alien’s back. “Don’t worry about it, Ashley. Spencer’s still upset about her brother not being here. It’ll get better with time, I’m sure.”
“Doubt it,” Glen chuckled. “She’s a bitch.”
Paula smacked her son in the back of the head.
“Ow!” Glen rubbed at the spot with a grumble. “It’s true.”
Arthur shook his head. “No, it’s not.” He gave Ashley a small grin. “Like I said, just give it some time. Spencer will come around.”
Ashley nodded. “I hope so.”
After finishing dinner, Ashley retreated to her room so she could use the cellular device her father had given her to call back home. She pressed the special button and suddenly the instrument began to shake.
Ashley quickly set the device down just as a bright light shone from it. Suddenly a holographic screen appeared from the phone like a projector.
Her father’s friendly face appeared on the screen. “Ashley? Can you see me?” Raife asked hesitantly.
Ashley waved. “Hello, daddy.”
Raife smiled at his daughter. “Hello. How’s my little Martian doing?”
“I am superb. Human high school is surprisingly easy and a lot of fun once you get used to their strange customs.” Ashley said with a grin before turning somber. “But there is a matter I need to discuss with you.”
“What would that be?” Raife asked, eyes darting around nervously.
Ashley tilted her head. “You sent Zyphorian down here to watch me.”
“Well--I…you see,” Raife huffed out a sigh, throwing his hands up. “Oh holly Zygot, I was worried about you, okay? I know you’re safe in the Carlin home, hut at a human high school it is a completely different story. You need someone to look after you there. It’s a jungle!”
Ashley grinned sadly at her father. “Thank you for your concern, daddy, but you must know that--”
“I know, I know,” Raife said, holding his hands up in surrender. “You are old enough to look after yourself. I know. I’m sorry. I’m a father, you can’t blame me for looking out for you.”
“I appreciate the sentiment,” Ashley said.
Raife released a slow sigh, his shoulders dropping. “I miss you.”
“I miss you too, daddy,” Ashley said with a small nod. “But, I am here on a mission, you know that.”
“Speaking of the mission, how’s it going?” Raife asked as his brow furrowed with curiosity. “Have you found a human worth courting?”
Ashley ducked her head shyly. “Well, there is somebody…” She trailed off, rubbing at the back of her neck.
Raife leaned forward in his seat with interest. “Who is she? Give details.”
“She’s part of the host family,” Ashley said as a smile stretched across her lips uncontrollably. “Her name is Spencer.”
“Spencer Carlin. Hmm,” Raife rubbed a hand against his chin pensively as his eyes narrowed in thought. “Yes. She would be suitable. I remember reading over her file. She gets good grades. Cheerleader.”
Ashley smiled brightly. “She is also very beautiful.”
Raife nodded stiffly. “Have you made any, as the humans say, ‘moves’ on her yet?” He cleared his throat, not particularly comfortable with this conversation.
Ashley shook her head. “No, not yet. I do not know what to say to her. When she is near me, my mouth becomes dry, my hearts pick up speed, my palms and…other things get wet,” she finished with an embarrassed wince.
“Sounds like human love to me,” Raife said with a nod. “Why don’t you just go up to her and tell her what I told your mother when I began to court her?”
Ashley considered this with a raised brow. “Do you think that will work?”
“Of course it will work!” Raife boasted, puffing out his chest. “We were married for ten zygots were we not?”
Ashley grinned “You do have a point, daddy.”
“I know I do.” Raife smirked, giving her an encouraging look. “Now I demand that you go tell her right this instant before you loose your nerve.”
Ashley paused for a moment before nodding confidently. “I will,” she said, with a smile. “Thanks, daddy. I will speak to you later—or as some human teenagers say here, catch you on the side that is flipped.”
Raife frowned. “What?”
Ashley waved, turning off the screen abruptly. Clearing her throat and straightening her back, the Alien marched out of her room and up to Spencer’s door. She knocked.
Spencer opened the door and scowled. “What do you want?”
Ashley blew out a breath and smiled. “Spencer, will you mate with me?”
The Alien’s head flew back from the impact of Spencer’s slap. The blonde had moved so fast and hard, Ashley swore she saw stars for a brief moment as her eyes rolled back.
“Freaking pervert!” Spencer slammed the door shut.
Ashley gently cupped her swelling cheek in confusion. “I do not believe that was my mother’s reaction when Daddy asked her that.”
The next day at school, Spencer avoided Ashley like the plague. The Alien had no idea what she had done wrong, but decided to give Spencer some space. During lunch, they went their separate ways. The blonde immediately rushed to tell her best friend.
“That’s so crazy.” Madison said, clinging to her best friend’s arm as they trotted to their lunch table. “Well, what did you say?”
“I didn’t say anything.” Spencer scoffed, as they took a seat at the table. She shrugged. “I slapped her.”
Madison frowned. “On the ass?”
“Madison.” Spencer gave her look of admonishment. “I slapped her across the face and called her a pervert.”
Madison’s frown remained. “Why would you do that?”
