Clear the Air
One Week Later
"Everyone, come into the labs. I have a major announcement!" beamed with pride as the Hikari family entered the basement.
"Dr. Cossack , its 3 in the morning. What iiiisss it?" Lan came stumbling out of the elevator, bags under his eyes. Rock lazily grabbed the back of Lan's pajamas to keep him standing, or at least leaning without falling over on his face.
"It took me all night, but I finally finished me and Dr. Light's new robot."
"Congratulations Mikhail." Dr. Light came out of a lab room, yawning. "Since I was passed out in the corner, I'll let you do the honors."
"Thank you Doctor." walked over to a table. He picked up a reZte and pushed a button. "Ladiiies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, beasts of all man"
"Just get on with it!" Lan yelled.
"Now presenting... Beat! The Messenger Robot!"
A small, round, blue bird came out into the room. "Tweet! Tweet! Hello everyone! Pleasure to meet you all!"
Lan gave a meager wave. "Hello, fat Tweety-"
Rock smacked up him upside the head. WHACK! "There!" He said with a terse whisper. "That should wake you up! Be respectful!"
Dr. Hikari applauded. "Well done Mikhail! So, how does it work?"
"I'll show you!" Dr. Cossack pressed another button. Beat flew over to him. "Ready to record you message, Dr. Cossack!"
"Okay, okay, give me a second." Dr. Cossack, completely trembling with excitement, got out a piece of paper from his shirt pocket. "Rock, do you mind changing into Mega Man for a second?"
Beat's eyes went wide like video camera. "Recording in 3...2...1..."
"Здравствуйте, Александра ? Да, это я. Нет, это не является обманом. Ее действительно меня. Я выжил робот Master нападение, и меня в Калифорнии. И посмотрите, кто у меня есть с, Mega Man!"
(Hello, Alexandra ? Yes, it's me. No, this is not a trick. Its really me. I survived the Robot Master attack, and now I'm living in California. And look who I have with me, its Mega Man!)
Dr. Cossack pulled Mega Man into the camera. Rock smiled and gave a little wave.
"Я знаю, что все это должно быть таким запутанным и неожиданно, но пожалуйста. Я вас не хватать, я упускаю Калинка, я упускаю нашей семьи. Я хочу, чтобы это так плохо. Если можно пожалуйста, только в Калифорнии. Я с красивым семьи под названием Hikaris. И после того как здесь, может быть, есть своего рода это все. Только пожалуйста, получите Калинка и выброшены здесь для меня. Если вы можете сказать "да", пожалуйста, отправьте этот bird машину назад, когда вы планируете любви. До свидания уже сейчас, и я люблю вас обоих."
(I know all of this must be so confusing and startling, but please. I miss you, i miss Kalinka, I miss our family. I want it back so badly. If you could please, just come over to California. I'm living with a nice family called the Hikaris. And once your here, maybe we can sort this all out. Just please, get Kalinka and fly out here to see me. If you say yes, please send this bird machine back when you plan to love. Goodbye now, and I love you both.)
"Finished Mr. Cossack!" Beat's eyes went back to normal.
"Okay, now deliver this to Alexandra Cossack in Russia, as fast as you can!"
"Alrighty then! Stand back everyone!" Beat's turned the engines in his wings on. "Destination; Russia. Estimated time; 12 hours.
The passage that led from the to the surrounding wilderness opened, and Beat took off into the night sky.
"Soon..." Dr. Cossack whispered, staring into the black.
Lan yawned. "Well, if its all the same to you, I'm going off to St. Sleepursburg in 12 minutes. See you guys at a reasonable hour."
Geo Stelar picked up his bookbag, and walked to the door. "Okay, Mom, I'm off to school, love you!"
"Love you too Geo, see you later." Hope Stelar was packing her lunch, ready to off to work on a while.
"Okay, got my strawberry smoothie, my chicken salad..." She strapped on her purse. "Ready to go!"
BRIIIIIINNNGG! BRIIIIIINNNGG! BRIIIIIINNNGG! It was Ken.
"Hey Ken, your calling here kind of early? Did something go wrong?"
"Yeah. Its the state's bi-yearly surprise health and safety inspection, with a free fumigation. So, uh, yeah. Don't even bother coming to work today. Consider it a free day off."
"As tempting as it is to hang up and kick back for a day, are you sure you don't you need my help? I was just about to leave anyway."
"No, its really just a bunch of legal stuff and paperwork. You uh, did organize all that stuff before you left work last night right?"
Hope had to chuckle at that. "Yeah, everything should be where its supposed to be."
"Well, with you making me look good holding down the fort all by myself, you deserve a day off. So, forget about work today, I've got it all handled. I know I wouldn't want to be here, no use swamping you in this too. So, I'll see you tomorrow. And if anything comes up, I'll call. Sound good?"
"Yeah. Thanks Ken, see you tomorrow." Hope set the phone down, knowing that while Ken Suther could get Big Wave by inspection alone, the goofball might have put on quite a show doing it.
"Okay, might as well catch Game of Thrones until Geo gets home."
Sitting on the couch, watching Netflix, she realized the full laundry basket in front of her.
Oh well, might as well do SOMETHING productive today.
After sorting through clothes, Hope found a pair of girls underwear, that not only had she never seen before but,
these are waaay to small for me. These are kids sized.
She thought about where they came from.
Did these come from someone at Geo's school. But really? Stealing panties and putting them in other kid's bookbags? Is that what children do nowadays?