Spencer raised an eyebrow. “She asked me to mate with her,” the blonde repeated, stressing each word with purpose.
Madison shrugged. “So?”
“Madison!” Spencer screeched, slamming her palm against the table. “Put yourself in my position. What would you say if Ashley just came up to you and asked ‘will you mate with me’?”
The Latina licked her lips, as a lazy grin tugged at her lips. “Well first I’d--”
“Wait!” Spencer plugged her ears. “Don’t answer that!”
Over in the Dean’s Office, Ashley found herself asking her friend for advice about her current situation.
“I do not get it,” Ashley said, sinking down into the chair opposite of Zyphorian’s desk. “Why doesn’t Spencer like me? I thought I was saying the right thing last night when I approached her.”
“What exactly did you say to her?” Zyphorian asked.
Ashley shrugged. “I asked if she’d mate with me.”
“Oh.” Zy nodded slowly in understanding.
“What?” Ashley asked with a panicked stare. “Why are you oh-ing me?”
“Well, Ash,” Zyphorian leaned forward in her seat, clasping her hands together. “Asking someone to mate with you has a different meaning here on Earth.”
Ashley tilted her head. “It does?”
“Yeah. In Zygot dialect it’s like saying…’let’s get that old oil into the fishnet and wrap a Zylon around your ear’.”
Ashley gasped, smacking her forehead. “I can not believe I said that to her!”
Zy gave her a sympathetic look, attempting to placate her friend. “Don’t worry! I’m sure within a week she’ll forget you ever said that to her.”
Ashley looked hopeful. “You think?”
“No, not really.”
“Great.” Ashley sighed, falling back into her seat. “Well, should I apologize?”
The older Alien nodded. “Yes, you should.”
“Okay.” Ashley bit her lip in thought. “Now, where can I find a dead fish to offer her in apology?”
“No, Ashley,” Zy shook her head with a small laugh. “Apologies don’t work like that on planet Earth.”
Ashley’s face contorted with surprise. “You mean you do not offer the person a dead fish smothered in oil?” She asked in amazement.
“No.” The older Alien deadpanned. “You just simply say you’re sorry and then give her gift…like, flowers. Female Earthlings love flowers.”
“Wow.” Ashley took in this information with a nod. “Flowers. Back on our planet, you usually use flowers to beat up thieves.”
Zyphorian nodded. “I know. Humans are weird.” She shrugged. “Now, what was that wetness issue you were talking about earlier?”
“Oh…that thing,” Ashley trailed off as her cheeks flushed. “Well, whenever Spencer comes around me my…it gets….there is like a…”
“Spit it out, Ashley.”
The younger Alien took a deep breath. “It gets wet in my underwear whenever I look at Spencer for too long,” Ashley rushed out with a wince.
Zyphorian’s eyes widened. “I see…”
Ashley wrung her hands nervously. “Madison said it’s because I am attracted to Spencer and when I ‘leak’ like that, it means I am, as the humans say, ‘turned on’.”
“I think I read about this.” Zy said in thought. She reached under her desk and pulled out a Zygot number one seller titled ‘Earth and the People Who Inhabit It’.
“What does it say?” Ashley asked, desperate for answers.
“Let’s see. Leakage from the vagina…”Zy skimmed the pages. “Oh! Here we go! It’s called cervical mucus, or as some humans may call it ‘precum.’ It just means you are sexual excited and your vagina is ready for penetration.” She looked up at Ashley with a shrug.
“Wait.” Ashley frowned. “It gets all wet down there when I want to have sexual intercourse with Spencer.”
“Precisely.” Zyphorian nodded. She checked the time from the corner of her eyes. “Our time is up but take this book with you and…” she snapped her fingers and a beautiful bouquet of pink roses appeared in her hand. “Give these to Spencer.”
“Okay.” Ashley took the gift with a smile. “Thanks, Zy.”
Back at the lunch table, Spencer had yet to calm down and Madison still couldn’t wrap her head around why Ashley was out of line. The blonde pinched the bridge of her nose, trying to keep her cool.
“Let’s just drop it, Mads,” Spencer said, shaking her head.
Madison rolled her eyes. “Girl, how can you not like Ashley? She’s so naive and oblivious. Honestly, it’s cute as hell. She’s like a puppy.”
“No.” Spencer said. “She’s the most annoying person I’ve ever met. She’s not a puppy, she’s a freaking maniac.”
“That wasn’t harsh at all.” Madison said sarcastically.
Spencer shrugged. “It’s harsh, but true.” She pushed some hair behind her ear. “It’s like she’s from another freaking planet.”
Madison sighed. “I’m not gonna lie. I’m a little bit jealous of you.”
Spencer frowned at her best friend. “Why?”
Madison clicked her tongue. “Because, Ashley obviously likes you and not me.”
“What?” Spencer huffed out a laugh. “Ashley doesn’t like me.”
“Uh. Yes she do.”
“You mean ‘does’,” Spencer corrected.
Madison raised a brow. “That’s what I said.”
“No, you said ‘yes she do’.”
“No I didn’t, why would I say that?”
Spencer gave Madison a look. “I don’t know, why did you say that?”
“Yeah, you did!”
“Whatever!” Madison released a frustrated groan before collecting herself and smirking at Spencer. “The point is Ashley’s got the hots for you.”
The blonde rolled her eyes. “Ashley doesn’t like me like that.” Spencer said sternly as she went to clear off her lunch tray.
“Oh really? Than explain that,” Madison said, pointing over at Ashley who was walking in their direction with determined strides.
“No way.” Spencer said as her jaw dropped.
Madison chuckled. “What was that you were saying about her not liking you?” Madison shook her head with a smirk before brushing past her best friend and heading for class.
“Hello, Spencer,” Ashley said nervously.
“No way.” Spencer repeated.
Ashley gave her a small smile. “These are for you, Spencer, as a way to say I am sorry for what I said to you last night.” The Alien thrust the bouquet out towards Spencer.
Spencer took a step back. “I can’t believe you got me roses.”
“You have to.” Ashley said still holding out the roses. “They are right in front of you…for you to take…why are you not taking them?” She asked, frowning when Spencer took another step back.
Spencer covered her nose and mouth, backing further away. “I’m allergic to roses!” She waved her hand out in front of herself. “Get them away from me!”
Ashley’s eyes widened. “Oh no! I’m sorry!”
Spencer began to cough and sneeze. The Alien immediately sprinted across campus, disposed of the flowers, and then ran back over to Spencer in ten seconds flat.
Ashley’s eyes filled with concern. “Is that better?”
“Great.” Spencer deadpanned with a growl. “Not only have you annoyed me day in and day out, you’re also trying to kill me!”
Ashley shook her head frantically. “I did not mean to--”
“Let’s just go to class.” Spencer shoulder-checked the Alien as she breezed past Ashley. “Try not to kill me on the way there.”
Ashley released a frustrated sigh. Winning Spencer over was gonna be a lot harder than she expected. Swallowing her pride, Ashley silently followed behind the blonde. They entered the Theatre classroom just under the bell.
“Okay, Thespians!” Ms. Caldwell said, clapping her hands. “Let us do a breathing implement. And breathe in…and out…and breathe in…and out…and UGH! Oh my…sorry a bug flew into my mouth.” She beat a hand across her chest.
Scattered laughs sounded around the room.
Ms. Caldwell narrowed her eyes. “I don’t see the humor in that at all.” She shook her head, composing herself. “Anyways, today we will be doing some exercises that will help you get to know your partner better. They will also make your performance look more…fluid, natural, ordinary, original, extravagant, cornbread.”
The students looked at her bewildered.
Ms. Caldwell let out a nervous chuckle. “I’m sorry, while I was talking to you all I was mentally going over my grocery list and I just remembered I needed cornbread.”
A cricket sounded in the background.
“My mistake.” Ms. Caldwell cleared her throat. “Right. Just a small disclaimer, but the exercise will consist of touching. Now, everyone stand in front of your partner.”
Spencer reluctantly went to stand in front of Ashley. The Alien smiled and waved at her. Spencer rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. Ashley was so freaking weird.
“Okay,” Ms. Caldwell continued. “I want you both to look each other in the eyes. Look deep.”
Ashley stared Spencer straight in the eyes. She tried hard to convey what she felt for the blonde. Unfortunately, she was trying so hard that her “affectionate” look was slowly starting to look freakish.
Spencer frowned. “Stop looking at me like that,” she said, with a thoroughly disturbed face. “You’re freaking me out.”
Ashley looked down bashfully. “Sorry.”
“Alright, class.” The teacher said. “Now I want you to hold one another’s hands.”
Spencer let out a disapproving growl and reached for one of Ashley’s hands. As soon as their hands made contact, a spark flew up the blonde’s arm. She pulled her hand back and looked up at Ashley shocked.
Ashley had felt it too.
Ms. Caldwell silently noticed the interaction between the two and smiled.
Spencer held her hand protectively, eyeing Ashley with disbelief. “What the hell was that?”
“I’m not sure.” Ashley said, looking at her hand. “It felt…good though.”
“Um…” Spencer really didn’t know what to say. She was baffled. “I’m sure that was nothing…” she said with an unsure nod.
Ashley bit back a smile, seeing right through the blonde. “Yeah...nothing,” she said quietly. The Alien felt her hearts jump with glee. She knew Spencer had felt something, it was written all over her face.
“Alright, Thespians.” Ms. Caldwell said. “This was a simple exercise, but it produces huge results in regards to your performance. I want you to do this outside of class as well to get comfortable with one another.”
“So that’s all?” A student said. “You just want us to stare at each other and hold hands?”
“Yes.” Ms. Caldwell nodded. “You see…sometimes when a butterfly wants to break out of its cocoon, it might need a little help. So, what do you do? You get a machete and cut the damn thing open until the winged creature is free to fly into the blue heavens above!” She finished, lifting her arms wildly into the air dramatically.
The class just stared at her dumbfounded.
“Oh boy,” Ms. Caldwell said under her breath, as she brought a hand up to her chin. “I really need to start taking my meds again…”