But either way how would they have gotten in the washer? Geo would have had to taken them out of his backpack to put them in. So he MUST'VE known about it.
And he didn't tell me? Did he take some little girl's underwear and steal it away in his backpack?
She shook her head at the thought. No way would my Geo ever do something like this. Unless Lan roped him into it. But that's rather extreme, even for LAN. I know Haruka would raise her child better than that.
Then if its not Geo, how the hell did these get in my laundry basket?
She thought back to the house party she had on Halloween. How drunk was I at that party? A few friends had picked her up, and...
the rest ofthenightwasablur...
I got home, but I woke up on my couch, less than formally dressed,
so... maybe I brought these home and forgot all about them?
That's the only scenario that make sense here... yeah, it was probably me.
She got up with the underwear, went into the kitchen, and stuffed it deep in the trash can.
I'm not even gonna ask Geo about it, no use bothering him about it before Thanksgiving.
She paused for a minute. Oh what the hell, I got time.
She went into the garage. Might as well get down some Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations while I got time. We probably gonna spend both days at the Hikaris, but it might help get Geo into the holiday season.
Lord knows he could use it... but ever since Lan's brother came to town, he's actually been doing okay.
Wish he would spend more time with me, but I guess beggars can't be choosy.
Climbing up the ladder, Hope popped up into the attic, and turned on the light.
Her heart stopped as soon as she saw it.
A small fan was blowing air on a blanket that was covering a lump on an inflatable mattress.
Hope almost fell down the ladder with shock. Regaining her balance, she scrambled down the ladder and ran back into the kitchen.
She reached for the phone to dial 911...
Wait, no. You're a big girl Hope, you can deal with this yourself. I mean, they're probably still asleep.
She retrieved a Chinese cleaver from the drawer.
Climbing back up the ladder, Hope was ready to do anything to defend her son.
Clutching the knife, she crept up next to the bed.
With her entire arm shaking,
Hope grabbed the blanket cover,
pulled it back,
it was a little girl.
She was wearing a pink jacket. The hood was off her head, revealing her purple hair.
Hope couldn't believe that. Isn't that Sonia Sky?
Sonia Sky, an international pop star and child prodigy, had gone missing while being at a concert after-party in Fresno Halloween night. The only clue recovered was a note in the bathroom that said
"My contract's expired on Halloween, and I'm not resigning. As of now I'm retired.
Don't look for me, I don't want to be found."
Social Media and the news was blazing talking about her, and there was an ongoing police investigation.
And now here she was, sleeping in her attic?
Suddenly, the girl stirred, and slowly sat up, opening her green eyes.
"W-W-What's going on.."
Her eyes fell on the knife.
A brief moment of silence. Then,
The girl crawled back as Hope dropped the knife like it was a hot coal. SHITSHITSHITSHITSHITSHITSHITSHITSHIT
"NO! Stop screaming! Stop screaming! I'm not gonna hurt you! Just calm down!" She kicked the knife off the ladder down to the floor. "See, the knife's gone now. I'm not gonna hurt you. I'm not gonna hurt you. Just come down with me."
Hope reached out her hand. "Just walk down these steps we, okay sweetie?"
The girl looked a Hope's hand for a second. Reluctantly, she crawled across the bed and took in Hope's hands.
"Okay." Hope nodded, adding a smile. "Let's just come down real slow now.."
"Is there anything I can get you? Here, lemme get you a sandwich." Hope started rummaging through her refrigerator.
"Th-hhhank you." The girl replied.
"So, are really Sonia Sky?" Hope asked, getting bread out of the bag.
"Ye-eah, that's me." She nodded her head for emphasis.
"Well, what are you doing in my attic? Don't you know that every cop in California is looking for you? How many of your fans are worried about you? You're still a minor you know, you can't just run off."
Sonia's head lowered at the mention of her fans. "With all due respect... I REALLY don't want to talk about being a pop star. I just really want my sandwich now."
"Well, here it is." Hope put the sandwich on the counter. "Butcha know swettie-" As Sonia started taking bites, "being a pop star is the only reason your here. So we have to talk about it sometime."
Sonia put down her sandwich. "Yeah, I guess we do." She pushed the saucer away. "I'm not hungry anymore."
Hope leaned across the counter. "Look, if your worried about the police, don't. I'm not gonna turn you in." At least not yet. She thought.
Sonia's entire expression changed. "Your-your not?" She was completely surprised. "But why?"
"I'll answer your question with a question." She smiled. "Why did you run away and stop being a pop star? In just one sentence."
"Well..." Sonia thought about it. "I guess it was... it wasn't what I wanted."
"You see? I know how that feels."
Sonia eyes her suspiciously. "You do?"
"Yeah. Now I know, I don't have the drama of a world-renowned celebrity, but their were times in my life where everything was just over my head. I didn't know what to do, and everything was falling apart for me."
"So, what did you do?" Sonia asked.
"I found a good friend. Quite a few friends actually. And they were able to help me pick myself up, and keep me up. To get by in life, you always have to be around the right people. And i think its time I be a friend for someone else. So you know what? We can talk about this later. C'mon
I have a Kinect we can play a few games on."
"Really? Thanks Mrsss..."
Hope flashed her a smile. "Call me Hope." She said as she turned on the Xbox 1.
"Um, Hope? I don't mean to be nosy but, what exactly did you mean when you said you were over your head?"
"Well, I was very young, and I had to take care of someone even younger than me, what looked like all by myself."
Hope chuckled for a second. "Maybe you've met him already. He's my son, Geo."